By Anonymous 



Edited by Chuck Loridans





                The story of a man,


               standing behind The



                Man, making the Evil



                           Plans



                                   ***



                                 Part 1



July 11, 1947

 


  Starting on a new job today, and it couldn't have come at a better time.



  I feel in robust health now that my rear end is healed up after taking that slug from the Black Bat, last month. I've felt cooped up and restless, and I'm looking forward to the work.



  Boy, do I need the work, the little woman's been spending my dough left and right. Luckily my wife still doesn't know about my line of work. She still buys the lie that I'm a land surveyor for the firm of Frye and Sons. She keeps nagging me to bring the boss home for dinner.



  "Honey I'd like you to meet my boss the Bloody Butcher, Bloody Butcher this is my wife, Meg."


 

 I found out about and signed up for the new gig, at Red Mike's. I wasn't expecting something that pays this good. Heck I wasn't expecting much of anything, just a beer and a tenderloin. Red Mike's is the best underground hang out in Manhattan, If there is news on a job, it's a safe bet, words floating around Mike's, but I wasn't getting my hopes up.


 

 Funny how I almost missed out on the whole shebang, cause when I was about half a block from Red Mikes store front, I saw Big Pockets Ballas, lurking around. Pockets was preaching as always. He used to be a swell guy, big Pockets. Now all he does is tell his former buddies, the error of their ways.

 Personally, I don't think he's right in the ol' bean. Ever since he tangled with old Doc "high and mighty," and his five palookas several years ago, it's like he isn't Big Pockets anymore. He even prefers to be called Reginald. I wonder if it has anything to do with that scar on his scalp that he's always scratching.  

 Well my taste buds took control, and gave me the fortitude, to hitch up my trousers and pass through "`Reginalds'" gauntlet of hooey. I guess Mike Jr. doesn't have him kicked off the property, because too many of his patrons have accepted Pockets as part of the ambiance. I hummed a Ledbelly tune, real loud to drown out Pockets fire and brimstone, and made as little Eye contact as possible.



 Once inside, I saw the usual crowd, eating, drinking, bragging,arguing. I thought I'd sit at the bar, to eat and gab. I opted for the far left end, because I didn't feel like talking to Cliff Marsland, and wanted to avoid Gooter and Muggy, who were harassing Slots Head Montgomery. Poor Slots, they were trying to get him to take off his over-sized fedora. Slots was just staring straight ahead, trying to ignore them, looking miffed. Glancing at him, I noticed that under that huge hat, he had grown girly bangs.



  Slots kinda looked like a swish. I guess he figured it was the lesser of two evils. I hadn't seen Slots in a while, the last time I had a gander at that fore head of his, it displayed two skulls of different designs, one with the number 5, on it. In between the skulls, was an ugly red spider. Those works of art were from years ago, I'd heard rumors of more, but Slots wouldn't let any one see them.



  Someone told me, (Tweeter or the Monkey Man, I cant remember) that his latest unsolicited, tattoo, was from the Unseen Hand's ring. I would really like to see it, I hear it's a marvel.



  The Unseen Hand, whom I've been fortunate not to have tangled with, has a ring symbol, that looks like the front of a fist, a fist with a ring that has a symbol, that looks like a fist, with a ring and so on and so on.



  Commanche Stone, once told me that he actually used a microscope type device to look at a scar left on one of the Unseen Hands other victims and found that it just kept going. I cant picture it, but he said he saw ring, fist, ring, fist, ring, fist. Stone said it was like holding a mirror in front of another mirror.



  Creepy stuff like that makes my head hurt. I watched Gooter and Muggy, rag on Slots Head, until Slots gave up trying to be one of the fellas, and left. I don't blame him, it's bad enough that these mid-night avenger types seem to make a habit of putting their painful John Hancocks on his mug, but then he has to put up with his own kind giving him the business. Poor Slots.



  It goes with out saying, I sure didn't want to partake of my repast with Gooter and Muggy.



   The place was packed, so when I finished my steak, I ordered a draft, and started to make the rounds, maybe see if I could get in on some kind of action.



  Everybody I talked to, unfortunately, said they were taking it easy for awhile, laying low, and what not. Matt the Gat, told me to talk to Marko the Mook, who told me to talk to Jesse Two Bits, who told me to talk to Shivering Brad, who told me to talk to Sinful Dennis, who told me to talk to the Terrible Frenchman, who told me to talk to Mad Man Loki, who told me to talk to Slick Gick, who told me talk to the Insidious Dr. Small, who told me to talk to A. Henry Epitaph, who told me to talk to the Big Win.



   What it amounted to was two hours going through all of that guff, just to have the Big Win tell me that he heard Gooter and Muggy were on to something.



   Jeez! I took a big gulp of draft and headed back to the bar. Gooter and Muggy saw me coming, they were grinning those `I just saw a little old lady, slip in the mud, grins they always had. As with Big Pockets, Mike Jr. lets them hang around, because he thinks the customers would feel something was off kilter, if they weren't around. Folks might get suspicious if they didn't walk in and see those huge mouths, beady eyes and pock marked faces. I bought them a whiskey, and asked them "what's the buzz?"



   After sitting, and listening to them boasting about the guff, they gave slots Head, and about how they once got a look up the Domino Lady's gown, as she was tying them up for the cops. Finally, they got around to info I wanted.



   They said they were hired by someone named Dr. Prometheus, (I don't even flinch at the names anymore) and were leaving in the morning. They are going to drive a truck, the contents of which they aren't privy to, and heading for a place in North Louisiana, called Boneport. Once in Boneport, they will rendezvous with other members of Dr. Prometheus' gang, then head down further south to the gulf, then off to sea, towards an island called Farou, in the Pacific. They said that Prometheus paid big bucks up front, and that luck would have it, my name was on a list of hired thugs, okay-ed by the second in command.



   "Who is the number two guy, who wants me for this gig?" I asked.



  "Horse Shoe Hanna," they told me.



   Jeez, I thought. Well, if the pay is good.



   I told them I wanted in on it. They said they would pick me up in the morning. I asked that they not come up to my apartment, that I would be waiting outside.



  I had a cup of Java, a cigarette, then headed home. Meg and the kids were asleep when I got in. I wrote a note, telling them that I had to leave on a survey job, that might take a week or so. I wrote that I loved them, and that PS. I would try to make it back in time to see my youngest kid, portray a cucumber in his school play.



  That's all for now, I think I'm going to sit on the fire escape and wait for the sun to come up. I've got to make sure that Gooter and Muggy don't come pounding on my door and wake up Meg.




                                Part 2



July 12th, 1947


 

 I'm sitting here in a sleazy motel in Boneport, La.



...Jeez Louise it gets hot here!

 Boneport is in the north west part of Louisiana. It's nothing like New Orleans or Baton Rouge. It's more like a city trying to be a big important city, but its parents won't let it stay up after 7:00. It has a big population, but its citizens make Gooter and Muggy look like British royalty.



 Speaking of Gooter and Muggy, Holy Moly! what a long drive! Those two wouldn't shut their traps for a second! They made a sixteen hour trip, seem like a month! And the B.O.!


....tomorrow, I'm buying them a crate of Reyton Soap! Between them yanking on one set of nerves, and my other set being frazzled by that weird hum from the back of the truck...well, lets just say I'm glad to have my own room.



  Oh yeah, this room! Awful! When I first unlocked the door, and walked in, there was a wino, sleeping on the bed! I shooed him out, and when I pulled back the covers of the bed, there was blood on the sheets! Oh well, at least the window has a nice view of the Sanguine river. Very pretty.



 Tomorrow, we are to drive to some place called the "Golden Sphere Map Co." in downtown Boneport, where we'll meet up with the other mugs in on this scheme, whatever it is.



  We don't know who else is involved, besides Dr. Prometheus and Horse Shoe Hanna. I assume it's just hired thugs, like us. We do know other trucks are coming in from California and New Mexico. Doesn't tell me much.



 Gooter and Muggy inform me that as far as the John Law goes around here, we have to keep a watch for Marshall Edson Blaze, who is mean as hell and is a crackerjack shot.



 As far as Mid-night avenger types, we need to beware of some palooka known as the Gray Fog.

 Jeez!...just when I thought the crusading, do-gooder types were thinning out! I mean, ol Doc `High and mighty' is rarely in the country these days, you don't hear much about that Benson, galoot, and the Spider and Captain Spangle Skivies, haven't been seen since the war. So I come to Nowheresville, USA. just to find out they have their own mystery man! Maybe this city needed one to give them that big city feel. It's probably some yokel, running around with a domino mask, made from his mothers unmentionables, thwarting kids from stealing jawbreakers.



 Well, time to get some shut eye, big day, big pay tomorrow!



                                    Part 3



July 13th, 1947



   On the road again, and lucky to be alive!



  What a day! What a night! I hope the bleeding stops soon. Hoping to get some sleep soon too. It should be easy, once the pain killers do their job.



   Champ is driving, and Champ doesn't talk much, not like Gooter and Muggy.



  Gooter and Muggy, jeez, I actually feel sorry for them, after what happened to them today...



  But I'm getting ahead of myself, before I dose off, I'll write down the events of this horrible day, after I've had about six hours of sleep I'll take over-driving for Champ.



  Where do I start?



   I woke up this morning wanting coffee, so I got dressed, and left my motel room. I saw Gooter and Muggy pitching pennies against the outside wall of my room.



  As usual, those skinny goons were laughing and grinning like morons. I ignored them as I wandered over to the little cafe' adjacent to the motel. I had a cup of java, five in fact, ham, eggs, and something called grits. Cowboy food!



  I wonder if my dear old grand pappy, ate grits when he was a member of El Head's gang, back in the day. If he did, he didn't say so in his journal.



  I looked up at the clock and noticed it was near 10:30. The rendezvous was set for high noon, and I wanted to see the sites, and maybe pick up
souvenirs for Meg and the kids.



  I left the cafe' and walked over to Gooter and Muggy, to tell them I was going to wander around for awhile, and for them to keep a close eye on the truck. They looked up at me briefly, from their crouched position. Gooter started laughing and punched Muggy in the arm. Muggy responded with a knowing grin, right back at him, like their was some joke on me that only they understood.



  "Who needs em?" I thought as I hoofed towards downtown Boneport.



  I window shopped awhile, around several storefronts, nothing much interested me.



  It seemed like an endless parade of brick buildings, with a handful of blank faced people milling around, seeming un-bothered by the fact that they were who they were, and these were probably the leading businessmen of this burg.



   Soon, however, I found one interesting shop, that had some weird looking dolls in the windows. Meg and Little Meg are girls, and girls like dolls, so I figured, what the hey! I'll buy some dolls!



  I walked into the strange little shop. Weird decorations, silver moons and stars, hung from the ceiling. Candles of all shapes and sizes. Some for sale, some in use. The smell! I can't describe the smell. Not unpleasant, but not really pleasant, no.



  The only person in the joint was a rather plump, gray haired woman, working behind the counter. She was kind of odd, in that though she was a white woman, she dressed like a mix between a Gypsy and Redskin. And she was barefoot! Go figure!



  She was nice enough though, warm smile. And boy, could she talk! She made Gooter and Muggy seem like mimes! She said her name was Harmony. I asked her, "How much for the dolls?", and she asked me what I wanted them for. I told her they were for my wife and daughter, little keepsakes. Her eyes grew wide, and she began chattering away about how these dolls were not toys and blah blah blah, yackety smackety!



  I got the picture, it was voo doo stuff. Before my old pal, Bennie got the chair for gunning down Nathan Detroit, he told me about working for the crime boss, known as the Zombie Master. Bennie told me that voo doo was nothing to fool around with, despite what Cole Porter says.



  Harmony, didn't stop at the voo doo warnings, she just kept right on jawing about anything and everything.



   What with her talking so fast, and the later events of the day, taking up so much space in my noggin, I can’t recall everything she told me.



  She talked mostly about strange things that happened around these parts, Boneport and the smaller towns across the river.



  She mentioned some place called Ju Ju road, and the creature called the Hairy Man!



  She spoke of the colony of Vampires in the swamps near Dark Oaks plantation. She'd never seen these vampires but she knows they are there.



  She mentioned Opossum Trudueax, who lures kids to their death in the bayou, with his colorful umbrella.



  She informed me of other strange events that have plagued this area for centuries, but no one else will talk about them. She told me her theory, that this town is one of the special areas where dark forces are stronger and are harder at work.


 

 She and some of her correspondents have been compiling a list of such places. Some of the areas she mentioned were towns like Arkham, Mass., Harrisonville, NJ, and Sunnydale, CA...and some small country in Europe called Vasaria.



  I just smiled and nodded, and tried to look interested, hoping for a break in her endless speech, where I could say "Well, it was nice talking to you, I gotta go now" I may be a criminal, but I'm polite.



  Fortunately, another customer came in, obviously some one she knew, a cohort. Harmony, and the new customer, gave each other a strange look, then they both stared in my direction. I knew I wasn't welcome there anymore. At random, I grabbed several nick nacks off a shelf. Silver jewelry for my gals. I plopped some cash on the counter, and Harmony put them into a bag for me.



  As I exited the shop, I looked up at the big town clock, and saw that it was 11: 41. I hoofed it back to the motel, as fast as my feet would go.


 

 Gooter and Muggy were sitting and drinking hooch, in the exact same spot where I had left them pitching pennies earlier. I slapped them around with my Derby hat, to get them motivated, seeing as how we were late.



  Gooter and Muggy always look at you like they don't savvy English, but they follow orders if you talk mean enough.



  We hopped into the truck, and headed downtown, Gooter drove. Gooter and Muggy immediately started talking about when they were pitching pennies, like they were reminiscing about something that happened years ago.



  I ignored them and stared out of the passenger window, flicking ashes from my cigarette. Once again I passed row after row, of two story red brick buildings.



   The Golden Sphere Map Co. was located near the corner of Spring St. and Milam. I saw the name on the store front window. For such a grandiose name, the place looked unassuming. The company name was painted in plain black letters, neither big, nor small, on the large glass.



  Gooter drove the truck around back, through an ally, and we parked behind the Golden Sphere building. The other trucks were already there.



  Before I even got out of the cab, I could see, Detroit Durant, giving me a cold stare. I wish I'd known he was in on this, I would have stood in bed.



   Speaking of bed, I think the pills are starting to take effect, I'll catch some winks, and write some more in an hour or so, it's a long drive, so I'll have plenty of time to write.



  Jeez! What a day!



                               Part 4




July 14th, 1947


  It's past mid-nite, that nap did me good.



  Still on the road. Good, the bleeding has stopped! Champ woke me up with a loud sneeze, so I figured I'd write some more in my diary.



  There is still a lot of stuff that happened yesterday, that I need to write down.



   Let's see where was I, oh yeah, we pulled the truck round back of the Golden Sphere Map Co. Durant was standing by the back entrance, chomping on a cigar, and tapping his foot, like he was waiting to get into the john.



   Jeez, I thought, It's bad enough that I've got to deal with Horse Shoe Hanna, but Durant!



  I had to remember to address him as "Detroit Durant." He's from Brooklyn, same as me, but he and his family moved to Detroit, some years back.



   Durant used to have a fantasy about being the right hand man, in the Green Hornet's gang. I never even met any one who was in the Hornet's gang. I never even heard of any one who was ever in the Hornet's gang. Maybe that's why Durant wanted in. He saw it as some sort of exclusive club, and figured it would give him prestige.



   As it turned out, Durant moved to Detroit for nothing, as the Hornet seemed to retire, or get plugged, or such like. Least wise we haven't heard any thing about him in years. We'll probably never know, seeing as how no one ever got a looksie under that mask. That's neither here nor there, Durant is still Durant. 280 pounds of pure mean!



   Gooter, Muggy and I got out of the truck and made our way
towards the back entrance. I avoided Durant's glare as we stepped past him into the building. I could feel hot cigar smoke on the back of my neck, as Durant, angrily mumbled about what lousy mugs we were. The tapping of his patent leather shoes made a loud echo, in the garbage filled ally.



   Once inside, I was surprised. The place looked like a normal office. LOOKED, like a normal office, I say, but that was just the ground floor. Inside, we were greeted by an attractive young woman. Durant introduced us, her name was Katya Rockof, and this was her office.



   She told us that the Golden Sphere Map Co. was her own business that she started from scratch. Hearing this, I think I figured out her deal. A skirt, trying to make it as a professional, especially in a podunk town like this, cant be making a good enough go at it. She needs other ways of bringing in the dough. So she rents her building to business men like ourselves, to have our covert meetings. How often do covert meetings happen in a hick town like this? I don't ask these questions out loud, I just do my job.



  I called her a skirt, Katya, but maybe I shouldn't, because she’s one of those dames who likes to wear trousers, long trousers, and she keeps her black hair cut almost as short as mine. I'm thinking maybe she's one of those girls who likes to be with other girls, but then I think "Nah, she's too much of a dish." If and when I get back to Red Mikes, I'll have to ask the "Sinister" Dick Rabies about that, he claims to be an expert.



  Katya smiled, talked politely, and shook our hands, just like she was a regular fella. She had these eyes...



Okay, regarding my previous thought about dames. I thought most women were like Meg, or my dear old mother, or the molls, that sit on the big bosses lap. Oh sure I've met the occasional tough broad, and a couple of female masterminds like the Dragon Lady and the Lynx. Katya was different, there was something big going on behind those eyes, and I knew I wouldn't want to be on her bad side.



  Katya led the four of us to the back of her workspace, past wooden tables and large printing presses. We stood before a wall, and Katya tugged four times on the end of a rope, that stretched from one wall to another. The rope seemed innocent enough, what with the maps hanging from clothes pins to dry. But after the fourth tug, the wall in front of us slid open. Pretty nifty! Beyond the sliding wall, there was a dark alcove, that had a set of stairs going up. Katya and Durant started up the stairs, I followed and Gooter and Muggy trailed behind.




   I heard Gooter and Muggy giggling and turned around to see what they were on about. They were gesturing with their hands toward Katya's rump. opening and closing their fingers like lunatic lobsters reaching for.... well.... whatever lobsters really like to eat. Durant turned around too, and Gooter and Muggy started grinning at us as if they were waiting for our approval.



   If Durant gave them that satisfaction I'll never know. I just rolled my eyes, trying in my own way, to let them know that I thought they were jackasses.



   So we make it to the top of the stairs, and another wall slides open. Once my eyes adjusted to the light, I was impressed by the set up! The big room was done up in classic, early masterminds secret lair, style!



   Katya, told us she designed the room her self, and she had a big smile of pride when she said it!



   A great big world map filled up one entire wall, and there was a huge oak table, which was shaped in all kinds of weird angles, with chairs to match!



   The chairs were already filled up pretty much, and at the head of the table, in the biggest, weirdest, whiz-bangiest, chair sat Horse Shoe Hanna.



   I guessed that Dr. P. himself would join us down the road and that for now Horse Shoe was running things.



   The meeting had not been officially called to order yet, I noticed Horseshoe got up to mill around, so I asked Katya, if she had some java on. She smiled, and led me to a huge counter, that had an original Strickfaden, coffee maker! It filled up the entire counter, and had more toggles, levers and buttons, that seemed impossible for there to be a use for! And boy did it make some great joe!



   I asked Katya, if she's made a lot of dough on this place, and she told me that this is her first time to rent the place out. I told her that it was a great spread, and that I would put the word out as best I could to send more clients her way. She said thanks, and that this kind of business, thrives on word of mouth.



  After a big gulp of Java, and a good drag on a freshly lit cigarette, I made my way over to the table.



  The fact that there were only a few seats left, and no empty ones next together, kinda worked in my favor, in that I didn't have to sit next to Gooter and Muggy.



   I found an empty seat between two lugs I knew. Champ, who I go way back with, and Tully Garvin I go way, way back with, when I hung out in California.



  Tully is a good friend of Durant's, and they can have each other. Two peas in a mean pod, those two. Last I heard any thing on Tully, he was in the Sims' racket, in Turquoise City, Arizona, till he and Sims' got nabbed by that singing Marshall, Autry, back around 34.



   Champ said "Hey!" Champ doesn't talk much, and Tully didn't say anything.



   Now I'll admit, I don't have a movie star face, that every body remembers, but you'd think Tully would recognize me, Especially since I was the one who pulled that great joke on him involving the hooker, the anteater and Durant, back when we were young bucks. You'd think that he would at least give me a hateful glare, but no! It was spooky, like Big Pockets, only Big Pockets still knew who I was.



  He just kept staring at the ceiling, with a worried look on his face. I looked to see if there was a scar on his forehead, but none was there.



   Finally, I tried to break the ice.



"Tully," I said. "How's tricks?"



  Tully seemed to snap out of a dream and responded, "Oh sorry, were you asking me something?"



   That clinched it, first Tully Garvin never worried about anything, anything he could beat the tar out of or just shoot, and Tully Garvin, never, never apologizes for anything!



   "Oh nothing," I responded "Just talking to myself is all."



  Tully has some serious problems, and I don't want to know anything about it.



   I saw Horseshoe, making his way back towards the big, fancy, schmancy chair. On the way he was stopping at this or that person, smiling, shaking hands, asking about wives, kids, pets, what have you. He was getting near to where I was, and I was dreading it, cause I new what was coming.



   "Hiya Clover!" he said to me, in a real loud voice. I had really hoped to avoid this. I regret ever belonging to that gang he used to be the boss of. We couldn't just do crimes with a name like the James gang, or the Capone mob. No, he had to have a theme for his gang.



  Since he was Horseshoe, he decided to call us the Lucky Charms gang, and each member had to have the name of a lucky charm.



   "This is just like old times, eh Clover!" he said even louder this time. But he's handing out the bucks, so I smiled and said "Yeah, Horseshoe, like old times". I could see Fresno Dan, smirking at me across the table.



  Oh jeez, just the memory of that is making my stomach do flip flops I've got to stop writing for awhile.




                                  Part 5



Still July 14th, 1947



  Had a cup from the thermos and a smoke, much better now.



   Champ is still driving, he say's he can keep at it, so I'll finish up writing down the rest of today's happenings.



   Horseshoe swaggered over to the Big Boss chair and sat down.



   I was hoping he would start the meeting as soon as possible, to get these mugs, sitting near me, minds on something other then this "Clover" business.



   The great Guiltless Steve and Artie the Shiv, who sat across the table from me were starting to hum, "I'm looking over a four leaf clover." I'm glad those two palookas headed back to New York, after the meeting. Of course they will blab about this to Big Win and the gang back at Red Mikes, but at least I wont have to tolerate their shenanigans on the mission.



   Horseshoe called the meeting to order, and we all turned our attentions to him, well maybe not Gooter and Muggy, they were poking each other
with the pencils that were left at our spaces to take notes.



   "Welcome to the fabulous Golden Sphere secret lair meeting room, gentlemen" Horseshoe began, "I hope you all take the opportunity, to thank Miss Rockof, our wonderful hostess, for providing these magnificent facilities for our use, she also set up the delicious treats at the buffet tablet, so after the meeting, enjoy the yummy snacks," Horseshoe continued.



   "I realize that most of you are still in the dark, about the nature of this mission, and are curious about Dr. Prometheus, our gracious employer." I wasn't, I just wanted to do the job, and get paid.



  "Dr. Prometheus, is a brilliant man, with big ideas, and has a cash flow to insure that those ideas, come to fruition" Horseshoe smiled while he talked. "The good Doctor, is at this moment at Farou Island, where we will join him after a thrilling, ocean cruise. As you have noticed, we have three trucks, that must be transported to the coast of Florida, these trucks contain valuable cargo, very important to the doctors work."



  Horseshoe picked up a pointing stick, and walked over to the huge wall map, pointed at where we were, then to Florida.



   "Once we arrive at LaMirada, Florida, we will load the cargo onto Captain Enzo Finn's ship, SS. Parihaka, from there we make a pick up at Marya Island" he pointed to an area in the West Indies. "Then it's off to Capetown Africa, where we will be joined by the men who will complete our team" His pointer moved east across the map.



"From that point we make no stops till we reach Farou, which you might notice, is not on the map..." He was indicating a spot in the Pacific ocean, near Papua, "...but I assure you it is there, about sixty three miles south of Bougainville."



  He paused for a minute.



  "As we are going to be traveling on the water, beneath us there will be a crew of our associates, in a submarine, transporting, what Dr. Prometheus, considers the most precious item, needed for his work. This item, is so large, that the submarine had to be constructed around it. Once we arrive at Farou, we will have to take the submarine apart, and we will remove the item, and reassemble the submarine parts into a lab, designed specially for the Creature--er,--item."



Horseshoe gestured to a elderly, balding, man, sitting at his left. "I would like you all to meet Prof. Sanders, Archeologist."



   The Prof. stood up.



   "Good afternoon gentlemen" he said, then sat back down.



   "Prof. Sanders...” Horseshoe went on, “...was hired by Dr. Prometheus, for a side project. It seems Farou Island is filled with ancient artifacts, possibly containing the secrets of the ages, that our employer wants explored."



   Who cares? was the thing I was thinking.



  "So when you are not helping Dr. Prometheus, directly, many of you will accompany Prof. Sanders, on expeditions through the Islands jungles and mountains" Horseshoe smirked, "In other words, there will be plenty of work to keep you busy. Believe me, you are going to EARN your money!"



   Yeah, yeah, yeah, I thought. I'll do my job, just pay me the dough, is all I ask.



  "In order to avoid suspicion...” Horseshoe chattered on, “...we are going to have the trucks depart at different intervals. Bay City Bottems and his crew will depart in an hour, The Garvin and Durant team, around 6:00, and Champ's team around 9:00, in the meantime, enjoy the facilities, take a nap, or just enjoy each others company. That's all for now!"



  Oh, jeez. My writing is being interrupted again, because Champ says he's got to pee.



  Maybe it's for the best. The events that follow, are going to take a lot of concentration on my part to write down in detail, and I don't want to leave anything out. I'll take a breather.



                                  Part 6



And it's still July 14th, 1947



   Okay, back in the truck. We stopped in at a place called Pat’s Diner, in Ottawa, a small Mississippi town, Champ had a good pee, and I had a quick bite.



  Good food, lousy coffee.



   We are about to go through the Mississippi, Alabama border. I'm going to have to start driving soon. This will be my last chance to write, till after we board the ship in Florida.



   Okay, this time no interruptions. I'm going to bring everything up to date.



   After the meeting was adjourned, I decided to mill about, and see some fellas I hadn't talked to for awhile. I chewed the fat with old pals like Reebo Anderson, Slasher Atwood, Pickles Prentice, and Feckless Fletcher. Great guys, all of them!



  While I was yacking, I could see out of the corner of my eye, Durant yelling at Tully Garvin. I couldn't hear what was being said, but I knew Durant was frustrated, at Tully.



   Tully seemed to be ignoring him, and just stared at the floor, as he smoked, and sipped from his coffee cup. Tully's face seemed to be filled with nothing but despair. It chills me to the bone to think of something that could put a guy like him, in to a state of mind like that. I wonder what happened to him. No I don’t! Yes I do.



   In the old days, if Durant had yelled at Tully that way, they'd be throwing down! Tully just kept looking at the floor.



  I know from several sources, that Tully was adopted. When he started making big bucks, he hired someone to find out who his real parents were, and learned that he was a bastard. (Jeez! we all knew that all along) His mother was some British guy's mistress, and she had been living with him in Merry old England, but a couple of months before Tully was born, she hoofed it back to California, where she was from.



   Soon after his birth, Tully's old lady, gave him up for adoption, and he was taken in by the Garvins. He used to laugh about it, saying, "Who cares, I'll make more bastards than my old man, whoever he was, ever dreamed of!"



  That's why it was so creepy to see Tully so forlorn. I thought nothing fazed that guy.



   Well, I don't want to think about that anymore, whatever happened to Tully, he probably had it coming.



   So as I said, I was goofing off, jawing with old friends, drinking coffee, chain smoking. The hours flew by.



   Bay City Bottems and his crew left, then later Tully and his team took off.



  Durant apparently decided he didn't want to ride with Tully, so he opted to travel with Horseshoe, Prof. Sanders and the other big wigs, in Horseshoe's Daimler, which would leave around the same time as us.



   It was getting kinda quiet, around 8:30 or so I looked up through the big sky light window, and noticed it was real dark. I figured it was time to start getting ready to leave.



   I was about to go round up Champ, Gooter and Muggy and the rest of our team, when my stomach started complaining. I asked Katya where the toilet was, (Meg would be real sore at me if she knew I used the word 'toilet' around a dame.) and she led me through a maze of corridors, showed me where it was, and she went back to the meeting room.



   As far as rest rooms go, this was a nice one. I sat down and made myself comfortable, there was a stack of E.C. funny books on a stand next to the toilet. Crime Does Not Pay, The Thing!, and Tomb of Terror! This broad had great taste! I settled in for a good read.



   I was almost through my fourth funny book, when I heard a ruckus from down the hall.



   "Oh jeez! What now?" I thought. I finished up my business, and vacated the rest room.



  I was about halfway to the meeting room, when I started hearing gun shots! I started running, and when I got near the entrance I noticed a lot of thick billowy smoke. But it wasn't smoke, it was a fog, a grey fog! I'm not the smartest lug, in the world, but I figured it out pretty quick.



  I could not even see in to the meeting room, the fog was so thick! I just heard a lot of shouting, and gun's going off, so I reached for my own piece.



  I could make out dim figures, but I couldn't tell whosit from whatsit! I figured the best thing to do would be to charge on through, till I could reach a spot where I could see something. I took a deep breath and did it!



   I bumped into someone as I was running. Of course I couldn't see the person to well, all I could make out was a figure in a grey Trench coat, and grey fedora. And, this is where it gets strange, this person wore a white porcelain mask, that covered the whole face. And this is where it gets stranger, when I bumped into this figure I noticed, it was unmistakably a woman.



   I just kept running, with my pistol held out in front of me, bumping into several more people, amidst all the chaos, and what not, 'til I reached the gang on the other side of the fog.

   I was finally able to figure out the situation. Our mob was fighting away, with a bunch of masked vigilante types, and having a difficult time with it, what with all the thick fog, and get this, they were WOMEN!



   I saw Sour-puss Folmer and Watty McClanahan getting the tar whooped out of them by some gal, wearing what looked like black pajamas, and a black domino mask. She was using those Chinese type fighting skills.



   Sneaky boots Nelson, Fish Face Edwards and Do-hickey Dossett, were getting trashed by a woman laughing, dancing around with a fencing foil, that seemed to give off an electric shock. She was wearing all black as well, and again with the domino mask!



   Freshy Wilson and Sewer breath Colloms were getting done in by a little short woman, also in black with a mask, who didn't seem to need a gimmick, she just blew them away with her 45's.



   A gang of masked, vigilante, WOMEN! Who would've thought!



   Then their leader stepped out of the fog. It was as I guessed, The Grey Fog!



   Boy, did I have that whole magila pegged wrong! I started to fire at her, but she seemed to move in a way, that my bullets missed her completely! I noticed Durant was firing away too, but he was missing every shot.



   He was smiling in a funny way, that sent shivers up my spine.



   I looked around for Horseshoe, and I found him, lying in a pool of his own blood. Gooter and Muggy seemed to be shooting at random, and laughing like goons.



   Okay, it was time to get out of there, and I new what my priorities were.



   I checked on Horseshoe, dead as dead can be, so I started pushing Prof. Sanders towards the secret panel, knowing Durant and the others could fend for them selves.



  I heard a horrifying scream, and saw Gooter falling towards the floor.



   "Muggy, lets high tail it!" I yelled, but Muggy just stood there staring at Gooter's still body.



   I opened the secret panel, and told Prof. Sanders, to get to the Daimler.



  Durant and the few left that weren't dead, unconscious or still being thrashed around by those devil women, followed Sanders down the stairs.



   Before he stepped out, I noticed Durant turn around one last time and look at Horseshoe and Gooter's bodies, and smile a wicked smile like you
wouldn't believe.



   As Champ was passing me I told him to go start the truck, and that I would join him as soon as possible. He nodded and left. I ran over to Muggy, and grabbed him by the arm.



   "Lets go, Muggy!" I screamed at him. He wouldn't budge, he just kept staring down at Gooter's body, with no feeling on his face what so ever. I knelt down, and grabbed Gooter's wrist.



  "See Muggy!" I yelled. "No pulse, he's dead, we gotta leave him, come on lets go!" No good, he wouldn't move. I had to do, what I had to do, so I slugged him right across his ugly puss, and he crumpled in my arms. I flung him across, my back, in a fireman's carry, and headed towards the exit. I looked behind me one more time, and saw so many of the gang, down for the count, or still struggling with those vicious broads!



   I caught one last glimpse of the Grey Fog, she stood there, motionless, occasionally, turning her head from side to side, overseeing her crew's handiwork.



   At one point I thought she might have looked at me, but I couldn't be sure, what with that spooky doll like, mask she wore. Her eyes seemed to be empty sockets, hiding just under the brim of her fedora.




   With Muggy, still over my shoulder, I amscrayed! I made it down the stairs, and to the back entrance of the building, then outside to the truck. Champ was in the driver's seat ready to go. I noticed the Daimler with Durant and the rest, was long gone.



   I was stuffing Muggy into the passenger seat, of the truck, when I heard a blood curdling war cry.



   I looked up, and saw crouched on a ledge, just one story up on the Golden Sphere map building, one of the strangest looking cusses my eyes have ever beheld. It was a savage looking, white guy, with long hair, wearing only trousers, and get this, war paint, like a redskin, or an African tribesman might wear.



   He had a great big knife in his hand, and was looking at me like I was dinner. He was about to pounce, I could tell. Then to make matters worse, The Grey Fog's masked lady crew were emerging from the entrance, that I had just come through.



   "Start driving, Champ!" I yelled at the top of my lungs "I'll cover us!"



   The truck started moving, and I jumped on the back bumper, holding on to the truck with one hand, pistol in the other, firing at the masked women.



   The long haired, war paint guy, leaped from the ledge, on to the top of the truck.



   I noticed that standing on the ledge, where the Long haired galoot had been crouched, was the Grey Fog herself, still motionless, surrounded by wisps of swirling grey mist. She seemed to be directing the whole horrible scene.



   I fired a couple shots at her and her gang, then climbed up the back of the moving truck, to face the wild goon that was waiting for me on top.



   I started shooting at him immediately, and immediately ran out of ammo. Jeez, just one shot, I got off, but I think I hit him somewhere.



   That didn't stop him though, he started growling, like some kind of.... oh I don't know, something really horrible, and leaped at me, knife in hand.



   He slashed me a good one, right across the chest, and my left leg.



   We grappled for what seemed like forever, but he soon had me pinned down, one hand on my throat, the other hand with the knife, ready to stab right down on my throat or worse.



   His savage eyes locked onto mine and he said something in a strange language, that sounded like "Eetah, Da Na kootu!"



   That was it I thought I had bought the farm, and the town gazebo, but just before the knife struck home, I heard the Long haired guy, grunt in pain, then he fell off of me, and off the truck.



  I looked up and saw Muggy kneeling right in front of me, with a tire iron in his hand, and no expression what so ever on his face.



   I shook the cobwebs out of my head, and looked at road behind us. There was that Long haired war paint, guy, shaking his knife at us, and yelling, till the truck moved beyond his view.


   I crawled over to Muggy, patted him on the shoulder, and said, "Thanks, pal!" He didn't reply, so we just climbed back into the cab. Muggy, crawled into the cramped space behind, the seats and fell to sleep right away.



   I got a first aid kit from the glove compartment, and got to work on my wounds.



   "That was something, eh Champ?" I said, just because I needed to say something.



   Champ replied "Yep," and just stared straight ahead.



   Well, that’s everything so far, I've got to drive the rest of the way, till we make LaMirada. Champ needs some sleep, and Muggy has been sleeping the whole time, curled up like a big, ugly, stupid, baby.


   Poor Muggy.




                                     Part 7



July 16th, 1947

 

  My back is killing me! Nothing but lifting and hauling since we made it to LaMirada, Fla.  It seemed to take forever to get those huge crates from the trucks on to the S.S. Parihaka.



  We had to be very careful with them, not only because Dr. Prometheus demands it, but we are all scared schlackless, by what might be in those things. Strange noises, like I've never heard in all my born days are coming from those crates, and I don't know, that one slight bump on them might blow up the whole world!



  Well, they seem to be safe and secure now, and I'm all settled in, in my cabin, on the ship.



  I say my cabin, but I'm sharing it with some other guys. Staying in the cabin are Champ, my old pal Commanche Stone, (Who was waiting for us in Fla.) Muggy, who is talking less than Champ these days, and Tully Garvin.



  Jeez, I'm glad good ol' Commanch is here, otherwise I'd feel like I was in a home for the mute!



  Tully, probably would have gotten his own cabin, but it seems like Durant has got it out for him, even though they used to be such good pals.



  Durant! Jeez Louse! He is meaner then ever!



   I was taking a break on the pier, in between the loading and what not, just having a smoke, and telling Commanch about what happened in Boneport. When I got to the part about the Grey Fog, and her team of lady, (and one guy) crimebusters, Durant blew a cork!



  He popped me a good one on the side of my noggin, grabbed my jacket collar, and said through clenched teeth, "Those were Men I tell ya! Men! If I ever hear ya say they were dames again, you'll be ridding the underside of this boat, and I'll nail ya there my self!!!"



  As ol' Killer Kai was so found of saying, Sheesh!



  Thinking about Boneport, just got me to thinking, I wonder what happened to that nice dame Katya. The last time I saw her, was when she lead me to the toilet. I hope she wasn't nabbed by the Grey Fog and Co. like a lot of my pals were that night. Even if she wasn't, her underworld, meeting place, rental business is most likely ruined now, seeing as how the Gray Fog, knows about it.



  I got to meet the Captain, Enzo Finn. He's an interesting, grizzled old geezer, with a lot of interesting stories about legends and stuff, about the Pacific Ocean.



  We also met the woman who is going to be our guide, once we get to Farou. Her name is Nesta Reynolds, and she has been all up and down, and every where in that area we are headed to. She's been riding the Pacific waves, since she was a tike.



  She's a real looker too! Hubba Hubba!. (Not that I would even think of being untrue to Meg, but a guy can look, cant he?)



  Well, Commanch, wants to have a beer, and catch up on old times, so I'll write more later.



                                Part 8



Still July 16th, 1947


  We are about to leave port.



   Had a good time, running around, downtown LaMirada, with Commanch, and the guys.



   Heck we even got Tully to hang out with us for awhile.



  Y'know he doesn't seem as mean as he used to be. Maybe that's why Durant is giving him the cold shoulder.



  He's still not much for conversation, though.



  Oh yeah, funny thing about Tully, while we were heading towards a little pub, that Commanch, suggested, we passed by a an interesting little joint, called MacDougals House of Horrors. I thought maybe we could go in, for a laugh.


 

 My oldest boy loves monster movies, his room is full of pictures of Loren Belasco all decked out in his vampire get up. I was thinking I could pick something up for him, if they had a gift shop or something. Unfortunately, they were closed.



  I argued with the owner, who was sweeping up the front, if he could open it up, just for us. No dice.



  As we started to walk away I noticed Tully just standing and staring at the marquee. The Marquee, was all done up in a mural, real colorful, with vampires, bogeymen, werewolves and what not.



  Tully seemed upset by it, like it reminded him of something that he really didn't want to think about. He was just staring and staring, even though we kept saying, "Hey Tully, let's go."



  Finally, he seemed to come out of his trance, and we were on our way, but Tully seemed even sadder, the rest of the after noon.



   We made it to the pub, a nice little, snazzy joint, called the Purple Anaconda, and we picked out a big table. Champ bought the first round and Commanch put some Ledbelly on the juke.



  We started gabbing about our wives, kids, funniest felonies, what have you. After a couple more rounds we started talking about this gig.



  Bay City Bottems, told us about how he and his crew, had to drive their truck to some place in New Mexico called Roosewall, or something, and load up a large crate left for them, cached in cave. They were told before hand where to find it, and never made contact with any one the whole time they were there.



  They did run into a little trouble, when they decided to make a quick run across the border into old Mexico, to visit some bordello famous in the underworld for being a good hideout, and employing really exotic broads.



  It seems before they could make it to the Casa de la ill repute, the border patrol got suspicious about the contents of the truck, and Bottems decided to high tail it.



  They were almost caught by two Mexican masked avenger types, El Medico Asesino and El Santo. They were lucky to get away!



  We tried to get Tully into the conversation, but he wasn't really in the mood to talk. Tully excused himself, and said he was going back to the ship, and he left.



  Fresno Dan had to fill us in on the trip from California. Fresno, rode shot gun, with Tully, and told us how they drove the truck to Burbank, to pick up a bunch of lab equipment that Dr. Prometheus had purchased from a Mrs. MacVicker.



  The equipment once belonged to the girls uncle, Dr. Sigmund Walters, who was a mad scientist type.



  Tully and Fresno didn't have the convenience of having it already packed up in a nice, tidy, crate, they had to carefully box up all the weird gadgets and gizmo's themselves. Fresno said it took all of twelve hours to do the whole job.



  I didn't have so interesting of a story to tell. Gooter and Muggy had already picked up our big package, before I even knew about this job. I think they said they got the crate from some company in New Jersey, called Yoyodyne, but that sounds like something those guy's made up, to pull my leg.



   Our conversation was interrupted by these two goon's who had, had maybe a little to much, drinkee, drinkee.



  They were two working stiffs from a local shipping company. One of them, a little pudgy guy, started giving us guff, because they had seen us loading the crates onto the ship, and said they should have gotten the job, seeing how they were union. I thought he was going to try to get tough with us, but we all, kind of casually, showed our pieces, and he and his pal backed off.



  They went back to the bar, and got into some silly discussion about baseball.



  It started to get dark, so we decided to head back to the ship, as it would be leaving soon.



   We all had a good time, laughing and carrying on, during the walk back to the ship.



  Once back on deck, I saw Tully, leaning on the rail, staring up at the moon, looking like his dog died or something. Jeez, what gives with him?



  That's all for now. This ocean voyage is underway, and I'm going to get some sleep.




                                    Part 9




July 17th, 1947



  Another day gone by.



  Didn't really have to do much work today, good thing too, as I didn't get a heck of a lot of sleep last night.



   I found the rocking of the ship comforting, but my cabin mates were keeping me awake. First off, I could hear Muggy, giggling to himself, all night.



  Tully kept talking in his sleep, mumbling things like "No!, Not again!" and "I'm sorry". I think he said several names of dames he knew, names like Gwen, Alonka, and Lisa...at least that's what it sounded like to me. And he kept tossing and turning like some kind of wild beast!



   Finally I got up and decided to stroll around on deck and wait for the sun to rise.



  Before I left the cabin I noticed Commanch, wasn't in his bunk. Later I found out where he was, but I'll have to get to that.



  The stars are so clear, when seen from the ocean.



  I wish I could remember all those Gods and Heroes, that connecting the stars are supposed to make pictures of. My son knows them all, and likes to tell me all about them.



  I like that he's so smart.



  I wandered around, hoping to find a pot of coffee, brewing somewhere.



  I finally spotted an open door, with signs of activity. I walked in, and saw that it was the ships, radio room. Commanche Stone, was inside, and get this, he was using all that expensive equipment to talk to dames.



  Commanche was startled when he heard me shut the door behind me.



"Durant's gonna have your head on a platter if he catches you doin' this Commanch!" I said.



  Same old Commanch, he cant keep his mind off of the fairer sex, for one second.



   He likes to spend hours chatting with lonely broads, who own ham radio sets, he's been doing this for years.



  I remember when he first got his own set, awhile back. Commanch said it was for business reasons, figuring to set up an underworld, pipeline, in code.



  It was a good idea. The "Mad-so-and-so" needs thugs for such and such mission.


 

 He said this might make him a Big Boss some day. He had visions of sitting in the Big Chair, and barking out orders, and one day ruling the world, but so far, he has mostly just spent his hours on the airwaves, talking lovey dovey to broads he's never met.



  I wasn't exaggerating with my warning to him, Durant will kill him, if he finds out.



   Durant has become more of a monster then ever since Horseshoe got bumped off, and he became the field boss.



 But getting back, I soon realized Commanch wasn't going to be much company, so I left him to his own devices.



  There just wasn't much life on board so I found a deck chair, stretched out on it and took a snooze.



  I was awakened by a combination of the sun, and Muggy, not five feet away from me, making a racket with, bucket and other various and sundry cleaning supplies. Muggy was down on all fours, scrubbing away at the deck.



  What gives? I thought. The deck wasn't particularly dirty, and we just started this voyage.



  I looked up and understood. Durant was leaning against the rail, not to far away, flicking the ashes from his cigar, and smiling smugly at Muggy.



  I just have to say, there is evil, and there is EVIL!



  I couldn't watch any more, I lit a smoke of my own, and headed off.



  I wandered for awhile, this time I did find coffee, in the ships galley.



   All the mugs were there, Champ, Tully (still brooding) Fresno Dan, etc. Plus Durant,(Guess he got tired of giving Muggy, guff) Prof. Sanders and that tall and tan, Nesta Reynolds dish.



  Commanch was trying to make a play for Nesta, with no luck.



  What would all his ham radio gal friends think if they knew he was trying to two time them? That Commanch!



  Bay City Bottems, saw me come in, and before I could even finish pouring some joe, into my cup, he started in.



  "I was just tellin the fellas who weren't in Boneport, about the Grey Fog. You were actually there when it happened, tell us about it!"



  I noticed Durant was in the room, so when I told the tale, I left out the fact, that the Fog and cohorts, were mostly dames.



  When I got to the part about the long haired war paint guy, Prof. Sanders took an interest.



  "Please repeat, as best you can, what this savage fellow said to you," the Prof. requested.



  "Eetah, Da Na kootu!" I replied.



  "Hmmmmm," the Prof. hmmm'd and stroked his chin. "Very interesting."


 

 "What do you make of it, Professor?" I asked.



  He replied, "Well if you are pronouncing this phrase correctly, it appears to be a dialect of ancient Mu!"



  "Moo!!!???" all of us asked at once.



  "Like what a cow say's?" Filmy Flourney squeaked out.



  "No, not M-o-o ..." The Prof. corrected, "...M-u, a fabled continent, now sunk beneath the waves like Atlantis...."



  We all just kept listening, as he continued.



  "But this seems to be impossible, as I myself witnessed the destruction, of the last colony, of Mu, that existed in North America, albeit far below the Earth's surface!"



   He pondered a bit, then added, "But I suppose, there could have been a straggler or two..."



  At this point, I don't think he was even talking to us anymore, as he didn't take us to be very smart. He was just thinking out loud.



  "I believe, the phrase `Eetah, DA NA kootu' translates to `For you I strike, Mother of the moon and stars' or, `I slay on behalf of the Queen of the Universe.' Take your pick."



  Durant, who I didn't even know had been listening, suddenly piped in, "What a bunch of malarkey! sunken continents, and the like! you read too many books Professor!"



  Durant started laughing, a loud, fake laugh, just to cheese off the Prof. Then Captain Finn, joined the conversation.



  "I, myself, believe the tales of Ancient Mu....you would do well to pay heed to the old legends Mr. Durant, considering our destination..."

 

  Durant, took a big drag off of his cigar, and just glared hatefully at him. The Capt. went on, "Yes! on Farou Isle, and other nearby islands, such as Mondo..." He paused, and got a far away look in his eyes.



  "There are many things waiting below, Mr. Durant, Tulu, and Tanawa! Why one of Tanawa's spawn is said to watching and waiting, somewhere near Farou Island."



  "Tulu, Tanawa?" Prof. Sanders interrupted, "Yes, I've read the legends...great octopoid creatures, mentioned in ancient tomes!"



  "Aye!" Capt. Finn responded. "I call them the Dirty Creatures."



  Durant, walked past us, and out the door, with a mocking grin, just to let us know that he thought the Captain and the Professor were full of hooey.



  I however, tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, I've seen a lot of strange things in my line of work, plus the I've read the journals and memoirs, of my father, grandfather, and on. They saw stuff, in their lifetimes..... Heck, just reading GrandPappy's descriptions of El Head, gave me the willies.



  Well, not much to write about the rest of the day, I just relaxed and took it easy, and stayed out of Durant's way. Tomorrow, we make the pick up at Marya Island.



                                 Part 10




July 18th, 1947


  What a long day.



  It feels like months since I last wrote anything in the journal.



  So much happened since I got up this morning, jeez! I’m glad to see that damned Marya Island fade from view, I wish the ocean would just swallow it up!

   Okay, so the day didn't start out so bad. When I was having my third cup of Joe in the galley, Bay City Bottems, came up to me.



   “Hey, I gotta surprise for ya” Bay City, said with a goofy grin.



   “What is it Bay?” I asked.



   He reached into his inner jacket pocket and pulled out a rolled up piece of poster paper. He handed it to me, and I unrolled it.


  It was a promotional poster for MacDougals House of Horrors, with a big picture of Loren Belasco, as the Vampire King. The actor was holding the cape up, on each side like he was about to fly away, and an evil grin on his puss.


  “You know, for your kid, like you wanted” Bay City said, fidgety, while he waited for me to say something.


   “Bay, this is great!...thanks pal” I said, maybe a little choked up. “How’d ya get it?”

   “I stole it, ya lummox!...how else!” He told me.

I was about to ask him exactly how he managed to filch it but we were interrupted by Durant.

  “All right youse mugs...” Durant bellowed at all of us in the galley, “...we are about to dock at Marya Island, so get on your work clothes, ya got a lot more liftin' and totin' ta do!”.


  I gulped down the rest of my coffee, ran to my cabin, and stashed the poster in my foot locker, then hustled out to the deck.


  I didn't need to change clothes as Durant suggested, as I have a tendency to dress the same no matter what I do.


  My black trousers, black Arrow shirt, my tweed, suit jacket (that I've had since 35. It’s ragged and worn, and Meg keeps telling me to throw it away,
but I can't, it would be like throwing away a best friend) and my beat up Derby hat are good for all occasions. Well, some bosses insist on all henchman, wearing fedoras, so I always pack one, but that’s neither here nor there.

  We soon lowered a smaller boat, and a crew of about six of us climbed in, with Durant.



  It was me, Bay City Bottems, Boom Boom Lewis, Gorilla Nealis, Sharp Wally, and Herby boy. Oh yeah the lovely Nesta Reynolds, tagged along. Tully was supposed to join us but declined. I assumed it was because he didn't want to deal with Durant, but judging by what happened later that evening, I wonder if it was something else.



  Muggy didn't go either, Durant didn't even want him along. Durant decided Muggy needed to swab the entire deck, once more. Durant is a rotten son of a...



  Anyway, it took us all of ten or so minutes to reach the shore.



  I've got to say, even from the deck of the ship, Marya Island, looked pretty darn spooky. What with the dark, ugly mountain, that Nesta say’s used to be a volcano, or may STILL be a volcano. It didn't get any cheerier the closer we got.



  There was a rickety old dock, on the shore, and a couple of cottages and huts scattered here and there along the beach. Further up towards the base of the mountain we could make out a mansion, actually more like a castle. More on that later.

  So we made to the dock, and got out of the boat.


  I tried to help Nesta on to the deck, but slipped, and almost fell in to the drink.

  Nesta somehow caught me, and wound up helping me on to the deck. That dames got muscles! The guy’s had a good laugh, and I laughed with them. Durant wasn't amused at all, but who gives cares.


  We were greeted buy a little squirly, wild eyed, British guy, and a small group of Negro’s all wearing tropical looking shirts, baggy shorts and straw hats.


  The British guy introduced himself as P. Schubert, and said he was the overseer of Doctor Lejos’ plantation.


   Dr. Lejos? This was the first I had heard of him.


  I found out later that we were to be bringing the Doctor and his bodyguard with us on our voyage, but I’m getting ahead of myself.


   We were told we would meet Dr. Lejos, at his mansion later for dinner, that the Dr. would especially love to entertain, the lovely Miss Reynolds.


  Yeah, him and every guy on the ship!


   We were lead up a path, a little closer to spooky mansion, where we found a stack of crates waiting for us to move.


  Jeez! More crates!


  Schubert, told us that the Negro's would help us in moving the crates to the ship, and asked Nesta if she would like to sit under the shade, with a nice glass, of iced tea.

  Nesta declined, and said she would rather give us a hand...what a women.


  Durant didn't seem to like the idea, but said nothing. He did however say that he would take the offer of the iced tea, and proceeded to lay back in a hammock, that barely seem to support his great bulk.


  “Get TA work!” he ordered, and we did.


  Nesta was handy, pulling her weight with the best of us men, and we were grateful! It took us all of six or seven hours to get the job done.


  It’s too bad this primitive island set up had no block and tackle, type equipment, woulda cut our time done by several hours.


  Funny thing, some of the smaller cargo we took to the ship turned out to be four coffins, go figure!


   During a smoke break, I got to know one of the Negroes. (He and I smoked the same brand, so I bummed off him) He was a young fella, named Dwayne, and said he hoped to get off this island and go to college someday.


  I suggested he leave with us, and maybe I could show him around the States, after this job. He said he would have to talk to his employer, but he liked the idea.


  Well, we got all the moving done, and Durant told us to ****, shower and shave, as we had to go eat dinner at the Doctors place.


  Why I had to go, I can't figure. I hate these things, and Durant ordered me to wear a tie!


  “Oh well...” I thought “I hope the grub is good”.


  The boat ride back to the island a nice little moon light row. (As we had already stored the cargo boat back on the ship, we took a smaller row boat)


  It was just us guy’s who had moved the Stuff, with Durant, Prof.. Sanders, and Nesta, going.


  Nesta!--wow!--was she decked out! Her hair all done up, and she wore a long, shiny red, gown. She cleans up real nice. Her high heels added another couple a inches to her tall frame.


  Bay City, wore his stupid looking wide polka dot tie, that he thinks makes him look good. Durant wore his Zoot suit, he looked like a striped zeppelin.

  I just wore my clip on Bow-tie, I never learned how to tie the real McCoy, why bother?


  We made it to the entrance of the Mansion, a huge double door, with a big, bronze, scary looking gargoyle looking door knocker. Durant seemed to enjoy using the knocker, maybe it reminded him of a relative.


  Schubert let us in, and told us that Dr. Lejos would be with us soon. We walked in to the parlor, and I nosed around. This place was even spookier on the inside.


  Jeez, now I know, that back in my bachelor days, no one would accuse me of being the tidiest guy around, but this place took the cake! What with the huge spider webs, hanging all over the place, rat’s and armadillo’s scurrying around and the DUST!....yikes!


  I accidentally bumped into one the old looking tapestries, hang on the wall, and the dust came swirling around me. For a second there, I thought the
Gray Fog might be around...no, just dust, lots and lots of dust. I had a short coughing fit, because of it.


  Anyway, moldy, old Tapestries, strange looking statues, creepy paintings on the wall, and the whole place was lit, by what seemed to be a hundred or so candles, all in antique, looking candle holders. Prof. Sanders seemed to be in heaven as he examined each and every object in the room.


  Our poking around was cut short by Schubert announcing “Ah, Dr. Lejos...your guests are here!” We looked up, and saw our host. He was at the top of the winding stair case.


  “I bid you....welcome,” the man said.


  Yikes! this place seemed as cheery as an ice cream parlor, compared to it’s owner! He was a regal looking palooka, in a black tuxedo, with a long black opera cape TA boot. I’ll be damned if he didn't remind me of Loren Belasco, himself!


  He not only dressed like Belasco, but seemed to be around the same height, only, where Belasco had brown hair, this galoot had hair as black as pitch, which came down on his fore head in a sharp widows peak.


  “Gentlemen and lady, may I introduce you to your host...Dr. Lejos,” Schubert said with an insane look in his eyes.


   Dr. Lejos bowed, and began to descend the stairs. Following behind the doctor, was a huge mountain of a goon. When we noticed the huge man, several of us, let out a gasp.


  “Do not be frightened of my bodyguard, he is harmless, unless, I am being threatened,” Lejos said, with what he probably thought was a warm smile.


  Do not be frightened, easy for him to say.


   When they reached the foot of the stairs, we all got a closer look at his "bodyguard." He must have been over seven feet tall, not counting the silly top hat he wore, which almost covered his eyes. His eyes were actually covered by sun glasses, the kind the movie stars in Hollywood, have taken to wearing. His suit seemed to barely, fit his awkward frame, and he moved with a slow, lumbering walk, like he would fall over at any moment.


 

  The bodyguard seemed less talkative then Champ, in fact he never said anything. He just followed along behind Dr. Lejos, like a trained dog.


  Lejos, passed by each of us, barely even noticing, we were there, which seemed to annoy Durant to no end, and made his way to Nesta.


  “Ah...such a lovely creature,” Lejos said with a thick accent, as he kissed Nesta’s hand. Nesta, seemed impressed. Jeez, I was hoping a gal like
Nesta would see through that kinda baloney. No dice. She almost swooned as Lejos, looked up from her hand, into her pretty eyes.


  Lejos, released her hand, and gestured with his other arm, to an archway.


  Through the archway, was the dining room. Fancy, Schmancy, if you didn't pay attention to the occasional rat, armadillo, or opossum, scurrying about.



  We all sat down, with Dr. Lejos at the head. His bodyguard stood motionless behind him. Nesta sat to the doctors right, Durant to his left. Dwayne came in, through what I assumed was the kitchen door. He was dressed in a shabby suit, and had a bottle of wine that he carried on a tray.


  So poor Dwayne had to double as a waiter, on top of his heavy labor, outdoors.


  Dwayne poured wine into each of our goblets, except for Dr. Lejos.


  “Not a wine drinker, Dr. Lejos?” Nesta asked, breaking the ice.


  “I ...” Lejos began, but seemed to decide against saying, whatever it was he was about to say. Instead he just waved Dwayne away.


“Perhaps I will drink later...” Lejos said, politely, “..but, I implore, my guest not to follow my example.... Please, enjoy the wine, it is an excellent vintage.”


  As I sipped my wine, I looked up past the doctor, to his bodyguard. Jeez Louise, if he didn't get uglier every time I snuck a glance at him. He just stood there like a statue, and I noticed his skin, almost had a greenish tint to it.


   Another weird thing was, even though it was tropical weather, this big ape, not only wore a top hat indoors, but he also had a thick scarf, wrapped around his neck, and he wasn't even sweating.


  I couldn't look anymore, I just waited for a conversation to start, to kill the spooky silence. Finally, Durant spoke up.


  “So, Dr. Lejos, as I understand it, you are Dr. Prometheus' partner on this job.”


   “Yes, Mr. Durant, Dr. Prometheus and I have collaborated, on many...projects in the past.”



Lejos answered, “I have added my wealth and knowledge to his own, to reach our common goals.”


“And what goals might they be?” Nesta asked. Whatever spell she might have been under was broken, and she now seemed to have a sly look in her eyes.


  “Nothing that a woman as lovely as yourself need be concerned about, my dear,” Lejos replied in his stuffy, smug way.


  “That’s right toot’s ...” Durant broke in “..leave the business gab to us men. Now I have a question or two, Dr. Lejos, fer instance...”


   “I am afraid, that, as you say, in America, is ‘none of your business’ as well, Mr. Durant!” Dr. Lejos replied sharply, while raising his hand to silence Durant. “As I understand it, you and your men, are to follow orders, and not to question your betters!”


  “My betters!” Durant said yelling and boiling mad. “I’ll show you my ‘betters’!”


  Durant began to rise menacingly, staring coldly at Dr. Lejos, but was quickly lowered back down in to his seat by Lejos’ bodyguard. Tall, dark and ugly, used just one hand to shove Durant’s bulk downward.


  “Why I oughta...” Durant never got to say, what he oughta, and we all heard the low growl that came from the bodyguard’s lipless mouth, letting him know that he oughta, not.


   “I will forgive your rashness, this once, Mr. Durant...” Lejos said, raising one eyebrow “but see that you remain civil, in the presence of the Lady, and myself”


  Durant said nothing, but I have the feeling, if he could get the Doctor, away from his bodyguard, just for a second, there would be plenty of trouble. Durant would say to hell with the pay, and put Lejos six feet under.


  “I trust all of my cargo, was safely, transported to your sea-vessel?” Lejos asked. Durant, didn't answer, he just sipped his wine, and looked around the room, with hate in his eyes.


  “We got it all on board Dr. Lejos!” Herby Boy said, with a stupid grin like he was trying to win points.


  “Say, why for all the coffins, Dr. Lejos? They were pretty heavy...got some bodies in em?” I think Herby Boy lost some points, by asking that.


   “Family heirlooms, you need no more explanation than that,” Lejos responded, for some reason being a little nicer to Herby Boy, then he was to
Durant.


  “Are the coffins safely stored in my private cabin?” Lejos asked.


  “Sure thing Dr. Lejos, all safe and sound!” Herby Boy responded.


  “Miss Reynolds...” Lejos said, turning his attention back to Nesta, I look forward to spending time with you, once we reach Farou Island.”


  “I am sure we will see a lot of each other, on the ship Doctor” Nesta replied, and I could swear she was batting her long eyelashes at him.


  “Unfortunately, I will spend most of my time, in my cabin, as I have a tendency to become ill, while traveling across, moving water.”


  So what?, I thought, most everyone of us mugs, have put in our shifts, hanging our heads over the railing, depositing our dinners into the drink. You don't see us hiding in our cabins. What a sissy!


  “But...” Lejos continued. “Perhaps, you might drop by my cabin, so that I might entertain you before the vessel departs.”


“Perhaps, dear Doctor, I’ll do just that” Nesta replied, with a sly grin.



  I hoped she was only kidding, I hoped that a dame like Nesta, was to smart to fall for the doctor’s game. I would find out how smart she was later.



  “Dr. Lejos,” Prof Sanders broke in, “I am fascinated by some of the treasures here in your house, could you tell me the story behind.....blah blah blah?”



  The dinner pretty much continued from there, with Lejos flirting with Nesta, Prof. Sanders asking four dollar questions, Durant silently fuming, the bodyguard making like a statue, and the rest of us gobbling up our--what was it called?--roast peasant?



  It was time to go. The Doctor’s bodyguard picked up several suitcases and we headed for the door.



  Outside Dr. Lejos seemed to be giving Schubert some last minute instructions on running the island while he was gone.



  The path to the dock, was lit by Tiki torches every ten feet or so.



  As we made our way to the dock, I could see out of the corner of my eyes, groups of people standing just out side of the torches light. I searched to see if I could spot Dwayne, I felt guilty, that I didn't try to speak to Dr. Lejos, about letting him come with us.


  I didn't see Dwayne, but what I did see, chilled me to the bone. These weren't the regular citizens of Marya island that I had seen during the day.


   As I said, at that point they were kind of standing around in the dark, standing real still, but there was something about these natives that made me feel uneasy. I tried to shake it off, as we arrived at the dock.


  “Okay, there is only room in the row boat for seven of us, three of you is gonna hafta wait till we get the Doctor, Nesta, and the Professor safely on board, then we’ll send the boat back.”


  He pointed to me, Herby Boy and Bay City.


  “You, you and you, stay” he ordered, and they climbed into the row boat and were off to the ship.


  The three of us looked at each other, silently for awhile, as the boat disappeared form the torch light.


   “Gotta smoke?” Bay City asked me.


   “Nope,” I said as I patted my jacket pocket. “Left ,em on the ship...Herby Boy?


  “Nah, I don't smoke!” Herby Boy replied.


   “Damn!” Bay and I said in unison. I sure as hell needed a smoke at that point.


  We stood there, once more silent. I’m pretty sure Bay and Herby Boy, were feeling just as spooked as me, and if they weren't I’m sure they got that way, once they started hearing the sound of a lot of footsteps in the grass behind us.


   “Um...they should be back to get us any time now,” Bay City said nervously.


  “You betcha!” I replied. “Any time now!”


  The footsteps were getting closer, they weren't running footsteps, but footsteps headed in our direction, all the same.


  They were getting closer to the torches, so I was finally able to make out more details about them.


  I wish I hadn't, I wished I was blind at that point. These were some strange looking folks, Negro’s most of em, with a white man, here and there.


  The more I could see of them, the more I was filled with dread. They moved real clumsy, clumsier then Lejos bodyguard. The clothes they wore, were tattered and ragged. They looked skinny, as if they had not eaten in a year. And the eyes! Dear mother their eyes looked like someone had forced golf balls in to their sockets with a hammer! 



  They were getting closer and closer, not saying a word....kinda moaning though.



   “Hi fellas,” Herby Boy said, trying to sound cheerful.

  “Say, I don't suppose one of you would have a cigarette, on yez? It’s not for me...see I don't smoke, but my chums here...”


  Herby Boy stopped talking, because he realized they weren't listening.


  They were about twenty feet away from us, and moaning louder and louder, just looking right at us, like...


  Oh jeez, this is getting to me, I’ll write down the rest, after I've had a smoke.




                              Part 11



Still July 18th, 1947


 And it was the best smoke I ever had.



 Anyway, back to the night's events.



 So There was Herby Boy, Bay City Bottems and myself, feeling the encroaching doom, like it was my youngest, kids puppy humping my leg.



 Still no sign of the returning boat, which would take us back to the safety of the ship.


 The ghastly mob was getting closer and closer, and me and the boys were running out of pier. These spooks had no trace of emotion or personality on their gaunt grayish mugs. Well, I take that back, they looked HUNGRY. They had hungry personalities, and us guys had the emotion, of "Hey! I think they wanna eat us!"


 Closer and closer they came, with large amounts of drool pouring from decaying lips. At this point the three of us decided it was a safe bet that they were not going to offer us a cigarette. That having registered, Herby Boy still thought it a clever idea to engage them in small talk, as Bay and I reached for our pieces.


 "If not a cigarette, perhaps a cigar, or a good chaw?" Herby Boy asked with innocent eyes


...a good chaw ???!?! Oh, that Herby Boy.


 Anyway, while Herby Boy was trying to jaw, with folks who looked like their jaws were about to fall off, Bottems and I, with a wink and a nod between the two of us, started blasting away at the ugly cusses. Believe me when I say that we kept the lead flying like a hail storm, but it seemed to have no effect.


 We had a steady stream of bullets going, one of us firing while the other re- loaded, Herby Boy finally getting into the action, but it had no effect. We must have put several bullets apiece into each of those horrid goons, but they just kept coming.



 Soon we were surrounded, the three of us in a circle of the product of Satan's bowel movement. Herby Boy fell into their clutches, kicking and screaming bloody murder. Then they got Bay, and he wasn't holding back on the girly screams either.



 I'd had enough, I pushed my way to the edge of the pier, and hurled myself into the drink. I treaded water under the pier till I could grab onto one of the supporting post.
Up through the rotting slats I could see the moving mass of human, or inhuman flesh as if it were a single creature. A creature devouring my pals!


 I felt like the biggest heel that ever trod this green Earth.


 After awhile, I have no idea how long, I no longer heard the screams of my friends, only the groaning, moaning and mouth smacking sounds of that horrible horde.



 Once every so often I'd see an un-living eye in between the slats staring down at me, and a rotting arm would reach for me.



 I heard a plop in the murky waters next to me, and saw that it was a finger, a finger wearing Herby Boy's stupid class ring. The finger sank quickly. I would see an ear, then a toe.... jeez!

 All of a sudden I heard my name being called, from out in the ocean. It was commanch and some of the others in the boat!



 I knew what I had to do. I swallowed hard, and climbed back up to the pier. Putting everything out of my mind, I started grabbing bodies and hurling them into the water. I had to ignore the fact that I had teeth sinking into me left and right, and just keep tossing the wiggling carcasses aside like I was looking for just the right worm to bait my hook with.



 I finally dug down deep enough to find my amigos. Bay was still alive, but it was to late for Herby Boy.



 Two of the ghouls looked up from their feasting on him, like someone would look at a waiter if he brought them the bill before they finished their repast. I'm pretty sure that's how they saw it anyway.



 I reached down and grabbed Bay's arm, which was thankfully still attached to his body, and leaped, taking him with me, back into the water. With one arm around Bay, and the other arm doing an awkward breast stroke, I headed toward where I heard Commanch's voice.



 Finally the boat appeared in the piers tiki torch light. Commanche's eyes showed horror as he saw our predicament.



 "What in the blue blazes?!" Commanche hollered. I was too out of breath and nerve to answer.



 Behind me I could hear the sound of bodies splashes around. So they, what ever the hell the were, could swim. Not a good thing for me and Bay.



 I shouldn'ta, but I looked back. Their they were, swimming after us, moving through the water like...some kind of really horrible fish!



 Commanch started firing over our heads, right into them, but he seemed to be doing no better then we did. I reached the side of the boat, and helped Sharp Wally and Boom Boom, heave Bay on board.



 As I started climbing in I felt a tugging at my ankle. It was a strong grip and I felt my self being pulled under.



 Below the surface I went, and was thankful that I have never been able to open my eyes under water, (It hurts some people, like me, to do that, my pals used to tease me about it when I was a nipper).



 I felt a bite on my left arm, and knew that a chunk of flesh no longer belonged to me. I also felt teeth on my rear, on the same spot where the Black Bat had put a bullet last month. Jeez Louise! It had just healed too!



 At that point I had resolved myself to the fact that I was no longer a man, but a meal. Funny thing about my life, is that every time I think it's about to end, something happens to save it. In this case it was a firm hand pulling me up by my shirt collar.



 It was Sharp Wally, and he got me all the way into the boat.



That wasn't the end of it though, they had to use their Bowie knives to saw off at the wrist, a hand that still had a hold of my ankle. Sharp Wally, held the hand up to the moon light, and studied it a bit, with an amused look on his kisser, before he tossing it back to it's original owner.



 Boom Boom and Gorilla Nealis, made with the oars, like a motor boat and we were heading back to the ship.



 I took one last look back at the Pier, and saw that all those ghouls were gone. All I could see was that spooky Mr. Schubert, who had appeared out of nowhere, waving at us and blowing us a kiss, yelling "Bon Voyage!" Go figure!



 We made it back to the ship, Bay had to be carried, and I made it with a little support from Commanch. We were taken to the ships infirmary, to be patched up, which wasn't' easy for poor Bay. They gave him plenty of whisky as the ships doctor sewed up what they could.



 Bay was missing an ear, fingers, toes and his sanity.



 They said he would live, I hope so, or maybe I don't. I had some of that whiskey my self, and went back to my cabin for a shower, and then a cigarette.



 As I sit here writing his, I know I'm not going to get any sleep. You can bet your bottom dollar, though that in the morning, after I've rested up, I'm gonna have words with Durant and that Dr. Lejos.



                                Part 12



July 19th, 1947



 It seems I've got just enough time to write this down, before I get ready for the party tonight.



 I'm planning on getting knee walking drunk tonight, and after last night I deserve it, and how!



 I'm going to clean up my Derby hat, real nice.



 Soon after I made my last entry, last night, Commanch came in to the cabin, and surprised me my good ol' hat. Commanch said he was able to fish it out of the water, during all the hubbub.


 I was for a second, almost smiling, since I had thought it was gone forever. Thought maybe it had sunk to Davy Jones' locker. Or some zombie (as I soon found out, that's what that ugly bunch were) was looking real jaunty.


 Oh yeah, a lot more stuff happened last night after I had finished writing the last entry.



 Writing everything down brought all of my anger back, so I wanted to talk to Commanch about it, and ask him if he thought Durant and or Lejos set us up. Before I got a chance to discuss the matter, there was a knock at the cabin door.



  "Hey youse mugs!" It was Boom Boom Lewis. "Grab yer rods, we got more trouble!!!"



 "What's wrong Boom?" Commanch Asked.


 "It's ... it's those things.... those rotten, people things.... they are climbing up the side of the ship!!!" Boom Boom replied.



 Aw Jeez! Thought me. Again? Those monsters can swim this far?



 Commanch and I grabbed our gats, loaded them and followed Boom Boom out on to the deck.


 It looked like our whole mob was firing wildly over and down the ships railing.


 Commanch, Boom Boom and I hooked up with Tully and found a spot on the rail that wasn't covered by anyone and the four of us started blasting away.



 Yeah, there they were, ugly as ever, climbing up the side, like some hideous giant spiders (Not that I think spiders are all that pretty to begin with) and they weren't stopping!


 Once and awhile, one of us was able to shoot or cut off the rotting fingers so that they couldn't climb very well. Those just dropped back in to the drink, but there were plenty more where they came from.



 Out of the corner of my eye I could see Durant on a higher deck (Where he was safe) drilling the ghouls with a Tommy gun. How come we didn't get Tommy Guns? I saw Garner the Geek and one of the Lapp boys pulled over the side, and I knew they weren't coming back. There were bullets firing every where, and not a blamed one doing any good. Starving bodies, eating into us, without even thinking twice about it.


 What are you supposed to do, when you keep filling those things full of bullets, and it doesn't even seem to bother them? All of us grown men started to scream like little girls!



 I think we all just wanted to give into the madness, and hope it would be over soon, and just die!


 Okay, this is when I thought we had all bought it, there were a lot of those godforsaken creatures on board, and it looked liked we would be over whelmed at any moment.


 Then all of the sudden, like he was the star of some melodrama, Dr. Lejos steps into view, with that big galloot body guard of his. The big ape, was still wearing the huge hat, sunglasses, and scarf, wrapped around his neck.


 I turned to Tully to ask him what he thought about all of this, but he wasn't there any more. I thought maybe he had been nabbed by those devils.


 Turning back to the action, I noticed Lejos was staring intensely at the decomposing crew, and was waving his hand in a strange gesture. They all stopped moving and stared right back at Lejos, like they were his children who had just got caught being naughty.


 Then one by one the monsters slowly turned, climbed back over the rail and dropped back into the briny blue. It was starting to occur to me that Lejos had complete control over those sickening things!


 At that moment I was ready to chew nails and spit them all over Lejos' pasty kisser! Herby Boy, Garner the Geek, Shecky Lapp, and heaven knows how many of our boys lost, Bay City a curled up like a frightened baby, and Lejos coulda stopped it at the beginning, assuming he didn't make them do it in the first place.


 I took my hat in my hands, and stormed over to where Dr. Lejos stood.


 "All right you pasty faced, fancy pants, mama's boy..." I said with anger that was increasing every second "The blood of my chums is on your hands, what do you have to say about that?". I realize now that this was foolish in so many ways, for one thing Dr. Lejos was one of my employers, number two..... well that body guard of his was reason number two, three, four, and five! At that hot headed moment however I wasn't doing much counting.


 Lejos saw me coming after him, and heard my accusation. He merely rolled his eyes, like I wasn't worth dirtying his hands with me and glanced back at his body guard. That big, lanky gorilla nodded slowly to the Dr. and lumbered toward me.


 I was just about to get my hands around Lejos' throat, when the body guard grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and hurled me painfully against the outside wall of someone's cabin. I looked up at the two legged mammoth and the look on his mug told me that he wished he had thought to throw me in the other direction, namely in to the deep blue!


 I also got the feeling that he intended to rectify that mistake. As the galoot was making his way in my direction, a shot rang out, real close.


 The body guard turned slowly, cause like the rest of us, he wanted to see who had shot the gun off. It was Durant! Of the people to save my carcass, I never expected it to be him. Then again, he had issues of his own with Lejos and his big pal, I doubt he was doing this out of any kindness or fondness for yours truly.


 "Lejos!" Durant challenged "He works for me, and I work for Dr. Prometheus. You might be his partner on this job, but my men answer only to me, and I answer only to Prometheus! Get Me?"



The two of them stared very coldly at each other for what seemed like forever, each refusing to look away.


 The silence was broken when Lejos looked up to his body guard and said "Come, my servant, we shall quit, these tiresome beings for the nonce, the night shall not last forever and I shall need to prepare my.... bed." With that, the Dr. and his goon made their way to their cabin.


 I was half expecting a reprimand from Durant, but he just watched the two depart, and shook his head, looking disgusted. Commanch and Boom Boom helped me up and we headed back to our own cabin.


 I was kinda surprised and relieved to see Tully sitting in the cabin, laying back on his bunk, as usual, counting the water stains on the ceiling and looking depressed.


 "Tully!" I exclaimed "What happened to you back there? One minute we were fighting shoulder to shoulder, then you just up and disappeared"


 "I...," he began, "...was avoiding someone."


 Commanch broke in "Yeah, I wish we coulda all avoided those...those...what the hell were they?"


 "Beats the heck outta me," Boom Boom answered.


 There was a brief silence then Tully spoke


 "They were Zombies, the walking dead".


 You mean like vampires?" Boom Boom asked with wide eyes.


 Tully responded, "No, zombies aren't the same thing as vampires, but there is a..."


 He stopped for a second, and seemed to be changing what he was going to say.


 "...zombies are different." Tully continued "They are mindless, and must be controlled; vampires are a different matter altogether."


 Tully paused then added, "It might be a good idea to steer clear of Lejos and his body guard."


 "Say, Tully..." Boom Boom interrupted, "....when did you get so interested in stuff like this, zombies, vampires, and the like?"


 Tully didn't answer, and the rest of us got real quiet too. This was a lot to swallow. I'd always had a pretty good idea that lots of strange things happened in this universe, things that can't be explained no matter how hard we try.


 I had read of all kinds of bizarre things in the journals of my ancestors, what with monsters and such. I always figured that they spiced up the tales to make them more exciting, like the night my Grand Pappy wrote about, when he served up beans to a really strange campfire gathering. (That one gave me night mares as a kid.)



 Now that I think about it, I remembered several years back when the mastermind that called himself ‘The Vampire King' was running rampant, until the Spider exposed him a just a reg'ler fella.


 There were a lot of things we would hear through the grapevine, that seemed to be supernatural at first, till some do-gooder like Ol Doc 'High and mighty' or that Benson palooka would solve the mystery. But every once and awhile some news would trickle down to us about something that just seemed impossible to explain.


 Back at Red Mikes, Sinful Dennis seemed to enjoy coming up with rational explanations for just about everything and would tell us all over a beer. I always listened carefully, and prayed he was right, but deep down inside, I was afraid he was wrong.


 I wonder how he would explain zombies? If I survive this caper, I'll have to ask him.


 Well, I knew I wasn't going to get any sleep, so I decided to go to the infirmary and check on Bay. When I got there, the medic told me he was going to be okay, but he needs his sleep.


 I took a look at him lying there on the cot and saw that even though he was a sleep, it was by no means a peaceful sleep. He was trembling slightly, and his eyebrows were moving up and down, like two caterpillars dancing a jig.


 Poor Bay.


 I walked back outside, to the deck, and lit another smoke. (I think I had gone through a whole pack already, since the zombie incident) and started on a midnight stroll around the ship.


 After a while I ran into Muggy. He was still on his hands and knees scrubbing the deck. Well this time it needed it guess, what with all the Blood and entrails and what not.


 I kinda smiled at him, and asked him "How's tricks?"


 He didn't answer, but he stood up and faced me and reached into his pocket and pulled something small out. He handed it to me and I took it from him.


 It was a folded up photo of him and Gooter, arms on each others shoulders, smiling like goons. It looked like it was taken at Coney Island. Next to them was a gray haired woman who looked like one of those Mongoloid type people you see at the freak shows. She wasn't smiling, and seemed to be unaware of where she was, unaware of anything really.



 Their Mother?


 The photo had white creases, from where it had been folded to many times, they kinda looked like lightning bolts. The edges were all tattered, and I could see clear tape holding it together in several places.


 "That's real nice Muggy!" I said as I tried to hand it back to him. He refused it, and closed my fingers tightly around with his hands. For some reason he wanted me to have it. Go figure.


 I put the photo in my shirt pocket, right next to the silver charms I had bought back in Boneport, for my wife and daughter.


 "Thanks Muggy!" I smiled, still a little confused. Muggy kept silent and went back to his scrubbing,


 I wasn't going to spend to much time trying to understand Muggy. If he wants me to have the photo, I'll take it, and if he wants it back later, I'll give it to him. I left Muggy to continue my walk.


 Looking out from the deck, I could still see Marya Island.



 I wished we were on our way, far away from here, but it seemed the submarine that was following us, below, had some engine trouble, so we had to wait for the mugs down below to repair it. That must be some sneaky sub, considering I have yet to see it anywhere around, and if I hadn't been told about it, I wouldn't have known it even existed.


 I was walking by one of life boats when I heard some snoring. It was coming from the life boat. There was a tarp covering the top of the small craft so I couldn't see inside. I was hoping it was on of my pals sleeping off a whiskey binge.



 I was hoping it wasn't one of those creatures sleeping off a human flesh eating binge.



 I considered for a bit what I should do, report this, and possibly get one of my amigos in trouble with Durant, or risk having a man eating monstrosity on board, and wake up in the middle of the night with my foot in a hot-dog bun, while some ghoul puts mustard on my little toe.


 My other option was to hitch up my trousers and take a peek under the covering. Who knows, if I was maybe able to hurl a zombie overboard, it might lighten my mood.


 I slowly pulled the tarp back, and was very surprised. It was Dwayne, that Negro kid from the Island and he was sleeping like a baby.


I looked him over, and he seemed to be healthy. I was just hoping to goodness that he wasn't a zombie.


 I nudged his shoulder a bit, and he started to rouse.


 "Hey kid, wakey, wakey" I said in a pleasant voice.


 His eyes blinked slowly, first a little confused, then a little shocked, then he recognized me.


 "Sir..." he said, kinda frightened "Are you going to report me as a stow away?" Heck no, I wasn't and I told him so.


 I can remember people helping me out when I was a reckless youth, by not squealing on me. Besides, I liked this kid. My oldest boy was just a couple years younger than him, and I would hope someone would help him out like this someday.


 I also felt like I owed it to him, since I never got around to asking Durant or Capt. Finn, if Dwayne could join the crew.


 "So you decided to see the Sea, ay?" I asked, in a friendly tone.


 "I had to get off that Island, sir" He responded. I was completely in agreement on that one, let me tell you.


 I remembered that he and I smoked the same brand, so I pulled out a couple and handed him one. As we lit em up, I glanced around to make sure no one saw us. Not that I was ashamed to be seen talking to a Negro, I didn't want him to get caught and sent back to that damned island, or thrown over board.


 I have always had a hard time understanding why so many people, look down on black folk. I've worked with Negroes before, and really can't see that they are better or worse then any of us pitiful two legged creatures walking this great, big, Ping-Pong ball.



 Why, just this year, baseball finally got it's first negro player, Jackie Robinson.



 I've been employed by a Mastermind, or two that happen to be Negroes. Heck, I've was even involved with a racket that was foiled by that Negro, Masked Avenger type, that the press never seemed to bring up.


 I guess it's like the Gray Fog deal...nobody wants to admit that a non-white, non-male could do any thing worthwhile.


 So Dwayne and I had a good smoke, and chatted for awhile. I decided then and there, that I was going to help this kid in any way I could. If he could just keep out of site, till we make it to Farou Island, I should be able to convince who ever is the foreman working for Dr. Prometheus to hire him on.



 Maybe with a wad of dough, Dwayne can go to school in the good ol US of A, like he wants.


 I sure as hell wasn't going to ask Durant while on the ship, I know what that Rat-Bastard would do to him. I told Dwayne that I would find him some grub, and look for a new place for him to hide. I gave him half the smokes from my pack, and told him I would be back soon.


 He crawled back under the heavy canvas, and as I was walking away, he lifted a corner, poked his head out and said "Thank you sir!"


 "Don't mention it kid!" And I walked away.


 Helping Dwayne made me feel a little better, and I started thinking that After I snuck some food to him, I might be able to get some sleep after all. I creeped into the ships galley, made a couple of ham sandwiches, grabbed some celery sticks, and filled up a bottle full of cool water.


 As I was headed back to Dwayne's hiding place I saw Nesta Reynolds heading out of her cabin, all gussied up, wearing a different gown than the one she had worn earlier that evening. I gotta say it again: "Wotta dish!" She looked like some kind of goddess with the moon light and that black dress and the hair and the legs and all.


 "Why are ya all dolled up, Miss Reynolds?" I asked.


 "Don't you remember that I've got a date?" she queried, smiling that lightning bolt smile.


  "Uh...sure, I remember," I lied, and at that moment I had no Idea what she was talking about.


 "Have fun!" I said as I continued on my way. No time for conversation, and I didn't want her to get curious as to where I was going.


 I took the food to Dwayne. and he attacked it like a shark. He was pretty darn hungry. I told him that I would put my brain to thinking of a good hiding place for him, and check up with him in the morning. He thanked me again, and I headed back to the cabin.


 Once I got there I noticed Champ was asleep. Muggy was most likely still scrubbing the deck somewhere, and it was a good bet that Commanch was on the ships radio again, being the Airwave, Casanova. Tully was playing solitaire at the cabin table. He didn't look like he was up for talking so I stretched out on my bunk.


 I lay there for a while, with my hands folded behind my head, Thinking of Nesta in that black gown.


 Soon I was thinking of my first date with Meg, and I started to smile, and I believe that if a certain horrifying thought hadn't occurred to me I might have dosed off.


 The idea did hit me, however, like a ton of bricks. I jumped from my bunk.


 "Tully!" I practically screamed. "You said earlier that we should avoid Lejos!"


  "Yes..." he replied, not looking up from his cards. "I....I have been aware of the Doctor for awhile now, and he is a dangerous...person, but it's not something I care to discuss."


Champ must have heard us, as he rolled over, squeezing his pillow around his ears.


 "That's all well and good Tully, but I'm a bit worried about Miss Reynolds, I think she has a date with Dr. Lejos...in his cabin!" I responded.


 "No!" Tully exclaimed, jumping from his chair, "We have to stop her!"


 "That's what I was thinking, but I'm afraid she might already be in his cabin" I said with a worried voice. Tully said nothing more, and high tailed it out on to the deck, running at a brisk pace. I followed close behind. We made it Lejos private cabin in no time flat.


 "You knock on the door" Tully barked out to me "I hope it's not to late!" I never figured Tully Garvin to be so concerned over a lady's virtue. He probably had designs on her himself, yeah, that must be the scoop.


 "What about you?" I asked.


  "I'll be back here in case there is trouble" Tully said with an almost trembling voice. "I don't want Dra... Dr. Lejos to see me, or know I'm aboard this ship!"


 I guess he must have really gotten on Dr. Lejos' bad side at some point. which is believable, since Tully has always been an expert on getting on folk's bad side.


 Tully faded in to the shadows, and I took a deep breath and knocked on the cabin door. I must have rapped a hundred times, feeling like my knuckles would soon bleed, when finally the door opened.


 It was the body Guard, bigger and uglier than life, and still with the hat, sun glasses and scarf, although it looked like he had put them on in a rush. He was looking down at me and he didn't seem any friendlier then before.


 "Go...a--way," he said in a strange, stilted voice, that sounded like the creaking of a rusty cemetery gate.


 I looked past him in to the room. There was Nesta sitting on a couch, looking dazed, and Lejos was sitting next to her. Lejos had one arm around her, and tenderly held her hand. He wasn't looking at her however, he was looking right at me like a cat that was interrupted while licking himself.


 In other words he didn't look too pleased with me. I did the only thing I could think of at the moment.


 "Uh, excuse me, but I need ta see Miss Reynolds about something," I said fumbling with hat in hand. Lejos said nothing, but the hate in his eyes grew by leaps and bounds.


 "Go...a--way" the body guard repeated, this time with more of growl in his voice.


 Gathering my chutzpah I charged past the body guard, into the room. Lejos stood angrily, as I made my way to the couch. I could hear the thudding feet of the body guard behind me.


 "Look, Dr. Lejos, I don't want any trouble, I just have something important to talk to Miss Reynolds about," I sputtered out.


 "YOU DARE!" Lejos shouted, furling his cape behind him. Lejos' shouting seemed to have broken Nesta out of the daze she was in.


 "It's okay, Dr..." Nesta said as she stood up "It's getting late anyway, and I need to get some shut eye" Then she added, "Thanks for the wine."



Lejos looked at her, disappointed, then at me, really, really cheesed off.


 "We will continue this another evening, my dear," Lejos said as he bowed and tenderly kissed her hand.


 "Count on it, Doctor," Nesta said with a hint of flirt in her voice.


 I breathed a sigh of relief as we made it out on to the deck, and the door closed behind us.


 "What was so important?" she asked me.


  "Aw, Miss Reynolds, I just wanted to get you away from him," I replied earnestly. "I've asked around, and I've heard some unpleasant things about that fancy pants."


 I told her about how he was able to control those zombies, and that he was probably had some kind of hypnotic power. Or something. The bottom line was I tried to get through to her was I thought he was bad news.


 "Did I seem like I was in a trance?" she asked me.


 "Yes, ma'am," I replied, and described the scene on the couch I witnessed when I entered.


 "Well, it's just possible you kept me out of a bad situation, I've heard of lover-boy types who use mesmerism as a gimmick." She sighed while
looking up at the stars and added "I never thought it would work on me though."


 I told her it might be a good idea to keep away from Lejos and she responded,
"Thanks, but now that I know the score, I can take care of myself." Somehow, I believed her.



 I was seeing her to her cabin, and everything seemed peaceful, which never seems to last long, as I soon found out. We spun quickly around when we heard the heavy footsteps behind us.


 It was the body guard again. I got the feeling that Mr. Gruesome was sent to rid this ship of yours truly. Obviously Lejos wasn't going to let bygones be bygones. That's okay, nether was I.


 I put my body between Nesta and the giant, to shield her. He moved a little faster than I thought he could and managed to grab me by the throat. I was lifted into air with my legs dangling.


 I couldn't breath, I was a goner for sure this time I thought. Nesta was pounding with her fist on the big palookas, chest, and he didn't even seem to feel it.


 Suddenly his grip seemed to slacken, and I was dropped, sprawling on the deck. I looked up to see what happened. It was Dwayne, on the big bruisers, back. His arms had a serious wrestling hold on Uglies neck.


 The kid saved me, sure enough!


 I shook off my pain and charged into help him right back. Like Nesta, I pounded away, with my dukes, but I seemed to have as much effect as she did. I hit him as hard as I could, and he didn't even care, the ugly Bastard! The giant started spinning around, clumsily, trying to shake Dwayne off his back.


 It finally occurred to the man-mountain to smash his burden against the wall. And he did so. Dwayne, with the breath knocked out of him, crumpled to the deck.

 The body guard raised his massive boot, to smash poor Dwayne's skull.


  Before that could happened an urgent voice from the shadows spoke.


 "Stop!" It was Tully, and he stepped out into the light. The Big galoot's head turned in Tully's direction, with vague recognition, and he slowly put his foot down, thankfully, not on Dwayne's noggin. Tully approached the giant.


 Yep, somehow the body guard knew Tully.


 "I have helped you before...you remember don't you?" Tully asked pleadingly. The giant seemed puzzled, as if trying to recall something important, than he slowly nodded his hideous head and replied


 "Yes....Re...mem...ber..."


 "Listen my friend, these people are not to be harmed" Tully said, as if talking to a child. The giant, seemed even more confused, and let out a low, questioning growl.


  "And you must not tell your master, that I am here... please...remember, remember how I helped you!" Tully continued. More low growls.


 "You must tell your master that you weren't able to find these people; remember, I helped you, so you must help me." Tully seemed real nervous as he was instructing the giant, like he was afraid his orders wouldn't take. The giant kept his eye contact with Tully, for what seemed an eternity.


 The eerie silence was finally broken when the giant nodded, and said,
"Help...you." He slowly turned around and shuffled back in the direction of Lejos' cabin.



 "That was too darn close!" I said rubbing my neck.


 "You have no idea!" Tully replied as he went to check on Nesta. I walked over to see about Dwayne, he seemed to be okay, so I helped him up.


 "Thanks Kid!" I said, then realized that the secret was out. I turned to Tully and Nesta. Hoping that they wouldn't rat out Dwayne, I explained his situation, to them.


 Nesta, who remembered Dwayne from Marya, welcomed him warmly. Tully shook his hand and said it would be a good idea if we all swore to keep each others secrets.


 It still boggles my brain when I think of Tully's change in personality, from the old days, he actually was starting to seem...I don't know, noble or something.


 Nesta offered a suggestion that's un heard of in ‘Proper society'. She said she could hide Dwayne in her cabin. The three of us guy's were all a little stunned when we heard this.


 "Oh don't look so worried," Nesta said with a slight chuckle, "I trust Dwayne. There is an extra cot, and I would feel better if there was some one there with me, considering the nights events." That seemed to spark something in Tully, and he asked Nesta with a pained look on his face.


 "Miss Reynolds, I want you to think carefully...at any time, this evening did you invite Lejos to your cabin?"


 "Please Mr. Garvin, what kind of gal do you think I am?" she responded, seeming a little amused. "Besides, I'm pretty sure the Doctor is not my type."



What a strange dame, she tells the penniless black kid he can stay in her cabin, but rejects the wealthy suave, handsome white doctor. I for one will never understand dames.


 Tully seemed relieved when Nesta informed him that she had arranged no tryst with Lejos. Why I cant figure out. It doesn't seem like Lejos is the kind of gent, who needs to be invited.


 Nesta said she had better get Dwayne back to her cabin, before someone came along and ratted us out. I might have been imagining things, but I could swear I saw a gleam in Nesta's eyes, as she took Dwayne's arm and led him off. Was she sweet on him?


 Every once in a while you see a couple of mixed races, but not very often. People seem to get pretty upset when they see that, and it makes them angry, like it was somehow doing them harm. My old pal Richy the bard, married a Negro woman and said he didn't care what other people thought. He used to say, since he was already a crook, how could his rep possibly get worse?


 Dwayne seemed to notice the way Nesta was looking at him and seemed more confused then me. Tully and I discussed this a bit as we went back to our cabin. Tully said that the fates seem to always be against two people who find each other, and he wouldn't dream of butting in and adding to that kind of misery.


 Huh? So Tully Garvin is now a live and let live type? Whatever happened to him must have been severe, is all I can think.


 Changing the subject, I tried to pick his brain about his connection with Lejos and his gorilla. He kept silent, but a look in his eye told me not to ask anymore. I'm a live and let live, guy myself, so I let it drop.


 The ship suddenly began to move, and I was thankful. We were getting the heck away from that horrible island.


 Tully went back into the cabin, but I stayed out on the deck, lit a smoke and watched Marya disappear over the horizon. Once I could no longer see that godforsaken hellhole I went back into the cabin and went to sleep.



 This morning, I woke up feeling very stiff and sore. The cabin was already empty, so I once again set out in search of coffee.


 The sun was shining bright on the water. Nice and calm. I could see no land in every direction I turned.


 In the galley, the guys were all worried, because Durant was ready to kill any one who was just breathing to hard. So what's new?



 I figured I would take it easy and lay low, since it would take many days before we reached Capetown. There wasn't any work to do, everything was going smoothly, and the sub was running fine. I still haven't seen that damn sub!


 After a couple of mugs of Joe, I went to check on Bay City Bottems. Good ol' Bay, seemed to be doing much better. Well, he had enough Morphine, going through his body, so he seemed better.



 I told him of the last nights events, leaving out the part about Dwayne, and that last run in with Lejos and his gigantic goon. Bay drifted back to sleep as I was shooting the breeze, so I left.



 When I got out on deck. noticed a bunch of folks were gathered near the aft of the ship. I walked over to see what was going on. There was a small, craft tied to the ship. I'd never seen a boat like it. A real souped up job, if I'd ever seen one. It must have been incredibly fast, as I had not seen any thing but ocean, when I had looked around earlier.


 I asked Boom Boom if he knew what was going on, and he told me it was a special delivery for Durant. Durant was talking to the boats driver all right, and was taking a large envelope from him. Durant studied the envelope for awhile then turn to walk away with out even thanking the guy. The driver shrugged his shoulders and got back in his boat.


 The engine made a small whine, then zoomed off. When I say zoomed, I mean it, I have never seen anything move that fast. In three minutes the boat was out of view.



 Boom Boom and I started talking about the boat, and how nifty it would be to have one of our own, when suddenly we interrupted by Durants' voice bellowing "Well I'll be a..."

 Durant was leaning against the rail, looking over the contents of the envelope, and smiling...well, a happy smile, and not his usual "I'm getting a kick outta making you eat dirt" smile.



 He turned to us and proclaimed, "We are gonna eat, drink and be merry tonight, boys! Get ready for the shindig of your lives!"

 I started to wonder, what gives?, but then decided that if Durant wants to be in a good mood and throw a party, I'm not gonna rock the boat.



 I'm going to shower and shave, and get drunk, drunk, drunk!




                                 Part 13



Still July 19th, 1947


 I am really drunk, and happy!



 I'll write down the events of the party, before I collapse into a blissful sleep.



 Yeah, I know I'm gonna have one hell of a headache
tomorrow, but it was worth it!



 I decided to wear my purple zoot suit, just cause I felt like cuttin' a rug, and there ain't nothin' better for rug-cuttin then a purple zoot suit.



 It was around 6:30 or so, when Commanche, Champ and I arrived at the ship galley for the doing's.



 Bay City, was there, all bandaged up, sitting by the phonograph. He decided he wanted to make all the music selections for the soiree' so he had a stack of records ready to go.



 The song he had playin' when we arrived was Flat Foot Floogie and the Floy Floy, by the great Fats Waller...great song, brings back lots of memories...ah, Jessica...I wonder where you are these days.



 I noticed Durant wasn't there yet, and this shin-dig was his idea. I also noticed that, thankfully, Lejos and his big goon, were absent too.



 I headed over to where they set up the make shift bar. Fresno Dan and Reebo Anderson were playing bar-keep. They handed me a whiskey sour and I gulped it down.



 Suddenly all they chatter was raised a few notches so I turned around to see the hub-bub. It was Nesta, dressed to the nines in a tight sweater and pleated skirt...ready for dancin! As she was the only dame on the ship, I'm sure her dance card was pretty darn full. All the mugs started crowding around her, and she had a big smile on her full red lips.



 Jeez, kinda lost my train of thought there, I hope Meg never finds this journal.



 Flat foot floogie was still goin, so I jumped out on the floor and started a' hoofin'. Granted, I don't know any learned dance steps, or popular jigs, but I like to mix it up and have fun. My kids think I look funny when I dance, but if they are laughing then that's a good thing, huh?



 So we are all jumpin' around and having a good time. Nesta was swirling around, and giggling, as she pretended to flirt with all of us goons, while she danced. What a dish, dancin' with a bunch of hired killers! We all just kept right on dancin', through song after song. Bay City started playing more current Hit-Parade tunes like, "Huggin' and Chalkin'" by Hoagy Carmicheal; "Open the Door Richard" by Count Basie; and some more good old stuff by Glenn Miller and Satchmo.



 The drinks were flowing like a fountain, and I was well on my way to Happy Palooka-ville, as was everybody.



 At some point I saw Nesta and Boom-Boom disappear, with an a silly grin.



 I suddenly remembered Dwayne, and hoped he was okay. I knew Nesta wouldn't be looking so happy, if he wasn't. Like me, Nesta probably wished Dwayne coulda come to the party, but that was outta the question.



 I was also sure that nothing really strange was going on
between Nesta and Boom-Boom, as Boom-Boom wouldn't have the first idea how to do any thing really strange with a girl like Nesta. Boom-Boom likes his frails blonde, big bosomed, toothy, and dumb, and none a' those is Nesta.



 We soon found out what they was up to though, right in the middle of the Cole Porter tune `Let's do it' Nesta stopped the record, put another one in it's place, cleared her throat, real loud and made an announcement.



  "Gentleman, as much as I enjoy being the `belle of the ball' I thought it prudent to have another woman here!"



The loud mumbling started, from all us mugs, with a huge question mark attached. Nesta continued...



 "Now I realize that bringing in this special guest, will take
the sheen from my wonderful self, as my beauty pales in comparison to hers..."



 She lowered the needle onto the record, and a Latin rhythm, began.



 "Gentlemen, I give you..." she gestured toward the galley door, "...Carmen Miranda!"



 We saw a fat foot, shoved into a red pump, appear near the threshold, followed by an even fatter calf, then a huge thigh, in nylons! The leg was moving to the songs beat. Then the door swung open all the way and there was Boom-Boom all done up, with a table cloth, for a sarong, a to small blouse, tied in the front over his hairy, blubbery belly, and a big basket of fruit stuck to the top of his crew cut. He even had heavy make-up, which did nothing to help that goofy mug of his, and he was smiling like a goon!



 We all fell to the floor laughing as he began to mouth the lyrics to the song. He was a hoot! We all pretended he was the real deal, and made loud cat calls. Boom-Boom even went over and sat on Champ's lap, all 300 pounds of him, and played with Champ's hair.



 We were all laughing so hard, we could hardly breath.



 But all good things come to an end, as we all found out when we heard the Carmen Miranda song go into a deafening scratch.



 We turned around and saw Durant, monkeying around with the phonograph. Durant is not known for having great taste in music, and he proved it with his selection. It was "I'm Writing A Letter to Daddy," sung by that annoying child star from years back--what's her name?--something-Hudson. I wonder whatever happened to her.



 Anyway, Durant just stares at the phonograph, holding a photo, and it looked like a tear was welling up in his eye. He turned to us. "I just love this song" he sniffed. "Gather round you mugs, so's I can show ya just why we are celebrating!"



  We all started to crowd around as Durant held up the picture. I want to announce the birth of my son, who arrived in the world two days ago...I give you Bobbie!!!!"



 We all looked at the photo, it had to be the ugliest baby I ever saw! A fat little, bundle of pork, to be sure, and it had these maniacal eyes that sent shivers up my spine. Yeesh!!!!!



 "Someday..." Durant continued, "...this beautiful baby boy is going to be the heir to my empire!!!" As I have never seen a baby, that mean looking, I hope I'm not around when that happens.



 The thought of Durant being a father is kind of frightening to begin with. Then of course a lot of people cant imagine our kind having family's anyway. Sometimes I've seen married life really change folks. A lot of my old pals retire from the rackets, when they get hitched.



 I remember when ol' "Bloody" Cleaver married "Cut Throat" June. A killing and robbing spree that put Bonnie and Clyde to shame was ended when they decided to settle down and have a family.



 They said that they were going to stay on the straight and narrow, but I'll believe it when I see it.



 That's neither here nor there.



 So we were all looking at this ugly baby's picture, pretending to admire it, but wishing he would put the picture away, so we could think of pleasanter things...like the zombies, or what have you.



 "A toast!" Durant bellowed "...to my son, Bobbie!!!" We all lifted our drinks, and cheered "To Bobbie!" Then we all slammed the drinks back, and immediately wanted to refresh them.



 The fun seemed to be taking a plunge off a high cliff, as Durant insisted on playing that same damn song over and over. At least he was distracted as he sat in the chair next to the phonograph (He had forced poor Bay City out of it) and stared wistfully at the spinning disk.



 I went to get another whisky, and have a smoke. I looked around and noticed Commanche had slipped off...to chat on the radio, no doubt. Nesta seemed to have vanished too, probably to check on Dwayne. I also realized that Garvin never even showed up, no surprise there.



 I gabbed for awhile with Fresno Dan, Tiger McBroom and Gorilla Nealis.



 I noticed a commotion going on near the rear of the galley. It was Prof. Sanders yacking away, with a whiny voice. He had an audience around him too, several of the guys had scooted their chairs near his, as they listened to his lament.



 I got curious and walked over. He was three sheets to the wind, and going on about how he was once a respected archaeologist.



 I had kind of wondered how a guy like him wound up in our circles so I listened in. He was babbling about how back in the early thirties he attended a gathering of his colleagues for a seminar in the Big Apple, on "Developing Methodology in Modern Egyptology," or something.



 Just as he was getting his notes ready to reveal an astounding discovery on a connection between Egypt and ancient Mu, some kind of ruckus started and he never got his time in the spotlight.



 From that point on he became bitter and jaded...



 That was weird, I had to stop writing because I just saw Muggy walk by, out side our cabin.



 He has carrying a coil of rope and a small anchor.



 I wonder what he's up to.



 Any way, Prof. Sanders told us that he had a hard time finding backers to finance his expedition, so he turned to the underworld.



 He hooked up with fellow rouge scientist Prof. Beetson and Prof. Cooper, who discovered not only a radium mine (Which is worth a lot of cabbage) but also a lost colony of Mu far beneath a certain ranch.



 Unfortunately, it turned out to be the "Radio Ranch" Gene Autry's spread. Sanders said he was lucky to get out of that one alive. It also made him even more bitter because he now had proof of the lost civilization of Mu, but who's going to listen to a criminal?



 If he wasn't so whiny, I might actually feel sorry for him.



 The party was dying a quick death at this point. Every one was starting to get real maudlin, but I was still in a great mood so I...



 Oh jeez.



 Jeez, I just found out what Muggy was up to.



 I heard something happening outside on the deck. Some evil laughing that I knew was Durant. I went out to see.



 Muggy was perched on the decks railing. He had a rope tied around his neck. The small anchor was tied to the other end, and held in his hand, as he gazed out over the moon lit ocean.



 No tears, he just stared.



 Durant was nearby, leaning against the railing, a cigar poking out of his diabolical grin. He was looking right at Muggy.



 I started to move towards Muggy to...I don't know, pull him down from the railing or something.



 Durant, seemed to realize what I was about to do, and he quickly pull his gun on me. He slowly shook his head, letting me know, I'd better not do anything.



  Muggy looked at Durant, then at myself.



 He dropped the anchor over the side, and waited for...

 Just as the rope grew taught and Muggy started to plunge over, Durant moving with surprising swiftness for his bulk, grabbed one of Muggy's ankles, just before he disappeared over board. That bastard just held Muggy over the edge for what seemed like forever.



  Muggy looked like a battered marionette with only one string, being held the wrong way. The noose was choking him, and I could see tears streaming from his tightly clinched eyes.



 Durant, with his free hand still held his gun on me.



 I could hear the anchor banging against the side of the ship, as Muggy struggled.



 Just at the point when it looked like Muggy was done for. Durant started hauling him back up.



 He dropped him on the deck and walked away, chuckling.



 I quickly pulled out my pocket knife, and cut the rope away. I checked, and he was still breathing.



 I picked him up, and carried him to the ships infirmary.



 I told the doc what happened, and suggested he might want keep a close eye on Muggy, and maybe strap him down or something.



 Muggy was awake, and just looking at me.



 "Whad ya wanna do a stupid thing like that for, ya knuckle head!!" I chided him.



 He said nothing in reply...I kinda knew he wouldn't.



 "Take good care of him Doc," I asked, and told him how Muggy had saved my life once.



 I am completely sober now, and I think I'm going to get drunk all over again, then maybe I can get some sleep.




                                Part 14



                                                              In the works!!!