Part 20 of The Agents of the Vault is here! Was anyone hit in the opening gunfight between Jane and Grisom? Listen and find out!
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Agents of the Vault
By Grant Baciocco
Charlie scanned the street outside for signs of Jane but could only see her horse. In the gunfight, she must have bailed off of it and it now stood still in the middle of the street.
Seconds later, Grisom came stumbling into the room, gun in hand, holding his belly. Charlie could see a red stain spreading on Grisom’s pale linen shirt.
“Grisom!” Charlie said, crossing to him and helping him sit on the edge of the bed. “Is it bad?”
Grisom winced and for the first time, pulled his hand away from his wound and looked down. The blood flowed faster now that he was not applying direct pressure. He quickly placed his hand back over the wound and pressed down hard.
“Kid,” Grisom said between winces. “Gut shots ain’t ever good.” Grisom took a deep breath. “Fetch my bag over there.” He indicated his saddle bag which was next to the trunk that held the writing desk.
Charlie crossed the room, snagged the bag and quickly brought it back to the bed. Charlie flipped it open and look expectantly at Grisom.
“There’s a small vial in the bottom.” Grisom grunted. “Filled with dirt.”
Charlie rooted around in the bag as Grisom lie back on what was left of the bed. Charlie’s fingers found a small glass vial at the bottom of the bag and held it up in the dimming sunlight. It was filled with dirt as Grisom had said. Charlie looked at Grisom who was hoisting up his shirt, exposing the gunshot wound.
“Take the top off the vial and hand it to me son.” Grisom said breathing heavy. Charlie followed his directions, tossing the lid to the vial onto the floor and handing it over to Grisom. Grisom took it and bunched his shirt up to get a better view of his wounded stomach. Charlie stepped back, nervous, but ready to help if he could. “You ever hear of Samuel Whittenmore kid?”
Charlie, perplexed at the sudden change of topic, shook his head as he watched Grisom slowly begin to tap out little flecks of dirt onto the pulsing gunshot wound. “Whittenmore was 78 years old when he fought in the Revolutionary War. He caught some British soldiers returning from the opening engagements at Lexington and Concord and, all alone mind you, took some shots at them. Killed one redcoat with his rifle, pulled out his pistols, killed another and mortally wounded one more. The British rushed him and this tough son of a bitch pulls out his sword to fend them off.”
The vial was now empty, a small pile of dirt on the wound was soaking up the blood making it a dark muddy brown. Grisom threw the vial aside and began rubbing the dirt into his wound, gritting his teeth with every movement.
“What happened?” Charlie ask, instinctively crossing to the corner of the room where some discarded bedsheets lie. He began to rip them into strips to form a bandage. Charlie didn’t know much about medicine, but everything about rubbing dirt into a fresh wound seemed absolutely wrong.
“The British laid into him.” Grisom replied. “Shot him in the face. Bayonetted him repeatedly. Left him for dead.”
Charlie crossed back to the bed and began helping Grisom bandage the wound best he could.
“Hours later, when, Colonial soldiers found him,” Grisom continued. “Whittenmore was, amazingly, still alive. They took him to a doctor who said there was no hope of his survival.” Grisom let our a pained chuckle, “Tough old bastard lived another 18 years, finally stopping at 96 years old.”
“Sounds like a tough old man.” Charlie said, binding the bedsheets tight around the wound.
“He was.” Grisom said, attempting to catch his breath. “There’s not doubt he was tough as nails. But he had also happened to fall into patch of dirt there that the natives use to use as a healing area. Legend had it that the dirt in that area had healing powers and it’s said to have kept him alive.”
Charlie nodded and helped Grisom tie off the knot of torn bedsheets now circling his midsection as a makeshift bandage. “And that’s what was in that vial?”
“Yeah,” Grisom replied, with a slow measured exhale. “Theres another vial of it in that bag. You might as well take it and put it in your pocket, just in case.”
Charlie picked the bag up again and rooted around inside of it until he found the duplicate vial. Feeling the cool glass in his hand, he regarded the small flecks of dirt tumbling within for a moment and then slipped it into his pocket. Putting the bag down he walked over and helped Grisom sit up on the edge of the bed.
“That dirt going to heal you?” Charlie asked.
“Heal me?” Grisom said with a cough. “No, but it might just keep me alive until someone gets to me that can.”
Charlie nodded and the prairie silence filled their room. There air was still.
Suddenly sensing an absence, Grisom whipped his head around and scanned the room. “Where’s Doris?”
“She took to ground, right after you left. She heard something and took off.”
“Charlie, if anything happens to her—“
Charlie held up his hands, “I know, Grisom, I know. But she had it in her head to do something and she went to do it.”
“Dammit.” Grisom said, wincing and grabbing his side as he did. He sat quiet for a moment then turned towards Charlie, “You trust her enough on her own?”
“I do.” Charlie said, nodding. Confident he was right.
Grisom smiled weakly and then winced, putting a hand against his side. He let out a long slow exhale.
“What do we do next?” Charlie asked.
“We wait and see what Jane does.” Grim grunted.
©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
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100 Word Book Review – Reading this book was like reading an alternate universe version of the To Kill A Mockingbird. This makes sense since this book is essentially the first draft of that classic novel. I’m not going to weigh in on whether or not this book should have been published because I don’t think we’ll ever know the full story behind that. I will say that To Kill A Mockingbird is a much better book. While this one has glimpses and flashes of Mockingbird, it’s not nearly as good. There are some touch and truthful passages and I am glad I’ve read it.
If you did not want much, there was plenty.
She was easy to look at and easy to be with most of the time, but she was in no sense of the word an easy person.
Love’s the only thing in this world that is unequivocal.
The one thing she liked most about Henry Clinton was that he let her be silent when she wanted to be. She did not have to entertain him.
Time stopped, shifted, and went lazily in reverse.
They…found the rest of the morning lying emptily before them.
She looked up at the sky. “You can almost reach up an touch it, it’s so close.”
“Anybody with eyes that good was up to no good.”
“Don’t you study about other folks’ business till you take care of your own.”
She touched yesterday cautiously, then withdrew.
It was not because this was where your life began. It was because this was where people were born and born and born until finally the result was you, drinking a coke in the Jitney Jungle.
Now she was aware of a sharp apartness, a separation…
Now we are both lonely, for entirely different reasons, but it feels the same, doesn’t it?
“Remember this also: it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago. It is hard to see what we are. If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.”
To Kill A Mockingbird br Harper Lee
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100 Word Book Review – I was extremely tempted to write the word ‘perfection’ 100 times to review this book. To me, reading this book is the equivalent of falling asleep in your own bed after a long day of work. It’s like visiting with old friends who know you so well. I loved every page of this book and was glad to read it again after so many years. I don’t think I can say much more than has already been said about this novel except to say, “Perfection.” I read this before diving into Go Set A Watchmen which is my current read.
After finishing up the Jim Henson Biography, I kind of made a promise to myself that I’ll read more. I have way too many books stacked up on my nightstand, so I’ve really been setting aside time each day to read.
As I read, I like to write down quotes that jump out at me from the book and I figured I’d start posting my thoughts on the books and those quotes, here. Perhaps you’ll find interest in something I’ve read and want to read it yourself. Perhaps not. At any rate, that’s what I’m doing.
I’ll provide Amazon links to the books (they will be affiliate links) if you’d like to check it out for yourself. Anyway, let’s get going with the book I just finished.
The Moose That Roared by Keith Scott
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100 Word Review – This is a thorough, dense book that is filled with microscopic detail about the shows that came out of Ward Productions. Unlike the Jim Henson Biography, I think this would be a daunting book for casual Bullwinkle fans. For example, the whole back section of the book is basically a reference book that breaks down each individual cartoon episode and who did what voices of each character in it. It is for those who want all the information. That said, Jay Ward is an idol, so I loved this book, even if it did take some time to get through.
“The real trouble with TV is that everyone is trying to please someone else. We stopped going to the networks. They’re friendly and nice, but we never get an affirmative answer. I really can’t blame the network man. I go into see them with some far out thing and they have so many nice, slick shows from universal or MGM. They go the safe route. Any ideas you take to a network has to go through 15 guys. 14 of them may like it, but it’s the 15th says no, they all want to hedge and take a second look. If it’s something wild, they back off.” – Jay Ward
“I think maybe kids are the most intelligent audience for TV anyhow. We go our happy way with our cartoons. But we are undaunted. My true Dudley do rights, we keep trying, ignoring the obvious.” – Jay Ward
“We try to do as many funny things as we could think of that would amuse ourselves. We felt the animation action would entertain children and we could do our own satire and humor based on our own adult feelings. Our main interest was funny humor.” – Jay Ward
“Much of J Ward’s behavior reflected to dominate features in his make up: fiercely independent desire for quality, and a lifelong pursuit of fun.” – Keith Scott
“Jay felt that dirty language betrayed a lack of intelligence. If someone came on his crude, it wasn’t that Jay would dislike that person; but he thought crudity itself was just a waste of time.” – Skip Craig
“We aim at neither adults not children. Our goal is to achieve the ultimate on comedy, including subtleties which escape the youngsters, but which evoke response from adults.” – Jay Ward
“If you turned off the sound and watched one of our shows, the appeal would be mostly for children. With the vision off and just the sound on, the appeal would be for adults. The whole show appeals to everyone. And if you listen, we say things that are might sharp.” -Jay Ward
“Even though animated shows have a large audience of kids, you have to remember it’s the same kids who watch The Untouchables, Twilight Zone and Bob Hope. Kids today are exposed to an adult world and they’re sharp. Our stuff is sharper and more sophisticated than many of the dramatic shows. Everything we do is satire and whimsy-that makes the fun. ” – Jay Ward
“When we write stories, we obtain the barest of thread of a plot and then write as we go.” The request for script outlines was never heard again but Ward didn’t let it rest there, adding, “We have always tried to write as funny as we know how.” He considered Johnson’s theory – that the show was “geared for children who don’t understand this type of humor” – to be “hogwash.” – From The Moose That Roared.
“This is fun work…actually, I’d be doing it if I didn’t make a darned cent.” – Jay Ward