Thursday, July 15, 2021

NIGHTMARE ON CRETE


A GENERAL PETTYGREE SHORT STORY
Mary and General Pettygree On Expedition
Chapter 1 of 2

Date: Late 1930s
Location: Ruins of Gortyn, Island of Crete
Circumstances: Search For the "Mythological" Labyrinth

"There it is Mary. The ancient ruins of Gortyn.

"William, I did not expect it to be so large."

"Professor Basingstoke and his benefactor Sir Allan Catherwood should have seen us riding up from the ship by now."

"There they are dear."

"Here come the Pettygrees Basingstoke."

"Dare we hope what we are about to open for the first time in the modern era will enrapture the general's readers?"

"And bring in sizeable grants from the Royal Archaeological Society and perhaps some wealthy American to keep this dig active. --- Aye."

"Welcome to Gortyn Mr. and Mrs. Pettygree."

"No. Thank you indeed. Your message arrived in Alexandria just in time before we sailed for home. Your suggestion that my readers might find the hopeful discovery and first opening of the mythological labyrinth said to be here from antiquity is intriguing."

"Professor Basingstoke?"

"Yes, Mrs. Pettygree."

"Mary will be fine. Is the entrance to what you hope will be the labyrinth just ahead within those prodigious columns?"

"We thought so at first. But no. It is near but you need to dismount to get there." 

"Mykonis a local goat shepherd will guide us to it. There he is and he appears to be ready to take us down."

"Engleesch people, Yassou and Kalimera! Come come...."
(Hello and good morning)

"According to Basingstoke's map, this is only a minor temple edifice. It hardly seems likely that it shelters the cave entrance to the home of the mythological minotaur."

"Is it is safe? It is in a terrible state, William."

"No telling my dear, but it took more than two thousand years to crumble into this condition. We can only hope that probabilities are with us --- today at least --- we should be alright."

"Yes, I agree. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained. Let's enter, shall we?"

"Right you are Mary."

"Mykonis will lead with the torch followed by Catherwood and then us," said Basingstoke.

"Come come my friends. All is well say I, Mykonis."

"Goodness that torch has fantastic illumination, William."

As Mary turned to look back inside, Mykonis bellowed....

"Stamata!" (Stop!)

A great shaking ensued followed by crumbling stonework, horrendous noise and firery smoke concealing mortal injuries and screams from within the edifice. Basingstoke and the Pettygrees were thrown backwards off their feet by the earthquake.

"Oh William. Professor Basingstoke is dead, crushed by this fallen stone!"

"Mary! Something else is wrong. Listen. Unholster your revolver."

"What is it William?"

"I don't know but we may in a moment. Start backing up."

"What the deuce are those abominable --- impossible --- things?"

"Creatures from hell surely, Mary."

"What could be worse?"

"You had to ask! That my dear is the mythological Minotaur of Greek mythology."

"Mary, on my mark fire two rounds into each of those undead skeletons. I'll put four into the beasty. Then run back to the horses and gallop to the ship."

"What are you waiting for?!"

"Ready, aim, FIRE!"

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CLOSING REMARKS

Chuck The Lucky expertly painted the mythological creatures about to torment the Pettygrees further.

Most terrain items are decorative pieces sometimes useful in aquariums. All have been purchased from pet stores.

Thank you very much for looking in. Comments welcome below, if you please.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

2021 Season of Easter


THOUGHTS DURING 2021's SEASON OF EASTER

When Did Easter Begin? 
Sunday April 4, 2021
The day commemorating Jesus rising from death under his own power and authority. This prodigious event validated that we too can have life after death. 

When Does Easter End?
Pentecost Sunday May 23, 2021
The day commemorating the descent by The Holy Spirit upon the Apostles of Jesus and other followers. This supernatural action energized/fueled Christian followers and gave them courage for the past 2,000 years to spread/explain the Good News Jesus proclaimed. What other religious tradition has lasted this long? None. This is strong validation to consider.
See Acts 2:1-31 in the Bible for more.

Reading List

The Navarre Bible presents The New Testament almost book by book. I bought copies at a Catholic book store in the 1990s. This one is solely The Gospel of Saint Matthew.

Navarre presents verses in English and Latin followed by commentaries. The latter offer interesting historical details, explanations and theological principles.

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2021 has been announced as the year to reflect upon St. Joseph. Miravalle's reflections offer logical, interesting and contemplative thoughts about the fatherly guardian of Jesus and husband of mother Mary and how his life can inspire today's fathers and husbands.

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The illumination of conscience.... 

Is a progress report lasting about fifteen minutes wherein everyone at the same time will understand and profoundly feel/know the status of their own souls based on each person's entire lifetime. This is not a near death experience; NDE. 

Christine Watkins presents compelling explanations and stories from numerous ordinary folks, mystics and visionaries into recent times. I know one person in her book and believe him.

This illumination of conscience is a tremendous gift from God. Ahead of time to get our attention sooner rather than later regarding our eternal destiny and what each of us can do about it. Some believe this experience is imminent. Buy the book today.

See:
https://www.amazon.com/Warning-Testimonies-Prophecies-Illumination-Conscience/dp/1947701096


CLOSING REMARKS

You might be Agnostic, Athiest, Christian, Jewish or belong to one of several thousand belief systems. Possibly you might be "turned off" due to grievances or by being too busy. You might think this is bunk. The world has been telling us this for years. I get it. I'm sympathetic.

Here's the thing, I would not present the above for your consideration unless I thought it had value and merit. The late Charles Krauthammer said, "I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking."

The sentiment, "Do Not Be Afraid" appears in the Bible about 365 times. So... ask "The Holy Spirit" for guidance even if you think asking is nonsense. Help will come. Be open.
It is time.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Blastoffjorden Act 1 --- Scene 1


A GENERAL PETTYGREE BATTLESTORY

We are now far removed in time and distance from the imagineered Norwegian village of Blastoffheim behind me. Its quiet and picturesque fjord to my left has been here for millennia. At times it has been buried in deep ice, sailed by Viking long ships and in the modern era brimmed with merchantmen and fishing trawlers going about the peaceful business of commerce and feeding families. For the next two days though, a new and unwelcome change will occur affecting lives and circumstances for many when The Second World War arrived here on this....

Date: August 13, 1943
Location: Blastoffjorden, Norway {Imagineered}
Weather: 88° Fahrenheit, westerly light winds, calm sea
Situation: Arrival of Argonaut
Click on photos to enlarge them

ACT 1 --- SCENE 1
OPERATION NORDHIMMEL
THE ARGONAUT

German Merchant ship Argonaut
Entering the eastern end of Blastoffjorden, Norway

Guided in by a pilot boat.

"Kapitäin Driessen, the pilot boat has taken us as far into Blasttoffjorden as possible. There is a whitish shoal close to starboard of the dock. It was not on our navigation chart."

"Josef, I've seen it. We'll head in by the bow docking on our port side clearing the shoal." 

"Kurt, I don't think this place will be good to us."

"Well Tiny, it is flanked by mountains. Allied pilots will have trouble finding us way up here plus avoiding our numerous flak batteries ashore. Besides if we sink, land is close by, eh? We merely jump off, swim a bit and sit out the war fishing." 

"Whatever you say, Kurt."

Detachment Nordhimmel arriving in Blastoffheim.

"Just in time Colonel von Schill. Here comes Argonaut. She made good time. Encouraging."

"We must demand that the crew unloads quickly so we can retrieve our unique supplies and depart. We're highly vulnerable if allied aircraft arrive from Scotland or the sea and...."

"I wish we had more than this lone ancient armoured car and its machine gun to protect the ship. All the best equipment has been going to the Eastern Front."

Argonaut tieing up.

"Take the slack out of the line."

"Hold the line. --- Avast!"

"Where is Colonel von Schill?"

"He's aboard the freighter telling the captain a thing or two."

"Welcome to Blastoffheim "Kapitäin Driessen. A fast passage?"

"Ja. No Allied warships or aircraft found us due to thick cloud cover and rain most of the way from Kiel. Now that the weather is clearing, Allied reconnaissance planes will unfortunately  have good visibility for the next few days."

"How soon then can my cargo be offloaded?"

"We'll start unloading within the hour finishing tomorrow. Afterwards you can be on your way and we can be at sea again in the evening. Furthermore...."

"Kapitäin, there is commotion on the starboard side."

"Alarm! --- Alarm!

"Allied reconnaissance floatplane at two o'clock above the clouds."
 
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Blastoffjorden: Act 1 --- Scene 2


Date: August 14, 1943, 0600 hours
Location: Blastoffjorden, Norway {Imagineered}
Weather: 83° Fahrenheit, westerly wind rising, choppy sea
Situation: Torpedo Squadron #2's Mission

ACT 1 --- SCENE 2
OPERATION LEADER
TORPEDO SQUADRON #2

USN Aircraft Carrier Ranger sailing with the British Home Fleet off northern Norway. Their mission: Disrupt German merchant traffic sailing along the coast and/or within fjords. Ranger's deck is cleared waiting for the return of Torpedo Squadron #2's Devastator Torpedo planes, Dive Bomber Squadron #3's Dauntlesses and Wildcat fighter escorts now en-route to Blastoffjorden.

Four Douglas TBD-1 Devastator Torpedo Bombers

"Chafee to Torpedo 2. Climb to 4,000 feet to clear the low mountain range ahead. Blastoffjorden will come into view when we are over the summit."

"But Skipper, I was going to throw out a fishing line if we flew any closer to the deck."

"Hey Nagel, you're from Nevada. There aren't any fish in the desert. Besides, you don't know how to fish."

"Ever heard of Lake Mead Simcoe?"

"This is Chafee. Save the fishing chatter for Scapa Flow when we get back. Meanwhile, avoid treetops and keep looking for German ships and aircraft." 

"Buckley to Chafee."

"Go ahead Buck."

"Where's our Wildcat fighter escort?

"The cats launched after us. They should catch up pretty soon with their faster speed."

"Hope so Skipper. Harrison, my rear gunner, doesn't see them behind us yet." 

As Torpedo 2 passed over the mountain barrier, the commander said, "Chafee to Torpedo 2. Welcome to Blastoffjorden boys. Enemy freighter in sight. Let's go down to pay our respects."

"Hey Nagel. See if you can snag this one."

"This is Buck. Two bogeys at five o'clock. We're spotted."

"Americanische torpedo bombers at 2 o'clock. Follow me Gunther. Stay off my right wing and do what I do. Keep an eye out for enemy fighters too."

"Ja Herr Leutnant Zeiss."

German merchant ship Wilhelmina

"Alarm! Steer to port. Schnell! Those are torpedo planes. Man the machine gun."

"We are as good as sunk Kapitäin if the Luftwaffe does not arrive in time. Our puny machine gun won't do much!"

The four Devastators soon dropped to the deck.

"All four planes are headed right for us and have launched torpedoes. Mein Gott!"

"Well done men. Torpedoes running true. The Kraut fighters are almost on us. Rear gunners fire when ready."

"Enemy fire com'n in! Tracers all over the place," shouted Nagel. "Buckley is hit."

"Hang on Buck!"

"This is Buckley. My engine is wrecked and we're smok'n."

"Ditch near shore Buck. The resistance is active in these parts. They'll help you."

"We'll never make it that far Boss. We're going down and will have to swim for it".

"Good luck Buck."

"See you guys after the war. I'll buy beers for all of you in Milwaukee."

"You're on Buck!"


"Torpedo 2. Bank to starboard."

"Keep turning right and head for home. Somehow we're being pursued by only one Me-109 fighter and it overshot us. The other appears to be flying away. Maybe we hit that one."

One torpedo barely missed the Wilhelmina's bow because the ship had been veering to port. The other three would strike home.

Two fish seemed to only lightly damage the freighter. The third bounced off. She started on fire.

Buckley's Devastator eventually nosed into the fjord and disappeared. He and Harrison abandoned the plane and swam for the closest shore. It was not too far away. 

Leutnant Zeiss in the only 109 still actively engaged silently said, "That rookie Gunther fired wildly jamming his ammunition belts leaving me alone to fight the Americans. Alright then. One to three odds isn't that bad for me. An immelmann and I'll get one."

Zeiss fired but results did not down the Devastator.

"Nothing but a few parts flew off and now I'm very low on ammunition. Time to break off. Maybe the American will not make it back to wherever he came from."

"Chafee to flight. That Kraut's abandoned the fight. Fly at your best speed back to Ranger. Keep looking for more bogeys."

"Skipper, where the hell did our fighter escorts go? We might not have lost Buckley!"

"I'll see to it Nagel. I know how you feel. Now stay alert."

"Skipper. Nagel here. I'm losing speed but think I can make it back to Ranger.

"We'll keep you company. Hang in there."

Elsewhere Zeiss flew to the crippled Wilhelmina. She was dead in the water but apparently not sinking. Time would tell. He looked in the direction of the downed enemy torpedo plane but it was gone. In moments he followed Gunther back to base thinking how best to teach the new pilot to better control his trigger finger. Upon reflection, Gunther probably had it already figured out by now.

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