The Unofficial Story of TriaDCon Part IV Finale


The Unofficial Story of TriaDCon, part 4 of 4 and Finale

IV. THIRD TIME’S A REAL CHARMER

BY Ben Trovaro

(Continued from Part III)

Once again I awoke in my living room!

Again in my old familiar couch, with the old familiar crumbs in it. But now not even the test pattern was gone and it was pitch black, and there was no shimmering light streaming up from the basement!. I looked, and then I saw it! I looked again and in the strange nether-world of the night- in the dark black on black of deepest witching hour I saw SOMETHING oozing out through the crack on the basement door– but this time, instead of light it was DARK! Great eddies of fearsome blackness billowed out in great oily curls and sunuous eddies– ugly, sooty, oily waves of a malevolent presence overflowed from around the edge of thedoor.

With deep foreboding I went over to the door and opened it. But I knew what to do! I knew how to play this game, having watched all those horror movies entitled “The terror from the Water Tank!”Or the Furnace Room Horror!” I tried the light switch and it didn’t work – where it had worked a mere hour before with the Spirit of Conventions Present! But I knew what to do from those movies where the owner of the house is enjoined “Don’t go down into the basement!” The light wouldn’t work, the stairs were dark and treacherous and I had the words of the terrified neighbors ringing in my ear, as I went downslowly, step by step- chanting the magical mystery mantra of great power– “Hello? – Hello?– is anyone there?”

No gun, no knife, no plasma generator, no force field, not even a suit of armor! This is the way it’s done, right!? I was soon at the foot of the stairs and I saw across the room a huge black abyss yawning in front of me! It seemed that the dark was deepening, moving, mutating. I suddenlyremembered where I was and what was happening. It was the time of the third spirit, that the spirit of conventions future. It was fast was fast rushing upon me even as the future rushes upon us all in its remorseless, immutable, ineffable strength and fury! I began to fear. I sensed a presence far off coming towards me and I resolved to put mybest face forward and hurl resolution in the face of adversity.

“Spirit,” I said, “I fear you more than all the other shades I have met this night,but I am willing to learn and be instructed by you.”

Nothing happened. I felt a distant rumble — a tremor – great disturbance in the force–the future was rushing down upon me – the advance of that momentous unknown that is descending upon us all was racing to this spot. It was cascading down like a runaway avalanche- and I had the urge to turn and flee, but I stood. My heart and stomach though did not see things that way and they made arace for my tonsils. It came with the roaring of a thousand angry beasts! It came as the beating of the waves of the ages upon the beach of eternity. It came as the thundering of the mother of all thunderstorms upon therocks of ages. It screamed and clattered and set my teeth ajar, and suddenly from the right of my room, out of the great gaping abyss of darkness it thundered across the floor- smashing away as the insignificant impedimentia of themoment, all the things that lay before it. It blasted apart half of theroom and my far wall and my wargame table as so much trivial kindling wood. It threw the old love seat who knows where, and my wifes’ record collection was shattered to smithereens, and my collection ofblack-velvet string art went up in smoke and a blaze of yearning eyes that would no longer follow you around the room. Even my efflatulent dog vaporiszed in one last odiferous eternal fart. I wondered if this was the moment! I wondered if this was the end of it all! I wondered if my life would pass in front of my eyes! I wondered if I could meet my deductable! The creature had a single great glowing eye in the top of its forhead andI saw the number of the beast and it was “666” And upon its brow waswritten blazing fly-specked letters – “Kinarsie- Perdition, FUTURECONS and Kukkamonga!” The train screeched to a stop with the the mournful shriek that betokeneda thousand dammed banshees and a non-existent routine maintenance program. The portal opened.

A voice , dull, low, metallic, monotone,with no inflection or emotion beckoned my hypnotically to enter the door of doom- to enter the belly of the beast:

“Pleas – step -to – the – cen-ter – of -the car- and – hold- on- firm-lyCar – makes sud-den starts – and stops- keep – yur – eyes- open- and -yur- hands – to – yur-self – or – I – will -smash -you-with- my-inter-planetary – dis- rup-tor ray-“

I entered the car. It was empty except for a lone figure sitting on oneof the seats, slouched down a little, his one leg crossed over the other, reading the New York Times Book Review. He crossed and uncrossed hislegs, and I saw a small movement by his side that I took to be his familiar. A dog! – A great shaggy dog! the spirit looked up at me over his gold rimmed glasses and said, in a smart-ass tone– “What! You were expecting the polar express maybe–?”

The shaggy dog looked up at me with its soulful eyes and said “So this priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar…”

His demeanor was startling and I stammered out:

“Well I was, er ah– thatis– I you see– well I thought– ”

“Hoo boy ! I got me an intellectual this time!– Come on Sonny– , spit itout – What – ya got freakin’ Old Timers disease?” He said.

I screwed up my courage and said: “Well I expected you to be tall, at least 7 feet – with a large voluminous black robe that covered all yourform except a boney hand, and your face hidden, and that you wouldn’t speak, and that you would just gesture with a skeletal hand…”

He made a face like someone had just laid a turd in the potato salad a tthe church picnic and said ‘Harumph!!!!– Too many Ingmar Berman moviesyou been watching.”

The spirit was of medium height, wearing a pair of dress slacks, and shirt, – a most un-wargamer like shirt– oxford button down, and a TIE! He was of medium build, quite unremarkable, with the steel-rimmed glassesmost beloved of gamers and a normal, somewhat tired face with close cropped hair and narrow blue eyes, and a prominent nose, but his mouth seemed in a perpetual frown, and the corners of the mouth seemed downturned and disparaging even when he smiled, which I would see on occasion but for the most he had the look of something one would expect on Mr. Miserebee the school guidance counsellor. I soon realized that even when he was happy he looked like he was pissed off, and that when he was unhappy he looked like a malevolent toad.

After a pause he folded up his book review and said: So– kiddo– what’s the deal! You want in or not?”

“Ummm– In?” I asked.

“The whole convention thing- what you fall asleep again! Jeez Louise!–You damn gamers have the attention span of a hamster.”

“Well um!! Yes, I guess so!”

The spirit made that face again lounged against the seat.

“That’s the spirit that got Mike Dukakis Elected! That’s – that’s the spirt that carried the French Army through 1940! I can see you with Dewey at Manilla Bay! “Torpedoes!– Torpedoes!! What Torpedoes!!! Send mean e-mail!!!! It’s not my fault!!!!- Ok, it’s your funeral but don’t sayI didn’t warn you.”

“Umm– what do you mean?” I asked.

Seeming to ignore me, the figure proceeded right on, just as the powerful engine that he rode seemed to ignore all that was around it and move on, and I saw that the train was even now leaving the station.

“Well, “ I began, “I want to create an old-time war game convention.”

The figure rolled his eyes and let out a large “Psheewwwww…” in obvious annoyance: Like you don’t have enough to do with your kid needing praces, your wife turning into a wargame widow and making moo-cow eyes at herpottery class instructor, and you ignoring that pain you just got in a place you didn’t even know you had places! You need a wargame convention like you need the cancer and a DWI conviction! You need a wargame convention like …Well-“ he said -“ go on.”

“Well I’d like to have boardgames– “

”Shake and bake crowd!”

“And I’d like to have games like Euro-games.”

“Eurotrashers! “

“And role playing games.”

“Elf weenie whackers!”

”And of course good old Miniature war gaming as well.”

“Look, lemme tell you ‘bout that lot–” he said, and launched into a long monologue which began “Ya got three types of gamers– Ya got Vamps,Tramps, and Mules– and he proceeded to lay out all the ills and pitfallsin clubs, groups, and persons in general. With each new point I felt as if a great hammer was whacking me in the head and my heart sank ever downward with each blow. His advice was insightful but depressing, and Ibegan to lose hope. Each comment made the job ahead of me seem harder and harder and even more impossible of attainment. Again and again. wheneverI brought up some point the spirit, a veritable conjurer of contradiction, shot holes in it.. Each fond childish hope was shredded like Mr. Quaker does to his wheat. I started to regret the whole thing. At long last I sat there silent and at rock bottom and asked the fearsome question:

“Is there no hope Spirit? Have I journeyed so far to find only failure–that it cannot be done?”

“Naah– piece-a-cake” he said.

“Really?” I was surprised at such an off-hand bit of optimism from this nattering nabob of negativism.–

“Surely It will take a lot of money!” I added,.

The figure once again made a face and said:

“Phewwww– Money- shmoney–money you can get– it’s the work that’s the hard part, and gettingpeople to do the work!”

“Really!??” I said– “I had no idea?”

“Obviously!” The conductor of condescenion commented. “Yeah– oh yeah – you can do it all yourself but then you don’t get to have the fun in your own convention. The key is to get a lot of people involved all doing a few things so they can enjoy the whole convention experience, and that comes from three things, going and playing games at a con– putting on games for other people to play at a con, and working onthe con itself.”

“Hmmm..– what you say makes sense Spirit..”

“Of course it makes sense!” he said angrily “I thought of it!– Call mePete- Pete Zaria.” he said, holding out his hand to shake mine.

“Gee, Pete, I had never thought of it that way — I guess – now that I think about it– that’s going to be the hardest of all- How do I find them?”

“You ask.” Was his reply.

“Gee – but I don’t even know who to ask.”

”Oh don’t worry-“ the spirit said– – “There’s lots of people who will help.”

“You don’t say!” I marvelled.”That’s certainly not something I would have thought.”

The spirit looked at me with an incredulous look like he was eying a rather dim college student who could not figure out the sum of 1 plus 1.

“What – you been asleep the past few hours? Didn’t you see all those disgruntled people when the Con spooks before me dragged you around? Who do you think will help you?”

“Hmmm, I see your point.”

“By the way, the answer is 10.” He said.

“What? The answer to what?“ I asked

“You were making that metaphor about 1+1- any fool knows it’s 10.”

“It is?” I wondered. “That’s certainly an unusual arithmetic, spirit.”

‘Depends on your frame of reference, just like the people who will help you and by the way, call me Warren Peace.”

“Hmmm — OK Warren– I see — so the first thing is to talk up theconvention….”

“Right, but talk is cheap that’s why gamers spread it around so thickly-for most of em- that’s all they got.”

“Hmmm– I guess I’ll have to figure out some by-laws and get a constitution and figure out how the plan of the organization will work,and get rules of order.” I mused.

The spirit evinced a look of pure disgust and said:

“Hey – Ben, – c’mere,you got some schmutz on your head.”

I came close and bent over and hisarm flew up and whacked me on the back of the head. “OW! – That hurt!” I yelled, more in surprise than pain.

“You stupid schmuck! Ain’t you learned nothing tonight! Don’t worry about that crap — get something going first then figure out how to run it later. That’s what the Walwrus basement crowd did! Besides, by thetime you figure out you need to figure out how to run it you will have figured it out already and it’ll run by itself.”

“Ummm.. yeah that may be true– Thanks Spirit.”

“No problem,” he said, adjusting a large name badge on his chest that said “Jackson Jills.”

“Now let’s move on. You got a plan?”

“ Well er no.. I…”

“Yeah thought so, you gamers are all alike, don’t know how to make a plan if it ain’t painting troops, building terrain, or reading rules. Cripes, that’s your plan for games, conventions and getting laid! I tell you,you’re all alike- can’t pour piss from a boot even if the instructions were on the heel– can’t tell his ass from his elbow— “

“Umm spirit I don’t think that’s fair.”

“Fair-Shmare!” he shot back, “ya wanna make this thing work?”

He dropped something on the floor, I saw it was a business card. As he picked it up I saw the name “Jim Borrazo” on it. I thought for a moment and said:

“This is a tall order spirit, it looks like I have a lot of work to do and will have to spend a lot of tim efinding people to work with me– that’s daunting–“

”Naah, remember piece of cake– and I’ll help.”

“You will?!” I was shocked.

“Yeah sure, by the way, call me Holden, Holden McGroyne.”

“Wow that’s very good of you– ummm— Holden.”

“Don’t mention it. Least I can do, Always happy to help. “

He pulled outsome things from a rumpled old bag.

“Let’s go down to the next car to meet some of your staff.”

Staff!??” I said, astonished.

“Oh yeah, I started working on some stuff when I first got the word you were coming?”

“Really! – my goodness– why– why– I’m honored but how did you know I was going to accept.”

The spirit shrugged and made gave me yet another sour look and said-

“If it wasn’t you it was only a matter of time before some other dumb schmuck came up with the idea.”

We entered the next car and it was a veritable bee-hive of hubbub and hullabaloo as strange creatures and people flitted here and about. “OK Gang– here’s the guy!” the spirit commanded with obvious and over blown imperiousness which was absolutely ignored by everyone.

“Hi– “ I piped up- “My name is Ben and I’m a wargamer.”

Not the slightest reaction was seen from anyone. “My goodness spirit– they don’t seem to pay you the proper respect due their boss.”

“I ain’t their boss, they don’t work FOR me, they work WITH me!”

“Oh do you mean they are–???”

“Exactly– Volunteers.”

I mouthed a silent OH!! He went to one guy sitting in the corner, a large heavy-set man with a neatly tripped head of black hair who was working on some tables of registration and slamming at the keys of a keyboard working on some websites. He wore the standard wargaming garb of jeans and T-shirt but on his head he had a large Japanese Samurai Helmet. I was intrigued by the figure.

“That’s the first lesson, the spirit said “whenyou get volunteers you gotta do one thing.”

“Supervise them carefully?” I asked?

“No– let em do what they want to do otherwise they won’t do anything.”

“But what if they don’t do what you need them to do!?” I asked.

“Find someone else who will, do it yourself or figure out how you can do without! The key to handling volunteers is this- thank them often and repeatedly and kiss their ass. You need them, so welcome them, and remember you can’t fire them, and if you do you fire them you retire them with full pay and benefits and the work doesn’t get done.”

“That’s very wise of you spirit!” I said.

I stole a glance at the figureover whose shoulder we were looking and I noticed the Samurai Helmet wasnow replaced with a tricorne.

“No problem- call me Myasis Draggin” he said.

I greeted the person the spirit had directed me to and he sat there busily working away. I asked him a few questions, but he seemed to have his tasks well in hand. He spoke about them briefly, but as the Spirit seemed satisfied, I determined I was too.

The guy then said to me: “I should let my wife handle this, she’s Japanese you know and squeezes a nickel so hard the Indian comes out the other side riding the buffalo.”

He then started getting into other areas which I really thought I should not hear. I thought I should go and noticed that the tricorne was now replaced by a Roman Centurion’s helmet.

“Excuse me Mr…. Mr…” I stammered out..

”Waldberg” he said– “Jake Waldburg. Pleased to meet ya- now take my wife– please—want some octopus? Live?– she eats it all the time– puts me and the kids off myfeed!”

I didn’t quite know how to respond to this and resolved that discretion was best.

“Please tell me why do you have so many umm- hats..”

“Why not? part of the fun of games is being a general and you’ve got to have the right hat!”

“Ummm that seems rather silly doesn’t it?” I asked.

“Any sillier than grown men playing with toy soldiers?”

“I see your point ..”

I turned to look for the Spirit, and Iimmediately bumped into a large rotund oriental gentleman with a tape measure spread across my back.

“Oh sorry, measuring you for your T-shirt?”

“My T-shirt?!!”.

“Yeah, your convention T-shirt– every convention has to have a T-shirt!.”

He wrote down a size and I was a bit taken aback and said “I don’t think this is right, I’ve lost a lot of weight lately.”

“Yeah and I’m Brittany Spears.” he said.

I had just turned around and untangled myself from the flying tape measures and the color swatches the T-shirt guy had buried me with and was faced with a tall solid figure who shoved a check into my hands.

”Here’s the seed money- I started ordering tables and they’ll be delivered Friday- we have to set them up- that would have cost $300 more- and I also started lining up vendors for our dealer area.”

“Tables?” I gasped “Vendors–-“ I wondered– “ but who are you?”

“Your treasurer- I’ll also handle the IRS papers and tax forms.”

“But I don’t even know your name” I said but the figure walked off andignored me, intent on his job. “But I don’t even know the where or the when? “ I pleaded.

There was a tap on my shoulder and a young thirty-something guy said “Here’s the where and when., We took care of that while you were getting un-drunk at the merry unbirthday party with the white rabbit.”

I stared in wonder at the paper and the new person, who introduced himself as my facilities coordinator said “Oh yeah you need someone to run the flea-market also.”

“There’s a flea-market?”

But it was too late for him to answer- he was off working again. The spirit of Conventions Future came over and shoved a bunch of papers under my nose.

“Here’s the various agreements you need for us to startyou off! Just sign.”

“What’s this spirit?”

“Oh, facility contracts, advertising agreements, proofs of Pels, advertisements, stories, blurbs to go on e-lists- notices registrations,and of course our own private agreement .”

My goodness there is a lot of work you’ve done already.

“Someone’s got to do it! We all can’t go around chasing tarts in bottles and mooning around memory lane.”

I took the pen and went to sign it and it wouldn’t write. It was out of ink. I turned to the spirit and said “Umm spirit – the pen seems dry.”

The spirit took it, looked at it and said “Hmmm so it seems – I’ll fix it– ”

At that moment another person came over and said “I got this great idea for an event–Meet the designers.” and he proceeded to tell me. “Yeah you can have red, you can have blue, you can have green–“ T-shirtman said… Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my right arm– I looked and I saw the pensticking out of my arm and its ink resevoir filling with blood..

“There –– now it’l work just fine …” the spirit said.

I asked , a bit dazed and absent-mindedly “What did you say your name was again.”

“Oh, I have so many names” came his sly reply as I signed – and for the only time ever I saw the spirit break into a genuine grin. I turned to look at my arm and saw that I had almost no scar at all- noblood, no mark, no nothing.

“Magic!” I a gasped.

“Elmers” the spirit said, “Every gamer uses it so much it works itself into his skin and veins– you could shoot an arm off and it would seal upin half a minute. “

The train gathered speed and at various stations I would see glimpses of conventions to come. All of them bright, shining and inviting. Soon my mind whirred and reeled with the surfeit of them., the possibilities of them- only occasionally did the scene slip off its rollers and reveal itself as an endless tape rotating on a frame outside the window. As I turned back from the viewing of the passage of the train through thevarious stations that were future conventions. I saw more and more people appearing in the car, which grew and lengthened to accomodate them.

“Spirit- who are all these people?” I asked.

“Some of them you know and some of them you will know.” he said, “Those are all the people who will be working on the convention you have started, and who will come to the convention- and they are people whowill form their own conventions and do new things on their own. “

“Is it to be a success then?” I asked

“Got me champ! As I said – it all depends on the work you do, and if you keep your head clear and on straight and don’t get sidetracked.”

“But Spirit– I don’t know what you mean–“

”Neither to I, but it seems to work.”

I was amazed wandered through the car. I saw old friends working and planning, I saw people who I felt a strong attachment to but did not know, and I realized they would BE friends in the future. I was in adaze.

“Spirit, this is all happening so fast. I can barely take it in! My mindreels!?

The spirit looked at me with his usual look most people reserve for idiot relatives who have just piddled on the floor in front of company on holidays and said

“Low sugar- here- have a milk shake..“and the trainhurtled on.

I wandered into another car and found the First two spirits sharing a sixpack and having a rousing game of Kingmaker, along with the Rabbit, the ToothFairy, the Shaggy Dog, and the Fairy God-Mother who with her come-hither stare and low cleavage promised an officer no one could refuse! I noticed that both spirits had several cards stuck up their sleeves and in their back pockets. The Spirit of Conventions Present rolled the dice and moved a large stack of cardboard counters on the board and said “The Electric Company!– I’ll buy it!” The Spirit of Conventions Past rolled the die and shuffled some papers and laid down a few cards and said “Fleet Heligoland suports Army Kiel to Holland!”

The White Rabbit turned to the Fairy Godmother and said “Base for a Base?” and the Fairy Godmother said“ Dunno– I’ll roll on my strength and use my +2 magic pasites!” As I watched this bizarre game of all games I turned and saw a horrifying sight! There at the far end of the car were the Ratsass and the Bad Hatter! The Hatter no longer had all his hats, and the Ratsass not his blades but it was them- unmistakably!

I raced up to the front car to find the spirit, sure that the minions of the Dark Lord were even now seeking to overturn the convention to come. I babbled out the warning to him, but the corners of his mouth just wentsouth even more.

“The Ratsass!! The Ratsass!! I said!

The spirt looked at me blankly and said “Yeah so?!”

“But they’re HERE!”

“So tell me champ– what part of playing games don’t you get?”

“Ummm– I don’t follow you.”

“Let me ask you this– if you lose a game do they take you out and shootyou?”- NO! “ he replied, answering his own question emphatically.

“Because they do some dumb things – does it make them evil people?–NO!” “Do you think that it means anything if you’re the big cheese of somebig-time show?- NO! And even if you are– do you think anyone out there gives a damn!– NO! All you do is run a convention where people play toy soldiers and othergames that mean nothing.”

“But– But–“ I tried to protest “The Ratsass– The Ratsass”

“But- But– Ifs and buts, – If Ifs and Buts were candied nuts it’d be Christmas all year long –. If we had ham we could have ham with our eggs if we had eggs. Look Young Hero! The first thing you have to learn is that these people are your friends. You can fight them in a game, argue with them in a club, debate them on the net, but you all play dumb stupid games about war and being generals and push toy soldiers around on the map in your mind. It don’t get much better than that. Lose that and ya got nothing! That’s what I meant about keep your mind focused on what’s important!”

The spirits words did not soothe and I came back at him — “But the Hatter– the Hatter—“

“Remember the part the second spirit told you about losing their way? They’ll be just fine in a few years when they get the whole power tripthing out of their system! They’ll be back to being just good ole gamers and that will be that. This IS the Futurecon train and you ARE looking at the images of what MIGHT be, not the images of what MUST be. It’s all up to you buckie– if you want to make it better, it will be better. So cut them some slack! They’re not really a bad bunch of guys – they can be a lot of fun– when you get them in a game. Don’t forget that – it’s about games– and fun!”

The spirits words of hope and the future were so unlike his demeanor and character I was silenced. “Ummm– I think I see your point..”

The spirit began again– “Look your stop is coming up! We don’t have much time left. Just remember, it’s a game, its a hobby, you’re here to have fun, get some yuks, and toss down a few Buds with your buds. You’re not here to prove you’re a great general or come up with some grand vision. So work hard, have fun, give games, play games, buy stuff, eat, and remember that these guys are your friends.

As the train slowed down and I saw the dawn breaking over my neighborhood and I began to enter the long tunnel into my living room, I thought.

“Ummm, that’s a tall order But Gee spirit– it’s so SIMPLE! Why didn’t you say that way back at the start?”

“You’re the guy who liked complicated rules!– So! – You want success?”

“Yeah sure!”

“Well you know how you are?”

“Yes spirit?”

“Don’t be like that!”

These words of the spirit sank in as the train slowly pulled to a stopand the door opened to allow me to unload my stuff.”

“Come on– Come on– make it snappy.” the spirit said “I got a lot of appointments to keep?”

“Really!– Are there so many others hankering to make new conventions>?”

The spirit again rolled his eyes and gave a hearty “Pishh.. The stories I could tell–“ I felt good a and uplifted, even through the spirit just told me to get off.

“Oh yeah–“ the Sprit said–“Speaking of getting off- – The Lamp–.”

“What” I asked, “what do you mean.”

“You got yer three wishes!” he said, “fork over the bottle with the babe in it.”

“But — But” I stammered…

”What are you– an outboard motor?” the spirit asked tartly…

“No– but what do you mean!” I only got my first wish!”

“Naah you used em all up! Says so right here in my “wishes used spread-sheet program.”

“But But!”

“Hey yer second wish was to be 18 again!– right?!”

“Well er– yeah—“

”Well you got that with the spirit of Conventions past!”

I had to admit the spirit had me there, for a short time I was 18 and felt very, very young again.

“So it’s yer own damn fault for farting around at game convention sinstead of getting laid.”

“Hmmm a bit of sharp practice- I’ll admit but now that I know who you REALLY are I guess I can’t expect much more from the likes of you– But what ABOUT that Jeannie! I protested- what about my third wish!”

The figure smiled one of those small smiles that still left the corner of his mouth turned down, as if he was smiling but frowning at the same time:

”Well let’s see you asked the Genie of the Lamp for an old time war-game convention, like you used to have-! Like when you were young!”

“Yes that’s right! But…”

“You said that you’d really love to attend one and have it like you did in the old days?”

“Yes that’s true spirit but..”

“And you got that wish only you’ve wound up having to work on one like a demon– I mean– uer–ah dog? So instead of just going to one like some lord you now have to do all the work to bring one about and get it together.”

“Well um– yes but…”

With a sly smile again the Spirit spoke

“Sounds to me like you’ve already got your screwing from the Jeannie of the Lamp.”

And the little voice from the martian on the Bugs Bunny cartoon came onand warned me off- the door closed and the train roared out of the station and as it disappeared down the long tunnel of time I saw the lamp swinging on the back platform of the train, with several small candles burning inside and from the dim airwaves of the ether I heard the strains of a long forgotten sitcom. I stood there watching it for a long time and resolved that I would do what I had begun– finish what I started — fight the good fight – stay the course – hold the line– , suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune– I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned to see a tall luscious blonde standing behind me with long wavy hair, big green eyes, in a provocative witch outfit with the skirt slit up to the thigh and a neckline plunging to her navel complete with a witches hat.

“Howdy Sailor!” she said “My name’s Samantha– Wanna see what I can do whenI wiggle my– um– nose?”

I ran like hell.