Moon Madness - 26, Copyrightę 2001-2006 By
Larry K. Hockman, "All RIGHTS RESERVED"
Vindication Of The Madness
police station parking lot swarmed with all types of local media vying for the exclusive interview with Vince, Anna, Rex, or Stacey and perhaps a single picture of the notorious feline known as Moon. They were, however, unfortunately thwarted by Anna. As the crowd flocked to the limo, she merely phoned the police commissioner and requested he disperse the media before they would set foot outside the car. Citing the issue of time, he proposed routing them through a private access gate leading to a secluded prisoner transfer area manned with several guards. The offer was accepted and soon, Moon peered out of the open door to face a small band of armed accusers. Although curious, they stepped back to give him a wide berth when he jumped down, dragging the restrictive chains as far as they allowed until Vince and Anna could get out.
Moon looked back over his shoulder a final time at his friends without any expression whatsoever on his tufted feline features and then turned back to accept his fate. Anna and Stacey could feel nothing from Moon. It was if he had somehow turned off his feelings to deal with his time of injustice on a personal level. Before either could recover from the loss of contact, two uniformed K-9 personnel each took one of the chains, one from the front, the other from the rear, and led Moon inside. Anna and Stacey both resisted their natural urge to call out and reassure him simply because they sensed it would only serve to embarrass him.
Upset, Anna wasted no time before she began questioning the commissioner on where Moon was being taken and what was about to transpire. He assured her Moon would be treated with the utmost of respect and most of this charade was simply a formality to insure the safety of the general public and to keep the media at bay until a decision was made public at the courthouse in less than an hour. He confided that some startling new evidence had come to light aside from what they had uncovered, and that it was being verified even as they spoke. He apologized for the fact that he was not at liberty to say anything more at that time and prompted them to go on to the courthouse where all would finally be revealed.
The trio entered the designated room at the courthouse to find an entirely new set of newshounds. A pair of TV camera crews worked frantically to set up their equipment
to record Moon's final demise for the education of the greater public. Other reporters were assembled across the back row of seats, free to take notes in lieu of asking any questions. Without warning, a bailiff ordered everyone to stand while the judge entered the room. Trembling slightly, Anna reached for Vince's hand, anticipating the worst, but hoping for the best.
The remainder of the court patrons were seated after the judge sat down. He ignored everyone for several minutes, gazing intently at a stack of papers before him. Finally, he gestured to the bailiff. He had scarcely left the room when he returned to hold the door open for the same K-9 officers who had led Moon away earlier. Once again, Moon was escorted in, bound to the front and rear by the chains. Anna subconsciously bit her lip. Stacey twisted her blond hair around her index finger in nervous anticipation. Vince could only give a reassuring squeeze to Anna's hand to comfort her and quell the shake of her hand.
Moon seemed quite comfortable with the situation even though he was being filmed from several different angles. Only Vince recognized that Moon was on his best behavior. He was proud to have had the privilege of raising such an extraordinary animal. The private thought was interrupted by the entrance of Chief Dalhart, who was escorted up to the front and seated by Vince. The two men shook hands silently in a gesture of friendship. An acute rap of the judge's gavel focused their attention back to Moon and the judge. Strangely enough, the rough features of the judge's weathered face broke into a broad smile as he deposited the final paper back on the podium, looking up to address the crowd.
The burly judge rapped the gavel one more time, followed immediately by the statement, "This hearing in the matter of the state of Florida versus Moon concerning the matter of possible wrongful death of an unidentified human victim known at this time only as John Doe is now in session. I have reviewed the evidence before me, both the old and the new, and I find that recent evidence collected by the joint efforts of several friends or family of the accused in his behalf more than proves this animal's innocence in the charge of outright murder the state by means of fingerprints found at the scene. However, this evidence is still considered by the state to be circumstantial in linking the suspect man to the murder attempts by bombing in both Texas and Florida. The charge against Moon was reduced to involuntary manslaughter at the time these facts came to light, but unfortunately did not negate the punishment in regard to animals in this state. There is one last piece of evidence which has only in the last hour been confirmed by the FBI and other authorities. It came in the form of a letter from a woman in Texas, obviously distraught over the gross injustice being inflicted upon this animal before us. As it was addressed personally to Mr. Vince Casey, care of the Florida State Police, I request he stand and come forward to read this letter aloud so that everyone may hear and form some sort of judgment in their own mind before I administer my final decision in this matter. I would ask of you to refrain from talking until the time I have finished my statement. Thank you. Mr. Casey, if you would please step forward and address these people from a position beside the accused."
Slightly stunned by the request, Vince slowly stood up, feeling as though some great burden of speculation was about to be removed from his shoulders. Anna squeezed his hand before he released hers, stepping past the chief to walk toward the mysterious letter in the outstretched hand of the judge.
Vince took the letter cautiously, a thousand possibilities racing through his mind all at once. His instincts overrode the confusion almost as soon as it started, leaving him in a calm, almost tranquil state whetted now by curiosity of questions about his personal life that seemed impossible to answer. Without further delay, he wrested the letter from its envelope and cleared his throat. Moon nuzzled his leg from the tabletop. Vince's free hand dropped to scratch his ears, his eyes riveted to the letter. It was hand written.
Vince scanned the entire first page before reading,"Dear Mr. Casey, I sincerely wish I could be where you are to tell you in person what I need to say. We have never met face-to-face, but through these past troubled years, I feel as though I have come to know you and your extraordinary cat through your various escapades covered by the media. My name is Francine Lea Morrow, Stan's mother! First, I wish to apologize for the many years I wrongly hated you for killing my first-born son. I'm afraid it was my own transgression which prompted him to act in the manner he did. Stan only acted out an ugly scene he had witnessed at home at a tender, impressionable age. It was I who had the affair with his quoted oil-field trash and became pregnant! My husband found out about the affair, but not the pregnancy. He came home drunk one night, confronted me with it, and then beat me in front of Stan. I couldn't face myself, not to mention my son or my husband, so I left to go live with my sister until I had the baby. My husband never even bothered to look for me, but never divorced me, either. My sister had always wanted kids, but was barren. When the baby was born, I gave him to my sister to raise as her own so that I might have some chance of patching things up with my family. My husband finally let me come back home and my sister, her husband, and I vowed to never reveal that Dan was actually Stan's half brother instead of his cousin. Stan and Dan grew close in the years to follow. Dan idolized his half brother. I can now admit that my family has a past history of schizophrenia. My mother was institutionalized for the last twenty years of her life. I've had several bouts with the disorder, myself. Although Stan and Dan were never actually diagnosed with it, I'd recognized the warning signs for several years. Somehow, I convinced myself that since my kids were boys, they would not be affected by the disorder, or, just maybe they would be able to handle themselves better and lead normal lives. I realize now that it was simply a loving mother's delusion. My sister committed suicide a month before the incident occurred with Stan and Sheryl. Dan had come to live with us. He was devastated by Stan's death and became very withdrawn. He swore to me twice that when he was old enough, he would avenge Stan's death. He was never told your side of the story.
Dan went with us to get Stan's things at the apartment and found Sheryl's cat hiding in the closet, scared and alone, just as I'm sure he felt at the time. He and that cat became close and I thought she might pull him out of his depressive state of mind. That cat would sit and watch him for hours while Dan meticulously restored the '69 Camaro Stan had bought as a junker earlier that year! When Dan finished the car, he started driving it, even though he had no license. I never could keep up with him after that point.
Late one night, he confronted me with the question of if I was his real mother. Seems some of the local boys had heard a rumor and teased him about it. I thought it was a good time to tell him the whole truth about who he was. He took the news very well and asked many questions about his father, his half brother, and even Sheryl. Evidently, Dan told my husband what I had revealed to him and all hell broke loose. He beat me and left, never to be heard from by me since that night. I guess maybe I finally got what I deserved in the long run. I didn't see Dan for a couple of days. When I did, all he had to say was that Sheryl's cat got pregnant screwing around just like she and I did, and he was going to get rid of her. I haven't seen him since!
Several weeks ago, I received a simple letter from him saying his mission would soon be completed and he could return home to his mother. The letter was postmarked at a small post office substation located on a fishing pier thirty miles south of Dr. Fontain's house. I did not put it all together until I read Miss Holden's statement in the paper with her plea for someone to find that car. All pieces of the puzzle fit together to form a bizarre portrait of my son, Dan! Please forgive me, Mr. Casey for the hell he has put your friends and family through. Most of all, I wish to thank Moon for putting my son out of his twisted misery and to convey my sincere condolences on the death his kids at the hand of mine. I am truly sorry.
Take comfort in the fact that I will end this chapter of humanity gone awry as soon as I mail this letter.
Anything which the authorities need to verify the facts in this letter will found with Dan's birth certificate on the kitchen table in my home. I believe it contains the only set of his recorded fingerprints anywhere. May it serve to prove Moon's innocence and save his life." She had signed the letter above her home adress in Texas with her final plea, "Please forgive me, Lord." It was reported in the paper the following day that she had committed suicide in her home shortly after the letter had been mailed!
Overwhelmed with mixed emotions, Vince handed the letter back to the judge in silence, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. The judge immediately addressed the people at the hearing, but directed his comments to the media, "Be it known that all evidence contained in this letter has been verified beyond any doubt by various law enforcement agencies. Also, the car has been located in a pier storage facility south of here beneath a garage apartment which contained a vast amount of other evidence which included various photographs, threat letters, newspaper articles, and explosive devices consistent with those used in the bombings which proves to me that the victim and the bomber were one and the same person. In light of these findings, I'm ruling that this animal acted responsibly within his rights to protect his loved ones as well as himself and very possibly saved many more lives which he is unaware of. Furthermore, to insure his freedom to act on his own judgment when human lives or otherwise are in jeopardy, I'm officially decreeing that he be granted immunity from the leash laws of this state so he may continue his life with the dignity and respect due any other law-abiding citizen of this state. This case is hereby dismissed! Mr. Casey, would you please take those stupid chains off that magnificent animal so I can have the honor of shaking his paw?"
Moon received a standing ovation while everyone cheered and clapped as the harness was removed.
Once again, Moon was thrust into the national limelight as a highly respected hero. Mountains of fan mail poured in to commend his gallant efforts for the better of mankind. He even received a special citation for valor personally from the President of the United States! His fame had spread worldwide before the media finally milked his story for all it was worth after many hectic months.
Vince bought the land he and Anna had been looking at for the past several months and started building their new cabin together. It was to be nearly twice the size of the old one in Texas to include a guest room and a nursery, for Anna was indeed pregnant with their first child.
Anna took a maternity leave as she had told Stacey she would until the cabin was finished and the baby was born. During that time, she would act only as a consultant if Stacey needed her advice or help with her schooling. Otherwise, Stacey had the full power to run the show as she deemed necessary.
Vince told the park service he would take the head ranger job after the cabin was finished. They assured him it would still be waiting on him whenever he was ready. Anna was elated with his decision.
Moon and Crip started another family during the construction of the new cabin. Crip had three kittens this time, too, one female which looked like her, and twin males identical to Moon. The kittens grew fast and could soon be seen learning to hunt and the ways of survival from Moon and Crip.
With the volunteered help of Rex, Andy, and Earl when they had the time, the cabin was completed well ahead of schedule.
Stacey planned Vince and Anna an extravagant housewarming party and baby shower. There, she and Rex announced their wedding would take place on the day Anna gave birth to honor the start of new lives and the future, instead of dwelling on the past and the dark side of people or animals. Moon meowed at the announcement. Anna looked at Stacey and she returned the gaze, smiling. The ladies knew what Moon was saying. Puzzled, Vince asked, "Well, are you ladies going to let us in on the big secret?" Anna gestured to Stacey to give the explanation, "Suffice it to say that the dark side of the Moon is a cold and cruel place best forgotten forever!" Moon jumped up on Vince's lap and started purring loudly. Vince scratched his ears and told him, "The silver glow of the full Moon rising is all I see!" Moon stretched up to nuzzle his cheek, knowing that Vince understood.
Thoroughly content, Vince fell asleep in the chair with Moon curled up in his lap by the fireplace. Stacey couldn't resist the urge to take several pictures while they slept. One of them hangs above the mantle to this day as a reminder of what can be normal for both man and beast when the dark side madness is overpowered by the light of love!
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
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