Everette Mullen’s new Beginning-Blogger in a new City

The train made its stop in Lake Morgan’s passenger terminal, which was just on the outskirts of downtown. Everette Mullen stepped off along with his EDC backpack and rolling suitcase. He was a twenty-five-going-on-twenty-six-year-old divorced blogger living on a disability pension.

While going through the divorce, Everette feverishly repaired his credit and by the time it was finalized, his score was just good enough to buy a first-time house.

He found an affordable, yet well-built shotgun house in the working poor section on Lake Morgan’s southeastern side.

From the passenger terminal, he headed downtown on foot to the only skyscraper in the city.

This skyscraper housed the offices of his banker Barrett Middleton and his real estate agent, Chloe Marina, both of whom attended high school with him several towns to the east of Lake Morgan.

Everette was on his way there to conclude the terms of his new home purchase.

He took the elevator to the tenth of twelve stories where Chloe Marina’s office was located.

Anxiously, he waited for the elevator to stop, and finally, it arrived.

Everette stepped out and read the directory on the wall and located her office. Her office faced the eastern side of the city.

He knocked on the door and she told him to come in.

Chloe was wearing a white blouse, a grey skirt that went shortly above her knees, and brown leather high-heeled shoes. She was bespectacled with Wayfarer glasses.

“Long time no see, Everette,” Chloe said as she hugged him.

“Yes, it’s been too long,” Everette replied.

“I’m so glad that I can sell you a home, if there was anyone more deserving than you, I don’t know of him or her.”

“Thank you, I had some rough patches, but now life is looking up for me,”

“You were always so nice in high school, how did you wind up with that horrible ex-wife of yours?”

“Maybe because I was too nice to acknowledge the red flags she so blatantly flew.”

“Someone good will come along for you, though, just be patient.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re so welcome and just know, whoever she is, you will make her very happy!”

“You always had a way of making me feel better.”

“I try.” Chloe paused, then continued, “Now I think everything is in order and I can finalize your sale, let me just check with your banker.”

“Sure, do whatever you need.”

Chloe picked up her desk telephone and was connected instantly to Barrett Middleton.

They exchanged a few words, then Chloe hung up with a smile, looked up at Everette, and said, “It’s yours. I’m so happy for you.”

“Thank you so much, you are such a God send!”

“Be sure to go and thank Barrett as well, he secured this great deal for you.”

“I sure will.”

Everette heard a loud thunderous roar and noticed that Chloe’s window had become dark.

“What is going on?” He asked.

“There is some severe weather due here. I thought you of all people would have been aware of something like that.”

“Yes, I used to always monitor the weather scrupulously, but I forgot to and didn’t want to miss this appointment. Furthermore, I lost all of my weather radios among other valuables when my then-wife-now-ex-wife got us evicted, all I was able to keep was what’s in these two bags.”

“Where did you stay in the meantime?”

“With an older friend. He drove me to the train terminal and I took the Sunshine Express here.”

The roaring became stronger.

Everette looked out the window and saw several locomotives and freight cars derailed in the marshaling yard located on Lake Morgan’s industrialized northeast side. A minor tornado had wreaked havoc through the yard and was now headed south into the swamps.

Everette marveled, stuck in time and space.

“You are indeed fascinated by the weather, aren’t you?” Chloe asked.

“Yes. That and trains.” Everette replied.

“I kind of remember you mentioning things about trains a time or two.”

“I had loved them as a young child, but then outgrew them. However around our sophomore year, the interest came back, but then I had a mental breakdown, wound up on disability and it’s just recently that I have been able to dedicate time to my train hobby.”

“Well, you will be happy to know that your house is but a few feet from the mainline.”

“Wow! Thank you!”

“You’re so welcome. Here are your keys.” Chloe handed them to Everette then they embraced once more and he left her office.

Everette then walked to Barrett Middleton’s office and knocked on the door.

His receptionist asked for his name.

Everette provided it.

She picked up the phone and said, “Everette Mullen wants to see you. What should I tell him?” She paused then said, “Okay, I will let him know.” Then she hung up and said, “You can come in.”

Everette walked into Barrett Middleton’s office, which had a corner space occupying the southwest side of the tenth story.

“What’s up, Mullen?”

“I just wanted to thank you for pulling those strings to secure me a great mortgage deal.”

“Sure thing man. You always made us laugh in high school and I found out that you had fallen on hard times when I saw your blog, so, I knew I should help you.”

“You actually read my blog?”

“I sure do. A lot of us from our old school do.”

“Thanks, man. I am honored that you read it.”

“Well, I remember how you used to tell us stories in PE class whenever we weren’t able to do anything, so when I realized that your blog was even better than the stories you made up, I was hooked. All I can say is never stop writing, you truly have a gift.”

Everette looked out the windows to see the sunset peaking through the storm clouds. He also noticed the port situated on Lake Morgan, all the yachts docked in the slips, and the branch line diverging from the main to serve the port.

“You have an amazing view. If I was you I would set up a scanner in this office and have it tune in the Marine Channels.

“I just might do that. Any models you would recommend?”

“Since it’s VHF and FM, just about any scanner in good condition will do. To be honest, some of the older ones outperform the modern ones. Just be sure to turn it off if a lady walks in your office because some of those marine workers have potty mouths.”

“I know man. Remember how we used to drive around and mess with the bridge tenders over the radio?”

“Yes, those were the days. Although things are looking up once again.”

“What did you think of those tornadoes a few minutes ago?”

“They were something else. I think Chloe Marina’s presence calmed me like the Hand of the Lord. She’s such a sweetheart.”

“Yes. She’s awesome. Always was.” Barrett paused, then continued, “Well, I have to get home to the wife and kids, but I am so glad you came to see me. If you need anything else, let me know.”

“I could use a ride to my new house since I am on foot.”

“Sure man. We can cut up like we used to do. It would be a brief break from married life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and children, but I miss being able to get rowdy.”

“I can’t wait.”

“well let’s go. I can also show you around, Lake Morgan. It’s good to have another transplant here from high school.”

Barrett stood up, grabbed his briefcase and sport coat, then walked Everette out of his office and instructed his receptionist to lock up.

Subsequently, they walked to the parking garage and they entered Barrett’s brand new midnight black Chevy Silverado.

Barrett drove Everette around Lake Morgan showing him, first downtown, then the northeast industrialized side, then the lake port, and finally the southeast side. Barrett then parked in front of Everette’s new house.

Everette grabbed his bags and keys, then walked onto his front porch and opened the front door, locking it behind him. He turned the ceiling fan on and laid down on his empty living room floor.

Soon afterward, he took his medication and fell asleep.

Back to “Blogger in a new City”

How Everette Mullen met Hailee Bainbridge-Blogger in a new City

On a sunny and crisp Autumn Thursday morning, Everette Mullen was walking through Downtown Lake Morgan, on a mission to shop for items he needed for his newly purchased home.

One of his new neighbors had dropped him off at the edge of their neighborhood and he walked the next few blocks until he was coming upon Donna’s Discount Electronics and Housewares. He recognized the design of the building that it was a former Family Dollar.

Just as Everette was about to cross the tracks and enter the store freight train came moving through.

The crossing lights flashed, and the crossing bells tolled then the engineer sounded her train’s whistle. The conductor waved his signal lantern as Everette watched them pass. The train was a local freight job that had originated out of the yard on the industrialized northeast side of Lake Morgan. The crew was a young husband and younger wife team that had worked this train for a few years after the two men on the former crew had retired a few months ago. They were headed west to exchange some freight cars and return to the yard that evening.

Everette noticed the excessive amount of graffiti that seemed to have a presence on just about every freight car. Some of it was disgusting to him, some of it somehow provoked deep thought and even some more of it brought out laughter.

Finally, the train cleared the crossing and continued westbound. Cautiously, Everette crossed the tracks then the city’s main street, and entered the store.

A buzzer sounded and Everette began to browse around.

He saw some custom-made, limited edition replica models of vintage stereo systems and began to study them in detail until he heard the voice of a young lady.

“Hi,” She said sheepishly.

Everette turned around and saw a pleasantly plump young lady sitting on the floor with an Android tablet in her hands. She was dressed in a knee-length red plaid skirt with a creme colored blouse. Her skin was quite pale and dotted with freckles. Her eyes were crystal blue, enhanced by her wire-rimmed glasses. Her hair was Auburn and flowed down to her shoulder blades. She was wearing grey crew socks and light blue tennis shoes.

Everette smiled brightly and replied, “Hello,” As he looked upon the young lady with great admiration.

She then awkwardly stood up and as she did so, Everette caught a brief view of her creamy white thighs and hot pink modesty shorts.

He blushed at the sight of it but was also powerfully attracted to her.

The young lady smiled from ear to ear and giggled uncontrollably until she was completely standing up.

She then walked up to Everette, choked a little on her words but then managed to say, “I read your blog faithfully and I love your work. I cannot believe you are shopping in my mom’s store.”

Sweetly Everette hugged her and said, “Thank you. I am honored that you read my blog. Actually, I have never come across one of my readers in public before, most of them are far away from me. How did you find my blog?”

The young lady replied, blushing, “I had been reading your work since I was eleven going on twelve and you were like sixteen. I came across it by accident while having a sleepover and using a friend’s family computer. Those were the days. I was so excited when you launched your current blog and I check it every day for new posts.”

“Wow! I am amazed and humbled at the same time. Can I have your name?”

“Of course; it’s Hailee Bainbridge.”

“That’s a beautiful name.”

“Aw, thanks,” Hailee paused and then continued, “Do you believe at all in fate?”

“Sometimes,” Everette replied.

“Well, I believe there is a reason that you walked into my mom’s store today and it is more than just to buy whatever you are going to buy. I’ll say that I have crushed on you for a long time, it’s just I didn’t want to mess with a married man. However, when you publicly announced that you were divorced, I felt excited and thought that you could somehow be mine one day. And when I found out that you were moving to Lake Morgan, I prayed continuously that we would somehow cross paths.”

Everette smiled warmly and then tightly embraced Hailee after she spoke those words to him.

As he hugged her she continued, “I hope you’re not weirded out or anything by me telling you all this.”

Everette looked Hailee in the eyes and said, “Not at all. If anything I’m very touched. I tried talking to other young ladies, but most of them won’t even acknowledge me. You obviously have a very good heart not to mention in my eyes you’re a perfect solid ten!”

“I know when I first started reading your work it would have been illegal for us to see each other but now I am twenty-one and I know you are twenty-five-going-on-twenty-six and I hope I’m not too young for you anymore.”

“Not at all. My ex-wife is the same age as me and that relationship was a train wreck. Anyway, I think an age difference brings some understanding to a relationship, so you are perfect for me!”

“Then you will be my boyfriend?”

“As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!”

Hailee covered her mouth, then strongly hugged Everette for the third time.

Subsequently, they exchanged phone numbers and residential addresses.

She then planted a kiss on his mouth and said, “Sorry if that was too much.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for. Your kiss is lovely!” Everette replied as he played with her hair, “Just for the record, I want many more kisses from you!”

Hailee beamed then buried her face in Everette’s chest as he kissed the top of her head.

Donna Bainbridge, the owner, and Hailee’s mother interrupted their embrace and said, “Young man, what are you doing with my daughter?”

Everette had a deer in headlights look on his face.

Hailee interjected, “Mom, remember the blogger that I like to read so much and I had a crush on him for years? This is him, right here in your store.”

Everette collected himself and said, “I do apologize, but I have never met anyone else who has followed my online work for so long. Furthermore, I think Hailee is the most beautiful young lady I have ever seen and I think she has a really good heart.”

“Why did you come into my store?”

“I just moved to Lake Morgan and I need some supplies to stock my new house. I was looking at your stereo systems when Hailee greeted me.”

“Where are you staying on Lake Morgan?”

Everette stated his address.

Donna replied, “If you’re a blogger, why are you living on the southeast side? That is the poor section of the city.”

“My main source of income is a disability pension. I don’t make any money from my blog. I have been writing for almost ten years and yet never earned a single red cent for it.”

“Momma, if you would read his work, you would see that he is a good man,” Hailee added in.

“If you’re the same blogger I think you are, aren’t you married?”

“I was. To an abusive and unfaithful woman. She got us evicted from the place we were staying, with all of her temper tantrums, so I divorced her and while waiting on the courts, I repaired my credit. After everything was final, I bought a house in Lake Morgan. And here I am.”

“I see.”

“I know I have a past, but I think Hailee is beautiful and sweet and I promise to treat her right. And not only that but also to honor her and cherish her.”

“I have a past too, momma, because of what my gym teacher did to me.”

“He’s probably had a lot of girls, though,” Donna remarked, “After all, he is a writer.”

“I assure you, just my ex-wife.”

“And I’ve only been with one, though it wasn’t my choice, so our pasts are almost equivalent. Besides, I have wanted him for about ten years, so don’t ruin this for me, momma,” Hailee pleaded.

“All right, for now, y’all have my blessing. Y’all just make sure to be committed to each other and only each other.”

“Thank you,” Everette replied.

“Yes, thank you momma!” Hailee added in.

Donna then looked at Everette and said, “If you ever mistreat her, I know people who will make your life a living hell.”

“Trust me, I have no intention to mistreat Hailee.”

“I’m holding you to that.”

“Now, I do have a large purchase to make, so hopefully you can assist me.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Well, first of all, I would like one of those replica stereo systems. They remind me of my early teenage years.”

“Excellent choice,” Donna said as she added it to her handheld computer.

“Anything else?”

“Yes, I was wondering if you had any bathroom accessories that were seafoam green in color?”

“What do you mean by bathroom accessories?”

“Soap dish, toothbrush holder, rugs, towels.”

“Why seafoam green?”

“I like a nautical theme and it also reminds me of my childhood bathroom.”

Donna added more items to her handheld computer, then asked, “Anything else?”

“Yes. I would like two weather radios, one for my kitchen table and one for next to my bed. After seeing that tornado in the railroad yard the other day, I feel the need to be prepared how I once was before I lost many possession during the eviction. If you have any portable models, that would be great too.”

“How about a Midland WR120 for your bedside, a Midland WR400 for your kitchen, and a Midland HH50B for traveling?”

“Yes, a fellow blogger recommended the one for my bedroom and traveling and since he says Midland is a good brand, I’ll get the other one for my kitchen.”

“I was suggesting the WR400 for your kitchen because it also gets AM and FM, so you can listen to news talk or music while cooking and eating.”

“Great minds think alike, Miss Donna!”

“Anything else?

“Yes. I need an aerial antenna for my television set and an amplifier if you have one.”

“I will have to special order those, but I can have them in by tomorrow evening.”

“Is there any way you can have the rest of my items delivered to my home? I am on foot.”

“That can be arranged.”

“Now, does your store offer any financing?”

“We do. I will need to see your government ID.”

“Right here,” Everette said as he pulled out his wallet and handed his ID to her.

Donna entered the information on her handheld computer and then was shocked to see Everette with a credit score of 724.

“I must admit I was wrong about you, Everette. You are approved and because of your score you get a much better interest rate.”

“Thank you, Miss Donna. And I will say now that my intentions with Hailee are 100% pure. To me, she is wife material.”

“She indeed is, so treat her as such.”

“Believe me I will.”

“Now I will get your order ready and most of your items should be delivered later today.”

“Awesome. Would it be all right if I took Hailee to get some lunch?”

“Sure. There is a really nice sandwich shop next door if y’all want to go there.”

“Yes ma’am, we will!”

“Y’all be good.”

Holding hands, Hailee and Everette walked out of Donna’s Discount Electronics and then, began walking to the sandwich shop.

As they were holding on to each other while walking on the sidewalk, two middle-aged working-class men approached Everette and knocked him down. They then kicked him as Hailee protested, begging them to leave him alone.

One of the men shouted at Everette, “We don’t want you in our city, because of that filthy, seditious material that you write on that blog of yours.”

The other one told Hailee, “Shut the hell up, little girl. Why are you even wasting your time with him?”

“Because I have been in love with him for almost ten years!” Hailee said with tears in her eyes.

“You need a real man, not this subversive piece of trash,” The second man said as he lifted Hailee’s skirt.

Hailee then saw red, having a flashback from what her male gym teacher did to her many years ago. She smacked both of them as hard as she could across their faces, leaving bold marks on them. She then spit on both of them, repetitively, until they fled the scene, leaving Everette severely bruised and slightly bleeding.

Hailee then cradled Everette in her lap and wiped his glasses with the hem of her skirt as she called for an ambulance.

After she hung up, Everette looked up at her and spoke, “I heard what you said about being in love with me for the past ten years. Just know, that even though I just met you today, I am in love with you as well.”

Hailee kissed Everette and said, “Let’s get you some medical attention. May I ride with you to the hospital?”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way, sweetheart!”

Back to “Blogger in a new City”

Dreams that Inspired “Blogger in a new City”

In the early parts of 2022, I decided to start work on a new story which I have titled, “Blogger in a new City.”

The inspiration for this new series of stories came to me from two dreams, one of which I had in the October of 2020 and the other I had in January of 2022.

I want to first describe the dreams that inspired this series of stories because without them, I would have never been able to come up with all of this.

So, I will now describe these dreams:

October 2020:
I just moved to a new city and am looking to purchase a home. This new city can be best described if one would have combined the two Louisiana cities Lake Charles and Morgan City. There are at least two skyscrapers, a mainline railroad with a yard to the northeast of the city, it is bordered to the southwest by a navigable lake, which is likely connected to another waterway or even is close to the sea. The railroad line separates the north and south side. The southeast side is the working class and poor section, the southwest is the rich side, with a marina for yachts on the lake, the northwest is the business and medical district and the northeast is industrialized. A branch off the mainline railroad goes to serve a port on the lake and separates the southeast from the southwest side. To the north is farmland and further north is forest. I am inside the tallest skyscraper in the city which houses real estate and banking offices among other business spaces. I am meeting with a realtor to conclude the terms of my purchase of a home located on the southeastern side of the city. The banker whom will finance my purchase is on the same floor a few doors away. My real estate agent telephones my banker and sees that all is in order, then I am handed my keys. While waiting on this process I am in the hallway staring out of a window overlooking the northeast side of the city at the railroad yard. A tornado was either in progress or had just finished wreaking havoc in that yard and there were several derailed locomotives and freight cars. I don’t remember what the freight cars looked like but the locomotives could have either been some unmolested Southern Pacific Bloody Nose locomotives or some Canadian National locomotives. I then walk to the southwest corner of the building on one of the upper floors and I look at the southwestern side of the city, seeing a tranquil sunset over the lake and several yachts docked in the marina. To my disappointment, there are no tow boats or barges near the port at this hour. If I had to guess this would take place sometime in late September or early October, due to the position of the sun at the end of the business day. Soon afterward, I woke up. It was a really neat dream.

In the next dream, I am a teenager again (age fourteen to be exact) and it begins with me being dropped off at the shopping center the night before. It is a balmy April evening and I discretely hang out in the parking lot all night until the store opens. I am shopping at the Family Dollar which is located in the Sugarland Neighborhood of my hometown (Raceland, Louisiana.) I now feel I need to be clear about this: the way that I know I am fourteen is that in the dream I am the size and height I was at that age. There are other factors that I will reveal in this piece. I am shopping for a budget-friendly stereo system, and I do see one that seems so perfect. It is a model that was sold around 2001, a GPX, I believe. This stereo system had a CD changer, an AM and FM broadcast receiver, and a cassette tape deck. Those were very popular with teenagers in 2001 but now (in 2022), I think teenagers would use Bluetooth speakers linked to their mobile devices. So much has changed in 21 years as to how young people listen to their music. I could be wrong but I don’t think Family Dollar even sells stereo systems or at least not one with the features in my dream. Because I have more than enough money, I also purchase a pocket-sized yellow flashlight which is the type of flashlight I would have EDCed at the age of fourteen. I didn’t discover tactical flashlights until I was sixteen and didn’t own one until I was eighteen. Sitting on the floor is a girl who is a few years younger than me, but appears to be crushing on me. She is wearing a red plaid skirt, a white tee shirt, wire-rimmed glasses, reddish blonde hair, and numerous freckles. She keeps looking up at me and smiling. I’m thinking this dream could have shown me what it would have been like had my fiancee` and I had met much earlier and maybe even grown up together. While I had known my fiancee` existed since December 5, 2019, I didn’t start pursuing her until early to mid February of 2022 and I didn’t know what she looked like in 2001 either. Since I was fourteen, in the dream, and if this girl was the same as the young lady who is now my fiancee`, she would have been nine-going-on-ten. Also, there is no longer a Family Dollar in Sugarland Shopping Center, much to my irritation. It became a Dollar Tree at some point but is now vacant due to a very wicked woman named Ida. Anyway, I purchase the stereo and the flashlight, then the young girl and I talk for a little while until my ride arrives. I then wake up.

I took many elements from both dreams and I combined them into the fledgling series. There are some significant modifications from the dream sequences, however.

For example, the setting non existent and is known as “Lake Morgan, Louisiana.” The characeter based on me is known as Everette Mulen and is in twenty-six-going-on-twenty-seven and the young lady, Hailee Bainbridge, is now based on my fiancee` is twenty-two. The Family Dollar was changed to be Donna’s Discount Electronics and Housewares and Donna Bainbridge is the Hailee’s mother. It is also in Lake Morgan, not the Sugarland neighborhood of Raceland, LA.

All in all, I took these two dreams and in late January of 2022, I began using them to forge my “Blogger in a new City” series. Because of all that is going on, I haven’t got much of it into text as of yet, so that is why I created this post, in order to explain how I was inspired and why certain things are the way they are.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened and maybe even entertained.

Thank you for taking the time to read and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Blogger in a new City”

A Review of the Radio Shack Pro-404 Handheld Scanner

So, I had been interested in radio electronics since toddlerhood, but the interest didn’t come to fruition until the age of fourteen.

Likewise, I had been interested in trains since infancy, but somehow the interest became dormant until the age of seventeen, when I was walking around Schriever, Louisiana, and saw a train up close for the first time. This was in the Spring of 2004. I began downloading pictures of trains and trying to listen to them on my scanner but had very limited success with the latter. Then in June of 2004, I had a mental breakdown and was to be medicated for the rest of my life. The medication I took exacerbated my anhedonia, which is the inability to have interests or feel any kind of pleasure. I suffered from this until January of 2006 when I was prescribed a much better medication known as Geodon. By that time my train interest sadly went dormant again. It was so dormant that I rode on a train in June of 2006 and didn’t think much of it, whereas most people who love trains as I have felt at certain times in my life would have felt a state of euphoria just below that of worshipping God in Spirit and Truth and being overcome by His presence just from seeing a train, much less getting to ride on one. But I didn’t think much of it. It would be this way until some time in 2010 when I was attending a church near a mainline railroad and spending a considerable amount of time near the same mainline as well. In September of 2011, I quit my job, mostly due to my hours being drastically cut, a demotion from a position where I performed better than anyone else on-site, and just the toxic environment I worked in. I was able to live well enough off of my disability income in addition to my then-wife-now-ex-wife’s disability income.

It was during this time that my interest in trains came back in full force and stronger than ever before.

I planned to purchase a cheap scanner to take with me whilst foaming and decided on a Radio Shack Pro-404 and that is what this piece will be a review thereof. I had watched several YouTube videos that my fellow foamers created either reviewing this scanner or using it trackside. It seemed to be the perfect scanner for foaming. In those days and still, very much today though sadly changing, one only needs an entry-level scanner to listen to railroad traffic. I know times are changing, though, with this wretched Nexedge being slowly adopted as the new communication standard for railroads and therefore needing a top-tier model scanner to decode such transmissions. That was a factor in my decision to start listening to marine communications which I began in October of 2015 and still do to the present. Watching boats had sadly now taken priority over watching trains although I still think trains are much cooler and likely always will.

In mid-December of 2011, a friend owed me some money which I used to purchase a Radio Shack Pro-404. From December 2011 until March 2014, this was my EDC scanner and I had it until it died on me in July of 2014.

The Radio Shack Pro-404 was the first scanner that I dedicated to my foaming hobby. But I also used it for listening to fire departments and business band users among other things.

The one frequency I wanted to listen to most was 160.290 MHz (AAR Channel 12) which is assigned to BNSF’s Lafayette Subdivision. I also listened to other railroad frequencies on it such as 160.515 MHz (AAR Channel 27) which is heavily used in Louisiana and system-wide by Union Pacific, 160.920 MHz (AAR Channel 54), and 161.190 MHz (AAR Channel 72) which are used by Canadian National DBA Illinois Central in Southeast Louisiana and 160.260 MHZ (AAR Channel 10) which is used by Kansas City Southern on their mainline from Shreveport to New Orleans.

Sadly the particular unit I bought was defective and I didn’t fully realize this until it was out of warranty. The only railroad channel it received with any consistency was 160.260 MHz even most of the time I was 40 miles away from the dispatch tower. In those days BNSF’s Lafayette Subdivision mainline was my favorite railroad line mostly because it is and was the closest mainline railroad to me and because it is an ex-Southern Pacific line. When I became a full-blown foamer in 2011 and learned about the Southern Pacific and how it was split between Union Pacific and BNSF after merging with Union Pacific, I was angry because I had developed a tremendously strong prejudice in favor of the old Espee. I was married at the time, but as my marriage started to deteriorate, I had vowed not to ever date a young lady who was born on or after September 11, 1996-the date of Southern Pacific’s death. I pretty much stayed true to this vow, although in late 2020 and early 2021, there was one very brief online relationship with a young lady born several months after that date. So even though I resented BNSF for taking that former Southern Pacific mainline, I still wanted to tune them in and this scanner just could barely pull anything in on the required frequency. I even tried high-performance antennas but to no such avail. Union Pacific’s frequency came in but I had to be closer to one of their mainlines than I usually was and voice transmission on that frequency was so sporadic due to the heavy use of Centralized Traffic Control. I don’t remember how well this scanner performed on the CN DBA IC channels I programmed for it. In July of 2013, I traveled to Texas for the first time. The trip was with my now ex-in-laws and I didn’t have to pay anything. I did a little bit of foaming in San Antonio, and this scanner performed slightly better, to the point that I was disappointed when I had to go back to Louisiana.

My then-wife and I would make frequent trips to the New Orleans area to go shopping and of course, I would use my Radio Shack Pro-404 to tune in railroad traffic. It performed better in the New Orleans area and maybe even better in Texas. Still, for the one frequency, I wanted to hear most it wouldn’t even stop on but my other scanners would.

By the Fall of 2013, I could tell that this scanner was not as great as I expected it to be or as great as the ones I saw on YouTube. I had assumed that all Radio Shack Pro-404 scanners were like this but was wrong to assume this. I was an immature Christian in the early 2010s though I had been born again for almost a decade. I also did not consider the possibility of spiritual attacks, especially those on the personal possessions of Christians. I still had some superstitions and assumed that this scanner was cursed, which maybe I was partially correct, but not cursed entirely in the way I was thinking back then.

As obsessed as I can be with trains I know that my interest in them never was an idol but, rather it brought me closer to my God. Case in point, I was in Sunday School back when I attended a church near the aforementioned BNSF mainline. My then-Pastor-Teacher was speaking to the class and mentioned how so many people are not in church on Sundays and instead are engaging in worldly pleasures. At that moment a train passed through town and I heard it loud and clear and I felt spiritually vindicated in that moment, knowing I was in church. My then wife smiled approvingly at me but on the flip side of that, she would curse me lower than a dog because I liked trains so much. I think she is a borderline narcissist because she hated everything that brought me happiness anything besides her that made me happy was a threat to her ego. But I truly believe God approves of my train hobby because it is good, clean, wholesome, and harmless fun and every time God allows me to enjoy this hobby my heart is filled with pure gratitude and delight towards Him. And I know for a fact that God is glorified by such. So this could explain why this particular scanner was under spiritual attack. Furthermore, the friend who owed me the money which I used to purchase this scanner would also take me out drinking even though I was a married man. As a Christian, I felt so out of place in a bar room, although the food was delicious and the beer tasted wonderful at the time. I no longer think beer or any other strong drink tastes wonderful and praise God in Jesus’ Name because he delivered me from such desires! But because of the less than noble means by which I acquired this scanner, I can see it not working properly when trying to use it for a godly hobby and I now chalk it up to spiritual attacks.

To further add weight to this testimony, sometime after Hurricane Ida, I saw another Radio Shack Pro-404 for sale on eBay, and feeling nostalgic for those times when I was a full-blown foamer, I purchased it. When I used this new one, it worked very well. I remember taking it on a camping trip that the men from my current church had done and it was pulling in Aircraft, Marine, and dare I say even Railroad Traffic beautifully. While the campsite was close to an airport and a major waterway it was further from any railroad lines than my usual listening posts. I still have this newer unit and while I don’t EDC it, I still use it from time to time, especially if I want to hear Air Traffic because that is where this is a winner!

I will say that GRE made much better scanners than their successor company Whistler, but that is something for a different blog piece.

Below is a list of the features and specifications of the Radio Shack Pro-404 along with my commentary:

200 Memory Channels in 10 Banks-More than enough for anyone who wishes to use this for any sort of logistics listening hobby. Along with many memory spaces to spare for other listening interests.

Automatic AM/FM Selection-I wish there was a choice between AM or FM for any frequency but this is symptomatic of an entry-level scanner.

PC Programming/Cloning Jack-The cable needed for PC programming is not included and the software only supports Windows-not cool!

Specific Area Message Encoding for Weather Alerts-This could be helpful if used by a Skywarn Volunteer or storm chaser or just someone who needs access to reliable weather information whilst outdoors and on the go.

1 Priority Channel-I never saw this as a useful feature on any scanner because it interrupts reception on all other channels.

Signal Stalker (GRE’s Spectrum Sweeper)-very helpful for detecting unlisted nearby frequencies. This feature alone has lent tremendous aid to the scanning hobby in general.

Orange Backlight for Display Reading in Low or No Light conditions-This is another great feature but I wish it could be toggled on or off instead of pressing the light button and activating the light for only a few seconds.

Earphone Jack for Discrete Listening-this is a standard feature on just about every scanner I’ve handled.

Frequency Coverage:
29 MHz-54 MHz FM-I wish this could go down to 25 MHz and receive AM as well.
108 MHz-136.9875 MHz AM-The reception on this band is great but now partially obsolete because this band has narrowed down to 8.33 kHz steps as opposed to 12.5 kHz steps.
137 MHz-174 MHz FM-I wish the lower portions of this band (137-150) could also do AM because of some military and amateur radio users. It is also partially obsolete for railroad traffic because of the 5 kHz steps as opposed to the new 7.5 kHz steps and Nexedge.
380 MHz-512 MHz FM-The 380-420 “Feds and Military” portion is mostly obsolete on this scanner because most of the traffic there is either digital or trunked or both. But that wasn’t as much the case from 2008 to 2013 when this scanner was on the market. Also, this band goes in 12.5 kHz steps which made it partially obsolete in 2018.

5 Pre-Programmed Service Searches-This feature originated on the Radio Shack Pro-82/Pro-2018/Pro-2054 and was carried down to their successor models, the Pro-404 being the direct descendant of the Pro-82.

These service searches are accessed by dedicated keys for each one:
A key with a ship icon indicating VHF Marine.
A key with a flame icon indicating Public Safety.
A key with an airplane icon indicating Civil Aviation.
A key with an antenna indicating Amateur Radio Operators.
A key with a cloud and lightning bolt indicating Weather Band.

I think there should also be a key with a $ icon to indicate Business Band, a key with an eagle icon to indicate Federal Government and Military, and, of course, a key with a RR crossing icon to indicate Railroad.

Fun fact, the original ancestor of Pro-404 is the Radio Shack Pro-32 from 1987, which was the first handheld [Radio Shack] scanner to have 200 Memory Channels and the same frequency coverage.

I get that many scanner listeners want to hear Public Safety and Government communications but typically a premium scanner is required to do so. However, with a Radio Shack Pro-404 and any of its current successors, one can still hear things like many local business and retail operations (very interesting stuff, especially on the itinerant business frequencies), fire and EMS dispatch calls ( very similar to what is heard on Emergency! and Chicago Fire, and is still overwhelmingly in the clear. In real life, the Chicago Fire Department’s dispatch calls are encrypted but Los Angeles County Fire Departments are still in the clear!) almost all civilian aircraft traffic, Amateur Radio operators in FM mode on 70 centimeters, 2 meters, 6 meters, and some of the 10 meters bands (this is quite interesting at Ham Fests.) Civil aviation is also available and that is where this scanner performs best! Then there are my two favorites: Railroad and Marine. I’ve been defaulting more to Marine in recent years because not only are the days of railroad traffic in the clear numbered but there’s also the advent of Positive Train Control which may do away with railroad voice communications on the 160-161 MHz band altogether. Whereas VHF Marine will still be in the clear for years maybe even decades to come.

If it were between 2008 and 2013 and there was no demonic assignment on my first Radio Shack Pro-404, I could give it a solid four out of five stars simply because there are no additional dedicated searches and the scanner itself isn’t as compact as its competitor Uniden’s counterparts from the same era. The second one I purchased works very well even in 2022 and while it isn’t my main scanner, I still have some use for it, at least as a backup.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Radio Shack Pro-404 Handheld Scanner.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you as He has blessed me!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Uniden BC125AT Handheld Scanner Radio

Just to make sure we’re all on the same wavelength and properly tuned in, let me declare that I am not the owner of the featured image on this page. Here I give all credit whereupon credit is due.

I have known the existence of scanner radios since the Summer of 2001. I purchased my first scanner radio in September of 2002 and since have owned many, including duplicates.

Very few of my scanners are capable of tuning in the Military Aircraft band, mostly because such scanners are cost-prohibitive, especially for someone receiving disability benefits.

However, I had an increasing interest in tuning in said band, especially when I found out that I will be taking a road trip this Fall.

The usual scanners in my possession that are capable of tuning in the Military Aircraft band are either not portable (Realistic/Radio Shack Pro-2004) or too expensive to be taken out and about (Radio Shack Pro-106.)

By the way, when traveling out and about, I usually use an entry-level second-hand scanner, so if it gets lost or stolen, it won’t be severe of a financial blow.

Still, since the road trip entails traveling through the D. C. area, I would like to hear some military air traffic, but I couldn’t justify taking my Radio Shack Pro-106.

Meet the Uniden BC125AT, a mid-grade handheld scanner that is capable of tuning in the Military Aircraft band in addition to many other neat features. And that scanner is what this blog piece will be a review thereof.

I had wanted one of these since at least the mid-2010s, but I had other expenses during most of that time. I had owned two Uniden BC75XLTs and several second-hand Uniden BC72XLTs and one Uniden SR30C. These are what I would normally EDC and I use them primarily for listening to Railroad and Marine traffic but when that gets slow or isn’t available, Fire Dispatch Calls and Civil Air traffic. None of these are capable of picking up Military Air Traffic, though, much to my disappointment.

So, I had a little extra money in late March of 2022 and ordered a Uniden BC125AT brand new and at a significant discount. However, communications with the seller and the entire logistics aspect was a living nightmare.

When it finally came in mid-April 2022, I was thoroughly impressed, not just by the capability of receiving Military Air Traffic, but also by many other neat and useful features which I will discuss shortly. I had almost forgotten about the nightmare it was to get it delivered.

After unboxing, taking it home, and programming it, I set it to scan and was thoroughly impressed by the speed, audio quality, and sensitivity.

I also appreciate the fact that it will automatically discover whether a signal is AM or FM, something usually reserved for higher-end scanners, not mid-grade and entry level.

Close Call runs in the background by default, and I didn’t turn it off, because it is indeed an interesting feature. For those who don’t know Close Call, Spectrum Sweeper and Signal Stalker are all similar features on scanners that are designed to detect nearby transmissions, especially on frequencies that aren’t listed.

As per my current setup, I plan to use this scanner, especially when traveling, but also keep a Uniden BC72XLT in a special slot of my car, especially for railroad and marine listening. I also have a Uniden BC92XLT in my living room cabinet to take out while walking. I have other scanners as well, some as old as me (35 at the time of this piece) but still working!

I do plan on at least a few road trips this year and these trips will be near military bases so I cannot wait to hear all that is to be heard.

The friend with whom I go on these trips usually goes out to eat or do other things on the town, but, my ritual is to wash my face and shave as soon as I enter the motel room and listen to the radio (AM/FM) while shaving. Then, once I am settled in, I use the scanner in Search mode to hear all that I can hear.

I plan to use this to monitor Military Air Traffic while on the road, as well. Uniden makes decent scanning equipment so I don’t think I will be disappointed.

Uniden had this to say, about this scanner:

“Listen in and stay informed with the Uniden BC125AT Compact Bearcat® Handheld Scanner. This sophisticated scanner with 500 alpha-tagged channels boasts a convenient compact design and loads of features. Close Call RF capture technology instantly tunes to signals from nearby transmitters and the Do Not Disturb Mode prevents Close Call checks during a transmission. With this Bearcat scanner, you can listen to military and civilian air bands. You can also get important weather and safety alerts.”

Below are some features and technical specifications of the Uniden BC125AT (taken from Uniden’s Website) and my commentary following:

Listen to Over 40,000 Frequencies The Bearcat BC125AT handheld scanner gives you direct access to over 40,000 frequencies. You can listen to both civilian and military bands, including police, ambulance, fire, weather, marine, aircraft, railroad, civil air, amateur radio services, and racing.-While not digital nor capable of 700/800 MHz, this covers everything I wish to here and more.
Search More Efficiently with 500 Alpha-Tagged Channels Finding the channel you want to listen to is easy, with 500 channels divided into 10 storage banks. Organize your channels by department, location, area of interest, or any other way you prefer. Alpha Tagging lets you assign names to your channels, so you can keep track of who you are listening to.-The Alpha Tagging is convenient for those who cannot remember what frequencies are used by whom. Storage banks allow frequencies pertaining to a certain interest to be grouped together.
Lightweight, Portable Design Take this Bearcat handheld radio scanner with you on the road, or on outings. It packs plenty of features in a lightweight, portable design. The orange backlight display is easy to read, even in low light conditions.-Perfect for travel and EDC use. I’m glad scanners are now portable, compact and dare I say even concealable.
Stay Safe and Informed with Weather Scan Stay safe and informed with easy scans of NOAA weather channels. The weather scanning feature makes it easy to track storms and changing weather conditions. You can also activate Weather Alert mode to receive severe weather warnings.-This could be useful if severe weather was to pop up and one isn’t carrying a Weather Radio.
Pre-Sets for Popular Channels Get started listening right away with convenient pre-sets for the most popular searches. Frequencies are preset in ten separate Police, Fire/Emergency, Ham, Marine, Railroad, Civil Air, Military Air, CB Radio, FRS/GMRS/MURS, and Racing search bands. This makes it easy to find channels that interest you.-This feature is truly a God-send, especially when wanting to tune in frequencies of a certain interest and not knowing what is active in a given area.
Here is the frequency range and typical users:

25.0000 to 27.9950 MHz-Class D Citizen’s Band and Free Band.
28.0000 to 54.0000 MHz-10 Meter Amateur Radio, VHF Low Band and 6 Meter Amateur Radio.
108.0000 to 136.9916 MHz-Civillian Aviation Band.
137.0000 to 174.0000 MHz-Military Land Mobile, 2 Meter Amateur Radio, VHF High Band and Federal Government.
225.0000 to 380.0000 MHz-Military Aviation Band.
400.0000 to 512.0000 MHz-Federal Government, 70 Cm Amateur Radio, UHF Standard Band, UHF T-Band.

This is indeed a great scanner and I can’t wait to use it to its full potential. My one complaint is that I wish scanners were built to military standards for ruggedness and water resistance, but likely wicked people in high places don’t want such products to be made. And I will gladly retract that statement if I can be unequivocally proven otherwise.

I know it is made in Vietnam and their scanners can be hit or miss, but so far it has performed very well.

Since I have only had it a few weeks and it has served me well thus forth, I will give it a five out of five stars.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Uniden BC125AT. I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained. May God richly bless you!

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Certain parts of Houma, Louisiana, remind me of “Blast Corps”

Yes, I had been fascinated by radio electronics since toddlerhood, but around the age of eleven, I had begun to cultivate an interest in video gaming. And it would be that way from the ages of eleven to about fourteen. From the ages of eleven to fourteen, most of my free time and a good bit of my spending money was allocated to video games. My two favorite gaming systems were the Nintendo 64 and the Game Boy Pocket/Game Boy Color. I also would download lots of free computer games and save them on floppy disks. In the Summer of 2001, I had discovered console emulators and ROM files for more vintage games. During this time of my life, video games had priority over all my other interests, dare I say, including flashlights.

I lived with my nuclear family in Raceland, Louisiana, but we spent a lot of time in Houma, Louisiana, especially going swimming at the Bayouland YMCA.

In the process of the commute between Raceland and the part of Houma in which the Y is located, one would have to travel through the Northeastern Outskirts of Houma, through suburbs such as Bayou Blue and the neighborhood of Coteau. Traveling through these areas, reminded me of my second favorite Nintendo 64 game, Blast Corps. I had posted maybe once before on how I thought that the Northeastern outskirts of Houma, Louisiana, had always reminded me of that said game but in this piece, I intend to do a detailed and in-depth reporting of that.

Blast Corps was released by Rare Ware in 1997 for the Nintendo 64.

Other games that I enjoyed were 007 Goldeneye (my all-time favorite video game) and Jet Force Gemini was also created by Rare Ware.

I first played a rented copy of Blast Corps in the Summer of 1998 and loved every aspect of the game, especially the parts with trains and canal boats.

On the rented copy, most of the levels had been beaten and I would simply play the levels with trains and canal boats so I could operate them for fun.

I was not into playing [most] video games for their main objectives, but rather for either shooting/fighting enemies or operating cool machines. For the record, I did not “foam” in Mario Kart as the MEME suggests, but I would watch either my friend, Joshua Vinet, or my brother Devin Monier, play all the games for the objectives, and then I would do the other stuff that which I considered fun. This is probably why I outgrew video games at the age of fifteen and went back to my radio electronics hobby and later discovered writing. Finally, at the age of eighteen, I got fully back into flashlights.

Now there are no longer any railroads in Houma. There haven’t been since 1991.

However, there are several busy navigable waterways and there is also some heavy machinery in use either for oilfield support operations, highway maintenance, shipbuilding, or agriculture.

Sadly there are no giant robot suits (Thunderfist, Cyclone Suit, and J-Bomb), dune buggies (Skyfall or rocket cars that fire missiles (Ballista) as of yet. Maybe if America became more dystopian I can see heavily militarized SWAT units deploying such machinery.

Also, the Sideswipe seems like a pointless vehicle, but I digress.

And given the current situation at the time of writing this piece (March 2022), I don’t think the nuclear deterrent warfare arsenal will be reduced anytime soon, much unlike the entire theme of Blast Corps. And if the nuclear arsenal is to be reduced, I highly doubt that the nuclear weapons will not be carried to a safe detonation site on automatic vehicles that cannot be stopped or have any obstacle or obstruction lest they detonate upon any impact. Again that is the main theme of Blast Corps.

From the ages of 31 (when I left my now ex-wife) until 34 (when my apartment was destroyed by a wicked woman named Ida), I lived in an apartment on the northeastern outskirts of Houma, Louisiana in a community known as Bayou Blue. I did well there aside from having one or two Karens as neighbors.

As one leaves the City of Houma on New Orleans Boulevard then it transitions into a two-lane highway there are some tank farms situated on the right side of Highway 182 FKA Highway 90. These tank farms are in between that Highway and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway which at this point is also taking a northeasterly course. I do remember in certain levels of Blast Corps some similar tanks filled with flammable fluids that were situated along the canals in Blast Corps. I also, in the latter parts of 2018, wrote a very short story about a terrorist blowing up these tank farms. There are also some shipyards nearby, though some are currently vacant as of now. I don’t recall any shipyards in Blast Corps (that would have been cool if there were) but some of the equipment used in shipyards (such as cranes) was there.

There was a glitch in the game where a car bearing the American flag had a Dixie horn. That could be potentially offensive to some players. Another car was a hot rod inspired by Starsky and Hutch. There was also an A-Team van whose horn would say, “outta my way” in Mister T’s voice. My brother affectionately called this vehicle the “Mister T Van.” There was also a police car that was modeled after the Crown Victoria from the 1960s, such as on Adam 12.

As a very young child, I played a lot with Matchbox cars and now I have a modest collection.

Moving on. There used to be a traffic signal that the intersection of Highway 182 and Williams Avenue Extension/Hollywood Road, but now it has been converted to a traffic circle or roundabout. I believe this was a foolish idea on the part of all involved. On a slightly related note, there is a gentleman who is faithfully dedicated to the cause of Christ and he is working with churches in my area across all denominational lines he requested that certain churches pray for certain gates around the City of Houma. He considers this roundabout to be the “Restoration Gate” and has assigned my church to pray for the restoration of Christians to the joy of their Salvation and restoration to everyone else of all that was lost due to Hurricane Ida, especially when we travel through this junction. I respect this gentleman tremendously for his Kingdom work and am totally on board with praying for this. While passing through this intersection the shipyards and tank farms give way to wilderness, then one comes to a junction with Coteau Road AKA Highway 660. For those of you who are wondering, Coteau is French for “Ridge” and yes, this area of land is on a ridge. It is quite high and therefore flood resistant. And because of that, even modes properties in this area come at a premium price. Making a left on Coteau Road, one will come to a business known as “FrogCo.” This company rents out heavy amphibious equipment, mainly for use in marshes. These machines are so obtuse that when transported, they require “Wide Load” clearance and also an escort from a state trooper. These state troopers love doing this job because it is easy, safe, and pays much better than their normal wages. These machines remind me of some of the machines featured in Blast Corps, like the “Backlash”, but bigger and bulkier. Continuing west on Coteau Road would eventually bring the driver back to civilization, so I’ll instead talk about going back to Highway 182 and instead of going East on Coteau Road. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway also makes a turn to the East in this area, so Coteau Road runs a course parallel to that said canal. If facing east, there are some houses, actually some nice quaint houses, and a fire station on the left-hand side of the road. I don’t recall any fire apparatus in Blast Corps, but the game would have been even cooler had it included these. On the right-hand side of the road, if facing eastbound, there are more tank farms with even bigger dome-shaped tanks filled with oil and gas, and there are also heavy industries including more shipyards situated on the GICW. This is mostly the case until Coteau Road terminates with Bayou Blue Road AKA Highway 316.

So let’s go back to our junction between Coteau Road and Highway 182 and continue northeast on Highway 182.

For a few blocks, it is mostly wilderness, when one crosses the Saint Louis Bayou, which used to be navigable and quite busy in bygone times. I’m talking before there were railroads and highways and it is from canals such as these that people from the rest of The States assumed children in South Louisiana commuted to school on a boat. This Bayou can still be traveled on a very small boat but nothing else. I remember one time in that Summer of 2020, I a friend and former neighbor of mine was hanging out by this bayou fishing. I was testing out my then-new tactical flashlight, a NiteCore i4000R, and shining it at that bayou on high-powered mode. There suddenly was a reflection from the water and it was moving a quite swiftly-the eye of an alligator! And that eye had a very much intimidating appearance that all I could do was stand, frozen in time, and stare at it until it swam away. In 2010 some teenagers met their demise in that bayou when the driver of their truck fell asleep at the wheel and veered off the highway and plunged into the water and they drowned. This was a tremendously heartbreaking moment for the City of Houma and surrounding communities. Immediately after Saint Louis Bayou, there is a huge scrapyard where the automobiles and other items containing considerable amounts of metal from days gone by are broken apart and sold for scrap. And at this point, we come upon the community of Bayou Blue, which is named after a body of water that traveled from Bayou Lafourche to the GICW and possibly even to the Gulf of Mexico at one point. Now though, it is more like a really big ditch and doesn’t cover as much mileage as it once did. For most of its current course, Bayou Blue runs parallel to Highway 316 AKA Bayou Blue Road. I remember being thirteen and for the past four prior years memorizing road maps. I also happened to be a fan of the World Wrestling Federation. So, while traveling to the YMCA with my dad and brother, I remember crossing this highway many times. There was a certain reference to the wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin and, while I now know this is potential blasphemy, there used to be a slogan tied to that wrestler called Austin 3:16. So, jokingly I would call Bayou Blue Road, “The Stone Cold Highway.” This went on during the Summer of 2000. I think my dad attempted to explain the real meaning of 3:16 as in John 3:16 a time or two but my heart wasn’t ready for it yet. Four years later, though, it was ready and I did indeed surrender to Jesus Christ! Bayou Blue, Louisiana is also on a ridge and comparable to Coteau at that, but somehow, land and house prices in Bayou Blue are much more reasonable. I would only go east on Bayou Blue Road, not west because it is only in the eastbound direction and far down there at that where I see some similarities with Blast Corps. So turning east onto Bayou Blue Road from Highway 182 are many residences (including my former apartment) a few shops and several churches including the one I currently attend and love it there! There are also at least two fire stations and in Bayou Blue, the fire trucks are painted blue! Some also have blue lights in addition to their red lights. Bayou Blue Road then intersects with Prospect Boulevard Extension AKA Highway 3087. There used to be some pipeline compressor stations in this area and while I don’t recall pipelines or pipeline compressors in Blast Corps, they would have maybe been a neat addition. Most of these compressor stations were removed after the oilfield downturn of 2016. Bayou Blue road continues traveling a southeasterly course, then crosses the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. There is a cool pontoon swing bridge that carries Bayou Blue Road over the GICW and there are many heavy industries in this area. To me, I wish there was a place to hang out with a scanner and listen to marine traffic and all the supporting operations and not be mistook for a terrorist. These dockyards have cranes for loading and unloading barges. Other heavy equipment is here as well, some of which is loaded onto barges from here. There were machines loaded onto barges that were similar in appearance to the “Ramdozer”. There are yet some more shipyards in the area. Highway 316 then runs a course parallel to the Barataria and Lafourche Company Canal (another waterway that predates the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway by over 100 years) and terminates with Highway 24 in Bourg Louisiana. My childhood friend Joshua Vinet was employed in these shipyards sometimes providing security and sometimes wiring the electronic equipment on the ships until he became stricken with seizures. I plan on buying a vehicle very soon, so I plan to visit him. I haven’t seen him in approximately two years and that is due to this wretched virus that has plagued humanity. If you, the reader, are wondering about my brother (the other one of whom I watched play video games) he is doing very well and recently had a son with his wife.

Let’s go back to our junction between Bayou Blue Road and Highway 182. From there let’s continue Northeast on Highway 182 for about a half-mile Highway 182 continues through the community of Bayou Blue. It is mostly commercialized here, though these businesses have been hit very hard by Hurricane Ida. Then we cross The Hollywood Canal, which, as Saint Louis Bayou, used to be heavily traveled before the advent of railroads and highways. Timber from the forests near Schriever and Thibodaux was loaded onto barges and shipped down to the Houma area via this waterway. How it now only sees small personal boats. I’ve heard on my scanner that there is a slip for this canal in its convergence with the GICW known as Hollywood Slip. The Hollywood Canal is no longer navigable. Shortly after this crossing Highway 182 becomes a four-lane highway and travels northeast towards Raceland. Just before its junction with the new Highway 90, there is a shooting range owned by the Lafourche Parish Sherriff’s Office but open to the public, so there are several police cars (either Crown Victorias or Explorers, both made by Ford) there and there is also a garbage dump nearby in which some garbage trucks travel in and out of. It would have been cool to have garbage trucks in Blast Corps.

This is all of the geographic areas that I wish to cover because it would take you into Raceland, Louisiana, and it does not remind me of Blast Corps save the extreme northern parts of the community where the BNSF Railway Lafayette Subdivision mainline traverses and most of that area is off-limits to the public.

I get it that some levels in Blast Corps had trains but most of the levels with trains were located in mountainous terrain and South Louisiana is as flat as the summer day is long.

Had I not outgrown video games at age 15, I probably could have come up with more examples of actual places that remind me of Blast Corps levels.

But I don’t necessarily regret outgrowing video games and graduating to radio electronics, especially scanners. With scanners, I can tune in many times what the operators of such heavy equipment are saying to each other, although I have yet to hear someone say, “Time to get moving!”

A favorite past time of mine is to bring a scanner or two and take up a position either by a railroad mainline or navigable waterway and tune in the communications of either trains or boats, respectively. I also would like to take a receiver that is capable of tuning in CB Radio transmissions and tuning in the truckers, especially if I am near a main highway. Due to the disabilities that I and stricken with, I cannot qualify for any job in the transportation of people or freight and operating of heavy equipment sectors and that breaks my heart. But I have tremendous respect for those employed in such jobs and I like to tune them in on my scanners. I have a little cousin who is highly fascinated by all sorts of machinery and I cannot wait to teach him about scanners and tuning in truck drivers, boat, and train crews, that is if they are still usable or legal by the time he comes of age.

I hope this piece has been amusing because I have desired to write it since some point in 2020, but it was from some comments in a Facebook group I belong to about the Nintendo 64 gaming console that was the catalyst for me writing this.

Those of you who are familiar the area I described will appreciate this post more than most and those of you who are familiar with the said area and appreciate the game Blast Corps will appreciate this post even more.

I guess this concludes the piece, so may God richly bless you.

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A Sorrowful February

So, here is my explanation of the featured image on this post: It is a picture of me taken around the time I had the dream that inspired this story.

This story indeed came to me in a dream I had in February of 2003. It was on a Sunday morning, quite possibly was February 9th. This dream was likely the catalyst that made me want to pursue writing some two months and one day later. It also inspired my “Dystopian Affection” story, which I began in 2011. I do have very vivid dreams and I am very grateful for them, because they inspire my writings.

Without further ado, here it is:

It was a brisk Saturday afternoon in February; there we were, two soul mates; young, in love and on the run. We were an illegally wed couple lived under a Totalitarian government where corruption ran rampant. Despite the miserable life in our city, we found true love and happiness in each other. Hand in hand we walked the streets so much in love. We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other, despite all public displays of affection being strongly frowned upon by the cruel customs of our dystopian society. I could not stop touching her and she could not stop kissing me.  We were looking for a place to consummate our love and found an abandoned warehouse near the busy railroad yard.  We smashed a window, then climbed in. The interior was dark and damp, but our raging hormones overpowered and impaired our better judgement. We commenced our lovemaking with exceeding passions, then cuddled into the night under a discarded tarpaulin.  Blissfully, we slept in each others’ arms.  Under the light of a full moon, angry lawmen in S.W.A.T. gear stormed the building and arrested us. These hateful men also planted narcotics in our clothing-possession of which carried a penalty of death.  The horrible officers cuffed us and we were transported to the police headquarters building.  They housed us in separate cells.  Every time we tried to talk to each other, we were flogged with batons.  We learned that we were to be executed at dawn.  Deep anxiety filled our hearts and minds like never before.  At least we shared the joy of fully knowing each other and no one could take that away from us.  We were then ordered to be silent. Suddenly but, miraculously the building collapsed.  My lover was injured internally, but unbeknownst to her as a result.

When the dust settled, I found her trembling with fear, but overjoyed to see me.

“Take my hand, baby, ’cause we’re walking out of here,” I told her, assuredly.

She nodded, then hugged me with great strength and we headed out.
We began walking parallel to the train tracks, hoping to leave this wretched city once and for all.
Feeling victorious, we held each other closely and we walked into the early morning hours.

Suddenly, at dawn, my lover collapsed in the grass along the right of way. I tried to revive her but couldn’t. I listened for her heartbeat, but heard nothing.  She was dead. I stayed by her body weeping bitterly.
It was now sunrise and the train master saw us.  He offered me his phone to call her family.

I called them and then waited, filled with matchless sadness and unparalleled anguish.

In time, they arrived in a blue pickup and placed her body in the truck bed.  I laid next to her with great sorrow.

Days later, at her memorial service, I walked up to her open casket with a pistol in hand and blew my brains out.

Suddenly, I woke up, all alone in my bed. It was a dreary Sunday morning.
I walked to the family computer and began to write while listening to music.

Back to “Works of Fiction”

I Wish I had more Examples of People EDCing Weather Radios

I had known about Weather Radios since July of 1997, though I didn’t know much about them.

I wouldn’t actually own a Weather Radio until December of 2001. It was an Oregon Scientific WR-8000 and I had it until some point in 2003.

I didn’t EDC a dedicated Weather Radio permanently until June of 2015, but in my teen years, I frequently EDCed an FRS transceiver.

The model of FRS transceiver that was my favorite during my teen years was a Motorola Talkabout T6250 and it had a built-in Weather Radio with a Standby Alert function.

I used this radio very frequently to get Weather Alerts whilst on the go.

One event that stands out took place in the Spring of 2004. This was about a month before I became stricken with my disability, so I was volunteering as the camera guy for my high school football team. It was an overcast day and I had my Motorola Talkabout in my pocket with the Standby Weather Alert feature activated. I was also standing on top of the press box of my high school’s football stadium. The Weather Alert feature worked flawlessly and I was notified of a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. I took shelter inside the press box and continued recording, but was subsequently chewed out by the head coach over my fear of lightning. However, I felt vindicated when the school’s lightning detector sounded and practice was temporarily called off.

In this piece I wanted to document accounts from other people who may have EDCed a Weather Radio.

My initial focus was to interview members of Generation X and the oldest of Millennials, former latch key kids who walked to school.

Of course I would have also appreciated any input from any coach/athlete (especially golfers), mariner, farmer, aviator, or anyone else who is engaged in outdoor activities

The reason why I am singling out those two generational cohorts is that dedicated, pocket sized Weather Radios were not marketed to the consumers until the early 1970s. They are still marketed now in 2022, even with the advent of smart devices. And I’ve noticed from watching YouTube that there is a plethora of teens and early twenty somethings (Generation Z) who are highly fascinated by Weather Radio and radio electronics in general. When my generation (Millennials) was that age, very few were interested in radio electronics, except for those that used them for hunting and fishing. I was the exception to the rule and I, for some time, have felt that I should have been born ten years later. All in all, in the 1970s until about the early to mid 2000s, the most practical way to get instant, almost on demand weather data whilst on the go was to use a Weather Radio. So, I have figured that maybe there were some latch key kids from that time period who listened on pocket portable Weather Radio in order to be better prepared for their foot commute to and from school or wherever else they went. Unfortunately, just about everyone I asked didn’t reply. I’m not sure if it’s that they personally didn’t EDC a Weather Radio or if they don’t like the somtimes controversial nature of this blog. I wish I could have received some input to make this piece better than what it currently is.

By the way, the Weather Radio that which I am currently EDCing for commuting on foot is a Kaito KA-210, which also receives AM and FM. I had used it extensively when I was living close to my church and would commute there on stormy Wednesday afternoons. I have also been known to EDC a Midland HH50B, but more or less for long distance traveling, because of its automatic scan feature.

I do wish I could get some input for this this piece, maybe if not from former latch key kids, but from others who spent considerable time outdoors for either work or play.

I know that Weather Radios are typically associated with affluent white people and up until recently were almost seen as a status symbol.

Maybe this is why latch key kids didn’t use them to walk to school and thus the reason why I couldn’t get any data.

For coaches, unless they are college or professional coaches, they likely do not make much money if any money at all. But maybe the local school board or recereation districts could have furnished them with a weather radio of some sort, I mean for their safety not to mention the childrens’ safety. I have seen tabletop or permanently installed Weather Radios deployed in the building of government entities quite a bit. Actually about thirty years ago (at the time of writing this), before I wanted to be a writer or knew that there was such a device as a weather radio, I had envisioned a school teacher who walked to and from his job and carried a radio (let’s assume AM/FM) every day for weather related information. As for professional golfers, I know many of them EDCed Weather Radios, because the lightning danger that goes hand in hand with golf. And since golf and Weather Radios are both considered status symbols, the two likely go hand in hand.

For mariners, those that are indoors have a fixed mount VHF Marine Radio and those that are outdoors, such as deckhands riding on barges, have a portable, waterproof VHF Marine Radio and I know that Weather Radio comes standard on just about ever VHF Marine Radio.

I have read about farmers using Radio Shack Weather Cubes, probably because they were simple and cheap, but not easily EDCed. They likely though had them in their barns or coops. They probably had Weather Radio available on their mobile CB transceivers or on other two way radios installed on farm machinery with cabs. I know that in modern times, Midland Micro Mobile GMRS radios are very popular with farmers and they have Weather Radio receive capability. Since a good portion of the VHF Low Band is not used, I think there should be a license free FM two way radio service that is used for rural areas. I’m thinking it could be on 49 MHz with a five watt output and be allowed any type of antenna that one wishes to use.

For aviators, maybe they had a Weather Radio in their flight bags (especially those that fly smaller planes) but there was also weather forecasts broadcast in AM on longwave non directional aviation beacons. This service is probably totally phased out by now.

So, I don’t think I am the only one who regularly EDCs a Weather Radio, but I wish I would be able to find examples of others who do or at least did back in the day.

I know there are some who want to do away with Weather Radio, which would disappoint many people, especially those Zoomers on YouTube and myself.

However, I think it is very much needed, at least as a means for just about anyone to receive vital, sometimes life saving weather data and for free.

If you are reading this link and know of any situation you were personally involved in where EDCing a Weather Radio proved beneficial, please drop me a line and I will either include it in this piece or a subsequent piece.

I wish there was more content for me to provide on this subject by I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened and entertained, at least to some degree.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Articles I have Written”

Synopsis to “Dystopian Affection”

On the morning of February 9, 2003, I was dreaming a dream that would have a tremendous impact on my life.

I believe it was that dream that was one of the catalysts which caused me to decide to take up writing.

The dream took place in the Greater New Orleans area and it appeared to be some time in the dystopian future.

I think I can credit that dream to two factors:

  1. I had frequented the New Orleans area more than usual.
  2. The high school I was attending assigned a great deal of dystopian fiction for us to read. (Not complaining at all.)

I had just made sixteen at the time and in the dream, I was with an uknown teenaged girl, who had become my lover.

We were trying to run away, likely to get out of this dystopian civilization and be more free.

However, drugs were planted on us (and the penalty for drug posession was death and apparently without due process.)

We were subsequently arrested and held in seperate cells, awaiting execution.

I was miraculously able to summon superhuman strength and broke the handcuffs off of me and off of my lover.

The building then collapsed and we escaped.

I borrowed a line from the song, “The Space Between” by Dave Matthews and told my lover, “take my hand, cause we’re walking out of here!”

A female cop then performs our wedding on a street corner, then we begin walking out of the city.

Suddenly my lover collapses in my arms.

She is dead.

I am able to get in contact with her family.

They come in a Blue, single cab 2001 Chevrolet Silverado and lay her body in the bed of it.

I ride with her but end up taking my life and waking up.

Over eight years later, I had the idea to turn this dream into a story, which this piece will be a synopsis thereof.

The story begins on a Monday Morning with eighteen year old Josiah Adler, playing on the school library computers before class begins. He is playing video games until the librarian demands that he do something more productive. He notices another student, eighteen year old Kaela Blum, who suggests that they read together. They are also mutually crushing on each other. She presents to him the works of a blogger who was a New Orleans resident prior to the Second Civil War. To avoid military service, he fled the city and wound up on the West Coast. His blog is targeted to the citizens of Nazi Orleans (which is one of the fragmented American City-States that were formed at the conclusion of the Second Civil War) and consists of current Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish between the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchitrain. As its name suggests, it is controlled by a Neo Nazi styled government. This blogger consistently condemns the practices of this new government and writes about bygone times. As they read the bloggers work, Josiah asks Kaela to imagine if they lived in those bygone times and fell in love. Kaela replied she could but also she could even see it happening in the present, to which she subsequently kisses him. They decide to meet together again at lunch time. The morning bell rings and they share a hug.

Josiah’s first class is communications and it teaches how industrial workers communicate on a system known as Tuff Talk, civillians use Pocket Packet and Screen Link, and government workers use Tac Talk. The teachers gave the details but Josiah was more interested in what he and Kaela would do at lunch. Then there was math, then science and then citizenship class and the lesson of the day was obeying the NOPD blindly. It went on to teach how marriages are arranged by a supercomputer known as the LoveMatc1933. Josiah became depressed because he knew that he couldn’t marry Kaela because of this. The next class was English, which he and Kaela had together. They got in trouble for talking and were forced to reenact the first kiss scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and share a kiss at the conclusion. The whole class applauds, but the teacher pops them in the mouth, then lectures the class that falling in love is detrimental to society. Kaela rebuffs, commenting that love is wonderful and should be expressed by everyone. The teacher threatens Kaela that she will call the S. R. O. on her if she questions her or the City doctrines again. Part of that scene was inspired by The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, I won’t lie.

Then comes the lunch period and Kaela and Josiah find a secluded area of the campus to spend the period. Kaela cradles Josiah’s head in her lap and they begin to talk.

She asks Josiah where he works during the weekends, to which he replies that he pushes shopping carts for a grocer on Stealth Bomber Highway. She points out that the grocer used to be known as Schwegmann’s and Stealth Bomber Highway was formerly known as Airline Highway. She goes on to explain how she works as a kitchen aid at a teaching hospital and that in bygone times anyone could get medical attention regardless of ability to pay.

He then tells her what he learned about the supercomputer in citizenship class and how he has feelings for her.

She tells him that she feels the same way and that since they feel that way they can defect from the city and other refugees will come to their assistance.

She goes on to say how there is a railroad interlocking tower across the river and out of the city’s jurisdiction where they can stay until a refugee train takes them to the West Coast.

Josiah expresses his opinion about being caught to which Kaela replies it is better to die in freedom than to live in oppression.

She eventually convinces him to run away with her, to which they begin to make plans.

The bell rang and the rest of the day dragged on.

When the bell rang, Josiah asked Kaela if he could walk her home and meet her family.

She happily agrees and goes on to say that her parents and sister are also followers of the blogger.

They walk to her home.

Kaela’s older sister Casey greets them and briefly grills Josiah, but then realizes that he is of pure intentions, then explains that she has to go to work.

Kaela asks her to drive them across the river on Saturday night, so they can do whatever they please.

Casey grills Josiah further, but agrees to bring them.

Kaela’s parents Mark and Katherine Blum soon arrive home and she introduces them to Josiah.

They go on to say how they disagree with the city government’s practices, but that he hacked the LoveMatic1933 in order for it to match them together.

They then prepare dinner as Josiah and Kaela do their homework and spend time late into the night until Josiah realizes his mom might be worried. He messages her through the Pocket Packet and tells her he is all right and about to come home.

When he arrives home, his mom is working and he eats a quick meal, showers then goes to bed.

The next day in citizenship class the teacher is instructing the students on how a free press hindered the operations of the city, so it was done away with. A fellow student was then struck for not paying attention.

Then came English and the teacher was explaining how Juliet ought to have married Paris as her family commanded and how nowadays weddings are carried out much more efficiently.

At lunch Kaela and Josiah go to their secluded location and she reveals to him that she is sick but her parents insurance won’t cover the treatments because it is a pre-existing condition. She goes on to say that there are cysts on her ovaries and they keep growing and any kind of physical trauma can cause her to hemorrhage. She goes on to say that she can be treated for free on the West Coast, to which Josiah further fomented his commitment to running away with her. They spend the rest of the lunch period holding each other in a semi peaceful silence as those thoughts raced through Josiah’s mind.

They headed back to class after the bell rang. The rest of the day, Josiah was riddled with anxiety of the health and welfare of Kaela.

They met in the hallway after the dismissal bell and shared to kiss to which their English teacher slapped them.

Kaela told Josiah to message her on the Screen Link later in the night.

Josiah went home and completed his homework.

He then messaged Kaela.

She messaged that she was sorry she got them slapped but not sorry for kissing him and went on to say that there are no consequences to public displays of affection on the West Coast.

They then began to vide chat.

Josiah was wearing a tee shirt and school pants. Kaela was wearing an oversized tee shirt and panty.

Josiah is aroused, but then overcome with anxiety and Kaela asks him about it because she can see the expression on his face.

Josiah says how he is worried about her sickness and doesn’t want her to die.

Kaela replies that if she must die she wants it to be in his arms.

Josiah said how he couldn’t go on without her.

They on on to plan their escape from the city.

Their English teacher who could not see their messages but still knew they were communicating reprimanded them.

Josiah messaged the teacher and said that Kaela might be dying, to which the teacher replied how she better do it quicker so they don’t have to spend money to euthanize her.

Josiah screen shot those messages, then went to sleep.

The next day in citizenship class, the teacher was explaining how the criminal justice procedures of the past were inefficient and how those former civil liberties were wasteful. Rights to not being detained indefinitely, bail and to not be tortured used to exist, but now they don’t. Josiah became immensly angry at how broken this system truly was.

He was still angry come English class and put his head down in protest. The teacher lashed him with a strap.

Kaela cried for her not to hurt him.

The teacher called the S. R. O. over the Tac Talk.

In a short spell he stormed into the room, began yelling at Josiah and Kaela, then popped them in the mouth. He raised his hat to the teacher to which she saluted him.

At lunch Josiah and Kaela went to their secluded area and he begged her to stay off of everyone’s RADAR so she doesn’t incur injury. Reluctantly, Kaela agreed.

Kaela then motioned Josiah to lay in her lap to which he, happily did.

Seconds later she flipped her skirt over his head and held him under their for about a minute saying it is a preview of Saturday night.

She then demanded a kiss to which they became lost in the moment of virginal foreplay until the bell rang.

That evening they messaged each other lovingly not realizing that the NOPD was monitoring their communications.

The next day in citizenship class, the teacher was explaining how disability and free health care for the disabled and low income were wasteful ideas and now anyone declared disabled is put to death. Josiah was even more angry at learning this and but kept his cool knowing he would soon be out of the sewerage hole known as Nazi Orleans.

In English, they were assigned to write an essay on why falling in love is troublesome and obsolete.

Kaela messaged Josiah and said how they should write the opposite instead, since they will be leaving the city anyway.

At lunch period, they cuddled in the grass. Kaela told Josiah to come to her house that evening and they will write their essays.

At the end of the day, they went to Kaela’s home and wrote that pure love brings happiness and how happy workers are more productive. They continued that a worker who loves his or her spouse will want to be a good provider, therefore a productive worker. Their final point was that a couple in love will raise children in an ideal environment and that those children will be productive workers instead of troubled citizens. Finally they said that love is not obsolete and the doctrines of the fascist hell hole of Nazi Orleans are dead wrong.

It was now late in the evening, so Josiah kissed Kaela good night and tucked her in bed then went home.

The next morning Kaela messaged Josiah and asked if he wanted to watch her get ready.

Josiah happily agreed.

They began to video chat and Kaela lifted her nightgown revealing her panty. She then further lifted it and showed him her breasts, then dressed in on camera for him.

When they arrived at school, they went to the secluded location.

Kaela lay on top of Josiah then she sat on his chest to which he could clearly see up her skirt. He put his arms around her and pulled her closer to him, until she was sitting on his face and all went dark. They stayed in that position until the morning bell rang.

In citizenship class the teacher was ranting and raving how Nazi Orleans is the highest power. The students were given an allegiance card to sign over the weekened. Some signed it right away. Josiah planned to burn his. The teacher then allowed the remainder of the period to be free, to which Josiah went to sleep.

In English the teacher began to rant and rave about the blogger and how he is actually one of her former students. She went on to say that he is a coward and a terrorist, who helps traitors and cowards. Finally she said anyone caught reading his work will be fined and delayed in graduation.

After the last class of the day, Josiah and Kaela went to her family’s house.

Her sister Casey was getting ready for work, to which Kaela reminded her to bring them across the river Saturday evening.

She basically asks if they are defecting to which they admit they are.

Josiah then says he wants to make sure Kaela gets medical attention and if she dies he wants to die as well.

Casey then goes to work, agreeing to bring them.

Josiah and Kaela are about to deflower each other when Kaela’s parents arrive.

They stay up talking until Josiah realizes he needs to go home and pack.

The next morning, Josiah packs a bag then places it in his work assigned locker. He then diligently pushes shopping carts until his shift is over.

He cashes his paycheck and clocks out.

Casey pulls up with Kaela in a blue pickup truck, then drives them across the River without incident, then goes home.

They arrive in the old Avondale railroad yard and are given supplies for their journey by other defectors.

Subsequently, they go into the interlocking tower and fall asleep together.

At nightfall they become intimate and Josiah is startled by the blood, to which Kaela reassures him that it was normal.

After much lovemaking, they fall asleep in a sea of blankets.

On Sunday morning they woke up and secured their belongings preparing to board the train.

There was a knock at the door and the knocker claimed to be the train conductor.

No sooner was the door opened, the NOPD SWAT team headed by the S. R. O. came in and extradicted them.

They had also massacred all of the other defectors seeking refuge in the train yard.

Kaela and Josiah are bound, placed in a wagon and taken back to the city.

Kaela said how the city might take away their freedom but cannot take their love away.

Josiah replied how the city may destroy their bodies but cannot destroy what is between them.

They are housed in seperate cells of the police station.

Their English teacher says how she read their essays and will see to it that they are charged with sedition.

The S. R. O. begins to interrogate Kaela and hooks up a stun gun to her genitals when she doesn’t comply.

After she is incapacitated he attempts to rape her, but Josiah yells that he falsely has his gun and will shoot.

A female cop enters, catching the S. R. O. in the act and shoots him dead.

She then unbinds Josiah and Kaela and explains that she read their essays and they opened her eyes and how she is quitting the force.

Kaela asks her to perform their marriage ceremony as her final duty to which she agrees.

Their marriage is performed on a street corner where a church was formerly located.

She then began to walk Josiah and Kaela out of the city until Kaela began bleeding profusely and collapsed.

The female officer checks Kaela for a pulse and announces that she is dead and they need to notify her family.

Josiah takes his broken Pocket Packet and removes the memory card, to which the female officer places in her Tac Talk device.

Casey comes in her truck and Kaela’s body is laid in the bed. Josiah lays next to her body.

The next day a memorial is held for Kaela.

At some point later, Josiah writes the whole account saves it onto memory cards places them on Kaela’s grave, then blows his brains out with a revolver, concluding the story…

Back to “Works of Fiction”

Synopsis to “The Textfile”

First of all, to explain the featured image on this post, they are a pocket knife and penlight carried by my main character, Grayson Thomas, until they are lost in a work-related “accident.”

On a Saturday, I believe it was December 11, 2005, I was walking around Bayou Cane, Louisiana, (for those who don’t know, that’s a suburb of Houma, located to its north and west) mostly for shopping but exercise as well.  Walking around that city always inspired me to write.  A few weeks prior, I had also watched a certain movie on home DVD for the first time.  That movie had an enormous impact on me writing this, both at the conscious and subconscious levels.  Other people noticed it too and when reading it, would frequently say how it reminded them of that said movie.   I also recently got my own computer though it was terribly out of date.  It still served its purpose I needed for writing things.  I was a backslidden Christian at the time, which was a major factor in me deciding to write this.  My pain hangup was about certain sects of Christianity, specifically the ones that taught one must speak in tongues to be saved, but other unBiblical teachings.  They turned me off to Christ and brought me almost to the brink of apostasy.  Thank God, for rescuing me though, and drawing me back to Him in late 2008.   I finished the original draft of this story in June of 2006 and had edited it a couple of times to make it better.  However, I believe sometime in 2013, I destroyed it altogether.  In June of 2017, after taking a trip to Tennesee, I decided to rewrite it again, mostly from memory, and completed it in the Summer of 2019.    This new version, while still attacking cultish forms of Christianity that either teach false things or turn people off to Christ, does not attack genuine Christians.  If anything it paints them in a very positive light.

The story begins with eighteen-year-old Anna Ryan riding home from school on her bicycle.  The church she attends forbids its members from driving mechanized vehicles or getting a driver’s license, watching or owning a television set, or using cell phones.  She is supposed to go home and get ready for youth service, but instead, stops at a local bar and grill and enters.  She sits in a booth and looks around the room.  Soon, she notices a young man.  He is sitting at the bar sipping on bottles of Budweiser and eating peanuts.

Anna is attracted to him though she can only see him from behind.

To get his attention, she pretends to sneeze.

The young man looks at her and says, ‘God bless you.’

Anna replies, ‘Aww thanks.’

He begins to sip his beer again but then does a double-take.  He’s very much attracted to her and begins to stare.  She smiles at him and he blushes then looks away.

Anna pretends to sneeze again and the young man says,  ‘God save you!

Anna replies ‘Thanks.   It must be all the dust from these peanut shells that’s stirring up my allergies.’

He tells her that she has a cute sneeze and then asks to come and sit with her.

She accepts.

The young man remarks that he’d never seen her in this place before and that he comes here every afternoon to kill a few beers.

Anna confesses that it’s her first time there and he says how he hopes it’s not her last.  He then tells her his name: Grayson Thomas.

Anna introduces herself as well, to which Grayson said how he didn’t know there were any Ryans in the town of Melody.

Anna explains that her family keeps to themselves and only associates with those at her church, which is a fragmented, mixed-race church with doctrine similar to the UPCI.

With slight irritation, Grayson remarks, ‘Oh, jee whiz, I’ve heard all about them.  Your parents would probably beat the hell out of you and press charges on me if they knew we were talking right now.’

Anna explains that they would indeed beat her, but they cannot press charges on him because he’s a legal adult.

Grayson then wants to know what she is doing later that evening.  Anna explains that she has youth service.  Grayson tries to talk her into hanging out with him instead.

Anna says if her parents would find out they would be livid and beat the daylights out of her.

Grayson then asks her a very piercing question, “Are you happy?  Do your parents really make you happy?  Does that insane church make you happy?”

There’s a silence, but then Anna replies,  ‘No-I am not happy at all.  I am miserable.  My parents only allow me to go to church and school.  They beat me sometimes for a yes or a no.  People at school make fun of me because of the way the church forces me to dress.’

Grayson then asks her, ‘Do you think I could make you happy?  I definitely think you could make me happy, in my twenty-two years on this earth, I’ve never beheld anyone as beautiful as you!’
   
Anna says that it would be worth a shot.

They continue talking and getting to know each other better.  Anna says how she wants to be a writer, and she does actually write but her parents would be furious if they knew exactly what she wrote, they would destroy every copy and then, of course, beat the daylights out of her.

Grayson suggests that she press charges on them.

Anna says that she would go to hell for not honoring her parents.

Grayson explains that the law is not a guide to save yourself, but rather proof that you cannot save yourself.

Anna says how she likes the way he preaches, and never thought she would hear those words coming out of his mouth because he was drinking beer.  She also says how she wants to know him better as well.

Grayson explains that he is a mechanic for the Melody City Dockyard and works the 6 AM to 2 PM weekday shift.  He also says how he has a cabin on his mother’s property, where he stays.  He finally says that he’s been wanting someone for a long time.

Anna said she would gladly be that someone but she just has to get away from her parents.

Grayson holds Anna’s hands and says,  ‘You just let me know if you need any help with that.’

His G-Shock then beeps indicating Four PM.

Anna says how she has to get ready for youth service.

Grayson convinces her to spend time with him instead.

Anna agrees and says she’ll meet him back at the bar and grill around Seven PM.

Grayson drinks several glasses of Wild Cherry Pepsi to help sober him up.

He pulls out his smartphone and searches for the church Anna attends.  He finds their web page and learns the doctrines of how they are forbidden from driving, watching television, or owning a cell phone.  He also read how church members were forbidden to associate with non-church members.

Anna arrives home and is sternly reminded of youth service, by her parents Sean and Janice Ryan.

After an exchange of words, she goes bathe and imagines the night she will share with Grayson.

Her mother bangs on the bathroom door and tells her that God can see everything she does, especially behind closed doors.

She then got dressed and mounted her bicycle and pretended to go to youth service.  Her dad squeezed her arm and said for her not to embarrass him at the service.

She drives secretly back to the bar and grill, runs up into Grayson’s arms, wrapping her legs around him.

Grayson pays off his tab, then they leave the bar.  Anna puts her bicycle in the bed of his truck then they ride to his cabin.  Grayson lets Anna drive his truck in the fields on his mother’s property as the sun goes down.

He then escorts her out of his truck by the light of his Pelican 1920 penlight.

They then walk into his cabin and dance in the kitchen to music on Pandora for an hour or so.

Afterward, they go on his balcony and Grayson says how he comes here to drink beer or whiskey and contemplate life.

Anna says how she could be inspired to write all kinds of things because it’s so beautiful.

Grayson says how ‘it’s nowhere near as beautiful as you, Anna!’

They then share a kiss and begin to pet each other when Grayson’s G-Shock beeps again, indicating Ten O’Clock.

Anna says how she has to get back home before her parents become livid.

Grayson writes down his house and cell numbers on a piece of paper and says how he knows all about her church and how they forbid cell phones, but to call him whenever she can.

Anna hides the paper in her brassiere, and says, with a distressed giggle, ‘It’s close to my heart, just like where I want you to be.’

Grayson then drives Anna to her parents’ trailer, all too quickly arriving.

Anna says, ‘I know you want to get the door for me and let me out, but it’s not safe here if you’re an outsider.’

Grayson replies, ‘I understand.  May I at least give you a good night kiss?’

Passionately, Anna tells him, ‘Of course, Grayson!  Just so you know, I’ll take that kiss to bed with me!’

Their lips meet one final time, then Anna takes her bicycle out of the truck bed and goes inside.

Grayson drives back to his cabin, drinks a few shots of Crown Royal put his phone on to charge, then goes to bed.

Anna walks into her parents’ trailer and her dad, with a belt in hand, confronts her about not going to youth service.  He tells her the pastor, Brother Darryl, called him and said she didn’t attend.

At first, Anna tries to keep silent, but her dad strikes her with his belt several times.

She then says how she’s eighteen now and it’s none of his business, to which he beats her even more.

Her mother comes out of the bedroom, smacks her across the face, then says,  ‘It is our business, the church’s business, and most importantly God’s business and always will be.  Now answer us!’

Anna still keeps silent. 

Her mother takes a claw hammer from the kitchen drawer and threatens to knock Anna’s teeth out with it.

Anna breaks down and confesses about how she spent the evening with a young man and how’s he’s so much better than the young men at her church.  She goes on to say that while they were indeed alone together, he never took advantage of her and she does have feelings for him.

Her mother flings the hammer at her toes, then says how her feelings are sinful energies, brought on by evil forces.

Anna boldly states,  ‘No, they feel very right and natural.  You and dad have no affection in your relationship, whatsoever.  You never kiss, you never touch, you never speak any romantic words to each other.  I don’t want to be subjected to such a cold marriage like that and if I marry one of the men at church, that’s exactly what will happen to me.’

Her dad slams her to the ground and says,  “You have invited so much sin into your life, you’re driving and dancing, which is absolutely forbidden, and now you’re attacking your me and your mother’s marriage just because you never see us behaving lewdly in front anyone!  This is all because you are very rebellious and always have been.  I tell you, it is going to stop right now if you know what is good for you!”

He then tells her to go to bed because she has school.

The next morning, Grayson gets up and prepares for work.

Anna too gets ready for school, then rides her bicycle there arriving early.

At around seven-thirty in the morning, Anna goes to the student office and asks Mrs. Barabara McGregor if she could use the phone.

Mrs. Barabara agrees and Anna calls Grayson’s cell number.

Grayson takes a coffee break to talk with her.

Anna tells all that her parents did her last night and Grayson suggests once again that she press charges.

Anna then says God would punish her if she did.

Grayson says how parents aren’t supposed to provoke their children to wrath and they obviously do, because they are trying to keep her from being happy.  Grayson then asks if he even makes her happy.

Anna says that he definitely does.

Grayson says that she makes him happy too and that he was lonely before her and uses alcohol to temper the sting of loneliness.

They continue to talk and flirt on the phone until Grayson’s coffee break comes to an end and other students need to use the phone.

Anna goes to a secluded area on the school campus, then fantasizes about Grayson, lapsing into a trance until the bell rings.

Meanwhile, Grayson is assigned two forklifts to repair, with a little assistance from the foreman, Mr. Jed McGregor.  He works until Noon, then goes to eat lunch.

At lunch his mom, Kathy Thomas calls him over Skype wondering why he didn’t come to dinner the previous night.  Grayson tells her about Anna, then explains her background.  Kathy warns him about the people of Anna’s church, Grayson pulls out his Snap-On pocket knife and says, “Wait, let them try something.”  Kathy warns that he would go to pen.  Grayson states that Anna is worth it.  Kathy says she wants to meet Anna, then goes back to work.  Grayson finishes his lunch, then clocks back in.

Jed McGregor has him do a tune-up on the dockside truck as the last assignment of the day and comments how he notices Grayson is in a better mood than usual.  Grayson tells him too about Anna and the whole situation.  Jed says how he and his wife will pray for them.  Jed McGregor and Barbara McGregor are married if you haven’t guessed that already.

Grayson does the work on the dockside truck and soon enough has it running.  He drives it to the docks and tells the dock foreman how it is fixed.

Grayson then clocks out and heads home suppressing the urge to drink alcohol, since Anna might call him.

Anna is sitting in English, the last class of the day, studying the works of George Gordon Byron.  She thinks of how her parents would be furious if they knew about these works, but also thinks of the previous night on the balcony with Grayson.  The teacher goes on to talk about Byron’s scandalous life and early death.  Anna begins to feel nervous wondering if she will die for what she is told is rebellion.  However, she knows her feelings for Grayson are valid and genuine. 

Finally, the dismissal bell blares and Anna goes down to the office to call Grayson.  Anna asks him to pick her up from school, to which he agrees.

Mrs. Barbara asks Anna if she is serious about whomever she is talking to on the phone.  Anna says how she hopes it is.  Mrs. Barbara asks, “What’s his name?”  Anna says “Grayson Thomas.”

Mrs. Barbara goes on to say how he works under her husband and she’s heard many good things about him except how he’s lonely and not to break his heart.  Anna says how she’d never dream about it.  Mrs. Barbara asks if Anna is eighteen yet.  Anna says she is.  Mrs. Barbara goes on to say how that’s good because if she wasn’t Grayson would be in a world of trouble [with the law.]  Anna says she’s more worried about what her church members would do.  Mrs. Barbara says she and her husband will pray for her and to go wait outside for him.

Anna goes out to the bicycle rack just as Grayson is pulling up in his truck.  He parks his truck then gets out and they kiss with passion until the SRO makes them stop.  Anna unlocks her bicycle [and puts it in the truck bed], then Grayson opens the door for her and she gets in.  Grayson then gets in on the driver’s side and they leave.

As they are driving, Grayson talks Anna into secretly getting a smartphone so they can keep in touch.  At first, Anna is reluctant but then realizes he is showing dedication to her and it means a lot to her.

With that, they drive to the Best Buy Mobile store in the mall…

Grayson ends up purchasing Anna a mid-grade Samsung smartphone that is on clearance.  Afterward, they eat at a corn dog restaurant, use the bathroom, then Grayson partially takes Anna home, she rides her bicycle the rest of the way.

Anna’s parents confront her about being late, to which she fabricates a partially true alibi that she went to use the bathroom at the mall.

Her parents lecture her about malls being sinful, worldly places but believe her otherwise.

She then goes into her bedroom pretending to study.  She barricades the door with several heavy objects, then hides in her closet whilst texting Grayson. 

They fall deeper and for each other and end up exchanging those three words via text message.

Anna’s dad barges in but she quickly hides the phone in her underwear and pretends to be sleeping in her closet.

Her dad angrily yells at her and they begin arguing to which he ultimately punches her in the head, knocking her unconscious.

Grayson blows up her inbox, thinking she ghosted him, then drinks a fifth of Crown and passes out in his bed.

Friday morning, Anna comes to, uses the bathroom, and reads all of Grayson’s text messages.

She replies to him, frantically explaining all that happened.

Grayson is hungover, but hears his watch alarm and then sees Anna’s message.

He says how he is glad she still wants him, but her life is in danger and she should come live with him.

Anna agrees.

Grayson explains how he drank until he passed out when he thought she ghosted him, but he will take a personal day to sober up and then prepare his house for her.  He promises her that there is no more alcohol in his cabin and that he will quit drinking at least until this situation is resolved.

They further discuss their plans via text.

Grayson calls his boss to take a personal day, then Anna’s mom orders her out of the bathroom.

She packs all of her valuables, her flash drives, and composition books, some hygiene products, and a few changes of clothes in addition to her new phone, then heads to school.

Before the morning bell rings, Anna talks to Grayson on her phone from the girl’s restroom.  They further discuss their plans.

Grayson picks Anna up from school at the end of the day.

He takes her to his house and minutes later his mother shows up, stating that she is having issues with leaking oil in her car.

Grayson introduces them to each other, then fixes his mother’s car, the problem was that the oil filter was on loosely.

Afterward, Grayson washes up, then takes Anna out for shopping and dinner.

Whilst shopping for clothes, Anna’s corrupt and overbearing pastor confronts her in the mall.

Grayson stands up to him and he eventually backs down stating how Grayson has won the battle but not the war.

Anna has a panic attack, but Grayson eventually calms her down.

They then go eat out and are waited on by one of Anna’s school friends.

The night turns out very pleasant and they retire to Grayson’s cabin.

That Saturday, Grayson, and Anna decide to hang out in the park and watch boats pass from the bed of his truck.

At some point, a girl from Anna’s class begins to harass them.  She makes a sexual advance at Grayson to which he sharply turns her down, then she threatens bodily harm to Anna, to which Grayson retrieves his shotgun from the box in his truck pumps it, points it at her, and scares her away.

They later go to the library, then the grocer to buy the supplies to make dinner, Shepherd’s Pie.

While shopping they see the pastor’s wife in the store purchasing collard greens for the next day’s dinner.  Anna gets nervous because the woman carries a gun in her purse and would be crazy enough to shoot Grayson with it.  A stocker overhears their conversation and hides them in the warehouse until the pastor’s wife leaves.  The stocker is based on another infamous character of mine.

They then go home, prepare dinner, eat, watch movies then fall asleep.

That Sunday, they wake up, then sit outside and watch the sunrise from Grayson’s front porch swing.  Afterward, Anna feels the urge to write, then composes a story and reads to Grayson. 

Everyone at Anna’s church is angry over her leaving and they form a plan to kidnap her back and harm Grayson for revenge.

After Anna reads to Grayson, his mother calls them over for Sunday Dinner.

Anna ends up helping prepare the dinner and she learns about Grayson’s childhood.

On Monday their plan is carried out.  Several longshoremen who attend Anna’s church decide to sabotage the dock crane.  Grayson has to go to the top to repair it and one of the longshoremen assists him, but purposely causes him to fall.

Grayson is seriously injured and rushed to the hospital.

Anna is called to the office over threats Grayson made with a gun to a fellow student.

She is suspended from school while the matter is investigated.

Anna tries calling Grayson to pick her up, but his phone goes straight to voicemail.

Her Dad is called.  He along with her pastor secure a ride and pick her up from school.

Barbara is watching the whole situation unfold and calls her husband Jed.

Jed and Barbara are talking about these events and realize that foul play is the reason why Grayson fell from the crane.  They call the police, who charge the disgruntled longshoreman.

An APB is also put out on the van.

Soon it is located and stopped, Anna’s dad and her pastor are arrested.

Anna is asked to be taken to the hospital, but ironically says she wants to be with her boyfriend. A detective later informs her of all that is going on, then takes a statement from her.  She is then taken to the hospital where she meets Grayson’s mother.

They along with the hospital chaplain and an unknown person pray for him around the clock.

For two days Grayson is in a coma, but then he wakes up, with Anna being the first person he sees.

Grayson ends up proposing to her…

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