OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part two.
Continuing… “You asshole”, Roy muttered into his beer. I was having a large time. Es was right. This is just what the Doctor’s wife ordered. I was now trying to explain to Zac American Football. “So, let me get this straight. These huge cousins of yours, kitted out in all that heavy protective gear, basically smash into one another, up one side of the field and down the other. They can run, throw the ball, and jump on each other.” He observes. “That’s the gist of it.“ I reply. “Sounds like Rugby with more padding. Must be a bunch of pansies; don’t want to get hurt.” Zac laughingly laughs. I chuckle. I guess after my cricket fiasco, I deserved that. The drunk Kiwi, now 3.5 sheets to the wind wanders by, hears the tag-end of the conversation again and says: “Yeah. Fucking American pussies. Stupid game. Not a one would last a second against the All Blacks. All Americans are pussies. ” I turned slowly, looked at this weaving retard, and said: “You should feel honored. I’ve never done this for another person. Yet.” I slowly turn and extend my kevlar-coated middle finger right in front of his face. You could almost hear the micro-stepper motors whine. “Oh, yeah?” He counters, “Well. Fuck you.” “Eloquent little miscreant”, I mention to Roy and Zac. Then he makes a slight misstep. He reaches out and grabs my left hand. I swear. It wasn’t intentional, but his grasping of my hand triggered my reflexes. That is amped and amplified by this fine Japanese technology. My hand opened near-instantly, caught his, and flexed back down. Hard. There were a couple of audible cracks. They weren’t from me. The hammered Kiwi went down on his knees in an instant. Evidently he was feeling some pain. “Sorry mate; but you shouldn’t have done that. Automatic reflexes. I’m still getting used to the power curve.” I said. “ARRGH!” he wailed, “Let me go, you motherfucker!” Suddenly, a dark shadow arrives. Sandeep enters and looks over the situation. He sees Zac behind the bar, who gives him the high sign. “Doctor Rock? This bag of shit giving you a hard time?” Sandeep asks me. “Well, he was being the most antisocial of creatures, Sandeep”, I calmly replied. Sandeep grabs the Kiwi by the scruff of the neck and rear belt. He then picks him up like a scrap of dogshit-smeared day-old newspaper as I let go of his slightly mushed hand. Sandeep carries the Kiwi, physically, to and out of the front door. Zac smiles at me and says: “If that’s not worth another round, I don’t know what is!” Even Roy tried just a little of the vodka. He had to as the bottle was almost empty. He groaned audibly as Zac returned with a fresh one. Roy wandered over to an unoccupied booth. He sat down, leaned his head back and started snoring loudly. A buxom waitress, but not the one from earlier, came over and began to complain. “How am I supposed to make any tips with this birk snoring away like this?” she haughtily asked. Zac and I look around the bar. It’s nearly deserted. I ask her to step over to the bar. I explain that Roy is with me and he’s just a bit tired from driving all day in the hot Dubai sun. Then, I hand her a random assortment of notes from off the bar. She accepts them and her demeanor swings 1800. “Is there a problem?” I ask. “Oh, no. No sir. He can sleep there all night for all I care.” She smiles. The other buxom waits-person from before sees the transaction, and emits an audible “Harrumph!” She throws down her towel and makes it rapidly for the kitchen door. “Hmm”, I say, “What’s eating her?” Zac just smiles and doesn’t even bother to ask if he should pour us another. Zac, Sandeep, and I were going through the bar’s taped collection of sporting events, trying vainly to find something we could all agree upon. It seems that time, as it’s wont, had passed and the bar was closed. At least, to other patrons. As long as I was happy buying everyone rounds, Zac and Sandeep had nowhere else to be. We stumbled across some sport fishing show from years and years ago. We all decided that yes, we all liked fishing, and this would serve a fine counterpart to our MST3K-like riffing of the show. We had a fine time. Zac, Sandeep, and I swapping fishing lies and Roy snoring away like a buzz-saw over in the booth. But, as the sun crept through the windows, I decided it was time for me to vamoose. I settled up my bar tab with Zac, leaving both him and Sandeep a couple of cigars and healthy tips. Sandeep rouses Roy and after a bit of cajoling, Roy joins me at the bar. “Looks like you’ve got a driver for the next two weeks”, Roy sorrowfully laments. “Nahh…I was just funnin’ ya’.” I said. “No. A bet’s a bet. I lost. You are something else. What? I don’t know, but I do know you’ve won this bet.” He admits. “I just hate to lose”, I smiled back. Roy looks at me a bit unsteadily. He has severe booth hair. “Roy”, I say, “You look like what we in the business call a ‘Go Devil”. It starts out spiffy but comes out looking like hell. You need coffee. In fact, so do I. Go throw some cold water in your face and I’ll ask Zac to set us up.” I offered. I didn’t need to tell Roy twice. He toddles off to the euphemism, and I ask Roy for two black coffees. Roy returns and sips at the hot beverage. He stops short and asks: “There no booze in here, is there? I can smell booze.” He notes. “It’s a bar, Roy”, Zac laughs. “Yeah, Roy”, I reply, “Only booze fumes are from my coffee.” “Over the evening, I told Zac how to prepare a Greenland Coffee. One with whiskey, Kahlua and Grand Marnier; hold the schlag.” “You are drinking one now?” Roy asks, incredulous, “After all that last night?” “After all what?” I reply, “Yep. Best eye-opener in the world.” “You’re fucking inhuman,” Roy says, deep into his mug of Joe. “Never claimed I was anything but.”, I smiled and waved my cybernetic fingers in his direction. “What did I do to deserve this?”, Roy muttered. Well, we finally, around 0600 depart the Quantum Sports Bar. I was a bit peckish as the pub grub available was just a bit too amuse-bouche cutesy for me. I want Luigi’s gut bomb pizza; with extra cheese, Italian sausage, and anchovies. Alas, none were to be found in Dubai at this hour. Roy deposits me back at the hotel and I pay him his due, with a smart tip. He makes certain I have his business card and that if I ever need a Dubli driver, to call him first. Up in the room, Es is sawing lumber. I decide not to wake her and grab a quick drink or five out of the mini-bar. I run a luxuriantly foamy hot tub in which I can relax my cares away once I disconnect my digits and set them in the charger. Esme and I were later at lunch after I tubbed for a while then decided to grab a few hours’ sleep. Es was up and puttering around the room when the doorbell rang. I went to grab something other than sleeping clothes as Es answered the door. “Rock! It’s for you” Esme called. “Probably the fuzz. The Kiwi narked on us and now I’m in Dutch.” I thought. It wasn’t. It was a local Emirati, one Mr. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. “Yes?”, I said to the dishdasha-clad individual at the door. “You are Dr. Rocknocker, late of the Sultanate?” he asks. “Yes,” I replied. I’m not letting anything on past name, rank, and serial number until I get the lowdown on this character. “Ah. Wonderful”, he smiles back, “Might we have a chat?” “Regarding?” I ask warily. “The upcoming Late Summer or Early Fall Dubai Shopping Festival.” he smiles like a cheetah back at me. “Weird”, was the only thing I could think. “Most certainly. Won’t you come in?” I ask. “Thank you”, he says and sweeps into the hotel room. We take seats near my work desk. I introduce Esme as my wife and they exchange pleasantries. “Could I get you something? Coffee? Tea?” Esme enquires. “I could go for a cold one, dear,” I say. Arab or not, this little piece of Dubai real estate is dogma-free. Mr. Abdul surprises me and asks for a cold beer as well. “I may look Emirati, but I’m really, by family, Omani.” He smiles broadly and goldly. “Well”, I reply, “That explains it. Yes, dear. A couple of Balticas, please.” I say. “Care for a light or dark beer, Mr. Abdalla?” “Oh, light please.” He remarks. “A number 3 and one 9, please,” I say to Esme. Over his light and my very dark Russian beer, he lays out the program. “Yes, at the conclusion of the festival, we want to mark the passing of the occasion after the virus pandemic with a special finale.” He noted. “Such as? And why me?” I ask. He smiles and actually chuckles a bit. “We plan on Tchaikovsky’s 1828 Overture as a finale.” He lights up. “OK. A good piece of solid show music”, I reply, “And this applies to me how?” “Well, you obviously know of the score”, he says, “And we want to set a record with our rendition of a finale.” “Really?” I ask, “Let me guess, you asked around and the pyro crowd gave you my name?” “Precisely.” he laughs. “Every time. We tracked you down from flight records. Imagine our astonishment to find you right here in town. “ “Yep. Yippee. So, if the normal pyrotechnicians can’t supply what you want and you come to me, you must want some really big booms.” I note. “Exactly. Such a quick study, Doctor”, he notes. “How big?” I ask and have a swig of beer. “Record-setting”, he replies. “OK. What are the previous world’s record for such an endeavor?” I ask. “The performance by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Eastern Army Band, 1st Band, and 1st Artillery Unit in 2010 used M101 105mm howitzers. The final part of the performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in London 2012 was with live gunfire of HMS Belfast. The Boston Pops in 2015 used a record of 1.5 tons of fireworks. We want to surpass that.” he replied. “OK. Now I’ve got a basis for comparison. Leave me to it. We’re not leaving any time soon, it appears. Let me cogitate the matter for a while and I’ll get back to you with a plan and procedure. OK? What’s the budget?” I ask. “Unlimited. But within reason”, he chuckles. “Use your best judgment.” “I can do that.” I reply, “I’m sort of bored right now so I’ll get right after its wild ass.” A bit taken aback, he continues: “Fine. Fine. Most agreeable. As is this beer. Thank you. My card, Doctor. Please call when you have a plan.” he states, rises, shakes my hand, says goodbye to Esme without shaking her hand, and departs. “You heard?” I asked Es. “Oh, yes. Damn. Talk about giving Dracula the key to the blood bank.” She smiles. “Gonna need your help on this one”, I say. “Oh, yes, oh deaf one. Call me when you need me.” she smiles. “I always need you”, I reply very truthfully. After a bit of research, we find that Tchaikovsky’s 1828 overture finale consists of 12 cannon fires. 1-11 are pretty much the same, but #12, El Ultimo, it is the loudest and most sustained. “We’re setting records,” I say to Esme, “This will not do…” Two days later, I have a plan and procedure. I call one Mr. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development for a second visit. “Good day, Mr. Abdulla. I trust you’re well amid all this craziness?” I ask. “Oh, yes. Thank you. You and yours as well?” he asks tangentially. “We have fully functioning immune systems”, I reply, “We’re good.” “Excellent! Shall we see what you’ve worked up?” he asks, anxiously. “Absolutely. But first, a libation?” I ask. “I wouldn’t say no if it were wet and cold.” He smiles. Esme returns with our beers and I pull out the pages of procedure and the list of materials with projected costs for Mr. Minister of the Culture and Know-how. He looks at it and emits a low whistle. “Well, Doctor, one cannot say you don’t do your homework.” He smiles in appreciation. “I always try to be succinct, sufficient, and satisfactory. Plus, I always add an additional 25% contingency.” I reply. “Can you walk me through this?” he asks. “Most assuredly”, I remark. And I do. “Based on results from a nine element vertical line array (VLA) with hydrophones spaced 0.7 m apart and an autonomous recording system recording on a multi-channel coherent data acquisition system (Astro-Med, Inc.) for which each channel was recorded at 62,500 samples per second; the initial shock wave can be approximated as decaying exponential with a decay constant h given by Chapman as Ø = 8:12 x 10–5 W13 (W1/3)0:14. Remembering that attributes of a sound at a particular point are usually obtained by measuring pressure changes as sound waves pass; this Δ detonation pressure equivalent for 1 kilo of C-4, which is composed of 91% RDX ("Research Department Explosive", an explosive nitroamine), bound by a mixture of 5.3% dioctyl sebacate (DOS) or dioctyl adipate (DOA) as the plasticizer (to increase the plasticity of the explosive), thickened with 2.1% polyisobutylene (PIB, a synthetic rubber) as the binder, with a density of 1.58 grams per cubic centimeter, and an explosive velocity of 8,092 m/s (26,550 ft/s) is 257 kilobars. This is the equivalent of ‘noise dosemeters’, record the Pa2·h (pascal-squared hour) decibel level of an instantaneous 140.” “Um, yes Doctor. “ Mr. Abdalla says, “A little less theory, and a bit more practical if you please.” “Oh, yes, certainly”, I say, and proceed right along, “Using the equation ‘Distance = 215(NEQ)1/3, and since 140 decibels is considered as a "safety cutoff" for exposure to impulsive noises without using hearing protection, as per a festival; it’s not a question of how loud do you want the bang, just how far will you have to keep people away to ensure their safety.” “How is that?” he asks. “Well, with 10 kilos, you need to be back 463.20m to be safe. 100 kilos? 997.94m or near as hell one kilometer. 1,000 kilos? Just over two kilometers or 2150.00m to be precise. Just for laughs, 10,000 kilos? Nearer to five kilometers, or 4632.03m.” “I see”, he says and rubs his neatly trimmed beard. “So, I propose building or acquiring three sea-going barges, 75m x 15 meters, and have them anchored offshore from a kilometer to two distant. That’s easily done as the water here off Dubai is quite shallow.” “Continue, please.” He says. “There are 12 cannon shots in the 1812 Overture finale. An initial set of three, a set of four, another set of 4, and the grand finale. I suggest that you build 12 flat-topped wooden platforms where the height of the platform relates directly to the C-4 charge size. If the charge is 100 kilos, then a minimum of 6 meters in height; scaled proportionally. The flat top of wood eliminates missiles if the platform disintegrates, as the blast energy will radiate outward hemispherically and basically just scorch the hell out of the wood platform.” “Understood. Please continue.”, he asks. “OK. This way you can scale up the charge, move back the barge, and build your towers just so large.” He snickers at that and asks me to carry on. “I suggest three initial charges of 100 kilos. Then four of 250 kilos. Then four more of 500 kilos. For the Grand Finale, I suggest 1,500 to 2,000 kilos. Do that, and the record will be assured.” “Excellent!” he exclaims, “Anything else?” “Oh, yes”, I smile, “C-4 is pliable and easily molded. I suggest you form the charges with a flat base, but into an auricular shape. That is, chop off your ear and set it on the table. Mold the C-4 in that approximate shape, aiming the low-side toward the audience. That will maximize the volume, but dissipate the shock wave the fastest.” “Outstanding!” he clasps his hands. “But, wait. There’s more!” I say, “The flash from C-4 isn’t that especially bright. You want sight as well as sound. So, mix 15-25% Tannerite, a binary explosive, with the C-4. Also, you can place potassium nitrate/magnesium or potassium nitrate, aluminum, and sulfur flash powder packets into the cavity of the auricular shape. The pyrotechnicians handling the show can rig this no problem. You can mold the C-4 and Tannerite up to 3 days in advance if you cover it with biophane, a breathable bioplastic, and keep them cool and in the dark.” “Oh, this is wonderful, Doctor. But you’ll not be here?” he asks. “No, I’m afraid not.” I reply, “Once the quarantine is lifted, my dear wife and I are gone to the Sultanate. We’re packing as quickly as we can and headed back to the states. I need to get to university where I’m pursuing my DSc degree. We also want to get out of the Middle East. 22 years is quite enough, thank you. Of course, no offense intended. We just want to get home to family.” “I see. That I can understand.” He notes, “Thank you for your time and design. I do appreciate the list of materials, that will make things most convenient. How much do we owe you and the Mrs. for your time and efforts, Doctor?” “Mr. Minister, nothing”, I say. “We’re stuck here and just working on the preliminaries for my dissertation. It was a welcome respite from Helium exploration and Rb/Os ages of Neoproterozoic biomarkers. Consider it the Rocknocker family gift to the cause.” “My, my Doctor and Mrs.”, the Minister of the Small and the Silly remarks, “That’s very generous of you. Your names will be mentioned prominently in the proceedings of benefactors to the festival.” “Mr. Minister”, I said, “We’d rather you didn’t. We neither desire nor require the notoriety, and in this case, we would rather just remain safely anonymous.” “If that is your wish, then your requests will be respected.” The Minister says as he rises to leave. “How much longer will you be staying with us?” “Ask your brethren to the south. It’s all up to them” I wearily replied. “I’ll see what I can do. Once again. Doctor? Mrs. Thank you. Thank you so very much. Good day.” He shakes my hand, ignores Es’ and takes his leave. “Well,” I relate to my beloved, “That was fun. I’m going swimming. Can you charge up my fingers for me, dear?” She smiles and says of course. Besides, it’s siesta time for her. I want to get out to the pool before it’s the Skin Bubbling Hour. A day passes. We’re still bored and waiting for liberation. The next morning, the doorbell rings. I’m working on the New York Times crossword and another Greenland Coffee. “Bloody hell.”, I remark, looking at my watch. “It’s Oh-Dark 30 early. Now, what the fuck?” After closing my robe, I open the door. I don’t trust those little fisheye peepholes since I saw Hard Target and Leon the Professional. I’d rather see it coming. “Yeah?” I say to the huge bush of fresh-cut flowers. “You’re Dr. Rocknocker and Mrs?” a voice asks. “Yes to the first and no to the second. But she’s here.” I say warily to the talking greenery. “Gift for you from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. Sign here please”, the foliage requests. I grab the clipboard and scribble something similar to what passes for my signature. I hand the clipboard back to the mound of sentient vegetation whereupon it asks where I would like it to be set in the suite. “Anywhere you can find that’s there’s room,” I reply. Holy shit, it’s not a floral arrangement, it’s a floral shop. He sets it in the middle of the dining room table. The damn thing extends from one side, parallel to its longest dimension, to the other. The damn thing must weigh in at 50 kilos. Or more. “Wait here, please”, the now visible delivery person asks. “Like I’m going somewhere?” I mused. He returns with three huge boxes of custom, hand-dipped chocolates. Somehow, he finds room for these on the table as well. I tip him 25 dirhams and he says “Thanks” and bids a hasty departure. Es hears all the hubbub and wanders down from the bedroom. “What the hell was all that …What the hell is this?” she asks. “Let me look at the note,” I say, find it and rip it open. “A small gesture of our everlasting thanks. Signed, Minister Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, and all of us at the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.” “Well, so much for that diet we discussed.” I snickered to Esme as I opened the first box and saw the easily 20 to 25 rows of lovely looking hand-dipped dark chocolates. “I do so wish I liked chocolate.” I mused aloud. Esme adores chocolate. The doorbell rings again. Es hustles upstairs in her nightgown, and I wander over and answer the door. “What?” “Dr. Rocknocker?” this new delivery guy asks. “Yes?” “Sign here.” He says. I do. He takes and hands me a yellow flimsy from the triplicate delivery order. He turns and begins to walk down the hall. “Hey, Chuckles. What did I just sign for?” I ask. “Look down”, he says over his shoulder, never breaking stride. “Oh”, I said. Hey, it’s early. Leave me alone. There’s a suspicious-looking parcel, approximately 12-7/8” x 9-11/16” x 12-1/2” and weighing in at around 34 pounds or so. I drag it in and find space for it in the kitchen. Look. There’s a card. Addressed to me. I open it. “Doctor. Best regards and wishes. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla.” Nice. I open the case to find a dozen bottle sampler of Chopin Vodka. Four wheat, four rye, and four potato vodka. Es wanders back down and is almost consumed by the overwhelming pong of the tropical flower shrubbery that has taken up residence in our dining room. “OK. You can have a few chocolates. As long as I can have some of my present.” I say. “Deal” Es replies."Gimmee." Remind me to say something nice about Dubai sometime in the future. But only once; let’s not get carried away.
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part one.
That reminds me of a story. I’m going cooped-up crazy. Shacky-wacky. Hotel doldrums have set in. Yes, I know. Es and I just got back from a resounding tour of a shipbreaking yard in India. Flew way above First Class. Never had to even touch our luggage. ♫Oh, what fun it is to charter flights. Limos all the way. Hey! ♫. But, the hotel bars here are paling quickly. Quiet. Too quiet. Same old, dull, dazed, and dormant crowd. The Expat population in Dubai is dwindling mightily. The COVID craziness is a madness that is taking a heavy toll. Everything’s shut down. Everyone’s staying at home. I’m almost nostalgic for a good old Dubai 35 car pile-up and traffic jam. Es sees that I’m in a quandary. She had quite a few friends here in Dubai. The ones I had have all left due to cratering oil prices or they’re what’s considered an ‘essential employee’, and thus unavailable. “ROCK! QUIT YOUR PACING!” Es says in her most inimitable manner. “YOU’RE MAKING ME CRAZY!” “A thousand pardons, my darling. But, Boditek. I suffer! Klytus, I’m bored. Bored out of my fucking mind. I can only write so much on the Precambrian Hydrocarbon reservoirs of Eastern Siberia. Television’s a bust, there’s no Netflix, even Pirate Bay is blocked here, and I’m going spare!” I whimper. “Go then. Begone with thee. Go find a dark bar and grab a seat on Mahogany Ridge. You need a night off. Just take your fingers with so you won’t scare the locals. And be home before they open the borders. We want to be first in line when that happens” she says. “By your command!”, I say, grab her around the waist, give her a spin, a quick smooch on the cheek, and pat on the backside before I hit the stairs in our suite in a flat-out gallop to retrieve my now charged digits from their charging port on my nightstand. A few minutes later… Stately, plump Dr. Rocknocker came from the stairhead bearing three incredibly expensive technologically-derived Kevlar-ed digits. He was clad in his finest Desert Fox chino shorts, freshly cleaned and oiled field boots, a new pair of jade Merino Rannoch Luxury Country Socks, best new Hawaiian drinking shirt, a Blasting technician T-shirt and black, recently blocked, Stetson. He was so full of himself, that he actually stopped talking about his own self in the narrative in the third person. “Esme? Darling? I’m off!” I say with a lilt in my voice and a cheeseburger in my pocket. But that’s another story. “You’re off, all right”, Es chuckles. “Now Rock, remember. This is the first time in a long time I’m letting you off the chain, out unsupervised among the general population. Don’t break anyone if you can avoid it and even if someone needs a quick killing, remember, you’re on vacation. OK?” “Oh, my dear!” I chuckle and snicker, “You know me. I wouldn’t kill anyone here in Dubai. There’s no money in it.” “Still. Best behavior?” She admonishes. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I will try,” I reply. “Pinkie promise?” she requests. Damn. One of the few fingers of which left I have a natural set. Now I can’t say that it was just a Kevlar-coated contract. “But of course”, I say as we entwine pinkies. Hers nice, clean, and pink; mine keloidal, gnarled, and scarred. Yeah, it about makes me retch. But Es sort of enjoys these silly things now and again. I’m waiting in the hotel bar for my cab to arrive. I have a quick Long Island Iced Tea or three before I hit the streets. I’ve got this weird hankering for a sports bar. Don’t know why. I hate football, i.e., soccer, cricket, and those other weird forms of ball chasing they call sports over here. But I yearn to be in a bar full of leather, hewn wood, and smoke. Attended by the smell of manly men drinking as they see fit. In Dubai? Fat chance. I ask my driver, who has just arrived, and who will be with me all night; if he minds me smoking, having a drink in a plain brown wrapper, and if he knows of a decent sports bar in Dubai. No. Nope. Quantum Sports Bar. “It’s sort of pricey”, he tells me. My driver for the duration is one Roy Toisuta, an Indonesian chap who looks like he fell off a charm bracelet. In reality, I could make up three of him. But he’s affable, quick on the gas and bound to be a boon companion. He is wiry in that whipsaw sort of kill-you-with-a-paperclip-1000-different-ways sort of manner. Like the human personification of a gaunt wolverine. We’ll get along famously. He tells me he doesn’t drink for whatever reason. He announces that he would wait for me out in the car while I go in and do whatever one does in a Sports Bar in Dubai for a few hours. “Look, Roy”, I say, “I’m on retainer. C’mon in and I’ll buy you dinner and all the coffee, tea, or fizz water you could want. I just need someone non-judgmental. See, I have this affliction. I’m an alcohol-fueled carbon-based organism. I tend to drink a lot, but only to excess. You have any sort of problem with that?” “Well, Rock”, he says, “As long as we’re being honest, I have no problem. The way I see it, the more you drink, the looser your wallet becomes.” “I don’t suppose you’d care to lay a small wager on that conclusion?” I ask, leerily in that strange way I have that makes Komodo Dragons gulp in disbelief. “I’ll bet, after what you told me about your recent confinement, that I’ll be dragging and/or carrying you out of the bar tonight. “ he snickers, dreaming of my very loose wallet and its contents. “You’re going to be tying one on, I can see that.” “You can see me. But you can’t see my past” I think. “Well, you’re not drinking, so what’s in it for me if I win?” I ask. “A free driver for the next week?” he asks. “Want to make it a month? I’m really, really thirsty.” I sneer. “Make it a fortnight.”, he laughs. “Easiest money I’ve ever made. I can barely hold you back.” “Deal”, as we shake hands. He notices my gloves for the first time. “What’s that all about?” he asks. “Industrial accident years ago. Not terribly pretty.” I say. “Oh. OK. Ready to go?” He asks. “Gentlemen”, I announce, “Forward. Drink!” Roy accepts a cigar from one of my travel pocket humidors and we walk up to the entrance. “You be who?” asks the doorman. “Well, my good man, I am the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, and this is my able-bodied companion, Kato”, I say in my most affected Elliott Gould imitation. “What?” he asks trying to corral at least two functioning synapses. “Pardons. I’m Dr. Rocknocker and this is my trusty driver, Roy.” I continue. “Ah. What? Hmm? Who?” was the response. “Oh, I am sorry. Which word confused you?” I asked, most deferentially. “You trying to be smart?” he asks. “Well, I reckoned that at least one of us should,” I replied. He sat there and fumbled with that reply like a nun in a warm bathtub fumbles with a bar of soap. You know the type, she has hope in her soul… As he struggles to come up with an answer, I offer him a cigar the likes of which I’m certain he’s never seen outside of a Hollywoo movie. “Here, my good man. My card.” I say as I hand over a large example of the perfection of the tobacconist’s art. He gratefully accepts the cigar and removes the rope barrier. “Have yourself a good time, gents.” He says. “Oh. We intend to”, I reply. “Ever need anything, just ask for Sandeep” the towering Nepali remarks with a smile. “Thanks. Have a night yourself…”, I reply and stuff another cigar in his shirt pocket for later. He grins wide as Dubai Creek and just as brown. He shoots me a wide smile and a universal thumbs-up sign. “Best to make friends rather than antagonize the locals”, I muse. “You’re an odd bird, Doctor Rocknocker.” Roy chortles. “Roy, it’s just ‘Rock’, OK? It’ll save both time and cuts down on CO2 exhalations. And I’m all for protecting the environment.” I smiled back. Roy chewed on that one for most the rest of the night. The Sports Bar was quiet. Fairly empty, with probably more wait-persons than patrons. One particularly buxom specimen of the female side of the equation welcomed us in an overtly and obviously affected mien. She wanted to show us to a table that was within the sphere of her waitressy influence. “No, thank you”, I said as I spied acres and acres of glistening unoccupied Mahogany with tens of unoccupied seats that both faced the long bar and the several large-screen televisions there. Seemingly bereft of people to wait and prey upon, she ignored us roundly. To her financial detriment as we would all find out during the course of the evening. I chose a likely looking seat at the bar and Roy joined me, cautiously, a seat or two away. “I don’t bite, Roy”, I said. “Social distancing”, he replied. “Ah. Well, I have a fully functional immune system as well as the hardest working liver in the galaxy. I assure you I’m in no way communicable.” I replied, slightly miffed. “Besides, after that cab ride here, whatever ætiology I have, you have as well, and vice versa.” He scooted over one seat but shuttled that seat back to the right about 15 more centimeters. “Some folks just don’t like their personal space invaded”, I surmised. I pulled out one of my cigar cases, a cutter, lighter, and a stack of currencies that I was going to try and get rid of that night. I had freshly minted UK Pounds, Euros of many nations, Indian Rupees, Russian Rubles, Japanese Yen, Chinese Renmimbi, some Uzbek Som, Afghani Afghans, Argentinian Pesos, down under Ozzian Dollarydoos, Mongolian Tugriks, Omani Rials, a few Samoan Tālā, and a bunch of US dollars. How I ended up with that last group remains a mystery. Roy goggled at the stack of weirdly colored and weirdly wonderful currencies of many nations. “Sorry, Roy”, I said, “No Indonesian rupiah. Haven’t been to Jakarta in a long time.” “What the hell are those weird ones there?” he asked. “Which ones?” I chuckled back. It was at that time our reverie was broken. The bartender, one Zac O'Madden, an Irish national currently working for the hotel to which this bar is attached, interrupts our nascent debauch and asks for our drink orders. “Not so fast there!” I say. “Introductions first. We’re not savages here.” Zac chuckles. “You’re obviously American.” “Вы уверены в этом? [Are you certain of that?]”, I say in return. Zac just stands there and laughs. “Та үнэхээр итгэлтэй байна уу? [Are you really certain?]” I ask in Mongolian. “Ĉu vi vere certas? Bạn có thực sự chắc chắn?” “You’re as Russian or whatever that was as I am Kenyan. Now I know it. You’re American.” He says assuredly. “And you have this nasty habit of being correct. I’m Dr. Rocknocker, call me Rock. This slight but solid fellow to my right is Roy, late of Jakarta and Krakatoa, actually west of Java.” I snicker. “And I am Zac O’Madden, of Dublin and points east. Nice to meet you all. What can I get for you?” he asks. After we shake hands in a very manly, indeed, manner, I ask Roy what is his pleasure. “A tall club soda with a twist of lime, on the rocks.” He replies offhandedly. “You’ve done this before”, I observe rather unnecessarily. “Zac, Roy gets what he wants tonight, my tab. I’ll have a Sazerac, hold the sugar. Actually several. You see, on the flight over, I sat through another showing of ’Live and Let Die’, and now I miss Mardi Gras, New Orleans, and Pat O’Brien’s. But I don’t like sweet drinks.” “Coming right up”, Zac says with a well-practiced swish of his bar rag. “Oh, but I’m not finished. I’d also like a beer chaser. A pint of…ah, do you have a beer menu?” I ask, looking down the long row of tappers. “Coming up”, he says, and races off to find me one. A few minutes later he returns with my cocktail, Roy’s fizz water, and a bar beer menu. I raise my glass to Zac and then to Roy. We clink and I say, “I like this guy. And I like this bar. We’re going to have us a large night.” I drain my unsweet Sazerac in one go. Hey. I was thirsty. Needs a scootch more absinthe I observe. Roy and Zac just sort of stare, wide-eyed, as I peruse the beer menu. Nice menu, nice diversity. Oh, very nice. “I’ll have the Asahi Kuronama Black if you don’t mind. Plus another Sazerac, a bit more absinthe if you please. You see, I have this genetic condition I need to keep in balance.” I grinned. Zac looked at me like I had some sort of adverse medical condition. “You OK, Rock?” he asked most earnestly. “Look, Zac, I just met you and you’re a hell of a tarbender, far be it from me to tell you your job, but you see, there is this…” I said, trailing off. “Yes?” His was a look of genuine concern. The genuine concern he won’t own that pile of currency on the bar in front of me by the end of the night. “Yeah. Genetics dealt me a weird hand. See. I’m an ethanol-fueled carbon-based organism…” Roy just rolled his eyes. Zac looked puzzled. “Yeah, I require alcohol in good-tasting and heroic amounts on a regular basis. I also have to smoke huge, black cigars in order to moderate the bioreactor.” I smiled, as I leaned back and fired up a heater. Zac looked at me. Chewed over what I said for a moment or two. He shrugged his shoulders, grabbed my empty glass, and said, “OK, whatever. Round two in moments.” Roy went to ask me something, thought better of it, and just leaned over and grabbed my Zippo from Irkutsk. He looked at the cameo-relief silver and amber city crest attached to the lighter, flipped it open, and tried firing up his cigar. “They draw better if you cut the end first,” I said, absently; and not looking, just hand him my V-cutter. Zac returns with a new Sazerac, a chilled bottle of Asahi Kuronama Black, a tall pilsner glass, and a new club soda for Roy. I puffed my cigar, drained another Sazerac in one go, tried the Japanese black beer, and found it to my liking. I leaned back to observe what sort of sports carnage they were observing on the big screens. Roy just looked at me with wide eyes but said nothing. The evening wore on. After a couple or twelve more Sazeracs, I decided it was time to teach Zac the finer points of mixology via premium vodka, bubbly citrus, ice, and lime wheels. I also found that they had a stock of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844, from China. “PBR!”, I almost yelled, “Holy wow! I grew up on the stuff.” “Not this stuff, Rock”, Zac said, “Look at the price. We only got a small amount due to a shipping error. It’s not sold outside of China normally.” It was UAE 165 per bottle, about US$45, and worth every dirham. Zak was amazed when I told him to go ahead and have one on Roy and me. “Really, Rock?”, Zac exclaimed. “The usual buggers here are so tight, they hum when the wind blows. Hardly anyone buys me a drink. Except for you Americans. Finest kind.” “That’s me. An international ambassador of amity and alcohol,”, I say and toast in his general direction. “Crack tubes!” Roy was getting tired as a newt. Evidently not drinking, listening to old war stories, and watching recorded US Football games due to the COVID lack of anything live, can take its toll as well. I’m going strong as I’m asking Zac to explain what the fuck cricket is all about. “So, let me get this straight,” I say, ordering another double cocktail and a couple of PBR chasers for Zac and myself. “The guy on the mound runs up and pitches to the guy dressed in the body armor. He uses a bent 2x4 to defend the wicket, which, if I recall correctly, can be sticky. Then he keeps the aliens from stealing the stumps and burning them to ashes in Australia...” “God”, Zac exclaims, “You’re fucking hopeless.” “Everything I know about cricket I learned from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy.” I smiled proudly. “That was rather obvious…” Zac sheeshed. He left to attend to another patron, a loud and woozy Kiwi. I looked at the source of all the bad noise and in my inattention, just clicked my full beer glass. I inadvertently violated Rule #1 and spilled a small soupçon of expensive, imported beer onto my left hand. “Whoops!”, I said and stripped off my sodden left-hand glove. I used Zac’s bar towel to sop up the bar and dry my techno-digits. Roy looked not only at my ‘whoops’, but goggled my Japanese one-off, so far, electro-fingers. “Rock. What the hell, man. I mean, what the fuck. Are those for real?” he asked. “Yeah, they are a new prototype and I’m the lab rat.”, I said, waggling them and seeing that something as mundane a beer spill could never possibly injure them. By this time, Zac wanders back, sees I’ve used his bar rag, and looks at my hand for real for the first time. “What the fuck, Rocko? You some sort of cyborg?” he asks. “By definition; yes, I am. And my grandfather used to call me that. Thanks.”, I replied. “But, yeah, I’m an alcohol-fueled one at that,” I say, tapping and pointing rather pointedly at my currently unpopulated cocktail glass. Zac returns with a reload. He and Roy demand to know the whole story. “If you must pry…” I say. “Oh, we must, we must”, they reply in unison. So, I regale them with the tale of the Siberian rig. The blowout, fire, and the moderately overzealous Russian FNG. “Rock, I don’t know if that’s true, but by your appearance, it has to be. Let me buy you a drink.” Zac says. Roy asks for a Molson Light. “Roy! You old fraud.” I said. “I usually don’t drink. But after that story, I think I need something cold, wet, and with a little punch.” He said, staring at my hand. “Then you’ve chosen well”, as I down another Rocknocker, sip at my PBR and snip a new cigar. “Rock, can I ask you a question?” Roy asks. Zac is polishing our spot at the bar insistently. I think he has a question or two as well. “Sure. Go nuts.” I reply, puffing on my new cigar and sipping this lovely amber 1844 brew. He crouches conspiratorially and asks in a low sotto voce: “Is that why you drink as you do? To dull the pain? From the accident. That’s it, right? Isn’t it?” Roy asks, almost genuinely concerned. I laughed loud and long. I chuckled, snorted, and had to calm myself with gulps of my beer and cocktail. “Roy, Roy, Roy…I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m from Baja Canada originally. I’m a multiply-degreed petroleum geologist. I’ve lived and worked in Russia for many, many years. And, as I’ve said, I’m an ethanol-fueled organism. Quadruple perfect storm. My fingers don’t hurt. Or they might, I have no idea. I don’t even know where hell they are.” I laughed at my own witty repartee. Roy actually paled some. He took a long draught of his anemic beer and just stared at me. Zac had disappeared. He presently returned with a bottle of Beluga Gold Line Vodka. “Rock, after that, this one’s for you. On the house.” He said. “Only if you will join me. And let me pay for yours.” I said. Zac agrees. The shnozzled Kiwi from previous in the narrative staggers by and hears the tag-end of our conversation. He leans over to grab the expensive bottle of vodka and says “Don’t mind if I do.” “None for you, asshole. You’re lucky I let you stay here waiting on a cab” Zac growls, and grabs the bottle away. The Kiwi looks at Zac. He looks at Roy. Then he looks at me, my drinks, cigar, and the smaller pile of currency on the bar. He may have been loaded, but something swam upstream against his internal current of booze and made him decide that right now, discretion was the better part of valor. He toddled unsteadily away. “Asswipe”, Zac spits, “He’s here every other month. He pays for his drinks, but he can’t hold them. Never once tips or buys a round. General asshole. Still, management won’t let me toss nor ban him.” “Some people”, I distastefully agreed and poured Zac and myself a healthy double-tot of the fine, smooth, and icy vodka. “I weep for our species sometimes.” I insisted Zac join me. I asked Roy if he’d like a taste. “Thanks, Rock. But you’ve already been too much of a bad influence on me.” he smiled, and tipped his almost empty pilsner glass. “OK, no pressure. I may drink like a school of belugas, but if someone else doesn’t want to, I respect that all day long. Still, the offer stands.” I continue. “I’ll think about it, Rock. I’m still not over how you can just sit there and joke about your cybernetic fingers and how you got them. I’d…I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. “ he shudders. “Want to see the scar on my leg where I got shot with a .45? Or the scar on my coconut from a hunk of falling ice on a drilling rig?” I asked. “Fuck no!”, Roy almost screams. “What the hell. You held together by scar tissue?” ”That. Baling wire and Duct Tape.” I laughed, “And people wonder why I drink.” “I thought so!” Roy exclaimed. “I drink because I chose to. I can stop anytime. In fact, I stopped smoking and drinking once; by nothing more than sheer force of will.” I said proudly. “Really?” Roy asked. “Yep”, I replied, “It was the worst 45 minutes of my life.” To be continued…
If you have never bet on cricket, but you are quite experienced bettor on football, then betting on the runs could easily be your initiation market. It’s a lot like the oveunder markets and the safest way on how to win on cricket betting. All you need to do is have access to stats in order to be sure that the offered lines have some value. So after you’ve done your homework you’ll be ready to claim your chances in this fascinating sport. But you have to remember that the best opportunities for profit will come In-Play. So make sure that you understand more than the basics about cricket and adopt a reliable cricket live betting strategy. Today I have seen a website in google search when i was searching for cricket betting tips. I was shocked that they provide many secure predictions. I have also checked their last predictions, they are just amazing. I have never seen that in any website providing such correct prediction like them.
Reposting due to the beloved u/skinkerdoodle taking a moderation break :) Please also check out theadvanced care guideafter looking at this one! If you haveANYquestions after finishing this guide, feel free to ask below and I, or someone else experienced, will try and answer the question for you. We also have adiscord serverwhere you can ask questions and chat! If you're too embarrassed to post, feel free to PM me. I want this to post to be a safe space for beginners to ask questions and learn! The FAQ section may also answer some more "advanced" topics even if you're not a complete beginner. Take a look! Also look in the comment section for the previous beginner guide postshereandherefor answers to questions. Maybe your question has already been posted! Thinking about getting aleopard gecko? Awesome! They make great pets and owning them is a very rewarding experience. You may be scouring the web and start to think "where the heck do I start"! In this guide I'll be giving detailed advice to prepare you for your first gecko. What to buy before you get a gecko: This is a checklist of everything you need to buy BEFORE purchasing your gecko. It's important to set up before you get your new friend just in case some items, like the heating pad, end up not working. THE ESSENTIALS
Tank (20 Gallon long or equivalent terrarium/tank/tub)
20G long is the accepted standard tank for an adult. You can go bigger but you'll have to provide adequate cover and heat sources. Also that whole "baby geckos can't be in a big tank" thing is completely untrue! You are perfectly fine buying an "end game" tank for your gecko. Babies can still be kept in a 10 gallon tank (if you are currently short on space, etc), but should be moved once they're starting to grow older and larger so that they can be more comfortable. I always recommend to buy your adult tank right off the bat. You'll save more money in the long run. If you're okay waiting for awhile Petco has a 1$ per gallon sale a few times a year. It's a pretty good deal.
Contrary to popular belief, leos can see most colors of light (even red). Albinos are especially sensitive to bright lights. Natural room lighting is acceptable and will not mess up their day/night cycles. Your heating pad should cover 1/3rd of your tank. You want a temperature gradient. I personally use the Zoo Med brand 30-40g size for my 20 gallon long tanks. This goes under the tank. Make sure your tank is slightly raised to provide air flow. You can also use deep heat projects, radiant heat panels, etc to heat your tank. Just keep in mind these will also need to be temp controlled to keep your leopard gecko safe. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE LOOSE SUBSTRATE (depending on how thick/deep it is) YOU WILL MOST LIKELY HAVE TO USE OVERHEAD HEATING. This will ensure accurate surface and air temps. YOU CAN USE LOW OUTPUT (5% or less) UVB LIGHTS. Just provide plenty of cover if your leo is albino and watch to make sure they aren't too stressed. They are optional if you are supplementing properly.
Heating sources get HOT. I mean up to 120F unregulated just for heating pads. You need to control the temperature! I personally use this thermostat. You want the floor of the tank to be 90F. Keeping it this temperature will make sure you have a happy, healthy gecko. Lower temps can cause your gecko to not eat and digest properly. This is also a good thermostat.
NO CALCI-SAND/COLORED SAND. I cannot stress this enough. These can cause impaction which can lead to death. Good beginner substrate include: Paper towels, mixed naturalistic substrate (play sand + top soil is a good starting base, you can also add in eco earth, clay) mixed with tile (on the hot side works the best) or just plain tile (no linoleum tile and it must be textured). Eco earth by itself is not a good substrate and can get too dusty/dry. Reptile carpet is just a pain to clean and your leopard gecko can get claws and teeth stuck in it. * Three hides (Hot, moist, and cool) You want three hides in your tank. One for the hot side of the tank (positioned over the heating pad). This will be the place your gecko spends most of it's time. Geckos tend to like very secure hides, so you want to have a hide that provides as little visibility as possible. I have found my geckos really like this hide as their hot hide. You can pick out whatever you like though! For the moist hide you want a container that can hold in humidity. This hide is to help aid shedding, so it's of the utmost importance! Many people use tupperware containers with holes cut into it. The smaller the entrance the better, as to keep the humidity in. This hide should be at least partially on the heat mat and have moist paper towel, moss, or eco earth. The cool hide should be on the complete opposite side of the hot hide. Your gecko needs somewhere to escape to if it gets too hot. * Infrared Temp Gun You want to double check your temperatures and make sure they're accurate and an infrared temp gun is the best way to do it! I use this one. * Bowl for calcium/food/water Your leopard gecko needs a source of calcium (without d3) in the tank. They'll lick it up as they need it. This is a key component of warding off MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). Just place it in the tank and leave it be. Refresh it every once in awhile. Food bowl is self explanatory. Water bowl should be near the middle of the tank or the cool side. I recommend buying something similar to this if you want tap water to be reptile safe. * Multivitamin & Calcium (with and without d3) These are essential to a healthy, happy leopard gecko. These are used for dusting food. There are plenty of brands to choose from. Repashy and Zoo Med make both. Either are good! ADDITIONAL * Decor Most up to you! You want the tank to have enough decor that your gecko doesn't feel exposed. Plastic plants are great for this. If you're using craft store plants make sure they do not bleed/rub off dye. File down sharp edges. Places like Petco will match their online prices, sometimes saving you a lot of money. Amazon also had good prices sometimes, so keep an eye out. If you're crafty you can always make your own decor. Just make sure you use reptile safe products. * Leopard Gecko Emergency Kit It should contain: betadine (for sterilizing wounds), neosporin without pain relief, q-tips, olive oil (to aid pooping if your gecko is impacted), coconut oil (to aid shedding), flour or a clotter (to stop bleeding), and tweezers. All of this should cover basic medical emergencies like minor scratches, etc. > [This critter keeper (size depends on how many geckos). Repashy grub pie, extra supplements, uni heat (or reptile) heat packs, a fleece blanket, digital thermometer, heat tape (or maybe a mini size heating pad by zoo med as they can be used with plastic), two bowls. In some cases where you have multiple geckos, create separated areas in a larger fauna box. Credit Sybilestial ! * Plastic container with lid Great for saunas if your gecko is having trouble shedding and for holding your gecko while cleaning the tank! * Tongs If you're iffy about touching insects, this may be the way to go. Plus your gecko may be scared for your hands at first. * Scale This is a good way to track your gecko's weight, especially if they're young. Even for adults getting a base line weight is beneficial. I just use a food scale. Most people measure geckos in grams! I usually weigh everyone once every two weeks. * A Journal/Calendar Might sound a little nuts but keeping track of gecko feedings, last time they shed, etc. will make your life so much easier. I personally record the last time my geckos shed, ate, weights, pooped, etc. I also jot down any notes about their behaviors or any changes to their health. It's good to keep track of these things in case your gecko becomes ill and needs to go to the vet. PICKING OUT YOUR GECKO My personal recommendation is to buy from a reputable breeder or from a breeder at an expo. This generally ensures you are getting a healthy, happy gecko. Buying from a pet store is risky business as many geckos from chain stores carry parasites or have health issues. You could end up paying a hefty vet bill or with a short lived gecko. Unfortunately there are still some shady breeders too. I'll list a few warning signs: * can't answer questions about their geckos (parents, genetics, hatch date, weight, etc) * can't tell you the morph * won't show you pictures of the gecko * improper husbandry * skinny, sickly looking geckos (metabolic bone disease, stick tail, lethargic, etc) There are plenty of places where you can get honest reviews of breeders like the Board of Inquiry on Faunaclassified as well as a few groups on Facebook. Don't always trust facebook reviews as they can be censored! Get an opinion from actual customers. Do research. [Here's another guide I wrote on this subject. I generally do not recommend enigma morph geckos to beginners. This is my personal opinion. There is always a chance your gecko will end up with enigma syndrome somewhere down the line. Enigma syndrome is a neurological disorder tied to the enigma gene. This leads to: balance issues, circling, stargazing, seizures, death rolling, coordination issues, and more. Feeding can become extremely difficult and I consider enigma syndrome geckos a little more advanced care. White and Yellow morphs can also exhibit a similar syndrome but it's much rarer, *as it can be bred out*. It's not tied to the W&Y gene. Lemon frosts, a rather expensive morph, has been known to grow tumors. Their health issues are so severe that many breeders have stopped producing them entirely. I don't think many beginners have 2.5k to drop on a gecko but just in case you were thinking about it, don't! Babies can be much more skittish than adults and a little bit more delicate. If you want something more hearty go for a slightly older gecko! Babies also eat a lot of food so if you're looking to spend a little bit less money an adult is also the way to go. Babies change in color A LOT so if you are looking for a gecko of a certain color an adult is your best bet to get exactly what you want. Leos are able to be temperature sexed and many breeders will label them TSF (temp sex female) or TSM (temp sex male). Keep in mind this is not a 100% guarantee you will get that sex. There is still a chance they will turn out to be the opposite sex. Snows are notorious for having a lower accuracy rate when temp sexed. If you want a guaranteed male or female you will have to buy older. DO NOT PLACE ANY GECKOS TOGETHER! DO NOT COHAB. Geckos are solitary creatures and thrive when housed alone. Keeping geckos together can lead to fighting and serious injuries, and usually ends up stressing the animals out. Behavior that may look cute, like cuddling, are actually signs of aggression and dominance. Here is an example of what happened to a leo that was housed together with another gecko. Don't risk your animals. Here's a great read from one of our sub members 410cs: It's common knowledge that Leos are territorial, regardless of Gender, they're tolerant to a point until they snap. It can be 3 minutes together, it can be 10 years. Eventually they will snap and something like this will happen. It's quite clear that, even if the cause of the break wasn't due to a fight, you need to separate them. Let's go through some of the most basic and obvious reasons why: * Competition for the, poor quality, of food. * It seems like you're feeding those vacuum-packed locusts, or at least some sort of dead variant. These hold next to no nutritional value. * The food there, although dusted, is going to be fought-over and dominated, regardless of if you've ever seen this happen. The girl in the picture is awfully thin, I have no doubts that this is a major factor of this. * 100x Easier for parasites and disease to spread. * They eat, sleep, poop and live in the same area. This is a huge no-no when it comes to a lot of reptiles. Considering some breeders have been wiped out over using the same equipment, (tongs), I'd seriously not be surprised if every Geck in that tank has some sort of parasitical load; either a worryingly large load of Pinworm or ever worse, (Geckos can be crypto-positive even if they're not rapidly losing weight). * The male is going to, eventually, breed with the females. * Sometimes males just don't breed successfully when they're in-season, which might be why you haven't experienced any (Fertile) eggs yet. When they are they act like a dog in heat. The breeding stress is going to be awfully harsh on your females, it's not uncommon for females to die as a result of over breeding. * General dominance over heat, hides, etc. * Are your Geckos sleeping together? Are they "cuddling"? I wouldn't be surprised. You can have them in a 75 Gal with a hundred hides and there still is a chance of them doing this. * It's not a case of if they fight, it's when they fight. * They don't always show warning signs. They can be fine one minute and, before you know it, one won't have a limb. Please, for the sake of the Geckos, house them individually. If they go off of food it's due to change of environment, they don't have the emotional capabilities to miss each other. I don't care if they're in 10Gals for now, just do it. For the sake of your pets. It's borderline animal cruelty. SETTING UP YOUR NEW FRIEND & THE FIRST WEEKS Once you have acquired your gecko and placed it in the tank LEAVE IT ALONE! You should wait at least 5-7 days before handling or messing around with your gecko. Your new friend is scared and adjusting to a big change. It can be tempting, especially as a beginner, but hold off. If you can I would wait until your gecko is eating as well before handling. You want to keep your interaction to a minimum like cleaning up poop, giving your gecko food, etc. Covering the tank with a blanket is also a good way to make your gecko feel safer. Choose a quiet place for the tank. Observe your gecko and make sure it's not exhibiting signs of illness. If your gecko seems lethargic, isn't pooping after eating, bloated, walking irregularly, losing weight rapidly, etc go to the vet! Don't wait! Taking action as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for your gecko. Also watch for your gecko's first shed to make sure they are shedding properly in their new environment. TAMING AND HANDLING Patience is key to taming your new gecko! It can take awhile for them to trust you, especially if they are younger. Adolescent geckos tend to be more skittish. You want to start off by putting your hand in the tank, within sight of your gecko, for at least ten minutes a day. This is to get your gecko used to your hand and scent. Once they seem a bit more receptive (walking around, licking your hand, looking curious) you can start to try picking them up. Always scoop up your gecko from below, working your hand underneath their stomach and supporting their legs. Grabbing from above triggers their prey instinct and will scare them. Hold them over the tank at first, in case they leap or skitter off your hand, to prevent injury! Once they seem calm in your hands, then you can start taking them away from the tank. Hand feeding is also a good way to bond with your gecko and make sure they associate your hand with positive things (aka food). Congrats! You tamed your gecko! FEEDING Feeding is a subject I see a ton of topics about in the subreddit so let's go over the basics! Acceptable feeders include: * Mealworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal in the fridge) * Superworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal DO NOT REFRIGERATE) * Crickets (kept in normal container, DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE TANK THEY WILL BITE YOUR LEO) * Dubia Roaches (kept in normal containetank/whatever) * Hornworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week, 1 worm) * Waxworms (Treat, optional, fed **rarely**, only 1-2) * Butterworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week or less, 1-2) * Here's a nutritional feeder insect chart Remember, variety is good for your gecko. Do not over feed treat foods! They should be a rare occurrence and you should only feed 1-2 per week or less, especially for waxworms (which can be addictive). Do not feed treat foods to sick geckos, very young geckos, or picky eaters. Only feed treat foods to healthy geckos who are eating regularly. Feel free to mix and match feeders! GUT LOAD YOUR FEEDERS. Gut loading is feeding your insects prior to feeding them to your gecko. Carrots, lettuce, etc should be fed 12 hours ahead of time. You want to give them time to eat the veggies or fruit. I usually feed them once a week besides gut loading to make sure they get the moisture they need from the food. Dusting is also another key part of feeding. Make sure the insects are lightly dusted with calcium or multivitamin. Babies should eat every day, as much as they can eat in 15 minutes. "Teen" geckos (6-9 months) should be eating every other day. Usually teen geckos will decide this for themselves and start refusing food every day. Adults (1 year and over) should eat every 2-3 (or longer) days depending on weight. FAQ MY GECKO HAS STUCK SHED/IS HAVING PROBLEMS SHEDDING AHHHH First of all, DON'T PANIC! Stuck shed happens. The easiest way to loosen up stuck shed is a gecko sauna! Take your plastic container and fill it with paper towels, soaked in warm water. Place your gecko in the container for 10-15 minutes. Then you can attempt to rub the stuck shed off with the q-tip from the gecko first aid kit. Be gentle but persistent. Your gecko may get a bit upset but this is okay. Stuck shed can lead to lost toes, tail tips, and other various problems. A little bit of stress is better than losing a toe! If this still doesn't work you can use a bit of coconut oil on the tip of a q-tip and gently rub the shed skin with it. MY NEW GECKO ISN'T EATING AHH New geckos are stressed out and this can lead to them not eating, so be patient and wait. Sometimes it can take over a week and even then they may still eat a bit irregularly for awhile. If your gecko seems lethargic, sickly, or is rapidly losing weight while also not eating, a vet visit is in order. Try to find a reptile vet. *ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TEMPERATURES!* Low or irregular temperatures can cause a gecko to not eat. Geckos may also delay eating if they are about to shed or have just shed. Female leopard geckos can also go off food if they are ovulating (producing eggs). Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. Here is an image. All you can do is wait it out until the female eats again. Males may also go off food during breeding season. If you change around your gecko's tank or move their tank to a new location this can also cause them to get stressed and stop eating. Consider any small (or large) changes you've made to your gecko's environment when trying to figure out why your gecko won't eat. My gecko just threw up its food! What's wrong with it? Sometimes geckos regurgitate food when they've eaten too much too fast. Low temperatures can also lead to regurgitation. Check your temperatures and make sure your heating pad is working properly. Parasites can also cause geckos to throw up their food. If you suspect parasites, call a vet. Do albino leopard geckos have any special care? Their eyes are very sensitive. They may not like bright light at all or require more cover in their tank to protect their eyes. Other than that they are normal geckos. It's cold where I live and I can't maintain the necessary temperature. What can I do? You can buy a ceramic heat emitter. This is a bulb you put into a lamp that gives off no light but produces heat. You can hook this up to a dimmer to control the temperature or another thermostat. I've found a 45w or a 60w does the job pretty well. It should boost your temps up to an acceptable level. What should my tank look like? What are some examples? Here are some examples: (https://i.imgur.com/JDpedEy.jpg), (https://i.imgur.com/1NUjJ1z.jpg), (https://i.imgur.com/WUxiXaD.jpg), (https://i.imgur.com/UL7C9i7.jpg) I have other reptiles blah blah QUARANTINE YOUR GECKO! Quarantining for 60-90 days is the preferable option, especially if your gecko is showing any signs of sickness. Use separate tools, etc. If you purchase another gecko don't switch around decor between the tanks, etc. Be safe and save yourself a possible heartache and cash. My female is ovulating. What do I do? Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. If your female has eggs you can make a lay box. A closed container with eco earth will do. If she lays them, they will most likely be infertile and can be thrown away. Leopard geckos can lay many eggs during breeding season. Make sure you're supplementing a bit extra, as egg laying is quite taxing. Leopard geckos can also reabsorb their eggs. Females can ovulate pretty early (think 8 months or so) depending how large they are. My leopard gecko is waving/shaking it's tail! Tail waving means your gecko is scared and you should leave them alone. Tail shaking is pretty common when hunting and just means they're excited. Loud tail rattling is a sign a male wants to breed. Is my leopard gecko a boy or a girl? See this [image]. Males will have visible pores and two hemipenes at the base of their tail in comparison to females. Leopard geckos can usually be sexed around 4 months of age, though males may take longer to mature. At 5-6 months you should be able to tell for yourself. Place the gecko in a clear, plastic container and take a look! My leopard gecko won't eat from a bowl! Some geckos don't like bowls. They like the hunt! You may have to tong/hand feed. You can try starving them out until they eat from the bowl, if you're really adamant about it. Or as sybilestial suggests: >If the geckos aren't eating from bowls, try clear ones. You can find a set of clear candle holders (that do not come with a candle) at dollar stores. How long can my gecko be left alone? Most adults can be left a few days since their feeding schedules are spread out. Babies will need someone to watch them if you need to go somewhere, as they need to eat every day. If you can get your baby to eat out of a bowl, you can probably leave them as well. If your gecko is about to shed or looks dull, make sure you thoroughly dampen the moist hide. I never seen my gecko! Why? Leopard geckos nocturnal/crepuscular. They come out at night. You may not see your gecko out during the day at all. Don't worry, this is normal. My power went out what do I do?! There are reptile specific warmers, usually used for shipping, that you can buy and use as well. They come in different hour intervals like 40, 72, etc. Make sure you follow the instructions! If you live in an area that is hit by storms and loses power often, be PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME! If you live somewhere relatively warm year round, your gecko will be okay without heat for a day or two. Just make sure you don't feed them during this time. What should my tank's humidity be? 40%! If your humidity gets too high I suggest a dehumidifier for the room your leo is in. If your water bowl is large, switch it for a smaller one. Don't put the water bowl on the hot side. Putting a sock filled with rice into the tank can help a little bit too. My gecko looks pale. IS IT DYING?? No, it's just about to shed! Leopard geckos usually shed once every 2-3 weeks. In the days beforehand they'll get very dull looking. The day of they usually turn white. Shedding usually takes a day or so. Make sure you keep your moist hide damp! Leopard geckos eat their shed as they're peeling it off themselves so don't be alarmed if you don't find anything afterwards What is MBD? You mention that a lot. MBD is Metabolic Bone Disease. This happens in geckos who are not supplemented properly with calcium and multivitamins. Here is a good article about it. Proper supplementation is important! My gecko is sick what do I do? Find a reptile vet (there's a vet link in the sidebar)! In order to ensure your reptile gets the best care possible you should always use a vet experienced in reptiles. I recommend you find one ahead of time near your area. And, as always, have a decent amount of cash tucked away somewhere in case your reptile gets sick. Exotic vet care is expensive and you never know when an emergency will pop up. Where can I find pictures that illustrate the conditions and sicknesses you talk about? Lizardbeans on tumblr has a great guide as well, with a bunch of pictures of different leopard gecko conditions. How do I use Betadine? If my gecko gets a minor injury what should I do? Let's say your gecko manages to hurt it's toe. It's bleeding a little bit but otherwise it looks pretty minor.
Soak the reptile in warmish chest deep water to which Betadine (povidone-iodine) has been added to color the water to a deep medium tea color. Leave in the tub for 15-20 minutes, refreshing the warm water and Betadine as necessary. If the wound is swollen and crusty, carefully pick off the scab/crusty exudates. Note that if the reptile defecates in the tub, it must be washed out, disinfected and another Betadine soak set up. Flush the wound area with fresh water before being placed back in the new bath.
Remove the reptile from the tub and flush the wound with fresh dilute Betadine.
At night, top the wound with triple antibiotic ointment (original ointment, pain relief free). Repeat for a week or until the wound is healing over.
If there is any sign of swelling which occurs after the bathing and treatment or such swelling does not abate after a week, the animal must be seen by an experienced reptile vet.
I have found antibiotic ointment works wonders for small wounds. Nose bumps/scrapes, etc! My gecko can't seem to shed properly. There's always stuck shed. What's the deal? First off, make sure they're using their moist hide right. Make sure you spray it consistently, especially when they start to get dull in color preparing to shed. Keep the moist hide half on, half on the heating pad at the very least. Hot and humid is far better than cold and humid when it comes to shedding! Also make sure you are supplementing your leopard gecko properly with multivitamins. As stated by BovieVei her gecko had problems shedding due to a Vitamin A deficiency! >Repeated bad sheds can also be attributed to vitamin a deficiency. My Leo recently had to go to the vet for it and got a vitamin a booster shot and it was so weird last time he shed because the skin came right off where he got the injection before anywhere else. (the rest of the shed was much better than usual too). Either way you need to get this poor baby to a vet. >Vitamin a deficiency can include lethargy and reduced appetite, bad sheds, lizard smegma (ew), and eye ulcers. So keep up those vitamins, folks! My gecko is big... is it a giant/super giant? Most likely? No, it is not. If it is not labeled as a giant/super giant or is from a pet store those chances are even lower. Giants are only giants if they hold the giant gene (which is specifically bred for and highly desired). Otherwise you just have yourself a large, impressive gecko which is pretty awesome anyway! Here's a good article written by member Professional_Gecko. What morph is my pet store/whatever gecko? Without genetics we can only give you a guess, especially with albinos. Albino strains are impossible to 100% positively identify through just looking at them. My gecko's eyes are different from a normal gecko's eyes? Leopard geckos have many different eye types other than the standard grey on normals. There's [full eclipse eyes](https://i.imgur.com/VBnqmv8.jpg), which are pure black, commonly seen on [super snows](https://i.imgur.com/rNI3fdJ.jpg), galaxies, and other eclipse morphs. Pure red eyes, commonly seen on morphs like [Raptors](https://i.imgur.com/0uxvGOH.jpg), [Radars](https://i.imgur.com/6sII6ur.jpg), and other albinos. There's [snake eyes](https://i.imgur.com/SeFd6JF.jpg) which are a variant of the eclipse eyes but they are eyes which have some solid pigment but are not completely solid. There's also [brown-reddish eyes](https://i.imgur.com/I0WAREx.jpg) that are common with enigmas. The albino strains (Tremper, Bell, Rainwater) have a wide variety of eye colors. What kinds of albinos are there? Tremper is the most popular albino strain. It is abundant compared to Bell and Rainwater (also sometimes called Las Vegas). Bells and Rainwaters tend to be more pricey because of this. Many have albino strain specific morphs. Raptors are Tremper specific while Radars are Bell specific. Firewaters are a Rainwater specific morph. Can I breed my two pet store geckos? I wouldn't recommend it. Mixing unknown genetics can be a risky business as there's so many genes you shouldn't cross. Gem, tug, and mack snows should never be crossed. Certain eye types should not be crossed. Albino genes cannot be crossed. Plus you don't know what other hets (genes) the gecko is carrying as they don't exhibit this outwardly. Not to mention selling the babies will be much harder (and you're going to have a ton of them. If you are going to breed, do it right by buying to geckos with known genetics!
How internet is providing viable platform for cricket bettors
This is a period where the web and PC rule the roost and the games wagering field also has not stayed as an exemption yet is seeing an incredible flood in the quantity of sports books tolerating bets from various bettors for various games from over the world. Sports fans can take part in sports betting absolutely in light of the fact that it is conceivable on the web and furthermore gives a specific edge to the bettors. A cricket betting tips gives you a thought with respect to who is preferred over whom and furthermore by how much. Yet another bit of leeway when you decide on online games wagering is that you can discover different games books showing live wagering lines to the bettor. This gives them a favorable position to screen the game the individual is intrigued.In expansion to giving the live details,the online games betting destinations give you plentiful data about different games and the stunts or rather tips to win while wagering. The online games wagering lines are open nonstop and they likewise give the bettors alluring information exchange bonuses. Live score refreshes are accessible for each sport. And you as a bettor can wager on various kinds of sports that incorporate handball,boxing, cricket,athletics and numerous more...you name it and the game is accessible on the online stage. So on the off chance that you are energetic about a game wagered, at that point you could most likely locate the equivalent on the internet.For numerous games wagering might be a side interest yet here are a rare sorts of people who are proficient bettors.When you have a dependable and solid sportsbook, sport wagering can turn into a worthwhile alternative to make money. However,it is extremely hard to consistently keep up a high achievement rate.So,when you follow the game wager tips you will have the option to expand your winning that you get from sports wagering. Online games betting locales are helpful to bet wagers yet it is likewise essential to see if it is a sheltered one to join with that particular website or no. User audits come in genuine convenient during such situations. And here is one more expression of alert. Each online games wagering webpage will have various games ready. It doesn't imply that you continue playing every single game that is accessible on the board.When you are particular in the game wagering field, you will be in an ideal situation for far to come. At the point when you do sufficient examination and research around there you won't have the option to taste achievement.
Satta King Record Chart Desawar 2020 | Satta King | Satta-king-org.com
https://preview.redd.it/70vj0y2esky41.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=584ca4578bf1196483f6dc53abb03d9dbf800705 Satta King | Satta King 2020 | satta-king-org.com Satta king game is a very hard and interesting game. It is a type of lottery which at first included betting and paces of cotton transmitted from the New York Cotton Exchange. It begins from before the time of Indian freedom when it was known as Ankada Jugar ("figures betting"). In the 1960s, the framework was supplanted with different methods for producing the arbitrary numbers, including slips from a huge pottery pot known as a matka, or managing playing a card game. Matka betting is unlawful in India. In the first type of the game, betting would occur on the opening and shutting paces of cotton as transmitted to the Bombay Cotton Exchange from the New York Cotton Exchange, through teleprinters. In 1961, the New York Cotton Exchange halted the training, which made the punters search for elective approaches to keep the matka business alive. Rattan Khatri presented proclaiming opening and shutting paces of fanciful items. Numbers would be composed on bits of paper and put into a matka, a huge earthen pitcher. One individual would then draw a chit and pronounce the triumphant numbers. Throughout the years, the training changed, with the goal that three numbers were drawn from a pack of playing a game of cards, however, the name "matka" was kept. In 1962, Kalyanji Bhagat began the Worli Matka. Rattan Khatri presented the New Worli matka in 1964, with slight adjustments to the guidelines of the game. Kalyanji Bhagat's Matka ran for all days of the week, while Rattan Khatri's matka ran just five days every week, from Monday to Friday. The times of the 1980s and 1990s saw the matka business arrive at its pinnacle. Betting volumes in an overabundance of Rs. 500 crore would be laid each month. The Mumbai police's monstrous crackdown on the matka nooks constrained vendors to move their base to the city's edges. A large number of them moved to Gujarat, Rajasthan and different states. With no significant wellspring of betting in the city, the punters got pulled in to different wellsprings of betting, for example, on the web and that at lotteries. In the interim, the rich punters started to investigate betting on cricket matches. In 1995 there were in excess of 2,000 major and medium-time bookies in the city and neighboring towns, yet from that point forward the numbers have declined generously to under 300. The turnover has stayed around Rs. 100 crore, this is month to month. The current market business is revolved around Maharashtra. An individual who has won a lot of cash from Matka betting is known as a "Matka King". Visit for more: https://satta-king-org.com/satta-king-deshawar-2020-record-chart.php About Us | Satta King | satta-king-org.com satta-king-org.com is a portal where you will get fatest result of Gali, Deshawar, faridabad, Ghaziybad and Satta king other games. We also have yearly and monthly wise recort chart of Gali, Deshawar, faridabad, Ghaziybad game. You can check all that record and can make a prediction of upcoming number. On this website you will find contact number of many predictor who sell their predicted game. We don't give guarantee about any predictor posted their contact number on this website. Read more:https://satta-king-org.com/ There are 3 top players in India. Here is the names of these famous personalities in the Matka era: 1. Kalyanji Bhagat 2. Rattan Khatri 3. Suresh Bhagat Kalyanji Bhagat | Satta King | satta-king-org.com The greatest name in the entire world in the Satta King and gambling industry name as Kalyanji Bhagat. Kalyanji bhagat made very cool strategies to win the games. Kalyanji bhagat family name was “GALA” and the name bhagat. In 1941, he arrived as a migrant in Bombay. He was initially in Bombay and has a grocery store and there he sells various things such as spice. Rattan Khatri presented announcing the opening and shutting paces of fanciful items. In 1962, Kalyanji Bhagat began the Worli Matka. Presently the rage has been completely changed. You can now be able to observe all satka Matka games on the Online Satka Matka site, for example, Play Bazzar, Play Bajar, Play Bazaar Xyz, and numerous different sites. Rattan Khatri | Satta King | satta-king-org.com The 2nd greatest names in the gambling are rattan, Khatri. Rattan Khatri passed very hard challenges in the gambling industry and made many records which are unbreakable till now. He is known as a Matka king from the 90s. He won a crore of rupees from gambling. Ratan Khatri is considered by numerous individuals to be the pioneer of the betting/wagering development in India. Rattan belongs from a Sindhi family, began from humble beginnings and like most Hindu Sindhis living in India, he came to Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan when he was a young person during the 1947 segment. He is credited as the individual who changed Matka (a type of betting in India that began in Mumbai in 1962) into India's greatest wagering racket and set up an across the nation betting system that went on for a considerable length of time under his influence until he resigned and chose to give up his position. The Matka furor cleared Bombay during the 1970s and 1980s and furthermore proceeded into the 90s until the police got serious about it. Khatri is known as the boss of the Matka racket - and general society and media alluded to him as the Matka King. Although Khatri has since quite a while ago resigned and doesn't work the Matka business any progressively, various bookies keep on dishonestly work under his name of Ratan Matka. In a period of political confusion during the crisis declared by Indira Gandhi, Ratan Khatri was captured for 19 months. Following his capture, and because of extraordinary open disdain towards Indira Gandhi, there were drones by the baffled Indian masses that Ratan Khatri should become head administrator rather than Indira Gandhi - the slogan(a reference to Gandhi's Garibi Hatao crusade) went "Indira Gandhi ko hatao, Ratan Khatri ko leader banao". Ratan Khatri has consistently been known to lead a basic and stark life and was constantly found in his trademark kurta pajama and a suppressor tied around his head even while directing his business. He has now surrendered Matka for over 10 years yet keeps on living in Mumbai, India. Read more:https://satta-king-org.com/ Suresh Bhagat | Satta King | satta-king-org.com The 3rd great personality name in this era is Suresh Bhagat. Suresh Bhagat was murdered in 2008 when he was traveling with his lawyers, bodyguards, and six other persons. He made many records in the gambling industry. He won very big prizes from the money perspective. If you want to start the Satta king lottery game for the long term, you should always follow his tricks about this. Suresh tips helped already hundreds of people. Read more:https://satta-king-org.com/ Here is the Explanation about what exactly gambling is? Matka Gambling: Trust me the majority of people gamble without knowing the real tricks of it. Do you know What about 'normal come back to player'? When you bet, would you say you are playing an expertise-based game or is everything down to risk – and does it make a difference? What are your genuine odds of winning? Would you be able to isolate truth from fiction among the numerous legends encompassing gambling? Before you choose to bet it is a smart thought to know how gambling functions so there are no shrouded astonishments. Read more:https://satta-king-org.com/ What is gambling, the exact meaning? Satta King | satta-king-org.com Gambling is participating in a game during which you hazard cash, or something of fiscal worth, so as to win cash or a prize. The result of the game is normally down to risk, so when gambling you may leave with less cash than you began with, and here and there with nothing by any stretch of the imagination. There are more types of gambling, including scratchcards and lotteries , games like poker and blackjack, betting on sports or occasions, playing club games, gambling machines or bingo. Numerous individuals appreciate gambling, in the case of having a shudder on the Grand National or purchasing the odd scratchcard, or partaking in gambling on an increasingly customary premise. Gambling is definitely not an awful thing, yet it tends to be dangerous, so we have to keep ourselves educated and settle on more secure decisions. Read more:https://satta-king-org.com/ How to Play Satta King? satta-king-org.com You need to know to how to play Satta King, the most and first thing is Satta lord the king is lottery and number-based game, In this game you need to pick number or digit, it is anything but difficult to play, everybody can play Satta king, and in the event that you need to play Satta ruler, so you need to learn about the game, how it is work and how it is go, you can play it. Let’s discuss in some details!! So you can understand it well... Satta king game redirection is a kind of betting entertainment, which was made in 1960 in Mumbai and it has been played starting now and into the foreseeable future. The redirection has wound up being a colossal force for players every completed Indium, other than being increasingly pervasive in Mumbai. As the redirection is definitely not hard to play Satta king, it has gotten its acclaim amidst various card sharks in Mumbai. Satta king, have you heard this name before from any of your mates or family members? Clearly you would have heard a lot about it from your partners, sidekicks, neighbors or family members. Directly for the people who don't have the overlooks thought regarding a single word behind this name, Satta king and Dpboss, let me impact this thing to clear. Satta king and Kalyan Matka is a kind of betting redirection had by the bigger influence of people living in the Worlds. Since the 1960s, this redirection is played by people. In the earlier conditions and preoccupation, scarcely any number chits are set in a generous earthen pot, which we call Matka number. By then out of these numbers, a chit is pulled out and he is considered as the champ of this delight which we call as Satta king and Kalyan Matka Sure number. Be that as it may, the most significant thing is, Satta king is unlawful game , individuals play it furtively, on the grounds that Satta king game didn't keep the standard and guideline or conventions, that is the reason is illicit and prohibited, individuals have considered it and they ought to stop to playing this sort of game, this isn't reasonable for play this sort of game. Play and Earn: https://satta-king-org.com/
When I was in college, I got the opportunity to join my genetic ecology professor on an excursion into the near-untouched forests of the Pacific Northwest one summer. I was the only underclassman on the trek, having proved myself valuable to Dr. Umban’s research the previous year as a freshman. I joined two juniors and two seniors on the ten hour drive out to the wilds of northeastern Washington state as our eccentric leader belted out seventies hits behind the wheel of a white stalker van. The sun was sinking low but not in danger of darkening by the time the van stopped on the soft grass before the trailhead. We were to spend one week camping out here, searching for early gymnosperms. Professor Umban had hypothesized there was a community of ancient plants growing in the region and had selected the five of us to help him track down and document species only described in the fossil records. Mike, one of the seniors, was out of the sliding door almost before the doc had even shifted to park. The rest of us followed suit quickly, eager to stretch our legs and feel some real sun on our skin, however briefly. Kate, the other senior, opened the passenger door and stretched all the way up and down, turning her face to the sun. Molly spilled out languidly after Mike, red hair flaming in the late afternoon light, followed shortly by Shannon with her headphones dangling haphazardly from her neck. I brought up the rear, marveling at the sheer remoteness of the location. Our decidedly simple route of up and back the stream in six days seemed much more daunting now that I was confronted with the wall of pines murmuring threateningly in the warm summer breeze. After setting up camp near the entrance to the woods, we built a fire and reviewed our plan for the week. Our dinner was served from a barely utilitarian pot we had suspended above the flames and subsequently dumped a few cans of Campbell’s soups into. “Alright,” Dr. Umban started, outdated map sprawled in front of him on the forest floor. “Tomorrow, we set out at first light and we hike it until we reach our first checkpoint here,” he pointed to a spot where two streams converged, just over ten kilometers north of where we were. “If we’re lucky,” he continued, “we should be able to reach it just after noon so we have the rest of the day to collect samples. We’ll split up into teams of two and we’ll rotate through the days. John,” he nodded at me, “you and I will be together the first day, with Kate and Mike making up team two and Molly and Shannon the third.” We all nodded and muttered our assent before we retired to our tents. Personally, I was thrilled to be sharing a tent with Mike, although I’d never let that on. Huge biceps, handsome and earnest face, athletic, and still smart on top of all of that, but so “bro” that it was almost comical. He was a caricature of the buff, handsome jock, where I was a lean, rather awkward nerd. Still cute, but totally beneath his league, regardless of his preferences. Ah well, I sighed to myself, as I zipped in to my sleeping bag. “Night, man.” He said softly as he turned out the lantern. “Night, dude.” I smiled back in the dark. We were up and packed by six the next morning. After a hurried breakfast of bacon and toast over the fire, we strapped up and hit the trail. The oppressive beauty of the woods beat us all into quiet. Even Mike, who had been quick enough with a joke or a witty observation on the trip up, seemed awed into respectful silence. Our bootsteps fell muffled on the thick bed of needles as we marched stolidly along the soft burbling river; the light filtered muted through the dark green canopy; even the birds’ songs seemed distant and staid. I shuffled along the ancient riverbank and lost myself in the trees. I had never seen so many species of insects in my life. Sure, it was no tropical wonderland of color and frill, but the size of the beetles was far greater than I'd ever thought possible this far north of the equator. Nor had I seen dragonflies or grasshoppers of such varying kinds. Every few steps or so I'd catch a scuttle of a bright shell or a flicker of straight wings. At one point, about an hour in, a huge katydid landed on Shannon’s pixie-cut hair. She gave a brief screech before brushing it away furiously. We all laughed and the journey became distinctly more relaxed. “See these here, kids?” asked the doc as he bent down, “these ferns down at the forest floor here belong to a very old genus that branched off before seed plants were born.” We all crowded around the short leafy plant to check it out. Honestly, to me, it just looked like a regular old fern, although I was prepared to take professor Umban’s word for it. After another couple of hours of walking in alternating silence and field lecture from the doc, we finally reached the confluence of the rivers. We set about pitching our tents and building a fire pit before digging in hungrily to a lunch of salami sandwiches. As we ate, Dr. Umban outlined what we should be looking for. “Okay folks,” he started, “we’re going to split up in to our teams and collect some specimens. Remember, we’re here looking for basal gymnosperms and anything older, so if it flowers, we don’t want it. Keep your searches low, although there may be some old mosses on some of the trees.” we all agreed and split up, myself tagging after the professor. The work was tedious. Since I was “young and healthy,” Dr. Umban had me do all of the collections from the forest floor. Here were some more ancient ferns, he pointed out, just on the cusp of developing seeds. And under those roots were some lycopods. At one point I dragged out some horse-tail looking thing from under a leaf and Dr. Umban got visibly excited. He gabbled about how old and beautiful it was as I brushed a few millipedes off the early fronds. He made sure I stowed it in a specimen jar before we continued our work. We regrouped about four hours later, eager to see what everyone had found. The river burbled and the crickets chirped as we built the fire up again and shared our progress. Mike and Kate had found several examples of carpeting worts while the girls had found another horse-tail like plant. Dr. Umban was thrilled with our work and pulled out the map again. “Based on our collections today, I think we want to continue upriver again tomorrow. Great work, kids, I think we’re on the right track. Tomorrow we’ll be switching up. Kate with me, Shannon with Mike, and Molly with John.” We all muttered assent once more, although Molly looked a little disappointed in having to settle for me. “Professor,” said Shannon, “How could some of these plants possibly be still extant? I thought most of these were wiped out during the permian extinction?” “Very good, Shannon, the vast majority were,” was the response, “I believe, although I have little evidence to back it up, that there’s a stable, isolated ecosystem somewhere near the head of the river, probably underground, that was able to survive the extinction. I think the geography of the place is particularly conducive to caves and underground grottos: there was a fault line somewhere around here on Pangaea.” We spent the evening documenting our finds in our field journals and sharing another pot of soups around the fire. Kate had brought her ukulele and softly serenaded us around the fire with Jason Mraz and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole songs. Eventually the embers smouldered low and it was time to retire. We all packed in to our tents. I followed Mike in and zipped up. “Do you think we’re gonna find what the doc thinks is out here, dude?” he asked after we’d both stripped down and gotten into our sleeping bags. “I really don’t know,” I responded heavily, “it seems like a huge longshot, but I guess stranger things have happened.” “Yeah…” he trailed off, “you notice all the weird bugs out here too?” “Shit, dude, I thought I was the only one, no one said anything earlier.” “Yeah man it’s weird. I didn’t know they grew that big this far north. They’re kinda freaky.” “No kidding,” I replied, “earlier I thought I saw a millipede the size of an earthworm, but that can’t possibly be right.” “Yeah, probably just an actual earthworm. But they’re definitely big here.” We mused a little longer on the invertebrates we’d encountered until we’d freaked each other out enough. Mike eventually rolled over and shut the lantern off with his massive left arm, but not before flashing a wink and telling me sweet dreams with an adorable, impish grin. I croaked out a weak “same man” before sinking into inappropriate dreams about the boy I was sharing a tent with, glad for the darkness hiding my blush. The next day progressed much as the day before did. A relatively quiet hike in the morning gave way to setting up camp about ten more klicks upstream in a clearing nearby. Although the river seemed still, we could hear a distant flowing as though a waterfall were another few kilometers upstream. “Hear that kids?” asked the doc, “that’s the spring at the head of the river. I think I was right! Hurry hurry, let’s collect all we can!” We broke into our teams, with Molly and me heading toward the river. As we neared the banks I saw a group of beautifully iridescent dragonflies flitting among the reeds in the shallows. I motioned Molly to follow and she trailed behind me to the river’s edge. We collected specimens all afternoon and filled our jars with strange plants we’d never seen before. Just as we were about to head back to camp, Molly screamed. I rushed over to her to see what was wrong as she stood there terrified, red hair flashing danger. “What? What is it?” I panicked around her. “There’s a huge bug right on that leaf in front of me.” I looked and saw that she was very much not joking. A dragonfly with a wingspan of eight inches easily sunned itself on a rather stout-looking fern. “Should we jar it up?” I asked. “Ewww! No! Plus, Dr. Umban says we’re here only to collect basal gymnosperms, so no animals.” “Yeah, but this thing is huge! I’ve never seen anything like it.” “Yeah, well, doesn’t mean it’s anything new.” I sullenly returned the specimen jar to my pack and dragged her by the elbow back towards camp. We were the last ones there, but only because it seemed the other teams had filled up their jars early. The doc was gabbling excitedly to Mike and Kate, who scrawled furiously in their notebooks. Shannon was organizing the rest of the jars as Molly and I strolled up. I overheard the wizened man talking about plants that hadn’t been seen except in the fossil record closely resembling some club mosses he and Kate had found growing near some pine trees. Molly and I added our jars to the collection that Shannon was messing with and I pulled up a scrap of earth to listen to the mad genius as he brandished what looked to be a young fern. “... and you see, because the last time anything resembling a cycad this closely was seen this far north, the dinosaurs hadn’t even been here. These things were everywhere in the carboniferous period, about three hundred twenty some-odd million years ago. It was the age of plants. It’s where we get most of our oil from these days...hello John!” he smiled at me. “Anything old to report?” he chuckled. “Well, we found some really interesting woody-looking plants down by the river, but honestly I was more taken with the insect life.” I said kind of sheepishly. “Well, did you bottle any up?” asked Dr. Umban “No,” I started, “Molly got a little freaked out.” I nodded back to where the ladies were fussing with the specimens, “But we did fill our jars. I found something else that looked old and weird...kind of scaly, I left it with Shannon. Molly found a huge horsetail, more of a small tree, really...” “Excellent work!” the professor cried. There didn’t seem to be a thing that could dampen his spirits. “Alright team,” he started, now that we had all reunited, “tomorrow we’re going looking for that spring we hear up ahead. I want to get there early so we have all day to explore. Shannon, you’ll be with me, John with Mike, and Molly with Kate.” I tried very hard not to let my excitement show. Again we built a fire, though tonight we had more bacon and toast instead of soups. Again we retired to our tents, and tonight I'd noticed Mike had set his sleeping bag closer to mine, lantern on the other side of his bag instead of between us. My little overanalyzing heart beat furiously as we got down to our boxers and T-shirts. His knee bumped mine as we wrestled ourselves into our sleeping bags. “We gotta beat everyone tomorrow,” started Mike as he turned over to face me with a roguish smile on his face “need to bring your A-game, okay?” “Oh don’t worry,” I responded, “we’re gonna collect the shit out of some specimens. Bitches won’t even know what bottled them up.” He laughed at that and lightly chucked me on the shoulder. My nerves exploded. “Alright man,” he said, turning over to get the lantern, “let’s get some sleep. Gotta be fresh to get the best shit.” I melted into my sleeping bag. I woke up before him, my arm unconsciously draped over his broad chest; I quickly pulled it back into my bag. We eventually rose and met the rest of the crew outside the tent. It didn’t take long for everyone to get alert, as we were all excited to find the spring. We set out just as the sun was breaking the treeline, following the crescendo of the rushing waters. After we had walked for an hour or so, hearing the rush of the elusive source growing ever louder, we found a great hill. The river curved up and over the giant mound, and the foot a small hole opened, presumably, to a cave. The sound was very clearly emanating from within. “This is it, kids!” the professor said, almost bursting, “I'm willing to bet the spring, and this ecosystem I've hypothesized, is in this underground grotto. Let’s go get some specimens. And remember, if it tests as a new species when we get back, you get to name it!” Our intrepid six walked into that cave like we owned the damn place. We should have left well enough alone. As we passed through the entrance, the climate got quite a bit warmer and moister, and the path angled down sharply. We took careful, halting steps down into an increasingly muggy cavern until we arrived in the most bizarre and beautiful place of which I could never have dreamt. The air was thick with fog, sunlight streaming through a distant hole in the top of the hill. As it parted to let us in, an outlandish beauty was revealed. Dragonflies the size of crows flew through the trees. Except they weren’t really trees, they were huge ferns and horsetails grown to gargantuan size, climbing thirty and forty meters high, supported by huge shingles of thick wood. Grasshoppers as big as my hand bounced through the dense underbrush of vascular leaves and green-grey mosses. And all around us we heard the constant rushing of the invisible spring. It was an ancient and mystical place. I breathed in reverently, filling my lungs with oxygen-rich primordial air and the thrill of discovery. “Holy shit.” Dr. Umban said under his breath, as a pair of protodonates flew past his head. “Just, holy shit!” he shouted. “This is it, this is fucking it, this is what I’ve always dreamed of!” he couldn’t contain himself. The five of us students stood there dumbly. It was the most marveolus, impossible thing that could ever occur to any of us. I was lost in the antediluvian wonder when the doc’s voice called us back to reality. “Okay kids, real talk, bottle up everything you see. Split into your teams. First team to find the spring gets first credit on the paper. Ready? Go!” Mike and I dashed off headfirst into the archaic jungle ahead, crashing over green leaves and furled fronds, looking for the unseen source with wild abandon. We were giddy with the reality of an actual untouched wonderland. “Dude, I think it’s this way!” Mike hooted with delight. I kept pace with him as best I could until we reached a clearing with a small pool, although there wasn’t nearly enough water in it to generate the deafening rush all around us. We could faintly hear the crash of the other teams further off in the distance over the roar of the still hidden water. I stood there perplexed for a while. “I guess this isn’t near big enough?” I said, gesturing to the pool, hoping my partner wouldn’t be too disappointed. “Mike? Hey, Mike!” I tapped him on the shoulder but he just pointed to something on the ground in front of him, frozen to the spot. It was the body of a giant millipede, easily two meters long, but halfway decayed. Part of its body hung limp over a rock, primitive innards spilled out towards the water. “Hey Professor!” I started to shout but Mike clamped a hand over my mouth and grabbed me tight so I couldn't move, dragging me back into the cover of the giant bushes. As the professor and the ladies tramped through the foliage, Mike whispered tremulously in my ear, “Dude, I saw something huge moving in that pool. Whatever it was, I think it ate that millipede. We need to get the fuck out of here.” When the rest of the party finally reached the clearing, they looked around for the two of us, bewildered at our absence. The professor, upon seeing the pool, cried out in delight and rushed over to it. I struggled against the muscles holding on to me, but Mike wouldn’t let go. I could feel him shaking in silent fear behind me. The doc bent down to test the water and all at once the forest became silent. It was as if the spring had suddenly been shut off like a faucet, leaving the place completely still. Then it finally clicked for me. We hadn’t been hearing water rushing at all. It had been the scuttling and scurrying of sixes of millions of legs. We had trespassed in the domain of the insects and now they realized we were intruding. I could feel those myriad compound eyes trained on us, immobile and aware. Dr. Umban started when the grot went still. He looked around in trepidation before returning his gaze to the water. The girls were all huddled together very closely, knowing something was wrong but not understanding the significance of the silence. Without any warning, a massive, disgusting, feeler-tipped head exploded from the water followed by a snaking body banded in blue and red. I gazed in horror at the first dozen or so segments of an absolutely unthinkable water centipede undulating in the muggy, cloying atmosphere. The dangerously colored myriapod must have been at least fifteen meters long, if this was only the top bit above the water. It shot down and grabbed the professor by the waist in its jaws, slicing him neatly in half and spraying venom and blood all over the clearing as it scuttled horribly out of the water. Its body was longer and more grotesque than I could have possibly comprehended. Pair after pair of dark, red, feathery legs snaked up from the deep, waving and dripping horribly as they gained purchase on the soft, now bloody ground. Shannon screamed briefly as the centipede rounded on her, cutting off both her body and her shriek. “Kate! Molly! Run!” Mike screamed as he released me and fled back toward the entrance. As I stumbled back I saw the hideous segments wrap themselves around Molly, crushing her feeble endoskeleton with its chitinous, serpentine body. As it waved its feelers in search of the other two bodies, I screamed for Mike. He stopped and ran back to grab me by the upper arm and drag me with him. I pulled at first, but then started to follow him as the centipede dragged its prey down into the depths. Kate flew past us and we all started hauling ass out of there. That’s when the great rush from the spring of millions of jointed limbs resumed. Except this time it was far angrier and more determined than the gentle scurrying of casual insects we had heard before. I heard the beatings of uncountable wings prepare for flight and saw the ground begin to ripple. The arthropods were mad. *** During the Carboniferous Period, roughly 350-300 million years ago, most of the common types of insects we know today, including beetles, cockroaches, dragonflies, grasshoppers, ants, bees, and flies, along with spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and scorpions, were established in the fossil record. Many were giant by today’s standards. This stretch of time is called the Carboniferous Period because the land on our planet was covered with green vascular plants (subsequently supplying much of our carbon-based fuel today). The explosion of photosynthesis led to a massive increase in molecular oxygen in the atmosphere. Because of this, insects and other terrestrial arthropods, with their diffusion-limited, oxygen-based respiratory systems, grew to sizes of up to eight times those of their present-day counterparts. Moreover, with this evolutionary advantage, and a lack of seriously competing taxa, there must have been a similar explosion in the number of species, eventually being whittled down to the roughly 1.2 million arthropods we have described at present, comprising more than 80% of all known animal species. *** Mike, Kate, and I ran as hard as we could, sprinting madly on a shining, boiling carpet of writhing bugs. I felt wings beat around my ears as I covered the top of my head with my arms to keep the flying ones out of my face. I was crying and sprinting as hard as I could, knowing this would be my death. Up ahead I heard Kate scream as her foot found an unfortunate hole in the ground and she fell to the floor hard. By the time I had reached where she fell, she was little more than a human-shaped ripple of frantic legs and incensed wings. She was still trying to scream for help as I passed. Her mouth was frozen open in pain and terror as the heinous chitin invaded her body. I sped cravenly by, too terrified to open my mouth to cry out to her, lest I catch a throatful of wings. All I could do was pound my feet into the ever more slick ground in the hope I could reach the exit before I tripped or succumbed. Finally the ground turned steep under my feet and the invertebrates were behind me, though following closely. Mike was just in front of me, climbing the hill out to the forest of this day and age. I finally opened my mouth to breathe and then my foot fell wrong and I twisted my ankle. I went down, my arms outstretched, and my wrists took a bad tweak as they caught my weight. I looked back in panic to see the seething horde close on my trail. I screamed and began scrambling frantically on my elbows and knees. Mike hesitated, then turned back to get me. He scooped me up and slung me over his shoulder and ran us the rest of the way up to the light of modern day. He didn’t stop when we broke out of the hill, still pounding the dirt and putting distance between the ancient insects and us. When I looked back, I noticed the shining black floor had stopped about fifty meters from the hole into that cursed cavern. I pounded on Mike’s back and told him to stop. He did not. He finally fell from exhaustion after an hour or so, sending us both into a sprawling heap on the forest floor. We held onto each other and sobbed in fear until one of us could pull himself together. It turned out I was able to calm down first. I slumped out of Mike’s embrace and up against a tree, sighing heavily, finally letting it sink in that we were alive. The image of that horrible centipede was burned into my mind. I couldn’t stop seeing it snatch the doc in half, blue and red bands twisting impossibly, antennae waving and sniffing out the fresh blood. Whenever I blinked, I saw Kate under that mass of living exoskeletons, face covered in anguish and rustling limbs, her skin alive with piecemeal movement. I let Mike have his time and he eventually recovered after a little bit. We stood up, my ankle hurt but not too badly injured, and he helped me limp back almost 20 kilometers to where we had parked the van. We broke in and futzed around with the wires under the steering wheel until we found some that started the ignition and drove the fuck away from that place in traumatized silence. We of course told the police what happened, as we had to account for four people, including our sponsor, missing on a college-funded research outing. We were treated for bites the entomologists had never seen before and it was concluded that we had simply gotten lost and separated, with Mike and I being the only two to find our way out of the woods. There was a search but it turned up nothing. Even after giving the police detailed instructions on how to find the wicked cavern, there was no trace of it. They offered to let us come on the search but neither of us was stepping foot in those damned woods again. The centipede still haunts my dreams. I’ll often wake up in a cold sweat next to Mike these days, feeling thousands of little, jointed limbs on my skin after I’ve watched the prehistoric monster snatch up my beautiful husband. It’s very hard to return to sleep when I remember some of those bugs that made it out probably survived due to genetic mutations that made them adaptable to lower-oxygen environments. And those genes are now back in the evolutionary pool, waiting to take over the earth once again.
Lost 55k - 26 Year Old Gambling Addict looking to fix finances
So I've done this several times but would honestly like to make a true effort to better my finances this time around. A bit of background with my situation - I am a gambling addict. I'm 26 years old and have lost close to 55K~ within the past year and change. That amount is not an exaggeration by any extent. This began when NJ sports betting became legal and I lost myself in it due to severe depression. It was a terrible time in my life that I am just recently trying to work past. To be very transparent, I was in an awful state of mind and have called the suicide hotline on numerous occasions. Only one person is aware of this addiction and that is my Dad, which he found out inadvertently. This destroyed me emotionally by letting him down as a son. I'm not saying this begging for sympathy, for I know that what I did was horribly irresponsible. I just want to put this out there so that the very few people (hopefully) that experiences this is not alone. That being said, lets get to my finances. This is as of February 9th, 2020: Biweekly Pay: $1,600.00 401k Contribution w/ 4% match: $200.00 Bank of America Checking: $1,648.00 Credit Cards: ($550.00) T.Rowe Price: $14,093.00 FPS Trust: $1,400.00 Monthly Expenses: Gas: ($160.00) Spotify: ($15.00) YouTube TV: ($55.00) Cricket Wireless Phone: ($55.00) Rent: $0.00 (Living with parents) My goal is to get to around 6 months of living expenses as soon as possible. I'm asking for suggestions that would help keep myself accountable and just simply any tips in general that will help me keep track. Right now I have a Mint account and that's about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
I was ever so excited. Mum had finally agreed to letting my older sister, Judy, and I stay the summer at my grandfather’s house in Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana. Mum was a native of London and had met my father when she had visited New Orleans one Mardi Gras. They had fallen madly in love and were married six months later. After a few years, Mum had come to detest New Orleans – the crime, the summers’ relentless heat, the decadence and – she said – the evil – had proved too much for her and she had persuaded my father to return to England with her when I was but a baby. Judy was two years my senior, and said she could remember our grandfather but, I doubted her. I really could not have asked for a better older sister. Judy was pretty and kind and she usually included me in her activities. Most of her friends were not thrilled to have a younger brother tag along but Judy just smiled and told them it was a two for one deal. She certainly was not as excited as I at the prospect of our upcoming adventure, possibly because she had just discovered boys and we weren’t at all certain there were any kids our age around grandfather’s place and we dared not ask Mum. We reckoned she might become suspicious or worried, especially as far as Judy was concerned, and we certainly did not want to take a chance of her canceling our summer plans. She was hesitant enough as it was, insisting upon making the flight down with us from Heathrow to New Orleans. She rented a car at the New Orleans airport and we drove another two hours to grandfather’s little house way past New Orleans, toward the Gulf of Mexico. We marveled at the big oak trees that dripped with gray, beard-like hangings which we later learned was called “Spanish moss”. The air was heavy with moisture. I could almost taste it. I was more than a little intrigued with this new world and it’s green and gray landscape which became more surreal with each passing mile. I was more excited than I had ever been in my entire twelve years of my life.
I wish I could go back to that time. I wish that summer had never happened. I wish… I wish….
Mum, Judy, and I arrived at grandfather’s little house late one evening, so we couldn’t tell much about our surroundings. The house was more of a shack, unpainted, rising high off the ground on stilts to keep the flood waters out. I vaguely wondered what might be living in the dark, under the little house. I didn’t want to think about it. We had traveled for over ten hours straight and were exhausted so after hugging Grandfather and having a snack, Judy and I collapsed into our bunk beds in the room we would share for the next two months. We could hear Mum and Grandfather’s muffled voices as we drifted off to a chorus of chirping crickets outside our screened window - so far above the ground. Mum would stay for a few days while we settled in, probably in the hopes that one, or both, of us would change our minds about our summer in Louisiana. She drove into “town” which consisted of a grocery store on one end of the highway and a hardware store on the other, where she bought a ridiculous amount of food lest Judy or I starve out in the swamp. Neither of us complained as we had heard the stories about how people in southern Louisiana ate mostly possums, squirrels, and rabbits, supplemented with perhaps with the occasional snake or alligator. Mum would regale us with these stories of Louisiana, their details largely depending upon how much wine she had consumed with dinner. Our father, when he was alive, could put on his “Cajun” accent and say, “Well Cher, them’s some good eatin’,” and pretend he had never had a pizza or hamburger until he left Bayou Boudreaux to go to college. Now, as we drove down the road to Plaquemine parish, through the swampy pasture land towards grandpa’s (as grandfather had asked we call him), we weren’t so sure that Mum and Dad had exaggerated in their drunken descriptions of his childhood fare. I would have bet anything that there were at least a dozen snakes in the ditches along the side of the road and probably an alligator or two lurking in the palmetto plants just beyond! I began to have misgivings, but I was a twelve year-old boy and I was not about to chicken out – I would never admit to being frightened of anything – at least not then. A few days later, Mum headed back to London, holding back her tears and turning quickly to enter the little rental car. Judy and I waved goodbye from the front porch promising to call home every day before noon so she could sleep well that night. We laughed at Mum’s demand, but we both promised. Grandpa waved a huge, gnarled hand toward the departing car and herded us into the kitchen where he sat us at the blue formica table and poured us each a giant cup of coffee milk. He sat down opposite us with his big cup of coffee and chickory and began to lay down the rules of the house. “Now Cher, these ain’t really rules, they just thangs to make it easy for us to get along all right. I been on my own since your grandma died so I’m set up in my ways, you know?” Grandpa said in his matter-of-fact way. Grandpa had what Mum called a “Cajun” accent and he was said to be one of the last true Cajuns down in southeast Louisiana. He could speak that Cajun language and even play Zydeco music on his hand accordion. He was a soft-spoken giant of a man and but when he got that look in his eye, we knew he meant business. “Now, Cher, I am da cook around here and I tell you now, I am a good ‘un. Yes, I am! I be makin’ you some good breakfast and some better supper but round noon-time, you better grab youself some bread and make you something ‘cause I’ll likely be sleepin’ over der in my bedroom to keep dat “arthuritis” from gettin’ to my joints too bad. “And,” he added as an afterthought, “you responsible for dos dishes too, ‘cause dat “arthuritis” be killin my joints by night time. We got a deal?” “Oh yes, Grandfa – I mean, Grandpa. We got a deal!” Judy and I both said together. “Now, dere be one more thing, children. And it’s the most important thing – dat’s why I saved it for the last.” Grandpa had that no fooolin’ around look in his eyes. He lowered his voice and we leaned in. “Now, you need to be tellin’ me exactly where you goin’ when you leave dis house, ya hear? And you need to tell me da truth. I don’t want neither you children going past the line of the highway cause da swamp is right on da other side. Dere’s thangs in dat swamp…” his voice trailed off as he realized he was probably scaring the Bejesus outta us. We thought the lecture was over but he gave us that look and continued. “Dey’s thangs in dat swamp you ain’t never seen and you don’t wanna see. You understand your Grandpa?” “You mean, those snakes and alligators, Grandpa?” I asked, wanting him to be impressed by the fact that I had done my research on the Louisiana swamps. “I wish dat was all dere was for me to be warning you about,” Grandpa answered and then repeated. “Ya’ll just keep around here – do NOT go past the tree line with them palmetto palms – ever.” Judy grimaced behind Grandpa and I stifled a smile. “Now, finish dat coffee milk and we gonna have ourselves some good ole Cajun music out on dat front porch,” Grandpa said as he grabbed his little hand accordion. He gave me a washboard and brush and gave Judy the big wooden spoon that would serve as a microphone and have ourselves some genuine Cajun music - yes, sir, we did!
Word apparently traveled fast around Bayou Boudreaux because the day after Mum left, a boy I thought to be a year or two older than I, and probably around Judy’s age, showed up at Grandpa’s house, asking him if he needed any work done or maybe the lawn mowed. As was the custom, Grandpa called the boy up onto the front porch to have a seat and discuss the possibility of some sort of employment. It was polite sit for a while and have a glass of lemonade or iced tea. Judy and I wormed our way out onto the porch in hopes that this boy was friend material. As it turned out, after about fifteen minutes of interrogation, Grandpa discovered that the boy was the son of Calvin James, a neighbor who lived just about two miles down the road, towards Fontenot's Landing, just at the edge of the Black Swamp. And just like that, we had a friend. I think Judy and Eli were more than friends and the energy they exuded when they were together was not lost on Grandpa or me. I swear, when Judy and Eli were less than two feet apart, I didn’t dare get anywhere near them for fear of being shocked by the electricity. It was soon after meeting Eli that I began to usher in my thoughts, with “I swear”. I had heard this habit of speech from both Eli and Grandpa so I thought it was only proper for me to incorporate into my speech as well. It was something Mum would try to break me of when I returned to London but I have retained that particular quirk of speech to this very day. I thought Eli was just about the coolest guy I had ever met and it soon became evident that Judy thought the same. He was everything I wanted to be when I became fourteen years-old – tall, strong, a mane of jet-black hair he brushed absently from his forehead. He knew all about sports but on the other hand, he could play a scene from a Shakespeare play with the authenticity of a seasoned actor. He had the slightest of southern drawls which endeared him to my sister and when we weren’t fortunate enough to be in his company, we spoke incessantly about our new friend. I don’t know which one of us had more of a crush on him. I swear, I don’t. Eli had a part-time job at the hardware store a couple of evenings a week which was probably a good thing because he was at our house more than his own, as Grandpa had uttered under his breath one afternoon after Eli finally left. I think Grandpa liked Eli but he took his responsibility for me and Judy with a solemn sincerity which I thought was just something all grandfathers did. I would find there was a reason he watched over us like an old mother hen, wanting to know where we were, when we would be back and how exactly we were getting home. Within the week, Judy and I considered the little cabin our home as well. We felt a sense of “belonging” the London flat had never offered us, although we had lived there our entire lives. Grandfather’s two-bedroom, wooden “shack”, as mother called it, felt like a place that had called to me, the place I should be. While it was true that Grandpa’s persistent, watchful eye could become irksome at times, those were the only moments Judy and I felt a bit stifled. One afternoon Eli suggested we all go swimming down on Big Boudreaux Bayou. The Louisiana summer temperatures had risen well into the nineties and Grandpa didn’t believe in air-conditioners so, needless to say, Judy and I were thrilled with the prospect of a cool dip into the dark waters of the bayou. We hurried in to change. We had only seen the bayou in passing when Grandpa had taken us there during one of our “orientation walks.” He had sternly admonished us to never go down there alone but we reckoned we wouldn’t be alone if we were with Eli so we blithely yelled to our keeper we were going swimming out on the bayou with Eli. We could hear his heavy footsteps echoing through the house and banging onto the front porch just as we were closing the yard gate. “Say, what, Cher?” he asked with an incredulous look on his big, kind face. “You done lost both your minds? You get yoself back in here right now! Eli – you get on in here, too.” No amount of protests could shake the scowl off Grandpa’s wizened face. Judy and I knew something was wrong – we had crossed an invisible line and we hushed our whining and sat on the swing and waited. We hadn’t long to wait. Grandpa sat in his wooden rocker and held tightly onto its arms, worn from years of fingers caressing the wood. “I’m gonna tell you children something,” he said solemnly. “You don’t need to go telling your mama anything cause it would just upset her but I’m gonna tell you two. Eli here probably done heard all about this.” He looked from Judy to me and then, Eli. We stared at him intently. Dey’s a reason I don’t want you going to no Big Boudreaux Bayou even with Eli here going with you. Dey was a real bad thing dat happened down there about twelve year ago. Ain’t nobody dun forgot it yet.” I only then saw the bottle of Wild Turkey sitting by Grandpa’s rocking chair. He reached for it and took a good, long drink of the brown liquid, grimaced and began to speak.
Dere was dis family, Frank Ardoin and dem, one time they livin up der on de bluff over da Big Bayou. Dem kids was all in dat bayou most ever day, specially during the summer time when it was so hot – like it is now. Nobody done thought nothin of it. Dere daddy was always with ‘em and one day dere daddy’s brother done come up from Baton Rouge and brought his kids with him so deys all down at dat bayou swimming and diving and floatin on dem innertubes. And dat oldest boy of Frank’s, he done run down da side of dat bayou to dive off a little bit higher ground. I reckon he was showin’ off. He’s yellin’ at his daddy to watch him do his dive and Frank and his brother were looking right at him when he jumped off, head first – right into a big ole nest of water moccasin snakes. He was dead and gone by the time dey got him over to de hospital. Waren’t nothin dey could do for dat boy. He was all black and swole up, he didn’t even look like no human being.” Grandpa continued. “So dat Big Bayou, dat’s a dark place. A bad place. It was bad before and people always said it was cursed when de white settlers done kilt all dem indians who lived along here and through de years, things like dat poor boy getting ate up by snakes happen every now and again.” I thought I was going to lose my lunch and I could tell by Judy’s face that she was about to cry. Well, that little story took the wind out of our sails and Eli and I ended up sitting on the front porch while Judy made some cold lemonade for us. We three sat in silence and I guess Grandpa felt kind of bad because he went and got his old guitar and a bag of pralines to sugar us up good. Nobody felt much like playing music so Grandpa went solo, just strumming some nice, soothing chords that faded away into the hot, sultry air. Eli’s voice was soft but insistent when he said, “Mr. Ellis, can you tell us that other story?” “What you talkin’ about, Eli?” “You know, that other story about those pig-things that live back in the swamp.” “Oooooh. You mean, dem pig-people.” Grandpa raised his thick, gray brows. “Yes, sir,” Eli almost whispered. “My Pa, he won’t say nothing – and I mean, nothing, about them and when I ask anything, he gets real mad.” “Well, I hope I ain’t speaking outta turn then, boy.” “I need to know,” Eli responded. “Don’t you think we all need to know since we’re living right here next to the swamp?” Grandpa apparently reckoned Eli had a point and said he’d been meaning to get around to telling us the story. I guess he decided then was as good a time as any to tell us about the things in the swamp.
“Well, I’m gonna start at the beginning – the beginning, meaning, way back when I was jus’ a boy – not much older dan you all.” Dere was dis family livin’ round here – let’s just say they’s last name was “Renee”. And they done had this boy that waren’t right in da head. He was a big ole boy but deye say he had the mind of a three year-old child. And da Renees, deye kept a bunch of farmin’ animals and deye fished and deye butchered and deye got along okay, I reckon. Well, the story goes dat dis boy – I believe his name was Ray – that Ray ended up gettin’ real sick when he was jus about your age and they took him up to the big hospital right close to New Orleans to see what was da matter wit him. Now, you all know that this here place is one for gossip – it don’t take much to get a story goin’ – it waren’t no different back den when I was a boy. The men folks and the women folks didn’t have no television and gossiping was the town’s main entertainment. So, I ain’t saying for sure if it was true or not, you understand?” Grandpa took a swig from the Wild Turkey bottle, swallowed, grimaced again, and continued. “Now, da story was dat Ray had done found hisself one of dem ole sows in the back pen at dere house and - “ Grandpa began to falter a little and turned a bit red. “I reckon it waren’t his fault. He was coming to be a man and he didn’t know no better. He waren’t all there in da head, you know?” “Well, dat boy, he done been wit one of dem ole sows in a bible-way – like a man and a woman when deye be married.” Grandpa continued quickly. “And I guess he done got some disease from sinnin’ like dat cause Mrs. Riley who worked up at da hospital done tole Mrs. Willis about seein’ Ray at da doctors with his daddy. “Oh, Lawdy, the gossip in dis here town! It war something awful! I thought it waren’t ever gonna die down. The preacher done preached about gossiping but that only made it worse. Then one day, outta da blue, somebody kilt the entire Doucet family and that story took over. Ray and the pig story done wore itself out, except for da parents telling dere children to stay away from dat Ray Renee boy. So, as da years passed by, eventually, nobody thought much about it – dat is, until ten or fifteen years later when some folks saw something in da swamp.” Grandpa took another swig. “Alfay Wilson was out in his little pirogue with his wife, a pretty little thing, I remember. Dey was fishing and setting lines. The way Alfay tells it, a ten foot alligator came straight at ‘em and tipped over that little pirogue. Alfay hit his head pretty hard on something, maybe a cypress stump, maybe the boat. He was stunned, was the way he put it. And then he sees something that looked like another pirogue but it waren’t nothing he ever seen before. And then he saw the man-thing in the funny looking boat - the man- thing done grabbed Ally and pulled her in, her legs dangling over the side.”
The sheriff was not sympathetic. A man takes his wife out to the swamp and only he returns – that was downright fishy to him. The whole damn story was fishy but it was so crazy it just might be the truth. “It was just one man in the other boat? The one that took Ally?” the sheriff asked for the fifth time. “Dey had wrapped that boy up in an old blanket, gave him some coffee, and started askin’ questions. He was most likely in shock but ain’t nobody back then know’d what “shock” was,” Grandpa said. “It waren’t no man,” Alfay answered low and deliberately “It waren’t no man.” “Well, what the hell was it?” the sheriff showed no mercy for his primary murder suspect. “It was a big pig in that boat! It was a damn pig but he stood up on his back legs and used his front legs or arms or whatever the hell they were – to grab Ally. He made this sound and it sounded like a man trying to sound like a pig squealing. He had a face that was kind of like a man. But he had pig ears and a pig snout and he squealed and squealed and Ally was screaming and I couldn’t get to her. I --” Alfay broke, his shoulders sagged and his body shook from heavy sobs. “That boy cried non-stop for over an hour and they finally had to get him to the hospital so a doctor could help him. I reckon he had a nervous breakdown. They never charged him and they closed the case as an accident – and likely drowning - of Ms. Ally.” Grandpa continued. We dare not interrupt him with questions. “Well, word got around town, like it always did. I reckon that big ole’ dumb deputy opened his dang mouth trying to impress some girls down at the club. I don’t know for sure. About ten or twelve of dem dumb-ass boys decided they would go hunting this pig-man and maybe put him in a side show and make a bunch of money. That’s what they told their daddys and I guess that sounded pretty good because about eight or ten of their daddys decided to join them.” “I remember, they had a dang navy of about eight boats, all sizes, leaving the landing, headed straight into the Black Swamp. Yep. Out they go. Dumb-asses.” Grandpa snorted. “Round dark, they all come stumbling back in, full of stories, more likely full of whiskey and beer. Dey say dey saw two of ‘em – all covered with mud and straw and so the story and the legend started off right den and dere. The Pig-people of the Black Swamp.” “Alfay got his self almost famous and they even took him over dere to New Orleans to interview him on one of dem local TV shows. Ever time he made a description of that thing he saw, it got more and more crazy. By the time he was done and the story had died down, the damn thing that got Ally stood more than nine feet tall, all covered in black mud with red eyes and a big ole pig snout instead of a nose. It was like Alfay done forgot about his little wife, Ms. Ally. Then, one day de host of the show done lowered her voice and asked Alfay real serious-like if he thought his wife was dead and Alfay say real sad-like, “I just hope she drowned.”
“All Right. Dat’s enough for today. You childrens gonna have bad dreams. I’ll tell you the rest another time. It’s almost dark and Eli needs to be getting hisself home.”
Grandpa didn’t have to tell Eli twice. He looked at Judy and said he would see us tomorrow and he high-tailed it down the road to his house. Grandpa said he didn’t feel like cookin nothing so we had some grits for dinner and nobody said a word. Grandpa went to his room leaving us to clean up. “Do you think that’s true – what grandpa told us?” I asked Judy. “I dunno, she said, and I’m not looking to find out.
Well, the next day Eli came by and we could talk of nothing but the pig-people. After a supper of fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, and lima beans, we begged Grandpa to tell us the rest of the story. As Eli said, we “needed” to know, didn’t we? “Well – where was I?” Grandpa asked. “You were at the part where Alfay became famous but his wife was never heard from again and the last he saw of her was the pig-man grabbing her and throwing her in the boat.” Eli answered quickly. “Oh yeah. Well, they’s been stories for years now but the fact is, dere have been more than a few what they call “unexplained” disappearances around here – probably more than our share.” “I thought that was a serial killer like the one they found in Baton Rouge, Eli gently interrupted.”
. “Well, Eli, the thing is, dat’s exactly what dey want you to think. They kept is real quiet. Guess they don’t want to panic folks. Just a picture in the paper one day and that be it – maybe a search party for a day or two but that Black Swamp, she be so big, ain’t gonna find nobody if dey don’t wanna be found or even if dey do!. We just don’t know, do we?”
Grandpa glanced involuntarily at Judy and then said, “It’s mostly women dat disappeared, you know. The story is that the pig-men need women so they can carry on their kind. One women only bears one child a year so they need breeding women and I guess they got their cravings just like most men. So, that’s why you see, to this day, women always be walkin’ in twos. Not one woman will walk down dis road alone, not even in daylight. No sirree.” “That’s just stupid,” I said, more from absolute fear than indignation. “Well, you would think so,” Grandpa agreed, “until little Ivy Richard come walkin out of the swamp one day – after she was gone for more than a year. She waren’t but about 14 or 15 years old but the doctor said she done experienced child birth.” “Well, what did she say?” I demanded rather rudely. “That’s the thing, Cher. She ain’t never said a word. Her mind’s done gone. They had to put her in that place in New Orleans for the crazy people and to this day, she ain’t never said a word. “Well, she probably just got lost and managed to live out there in the woods. That’s all,” I said. “Yeah, dat’s a possibility,” Grandpa agreed. Him agreeing didn’t make me feel any better. I was beginning to wonder what the hell I had gotten myself into, coming to Louisiana. I was beginning to really miss London. “So, that’s it?” I said nonchalantly. “That’s the story?” “You sure you want to hear the rest, Cher?” Grandpa asked seriously. “Well, yes. Yes, of course.” I said boldly. “Well, we around here close to the swamp and dem fishermen and gator catchers brave enough to venture out there now, began to smell something that waren’t right. At first, we thought it was each other barbequing – and then we started asking around and ain’t nobody, none of us, been barbecuing here in the winter time. And the other thing we noticed…well, we was all at de store a few years ago, not long after that college student from New Orleans, Tulane, I believe he was from, done went missing. They was a search party but the swamp is a damn big place and ain’t too many of dese here men happy to wander too far out there dese days. So, the sheriff call the search off and we’s all in the store drinking some coffee from the machine and speculatin’ about what might have happened to that boy. Most agreed that the gators got him. But den, almost at the same time, we started sniffin’ somethin’. Andrew was the first one to ask ‘who the hell is barbequing’ in weather this cold?” “We just looked at each other – must have been eight or nine of us there – and you know sometimes when you just don’t need to say a word? When you pretty damn sure the other person know exactly what you thinkin? Well \\, we knew we was the only ones who lived down Sutter Road and Sutter Road is the only road that goes to the boat landing and the swamp. So, we go outside to get a better whiff and we sure did. Smelled like a big ole bar-b-q going on down towards our house here or maybe Eli’s place. It waren’t us and we couldn’t figure out who would be barbecuing in the swamps in the middle of the winter.” “Then, it hit us – all about the same time – that boy was somebody’s dinner tonight. I know that’s what I thought. And I would bet on it that is what they all thought but nobody – ain’t nobody ever said a word.”
“Holy shit!” I said. “Holy shit!” Grandpa gave me a look but didn’t reprimand me. “If the damn water moccasins don’t get us, the pig-people will!” I was serious. I was never leaving the front porch again. But what was to keep one of those snakes from coming in the screen door that didn’t quite close? Or what was keeping those pig-people from creeping up one night to our house and looking in the window? “Holy shit!” Judy and I whispered back and forth from our bunk beds that night, more to hear each other’s voices than to really carry on a conversation. The night was black but the sky retaliated with the silver light of a million stars and a full moon, its beams shining into crevasses of the forest and into the nooks and corners of our bedroom. Silhouettes of pigs and monster faces played upon the wall. Judy tried to scare me when she said, “Quiet! Listen! Do you hear that squealing?” I think she ended up terrifying herself as much as she did me. It was a long night, with only fitful bouts of sleep.
I was rather of glad summer was nearing its end. It had been a splendid adventure until the stories about the pig-men were shared – and suddenly, I didn’t feel so brave about the great unknown. I wanted it to stay unknown. I longed for my familiar room and bed and posters of Man U on the wall. And, I missed my mum. Judy, on the other hand, was dreading the day she would say good-bye to Eli. I think she was in love or whatever fourteen year-old girls are in when they walk around all goofy-eyed and smiling as though they knew a special secret. She was oblivious to anything but Eli. Eli this and Eli that. I liked Eli but I had had enough. Enough of young love – enough of water moccasins sliding around and enough of pig-men kidnapping people and doing no telling what with them. I couldn’t think about it.
Not a day later, Grandpa made a point of telling us to be sure that we put the lid on the garbage cans real tight ‘cause some animals had been making the rounds and going through people’s garbage – making a real mess. He said it real nonchalantly but I thought I saw something like worry in his furrowed brow. I lay awake most nights now, thankful we were up at least eight feet off the ground due to the heavy stilts that raised the house and formed it’s structure. I could look out at the night and feel safe, above it all, snug in my bed. And then, I saw it. It emerged from the palmetto grove, walking like a man, but with a face that still haunts me. The first thing I noticed was a snout – a pig snout and what I think was a mouth below it. The mouth was a single large slit. Huge, pink ears flapped on each side of its head and the eyes were black and beady. I thought I must be dreaming but the pig-man headed straight across the back yard and turned over the garbage can in an instant. He rummaged around and grabbed a few things – food, I guess. Then he looked up at me – and smiled. He turned and loped across the yard with great speed and suddenly, as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone. The knife-sharp palmetto fronds waved in his wake. I could not move. I could not scream. No one would believe me. If I woke Grandpa and told him, he might think I had lost my mind and keep me inside where he could watch me until Mum would come for me. I decided I would tell no one. But now, I tell you. I know you won’t think me insane. The summer rains had come. The air was so heavy that inevitably, around one or two in the afternoon, the rains would come. It was a warm rain and didn’t really cool the ai; It only make you feel sticky. I had not been feeling well. I wanted to go home. Mum was set to come and collect us next week. It was only two nights later, I saw the creature again. He stood beside my bunk bed and looked at me with curiosity. But soon, he turned to his real interest. Judy lay on the bottom bed, glad only in a pink and white cotton gown. Her strawberry blond hair was spread across the pillow and her eyes were closed. One huge arm encircled her waist and pulled her to him. He grunted, buried his snout into her hair and sniffed. I could not move. Then, he turned and as he was leaving, Grandpa’ stepped into his pathway holding a baseball bat in one hand and his .45 in the other. The pig-man pushed Grandpa away as if he were a pesky mosquito, grabbing the .45 in the process. Judy screamed, looking at me, begging me to save her. I jumped from my bunk and screamed at the thing to stop, to drop her, that she was my sister! He kicked me so hard I thought my head had come off. I was completely knocked unconscious. When I awoke, the thing was gone. Judy was gone. Just like that. My big sister was gone and God knows what was going to happen to her now. I tended to Grandpa as best I could and phoned 911 for the sheriff. At least Grandpa would be able to back me up on my horrible storr. The sheriff soon appeared, rumpled with sleep and began asking questions of me and Grandpa. I didn’t hear him make any calls and it was already 5 a.m. Time was of the essence. When I asked what would be done, he just said, “Leave it up to us men, son. We seen this kind of thing before. We’ll go out a ways and try to find her. Best you stay here and take care of your grandpa. He had a bad fall. Y’all both outta get to the hospital.” We refused to go anywhere and I got another cold towel for Grandpa. We had managed to get him up and into his chair. The doctor came, He gave us both sedatives and I could finally think somewhat clearly – without the horror. In a way, my lucid thoughts were even worse. I had failed my sister. I had let her go. I had done nothing to help her. My only solace was I didn’t think they wanted to eat Judy. I thought they wanted her for breeding. I had no idea how that would happen – if it was one pig-man or another or all of them. They were grabbing females and were obviously becoming more brazen about it. Ms. Ally had been their first. She became pregnant and bore the first child for the pig-man. She cared for the infant as would any mother, with love and tenderness. The good and kind woman that she was, she tried to teach both the child and its father some words so they could communicate and she showed her “mate” how to cook with fire and garner pieces of wood that they could carve into pots and bowls. She wove hats and shoes for them. She made them a home. The day Ally had been captured, she had been terrified. She slowly realized that this pig-man meant her no harm and realized that the poor, disfigured creature must have been the product of the Ray “rape” so many years ago. She had no idea how this could have happened but the undeniable results stood above her now, his hoof-like hands on her shoulders. He had nodded toward a corner in the straw and root cave they would share. Then he was gone. She lay sobbing in the cool den. The creature returned having garnered the softest leaves and pine straw he could find. She fell into the straw terrified. He lay on the other end of the burrow and soon she could hear his snoring. She slept. Judy was one merely of the “missing” women. “Missing!” I would say incredulously. “She was kidnapped! She was taken! She was stolen from her bed!” No one listened to me.
The news only said a 14 year-old girl from Boudreaux’s Bayou had gone missing, now for three days. I had almost gone crazy. Perhaps I did. I cried and begged for a boat so I could go look for her. No one would loan me their boat, let alone go with me to look for my sister. Eli had the same problem. It was as though everyone just wanted to forget about it – these damn English people, coming down here and causing trouble – that’s what I overheard one day at the grocery store. I was speechless. “At least I ain’t smelled nothin cookin,” one of them said, not knowing I stood behind him.
Grandfather called Mum and closed his eyes tight while she screamed and cried into the phone. She was taking the next flight. I hoped she was able to drive. She arrived and I guess the hysteria had subsided into anxiety and fear. She simply wanted her little girl. The so-called “search” continued for a week. The sheriff said that’s all the department had money for. Mum went out in one of the sheriff’s boats a few times. I had cried and begged to go and, and to the sheriff’s dismay, I was allowed to join the search party on the last day. We saw nothing but snakes and alligators, a few wild bore and bevies of snow white egrets. Had the swamp not held such terror for me, such foreboding, I think I would have found it beautiful in a mysterious, gray sort of way. And I knew – I could feel it – Judy was out there somewhere and – no one would ever find her. Mum and I finally returned to London. She left Judy’s clothes hanging in the closet of our little room. She put fresh sheets on the bottom bunk and placed her diary under the pillow. Mum gave Eli one of Judy’s favorite necklaces and put the other one around her own neck. She never took it off. Every night I think that I should have done something. I should have jumped on the back of the pig-thing and bitten his ear off. I should have screamed. I should have fought for my sister. . Grandfather died later that fall. I think he died from stress and a broken heart. Mum refuses to sell the land or the house. She says it should be exactly as it was that summer – just in case Judy should ever find her way back home.
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