Wednesday, August 31, 2011

15. Meanwhile

Meanwhile, in another part of the ocean:

"You wanted to see me, Isiah?"

"Uh, Boss--I may have some information about the whereabouts of the missing trident..."

"Oh so you MAY have some INFORMATION! Its the TRIDENT  I WANT dumbkopf! Not stupid information!"

"Oh, I know, I know, Sir! The Trident! Well I have received some information that may help..." 


"Uh, yes boss! Trident!  Well, it seems there has been a hurricane in a part of the world where there never has been a hurricane before so someone may have found the magic trident and could be experimenting with its awesome power..."

"I'll awesome power YOU if you don't get back to me with that trident very soon-- hmmm. Hurricane you say? Sounds promising."

"Yes. And if you will come..."

"Shut it! I have an idea! I'll go with you to the center of where the hurricane happened.  That is probably where the finder of the trident is experimenting! And we'll use the old "Fish in Black" routine to get it back!"

"Brilliant, Boss!"

"Yes--I am!"


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

14.Ill Wind

"Ahhh." I thought--

Everything perfect.

But wait a minute. 

Suddenly everything got darker and everything started to move. The wind started to blow so hard my beach chair turned over, collapsed and was swept away.  Rain began to fall so heavily everything was drenched.

I had asked the trident for Bahama weather right where I lived and it had given me Bahama weather with a vengeance: a Bahama hurricane! 

And the trident felt a little warmer.


Monday, August 29, 2011

13. The Life

As long as I held the magic trident everything I wanted simply appeared.

Soon I had not only the perfect weather of the Bahamas but all the frills I had dreamed of--warm sand--beach chair--tall cool drink served by pretty, tan shrimp.

The LIFE I had always dreamed of! 

And NO problems--well, one little problem--the magic trident kept getting warmer.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

12 Good Weather


There could be no doubt of it. That trident was some kind of good luck charm!


So maybe I should stop fooling around and get some bigger things done!

Go the the Bahamas for sunshine and perfect weather?--POOH!

I'd get that perfect weather RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW!

"Do you hear that, Trident?! I want perfect sunny weather like they have in the Bahamas HERE and NOW!"

And things brightened up and the water got warmer immediately!



Friday, August 26, 2011

11. Pizza

"Maybe I'll run a little test." I thought. "I am feeling a little hungry so I will think of food and see what happens."

There was a knock at the office door and a pizza delivery clam was there.

"You Constable Crab?" he asked.

"I am." I answered.

"Then here's a free hot large size pizza--with everything--from the Hasty Tasty Pizza Shoppe."

"But I didn't order..." I started to say.

"'At's all right. We give one free pizza away every week--good advertising, ya' know. An' we pick one name at random from the phone book and your name was the one chose! 

"Congratulations an' here's your pizza!"



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

10. Warmer


This was almost too much of a good thing.

This sudden run of good luck--more in one morning than I usually had in months or even years...

Something was very fishy.

And it all seemed to start when I found this trident!

I have never believed in magic or talismans or anything like that but this string of bizarre coincidences was just too much--and it did seem that this cool trident was somehow causing the things to happen to me.

I was still carrying it and there was something else odd abut it.

It seemed to be getting warmer!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

9. Bahamas

Wow! Me, Top Detective!

And I never thought the Ocean City Police even knew I existed!

I was  excited--Effie was excited--and I really didn't know what to do next!

"I guess I 'll just stay here and continue with the work I always do." I said to Effie. "This is a bit sudden!"

I was thinking I needed some time--maybe some time away from my usual distractions--to decide what to do.
Just then my good friend Ollie walked in.

"Hi, Constable." He said. "I was hoping you would be in. I won a couple of tickets to the Bahama Islands for a two week vacation---hotel, meals, car rental--everything paid, but you have to use 'em now and I can't go.

"I thought maybe you would like to use them? Anyway, here they are. Bye!" 

And  he walked out leaving me with a couple of tickets and wondering what was going on!


Monday, August 22, 2011

8. Promotion

Starry and I parted at the cafe and I continued to my office still carrying the trident I had found.

Effie, my walrus secretary, met me at the door.

"Hi, Effie. Look at the cool trident I found out in the rocks."

"Very pretty, Constable. Here is an envelope that was just hand-delivered for you. It looks important."

"I opened the envelope. Inside was a letter from the Ocean City Police Department.

"Dear Constable Crab," it said, "Congratulations for a job well done. 

We have reviewed your outstanding performance as a reef constable and have decided that you should be immediately promoted to Chief of Detectives for your area. 

This will mean tripling your present salary and giving you a larger cost of living and housing  allotment. 

You may stay in your present reef location or come to the city to work. Whatever you decide is all right with us. 

Best wishes in your continued excellent work.  

A. Frump, Chief of Ocean City Police."

Friday, August 19, 2011

7. Surprize Desert

 The tempura was delicious.

Starry and I finished and were having a nice after lunch chat when the waitress came by again with the desert menus.

"Do you have a little room for desert?" she asked.

"Oh, why not--lets!" Starry said and we accepted the menus.

What I hoped to find listed was my very favorite desert--strawberry tart--but it was not on the menu.

"Yummy!" Starry commented, "They have Orange Sherbet with Chocolate Flakes and Hot Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese..."

But before we could make a decision, the  waitress appeared again carrying a silver tray with two deserts.

"These deserts are not on the list," she said, "but our chef baked them for his own family this morning. 

"When he heard that the famous Constable Crab and his friend Starry Starfish were our guests he sent them out with his compliments--on the house. 

"He hopes you will try them and enjoy them. 

"They are his own specialty: Strawberry Tarts."  


Thursday, August 18, 2011

6. Fern Special

 We walked together into my reef and as we passed a little restaurant Starry said: "Hey, Constable. How about a bite of lunch? I'll treat!"

"Sounds good to me!" I said, and we made our way into the place.

"They used to have such a wonderful chef here." Starry said to me as the hostess was showing us to our table, "His name was Yamamoto and he made the most delicious  Bracken Fern with Tempura Mushrooms! They were my all-time favorites, but he retired a couple of years ago."

When our waitress came to the table and handed us our menus, she said: "You might like to try our Special of the Day, Bracken Fern with Tempura Mushrooms

"Our new head chef, Wally Yamamoto, the son of our old retired chef, has just started working here today. He has learned all his father's secrets and people say his cooking is just as good as his father's was!" 

"Wow! That's pretty amazing, Constable!" Starry said,  "Let's try that Bracken Fern with Tempura Mushroom Special!"

"Sounds good." I said, but I had a funny feeling about this second odd coincidence since I picked up the peculiar trident--which I was still carrying!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5. Starry Appears

Meanwhile, back in Constable Crab's part of the ocean:

"This is QUITE a find!" Constable Crab thought to himself as he turned the strange object he had found over in his claws. "I sure wish Starry was here to see it with me... uh...STARRY?!"

"Hello, Constable. Nice to meet you out here."

"But, Starry! What in the world are YOU doing out here?"

"Oh, I just felt like taking a walk. Why? What's up?"

"I found this odd thing--and the oddest part of it is that just when I thought I would like you to be here with me to see it--HERE YOU ARE!"

"Not so weird, Constable. As I said, I thought I would take a walk a while ago and here I am."

"But, Starry, what a coincidence! Have you ever taken a walk in this part of the ocean at this time of day before?!"

"Well no. But my day is not so routine that I always do the same things at the same time, ya know. I am not a perfect creature of habit. I still have a bit o' free will!"

"OK, OK. Anyway it is wonderful to have you here! Take a look at this thing I found!"

"Cool! Looks like a trident. I know what it is, 'cause I've seen pictures--but I never saw one in person before, ya know."

"I haven't either. How do you think it got out here?"

"Well I don't know. People up there are always droppin' things in the water! It's a constant rain of stuff."

"But--a TRIDENT?!"


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

4. The Word Goes Out

 "All right, Isiah," Saul said to his Chief of Staff shortly after the meeting with sorrowing Father Neptune, "You know the drill. The King has misplaced his trident again, so I want you to..."

"Find it?"

"Yeah, Dumbkopf! Find it! But not only find it, but be quiet about finding it! Neptune's trident is one-of-a-kind magic powerful! If it ever got into the wrong hands the world would be in BIG trouble!"

"Chee! I dunno--where do you think I might start looking? Most of the world is ocean and you know Neptune's antics when he--uh--indulges in a little Joy Juice--and that fast bunch he runs with--heck, the trident could be anywhere from Maine to Madagascar."

"Or offshore Terra del Fuego and a hundred fathoms down. I know. I know. Well, you knew when you took this job that it was not all tea and cakes and you halibuts are famous for knowing what's going on at the bottom--so get going and bring me that trident PRONTO! Got me?"

"I'm on my way Boss!


Monday, August 15, 2011

3. Lost Trident

Meanwhile, in another part of the ocean, this conversation was taking place:

"OH, Drat and Pooh, Saul! It's GONE! I've LOST it!"

"Now, now, Your Majesty, Maybe you've just misplaced it...?"

"Nope!  I've looked everywhere that I usually put it and it's GONE!"

 "Have you looked in the...?"

"Oh, Saul, I have looked everywhere. It was that party I went to with the squids and the porpoises! They are such a fast crowd and we were all over the place and I had too much Joy Juice to drink as I sometimes do..."

"You DO love that Joy Juice!"

"Saul. What shall I do? YOU are my First Counselor--so  give me some council!"

"Well your trident is your most famous symbol of authority, Father Neptune, and it is also a bit magical I believe?"

"Oh, more than a BIT, Saul! Why with that TRIDENT I can do wonders, but without it I am just another old merman!"

 "Then as your First Councilor, I advise you to take it easy, sir. Relax! I will find it for you or my name ain't Saul the Sole!"

"Oh, good, Saul! I feel better already! GO GET  IT, SAUL!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

2. The Object

Caught in the mossy rocks near the path was a strange, beautiful object.

I approached it quickly but cautiously.

It looked like a weapon of some sort--longer than a sword but shorter than a spear--and made of some kind of silvery, goldy metal. 

It was forkish in shape--a big fork with three tines--like maybe a fishing spear.

I gingerly picked it up. 

It somehow seemed to be made to be handled with respect. 

Lightweight, but heavy enough--perfect balance--and some old words came to my  mind: "N'er have ya' seen such foin craaftsmanship!" 

The point of each of the three fork tips was  tipped with a sparkling gem--real diamond, I guessed.

It was somehow familiar to me--I had seen something like this before, somewhere, sometime. 

I brandished it a bit. It made me feel different--powerful!


Friday, August 12, 2011

1. Lost

A storm was brewing one day as I left for my regular constitutional walk.

I walked for what must have been a long time -- my mind and feet both wandering down some unusual and  different path-- and when I began to  think again in my accustomed way, I realized that I had somehow become lost.

Most perplexing.

Certainly this had never happened before!

I did not recognize anything! Where had these strange cliffs and rocks come from? 

And though the water was exceptionally clear and transparent, the colors of everything were off--somehow peculiar and unnatural.

I looked about me with growing curiosity and even a little fear.

"Where ARE you, Constable Crab, and WHAT on earth is going on?" I thought to myself--when suddenly I saw something bright and shining on the rocks ahead of me.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

24.Homeward Bound

Homeward bound.

We took our time, pausing often and moving slowly and thoughtfully.

As we walked through a stretch of cool, green kelp forest on a level but narrow path, Starry asked me what I thought Kew's punishment should be. 

"I think he will deeply regret his theft of the crystal." I said. "He probably had some childish ideas about how marvelous he was--you know--the chosen one syndrome. His failure to cure his friend's incurable old age may actually help him understand his true place in life. What do you think?"

"About punishment?" Starry said, "Well I think he should be punished some way--not dismissal from the monastery or jail or bread and water sort of punishment--but maybe have his library visiting privilege removed for a month or so or have to wash dishes for a while or something like that. 

"Young Kew might even become an adept himself some day--at least he has the courage to act on his beliefs along with his youthful enthusiasm and ignorance."

"And we were all young once, weren't we, my friend?" I said. "In a way I am glad we didn't have to go down to the village and question people and nab some villainous thief--the usual cops and robbers routine. Kew was a surprise to me--though my hunch was a little bit right--the Blue Star had never left the monastery--but at least Kew was trying to do something good."

"And we had some very interesting experience too." Starry quietly said. "Would you like to stay at the monastery, Constable? As a friar I mean?"

"Never even thought about it." I replied. "No I think I am useful in my own way out in the world. I like my life."

"Me too." Starry said. "Though I did like the peacefulness and the music and even the good food! I am pretty content with my own simple starfishy life."


Saturday, August 6, 2011

23. Departure

 Breakfast was served from eight to nine o'clock and was not a formal affair.

Each  monk came, ate and left as he liked and there was no ceremony or order to be observed.

Starry and I ate together. Master Walter came up to us as we sat.

 "Friar Crab and Starfish," he said quietly, "you have heard the surprising news. You may wish to leave the monastery soon or you may stay for a period of retreat if you like."

"What will happen to Friar Kew?" I asked.

"We have a standing committee which takes care of infractions of the rule. It is their task to make such decisions. To me it seems that Friar Kew's motives were mixed--a truly altruistic desire to help his old friend and a selfish wish to perform a miraculous cure using the Blue Star, but I am only one member of the committee and it has yet to meet. I will inform you of our decision when it is made."

"Starry and I have been discussing what we should do, and we have decided to leave soon--right after breakfast, if you approve."

"You may leave whenever you like without parting formalities. Please take the robes with you as mementos of your stay here. I will ask the kitchen staff to prepare some traveling rations for you to carry. We are grateful for your help--though the mystery rather solved itself--your presence here and your willingness to come to our aid was very helpful to me personally and I will not forget it. If we can ever be of assistance to you, you can be sure we will do what we can.

"I will be involved with duties regarding Friar Crispus for the rest of the day, so I will not be present to bid you farewell. So let me say now, thanks and farewell."

Starry and I saw Friars Montague, Lophius and Fugu separately at different times during the breakfast hour and very quietly said our goodbyes to each of them.

Shortly after breakfast then, we picked up the food Master Walters had had prepared for our journey and left Moonlight Monastery on its cliff behind us.

We did not see Friar Kew again.


Friday, August 5, 2011

22. A Death

A firm knock on my door woke me from a sound sleep. I threw  on my robe and went to the door. When I opened it I could just recognize Friar Montague in the darkness of the shadowy hallway.

"Is it time for lauds?" I asked sleepily, gathering my thoughts. 

"Not yet, but soon." he said, "You might as well stay up and come on down to the chapel. I have some news. Friar Crispus died a few hours ago and the Blue Star Crystal has been returned."

"What? How?" I managed to say.

"It is our custom to have a few of the closest friends stay with a dying brother and I had been called as one of them when it became clear that Friar Crispus was failing. 

Young Friar Kew was also there. He had been rather close to Crispus in spite of their great difference in age and had often played chess and talked to the old monk by the hour.

"When Crispus' spirit had left his body, Friar Kew handed me the Blue Star. He had it in his pocket.

"Kew told me he thought HE could heal Crispus if he only had the crystal so he took it after the service for the villagers last Sunday and has been carrying it in his pocket ever since. He said he didn't think we adepts were trying hard enough to cure Crispus but he...

"Anyway--that's where the crystal was and that's who took it and why. I thought you would like to know. Lauds will be in about half an hour."

"Thank you, Friar Montague." I managed to say before he turned away and disappeared down the hallway into the very early morning darkness.

"Well,  I'll be..." I whispered to myself. 

A sorcerer's apprentice

Couldn't wait for the years necessary to develop the skills to use the crystal. 

Typical youth--and I thought of the eager mistakes of my own younger days.

You can't cure old age and the spirit inevitably must leave even a healthy body some day. No one lives forever.

I got ready and went to the chapel for lauds.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

21.The Gist of It

Again, I was a little early for the service. 

I chose a seat on a back bench where I could see everything. 

Before long the monks began to arrive. They filed in in their usual silent and orderly way and sat apparently wherever they liked. No one spoke.

I recognized Starry among them, but in his robe he was practically indistinguishable from the rest.

The service was brief: a song, a poem or prayer recited by Friar Montague in the musical ancient Dolphinian language, a short period of  silent meditation--then all  joined in the the old familiar closing hymn which was almost a lullaby.  Then, slowly and silently,  we moved out of the chapel, the monks to their cells and Starry and I to our guest quarters walking together silently until we arrived at the door to my room when Starry spoke: "Did you learn anything, Constable?"

"Only that this monastery is a very big place and that the moonlight is very bright in the garden. What did Master Walter talk about at the Chapter meeting?"

"Oh, about the Blue Star Crystal still being missing. 

"He talked about the importance of the Blue Star to the healing work of this monastery and how it holds the stored mana vibrations of generations of adepts--energy which can be directed and focused by those who have learned how to use it through years of patient study, practice and experience.

"He did not talk for very long and I didn't understand it all--but that's the gist of it."


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

20. Prowling

Seven-oh-five. The Chapter meeting was in progress as scheduled but I was outside the meeting room--prowling is the only word I can use--the monastery.

I visited the refectory and the kitchen first.

I had a hunch about this case--that someone from the outside was not only responsible for the theft of the blue star crystal, but was still in hiding somewhere INSIDE the monastery.

And in my experience, cases were often solved by hunches--so, the kitchen visit.

If there was anyone besides the monks here,  they would get hungry and the kitchen and the kitchen cupboards and cooling closets were where the food was kept. 

It felt strange being in the kitchen alone because there was always some activity here, but I was quite alone. Silent. Nothing moving.

I went through the darkened hallways. Nothing stirring--to the garden door, and went out into the garden. 

The garden was walled and quite large. There was a wide variety of seaweed and kelp growing here. Some I recognized and some, probably medicinal plants, were unknown to me.

Moonlight Monastery was certainly a good name for this place because though the sea was fairly deep here, the light was bright enough for a good look around. Again nothing.

 I realized there were hundreds of good hiding places in this monastery--the bell tower, the music rooms, empty guest rooms, cellars and even a crypt.

Well, I didn't have time to explore it all, but I used my eyes and ears as well as I could for as long as I could--then I suspected the Chapter meeting was coming to an end--so I went to the chapel to join the others for the last service of the day.

I had discovered nothing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

19. Quiet Conversation

After the discussion with Master Walter, Starry and I walked together back to our rooms.

Before we parted at the door to my room, I quietly spoke to him.

"I would like you to attend the Chapter meeting without me, Starry. I plan to take a quick look around the monastery while everyone is at the meeting, but I also want to know what Master Walter says--so please be ready to report to me the subject of his talk.

"Right-o, Constable. Shall I expect you to come to my room after the meeting?"

"No. Expect me to come after Compline, the last canonical service of the monk's day--which I expect will take place at the usual time-- eight o'clock-- in the chapel. I want to attend that service."

"Me too." Starry said, "So I'll see you there and we can return to our rooms together to share information."


Monday, August 1, 2011

18. First Meal

Starry and I arrived before six o'clock in the refectory for the evening meal. Friar Kew, who was also there early,  showed us to our places.

When he came in, Master Walter acknowledged us with a smile and a nod but said nothing.

The monks, filing into the refectory in silence,  took their assigned spots at the trestle style tables which were laid out in a large u-shaped pattern. Each stood behind his chair and waited until Master Walter, who stood behind his chair in the center of the top tables of the pattern, said a short prayer.

Then we all sat silently waiting to be served by other monks taking their turns with the duties of the kitchen.

When Master Walter gave another signal, everyone began eating. A monk who stood behind us on a raised platform started reading from an uplifting  book. There was no private conversation at all.

The food was vegetarian, simple and tasted very good to me.

When Master Walter was finished, he rose and stood behind his chair again and everyone did the same. He pronounced another short prayer and the monks  filed silently out of the room, but he touched my sleeve and made a gesture that he would like to speak to me. 

When the room was empty except for Master Walter, Starry and myself he quietly said, "I have heard about the formation of your larger committee-- an excellent idea and I wish you good progress. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Starry or I may be absent from your Chapter meeting this evening and, with your permission, we may leave the monastery tomorrow morning for a short visit to the village with Friar Montague."

"You have my permission. Good luck."