This is one of those prompts that I find complicated because it’s so simple. It mean so many things and can be interpreted in many ways. I love Paula’s photograph showing layers of history. Lacking layers of history, here are two photographs, the first from me, the second from Garry:
Summer’s officially over. The weather is still warm, but not as it was even a few days ago. Night are chilly, days very comfortable. This is the time of year I love best, but it is too brief.
For the next few weeks and maybe a bit more, I will grab the season and hug it. Urge it to stay longer! More fall, less everything else!
This is great. World history and global warming in one fantastic and funny timeline. Why didn’t I think of this myself? Why didn’t I write it? Gee whiz! Love it. Hope you will too. Take your time scrolling down. It’s worth the effort.
Branching Out, by Rich Paschall
William was staring up at the giant tree when Mr. Dubois softly approached. “It really is a magnificent tree,” he told William in a consoling tone of voice. William would have none of that. He glared back at the neighbor before speaking.
“It is a horrible tree, sir. It has been for years,” William said frankly. “And now it has killed my mother and it has to go.”
Exactly one week earlier William’s elderly mother was working in the garden when a branch from the large tree fell on top of her. Apparently no one saw the accident and she was lying there for a long time before help was called. It was too late, however, as the old branch was too big and heavy. It pinned her to the spot and she was unable to cry out.
“Oh no, William, this old tree did not kill anyone. It is quiet and harmless. It was just an accident. That’s all it was. Perhaps some wind knocked a dying branch off the tree.”
“My mother hated that tree and she should have gotten rid of it years ago,” he retorted.
“You must be mistaken. I think she loved the tree. Just look at its stately magnificence. Why, there isn’t a finer shade tree in the neighborhood! In the summer, it protects your whole house. In the fall its colors are a joy. It must be twice as tall as the house. I believe it has been there more than 100 years. It was probably planted when your mother’s nice home was first built.”
“Mr. Dubois,” William began, “that is exactly the problem. In the spring it drops a million seeds. Every fall, it drops tons of leaves. The roots are in everything. The sidewalk is cracked as is the basement floor. We must clear roots from the drain pipes every year. My mother was tired of this thing and planned to take it down.”
Mr. Dubois gasped. He just could not imagine anyone wanting to take down such a grand tree. He begged William to consider the benefits of the tree.
“There are no benefits, Mr. Dubois. The damn thing must go. Period. When I collect my mother’s insurance money, that’s exactly I’m going to do. It would be a tribute to her if took her money and removed this threat to my home and my neighbors’ homes.”
William knew a tree that size would cost a fortune to remove. It was twice as tall as the house. Branches went through all the cables that ran to the house from the alley. He could never have afforded the thousands of dollars it would cost to remove a giant tree, but with the windfall from the life insurance money his mother had left him, he could do it.
A month later, Mr. Dubois was passing the estate when he spotted William by the tree behind the house. He was smiling. He walked up to him and said, “I hope now that some time has passed, William, you see what a lovely tree it is.”
“On the contrary, sir, I see what a menace it is. And now, I can afford to get rid of it. I am calling for quotes from trees services. I think rose bushes would look terrific here, don’t you?”
“William, you offend this magnificent living thing.”
“A tree can’t be offended. But I can be … and I am. Soon we’ll have a clear view of the sky.”
Mr. Dubois looked at the tree, shook his head, and walked away.
William remained under the tree and considered how he might make use of the space he’d regain when the tree was gone. Suddenly, there was a loud snapping. A huge branch fell from the tree onto William. He was knocked to the ground gasping for breath. Although it was late summer, some leaves rained down too and covered him.
About an hour later paramedics arrived, took the branch off William and brushed the leaves from the poor soul. They did their best to revive William, but after working on him a while, they shook their heads. Then, they put him into the ambulance and drove away.
Mr. Dubois had been watching from across the street. He shook his head, apparently amazed such a thing could happen twice.
Slowly William’s neighbor walked across the quiet city street. The avenue was lined with old homes that had been erected more than 100 years earlier, when the neighborhood was first settled by immigrants from Sweden and Norway. A handful of homes still had the giant trees that were planted when their wood frame homes were built. William’s mother had perhaps the most stately tree of all.
Mr. Dubois walked up to William’s tree and inspected all the branches for any more old and dying limbs. Everything was healthy and blooming. Finally Mr. Dubois spoke to the tree.
“I warned them,” he explained. “I warned them both, but they would not listen. So I did as you indicated both times. After the loud noise I waited an hour before calling paramedics. Perhaps the boy will not return either. It would be a shame to have to drop another branch.”
Mr. Dubois took one more look at his beloved tree. And went home.
THIS IS FICTION! NOT TRUE. A STORY. NOT A REAL EVENT.
Homage to MidSomer Murders from Garry Armstrong, the show’s current number one fan. And with a nod and a wink to Sunset Boulevard and Philip Marlowe. On the occasion of our granddaughter’s 20th birthday, a lovely little murder.
Photographs (mostly) by Marilyn Armstrong, except for the first one, which is Garry’s, aka “The Victim.”
Investigators now must rethink their original premise.
It’s no longer an isolated or random case of violence. Network news outlets are in the area. The FBI’s BAU (Behavior Analyst Unit) is on the case too. This is the team popularized by TV’s long-running “Criminal Minds” series. No local or state turf wars here because the case is becoming sufficiently bizarre even for veteran crime investigators.
In a gruesome discovery, a second victim has been found!
Murder most foul!
Local, state and federal investigators are offering minimal information about the latest victim. CSU photos show he was white, middle-aged, and apparently healthy. There’s no word on how or when the victim was killed. A local resident confirmed the body was found in the same area, the same farm land where the first murder occurred over a week ago.
Some wonder if this is a worse case scenario.
A SERIAL killer running amuck…. on the heels of the late summer birthday party murder!!
Shock waves continue to reverberate. It’s the ultimate loss of innocence for a small town where typically, the top news item is roadwork tying up traffic on main street. Burglaries or car break-ins are the high-priority items on the police blotter. No one worries about big city violence. Everyone knows everybody. It’s that kind of town.
My granddaughter’s birthday party murder was the game changer!
State police are still sifting through the testimony of party guests. Records are being checked for previous criminal activity. Cold cases are being unwrapped, searching for clues or patterns.
Reviewing party guests, no one stands out as an obvious suspect. Everyone seems pleasant, amiable. Perhaps not overly friendly, but polite and civil. No blatant hostility was evident. No obvious suspects stand out from the crowd.
Profilers are looking at the gathering, breaking them down into age groups and backgrounds. Motive is the big question. Everyone is so vague in their answers. This case calls for someone with expertise.
And, that would be me. The victim. This is my case, my story. I will tell it best because it revolves around me. It always did, in life and now, in death.
A retired, award-winning TV News reporter, I was checking out suspicious things before my demise that warm summer’s day. Now I know it was no coincidence, but at the time, I was bemused by the variety of possible weapons I found in the shed. All so readily available to anyone with a grudge and an opportunity to commit murder.
I’d covered so many murders in my forty plus years on the job, I knew something was amiss. Something was strange, wrong. Creepy. Unfortunately, I was right. Pity I didn’t realize the object was … me.
I didn’t say anything to anyone. It was pleasant party. I hoped we could avoid family squabbles and enjoy the festivities and go home with nothing more than mild indigestion to deal with. Everyone was focused on food. Hot dogs, burgers, salad, coke and beer. Good stuff. Classic American cuisine.
I was on my third or fourth hot dog. Feeling pretty good. I discreetly eyed the other guests, trying to put those weapons I’d seen out of my mind. Conversation was light. Restrained. Most guests kept their distance. Something was amiss, but I couldn’t put my finger on precisely what.
It fell on me to make some toasts, I suppose because of my professional background. I looked at the faces as I offered some light banter. No one seemed offended — but no one really laughed. I must’ve touched someone’s hot button — but who?
I turned around to get some water. I felt a whack on the back of my head. The world went blank.
On the ground unable to move, I could still hear the people gathered around me. I hoped someone was calling for help, but it seemed everyone was taking pictures — of me — or selfies with my body as background.
I heard giggles and laughter. Then nothing. Nothing but The Big Sleep.
More to come! Suggestions anyone? We suspect there will be at least one more victim, probably more than one. Who’s the killer … and what’s the motive?
Unrelated, opposite, or the number two.
I didn’t have any pictures of the number two … and I realized, after poking through my folders, I almost never take pictures with two subjects unless they are related. This was as close as I could get. A little house with a big boat in its driveway. Related, but mostly by ownership … and proximity. Without proximity, how could I get both items in a single photograph?
And this one from Garry seems àpropos — the powerboat passing the anchored sailboat. A parable of modern-day sailing?