In this next chapter of the backwoods novella BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Ben suffers through an emotionally trying Sunday alone on Piney Hill and is rewarded with a visit from his buddy.

To read BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 5.  INDIAN WELL, right click here and select “Open,” or to download as a free pdf file to read at your leisure whenever, select “Save Target (or Link) As.”


Excerpt from Chapter 5. – Indian Well

            I’d only managed to fill out the boring home address stuff when there was a knock at my screen door. Danny peered in through the screen at me. I jumped up from my desk in the thrill of seeing him. I’d thought about him all yesterday at work. My buddy drove all the way up to Piney Hill to get his new puppy, and he was also excited and happy. The blue and red striped polo shirt made his chest look very broad.

In the backyard we found the three puppies left playing while Duchess lay on the grass by the garage paying them no mind. Danny cuddled his, the one with the dark spots. When I asked if he wanted to take a walk in my woods, he sang suggestively, “In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines…” Talking about grandparents and things, we ambled down to the pond. The pups ran along with Lobo, but Duchess took a rain check on the hike.

When we came out on the high bank over the pond, there were those big golden flowers of fish blooming here and there on its greenish surface. Danny whistled in amazement. Then I took a chance on sounding crazy and told him that last week I caught the King of Fishes and described its golden feather-fins. I also told him about the three wishes I’d gotten to let it go.

“Make a wish right now,” he commanded. “I want to see it happen.”

Instead, since he was my very best pal, I offered him one of my wishes. I made him toss a pebble into the pond to call the King of Fishes, and of course all the flowers disappeared. Then I made him close his eyes and make a wish. He stood that way for only a brief moment and opened his eyes, giving me a naughty look, but wouldn’t say what he wished. I sure hoped it would come true, and then I’d use my remaining two.

On the path back up the hill we came upon a king snake a couple feet long, all beautiful green, black, and yellow. I caught it and showed Danny how there were no fangs when it bit. It just felt like sandpaper. Seeing as how I’d likely run up on it again, I let it go this time.

Right below the pasture we got to my great white oak. The Sunday afternoon sun was bright in its new greenery, timeless, the fragrance of spring, somehow eternal. How perfect this first time to be out in the woods with my Danny, buddies completely alone with each other. I wanted to tell him everything, show him all my treasures, take him to my secret places, and let him see what life was like for me here on Piney Hill.

Noticing the shallow Indian well full of leaves, Danny said it sure looked like a great place for a nap.   So I pushed him in, and he pulled me tumbling after. Wrestling around, I took to tickling Danny in the ribs, and he struggled, laughing and begging me to quit. Tears glistened in his brown eyes. When I stopped, he instantly jumped me and pinned me flat on my back, knees on my elbows so I couldn’t tickle anymore.

Danny leaned over me, grinning mischievously, and stroked my furry cheek. “I love your fuzz,” he said, laughed, and asked, “Wanna know what I wished?” I nodded. “Here, I’ll show you,” he said with a sly smile and popped open the buttons on his fly. His pecker stood right up in the air, maybe six inches from my nose, a lot bigger than mine. He moaned and said, “My balls are about to explode!”

All my blessed bliss of the day was blown away by his cock sticking out of his pants like a dark-headed snake. How could temptation ambush me so soon after being made pure again? Why did the devil use my beloved friend to lure me into sin? When Danny started touching himself impurely, I struggled out from under him, protesting that what he was doing was a sin.

“Maybe for you, Benny babe,” he said, rolling over in the leaves, and kept on moving his hand. “But I think it’s like a little bit of heaven.”

“Well, I’m not going to watch,” I protested in a fit of virtue and walked over to stare at the trunk of the white oak. Hearing Danny’s sweet groans, I had to struggle not to get hard myself. Listening to a bird singing somewhere didn’t help. Then a deep grunt.

When Danny climbed out of the leaf-well, he was handsomer than ever, his eyes brown and shining. How could I love him so much in spite of his sinful ways? I rumpled his soft hair to show I loved him anyway. Crossing the pasture with the puppies scampering around under foot, Danny decided to name his Nina.

Unfortunately he had to get home for supper. We put Nina in a cardboard box on the front seat of his car, and I kissed her goodbye. Danny looked at us with such a cute smile that I almost wanted to kiss him goodbye too. I told him to be nice to her, and he tweaked my chin hairs, winked, and said, “Don’t let your meat loaf.” Then he drove away down the hill.

I wandered listlessly around under the tall pines, humming, “In the pines, in the pines…” and thinking with horror and fascination about what Danny had done in the Indian well, horror that he did such things, and fascination at seeing his prick. But Danny was a poor, misguided Protestant, and I felt suddenly proud showing my buddy an example of the One Holy Faith.


Aztec Icon #5 – EHECATL, God of Wind

Hold on to your hats! Here comes a wild wind. Actually the fifth icon for the coloring book YE GODS! THE AZTEC ICONS is the Aztec God of Wind, Ehecatl. My apologies that he’s going to be crazy to color, but I didn’t exactly make him up. The deity’s image is quite authentic, based on one with very similar detail from Codex Borgia.

Don’t worry, you can still see or download the previous four icons by clicking on them in the list on the coloring book page.


(God of the Wind)

To download this icon as a pdf file with a page of caption and model images from the Aztec Codices, right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.”  You can also download it in freely sizable vector drawings from the coloring book page.

ehecatl icon

EHECATL {e-he-katł} is the deified element of air and the breath of life. He’s a nagual of QUETZALCOATL, whom he helped create the current Fifth Sun by breathing life back into the bones in Mictlan. He is the god of secrets and mystery, intelligence, and spiritual life. Only smoke, feathers, and birds should be sacrificed to him. His temples were round, sometimes with protruding masks for the wind to blow through. His breath moves the sun and drives the high clouds and rain across the sky. Ehecatl is the 2nd day of the month, and Nahui Ehecatl (Four Wind) was the day-name for the Second Sun, a world ruled by QUETZALCOATL. When that Sun was destroyed by the eponymous wind (hurricane), its people were turned into monkeys.


In this next chapter of the backwoods novella BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Ben spends a long and trying day at work in the café, which he accepts as penance for his “impure touches.” The excerpt is a peaceful lull in the afternoon, something of the calm before a storm.

To read BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 4.  PENANCE, right click here and select “Open,” or to download as a free pdf file to read at home, select “Save Target (or Link) As.”


Excerpt from Chapter 4. – Penance

Only a few folks came in for coffee, and then our regular trucker customer Vince, a pleasant older guy with a long white mustache. I cooked him a hamburger steak just the way he liked it with cream gravy.

Bringing Vince’s order out, I noticed through the window some boys getting out of a car, the boys from Frog Level, a village off west of the Cossatot River. They always seemed so nice, and I smiled at them as they came in and sat in number four, all giggling and talking. While drawing them water from the fountain on the Coke machine, I recalled folks around Lockjaw whispering about the Frog Level boys being strange or something, but I had no idea what they meant. The boys all looked too handsome to be weird, and I never noticed anything unusual except a while back when two of them were holding hands under the table.

They ordered the usual Cokes and fries, and two got up to play the juke box. One of the two left in the booth, whose name I knew was Sammy, changed his order to onion rings and smiled at me with big dimples and bright blue eyes.

After cooking up the boys’ fries and onion rings and serving them, I felt like a real fifth wheel and ruefully retired to the penance of dishwasher duty. We’d accumulated an entire rack of glasses and most of one of plates. So I turned on the monster machine, its roar drowning out the squawky country song one of the guys played on the juke box, and listlessly jerking the rack back and forth, wondered what it would be like to have a crowd of friends like that. To let the glasses cool, I went out front to find Vince ready to pay his check.

Then one of the boys came up to pay theirs too. Boy, was I surprised when three of them left, and Sammy was still sitting in the booth. While I cleared off their dishes, he said, “They’re going off to DeQueen and buy a carburetor, but I don’t wanna.”

“You want something else?” I asked, always the good waiter.

“Nah,” Sammy replied with a shake of the head. “I’ll just hang out.” His lazy grin made the dimples enormous.

“Well, if you do, just give a shout.”

He sat back and looked out through the venetian blinds. Dutifully, I went back to the hideous dishwasher and ran the load of plates without a customer one coming in. Just when I got to drying my least favorite, the hot silverware, Sammy came around from out front.

“I guess you know Iris Barker?” he casually asked. “She says she knows you real good.”

“Sure do,” I said and finished up the steaming spoons. “We went to junior high together up in Lockjaw.”

He sat up on the ice cream freezer where I could admire his lean legs and his proudly arched nose. The knife handles were still so hot I had to hold them the other way around to dry. Not without a certain personal pride, I added, “She and I were just chosen as 4-H County Champion Boy and Girl.”

“Wow!” Sammy exclaimed. “Congratulations, pal. What did you do?”

I admitted with considerable chagrin, “Raised a blue-ribbon shoat.”

Flashing his dimples, Sammy asked, “So, Mr. Champion, what’s Iris like really?”

“Well, I guess you could say she’s pretty cute and seems to be a sweet girl.”

“I know that,” he said with an impatient snort through his delicate nose. “I mean, does she like to, you know, go out with guys?”

“I think she goes on dates, but as to whether she likes to, I don’t know.”

Sammy laughed out loud, hopped off the freezer, stood right in front of me, and asked, “Think she’d like to go out with me?”

I too laughed out loud, “Like asking if the sun’ll come up tomorrow.” He was so handsome any girl would flip her wig.

The dishes all done, I longed to remove us from the presence of that ugly machine, so I suggested we go play pinballs. I opened up the Ace of Hearts machine with the key and clicked up several games. Sammy was delighted, and I leaned up against the Las Vegas machine to watch him play. Not a single customer came in for the longest, and we talked about all kinds of things while he flapped the flippers.

I couldn’t remember what we said but kept thinking what a perfect brother he’d be. It was odd how I felt almost the same strange love for him as for Danny, those mysterious, intense connections of friendship, that almost hunger. With my arm over his shoulder, I watched the ball suddenly shoot down between the flippers. There was a racket of car doors slamming outside, so I left Sammy struggling with the game and went to fetch waters.


[Forgive me, but I can’t resist adding a brief selection, if only for its magical character.]


By the time I’d fed the zoo, evening was setting in, and I took off down the hill out back for some fishing of my own. Barefoot with a cane pole on my shoulder, I felt like Huck Finn. Okay, so I did have me a nice mother and a pretty place to live in, but just like Huck, I sure as shooting had a mean ol’ pap. And if I had me a raft, I’d jump on it right now and float away down the Mississippi. All I needed was a great Negro friend like that Jim.

Our pond was a ways out in the woods, straight down past the white oak, and then you’d come out on the rise above the water. Along with perch and blue-gills, the man who built Piney Hill stocked the pond with goldfish that went wild. When you’d come out of the woods onto the bank, the greenish surface of the water was usually spotted with golden flowers of fish. Toss a rock, and they’d dive, the golden flowers disappearing.

I leaned back against a post oak, the pole propped across my arm. There were ripples of bugs on the surface and footprints of the breeze in the middle. My cork floated in the bright reflection of the sky. The sun snuck low under some clouds, golden, and soon they were aflame with red, a rosy island in the gold sky.

Suddenly my cork went ploop. After a bit of a battle, I pulled out a huge goldfish with a fancy fantail about a foot long. Its round eyes bulged and fins quivered like a strange bird pulled out of the reflected sky. I smoothed out its fins and tails like wet yellow feathers. Surely this was a magic fish like the King of Fishes in that fairytale. Maybe I could wish to be with my Annette, or to keep my soul free from sin, or even to be real famous. Because he was lying there gasping for water, I told this King of Fishes I’d let him go and make my wishes later. He flew away out over the pond like a bird, splashing into the sunset.


To read BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 4.  PENANCE, right click here and select “Open,” or to download as a free pdf file to read at home, select “Save Target (or Link) As.”