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(Current Day)


After two hours sitting on a couch, in an empty vacation home, the real estate agent decided enough was enough.

Shutting down an Open House was the same as opening it, except for a certain element of suspense. Since the sign out on the road that passed the oceanfront estate was the last thing to come down, there was always the chance of visitors at the door, even as he turned out the last light.

Packing up his marketing materials, laid out on the coffee table like horizontal mug shots, he decided to play it safe and lock the front door. Ascending the broad staircase that clung to the wall on the right side of the living room, he began turning off unneeded beside lamps, closing closet doors devoid of clothing and drawing the curtains on windows which cast light on empty beds.

Once back down on the main floor, he moved through the formal dining room that opened out to a patio on the left side of the granite and timber house. A butler’s door, complete with a still-reflective brass plate, took him into the kitchen as his next-to-last stop.

Company sits in the living room, family ends up in the kitchen, The random thought surprised him. The kitchen, as the rest of the house, was furnished in mid-Sixties Summer House. The table was a brashly optimistic combination of the yellow vinyl and tubular chrome. The cabinets were glass and wood with dark wrought iron latches. On the linoleum-covered counter, next to the double cast iron sink, was a single glass. Putting it in the cabinet above, he stared out the window. A covered porch was the final transition between indoors and my-god-the-ocean-is-huge lawn. He felt a renewed pride in his ad copy for this property, ‘A once grand oceanfront home waiting to host your memories of Summer’.

Turning off the last light in the basement, his mind now preoccupied with holding together a contract on a new sale, he fell victim to the most rookie of errors in the real estate business.

Focused on his next appointment and the oblong of light from the kitchen above, he walked into a low-hung steam pipe. The velocity of his head as it encountered the iron pipe was sufficient to knock him to the floor.

After a loss of awareness barely long enough to qualify as a loss of consciousness, he sat up in the dark. Feeling a flash of embarrassment, he swiped the flashlight app on his phone. Leaning on one hand, he bent his legs at the knees, the first step to getting his legs under his body so he could stand up. He laughed at the sudden memory of the Erector Set that occupied hours of his time as a boy in the 1960s.

Eyebrows gathering close like a football huddle over the childhood toy metaphor, his head felt a little like there was static under his scalp. Standing slowly, shoulders hunched in a purely somatic defense posture, his frown was nourished by sounds from the house above. Taking comfort in the certainty of his memory of locking the front door before beginning his rounds, the character of the sound registered.

It was, for lack of a better, (or more rational), description, the sound of a house full of people.



“My God!”

A very common expression of surprise voiced by countless people. The difference, the inference and, of course, the instance that followed was left to the individual. In this case the individual was a young woman standing in the center of the unaccountably sunny kitchen.

Allyson stuttered her exclamation of surprise with a trill of laughter. Startled in that way when a mundane assumption is contradicted. In this case, on this particular Sunday afternoon, she expected to be alone in the kitchen if for no other reason than she ran in to get additional coasters for her guest’s drinks; said guests all being located on the broad, covered-porch that overlooked the ocean. That, and the fact that the kitchen was empty when she entered.

The laughter, in her response, was natural enough, given how her cousin Michael had a reputation for having fun, with the cooperation of others or not.

“Michael! How on earth did you get down there and… your head! You’re bleeding!”


Episode Two

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles

Our hapless time-traveler finds a value in one of the few advantages of age, a ‘poker face’, the gold watch that Life bestows on those who last late into the game.

Hobbomock, as some towns and all great love affairs, was born out of tragedy.

The ship foundered and lurched, as the winds raced ahead of the storm, just as it entered the bay. Passing to the west of Conanicut Island, the captain relaxed his guard. Too soon.

The following day, a hunting party, returning from the island, found the ship. Its hull splayed across the beach, wooden ribs with sea weed cartilage, like entrails on a scryer’s altar. The ‘people of the small point’ appreciated it whenever the gods chose to smile on them.

There was one survivor.

(Summer of 1965)


“To the sink, you’re bleeding all over your Banlon.”  With the delicate precision of a figure skater leading her partner, the young woman pulled the man towards the sink and away from the cellar stairs, a towel against his temple.

The formerly-unconscious man did not resist. Realizing that the unknown had seamlessly become the incomprehensible, he decided to comply. This strategy had the advantage of not requiring anything of him and, other than the warm-into-tickling flow down his face, he didn’t feel bad. Physically.

Despite being much shorter than he, even after factoring in the intricately balanced tangle of blonde hair, she moved him without much apparent effort. Her clothing, showcasing a graceful neck and a gymnast’s body, was attractive and oddly disturbing. Never interested in fashion and certainly not familiar with its secretly exotic lexicon, the best the man could do was think, Like that girl I almost slept with in college, she used to wear a blouse without shoulders like that.

Like the drunken guest at a wedding reception, shouldering his way for a dance with the bride, the summer-bright sunshine filled the kitchen and demanded his attention. None of which, of course, made any sense at all. He felt grateful for the period of unconsciousness that stood between what he knew and where he was. Contrasted with a whisper of relief, he felt a bracing of pride that he was not currently curled up in a ball on the floor of this kitchen-that-could-not-be.

The woman tending his injury obviously knew him. Her concern was written in her face in the simple furrowing of brow and concentration in her eyes. There was nothing other than worry about the fact he was bleeding. Having him at the sink, her touch conveyed the relaxed familiarity of an old friend.

She was clearly confident his name was Michael. And, minor head wound notwithstanding, she gave no indication that encountering him coming up from the cellar, was out of the ordinary. This certainty and her decisive action, combined to make her the local expert on the topic of ‘what-the-hell-is-going-on’. All the broker needed was a name. Given the location of his injury, nothing good would come of asking her.

Much has been written about the virtues of advanced age, many words on a relatively small number of benefits. Although certainly not in the top ten, well behind wisdom and patience, the personal quality of being unflappable made all the difference to him at this moment. He was certain his best course of action was to do nothing other than cooperate with the young woman as she ministered to his wound.

The sounds of children playing and adults scheming drifted into the kitchen. The scent of ocean-salt air mingled with stray words of gossip and conversation. The ocean, drawing the majority of what sounded like at least twenty or thirty people, out to the porch and on to the lawn overlooking the beach, was clearly the alpha guest.

“I’ve never seen you this way, so at a loss, Michael.” Pulling a chair from the table in the center of the room, she nodded for him to sit. Watching his posture, she kept her hand on the back of the chrome and vinyl seat-back as he sat down.

“First some ice, now that the bleeding has stopped, then a quick look at the more important tell-tales.”

The man felt the chair bend slightly as the chrome-pipe frame adjusted to his weight,

We had a kitchen table like this growing up. The thought passed through the real estate broker’s mind with the lack of emphasis commonly associated with observations on the weather and compliments on how well-behaved a client’s young children were during a showing.

The woman, bending from the waist, stared into his eyes, hands lightly holding either side of his head.

“Does anything hurt when I turn your head like this?” He moved his head to one side and then the other, with a deliberate slowness. Little thought was given to his response, as he was captivated by his inquisitor’s clothing.

I believe they called that a peasant’s blouse and those are simply the widest bell-bottom pants I’ve ever seen. His effort to catalogue the woman’s clothing failed for two reasons: he ran out of fashion vocabulary at the knotted belt that pretended to be holding up her pants and, on a more fundamental, if not visceral level, found himself in thrall to the view as she leaned closer.

The butlers door opening out to the dining room swung inwards with enough force to bounce off the wainscoting. A heavy-set man wearing gold wire-rim glasses and an Egyptian ankh on a leather strap around his neck stepped into the kitchen quickly enough to get past the door on its ricochet return.

“Allyson! The ink is barely dry on your MD and you’re already playing doctor! Wait ’til I tell Aunt Millie.” Laughing, he looked down at the man in the chair, “Besides, I know this guy and chances are that laceration is either an irate husband or a disappointed debutante.”

“Barry, enough! Can’t you take anything seriously?” Allyson looked up at the new arrival but did not straighten her posture, remaining the center of the seated man’s world.

Letting his audience misinterpret his smile, the real estate broker felt better, he had names! “Thank you, Allyson. I’m really alright, just hit my head on a pipe in the basement.”


(Summer of 1665)

“Bring her. The sachem will be pleased.”

The leader of the hunting party crouched next to the woman in the sand. He saw the desire grow in the eyes of the braves as they surveyed the wreckage of the ship. The material of the sails alone would make the name of man who succeeded in laying claim to it.

“The white man’s treasure will be here tomorrow, from the looks of her wounds, this may not.” He lifted the woman and began to walk into the pine forest lining this section of the bay. Her hair draped over his buckskin like gold spun by the gods.

Episode Three

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles

In the company of the only two people whose names he knew, our time-traveling real estate broker left the kitchen and waded into the social rapids of what was clearly a society function at an oceanfront estate. As secure in his identity as one named Michael can expect, he was determined to learn what he must, in order to make sense of the world.

Hair of sun-bleached gold and skin the lightness of a summer dawn, the woman is transported through the forest. A leather-and-oak travois offering a tilted view of where she had been, however, still-closed eyes deprive her mind of the recent past. Despite the fact that progress towards the local tribe’s summer camp was as smooth as the men were quiet, the young woman twisted and writhed in her sleep. Wherever she is, at the moment, it’s not a peaceful land.


(Current Day)

‘There is surely no more durable strain of human foible than Man’s eternal search for divinity; except, of course, his disappointment when God proves to be all too human.’

Walking down the early-morning-empty sidewalk, Hannah Stephanson came to an abrupt halt. The sudden appearance of words for her latest book’s introduction tugged at her like a dog on a leash approaching the veterinarians office. Blond waves crested to either side of her face as she smiled at her phone, typing the words into her memory. Had there been anyone else on the sidewalk, they would have surely run into her, five-foot ten-inch frame notwithstanding.

“Hey, Miss Stephanson!”

Abigail Neumann waved from one of the benches lining the outer edge of the Town Commons. A trapezoid of green-and-granite, the park was as close to the cultural heart of Hobbomock as anything less than three hundred years old could hope to be. Balanced on the back of the wrought iron bench, her current boyfriend, Jake Williams sat, bare feet on the wood slats on either side the girl. He scowled at the world around him with an intensity available only to suicide bombers and adolescent boys.

Hannah started to wave, remembered the phone in her hand and, instead, nodded her head back; her chin standing in for an acknowledgement of the greeting. Recognizing one as being in her eleventh-grade history class and the other from those weeks she drew detention duty, she called out, “Good morning Abigail!” “Good morning Jacob.”

A glance at her wrist made it clear there was no time to talk. In fact, she was going to be late. Only the August heat convinced her that jogging the two blocks to her real estate office would be in no one’s interest. Especially her own, as she had office hours until noon and was wearing her favorite, if not humidity-friendly, business suit.

‘Hobbomock Homes and Rentals, Inc’ occupied two adjacent units in a block-long granite building facing the Commons. Hannah saw lights on inside the office, indicating that her sometime-co-listing agent, Alexandra Devon, was already there. This meant the coffee would be on, the overnight inquiries for summer rentals dealt with and the chalkboard Daily Inventory, updated.

Hannah liked Alexandra for her energy and believed the other woman appreciated her own attention to detail. During the summer, when Hannah worked full-time, she would help Alex with the paperwork involved in listing properties. For her part, when a summer rental tenant stormed into the office, eager to share his disappointment in the house he’d rented, Alexandra met him at the door. Neither the complaints nor the disgruntled vacationer made it past the small reception area.

Alex Devon’s numerous listings never failed an audit and Hannah Stephanson was able to enjoy time in the office, often working on her next book.


Hobbomock was organized as a municipality, run like a colonial village and, despite, (or because of), it’s disparate socio-economic elements, continued to exist after nearly three hundred forty-five years.

The town, on a plateau overlooking the shoreline, with its salt ponds and barrier beaches, extended far enough inland to include more than one colonial-era textile mile. Arguably the first manifestations of the industrial revolution, the mills harnessed the power of two rivers that descended from the higher elevations to the west, seeking the ocean to the east.

Although the future was not kind to these industries, that they existed in a rural setting while still being a reasonable distance to the ocean, made western Hobbomock a contender when the next wave of economic development arrived in search of a home and profit-enhancing tax breaks.

Santayana’s warning about the price of ignoring the lessons of history remained as true in modern times as it did when the lands now occupied by Hobbomock was home to hunter gatherers and un-molested nature.

Given the intensity and scale of human suffering that attended the founding of Hobbomock, the Town Fathers would have been better served to have a historian on the committee formed to review the proposal from AcumenRe Business Control Systems. Looking for a location on the East Coast where their company could grow and thrive, Hobbomock was their first choice. The small town on the ocean appeared to have the raw materials and human resources that could fuel its growth.

As often observed, when the new and the old collide, the best the old can hope for is a comfortable retirement.

Episode Four

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles

If, for the sake of perspective, we imagine modern towns, (and villages and cities), as grown-up adults, history becomes biography. And, as everyone knows, in biography, the most revealing insights into the subject are, invariably, found among the family into which they were born. Unfortunately, should we choose to take this approach to understanding our town of Hobbomock, we are compelled to accept that we’re dealing with a case of a kidnapped child.

The mid-sixties were nothing if not interesting; both in the sense of cultural upheaval and in the sense of the apocryphal Chinese curse.

Like the recovering alcoholic, on probation for a crime of desperation, whose gift of ‘perfect pitch’ makes it possible to earn just enough of a wage to stay alive another day; hope springs eternal and gift horses have always been valued by those with less.



“If you’re sure you’re alright, lets join the others.” Allyson pushed open the butler’s door just enough to flood the kitchen with the sounds of a house full of people. Like half an old-fashioned revolving door, it opened just enough to offer a glimpse of the living room. Gathered for no other reason than it was a warm August day, men and women sat and spoke and boys and girls ran and called out to friends. Surrounding the grand summer cottage, the wind off the ocean was light and the sky was a summer-washed blue.

The real estate broker reminded himself that being addressed as ‘Michael’, by an attractive young woman, wasn’t the worst thing to happen since re-gaining consciousness on the cellar floor. As strange occurrences go, that could be the other person’s mistake. No explanation whatsoever could account for the fact that he presently occupied the body of a man a third his age.

His smile of confident reassurance stuttered, as the calendar on the wall, next to the door, acquired the irresistible gravity of a spontaneous black hole. The top consisted of a photo of a 12-metre yacht, ‘Gretel’ painted across the stern, however, the lower-half containing the numbered days of the week, demanded his attention like a barber with a straight-edge razor. Just above ‘August’ was 1965, solid block letters daring him to deny it.

Allyson was halfway through the doorway, her attention on the people in the living room. Like the survivor of a tornado strike stepping from the pile of rubble that was supposed to be his home, ‘Michael’ took her hand. Fighting the urge to run back to the cellar door, he allowed her to pull him further into a world he could not explain.

The living room consisted of both the familiar and things that shouldn’t be: banks of cigarette smoke eddied like a fog over coffee tables full of highball glasses and overflowing ashtrays. Men with razor-cut hair, pressed chinos, and boat shoes without socks, stood in half-moon groups in front of women on wicker couches and chairs. Summer dresses were as causal and delicate as the salt-and-iodine scent of the ocean. Greetings, like leis tossed at tourists stepping off an ocean liner, were casually tossed in their direction, “So Michael, how’s the vacation been so far? and, “Allyson, what do you think of the new hospital?”

The real estate broker’s confidence crumbled, pre-human reflex squeezed the hand still in his. The almost-forgotten promises of childhood to the contrary, his guardian angel was as real as the Wind Song that whispered behind her ears and the pressure of her fingers on his forearm. It was the world around him that was as unreal.

Following in Allyson’s wake as she crossed the room, Michael smiled at everyone and looked directly at none.  Most reacted with the amiable familiarity of long-standing acquaintances, the social niceties, requiring no response, provided reassurance that whoever they thought he was, he was accepted in their company.

Halfway through the room, a vacant settee, to the left of the wing-back chair occupied by the matriarch of the Ross clan.

Leaning into her ward’s left side, Allyson steered him to this relative safe harbor. She found her surprise at the solidity of muscle and the grace with which Michael accepted her prompts, disturbing, in a pleasant way. Her erstwhile patient neither yielded completely nor resisted her steering.

He sat but did not let go of her hand. She allowed herself to join him, like a pram towed behind a much larger vessel. The momentum of the occasion provided forward motion, the physical attraction curved their paths together. Sitting, they pressed together, along matching sides. The age-old conspiracy of gravity and soft furniture causing a connection that otherwise might not have occurred.

Allyson turned and looked up at him. A smile served to acknowledge her concern and he added,

“Sorry, just feeling a bit light-headed. Nothing serious. But sitting here for a minute wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

Her face echoed agreement, her eyes reflected a lingering worry and her voice betrayed more than either. There was nothing about her that agreed with his assertion that it was ‘nothing serious’.

“I’d feel better if you’d call your doctor and have him look at you.”

“There you are!” The booming voice preceded the physical body by two, “Excuse me(s)” and one, ‘Hand on shoulder’. The man was Michael’s height, a third again his weight and exponentially more aggressive. He was smiling in a way that ignited sympathetic grins among the people who unconsciously formed a hollow circle around him as he crossed the room.

If Michael and Allyson were a boat and dingy, finding their way across a crowed harbor, this newcomer was a Coast Guard cutter approaching a suspected smuggler.


Michael stood abruptly, aware of the contrast in personality and wanting to gain whatever advantage might be possible. Smiling, he reached for the other man’s hand, the better to shake than be shaken.

Still on the settee, Allyson heard an undertone to Michael’s greeting. It was as much a sense of relief as it was pleasure at the arrival of an old friend.




The tribe’s summer camp was along a ridge that overlooked the Mettatuxet river valley. The climb home for fisherman was considered worthwhile, the protection it afforded from late summer storms, well worth it.

Askuwheteau nodded towards the one wigwam on the edge of the encampment. His friend and blood-brother, Secukatyus, the yoke of the makeshift travois still encircling his wrists, continued off in the tangent necessary. Behind him, their human cargo silent, loose hair glowing in the mid-summer sun.

“I will let the sachem know what we have found. Don’t let anyone approach her until I return.” Askuwheteau moved among the small cook fires and approached the central wigwam.

Episode Five

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles

Regardless of preferred ‘-ology’ (sociology, psychology, anthropology), if one were engaged in the study of the character and nature of small New England towns, say for example, Hobbomock, valuable insight will result if one likens them to a human being. More concisely, to the life cycle of a human being. One is born, raised from helpless infancy, encouraged to grow and develop through the years of youthful hope and finally, acquire an education or skill that will be valued by others in an increasingly crowded world.

The circumstances of Hobbomock’s birth was not particularly different than those of any other town or village. At a certain point, (in time), a people will discover the power of the group.

Many of the beneficial effects of communal effort is offset as soon as it encounters another group with a different set of needs and requirements.

It has been said that, when a less-advanced culture is discovered by one more sophisticated, the former provides enhancement to the latter and latter is diminished.



The sleeping woman twisted restlessly on a bed of hides, near the entrance to the wigwam. She appeared to be struggling with an invisible foe, the daylight dusk revealing only a young woman with thinly muscled limbs and long hair that competed with the stray beams of August sunlight. Her efforts were not entirely behind closed eyes, as waves of hair the color and fineness of corn silk, moved with each toss and turn of her head, silent flags vainly signaling a non-existent ally.

“You and your men have returned with much more than food for the tribe. This cloth that does not easily tear and the coils of rope, make yours a most successful hunt.”  Makkapitew, the sachem of Askuwheteau’s clan, stood outside the largest wigwam. Although his smile of approval was abbreviated by a sidelong glance towards the man to his left, he continued, “Surely it will be wise for our medicine woman to attend to her. Perhaps she can help your other prize return from the sleep-death that embraces her.”

“Not everything the color of gold is good for our people,” Meklendou, standing knife-close to the sachem spoke abruptly, interrupting the murmurs of agreement among the hunting party and other members of the tribe. Askuwheteau, standing before the clan leader, did not acknowledge the second man, instead, nodded his approval of his hunting party.


(Current Day)

“Mayor, the people from AcumenRe Business Systems are waiting in the council chambers.”

The expression on the face of the man elected to assure Hobbomock of a prosperous future, went from distracted to annoyed, as Bethany, his administrative assistant stepped into his office. His eyes narrowed as he fought his instinct to confront the woman. Remembering the nature of the meeting, he managed to create the perfect replica of a sincere and dedicated public servant.

“Mr. Edington, Miz Gometchikov! Welcome back to Hobbomock!” Mayor George Gardner fancied himself a well-rounded public servant. Having leveraged a service station and seasonal gift shop into a seat on the Town Council at the impressively young age of twenty-six, his confidence might be considered justified.

“Please, call me Lilani.” The remarkably attractive woman moved forward, hand extended, eyes hooded. The Mayor’s face exhibited all the eagerness of a child approaching a department store Santa Claus. Faith was everything.

Next to the attractive young woman, a man of comparable age, wearing a suit custom made by a tailor with a genius for creating a look. In this case, a suit that made the wearer, who preferred to spend his days among technology and machinery, look like the typical Twenty-first Century entrepreneur. Standing at the conference table in a two hundred-year-old building. they both reeked of money and success.

“I’m confident, Mayor Gardner, we can negotiate an agreement to bring Acumen-Re Business Systems to Hobbomock that will be beneficial to our stockholders and your re-election campaign.”



Watching Victor Ross move through the crowd like a retriever through bullrushes, the real estate broker decided it was time to throw caution to the wind. Grasping the other man’s extended hand, he pulled the larger man into a thug-hug that would’ve earned a ‘Damn’ of respect from Ice Cube himself.

Not only was Victor unprepared for the greeting, his heretofore confidence, turned on him, like a master of aikido fighting a pro wrestler.

“Vic..tor, my man!” Michael spoke at a volume that left the people around the two men puzzled only by the fact that they were, by all appearances, in a hug.

Feeling the loss of dominance, Victor turned towards Allyson, a sense of relief almost palpable. Allyson, after first smiling towards the broker, looked up at Victor and nodded.

Michael realized he remembered not only Victor’s name, he remembered everything about him that a lifelong friendship would convey.

When he was thirteen years old, the real estate broker spent six weeks at home with mononucleosis. He spent the time effectively alone, his homework dropped off on the front porch by his best friend Alan.

To pass the excess time, he took up jigsaw puzzles. While never achieving the proficiency of some, he discovered that, from time to time, he would complete a puzzle in half the length of time he usually took. He spent hours trying to understand why he could play so much better some times and not so well, most of the time. The best he could come up with was that, if he focused on the enjoyment of the process but did not think about which piece went where, he would invariably move the right piece to its correct place in the puzzle. Sometimes.

Looking around the room full of people, the real estate broker found he not only knew everyone’s names, he knew them the way people who belong to a large family in a close social network know each other.

The bearded man causally leaning against the fieldstone fireplace, was his cousin Sally’s stepfather. And he wasn’t merely leaning, having a mild case of Meniere’s disease, he was making sure he wouldn’t fall, if he was to suffer a sudden attack of dizziness. Next to him, cocooning in a fan-back wicker chair, was William Hardy. Bill was his high school friend who introduced him to marihuana during the summer that followed his freshman year.

Michael let go of Victor’s hand and sat back down next to Allyson. Allyson turned towards him with a look of poorly disguised worry on her face. The real estate broker found himself finally enjoying the attention.


Episode Six

previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles

For a man often described by his friends as ‘self-effacing’ and by his business competitors as ‘unassuming bordering on passive’, our time traveler’s true strength serves him well in the face of the impossible. Refusing to surrender to the arguably legitimate cause for panic and maintaining the appearance of the person who he appeared to everyone around him to be, he now enjoys the memories and knowledge of the world of his host. He shrugs into the life of Michael Stone like a man discovering that a favorite old suit fits as well as the day the tailor’s chalk was dusted off the cuffs and the jacket buttons slid together like newly-weds.

Now, with the personal reality of a wealthy thirty-three-year-old man integrated with his own, the real estate broker has a map of the world. He remembers where Michael likes to hide the spare key to his new house on the East Side of Providence. Any level of detail of the life he has come to possess is available; from the name of his new faculty advisor at Brown University’s Graduate School of Anthropology to his preferred brand of perfume for a break-up gift.

Sitting next to a very attentive young woman in a summer-crowded cottage on the ocean, the face of Lisa, his late wife appeared. She was smiling and her dark eyes whispered approval, “I know you can do this.”

The ‘People of The Small Point’ lived along the shores of what eventually became southern New England. In a variety of tribes and clans and families, they thrived for longer than it took European cities to develop from nomadic campfires to cities of commerce. Those pinnacles of western civilization with their soaring cathedrals and developed technologies were the former homelands of the people now landing on the shores of a new world.

By contrast, the path taken by the native peoples, by intercession of their gods or simple lack of a need to subjugate nature, resulted in a culture that helped the new arrivals to survive, yet ill-equipped its own people to resist the inevitable conquest.


“I’m thinking that, now that Victor is the focus of this group, I’ll sneak out. Been a long day.”

The real estate broker was surprised at how pleasant it felt, leaning against Allyson to whisper in her ear. The scent of the young woman, through a veil of blonde hair, triggered responses in the body he currently occupied that were all too familiar.

“Why don’t I give you a ride home.” Allyson spoke in what she surely thought was a casual tone. The pressure of her right hand on his forearm, canceled out all pretense of a spur-of-the-moment offer.

Doing an exceptionally-bad job of impressing the young physician that any further concern for his health and well-being was unnecessary, Michael recalled that he’d lent his cottage, just seven houses up the shoreline, to clients of a friend. The image of the front of his year-round house dispelled the hint of panic before it could establish itself. He could see the white and brick colonial on a corner lot, three tree-lined blocks from Brown University.

Allyson’s rising from the admittedly old and sagging wicker couch brought him back to the present. Michael smiled and accepted the proffered hand,

“Why not? I been wanting to get a woman’s opinion of what the interior could be, ever since moving in.”


“Wish me luck! I’m meeting a buyer out at the old Silas place.” Alexandra Devon stood at the front of the Hobbomock Homes and Rental office. She was perfectly backlit by the August light shining in the plate glass windows that looked out on Hobbomock Commons. Wearing half of the commission on an average home sale worth of casual clothes, she exuded the enthusiastic confidence that accounted for her becoming the real estate agency’s top producer.

Hannah Stephanson, at her desk next to Alex’s, looked startled and jumped up. She shuffled through the glossy-cardboard and printer paper stacks on her desk, took a single folder and rushed to the open door.

“Wait! Take this packet.” Seeing the frown of uncertainty on Alex’s face, Hannah continued, “You mentioned the other day, when we were talking, that you had a lead on a developer. And that you were showing the Silas place as a possible new home development. That your developer might do, not you.”

Now standing in front of her friend, Hannah, a couple of inches shorter, courtesy of the new Doc Martens Alex had bought for the showing, could see the amused lack of comprehension in the other woman’s eyes.

“It’s just a compilation report. Of the single-family market here in Hobbomock. You know, absorption rates, demographics and other info that define our town. You know, nerd stats.”

Alexandra accepted the packet with a laugh that shared their friendship rather than limiting it.

“If I need this to close this guy,” she paused and looked around the room at the other two agents, daring them to agree, then with a smile, “After I’ve closed the sale, he’ll need someone to market and sell the development. You want to help me with that part?”

Hannah nodded, already imagining the future.


“Askuwheteau, the traders are but one hour walk away.”

Despite the cool air, cooler than any August in memory, Secukatyus wiped the sweat from his eyes. The run up and down the hills that surrounded the summer camp, exacted a price, even on a healthy young man.

“Well done, Secukatyus. Your idea of keeping braves at lookouts along the coast road is good for our people. Far better to see your enemy before he sees you. Now, make certain that all of what we brought back from the beach is covered and out of sight.” Askuwheteau grasped his friend’s arm and smiled distantly.

“And?” Though older, Secukatyus softened the single word into a request, rather than a demand, for additional information.

“I trust you with my life, as you and the other braves in our hunting party know. Go to my wigwam, close the flap but stay near the sleeping woman. Your presence is all we can do to keep her from being discovered.

Though our sachem is slow to learn or his age is making trade seem important for our clan, we need to cover our treasure. These pale men have the scent of brother wolf about them. No need to tempt them.”

“It will be done…” Secukatyus remained standing in front of his friend.


“You are wiser than any in our clan, if not the whole tribe. I see the slyness of the coyote in Meklendou’s eyes. Be wary, my brother.”

Episode Seven

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles.

Time is not a thing. It’s not even a force of nature, like gravity, momentum or centrifugal force. If one is inclined to indulge in naturalistic fancy, Time might best be pictured as the quality of the world that causes a piece of toast to hit the floor butter-side-down or the traffic light to turn red when one is in a hurry. Time is context.

Your dinner tonight is at 6:00pm, your date next Friday is 8:30. Time being the glue of reality. Accepting the potential value of this odd perspective, Time is as close to being in the presence of God as anyone of us get. At least in this life.

Some humans are born with a talent. It can provide the basis for a life beyond that of the average-abled person. Musicians and mathematicians, artists and athletes; when a child awakens to a talent that fits the world, hard work usually is enough to transform an inner drive into a valuable skill.

Some humans, the minority of a minority, are born with a need to create. They see the world as do their average-abled brothers and sisters, but they also confront worlds not quite in view. Many are able to repress this drive long enough to adapt to a normal life, others must find ways to satisfy the urge to give shape and form to the endless possibility surrounding them.

(Current Day)

Waking up wasn’t the hard part. It was the awful part.

The next most difficult thing was to accept that an old ritual lay before her, like the body of a childhood pet next to the bed. Unfortunate practice made the steps that followed simple if not easy. With eyes open (safely, not staring at anything in particular), she began to pray. Familiar to any child living with nightmare monsters, impervious to parental assurance, her morning-after ritual began with taking inventory. This seemingly rote task encouraged her to believe the bed-wreckage and party-litter that covered every surface of the room, was her temporary, if not imaginary, reality.

Hannah Stephanson, Hobbomock High’s teacher of the year 2015 and 2017, pulled the once-white satin pillow towards her face. Hoping for a soft escape, fearful of startling abused nerve-endings, she took refuge in the strangest item in the bedroom. On the nightstand, just above her current bed-horizon, was a three by five drugstore-brass frame. It held a needlepoint of the most homespun of colored yarn. It whispered, ‘Stay calm, life is art.’

Knowing that part of the immense cost of her condominium was for the security of a private elevator. When combined with a video-monitored foyer, she was able to host parties that were legend in the capital city.

Discovering that the pillow neither shattered in her hands nor tore at her face, Hannah faced the necessary risk of getting out of bed. In matters of guilt, conscience and fear, the bladder always held the trump card. The soles of her feet welcomed the soft carpeting as she crossed the room. Standing in the open bedroom door, she was relieved to be unable to see any leftover guests. She leaned off the doorframe in the direction of the master bath, riding a tide of low-grade vertigo, and got to the bath. Her feet protested weakly at the cool of the marble flooring. Safely seated, head tripoded on arms balanced on knees she waited. Finally, with the resolve of a surgeon before an anesthetized patient, she looked up. She was prepared for the kaleidoscope of mirrored images waiting on the walls. What she was not ever ready for, was the expression on the face of the young woman looking back at her.

With the practiced concentration of a juggler perfecting an act involving chainsaws and flaming torches, she examined her reflection. Enough of her pre-party confidence remained to allow her to smile back, Book Four in her series, ‘Billionaire’s Toybox’ is surely going to go bestseller.

With the desperate optimism of a severely injured soldier staring at colorful medals pinned to her uniform, Hannah Stephanson began to translate the twelve preceding hours into 12-point Times Roman. She paused to recall her last phone call.


“I just read the final draft of your latest book in the ‘Billionaire’ series. And I have just one question.”  Agent, editor, friend-without-benefits, Phil Borastein began speaking as soon as Allyson said hello into the receiver of her desk phone at Hobbomock Sales and Rental.

“What’s wrong with it?” The righteous indignation in Hannah’s voice decayed leaving her sounding like an adolescent girl with a ‘C’ average report card on the dining room table.

“Nothing much,” Vocal cords tuned to sarcasm and irrepressible humor, Phil’s voice was capable of a range of inference few could claim. “I’m sure this one’ll crush the competition in the Retired Nun and Fundamental Christian Wife demographic.”

Hannah fought the urge to surrender to the man’s charm, “So you’re saying I’ve written too tame a book?”

“uh… yeah! Don’t get me wrong, you’ve given the readers the glamour of the world of the billionaire class. Your characters are tried and true. You’ve given me another book in the series that is poised to, pardon my expression, get on top of the erotic Romance category. Just one thing…” Silence. Hannah enjoyed a surprising visual, early 20th century parlor play, darkened silhouette of a man sipping tea. She resisted the laughter growing within and waited.

“The. Erotic. Don’t get me wrong. I would publish your work if you wrote Regency Romance novels. My God, woman, I’d be happy to publish a YA series, if that’s what you wanted to write. However. What sells millions of copies and is about to become the next Fifty Shades, is what my departed mother, may she rest in peace, called dirty books.

So, be a dear and leave your little cottage down there in Bucolia-by-the-Sea and come to the city. Your penthouse condo awaits. Be grateful that your Muse did not think you should write about the street trade, or, god forbid national politics. Come, engage in whatever depravity is necessary and we can have Book Four in time for the Christmas buying season.”



“Hey, thanks for the ride.”

The real estate broker crouched at the driver-side door of the yellow VW convertible.

“Sure you don’t want to come in?”

Hands on the steering wheel, as if it might, somehow, become a factor in the next few minutes, Allyson shook her head. With the car’s top down, folded back behind the backseat, looking for all the world like a baby carriage, their faces were barely a summer scent apart.

“No, thanks, Michael.  Another time.” A slightly furrowed eyebrow retained the echo of worry.

The drive up from Hobbomock had, once the real estate broker reminded himself that he would know whatever he needed to know, been pleasant. All the traffic was still southwards. The only hitch came when Allyson, veering to the right at the beginning of Rte. 195, asked, “Which exit is best?” Concentrating on recovering a memory not his, his mind was flooded with overlapping perceptions, courtesy of two sets of nearly the same information.

“I’m on double rotation at the hospital. Let me give you my direct line,” turning in her seat, Allyson reached for her purse in the back seat.

“That’s ok, just call me and I’ll have it in my…” The pocket the real estate broker was rummaging through not only was empty, his effort to find something that should not exist rekindled a look of concern in her eyes.

“I thought I had a pen in my pocket?” Deciding that he had nothing to gain by explaining, he accepted the slip of paper she offered.

After watching the car disappear up President Ave, Michael looked at his watch and, benefit of that distraction, walked to the stone flower urn under the left bay window, found the key underneath and let himself into what, by all accounts, was his new house. Without bothering to look around the foyer, the real estate broker stepped into the front-to-back living room to the right of the hallway. He stopped, drawn to the image coming into view in one of two floor-to-ceiling mirrors that flanked the black-granite fireplace.

He and the young man in the mirror regarded each other, alone in an empty house.

Episode Eight

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles.

Like many small old New England towns, Hobbomock needed to become part of the modern world, participate in the new economy. Summer tourism notwithstanding, all the town had were hundred-year-old mills. Laying along the sides of the two rivers, like the skeletons of ancient giants, granite-and-iron mills were all that remained of a once-robust economy.

Something new appeared around the evening fires. Ideas for living that could only be expressed in the strange language of the people from the ships; concepts like sustainable trade, investment capital. The short, pale men came to the tribe with softly woven cloth, glass-of-many-colors and tools.

Askuwheteau grew up learning of the gods who ruled over all the earth. The lessons taught the young were simple: the land was a gift and the food and shelter it offered was to be shared with all the tribes.
The men from the ships, however, spoke incessantly about owning and buying. They desired the wampum his people used, as both tokens and symbols, when interacting with other clans and tribes. That these new, loud people wanted to give them metal tools and guns in exchange for such simple things, seemed a blessing from the gods.

They came to understand that it was more a curse from the devil.


(Current Day)


George Gardner tossed the folder full of colorful charts, dramatic graphs and age-yellow deeds reaching back to Hobbomock’s founding. It slid across the glacier of paper covering the top of the credenza next to his desk. He heard, but made no effort to stop the inevitable avalanche.

Sitting in the high-back leather chair, he took out a pint bottle of Old Grandad from a drawer and poured some into his coffee mug. The mayor of Hobbomock made a sound like a dog trying to pronounce the word ‘fuck’ and took a drink.

Hitting the plastic tongue of the intercom at the left corner of his desk, he said, “Bethany. No calls for an hour.”

Taking another, deeper, drink he replayed the meeting that should have been one of the high points of his tenure as mayor.


The Honorable George Gardner believed he could sell anyone, anything. Truth be told, his twenty years as the top politician in Hobbomock supported this admittedly immodest claim.

It was George’s belief, developed over years of negotiating with vendors and union reps, that a little boredom-inducing isolation always put the other guy off balance. Seeing how he was in a good mood, he made his visitors sit for only twenty minutes. Without introductions, he walked into the conference room, threw his accordion-folder onto the table and sat opposite his guests/opponents.

It wasn’t until he sat down, did the difference register. The silence in the room was jarring. In his experience, the person kept waiting would be fidgeting and anxious to have someone to complain to which, which of course, put George in control.

These two were silent. The thing was, their silence was the result of both of them concentrating on something clearly more important than a delay in the schedule. The young woman looked up and the other continued to stare at his phone, fingers in motion over the screen of his phone. The woman, a streak of green in her hair and the devil in her eyes spoke first. In exchange for a business-friendly deal on zoning, tax abatement and a good word with the State Environmental agencies, they promised high tech prosperity for Hobbomock.

“I have a re-election to win this Fall. My campaign fund could benefit from a little bolstering, if you get my meaning, Miss…” George smiled at the young woman even as he appeared to have forgotten her name.

She returned his smile, “I don’t believe you’ve read our Vitae, George,”

Ignoring the stutter in the eyes of the politician, Lilani continued, “I was head of marketing for the Bernabau Company. My partner, Stephen, was in charge of online services for the Omni Corporation. I wouldn’t be too concerned with your little election.”

The names Bernabau Company and Omni Corporation tugged at his mind. A younger version of himself would have known all about the two companies. But now, to him, it sounded like The Grand Pooba and the Most Exalted… all he heard was “Your election”.

Now back behind his desk, the liquor serving as cookies and milk after a school day of exams he forgot to study for, George Gardner set to making the most of the situation.

‘Well, if these people are going to push my town into the Twenty-first century, I might as well be the man behind the wheel.’

Taking a pad of note paper, ‘Hobbomock Sales and Rental’ printed at the top, he started making notes of traps and opportunities.




“Yes, we do have more of this. Wampum is our word for it. But your use of it, seems thin and without substance. Like an arrow made from a dead branch.”

Two of the braves laughed at Askuwheteau’s quiet response to the visitors request for something in exchange for the goods they carried.

Old Makkapitew appeared to be mesmerized by the shiny treasures spilling out of the short man’s dark cloth satchel.

Meklendou, who was never more than a whisper away from the sachem, hissed at the young men, but avoided Askuwheteau’s eyes. Stepping between traders and the tribe’s official leader spoke in a voice a bit too loud, “Our people welcome your people and will gladly exchange things of value.”



(Current Day)

From the uncomfortable wood slats of the wrought iron benches that lined the Town Commons, Hobbomock’s heart and soul was in plain view to the young man and young woman.

“So, that went well.”

Lilani Gometchikov angled her smile a micrometer off the screen of her phone, caroming her agreement to Stephen Eddington, currently aiming his face at a device.

“Can you handle that real estate agent?”

“Mmph, unless you’d like to…”

The laughter was both a shared cynicism and an acceptance of personal eccentricities.


“…nothing. Something funny about this town. Something I can’t pin down. Like everyone here knows a secret but have agreed to forget it.”

“Oh god, Stephen discovers another ghost!”

Episode Nine

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles.

George Santayana famously warned “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Our real estate broker and inadvertent time traveler, is at risk of demonstrating the converse inference of this otherwise direct and useful observation. Remembering the future is like the paralyzed man in the throes of a flying dream. Although most accept as fact that the past is immutable, our time traveler is about to discover the far more painful impossibility of changing the future.

Following the melting glaciers, the people who became the Narragansetts found a land that manifested the extraordinary variety of the earth. Moving from forest-to-ocean and back with the turning of the seasons, they flourished. As was the birthright of all who respected Mother Nature and lived as part of the world.



The real estate broker broke free of the glamour that reached out of the floor-to-ceiling mirror. Staring at the young man in the glass, he smiled, No doubt who the dominant personality is at the moment… glamour?! Who bothers with that kind of word choice? Oh yeah, I do.

As if conceding control of the body, the man with the full head of dark hair and a decidedly confident bearing, turned away; somewhere in the house a bell rang.

Closing his eyes did little good, as the sound, an excellent reproduction of an old telephone, sounded, at once like it came from behind a door at the end of the living room and yet somewhere upstairs.

With a half-smile, he decided to run upstairs and answer the phone.

“Hello, Michael? It’s Sherry”

Fumbling with the dumbbell-shaped receiver of the telephone in the master bedroom, the real estate broker realized two things: he wasn’t out of breath and he had no idea who Sherry was. He then remembered to not think.

“Sherry!” Michael Stone smiled as the sound of her name produced a set of visuals. An end-of-semester cookout at Third Beach in Newport and promises on a red-plaid wool blanket on the far side of a dune.

“Dean Shelby’s? Cocktail party? No, well, maybe I kind of forgot. But good thing for me you didn’t.” The real estate broker marveled sadly at the girl’s laugh of complicity in response to what should’ve been obvious sarcasm.

“Of course I’m picking you up. Won’t be too late.” More laughter. “I’ll call as soon as I leave the house.” The real estate broker pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it. Not even a flat surface if they had designed in a display. Which, of course, they had not.

“Give me your number again.” A deliberate pause from the girl restored some hope that she had more self-respect than he initially feared.

“So tell me again how you developed this ‘hedge fund’ idea? You made millions and can’t remember a girl’s phone number? Not enough zeros?” Oblivious to sarcasm as the girl may have seemed, she clearly had the ability to employ it. The real estate broker decided he liked this Sherry.

Walking towards the desk at the far end of the room, the plastic receiver was yanked from his ear, followed by the sound of bells and plastic crashing to the floor.

“Michael? Are you alright?”

“Fine. Be in front of your dorm in twenty minutes. Don’t be late.”

Michael Stone, now out of the shower, stood in the middle of the dressing room off the master suite. A mirror at the far end reflected a small section of suits and business wear along one wall. The rest of the space devoted to drawers of mahogany and tilted shelves holding an impressive variety of footwear. The room smelled of English leather and inbred confidence. Recalling that the host of the upcoming event came from a working-class background, he paused in front of the section of causalwear, the red and black stripes of the Banlon shirts were a guilty pleasure.

Without knowing why, Michael put on a light wool sweater, chinos and a pair of loafers. He found a lightweight hounds tooth jacket to complete it. Not given to second guessing his impulses he put on his favorite Rolex, the Submariner. Without bothering to lock the front door, he walked through the kitchen and out to the detached garage.

The real estate broker laughed out loud as he stepped into the three-car garage. Between the Mercedes and the motorcycle was the car that adorned the walls of his boyhood bedroom. At least until full adolescence re-ordered the icons of his body and heart.

Now behind the wheel of the racing-green XKE convertible, the real estate broker thought, Surely there are worse things than being stuck in the body of a young man in the middle of the 20th century.




“Perhaps our guests would prefer to sit in the pine grove.”

In a tone both helpful and humble, Askuwheteau looked to the sachem as he spoke. That the two white men were up and moving before he could complete the sentence was not lost on anyone seated around the camp’s central fire.

From mid-spring to late summer, Askuwheteau’s clan lived in a meadow that straddled a ridge running north to south. From there it was an easy hike down into the valley created by the Pettasquamscutt River, where fishing and small game were abundant. A further ridge divided the river from the ocean to the east. To the west, the forests grew timidly at the edge of the open land. At least they did until far enough from the autumn storms that charged up from the ocean.

Following the traders in their retreat from the August sun, a clatter of buckles and belts and brass pots in wool sacks.

Secukatyus grinned in the direction of Meklendou who was helping the sachem gather the colored-glass beads left on the ground as a gift, but spoke to his friend, “Sounds like you, brother, crossing the deadfall at the water’s edge when my father took us on our first hunt.”

Askuwheteau laughed, and staring towards the sachem, replied, “If I recall that day, someone got stuck in the briars and had to be cut free.”

Meklendou studiously ignored the two men as he followed after the leader of the clan, already five paces ahead. The two men crossed the open meadow towards the shade and the waiting men, who, despite sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, appeared to be whispering to each other.

They’d arrived mid-morning, loudly-proclaiming their wish to offer gifts from their leaders to the leader of their new neighbors. Traders with their own translator from a distant tribe, they were over-dressed, loud and smelled of fear and greed.

At the end of a day littered with promises and pompous exchanges of gifts, the men from the north sat around the camp’s fire. Talking too loudly, they tried to look comfortable, like trusted visitors from a neighboring tribe.

They failed.

Episode Ten

…previously, from the Hobbomock Chronicles.

There’s an old saying, ‘Watch a man at work and you will learn about his life, find him at leisure and you will know his character’.

Our real estate broker has found his ‘place to stand’. This state of mind had nothing to do with facts, information or, even, knowledge. Rather, it is to possess equilibrium in a world uncertain, surprising and otherwise, miraculous.

Displaced in the world, (and in time), our seventy-eight-year-old widower is finally able to come down off ‘high alert’. This, in no small part, the direct result of his capacity for, as the White Queen chided Alice, “…believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  He now finds himself with the luxury of being amused by the lives of those around him. This diversion is, as we will discover, short-lived.

The cost of not maintaining a mental state of heightened vigilance is to find oneself in a position to think. Not always the ideal place to be.



Chasing the twin cones of light down the interstate, the real estate broker drove the Jaguar almost fast enough to be at peace.

Depending on who was asked, the barbecue was a total success. Dean McGuire’s guest list consisted of a selection of the most promising grad students in Brown University’s anthropology department and several politically leveraged members of the faculty. Twenty-five men and women enjoyed the August afternoon and stayed into the evening. Given the size of egos and the level of libido, the acre lot around the house in Portsmouth was barely large enough.

The real estate broker found an invisible balance between who he was and who everyone thought they were encountering. The primary benefit: he was able to sit back and let Michael Stone drive. An image of politicians and actors, reading their lines from a teleprompter, popped into his mind. With sufficient skill, they appear to be speaking directly to the audience. All he had to do was keep his ad libs to a minimum and have faith in this reality.

Making this more difficult was the fact that, as Michael Stone, he was the unofficial guest of honor. By virtue of his successful career in finance, he was more than comfortable interacting with the faculty members. His generous endowment to Brown certainly didn’t slow the process of being accepted into the graduate school of Anthropology. Being handsome, successful and confident didn’t hurt his acceptance by members of the Ivy League school’s student body.

For his part, the real estate broker found the social interactions interesting in a Wikipedia entry-sort of way. Several times during the afternoon he caught himself staring at the clothing, humming along with newly released songs that he’d listened to for fifty years.

‘Letting Michael Stone drive’, turned out easier said than done.

It started with Sherry, the girl he drove to the party. She thought of it as a date. So did Michael. In the battleground of the sexes, even the most basic words and concepts can vary in meaning to an extraordinary degree.

Everyone liked Michael. The other grad students, sitting at umbrella’d tables alongside the pool or playing badminton on the manicured lawn beyond, were divided in how they saw him. Older brother or older brother’s handsome friend. Michael played to whatever the view the person in front of him maintained.

Sherry, a senior at Pembroke College, was never more than arm’s length away.

Michael viewed life as a pleasure. And, as a pleasure, it was to be consumed at whatever cost.

As all social gatherings must, the barbecue at Dean Mc Guire’s home slowed into pre-departure lassitude. The growing darkness inspired a focus on recreational activity less light-dependent than badminton and croquet. Even as the first guests were thanking the host, Michael took advantage of Sherry being in the house to get a date with a young woman he’d been in a study group with during the Spring semester. The real estate broker’s reaction consisted of a visual of a Roman vomitorium. He immediately wished he had the necessary distance from the participants that would allow him to laugh. Had he not been inhabiting the body of the very aggressive young man, he might have indulged an unsolicited commentary to the effect that we all are young and if we are lucky, survive to grow up.

The evening ended as Michael desired and Sherry had hoped. Under the August moon on Second Beach. Words and touches were traded. The currency of both pleasure and love were similar in shape and, often in the moment, appearance. Their value worth to the individual was an entirely different matter.

Sherry thought they were falling in love. Michael enjoyed every minute of being with the twenty-year-old college student. For as long as the evening lasted.


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ The real estate broker laughed into the 80 mile-per-hour night-soaked wind roaring inches over the top of the windshield of the convertible.

He thought of his wife, Lisa. She always laughed when his mind pulled some random tidbit of culture out to add a filigree to a thought. Her laughter was a sharing, a way of binding her love for life to his love for her. Sitting behind the wheel of the sports car, he felt the gap in his heart as freshly as the day of her funeral.

Heading back to the East Side in his borrowed body, the real estate broker almost made it home safely.

Before he could lose himself in a dreamless sleep, the thought appeared, “She’s alive here.”



Gideon Malthus, lingering as his partner, Evert Vos, led the two men and one donkey away from the camp, spoke to the men around the campfire with the take-no-prisoners conviction of Calvinist minister.

“We are here now. There are many like us, still on ships, escaping those who would try to control how we worship God.

This land is abundant with riches. The land we come from is old and used up, with little of Nature’s Bounty not controlled by a small group of men.

We have much to teach you about how to make the most of this land. You no longer have to live day-to-day, taking only what you can from the ocean and the forest. We have tools, we have weapons, we have the means to conquer this hostile world.”


As the summer stars rose and the fire glowed in the center of the summer encampment, the leader of the clan called together his trusted advisors.

“What else can we do?” Makkapitew glared at the braves. Although not the oldest, there was no mistaking his status. He became sachem through wiles as much as strength, ferocity in battle and mercy in victory. But that meant little as increasing age wounded him more than any enemy.

“They bring things we have could never have made and all they want in trade is our wampum. What harm can come of this?” Meklendou spoke with a smooth assurance that allowed the less capable to feel his words were wise. When he looked at those around the fire, he avoided one and only one. In his mind, all that stood in his way to becoming the next sachem was Askuwheteau.

“Their ways are more different than we can know.” Askuwheteau spoke, “I tried to explain that wampum is more like a handshake with a friend or a fist shake at an enemy. They stared at me like the vultures waiting in the treetops.” The younger braves nodded in agreement, holding their opinion, as their standing in the tribe dictated. “These people see exchange of useful things as a noble or worthwhile effort, like hunting or fishing.”

“Maybe you are still young.” Meklendou smirked, glancing towards the small group of braves who followed his words. They laughed too loudly at Askuwheteau, like boys wrestling beyond the point of demonstrating skill, wanting instead to hurt the other for the sake of hurting them.

“The world is changing. The white man is here and he is strong. His numbers grow each day.” Askuwheteau’s words were caught in the dying flames of the late-night fire.