Motivation

Let us honor the holy ground of all traditions, be it church, mosque, temple, lodge, synagogue, or ashram. And let us respect all who seek sanctuary on holy ground, whether they be prostitutes, tax collectors, mercenaries, saints, ministers, etc. But most of all, remember that the spirit of God lies within you, and you carry holy ground within your own soul. There are noble words for my ambition. Let me say that I admire the mystic life, as found in the Christian tradition. But I became fascinated with stories of Catholic monks taking up practices of other contemplative traditions. This would entail them practicing the Indian tradition of Advaita Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, Sufi contemplation, or Native American practices, while being true to their Catholic faith. It was under this inquiry that Adrian Albright was born. But I was missing some essential elements, such as my love for comic books and the great slapstick comics of yesteryear: Laura and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, three Stooges, Marx Brothers, and W. C. Fields. What I need is a super hero, like Spiderman, Superman, or Batman, paying tribute to comic book companies like DC, Marvel, and Top Cow, while honoring the comic greats, and the spiritual impetus that ultimately we are seeking, either consciously or unconsciously. A hero who’s spiritually based, like Doctor Fate or Doctor Strange, with the fighting skills of Daredevil or Batman, but with the comic overtures of Yosemite Sam or Elmer Fudd.

My Writing
When I ask myself "what am I writing really", the Oracle of Delphi answers

"nothing that hasn’t been done already." Is my world radical different from those of Carlos Castaneda, in his best selling novels? Are my comic overtures any different from those of Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore, or Douglass Adams? Are my ideas any stranger then Burroughs’ Naked Lunch or my hero’s gifts any different from Dune’s Paul Atreides? And if I take five years to write something, and another five to perfect it, isn't that the same amount of time "Gone with the Wind" took? Perhaps I should reminisce, like the Grateful Dead, on what a long strange trip it’s been. Then one day I woke up, and in a flash of enlightenment, remarked: "That's it. I need to share this, but it needs to be aged a bit – like a fine wine, with a distinctive taste, and an expensive price tag."

Story Background
Since antiquity, Indian epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana have concerned themselves with spiritual heroes overcoming the forces of demons and darkness. But has such a hero sung karaoke at Rosa’s cantina, rescued pets from a brothel, read Don

Quixote in a chicken coop, judged a hot pepper eating contest, become a rodeo clown,
participated in a bull fight, attended a Stooge convention, or rode a mule named Sparky? If such a hero were transported to contemporary Mexican pop culture, the tale might unfold like a cosmic comic book. Fulfilling such a role, Adrian Albright – shaman, hack writer, and Aikido master – is married to psychologist Ann Cutter, with a year having passed since the events in Coyote

Dreams. Both have been gifted as a wedding present with the monkey Bubbles, and
Coyote, Adrian’s mischievous guardian angel, has gifted Adrian with Coyote wisdom and culture. Ann has inherited a significant estate share from her rich uncle, Fetus Podplunger, allowing her to devote time to directing self-help groups for nothing and learning Aikido from Adrian, while Adrian focuses on writing, teaching Aikido, and healing others with shaman healing. While embracing the Catholic faith with Ann, Adrian spends more time exploring Native American ways for self understanding and Buddhist meditation. All the quiet time will be disrupted by a distress call from Ann’s cousin, Sam Sepsooth, a priest down in Mexico. To aid her cousin, Ann, Adrian, Coyote, and Bubbles travel to Sleepy

Hollow, meeting up with a new hero – a Chihuahua named Chico – to unravel the mystery
of Jezebel, the dark star, and stop the Burrito Banditos, led by Hosea Siesta.

Deeper Meaning
Most writers explore common themes and this is very true for me. Essentially, it works on the premise that the world common to the shaman, Sufi, Yogi, sage, saint, mystic, etc., is very different from the world of the ordinary person. And if you live in the world of those who see reality in non-ordinary terms, you really are playing with energy – the world the quantum physicist sees – a world of possibilities. It's only the uneducated man who would have a hard time understanding and believing this. I further play with the premise that the philosopher and the sage try to understand

what comprises our reality. Only the philosopher gets sidetracked at times, but the sage runs the steady course. And should you try to juxtapose the world of the sage and that of the ordinary man, it can best be described in comic terms. It's all very simple, really.

On the Road Again I hate Mexican love songs. If there’s anything I hate worst then Mexican love songs, it’s more Mexican love songs. Adrian’s thoughts reflected his ordeal of traveling though
Mexico in a beat up old VW, along with his new wife Ann, who used to be his therapist, and his newly acquired pet monkey Bubbles. He was just getting accustomed to his role as shaman, Aikido master, and poet, when the roles of husband and pet owner were also thrust upon him. Bubbles occupied herself by flipping the radio channels, offering the newlyweds choices between Mexican love songs on whatever station she tuned the dial to, while Adrian opened the copy of the letter that brought them there: Dear Ann and Adrian: Greetings from the fair town of Sleepy Hollow, for I know you keep asking me the name, but you really should write it down. I am sorry to hear about your uncle’s death, Fetus Podplunger. But I see the hand of God here, providing for the financial freedom of you both. On the bright side, since I written you last, the parish has a new resident – a Chihuahua

named Chico. Chico is very feisty at times, but very smart. He understands commands in both Spanish and English. Sometimes I think he is an angel in disguise. How is that adorable monkey Bubbles doing? I really hope to meet her sometime. Things have not really been good here; Ann and Adrian, and I could use some of your advice and console. From you, Ann, I need a psychologist’s viewpoint, and from you, Adrian, how a shaman may approach this problem. The people here, as you know, are poor for the most part. A gang of cutthroats called the Burrito Banditos unofficially rules the town, but don’t let the name fool you. They don’t steal burritos, mind you – but their leader, Hosea Siesta, likes burritos. They keep the town under a tight rein. It’s not the banditos I fear, but a legend called Dark Star, better known as el Diablo

Brujo, translated as the devil sorcerer. Nobody knows where he lives or has seen him,
except for Hosea. Rumor has it they are good friends and are in a financial partnership. According to what the people say, Dark star brings bad luck to people not paying protection money to Hosea. Now I would dismiss this as nonsense, except for the magnitude of problems my parish has experienced. People get sick or die, and the local medical doctor, Horal Hahnemann, swears that medical tests find nothing wrong. Perhaps this is a case of placebo effect, as you psychologists say. Maybe there is something stranger going on. Since I am just a humble perish priest, the mystery eludes me. Meanwhile, the people continue to suffer, and a rein of darkness rules our town.

Please give me your advice on this matter. Neither the church nor the government has an answer. The government is corrupt, so all the federal police they send get bribes, and file a favorable report. When I contact the bishop, he says the people believe in nonsense. What do you both think? Your loving cousin, Sam As Adrian reflected upon the letter, his eyes looked up and spotted another checkpoint. There was a wooden sign in Spanish and a square wooden shed, about ten cubic feet on each side. Outside were two Mexican guards, drinking Tequila, smoking cigars, playing poker, and listening to Mexican love songs on a portable radio. Ann pulled the rented VW alongside the station, when the smaller guard with a mustache stepped forward. “How Dee, Senora and Senor. How you all doing? I speak see English well, no? Passports, please! Pet papers.” The other guard studied the cards, while Ann removed the passports and the thirty page pet form to bring Bubbles into the country, all of which the guard pretended to meticulously examine, especially the pet form, going though every page, and insuring the proper lines were signed. “Senor Adrian, your papers appear in order,” the guard responded, handing them back

to Adrian. “What is your name, sir?” inquired Adrian, attempting to learn Spanish; while Ann could speak some Spanish because of Spanish clients she used to work with. “My name is Si.” “What is your partner’s name?” “Partner? Oh! His name is Saw.” “What is this station called?” asked Adrian. “Station? Su station,” replied the guard. “This reminded me of something,” retorted Ann. “Yes,” responded Adrian. “We’re stuck in a Jack Benny show.” The other guard turned up the radio, which was playing another Mexican love song. He started humming to the tune, which prompted the guard by Adrian to join in. Bubbles started dancing, while standing between Ann and Adrian in the VW, prompting Adrian to look at her. “Don’t tell me you like Mexican love songs,” he retorted. “Even the animals are overwhelmed by the beauty of love music,” replied Si. Saw came over towards the monkey and asked, “Would the senorita get jealous if I danced with the monkey?”

“I guess not,” replied Ann. “It’s not often Bubbles gets asked to dance.” Ann handed Bubbles to Saw, who started dancing in a circle, holding the monkey in his arms. Her eyes sparkled and she started making monkey sounds, as the guard kept dancing, and Si kept humming to the music. Adrian looked around and noticed no car for miles, which implied the guards were normally idle, and would accept anything to pass the time. Adrian’s mind drifted back to his transition to married life. Here I am, a married

man, and Doc gives us Bubbles for a wedding gift, and keeps the parrot, Polly Morphine, for him. Rumi makes a pilgrimage to the Middle East to visit Sufi tombs, and Ann’s rich uncle; Fetus Podplunger passes away, leaving her a good portion of his oil riches. Since neither of us is into being rich, we move to Arizona, where I teach Aikido, and practice shaman healing on others, while devoting my spare time to poetry. One of my first Aikido students is Ann, and when she is not practicing Aikido, she is running self-help programs for others. Meanwhile, I continue to learn from Coyote, and spend time with my wife Ann and favorite pet Bubbles. You think I could lead a normal life – but no – Ann’s cousin, who is the priest in Mexico, writes for help. Of course, we both agree to personally go down there. I don’t care how long I will stay in Mexico – I not particularly fond of beans and Mexican love songs.
Adrian held his wife’s hand, as he watched the guard dance with Bubbles. The music ended, and the guard returned the monkey to Adrian. He then handed back the

passports and the thirty page monkey travel papers. “Where did you guys learn English?” asked Ann “BBC short wave radio course,” replied Si. “Where are you heading?”

“We are going to Sleepy Hollow,” responded Adrian.
Adrian noticed Saw, the other guard, immediate dropped his glass, and Si’s jaw dropped open. Saw came running over and shouted. “Bad place. Bad place. No good for monkey. No good for humans.” Bubbles grabbed the guard’s hat and put it on Adrian’s head, which immediately defused the tension, and made everyone chuckle. Adrian handed the hat back, and looked at the two guards. “Look, fellows. I know it’s a bad place, but Ann’s cousin’s a priest there, and requests our assistance.” “Bad place. You turn around and go back,” responded Si. “Si is right, take it from Saw. Go home! Go home!” cried Saw. “I’m sorry,” said Ann. “But we must go there.” “We both say prayers for you”, responded Si, as Ann and company drove away.

The Mission
They drove another thirty miles or so, arriving at a church whose sign said Santa

Francisco in Spanish. A white man standing about five foot seven, with blond hair, and a
slender frame dressed in priestly garments came to greet them, accompanied by a small Spanish boy and a Chihuahua. In the background, over by a well, Adrian noticed another gringo, sporting red hair, a mustache, standing about five foot six, with a slender frame. His eye focused upon the first man, who came over and kissed Ann on the cheek. “Greetings, Ann,” he responded. “How is my favorite cousin? This is your husband, no?” Adrian extended his hand and shook it, only to notice the small boy also extended his. “I am so rude,” said Sam. “This is my assistant, Pedro, and our church angel, disguised as a Chihuahua, Chico. Over by the well is our town physician, Leroy Hahnemann. We call the town Sleepy Hollow, though it has a Spanish name. Pedro speaks English, but his main tongue is Spanish. He learns good English from movies. This is the monkey Bubbles?” Adrian handed Bubbles to the priest, who held her. “Did you say movies?” asked Ann. “Si,” responded Pedro. “The town has a theater, and each week, they show English movie with Spanish subtitles. This week, I saw good tomato attack.” Adrian reflected, trying to think of a tomato movie. There was a movie, where the

tomatoes were tired of being made into soup and rose up again humans. No! Or did the

tomato fall in love with another tomato? In the end, to prevent a family feud, the one tomato poisoned the female, and the male tomato took his own life. ” “ Was it Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?” asked Adrian. “Si,” replied Pedro. “Last week, two famous actors rode camel in Morocco.”
Adrian reflected. Is a camel trekking across Morocco? Does he mean a cigarette or

the animal with two humps? I remember a spy show, where there was a camel and two American singers. What was the plot again? They find a map leading to a buried treasure, but it contains the key to the tomb of a mummy, which is trying to rule the country, and made a secret pack with a camel. The camel, being blind, leads an assault on an enemy fortress, but gets shot upon by enemy planes. But a beautiful princess arrives, kisses the two Americans, and an Arab talent scout gets them a singing tour of Spain.
“Is the movie called Ishtar?” asked Adrian. “Si,” responded Pedro. “The week before we had seen an outer space and zombie show.” Again Adrian retreated into his memory bank. Wasn’t there a film, where zombies

were created by a group of aliens, bent on conquering the earth? How did this plot go again? They created a group of zombies, led by a former vampire, who was in love with a housewife, but got caught in an alien ray gun. The gun created the zombies, but the

police, attending a party in the graveyard, lose the chief to the zombie crew. In the end, the ship blows up, the zombies are vaporized, and everyone lives happily ever after.
“Plan 9 From Outer Space?” asked Adrian. “Si, senior. You know good movies, no?” responded Pedro. “What’s playing this week?” asked Adrian. “Drunken Wu Tang,” replied Sam. “Si,” responded Pedro. “A martial artist battles a giant watermelon monster.” Bubbles put her hand over her nose, and Chico turned his nose up, and the newly married couple laughed, led by the priest. Adrian took out a canteen, and started sipping some water, when Bubbles nudged him in the side. He held the canteen in the air, turning it on its side, as Bubbles lay down with her head facing upwards, catching the water in her mouth. Chico started barking, and Adrian reached through the car door and poured the water into the Chihuahua’s mouth. “We have some lunch and you can meet Leroy,” said Sam. “Pedro, you stay? No?” Adrian took his wife’s hand and let Pedro carry Bubbles, with Chico barking and running around in circles, following them. They went into the rectory, a single story brick building, which was the main dining and living area for the priests. Sam introduced everyone to Leroy the physician, and they all sat down in the dining room table to a dish of beans, rice, and coffee, while the Chihuahua had ground beef, and the monkey got a

banana. “They say you are a healer,” said Leroy. “No more than you are,” responded Adrian. The meal continued, while Adrian listening to tales of people visiting the medical clinic, without Leroy diagnosing what is wrong. Then the priest and doctor told tales of the

Burrito Banditos, with Hosea Siesta collecting money from the town’s population and
businesses. And the topic of conversation turned to a mysterious figure named Dark Star, whom nobody has seen or heard of. “If you haven’t seen him,” asked Adrian, “then how do you know he exists?” “Gossip and second-hand stories,” replied Leroy. “But the people believe in him. We’re at a loss to explain the high number of medical cases.” Adrian stood up, like he was deep in thought, and raised his coffee cup. “Where is the action in this town?” Everybody looked at him, including his wife, trying to understand what he meant. “Action, senor?” inquired Pedro. “Rosa’s Cantina and tonight is Karaoke night.” “Do they allow pets there?” asked Adrian. “They allow anything in there,” replied Leroy. “If Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf man walked in to sing Karaoke and could afford to pay for liquor, they would get a front

row seat.” “Hey, dear,” retorted Ann. “Are you planning what I think you’re planning?” “I plan on hearing some Karaoke tonight and checking things out, along with my wife and pet,” responded Adrian. “Since you don’t speak Spanish, I insist Pedro guide you, and take Chico with you,” Sam insisted. Pedro nodded his head, and tonight at eight, they would venture into town, right after Adrian and his wife took a nap and cleaned up.

Rosa’s Cantina
At eight, Adrian was holding Bubbles and standing besides his wife, along with Chico, thinking a bus would stop by, or Ann would take the car. Instead, he saw Pedro riding an open wagon with a mule. The boy stopped in front, parked the wagon, and proceeded to get out. “We are taking this?” asked Adrian, looking at the mule. “Where do we sit?” “Everyone sits inside, except for you,” replied Pedro. “You ride Sparky the mule, as guest of honor.” “I beg your pardon,” responded Adrian, noticing that Bubbles was smiling, while Chico wagged his tail in agreement. The boy pointed to the mule, and his wife nodded accordingly. Adrian got up on the mule and looked back, noticing everyone was in the

wagon and Bubbles was still laughing. “You be quiet,” replied Adrian. “Or I’ll put you up front with me.” Adrian sat on the mule, pulling its reins up and down. Each time he moved the reins up and down, the mule stood still. Bubbles started laughing, causing Ann and Pedro to join in. Chico ran in front where the mule stood and started barking, while the mule responded with ye haw. Adrian turned around, and looked at Pedro. “Hey, kid,” he yelled. “What’s wrong with Sparky? He reminds me of a car I once owned.” “No, senior,” responded Pedro. “You need to respond with a whistle, so he can feel he’s wanted.” “Whistle?” “Whistle, senior,” replied Pedro. “He likes to respond to Yankee Doodle.” Adrian looked at the mule and started thinking. Oh, wonderful. Instead of taking the

VW, or the bus, I end up on a mule, which is spoiled rotten, and likes to pretend he’s in the confederate army. I might as well get a drum for Bubbles, a flute for Ann, a harmonica for Pedro, and a confederate hat for the mule. Maybe if I wore a dumb General Lee hat, I can fire some speed into Sparky. Wait a minute. Is that song a confederate song or a Northern one? I don’t even know the difference between Custer and Lee.”

“Can you whistle it while I drive the mule?” asked Adrian. “No, senior,” replied Pedro. “He only responds to the driver.” Adrian tried to whistle, but kept getting the tune wrong. First, he started with Good

old summertime, followed by The Saints Come Marching In, and I wish I was in Dixie.
Every time he whistled a tune, Pedro kept yelling no while Sparky stood still. Pedro then started whistling the right tune, with Adrian joining in, prompting Sparky to move forward at a good clip, with the wagonload of people and animals. Inside the wagon, Bubbles found a beach ball Pedro played with. She started bouncing the ball, and throwing it up in the air, while Chico jumped out of the wagon, walking alongside and barking. Bubbles took the ball, tossing it out the wagon, prompting Chico to hit it with his nose and bouncing it back to Bubbles. They continued tossing the ball back and forth, with Adrian focusing on riding the mule and whistling the mule tune. Adrian came to a rode sign in Spanish, with three different directional signs. Unsure of which direction to go, he turned to ask, causing the mule to stop. “Which way to Sleepy Hollow?” “Go right for about two miles,” Pedro replied. “How do I get the mule to turn right?” asked Adrian. Pedro pulled out a big feature and handled it to Adrian. “Tickle his ear with the feature. The right ear is to turn right and the left ear the

other way.” “I suppose I need to continue whistling Yankee Doodle,” Adrian replied. Pedro nodded his head, prompting Adrian to tickle the mule’s right ear and whistle Yankee Doodle, while the monkey and Chihuahua played ball. Adrian noticed a small town after a couple of minutes, with a few buildings lit up. He stopped whistling, which called the mule to stop also. “Where is Rose’s Cantina?” he asked. “We park mule and walk,” Pedro replied, taking Spark’s rein and tying it to a nearby post. Adrian escorted Ann from the wagon, and took her hand in his, with Pedro carrying Bubbles and Chico walking besides them. They came to a smoke filled room, with loud noise, men drinking and talking to women, with Mexican love songs playing via a CD machine. A lady waitress came over, and Pedro asked for a seat for four. They were escorted to a far corner, where there was talk of “ el gringo” coming from a table of gentlemen. “Who is el gringo?” Adrian asked Pedro. “Is that a wrestling act?” “I’m afraid it’s you senor,” Pedro retorted. “But I don’t wrestle,” Adrian replied. “It means foreigner,” Ann replied.

A waitress came over, wanting to know what everyone wanted. Pedro translated the request, and promptly ordered a Coke for Ann, a Coke with lime twist for Adrian, and a Coke with lemon twist for himself. Some fruit, ground beef, and water were ordered for the pets. A waitress got up and announced in Spanish the start of the karaoke contest, and asked for a volunteer. At the same time, a fly came buzzing around Adrian’s head, landing on his ears. He raised his hand, and tried to shoo the fly away, prompting the whole audience to shout, “el gringo. El gringo.” “What are they yelling about?” asked Adrian. “You volunteered to start the karaoke contest,” responded Pedro. “How did I do that?” asked Adrian, as Bubbles started laughing, prompting Adrian to pick her up. “If I volunteered, then so did you,” he retorted, looking her in the eye. He put Bubbles on his shoulders and walked to the area containing the Karaoke machine, with Chico following right behind him. The crowd clapped, banged their drinks, and keep yelling el gringo. Pedro started walking behind, but turned around and yelled to Ann. “I need to translate, senora.” A Mexican lady, wearing a small straw hat, with a flowered dress, was running the karaoke machine. She grabbed Adrian’s right hand, when he reached the stage, and

raised it up high, causing the crowd to cheer. Bubbles bowed to the audience, and Chico jumped up and down, wagging his tail. Pedro stood near the front, waiting to interpret. The lady introduced herself as Lomita and asked what selected he would like. “She wants to know what song you like to sing,” Pedro said. “Are there any English songs to choose from?” asked Adrian. “They have many English Rock and Country songs,” Pedro responded. Adrian went over to the machine and looked at the selection list. He noticed Louise,

Louise and pressed the selection. Instead of the Kingsmen classic, the machine started
playing Rocky Top. It was a song about hillbillies living in Tennessee, making moonshine, making time with pretty women, and shooting revenuers. Bubbles looked at the machine and started reaching towards the box, while Chico started barking. Both animals sensed a newcomer on the scene, and Adrian knew Coyote came to play his tricks. “I want to make another selection,” Adrian shouted, so Pedro translated. Adrian looked over the selections and spotted House of the Rising Sun by the Animals, which was a personal favorite of his. He pressed the selected, hoping to hear the Animals but suspected he’d hear the Tennessee song. The song started at the second verse, and Adrian knew he was trapped. There’s no way to get out of this gracefully. If

I don’t sing this stupid song, I will probably cause an international incident.
“OK! I’ll do it,” shouted Adrian, and started singing the song.

Bubbles started dancing, clapping her hands, and moving back and forth, while Chico barked at Bubbles, and started jumping up and down, wagging his tail. Ann was getting into the music, clapping her hands, and the audience started rolling with laughter. When he finished, the house applause echoed throughout the walls, as Adrian walked quietly to his seat, with Pedro carrying Bubbles, and Chico bringing up the rear. “How did I do?” asked Adrian. “You did well, senor,” Pedro responded. “Wonderful, darling,” Ann replied, kissing him on the cheek. The next couple of hours were spent watching the audience get drunk, and singing Mexican love songs. The contest finally ended, and a group of judges were slated to pick a winner. Adrian started to doze off, thinking some love song, sung by a local, would win it. Instead, a man came over to Adrian’s table and announced him the winner, in Spanish. “What is all the commotion?” Adrian asked. “You won the contest,” Pedro replied. “What? Wonderful!” he responded, shaking his head. “Do they have a prize?” “A wonderful prize,” Pedro retorted. “You get to judge the hot pepper eating context.” “Hot Pepper? Like in burn your mouth, hot pepper? No thank you,” he said, “Forget it.” “I think it would be nice,” said Ann. “It would be a good will gesture, for the people.”

“Alright,” said Adrian, shaking his head yes. “Si.” Pedro would get the details for Adrian, while his company enjoyed the music. The night would have been relatively quiet, except about ten minutes later, when some women were singing after the contest. Three thugs came over to his table, one big, another small, and a medium build man. Pedro’s face turned pale, Chico started growling, and Bubbles put on an angry face. Adrian thought to himself, this is not good. The medium build man said something in Spanish, Adrian turned toward Pedro. “What did he say?” “He wants your woman, senor,” said Pedro, “I am so sorry.” “Could I do the honors?” asked Ann. “What’s going on?” asked Pedro. “You are giving up? What kind of man are you?” Ann rose to her feet, and the medium build man grabbed Ann’s arm, only to find himself directed to the ground, and his hand gripped in a wristlock. Each time he tried to move, he became entranced in pain, causing him to yell I give up in Spanish. The move caught everyone by surprise, except for Adrian, who had been teaching her. Ann released her grip and everyone thought the scene ended, until the small one approached Adrian and said something in Spanish. Adrian turned around, looking Pedro in the eyes. “What does he want?” he inquired.

“His men said the lady insulted his friend, and the gentlemen must pay.” Adrian stood up, trying to peacefully get out, but circumstances wouldn’t let him. Now the audience was focused on their table, and the big man took a swing at him, starting a situation that triggered a dance. He grabbed the man’s hand, applying a wrist lock to force him towards the floor, when the small man tried to kick him, only to find Adrian tripping his leg as he reached under him and flipped him to the ground. The middle set man tried tackling him, only to find himself sitting on the ground. When the big man stood up, Chico bit him in the ass, and Bubbles threw a plate at the middle set man. The next few minutes, Adrian did his Aikido dance, rendering the men defenseless, until the small man pulled out a revolver. “What is happening?” asked Adrian, as he stopped his dance, and his other two friends stood up. “He plans to shoot you,” said Pedro. And shoot him the man would, except the karaoke machine acted up, playing the tune

Rocky Top, and shooting dozens of CD’s in the man’s direction, causing him to lose his
posture, and dropping the revolver, thanks to the Coyote Express. Everyone looked at Adrian’s party, as the men exited out the front door, leaving their guns behind. “I wonder who they are?” Ann inquired. “They are part of the Burrito Banditos,” Pedro said.

“We should get out of here, in order to avoid farther trouble,” Adrian replied. “They know you arrived now,” Ann replied. Adrian led the exodus, with the three humans and two animals walking to the mule. The humans and pets climbed aboard, with Adrian seated upon the mule. He turned around and yelled “feather”, prompting Pedro to hand him it. The mule turned, while Adrian tickled his right ear, and whistled Yankee Doodle.

Into The Darkness
That evening, Adrian, Ann, and Bubbles were guests of the mission, which consisted of a church, mission house, and two guess houses, each patterned after seventeen century Spanish architecture. The couple stayed in one of the guest rooms. The morning would provide opportunity to talk with Sam over breakfast. The morning flair was corn tortillas, scrambled eggs, rice, beans, coffee, and tea, which prompted Adrian to reflect on beans.

Oh bean, where art thou? You have the power to instill fowl smelling air or create stomach gasses, which will make for outhouse visits. I hate beans! If there is anything I hate more then beans, it’s more beans. Beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, combined with Mexican love songs, is enough to make Coyote’s singing seem palatable. Now Ann, dear Ann, doesn’t know how to cook beans. And if the dragons in Tokien’s stories ate beans and breathed fire, the story would end in a fire-consuming explosion.

“Would you care for some more beans?” Sam asked, interrupting Adrian’s train of thought. “I had plenty of beans, but I could use some more scrambled eggs with hot sauce, and some more tea,” Adrian replied. “I heard you met the Burrito Banditos,” said Sam. “Pedro filled me in on it and said you were quite the hero.” “I hope that incident can slide,” Adrian replied, as he bent forward, exposing a medallion... “I’m sure they know you are visiting. By the way, what is that medallion you’re wearing?” asked Sam, looking at Adrian’s shirt. “I didn’t see it last night, but it looks like a silver coin with the image of the dove, and the word gatekeeper engraved on it. What does it represent and how did you get it?” “I got it as a gift, when I did a vision quest,” said Adrian. “Nobody told me its meaning.” “The dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit,” replied Sam, “and gatekeeper must be what you are.” “We figured that out,” said Ann. “But we don’t know why he was gifted with it.” “And what is behind that medallion?” asked Sam, watching Adrian turn and expose the other medal.

“It’s a group called the Rosisufists, which Adrian has an honorary membership in,” replied Ann, as Adrian turned the medallion over to show a burning bush, with a rose in the center. While Sam was looking at it, Chico ran around the table, barking for a treat. Sam pulled out some table scraps, and put them on the floor. Bubbles climbed down from the chair and started running in circles, alternating directions and imitating Chico, so Adrian got her a banana and nuts. “The pets get along well together,” responded Sam. “Can you go down to the clinic, Adrian, and look at a patient for Leroy? Ann and I have much to catch up on.” “I would love to,” say Adrian. “But how do I get there?” “Pedro will come and take you,” said Sam. “And you can ride Sparky there, and Bubbles and Chico can go with you.” “Wonderful,” responded Adrian. “Now I have animal versions of Moe, Larry, and Curly joining me.” Adrian finished his Spanish breakfast, and kissed his wife, knowing she would spend the morning chatting with her cousin. It was 8:30 AM and Adrian would meet Pedro at 9 AM, so he had a half hour to freshen up. He went to the shower room, turned on the water, and started the shower, when he heard a horrible voice outside the window. “Oh, my beautiful senorita, What pretty eyes you have.

Let me sing to you a love song, Before I watch TV.” He peeked though the shower curtain, only to see the familiar glow in the dark coyote form, wearing a Mexican sombrero pouted with alternating white and yellow strips on his head, at which Adrian snickered. He turned the shower facet on Coyote, only to have him duck and continue his love song. “Oh, my pretty senorita, I sing love songs so greet ye, Will you dance with me tonight? Be my pretty delight?” Adrian rinsed himself off, grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist, before going to the closet and grabbing a bathrobe. He founded another sombrero and walked to the window, just in time for another rendition of a Coyote original. “I like your pretty perfume, And most of all your class, But better then these trivial, I wish to grab your a…” Before Coyote could finish his dreadful verse, Adrian threw a piñata out the window,

knocking the sombrero off his head, and interrupting his composition. When Adrian learned over, looking out the window, Coyote kissed his ear, and remarked. “You drive the ladies wild in that sombrero, my son.” “First of all, I am not your son. Second of all, I am a happily married man.” Adrian retorted. “And where did you get that ridiculous sombrero?” Coyote leaned his head down and initiated a fake sobbing.” “Oh, poor me. How can I entice the pretty senoritas without a good sombrero? I painted this myself to impress the ladies. You like it, no?” “No!” I don’t, Adrian shouted. It looks like something W.C. Fields would wear to a Mexican bar.” Adrian ignored Coyote, as he went to the desk, opened it, and pulled out a miniature tape recorder he used to play American tapes. He inserted a blank, carried it over toward the window, and started whistling Yankee Doodle, and Coyote joined him. For the next few minutes, they whistled the tune, and allowed the tape to fill up. “That was fun,” said Coyote. “Are you going to sing a Mexican love song to the tune of

Yankee Doodle?”
“No,” said Adrian. “I have a kooky mule named Sparky, on loan by a boy name Pedro, and the mule only responds to that song being whistled. I can’t whistle the song and ask for directions at the same time.”

Coyote disappeared from the window, prompting Adrian to walk over, and look down into the ground, only to find a piñata, broken and filled with Mexican sweets. There were several brown ones, made with brown sugar, and contorted into various shapes, such as spirals, circles, and bows. Adrian noticed a couple of pieces on the windowsill, and grabbed one to sample it. “Hum,” said Adrian. “This is really quite taste. Did you make this just for me?” “No, silly,” replied Coyote. “It’s for the mule, in order for him to become more motivated. The boy forgot to mention he likes sweets.” “I have to get going to the clinic,” said Adrian. “Any last words before I go?” “Beware the eyes of darkness.” Adrian looked out the window again, only to find the Coyote, piñata, and candy disappeared, leaving him with a puzzle to solve. What does he mean by beware the eyes

of darkness? I know he never gives a direct answer, but always gives me a push or shove, trying to coax me into being more like him. And he would never cease playing tricks on me, given the right opportunity, like he did getting me to sing Rocky Top. The best I can do for now is keep my eyes open for what the darkness is.
Adrian walked from the guest room to the kitchen, where Ann and Sam were talking, and kissed Ann good morning. “Good morning, darling,” said Adrian. “How are you today, Sam?”

“Off to the clinic, I see,” said Sam. “Is Pedro around?” Adrian asked. “Outside by the well,” responded Ann. “Take Bubbles and Chico with you.” Adrian picked up Bubbles, who was playing with a straw hat, which she put on her head, while Chico grabbed and pulled at Adrian’s sock, so that he shooed the Chihuahua with one hand, while the other held the monkey. He carried a small straw bag, in which he positioned a treat Coyote gave him. He walked over towards the door, opened it, and walked over towards the well with Bubbles, while Chico tagged behind, barking at the sock. Over near the well, Pedro held Sparky the mule. “Ready for the ride to clinic?” asked Pedro. “I am ready,” said Adrian. “I have my feather and a tape recording of Yankee Doodle.” “You Americans are far too clever,” replied Pedro. Adrian got on the Mule, with Pedro and Bubbles sitting on back, and Chico walking beside them. He turned on the tape recorder and ticked Sparky’s left ear, and away they moved toward the clinic. Adrian reached into the bag, and placed the brown sugar treat in Sparky’s mouth, when he started moving real fast. “You shouldn’t have done that,” said Pedro. “How do we stop him?” asked Adrian.

“You need to sing a lullaby song,” yelled Pedro. Adrian flipped off the tape recorder and started to sing. “Lullaby, and good night, With the sweet roses popping! If you don’t slow down soon, We will on the road be dropping. Lullaby and goodnight May we all rest in peace?” The mule stopped, and lay down, as if in a stupor, Bubbles started her monkey laugh, Chico rolled over and played dead, and Pedro kept yelling mule siesta. Adrian tried tickling the mule’s ear, but it ignored the prompting, and just wiggled its ears from side to side. Some fruit flies kept buzzing, with Sparky’s tail missing the flies, Bubbles, and Pedro, but hitting Adrian in the rear. “I’ll bet Coyote is having a field day,” responded Adrian. “Who is Coyote?” asked Pedro. “A pet?” “He’s a practical joker friend of mine,” said Adrian. “How do I stop this mule siesta?” “You whistle the Lone Ranger theme,” Pedro responded. “He loves the Lone Ranger theme.”

“It figures,” Adrian replied. Adrian whistled the Lone Ranger theme song, and Sparky hastened to the clinic, with Adrian turning directions with the feather, Pedro and Bubbles hanging on, and Chico running closely behind. The arrived at the clinic, which prompted Adrian to stop whistling, just before the horse trough, prompting Sparky to stop suddenly and depositing Adrian, Pedro, and Bubbles in the horse trough filled with water. Adrian put his head up, and picked up Bubbles and Pedro from the water, insuring they were above water, then he put Bubbles on Pedro’s back. He then picked up a nearby bucket, filled it full of water, and threw the water at the mule, getting both mule and Chihuahua wet. Sparky just shook his head, but Chico jumped in the trough and started swimming around. “Sparky never did that before,” said Pedro. “I have a distinct feeling Coyote was behind this,” said Adrian. “Who is Coyote?” inquired Pedro. “The patron trickster of animals,” responded Adrian, causing Bubbles to laugh, until Adrian looked at her and she piped down. Pedro tied Sparky to a post, while everyone else went to the clinic, with Chico tagging behind. It was a one-story brick and zinc structure, with a simple array of windows and a door, except Adrian heard some music playing inside, and recognized it as George

Jones, the legendary Country and Western singer. After he opened the door, a group of people waiting around in chairs looked at them. Leroy was busy examining a small girl and looked at them. “Welcome. Have you taken a dip?” “I think we call it the Sparky Splash,” said Adrian, noticing several bottles of small white pills, and a tape recorder playing songs. “I am confused on the music and those white pills,” responded Adrian. “Well, you see,” responded Leroy. “I am a George Jones fan, and these pills are homeopathic medicine. You see, homeopathy is a system of medicine where a small doze of medicine matching a patients symptoms in a large doze, will cure the patient in a small doze.” “I have seen people who worked with alternative healers, such as acupuncturists and homeopaths, with great success, and I just gave a small extra boost,” Adrian replied. The doctor was seeing a small, Mexican girl, about twelve years ago, who appeared to be unresponsive to audio or visual clues, which has puzzled the homeopath. Adrian put his hand over the patient, only to draw it back again, as he sensed something powerful keeping the girl trapped. He knew he must enter the dreamtime, to determine the girl’s condition and bring her back, but he remembered Coyote’s warning to beware the eyes

of darkness, and he sensed that going to retrieve her, he would meet the eyes of

darkness.
“I have to take an inward trip,” said Adrian, “so I ask that Pedro watch over Bubbles and Chico, while Leroy watches the girl and wait until I open my eyes.”

Lady of Darkness
Adrian entered the dreamtime, but he didn’t see the darkness immediately, or the Coyote, for that matter. Instead, he noticed a figure in a brown robe, which appeared with a brown bead, mustache, and hair, except for a center bald spot. In his arm was a book labeled Wisdom, and besides him, was a basket with question mark symbols. Adrian sensed he was a saintly and scholarly figure, who would help him rather then hurt him. “Can I help you my son?” asked the man. “I’m Adrian and I am seeing a small girl,” he replied. “I’m called Socrates,” replied the man. “And the small girl is over in that dark forest to the north.” “Thank you,” replied Adrian, noticing where the man pointed. “I see you love questions.” “They are a part of my nature,” replied Francis. “And you seem to have inherited your share, with a coyote, monkey, Chihuahua, donkey, and a former parrot.” “I carter to the comic and mischievous animals,” responded Adrian. “Before you go, my son,” replied Socrates, “I like to see the bird medallion you are

wearing.” Adrian showed the monk the bird medallion containing the dove, which he had previously blessed by Mary and Udi, and the figure looked at it for a few moments. A few seconds passed and the man removed his hand, and continued on his way. Yet Adrian knew that the man would visit him from time to time, offering advice and counsel. Ahead was a dark forest, where he noticed a little girl wandering around and crying. His first instinct was to go fetch her, and he acted on that instinct, holding and comforting her, but a dark mist came creeping up on him, threatening to cover them both in a dark cocoon, except for a light springing from his bird medallion, repelling the darkness. In the background, he could hear a female voice speaking, but couldn’t see anything. “Who are you?” asked the female voice. “I am Adrian Albright, and I am taking this child back,” he replied. “Who are you?” “I am Jezebel, lady of darkness, and this is my forest,” the voice replied. Adrian held the child, who had ceased crying, and started pondering the situation.

Who is this lady that belongs in this forest, and commands this dark mist? Her voice is so feminine and she sounds so sweet, yet there is evilness about her, almost like the legend of Dark star – yes! – She is the one who is named Dark star, except that the he is a she.

“Who are you, oh lady of the night?” he asked. “Are you the one who is called Dark star?” “Could be,” replied Jezebel. “And you wouldn’t be that same fellow who applied those martial arts moves on the Burrito Banditos? And if you can come here, you may prove to be a worthy opponent.” “I am just an admirer of spiritual dances, such as Aikido,” responded Adrian. Nobody replied to his response and he looked into the darkness, only to spot a beautiful figure, about five foot eight, wearing a dark, sexy dress, with a dark complexion and an exotic air to her. She danced to a seductive melody permeating the air, rendering Adrian all but frozen to her exotic charms. Jezebel danced in a circle, moving her hips and shaking her bottom, while her breasts moved up and down, to the rhythm of a hypnotic melody. It took all of his will power to resist, and he couldn’t help but feel a sexual force attempting to arouse him. “How about a kiss?” asked Jezebel. “No thank you,” said Adrian. Adrian started to reflect upon the seductive dance. Ann is a gorgeous woman and I

am married to her, but this woman is arousing strange sensations in me, which I am finding hard to resist. How is that possible? I remember a science fiction show where an alien planted a probe in an earthling’s head, and the alien could control his thinking

and responses – except when he starting singing. Singing? That’s the key.
“Way down south in the land of cotton, Where candy is sweet and tomatoes are rotten. Look away, far away, look aware, Dixie sand. I wish I were with Tracie. Hurray! Hurray! With Dixie sand on Tracie’s land, I eat shoe fly pie in Dixie. Look away, far away, Someday, in Dixie sand.” The maiden continued her seductive dance, with her sexy moments distracting Adrian, as he held the child and continued with the singing. The darkness attempted to swallow the two, but the light radiating from the bird medallion repelled it. The girl was conscious and comforted by Adrian’s touch, but not knowing English, joined Adrian in his song. “Way down south where the words I’m forgetting, Where bluegrass rules and horses are sitting, And I bet you thought that horses couldn’t sit,

But with a child present, I can’t use the word rhyming with wit. I wish I could paint Tracie, Today! Today! Her smiling face, has a touch of lace, But today I need some hot tea.” When the child joined in, the darkness was receding back into the bowels the forest projected. Alone, Adrian turned and faced Jezebel, knowing he had stalemated her efforts, and the child was safe to bring back. The seductive girl kept dancing, but was backing away. Her eyes were on Adrian, and each stayed in their perspective places, about three feet away. “You make an interesting opponent – the first good one I encountered in ages. So I offer you a wager, for the sake of the town. Beat me and bring the town hope, before the darkness consumes them,” she replied, blowing a kiss in his direction. As the woman continued to fade, Adrian guided the child back towards a portal of light, back into their body portals, as Leroy, Pedro, Bubbles, and Chico noticed the girl regaining consciousness and Adrian opening his eyes, eyeing the clinic and hearing George Jones playing his great hits. The girl started speaking Spanish, and a smile came over her face.

“She says that you are her hero,” Pedro responded. The little girl kissed Adrian on the cheek, and Leroy motioned Pedro towards the kitchen, to treat them to some goodies, while he continued to see the patients. Adrian grabbed Bubbles, and he and Chico followed Pedro into the kitchen, where there was some Mexican candy shaped like marvels made with brown sugar, and coffee, which Pedro poured for Adrian and him. “You are not too young for coffee?” asked Adrian. “No, senor. But I have a question. I hear on American radio a senorita asking a senor up for some coffee. Do all American men join women for coffee?” Adrian started to blush, and didn’t know how to reply. He didn’t want to talk about birds and bees, or flowers and trees, for that matter, but thought a straightforward answer would suffice. “Actually, some men such as me prefer tea.” While Adrian was busy with eating the sweets and drinking coffee, he removed his sandals, which made an interesting temptation for Chico, who grabbled one and started running around the table, catching the eyes of Adrian, who quickly got up to fetch it. When Adrian got close enough, Chico tossed the sandal to Bubbles, who waited for Adrian to come close enough, before playing Michael Jordan back to Chico. This playful basketball game with Adrian’s sandal continued for a couple minutes, with Pedro laughing,

and Bubbles and Chico having a field day. Adrian then grabbed a sweet, and threw it at Chico, who dropped the sandal to pursue the sweet, scoring up another victory for human resourcefulness. “You play basketball, no?” asked Pedro. “I don’t play, but Ann likes to watch these games, so I join her,” Adrian replied. “Speaking of Ann, I need to get back, so can you let Leroy know, while I get the transportation ready?” “Si,” replied Pedro, going into the clinic, while Adrian took Bubbles and Chico over to where Sparky was tied up. “Now you behave yourself,” said Adrian, looking at the mule, with the mule shaking its head. “I need to return to Ann, to gather a female perspective.”

A woman’s insight
Adrian arrived back carrying Bubbles, and went to the kitchen, where Ann was busy making some delicious yellow circular lemon flavored sweets, and Pedro went back to his family. He set her down, and noticed Ann was so wrapped up, she didn’t notice he came back. He went to give her a hug, which she turned around and reciprocated. Bubbles, meanwhile, decided to sample some of the ingredients and picked up a first morsel; put it in her mouth, only to encounter a very sour taste. This prompted her to stick her tongue out and make a face. The second one she sampled bore a sweet taste,

and she immediately put on a big smile. While she was preoccupied, Ann and Adrian were embracing. “I need to get some female perspective,” said Adrian. “The bad guy is not a guy, but a she – and she is not very nice.” “Start from the beginning, big boy,” said Ann. “How did you meet her?” “There was this small girl at the clinic,” replied Adrian. “I went into the dreamtime to fetch her, only to have a darkness trying to surround us, and a beautiful girl named Jezebel doing a deductive dance, tried to seduce me.” “You mean a seductive dance?” Ann inquired. “It reminds me of the belly dancer video Uncle Wilber showed regarding his bachelor party,” Adrian responded. “The one where the girl strips and dances in a provocative Egyptian style. trying to arouse the mummy. And I had to sing a butchered I wish I

were in Dixie song, since her power was overwhelming me, and she was such a bad girl,
there’s no telling what evil thoughts she was thinking. My mother told me there would be women like that – she really did. But I have met very few in my life. I seen quite a few in the movies, but this wasn’t a movie.” “What does this woman want?” Ann asked, putting a sweet into Adrian’s mouth. “The usual,” said Adrian. “Power and no opposition – I think she views me as the opposition – imagine that, mind you – since I am quite unacquainted with these flirtatious

dance moments, and she also found me challenging. In fact, she is issuing an open challenge to me, for the sake of the town.” Bubbles took a moment to grab a sour candy chunk and throw it through the open window, unobserved by the humans, only to have Chico put it into his mouth, and immediately spit it out. He erupted into a series of sharp barks, while Bubbles smiled and started giggling. Adrian and Ann stopped their conversations, while Adrian rushed to the window, only to find Chico barking and looking up. “What’s gotten into you?” asked Adrian. “Have you seen a cat? I know. You want a piece of that lovely candy Ann’s making.” Bubbles grabbed a piece of sour candy and handed it to Adrian, who in turn threw it out the window to Chico, who immediately took a quick lick and started growling at Adrian. “What’s gotten into you?” inquired Adrian. “Now you behave yourself.” “Has Chico seen a desert critter?” asked Ann. “I wonder if he doesn’t like your candy?” asked Adrian. Adrian went over to the candy, and examined both the sweet and sour batches, and opted for the sour batch that Bubbles gave him a sample for Chico. Placing a piece on his tongue, his face started making contortions, as Bubbles commenced her laughter and looked at him. Ann then grabbed a sour piece and placed it in her mouth, only to

regurgitate it into her hand. “This candy is terribly sour,” Ann said. “I must have confused the Spanish recipe Pedro’s mom gave me, and added too much sour ingredients. I’ll bet I confused the Spanish numbers.” While Bubbles was laughing and wasn’t paying attention to Adrian, he picked up a sour candy piece, snuck behind her, and popped it into her mouth, which she immediately spit out. Meanwhile, Ann sampled a sweet piece and was immediately pleased, so she motioned for Adrian to try one, which he did to his satisfaction. Adrian remembered the mule was tied up outback, so he took a sour candy and exited through the door. “I’ll be right back,” he yelled, his face beaming a big smile. He went up to Sparky, petted him on the ears, and held out his hand bearing the candy. Sparky took the sour morsel, shook his head back and forth, echoing his typical mule yell, and spitted out the candy at Adrian, who was busy running back to the kitchen, with Chico following close behind. “Adrian Albright,” yelled Ann, a bit flustered. “Did you give that pour mule one of those sour candies? Shame on you! I’ll bet you gave one to Bubbles to!” Bubbles looked at Adrian and smiled. “That mule is no innocent baby,” replied Adrian. “He’s responsibility for giving Bubbles, Pedro, and I a bath, when he stopped short at the clinic and we fell in the horse trough.

And I bet that mischievous Bubbles gave Chico a sour candy in the first place.” “I swear,” said Ann. “Between Coyote, you, and this animal menagerie, my pour cousin will take a vow of silence and transfer to a Trappist monetary.” “That raises an interesting question,” replied Adrian. “Besides the lady Jezebel, I met a man who called himself Socrates. He had a basket of questions with him and wore a brown robe. Somehow, I think I need all my own wits about me, in addition to the advice and counsel of Coyote and Socrates, to beat this Jezebel, the daughter of darkness.” Pedro came barging in, jumping up and down, as if he had good news. “You judge the hot pepper eating contest tomorrow night. I get the mule clean – give him a bath – care to help me?” asked Pedro. “I just remembered I have to catch a train…” Adrian said, as Ann interrupted him. “He’ll be delighted to help you,” said Ann. “How do you clean him?” “We give him a bath,” said Pedro. “Do you have some time now?” Bubbles started laughing and Adrian looked at her, producing a silent monkey. “Let’s take Chico and Bubbles with us, and get them out of Ann’s hair,” Adrian replied, as he kissed Ann goodbye, picked up Bubbles, and followed Pedro out the door.

Singing in the bathtub
Adrian and Pedro attached a garden hose to the mission, with a couple of buckets and

some brushes, with Sparky tied to a pole, Bubbles playing with the bucket of supplied, and Chico trying to bite Adrian’s sandals. Bubbles removed a bottle of bubble bath from the bucket, and started moving it around in her hands, admiring the pretty design. But Adrian looked over and noticed the bottle, and turned to Pedro. “Don’t tell me Sparky takes a bubble bath?” inquired Adrian. “He likes to smell nice,” replied Pedro. “We fill one bucket with water and pour in the bubble bath, then we brush him down, and rinse him off with the garden hose.” “Sounds simple enough,” replied Adrian. “What could possibly go wrong here?” “He like’s that song to be sung to him – Singing in the Bathtub,” replied Pedro. Adrian filled up the bucket with Bubble bath, as he put Bubbles down. Chico and Bubbles started pulling on a rubber ducky, each trying to get the upper hand. As they pulled and pushed back and forth, the duck snapped loose and hit Adrian in the head. He turned around, looking at Chico and Bubbles playing innocent and Sparky letting out his mule yell. Adrian picked up the bucket, sharing sponges with Pedro, and started singing. “Singing in the bathtub, Singing in the rain, Singing in the bathtub, I’m so happy again.”

Behind a cactus, a voice started singing, which Adrian knew was Coyote. “Going to the bathroom, Trying to catch the train, Watching all the liquid, Flush down the drain.” Adrian put the hose down, while he and Pedro looked at the cactus. Sparky picked up the hose with his mouth, and it was pointed towards the men and animals, drowning everyone in water, until Adrian tied a knot in the hose. “Are you a ventriloquist?” asked Pedro. “Let’s just say I have a crazy alter ego voice,” replied Adrian. “Tell me, Pedro. Have you ever heard of a girl named Jezebel, who wears a dark dress?” Pedro stood still for a moment, and a minute or two passed before he spoke. “There is a legend in our village, about a seducer of men, who is dressed in dark clothing. She is an evil person, who appears as a wonderful woman, full of charm and wit. Our village talks about people who seen her never coming back. Only the strongest of spiritual people can see her – and live.” “Or fools,” replied Adrian. “Let’s get this goofy mule bathed, before my alter ego dreams up some more tricks.”

Adrian started scrubbing the mule, aided by Pedro, but was interrupted by Bubbles and Chico. Either Chico would grab something, and run with it, in which case Adrian would give chase, or Bubbles would throw something, causing the mule bathing to stop. It took about an hour to scrub down the mule, but the procedure was finally completed and it brought a sign of relief to Adrian, who proceeded to hose down Sparky. “So I just this pepper eating contest tomorrow,” said Adrian. “It should give me a better chance to observe these Burrito Banditos.” “On the contrary, senor,” responded Pedro. “They are very interested in learning more about you. Word about your Aikido moves in town, and saving the young girl, has gotten many people curious about you.” Adrian remained silent and kept on bathing the mule.

Hot time in the Old Town Tonight
The next day, Adrian spent some quality time with Ann, and managed to get Pedro to baby sit Bubbles, while Samuel gave them both more insights into the town. After he graduated from the seminary, he was assigned to this remote Spanish outpost, after the senior priest died under mysterious circumstances. The body was never found, and the police were called in to investigate, but nothing ever turned up, outside of rumors of a girl dressed in black, coming to confession an hour before he disappeared. A local merchant noticed the strange lady going to the church, and asked where she was going.

When she replied to the confessional, he continued with his work. An hour later, he saw a family on the way to confessional, which reported the priest missing. That evening found Ann, Pedro, Adrian, Bubbles, and Chico, ridding the Sparky wagon express into town, while Adrian played his tape recording of Yankee Doodle. Darkness was just setting in, and they stopped the wagon near the bar, where the contest was being held. Samuel carried Bubbles, and Pedro tied the mule, while Adrian focused his mystic senses on the bar inside, as they walked toward the bar. There was a heavy set, short, muscular bearded man, whom Adrian sensed as being important. When they arrived, the same man came up to greet them. “You must be senor Adrian,” responded the man. “ I have heard so much about you and I look forward to helping you judge this contest.” “And you are?” asked Adrian. “Just call me Hosea Siesta,” he said. “And I notice the nice father and his assistant, Pedro. Who might the others be?” “The others are Ann Albright my wife, and my pet Bubbles,” Adrian replied. “I trust you know Chico.” “Let’s sit down at the bar, and get to know each other,” said Hosea, “before the party begins.” Adrian followed him to the bar, while the others continued to seat themselves. His

mind begins to drift on his predicament. I wonder if Sherlock Holmes ever sat down to

tea with Professor Moiety? If they did, what would they say to each other? My, the weather is great today. Isn’t this a fine sherry? How many people did you kill today? Would you like to have a cigarette? I have over one hundred and twenty you can choose from. They both would probably watch their drinks, to insure the other didn’t try to poison them.
Hosea ordered a bottle of tequila, and two classes, which the bartender promptly put on the table. Underneath the table, Adrian felt Coyote kicking his foot, which means he had a message for him. Adrian turned to Hosea and said. “Excuse me, but my sandal is loose, so please let me tie it.” Adrian went under the table, only to see Coyote looking at him. “What do you want?” Adrian asked. “He wants to challenge you to a drinking contest. Turn your head backwards, pour the tequila in your nose, and I will make it disappear,” Coyote replied. “Aren’t you the nosey one?” retorted Adrian. The bartender returned with a bottle of tequila, and two empty glasses, which he promptly filled the two glasses. He grabbed one of the glasses, raised it, and Adrian promptly followed suit, and they both clinked the glasses together, followed by Hosea downing the tequila.

“Good stuff, americano,” sneered Hosea. “Now you try the tequila.” Adrian tilled his head back, raised his glass, and poured it down his nose, with the liquid disappearing before making contact. He returned his head to an upright position, only to notice Hosea with his eyes nearly popped out. “You didn’t sip that though you’re nose, hombre?” he asked. “You couldn’t have!”

“That’s good stuff,” sneered Adrian. “Now you try your turn at the fire water.” Hosea took the bottle, poured a shot, and drunk it down. Adrian felt a tug on his foot and bent over, to see Coyote smiling at him. “You should learn to be less nosey,” said Coyote. Adrian returned to his sitting position, only to see his glass filled with tequila, and he turned in Ann’s direction and winked, knowing she’ll understand Coyote was aiding him. This time, he took the tequila glass to his nose, and pretended to sniff it, savoring the odor like a fine wine. He then picked up the bottle, turned to Hosea, and remarked. “Excuse me, senor, but don’t they have a worm in these things?” “You are one funny hombre,” remarked Hosea. “Just drink the tequila and forget

about the worm.” Adrian again tilted his head back, and the tequila disappeared from his glass and appeared to go up his nose, with the audience now focused on the drinking contest. Adrian felt an image in his mind, and knew Coyote was telepathically contacting him, prompting him to form a question. “Why are you contacting me like this, and before we spoke under the table?” asked Adrian mentally. “And furthermore, what do you want?” “I wanted to keep things under the table earlier – get my drift?” Coyote inquired. “Now I figured out what you mean by the worm. Never mind about him, since he died happy.” Hosea grabbed the tequila and poured a glass, before drinking it down. By now, the hot pepper eating contest was halted, and everyone was betting money on the drinking contest, with many people going with the newcomer, while only Hosea’s men betted on him. The minutes passed, with five shots of tequila passing between them, and Hosea snapping his fingers, and yelling. “Have the musicians play some music, while I get to know this hombre better,” yelled Hosea. He poured two glass glasses of tequila, and Adrian make it disappear up his nose. Three men forming a band came over, all with guitars, playing Mexican love songs, which

Adrian hated. Hosea then downed the six Tequila glass, rolled his head, and looked Adrian straight in the eyes. “You one of them Clint Eastwood western hombres?” asked Hosea. “Clint Eastwood?” retorted Adrian. “The spaghetti western hero, coming into town, killing all the bad guys? I don’t even own a gun, so why do you think that?” “You wipe three of my best men around with some foreign dancing karate style, heal some girl at the clinic, and drink tequila through your nose. You a troublemaker, no?” asked Hosea. “Hey,” retorted Adrian. “It’s not some dancing karate style, but Aikido – whose practice brings inner peace and contentment. The little girl was sick, and went to see the local doctor. Shouldn’t the sick be treated?” Hosea poured the seventh round, with Adrian using the nose again, while Hosea drowned his with the rhythms of Mexican love songs. A hooker came over, and lit a cigarette for Hosea from a pack she carried, and offered one to Adrian, who held up his hand, indicating no. The prostitute kissed Hosea, and after she left, turned to Adrian. “You are a cool hombre,” Hosea said. “Any hombre drinking seven tequila shots up his nose is cool. But you are a bit weird, and we can both live here. Would some cool money help? No? Buy your wife some nice things? Keep away from my town, and I pay you well.”

“Money?” asked Adrian. “You trying to bribe me? Listen, Hosea. I appreciate the offer, really. But we already have money, from my wife’s uncle, and I am not into material goods. Live the simple life, I always say, and help others. Here cousin is the local priest, and I came down to visit – get my drift?” Hosea didn’t respond, but continued with the drinking. Three more rounds were served, with Adrian doing the nose trick and Hosea drinking straight up, with the musicians still playing. When Hosea and Adrian finished the eleventh round, Hosea dismissed the musicians, and gave the bottle of tequila to his men, who started passing the bottle around. Hosea stood up, looked at the audience, and remarked. “This contest could go all night,” he yelled. “But the pepper eating contest would never take place. Bring some for us judges to sample.”

I bet that goofy Coyote won’t mask the hot pepper, Adrian thought. It builds character, Coyote mentally replied.
All the judges took a hot pepper from the tray being passed, and started chewing it. When the tray reached Adrian and Hosea, with Hosea taking a hot pepper and chewing it down in one gulp. Adrian picked up a pepper, put it in his mouth, and started chewing it, only to discover a fiery sensation burning his tongue off, with his eyes watering and his throat feeling parched. He started running around, saying, “Water, water,” which Pedro yelling back, “agua, agua”. A bartender brought some water and Adrian drank it down in

one gulp. “Is the pepper hot enough?” laughed Hosea. “Would you like to sample another? No?” “Plenty hot! Plenty hot!” yelled Adrian, his eyes still watering, but his mouth and tongue started to cool down some. The next two hours were spent watching fat men, skinny men, strong men, and weak men, eat hot peppers, until their tongues were on fire, and each contest found the audience drinking tequila, except for Adrian, Ann, and Pedro. Adrian had a chance to observe Hosea close up, and he saw a clever leader, who had complete control over everyone. Nobody drank unless Hosea drank first, and nobody would disagree with a statement he made, and everyone was drinking tequila when he raised his glass, and women flocked around him in groves. Adrian knew Hosea had the advantage in numbers, and the dark lady, who remained a mystery to Adrian, was probably the real one in control. The night ended with a small runt being declared the winner, chiefly because everyone else had given up, or was too drunk on tequila to continue eating hot peppers. It was a town of darkness – a town without pity – as an old song mentioned, and at the end of the evening, Adrian was glad to leave with Ann, Pedro, Bubbles, and Chico, but not before overhearing Hosea talk to his men. “This one is trouble,” said Hosea, “and will not leave so easily. Any hombre that can

drink several shots of tequila through his nose is plenty trouble.”

Who is Conquistador?
That evening, after arriving back at the parish, Adrian took a stroll to reflect on everything, before joining Ann for bed, and he took Chico with him. He saw a man wearing a brown robe walking around, which he recognized as Socrates, and Chico wagged his tail and issued a friendly bar. Francis reached down and petted Chico, who kept wagging his tail. Adrian noticed Socrates had long hair and a beard, and that this contrasted with Adrian’s short hair and mustache. “Are you here to help me?” asked Adrian. “I’m here as long as you’re in the area,” replied Francis. “Consider me your friend and spiritual advisor. Do you have anything to confess?” Adrian thought for a moment, and felt a moment of weakness.

“I am suffering from feelings of inadequacy,” Adrian replied. “The people look to me to save them, but I am just a human being, and this Jezebel is a mystery to me. In fact, she may be more then I can handle, given all I don’t know about her, and she seems to be the driving force behind all the chaos around here.” Socrates reached into his robe pocket, and pulled out a couple of treats. One was a piece of dried beef, which he threw to Chico, who responded by immediately grabbing

the morsel and gobbling it. The other was a dark chocolate, which he gave to Adrian, who put it on his tongue, and savored the sweet bitter taste. “This is wonderful,” said Adrian. “Where did you get this?” “Old ancient Greek recipe,” responded Socrates. “I need to tell you that help will be found, in a person named the conquistador.” Chico barked, as he wanted another treat, which prompted Adrian to turn to him, and pet him, which Chico reciprocated with a wet kiss. He turned around, only to notice Francis missing, and Chico barking at the thin air. “Adrian,” shouted Ann, with the window to their cottage open. “What is Chico barking at?” Adrian walked over to the cottage, with Chico following behind, and wagging his tail. Adrian walked over to Ann, and gave her a kiss through the window, and she hugged and kissed him back. The window reminded Adrian of the night he proposed to Ann, six months after defeating Scorpion, when he decided to sing her a love song, got to the kitchen window, and the window fell shut as he poked his head through to romance her. The window reminded him of the vary one that got his stuck. “This window reminds me of the one I got stuck in,” he said. “I bumped into Socrates again, and he talked about meeting someone called the conquistador.” “Luckily, I used to have Spanish clients as a psychotherapist,” he said. “So learning to

speak it, even if pigeon Spanish, helps, for conquistador means conqueror. That certainly doesn’t sound nice – more like me on a bad hair day.” Adrian walked from the window to the front door, and opened it, with Chico following behind, and Ann meeting him in the kitchen, where she put on a pot of tea, and she always made some tea for him. Bubbles was awake, sitting on the table, and picked up a cookie from a tray, and handled it to him, as he sat down on a kitchen chair. He chomped on the cookie, and appeared deep in thought, surrounded by questions. “I don’t know,” Adrian responded. “Here we are, in a town ruled by these Burrito Banditos, overshadowed by the Darkness of a woman named Jezebel, with a sage named Socrates popping up occasionally, and I am nowhere nearing solving this mystery then I am to finding the fountain of youth. And they had to name this dumb town Sleepy Hollow, which suggests the headless horseman, who was also a dark figure, and…wait a minute…how did they beat the headless horseman?” “I don’t think anyone beat him, dear,” responded Ann, pouring the tea. “ I think the headless horseman just turned back.” Adrian noticed a flyer written in Spanish, lying on the table, and wondered what it was. “What is this flyer?” asked Adrian. “It advertises the next movie,” retorted Ann. “Let me translate it for you. Creatures from the planet Zambaloney need to unload their organic garbage, so they send several

automated container ships containing Spore X, which mutates into green slime sponge monsters, upon contact with earth’s atmosphere. Earth’s weapons are useless in combating these strange mutations that feed off the Vitamin B complexes in animals and humans. Professor Bon Shortcake, an expert in vampire lore, has gone to Transylvania, attempting to recruit Count Chickaree and his vampire legends, asking for their assistance to defeat this array of slime monsters. The professor successfully argued that the food chain would be diminished, if the humans became feed for the slime monster. Meanwhile, Professor Lingberry is working on some inventions, to defeat either the slime monsters or vampires, so he can ensure earth’s ultimate safety, and marry the girl Louie Bell, III.” “I give up on this town’s movie theater,” replied Adrian. “Let’s get to bed and talk to Sam in the morning.” Ann kissed him, and both put the animals to bed, before heading to the bedroom and paradise.

Valley of the shadow of death
The morning found them eating beans, coffee, tortillas, scrambled eggs, and hot sauce, which spelled problems for Adrian, who usually suffered from gas attacks, caused by bean indigestion. Yet he found the coffee stimulating, and the animals were in the

dining area, eating animal food, and pretty much behaving themselves. Sam sat with the couple, eating his breakfast, before beginning his parish rounds. “Father,” said Adrian, realizing he was addressing his cousin by the Catholic title. “Have you heard of anything called conquistador?” Sam glanced at his rosary, which he held before answering. “I heard of this stranger name conquistador, who lives in an area called the valley of the shadow of death.”

Wonderful, thought Adrian. Now I remember a reference to a Psalm, where God protects everyone from the valley of the shadow of death. And I’m that blind fool walking right into the trap, or better still, driving right into the trap. And if I have to ride that goofy mule, I will end up the laughing stock of the valley. I insist we take the rented VM, rather then singing Yankee Doodle to Sparky, and getting caught in the desert with a mule that can’t go anywhere, unless you tickle his ear with a feather or play Yankee Doodle.
“This conquistador,” responded Sam, munching on some scrambled eggs, and sipping his coffee, is a local indigenous fellow – my, these scrambled eggs are good – goodness gracious, Ann – how can you cook such good food, and your husband is not gaining wait?” “I don’t know, Sam, I really don’t,” responded Ann. “Or should I say, when I am making eggs, fry it again, Sam?” “Some of your wit is rubbing off on Sam,” said Sam, sipping some coffee and eating a tortilla. “ I know your husband is half right. Once I met this conquistador, who came to

visit the church during a feast day. He wears long hair, and is regarded as a prince, in their culture. I do know where he lives, and can draw you a map.” After breakfast, Sam drew up a map, and Ann and Adrian packed some items, packed into the rented Volkswagen, with Bubbles and Chico tagging along. Somewhere, over the crystal clear desert landscape, with its array of cactuses and desert critters, surrounded by an assorted variety of shapeless sand, lay a fellow know as conquistador, who may well be the only clue to the lady in black, assuming one believed Adrian’s visions of blown robed monks, which Ann certainly was accustomed to. Somewhere in the distance, as the Volkswagen drove along the desert highway, was a flock of buzzards, circling the desert sky, and Chico and Bubbles, situated in the back seat, were trying to be the next Sonny and Cher music act, with passenger side Adrian trying to shut them up and follow the map, along with Ann striving to drive the unknown highway, and listen to a Beatles CD. “Now you two behave yourselves,” said Adrian sternly. “Else I’ll feed you to those buzzards.” A sign in the horizon said Droopy Villa, which was the headquarters for conquistador Outside was a fruit stand, run by a small elderly Mexican lady, whom Ann stopped the car, and looked at some fruit, leaving Adrian to watch the animal menagerie. He listened carefully as Ann asked a few basic questions in Spanish, and the lady appeared to be upset, and put her hands together, indicating an unwillingness to talk further.

“What is she upset about?” asked Adrian, looking over at Ann. “She doesn’t know where conquistador is,” responded Ann. “It seems she is a bit anxious over two strangers asking about him.” “Let’s go over to the cantina and get a soda pop,” replied Adrian, who developed a taste for a Coke. The couple got Bubbles and let Chico follow behind, as they headed for the cantina. Inside was a few locals drinking tequila and beer, with a couple of ladies dancing to a jukebox, filled with Mexican love songs. Ann and Adrian sat down at a table, put Bubbles in a chair, and Chico sat on the floor besides Adrian. The bartender, a short Mexican fellow in torn overhauls, came over and asked for the order in Spanish, prompting Ann to reply to cokes, and one with lemon and lime, which was a staple of Adrian. “There’s nothing like a Coke with lemon and lime on a hot day,” responded Adrian. Bubbles spotted a party popper used for New Years celebrations, sitting on the table, that were part of the seasonal bullfight celebration, which was occurring today. She pulled the popper, which deposited confetti projectile across the smoky barroom atmosphere, and right into the mouth of the short Mexican fellow, who appeared annoyed, and cam over to the table where Ann and Adrian sat. He appeared a bit annoyed and spoke in perfect English. “You gringos are making me mad,” the man responded. “What are you doing in my town anyway?”

“I’m very sorry,” replied Adrian. “It’s a long story, but I am looking for a man called

conquistador. Have you seen him?”
The man repeated Adrian’s words in Spanish, and this caused the whole barroom to laugh, and continued that way for a couple of minutes, initially following the men tossing tequila glasses and slapping each other on the back. “Suppose I told you where this conquistador lives?” asked the man. “What do you want with him?” “Well,” said Adrian. “There is a town called Sleepy Hollow, controlled by the Burrito Banditos and connected to a lady of darkness called Jezebel, and both are making misery of the innocents, but I can’t for the life of me figure out this lady. A monk mentioned you could help me? Is he right?” “I am Poncho Groovebubble,” responded the man. “Come to the bullfight this afternoon in a couple of hours, and I will talk some more. I must go now, but the bartender will give directions.”

The Bullfight
Adrian and Ann took the pets and drove to the bullfight arena, which was just a run down fence, occupying a section of sand. Adrian went to exercise the animals, while Ann bought a couple of tickets, and give one to Adrian to join him. Adrian was fascinated by a Spanish sign for cotton candy, and walked over to the concession stand, which had the

original vendor stepping out to the bathroom and a glow in the dark coyote attending the stand. Adrian approached the stand, only to find his companion licking some cotton candy. “This stuff is really delicious,” Coyote replied. “Fattening but delicious. Please take some, on the house, and get to the bullfight.” A container of cotton candy floated into Adrian’s hand, which he prompted shared with Bubbles and Chico. “I need to get to the bullfight,” said Adrian. “Can you read Spanish?” “No problem,” responded Coyote. “Just go to that center door, with the picture of the man and the red cape.” “Will that get me to the bullfight?” asked Adrian. “Kid,” replied Coyote. “It will take you to the best seat in the house.” Adrian walked over to the door Coyote identified, carrying Bubbles, with Chico bringing up the rear. By the door, there were two Mexicans talking in Spanish, both faces showing a disappointing look, and puffing away on cheap cigarettes, which were immediately congesting Adrian’s breathing. He continued to listen to the conversation, not wishing to interrupt before they finished talking. “The bullfighter is sick,” said the short one with a sombrero, speaking in Spanish, smoking a cigarette.

“We need to refund the tickets,” said the fat one, speaking in Spanish, puffing on his cigarette. “Excuse me,” said Adrian. “No speak Spanish. Bullfight? Is this way to bullfight?” “Bullfight?” asked the short one. “ I’m late for tickets,” Adrian responded. “So I got a substitute. Substitute. What is the Spanish word for substitute?” “Oh,” said the fat one in Spanish. “Substitute. The gringo is the substitute bullfighter.” The fat one grabbed a hat, and placed it upon Adrian’s head, while the short one gave him a red cape, which prompted Adrian to scratch his head in dismay. When the fat man handed him a sword, he handed it back, putting the handle in his hand. Both men offered him a cigarette, which he held up one hand, and waived it in a back and forth sweeping motion, indicating no. “No sword,” responded Adrian. “Giving these hats and capes are a good tourist touch. But this sword is a bit much. Someone could hurt himself waiving a sword around. Imagine a crowd of people raising swords. But I got good seats. What is the word now? Substitute! Substitute!” “Substitute!” responded both men in English, cheering Adrian as he walked toward the door.

Adrian walked into a wooden fence, which provided both an inner and outer barrier. As he held Bubbles, he noticed she was getting edgy, and Chico started barking very loudly. From the inner fence side, he could hear a bull moving, and wondered if he got a front seat, and where Ann would be. He spotted a wooden door, but neither pet wanted to travel beyond the door’s gate, since Bubbles jumped out of Adrian’s hands, and unto the edge of the outer fence, while Chico keep barking and backing away. “Fine,” responded Adrian. “You guys can stay here, for all I care. Here I go to all this trouble to get good bullfight seats, and look how you two behave. You both should be ashamed of yourselves.” Adrian opened the gate, walked out, and quickly closed it before paying attention to where he was. He noticed himself in the bullfighting arena, and tried opening the gate, only to notice it stuck, and a charging mad bull aiming for his rear. He took a running jump up onto the fence top, as the bull stopped at the fence, waiting for Adrian to come down. On the other side of the gate, he noticed the two pets and a familiar glow in the dark coyote. “You!” he shouted. “You promised I would get a good seat for the bullfight. You tricked me!” “What closer seat can you get?” asked Coyote, smiling back. “How do I get out of this mess?” screamed Adrian.

“I tell you what, kid,” responded Coyote, “We sing it a Mexican love song together, and you just follow my lead.” Following Coyote’s last words, some Mexican music came from behind the fence, with Coyote commencing to sing simultaneously in English and Spanish, and Adrian following his lead in English. “I love your pretty eyes, Your lovely body turns me on, You are the flower of my heart I can’t bear us being apart.” The bull’s eyes became glassy, like a parakeet’s do singing to its own mirror reflection. Adrian noticed the music and singing were calming the bull, and he looked into the fence, to see Coyote singing, Bubbles playing some cymbals Coyote gave her, and Chico barking along to the music. Adrian then turned again to the bull, to sing the next chorus. “I’m no stranger to the night, What we do then is right, You really break my heart, I can’t stand us being apart.” Each verse had a few moments of music between them, and Adrian took the moment to

ask a question. “How long do we keep singing this silly love song?” Adrian asked, looking down a Coyote. “Until he turns over on his side, at which time, I throw you some duck tape, and you bind his feet together,” Coyote replied. Adrian looked at the bull again, and waited to join Coyote in another verse. “You are as strong as a bull, My heart reaches out for you, I’m infatuated with your charm, Our love is cause for big alarm.” Adrian noticed the bull turned over on its side, and a roll of duck tape came flying towards him from Coyote, which he grabbed with his hand, and jumped into the bull ring, binding the bull’s hind and front legs together. When he finished the binding job, the music stopped, and the bull returned to normal, mean consciousness, but couldn’t move his legs, and could only hiss. The crowd was going wild, and shouting compliments in Spanish. The next few moments brought the unexpected, as several members from the audience came down, picked Adrian up, and started carrying him around on their shoulders, parading in a circle, but not before Adrian discovered Poncho Groovebubble and Ann inside the crowd. Adrian shouted to Ann, Poncho told the crowd in Spanish to

make room for them, and Poncho and Ann were walking beside Ann. “Tell someone to let the monkey and Chihuahua out,” he responded, pointing to the door. Poncho said a few words in Spanish, prompting a couple men to open the door, and one put Bubbles on his shoulders, and she started waiving her hands up and down, as they joined the parade of people, with Chico followed behind the man carrying Bubbles. Poncho lit a Cuban cigar, shook Adrian’s hand, and offered him a cigar, which he politely refused. “I seen many a bull fighter, but none defeat a bull by singing, and humiliating the bull with duct tape. You are a hero senor, and you can have anything in town. Ask me for tequila, women, cigarettes, song, or anything else that comes along. If it is not there, then I will find it.” “Thanks,” shouted Adrian. “But I am not interested in women, since I am a happily married man. The others, except for song, and depending on what comes along, I just need to find this conquistador.” “Oh, senor Adrian,” replied Poncho. “While you were out bullfighting, I had a long talk with Ann, and she briefed me on things. For you see, I am none other then conquistador, and we talk tonight in private, over a fine Mexican dinner, and good Mexican love music. You like Mexican love music?”

“My favorite,” said Adrian, as he resolved himself to the fate of Mexican love ballets.

Don Quixote
How does one end up in a chicken coop reading Don Quixote? This is a question vexing Adrian, as he continues to investigate the dark lady, and seek Poncho’s assistance. After the fight was over, Ann and Adrian engaged in coffee at the local cantina, only to have Poncho’s wife Austin stop by, with an English translation of Don Quixote, which she gave to Adrian as a gift for being such as great bullfighter. “I am Austin, Poncho’s wife,” she responded, after discovering him in the coffee shop. “And this is a gift from my husband to the great bullfight.” “Oh, gosh,” retorted Adrian, with a blushing red face. “All I did was sing him a love song.” “But the song was wonderful,” responded Austin. “You are the first to defeat a bull by singing, and I want to help you wife shop.” “Do you mind, dear?” asked Ann. Adrian knew it met babysitting Bubbles and Chico, along with reading a famous Spanish hero, whom he had remotely heard about. The game plan was to link up with Ann and Austin in a couple hours, and join Poncho for dinner, so he devoted time to skimming through the book, as he roamed the streets, looking for secluded places to sit down, and he wandered aimlessly though Mexican houses, until the sound of chickens caught his

attention, where a stump provided a much needed resting place. “I wonder what it would be like to be Don Quixote?” Asked Adrian. “Your wish would be easy to grant,” said the stump. “And you want to take me into the dreamtime, Mr. Coyote, to be Don Quixote?” “Hey, kid,” retorted the stump. “It will get you into Mexican culture faster.” The next couple of minutes found Adrian entering the dreamtime, only to be seated on a suit of armor, complete with a mule named Sparky, a guard Chihuahua named Chico, a traveling companion called Bubbles, and a flock of endangered talking chickens, whom Adrian had to save from an evil sorcerer named Jezebel, the dark lady. Surrounding the chickens was a brown robed figure named Socrates, whom Adrian knew from an earlier encounter. “Socrates,” yelled Adrian. “That Coyote tricked me into battling Jezebel, whom I was not able to defeat earlier.” “I am your spiritual advisor,” said Francis, petting the chickens as they ran around. “You can’t defeat Jezebel unless you train here, getting to know her a bit after each encounter. It is up to you to find a weakness, and exploit it, before you are killed in battle. There are two battles you’re fighting. One is a physical battle, and the other is a spiritual battle, and you must win the later battle before engaging in the former. You must come here to train.”

The assorted array of clucking chickens were a sight to Adrian’s eyes, and the chickens were gossiping about the new hero come to save everyone, and how this man emulated the great Don Quixote, only to bring nobility and chivalry back to the land. It also came as a shock to Adrian, who realized that he would have to defeat Jezebel in a Don Quixote setting, adopted in the dreamtime. “Wonderful,” said Adrian. “I have my spiritual advisor, my trusty steed, my traveling companion, a guard Chihuahua, but no Coyote.” “You mean the court jester?” asked Socrates. “He will be along shortly.”

This is an interesting can of worms, thought Adrian. The key to this battle lies in this stupid book, and I have no idea how to defeat this impossible foe, which seems to overpower me. At least with Aikido, you can use a person’s physical strength again them, but you can’t defeat a foe that battles in the dreamtime, and can affect the outcome. I need to explore this environment a bit more, and see what arises from this encounter.
“So, Socrates, you being my spiritual advisor and all, how can I deal with this foe, and help the people?” “The strength must come from two sources,” said Francis. “From something greater then yourself, and from untapped sources within yourself.” Socrates walked away, and something inside Adrian knew he could call upon him anytime for advice and console, and he would stick around for his Mexican duration.

Sparky bore Adrian’s ass upon an ass, with a tape recorder playing Yankee Doodle, and a feather in an attached saddlebag. Behind Adrian sat Bubbles, with Chico following behind the pair. They rode though a small, medieval town, where Adrian came upon an inn, and he dismounted Sparky, attaching him to a pole, and put Bubbles on his shoulder, with Chico following them into the inn. The room was filled with barbarians drinking, carousing, and minstrels playing music. The barkeeper, a big muscular man by trait, came over. “Hey, stranger, care for some ale or a wrench?” He asked. “I only need water, and some food for my animal companions, including the mule outside,” responded Adrian. “Have you ever heard of a lady named Jezebel?” A silence hung over the bar, as the minstrels stopped playing, and the audience sat in dead silence, as Adrian looked around at wenches not performing their craft, minstrels losing their musical ability, barbarians behaving like lambs, and drinkers not consuming alcohol. Only Bubbles jumped up and down, trying to get the crowd to cheer, but to no avail. Finally, the bartender yelled out a bellowing scream. “Bring out the royal court jester!” “Bring out the royal court jester!” Everyone screamed in unison. “Yes, by all means,” yelled Adrian. “Do bring out the royal court jester!” A glow in the dark Coyote form emerged from behind the bar, wearing a jester hat,

and Bubbles jumped up and down with joy. There was a tremendous applause from the audience, as the familiar jester took a bow, and walked over to where Adrian is sitting. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he responded. “This is our hero, on a quest for knowledge, to defeat the dark lady. Let us help him in his journeys. Now I recite a poem, with the appropriate complementary music. Mistrals, please!” A trio of musicians, with a lute, flute, and some otherwise unfamiliar instrument, started playing, with wenches dancing, Bubbles joining in from the table, and Chico circling the table, looking for food to eat. A frustrated Adrian put his arm on the table, with his hand extending to his chin, and let out a big sigh. Coyote waited for a few notes to be played, before commencing the poem, set to music. “One there was a lad, Who quests knowledge of old, To defeat the dark lady, It’s a task so bold. “Encourage this young knight, As he quests for truth, Give him some beer, So his tongue is loose.”

As the crowd cheered, Adrian yelled from the table. “Oh, Mr. Royal Court Jester,” yelled Adrian. “May I have a word in private, if you please.” For all appearances, Adrian was reliving the Don Quixote adventure, except in the dreamtime, which is that spiritual dimension coexisting with the physical world. He understood he would be spending some time in this menagerie of medieval imbeciles, derelicts, barbarians, and spiritually deprived misfits, as he quested for knowledge to defeat the dark lady, with his only companions and helpers being a mule, Chihuahua, monkey, monk, and goofy court jester, along with any other unsavory character that happened along, including the dark lady herself. But he remembers the dinner party, and knew he had to get back to physical reality soon. “You need to return,” responded Coyote. “Come back soon.” Coyote kissed him on the cheek, and Adrian soon found himself in physical reality, carrying a Don Quixote book, surrounded by clucking chickens, a screaming monkey, and a barking Chihuahua. His watch reminded him that Ann would arrive shortly, and this would be an opportunity to discuss this adventure with her, and continue his quest as the wandering knight searching for knowledge.

Poncho’s Palace
It was getting near evening, and Adrian and Ann met at the marketplace, with the

animals accompanying them. The last couple of hours found Ann shopping, and Adrian off on his Don Quixote adventure in the dreamtime, but now it was time to see Poncho, and catch up on the day. Adrian put his one arm in Ann’s and carried Bubbles in the other. “How was the day, dear?” asked Ann. “Don’t ask. I was reading Don Quixote, and low and behold, I become Don Quixote, complete with a mule, monkey, Chihuahua, court jester, and monk, each played by the animals and spiritual figures close to me. Now I am destined to find the dark lady, and quest for clues to defeat her. And this didn’t come without a bunch of cackling chickens, after I wondered into a chicken coop reading this book. Great book, by the way.” “So,” replied Ann. “Here I am, going to buy some dresses, and get some clothes for you, and now you need to dress like Sir Don? Luckily, I don’t have to pick your clothes to travel in the dreamtime.” As they continued to walk, Bubbles spotted a banana stand, and as they passed it, reached out and grabbed one, unobserved by the humans, until a Spanish speaking gentlemen came and started cussing, and approaching them, as Bubbles unpeeled and started eating the banana. “What does he want?” asked Adrian, noticing that the man stepped away when Chico started barking at him.

“He is swearing and saying the monkey stole the banana,” responded Ann, who asked in Spanish how much, and got an inflated price. The next ten minutes found Ann and the merchant arguing in Spanish over a banana, and Adrian knew this was the culture, and accepted it. While Bubbles finished her banana, the merchant finally accepted a price, along with a bribe to not report the monkey thief to the police. Such practices helped the poor people to live, and if the person appeared honest, the couple would adapt this cultural practice. The arrived at what appeared to be a big home, at least by the village standards, but would be more like a middle class family home, in the American suburbs. It was a twostory structure, complete will a very beautiful flower garden, complete with all the desert plants capable of growing here. The scent gave off a pleasing aroma to Adrian’s nose, while Bubbles and Chico smelled wonderful food being cooked, and both showed their excitement by either barking or laughing. “Now what’s gotten into those two?” Adrian asked aloud. Poncho came to the door, dressed in a Daniel Boone jacket and pants, and his hair was down to his shoulders. Behind him stood his wife Austin, a pretty Mexican, with dark braided hair, standing about five foot six, which is approximately the same size as Poncho. Everyone exchanged pleasantries, and went to the dining room for dinner, while Adrian put Bubbles on the floor, next to Chico, and Austin gave them some food to eat.

“You seek me out,” responded Poncho, opening a bottle of Spanish wine, which even Adrian had a glass, not wishing to offend his host. These days, Adrian drank a glass of wine at social occasions, but not enough to become intoxicated. Ann told him it was part of the Jewish tradition, and Christ made water into wine, so the wedding guests could celebrate a marriage. So in keeping with his wife’s Catholic heritage, and not wishing to offend his host, he accepted the wine. “This is a great wine,” said Austin, “and Spanish vineyards create such a delicate flavor. After pouring the wine, they put the half empty bottle down on the floor, which would be a costly mistake. While the hosts and guests were making small talk, Bubbles picked up the wine bottle, and poured half into Chico’s dinner dish, and started drinking the other half herself, unnoticed by the quests. Both were becoming intoxicated, and Chico started chasing his tale, running in a circle, first clockwise then counterclockwise. Bubbles started doing forward and backward rolls, and her laughter and Chico’s barking caused the human’s to look their way? “Now what’s gotten into those two?” asked Ann. “I think they drink the wine. No?” inquired Poncho, looking at the empty wine bottle. “You should be ashamed of yourself,” said Adrian, picking up the bottle and looking sternly at Bubbles, who put on her innocent face. “Not only do you not act like a lady, but you are encouraging drunken behavior in the male gender.”

Bubbles went to the corner, and stood there, which is what she normally did when Adrian or Ann scolded her, and Chico, wishing to join his friend, when over to join her. Meanwhile, Austin went to the kitchen for another bottle of wine, which she gave to Poncho to open, while she turned the radio on to some Mexican love songs, and Adrian let out a brief sigh. “I take it, Adrian,” said Poncho, “that you love Mexican love songs?” “It sweeps a woman off her feet,” responded Austin. “Let’s just say,” retorted Adrian, “that I have been surrounded by a great number of Mexican love songs.” Bubbles, overwhelmed by the music, started to dance, first turning to the right, and then alternating to the left. Chico, attempting to imitate his friend, moved back and forth in a rhythm consistent with Bubbles, which resembled a pair of circus midgets in a Spanish version of Ringling Brothers. The dinner guests, who stood up and observed the dancing act, only to be drawn back to Adrian’s plight, observed the antics. “What can Poncho help you with?” Poncho inquired. “The Burrito Banditos, and a dark lady, who lives in the shadows,” Adrian responded. “Do you know them?” Poncho lit a cigar, and pretended to be deep in thought, only to be drawn into a perplexing mystery.

“The goons of Hosea Siesta. Many a time these hombres try to expand into my city, only to be beaten back. Yet outside the city, they are expanding like locusts. They are sick, perverted, mean hombres. And the lady, she is a mystery. Rumor has it she has many lovers. Only those who are said to be her lovers live like the black widows mates. You know what happened to them, senor?” Adrian sat for a moment before responding, alone in his thoughts. I remember a black

widow, which is a dangerous spider. And there was also a movie by the same title. She was a beautiful woman who attracts the male suitors, and kills them. The movie had her prey on rich men, and she accumulated wealth for gaining more wealth. First you kill one, gain the fortune, and then attract another with more fortune. And this same namesake can enter the dreamtime, and tried to seduce me. And even though I am a moral person, her charms were irresistible. It’s like that siren legend of ancient Greece. The women are luring men at sea to their deaths, by songs of such beauty and grace.
“They died,” responded Adrian, attempting to answer Poncho’s question. “You are right, Mr. Adrian,” retorted Poncho, lighting a cigar, and standing up. “Let me tell you about this lady. Nobody has ever met her, and lived, unless they are in cahoots with her. She is the epitome of darkness, the essence of evil, and a genuine charmer of men. It’s a story of a princess, brought up in a castle of wealth, living a life of easy, and endowed with charm and beauty. But beneath the pleasant exterior, was a ruthless and cold person, who sought nothing but power. One day, an evil sorcerer

appeared to her, disguised as a snake, and promised to give her power, and teach her the dark ways. The lady became the student, and eventually became greater then the teacher, and killed the sorcerer, once she mastered all he had to teach. A noble story, no?” “It is a myth or urban legend,” responded Ann, drinking a sip of wine. “But myths have a way of being real, and influencing our daily lives. I do hope the two pets don’t develop a taste for wine.” Everyone looked at Chico and Bubbles, who had fallen asleep, in the far kitchen corner. Bubbles was positioned on her back, while Chico lay on his side, and neither would wake up for a while. But Chico suddenly woke up, and started barking, causing Adrian to focus on his third eye, and see a group of uniformed men coming toward the house. His instinct told him it was trouble, but his gut told him to stay put, and see what develops. “What is he barking at?” asked Austin, going to the door to look. A conversation ensued in Spanish, with the essence talking about an arrest warren for Poncho, with the police also wanting to arrest the Americans as accomplices. Now Bubbles lay awake, and jumped in Adrian’s arms, as the police Captain, accompanied by two men, came into the dining room. Adrian raised his right hand, which was a signal to Ann to cooperate. The three were escorted, along with the animals, to the door. “Is there anything I can do?” asked Austin.

“Yes,” said Adrian. “Contact the priest Robert, and let him know what’s happening. Tell him to contact the American Embassy, a good attorney, and the regional bishop.” The last thing Austin saw was her husband, the Americans, and pets being escorted to the local patty wagon, and siren lighting up the night.

Pass the Hemlock
The still night airbrushed again Adrian’s skin, as he the sticky night heat saturate the paddy wagon. In the empty silence, Ann hummed a childhood nursery rhyme, while holding Bubbles, and Poncho played with Chico, leaving Adrian to do the thinking. Poncho exchanged words with the passenger side officer, attempting to probe the nature of the charge, but the officer kept yelling, “murder, murder.” Inside, time passed in a convoluted manner, keeping pace with snail justice, in a town where bribes rule, and justice takes a back seat to money sprouting lips, and sweetly whispering, “take me, I’m yours.” “It will take some time to sort things out,” said Poncho. “Austin will tell my friends.” “And also my cousin,” responded Ann. “The bishop, American Embassy, and a good lawyer should straighten this mess out.” Adrian was aware of every bump, and dust filled event, but decided between themselves that this mess would best be settled in morning’s light, when Austin could contact Poncho’s friends, and Ann’s cousin, and it’s best to just get a good night’s sleep,

even if it was the city jail. For now, the right recourse was patience, and this was a good spiritual practice Ann and Adrian strived to engage in. Adrian was half asleep when the patty wagon stopped, and they were escorted to a fat and short chief of police, who ate too many burritos, smoked too many cigars, and drank too much tequila, all collected from bribes to supplement his income. A few worked exchanged in Spanish between the chief, Poncho, and Ann, indicated the Americans were suspects in some crime Poncho committed, but Poncho wasn’t informed what the charges were, only that he was being held. Ann was escorted to a cell with Chico, while Poncho, Adrian, and Bubbles had their own cell to deal with. A small ten by ten foot concrete and iron structure, with a washroom, and two cots, but would provide a welcome relief to turn of events. During the next two hours, after the other humans and animals were sleeping, Adrian drifted off into a sleep state, but found himself in the dreamtime, within a Greek landscape, and olive trees all around, and coliseums all around, and coiled on a tree stump, was a single, solitary figure in a brown robe, with long black hair and a beard, who carried a bag with question marks decorating the outside. “You seem to be troubled, my son,” said the figure, which Adrian recognized as Socrates. “I suppose you have a considerable knowledge of trial and legal procedures,” Adrian replied, “considering the hemlock incident and all.”

“You need to pick a question, my son,” responded Socrates, holding up his own bag of questions. Adrian’s arm pulled a crumbled piece of brown parchment, from an equally brown leather bag Socrates carried with him. The question posed a very interesting message, which prompted Adrian to reflect upon the bigger picture: what is justice? What is

justice? Is it being in some Kafka trial, where the charges are never made, and all you know is you’re being accused of a crime, but never know what the charge is, or even who is accusing you? I much rather be fighting a bug the size of a whale, like that Metamorphous, or is that Meta morbid? If only I had a greater flair for literature. I don’t even know what the Poncho Groovebubble is accused of, let along the part Ann and I play in it.
“I really don’t get it at all,” responded Adrian. “What is this man accused of that is so bad?” “Didn’t you hear?” asked Socrates, shaking his head in disbelief. “He told a joke during mass, and there is a law enacted by the Spanish in 1634 that condemn this act as introducing humorous poisons into a solemn religious worship expression, and all people associated with the guilty individual are participants in this crime.” Adrian started to laugh lightly, until his laughter echoed into big belly roars, which confused even Socrates, who was looking at the question what is justice, while the belly laughs continued. Here I am, being caught up in an international incident, where

somebody has a grudge against this poor fellow, and rather then arresting him for a legitimate charge, they dig up some obscure law from the sixteenth century, and try to resurrect it. A mockery. A mockery, I tell you. And to top it off, some high ranking, church official probably complained to the Spanish authorities, and the local governor created a law to lock up the individual the rich person didn’t like.
“Can you give me some history of this law?” asked Adrian. “I can’t, but perhaps the royal court scribe could,” responded Adrian. Adrian’s first through was who is the royal, but he stopped his thought in midstream, since he knew who the royal court scribe would be. A familiar, glow in the dark, coyote form wearing an English derby appeared, and a book lay beneath his feet entitled

Obscure Spanish Laws and another called Obscene Spanish Positions.
“Which book shall I read from, my son?” asked Coyote, winking his eye. “If you read from that Obscene Spanish Positions, I’ll hit you on the head with it,” screamed Adrian. “Oh, the agony of it all,” responded Coyote, as the book Obscure Spanish Laws magically flipped open. “But the book Obscene Spanish Positions is far more interesting, and definitely less dry. In the year 1632, according to the book, the Spanish civil authorities deemed it a crime to tell a joke during mass, and the sentence was three months in prison, despite protests from the Catholic Church against the law. Several

people were sentenced to prison time, and authorities forgot to remove this law, so technically anyone could still be tried and imprisoned for it.” A disturbed Adrian picked up the question what is justice, and paced back and forth in dreamtime, trying to make sense of everything. He pictured an evil woman in black, seducing those in power to join her cause, at the same time, covering the surrounding population in a dark cloud of doom, which not only surrounded the physical plane, but also threatened the dreamtime. And a group of misfits named the Burrito Banditos held the town in a vice grip of crime, and the only chance for help lay in the form of Poncho Groovebubble, and now both men were in prison. All for the telling of a joke during mass. “Let me get everything in perspective,” responded Adrian. “This corner of the world is going to pots, with an evil but beautiful lady commanding the chaos, and an equally evil group of goons controlling the towns, and Poncho and myself, the only two capable of stopping this mess, are in prison. Not because he killed or raped someone, or even robbed anyone, for that matter, but because he told a joke during mass?” “What is justice?” asked Socrates. “Do we live in a just world?” “Or do we just live in the world?” responded Coyote. “This is absurd,” responded Adrian. “Who ever heard of being arrested for

introducing poisonous humors into a solemn religious worship context?” Jail House Rock
The morning light tapped gently on Adrian’s face, bringing him closer to another day

in a distance prison, along with the assorted array of Mexican guards and police. Morning was the time for breakfast, which a guard brought on two trays, each containing scrambled eggs, rice, refried beans, and coffee, along with some Chihuahua food for Chico, and a banana and milk for Bubbles. In the cell next store, Ann received a similar breakfast, with her voice leading Adrian to his wife’s presence. “I say, dear,” responded Adrian. “This is another fine mess we gotten ourselves into.” “Are you being Stan or Oliver today, honey,” retorted Ann. “Actually, both,” responded Adrian. “I think I know why we are here. Poncho is charged with introducing poisonous humors into a solemn religious worship expression. Do you believe that? Next thing you know, they will give us the key to escape.” “They can’t pin any charges on me, so they make them up,” responded Poncho. “All I remember is telling a joke during mass.” Both the men’s eyes were diverted to a smiling monkey, holding a set of keys, which Adrian recognized as belonging to the jailhouse. Bubbles placed the keys in his hands, and Adrian placed the big key into the lock, and it fit smoothly. Bubbles was jumping up and down, as if to cheer him on, and encourage him to commit another crime, somewhere along the lines of escape, But Adrian knew it was the wrong course of action, and he removed the key from the lock, causing Bubbles to frown. As if things weren’t bad enough, the police guard arrived, with Adrian holding a set of jail keys, and Bubbles displaying her innocent face. The guard pulled out his gun, and

pointed to the ground, which Adrian interpreted to mean throw the keys to me. Tossing the keys to the floor outside, Adrian gave Bubbles a dirty look, while the guard retrieved the keys. “This is very bad. Very bad indeed,” responded the guard. “We were going to let you both go, but now only she will go, and take that barking Chihuahua and monkey with her. But you tried to escape, senor, and that is a very bad crime indeed.” “But I didn’t take the keys,” Adrian shouted. “I’m innocent. Innocent, I tell you. It was the monkey’s fault. The monkey did it. I swear to God!” “Senor,” the guard yelled back, after lighting a cigarette. “Since you and the monkey are inseparable, you can take her to prison, while your trial is scheduled.” “Trial? Prison?” inquired Adrian. “Save your breath,” responded Poncho. “Were are both in serious hot water. Me for introducing poisonous humors into a solemn religious context, and you for trying to escape.” Adrian was relieved to see Ann coming forth, accompanied by Sam Sepsooth, the priestly cousin of Ann, wearing his clergy robe, and Ann was in a blue and white Mexican dress. She went over to Adrian’s cell, and kissed him on the lips, while Bubbles in turn, kissed her on the cheek. In her hand was some food Sam had brought, and she gave it to the boys. “I won’t be coming with you,” said Adrian. “Bubbles stole the cell keys, and I had them

in my hands when the guard returned.” “No way, Hosea,” responded Sam, whose face had a puzzled look. “You mean to say you’re charged with trying to escape?” “Not only that,” replied Adrian, “But they plan to hold Bubbles with me.” “Not to worry,” replied Sam. “I have spoken with Bishop Beastly this morning, and talked on the phone with the American consulate, Charlie Chocolate. Both have assured me they will be working on your behalf right away. I thought it wouldn’t be necessary after seeing Ann just now, but I was wrong. And the best lawyer in the area, Harry Hackerwrack, will be handing your case personally.” The guard opened the cell door, and Bubbles waived goodbye to Chico, as Adrian watched Ann, Sam, and the Chihuahua fade away, and he remembered the words of Oliver Hardy, which he immediately said to Bubbles. “This is another fine mess you gotten us into.”

Mexican Prison Blues
The morning passed, with Adrian and Poncho talking about everything, from the weather, to prison life in Mexican. A Mexican gentleman, of a tall and thin, stature,

came in with Ann and Austin, escorted by a guard. The man, a Mexican with black hair, beard, and mustache, lit a cigar. “Visitors for a senor Adrian,” the guard yelled. The two guests were escorted into a cell containing a table, four chairs, a toilet, and a

broken radio. Poncho took out some chewing tobacco, and offered it to the man, who put out his hands in polite refusal. “This is our lawyer, Harry Hackerwrack,” replied the fat one. “Oh,” responded Adrian. “The gentleman must be our legal representative.” Bubbles stuck out her tongue, when the guard turned his back, and headed for the door, prompting Ann go grab her, and hold her. “If it wasn’t for you,” retorted Ann, giving Bubbles a stern look, “my husband would be free. Instead, you are both behind bars.” Harry’s hand was positioned on some tortilla chips, and preceded to munch. “It’s a good thing I’m here…*crunch*…to brief you on proceeding. The American embassy and the Bishop will be applying diplomacy to resolve your case, but your friend…*crunch*…has a bad reputation, and this police department doesn’t take kindly to jail breakers. I’m

afraid some prison time is due…*crunch*…*crunch*… until I can set a court date, and go to trial.” Bubbles picked up a tortilla chip, and aimed it at the guard’s head outside, but Adrian put his hand out, and stopped her arm. Somewhere in the twilight glare of the sunrise reflecting in the water container, and a mischievous smile of the pet monkey, was the hand of Adrian, deterring another pilgrim from a life of crime. “You’re going to get my wife locked up again,” responded Adrian. “Harry. I assume you are aiding my good friend, Poncho Groovebubble. What happens if the legal defense

doesn’t work?” “My dear friend, Adrian,” replied Harry. “Let me tell you a story. Suppose you were in need of honey. Now you normally get honey at the local store, right? Suppose the local store was out of honey. Where would you get the sweet essence? The same place the store got it. You would get it from the bees.” “So you are saying if one plan fails, you have an alternative plan?” asked Austin coyly. “Sure,” remarked Harry. “If the original plan doesn’t work, we can always try Plan Bee. Plan Bee. Get it?” “I got it, and I think it stung me,” retorted Adrian. “Never fear, as Harry Hackerwack, always gets his clients back,” Harry retorted. The jail’s insides were washed clean by the women’s tears, as they kissed their husband’s goodbye. The traveling, high priced lawyer, bid his clients goodbye, as

Bubbles, Adrian, and Poncho prepared for the transfer. A wagon arrived within minutes, which would server to transport everyone to a central prison holding facility, where convicts awaited trial, sometimes for months. A few guards arrived with guns, and the captain signaled the guards to open the cell. “We trust you will be comfortable,” replied the captain, standing about five food six, with black hair and mustache, in a plain brown uniform. “We don’t get many americanos and monkeys here.” The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and each step was long and

tedious for Adrian and company, escorted into the back of an old pickup truck, serving as a prison transport. The road hiccupped buckets of sand tears, while Poncho removed a deck of playing cards and folded them down adjacent to Adrian and Bubbles, siding on the adjacent side, as the driver and guard rode in the front seat. “Pick and card and watch the card trick,” replied Poncho. When Poncho pointed to the cards, Bubbles removed the top one, handing it to Adrian. While Adrian examined the card, which was an ace, Poncho wrote with his finger in the sandy truck bottom, four words that caught Adrian’s eye. I am an undercover agent.

I am an undercover agent? Thought Adrian. You mean agent a s in Benedict Arnold? I wonder if he likes Eggs Benedict? Maybe he means like in James Bond. Imagine I’m sitting next to him, and he opens his pocket and pulls out a fountain pen, which is really a miniature laser gun that he uses to pop the tire with, and when the guards stop the truck and come to check, he throws a gumball that explodes, and releases sleeping gas. That would be way too cool.
The next revelation even more deeply shocked Adrian, as Poncho erased his first message and wrote I know jujitsu. Adrian again drifted into thought, reflecting on the revelation. Now where did someone in Mexico learn jujitsu? Perhaps he learned it at

the police academy, or someone from the Japanese embassy. If he is serious, and not fooling me about this undercover and martial arts background, then what is he doing here? And Socrates did lead me to this man, which does raise the question of what I’m

doing here with him. Here I am, with my favorite monkey, but without my wife, going to a Mexican prison on some trumped up charges. How do I end up getting into these messes? And who is the dark lady?
A thought came into Adrian’s mind, and he wrote in the sand what is the dark lady. Poncho wrote back that the lady is Jezebel, or dark star. This prompted Adrian to write in the dust Poncho’s hand pointed to Adrian’s card, which Adrian handed back, only to observe it being placed back in the deck, and twenty one cards being dished out, in three rows, with seven in a row, face up. “Do you see your card?” asked Poncho. “If so, just point to the row, and tell me your favorite rock songs.” “That is a good question,” retorted Adrian, as he pointed to the roll, and Poncho proceeded to dish out seven new rows of three cards. “If I had to choose my favorite, I can think of four. There is this song White Bird, by it’s a Beautiful Day. Amazingly, the song is about a bird, caught in a golden cage that will die if freedom isn’t obtained. Another favorite is House of the Rising Sun by The Animals, which is a terribly depressing song, if you analyze the words. But if you want a real up temple song, then

Louise, Louise by the Kingsmen is the song to play. I heard is an old Jamaican love song,
but all the DJ’s thought it was pornographic when it first aired. But we need to talk more about what we talked about earlier.” “In due time kid. Soon!” replied Poncho. “Pick another row.”

Adrian picked another row, only to Poncho pick the cards up, and redistribute them into seven rows of three, face up. His hand motioned for Adrian to pick another row, and after Adrian made his selection, Poncho took all twenty-one cards, shuffled them, and pulled out the ace from the cards, and handed it back. “This card kid?” Asked Poncho, which prompted Bubbles to laugh. “Amazing! Amazing!” retorted Adrian. Before Adrian could resume his discussions regarding kahunas and undercover operatives, the prison truck approached a dismal looking array of brick buildings, fenced inside by bob wired fences, and guards patrolling the grounds. The dust pelted the truck with bursts of fresh sand, and Bubbles jumped into Adrian’s arms as the truck stopped outside the prison entrance. Two dismal looking gentlemen, dressed in brown guard uniforms, came to the truck’s rear to greet the prisoners. In the background, a small man with a medium build, wearing glassing and completed bald, came to inspect the prisoners. “You’re the gringo who came,” said the man, looking Adrian and Bubbles in the eye. “I am warden Pepperoni. Victor Pepperoni. And this other gentleman with you is Poncho Groovebubble. broadcasts. understood?” “Perfectly!” shouted Adrian and Poncho in unison. I speak good English, having learned it from the BBC and VOA You three behave yourselves, and everything will be fine. Is that

“Now get them bathed, feed, and into clean cloths!” shouted Victor. The three were escorted to the bathhouse, where the two men removed their cloths, and water houses started hosing everyone down. The guards tossed soap bars toward the prisons, when Bubbles picked up a bar, and started lathering her body with the soap, as the men quickly followed suit. The bathhouse considered of an old concrete fixture with a zinc roof, and bars for windows fixtures. Hosing down removed the sand, sweat, and grime from their bodies, and Adrian felt refreshed. Three prisoner suits were

thrown inside, along with towels, and one suit was made to suit midgets, which Adrian knew belonged to Bubbles, as he dried her off and put the suit on her. “I should have gotten one for you a long time ago,” replied Adrian, looking at Bubbles. After drying off, Adrian went over to shave, and the guards pointed to a couple of shaving kits on the sink, awaiting the new prisoners. The shaving cream was a small block of shaving soap, with an inscription on the back, saying complements of the Salvation

Army. A small plastic razor served as the shaving tool, and Adrian spent the next five
minutes shaving, but noticed Bubbles was getting excited. After rinsing his facing and toweling himself off, he looked into the mirror, only to find a coyote facing looking straight at him. “Either I am getting uglier, or I need to see the prison doctor about some glasses,” Adrian remarked, knowing full well who the reflection was. “I assume only Bubbles and I can see and hear you?”

“I was going to remark you are getting handsomer, and are just admiring your reflection,” Coyote remarked. Adrian picked Bubbles up, and placed her in front of the mirror. She stuck her tongue out, only to have Coyote duplicate the action. A coyote paw duplicated her right paw rubbing against the mirror in a circle, and Poncho and the guards watched, but didn’t see or heard the coyote reflection. Coyote duplicated even the part where Bubbles picked up a comb and combed her hair, down to the blue comb’s shape and texture. finished kissing the mirror, which kissed her back. “You must tell me why you two are fascinated by mirrors. One would believe you are vampires,” Poncho remarked, prompting the two waiting guards to laugh. “Any parting words before I go?” asked Adrian, looking at the mirror. “Austin will contact Ann and explain everything about Poncho and his undercover operation. Your stay in the slammer will enhance your James Dean image, and help you in your quest to defeat Dark Star,” Coyote replied. “And as usual, you help me to a point, but I must figure things out for myself,” responded Adrian. Adrian’s watch said 2 PM, as the guards escorted the dressed prisoners past a parade of dismal, disheveled rejects from Creature Features, who uttered Spanish obscenities as the newcomers were escorted away from the peeping eyes of wanton social rejects, masquerading as innocent angels punished by an unjust society. One threw a stone at She

Adrian, which Bubbles caught, and send by to the recipient’s head, unbeknownst to the guards or escorted prisoners. When the prisoner rubbed his head and responded with a finger, Bubbles responded by sticking out her tongue. The boys were treated to a dusty, cramped, concrete room with two bunks, toilet, and sink, enclosed in a wall of rusty bars. As the guards locked the trio up, Adrian looked outside through the bars, looking into the desert sunset, with its assortment of cactuses, sand, and heat. His parched throat said water, as he walked toward the sink, and filled a glass with water, as Bubbles gave him some sad eyes, and he poured the water into her mouth, as she lay upon her back, on top the bunk nearest Adrian. Meanwhile, the vulture eyes of prisoners from adjacent cells followed their every move.

Initiation Rites
The prison was home to cutthroats, rapists, thieves, and murderers – the crème of society’s misfits. One man was Louie, who stood a good five foot eight, with black hair and mustache, smoking a stogie, and talking to Killer and Brutus. Both were big dudes, into barroom balls as part of a school curriculum going from baby bottles to beer bottles, without touching milk in between. Somewhere between the innocent discussions and idle chitchat, is a plan to kill the newcomers. “Tonight, when the guards change shifts,” retorted Brutus, “We kill Poncho and his Gringo friend.” “What about the monkey?” asked Killer. “We can’t kill her, because she reminds me of

Brutus.” Brutus returned a look at could kill Superman. “Now boys,” responded Louise. “Let’s not kill ourselves first, else there be nobody to kill the newcomers.” Killing was a hobby here at Tombstone Prison, and it started when a prisoner picked up

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash, where one line talked about a man killing another just to watch him die. Then another prisoner thought that was a good idea, and killed
the radio listener. Now the motto just to watch him die spurred a creative bunch of cutthroats devising methods to kill each other, and rack up points for the most killings. The guards were either bribed to not report the killings, or took a liking to the sport itself, and enjoying watching. Tonight the newcomers would be the victims. Tonight in the mess hall, while everyone else sat at crowded tables, a table existed for two men and a monkey. The only one receiving special consideration was the monkey, who received a couple of bananas and some milk, otherwise, the flair consisted of refried beans, tacos, rice, and water with lemon and lime slices. Sipping his water,

Adrian was aware of a feeling he couldn’t shake – like a buzzard diving for his throat. Even Bubbles appeared uneasy, as she looked tense and not her usual mischievous self. Each table became empty, with men quietly rising and leaving, leaving Adrian and friends sitting alone. Louie, accompanied by Brutus, Killer, and three other thugs, came over to the monkey table, and some men had homemade shanks, and as they lunged with

great speed, Poncho responded with some jujitsu kicks and hand motions, immobilizing two of the thugs. Adrian began his Aikido dance, grabbing the wrist of one, and sending him to the ground, while guiding another one to the table, where Bubbles grabbed a tray and him the attacker headfirst. The fight continued for a few more minutes, with jujitsu Poncho, aikido Adrian, and bang head with tray Bubbles actually neutralizing the attackers. When Adrian went over to see about Poncho, who was standing but having some shallow knife wounds, two men rushed at him with shanks from each side. Adrian could either disarm the men, or push Poncho to safety, and he chose the latter. Unless a Coyote rescue was coming, the knives would dislodge into Adrian’s interior organs. The word phase came to him, and without knowing what happened, he was in one place, then found himself over by Poncho as the two men stabbed each other. This turn of events stunned everyone, and Adrian knew he had disappeared from one spot and appeared in another. He remembered that Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, was reported to accomplish a similar feat. When in the midst of matches with people from other martial arts practices, he was reported to vanish briefly from one spot and appear in another. Now Adrian could ponder that later, but now two men were bleeding from knife wounds. He walked over to the two men, and put a hand over the two fallen convicts and applied healing energy, which stopped the bleeding and sealed the wound. Two bribed guards

came him a minute later, hoping to see a fallen Poncho, gringo, and monkey, but instead found two men lying on the floor, with blood all around, and all the other convicts remaining speechless. “What happened to these men?” asked a guard. “They stabbed each other,” responded Adrian. “Now please get them to a hospital.” The guards shook their heads in disbelief, while the crooks backed away in fear – some fearing for their safety, and others wondering about their sanity. Bubbles was

exceptionally quiet, as well as the other folks, whose hobby of killing someone just to

watch them die had been brutally turned upside down, like a pineapple cake turned right
side up, or a cheese cake made with salt instead of sugar. Poncho’s arm patted Adrian on his back, as they were excused from the mess for now, while the guards did a make shift impression of an investigation, which was an excuse for covering up crime and corruption, and turning it into a game to pass time. When Poncho finally got to their cell, Adrian put down Bubbles, and looked into Poncho’s eyes. “You got some good moves,” responded Poncho. “Aikido, is it not?” “And you do jujitsu, right?” “Right. But what do you call that disappearing act?” “Can’t say. One minute I’m here and the next minute I’m gone. Perhaps it’s a form of the bull disappearing from the china shop.” “You know,” responded Poncho. “Very few people I know can disappear like that. I only

saw the dark lady, named Dark Star.

It was during a routine gang meeting, somewhere

in a rural village, when a couple of friends surrounded this beautiful lady – long black hair and pretty face – she was a doll – a queen from one of those fairy tale movies. While my men had her covered, she just vanished into thin air. Right before our eyes, mind you. She is very dangerous, and a terrible foe to mess with.” “Now you tell me,” retorted Adrian. “I was trapped with her myself, trying to save a small girl, and she just blew me away. And I barely managed to get away.” The next few minutes found Poncho silent, just looking at Adrian and Bubbles, who just cracked a faint smile.

Fluff Cookies
The night was quiet, with Adrian dozing off, and drifting into dreamtime. A wood table with a chessboard engraved in it, housed a solitary bearded figure playing chess, which Adrian recognized as Socrates. The man was seated in a wooden stool, with

another empty stool adjacent to him, and Socrates’ hand motioned for Adrian to sit. Alongside the chessboard, containing a game with black and white pieces in motion was a notebook, pen, and a jar labeled Cookies. “Adrian, sit down,” said Socrates. “Do you play chess or care for a cookie?” “Can’t say I played in a long time,” Adrian responded. “Perhaps I can have a cookie. What’s a fluff cookie?” “My boy,” responded Socrates, shaking his head. “When my student Plato came to me,

he couldn’t write worth a damn. He sounded as dry and dull as his playmate, Aristotle. Then a mute concocted a wonderful spiritual recipe she called fluff cookies, which inspired great artistic sentiment. Folks came far and wide for these wonderful cookies. I remember Homer sailing across the waters, just to taste a bite, and Pythagoras couldn’t do mathematics without them. Now folks sit around in writer’s classes, saying

oh and ah, as creative folks churn out phases like pulsating plums, sweet smelling shit, or molded musk deer. All this is for the look of a fluff cookie.”
“May I try one, please?” inquired Adrian, with his eyes beaming beyond recognition. “By all means,” Socrates retorted, with a sly half smile. “Have two.” On the chess table, was a red jar with blue lettering, with the words fluff cookies. Inside were several cookies, shaped like powder dusters, with candies of various shapes and sizes. Some candy was pink, shaped like Shakespeare, with a tiny hat, beard, and pipe, sitting on a stool, writing with a quilt pen and withered paper. This contrasted with the stoic picture of Voltaire, looking through prison bars, with a tattered book with brown binding within one hand, contrasted with a pen reflecting a picture of King George in the other. The one that attracted Adrian the most was a seated Confucius, drinking tea, sitting cross-legged on the floor, reading a Chinese scroll. Between the cookies of Confucius and Shakespeare, there was a teapot behind the cookie jar labeled inspiration

tea, with a couple of cups poured, and a smiling Socrates sipping one, and handing
another to Adrian.

“May I try writing something?” begged Adrian. “Please?” “All right,” responded Socrates, handing Adrian a pen and paper, which prompted him to start writing. The tepid soup, flamed in florescent red from flaming peppers, mixed in the crispy celery and shriveled broccoli, caught up in a chipped bowl, with freshly painted flowers, because a tasty repository of disheveled shit. “I think it’s working a bit,” responded Adrian, putting down the pen and paper. “But I want to know about this phasing, and what happened when I phase?” There was a silence in Socrates, as he pondered the question, while sipping his tea. “From how I understand it,” replied Socrates. “Phasing is just one aspect of the same thing. You have a light body, which you use to enter the Dream Time. Now that same light body can redraw itself, so to speak. Imagine it is an artist’s brush, and you can shape the physical body with the brush. You can’t imagine what you can do – shape it into an animal – or be at a second location.” “So it’s like a cosmic cartoon” replied Adrian. “You can be Bug Bunny, talking to Elmer Fudd, at the same time; you are Bugs Bunny, talking to Yosemite Sam. Or you can be Bugs Bunny, talking to Daffy Duck, or you can become Donald Duck, talking to Daffy Duck.” “I knew you would catch on fast,” said Socrates. “You’re almost as sharp as Plato – not quite, but almost. But don’t ask me how to do it. You need to figure that one out

yourself.” A befuddled Adrian became lost in a world of thought apparitions, designed to foil his sleep.

Here I am, entering the dreamtime by various means.

Sometimes I am

transported there automatically, while other times, I just envision myself there. And while I am here, by body is probably there. Now I never asked myself if I am there, when I am here. But it appears to be related to me being light while I’m here. Perhaps if I envision myself as light, taking a form, I can find myself as a mirror image. That’s it. I need a reflection, like what’s in the mirror, but without the mirror. I’m the man in the mirror, minus the mirror.
“Have you come to any conclusions, my boy?” asked Socrates. “Can we take this conversation elsewhere? Perhaps over there?” asked Adrian. The night air was chilly, with the dry, desert terrain providing a refreshing vantage point for a normally imprisoned Adrian, who saw the prison from a couple miles away, as he walked along the shifting sand. His feet left visible footprints below him, and he was every bit as solid as the person sleeping. But he also knew this form needed to come back home – that it couldn’t walk the grounds forever. A few desert lizards scurried about, oblivious to the form walking among them, who despite his solid form, was a three dimensional cartoon model via their animal senses. But a glow in the dark, coyote form, walking beside him, wasn’t so confused. “Where did Socrates go?” asked Adrian.

“Back to finish his chess game,” Coyote replied smiling. To the casual observer, if there were one, all they would discover was a person walking his Chihuahua. But the Chihuahua glows in the dark, and talks back, and is not contained by a lease. And the human is here but really there, and it would be impossible to tell who the real man is – the one inside the prison or the one outside the prison. The only observers were lizards and scorpions, and neither complained about the two travelers. “So what words of wisdom do you have today?” inquired Adrian. There was a period of silence, which Adrian learned is a time to go within, and reflect upon the unusual events in his life. Sometimes his thoughts would ramble on, like today.

Here I am, inside a prison with a monkey and secret agent, but walking outside the prison, talking to a glow in the dark coyote. Now my purpose is to find out about this Dark Star, and defeat her – but I have no idea who she is or what she is. And I am called the gatekeeper, perhaps because I can’t find a gate, even if someone else is keeping it. Here I am, a shaman and aikido master, and I can’t even figure if I am outside or inside.
In the background, hidden behind some rocks, was a scorpion with a greenish glow, observing the conversation. It had the appearance of a regular scorpion, but could easily be mistaken for a radioactive reject of an US military project, given the similarity to radiation. But the glow was otherworldly, with a dark nature underlying its basic

demeanor. Its primary mission was to observe the interaction of Coyote and Adrian.

“I need to talk to Ann tonight,” Adrian replied. “Do you think she would accept me?” “If she is used to me, then this is easy to swallow.” The two continued to talk about life, and carried on like old friends do, but without the limitations of physical form. The crafty scorpion kept a distance, hidden in the rocks, yet perfectly observant to the conversation. Its tail became curled, in a stinging or striking fashion, to defend itself if discovered. The blackness of its form was a personification of evil, and overhead, a gathering of vultures stayed a mile away, and the desert animals, sensing something taking place, scurried away with a sense of urgency. The dueling philosophers finished a perfectly normal conversation, given the unconventional nature they processed. As the two faded from site, a perplexed scorpion said to itself in perfect Spanish. “This guy’s more dangerous then I thought, and could pose a real threat to me.”

A visit to Ann
Midnight and life is quiet for Ann, as she combs her blond hair, and looks outside the window of her parish guest quarters, while the BBC news plays on the shortwave portable. Behind her, a figure creeps slowly, as he puts his arms behind her shoulders, and whispers, “darling.” “Adrian?” Ann responded, with a suddenness that surprised them both. “How is this possible?” “Well, you see,” said Adrian. “It’s all very simple. Normally, I enter the dreamtime

while I am here, or in this case, there. But I can extend that a bit farther and be there when I am here. Or is it here while I am there? It confuses even me, since I am neither here nor there, but both here and there, in the here and now.” None of these exchanges were lost on an observant Chico, whose small nose and loud bark prompted Ann to unhook the door, and let him in. The figure was confusing to Chico, who could not smell the stranger, but completely heard and saw him. While Chico pondered this new mystery, Ann was briefed on Poncho’s background, while Ann told of her efforts with the embassy and lawyer to gain a speedy trial – which was as speedy as a turtle and snail race, “It appears you should continue to work with the lawyer and embassy, while I shift out clues with Poncho,” Adrian replied. “This desert’s getting to my cousin,” Ann responded. “Last night, he thought there was a scorpion in the window, which is nothing unusual – mind, you – except that it had a greenish glow around it. Now this may be his eyes, adjusting to the night – but he thought it may be a demon. Now I would have slept though this whole thing, except for the animals – Chico was barking up a storm – and Sparky, that adorable friend of yours – he was sounding like a donkey in heat. Now Sam stands up, to take a closer look, and the scorpion disappears. At the moment this desert monster disappears, the animals are quiet again. Can you imagine anything like this?” “I don’t know much about Scorpions, except for the motorcycle gang leader who made

my life miserable. Now I must get back – see you soon.” The amazing thing about having a light body is that physical dimensions have no barrier. Normally a wall would be a deterrent to the average physical male, and anyone trying to walk through one would usually become the loser, and end up with a kind sized headache, compliments of the wall. But tonight Adrian walked though it, and it didn’t amaze Ann any. Shortly, he would return to prison, and a good night’s sleep. But not before visiting Sparky, and saying hi to his new friend. “I suppose,” Adrian say, as he put a light hand on Sparky, “you will be aiding me a bit. Goodbye, my friend.”

Morning at Sing-Sing
Oh god, did Adrian love the mornings. He’s always a morning person, getting up to do hatha yoga, Buddhist insight meditation, and some Aikido forms, which Bubbles enjoyed watching. Poncho, on the other hand, was a night owl, but was unaware Adrian was out all night – out of the body, that is. But in the midst of prison life, Poncho noticed in a semi sleep state Adrian’s morning routine. Once completed, he took time to question Adrian. “Tell me about religion, Adrian. What faith are you? What is that practice you did?” “Oh, that,” Adrian replied. “Once I married, I became a part of the Catholic Church through Ann, but honor all the other ways – especially Buddhism and Native American practices. What I just completed was hatha yoga, to limber up, and insight meditation, which is a form of meditation where you watch the breath, and either sit or walk. When

I was in Japan, and was mastering Aikido, I spend a considerable time in Zen temples, meditating and getting in touch with inner peace. That is, until I become subjected to spiritual experiences, and my mind appeared to snap. The truth is nobody understood me, and they though I was insane. Ann pulled me through, and that’s how we met. What about you?” “Most people in Mexico – myself included – are Catholic. Now I do have a physical workout routine, where I practice jujitsu.” Now life in a Mexican prison, rooming with a monkey and undercover operative, where you don’t know Spanish that well, can wreck the spirit of most people. But even a little

contact with the outside – like visiting your wife while incarcerated or talking to a coyote – can uplift your spirits. And each morning was mail call, and today was Adrian’s day, as the mail carrying guard yelled, “letter for Senor Adrian.” And a smiling Bubbles grabbed the letter, and handed it to him. Dear Adrian: I heard about your problems, and I tracked you down. Rest assured, Socrates was sent at my request, to give you help and guidance. The one called Dark Star, is an old enemy of mine, and almost killed me on three occasions. This is the darkness we all battle with – it seduces up – it overpowers up – but we who embrace the light, must fight the darkness. And it’s a battle that may destroy you, unless you gain the wisdom to conquer it.

Go back to your roots, Adrian. Learn what caused your diagnosed insanity, and your jump into the light. Travel back to the orphanage where you grew up, and find the overwhelming darkness. Now this may shock you – and I can’t prepare you for this – but you need to deal with it. Remember when you were dumped in the orphanage, and your brother in another? Well, you were separated from this brother, and never met him again – or so you thought. But he became your worst nightmare, and you finally

confronted him – Scorpion. That’s right! Scorpion! While he embraced the darkness, you embraced the light. And nothing could predict you would triumph. I have important matters to attend to, and can’t really help you. This is a battle you must endure alone, along with advice from Socrates and Coyote. This prison life will have you to understand the darkness. Rumi A stunned Adrian held the letter, and tore it up, as Poncho looked on. “I don’t understand this at all,” responded Adrian. “A teacher of mine tracks me down, and give me some disturbing news – my brother turns out to be Scorpion, and he almost killed me. Me, of all people! Can you imagine waking up, and finding your life just became a soap opera? Now can I cope with being a soap opera star, when nobody gives me the script until after the scene is shot?” “Now this I understand,” said Poncho, twirling his mustache around. “I come from a large family. Three brothers, and two sisters, to be precise! Now one brother joined

the drug cartel, and one sister became a prostitute. You’re not responsible for what blood ties do, and more then we can stop the sun from rising and setting.” As a confused Adrian looked around, a concerned Bubbles mimicked his owner. If Adrian paced, Bubbles followed, and if he shrugged his shoulders, the monkey followed suit. Now while this was old hat to the animal owner, it provided a nice outlet for

Poncho’s amusement. “That’s it,” remarked Adrian. “I need to visit him.” “That, my friend,” remarked Poncho, “would take a bit of doing.”

Oh Brother, where art thou?
The state correctional facility in Montana was home to rapists, thieves, murderers, extortionists, and just about every unsavory character in-between. And the newly

elected kingpin, by virtue of elimination, was Adrian’s ex nemesis. Budging muscles and a well toned body stood out to a newcomer, watching him work out his karate moves. And as Scorpion finished his workout, he sat down near a shady wall spot, accompanied by his new visitor. “Nice workout stranger,” replied the new arrival, prompting Scorpion to turn around. “You!” he yelled. “What’s to stop me from killing you now?” “Well, you see,” responded Adrian. “How did I get in here, since I am not a prisoner? And if I got in here once, can’t I come again anytime? But I wish to squelch or confirm a rumor, that we are blood brothers.”

“No way,” shouted Scorpion, who looked deep in thought. “Let me just take it for granted you got in, and see where this conversation goes. My old man was a criminal kingpin. There wasn’t anything he didn’t have his hands in, and he controlled it all.

Murder, prostitution, gambling – hell, for all I know, he was the devil incarnate. But he married twice, and I was the son from the first marriage. But I hear there was another son – some boy who used to talk to trees and invisible playmates. I never met him personally, but followed in his ways. Care for a smoke?” As Scorpion pulled out a Camel’s cigarette, and offered one to Adrian, the new arrival surprised both of them by accepting it. A lighter was thrown Adrian’s way, right after Scorpion light his own. The package was half crumbled, but the contents were

acceptable to smoke. Now the lighter was old, and a present of his father, with the initials DE engraved on them. now?” “I’m just curious if I smoke now, while I am here, will I still feel it when I am home – if you call it home. It’s a philosophical question. But what is your father’s name?” “His name was Michael, and he was nicknamed Doctor Evil. Hence the lighter with DE on it,” replied Scorpion. “May I see that?” asked Adrian, as Scorpion threw it to him. As he focused on the lighter, a flood of impressions overcame him. Memories of childhood and son of an underworld kingpin haunted his memory, where he was raised for “I never knew you to smoke,” responded Scorpion. “Why

a few years, before the mother left with him. The other impression was a boy he met a few times, who he had grown up with, and recognized as the man standing before him. There were recollections of spiritual experiences from early childhood, where he was visited by spiritual beings, and underwent spiritual experienced. But the juxtaposition of memories in a criminal underworld and confronting the reality of spiritual experience caused him to get stuck – so to speak – in an avenue of mental instability. “I need to run,” responded Adrian, who threw the lighter back to Scorpion, and ran behind the bushes. Scorpion ran after him, only to find nothing there. “Where did he disappear to? What was that all about?” Scorpion echoed aloud. The light of Adrian’s spirit was like a balloon, which one end is twisted in a circular shape, that is an identical image of the other end, and the center is an elongated string tying the two ends. If the original end should cease to be, then the other end would vanish also. But now the light is resembled into one sphere called Adrian, who is back in his cell, still engaged in a conversation with Poncho on desert whether conditions. Engaging in this stimulating topic was more challenging then confronting Scorpion – for his greatest challenge is staying awake while Poncho explained how cactuses related to dust storms. Now that he returned, there was a distinct order of Camel cigarettes about him, which caused Bubbles to hold her nose, and Poncho to remark: “Someone has been smoking a Camel.” “It must have been Bubbles,” said Adrian, cracking a slight smile.

“Adrian,” responded Poncho, sitting on a plain wooden chair, situated in between two cots, as he looked into Adrian’s eyes. But Poncho’s cigarette mystery would take a back seat to breakfast call, as a bell rang, and the warden came, escorted by two guards. In his hand, was a document written in Spanish, which he handed to Poncho. There was an official seal on the outside, encircled by a red ribbon, which Poncho read to himself, and started smiling. “I don’t believe it,” he shouted. “We’re free men.” “What happened?” asked Adrian, looking at Poncho with inquisitive eyes. “It is a strange twist of fate,” responded Poncho. “Your cousin contacted the church officials, and they dispatched a Bishop, who was accompanied by that lawyer your wife hired and an embassy representative, to see the governor. My wife included this letter in the official release document, signed by the governor himself. It appears the

governor didn’t want a media case made out of something so trivia, so he issued a pardon for the three of us. Isn’t that great?” A surprised Adrian looked around and looked at the warden. “Is this all true?” “Yes, thank God!” responded the warden. “I don’t think I could deal with the three of you any longer.” A solemn faced warden pointed his finger towards the exit door, and a guard grabbed the release form, and motioned his three ex prisoners to follow him. A sandy floor, with concrete wall and iron bars, became the landscape the three convicts were leaving

behind. From the cells, both cheers and boos could be heard, as a love hate relationship developed towards the three. Etched into the minds of many was a new mystery – a person being both a skilled martial artist and a sorcerer – a combination, though full of false impressions, would pave the way for many rumors – both in prison and outside the prison confines. Between the prison interior and freedom lay a check out room, for want of a better title. It was basically a ten foot cubical structure, where a guard sat in an old wooden chair, positioned behind a broken wooden desk, with a stack of unfinished papers. On the guard’s left lay a wooden table, with a couple stacks of clothes, belonging too the prisoners. A few moments of Spanish instruction, followed by Poncho translating into English, asked the two men to exchange their prison duds for their original civilian ones. While Adrian was busy changing, he noticed a mischievous Bubbles reaching for the guard’s keys, and he threw the prison shirt at her, hitting her in the head. “Why did you throw the prison shirt at the monkey?” asked the guard, in broken English. “She’s like Linus in the Peanuts cartoon – instead of a security blanket, she gets a prison shirt.” Adrian’s remark left the guard scratching his head and looking at the monkey. When the three reached the outside rusty gate, Adrian’s wife was waiting and gave him a big kiss. The guard handed the monkey to Poncho, who looked at Adrian and

remarked, “Don’t I get a kiss too?” At that point, Bubbles gave him a big kiss on the lips, causing him to spit out around the perimeter, and the married couple to have a good laugh. Ann wasted no time beating a hasty exit, as a beat up old sixties VM with peeling yellow paint, and Mexican license plates, escorted the group far away from prison life. Inside the back seat, where Poncho was sitting with Bubbles, lay yesterday’s Spanish newspaper, which he promptly picked up. The front page was filled with the usual local and international news, with a section devoted to sports, but something on page eleven caught his eye – stooge convention coming to town. “Hey Adrian,” remarked Poncho. “They are having a Stooge convention in town, starting tomorrow. Let’s go and enjoy ourselves – purge ourselves of the memories from prison.” “But he hangs out with enough stooges as it is,” responded Ann. “But I’ll tell you what. Let me have him tonight, and you can take him to the stooge convention tomorrow. And take Bubbles and Chico with you.” “The wife knows what’s best,” retorted Adrian, watching the sand pelt the VM on the dessert road.

Stooge Convention Prequel
That evening, back at the perish, Adrian talked with Sam and Ann about prison life, but leaving out the details about his visit to Ann and Scorpion, or walking outside the prison walls – he would elaborate later to Ann in private. Right now, he was happy

contemplating his evening meal of rice, beans, ground beef, tortillas, and how he was happy to get away from prison food consisting of the same combination.

No matter

where I go, I can’t get away from the beans. And the beans make me gaseous. I’ll have to sneak outside later to release some gas.
Chico was immensely happy to see Adrian, and the Chihuahua’s wagging tail was an indication of that happiness. Yet Adrian had some worries about the stooge convention.

Now I know that something like that would attack my goofy guardian angel Coyote, and who’s to say what mischief Bubbles and Chico could find. And what types of people go to a stooge convention anyway? I’m sure it’s not your nuclear physicists, rocket scientists, or diplomatic representatives. But I do like the stooges, and I probably won’t get time to see one again. And Ann would not want me to go to one, unless it was just visiting the area. Maybe I might even learn something.
After dinner, and before retiring to see Ann, Adrian went to the chapel to pray and meditate. The chapel had a brick outer while exterior, but wood pews inside, with a

statue of Saint Joseph, Christ, and Mary in the front, where Adrian’s eyes were focused. But his intuition made him aware of a familiar bearded figure besides him, who he knew was Socrates, without turning to his right. “Did you come here to pray, or are you here to convey some message?” Adrian inquired. “Actually, it’s a teaching,” responded Socrates. “To defeat Dark Star, you need to learn some new things. And you did well during your time in prison.”

“Swell,” cried Adrian, looking at the altar and talking to Socrates. “I can’t discover for the life of me, why I am surrounded by darkness. I find out my brother is named

Scorpion, and my father – of all people – is someone named Doctor Evil. Now I remember as a kid reading coming books. There was a character named Doctor Doom, who used his amazing mind to conquer the world. And I remember reading this character named

Doctor Strange, who was the mystic defender of our known and unknown universes. And the comic competitor had a known defender called Doctor Fate, which has this mystic castle to travel through dimensional portals. And now, here I am, not having a title of doctor, but entering the mystic worlds. Can’t I get a title like Doctor Chuckle, or Doctor Clocker?” The evening humidity brought sweat down Adrian’s forehead. Tonight, he was wearing his blue and white wool poncho and straw sombrero. His brown sandals were

comfortable, as his cloths couldn’t decide to emulate Christ or Clint Eastwood’s cowboy movie character. From the distance, Chico came walking into the chapel, wagging his tail, and moving into the space between Socrates and Adrian. There was simplicity to his

wagging tail Adrian found refreshing, as his hand petted Chico, while the Chihuahua licked Socrates’ hand. But there moment of solitude was disrupted by Socrates, who pulled out a note, and handed it to Adrian. His right hand tore open the letter, and its content was a bit disturbing. Dear Adrian:

I hope all is going well, and for security reasons, I am sending this message by snail mail rather then telepathic mail. Luckily, I bumped into the letter carrier Socrates, who agreed to carrier my message to you. Since we last talked, there have been mystic attacks on the Rosisufists. Everyone is still alive, but Iris and I are recovering. “I can’t believe it,” responded Adrian, looking at the signature of Buddha Poonapepper. “Have you ever read the comic book about watchers, who are beings from another planet, who will not interfere in the universe’s problems, but will aid members of their own race? Well, think of your buddy Coyote like that. He will aid you – and you

understand him – but his chief function is watching, along with giving those who contact him wisdom. On the other hand, there are those who follow the dark side, and they use that power for their own evil purposes. To gain control over their followers, charge money, gain sexual or political favors, or satisfy their own ego becomes their mission in life.” Now Chico was falling asleep, and sitting on Adrian’s lap, while the two men looked down at the Chihuahua. “Life gets more confusing each day, as we walk in the light. Someone is always there to steal the light away. Didn’t Plato talk about light?” asked Adrian. “It’s the cave analogy, where we all sit in a cave’s shadows, while the real light is shining around them. While some people, like you, seek the light – others, like the vast majority, live in the shadows – while others are comfortable with the darkness.”

The three sat in silence, feeling the inner peace of the chapel, and that emulating from their own heart.

The Stooge Convention
Adrian was a creature who followed the middle way, which is probably illustrated best by the sage Buddha. And now that Adrian was married, sex was something he did not shy away from. At times, Ann felt he had a considerable amount of animal energy, and wasn’t afraid to use it. And tonight was one of those times. Other times found him as contemplative as Buddha, and as peaceful as Christ. So the evening was spent with sex, and the morning for prayer and meditation. “Good morning, darling,” said Ann, smiling coyly from the bed, while Adrian walked over toward a mirror to comb his hair. “You know,” he responded. “I watched those three fellows since I was little, and they still air today. Imagine a convention in the adjacent town of Dessert Falls.” “Wonderful,” said Ann. “This is why I will stay here, while you join Poncho. And while you’re at it, you can take Laurel and Hardy with you.” An innocent faced monkey walked into the bedroom, from the adjacent hallway, past a half open wooden door, and grabbed Adrian’s hand. She climbed into Adrian’s waiting arms and perched herself on his back, so it would elicit many questions from local residents. Nobody would question is multi colored white and black cloth poncho, with its extendable hood, or his blue jeans, or brown sandals. But a monkey for a knapsack would

definitely arouse questions, and his buddy Poncho could answer all in Spanish. The morning sun was an orange haze, like the strawberry toppings overflowing a Sunday, as he stepped outside to a waiting jeep, driven by his new prison pal Poncho. Poncho was dressed in morn traditional Mexican clothes, with blue jeans, sandals, straw hat, brown shirt made in Mexico, and a gold chain around his neck, with a medallion featuring the Virgin Mary. Chico. “Good morning, my fellow inmate,” replied Poncho, opening the passenger door. “Are we ready for the convention?” “As ready as Moe’s hammer meeting Curly’s head,” responded Adrian, hoping to get his mind off of things, such as prison, Dark Star, Burrito Banditos, and beans. The trip was about a two hour journey, given a half hour at a local dinner, where Adrian again ate beans, rice, tortillas, coffee, and scrambled eggs, which was becoming a Mexican staple for him. On occasion, he indulged in a Coke with lemon and lime, and though it would be more excitement into his life. The dinner was a smoked filled dive with workmen shooting the breeze on old brown wooden stools and chairs, with a pretty senorita with black hair flowing down her shoulders, in a five foot six inch slender frame, taking orders. But Adrian was again bothered by a very pressing matter. “I don’t understand it. Where is all the tea in China? I mean, here I am, in a country rich in heritage, and all they have to drink is coffee, tequila, and Coke. But doesn’t Sitting beside the jeep, with a wagging tail, was his pal

anyone drink tea? Imagine a world where tea doesn’t exist. Back home, I can drink green, Jasmine, or black tea. And they even have flavored teas, like Earl Grey. What happened to all the tea?” “Perhaps,” said Poncho, “it would give the men in our country the wrong image. Guys would be happy to identify themselves as a tequila, Coke, or coffee man, but would say tea is a female trip. But enough of these deep subjects! We have a convention to attend.” They paid the tab, and exited the smoky dinner, for a fresh morning air, and drove another half hour, following many English and Spanish signs, to the convention. As the jeep slowly approached the parking lot of Hotel Magnificent, a Mexican male teenager wearing a mop top painted black, approached the car, and he approached the passenger side door housing Adrian. Chico was quiet around strangers, if his friends were calm and collected. “Have you seen that Curly?” The teenager asked. “I’ll murder him.” “Hmm,” responded Adrian. “If he dresses up in a chimp outfit, and manages to get exposed to an alien shrink ray gun, then I have the perfect candidate.” The front reception desk was a sturdy Oak table top, situated on four large rocks, with a large cardboard sign taped with duck tape saying stooge convention in Spanish and English. The receptionist had his feet propped on the desk, and wore a Larry Fine mask, with a porcupine hat and Bozo shoes, while dressed in a pink leisure suit.

“Pardon me,” responded Adrian, as he put Bubbles down on the table. Do you speak English? Where can I find the stooge convention?” “No,” the receptionist replied in English. “I only speak pig Latin. And whom do we have here in the chimp costume? Umbda?” Quick reacting Bubbles pulled a porcupine quilt from the hat and stuck the receptionist’s hand with it. “Ouch!” shouted the receptionist, holding his stuck hand. “Why did she do that for?” “Because you insulta chimpa,” replied Poncho, who stood behind Bubbles and Adrian, alongside the Chihuahua. A loudspeaker announcement echoed in broken Spanish and English, told of a Stooge talent contest. While Adrian and Poncho struggled to make sense of the announcement, Bubbles engaged the receptionist in a face making contest. Every move she made, such as sticking out her tongue, or pulling her lips to the side with her fingers, was matched by an equally determined contestant. This give and take brought a crowd together to cluster around the two, evidently finding the acting better then watching stooge shorts. It became apparent to Adrian, from the crowd’s response, that Bubbles was the bigger crowd attraction. Finally the receptionist broke down and Bubbles a ribbon saying first

place.
“I knew she would win first place in a stooge contest. I could have told you so,” Adrian responded to Poncho,

A quick exit from the crowd, through a long, winding corridor, brought the foursome to a door marked props. Inside was a small Mexican man about 5 feet, heavy set, with brown hair and mustache, and glasses, wearing a pink shirt and brown pants. The room was filled with brown boxes, and the man grabbed the nearest one, opened it up, and handed what appeared to be stooge props used in vaudeville acts. “Quick,” he said in Spanish. “You’re just in time for the stooge talent context.” “What does he want?” asked Adrian. “They are reenacting imitations of Moe, Larry, and Curly, and we are just in time for the next entry,” responded Poncho. “There is no way you will get me into a stooge context. I have enough with my friend Coyote and Bubbles” asked Adrian, as Poncho pointed to the prompts. “What about the monkey and Chihuahua?” “Where can the Chihuahua and monkey stay?” asked Poncho in Spanish. “If the monkey wants to be Curly, and the Chihuahua trails along, it would add to the laughs,” replied the man in Spanish. Before a reluctant Adrian could say anything, the man gave Adrian a Larry Fine hairpiece, and Poncho a Moe hairpiece. The man yelled some words in Spanish, which Poncho translating as looking good, while the Larry wig caused a rampant flood of thoughts. Now I suppose I could tell the old joke where two people get into a horse

outfit, with Poncho plays the front part and I play myself. Now I have a green cloth

outfit, which looks more like a recycled army tent. It looks like the same outfit the clowns wear in circus stunts. I’ll bet it came from surplus stock Ringling Brothers had left over. This outfit feels pretty strong – almost like it’s made from an army surplus tent. At least they could have died it some color other then green. I feel Bubbles

sitting on my head, and if she covers my eyes, then I can’t see a thing. And Chico keeps nibbling at my feet. How am I supposed to take this act seriously? And if Poncho lets a fart, I’m out of here. And I’m Coyote will show his hand in all this.
Inside one of the boxes, was a small derby hat that an exasperated Adrian placed on Bubbles head. The brown hat brought a smile to Bubbles, who turned to the man with the costumes, and blew him a kiss. In the horizon, thorough a brown stage curtain

separating the two rooms was an overhead light saying next in Spanish. A reluctant Adrian grabbed a big bag marked Stooge props and followed Poncho through the curtain, with Chico and Bubbles bringing up the rear. The parted curtain revealed a wooden stage, with folding chairs in an auditorium that resembled a movie theater. A hush at first fell over the crowd, as the announcer introduced the new act via the sound system. But the silence turned to booing, as Poncho got stage fright, Bubbles sat down and remained silent, and Chico lay down on his side, taking a nap. “Now what should I do?” Adrian asked Poncho, but not expecting an answer. “Moe usually makes the decisions, and have nothing to stop the restless mob.” “May I kindly be of assistance, my good man?”

Adrian heard the voice come from the prop bag, and knew who was responsible.

And

this knowledge caused a terrible dilemma to brew. Now what should I do? If I accept

Coyote’s help, I will probably get on the receiving end of all the jokes.

It’s like

volunteering to be Curly and wearing a sign on back saying ‘kick me’. And If I don’t accept the help, the crowd might get violent. They may even pelt us with rotten

tomatoes. It brings to light a context in Spain, where opposing teams start a grand tomato battle. I suppose I should open the bag and see what’s inside.
The first items two appear, as Adrian reached into the bag, were a rubber chicken and plastic frying pan. As he proceeded to toss the chicken, much like a juggler with his bowling pins, he also placed the frying pan on his head. This mellow display invoked a few audience chuckles, but most were yawning or not saying anything. “This is not working,” responded Adrian. “What do we do?” “Give the chicken to me,” responded Poncho. “I’ll fix you, you knucklehead,” responded Poncho, as he hit Adrian on the head with the chicken. A dilapidated rubber chicken did drum practice on a green plastic frying pan, as poor Adrian held on to the handle. But instead of laughter, which both men expected, the audience started booing in English and Spanish. As a surprised and frustrated Adrian surveyed the audience, he noticed some tomatoes, and guessed what would happen shortly. He felt a tug on his pants, and as his eyes glanced downward, Bubbles was

grabbing onto his pants leg, and pointing with her other hand. “What does she want?” asked Poncho. “I believe she wants the rubber chicken and frying pan. Let’s give them to her. Maybe the audience won’t throw tomatoes at a monkey.” As the men handed both prompts to the monkey, she took the frying pan is one hand, and started flipping the chicken in the other. And as Adrian started yelled “woo, woo,” a delighted audience started applauding, and yelling in Spanish “bravo Curly” and “Curly chicken.” A quick glance around the room brought another observation to Adrian. The

men love this. But where are all the women, and how come only men like the Stooges? It’s probably because women are not into physical violence, and the Stooges are just what men tune into. But I know the violence is not real, just as I know Elmer Fudd doesn’t get hurt by Bugs Bunny. He does in the cartoon, just as Curly gets hit with a rubber hammer. But Ann doesn’t like them. Poncho’s wife doesn’t like them. And it appears all the wives and girl friends of the audience don’t either – else they would be here.
With his thoughts drifting into clichés of Curly and Bugs Bunny, Adrian now played his Larry role, and grabbed the rubber chicken leg, and attempted to pull it away from Bubbles. But a determined monkey grabbed to a leg and started pulling it back. And Chico, determined to join the tug of war game, grabbed the second leg with his mouth. Now a reluctant Adrian was pulling on the neck, while Bubbles and Chico were pulling in

the opposite direction, stretching the chicken beyond its original size. This action drew a big applaud from the audience, while Poncho stood his ground in silent amusement. When Chico gave the chicken an extra pull, Adrian lost his grip, and went flying backwards. But his Aikido training taught him to roll, and he fell towards the ground without becoming injured. Now Chico pulled the chicken away from Bubbles, who grabbed the rubber frying pan, and started chasing Chico in a circle, moving in a clockwise direction around the two men. Poncho took the moment to yell “woo, woo, woo,” while Adrian put his hand on his head, stood up, and echoed a Charlie Brown “good grief.” And the whole audience stood up, and a thundering applause echoed through the thin walls. “They like us,” responded Poncho, who held Adrian’s arm up with his, as they both took a bow together. This prompted Bubbles to stop and imitate them, and when Chico had no one to play chicken pulling with, he stopped and dropped the chicken. And observant Bubbles, noticing the chicken was unguarded, picked it up and tossed it at a heavy set Mexican gentleman sitting in the front. His stomach stopped the blunt of the chicken, forcing it to bounce into the head of a man in front. Another round of applause was triggered by these monkey antics. “How come when it comes to being a Stooge, Bubbles is natural?” Adrian asked. “It could be she has a good teacher in you,” replied Poncho. “Thanks,” responded Adrian, looking around at the audience. “Now I don’t know weather

you complemented or insulted me.” “Come over here and get a present,” the prop bag replied. “I wonder how he throws his voice?” asked Poncho, as Adrian stepped over toward the bag. The bag was open, and when he looked inside, nothing could be seen but the empty bottom. Curiosity got the better of Adrian, and he bent over and pulled his head into the bag’s mouth, much like a lion tamer during a circus lion act. Instead of a smelly lion breath, he felt a cream pie fly up, hitting him in the face. When he lifted his head from the bag, and stood up, he heard Bubbles, Poncho, and the bag laughing. And the resulting actions triggered a round of laugher and applause from the audience. “I should have known this. Every stooge episode contains a pie fight,” Adrian said, wiping the pie from his face, using a handkerchief. “Actually, of all one hundred and ninety shorts they made, one five contained pie fights,” Poncho retorted. “Now go get something else out of the bag, before I murder you.” In keeping with the spirit of the contest, Adrian decided to play things safe. Rather then put his head in the bag, he reached down with his hand, attempting to grab a prop. Something was pulling on his hand, and he felt something grab unto it. The more he struggled, the more his hand was drawn into the bag. It because a dance of sea saw proportions, with his arm simultaneous pulling itself out, and being pulled in. From the

audience’s perspective, all they say was his arm moving back and forth, in and out of the prop bag. When the tug of war finally ceased, he pulled out a rubber skunk, which

triggered Bubbles to hold her nose, and Chico to bark. “You got el stinko there, my friend,” Poncho said. “If I were you, I put it back in the bag.” “What damage could a rubber skunk do?” Adrian asked, realizing after speaking that a rubber skunk from Coyote could do a lot of damage. “What should we do? What should we do?” Poncho asked in Spanish, looking at the audience, to whom the question was addressed.

What do you do with a rubber skunk? This question would briefly haunt Adrian, who
can spot a Coyote set up a mile away. A live stinky would be trouble enough, and easy to predict. If someone trespasses on its territory, then a gaseous order is released,

resembling a fine perfume composed of limburger cheese and garlic juice. And how do

you clean off the scent? Tomato juice bath is recommended in some old books, and who has time to read now?
A coy smile emerged from the rubber skunks face, held by a very apprehensive Adrian. A fine mist emulated from the skunk’s body, saturating Adrian and Poncho like a fine rain, only the smell was anything but pleasant. But a smart set of pets scurried out of

harm’s way, and an audience used to Stooge antics, bellowed in laughter that overshadowed any sound track. With his body saturated in smelly oils, an angry Adrian

opened the prompt bag and shouted. “How dare you cover me in smelly skunk odor? You’re a moron.” “Relax, kid,” responded the bag. “It’s only a gag. The spray is a concoction of

limburger cheese and garlic juice, which was carefully prepared in an old alchemy formulation, and lightly distributed into the atmosphere. It’s a fine synthetic, believe me. It won’t harm you in the least.” “Won’t harm me? Won’t harm me?” screamed Adrian, whose shouts were a concern for Poncho, who probably questioned his partners sanity by now. “You should take a bath in this junk.” A cool and collected Poncho lit a Camel cigarette, hoping to neutralize the poignant order, while leaving Adrian to hold the prompt bag, and sifting through it for an odor neutralizer. But unnoticed by him, on the overhead wall above, was a digital clock, which timed a ten minute skit segment. The circular black and white display performed a ten second finally, with an electronic coo-coo sound signaling the round’s end. This left

Adrian to grab Bubbles and the prop back, and bid a hasty retreat towards the exit door, with Poncho and Chico hot in pursuit. “How long does this fowl smelling odor stay with us?” Adrian shouted at the prop bag. “My good man,” the bag responded. “This alchemy formula only lasts an hour or so. You are in luck, no?” “Who do you keep talking to? Are you a ventriloquist?” asked Poncho, following Adrian

down a dark hallway, after they both passed the exit door. “I’m talking to my inner child,” retorted Adrian, as Bubbles gave him a sly smile.

Alien Adduction
The exit door led the two men and animals through a winding hallway, leading through a maintenance corridor, and finally to a doorway leading to the hotel lobby. A frustrated Adrian ended up carrying Bubbles, who kept holding her nose, while a cautious Chico kept a good six feet behind. Poncho found himself tagging beside Adrian, and both men

observed the crowds keeping their distance. “You need a good bath, young man,” said a fat Mexican lady, holding her nose as Adrian passed. “Believe me. I know,” retorted Adrian, as he passed the fat lady. A broken light saying bar flashed ahead, with two broken lights missing. As Adrian

walked into the bar, everyone rushed toward the front, while Adrian’s party went to the back. A short Mexican man, wearing a white cotton tee-shirt, deposited a coin into a corner jukebox, and picked out a traditional Mexican love song. Poncho picked out a deserted table in the back, and waited for the server to come.

“Can I help you gentlemen?” the approaching server asked, as he stood ten feet away from their table. “Give me a rum and coke, a diet coke with a lemon and lime twist, a bowl of milk, and a

bowl of water,” Poncho responded. “Did I tell you that, as our twenty fifth customer of the day, you won a prize?” The waiter asked. “What did we win?” asked Adrian. “Free use of the manager’s shower,” he responded. “We’ll pass,” Adrian replied. “He has some nice perfume ball soap,” he responded. “No thank you,” Adrian replied, as he watched the waiter go to the bar, to fix the order. “And if you hold your nose again, Bubbles, I’ll find a way to soak you in this imitation skunk mixture.” By now, the monkey knew when to push the limits, and when not too, as she stood silently in the chair, covering her eyes, and imitated the see-no-evil monkey. And Chico, who had an enhanced sense of smell, laid on the floor, about ten feet away. The waiter returned, placing the Coke orders on their old wooden table, while the bowls were placed on a stone floor. While he squeezed the lemon and lime, and put the juice into the diet Coke, before putting the glass to his mouth, and took a sip. “Now you need to tell me about this voice inside the prop box, and that phasing inside prison,” Poncho inquired, as he sipped his rum and Coke. “It’s like this,” Adrian responded. “I’m what your country calls a shaman, and his trickster, who saturated us with imitation skunk oil, is a mischievous spirit named

Coyote. For the most part, he is a good friend, and helps me out of jams, but not always in the way I want. And the other item – the one about disappearing – I really don’t understand fully myself. I know the founder of Aikido could do this, and in the course of battle, he could be doing an Aikido dance, and disappear from one area, only to reappear a short distance away. Mystical stuff, for the most part.” “You said this stuff wears off in an hour. I suppose we could wait it off, just drinking,” Poncho replied. A curious site caught Adrian’s eye, as he looked out the bar window, and noticed a man dressed in an ET outfit, which was a movie about an alien kid landing on earth, and making friends with earth children. And this site prompted Adrian to reflect on life. I

never remember an alien in a stooge short.

They encountered monsters, Nazis, Maybe there is another

mummies, and all assortments of crooks and criminals. convention going on here.

Maybe it is a movie convention, where the makers of one of

those Star Trek series shows up, signs some posters, and speaks in that Klingon language. Maybe we should check this out, after this stupid skunk formula wears off.
“You know,” Adrian said, looking Poncho in the eye. “I have never been to an Alien convention. Could we go check it out before going back?” “For you, my friend, I’ll be happy to oblige. But we got to see the Stooge pie fight.” “Pie fight? I remember some professor doing a study. Of the one hundred and ninety shorts they made, only five contained pie fights. But we are going as spectators

and not participants.” “Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Poncho retorted. Bubbles cracked a sly smile, almost like she knew a mischievous Coyote would reverse Adrian’s play it safe attitude.

Pie Fight
Adrian found his bar stay a lonely one, where everyone except his own party stayed at least twenty feet away from him. And Coyote was true to his word, as the compound limburger cheese and garlic juice concoction wore off within the hour. While Poncho looked at the brown parchment containing the Stooge event schedule, an excited Adrian looked at his forty dollar Timex, and the twelve fifty time display told him he had ten minutes to show time. Now Adrian was completely lost in the main lobby, sporting chandeliers and staff in fancy black and white dresses or suits, trying to act like upper crust Spaniards. One TV by the main desk caught his attention, as he carried Bubbles, and spotted the TV running a Mexican soap. Females in scant outfits, and handsome Mexican males, filled the

screen, speaking some words in Spanish he couldn’t comprehend. His eyes then focused on a poster showing some pies thrown by Moe, Larry, and Curly, in a black and white background. His eyes were filled with joy, as Adrian wished to lead his party to the first live, pie telecast. He followed a crowd of young Mexican males, while holding Bubbles, and Poncho and Chico following him. As he followed the brown and

white stairwell to the basement, his body was squeezed on all sides by Mexican males eager for pie playtime. When everyone reached the basement, a small group went into room 213, while the rest went into room 321. “What is happening?” Adrian inquired, turning to Poncho. “Spectators are going to room 321 and participants to room 213.” “I suppose the signs say this? Well, I thing a foxy Coyote switched these signs. Now he should know better then that. But I’ll fix him. I will go to the room marked

participants, and then become a spectator.” “I think you’re wrong, Senor Adrian. Both rooms will open up, when they remove the dividing partition. I’ll go into the room marked participants.” “Find,” responded Adrian, a little flustered Poncho didn’t see his viewpoint. As Poncho walked toward the other room, Bubbles tapped Adrian on his shoulder, and pointed to Poncho. Chico in turn pulled on his pants leg, attempted to change the

human’s mind. But nothing could persuade the noble crusader he was wrong, and for better or worse, Bubbles and Chico would suffer the rewards or punishments. “What out for the pies,” shouted Poncho from the doorway to room 321, as he quickly faded from view. “The only pies I’ll see are the ones hitting your face,” Adrian shouted back, as Bubbles continued to tap him on the shoulder and point to Poncho. Two men walked beside Adrian. One was short and heavy set, about three hundred

pounds, wearing a black suit and green tie, while his black hair was cut into a short, Moe styled haircut, and sporting a mustache. The other man was tall and thin, wearing a derby hat, with short brown hair, a brown suit, and a pink tie. Both men were Mexican and the tall man tipped his hat to Bubbles. “I say,” said the tall man, looking at Adrian, as they marched into room 213. “My name is Wilber, and my partner’s name is Oliver.” “I’m Adrian and this is Bubbles.” Adrian and Bubbles shook hands with the two strangers. Inside Oliver’s coat pocket, was a fountain pen, which Bubbles promptly helped herself too, before Adrian could stop her. Her fingers massaged the fountain pen, and her face sported a complacent look, as the new toy amused her. “The pen is a trick pen that squirts phony ink,” responded Oliver, twisting his tie, as the crowd settled into room 213. “And the monkey is too dumb to figure out to squirt it,” Wilber said. But both men underestimated the ingenuity of Bubbles, who was a master at figuring things out. A flip of a hidden switch, and pointing the writing end towards the two men, produced a flow of ink directly into their faces. The monkey gave an expression that said “what happened,” while Adrian blushed in embarrassment, as he grabbed the pen from Bubbles hand, and handed it to Wilber. “I’m terribly sorry,” Adrian sighed, offering a clean handkerchief to the two men. “I

have no idea. Well, actually I have some idea, how this accident happened. And I assure you it was an accident, weren’t it, Bubbles?” As he gazed into the monkey’s eyes, Bubbles responded with an “I’m innocent” look. “Accidents will happen,” Wilber responded. “Now we need to prepare for the pie fight.” “How come there are so few people in room 213, and everyone is standing up? And why haven’t they removed the partition, so I can see my friend Poncho and the pie fight?” Adrian inquired. Oliver and Wilber looked at Adrian, then at each other, before breaking out in a big laugh, which prompted everyone to look their way. “Oh,” said Oliver. “You want to see the pie fight? You will see the pie fight, and at a very close range, I might add.” “Then I have a front row seat?” “You are as close to the pie as the Stooges were,” responded Wilber. On the table was a stack of clear plastic ponchos, and the men took them, putting them over their clothes. And this action, while confusing to Adrian, prompted him to follow the crowd, and get drawn into philosophical reflection.

Wow! I wonder why

everyone is putting on these ponchos. They appear to be cheap plastic items you get for a dollar. I need to put the monkey down, so I can get this on. There. Is it going to rain today? Why do we need rain gear to watch a pie fight? It must be one of these strange

Mexican customs. I wish Poncho would explain the poncho to me. I’ll ask him after this event is over. Do they sell popcorn here? I wonder.
His thoughts were interrupted by a small mechanical hum, as a partition opened up, and revealed a glass partition, with several rows of chairs on the other side, hosting several men. It took Adrian a moment to grasp the full reality of what was happening. Never mind the audience, including his friend Poncho, was sitting in chairs in the next room. Forget the fact that two men were wheeling in several containers filled with crème pies. And let’s not dwell on Bubbles, who knew what would happen, ran with Chico under the nearest table. And when a man handed out cheap plastic ponchos and all the men put them on, nothing clicked in his innocent brain. Only when a short, stock man, wearing a green suit coat, red pants, and a white and yellowed striped tie, blowing a police whistle, did the truth dawn on Adrian – I’m stuck in a pie fight. As Bubbles sat in a sitting meditation pose, alongside a sitting Chico, safe in the confines of a folding table, crème pies were flying every direction. Some banged against the glass partition separating the audience and pie fighters, but most ended up in faces – be they fat, thin, short, stoat, or anywhere in between. And Adrian’s face became a magnet for a crème pie – at least the first three. Somewhere in the distance background, he heard the laughing of Coyote. And much to Adrian’s own amazement, he burst into a belly laugh, as he picked up a crème pie and tossed it into Wilber’s back. His body ducked under a flying pie, as he caught it between

his hands, and threw it into Oliver’s face. And then it happened. The loudspeaker, positioned above the glass partition, played a recording of the William tell overture. Perhaps it was the overture. Maybe it was the kid in him. Or it could have been the capacity to act out a stooge fantasy. But Adrian just went ballistic and threw pies at

everyone. His own aikido abilities, along with his mystical sixth sense, allowed him to send more pies as gifts then folks gave him in return. His poncho looked like a Sunday, except that it was missing the nuts and cherry. This contest could go on for hours, except that pies were limited, and the fight ended when William Tell finished his overture. The pie fighters took a bow, as the glass partition rolled back. When there was no more danger from runaway pies, Bubbles and Chico scurried from the confines of a makeshift shelter, to the receiving end of thunderous applause. “I knew that there were five fights out of one hundred and ninety episodes,” Adrian remarked to Wilber. “Would we make it a six episode?” Wilber inquired. Adrian removed his messy poncho, and picked Bubbles up in his arms. “Are you going to the cow milking contest?” asked Oliver. “Enough Stooges for me today. I’m going to the alien convention.” With a wobble of his tail, Chico led the dynamic duo to Poncho, who was reclining in his chair, somewhere in the front row section. Now Poncho stood up, gave Bubbles and The crowd left the arena in an

Adrian a hug, and rubbed his foot on Chico’s back.

orderly fashion, eager for the cow milking contest. This left Bubbles to break the ice, by pointing to the exit door. “We need to catch the cow milking contest,” Poncho remarked. “I’m going to the alien convention,” Adrian remarked. “I’ll go to the contest and you go to the convention. Let’s meet at the bar in two hours,” Poncho replied. “That sounds great! I suppose I get the Chihuahua and monkey?” Poncho gave him a stern look, and Adrian knew he was stuck with Larry and Curly.

Alien Convention
Now Adrian was following the convention signs, and at the same time, holding Bubbles and being followed by Chico. The hallway was full of imitation paintings of Salvador Dali and Picasso reproductions, hanging on wallpaper containing caricatures of Warner Brothers cartoon figures, like Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. A tall lady passed the other way, wearing a straw hat containing a fruit basket, and humming some Spanish song. Her dress was red, with blue and white circles across the perimeter. In the horizon was a sign saying hombres, and he knew natured called. The bathroom was rather clean, with a collection of toilets, urinals, and sinks. The two other men inside didn’t particularly object to a monkey and Chihuahua accompanying Adrian, as he placed Bubbles on the sink, while he went to the urinal to perform his manly duty. One man went to a stall, while the other took out a toothbrush, and moseyed

over towards the sink. He weighted three hundred pounds, wore a white shirt with black pants, a pair of brown suspenders, and had drunk a few too many tequilas. As he walked over toward the sink Bubbles was sitting on, he opened his mouth and the monkey intimated his gestures. “I know I’m ugly, but I didn’t know how much. And boy, do I ever need a shave.” His words caught the attention of Adrian, who finished his manly duty, and watched the interaction with amusement. The man, watching his reflection and starching his

head, pulled a blue comb from his pocket, and proceeded to comb his hair. This sudden action was anticipated by Adrian, who grabbed his own comb, gave it to Chico, and pointed him in Bubbles’ direction. The Chihuahua knew how to play fetch with his two friends, walked with the comb to the sink counter, and tossed it into Bubbles’ hand. As the man started to comb his hair, the monkey imitated his every move. “Dawn, man,” he remarked. “My wife always said I was ugly, but I never believed her. I’m going back to the bar.” As the drunk exited the bathroom, Adrian retrieved the comb and monkey, and followed suit. The signs, written in both English and Spanish, which decorated the walls, told about the Stooge cow milking contest, and the Alien convention registration. The hallway split into two passageways, and the dynamic trio followed the one with pictures of blue and green ET clones. When he thought no one was looking, Adrian took out a blue pen, and drew a mustache and Beatle hair style on the blue alien, followed by a pipe and

glasses on the green alien. As he put the pen away, insuring nobody was looking, he gave Bubbles a stern look. “Now a little bit of harmless mischief is good for the soul, but you and Coyote overdue it. And don’t let us give you a bad influence, Chico.” A brown door was the mystery gateway to all the world’s unknown mysteries, promising to answer all questions about ET and My Favorite Martian. The dynamic trio passed through the gateway, where a mysterious man sat at a table, taking tickets. He wore a green suit, pink tie with white circles, and wore an ET button on his suit pocket. His accent appeared that of an Englishman, as he waited for Adrian’s ticket. “I’m Apple Berry Pinkerton, alien hunter. My friends call me Apple. There’s not an alien in a thousand miles I couldn’t flush out. If they are green, blue, or orange, they can’t hide from me. I wonder what the folks would think if aliens were disguised as a monkey and Chihuahua? Not I know they are not aliens, but some folks may not. That will be five for your ticket, and the pets get in free.” “Get thanks, Mr. Berry. I mean Apple. I’m Adrian Albright, and the monkey is

Bubbles, and the Chihuahua is Chico. You speak as one who knows his subject. Will you be speaking on this fascinating subject?” “Well, my boy,” Apple replied, taking out a dowsing rod. “Notice the straight y shaped fork structure? I discovered from an early age, as I grew up in rural England, that I had this gift for dowsing. One day, the local farmer had a missing chicken named Henry

Penny, and he called on me to find it. Within the first few minutes, my dowsing rods begin to twitch, and off I went, in search of the missing chicken. A group of farmers follow me to Dinkerdork Cheek, where a lost Henry Penny is having a drink. Well, from then on, I made a ton of pocket change collecting lost chickens, then branching out to missing pigs and cows.” “Goodness, Apple,” Adrian said excitedly. “How did you go from chickens to aliens?” “Well, said Apple, taking out a package of jelly babies, and sharing them with Adrian in his pet menagerie. “One day a reporter from the Teetotalers Tabloid came roaring up in a land rover, looking for an alien clash he traced to the area. Naturally, we all saw the lights, but thought it was caused by Leroy’s gin still blowing up. He made the best damn gin in England. I could taste it now. Anyway, the man’s name was Larry Bloomington, and he offered me five pounds to find the alien crash site. Hell – for five pounds, I’ll rebuild Leroy’s still myself. My rod twitched like crazy, until it pointed to a field, where a few scrapes of mysterious mental stood. Then the truth dawned on Larry. The space ship crashed into Leroy’s still, and started a huge explosion. We lost a good gin source, but I became famous in the tabloid, and launched my new career.” Apple Berry stamped the ticket, and gave Adrian a red helium balloon, with a blue alien painted on it. Bubbles held out her hand, prompting Adrian to hand the balloon to her. There was a sign describing an alien encounter group, with a Doctor Susan Spandex leading the encounter. He approached the sign and read the biography. Susan Spandex

received her Ph.D. from the University of Nonsense, specializing in clinical psychology. One day she was adducted by invaders from the planet Enema in the star cluster anemia. The aliens looked like a cross between King Kong and Godzilla, and hooked her up to a contraction resembling a medieval still. Instead of having her brain destroyed, and becoming a cross between Frankenstein and Dracula, she was gifted with knowledge of universal truth, and become the caretaker of Mope Dope.
Now this phase mope dope confused Adrian, and he stopped the first passerby to ask. An old Mexican lady wearing a blue dress with white stripes, wearing her brown hair in a pigtail, and carrying a red umbrella, stopped beside him to read the poster. “You looked like an expert in flying saucers. My name is Adrian Albright, and I like to ask a question regarding this speaker.” “I’m Theodora Peabody, a socialite from the Mucho Loti providence. My dear man, I was the one who arranged for Susan Spandex to speak here. Please ask me any question. What are the pet names?” “The monkey is Bubbles and the Chihuahua is Chico. But this term mope dope is strange.” Theodora twisted her pigtails, giving the impressions she was either deranged, or pondering the deep mysteries surrounding the universe. She lifted her umbrella and pointed it towards a metal drinking fountain before talking. “Now I know what you are thinking. This here water fountain only satisfies my thirst.

And mope dope, for all practical purposes, looks like ordinary drinking water. But aliens from the planet Enema felt sorry for the poor creatures of earth, and wanted to increase their understanding of life. By energizing ordinary water with their zap dap ray, the water becomes mope dope. Naturally, to help meet expenses, Doctor Spandex sells this water for only one dollar a bottle. But since you’re new and a foreign visitor, I will give you one for free. I must run now. I’ll see you at Doctor Spandex’s lecture.” Now what do you do when someone hands you a bottle of water containing universal knowledge of other galaxies, except to cherish it in good faith, and test the waters for oneself? And that’s exactly what Adrian did, as Theodora handed him the water, in a pint plastic contained, and skedaddled. The water looked innocent enough, but he got Bubbles to open her mouth, and he squirted some water inside. She immediate started spitting it out, so Adrian did the same trick with Chico, only to find him barking, and spitting it out. Now he had a pint of mope dope, and nobody to unload it on, except a plant in the hall foliar. When nobody was looking, he pouring the clear elixir into the plant soil, only to see the plant wither and die seconds afterward. Thus Adrian

experienced his first and last exposure to mope dope, and now he continued walking toward the lecture, held in hall B-19. The lecture hall housed several black easy chairs, which reminded Adrian of Kmart blue light specials. There was a vast spectrum of individuals composing the human zoo, reclining in the chairs. They ranged in age from teenagers to old people, with both

genders accounted for, and the Mexican and Caucasian nationalities evenly divided. There were twelve seats, and one remained empty, which drew Adrian’s rear to claim it, alongside a monkey on the left arm, and a Chihuahua in Adrian’s lap. The room became silent, as a blond haired, Caucasian woman, wearing high heels, a red dress clinging to her body like a Victoria Secret model, entered the room. A couple of men standing outside the hall carried another Kmart blue light special chair in for her. She tipped the men, and sat down facing the group. “I’m Susan Spandex. In a half hour, I’m giving a lecture entitled why aliens are so

alien, but I wanted to host his encounter group first. This group is for people who have
been abducted by aliens. Does everyone her fit that category? Would someone like to start by sharing their experiences? Before we do that, let’s make some name tags. Maria, please.” A pretty Spanish young lady passed out name tags, along with a magic marker, for folks to identify themselves. Adrian’s attention was focused on a Caucasian middle aged man, wearing a yellow uniform and Jewish style hat, with his name tag bearing the words

Timmy Tweedle. Timmy raised his hand, like he wanted to share a story. There was a
package of photos inside his pocket, which he pulled out and passed around. When the packet reached Adrian, he looked at a picture of Timmy standing besides some bug creatures in human form, sipping tea, and a ship resembling an above ground swimming pool. Bubbles started to laugh, until Adrian looked at her with disapproval, and she

became silent. “Mr. Tweedle, I presume,” Susan remarked. “That’s a joke. Get it? Would you like to tell the group about your abduction experience?” “Well, madam,” Timmy retorted, standing up and facing the audience. “My pal Charlie and I were trade shots of tequila, along with salt and lime, and listening to Frank Sinatra records, when this light came buzzing around the sky, like a giant bee. It landed near the farmhouse, and we watched in hypnotic stupor, as this pretty bug like lady zapped us with a ray gun. My friend was knocked out, but I got this erotic urge, when this ladybug took out this translator out. It looked like a Star Trek toy, but she said she was sick of the men on planet Pleasum. She came to earth looking for a real man, and the next thing I knew, we went on a cruise and her spaceship cruised on autopilot, while we partook of sexual ecstasy for the next two hours. Later, she took me I saved the planet from doom, because unless she found a genuine love slave, she would annihilate the earth. Now I have some photos I’m passing around to prove everything.” Adrian started to fall asleep, until Bubbles poked him with her elbow, while Chico tugged on his pants leg. He noticed an elderly Mexican lady dressed in a blue dress, with an orange hat with artificial tulips standing straight up, and matching her curly black hair. She opened her purse, which was a dainty black with gold trimming receptacle,

pulled out some orange lipstick, and started doing her lips. “I’m Rosetta Bombweaver, and my story began one day, while I was praying in the wine

cellar. I was indulging myself with a good Chilean Chardonnay, and listening to some bubble gum music, when the wine cellar shook like a vacuum clearer with hiccups. The barrels were sprouting wine everywhere, when this four foot pink creature, looking like a panda bear, came wondering in. On his head was an antenna, which was a telepathic transmitting and receiving device, and he communicated in pictures. He explained that his parents were wine merchants, who come from the planet Pickleplum, and wanted to study the wine samples from earth. Naturally, I had wines from France, Chile, Spain, Australia, California, and Italy in my collection. He opened a device that looked like a rubrics cube, and started miniaturizing the wine samples, and put them in a block three inches in diameter. This creature was prepared to destroy our good planet, if he didn’t receive good wine to carry home. I guess I saved earth that day.” Everyone clapped as she told her story, and the group expressed approval, except for the pets and Adrian, who stood by with blank expressions, and prompted Adrian to think.

I’m really amazed they believe this nonsense. Not that aliens might exist or such, but that they made contact, and under such goofy circumstances. The Stooges I can believe in, and even when I got stuck in the skit or pie fighting contest, it was a lot of fun. But I got to get out of her. I know. I’ll ask Bubbles to pretend she’s sick.
Adrian whispered the word sick in her ear, and she pretended to go into convulsions. “Goodness, gracious,” screamed Susan, “what’s wrong with the monkey?” “She’s suffering from a little know illness called Alien Stoogititus, which she

encountered just recently. I must get her out for some fresh air.” “By all means,” said Susan. With the plot working, he exited the encounter group holding Bubbles, and Chico tagging behind. Now he was sick of silly blue aliens, or green men from outer space. He just wanted to head to a plain brown door containing a white and black exit sign positioned overhead. He walked to the main lobby, where black leather chairs contained figures relaxing, including his friend Poncho. “How was the alien convention?” inquired Poncho. “Terrible. It was simply terrible. And how was the cow milking contest?” “Funny as hell, but I had enough for today. In fact, my friend, I have some work to do, that will take me away for the next two months.” “Sorry to hear that. Right now, I want to get back to Ann.’ Both men were tired, as were the pets, and Adrian had enough Stooge and alien conventions to last a lifetime. For the life of him, he would have trouble telling the two apart. Within the next half hour, his wife would arrive and he would be asked about his day, and Ann would stop him after the first few minutes, asking him to continue the story later. Now he put his carcass in a comfortable chair, with Bubbles and Chico

joining him, in a wonderful siesta.

On the road to Mayberry
That evening, after filling in Ann regarding his adventures concerning stooges and

aliens, Adrian was listening to a shortwave radio his priestly cousin lent him.

He sat in

the living room of their cottage, with Bubbles sitting besides him, as they both lay upon a red bean bag. coffee. Chico was licking his feet, while Ann was in the kitchen, preparing

Adrian became a frequent listener to the BBC and VOA English news

broadcasts, while staying at the Mexican perish. There were times when he joined his cousin Father Sam in watching the CNN news. Ann returned with some decaf Mexican espresso, which the both found very tasty. Tonight they would talk about the problems that brought them here, but their conversation halted because of a knock, answered by Ann, bringing Sam carrying a letter. “A letter from the US, addressed to Adrian,” Sam replied. “I would stay, but I have some parish duties to attend to.” Adrian ripped open the letter, and read it with Ann. Dear Adrian: I trust this letter finds you in good spirits. I couldn’t risk contacting you by telepathic channels, and telegraphs are too risky, as everyone reads them. Letters

present a problem, in that mail is slow, and takes a while to exchange ideas. Phones are no good, since I feel they are taping calls on your side. Recently you learned about bilocation, or being in more then one place at once. And bi-location allows you to assume other forms. By your very experience, as you were talking to Socrates, you were

actually talking with your old friend and teacher Rumi.

Now Dark Star has found out about this trick, and it would be too risky to continue. She is clever and cunning and it will take all your wits to win – if you can. There is help within a town called Mayberry, but I can’t pinpoint where the help will come from. Look for a person knowledgeable with books, and a person playing a flute. This is the only information I can psychically pick up. The only way to communicate is by mail between my place and the rectory. Please be careful, as many people will depend on your success. Sincerely, Rumi “Well!” Adrian shouted, as he finished the letter. “Socrates was a hoax, and I didn’t even know it.” He tried to telepathically contact Rumi, but discovered he couldn’t. Another attempt was made to contact the other Rosisufists, with each attempt meeting in failure. His healing ability was gone, as were his mystical ability to perceive things far away. The only clue was a glowing he felt in the silver coin size medallion, containing a dove with the word gatekeeper under the dove. He noticed Ann was a little perplexed, as her husband looked confused. “What is happening, dear?” Ann inquired. “I don’t know, honey.” Adrian responded. “All my mystic gifts are gone, but there is a clue present. I think that medallion can offer a clue. Let me go in the kitchen to ponder this.”

“Of course, dear,” Ann said, sitting in a chair. Adrian stood up and kissed her. He walked into the kitchen, and sat on a wooden brown chair, with a plain brown wooden table. The medallion continued to glow, and it was a mild yellow, which had a calming and soothing appearance on Adrian. His body fell relaxed, and he continued to rest, with his head looking down, watching the medallion. “Adrian. Adrian,” responded the medallion. “The mystic gifts didn’t go away, but became part of me. From now on, I will guide and aid you.” “Who are you?” asked Adrian. “What about the Coyote and the Dreamtime?” “Call me Sophia,” replied the medallion. “Your relationship with Coyote is between the two of you, and you can still enter the dreamtime whenever you wish. But to use the mystic gifts in the physical plane, you need to talk to me.”

Adrian knew he was beginning a new relationship, and one very different from that he held with Ann, Rumi, Coyote, or even Bubbles. The medallion might provide a clue to a

mystery, and the foundation for defeating Dark Star. Another realization struck him, and that was the fact that his conversations were telepathic, and he wasn’t verbally speaking. But as he pondered things deeper, he understood his conversations to be

whispers, and this wasn’t being picked up by Ann. He held the medallion in his right hand, and looked down at it. “I don’t suppose you will tell me your history or anything?” Adrian asked.

“Sophia is all you need to know,” the medallion replied. Now all this was a bit much for Adrian, and he drifted off into thought.

Sophia.

Sophia. I think that word means wisdom, or maybe divine wisdom, but I can’t be certain. If there is a reason the mystic gifts went away, and became absorbed in this metal, then I am not sure why. I feel like Curly stooge when he says things are confusing. And I am not certain what to think. Perhaps some reflection is in order. It does look like the mystic gifts will come from Sophia, when I need them, but I have no control over this.
It was late and he needed to sleep. Now was not the time to contemplate Sophia, and the new changes. It would take time, and meditation or contemplation on Sophia, to really understand the new changes. When he was over in Japan and learning Aikido, the masters always taught the need to reflect on life’s sweeping changes, and see the new direction with a clear mind. Now was the time to talk with his wife, and come back into the living room. “What is going on?” asked Ann. “It’s rather complicated, and I need time to ponder this. The mystic gifts are gone, or transferred, to this medallion named Sophia. This presents a dilemma for me, and I need time to ponder this. But we need to go to Mayberry tomorrow, and find some clues there. Perhaps our cousin can give us some insight.” Bubbles responded with a kiss on Adrian’s cheek, and he picked her up and hugged her.

His mind was still focused on Sophia, but his attention was centered on his wife. He was picking up some Spanish words, and beginning to understand some basic communication skills. While still lacking behind Ann, who was becoming accustomed to speaking Spanish by emersion, it was still an accomplishment he felt proud of. and he welcomed the gesture of love. “Can we talk more about this new development?” asked Ann. “Let me contemplate it first, and share insights as I see them.” The remainder of the evening would be spent getting ready for bed, and cuddling up with Ann. Chico was licking his feet,

Off To Mayberry
Morning found Ann and Adrian joining their cousin for breakfast, and talking about Mayberry. As they partook of hot cakes, coffee, and melon, they sat in the wooden kitchen chairs with Bubbles, and Chico passed the time playing with a green rubber ball. Ann poured herself another cup of coffee, while Sam pulled out a map, and went over it with Adrian. “Mayberry is a strange town – sitting between good and evil – when the person next store could either be a devil or angel. I would avoid it myself, but I see you are bent on going there,” Sam remarked, glancing at the map. “Well,” Adrian chuckled. “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. I found that line in a movie somewhere. Maybe it was that Arnold guy or perhaps Humphrey Bogart. I can’t

for the life of me remember these lines, but I love Humphrey Bogart.” Ann looked over the map with her husband, as Bubbles climbed up on the table, and grabbed a pencil, pointed to map sections. Chico bounced the ball to Adrian, who threw it back to him. The ball osculation continued, with the monkey appearing deep in

thought, and the humans having a mild laugh to break the day. “I plan on making this trip this morning, and you say the Shady Rest is a good hotel?” Adrian asked. “It’s the only hotel,” responded Sam, who watched the ball exchange between man and Chihuahua. The breakfast was interrupted by Sam, who needed to make the parish rounds, and took a cup of java with him. Ann and Adrian finished the coffee, with Ann excusing herself to do dishes, and her husband trailing behind to dry. The Chihuahua spent some time throwing the ball to Bubbles, who threw it back. Washing and drying dishes the

old fashion way was a new experience for them, who were used to an automatic dishwasher. The next hour they spent packing, while Bubbles and Chico continued playing ball. Adrian was wearing a colorful Mexican flower shirt, with an orange background containing blue flowers. His hat was a straw sombrero, blue jeans, and his customary brown sandals. Ann wore blue jeans, with a plain blue shirt, and had a matching blue pocket book. The loaded up the trunk of the old VW, with Ann doing the driving honors,

Adrian following the map passenger side, and the pets in back. She started the car, and they headed out on highway 12 towards Mayberry. Now have you every drove across Mexican on a sandy road, in an old sixty eras VM, painted orange with blue circles painted on it? Well neither did Adrian and company, until they headed to this unknown Mexican town. Along the road, there were vultures flying around, and cactuses surrounding the sandy landscape. Spanish, which Ann mentioned was the town Pleasure Valley. There was a sign in The gas gage was

registering near empty, which signed a stop for gas and supplied. The VW pulled up, and it was a combination of gas station and convenience store. “Let me check out getting gas, and some supplied,” said Ann, pulling up to the gas pump. “You go exercise the animals, and see how much rooms are at that motel over there, in case there is none in Mayberry.” Adrian picked up Bubbles, and Chico followed him to a run down, white brick building. There was a small sign in Spanish saying bordello, which caused Adrian to stop and reflect. Bordello is sure a strange name for a motel. Is this the hotel owner’s name?

Make’s for a strange name, if you ask me. I wonder why they have a motel in this town, when all I see is a gas station and convenience store.
“Hey stranger,” a voice came from the building’s side. Adrian walked with Bubbles and Chico around the side, only to run into a familiar, glow in the dark Coyote, whom Adrian was very familiar with. Bubbles recognized a familiar

friend, whom she reached out to pet, while Chico circled around the new creature, trying to get a scent which didn’t exist. The familiar friend, if such a term could be applied loosely, waited for Adrian to speak. “I don’t suppose you have anything important to tell me,” Adrian snickered. “Just watch your children,” he replied. While Adrian pondered Coyote’s statement, realizing he didn’t have children, Bubbles took the opportunity to jump from Adrian’s arms, and into an open window in the Bordello. An excited Chico didn’t want to loose his friend, so he made a running jump through the same open window. To his own amazement, Adrian realized the children were the pets. “I just didn’t get it,” Adrian responded, looking straight at Coyote. “Now I realize the children are the pets. How do I get them back?” “Sometimes the most direct way is to walk through the front door,” Coyote retorted. Coyote vanished after giving his last words of wisdom, at least until the next crow flew through town. The white brick building appeared to be a monument to time forgotten, with a style surrounding buildings of the forgotten Spanish past. Inside he heard The now

Mexican love songs coming from the window where his palls disappeared.

familiar music seemed to be coming from a portable radio. As he walked about towards the front, one thought kept popping into his head. Coyote wants to play a trick on me. Fools walk in where angels fear to thread. And if you are a married man like Adrian,

and you knew what bordello met, then you would stay clear of the front door. The door was an old oak door, with a brown stain, and a brass door knocker in the shape of a naked lady. His hand initiated a residue of knocks, eventually drawing the attention of the chief madam, who was a heavy set lady wear a black lingerie outfit, along with a pair of white high heel shoes. She opened the door, only be slightly taken back by a foreigner traveling her. “You are a Gringo? I no speak good English. Need a lady? Come in?” “Actually, I need a Chihuahua and monkey,” replied Adrian, as he stepped inside. “Ah, fantasy. You want two girls? We fix for you.”

Now have you ever been inside a Mexican hoar house? Well neither has Adrian. The main parlor consisted of two white couches, a chandelier hanging overhead, and a makeshift bar, with several bottles of hard liquor on overhead wall shelves, and a brown wooden bar fixture, with adjustable stools. In the corner leading to some other rooms, two Mexican ladies were in lingerie. One was dressed like Little Red Riding Hood, and the other was dressed as Goldilocks. Finally, after seeing the two ladies and their

outfits, Adrian realized where he was, and that Coyote had duped him again. And he knew that the pets were inside, and he needed to find them first. “Can I have a tour?” asked Adrian, looking at the main madam. “Maria,” the head madam yelled. “Give the gentlemen a tour, and be sure to show him

the dungeon.” Maria was the lady wearing the little Red Riding Hood outfit, and she was an attractive, slender frame Mexican lady, with short black hair, and beautiful blue eyes. Her eyes blinked like a neon light having electric hiccups, and her dainty hand grabbed Adrian’s, and led him into the door with an overhead sign saying pleasure palace in Spanish. A drunken Mexican, weighing about three hundred pounds, with a white shirt, brown pants, brown mustache and hair, is stumbling around, apparently intoxicated. He

wanders through the hallway, looking for an exit, and bumps into Adrian and his female escort. Spanish. “What did he say?” ask Adrian. “Do you even speak English, miss Riding Hood?” The man lifted his hand, as if to strike the girl, but backed down after noticing Adrian’s arm moving to intercept the anticipated strike. The drunken client dropped his hand, and walked to the exit door. Red Riding Hood smiled, while winking her sexy eyes, and responded to Adrian’s question. “Call me Red,” she said. “I speak some English. The man went to room three, looking for girl. Said girl looked like monkey.” “Monkey?” asked Adrian. “That’s what I’m looking for.” “You gringos are very kinky.” The man yells sometime like mono, causing the girl to slap him, and cuss in

It didn’t dawn on Adrian what she was referring to, and he acted like a secondary character on Mayberry, giving the impression he was substituting for Barry, Goober, Gomer, or Otis. Instead his face turned a bright red, and he stopped walking, feeling his embarrassment getting the better of him. Instead, his stoplight cheeks caused the call girl to snicker. “It’s not what you think. I have a pet monkey and Chihuahua who is lost in here.” “I can help you raise your Chihuahua and shake your monkey,” responded Red. She took his hand, and led him though the corridor of sin, housing an array of bedroom doors, where Adrian hear the sounds of moaning and groaning, but no barking Chihuahuas or laughing monkeys. At the end, there was a white wooden door leading down to the basement, with a big overhead sign calabozo, which was Spanish for dungeon. The dainty female hands opened the door to the world of pain and pleasure, depending on a client’s perspective, and led the gallant hero into a scene from a medieval inquisition reenactment. When they reached the bottom of the dimly lit basement area, Adrian

rubbed his eyes, strained from adjusting to the dim light. “Are there any customers here?” he asked. “The customers come at night. Get it? Come at night,” Red laughed. “I don’t get it, and I rather not get it from you,” he replied. Now that his mystic senses left him, Adrian was as helpless as Superman inhaling a barrel of Jack Daniels. An overhead red light dimly lit the hallway, illuminating some

distinctive torture apparatus. On a wooden rack, there was a collection of distinctive whips, each of various sizes. The lighting consisted of several dimly lit overhead bulbs, of various sizes and colors. It reminded Adrian of the dimly lit teenage dance bars with overhead strobe lights seen in the movies. On the rack of whips, was a sign in Spanish. “What’s the sign saying?” asked Adrian. “Temple of Jezebel, you big stud horse” responded Red smiling.

Now Jezebel has expended out. She is taking up running houses of ill repute, and running a dungeon, of all things. Now Jezebel reminds me of a story – Old Testament if I recall – where this evil queen encouraged a pagan temple. She was a heartless woman, who would stop at nothing to achieve her ends. Maybe she is a blood relative of the current Jezebel. I need to ask more about her.
“Who is Jezebel?” asked Adrian. “Don’t know exactly. Never met her,” responded Red, lighting up a cigarette. “Tell me about her,” said Adrian, pulling out a hundred dollar bill and handing it to Red. “She is the unseen owner of brothels in this area. Nobody knows exactly where she lives, but she approves all the girls who work for her. Each brothel manager gets a thumbs up or down for each girl. It’s all pretty mundane, if you ask me. It’s rumored that Jezebel loves scorpions. Strange pets, if you ask me. But you asked me, right? You gave me a hundred to blabber about Jezebel. For that price, we can go to bed all night. How do you like to do it, hombre? Do you like doggie style, woman on top, or

woman on bottom? Which cavity do you prefer?” Adrian felt himself turning red, almost as red as Red’s lingerie. “Look!” shouted Adrian. “I am happily married, and I wouldn’t come here, except a pesky friend encouraged some mischievous pets to come inside. And not just any place, but a brothel, of all places. I’ve never seen one in my life, except in the movies. It was a musical about a whore house in Texas, and I think the police liked the place. Now there is a bit of confusion over the plot.” In the horizon came the sound of a monkey laughing and Chihuahua barking and Adrian didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know the source. Red escorted him around the basement corner, where a surprised Adrian saw a mischievous chimp, sitting on a bed, cracking a whip at a Chihuahua running around the bed, barking at the chimp. Adrian grabbed Bubbles, took the whip away from her, and gave it to Red. She led the trio back thought the torture chamber, while a tall lean Mexican gentleman, dressed in a fancy suit, escorted by another woman in a nurse’s outfit, walked the other way. Adrian heard some comments in Spanish, and wondered what he said. “What did he say?” “Now I saw everything. This is too kinky, even for me.” Now Adrian was back in the central chambers, and bumped into the madam, who looked had him inquisitively. He turned red, as he imagined the madam thought something kinky was happening, and he didn’t want to explain why a monkey and Chihuahua were

accompanying him.

So the best course of action is leaving without looking back, which

he did, walking through the front door and walking toward the car. And there was his wife Ann, sitting in the car, looking at her husband coming down the road. Normally a husband would have a hard time explaining why he visited a house of ill repute, but Ann was used to his friend Coyote, and that friend’s influence, for better or worse, over his animal associates. “So maybe I need to get a Red Riding hook outfit.” Adrian just smiled, thinking it was a wonderful ideal.

Mayberry heats up
The VW pulled into the town of Mayberry, which for all practical purposes, looked like a movie set town that was used for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The town

consisted of approximately twenty single story wooden buildings, all the same dull reddish brown color, with sand covering the terrain. A few Mexican people scurried about, now bothered by any apparent schedule. It was three thirty according to

Adrian’s silver Timex, which was correctly set to Mexican time.

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