Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Dr. Electro, Sawdust, and Groundhogs

 Letters from Josh

  Sawdust and Stories 10/05/20                                                                           Letter 26

    Hey there, folks, and happy October!  I was hurtling off to work today, zipping down the wooded lane on which I live, and the falling leaves almost escaped my notice...and then Autumn Leaves started playing on my mental radio.  Chasing sunbeams, the car scooted around a corner, where there, in the opposite lane, was a stunned and slightly injured groundhog.  Before any traffic could flatten the poor little fellow, I had turned around, blocked the lane and then...hmmm...He appeared to be irate, attempting to bite me.  Once, many years ago, Alvin the pet hamster (named in honor of a family friend, not the chipmunk), mistook my finger for a sunflower seed, and left a lasting respect for the force exerted by rodent jaws.  And Alvin was tiny.  Time was of the essence, so leaping into the woods, a big stick was found, and I helped him off the road so he could chill out  - flipping him gently like a giant omelette to safety, if the said omelette was trying to angrily bite the spatula. I think he’ll be alright.  He certainly had plenty of spite in him, and that considerably lengthened my great grandma Ruth’s life, so…  

  Have you ever seen a sawmill, mobile or otherwise?  I hadn’t, until yesterday.  A friend who’s an expert craftsman mentioned he was milling some logs, so up the road I went.  Another fellow, a retired forester who always thought these things were cool, had bought a massive trailer with hydraulic “flippers” and a gasoline-powered bandsaw.  They had placed an enormous tree on the trailer, and were slicing it lengthwise, like peeling a giant carrot. .Sure beats Home Depot!  And, much to my delight, they offered me a few of the “leftovers”, huge pieces of lumber with which to learn and build some quality items.  I can’t wait to learn how to work with this new format of the rough cut wood!  Do we have any craftspeople in the audience here?  Perhaps lumberjacks?  I’d love to hear stories!    And, speaking of stories...are you ready for the latest installment of Dr. Electro?  I wonder what he’ll get up to this time.  (The exciting part is - I don’t know, either.)

  Previously on “Dr. Electro”:  Rutherford outlines the strange behavior of the local orphans, their sudden interest in reading and rules, convincing Dr. Electro to join his cause.  Meanwhile, across town, an unknown figure paces in a gloomy chamber.”  

Dr. Electro - Episode 3 - Mabel at the Table

Rain falls universally, sometimes locally, and often mentally, and tonight was no exception. It tapped at the second story warehouse windows, joining the echoing footsteps of a solitary figure. The lampshade swung slightly, jarred by the pacing, and shadows danced on the walls.  The owner of the extra echoes suddenly plopped down at the table, a train making an unexpected whistle stop.  A flapper hat, blonde curls, and a fair cheek that had weathered enough storms to make its owner wise, yet balanced by a subtle display of heart to keep the bitterness off emerged in the light.  Mabel exhaled sharply, and rubbed her blue eyes.  The map of France was still there.  A few letters with international stamps sat next to the ashtray, and the glowing coal of her lit cigarette did little to shed extra light on the room, or the puzzle that stared back at her fatigued eyes.  The smoke drifted and swirled, matching her thoughts as her mind wafted gently to her thinking place.  

Approximately seven miles east, across town..

Dr. Electro and Rutherford slogged a soggy slog, with all of the requisite squishes of a gloomy autumn rain.  Precipitation in the winter that’s unfrozen brings the resigned observation that it could be worse, and April’s downpours at least adhere to the botanical promises that it’ll be worth the trouble (May flowers), but the autumn rain only sowed the seeds of doubt and an uneasy feeling for Dr. Electro tonight. Rutherford, on the other hand, seemed only to be bolstered by the clammy evening, a spark in his eye positively gleaming through the fog.  “Ah, here we are, ol’ chap!  The culvert by the orphanage!  Surely if there’s something nefarious afoot, it would somehow involve a culvert!”  Electro felt a tingle of adrenaline as the great pipe yawned in inky indifference to the storm, looming up above them as they turned the corner.  “There’s an access path over here, sport!”  Leaving his doubts, and perhaps his better sense, outside in the rain, Dr .Electro followed the Englishman inside.  A match was procured, but just as the flame sputtered to life, a sudden gust of wind snuffed it - and carried the sound of voices from further in the great pipe.  To be continued…  

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