Robert A. Mills, click here
to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.
Blogs by Robert A. Mills
AURA LEE - PART 15
1/9/2010 2:38:25 PM
An appreciation to those who’ve sent a note expressing enthusiasm for AURA LEE. . . . I was reluctant at first about the merits of serializing the novel as a Blog, but a couple letters from people who claim to have had no prior interest in the Civil War proved me wrong—-and another who said, “I never read books but this one shows me what I’ve been missing. I can’t wait to see what happens next!”
Even Remarks such as this makes the lonely writer’s life less lonely. Although AURA LEE is historical fiction, there is, hopefully, enough truth beyond the obvious fairy tale to keep you coming back.
AURA LEE – PART 15
Major Dr. Roger Murphy, field surgeon, Army of the Potomac, sat on a high wooden stool in his clinic and sleeping tent well behind the lines in a primeval Virginia jungle known as “the Wilderness.” He regarded the woman sitting on the edge of the examining table before him—he regarded her as something of a military bibelot. A diminutive female of tender age, pale hair shorn to the unkempt signature of an adolescent boy, a beautifully proportioned body well hidden under filthy, tattered and billowing Rebel clothes, mismatched shoes (actually a boot and a shoe), a sweet, beguiling, beckoning face, a pleasantly modulated voice, and, most certainly, eight to ten weeks pregnant.
“You do know,” he asked, as he washed his hands in a tin basis, “you are unmistakably with child?”
Roger Murphy, in examining Melissa Menefee, had just had the best forty minutes of his life as an army surgeon. At nearly fifty, the doctor had had to abandon a comfortable and successful practice of obstetrics and gynecology in downtown New York City when informed by the surgeon general in Washington that his services were needed at the front, and that he was to report immediately for duty to the Navy Yard Depot near Arlington. In no time, he found himself assigned to the field hospital under command of Lt. Col. Dr. Herbert Repenter, in the army of General Ambrose Burnside, then, later, General “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker. Murphy was a large man with gentle but over-sized hands, and his manner was honed at the bedsides of countless fragile women having babies, losing babies, being diagnosed with cervical cancer, being elated with benign ovarian cysts, and those being sent home undiagnosed more often than not because medical science, at that time, could not concoct what, if anything, was wrong with them or what to do about it. All the charm and charisma bestowed on any practitioner, especially one with steel gray hair, flashing green eyes, and the clean shaven, chiseled features of an artist’s catalogue model, made Maj. Dr. Roger Murphy welcome at any table fixed with stirrups—or knee-deep in the blood and gore of a wartime field hospital.
The transition from the gleaming Manhattan Clinic for Women to the sordid tents and sweltering heat or bone-chilling damp cold of war-torn Virginia was a traumatic nightmare, and after months of suturing gaping holes left by Minié balls, amputating limbs with rare and limited anesthetics, bandaging sightless eyes, applying whatever balm was handy to hideous burns, stuffing innards back into rent torsos while hoping something wound up in the right place and remained functional, removing personal belongings from shattered bodies that had mercifully ceased living—these were things most doctors never considered while attending medical school and residencies. The sudden appearance of Melissa Menefee in his tent was almost metaphysical.
“Doc,” said the sergeant who had brought her to him, “we pulled this here boy outta the river with some other guy, but the cap’in says this here Reb ain’t no boy. He’s a gal, sure ‘nuff.”
“How do you know?”
“He’s got titties, big and soft like a bag o’ marshmellas. I seen ‘em when we pulled him out, all wet and drippin’, and his shirt like to juss fall apart. This soldier ain’t no boy! Besides, you look at him hard an’ close up an’ you see he’s too purty to be a boy!”
The doctor dismissed the sergeant and told the Rebel to take a seat beside his examining table. “What’s your name, soldier?”
Melissa sighed in resignation. “Melissa Menefee. An’ I ain’t no soldier, I mean, like a real soldier. An’ he’s right; I’m a woman, an’ I’m married.”
Instinctively, Maj. Dr. Murphy reached for his pad with some thought of taking notes, as he would have done two years ago, but he stopped and pushed the pad away. “Would you be more comfortable if a nurse were here?”
Melissa offered a shallow shrug. “Make no diff’rence.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter,” he smiled. “We have no real nurses, anyway, and what we have to help out right now are all men. I assure you, though, I am a doctor, and my specialty is, was, gynecology.”
“You a ‘woman’ doctor then?”
“That’s right.” He reached forward and took her hand and felt for a pulse, which was strong and regular. “You want to tell me how you wound up here, in a Federal camp?”
To one as educated and sheltered as Roger Murphy, Melissa’s story was nothing short of astounding. Living all her life in western North Carolina, marrying the young man she’d known since she was seven years old, slipping away from home and posing as a teenage boy to walk over a hundred miles to meet up with him in the Confederate Army for the sole purpose of defecting to the North, fighting in three major battles in the last seven months without being hit (or hitting anything), and then getting across the Rappahannock in the dead of winter by swimming and pulling her husband the last fifty yards . . . it was too much.
“I don’t believe a word of this,” the doctor said, when she had finished.
“You ken as’ my husband if’n you want. He’s the one with me when they pulled us out of the river.”
Maj. Dr. Murphy leaned back and stared at the young women. “This is rather . . . incredible. May I examine you?”
“You the doctor. But I ain’t had no proper bath in a long time.”
“That’s all right; don’t be concerned. And then, there’s someone I want you to meet.”
* * *
General Joseph Hooker was listening but he was not looking at any of the people around him that evening. He was cleaning his fingernails, surreptitiously, by carefully slipping the longer nail of his left index finger under the edge of the nail of a right hand digit, and then working it slowly back and forth, up and down, until it was smooth and clean. He would then move on to the next. Intently curious, his notable civilian guest, alone in the shadows at the edge of the large command tent, was watching him closely.
The others in the tent were either standing in whatever unoccupied place was available or sitting on one of the few chairs scattered before Hooker’s desk. Lt. Col Richard Arriman was closest to the entrance flap. Col. Darrius Milhouse, Hooker’s palmary confidant, leaned against the tent pole. Lieutenants Cary Colthran and Preston Kuntz were seated closer to Hooker’s desk—these later two were aides-de-camp whose posture indicated attention to duty. A sergeant and two corporals stood nearby, their eyes on the prisoner who stood before the general, and the prisoner, a rather ragged, ill-smelling, and totally tatterdemalion Rebel, still sopping wet, stood with his arms folded and continued his story. The civilian, lingering off to the left, wondered why Hooker even bothered listening to this absurd monologue. The thought crossed his mind that they would probably wind up executing the unfortunate Rebel as a spy, anyway, and there was nothing he could do to prevent it.
“So,” Daniel Menefee said, “there y’all have it, jus’ as it happen to be. My wife an’ me jus’ wanna sign up with the Union troops an’ git this here war done with fast as we can. We waited ‘til we had jus’ the right chance to make our move an’ git over here. I like to drown in that river, an’ I woulda, too, if Melissa hadn’t pulled me up an’ got me near shore . . . Sir, can you tell me where she is, what you all done with her?”
General Hooker separated his hands and made a noncommittal gesture. “You know where the other soldier is, Lieutenant?”
Lt. Colthran wasn’t sure which aide-de-camp was being addressed, but he answered anyway. “I think they took him—or her—to Major Doctor Murphy’s tent, sir.”
Hooker looked back at the captured Rebel. “Your story is most intriguing, Corporal, and I find myself believing you. Almost. Who, truly, is your captured accomplice?”
Daniel’s voice softened, and he moved his right foot perceptively.
“Like I said. My wife. Sir.”
There was a momentary silence; the men and officers glanced at one another. General Hooker seemed amused as he stifled a mild guffaw. “Your wife. Interesting. Are you of a homosexual persuasion, soldier?”
“No, sir. My wife—she’s a full-growed woman!”
“And I can attest to that.” Maj. Dr. Murphy entered the general’s tent with Melissa in tow just in time to confirm the small private’s gender. “And she’s over twenty-one, among other things.”
General Hooker folded his hands in his lap and looked from one to the other of his captured Rebels. “Gentlemen, what we have here is a most unusual—but tantalizing—development. Two Southerners from North Carolina so bound and determined to defect to the Union Army and fight for the cause of freedom and unity, they have placed themselves on the path to great harm. Do you two realize you could easily have been shot crawling out of the river in those gray pants and tunics? And you, sir, just about drowned! Augment that with my possible absence—or indifference—or, God forbid, they’d drug you over to General Burnside’s headquarters—and you might be facing a firing squad at this precise instant? This war is rampant with lunatics!”
The civilian stepped out of the shadows furthest from the group. He spoke for the first time. “General, if I may be so bold . . . The arrival of these two may have come at a most propitious moment. The map we were discussing must needs be delivered and placed in the hands of the formidable Stonewall Jackson, and you may have been blessed with the arrival of a most deserving pair of messengers. Singular proof of their sincerity could not become more evident than such a successful mission might present. In fact, were the choices mine, which they most certainly are not, I might send but one—retaining the other as a guarantee of intent and effort. Should you send one, keeping the other back, you will have perfect assurances the message will not fly away, leaving the entire plan to become little more than wishful thinking.”
Daniel and Melissa Menefee exchanged glances, signifying they had no inkling what this handsome, strange man was talking about.
Joseph Hooker nodded his head in agreement. “For an actor, Mr. Booth, you have a remarkably keen military head. I’m glad you stopped by on your way to Richmond.” The general spoke airily, as if Booth’s sudden appearance so near the front lines was an everyday occurrence.
“No more than I,” asserted John Wilkes Booth, bowing deeply before the general. “I was proud once to say in Henry the Fifth, ‘He will maintain his argument as well as any military man in the world, in the disciplines of the pristine wars of the Romans.’ I trust my credentials, as provided by your Secretary of War, were of sufficient merit to afford me safe passage and a fresh horse.”
“Most assuredly, sir. But I struggle with dismay that I cannot know the full purpose of your mission.”
Booth sighed heavily. “Do not disturb your heart, General. A premature revelation would serve but to trouble you and your men even further. This war is far from over, and my ‘mission’, as you call it, has a double purpose that will to fruition peace and restoration that much more rapidly.” He paused and stepped back into the tenebrous shadows before continuing.
“Your mission, my dear General, is of much greater expediency; an endeavor of urgent moment. These Carolinians, whose purpose is just a sidelight in which we may take passing dusk, may well be heaven sent. I would beseech you to use them wisely."
Alone an hour later, Joseph Hooker still pondered the wisdom of his decision, predicated as it was on the almost supernatural elements of the past day.
First, the arrival of a world-renown actor atop a dreadful stallion about to breathe its last, a mount driven with impassioned ferocity at least a hundred miles with minimal rest and sustenance—on the road to Richmond, John Wilkes Booth had encountered a full squad of pickets just outside the Wilderness, any one of whom would have shot him on sight had it not been for a cosmopolitan squad leader who had recognized the thespian. Booth whipped out a portfolio of serious documents indicating he was on a “government assignment of national security” and should, if in need, present himself before any general officer of the Army of the Potomac for assistance and succor. Knowing that Fighting Joe Hooker was encamped not three miles further, the young lieutenant and his squad escorted the civilian deeper into the Wilderness and, brought before Hooker’s tent, Booth’s horse finally staggered, then dropped beyond resuscitation, literally yards from the command post.
Booth could not have been more delighted that he’d so easily found General Hooker. And Hooker, likewise, reveling in this gift of a sounding board of cultured insight, was ecstatic that Providence had sent him someone of the actor’s ilk to discuss a most daring plan—especially a persona known to be diligently active in efforts to bring the war to a speedy end, even as he was suspect of having Southern sympathies as well as strong Northern ties.
After mere moments of amenities—fresh water, sandwiches, and a jigger of Kentucky bourbon—Hooker unrolled the complicated map and asked Booth if he knew what it was. Booth studied it for nearly twenty minutes before declaring it looked like an ancient Roman campaign against a vast army of Huns, somewhere, he thought, in France, along the Loire River. Hooker was impressed. The actor continued, noting the pyre of Attila’s saddles, chariots, shields, and other wooden accoutrements in the midst of the fortification, and a passage from Julius Caesar sprang forth: Thou seest the world, Volumnius, how it goes; Our enemies have beat us to the pit; It is more worthy to leap in ourselves, Than tarry till they push us.
Hooker was more than pleased. If this civilian dilettante could discern that much without ever knowingly having studied historical military strategy, would not Stonewall Jackson as easily grasp the deeper meaning? The general asked Booth if he was aware the Roman leader Aetius Flavius actually had crossed the river and met with Attila before the last great battle? The actor was not. What did he think of a plan to bring Jackson to a meeting place with him, Hooker, to discuss a final and total cessation of hostilities? Assuming he would come, Booth wondered, upon what authority could he agree to such an armistice?
“Has he not the ear of the emperor?” replied Hooker.
“No—Lee. If,” Hooker confided, “this map is delivered into Jackson’s hands by, say, someone in whom he would have perfunctory trust, say, one of his own, say, someone like yourself, he would he not, therefore, with a totally open mind, comprehend the nature and purpose of the message? He would go to all lengths to attend a meeting—here—with me. And he would come without hesitation, knowing the full consequences of such an assignation.” And, Hooker thought to himself, the place in the history of the United States of America such an undertaking would afford us both—and, may I dare consider it?—me, in particular!
Booth shook his head, his crescendo of curls swaying over his forehead like a scattered melody of delicate, visual harmonics. “Not I, sir, not a distraction from my own mission of peace. The honorable and esteemed General Jackson, though a genuine idol, would not, knew he my true purpose on this sojourn, take kindly to a lowly civilian’s meddling in areas of high military and political intrigue. My own focus must remain the sharp zenith of an immoveable prism. Trust me, if I may be so bold: my singular undertaking will have as great a moment as your own.”
Hooker accepted it. He reached beneath his desk and again produced the bottle of Kentucky whisky. “Would you join me once more in a touch of Lexington’s finest?”
Booth smiled his most charming and stepped forward. “Be most honored, General.”
Later Hooker conceded, in his reverie, sending Melissa Menefee off with the map to find Stonewall Jackson was a stroke of genius. John Wilkes Booth, he concluded, was a better military strategist and definer of human nature than he wanted to seem. And Melissa’s reluctance to become the messenger and leave her husband behind as hostage confirmed to Hooker success was not only assured, it was preordained.
* * *
Abraham Lincoln had jailed nearly every state government official and suspended habeas corpus in Baltimore to prevent Maryland from seceding from the Union—a flagrant violation of the U.S. Constitution—and he’d gotten away with it. It had worked.
“There is always a way,” he told Tad, “to accomplish things that have to be done in order to achieve a greater good. Take that pony of yours, that Bayonet,”
“Take him where, Father?” the boy asked, sudden apprehension slipping like rolling fog under the door of his concerns.
The president chuckled softly. “Not literally,” he said. “I don’t mean ‘take’ him in any sense of moving him from one place to another. I mean, just an example: take him and think on him for a moment.”
They were standing in the broad yard off to the southwest of the White House where Lincoln had gone to watch his son ride Bayonet, now adorned with a miniature and ornate military saddle. Alvinas Turner, Robert Lincoln, and Tad had built a riding rink with two partial mini-fences spaced equally within its perimeter, and the boy proudly spent the last half hour showing off his prowess at cantering, galloping, then leaning forward over the mane as Bayonet glided smoothly above the fences, clearing their thirty inches with room to spare.
“Well done, lad!” Lincoln had shouted, applauding enthusiastically. “Wait till your mother sees this!”
They did not have to wait long. Mary Todd Lincoln, accompanied by Robert and the handmaiden Elizabeth Wardlaw, suddenly appeared from the house and joined the president and Tad in the yard.
It was an absolutely gorgeous April day in Washington, an invigorating precursor to the crushing heat and humidity of July and August, and often September, when the Lincolns would abandon the White House for the cooler breezes of their summer place close to three miles northeast of the Capitol. “Pity we have to seek refuge away from this old mansion,” Lincoln often complained. Quietly, he dreamed of creating a Presidential Retreat somewhere in the low hills of Maryland, the state whose topography he secretly admired.
“It is nearly impossible,” he once said to Gideon Welles, who later jotted it down, “to swim through a sea of governmental tasks in Washington’s summer oppression. I cannot buoy my thoughts when they are being drowned in ceaseless perspiration.”
It was Welles who suggested the rambling old house called Anderson Cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, away from the swampy and odoriferous lowland of Washington’s tidal basin.
“It’s a grand place,” the Secretary of the Navy commended.
“In fact, it’s next door to Ed Stanton’s place; his family loves it. Shaded, cool, high up—“
“Mosquitoes?” Lincoln asked.
“Not a one!”
“Hah! Were that so!”
Both Mary and the president found the area delightful, and there is little question the short time together there with the children were their happiest, especially in those ephemeral weeks before Willie died.
Today, however, on the south lawn of the White House facing the Potomac, it was Tad, the remaining pride of Abraham Lincoln’s heart, showing off for a dozen or so his prowess aboard Bayonet, which swelled the chief executive with fatherly pride.
“Look at that, Mother! Robert—look at your brother! The makings of a cavalry officer, for certain! He’s already a lieutenant. Do your duty and commission him a brevet major on the spot!”
When they boy reined up where his parents and older brother stood, his mother reached out and took the halter and pulled the pony closer. “You’ll be the death of me yet!” she admonished, but her tone was not severe. “Come off that beast and come sit with us in the shade for some iced tea.” She turned to Robert, “Take him, son—why don’t you ride him a few turns around the rink and show your little brother some army maneuvers the way they do in battle?”
Robert, in full uniform for his short visit, blushed crimson at his mother’s suggestion. “Mother, you embarrass me,” he said. “I could no more straddle a midget pony than father here could climb upon a two-wheeler. Besides, I need to keep these trousers presentable for dinner tonight with General Meade and his staff and family.”
Mary took a step backward, letting go of Bayonet’s halter, and regarded her eldest son in a sudden new light. Robert was certainly well turned out in his Union officer’s regimentals. And he was fast becoming a social match for generals and corporate heads.
The president glanced at his son from over the top of Mary’s head. Nicely done, he thought, a polite and gentlemanly officer befitting the uniform with a slim, athletic body below a clean-shaven, strong countenance. I must do what I can to keep him from harm’s way, mused Lincoln to himself. We can ill afford to lose another.
Tad, aware of Mary’s release of the halter, dug his heels into Bayonet’s belly, and off they went for another spin around the rink and more graceful leaps over the low fences. The Lincolns watched their son and his brother, and each one secretly harbored intense pride.
Iced tea was brought by servants to a small table beneath the huge oak that draped its branches with lethargic indolence nearly to the ground. This was, at the time, the only genuinely shaded spot on the broad lawn that rolled in patches down to the river’s edge, hurrying past the well-tended gardens in anticipation of cooler, more moist surroundings at the shore. Lincoln loved it here, loved being out of doors when the season was still mild and devoid of summer humidity and insects.
“The Army Band is coming Saturday night,” Mary announced, “and if the weather holds dry, we will have the concert out here, on the lawn.”
“Will they play that piece by Gounod, the one I like so! Such a grand, stirring piece of music!”
Mary shrugged. “They will if I ask them. . . .Do you really like it all that much?”
“Ah, yes, Mother, I do. Hard to believe such an American-sounding soldier’s song was written by a Frenchman.”
“All right, Abraham, I’ll ask. . . .It’s such a—banal piece.” Her voice trailed off in thought.
“Will many be coming?” the president asked, after a moment, stirring a mountain of sugar into his tea.
“Oh, yes! Many!” the First Lady beamed. “Many congressmen and senators, and the entire Cabinet. Also, I heard the British Counsel General and his wife responded in the affirmative.”
“Ah, yes,” Abe nodded, and his intonation and speech pattern suddenly dropped to the crisp and staccato accent of a British nobleman. “And my I ask, m’lady, will there be fireworks following the concert? I do so hope not. You know how I abhor the painful cacophony of pyrotechnics!”
As always, this made Mary and Robert laugh aloud, and wh
at they found so amusing was the president’s uncanny ability at mimicry. He sounded, to their benevolent ears, exactly like the counsel general, Sir Halifax Frye-Stickney.
“If he does come,” Lincoln suggested, “let’s ensconce ourselves beneath this tree and arrange the chairs so that all foreign dignitaries may sit downhill— and mercifully, downwind—and enjoy the company of their sundry ladies at a safe distance. Can anyone tell me why Europeans, ‘specially the English and the French, take such great personal pride in smelling so rancid?”
Mary Lincoln glanced up from her lap and regarded her husband with slightly flared nostrils, portraying the embryo of a sneer. “Oh, I wish you hadn’t said ‘rancid’ when putrid would have given off such an effluvium of alliteration: personal pride . . . putrid! How delightfully,” she said, “we resonate in our glorious language!”
The president was amused, and he laughed heartily.
Robert sipped his iced tea and thought how truly odd his mother sometimes spoke and behaved. Unquestionably, he loved Mary Todd Lincoln dutifully, as a son should love his mother. But he did not particularly like her. Theirs was a strange, syncretic relationship developed and corrupted over a number of years as he, the first born, suffered and shared the suffering brought on by the deaths of his young brothers, Eddie and Willie Lincoln. His father’s remarkable political career and his mother’s avalanche of fomenting insecurity, charged and recharged by her constant grief, had long ago welded Robert’s personality and aspirations to a distant plate of indifferent steel. He plunged into his military career with great expectations of battlefield valor and heroic assumptions that would cause Washington’s sycophants to see him not as the eldest son of an erstwhile President, but, rather, as Robert Lincoln, decorated war hero and son of a two-term President folks called Abe, and sometimes, Honest Abe. There was no shadow in Captain Robert’s mind that precluded his eventual success, perhaps as a captain of industry, once his military acumen, such as it was, was no longer required.
The president leaned across and placed his huge hand on his son’s knee. “Robert, show us one of your inspired card tricks.”
“Oh, yes!” his mother chirped. “Show us the one where you make the card I choose appear right up through the deck!”
One of the few charismatic talents Robert possessed was a penchant for simple magic, particularly uncomplicated manual dexterity combined with slightly more sophisticated math. Consequently, he had mastered a few clever and entertaining card tricks; and he usually carried a small deck in the large pocket of his tunic.
“Tad!” the president shouted, as the younger sibling rode by. “Come watch Robert! He’s going to do some card tricks!”
“No! I wanna wide! I know all his twicks! I know how he does ‘em, too!” And Bayonet made a tight turn for another jump with Tad leaning far over his mane.
Lincoln signaled to John Hays and Donald Palafox, two of his secretaries lingering not far away in the oak’s broad shade. “You two—come here! Watch this. My son’s going to mesmerize us with a card trick. Have some iced tea.”
This, of course, was interpreted as an invitation for everyone within earshot to come over and join the family circle, and within a few seconds there were ten or twelve people, staff mostly, plus an occasional visitor who just happened to be wandering about the grounds, crowding around the small serving table under the attentive oak.
Robert, openly shy but secretly excited by any impromptu audience, brought forth his deck of cards, shuffling them dramatically with a practiced flourish. Mary and her handmaiden Elizabeth removed the iced tea glasses and pitcher, placing them carefully on the ground at their feet, while the president wiped the table top dry of errant condensation with his handkerchief. Robert continued to shuffle the cards until he was sure every eye from the circular venue was focused on him.
“Let me see . . .” he muttered, improvising a plausible patter. “Ah. This is an illusion I once learned from an old Indian shaman while traveling with the cavalry up near Lake Ontario. It requires a great deal of concentration, so I’d appreciate it if silence could be maintained.”
“Aaiiieeeee!” screeched Tad, reining Bayonet precariously close to the group under the tree. “Lemme see! Lemme see!” He slid off the pony’s back and squirmed through the group, finding a perfect spot between his father’s long legs.
“All right,” Robert continued. “In a moment I am going to ask my mother to select a card. She will show the card to anyone interested in seeing it—everyone, of course, save me—and she and others will be required to memorize that card. Why? Because I am going to persuade her, even against her will, to reveal precisely what that card is. And then, from deep within its fifty-one cousins, I will make that card literally jump from the deck onto this table before us.”
“Hah!” snorted the president. “Highly unlikely!”
“He can do it, Daddy! I know he can! I seen him do it be’ore!”
“Shhhh,” admonished Robert. “Pay attention. Why? Hah! Because the hand is quicker than the eye!” The captain passed the cards to the president. “Sir, if you would be so kind as to give these ducats a final shuffle, or two, or three—or half a dozen—so that no one will ever be able to say the deck was pre-arranged.”
Lincoln took the cards and slipped them back and forth in a most amateurish shuffle, commenting, “Upon what revelation can we attest I am not in cahoots with this young charlatan and am actually setting these cards in a pattern for easy identification?”
That made Mary chuckle. “If the grace and dexterity with which you handle them now is an indication, this trick is over before it’s begun!”
That brought a good-natured guffaw from the entire audience.
“Now then,” Robert instructed, retrieving the deck from his father, “watch ever so closely.”
Holding the deck of cards facedown in his left hand, he peeled off the top with his right and placed one card at a time face-up on the table, silently counting to himself. When he reached three, he spoke to his mother. “Tell me when to stop, Mother.”
He reached the fourth card, then the fifth—he made a mental note that the fifth card was the Jack of Clubs—and he continued turning them over one at a time until, at the twelfth card, Mary said, “Stop!”
The card showing on top the pile was the Three of Diamonds, and to Robert, of course, it meant nothing. The key card was the fifth, the Jack of Clubs, which he had committed to memory.
He scooped up all twelve cards, turned them over, and placed them atop the remaining deck. With his right hand, he took the full complement and made, from the bottom, four nearly equal piles on the table in front of him, keeping the fifth pile in his left hand.. Then, dramatically, he peeled off, face down, four cards from the top of the remaining pile and placed one each on top of each of the four piles on the table. The fifth card, or more accurately, the top card now on the deck still in his hand, was, of course, the Jack of Clubs—face down and unseen by him and his rapt audience.
With a broad gesture, he placed that final pile on the table in front of Mary Lincoln and said, “Now, Mother, when I turn my back and close my eyes, I want you to take the top card from that pile before you. Look at it. Memorize it. Show it to one and all. And when you’ve planted it indelibly in your mind, hide it anywhere your heart desires in any one of the five piles on the table. Straighten those piles, move them about if you wish, do whatever suits you to prevent me from knowing in which pile you’ve sequestered it. I promise you I will find it in no time at all—because I will compel you to tell me precisely what it is. And where!”
With that, the captain stood up and turned his back on the group, closing his eyes tightly. While Mary was lifting the top card from the fifth pile and showing the Jack of Clubs to all around her, Tad moved away from the president and circled his brother, looking up at him and waving his hand in front of his face to make sure he wasn’t peeking.
"All right, Robert,” Mary called. “It’s hidden.”
Robert turned around and opened his eyes. “And,” he said, “you know what it is—you won’t forget?”
“Not a chance, son.”
“Father, did Mother show it to you?”
“Yes, most certainly! I have it committed to eternal memory.”
“Good. Now I’m going to make Mother tell me what it is.”
Mary glanced in the direction of Bayonet, off on the lawn, nibbling at the rough tufts of grass. “Wild horses could not extract that information!”
With a casual carelessness, Robert scooped up all five piles and melded them into one helter-skelter pile, which he tapped firmly on the table. “The card in question,” he announced, “is definitely in this pack. The question is—where, and what is it?”
“You’ll never know,” Tad sneered.
Slowly, Robert began shuffling the pack, surreptiously glancing at the faces of the cards as they moved from one hand to the other. The moment he saw the Jack of Clubs, he did a clever cut and simultaneous shuffle that resulted in moving the object card from near the center of the deck to directly on top. Once that was achieved with smooth confidence, he quietly placed the entire pack back on the table.
“Now, Mother,” his voice dropping to a conspiratorial whisper, “place the forefinger of your right hand on the top card of the deck and, without turning it over, tell me what it is.”
“I will not!” Mary looked indignant.
“Well, then, tell me this: how many cards are there in this deck?”
“I assume there are fifty-two.”
“And how many cards are there in each suit?”
“There are . . . ah, thirteen.”
“Very good. Now . . . how many suits are there?”
“That would be four.”
Robert nodded. “Right. Four. Can you name them?”
Mary pretended to think. “Let’s see. . . Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades.”
“Excellent, Mother. Name two of those.”
“Well . . . Hearts and Spades.”
“What two are remaining, what two do you have left?”
“I would have . . . I would have Clubs and Diamonds.”
“Absolutely correct. Clubs and Diamonds. Name one of those.”
Mary suspected she was about to be trapped; she remained silent for fully fifteen seconds. “Well, Diamonds.”
He had her. “What’s left?”
Begrudgingly: “Clubs,” she whispered.
“Hah! Hah! Your card is a Club! Now you must tell me what it is.”
“Not on your life!”
“Let me help you then,” Robert chuckled. This was the part he liked best; the part where he had to use some imagination to lead her up to revealing it was the Jack. If the projected card had been a “number” card, it would have been easier to concoct some little formula that would further mesmerize the audience. With face cards, it was more difficult.
“Your card, obviously, is not the Three of Diamonds, which, if you’ll recall, was the card you stopped me at when I was turning them over one by one. But the Three is important. Think on it.”
In truth, Robert was not entirely sure where this was going, but his mind was racing. I must get her to tell me it is the Jack, he thought. “Concentrate, Mother, concentrate. Everyone, think hard on that card. I’m starting to get a message.” He reached over and placed his hand on top of his mother’s, and they were both touching the mysterious pile that contained the elusive Jack.
“Oh, yes,” Robert intoned, “I’m getting it now. It is not the Three of Diamonds, but there are three soldiers out there, three great Union generals riding three beautiful stallions across the third state—Virginia—and they are pursuing the dark one, the evil demon of the Confederacy . . . Yes, that’s him, that’s who it is— you’ve told me, Mother! Your card is—pick it up, right there, on top of the deck! . . .” Robert’s voice had dropped to a sonorous monotone of sinister, theatrical doom. “The: Jack of Clubs! Turn it over! . . .”
Genuinely frightened, her hand trembling, Mary Lincoln picked up the top card and turned it over, holding it up for all to see: the Jack of Clubs.
“That’s it, Mother, the Jack of Clubs! The Jack handed to you by your son! Jack--son! The ‘Stonewall’ Jackson of Rebel Clubs. I knew you’d tell me. I knew it!”
There was a ripple of applause from under the oak, and no one except Abraham Lincoln noticed that Elizabeth Wardlaw had fainted, overcome by the wizardry of it all.
TO BE CONTINUED
Copyright©2002 by Robert A. Mills
Post a Comment new!
More Blogs by Robert A. Mills
CANTANKEROUS - Saturday, May 18, 2013
BOATS - Saturday, May 11, 2013
BALANCE - Saturday, May 04, 2013
USPS - Saturday, April 27, 2013
TAXES - Saturday, April 20, 2013
AUDITION - Saturday, April 13, 2013
NASHVILLE - Saturday, April 06, 2013
BOXER - Saturday, March 30, 2013
COLUMNS - Monday, March 25, 2013
VIETNAM - Saturday, March 16, 2013
ΣAM - Saturday, March 09, 2013
WHOA! - Saturday, March 02, 2013
TWO - Saturday, February 23, 2013
QUITTER - bonus - Tuesday, February 19, 2013
GHOSTS - Saturday, February 16, 2013
VALENTINE - Wednesday, February 13, 2013
FBI - Saturday, February 09, 2013
WOOLLEY - Saturday, February 02, 2013
GRUMPY - Saturday, January 26, 2013
FORMAL - Saturday, January 19, 2013
PATTY - Saturday, January 12, 2013
OFFENDED - Saturday, January 05, 2013
LOVE - Saturday, December 29, 2012
CHRISTMAS - Wednesday, December 26, 2012
PEPE - Saturday, December 22, 2012
TIME - Saturday, December 15, 2012
TIME - Saturday, December 15, 2012
UGA - Saturday, December 08, 2012
MASS - Saturday, December 01, 2012
SLF - Saturday, November 24, 2012
THANKSGIVING- a bonus column - Wednesday, November 21, 2012
ASSASSINATION - Saturday, November 17, 2012
POLL - Saturday, November 10, 2012
YOGI - Wednesday, November 07, 2012
VOTE - Saturday, November 03, 2012
REACH - Saturday, October 27, 2012
WASTELAND - Saturday, October 20, 2012
58% - Saturday, October 13, 2012
WACKO - Saturday, October 06, 2012
REVIST - Thursday, October 04, 2012
DEBATE - An addendum - Wednesday, October 03, 2012
CRASH - Saturday, September 29, 2012
VEEP - Saturday, September 22, 2012
BUGLE - Saturday, September 15, 2012
DELTA - Saturday, September 08, 2012
ANNIVERSARY - Saturday, September 01, 2012
INCA DINKA DO - Saturday, August 25, 2012
METH - Saturday, August 18, 2012
PHELPS - Saturday, August 11, 2012
UPDATE EXTRA - Wednesday, August 08, 2012
CHICKEN - Saturday, August 04, 2012
OLYMPICS - a review - Tuesday, July 31, 2012
SUMMERTIME - Saturday, July 28, 2012
SHOOT! - Saturday, July 21, 2012
PUN - Saturday, July 14, 2012
DECISION - Saturday, July 07, 2012
FREE - Saturday, June 30, 2012
EXTRA! - Thursday, June 28, 2012
ANNIVERSARY - Saturday, June 23, 2012
REHEARSAL - Saturday, June 16, 2012
BELMONT - Saturday, June 09, 2012
1% - Saturday, June 02, 2012
DERIVATIVES - Saturday, May 26, 2012
MEDICARE - Saturday, May 19, 2012
CRIME! - Saturday, May 12, 2012
POTTER - Saturday, May 05, 2012
BUCKHOUSE - Saturday, April 28, 2012
SOX! - Saturday, April 21, 2012
SOL - Saturday, April 14, 2012
CONTEST! - Saturday, April 07, 2012
JUSTICE! - Saturday, March 31, 2012
SUITS! - Saturday, March 24, 2012
BOBBYS - Saturday, March 17, 2012
NUNDA FUN DAYS – PT II - Saturday, March 10, 2012
NUNDA FUN DAYS - PART 1 - Saturday, March 03, 2012
HUTSON IS ONE! - Thursday, February 23, 2012
TôT OU TARD! - Saturday, February 18, 2012
MINE! - Saturday, February 11, 2012
SOUP! - Saturday, February 04, 2012
BUCK STOP - Saturday, January 28, 2012
FOLLIES - Saturday, January 21, 2012
MISFITS - Saturday, January 14, 2012
MOHS - Saturday, January 07, 2012
GOODBYE! - Saturday, December 31, 2011
CITY SLICKERS -- Week of Dec 24 - Saturday, December 24, 2011
HEADLINES - Saturday, December 17, 2011
FIRE! - Saturday, December 10, 2011
YEP, THE SKY IS FALLING! - Saturday, December 03, 2011
HOBNAIL BOOTS - Saturday, November 26, 2011
GIRL o’ WAR - Saturday, November 19, 2011
CAIN IS NOT ABEL - Saturday, November 12, 2011
JOHNNY CAN’T READ - Saturday, November 05, 2011
HOLY SMOKE! - Saturday, October 29, 2011
CELL PHONE - Saturday, October 22, 2011
60 MINUTES - Saturday, October 15, 2011
BANKS CLOSED - Saturday, October 08, 2011
ANNUAL PHYSICAL - Saturday, October 01, 2011
A T W IN 80 MINUTES - Saturday, September 24, 2011
HUTSON! - Saturday, September 17, 2011
A TIME TO REMEMBER - Saturday, September 10, 2011
TOMB AT ARLINGTON - Saturday, September 03, 2011
GUNFIGHT AT DODGE CITY - Saturday, August 27, 2011
NOTHNAGLE - Saturday, August 20, 2011
A CLUTTERED BELFRY - Saturday, August 13, 2011
CFS, FOR SHORT - Saturday, August 06, 2011
THE MINSTREL SHOW - Saturday, July 30, 2011
BIRTHDAY BOY RIDES (MARTA) AGAIN - Saturday, July 23, 2011
KNOCK, KNOCK! WHO’S THERE? DEATH! - Saturday, July 16, 2011
COMMENCEMENT - Saturday, July 09, 2011
234th 4th OF JULY - Saturday, July 02, 2011
MIDNIGHT RIDE OF BOORTZ/DUPREE - Saturday, June 25, 2011
OH, MY PAPA (& MAMA, TOO) . . . - Saturday, June 18, 2011
ROLLING STONES - Saturday, June 11, 2011
I DOUBLE D’AIR YA! - Saturday, June 04, 2011
WOW—SUM BEACH - Monday, May 30, 2011
GRAMP ON THE TOWN - Saturday, May 21, 2011
THE UNSOCIABLE NETWORK - Saturday, May 14, 2011
DING DONG, THE WICKED SUMBITCH IS DEAD - Saturday, May 07, 2011
KATE PLUS MATE - Saturday, April 30, 2011
GOP IS TRUMPED - Monday, April 25, 2011
SNIFFING JOCKS IN ATLANTA - Saturday, April 16, 2011
BOEHNER BLINKED - Saturday, April 09, 2011
ROY ROGERS - Saturday, April 02, 2011
SWEAT MORE, BLEED LESS - Saturday, March 26, 2011
HE STILL DESERVES BETTER - Saturday, March 19, 2011
AFTRA & EARTHQUAKES - Saturday, March 12, 2011
ALEX IN WONDERLAND - Saturday, March 05, 2011
THE OSCARS - 2011 - Wednesday, March 02, 2011
FIRST BIRTHDAY, PART THREE - Thursday, February 24, 2011
FIRST BIRTHDAY, PART II - Tuesday, February 22, 2011
MY FIRST BIRTHDAY - Saturday, February 19, 2011
IDES OF FEB, MINUS ONE DAY - Saturday, February 12, 2011
FUN AT THE ICE PALACE - Saturday, February 05, 2011
VACATION FROM HELL - Saturday, January 29, 2011
BARBERSTOWN CASTLE - Saturday, January 22, 2011
TRYING TO TAKE TUCSON – a bonus blog - Wednesday, January 19, 2011
THE “BOBBYS” - Saturday, January 15, 2011
POLITICS 101 - Saturday, January 08, 2011
THE SNOWS OF KILIMANGEORGIA - Saturday, January 01, 2011
WRITER'S CRAMP - Saturday, December 25, 2010
BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY - Saturday, December 18, 2010
PATTY ROBERTS, Part Two - Wednesday, December 15, 2010
SECRET SANTA - Saturday, December 11, 2010
PATTY ROBERTS - Thursday, December 09, 2010
GETTING MY GOAT(EE) - Saturday, December 04, 2010
IN FLIMFLAMS FIELDS . . . - Saturday, November 27, 2010
PLYMOUTH ROCKS - Saturday, November 20, 2010
LACED FOR ACTION - Saturday, November 13, 2010
PEER PRESSURE - Saturday, November 06, 2010
POLL CATS - Saturday, October 30, 2010
FRIENDS - Saturday, October 23, 2010
MY COUSIN DOUGIE - Saturday, October 16, 2010
LOBSTER POTTED - Sunday, October 10, 2010
A PRECIOUS GOLDEN BOBBY - Thursday, September 30, 2010
THE KING IS DEAD (or at least in his throes) - Saturday, September 25, 2010
STAND PAT - Saturday, September 18, 2010
EGGS ROSAKOVIA - Saturday, September 11, 2010
POLL CATS - Saturday, September 04, 2010
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE - Saturday, August 28, 2010
(Bonus Blog) BUT WHO’S COUNTING? - Wednesday, August 25, 2010
PEANUTS AND CRACKER JACKS - Saturday, August 21, 2010
LUCKY STRIKE GREEN - Saturday, August 14, 2010
AMERICARE vs. OBAMACARE - Saturday, August 07, 2010
THE MAN WHO WOULD (temporarily) BE PRESIDENT - Saturday, July 31, 2010
THE WEDDING - Saturday, July 24, 2010
BUTTERFLIES ARE HAPPY - Saturday, July 17, 2010
HATTERS ARE MAD - Saturday, July 10, 2010
WHAT DOES THE BOSTON TEA PARTY AND THE REPUBLICAN TEA PARTY HAVE IN COMMON? - Friday, July 02, 2010
MILQUETOAST HEADLINES - Saturday, June 26, 2010
JAMIE DUPREE DESERVES BETTER - Saturday, June 19, 2010
WHAT BARACK OBAMA AND HELEN THOMAS HAVE IN COMMON - Saturday, June 12, 2010
GRANDNIECE LEIGH IS OFF TO HONDURAS - Saturday, June 05, 2010
MEMORIAL HOLE-IN-ONE - Saturday, May 29, 2010
GRANDNIECE EMILY GRADUATES - Wednesday, May 26, 2010
THE MOON IS ROQUEFORT - Saturday, May 22, 2010
LENO VS. O’BRIEN – TEMPEST IN A TV POT - Saturday, May 15, 2010
A SHOT IN THE DARK - Thursday, May 06, 2010
THE SOUTH SHALL RISE AGAIN – NOT - Saturday, May 01, 2010
MARS OR BUST - Saturday, April 24, 2010
A CUP OF TEA - Saturday, April 17, 2010
THE TAXMAN COMETH - Friday, April 09, 2010
DIPLOMAT OR DEMOCRAT, PART THREE - Saturday, April 03, 2010
DIPLOMAT OR DEMOCRAT, PART TWO - Wednesday, March 31, 2010
DIPLOMAT OR DEMOCRAT – PART ONE - Saturday, March 27, 2010
. . . BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD SMELL AS SWEET - Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME . . . - Saturday, March 20, 2010
WHAT’S IN A NAME? - Wednesday, March 17, 2010
SQUEAKY’S FLEETING FAME - Saturday, March 13, 2010
ATTICA REVISITED - Wednesday, March 10, 2010
MARK MY WORDS - Saturday, March 06, 2010
RADIO HALL OF FAME - Wednesday, March 03, 2010
THE BEST HAS COME (and gone) - Saturday, February 27, 2010
SWEAT MORE, BLEED LESS - Wednesday, February 24, 2010
MY FIRST BIRTHDAY - Saturday, February 20, 2010
IDES OF FEB, MINUS 1 - Wednesday, February 17, 2010
THE ENOLA GAY - Saturday, February 13, 2010
SUPER BOWL XLIV 2010 - Wednesday, February 10, 2010
EARTHQUAKE - Wednesday, February 03, 2010
AURA LEE - CONCLUSION - Sunday, January 31, 2010
THOUGHTS ON STATE OF THE UNION, ETC - Friday, January 29, 2010
AURA LEE - PART 21 - Wednesday, January 27, 2010
AURA LEE - PART 20 - Saturday, January 23, 2010
AURA LEE - PART 19 - Wednesday, January 20, 2010
SLAINTE, AER LINGUS! - Bonus Blog - Monday, January 18, 2010
AURA LEE - PART 17 - Saturday, January 16, 2010
AURA LEE - PART 16 - Thursday, January 14, 2010
BONUS BLOG – TRUTH BEHIND JAY LENO’S DEPARTURE FROM PRIME TIME - Monday, January 11, 2010
AURA LEE - PART 15 - Saturday, January 09, 2010
BOGUS BUT PERTINENT EMAIL - Bonus Blog - Friday, January 08, 2010
AURA LEE - PART 14 - Wednesday, January 06, 2010
AURA LEE -- PART 13 - Saturday, January 02, 2010
AURA LEE -- PART 12 - Wednesday, December 30, 2009
ALEX'S SECOND CHRISTMAS - Bonus Blog - Monday, December 28, 2009
AURA LEE - PART ELEVEN - Saturday, December 26, 2009
AURA LEE - PART TEN - Wednesday, December 23, 2009
ALEX'S FIRST CHRISTMAS - Monday, December 21, 2009
AURA LEE - PART NINE - Saturday, December 19, 2009
AURA LEE - PART EIGHT - Wednesday, December 16, 2009
BONUS BLOG - CHESS WITH PATTON - Monday, December 14, 2009
AURA LEE PART SEVEN - Saturday, December 12, 2009
AURA LEE PART SIX - Wednesday, December 09, 2009
AURA LEE PART FIVE - Saturday, December 05, 2009
AURA LEE PART FOUR - Wednesday, December 02, 2009
AURA LEE PART THREE - Saturday, November 28, 2009
AURA LEE PART TWO - Wednesday, November 25, 2009
AURA LEE PART ONE - Friday, November 20, 2009
ROGUE'S GONE - Monday, November 16, 2009
NEW YORK, NEW YORK PART VI (concluded) - Friday, November 13, 2009
NEW YORKM NEW YORK PART V (continued) - Monday, November 09, 2009
NEW YORK, NEW YORK PART IV (continued) - Friday, November 06, 2009
NEW YORK, NEW YORK PT III (continued) - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
NEW YORK, NEW YORK PT. II (continued) - Friday, October 30, 2009
NEW YORK, NEW YORK! IT’S A WONDERFUL . . . - Monday, October 26, 2009
THE ICE PICK BOY HOAX - Friday, October 23, 2009
YES, WE ARE COLLEGIATE! - Monday, October 19, 2009
BULL'S EYE! - Friday, October 16, 2009
Nobel Peace Prize - Monday, October 12, 2009
WHAT TO MY WONDERING EARS . . . - Friday, October 09, 2009
EARLY A.M. CALL - Monday, October 05, 2009
FLOOD STORY - Friday, October 02, 2009
PLAY ON, GEORGIA! - Monday, September 28, 2009
SEE Y’ALL, IF’N THE CREEK DOAN RISE! - Friday, September 25, 2009
"POPCORN" THEATER REVISITED - Tuesday, September 22, 2009
OPEN WIDE - Friday, September 18, 2009
CAMELOT IS CLOSED - Monday, September 14, 2009
HEALTH CARE, ANYONE? - Friday, September 11, 2009
MARTYRDOM - Monday, September 07, 2009
CLOSE THE POOL! - Friday, September 04, 2009
THE WEEK BEFORE LABOR DAY - Tuesday, September 01, 2009
MORNING JOE - Friday, August 28, 2009
LIPS THAT TOUCH WINE . . . - Monday, August 24, 2009
KING TEDDY - Friday, August 21, 2009
SHOP TIL YOU FLOP - Monday, August 17, 2009
MOVIES ARE BETTER THAN EVER (?) - Friday, August 14, 2009
THE BIRCH JOHN SOCIETY - Monday, August 10, 2009
EVERYTHING I KNOW I LEARNED FROM SAM SPILLIOPOLIS AT THE PASTIME POOL ROOM - Friday, August 07, 2009
SHORT PEOPLE - Tuesday, August 04, 2009
ANDY ROONEY - Friday, July 31, 2009
CHERNOBYL 7.28.09 - Monday, July 27, 2009
ACTING STUPID 7.25.09 - Friday, July 24, 2009
JUSTICE FOR SOTOMAYOR 7.21.09 - Monday, July 20, 2009
ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL 7.18.09 - Friday, July 17, 2009
THE NATIONAL RADIO HALL OF FAME - Tuesday, July 14, 2009
BIRTH OF THE TEDDY BEAR 7.11.09 - Sunday, July 12, 2009
(Close Counts) 0NLY IN HORSESHOES 7.7.09 - Monday, July 06, 2009
MAD AS HELL . . . 7/4/09 - Friday, July 03, 2009
4th OF JULY - Wednesday, July 01, 2009
HOBBIES? - Monday, June 29, 2009
LONG WAY FROM BUCK HOUSE - Friday, June 26, 2009
NAVAL ENGAGEMENTS - Monday, June 22, 2009
REGINA BRETT IS NO LADY BRETT ASHLEY 6.20.09 - Friday, June 19, 2009
JULY 4th's A-COMIN'! - Monday, June 15, 2009
WINNING THE LOTTERY - Friday, June 12, 2009
THE TONIGHT SHOW - Monday, June 08, 2009
PERSONAL DISCOVERY CHANNEL - Friday, June 05, 2009
Jon and Kate, The Great Debate - Monday, June 01, 2009
Philadelhia Lawyers - Friday, May 29, 2009
MEMORIAL DAY 2009 - Monday, May 25, 2009
La Isla de los Alcatraces 5/24/09 - Saturday, May 23, 2009
CONFESSIONS OF AN INTERNET IDIOT - Thursday, May 21, 2009
HAIL TO THE BOSS - Monday, May 18, 2009
SAY CHEESE . . . - Friday, May 15, 2009
NUMBER, PLEASE . . . - Tuesday, May 12, 2009
AND THEY'RE OFF! - Saturday, May 09, 2009
Some Enchanted Evening - Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Fox Boycotts Obama - Friday, May 01, 2009
RAILROADED - Tuesday, April 28, 2009
NAKED GNOMES - Friday, April 24, 2009
THE EYES OF TEXAS ARE UPON ME - Tuesday, April 21, 2009
THE TEA PARTY - Friday, April 17, 2009
HAPPY INCOME TAX DAY! - Wednesday, April 15, 2009
THE FAIR TAX PLAN - Monday, April 13, 2009
THE REST OF THE STORY 4/10/2009 - Friday, April 10, 2009
A SPORTSMAN'S PARADISE - Monday, April 06, 2009
IF AGENTS & BEST SELLERS ARE A DIME A DOZEN, HOW COME WRITERS AIN’T RICH? - Sunday, April 05, 2009
BONUS BLOG 4.4.09 - Saturday, April 04, 2009
TYCOON! - Tuesday, March 31, 2009
End of Year Report - Sunday, November 02, 2008