Page 1

The Silent Enemy
by Frances Stockman

I could hear the seiche of the lake waters against the boat I had anchored in the hopes of catching some fish. The water was very clear, in fact, I saw a crab that scuttled into the subaqueous shadow cast by my boat. Ah!, I thought, there is one of the predatory denizens of the deep robbing me of my bait, so I pulled up anchor to row to another location.

It was just then I saw my neighbor, Ed Crane, on the deck in front of his house. I was just in the act of waving to him when something hit my boat, in fact, hitting it so hard I was upturned and thrown into the water. When I came to the surface, Ed was yelling to me, “Hurry, Jim, swim to the shore, hurry.”

Hearing a warning note in his voice I struck out to reach the dock, but something made me turn my head sideways and I was almost frozen into immobility at the inexplicable sea-thing rushing away to the middle of the lake. As I reached the ladder, Ed’s hand grabbed my wrist and pulled me to the dock. He was shaking like a leaf with excitement, as I was. “What was it?” I interrogated. “I only caught a glimpse of it.”

“I don’t really know, Jim, I never saw anything like it before. It must have been ten or twelve feet long; it had the strangest head – like a hooded-cobra.”

Ed and I watched the surface of the lake for almost half an hour – all was calm. Our courage returning, we retrieved my capsized boat and tied it to Ed’s dock. We went into Ed’s house and then called our local newspaper office to tell the editor, a friend of ours, what we had seen. He advised us not to say anything about it at present, that he’d notify a marine laboratory he knew of that had some frog-men that would investigate. We thanked Steve Lucas and then Ed took me home in his car.

Two days later Ed called telling me Steve had called to tell him the frog-men would arrive today. Betty was excited when I told her the news, as both Ed and I had to reveal our secret to our wives, for women have the darnest intuition. So we had a quick breakfast and waited with Ed and Clara for the marine-lab men to arrive. Excitement ran high – Steve from the newspaper had come along, too. Ed and I had cause to feel sheepish and demented at some points of our interrogation by the frog-men, but we stuck to our story of what we had seen.

The three men, after donning their tanks, headgear and flippers, rowed out to the location where we had seen the huge sea animal or whatever it was. They had some kind of sounding equipment on the motor boat and within half-hour were far away on the lake. We returned to his office; we promised to call him immediately if we got any report or news.

It was late afternoon, almost five P.M., when we heard a motor approach. Ed, Clara, Betty and I rushed to the dock. I guess our wives had more faith and anticipation of the men finding the sea-creature, for Ed and I had become more dubious of the thing we had seen.

The men landed. They had been able to follow the path left by the sea-reptile and found an unusual single egg at the mouth of the lake, but it looked like the thing we had seen had gone back to the open sea again. The egg was taken to the marine lab.

Two weeks later we had a call to come to the laboratory. Ed and I were astonished to find the small sea-reptile that had hatched was an exact duplicate of the thing we had seen, and told Prof. Erlich so.

“But it’s dead,” said Betty in dismay.

“Yes,” explained Prof. Erlich, “much to our disappointment. We had made tests of its failure to survive and found an unusual high content of a nerve contriction like a gas in its tissues. Dr. Everly and I have come to the conclusion that our cold deepsea reptile had been stricken with the same kind of contamination in his environment and that the instinct of preservation made him seek the like cold waters of the lake to protect the egg before returning to the sea to die.”

Dr. Everly agreed with Prof. Erlich and added, “We know gas substances possess a perfect molecule mobility and its properties of indefinite expansion in air, but we know little as yet of its potential danger in the ocean; perhaps this is our first warning.”

We were all as disappointed as the Prof. and the Doctor of Neuropathology. It was Steve Lucas who broke the silence:

“Well, the lake mystery is solved. I have no world-shaking headlines for my newspaper, except I could put it in the obituary column: ‘One deep-sea retile died… murderer unknown.’”

It was Betty, my wife, that voiced the feeling we all felt, “Poor little thing; not even safe in his own home anymore.”

Page 2

The Turkey Hatched a Chicken
by Rose Pauline Ogden

I placed an egg under a turkey for fun,
She took it so serious, her sitting begun,
After four long weeks of warming this egg,
Out popped! A tiny black chick, what a fuss she made.

The turkey loved the little black chick,
And did not mind that I played this trick,
A proud happy mother, the turkey became,
And someday again I’ll play this game!

City Streets
by Vernon Schmid

City streets,
And one-ways,
A maze of mankind.
One should go
When his green-light
Hear tells him
It is time. Not
When electronics
Judge the moment.

Why Granny Left Ireland
by Frances Stockman

In legends in Ireland
My Granny of the Moors
Told me of the Fen-lands
And gnomes that helped the poor.

She told of ghosts who wandered
Meaning and dragging chains,
Until the sign of the cross
Released them from their pain.

And of witches and warlocks
Holding Sabbats and Esbats
Til’ cockcrow or dawn
Fleeing sunlight as do bats.

The serfs and the peasants
Good folk they were,
Kept garlic at the door
Such visitors to deter.

That’s why she crossed the water
Leaving old superstitions behind,
For in America, Walt Disney tales
For children were more kind.

Chemical World
by Frances Stockman

Once we were children
Playing games
Animal, vegetable, mineral
Learning all their names.

Now we are grown,
But everything has changed;
All natures molecules
Synthetic and arranged.

Small Fry
by Frances Stockman

The cornmeal pones were buttered
And honeyed as the catfish fried.
The children’s eyes grew wide,
As tummies growled and rumbled.

The air was festive and alive
With frivolous aroma’s that tickled
The nose, and memory prickled
By the dish, that soon would arrive.

Oh the glories of catfish, like love
You feel you’ll never survive,
Until you have four or five;
For little eyes always behold more of.

What is Poetry?
By Frances Stockman

What is poetry? A melody of words
That ring and sing and bring
Delight, when in that solitude
A pen plays a harpsichord.

A floral – flare a – coloring
For twilight and starlight,
And pale green shades
Of tender dreams awakening.

Tears of sadness too must fall
And cold the star that dies,
Laid to rest on the rising tide,
As ghostly seagulls call.

Robed in roses and purple ink,
Winds sway the mind to find,
Words that from a heart must flow,
And I, from the cup must drink.

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The Speed Age
by Ken Davis

“Mailman’s coming!”

Elizabeth was the first to reach the front door and open it. The uniformed gentleman smiled, offered a cheery Saturday morning greeting, and handed her a stack of mail.

“Okay, let’s do this systematically,” she suggested as six outstretched arms reached toward her as she turned around. “Just let me hand it all out one at a time!”

On top of the heap sparkled a letter with the return address of the Internal Revenue Department. “This one’s for you, dear.” She handed the envelope to husband George, who grinned, “My income tax return! I mailed in my forms just 3 days ago – man, those computers they got sure do a great job!”

“This is 1972 – the age of miracles,” Elizabeth reminded. Then she continued handing out the rest of the mail. Jimmy was excited that he got the record he had sent for with the coupon from the back of a cereal box – and in less than a week! Sis was equally overjoyed with her “diet” instructions – she had discovered an ad for it in a magazine only a few days ago.

And so on! The Postal Department had delivered a “bundle of sunshine!”

“Mailman’s coming!”

“He was just here ten minutes ago!” retorted the baggy-eyed man lying on the couch.

“You were probably dreaming, George! I’ll get it!” As she opened the door, the uniformed gentleman smiled, “Good morning, Mrs. Blick!” Then he handed her a single envelope.

As she turned around, three beaming smiles turned to frowns.

“I don’t suppose it’s my income tax refund,” husband George predicted. “I’ve only been waiting two months!”

“And when the blazes am I gonna get the record? It said allow 6-8 weeks for delivery, and it’s already more than that!”

“I’ll be 30 pounds overweight before my ‘miracle diet’ comes! Sis added disgustedly.

“This is 1972 – the year of the computers, which speed up everything! Anyway, all we got is a bill for one of my magazine subscriptions!” the woman of the house announced.

“What a way to start a weekend!” George was heading back to the couch!

“You started it yourself – by drinking too much last night.” Elizabeth reminded.

“Okay, okay, I agree, but it just gets me upset that the Postal Department is so doggoned slow. Look at that bill, I bet it was mailed over a week ago!”

Elizabeth checked. “No,” she corrected. “It’s from New York, which is about 1000 miles away – and the post mark says it was mailed the day before yesterday!”

Outside, about four houses away, the mailman was whistling a happy tune as he walked down the street.

Tenuous Kinship
by Wanda Allen Moore

The wind beats callous fists against the glass
Of windows age has weakened. While the cry
Of protest rises with each blow, the mass
Tight, rancorous wind refuses to pass by.
And now the house is trembling till vibrations
Imply a sudden, breathing life within
The fabric of the house. Mere aberrations?
The wind, the cry, the trembling seem akin.

The wind is young, reveling in its vigor.
Unheeding of the aged cry, it flaunts
Its strength, determined coldly to transfigure,
Reduce to scorn at least the one it taunts.
But herein lies a true phenomenon –
Apparent adversaries yet strangely one.

by Wanda Allen Moore

Stretching away
Upon white sand tide cleaned:
Once another’s footprints lay lost
In snow.

Page 4

Publisher’s Note:

This issue of Writing at Leisure is the final of the series. Due to recent developments, Stylus Amateur Publications is being forced to discontinue activities for an indefinite period.

A special “thank you” is extended to all who have been contributors and readers of Stylus, Elusion, and Writing at Leisure, during the past several years. It’s been a sincere pleasure sharing my hobby with you.

Writing at Leisure
Published by Ken Davis
Racine, Wisconsin 53406

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