CASEY in No Time to Hang Out

An eerie site…the silhouette of a man that had met his doom in a most heinous and despicable manner. What dastardly deed had he perpetrated on mankind to deserve such a horrible fate?
As the car timidly approached the swaying cadaver, a wisp of fog momentarily concealed it from sight…

Chapter 1
Early Summer 1954

9:00p.m. we find Casey and his brother PJ high in an old elm tree that reaches far over the intersection at the four corners on Bigelow and Robin Hill streets.

“I’m tellin’ you, Casey, having your hands tied makes it look real. Otherwise…?”

“OK, OK, you just make sure you tie that slip knot right. When you pull it I’ve got to hit the ground running.”

The boys went about preparing the ultimate practical joke. After smearing campfire ash on Casey’s face and hands PJ pulled the loop of rope up under Casey’s arms to support his weight and pulled the fake hangman’s noose over his head. Casey put on his jacket to conceal the makeshift harness then PJ tied Casey’s hands behind his back, dropped the coiled rope to the ground and shimmied down the tree. PJ slipped the other end of the rope under an exposed root looping it twice and hoisted Casey up off the limb and lowered him over the roadside and tied the rope off with a slip knot. Casey was left dangling just fifteen feet above the ground on display for any oncoming and unsuspecting motorist.

“Casey, the first car is coming south on Robin Hill. Get ready,” PJ whispered, as though the driver could hear him!
The car swerved violently to the opposite side of the road as though to avoid hitting Casey and disappeared down the hill towards Hillside school.

“Geez, PJ, that car almost crashed! Maybe you better let me down; this isn’t as funny as we thought it would be. PJ?…PJ?…PJ where are you? Ah…PJ, this is no time for jokes. Let me down PJ! Right now or I’ll… I’ll… ” Drats! Why did I trust him?”

Another car timidly approached the swinging cadaver, a wisp of fog momentarily concealed Casey from sight. When the fog lifted the people were standing on the side of the road. “Harry, do you think it’s real, it sure looks real!”
“Honey, if this was Halloween I’d have my doubts, but…”

Another car approached and stopped from Bigelow Street. A third car approached from the south. Casey decided to get his monies worth, so to speak, by making his legs tremble and ended with a rasping wheeze and went still causing a shriek from the onlookers.
By this time there were five cars pulled over ogling the spectacle above them. Some in apparent shock, others suspecting it was just a prank.

A spotlight stabbed into the dark singling out the swinging remains, making the macabre scene even more sinister.

“Well now, what have we here?” The police officer slammed the door to his 1950 Ford police cruiser. “The coroner can’t be reached so it may be tomorrow before we cut it down. You fine folks just go on home now and don’t you fret none. We already have the perpetrator tied up and on his way to jail…so to speak.”

The slip knot was mysteriously released from behind the big elm. Casey hit the ground running only to be foiled by a heavy boot on the rope by the grinning police officer

No time to escape…

As Casey’s feet ran right out from under him he heard the policeman say, “Well. Well. Well. Casey Raymond, you don’t seem to be as dead as some folks here a bouts thought. What do you say we take a little ride, hmm?” A cheer from the onlookers sent them on their way…towards 647 Robin Hill Street.

Officer Tom pulled his cruiser into the semicircular drive at 10:15 pm with his red light flashing out the guilt of the perpetrator hunkered down in the back seat… hands still tied behind his back.

Casey’s Mom and Dad threw open the door before Officer Tom could knock, leaving his hand flailing between them.

“Evening, Al.”

“Officer Tom, What brings you out this way at this hour?” Dad knew full well that it was probably another of Casey’s antics that has gotten him in trouble again. It was just two weeks ago on Saturday afternoon that Casey and his brother PJ got in trouble for a prank they pulled on Bigelow Street on dead man’s corner.

CASEY in No Time to Die!

Summer 1949

A twelve foot alligator rested snuggled close to his kill that was stuffed up under the river bank where the soil had been eroded away by the river leaving a small cavern. Gators didn’t get this size by being careless. He knew the life blood oozing from the kill would attract other predators to be fended off. This feast would not be aged properly for four or five days. If he could fend off his competition for a week, all the better. So the gator waits and his appetite grows with anticipation.

Digging from above… barking… Daylight filtered through the root bound soil into the cavern. The gator turned to snatch his prey and move it to a safer location… an arm shot out and drove a jagged edged diving knife to the hilt into the gators left eye. With what could be his last breath Uncle Cleo forced his arm and head up through the root bound hole of light. Where am I? The light faded… Cleo’s muscles relaxed… The growling and ripping at his arm produced no pain… drifting now… a better place…

CHAPTER ONE Fall 1955

Casey overheard Mom and Dad talking about how his Uncle Cleo was having difficulties keeping up with the chores and couldn’t afford a hired hand. Cleo’s adopted son was twelve and a hard worker according to Cleo, Mom’s cousin, but there were just too many chores for the two of them.

“S’cuse me Grammy, sounds like there’s an adventure brewin’ in the kitchen that needs my immediate attention. Patty will be more than glad to finish this game of checkers with you. Won’t you, Patty?” “You never want me to finish a game you’re winning, Casey, it’s hard enough to beat Grammy without starting out loosing,” Patty said without lifting her eyes from her puzzle. “Why, Casey is winning honey,” Grammy said with a wink at Casey while turning the checkerboard around. “Really?”

Casey new he was going to have a difficult time convincing Mom to let him go all the way to Florida on his own to spend the summer on Uncle Cleo’s tropical fish farm but he was ready to enter the kitchen and present his case. After all Cleo is family and all. Who else could help him? Isn’t it his obligation as his nephew…?

“Al, you know how much Casey loves the outdoors and fishing…do you think…I mean would it be…” Casey froze just outside the kitchen door straining to hear the hushed conversation. “He would love the adventure…Cleo could do a lot worse… Dad spoke up, “You might as well come in and join in on the conversation, Casey.” Casey entered the room rather sheepishly, “I kind’a, accidentally overheard about Uncle Cleo, I know I can outwork a twelve year old and besides don’t we have to help…I mean…”

“Casey, listen a minute, you don’t have to convince us. It’s up to you, and Uncle Cleo of course. I just can’t afford to take time off work to drive you down there. Not to mention the expense. “Tim and I were offered jobs on the turkey farm after school and weekends with the holidays comin’ up and all.. I should be able to make bus fair and maybe some pocket money too. Hey maybe Tim could come along and help to, then I wouldn’t be traveling alone. Casey crossed his fingers behind his back.

“Oh, Al, two days on a bus? I don’t know about that, even with two of them. I’ve never even taken a bus, and I’ve heard some awful stories. ” Mom tugged at her lower lip as she often did when in doubt. “Heck, Mom, I take a bus every day, there’s nothin’ to it!”

“It’s not a school bus, Casey Raymond and you know it. Don’t you get smart with me!” Mom was more concerned than angry. “What about a train, mom? A train might be faster!”

“What do you think Al?” “Let’s discuss it with Cleo and get his take on it. Then we’ll make a decision.”

When Casey was told that he and Tim  could spend the summer in Florida on his uncle’s tropical fish farm, he knew it was going to be his most adventuresome summer ever.

 Funny, Fresh and Literate by Author Mark Mckurdy
Goran K King is a refreshingly literate voice in a room often echoing with the mediocre. His writing flows with knowing ease, and his images are both new and entertaining; ‘I’d rather french-kiss a rattlesnake’; ‘coke bottle lenses’. The humour is never forced, and his characters move the narrative forward with splendid dialogue and wonderful activity. Underscoring the apparent simplicity is an informed ability to capture the reader’s imagination… and to hold it. This is an impressive addition to the genre. Congratulations.