The Evolution of EDC (Mid 2000s to Late 2010s)

On one side of the featured image is a Victorinox Recruit ii Swiss Army Knife and an incandescent Mini Maglite, circa, 2005/2006.

On the other side of the featured image is a Gerber US1 pocket knife and an LED Mini Maglite, circa, 2018.

In this piece, I will try to write what I observe in the evolution of EDC or everyday carry.

I had first seen the Swiss Army Knife and Mini Maglite combination sold at Target in 2006 while I was a senior in high school. This prompted me to start carrying a Swiss Army Knife and a Mini Maglite everywhere I could, though I carried different models than what was sold at Target. I carried them everywhere I legally could and I also tried to get other guys to do so as well, with very limited success. That was the top of the line EDC for the mid 2000s. LED technology had not advanced enough yet, but the Mini Maglite was well established as a tried and true favorite. The Swiss Army Knife was even more established. Since I was still in high school, I couldn’t legally carry any type of knife on me, but I definitely carried the flashlight. I didn’t actually own the featured combination until April of 2016 when I purchased it as new old stock on eBay. I guess I was feeling reminiscent of my high school days. By the way, this Mini Maglite was bundled with a Swiss Army Knife.

Since 2005/2006 EDC gear has advanced considerably, both in knives becoming more tactical and therefore rugged. LED technology in flashlights has also vastly improved allowing them to give off more and more light for longer and longer runtimes. Flashlights have become more tactical and therefore rugged as well. Maglite was one of the earlier tactical flashlight models to choose from, but now they are not the most tactical. They are also not the brightest. However, they are built very well in the USA. The brand as I’ve said before is also better well established than any of these Chinese tactical brands that may be brighter.

In 2018 or so I had first seen the Mini Maglite LED and Gerber US1 sold at Wal Mart. Target has been dwindling their selection of flashlights. Well Wal Mart has too, but Target did far worse. At a church Christmas party I received a gift card to Wal Mart. I knew I would be purchasing that aforementioned combination. To this day, a little over a year later, I still carry them in my EDC backpack. This is not the top of the line for EDC in the lates 2010s and early 2020s, but both of these items are American made. The Mini Maglite appears the same on the outside as it did in 2005/2006, but it has a robust LED light engine instead of a vacuum bi pin bulb. Instead of giving off 9 Lumens it gives off 100 Lumens. Plus the light engine is quite rugged and never needs to be replaced. The knife appears to be more tactical than a Swiss Army Knife, though it doesn’t have all the features. There has been a trend that started some time ago to make all knives look more tactical. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. This knife really is not a tactical knife, just a simple everyday model. However, it goes well with the Mini Maglite LED.

In 2005/2006 being more fashionable and almost European, for lack of a better word, was the trendy thing. This was especially the case in stores like Target. However in the late 2010s and looks like the early 2020s being tactical is the trendy thing. I don’t know how long the tactical trend will last, but it has caught on to every store almost.

These trends have bled over into the world of EDC at least to some degree.

I wish we could marry both ideas!

I cannot wait to see what new EDC gadgets will be put on the market throughout the 2020s, but it would be something if they were both tactical and fashionable at the same time.

I wish Victorinox (Swiss) would make some tactical models, but that is mostly an American and maybe a Chinese thing. The rest of the world doesn’t emphasize the value of a tactical gadget. I appreciate tactical grade because it will stand up to more abuse.

I’d like to elaborate more on this, but my back is starting to hurt me.

This therefore concludes my piece of the evolution of EDC items.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

Flashlight Solidarity Fashion

If you, the reader, don’t know this about me already, I have spent and still spend extensive time reading about any and all subjects pertaining to flashlights.

I will say that EDC in its modern form began in 1984 with the launch of The Mini Maglite personal sized flashlight.

Ever since then, those who carry flashlights almost always will carry a rugged, compact metal flashlight of some sort.

However, people have been carrying flashlights almost since their initial invention in 1899.

Industrial Grade Flashlights as we know them can be traced back to the 1940s.

From that point on, but especially between the 1960s and the 1980s or 1990s, tradespeople and laborers, especially those in the transportation sector usually carried a 2 D sized Heavy Duty Industrial Grade Flashlight. They would tuck it away usually in their right back pants pocket, with the face protruding upwards.

I first read about this practice in the Summer of 2010.

During this time, I was employed as a grocer.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like grocery work and I am considerably good at it.

However, I worked for a God awful grocery company and the work environment was very spirit crushing.

We were stripped of any and all dignity as much as legally possible.

We also were forced to wear humiliating uniforms.

As you, the reader, probably already know, I have a special fondness for flashlights.

My entire disability pension at the time and then some was eaten up by my rent and I was working part time at $8 an hour.

Needless to say I had very little spending money.

Industrial Grade flashlights, especially the incandescent models are pretty cheap and at the time they were the only flashlights I could afford to splurge myself with.

So, I would buy them whenever I had a few extra dollars to my name.

When I would buy one, I would do as much reading about it as possible. This is how I kept myself amused during my off hours.

I didn’t have much spending money to eat out or do anything else, so my then wife now ex wife would watch television and I would read online.

Cable TV and Internet maintained the sanity that was many times just hanging on by just a thread.

Not only did it maintain the little sanity we had, it served as a window to the outside world because we had a very basic phone plan with very limited minutes.

Actually we went completely without a phone altogether for a month or two, but kept in touch with friends and family via the Internet.

We always had food on the table (without any SNAP benefits by the way) and I just thank God that I didn’t get her pregnant!

If the ultimate failure of my marriage can be boiled down to anything it, was these two factors:
A spouse whose personality was permanently altered for the worse due to fluid buildup on her brain a few months after us exchanging our marital vows.
AND
A miserable and demanding job during the honeymoon phase of that marriage.

I know I would be married to her for a little over eight years and honestly that was me trying to honor my God.

Things did slightly improve when I worked enough quarters so my disability pension was bumped up in January of 2011.

After my hours were drastically cut and I was demoted for no reason; I quit without warning in September of 2011. I have not been employed since.

My disability pension was bumped up again to in January of 2012 for working a few more quarters.

There have also been cost of living adjustments, since then, and I humbly but joyfully thank my God for it!

Okay, I think I’ve got my point across on how real my struggles once were!

I needed to get that off my chest and this is good therapy for starting a new year and a new decade off fresh!

So, as I mentioned before the work environment at this grocery company was very spirit crushing.

When I first started there, I attempted to clip my portable scanner radio to my back pocket, just so I could have entertainment during the break periods.

The managers who wanted to suck any and all joy possible out of working for their company swiftly reacted and equally swiftly denied me the privilege of having my scanner on me.

Just for the record I never had it turned on while I was on the clock, just during break time.

So months later, I after learning how working people of previous decades carried a flashlight in their back pockets, I began to do so as well.

Most of the time I had a cheaper tactical model in my front pocket as well.

I was met with lots of positive reactions from my coworkers and only by the Grace of God, management never tried to stop me. These positive reactions from coworkers were the beginning of me being accepted for liking flashlights as opposed to being harassed, as in primary and some of secondary school.

I finally had a way to express my individuality and at the same time have a comfort item on me, which made the extremely toxic work environment a little more bearable.

I know some of you may think I was being smug and rebellious and possibly to a degree I was.

However, while I am not condoning my rebellion if any, let me just say that it was a reaction to oppression but more than that it was simply a desire to have a comfort item with me during a very uncomfortable time.

As a Christian, I do feel convicted as I am writing this because The Bible clearly instructs Christian employees to do their work as if they were doing it for God. There were times I did fail to do this.

However, the Bible is very harsh on oppressive employers and oppression in general as well!

So…

I’m no expert on fashion at all.

But, I’ve considered trying to start a fashion trend, though I highly question whether or not I will have any success.

However, what if we could invent this dress style which would entail a white tee shirt, a newsboy hat of some sort, then either black, brown or khaki work pants, some sturdy but casual shoes or work boots and the crowning point either a vintage or a current Industrial Grade Heavy Duty 2 D Cell sized flashlight to be carried in the right back pocket, head protruding up! It could be to identify with and support the working class. I could see hipsters possibly doing this and maybe, just maybe, it could catch on to other groups of people.

While I am no longer a member of the working class, at one point I was simply mentally disabled, though high functioning, but now I am also physically disabled due to a back injury.  I am still and always will be a Millennial.

And many of my fellow Millennials are heavily oppressed by the workforce with no foreseeable relief from this oppression.

Maybe it could be worn on the job, at least the flashlight portion, to show solidarity with other workers from now and previous times.

And for those that already carry flashlights anyway, still carry your main flashlight on you, but have one of these aforementioned flashlights in your back pocket.

For those in hazardous environments, there are quite a few models that are approved for your job-the idea is to carry them in your right back pocket!

Flashlights give off light, which chases away darkness and exposes everything good and bad. We can use the flashlights as a symbol of chasing away the darkness of oppression that workers face even with all the rights they are supposedly guaranteed. We can also see them as the symbol of exposing the good intentions of the workers trying to support themselves and their loved ones and exposing the dirty dealings going on that cheat these workers out of so much.

I’m not trying to align with one political party or another, because they both have failed us, miserably.

This doesn’t have to be totally political anyway, it could just be an innocent fad started by someone who is fond of flashlights!

A Review of the Olight I3E EOS

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image.  I must give credit where credit is due and I downloaded it from Google Shopping.

Money was tight for me during the month of December 2019.

Usually each month I am able to get something for myself.

However, money was so tight that I wasn’t able to.

But, for a Cyber Monday 2019 deal, I was able to get an Olight I3E EOS keychain flashlight for next to nothing.

The flashlight was free, but I still had to pay $5.00 for shipping. So I did.

Cyber Monday was December 2, 2019.

My disability pension is paid on the 3rd of every month, but somehow I get my money on the 2nd at 10:00 PM local time.

The deal ended at 11:00 PM and I was actually nervous that supplies would run out.

I monitored all day on Cyber Monday, then when 10:00 PM rolled around I checked my account and the money was in.

Happily, I paid the $5.00 for shipping on Olight’s Store website and the next day my order was processed.

Then I paid the other bills that I could and went to bed.

My flashlight was delivered a few days later and it has been carried in my EDC backpack ever since.

I first saw one of these in person a few months prior to this at my Aunt’s house. Her daughter, my first cousin, had one on her key-chain that her husband got as a gift when he purchased some hunting supplies.

Now, I am very accustomed to seeing high end Chinese flashlights like NiteCore, Klarus, and of course, Olight.

However just about everyone around me usually purchases flashlights at brick and mortar establishments, especially my family members, so I was very shocked to see my cousin in possession of a flashlight made by Olight. Her Dad actually gave me my first flashlight some 31 years ago almost to the date.

I tried hers out and was thoroughly impressed by the brightness. I was secretly wanting one but had no plan to purchase.

Actually, since June of 2019, I had been EDCing a Klarus MI6 on my keys. I definitely should write a review about my Klarus MI6 too one day, but I’ll admit the Olight I3E EOS is much sexier. They are definitely in the same class of flashlights and one was possibly the answer to the other.

This light is definitely powerful, especially for its minimal size.

I think it could be a hit with school children who want to attach it to the zippers on their backpacks.

Let’s teach children that flashlights are cool (which they indeed are cool and I don’t care who you are!)

Besides, when I was a kid I was harassed for liking flashlights and that did a good bit of damage to me mentally, of which I still haven’t fully recovered and I’m 32 about to be 33.

…Enough about that…

According to website specs, the Olight I3E EOS has the following:
a Beam Distance of 144 Feet.
a Light Output of 90 Lumens.
a Power Source of 1 AAA Alkaline or NiMH Battery.
a Beam Intensity of 500 Candlepower
a Run Time of 45 Minutes on an Alkaline Battery or 1 Hour and 10 Minutes on a NiMH Battery
a Waterproof Rating of IPX8.
a Weight or 0.68 Ounces or 19.4 Grams.
a Length of 2.38 Inches or 60.5 Millimeters
a Philips Luxeon TX LED Light Engine.

The flashlight is operated by turning the head to switch on or off. The head also is what keeps the battery in. The key ring attaches to the tail which is a permanent and continuous part of the flashlight body. THIS is a genius and very necessary design!

Most key chain flashlights have a tail cap to access the battery and keep it in place, but this is a fatal error when the key ring attaches to the tail cap:

When attached to keys or even just a lanyard the constant motion unscrews the tail-cap and the body of the flashlight falls off and is lost to only God knows where.

And equally only God knows how many Maglite Solitaires and similarly designed flashlights have suffered this very fate!

Now while this flashlight is indeed powerful for its size, I think some run time was sacrificed for light output.

As stated before, the user only gets 45 Minutes of use with an Alkaline Battery but a very bright 90 Lumens.

However, this flashlights is for brief lighting for nightly situational awareness or locating a lost item that fell into a dark spot. This is not for any tactical situation or much less a search and rescue mission.

I still think 90 Lumens is overkill, especially since so much run time was highly sacrificed.

Maybe it could have been bumped down to 50 or 60 Lumens with a run time extended to 1.5 to 2 hours, but then there wouldn’t be such a “Wow!” factor when the light is turned on. Maybe just a few years ago there could have been, but not in 2019.

My other complaint is: Exactly how secure is the head and LED lamp module on this flashlight? It seems to turn much too easily which could lead to accidental activation or worse a misplaced head. I think it should have been machined with much tighter threading, but that’s just me.

I could be wrong, of course. I mean it moves around in the pouch of my EDC backpack a durn good bit and has yet to have an accidental activation.

But this still makes a great EDC item, but shouldn’t be the main EDC item.

It would indeed make a great gift, especially for bae!

It could also make a gift for a child as I’ve stated before.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if class was being taught and the power went out but all the students turned on their flashlights that they were carrying?

…I know I’m being a dreamer…

I don’t have anything else to say, so this therefore concludes my review of the Olight I3E EOS.

All in all, I give this product a 4.65 out of 5 stars.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Bushnell TRKR T750L Multi Use Flashlight

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. I downloaded it from Wal Mart’s website.

I have been a fan of Bushnell flashlights since the late Spring of 2014 when I saw them selling at Wal Mart.

By the way, every time I go to Wal Mart, I always check out the flashlights section.

In November of 2014, in fact on Black Friday, I purchased the Bushnell T125L, which I sold in late 2018. I was so impressed by it, that a few days later, I purchased the Bushnell T225L, which I still have. Then in March of 2015, I purchased a Bushnell Pro 100L, also of which I still have. These three have since been updated by Bushnell with brighter LED engines.

Since I always check out the flashlights at Wal Mart every time I shop there, I had long wanted the Bushnell T750L. However, with me being on a fixed income, I cannot frequently fork over almost $40 ($32.44+tax) for a flashlight, no matter how cool it may be.

So I scraped some cash here and there and then finally on December 26, 2019, I went to my local Wal Mart and purchased a Bushnell T750L, which is what this review will be about.

This review will be more of less of my initial reactions, since I have maybe owned it for a little over twenty four hours.

I know this flashlight is mainly targeted towards hunters and I don’t hunt simply because I cannot afford to.  I would love to go hunting but there is so much red tape entailed in being allowed to do so.  Then there is all the required equipment which can go into the tens of thousands of dollars.  If I could afford to hunt, I definitely would, because I would like being able to have a lot of good, healthy meat and to bless others with it as well.  And not only that, I find shooting guns to be very therapeutic!

However, I can find other uses for this flashlight and if there is anything I am good at it is finding non-conventional uses for certain products.

There are three lighting systems on this flashlight:

The main White Cree LED that gives off 750 Lumens for 6.5 Hours with a Beam Distance of 280 Meters-Quite possibly my brightest LED flashlight at the moment and used for general purpose illumination.

4 Red LEDs that give off 16 Lumens for 80 Hours but Wal Mart’s website didn’t specify the beam distance-These are designed for any night time activity without disrupting night vision.

4 Off-Blue LEDs that give off 6 Lumens for 93 Hours with a Beam Distance of 7 Meters-These allow hunters to find and follow the blood trails of wounded game at night.

The durable Aircraft Aluminum body is designed to withstand a 1 Meter drop on a hard surface.

The tactically correct switch allows for a momentary on in any mode.

The power source is 6 AA Alkaline batteries, which fit snugly and securely inside and come bundled for free.

I wish the light cycling system could be custom programmed instead of White-Red-Off Blue.

If it were possible, I would have programmed it to Off Blue-Red-White, so night vision would not be adversely affected whilst initially turning the flashlight on.

However, there is an advantage to that setup and it is self defense tactics.

A full 750 Lumen White light could definitely disorient any opponent in total darkness.

Then the size and weight of this flashlight make it the perfect impact weapon, yet it can still be mostly concealed.

This could definitely be a hit with security personnel, especially those employed at truck stops or marine terminals.

If you could get over that bright White light coming first, then this flashlight could also be a hit with nighttime transportation and logistics workers, because the Red LEDs are generous enough with light to see whatever you’re doing, but won’t adversely affect your night vision.

Then of course there are the Off Blue LEDs, which are for following the blood trails of wounded game at night. This is the main selling point of this flashlight with hunters.

I did drop mine on a hard floor by accident, but it still performs flawlessly and doesn’t even have a ding on it!

I might sometimes carry this in my EDC backpack, because it is indeed compact enough.

I will say that there are very few good flashlights still sold at Wal Mart, when just a few years ago there were plenty.

Wal Mart also sells a very limited variety of Maglites as well, way much less than in previous years.

This downward trend began in 2018 and now we are in a death spiral as far as I’m concerned.

There may be hope like there may not be hope.

All in all I give this product a 4.9 out of 5 stars and the tenth of a point is debatable to begin with, because some may find the light cycling system useful while other may find it detrimental. It all depends on the end user.

This therefore concludes of review of the Bushnell TRKR T750L Multi Use Flashlight.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

Back to “Product Reviews”

Reunion and Tragedy-Written in May of 2003

I initially wrote this in May of 2003 but edited it many times over. The grammar and wording still need work, but as always please be patient and try not to nit-pick. I tried to capture the raw emotion I was feeling back then but I’m not sure I have done that well. It might not always be a good thing to trade emotion for better wording. My sixteen-year-old self would definitely agree. I guess we all fall prey to the big conformity machine somehow, though some more than others. However, this story still hits close to home in many ways for me. There are some choices my characters in this story make that I would not advise doing ever, but my mindset was different in 2003 than it is now (2016-present.)

DISCLAIMER:
Let me first say that most people working in law enforcement are decent and honest individuals who want to make their communities safer. While I do agree that the less-than-ethical ones need to be weeded out, every human being that ever lived has at one point in his or her life been less-than-ethical. But this story isn’t even about corrupt law enforcement, it just briefly mentions the subject. With that being said, kids and teens everywhere, if you have a neighbor that is abusing you, tell your parents, teachers or another trusted adult. Have them contact law enforcement for you so you will be taken seriously. Don’t ever confront or antagonize abusive people, but rather let the law handle it. Only resort to violence with an abusive person if you feel your life or body is in immediate danger.  Now that I have preached this, please enjoy the story….

Between late May and late July of 2003…
This story starts off with a sixteen-year-old boy named Marshall Elks. He and his mom are preparing to have visitors at their house:  A woman, Miss Rayne and her daughter Elizabeth Rayne who was about seventeen. Marshall and Elizabeth were close friends as young children, though they were quite shy of each other. Unfortunately, they became separated many years ago. Now that you have the background to the story, (look at me I broke the fourth wall) I will bring you into the plot already in progress.

“Marshall, you remember Elizabeth Rayne, right?”

“Of course I do. I think about her every day.”

“How would you feel if I told you that she was coming to visit us?”

“I would be overjoyed!”

“Well, she and her mother will be here in about two hours.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“Nope. Serious as a heart attack.”

“Then I’ll get ready.”

“Good idea, Marshall.”

With that, he went into the bathroom where he scrubbed his body and hair, then shaved. Afterward, he brushed his teeth and rinsed his mouth.

Marshall wanted to appear as neat as possible for Elizabeth, as he had feelings for her those many years ago. In actuality, those feelings had never left him, but instead multiplied and strengthened. His only hope was that somehow, even after these twelve long years, Elizabeth would feel the same way.

He paced the floors nervously, awaiting Elizabeth’s arrival. Finally, he heard the minivan pull up and saw Elizabeth stepping out of it with her mom. Marshall watched them through the transom as they walked to the door, then rang the bell. Immediately he opened the door and beheld Elizabeth face to face.

He choked up and blushed but then regained his composure as he spoke to her, “”I’ve been wanting so badly to see you again for such a long time.”

Elizabeth smiled from ear to ear and giggled, then embraced him.

Marshall continued, “Do you even remember me?”

Elizabeth hugged him tighter, then looked into his eyes as she said, “I’ve thought about you every single day since we last saw each other. I’ve missed you so much. If only you knew.”

Marshall smiled, and said, “I am elated that we have this chance to meet again!”
He hugged her once more and then they came inside.

The two mothers began talking.

Ms. Elks asked Ms. Rayne,  ““So what brings you back out here?”

“I got behind on my rent and we were eventually evicted. So we loaded up my van with what we could take and headed back east. I called you on my cell phone but I didn’t want to say we were homeless over the phone.”

“Don’t worry you can stay here as long as you like. I don’t think Marshall would mind.”

“I don’t think Elizabeth would mind either, look how gaga they are over each other.  However, I am a little concerned since I’m a single parent and I hope they don’t make the same mistakes as me.”

“I think if they did, they would stick with each other, they’re so much in love. If you would have seen their faces.  And furthermore, I’m a widow.  Barry’s death left a huge void in my life.”

“Barry was indeed a good man.  What happened?”

“His passionate temper got the best of him and he stroked out.  As much as he had that temper, though he was always good as gold to me and Marshall.”

…So…

After a long drive and a tiring day, Ms. Rayne and her daughter Elizabeth unpacked their few items and settled in at the Elks’ house.

They each took a sofa in the living room and Marshall went lay down in his bed. He tried to sleep, but couldn’t. He was much too excited that the girl he had feelings for so long was finally under the same roof as him. He grabbed his Energizer Find Me flashlight, walked out of his room and saw Elizabeth laying down on the sofa, staring at the ceiling. The yellowish-white glow from Marshall’s flashlight frightened her briefly, but then she smiled from ear to ear when she realized it was him.

“Would it be all right if you came to my room?” Marshall asked with slight nervousness.

Elizabeth brightly beamed and nodded, then hand in hand they walked to his room.

They sat on his bed, awkwardly, but then Marshall spoke, ““Elizabeth, you’re just as sweet as I remember and even more beautiful now that you’re a young lady. I’ve been in love ever since we met as children, I just didn’t realize it until after you left. I want you to be by my side now and forever.  And my only hope is that we’ll never be away from each other again.”

Elizabeth held Marshall’s hands and pulled his head into her breasts as she spoke, “I too had feelings for you back then. I thought we would always be near each other and grow up together. I was crushed when I had to move far away. But, now, we have a chance to be together again. I cannot promise that we’ll never be away from each other again, but I definitely want to cuddle with me throughout the night and every night afterward if at all possible.”

Their lips met, guided by the glow of Marshall’s flashlight.

After sharing that very sweet kiss, they lovingly held each other close and talked into the night. At sunrise, Elizabeth returned to the sofa without either mothers’ detection.

The next day, Ms. Elks woke Marshall up and said, “”Miss Rayne and I are going shopping. I want you to take Elizabeth to the park and show her a good time.”

He nodded.

Elizabeth was already up and she winked at Marshall.

The two mothers left the house.

Marshall and Elizabeth got ready.

“We can take my old Buick Regal to the park.”

They walked out of the house and began to lean against Marshall’s car and lovingly caress each other until they were confronted by Marshall’s bullying neighbor, Boyd Bachmann.

“Stop that *word I no longer use in my writing* right now!” He shouted at them.

“Just ignore him,” Marshall whispered in Elizabeth’s ear.

She nodded and they continued to engage in their passionate affections.

Boyd came back with a long broomstick and shouted, “If y’all don’t knock it off right now, I’m going to take this stick and beat both of your *words I no longer use in my writing*!”

“This is none of your business, Boyd, go home!” Marshall shouted.

Boyd replied, “Marshall, I beat your *word I no longer use in my writing* when you were a little boy and I’m not afraid to do it again.”

“I’ll call the cops if you touch him,” Elizabeth said.

“I know the sheriff; his men won’t touch me. Furthermore, I’ll tell any deputies that come here what you and Marshall were doing in that house.”

“But we didn’t do anything wrong in there,”  Elizabeth protested.

“It’s my word against yours and my word speaks louder because I am a working, tax-paying, property-owning, contributing member of society and y’all are just teenage punks and your mothers are on government assistance!”

Marshall gave *half the peace sign* to Boyd.

“Did you just flip me off you little *word I no longer use in my writing*?”

Marshall said, “Yes I did flip you off.”

Boyd then struck Marshall across his back with the broomstick.

“That’ll make y’all stop. Y’all think that y’all can act like dogs in heat, but it’s not going to happen while I’m around. And I’m going to beat both of your *words I no longer use in my writing* again if y’all talk back.”

“Well *word I no longer use in my writing* you, Boyd,” Marshall said.

Boyd punched Marshall in the face, knocking him to the cement, then struck him several times with his broomstick.

“Now, I’m going call the cops on both of you,” Boyd said, then walked back to his house.

Elizabeth said in distress, “Come, on Marshall, let’s get out of here.”

“Can you drive us, Elizabeth? I’m hurt.” Marshall asked.

She nodded and they stepped into Marshall’s Buick and started it.

They drove off but then Marshall saw Boyd’s truck in passenger-side mirror. He began to shake with anxiety.

“I love you so much, Marshall!”  Elizabeth looked at him and said, beaming.

“I love you too…”  Marshall replied as his voice trembled at the sight of Boyd following them.

Elizabeth saw his distressed appearance and asked, “What’s the matter?

“That good for nothing Boyd Bachmann is following us.”

“Should I tap your brakes?” Elizabeth asked.

Marshall nodded and Elizabeth tapped the brakes.

Boyd flashed a revolver at them.

Elizabeth saw and sped off. Boyd followed just as fastly. There came a change in the weather and it began to storm. Elizabeth slowed down because of the wet road. Boyd continued following them.

“Maybe we can lose him if we get on the freeway?” Marshall said.

“That’s what I’ll do then,” Elizabeth replied.

They approached the on-ramp and began to make the semi-circle on that part of the cloverleaf.

Boyd followed.

They began to switch lanes, but Boyd continued to angrily pursue them. Suddenly Elizabeth lost control and Marshall’s Buick struck a Propane truck. There was a huge fireball that overtook the car.

They were both killed in the fire, but they were in love so much it did not matter. Now they are together for all eternity. The fire was like absolute zero compared to the warmth of [the passionate] love they shared.

Back to “Original Stories from 2003”

A Review of the Streamlight Stylus Pro® Penlight

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page.  Rather it is the property of Streamlight Inc.

In my late teens, I had first discovered Streamlight flashlights.  I wouldn’t actually own one, a 3C Twin Task®, until the age of twenty-two.  I would later own a Scorpion®.

In March of 2010, at the age of twenty-three, I bought my first Streamlight Stylus Pro® at my local Batteries Plus (now Batteries+Bulbs) in Houma, Louisiana.  It set me back between $24-30 and I did EDC it for at least a little while.  LED technology hadn’t advanced enough in 2010 and this particular version of the Stylus Pro® gave off a measly 24 Lumens for 7.5 hours on 2 AAA batteries.  Still, it was very rugged and bright for its price of the time.  I was working as a grocer and would use it when picking up shopping buggies at night.   It was fun to show off in the nighttime parking lot at work.  I had also used it for roadside emergencies involving now ex-in-laws.  In late 2011, I had given it to a friend and went back to everyday carrying mostly Mini Maglites.

In early April of 2018, I had purchased another one at the Cabela’s in Gonzales, Louisiana, for a price of between $16-20.  The model had definitely advanced.  Brightness was now 90 Lumens, but I only bought it as a cheaper replacement for both of the 2AAA Pro Tac® penlights that I had misplaced.  I EDCed it briefly but ended up selling it in October of 2018.

Since the Summer of 2019, I had been wanting another Stylus Pro®, especially since I enjoy my Streamlight JR® so much.  Also, the brightness went up another 10 Lumens, now at 100 Lumens.  Even though I hated my grocer job, I do romanticize grocery work, probably even more so because I wrote my  “Grocer and Writer” stories.  So in late October of 2019, I ordered a brand new Stylus Pro®.  It came in today, November 7, 2019.  The best part is, I only paid $16.99 for it with free shipping!

According to Streamlight’s Website, these are the specifications on the Stylus Pro®:

 

  • White LED delivers 100 lumens; 62m beam; runs 8 hours; 950 candela-good enough for just about any everyday carry scenario.
  • Push button tail switch – momentary or constant on operation-tactically correct for law enforcement use or for those who know Morse Code.
  • Includes two “AAA” alkaline batteries and tear-resistant nylon holster-quite generous offer.
  • Type II MIL-SPEC abrasion and corrosion-resistant anodized aircraft aluminum construction with unbreakable, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens-will still look elegant even after long term everyday use. 

Streamlight is telling the truth about these specs, by the way!

In my opinion, the Stylus Pro® was always an awesome flashlight, but even more now since Streamlight regularly updates this product as LED technology improves.

I plan to EDC this flashlight in conjunction with my Streamlight JR®, possibly even side to side in my pocket!

If I ever to grocery work again, this will be my work flashlight, both for picking up buggies at night or working in dark coolers and/or freezers.  And if there was ever a power failure on the job, Lord knows I would light up the warehouse or sales floor.

What strikes me as odd though is that the Stylus Pro® is serialized while the JR® is not.

If an updated version of the Stylus Pro® is ever released, I will [eventually] be buying one.

Why can’t it be made here in America though?

Well if it was, it would probably cost that much more.

All in all, I give this product a 5 out of 5 stars!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

 

A Millenial Childhood

Late June 1994:

Tuesday June 21 1994 On a sunny summer morning, seven year old Marshall Elks was playing outside in his front yard. He was surrounded by two houses. One was vacant and the other had a troublesome neighbor. He lived in the town of Checker which is a suburb of Melody. Marshall was slightly short for his age, skinny and had straight, blond, almost white hair. He lived with his mom; Leah and dad; Barry. They were your typical suburban family people. Leah would spend her days watching soap operas, cleaning the house, and socializing with her girlfriends. Barry worked at a warehouse in the city of Melody, but would spend his free time either in the arms of Leah or playing with Marshall. They were not people to cause trouble and they did a fine job raising their son. The only problem they ever had to deal with was their neighbor, Boyd Bachmann. Constantly, he was causing problems with them. He had frequently thrown cigarette butts and empty beer cans in their yard, harassed Leah, and even beat Marshall on several occasions.

As Marshall was playing in the backyard, his mother was inside talking on her cordless phone to Barry who was on his lunch break at work. They were discussing their plans for the evening. The pay phone had run out of call credits, so affectionately they said their goodbyes and hung up.

A few minutes after, Marshall came in and said, “We have new neighbors coming in.”

Leah went out to greet them. It was a single mother and her daughter. Marshall and Leah walked over to them and introduced themselves.

Leah spoke, “Hello my name is Leah Elks, and this is my son Marshall.”

The woman replied, “Hi, nice to meet you. I am Nadine Rayne and this is my daughter, Elizabeth.”

Marshall looked curiously at Elizabeth as she smiled at him. She was eight years old, had auburn hair and very pale skin.

Leah looked at Nadine and asked, “Is there anything that you would need right now. If you need anything, I would be happy to help you in any way.”

Nadine replied, “Well, if you really want to, could you help me unload all of my fragile glass items?”

Leah agreed, and started to walk over.

Elizabeth added in, “Could I go play with Marshall?-PLEASE”

Leah and Nadine looked at each other then smiled and agreed.

“Stay in the backyard, Elizabeth,” Nadine said with concern.

Leah added in “That goes for you too, Marshall. Now you two watch over each other.”

Elizabeth then took Marshall by the hand and they went play. While unpacking; Leah and Nadine began to talk as if they were old friends.

Nadine said, “I am so glad you helped me, Leah, I haven’t had a friend in a long time.”

Leah replied, “Well, I would like it if we could be friends.” She paused, then continued “You seem like a very decent person and a much better neighbor than the jerk who lives on the other side.”

Nadine simply smiled as she said, “My daughter and I have really been through a lot over the past few months and we are here to hide from my ex boyfriend.” She paused and then continued, “After my husband died I grew lonely. Our daughter Elizabeth should have been enough to fill in the hole he left, but I guess I foolishy didn’t realize that. I guess for years of not having a man I grew very desperate.” She paused, then continued, again, “I found a boyfriend, who at first, seemed wonderful. Unfortunately, not long after, he beat the daylights out of me and Elizabeth. I wasn’t hurt that badly, but Elizabeth has slight brain damage from the trauma. That is why she is a little slow and somewhat overweight.”

Leah began to have tears in her eyes as she said, “My God Nadine, that is horrible.” She hugged her then continued “Why haven’t you gone to the cops?”

Nadine replied “Unfortunately, his family has connections with the sheriff; they won’t doing anything to stop him.” Nadine paused, then continued, “I am so sorry if I am disturbing you or unloading all my problems on you.”

Leah answered, “No, no, don’t worry about that. I am your friend, or at least I would like to be.”

Nadine smiled and then said “Yes, I do consider you a friend. I am glad to have one like you.”

They hugged each other and continued unpacking.

In the course of the conversation, Nadine said, “The cable installer won’t hook up my service today. I wish I could see my stories.”

Leah replied, “I like to watch the stories too, I would be happy for you to come watch them at my house.”

Nadine smile,d and then said, “Thank you. They are one of the few escapes I have from reality .”

After unpacking, Leah and Nadine went in the den and watched TV.

Marshall and Elizabeth were playing in the back yard unaware that Boyd was watching them. He was sitting on his driveway; drinking beer and watching their every move.

Elizabeth was soon full of freshly mowed grass and itching. She asked Marshall to scratch her back.

He did so instantly.

She then said “Thank you Marshall. Can I pay you back with a kiss?”

Marshall said, “Sure, I would like that.”

Elizabeth giggled and kissed him on the lips. Boyd started to approach the property line with an unjustified anger.

Elizabeth asked, “Who is that?”

Marshall answered “That’s Boyd, he is my mean old neighbor. He used to beat me when I was younger.”

Suddenly Boyd began to confront them.

Marshall began to shake.

Elizabeth gave him a hug, then kissed him and said, “Oh, Marshall don’t worry about that mean man. Just walk to my house where he will leave us alone.”

She took him by the hand and began walking him to her mother’s new house.

Suddenly, Boyd bellowed at them, “What the hell do you little bastards think you are doing? You know damn good and well that boys and girls are not supposed to play together!”

Elizabeth replied dismissively “What we are doing is none of your business.”

Boyd roared at them in reply, “Come to me now, little girl. I’ll teach you to talk to me like that. I am going beat your ass.”

Marshall began to tremble as Elizabeth shouted, “No I will not come to you.”

Boyd began charging at them.

Marshall then said, “Let’s get out of here!”

Elizabeth nodded and they ran into the Rayne’s house locking the door behind them. Both caught their breath and let out a sigh of relief.

“That was close, huh!” Elizabeth said.

Marshall replied, “Too close. I am glad that he couldn’t get me this time.”

Suddenly there was a loud banging on the door, along with Boyd yelling “Little girl, you better open this damn door right now!”

Hurriedly Elizabeth and Marshall ran into the her mother’s study room and hid under the desk. They held each other tight as Boyd continued to beat on the back door. Finally the banging stopped as Boyd grew tired and left. From the stress of getting away from Boyd, they were also very tired. Marshall and Elizabeth fell asleep under the desk.

Back at the Elks’ house, the stories on television were ending for the day. Nadine headed back to her house. As she went turned the door knob; she discovered it was locked. She reached in her purse for the house key and unlocked the door. Suddenly she realized that her daughter and Marshall were not in the backyard. Nadine walked all over the house, frantically looking for her daughter. Finally, she came upon the study room and saw Marshall and Elizabeth holding each other under the desk. She placed her hand on her heart and also breathed a sigh of relief.

She watched for a moment, then quickly went back to the Elks house and got Leah, telling her, “Get a camera, if you have one. It’s so cute, Elizabeth and Marshall are snuggling together, under my desk.”

Leah got her Polaroid camera and took several pictures of them.

Both mothers looked at them snuggling, then quietly continued to unpack.

They continued unpacking the belongings until finally the hour of five in the afternoon. Barry was coming in from work and Leah greeted him with a hug and a kiss. She then showed him the picture of Marshall laying down next to Elizabeth.

“That’s my boy!” Barry said happily as he kissed Leah once again. He then walked over and gently tapped Marshall on the shoulder.

Marshall woke up and screamed, “Don’t hurt us Boyd. Leave me and Elizabeth alone.”

Barry calmly held his alarmed son and asked, “What’s the matter Marshall?”

Immediately he calmed down and said “Nothing, I guess I had a bad dream.” Barry took his son home and they ate dinner. Meanwhile Nadine gently woke Elizabeth up and they ate dinner, each a Banqet Spaghetti and Meatballs entree.

After dinner was over, Elizabeth told her mother, “There is a mean man who lives on the other side of Marshall. He came after us today, because I gave Marshall a kiss on the lips.”

Nervously, Nadine asked her daughter, “Did he touch you in any way?”

Elizabeth answered “No, he was about to beat us up, but me and Marshall ran inside the house and locked the door behind us.” Elizabeth continued “He started banging on the door, so we went hide under the desk.”

Nadine said, “That must be why Marshall screamed about Boyd when his dad came pick him up.”

Elizabeth nodded then said, “Marshall said that the mean man beat him up several times when he was younger.”

Nadine then said, “I think we need to go and talk with Marshall’s parents, we can’t have that crazy man bullying you or Marshall or anyone else.”

Elizabeth replied, “I think so too.”

With that they both walked over to the Elks’ house.

Nadine knocked on the door.

Leah answered and asked, “Hey, it’s good to see you again. What’s going on?”

Nadine answered, “It seems there is a problem with your neighbor. I think his name is Boyd.”

Leah replied, “Well, I am not surprised at all. What did he do now?”

Nadine said “Boyd got his draws in a wad because he saw Elizabeth kiss Marshall. He then threatened to beat them.”

Elizabeth continued, “Yeah, and I told him what me and Marshall do is none of his business. He came running after us, until we ran inside my mommy’s house and locked the door.”

Leah called for her husband, “Barry, come see.”
Immediately Barry came out of his workshop and into the kitchen then asked, “What is going on?”

Leah replied, “Boyd is making trouble with the Marshall again and now Elizabeth. He threatened to beat them, simply because they were kissing in the backyard.”

“Durn it! I am sick of that jerk trying to boss the whole neighborhood around. Who does he think he is? If he touched my son again, he will have hell to pay.”

Leah said “Calm down Barry, he didn’t strike Marshall this time, but he sure tried.”

Barry said “Well, that tears it! Boyd has gotten away with way too much. I think the three of us need to go there and confront him.”

Leah nodded in agreement.

Nadine asked, “Can Elizabeth stay here with Marshall while we go? I think they would be safer if they were together.”

Both Barry and Leah nodded in agreement.

Leah said, “I think Marshall would like that. He has grown so fond of Elizabeth already. They are so cute together.”

Nadine smiled and said, “Yes they certainly are.”

Marshall was playing in his room when his parents called him down.

As he arrived Barry said, “Son, Ms. Nadine, your mother and I have to go tend to some business. I want you and Elizabeth to watch over each other, and play nice while we are gone.”

Marshall smiled from ear to ear, so did Elizabeth.

Leah added in, “Don’t open the door to anyone except for us.”

Marshall and Elizabeth nodded in agreement.

Nadine, Leah and Barry then walked over to Boyd’s property. Barry rang his doorbell and he answered them in a mean and drunken state. He angrilly asked them, “What do you dumbasses want?”

Nadine angrily answered, “I want you to never lay a hand on my daughter. I know you tried to earlier today.”

Barry continued “And I am sick and tired of you trying to beat my son. I thought I made it crystal clear to you in the past; you have no right to do anything to my child. If you don’t want to listen to me, I will call the cops and have them re-iterate it to you.”

Boyd angrily replied, “Let me tell all of you that I don’t want to see your children acting like little perverted animals. I don’t want trash like you people bringing my property value down because of the way your kids act. I am good friends with the sheriff. Keep it up with me, and I will call him. OCS will take your children way because you let them carry on like dogs in heat.” Barry answered him “Look you imbecile, what my child or anyone else’s child does is none of your business. AND if you want to talk about bringing down the value of property, you do a fine job of that being the filthy drunken pig you are. How many times have you thrown cigarette butts and empty bear bottles on my property. My child could cut himself on the glass. It’s all you who brings down the value of this neighborhood, but no one else wants to stand up to you!”

Boyd grew extremely angry and socked Barry in the jaw knocking him to the cement floor. Boyd then said “Now, if any of you confront me again, it will be a hundred times worse. Now get your asses off of my property before I get my shotgun.”

He then kicked Barry and latched the door. Leah and Nadine helped Barry up and they walked home in defeat.

Meanwhile; Marshall and Elizabeth were inside home alone.

Elizabeth asked Marshall “Could I give you another kiss?”

Marshall replied with giddiness, “Yes, I would like that.”

She kissed him, on the lips, then he kissed her forehead. Both were greatly attracted to each other, if one could call it attraction.

Marshall asked her, “What would you like to do?”

Elizabeth answered “Let’s go up to your room and play with your toys.”

Marshall nodded in agreement then walked her up to his room, as he said, “We can listen to the radio,” as he pointed to his Blueberry Realistic Brand Flavoradio.

“Then we can dance with each other,” Elizabeth added in, then asked “Would you even want dance with me?”

“Of course.” Marshall said turning on the radio. He extended the antenna out and tuned the dial around until he found a station playing music.

“Yay!” Elizabeth said with excitement.

As if they were two adults, they held each other and danced on the bedroom floor and they kept on until the grownups rang the doorbell. Both Marshall and Elizabeth came down to answer it.

Marshall asked, “Who’s here?”

His mother replied, “It’s us Marshall, you can let us in.”

Marshall undocked the deadbolt and opened the door. Nadine, Leah and Barry all walked in.

Marshall saw the bruise on his dad’s face and asked, “Dad, what happened?”

He replied, “That good for nothing Boyd punched me in the face.”

Marshall replied in anger, “One day, when I am a big man, I am going to beat the living daylights out of Boyd.”

Barry smiled at his son.

Leah giggled for a fractional second. Her laughter was quickly replaced with hot anger towards Boyd as she looked at her husband’s bruise.

She then spoke, “Baby, let me put some ice on your face.” She prepared a dish towel with some ice cubes and handed it to her husband, then they all sat down at the kitchen table. The two children and the three adults all began discussing the situation about Boyd.

Leah said to Marshall and Elizabeth, “Now, kids, if you two want to play together, go in each others room or somewhere safe inside.”

Nadine nodded then said, “Boyd won’t be able to see you and he certainly won’t be able to touch you.”

Barry interjected with frustration, “It is a shame that our kids have to play inside, it is as if we lived in some ghetto.”

Leah looked at Barry and then said, “I know, I know, but you know how corrupt the sheriff is. If he is friends with Boyd and Boyd is our enemy, there is a potential for much trouble on our end.”

Nadine said “The sheriff will only protect those he knows. He also persecutes anyone who disagrees with his cronies.” She paused in distress, then continued “I have to tell all of you something, but promise me you won’t repeat it. After my husband died, I met a man. He became my boyfriend, but he was very abusive. One night he took us into the woods and started yelling at me. He then beat me. Elizabeth being the wonderful daughter she is screamed ‘Don’t do that to my mommy.’ He then drew a gun and told us to lie on the ground. He forced me to the ground and cuffed me, then beat me with a large branch and raped me, in front of Elizabeth. I blacked out, but what he did next was so horrible. He took Elizabeth and pistol whipped her in the head. After he was done he slammed her to the ground. He then un-cuffed me and drove off as he said if an evil laugh, ‘We are done, but if you ever tell anyone about this, I will kill you.'” Nadine paused then continued “He said ‘Don’t try going to the cops either. I know the sheriff personally I will find out and you will wish you had never been born.'”

Barry and Leah were shocked and horrified at what was just told to them.

Barry asked, “Did he do anything sexual to Elizabeth? Because other the state police might come to our aid if he did, despite what the sheriff thinks.”

Elizabeth added in, very frankly, “No he never did anything like that to me, just my mommy. He would beat me though if she didn’t sleep with him.”

Nadine then said, with a tear in her eye, “That is why Elizabeth is like she is, but she has a heart of gold.”

Leah went over and hugged Nadine while she said, “I am so sorry, Nadine. If ever you need to vent about this, come over and talk to me. I will try my best to listen and help you.”

Nadine replied, “Thank you, Leah, you are a true friend.”

Barry said, “Sounds to me if your ex boyfriend knows the sheriff and Boyd knows the sheriff, we are all on the brink of a living nightmare.”

Both Leah and Nadine nodded in a dsitressful agreement.”

Elizabeth then said, “Let’s try not to think about that but instead enjoy our company.”

“You’re right, baby girl,” Nadine replied.

Nadine looked at Marshall, then said sternly, “You know Marshall, when you and Elizabeth start school, the other kids might harass her. I hope you will stand by her then too.”

Boldly, Marshall said, “Of course I will. I’m not a popular kid either, but I think Elizabeth is really pretty and sweet. If any kids pick on her, they’ll have to answer to me!” Marhsall then took off his shirt and made a fighting stance.

Barry smiled with pride and said, “That’s my boy!”

Leah added in, “Don’t hit any girls that pick on her, though.”

Marshall replied, “I know. Instead, I’ll just kiss Elizabeth in front of them and say how Elizabeth is better and they could never have me.”

Leah beamed and said, “That’s my sweet boy!”

Elizabeth kissed Marshall in front of everyone, then spoke, “You make me the happiest girl there is, Marshall!” She kissed him again.

The grownups all smiled as they sat at the kicthen table.

Marshall and Elizabeth sat together on the kitchen floor.

They talked on into the night, as if they were all old friends. Finally, Leah looked at the clock on the microwave oven told Marshall, “Time to go to bed.”

Elizabeth interrupted and asked “Can I kiss Marshall goodnight?”

All of the grownups laughed then, Leah said “Sure, hurry up.”

Whole-heartedly, Elizabeth hugged Marshall tight, then kissed him on the lips.

The grownups giggled once more.

Nadine said, “They are so cute together.”

Barry added in, beaming with pride, “That’s my boy.”

Nadine then continued, “I just hope that Elizabeth can live a normal life after what my ex boyfriend did to her. I know she has brain damage, but we have her teachers and doctors helping her.”

Leah added in, “Let’s just say Marshall and Elizabeth end up together. If he is as sweet to her as he is now, I think they can lead a normal life.”

Nadine answered, “That would be wonderful.” She paused, then said “Well we better get going.”

Leah answered, “Well, come back soon.”

Nadine answered, “I sure will, thank you for being a friend Leah.”

“Sure thing, anytime,” Leah replied.

And with that Nadine picked Elizabeth up and walked home. After putting her daughter to bed she sat down in her living room with a glass of red wine and watched the television.

Not long after, Leah and Barry went to bed.

Leah told Barry as she turned out the light, “I am proud of you for standing up for what is right, I just wish we could get back at Boyd for hitting you like that.”

Barry replied, “I didn’t see it coming I guess, otherwise it would have been him on the floor and not me.”

Leah replied, “No Barry, then you would have gone right to jail, or worse, gotten shot, remember he is friends with the sheriff.”

“That corrupt sheriff is the one who belongs in jail. That goes for Nadine’s ex boyfriend as well. They ought to take him hang him up by his nuts and then pour honey and red ants all over him. I can about imagine what Nadine is going through. If anyone did something like that to Marshall, I would slit his throat with a good heart.”

Leah stifled him as she said, “Watch your temper, Barry!”

To which Barry replied, “You know I am passionate about protecting my family.”

Leah giggled and asked, “What else are you passionate about?”

He replied “You.”

They at once became intimate.

Later on in the night, Barry and Leah awoke to hear Marshall screaming, “Get out of my room Boyd.”

Barry came in with a 3D Maglite flashlight, actually thinking Boyd was in his son’s room.

He shined his flashlight at his son and said “What is going on?”

Marshall was now awake and said, “I had a night mare that my wall facing Boyd’s house was gone. Then he had walked into my room and was fixing to beat me and Elizabeth. He wanted to beat us because we were dancing in my room.”

Barry said, “Well thank God it was only a dream. Are you okay now son?”

Marshall replied “Yes I am okay now. It seemed so real.”

Marshall closed his eyes and then said, “Goodnight dad.”

Barry smiled and said “Goodnight son.”

At the same time, Nadine woke up to hear Elizabeth screaming, “Leave me and Marshall alone Boyd. We are just dancing and it is none of your business.”

Nadine walked to her daughter’s room and said, “What is the matter Elizabeth?”

She was shaking and said, “Boyd was trying to beat me and Marshall because we were dancing together.”

Nadine replied, “I think you just had a night mare.”

“It seemed so real,” Elizabeth said.

Nadine commented, “I wouldn’t put it past Boyd.”

Elizabeth was falling back to sleep when Nadine kissed her and said, “Goodnight Elizabeth.”

“Goodnight Mommy,” She replied.

Wednesday June 22: The next morning, after Barry went off to work, Leah invited Nadine over for coffee. They were sitting down at the kitchen table discussing different matters when Boyd came up in the conversation.

Nadine said, “You know my daughter had a night mare that Boyd was trying to beat her and Marshall, because they were dancing.”

Leah set down her coffee cup in disbelief as she spoke “Really? Marshall had a similar dream too. He was screaming blue murder for Boyd to get out of his room.” Barry retrieved his Maglite flashlight, because he actually believed that Boyd was in the bedroom. When Barry walked in, Marshall had completely woke up and said something about Boyd was trying to beat him and Elizabeth. What strikes me as odd, is that he too said something about him and Elizabeth dancing.”

Nadine said “Oh, I have read that certain people who have strong emotional ties to each another can experience similar thoughts and dreams-at the same time. I know they are getting close to each other and they are so cute together.”

Leah added in “Wouldn’t it be something if they ended up marrying each other when they grow up?”

Nadine replied “Yes it would be something. I would be happy for them because they would have experienced no heartache, since they found each other at such a young age.”

Just as Nadine finished talking, Marshall was waking up and walking into the kitchen.

Leah asked him, “Hey Marshall, is Elizabeth your girlfriend?” Marshall simply nodded his head, blushed awkwardly and smiled from ear to ear.

Nadine added in, “Are you going to marry Elizabeth one day?”

“I sure hope so,” Marshall answered, blushing even more.

They both laughed and then Marshall said, “Speaking of Elizabeth, where is she?”

Nadine replied, “Oh, she is sleeping, but it is time for her to get up. Do you want to go to my house and get her up?”

Once again Marshall smiled from ear to ear and nodded his head.

“Come on, I’ll walk you there,” Nadine said, then took her house key out of her pajama pocket, as they walked over to the house. Nadine and Marshall walked into Elizabeth’s bedroom.

Gently, Marshall kissed her on the forehead and said “Good morning, beautiful. Time to wake up.”

Elizabeth rubbed her eyes and then realized who was waking her up. She then smiled from ear to ear and pecked Marshall on the cheek.

Nadine giggled at them and they all walked out of the room. The three of them headed back to the Elks’ house.

On their way walking Elizabeth said, “Can me and Marshall play together again today?”

Nadine replied, “Yes you sure can, but I want you and Marshall to play inside, on account of Boyd. The good have to suffer for the bad unfortunately.”

Elizabeth replied, “That’s all right as long as Me and Marshall can play together, I would feel safer if Boyd couldn’t get to us, anyway.”

They arrived back at the Elks house, Marshall and Elizabeth went up to the bedroom.

Leah and Nadine sat in the kitchen and continued talking.

“I’m glad Elizabeth has found someone who makes her happy. She has been through a lot, but it seems that Marshall brings that bright smile back to her face,” Nadine said.

Leah replied, “It is good that they have each other because Marshall needs someone to interact with.”

Nadine nodded, and they continued to talk on through the morning.

Up in the bedroom Marshall and Elizabeth were sitting in the window seat enjoying the view, well except for the fact that Marshall’s window faced Boyd’s house. They saw Boyd sitting in his driveway on a lawn chair drinking beer. Quickly they backed from the window seat and decided to play with one of Marshall’s toys. They opened his back pack and found his Blueberry Falovradio.

Marshall said, “We can listen to music while we play.”

Elizabeth nodded and continued looking through his back pack until she found Marshall’s green and pink Power Ranger figures.

Elizabeth smiled and said, “Look it’s Tommy and Kimberly. We can play like I am Kimberly and you are Tommy.”

Marshall nodded and then asked, “Who is the monster we will be fighting?”

Elizabeth giggled as she answered “That’s easy, we can pretend that Boyd is the monster.”

Marshall nodded and laughed.

They turned the radio on and began to play with the action figures when Leah walked in the room to check on them.

She asked, “What are you two playing?”

Very matter of factly, Marshall answered “We are playing Power Rangers, I am Tommy and Elizabeth is Kimberly.”

Elizabeth added in “Yep and Boyd is the monster we are trying to defeat.”

Leah laughed and then went downstairs to get Nadine. They came back up and Leah told Elizabeth, “Tell your mom what you and Marshall were playing.”

Elizabeth repeated, “We are playing Power Rangers, I am Kimberly, Marshall is Tommy and Boyd is the evil monster.”

Nadine covered her mouth out of shock but began to laugh out loud, then asked, “How are you going to defeat Boyd the monster?”

Elizabeth replied, “The Pink Ranger is going to run away from him and Boyd is going to chase her.”

Marshall continued, “Then Boyd is going to start running really fast and the Green Ranger is going to trip him. Then he will fall down and explode.”

Both of the adults giggled hysterically. They played until the hour of Nine AM, when Leah and Nadine came up to feed both of them breakfast.

Nadine and Elizabeth left the house but not before Elizabeth gave Marshall a kiss.

After Elizabeth and Marshall were done eating breakfast, this time Marshall came over to the Rayne house to play. He brought his transistor radio with him, so they could have music to dance too. Marshall entered Elizabeth’s room and they sat down on her mattress together and talked for a while.

Elizabeth asked Marshall, “Are you my boyfriend?

Marshall smiled brightly and said “Yes.”

Elizabeth then asked, “Even though I am slow and chubby?”

“Of course, I want you forever! And I think you’re beautiful!”

“Are we going to get married when we grow up?” Elizabeth asked.

Marshall kissed her and then said “I would love for us to get married.”

Elizabeth smiled sweetly and hugged him.

Marshall then asked, “What do you want to do now?”

Elizabeth replied, “Snuggle and kiss you.”

The air conditioning unit was running at full blast in that room, so it was quite cold in there. Both of them were shivering. They covered under Elizabeth’s blanket, then kissed several times.

Marshall then told her “You have pretty hair. Could I play with it?”

Elizabeth nodded in agreement.

Marshall began to run his fingers through her hair, gently.

She said “Oh, I like it when you play with my hair, Marshall.”

He kissed her on top her head.

There was a moment of silence, until Marshall asked “Why don’t we listen to my Flavoradio?”

Elizabeth smiled and said “Okay. That would be nice.”

Once again, Marshall pulled out the antenna and tuned the dial around.

He picked up The Pretenders singing “I’ll Stand By You”

Elizabeth said “This could be our song.”

Marshall kissed her and said “This is our song.”

They listened to the lyrics as best as they could. Elizabeth said “You know I was beaten, and now I am messed up in the head and I’ve also gotten fat, which makes me hurt so much on the inside. I try not to show it though. When I am around you Marshall, I feel better. I want you to be my boyfriend forever. I want you to stand by me.”

Marshall kissed her again and said, “I will. I want to stand by you forever.”

Elizabeth threw her arms around Marshall and said, “Hold me tight.” They held each other for a while as Elizabeth cried slightly. She was thinking of what her mom’s ex boyfriend had ruined her life, but also how wonderful Marshall was to her.

Nadine walked in on them and saw Elizabeth with tears in her eyes.

She asked “Elizabeth, what’s the matter sweetie?” She replied “I am hurting because of what your ex-boyfriend did to me. But I also have tears of happiness because Marshall is kind to me.” She paused then said “When me and him grow up, I want to marry him.”

Nadine covered her mouth and was holding back tears herself. She then collected herself and asked Marshall “Do you want to be her boyfriend and no one else’s?”

Marshall nodded and blushed. Nadine continued “Well I am very happy about that. Just make sure you two are good to each other.”

Marshall and Elizabeth sat up in her room until it was lunch time.

Marshall went back home and Elizabeth was fed by Nadine.

After Nadine and Elizabeth finished eating lunch, they went shopping at the Service Merchandise in Melody.

Nadine needed some small appliances and housewares. Marshall stood in the driveway watching them leave and anxiously waiting their return.

Leah came out and said “You miss Elizabeth don’t you?”

Marshall nodded and then said, “She is my girlfriend and she belongs with me.”

Leah said “Well, you come in. I don’t want Boyd making trouble with you.”

Marshall agreed and walked in.

He went up to his room and sat in the window seat. Marshall listened to his Flavoradio, hoping for the song ”ll Stand By You” to come on. He listened to hours, but it never came on. He saw Boyd walking to his driveway and sitting down to drink beer. Immediately he walked away from his window seat, as he didn’t want to be seen. Marshall laid down on his bed and shined his Mini Maglite flashlight up at the ceiling for a while. It came bundled with the bigger Maglite his Dad owned and had bought two summers ago after a tornadic thunderstorm had knocked the current off. He was sad being away from Elizabeth. He began to look in his backpack where he kept all of his toys. He found his set of Realistic FM walkie talkies.

Marshall said to himself, “I could give one of these to Elizabeth, and we can talk to each other from our rooms.” He checked both of the radios for a 9 Volt battery. Thankfully, each radio had a battery installed. Marshall smiled and tested both of them out, to which they worked perfectly. To keep himself busy until she came back, Marshall pulled out his tape recorder. He knew it would be a good idea to tape himself, then give it to Elizabeth as a message.

He pressed the record button, held the microphone to his mouth and began to speak, “Elizabeth, I am so happy that you are my girlfriend. I am so sorry that you had to go through all of those bad things. I want to make you feel better. I feel sad when we are not together. I want to be yours forever. Every time we hug and kiss; I feel wonderful. I wish we could play outside in the grass like the day we did when we met. I wish I could protect you from Boyd. I love you Elizabeth.”

After recording the tape he placed it in its jacket then in his bag. Marshall then went to the other side of the house where he could see Nadine and Elizabeth coming in from shopping. For about 45 minutes he waited. Finally he saw Nadine’s Dodge Caravan coming down the driveway. Marshall walked down with the tape and the two walkie talkies. He greeted Elizabeth and they kissed. He then gave her the tape and one of the walkies. He told her before you go to bed tonight, listen to this tape. Then you can call me over the walkie talkie. We can talk until we fall asleep.

Elizabeth smiled brightly and then asked, “What’s on the tape?”

Marshall replied, “I have message from me to you.”

Elizabeth kissed him again and said, “Thank you for the gifts.”

Nadine called Elizabeth and said, “Come help me unload everything.”

Elizabeth then asked, “Can Marshall come too?”

“He sure can,” Nadine replied.

Nadine opened the back door to her mini van and said, “Now you two bring the goods to my kitchen table and be VERY careful.”

“OK, Mommy,” Elizabeth replied, then continued “Come on Marshall, let’s get to work. After that we can go to my room.”

For the rest of the afternoon, they sat up in Elizabeth’s room playing and talking; kissing and hugging. Nadine checked up on them every so often and sometimes had to fight back tears. The way Marshall brought back the smile to Elizabeth’s face and the way Elizabeth gave Marshall someone to interact with, brought plenty of happiness to Nadine. If it was not for the problem with Boyd, Nadine was willing to admit that her life was wonderful again. It was now time for dinner, so Marshall went home.

As he left, he told Elizabeth “When the clock on the cable box says 8:00 PM turn you radio on and call me. We can talk until we go to bed.”

Elizabeth’s eyes twinkled and she kissed him.

Marshall went home and then ate dinner. Both sat in their dens waiting for the cable boxes to display the time of 8:00 PM. Hours crawled by. Finally, Marshall went up into the loft and turned his radio on.

A minute passed then Elizabeth’s voice came crackling in.

He smiled as they began to talk.

Elizabeth spoke, “What you told me on that tape was really sweet. I am going to keep it close to my heart forever.”

Marshall replied “I meant every word of it. I am your boyfriend and I am going to be the best boyfriend ever.”

Elizabeth replied “I wish I could kiss you right now.”

Marshall replied “Tomorrow we will kiss.”

“Yes we will,” Elizabeth said happily.

There was an awkward silence, followed by a sudden sequence of dial tones. Both were startled.

Soon they heard Sotty’s voice. In fright, they continued to listen. They could only hear his voice and not the voice of the other party.

He spoke, “Hey, I know it is late, but I have a favor to ask you.” Boyd continued “My neighbors have young children and they allow them to act innappropriately. They hug and kiss each other and I find they play inside together a lot too. It is disgusting and it is bringing down the value of the neighborhood.” There was another pause and Boyd spoke again “I would like you to send some of your boys out to just watch them, see if you can arrest them for anything.” “Okay, thank you. That should show those sick bastards.”

They then heard a disconnect tone and Boyd was gone.

Elizabeth came in over the radio “Do you think he is gone?”

Marshall replied “I don’t know but I think you need to tell your mom and I need to tell my parents what we heard.”

Elizabeth replied “Yes, let’s go tell them now.”

They both signed off of the radios.

Marshall walked out of the loft and saw his dad watching television in the den. In distress, he walked up to him and said “I was talking to Elizabeth on the walkie talkies and we heard Boyd talking on the phone. He was telling someone to have his boys watch over the neighborhood because of the way me and Elizabeth play together.”

Immediately Barry took the remote and turned off the TV and spoke with anger, “That control freak has gone too far this time.” He paused then said “Leah, please come see, quick.” Leah came in and Barry continued ” Boyd is plotting against us. Marshall tell your mother what you just heard.” Marshall repeated the events.

Meanwhile Elizabeth went to her mom and explained the situation.

Nadine told Elizabeth, “This breaks my heart and it will break your’s and Marshall’s as well, but until all of this blows over, you two will have to stay apart.” Both burst into tears and hugged each other. Nadine then said “I am going to call Leah and Barry.” At the Elks’s home, the phone rang.

Leah looked at the ID screen and answered “Hey.”

Nadine asked, “Did Marshall tell you and Barry what he heard on the walkie talkies?”

Leah replied, “Yes, Barry and I were just discussing it. I am in complete anger and disbelief that Boyd is plotting against us. I wish we could get a lawyer or something.”

Nadine replied “I am afraid for my life. What if my ex boyfriend finds out where I live?”

Leah spoke in total distress, “I don’t know, I wish there was a way we could protect ourselves.”

Both broke down in tears and hung up.

Nadine, still crying, said “Elizabeth, maybe you and Marshall could send each other a tape recording of each other, every day but you two cannot play together or talk on those walkies. It will get better once school starts though, then you will see each other everyday.”

Elizabeth ran to her room crying.

Back at the Elks’ house, Barry was talking with Leah and Marshall, “I think I know how I can handle the situation. There is a young man I work with, his name is James Ryan. He listens to a device called a police scanner, . It allows anyone to hear what the police are talking about on their radios. As soon as I see him tomorrow, I will talk to him about what I need. I would call him tonight, but it is late.”

THURSDAY June 23 1994: Marshall woke up at 10:00. He sat in his room bored and miserable. He wished he could be spending his time with Elizabeth, but due to Boyd’s hateful actions, he couldn’t. Likewise, Elizabeth was sitting in her room, crying.

Nadine walked in the room and asked “What’s the matter, baby girl?”

She replied “I miss Marshall. He is really nice to me and I want him to be my boyfriend forever.”

“I know, I know.” Nadine said as she hugged her.

Elizabeth continued, “It seemed everything was going woderful and I find Marshall, but that mean old Boyd stops us from being together.”

“I know what I am going to do,” Nadine said.

Elizabeth asked, “What?”

Nadine continued, “I am going to call Leah and see if we can get together and take you and Marshall to the park.”

“You really will?” Elizabeth asked with excitement.

Nadine smiled and said, walking to the phone, “Of course I will. You and Marhsall should be able to be together one way or another.”

Nadine dialed the phone.

Leah recognized the caller I.D. and picked up, “Hello?”

Nadine said, “Are you talking on your cordless phone?”

Leah said, “Yes, hold on, I will switch to the corded one.”

Leah swapped the phones.

Nadine continued, “How is Marshall?”

Leah replied, “Very sad, all he does is lay down in his bed.”

Nadine said “Elizabeth is crying her eyes out here and wishing that she and Marshall could play together.” She paused and then continued “What if we all went to the park? Boyd won’t be able to see us .”

Leah replied “Sure that sounds wonderful. I am going to tell Marshal the good news and have him get ready.”

Meanwhile Barry was at work on his coffee break.

James was walking by drinking a bottle of orange juice.

Barry said, “Hey James, come see.”

“What you got, Barry?” He asked.

Barry continued, “I have heard you have a device which can pick up the police. I want one and would like your advice on how to work it. The cops are making trouble with my neighbor and I am trying to help her.” He paused and then said “She is a widowed mother and has already been through plenty.”

James asked in disgust, “What could they possibly want with her?”

Barry replied, “We live in Checker and that should tell you enough about the sherriff there. He can be quite corrupt.” Barry paused and then said “My neighbor on the other side of me doesn’t like the lady I was telling you about. Unfortunately he is friends with the sherriff. I am trying to be prepared for my family and her and her daughter’s sake.”

James said “Well, I would be happy to help you my friend.”

Barry asked “Could you tell me where I would be able to get one and how much it would cost?”

James said “They are sold as Radio Shack and a good one costs between three and four hundred, unfortunately that is what you need these days.”

“Durn it.” Barry said.

James continued, “I have a charge account at Radio Shack I can buy it for you on time. Just pay me back and it doesn’t have to be all at once. I have money-I guess it’s because I am young and single.”

“That is true.” Barry said, then continued “But my wife and my son are my world and you don’t know what you are missing.”

“Maybe you’re right. I just want to find the right girl though before I make any committments.” James said. He paused, then asked “Do you want to go to Radio Shack on our lunch break?”

Barry said “Sure, that sounds like a plan.” He paused then asked “How ’bout I buy you lunch?”

James said “Nah man, don’t worry about that.”

Barry replied, “No I insist. We can go to Subway and I will get you a foot long sandwich of any kind. It’s even in the same mall as Radio Shack.”

“Well all right, that sounds good to me.” James answered. He finished his bottle of juice, looked at his watch and said “Well, I have to get back to work.”

“Yes, I do too. Thanks again.” Barry said and shook his hand and punched back in.
Where I plan to go with this:

Later that day:
Barry buys a scanner, a Radio Shack Realistic Pro 2022 on James Ryan’s charge account.

They then eat at Subway. Barry buys James a Footlong Turkey Breast while he eats a Footlong Honey and Ham Dijon.

When he gets home, he installs it in his kitchen. He talks to James on the phone on how to program it properly.

Later on in summer:
Barry is listening to his scanner and hears the cops talking about their plan to plant drugs on Nadine and her house. He tells Leah and Marshall. Quickly they warn Nadine to leave as soon as possible. She grabs Elizabeth and a few of their belongings then gets in her car and leaves. This is a very emotional good bye for Elizabeth and Marshall. They don’t see each other again until the summer of 2003.

Barry confronts one of the cops and warns him how he knows what the sheriff is up to. He threatens to alert the feds and reminds the young deputy about the potential loss of his job. Barry also describes Nadine’s situation with her abusive boyfriend she is trying to hide from. Deputy comes to his senses and goes with Barry and Leah.

By this time though, Nadine and Elizabeth are out of contact with the Elks…

Back to “Works of Fiction”