Dante’s Ruse (Baby Blue)

At seven you approached me familiar of the light, baby blue, falling incandescent light, the alfalfa in that field by Nenahnezad, so purple, it became blue, my flame of spirit, possessed by wild winds beautiful, that took my soul. Light as a child, I become interweaved with you, forever in your breath I’m cured by inner sight. Grandma Blackhorse she told me, near Shiprock she told me, while other children played in her sight…. “Look at what you see, say what you trust, nothing about you is new, and yesterday, you came to light, do you remember, baby white boy, born your mind so blue”. “Everything from here on out is not you, it’s what controls you, yes, yes it becomes what you do”.

At sixteen I reached a place I thought I should not go, light near Durango, driving deep into the night, and I forgot where I was going, near midnight I couldn’t remember my very name. Outside of Hesperus, things become overwhelming, in your baby blue, and then ghost came into my sight. Then light came, like a cure, something like skin, that nothing, and nobody should touch, my baby blue. And what I can remember, is something is worth having, something that I’ll never touch, esoterically illusional true. Better than reality, sometimes fiction you can’t touch, can make you cry. Better than reality on that Colorado highway, neurological daemon, from my little boy clues. From my little boy clues.

Dante he comes, sometimes he knows, that every word, from his flimsy touch, is a rhetorical verb, that is light. “It’s light,” he says, he grins against the blue ray, that sprinkles gloom and glitter against the dark Fort Collins sky. He says, “Are you ready, to write, baby blue, I possess you, can we get high”? I think it’s a ruse, but I remember, when I was new. Before I was seven, without you, baby blue. And so I deliver, and these lines, these words that are you, bring me something I’ll never touch. No I’ll never touch.

At seven you approached me! – 07.15.2016 – דָּנִיֵּאל

Another one for my damn muse!

Louie and I (1978)


“A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat”. – Louis L’Amour

“It’s okay to call me Louie”,

Louie said, “if I was you, I would not choose the Strater, with its feather pillows, and it’s golden chrome, it’s not the best place to eat, too noisy to enjoy the room, and you just can’t talk to the moon there”.   “You know young buck you need a ground, a high place where there’s room, to read a western novel, like a book I’ve spun on a loom. Indeed, you’re just a young man with a back that can take the ground, there’s plenty of altitude with coldness, and starlight, without much sound”. “If you buy “To the Far Blue Mountains” a read that will take you there, there’s a hill just south of Fort Lewis, you can go, and find what makes a writer there”. I looked hard at old Louie, then lowered my eyes, my face in flame, for its true he was just a cowboy, but in his soul was something that built the western plains.

We stood awhile then in Maria’s, a different bookstore back then a different name. Me with pimples and a dream of glory, he a writer, who had dealt with all his pain. He said, “well now, I’m a man whose been defeated, known the bottle, known what it is to feel real shame, still now that is part of the best story, when you know it, and bring it to a higher place”. Well the truth of the matter was it was Louie, the actor who had built a western stage, the glory of all my childhood heroes, the painter of all the mountain sage. All of my past a six-gun hallelujah, a bloody fight, to pioneer a just and fallen rage. While young boys were lost without their heroes, Louie wrote mine in sunsets on a stage.

Such a short time we talked inside that bookstore, such a brief encounter while the desert bloomed, knowing something inside of me was growing, listening to the man who’d written “The Man Called Noon“. All my life I think I might meet people, those who walk and write, all talented in what they do, still I wonder have they ever talked to the moon and have they ever been defeated, and if so, what did they do? What did they do?

“It’s okay to call me Louie”,

I met “Louis l’Amour” in a small book store in Durango, Colorado in April of 1978. What a man he was. – 11.03.2015 – דָּנִיֵּאל

The Illumination (Dante’s Prayer)


“For I thought this ruler a taskmaster, wanting only words, that goodness would have sown, and much to my surprise he loved darkness as much as I.”

A shadow walks with Dante, indeed it has trailed him since he was born, and all the reason for his vanity, his cause of being just alone, cannot take from him the prayer before him, that one that leads him home. If he were to find great passion, some words to warm his bones, some majik on the horizon, that place that some have known. Then it is, he’d be forever, warmed by a stellar glow, some heat beyond indignation, the warmth of hell that he does know. For Dante rides imagination, this muse that seems so cold, but he does need to find salvation, for even ghost have to know. That though some words they lead an army, some thoughts they kill a soul, there is no substitute for adoration, when with some words passions are sown.

A boot he throws upon this highway, a step and more this Dante goes, for in his search of G_D’s own mercy, it starts his fever so. For he is the shadow of depression, the shrew that spins the morbid lows, the talent of libation. When liquor makes an author know, all of the rhymes of desperation, the ritual of the blow, the gasp of tears of sadness, the requiem where wordsmiths sow. All of this when life is harmful, all of this, this Dante knows, it cannot last a generation, these verbs of harm, this muse has chose. And so it is he strides a byway, a darkened trail upon the land, he chooses higher passage, to ask the one of what is planned. In serious doubt he looks to heaven, where rafters paint a sky, the moon that charts his laughter, the madness of his lies. And there it is a grand formation, a redness of the dawn, instruction for his coronation, not wrath for what he’s done.

And angels light bright candles, his knees they strike the land, for unto him there is given, a better answer than his plan. For it is true G-D loves a sinner, a spirit that gives to man, a daemon of the firelight, that quotes sweet words to what is mad. For this king needs healers, and words of charm, and innocence. To sooth his troubled existence, that boils within. But in this world of stasis, the need for balance must prevail. The truth be known about this sovereign, the need for Dante does exists. To bring the banter of all knowledge, of dreams of tortured bliss, for it is that there is mercy, and goodness of the words persist. They do persist.

“For I thought this ruler a taskmaster, wanting only words, that goodness would have sown, and much to my surprise he loved darkness as much as I.”-08.23.2015-דָּנִיֵּאל

*For my muse Dante, who is always there. J

The Flame (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)

(The Dream)

We come together by the ponds, near the flame, that flame so high. The vodka and tonics are like an infection, seeping through my soul, taking my boyhood memories, scaring me. Flame hill looks smaller than it used to, the winding road, the stirring yellow dust swirling, making pictures in the lights of the Anadarko Gas trucks, it looks gold, yeah gold, kind of like it’s a “Yellow Brick Road”. The pond to the north of the hill sits silent, dark, green, it looks the same, and forty-two years haven’t changed it much. Its okay, I suppose, it won’t be changed much in the story either. Behind me there’s another pond, that one a little larger, that one with the dam, the leaky dam. It has a different color, the reeds around it bent, making soft sucking noises, when they get caught in the water and the sand.

The touch on my arm, my right arm is cold, it’s a child’s touch I suppose. I look back at the ghost, somebody I know, somebody that won’t let me sleep. “Is this the yellow brick road”? I think I say that out loud, but I’m not sure. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter, the blonde headed spirit is shaking his head up and down, almost too fast, affirming something for sure. Something ready, here near flame hill, something that happened. “Did we catch him”? My question is answered already, the presence, is grinning, those dimples, I’ve seen in too many dreams over the past year.

There’s a wind kicking up out of the north, pushing the colored flame above me back and forth, it’s threatening it I suppose. That flame on the hill. The ghost is looking intently up at the fire, the body almost transparent, shimmering, and moving in tandem, with the wind. The yellow dust is moving too, throwing itself like a curtain from where I stand, I can hardly see the road.

“We did this didn’t we”? It’s a convergent question, based on historical knowledge, actual experiences. I look back, finally daring to look through the darkness to see the Southwest pond, it’s the one that holds the memories. I take a few steps, toward the base of flame hill, the shadows casting long in the darkness. The colored gas flame up above, shoots through the air, lighting the darkness, arching, it extends and then like a flickering torch it retreats leaving the truth of what I saw laughing in the past atop the water of the southwest pond.

“If I write this, it’s going to be goodbye, you know that don’t you”, I’m speaking to spirit, a dream may be, something that shouldn’t be, but is. The figure is looking intently at the flame, the blonde hair, my friend, my childhood friend. He looks at me, his smile, the same, the same grin, from the first day we met in the Grace B. Wilson Elementary School Library over a pile of Hardy Boy books.

“Write it”, he whispers. – 08.08.2015 – דָּנִיֵּאל

Dreamscape (Damn Muse)


“It’s a conversation”, he says. “Here”, I say, here being a desert of sorts, a barren land, a Moses sort of land, a dreamscape. “We are where”, I say? Dante, looks at me, smiling underneath, reaching down, touching, feeling, and his eyes singing in places that make me scream….

“Who are you”, I whisper, “What are you”, I think?

It doesn’t take long, a second, maybe a time that has already passed, for his answer, I already know. It rhymes anyway, the witch he always rhymes, his conversation schizophrenic, a sort of hum in my ear, a possession of kind, one that feels like release.

“Don’t you feel the sand that is cold, a vampirism, of me so old, a kind, a kind, of all where we been, from Eden’s gate, to now time that ends. Oh boy, oh boy, I bring you around, to teach you lessons of what’s been found, a ruin, a ruin in this world at hand, to reach to write, of all that has been. This desert is seen in only your dreams, it represents all the potential of life, life that it brings. I know you cry, and sob in the dark, deep depression a blight of the heart. I hear, I hear, the notes that you sing, making rhythm, when no notes will ring, and yet you venture out here in the dark. A gift, a gift I’ll venture for free, just write the written, and pretend it is spring”.

So I take my night shirt off, it seems the right thing to do in the dark, the desert dark, and he smiles. I close my hands together, remembering it’s a dreamscape, bowing and lowering touching, the cold sand, my extremities hard, and strangely wet. I look up at him, and Dante is me, suddenly old, but his eyes are the color of a living G_D, and strangely that is me too.

“For here in a vacuum of time that knows when, you can write of subjects of darkness within, or you can erupt like a flame in a soul, and milk a strange verb, and make adjectives whole. Oh when, I say when, can you know who you are, until you have written of what all you are. Despair, oh despair, of all that has been, and write of anxiety of futures of men, for here we are playing two sprites in the dark. This desert of vision that bleeds in the dark. Rise up, oh rise up and touch what I say, and bend you your fingers, and write into day. Man, oh man of tissue and bone, thinking of words, I hum in the zone, and here in the desert, the desert of play, write me a sonnet and maybe I’ll stay”.

It could be daylight, or that time in between, dusk or resurrection, or just some hours, like so many, that I just don’t see. The sand’s gone, things familiar around me taking shape. The day might begin, but the words, binding words, erotic and warm they stay.

“Who are you”, I whisper, “What are you”, I think? – 6.10.2015 – דָּנִיֵּאל

 

 

Dante

Dante holds the music that he whispers through thyme, it smells like lemon secrets, as it enters my mind, and circles all the thoughts of word, the phonics of night, resistance is futile, why even do I fight. Well Dante holds riddles, those puzzles in me, and just like familiars, and those ghost who can see. He moves me and dazzles, and laughs while I’m blind, not grasping the candle, he just needs to light. In houses, and doorways, and double odd binds, with kisses for favors, a Daemon unkind. This spirit, apostle, just wants me to write, find fortune in secrets, a poet’s delight. He moves in the spaces my old muse died, makes fun of his funeral, and laughs at my rites. Oh Dante please tell me, of why do we fight, with words of confusion, and spells of the night. We should be together, our psyches held tight, but somehow you use me, and snarl when you bite.

Dante runs highways, through deserts and sands, he hunts in desolation, for hidden lands, and sometimes he listens, and passes a word, but often he’s silent, asleep in his verbs. Forgotten in reason, he will not take a stand, on verbiage, or letters, controlled by my hand. And often he measures, my prose, with a laugh, and shoots vowels behind me, and then tips his glass. Say, Dante I’m naked, my soul is so scratched, from hauntings and pictures, your words so mismatched. If you are forever, a shimmer of light, then be me immortal, a muse that won’t fight.

Its shadows, of answers, dictated by fright, long caverns in darkness, that bring me to sight, and Dante, it’s sudden, the life in my hands, the treasured scripting where loneliness ends. Dante he’s smiling, expression in name, and taunting my story, he says it’s too tame. No hero’s for writing, that’s simply insane. Dante’s not giving, he’s gone once again, no doubt in the Artic, just walking about, but soon he’ll be closer his coldness in me. I’ll write that indifference, I’ll learn what he sees. I’ll learn what he sees. – 05.14.2015 – דָּנִיֵּאל

The Mysterious Caravan

“Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream

I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been

To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen

They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed”.

Jimmy Page/Robert Plant

Previously on “A Figure in Hiding

Sunday May 18, 1975 2:30 AM

I’m there again, waking again, the rotors turning, the deep bass, and the melodic sound of the wilderness outside my walls. The house itself so silent inside, maybe the occasional parental snore tumbling down the tri level stairs of the yellow house, the house on the hill. The house that sits next to the wilderness, that stretches wooing the vibrations, the ground swelling with the beating of sound.

I’m fourteen, nearing the end of all boys seeking adventure, closing the portal of the unknown, withdrawing from the cloak of mystery. I am less a boy, and no more a man, caught as it were between joy and wisdom, lacking in adolescence, void of want. But this. This! The hammer of the gods, drawing life from the ground. The thudding, and the undertaking of heaviness, and then the bugle, the charge, so much closer.

I’m moving from my bed, shoving the strips of cut cassette tape aside that divide my lower level room from the lower entryway to the downstairs door, my yellow patterned pajamas too long, nearly tripping me as I reach for the handle on the outer screen door. The mid May New Mexico night is chilly, and I instinctively wrap my arms encircling my hands on opposite shoulders, as if this in itself will warm me. I lean against the brick planter to my right, its cold rough exterior balancing me as I listen. The sound is much louder now, and nearer, blades whipping air, and music fainter but recognizable, coming from the east, coming from the wilderness.

The concrete from the sidewalk feels cold and raw on my bare feet, and I tiptoe as if a need for secrecy is near. I am being beckoned, the sound, the heaviness, the music. I move across the double carport opening, the sloped trunk of my parents green Pontiac Lemans, and Ford pickup truck greeting me silently as I pass by. I stand there, greeting the wilderness, stretching before me east to the darkened points of Twin Peaks, the desert reverberating with mood and sound. And then I see it, my vision mixing with sound. The half-moon stretched across the cold dry New Mexico sky, the military helicopter flying low, dipping as it were in prayer to the night. The music booming from its open darkened side door distinguishable moving in rhythm to the stars, so high in the desert sky. The light of the moon dances but for a brief moment on the lower nose of the flying craft, as it bends and turns toward the east, and I see it there. Like the music, it is distinguishable. I watch as the helicopter moves towards Twin Peaks. It hovers there, a red lone bulb blinking from near where the rotor spins on its tail. And, then it’s gone, moving on eastward, toward Farmington, leaving its memory, and secret, and I’m there again.


Sunday May 18, 1975 1:45 PM

“I can see it was right here”! Jason’s excited voice doing its level best to enter adult hood, ascends an octave higher. He’s surveying the whipped up sand, lying almost in a perfect circle around where we stand. “It was cavalry, right”, he’s nodding his head up and down in convincing fashion. “It was cavalry”, I have told it all, word for word relaying to my best friend, my early morning adventure. “They were playing Zeppelin”, Jason’s almost reverent, his eyes opening wide and blue. “Uh huh, Kashmir”, I say, “and they had a bugle, they kept playing the charge over and over”. We stand there for a moment studying each other, like it all might make sense, if we stare each other down. We are the Hardy Boys, sleuths, investigators of odd mystery’s, friends and brothers. I am Frank Hardy, the older one, dark haired, thoughtful, Jason is Joe Hardy, the younger one, impetuous, and bright. The truth is, we are growing apart, we don’t realize it yet, but this is our last adventure together. This will be our final summer together. No, we don’t know it yet, but we are embarking, into a mystery, that will seal the covenant, between us for eternity.

Jason is over to visit, on my excited invitation on a bright, warm, Sunday afternoon. He comes prepared for adventure, waving his copy of the latest Hardy Boy Book, “The Mysterious Caravan“. The book is published in January, of 1975, and both of us have sworn an oath to save reading it till June, when school was over. It was May however, close enough, and neither of us could wait a second longer. Now as we stand here, the desert widening around us, the book becoming a pointer, with Jason shoving it over my right shoulder, looking to the Northeast. “Did they land on the peaks”, his voice is almost hoarse with excitement. I turn and look, the pyramid shaped desert mounds molded against the horizon. “I’m not sure”, I say, trying to get the early morning picture straight in my mind. “They seemed to be looking for something”, I’m almost whispering, “Or someplace”, Jason finishes, his eyelids squinting against the distant sky.

“He who does not travel will not know the value of men”, Jason’s voice rings out, proudly, pronouncing, pontificating! I look at him without having to say what. He grins, and points at the Hardy Boy book he has clutched tightly in his right hand. “Remember, on page nineteen”, he announces proudly, “it’s an old Moorish proverb, and I say we should put it to use”. I know he’s talking about a trip to the peaks. It’s almost two fifteen, the peaks are close to a mile and a half away through a myriad of dry washes, and sage brush. I’m feeling lazy, I’m not up for hoofing it out there. “Let’s”, I start to say, but Jason’s tugging my arm, leading me toward the house. “Let’s get your dad’s binoculars”, he says, he’s pointing with the book again, and the decision has been made.

Sunday May 18, 1975 2:40 PM

The wind has picked up outside, as it often does in the spring. The sand is blowing throwing curtains of torment, all around our yellow house on the hill. I have just about talked my younger brother, out of a tortuous hike. I have this earnest look on my face, “We should wait Jason, we should go another time”. He knows we are growing apart, I see it still, to this very day I see it, a small dot of trust missing, the disappointment. His big brother, is growing more distant. Frank Hardy is losing his way.

It is at that moment that second in time, when two friends, young detective brothers, began to shift apart, to lose their way that the spirits that guide us all, can intervene. The magic that imparts gifts upon the gifted, can be summoned, and I did just tell you now dear reader, oh yes I did, the wind was blowing. Indeed what was too happen at that moment my friends, was to convince me that throughout my coming life, no matter what prevailed, destiny always stood taller.

“Vera, did you see the story on the Taylor kid”, my dad is reading the Sunday paper, something he seldom does. He’s a man who’s more interested in the ads. Jason and I are perched morosely in the living room floor, treading the gold carpet, pretending to study the cover of “The Mysterious Caravan”. Its yellow cover lies still between us refusing to open all by itself. “You mean the janitor from the school that was so sad”, my mom’s leaning against the opening that leads from the kitchen into the living room. “He took his own life you know”, mom’s voice down a notch, softer and sadder. “It says here he was a war hero, in Vietnam”, my dad’s sounding interested, “First Cavalry”, dad’s reading, “credited with saving over forty-five lives in the Cambodian Incursion”, in June of 1970″. Jason and I are staring at each other, my right hand is on his left hand, positioned tightly upon the cover of the Hardy Boy book between us, as a calling begins to speak. “I never would have dreamed”, my mom is saying, somewhere close to us, but sounding so far away. “Says here his name was Katz, is that Polish”, my dad is losing interest, as the seismic plates begin to shift around him, and the wind in the wilderness begins to wail. “Good nickname, they gave him”, dad’s saying, “called him Kashmir, because it says here he would climb any peak in Kashmir to save a cavalry man”.

Sunday May 18, 1975 4:10 PM

Most of our journey finds us seeking cover from the blowing sand, in the many arroyo’s that labyrinth the landscape. I carry my dad’s binoculars in their plastic case, making sure they stay hidden under my red jean jacket. Jason holds his Hardy Boy book carefully under his arm, our thinking not extending far enough to visualize what necessity it might possibly have to us on our expedition. It has taken us, an hour to hike to the peaks, and scale their sandy rounded west flank. It is as if our arrival at the tall desert peaks, has announced an armistice between our mission and the wind. In my right back pocket, carefully folded, is the front page of the Farmington Daily Times. We want to keep the story of “Kaz (Kashmir) Taylor close to us. It has summoned us from somewhere, by eyes that deem it necessary for us to know more. So it is that two young men, nearing their own ages of accountability, stand together on a bare sandy peak, looking to the west. The late afternoon sun shines its charge across the high barren plateau, striking Shiprock some twenty-five miles to the west, and casting a shadow of much awaited mystery on our two lads.

“He was gunner and medic, First Cavalry”, my voice sounds small, with the whole world below me. “He was a hero, and saved forty-five lives”, Jason continues his voice sounding stronger, than mine. “He was alone an orphan, nobody knows where he came from or if he has any family”, I continue, my voice doing its best to sound stronger. I’m taking the binoculars out of their plastic case, and taking the thick white plastic lens covers off. “He is a stranger to us”, Jason sounds almost ethereal. “He is known by his brother’s”, I finish, my voice a little higher than it needs to be, “and they are here”, I am whispering, almost at a perfect pitch, with the binoculars, making contact with my eyes.

“The horses, and the riders are over a mile away to the southwest of us. Even with my dad’s powerful binoculars, they look small but not insignificant. Jason is pulling on my left arm, demanding to see, his sleuthing instincts on high alert, and I give in to him. It is a time to share, to watch his face taunt and pale, his glasses tight against the black wide rims of the binoculars. “They’re cavalry”, he gasp, his voice once again adolescent strained and losing pitch. “Real cavalry”, he repeats in a smaller voice, as he hands the tubed glasses back to me. I look again, the horses and men are gathered around the fence near 550 highway. They are “real cavalry” as Jason said. I can make out their blues, and their stripes. I count them, and as if reading my thoughts, my younger brother, Joe Hardy, speaks, “there are seven”, he says.

We take turns watching them. The horses stand as a barrier as the cavalrymen pay attention to something by the fence. Along the shoulder of 550 highway we can make out two pickup trucks, both government green, behind them two horse trailers, empty of their cargo. It seems forever, the binoculars going back and forth between us, and as Jason is taking his turn, I realize we are laying side by side. Our stomachs are mashed into the gravel and sand of Twin Peaks, our elbows churned into the soil, Jason resting his left elbow, on the yellow cover of, “The Mysterious Caravan”. I study him for a moment, it seems I have known him my whole life. We have climbed mesas in the dead of night, entered houses unbeknown, risked life and limb above water, investigated haunted forts that we did not build. Yet he doesn’t know me, he doesn’t….”I’m flunking Mr. Ellison’s Algebra class”, I spit out. It comes out with a weak rasp, sounding anything but noble. I stare at him hard, I’m thinking maybe I have breached the vale, and this is the end, for us. The binoculars are still tightly pressed against his glasses, but it doesn’t stop the lone tear that falls, that drops onto the thirsty sand of Twin Peaks. I hear him alright, it’s a shame for me but I hear him. “I have to get an A in Ellison’s class he whispers”.

Sunday May 18, 1975 4:55 PM

The wind has picked up again, blowing from the north. Dark angry clouds are rolling to the back of us, there’s a distant rumble of thunder, and it smells like rain. “They’re moving”, Jason’s lips are barely moving as he whispers, he has the binoculars held out, may be a half inch from his glasses. I take the field glasses from him, and take a quick glance, as I climb to my feet. The seven men on horseback are riding at breakneck speed and they are making a direct beeline for the peaks. I can see the lead rider of the column, he’s carrying a pole with a red and white flag on it. The other’s riding behind him, have their swords drawn, all except for the one bringing up the tail position. The rear rider has a pair of binoculars pressed to his eyes as he rides, and they are aimed up to the top of the peaks where Jason and I now stand. “They’ve seen us”, I gasp, I’m pulling Jason back from the rounded edge of the west peak, “let’s get out of here”. I’m ashamed, not sounding very Hardy like at all. Jason and I look at each other, for a moment, I see the same uncertainty, reflecting in his eyes. It’s just a split moment, the skies darker, and the thunder louder. Armed danger against us, a mystery. It’s just a split moment, and in that second, for things have indeed changed, we lock souls. Everything becomes one from our childhood adventures, to our future destiny. It’s just a split moment. “The Vault” we say it together, our voices even, and we are running to the east following the terrain downward. My dad’s binoculars clumsily packed in their plastic case tightly held in my right hand, Jason’s Hardy Boy book in his left, and we are jumping, are faces held high to the darkened sky, our free hands joined. We are falling, as the first bolt of lightning parts the sky.

Throughout the spring and summer, and early fall of 1974, Jason and I had spent much time, in what we called the wilderness, a large tract of barren land to the east of my family’s home, that overlooked Kirtland, New Mexico. The only inhabitants of the land, was an abandoned oil tanker, a couple of hollowed out old sedans from the fifties, and Twin Peaks. Throughout the summer we had mapped out the labyrinth of dry washes, rattlesnake havens and had roamed each sandy square inch of Twin Peaks, mapping its distinctions, and the best ways to ascend or descend it. One could climb it from any direction, but the best trail was on the north side. From that side two boys filled with adventure seeking skills could switchback above a rocky ledge, and then a gentle climb to the top. The eastern peak had a moderate slope, with a shallow dry wash careening down its flank, that we has nicknamed the descent. After a hard days play in the hot New Mexico sun, our choice was always to descend the east side in the shade, and its calmness, and head for home. Between the two peaks, and their shared ridge, was a large washed out square arena that dropped some fifteen feet into a four-sided sand bed of brush and gravel. The profound drop off connected to a deep narrow arroyo that wiggled down the south side between the peaks and continued on some five hundred feet before playing out behind an east to west running ridge. Jason and I had named the area “The Vault” because of its sudden steep sides. Truth be known we had always felt that somewhere within “The Vault”, we would find hidden treasure. Now we used it as an escape route.

Perhaps you can join me, my reader, as we watch Frank and Joe Hardy, alias Danny Swearingen and Jason Waite, fall. Fifteen feet against a rocky wall, the ground coming up fast and hard, as the dark sky overhead makes its way closer. The warm air rising, passing the young lads as they fall, on its way upwards, past the peaks to meet its cold relation. You can watch as the boys hit the sandy earth, may be a scratch or two from the twisted sharp tumbleweeds caught in “The Vault”. They are boys however, and they are scared. You know how tough scared young lads can be. No doubt scared, like young “Kaz (Kashmir) Taylor” a young man whom we heard of his heroics earlier this very day. Now we digress, here perhaps, as we watch our young boys run down the narrow arroyo. Would it surprise you to know, that they too are thinking of Mr. Taylor as they run, among many other things, I’m sure. They recognize they must beat the charging horseman unseen, and then they know, they must solve this mystery upon them. For indeed, they know there are connections, and clues, gifted upon them this very Sunday, and it is their last mystery they will ever solve together. Let’s rejoin them now, shall we. It looks like they have reached the safety of the ridge, no worse for wear. I am concerned about the weather however. Perhaps somewhat more than the cavalry that this way rides.

We watch them from the ridge as the rain begins to fall. We see them circle to the west of our position, going to the north side of the peaks. The clouds above us are growing darker by the moment. “I think we should head out before they get to the top” I whisper to Jason. “They’ll be able to see us from up there”, I’m Frank Hardy, the careful one. Joe Hardy’s having none of it however. “We have to see what they’re doing”, Jason’s voice sounds raspy, excited, full of fear and life. We watch the top of the peaks for several minutes through the binoculars, waiting to burrow down under the ridge at the first sign of movement above us. I have just begun, to think the cavalry has gone on to the north of our position, when they come riding around the base of the eastern peak, they are no more than four hundred feet from us. “What are they doing”, I’m whispering to Jason crouching down behind the sand bank that makes up the top of the ridge. It’s his turn at the field glasses, he’s beckoning me to take a look, his finger up in the shush position. I have just pressed my eyes to the binoculars when the lightning hits.

The world explodes both in and out of sound, white fire coming down, separating Twin Peaks. The force of electricity flows into “The Vault”, and then floods the arroyo, branching out to the left and the right. I can’t hear anything for a moment, only see, horses reeling, raring, For a brief moment as Jason is pulling me down behind the sandy embankment I see the frightened well lit faces of seven men in blue U.S. cavalry uniforms. Jason’s eyes are wide and blue, scared behind the shield of his glasses, and then I can hear him, “let’s go, let’s go, come on, let’s go”, he’s yelling. We are in movement running to the south and then along a wash to the west, somewhere further to the west of us in the now pelting rain, I hear the sound of horses, and men shouting.

Tuesday May 20, 1975 4:40 PM

Jason’s mom brings us both a tall thick glass of homemade root beer. She is a kind German woman with a thick accent that always takes time to ask about my family, even distant relatives. She leaves us alone in the family’s dining room to talk. It is a day and time in which drinks and snacks far and few between are not allowed outside dining areas. It seems forever since I have been there, and it feels good to be around Jason’s family again. Over the course of the past year, Jason and I have drifted to hanging out with others, with occasional sleepovers, with other friends, and then there are the girls. All distractions to our detective years and history together, but a sad reality, that is soon to make its final decision known. Today though we talk of mystery, for upon us is an incredible puzzle. We sit and discuss the mystery of what we know of “Kaz (Kashmir) Taylor” and how it connects to the helicopter, that I saw early Sunday morning, and the mounted cavalry that we both experienced Sunday evening. “Maybe there is gold hidden in “The Vault”, and their trying to find it”, Jason says. He’s sitting up straight, his eyes dancing, excited, he goes on, and “it could be just like in “The Mysterious Caravan”, where the thieves are looking for hidden gold in the Moroccan Desert. “Really, I’m surprised Jason”, I’m talking down to him, something I have never done, “what does that have to do with dead Kashmir dude”? Jason’s not to be deterred though, “look they are looking for something out there, and I admit I don’t know what Kaz has to do with it, but there’s a secret out there”. We sit there for a moment, like we used to do, studying the complex, being Hardy Boys, and then it dawns on us both at the same time. “What were they”, we both start to say, and then get the giggles over it, like a couple of girls, even that’s funny. “Doing down by the fence line”, Jason finishes the sentence. “It looked like they were putting a sign up”, I’m kind of proud of myself for getting the actual clue spoken out loud first. “Let’s go see what it says”, Jason is already standing up, when his mom comes in to tell him, of the serious chores he has waiting for him. I offer to help, but Irma Waite is a strong believer in one doing their own work, so Jason and I agree to go Wednesday after school. “Remember to ride your bike tomorrow”, Jason says as my dad arrives to pick me up, “you remember to get your chores all done”, I’m smiling as I leave with my dad, happy I don’t have chores, or have to get an A in Ellison’s class.

Wednesday May 21, 1975 3:50 PM

Jason and I, don’t fully comprehend the magnitude of what we are involved in, but we appreciate it. Our bikes rest on their kickstands up the embankment well off of highway 550 both are facing west. We stand in awe before the nailed U.S. Cavalry hat sitting atop the old fencepost that holds part of a tattered bob wire gate. There are deep hoof prints mingled all around us in the dried mud. Underneath the hat nailed to the post is the first cryptic clue, Jason and I have ever seen in real life. A series of numbers and words written in a foreign language occupy the sign. Of particular notice and interest to Jason and I, are the two black circles we see, one above the number four, and the other encircling the number six. I’m so excited I can’t let myself believe what I see before me is real. “I’m thinking somebodies jerkin are chain here”, my voice sounds paranoid, and not at all as happy as I feel inside. “Uh, I don’t think so”, Jason’s voice is reassuring, much more calm than usual. “Nobody in Kirtland would know how to write like this”, he’s bringing out his notebook, and a #2. Something I’m glad he remembered, because I forgot mine. He’s bent down low against, the sign, squinting, he’s trying to balance the wide two inch pale notebook, in his hand and write at the same time. I lean over and take the notebook from him, and hold it, my palms open balancing it, like an altar boy does the Bible for a priest. “Make sure you get the black circles”, I’m Frank Hardy again, studious, making sure all the shoestrings are tied, and doors closed. Jason, sometimes known as Joe Hardy, my younger brother looks up at me and smiles, and then continues his copying.

Wednesday May 21, 1975 4:30 PM

We leave the hat and the sign posted to the fence as we found it. Jason and I sit on the embankment by the side of 550 highway, studying the copy he has made. The traffic from east to west has increased, early clock out for some fortunate Kirtland and Shiprock, workers, who are employed in Farmington. The sky over head has taken on a late cold spring blue, and a light breeze has kicked up coming from out of the west, blowing dry cold air over the barren landscape. I look over my shoulder, they sit there, a mile to the northwest, the peaks, a time, a place, for the rest of my life, feelings I can’t ever forget, for you see my reader, there in that barren and dry, place, there a mile away from “The Vault” I left Camelot. My friend, my dearest friend, sitting right here next to me, studying, talking, putting the pieces together, “its Vietnamese you know Danny, I’m sure of it, and the numbers they’re directions, its code, I told you, it’s “The Mysterious Caravan”, their looking for treasure”. “I bet Kaz hid it” Jason’s voice has reached a high peak of excitement, his eyes dancing from positions of high upper right visual knowledge to lower left feeling. I agree with him, I have too. He is right, for the most part I suppose, but then I have gone forward, I have left Camelot, and the mystery, the clues, the code, it is telling me more, and my excitement has turned to ashes, it descended like a descant to grief, for in some part of me the boy has gone hunting, and seen the first blood of the kill.

Thursday May 22, 1975 12:15 PM

Mrs. Shari Groves, librarian at Central Junior High in Kirtland New Mexico, stares suspiciously at the two boys who use their lunch hour to study foreign language dictionary’s and maps in the back of the small library. They sit there, the libraries globe before them, surrounded by books on far eastern language alphabets and their characteristics. It is uncommon, and those of you who our familiar with the habits, and pathways of young men ages thirteen and fourteen, recognize that Mrs. Groves with her usually cheerful disposition, no doubt has good cause, to keep a keen eye on the two lads. If you have a bird’s eye view, and in this particular story you do, you would notice that the boys have mapped out numbers on a sheet of paper to the right of them. Those numbers are “36749906.5” followed by the letter “N“. The number 6 has been circled with a dark imprinted line, as if someone has taken a pencil around it multiple times. Beneath this line of numbers you will see another series of numbers reading “1083096.8” followed by the letter “W“. To the left of our young sleuths is another sheet of letter and number filled paper. You have the privilege of studying it for yourself now. From the top left hand corner now shall we. “Mt Troop 4 Squadron 12 Đoàn 1 K Binh M Birgade 052.475“, stare closer and you will see that the number 4 has another dark imprinted circle above it. Following this line of carefully printed letters and numbers, you will see a final line that reads, “024 Trm Kashmir Chúng ta quên bn không“.

“Its latitude and longitude, it has to be the location of where the treasure is”, I’m talking loud enough to get an ssshhh from both Jason and Mrs. Groves. I take the ruler from Jason and starting with the degree of longitude given, I begin the reversal process of mapping the numbers of the equations. “Thirty-six degrees out of 360°” I’m talking too loud again which gets me a stern look of rebuke from both librarian and Joe Hardy. Numbers are not my strong point but neither is language, so I dig in to calculating the distance, and bearing between my latitude and longitude points. I have the general area on the globe but I need a map, and as I’m about to let out a scream of sleuthing frustration, Mrs. Groves, soft voice whispers in my ear, “look on the wall”. I nearly let out a scream anyway. Jason is staring at me his mouth open in a big toothy grin, that makes me what to loosen some of his teeth. He has seen Mrs. Groves approaching and taken great care to cover his work, while watching me get the big scare. I look at the west wall of the library, the large USGS map of the area, framed by oak, a gift to the school, by some unknown benefactor. I walk to it, my paper and ruler in hand, and begin to measure points. I can hear Jason and Mrs. Groves whispering in the background, but for me I am alone. I am working, the first clue in my young life, that will lead me someday to scrub millions of points of data for one of the world’s largest corporations. My right brain has met my left. “Wow, just wow, LOOK AT THIS”, I’m nearly shouting forgetting my station and location. Forgetting Mrs. Groves and Jason’s stern stare. I turn to announce my news, to an empty library.

“The Vault” on Twin Peaks holds the direct crosshairs of the latitude and longitude measurements given by the cavalry’s sign on the highway. I have to tell Jason if I can figure out where he’s off to. My heart misses a beat for a moment, perhaps, Mrs. Groves is on to us. May be she’s in league with the mysterious caravan of cavalry, looking for Kashmir’s treasure. Why at this moment Jason is no doubt sitting under the torturous gaze of Principal Carl Schmitt being grilled on what he knows, while Mrs. Groves holds his paper of findings. Schmitt’s probably in on it too. The whole darn school staff is probably in on it, they’re always talking about teachers don’t make enough. A little of Kashmir’s gold to grease their pockets would probably make them all succumb to torturing a kid. They do it on a daily basis anyway. I stand there for a few minutes bewildered, wondering at how I might form a rescue for poor Jason. I’m marching to the door of the library, paper in hand, ready to do business, when the door is flung open by none other than Principal Carl Schmitt.

Thursday May 22, 1975 12:45 PM

Our position above the library, allows us the benefit of watching Mrs. Shari Groves converse quietly with young Jason, as his friend furiously studies the USGS map on the western wall of the library. It would seem my reader that Mrs. Groves recognizes, the script at hand, and also knows whom might be able to help decipher. You see my friends, she is aware that Principal Carl Schmitt, began his tenure as a vocational agriculture teacher. Indeed one of Mr. Schmitt’s crowning achievements in his agricultural past was to learn the Vietnamese art of irrigation in order to bring water to rice fields inland. The fact is folks, Mr. Schmitt had to learn some of the Vietnamese language in order to learn about some of their farming methods. That in itself not an easy task in a small New Mexico community at the height of the Vietnam War. We can all understand young Danny’s concerns at turning to find his accomplice missing, along with their findings, but rest assured no foul play is at hand. Frank and Joe Hardy, may have gotten their first big break in their case.

“My guess is this is a summons of some sort”, Mr. Schmitt, has one of those reasonable, “can’t we gather together kind of voices”. “If you look here gentlemen, and Mrs. Groves”, he gives the grinning librarian a nod of acknowledgment, “Mt is one or a, than there is troop, Mỹ Đoàn 1 K Binh all goes together as U.S. 1st Cavalry”. “I speculate that top line is saying a gathering for 1st U.S. Cavalry 12th brigade”. Mr. Schmitt is looking over the top of his glasses, at us, and I gather he is doing some other speculation he is not telling us of. “What about the bottom line”? Jason almost forgets his manners in his excitement, “uh Mr. Schmitt”. “That one is easier boys”, Mr. Schmitt has gone from reasonable to a businessman sound. That line is saying, “Our Kashmir we will not forget you”, “I can’t tell you what the numbers are for”, Mr. Schmitt finishes with a sniff, looking even further over his glasses at Jason and I. There is a silence in the library that last forever. No one speaks, then the fourth period bell sounds. “You gentlemen better get to class”, Mr. Schmitt is standing up dismissing us, we are already gathering papers, leaving no evidence behind. Mrs. Groves, is calling out after us, before we can get our lowered gazes out the door, “tell Mr. Schmitt thank you boys”.

Thursday May 22, 1975 3:45 PM

We are at the fence post again. The hat and sign are undisturbed, just as we had left them on Wednesday. The flow of traffic along 550 highway hums in the background, a reminder that we are in between the worlds of mystery, and man. The sun hangs high in the light blue sky, its brilliance a reminder of a summer that is almost at hand. A light breeze has picked up out of the south crossing the San Juan River and is making its way up the long slope from the village of Kirtland to the northern high plain. There is one more day of school left, which is of no concern to me, outside of one failed Algebra class. Jason and I have talked nonstop since the final school bell rang, and what was unknown about our mystery is now partially known. The 12th brigade of the 1st U.S. Cavalry is among us. They are gathering to honor one of their own that has fallen, and they have chosen “The Vault” of Twin Peaks to meet at. Why and when is still a mystery, but as we stare at the sign, the numbers swarming around us, something so simple, that has been staring at us all day is summoned forth. Like the hieroglyphics that melted in Frank and Joe Hardy’s hands in “The Mysterious Caravan, the puzzle comes together. “052.475 is” Jason begins, “the date”, I interrupt, Jason looks at me grinning, “that’s Saturday”, he say’s and before I can interrupt again with the obvious question and answer, he blurts out, “024 is military time for midnight”, he’s so excited he’s almost hyperventilating, “they are doing this Saturday at midnight”.

We stand there, Frank and Joe Hardy, alias Danny Swearingen and Jason Waite, integrated in time. The ghost of mystery, and childhood, struggling with the realities of adolescence and change. The sun becoming ever brighter, as it tilts towards Shiprock, our time together so fragile now, so limited, and defined, and nearing a place of goodbye.

“Why do you think the number 4 has a circle above it”, Jason’s inquisitive voice, one I hear to this day in a sweeter dream. “Yea, and why is number 6 circled in the longitude”, I’m trying to imagine my voice sounding more like Frank Hardy, but it comes out nasal sounding and small. We study the numbers on the sign for a bit, the sound of traffic on 550 growing denser in the background. “They are meeting on the 26th at midnight not the 24th“, Jason’s soft voice carries the solving of the riddle, the final clue, the missing puzzle piece. I look at him amazed. Something so obvious, concealed in plain sight. It has all come together, all of our lives to this moment, and suddenly we both are laughing, I reach over and grab him, and hug him. Nobody sees us. “Let’s go see what they do”, I’m whispering loudly in his ear”. “We have too”, he whispers back.

Saturday May 24, 1975 3:00 PM

Jason and I have spent a good deal of the day fashioning djellabas out of two moth eaten black army blankets he has found in his families garage. No doubt at some point Mr. Waite will come looking for them, but winter is a few months away, and young detectives are aware that an adults mind grows weary with the characteristics of life. One’s memory can fade, with were one might have placed blankets, or chords, and in the day to day activities such things are soon forgotten. In “The Mysterious Caravan” Frank and Joe Hardy travel to Morocco in search of an ancient treasure hidden in the desert. Their mode of wear while dealing with thieves, and smarmy characters in the North African wilderness is a hooded Berber garment called a djellaba. While we are not seamstresses, we have a tiny spot of creativity between us, and our final product while not authentic in nature to the desert wear, has us at least looking like characters from a future movie, two years hence called Star Wars. Our plan is to scale Twin Peaks Monday evening, in the darkness, concealed by our wear, and see exactly what kind of mysterious rite the U.S. 1st Cavalry has planned for their deceased comrade. We talk as we sew, with questions of death and the living. Will we see the body of “Katz (Kashmir) Taylor”? Will there be guns fired? Will treasure be found or buried with the body? Most of all we want our plan to be perfect, without the slightest chance that we will be seen, or caught. We are sleuths, and we have solved a mystery, it is time to reap our reward.

It seems reasonable to us that the cavalry will be on horses, since the landscape is difficult for any type of motorized vehicle, unless they are all on dirt bikes. That doesn’t seem likely, as even a dirt bike might have difficulty with some of the larger arroyos, especially at night. To us their best approach on horseback, is the north side of Twin Peaks, and so as I observe, Jason caringly labels the caravan trail, on our map. We have a decision to make, on where our best vantage point might be. We consider the east trail, up which we have renamed the “Kashmir Descent”, but even in darkness it is too open and we might be seen. Our only choice it seems is to assail “The Vault” in darkness, and hope that we are not seen or trapped in the narrow arroyo on our way to the top.

We walk outside the yellow house, the house that sits on the hill. The wind has picked up, blowing sand across our concrete driveway, along with two small tumbleweeds from the wilderness to the east. I walk over to the edge of the driveway, standing next to the white decorative metal stand that holds up the right front of the carport. Jason follows me over both hands in his pockets, a serious look on his face. Twin Peaks stares blankly at us across the space of brush, tumbleweeds, and dry washes. “I finished “The Mysterious Caravan” last night”, Jason’s talking to me, or maybe to the wilderness. I look over at him, “I’m almost done, with it, don’t tell me what the next one’s called”. I’m referring to the next Hardy Boy title, which is always put in the last paragraph of each book. “Okay, suit yourself, it’s really out there” he says. The afternoon has cooled off considerably with the strong wind. We stand there a little longer, two boys, on the edge of forever, staring out at the wilderness. Somewhere, a little beyond Twin Peaks we see a helicopter flying.

Monday May 26, 1975 10:15 PM

I bring you back with me, my reader, as I have done so many times before. Our age, and experiences in life, our gains and losses, our loves and fears, make us anticipate this night, as well as dread it. Frank and Joe Hardy, alias Danny Swearingen and Jason Waite, are waiting for us, as they have waited on so many adventures before. You see them there don’t you. The Swearingen family’s yellow and blue tent pitched behind the yellow house on the hill. It’s thick canvas exterior rocking in the gentle breeze blowing from the wilderness, from the northeast. Above this scene a star filled sky, a universe of treasure and mystery, and beneath it, those boys, with clear eyes, and strong hearts, and such curious minds, they wait, dressed already in their black hooded djellabas, they wait. It’s a full moon tonight, my friends, the fullest, and it shines a pathway over the wilderness, lighting the brush, and the dry arroyo’s, and making Twin Peaks glow, like two worlds arisen from the past, for that they are tonight. If you listen, if you draw your subconscious open to hear, you will hear the sound of the ground swelling with the beating of sound, and you will hear a bugle. At first distant, and then closer, near the desert peaks, and then like our dear boys laying there open eyed and waiting, you will hear the hammer of the gods, drawing life from the ground. It is time!

I’m on my knees unzipping the netted opening of the tent, my black robe slipping over my hand, making my efforts difficult. Jason’s pushing me from behind, impatient to be free of our canvas quarters. At last we are free of the tent, at first on our knees and then sprinting to a run. We are passing the corral that makes up the back of our property, my brother’s horse, “Babe”, staring wide eyed at us as we run, the moonlight shining off of her brown coat, giving her an ethereal glow. We stop for a moment at the edge of the property looking with wonder across the span of the wilderness. The helicopter hovers in the distance above the peaks, a light shining down, bathing the entire expanse of the summit. “Do you hear it”, my voice is out of breath, excited. “Kashmir, its, its, its, ZEPPLIN”, Jason is beside himself reaching to pull his hood up and on, “let’s go, come on”, he’s has my left hand jerking me forward. I’m running, trailing behind my younger sleuthing brother, trying to keep my hood on. We are stumbling, falling and tripping. Our excitement is uncontrollable. Those moments! Those high flying jumps, over desert yucca, the whole of the moon to light our way. Our black robes flying open, heavy woolen hoods, bouncing off of our backs. We are forever the same as we have always been, since that first meeting over a Hardy Boy book in the Grace B. Wilson Elementary School library. We are the Hardy Boys.


Monday May 26, 1975 11:05 PM

The U.S. 1st Cavalry, 12th Division gathers nearby. The sound of horses, and the whispers of men, seem to surround us, although to our best estimation we have moved to their east, and they are behind us. The helicopter is no longer hovering above Twin Peaks, having moved on around the time we passed the abandoned oil tanker, and hollowed out sedans. Our knowledge of the wilderness, and countless hours spent mapping the labyrinth of arroyos in the wilderness, has paid off, as we have made good time under the light of the moon. In our excitement in leaving we have forgotten our flashlights. The last ridge before Twin Peaks stands before us. We are close to the same place we encountered the cavalry and the lightning over a week ago. The moon is so low, it’s as if you could reach up and touch it. I’m staring at it in wonder, Jason’s climbing ahead of me, pulling his hood up over his head for the hundredth time, cresting the ridge, “Oh”, it’s a whisper, almost prayer like. I look up, he’s on his knees, desperately signaling me forward with his left arm behind his back. “What”, I start to say, but Jason’s looking back his finger lit by the moon, going up to the shadow of his face under the hood, a plea for my silence. I instinctively bring my own hood up, as I reach the crest of the ridge, and then I too am sinking to my knees, amazed at the sight that unfolds before me.

“The Mysterious Caravan”, a hundred, a thousand dress blue. The moon is speaking to the earth, the night is singing to the sky, and we are witness. Brass and swords, black arm bands, stripes and solemn faces, and we are witness. They ride from the southwest following the narrow trail from 550 Highway, to the northeast following the trail that Jason and I had put to paper, around the Twin Peaks, the caravan trail. The light of the moon fills the wilderness, the solemnity of man, invades our young souls, and in that moment we are witness. I take Jason’s hand, gently, pulling him back down from the ridge, “we better head up to The Vault”, I whisper. He nods in agreement and we back our way down the sand embankment, making our way toward the dark narrow arroyo that leads to “The Vault”.

Monday May 26, 1975 11:50 PM

There are stories that you follow, that become you. I know it’s true for you my reader. Would it be unbecoming of me, to say that you have come to cherish these boys? They are you, male or female, they are you, from the explosion of birth, to the investigation of life, to the finality of breath, they are you. I am you also, and I take you with me now, to the end. The arroyo it’s dark, so little light, twisting and narrow, turning, following the pattern of thunderstorm water. Like spirits they levitate upward. They run in darkness, their dark robes floating behind them. Their breath in ancient air, pulling it from the New Mexico sky, exhaling with life. You see them there. “The Vault”, and you see the dress blues lying there upon the naked stone, the hat, and the sword, of “Katz (Kashmir) Taylor” as they see it. From above them, from fifteen feet of stone and sand above them, you hear it, oh I know you hear it. The sound of many boots, the sound of many boots.

I am beside my brother you see. He is beside me, and it is the end. We climb “The Vault”. Strange that we have never climbed “The Vault”. Our black robes have encumbered us, and so we disrobe leaving the black blankets in the southeast corner of “The Vault” underneath a large sage bush. The moon is shining down, the light exposing the upper half of “The Vault”, and as we begin to climb, we see the uniform, hat and sword. Seven feet up a rock outcropping holds, the dress blues and side weapon of Kashmir. We climb to each side of it, grasping stone and brush, our eyes alight with adventure. We can hear the movement and the sounds of men so close to us, just above us. Many men, and then I feel the edge, the top. I look over at Jason, one foot behind me, and then he looks at me. Together we raise our heads above “The Vault” to see what we will see.

The boots, the many boots, a hundred, a thousand, and they come together, upon this place they come together. The moon falls upon the stone faces, the looks of war. The silence of life, of darkness, under the moon, on Twin Peaks, and Kashmir is here, his remains so near to our very faces.

And it was that Jason and I saw, “The Mysterious Caravan” from life unto death, and its sight, will never leave me! – 02.13.2015 – דָּנִיֵּאל

Hardy Boy Characters, and Title “The Mysterious Caravan” All Rights – Grosset & Dunlap

Kashmir – All Rights – Jimmy Page & Robert Plant


Poe’s World (Before Light)


They stood outside William Burke, the snow starting to fall, Bobby’s chill just beginning, a sneeze, perhaps the start of the sniffles. “Hey Poe”, he whispered to his taller friend, the shadows from the barren trees scattering the landscape around them. “What happens after Halloween”? Edgar, studied his discolored leather boots for a few seconds. Finally his delicate hand found its way upward, shading his grey eyes, the departing sun turning them into late night embers…………..

“When Halloween’s over, and the streets have shut down, and all is past midnight, at three there’s a sound. The point of a boot that tenders one’s ear, and makes hope wonder if grace has drawn near, and all saints are willing to rise from lost mist, to break bread with Jesus and see what they missed. Upon stolen scion from some witches tree, that wood of all centuries, that cursed and diseased. What shadow does roll, antithesis of flame, that’s colder and darker, on Lucifer’s bane. Hath reason a wonder to seek dawn so clear, when motive is austere to keep pain and fear. The heel of the boot now in middle it strikes, the night is not over, the suns not in sight.

Whispering sentences, long tailing words, of tokens lost innocence, a slice of two thirds. The wearer of boots now, his name can’t be heard, he comes howling silence for the final third. A mystery of puzzles, of black feathered birds, to come for the soulless to gather the herd. What now a shutter that breaks against glass, that disturbs this silence in darkness at last, a wink from one dark eye, a bending of lid, the board disappears where the shutter did live. There will not be covers, for those who our lost, the bond has been broken, the line has been crossed. The heel of the boot in middle it strikes, the night is not over, the suns not in sight. What Nephilim worship, that spent half the night it draws nigh its quarter a cost for what’s right.

Ah, children sweet children, adults in your bed, tarry your promise, a soul in its stead. The promise you promise, your oath of strong drink, the boots standing silent before your odd keep, an apple a plenty, the sweetest perfume, mask you from haunting while painting strange doom. A nightmare of kisses, a third before sun, silent oh silence, when destiny’s done. The heel of the boot now in middle it strikes, the night is not over, the suns not in sight”. -11.01.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל

What Happened at Midnight

Previously on “The Secret Panel

Post Nocturne

It happens now more frequently for me, undue and without reason. A certain deep minor chord from Elton’s Ticking, a ghost speaking trivialities, and dreams of the shadow of Harper Hill, foreboding and dark against its western skyline with two ten year old boys standing quiet before its incline. The La Plata River trickling southward to meet the muddy dark waves of the San Juan, breathing “sister” as she churns the ground, and it is midnight, always midnight. Merriam-Webster tells us that the word secret, has many parts to its definition. Among its many quantities a secret can be held to be, hidden, undercover, discrete, confidential, and certainly not of the least of all adjectives, esoteric, revealed only to the initiated. This is a story that stands tall and unwavering before us. In it, perhaps we find ourselves most interested in the impenetrable. It is there that all boys between the ages of 10 to 14, destined with extraordinary spirit might find themselves upon a dark and chilly night awaiting midnight. Two boys, uninitiated, Joe and Frank Hardy, alias Jason Waite, and Danny Swearingen, those two young stalwart lads brought to you by “The Secret Panel“, on such a night, in October of 1971, found to be disappointed, traversing the lonely highway from childhood to discovery, locked between adventure and the first taste of a woman’s lips. Two lads sealed between discovery and life, lost as it were between taped glasses, and immortality, timidity and fame. Still, now almost silent in the visions of discovery, as there it has been for now these forty-three years, and it is there, that I take you, for it is as if the angel moves these waters, waves now muted these many days, those tides that can be soundless no longer. From those currents, those times lost now found, I will tell you what happened at midnight. The Hardy Boys are no more, they have been lost upon the cold reality of harsh facts. Our young friends, as we had left them, startled, not bemused, indeed having discovered that the Secret Panel holds no more than a girl. One dark haired sibling with arched eyebrows and a button nose, related to one Mr. Frank Hardy playing in the Connie Mack World Series, on a chilly October night in Farmington New Mexico. The relationship is undeniable, the darkness to the psyche unstoppable, and as we left our young friends in our last tale they were indeed in a somber, one might say disagreeable mood.

10:00 P.M.

Bert Waite, was enjoying all the wonders of his golden high school years, including having a pretty miss to take on a proper date to an amateur baseball game. I don’t remember her name, or the names of the other couple, that had accompanied Bert and his girl, on this wondrous evening in Americana history. Suffice to say, the parent dictated entry, and tag along of his younger ten year old brother, and friend would not have been the most welcome addition to an evening of gaiety and hand holding, at America’s favorite pastime. For Jason and I, we could have cared less about the angst brought on by our presence. For us the evening, was to be the genesis of the greatest certification of boyhood ever known. Our eyes were set upon the prize, of meeting our alter egos in life, and for that, no amount of glares, or snooty remarks coming from the older teenagers, in the vehicle pregame, could dissuade. Alas, postgame was to be of another matter entirely. As the crowds dispersed, and the stadium lights were extinguished, four flushed and boisterous teenagers arrived at the family vehicle to find two disheartened, disillusioned and dare I say sullen ten year old boys. Once self-esteemed as those preteen sleuths, we Hardy’s had become simple youth, not yet at the age of voice changes and awry thoughts, instead demoted to pouty lads. Indeed Jason and I were not open to diverse teenage dialogue and laughter, that now filtered through the darkened streets of Farmington as Bert maneuvered the family sedan onto Main Street toward home. The quarrels between siblings can be full of catastrophic semantics. It is thus among brothers, especially when one is a young lad, reaching for station in the waning hours of frustration and disappointment. It was such, on that October evening in 1971 when Bert Waite made the decision that he and his young lady and their accompanying duo date, would take of nourishment at the local Pizza Hut, located at 657 W. Main Street. Jason having no money, and knowing his young friend’s wallet was barren as well, suggested that the true course for the conclusion of the evening should be homeward bound. A bitter argument ensued. Words were tossed between brothers, those tidings of which for thoughtfulness, and respectability, will go unmentioned here. The conclusion of strife, has but of three courses it can take. The dominion of one party over another, a commitment to a lopsided peace, or an agreement of differences with a retreat to engage on another day. To my chagrin, the third option was my best friend’s choice. As the teenage foursome exited the vehicle, to enjoy their fare of thick cheese, and supreme toppings, two ten year boys, also exited the car, faces flushed, a hungrier destination at plan. The announcement by my young friend, to his older sibling was spoken thus and thus, and our intention to walk home, was met by a smirk and the unmoving, unbelieving face, of one Bert Waite. So it was, that as the night closed in, two young boys, angered and bereaved, turned to the West, and began their long passage home.

10:15 P.M.

Home in Kirtland, was a robust nine and a half miles west, of the Farmington, Main Street locale, Jason and I found ourselves standing at, that chilly October night in 1971. I remember looking at my best friend, as he pushed his taped dark framed glasses, toward the bridge of his nose. His front wave of blonde hair had shaken loose in the mild breeze, and the fierceness of his anger toward his older brother had begun to subside. In its place deep behind his glasses in his spacious blue eyes a curious shine was glowing. Any thoughts I had maintained about a cautious approach, and perhaps a warm ride home with Bert and gang quickly disappeared. Stubborn pride drew a close second to my young buddy’s genius, and with the confidence, I had witnessed so many Friday nights before, one Jason Waite, took on the exploratory alias of his alter ego, Joe Hardy, and with a wave of knowledge toward the west, he began to walk. Without deliberation, his older brother Frank Hardy loyally followed. West on the left side of the road we hiked, two lads homeward bound. My eyes tentatively looking over my left shoulder hoping against hope, for but a sign of Master Bert and the family wagon, and it’s chorus of teasing teens. Jason’s eye’s set solidly, as his face, ever west. One step and then many others, by the Safeway to the North, its lights dimming, closing, in small town America. The traffic to our backs beginning to thin, as Main Street’s cruising young lovers, headed to the bluffs to the South, for a private location, in search of snipes never to be found. We walked on, forward, without talking, side by side, the occasional street lamp as our guide, our young private thoughts, exclusive, summing mystery in the light wind. The lighted sign of the Chef Bernie’s Cafeteria, was glowing eerily, as we neared the parking lot of the restaurant. The lights for the t and the r in cafeteria were burnt out, giving the sign an almost ethereal look. I still remember the sounds of the shorted circuits talking to the night. Jason and I, had almost passed, the nearly empty parking lot, when we saw the man. The long haired Albino, was standing near the open door of his white pickup truck, near the base of the sign. He was smoking a cigarette, and just watching us, the sign above him sending strange reflections off of his pale hair. We hurried on, picking up our pace, now both of us looking over our shoulders, until we had walked up the incline of the road and were out of sight. At that moment, we began to talk, and our disappointments from earlier in the evening melted away. We were the Hardy Boys again. Taffy Marr was the greatest villain that Frank and Joe Hardy had ever encountered, as far as Jason and I were concerned. He was sinister, and his lack of conscience as a jewel thief and smuggler, ranked him as one of our favorites in many a discussion. His role in causing mischief and mayhem, for the Hardy Boys in their case, “What Happened at Midnight“, made him, in our combined opinions, enemy number one, in our investigator world. We were also convinced that we had just seen Taffy, or at least a member of his infamous thieving gang. As the night air grew chilled, and we walked on, we talked about the possibility that the man we had witnessed, in the Chef Bernie’s parking lot might be a criminal. His appearance, his demeanor, and most of all his pale eyes, skin and hair had spoken mystery to us. The more we talked of the possibilities of mystery, the more our excitement grew. We walked on talking possibilities, the street grew darker around us, the traffic sparse, and you dear reader, would not have noticed the white pickup approaching slowly from behind us either.

11:04 P.M.

The Apache Twin drive in theatre owned by the Allen family had been dutifully entertaining the citizens of the Northwest New Mexico area since 1952. Positioned between West Apache Street and Main Street, the finest that Hollywood had to offer, had been presented at one time or another, on each of its mammoth screens. As Jason and I walked by its seasonally shuttered gates, the massive double screens appeared to glow in the dark, the luminosity, casting a moonlike shadow across the vacant lot from the south screen closest to where we hiked. Our discussion on Taffy Marr, had just shifted, to what it might take, to track down and solve our own pending case, when one or the other of us, noticed the lights from a car, pulling slowly up behind us. I would expect that we turned in unison. Our minds foreseeing Bert Waite, his anger abated, his pizza sated passengers jeering two youngsters, foolishly walking homeward alone. The white pickup truck pulled abreast of us, its passenger window lowered, its driver’s pale face, absent of shadow. The cigarette hanging from the man’s mouth was lit, casting a waning shadow across his pastel chin. It was our own Taffy Marr. I remember looking down, thinking perhaps that there might be a stick, a lost revolver, a paper, with a written plan, on how to deal with villains. Jason next to me, was doing his own share of wild eyed observation. As I looked down, I noticed the tiny stenciled black letters on the door of the truck. It read, JR Ticking Ranch, Mancos, Co. “It’s kind of late for you young boys to be out by yourself”, Taffy’s voice was high, almost with the lilt of a woman’s tongue. When he spoke the cigarette stayed in his mouth, and his eyes never moved off of us. We took turns giving Taffy our story, lying, telling untruths, to a criminal. We lived close by, our parents were waiting, why anytime, our father who was a local police chief would be looking for us. Our words, and worlds stumbled together, talking faster, frantically looking for friendly headlights any savior would do. Taffy, his voice, softly making its way into the atmosphere, never moving the cigarette in his mouth, offered to give us a ride home. After all it was late, we were young children, he was sure our parents would be concerned. We declined, rapidly and politely, backing away from the rolled down window of Taffy’s truck, and then a miracle happened. Phenomena is based, on unconscious awareness, of a reality created line, that is exceeded beyond the limits, of what our neurotransmitter synapses, are prepared to have happen. It was a wonder, for two young boys that traffic seemed to spring up from nowhere, on a dark and lonely street in October of 1971. From east to west it flowed, from west to east it rolled. Headlights filled the street, the space around Taffy’s white pickup truck becoming brighter than under the noonday sun, and from the east it came, from the near east, the sound of a siren. Jason and I were still backing from the Albino’s truck, our eyes wide and glued to his pale face. The white eyes stirring, abruptly in discomfort, the cigarette, at last showing movement, in the headlights that were appearing, as if from the abyss of the desert night. I felt my back hitting the support of the Apache Twins, bordering fence, realizing Jason’s hand was held by mine. Taffy it seems, had realized that he had other opportunity’s to attend to. His composure broken if only for a moment, seemed to kick into a state of self-survival. As the sound of the siren neared, Taffy lifted his pale white hand to us as if in some solemn salute, and putting the truck into gear, he roared westward bound into the night. “He was smarmy”, I said, my favorite description to describe villains from my Hardy Boy investigative training. We were walking again, the traffic disappearing as quickly as it had appeared. The siren too. Jason was hunched over studying his once new white Adidas Athens, now dingy, his right big toe punching a small hole through the canvas top. “I don’t think he’s a jewel thief though”, he said. We were walking without the aid of street lamps now, the only light to be seen rolled across the highway from the children’s home at the Navajo Ministry complex. Our discussion full of dangerous curiosity. Taffy, or JR Ticking, was a scoundrel that much we were sure of. The nature of his background, was what we were uncertain of. His description fit the profile of every criminal, we had ever dreamed of investigating, but our close encounter with him, had given us few clues. “I think he’s a bad man” Jason said, the somber analysis, brought a silence, the only sound being our feet crunching the gravel, as we walked. “I wonder where he went”, I said? The speculative question brought further silence between us. Young detectives lost in thought, weariness, and if truth be known a growing fear.

12:00 A.M.

In 1971, Farmington, New Mexico, was a long narrow town with the majority of the new growth centered to the east and northeast of the city. The western edge, that took the city boundary out to where the La Plata River crossed underneath 550 Highway, was quiet. The last bastion of any commercial or residential life disappeared, once past the westbound Y of West Apache and Main Street. It is, this very location that we find our young sleuths, eyes perhaps not so full of adventure, upon this eve, a few minutes before the midnight hour. Jason and I, walking, the soft hills rising to our right, but a stone’s throw to the north. To the south, the plain drifting downward to meet the San Juan’s, rolling darkness. We are homeward bound now. Are young minds, committed to the long walk ahead, five, maybe six more miles. The disenchantment of the earlier evening already forgotten. Bert Waite and his pizza nourished friends no doubt already home, their young wards forgotten. In the original edition (1931) of What Happened at Midnight, Frank and Joe Hardy are tracking down Taffy Marr, in New York City, when they are the victims of a thief. Having no funds available to them, they end up sleeping in a park, and hitchhiking back to their home in Bayport. For Jason and I, that chilly October night in 1971, we entered the matrix, and fiction entered authenticity. Without money, swindled by reality, we were on foot, homeward bound. There we would find a place, a harbor, to regroup, to rest. We would find Taffy upon another day, when it was light, and reason and facts would prevail, or perhaps the following Friday evening, at Jason’s house, or my own, we would seek clues, we would chase the shadows in a known darkness, and then our world would be safe. Our breath in the darkness, I can still see Jason’s, as he see’s mine. We are at that place, the one place, where the highway tilts forward, downward slightly. The moon, a waning crescent, hiding really, not interested in our times or these ways of this earth. The shadow of Harper Hill, foreboding and dark against its western skyline with two ten year old boys standing quiet before its incline. The La Plata River trickling southward to meet the muddy dark waves of the San Juan, breathing “sister” as she churns the ground, and it is midnight. The white pickup truck waits, there, resting it would seem, where the La Plata highway joins our pathway home. Taffy waits there too. Standing by the tailgate, his long white hair floating down. Staring, eastward it seems, in search of something or someone, the cigarette glowing and unmoving.

Ticking

Very little has been changed in the truth of what you just read. For most that will bring questions, and for even more, sighs of relief. For it is that place in the human heart, that quality of the human condition, that longs for a childhood adventure, that glistens with innocence, and thrills with natural fear. – For Jason – 10.25.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל   Hardy Boy Characters, and Title’s “The Secret Panel” and “What Happened at Midnight” All Rights – Grosset & Dunlap

Milton Erickson (American Warlock)

There now, the distance of your arm now, that miracle you seek, to touch, inches total numbers from lengths you can believe. Deep there, everything is seconds, everything is heavy like your sleep. Listen, you’re always fair and hearing, always contemplating, always accommodating, rest you can’t share, home bound inward need. Values, experience is believing, assumptions predeceasing, integrated pleasing, you don’t need to, and you’re just asleep.

Does a Shaman trump a prophet, does a seer know a dream, what of high turbaned healers, and medicine queens? Now sit you tight inductee, and think of what you need, I’ll heal you of something with what you now read. Predictor of unseen and untrained of sight, from Wisconsin his spirit was born in foresight. Inscribed of pure logic of healing of binds, a cripple a walker, hypnotic in rhythms. This could be a young boy, a son who barely sees, indeed he is a color blind, in summoned tight hypnotic wells he heals thyself by light. Three doctors told his mother, by night you see he dies, not so for this young warlock with death he will not abide. Bring me now a dresser mirror and lay it on its side, oh mother dear, the sun will set I want to see its light. He did delay his still death with sketch and paper fill, for he did block the dead of night with what he drew surreal, for it was he that drew the sun that died and held upon that hill. He would that sun would not set for ever till one day, and in it, was his last breath that paper went away.

Now so many stories, but now let’s make time still, for it can last for hours, with what you want that’s real. For you live in an unconscious world that plays upon your soul, you speed through all your joys and life, your pain in time congeals. Let’s move that time like clocks that shift and bring your hurt to nil. Your love and bliss is more than time, your hours it should now fill. Is that now something that you believe, the time you now command, to choose your seconds indefinitely, lift pain by your command.

Now this old man with polio, the one that staid the sun, he delved into the mind of lore, and made dark nightmares run. He pulled induction from the space that held where time stood still, he bent strange habits and made them fade, with man’s unconscious will. In everything he taught and saw, in everything fulfilled, healing by the minds own eye, a composition sealed. Parts and space, and neurons run and paths of parts now healed, juxtaposing heaviness, he made joy standstill. We bow our head just as he said, hypnosis habit real, in ghost of rhythm where he now lives, I’m sure he’s laughing still.

There now, the distance of your arm now, that miracle you seek, to touch, inches total numbers from lengths you can believe. Deep there, everything is seconds, everything is heavy like your sleep. Listen, you’re always fair and hearing, always contemplating, always accommodating, rest you can’t share, home bound inward need. Values, experience is believing, assumptions predeceasing, integrated pleasing, you don’t need to, and you’re just asleep.

 

For those who have never heard or read the works of Milton Erickson, now is a good time to try, It’s remarkable the magic placed in mortal eyes! – – 07.06.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל