Life in the Shadows

Image caption: Preliminary sketch of the prisoner known only as 21, 258, from “Shackles,” by Henri Revasser, arrested for unknown “crimes against the state,” 21, 258 has awaited trial for 58 years in the dungeon of the notorious Chateau D’Oeuf, located off the coast of France. His only companions are a pet rat, Latude, and a cellmate, 58, 937. The two men spend their days telling stories, recounting their history, and discussing philosophical questions.

This Tuesday, May 23, marks the 209th anniversary of the first meeting of Gideon Bowman, Castoreum College professor, and Aedre Nichols, his future wife, at Sanderling’s Run near Fletcher’s Falls. They were married in 1810. Aedre Bowman drowned in Little Rindle Creek during her baptism in 1812, and thus began the legend of the Mermaid of Sycamore Shadows.

Wilson Hahn wants to know if anyone has copies of “Shackles,” an early comic strip by legendary local artist Henri Rêvasser, printed in the Evening Shade, 1930-32. (The files of the Evening Shade are incomplete for those years.) Rêvasser achieved everlasting fame in 1932 when he introduced the “imaginunchkins” in the same strip. Incidentally, it was Rêvasser who gave me the idea to name my building the imaginactory, the word having appeared in an imaginunchkins comic strip in 1939. I have also adopted Rêvasser’s habit of never capitalizing the title. I do not intend to emulate Rêvasser dying of a sunstroke.

Principle Stewart Mulligan caught three boys spraying insect repellent into their mouths, “so their tongues would go numb and they’d talk funny and the girls would laugh,” despite the label reading that “probable mucosal damage could contraindicate the use of gastric lavage.” I have no idea what that means, but it sounds bad. Mulligan remanded discipline to their parents and the boys hope to sit again in a couple of days. When I was young, boys put tarter sauce in their noses to impress girls.

Leena Freeman wants to know if anyone else heard splashing during last week’s sermon. She says it sounded like someone was taking a bath in the baptistry.

Nippy Keene says Stern Freeland [Church of the Lost Sheep minister, 1963-1974] bathed in the baptistry for nearly a week while they remodeled the bathroom at the preacher’s house, but that was in the late 1960s and he’s dead.

Kitty Parr, Castaway Books, says her dog, Ponder Parr, objects to the term “dog-eared” in reference to books. Seriously, Kitty?

All those interested in distributing brochures to prostitutes should meet at the Church of the Lost Sheep this Saturday at 9 p.m., after which the group will ride on Herman Yoder’s wagon to Castor. Due to past incidents, only woman will be permitted on this year’s trip. According to Minister Easter Westminster, “All you need to bring is a loving heart, a positive attitude, and a sack lunch.”

Nippy Keene says that no woman over 40 should wear a bikini. I agree. Minister Westminster says that women under 40 shouldn’t wear them either. Well…

Sammy Blue wishes to share a poem that he wrote last Sunday morning:

While fishing today, I saw an eagle.

I noticed him flying my way from afar,

not brown and white like a beagle,

but brown and white the way eagles are.

As he flew past, I watched him search

the creek for fish, between the rocks,

and wondered if he was also skipping church

and where he kept his tackle box.

Don’t give up the bait business just yet, Sammy.

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