Friday, January 29, 2016

The Graham Quartet - Part 5

Good morning FFFs,
It sounds like spring outside. A Cardinal is singing, the sun is coming up and yesterday it was in the low 60s. Spring. I don't think I'm quite ready for spring though. I want a good snowfall first. The rest of this week is supposed to be sunny and in the 60s, but we could get snow next week.

Though I haven't had as much time to write this week as I would have liked, I'm making progress on this new Graham Quartet mystery. It's getting quite interesting because of the new twists the story seems to take when I least expect it.

I know this is short but I can't seem to think of a single thing more to tell you. Oh, well. You probably won't mind too much as it just means you can get to the next part of the Graham Quartet sooner.


The Graham Quartet
Part 5

    Matt, watching him, saw an almost startled expression cross his face,and then his lips settled into a straight line. “Lieutenant, is something wrong?”
    There was no answer, but the glasses didn’t move from the spot they had focused on.
    The Quartet exchanged glances. Why wasn’t the lieutenant answering? He had been lighthearted only moments before and now he looked almost grim. What was he seeing? Each pair of brown eyes turned once more to the water, but it was difficult to see the vessel Matt had asked about, though it was heading towards the harbor.
    “Lieutenant?” Selena gently placed one hand on his arm.
    “Yes.” The glasses didn’t move and the navy officer kept his gaze focused.
    “Is something wrong with the boat?”
    No answer came.
    By this time the boat had come closer and the Quartet could see the shape of it without the aid of the binoculars which the lieutenant still kept fixed lakeward. “What time is it, Matt?” Elsa asked softly.
    Matt shrugged. “I don’t know. I left my watch in my room.”
    Stepping closer to Lieutenant Ashwood, Tim tipped his head to look at the officer’s watch. “It’s almost five-thirty.”
    “I think we should head back.”
    “Oh, just a few more minutes, Elsa,” Tim begged. “I don’t want to go in yet.”
    Lieutenant Ashwood lowered the binoculars and said, as though he hadn’t heard a word that had just been uttered, “It’s about time we headed back. We don’t want to miss supper.”
    He smiled, but there was a worried glint to the calm blue eyes and the Quartet saw it. Handing the binoculars back to Matt, Lieutenant Ashwood remarked, “It can be fun to watch boats and the people on them with some sort of glass. Thanks for the use.” He said nothing about the boat he had been watching.
    As they strolled back the way they had come, the lieutenant kept looking out across the water, and now and then stopped as though to get a better look at something.
    Finally Tim could keep quiet no longer. “That boat you were looking at, Lieutenant, was it doing something wrong?”
    Startled, the lieutenant glanced quickly at Tim. “No. It just looked quite a bit like a boat I saw several years ago.”
    “Could you see who was on it?”
    “Tim!” Elsa scolded softly, giving her younger brother a nudge with her elbow.
    The lieutenant, looking out over the waters once more, shook his head. “No. Too far away.” The large old house loomed up before them and, as though he had tossed aside his worry, suddenly Lieutenant Ashwood grinned and suggested a race to the house.
    This challenge was welcomed and moments later the Graham Quartet and Lieutenant Ashwood stood laughing on the porch.

    “Well, Lieutenant, what are you planning on doing this evening?” Mr. Hawkins asked, pushing back his chair from the supper table and leaning back with a contented sigh.
    Scratching his chin, the young officer hesitated as though uncertain. “I was thinking of strolling into town for a look at the sights. But it’s not as much fun if you’re alone. Do you think I could find anyone to go with me?”
    The Graham Quartet flashed quick looks across the table at each other. Then Matt turned to his father. “Can we go, Dad? We’ll stick together.”
    Before he replied, Mr. Graham looked questioningly at Lieutenant Ashwood. “Do you want these four along this evening?”
    “I wouldn’t mind the company, sir.”
    Mr. Graham looked at his wife and then nodded. “All right, you all may go, but Tim,” he added, “remember you’re not at home.”
    “Yes, sir.” Tim’s smile tugged at the corners of his mouth though he tried to stay sober. He knew his dad was referring to his love of asking questions.

    It didn’t take the Quartet long to finish their dessert and put on their shoes. All four of them were eager to see some of the town and get to know their surroundings.
    “Think we’ll see that boat, Matt?” Tim whispered as the brothers stopped in the hall to wait for their sisters.
    Matt shrugged. “I don’t know, but we’ll keep our eyes open. The lieutenant seemed mighty interested in it.”
    The door beside them opened and Elsa and Selena came out and joined them. “Do you think the lieutenant minds us coming along?” Elsa asked.
    “He practically invited us, didn’t he?” Matt asked. “I don’t think he’d do that unless he really wanted us.”
    “Yeah,” Tim put in. “Maybe he’s going to take us to the docks and show us that boat.”
    “Or maybe not,” retorted Matt. “Come on, he’s waiting for us.”

    As the Quartet meandered their way through the little lakeside town, they longed to know what it was about that boat Matt had seen which had attracted the attention of their new friend, but no one ventured to ask. The long, easy stride of Lieutenant Ashwood, and the casual, friendly talk, gave the appearance that he had no worries or concerns. His eyes gleamed once again like they had beside the lake and he seemed content to wander wherever the Quartet wanted to go. Only Selena noticed how frequently he glanced at his watch or sent a sharp look now and then at groups of men as they passed.
    “What do you say we mosey down towards the docks?” the lieutenant suggested. “There is still plenty of light. I don’t know if there’ll be any boats or not, but it’s worth checking, if you are interested.”
    The Quartet quickly agreed and followed their guide down the streets to the wharf. Each was wondering the same thing. Would the mysterious boat be docked in the harbor? If it was there, would they be able to recognize it? Only Matt had seen it with the binoculars.
    Arriving at the harbor and rounding the corner of a hotel, the dock came into sight.

What do you think they'll find?
Do you think the lieutenant has a reason for going to town?
And is there something about that boat?

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Graham Quartet - Part 4

Hello FFFs,
Sorry this is a little later getting up. (If anyone actually does read this at 7:30.) My computer is being rather slow. I don't think it wanted to get up this morning, much less get to work. :P

Right now we have a dusting of snow. I'm sure it won't be staying long, but it's pretty even if it doesn't even cover the grasses. I'd love to get several inches of snow, but most of the snow seems to have gone north, south or east of us. Maybe later. Like in February or March. We've been known to get a foot of snow in March. But, even if we don't have snow, it's been cold. Okay, some of you wouldn't call it cold, but for us, single digits is cold, as are the teens and even the twenties are cold.

I've actually gotten a good bit written this week and I hope to actually reach 5,000 words this week. The new Graham Quartet mystery is moving along with new twists and turns. I am finding that I can't write it quite as quickly as I can some of my other stories. It may be that keeping the mystery going without telling too much, but trying to follow new clues and things makes me take a little more time. Here's the working title for the story: "The Graham Quartet and the Day Maid." What do you think?

Okay, here is part 4 of the story. If you can't remember what happened in the first 3 parts, you can read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

The Graham Quartet
Part 4

    “Hello,” a friendly voice greeted them. “Enjoying the sand and water already?”
    Matt looked up quickly. “Yes, sir, Lieutenant. Would you like to join us? These are my sisters, Elsa and Selena. And that is my younger brother, Tim.”
    “It’s a pleasure to meet you all; I’m Lieutenant Ashwood. I met your brother a short time ago at the house. Aren’t you four called ‘the Graham Quartet’?”
    “Yes, sir, but–” Tim began.
    The Lieutenant laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. I just learned about that name from your aunt and uncle.” The lieutenant, a younger man, appearing to be in his late twenties, sat down in the sand and clasped his arms about his knees. His hair was sandy in color while his eyes were the same deep blue as the lake water. He seemed to belong there. “Is this your first time at the lake?”
    Elsa nodded. “Yes. We’ve wanted to come before, but haven’t been able to.”
    “Well, what do you think of it?”
    “It surpasses what I thought it would look like,” Matt confessed, and the others nodded in agreement.
    Several minutes passed as they all enjoyed the quiet of the warm beach, and watched the endless waves rolling onto the sandy shore. A few sea gulls, riding on the air currents, soared overhead with harsh cries.
    “Go ahead, Tim, ask your question,” Lieutenant Ashwood smiled.
    “How did you know I had a question? And how did you remember my name? Do you remember everyone’s names?”
    Tim had turned and was eyeing the lieutenant.
    “Well, I must confess that remembering your name was easy.” The lieutenant grinned. “I have a younger brother named Tim. As for knowing all your names, I’m half way there because I know you and already knew Matt. And I knew you had a question because most boys your age do.”
    “And Tim probably has the most,” Matt put in.
    A general laugh went up at this and even Tim joined in the merriment. When it subsided he said. “Someone has to ask questions or we wouldn’t learn anything. You aren’t wearing your uniform, so I couldn’t tell that way . . .”
    “I’m in the Navy, Tim. Stationed just north of Chicago. I had some R & R time, and some of my buddies recommended your uncle’s place and, well, here I am.” Leaning back on his hands, Lieutenant Ashwood looked about him at the interested faces of his listeners.
    “What is R & R?” Selena asked, puzzled.
    “Yeah,” Tim added. “It sounds like a railroad crossing.”
    A smile played about the corners of the lieutenant’s mouth as he replied, “Rest and relaxation. No railroads involved. Now, where are you all from?”
    For several minutes the Graham Quartet told their new friend about their lives in the northern woods of Minnesota. At last Tim sprang up.
    “I’m tried of just sitting here. I’ve been sitting all day. Let’s go explore.”
    The others were eager to follow Tim’s suggestion, and Lieutenant Ashwood accepted their invitation to come along. He assured them that he had a watch and would make sure they were back in time for supper. Matt ran back to the house to let one of his parents know where they were going and soon returned with a pair of binoculars around his neck.
    Since everyone, except the Lieutenant, had left their shoes inside, the Quartet stuck to the sandy beaches or grassy slopes, deciding that the next time they went exploring they would wear their shoes.
    At last, reaching a lovely promontory shaded by tall pines, they halted and gazed out over the lake.
    “I never imagined the waters could be so blue,” Elsa exclaimed. “Just look at it.”
    “And there’s a ship.” Tim pointed to a small vessel some distance from the shore.
    “Actually that’s a boat, Tim,” the lieutenant corrected.
    “What’s the difference?” the boy wanted to know.
    “A ship is a larger vessel needing many people to man her, while a boat is something small, usually built for smaller groups of people or even one person to handle. The boat you see now would probably need two men to handle her. And look over there.” Lieutenant Ashwood pointed farther south. “There’s a small sailboat. One man could probably sail her in any kind of wind without trouble.”
    “Don’t they have any boy boats?” Tim demanded, folding his arms.
    A hearty burst of laughter came from the lieutenant. “No, Tim, I’m afraid not. Don’t ask me why all boats and ships are called ‘she’ and ‘her,’ but they are.” He chucked again. “I’ll ask around when I get back to base and see if anyone knows why that is. I’ll let you know what I find out.” He chuckled again.
    Matt, who had been using his binoculars, asked, “Lieutenant Ashwood–”
    “Please, just call me Lieutenant, all of you. That’s what everyone else does and it’s shorter. Now, what were you saying, Matt?”
    “I was just wanting to know if you could tell what kind of thing a boat was used for just by seeing it out on the lake like this.”
    The lieutenant shrugged. “Sometimes. It depends on the build of the craft.”
    “Matt,” Elsa said, “can I take a look through those?”
    “Sure.” Lowering them from his eyes, Matt passed the binoculars to his sister’s waiting hand. “Next time we come out, we should bring the other pair too.”
    The single pair was passed from hand to hand and arrived at last back at Matt. Raising them, he peered through them and seemed to be focusing them on something farther away. “Lieutenant, there’s a boat out there that seems larger than these others, would you call it a ship?”
    Matt handed him the binoculars and pointed in the directions of the craft. “It seemed different to me, but I’m not familiar with boats and things like that.”
    For a moment the lieutenant’s entire attention was focused on the object out on the lake and he said nothing.

What do you think the lieutenant will say about the boat?
What are boats only called "she and her"?
Do you want part 5 next week?

Friday, January 15, 2016


Hello FFFs,
This morning is quiet. No police outside, nothing to break the stillness of the early morning. Okay,  so it's not that early, but it's not really light out. This week I was having a terrible time trying to figure out what I was going to post this morning. My thoughts went something like this:
"I could just pull an old story, but if I did that, I'd break my record of having something 'new' every Friday. Hmm, I could do a 'Graham Quartet' except that I can't remember which one I posted last and I don't have time to go find out. Well, if I can write about last Friday and make it into a story I could post that. Problem is, I don't have time to make it a story. Oh, I do have one story that I haven't posted, except that I still have to correct it. Hmmm."
After much thought I decided I'd give you what happened last Friday as I wrote it to a friend, and a story I started a few years ago and never finished. If you come up with any great ideas for it, let me know! Or perhaps you would like to finish the story. If so, go right ahead and let me know when I can read it. :)

I was hoping to give you a good report on the progress of the new Graham Quartet. But unfortunately, I can't. The Graham Quartet are taking their own time about getting this story finished. However, I have decided that on the days that it won't write, I'll work on other short stories for the blog as I'm almost completely out!

But, without any further interruptions, here is the story of last Friday.

    Friday morning started out normal, but that was about the last of "normal" we had. It was about 7:10 when I heard someone outside say, "Is that the guy you're looking for?" I looked out the window and saw two police officers in the street talking to someone in a truck. He was pointing to a figure in black with a black hood who was across the street in a neighbor's yard. The officers starting running towards him and one shouted, "Stop! Joplin Police!" The figure stopped, turned and started walking towards them. It turned out to be a neighbor boy on his way to the bus stop. Well, the police didn't leave after that. Three cars blocked the street and they all sat and talked. Then two of them went off leaving the 3rd before our house.
    He was still there after breakfast and that's when we noticed police everywhere! If you didn't know to look for the unmarked vehicles, you probably wouldn't have noticed how many there were. One car would pull up next to the one in front of our house and they would talk, then the parked car would leave and the new vehicle would stop beside the house. This went on for some time and we were not getting any cleaning done.
    Then we saw police vehicles up the street. (Getting more interesting now.) Dad had taken milk jars to C's and had asked the officer in front of our house if something was going on. He was not very communicative. By the time Dad got home, we were seeing police offers carrying their big guns around and standing beside their cars.
    Then we saw the SWAT guys come in the neighborhood.
Our view out our upstairs window. (C's house top left mostly out of the picture.)

    We couldn't see where all the action was going to take place because of the brick church across the alley. A sniper (A person who has is a very good shot who is situated farther back from the action who is skilled to shoot anyone at a moments notice.) came down the alley and positioned himself prone on a cement slab at our end of the parking lot. By now all thoughts of cleaning house had been forgotten. Dad, Sis and I were all glued to windows. More SWAT guys came. The police cleared the houses up the street. We watched them escort a lady with a baby in a car seat to a truck and another couple from their house with their little dogs. At this point we were a rather glad for the brick walls of the church.
    When the BIG BLACK SWAT truck (that looks more like a tank than a truck) drove up our street and disappeared on the other side of the church, we knew something Big was going on because this sort of thing never happens in our neighborhood! Another sniper joined the first one.
Here you can see the second sniper and the gun of the first.
A police car blocked the road in front of our house. Dad couldn't leave if he wanted to get to work. Some dumb guys walked through our yard and started to walk into the alley and were ordered by the snipers to turn around and go a different way. From our upstairs windows we could see quite a gathering out in the C's front yard down the alley on another block. Mrs. C called to see if we knew things were still going on. She said the action was all at the A-frame house. We heard at least 40 shots fired. Some of them at least, were tear gas, but there were many different sounds of shots, so I'm thinking they must have done something else besides tear gas. And at one time we saw them take a fire extinguisher over. Now and then we would see three SWAT guys, two carrying a double shield protecting the other guy, move over and get a box or two of something from the "side lines" before escorting him back. We could hear one man saying over and over, "We have you surrounded. Everyone inside needs to come out the front door with their hands up. We are not leaving until everyone is out of the house."
    One man did come out and give himself up. We saw them escorting him in handcuffs to some waiting officers. And the time ticked by. All we could see were the snipers, police on the side, and hear shots, and the commanding voice. At one time a news reporter started to set up his camera up near the scene. A police officer jumps from his car, and frantically waves the reporter off. The reporter starts moving away and we couldn't see him, But then the officer started running towards him. I'm not sure what he told him, but later I saw a guy with a camera set up near the C's. Perhaps it was the same one.
    All this continued hour after hour. Finally, around noon, it looked like the house was going to be raided and Dad asked the officer if he could leave. He moved his car so Dad could get out of the alley and then put it right back where it was. (He had to block the alley because some people decided that it was okay to drive through the alley even though the police car was right there.) The officer had told Dad that they were searching the house and it would probably be another 30 minutes before it was all over. The snipers packed up and then waited around chatting. One sniper, the younger one, was showing all kinds of gadgets to the other.
    It turns out that the police had been told by two different sources that a man they really wanted was in that house. He has a history of eluding them, and he did it again because he was not in the house. I'm not sure what the guy is wanted for, but he's wanted in 4 states.

And now an unfinished, unnamed story.

    The shadows cast by the morning sun were long. The air was dry and still. A pale blue sky was in the west and the still waters of the Rio Grande reflected the deeper blue sky above. Joe Sedlock stirred from his cramped position behind a clump of cactus bushes and shrubs but kept his eyes scanning the opposite side of the canyon. All those shadows would make it easy for an Indian or several Indians to move without much fear of being seen.
    “They could be down there now or they could be miles away,” young Sedlock thought to himself. “That’s the trouble with these redskins; never where you think they should be.”
    For another hour Sedlock continued his vigil until the sun was well up and the shadows in the river valley below were shortened. Then, inching his way slowly from his hiding place, he glanced carefully around before mounting his horse which had been tethered nearby in the shelter of a rock and setting off at a quick canter.
    About thirty minutes later he pulled up at a small, well hidden camp and swung down off his horse.
    “Well, what happened?”
    “Nothing,” Sedlock replied dropping down beside a small fire and reaching out for the cup of tea his companion held out. “I watched the river near the crossing all night and didn’t hear or see a thing.”
    “You were hidden?”
    Sedlock nodded. “I don’t even know if we’re anywhere near them now. Those Indians could be hundreds of miles away. Perhaps we’re following a cold trail.”
    His companion shook his head. “No, I don’t think it’s cold. But we could be miles and miles away from them. We’ll wait here until Radclif comes. If anyone can track those redskins, it’s George Radclif. Now get some rest. He ought’a be along in a few hours.”
    Sedlock nodded and, having rolled himself in a blanket, was soon sleeping in spite of the worry that gnawed inside of him.

    When he awoke some hours later, young Sedlock noticed there were two men sitting by the fire. Quickly he arose and joined them. Both men looked up as he came closer. “Howdy, Sedlock,” the newcomer greeted him quietly.
    “Hi.” Joe Sedlock sat down. “Well, what’s the plan?”
    “Clint said you saw no sign of Indians when you watched last night.”
    Joe nodded. “He’s right. No sign of anything alive. They could’ve been there, I suppose, but I don’t miss much when I set out to watch. Think we lost the trail?”
    George Radcliff shook his head. “No, they’re there. I haven’t been a scout for the wagon trains and then the army for nothing. I saw signs of Indians before I came up to meet you men. I just reckon you were at the wrong place.” Tossing the last bit of his coffee on the fire, the man stood up. In the bright afternoon sun, his gun belt with its colt twelve-shot hanging on his hips gleamed. Slapping his wide brimmed hat on his head, he said, “I reckon we ought’a break camp and get moving if you want to catch up with those redskins before . . .” His sentence remained unfinished, but the other men finished it in their own minds. “Before it’s too late.”
    The sun was slowly sliding down into western horizon as Joe Sedlock, his cousin Clint Bryant and their companion George Radclif, urged their mounts through the shallow waters of the Rio Grande. The day had been long and hot. Their horses were tired and the men knew they had to keep going.
    “You know,” Radclif remarked slowly, “there’s an army fort not far from here. We might be able to get some info there.”
    “Does the trail go that direction?” Clint wanted to know.
    Radclif looked over at him and noticed, not for the first time, that Clint was not

I don't know why I didn't finish the sentence.
What do you think happens?
Do you want another part of the new Graham Quartet?
What do you think of  our Friday adventure?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Climbing with the Medfords - Part 2

Good morning FFFs!
Your post might be a little later too if there were three police officers outside your house and two of them took off running across the street and called out "Stop! Joplin police!" to someone who turned out to be the grandson of a neighbor on his way to the school bus. That wasn't who they wanted, so the boy went on his way and the police talked for a while in their cars before leaving. Not sure who they were looking for, but I hope they find him.

Anyway, that's NOT how I was expecting to start this post. :)
This has been a busy week. I've been trying to get some things done but other things have come up and it's been a bit on the crazy side. I did get a good start on the next Graham Quartet. :) If you want heads up about when it's coming out, be sure you sign up on my mailing list. No writing the rest of this week as my niece (not Ti-K) and the boys are going to be here until lunch time on Sunday. Hopefully next week I'll be able to really get into writing.

How has your New Year been so far? Have you made plans and been busy or is it relaxing? Januaries used to go so slowly for me and were a nice break from the busy rest of the year. But that doesn't seem to happen now.
Enjoy this last part of the story.

Climbing with the Medfords
Part - 2

    The others were so busy looking at different points of the city and pointing out interesting things to the others, that only Lillian noticed an old lady looking out her window at the children on the billboard. Lillian thought she was talking on the telephone, but it was hard to tell. Feeling friendly, she waved at the lady, but received no response. “Oh well,” Lillian thought with a shrug. “Perhaps she didn’t see us after all. We are pretty high up.”
    It was Alice who, turning around several minutes later and looking down at the street, noticed the police car coming towards them and stopping under the billboard. “Hey everyone,” she said. “Look.”
    The others looked down in time to see two uniformed officers climb out of the car and look up at them before walking over to the base of the pole. One of the officers looked like a friend of theirs who directed traffic near the childrens’ neighborhood. When he spoke, they knew it was Officer Hitt.
    “What are you all doing up there?” Officer Hitt asked.
    “Catching a bird’s eye view of the city, sir,” Walter replied, glancing quickly at Frank and wondering what was going to happen.
    “And what are you going to do when one of you falls?” the other officer asked.
    “Oh, we won’t fall,” Frank answered quickly. “We’re being careful. And we’re used to climbing things.”
    The officers held a low toned conversation while the children waited uneasily. At last Officer Hitt called up, “Why don’t all of you come down now so we can talk without attracting the attention of the entire neighborhood.”
    The children exchanged disappointed glances but knew better than to disobey. Lillian, the closest to the ladder, went down first followed by Ester. Katie and Alice followed. Since Alice was small, she had to drop a little ways from the last rung of the ladder and while she hung there waiting for Katie to get out of the way, her left hand slipped. Right at that moment Walter, who was climbing down quickly and didn’t realize his sister wasn’t already on the ground, stepped on her hand.
    “Ouch!” Alice exclaimed, and Walter quickly moved his foot, but only to put it on the next rung of the ladder which in reality was Alice’s shoulder. As he shifted his weight, Alice fell onto the pile of books, catching herself with her left hand.
    With an exclamation of surprise, Walter, having lost his balance when what he thought was the bottom of the ladder disappeared from under him, fell with a thud onto his sister and the scattered pile of schoolbooks.
    To add to the confusion, Frank dropped from the ladder after Walter without looking and landed right on top of his friend!
    “Walter, get off of me,” Alice cried, hugging her left arm and trying to get to her feet.
    “Sorry,” Walter apologized, “I can’t move until Frank gets up.” But even when Frank was helped up by Officer Hitt, Walter had to be helped up too.
    “What hurts?” Officer Shepherd asked him when he saw Walter wasn’t putting any weight on his right leg.
    “I think I must have pulled something in my leg,” Walter groaned, cautiously bending his knee and then gingerly putting weight on his foot.
    “Sorry about that,” Frank told him with concern. “I should have looked before dropping. Are you all right?”
    “Yeah, I’ll be okay, but next time I’ll go last,” and Walter managed to grin at his friend before turning to the girls who were gathered around Alice.
    “Is it just your arm?” Office Shepherd asked, kneeling beside Alice.
    “My left wrist and my right fingers,” she sniffed, trying not to cry though the pain was pretty bad.
    Gently the officer checked her fingers. “I think they’ll be okay. They’ll probably be rather sore for a few days, but it doesn’t look like any of them are broken. They’re probably just bruised.”
    “That’s good!” Lillian exclaimed, “You’d never be able to write to Natalie.”
    “Or do your homework,” Katie added. Ester didn't say a thing but was quietly gathering up the scattered books and papers.
    After carefully checking Alice’s wrist, Officer Shepherd said, “I’m not a doctor, but I think your wrist is lightly sprained.”
    A collective sigh of relief came from the gathered children at that, but their relief was short lived. Officer Hitt, with a series face, gave them a stern lecture about the dangers of climbing billboards and told them never to do it again if their fathers weren’t there.
    “Do you understand?” the officer asked the sober children.
    “Yes, sir,” they replied.
    “All right then,” he said in a more cheerful voice, “let’s get you all home.
    “I think Alice should get a doctor to take a look at her wrist.” Officer Shepherd said. During the lecture he had improvised a sling for the injured arm from Lillian’s scarf, and Alice was grateful to be able to rest her arm in it.
    Never again did any of those girls climb a billboard. As for Walter and Frank, I can’t say for certain that they never did, but, if they did, they never told.

Do you think Frank and Walter climbed more billboards?
Would you have climbed one?
Have you ever had someone call the police on you?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Climbing with the Medfords - Part 1

Happy New Year, Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
Can you believe it's 2016? Where did the last year go? I've checked under the beds and in the closets, but I haven't found any extra days lying around. Have you? But seriously, this was one quick year filled with memories, challenges, joys, struggles, and through it all my Heavenly Father has never left me. And I'm looking forward to seeing what this new year holds.

In case you did happen to get on this blog at the usual time of about 7:30 and didn't find anything, well, it's because I'm still on "vacation" at my grandparents and didn't have time to post before breakfast. It's not because I stayed up late. :) I actually went to bed at the usual time last night. I figured that since I was going to see 366 days of this year (yes, there will be 366 days because it's leap year) I didn't need to stay up and see the first few minutes. :P

I'm very much looking forward to next week though because I can finally get back to writing! As much as I've enjoyed my break and the time to read and not even think about writing, I've missed it and my brain didn't always leave all story ideas behind. (I've had multiple ideas for stories!) But next week I'm jumping back into the mystery with the Graham Quartet! I'll keep you posted about my progress. And I might even let you read another part or two while I'm writing it. Would you like that?

And by the way, if you have NOT signed up for my e-mail list on Read Another Page, you might want to do that now. I won't always be telling you about my special sales and discounts on here any more. I will this time. ALL my kindle books (except the short story) are on sale today! And the first TCR book and the Graham Quartet book are actually FREE today and tomorrow.

But now I must go. I will leave you with the first half of a short story. If you don't know who the Medfords are, go to my short story page and read the story about their 4th of July. :)

Climbing with the Medfords
Part 1

    It was a beautiful October day. The sun was shining in a cloudless sky and the air was brisk as the Medford children of school age climbed onto the school’s bus. It was time to head home and the bus was full of chattering children.
    “What are you going to do when you get home?” Alice asked her best friend Katie.
    “I’ll probably have to help with some chores or start on my homework. I wish we could do something fun.”
    “Me too.”
    “Maybe we could go roller skating later.”
    “Oh, that would be fun. I’ll check with my mom after we get home.”
    The two friends continued to talk as the bus stopped here and there to let children off. They were discussing their teacher’s upcoming wedding when a sudden noise and the jerking of the bus interrupted them.
    “What’s happening?”
    “Did something break?”
    “Why did we stop?”
    The questions were asked so quickly that Mr. Benton, the driver, held up his hands. “I don’t know. You kids just sit there a minute and let me take a look.”
    After waiting a few minutes Mr. Benton climbed back into the bus. “I don’t know what we’ll do. There’s something wrong with the engine. Don’t know how long it will take and I’ve got to get you kids home.”
    “Oh, we can walk home,” Walter Medford spoke up.
    “Yeah,” Frank Burton put in. “We all live near each other. Why can’t we walk home?”
    “Please,” the rest of the children begged, eager to be out in the sunshine and fresh air.
    For a moment Mr. Benton looked at the excited, pleading faces of the school children. “All right,” he began. “But,” he raised his voice to be heard above the sudden clamor of tongues, “you must all promise to stick together!”
    A loud chorus of “We promise!” filled the air as the children eagerly grabbed their books and climbed down off the bus. With many shouts and waves, the children set off down the street in a happy bunch, jackets open or slung over shoulders. It was glorious to be outside at last with a tramp through the town ahead of them.
    They had walked a few blocks when suddenly Frank exclaimed, “Walter, look!” He pointed to a very large billboard. It was the largest one the children had seen and it excited their interest. “Let’s climb it!”
    “Yeah, let’s!” Walter shouted eagerly, running towards it with Frank on his heels and the rest of the children tagging along. Climbing billboards was a favorite activity for Walter and Frank as well as several others in the group, though no one had climbed one that high before.
    Reaching the bottom of the billboard pole, the schoolbooks were quickly dumped on the ground and the girls waited eagerly for Walter and Frank to tell them it was all right to climb. The two boys, feeling responsible for the welfare of the rest of the children, wanted to make sure the billboard was safe.
    “I think they just wanted a chance to enjoy it by themselves,” Alice whispered to Katie.
    Katie nodded.
    After what seemed like hours to those waiting below, Walter called down, “Okay, come on up!”
    There was a scramble for the ladder and before long Lillian and Alice Medford, Katie Burton and Ester Hershal were standing with the boys at the top of the billboard taking in the amazing bird’s eye view of Boonsville.
    “It feels like we’re birds in a nest,” Ester laughed. “But I don’t see any mother bird coming with a bug to feed us.”
    The girls laughed at that thought and Katie added, “Good, because I’d hate to have to eat a bug!”
    “Look!” Walter pointed, “there’s our house!” Sure enough the Medford house could be seen among the trees many blocks away.
    Turning to look in another direction, Frank pointed out the large church on Clark street.
    “Why, I think I can see the school,” and Alice pointed in the direction where a building of some sort could be partially seen that might indeed be the school.
    “I don’t know if it is,” Frank said.
    “It rather looks like it though,” Walter added, not wanting to sound too critical of his younger sister’s idea.
    “And see there,” Katie pointed near the Medford’s house. “Is that Rob and Sara?”
    “Where?” Ester and Alice asked at once.
    “There, at the corner grocery. Don’t you see them?”
    Frank and Walter turned. “Wouldn’t that be funny if it was? We ought to ask them if they were at the grocery at this time,” and Walter looked down at his watch. “Too bad we didn’t bring any binoculars with us. Then we really could have seen things.”
    “Walt, you and I should come back some time with a pair.” Frank grinned at the idea.

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