Category Archives: Mark T Wayne

THE JOB INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM SHAKES

by Mark T Wayne

We’re here to interview some reprobate named William Shakes for the job of special correspondent. I do not know why I’m a part of this. No sir! Perhaps it’s the strange nature of the recruit. Perhaps it’s because Jonelis recommended this particular…person, and does not entirely trust the judgement of Jim Kren, his assistant editor. (Shakes bears an uncanny resemblance and must be related in some way—maybe) Perhaps it’s because that execrable Lonagan creature is the only other help Kren could muster. But we need more writers, so here I am, eager and helpful as always, ready to lend any assistance within my power.

Mark T Wayne

Kren consults a wrinkled scrap of paper. I believe he’s reading questions from a list. “So, uh…your name is William Shakes. Is that right? Tell me about yourself.”

What kind of softball question is Kren pitching? There sits Shakes in frilly regalia, looking like something out of an Elizabethan play. He probably came here straight from an all-night costume party, roaring drunk, and Kren asks a fool question like that. Wait, I believe the man is transparent enough to respond to such utter inanity.

  • “What’s in a name?” he says with dignity. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. We are such stuff as dreams are made on. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.” Spoken fluently and with aplomb! And in a well-modulated voice!
  • Loop Lonagan looks at the man slack jawed. After a moment I hear him whispering to Kren. “What didee say?” Kren fiddles with his paper and mutters to Lonagan, “Idiot! I was gonna ask you that!”
  • My value to the proceedings is now clear. Not to mention that I recognize the true and somewhat illustrious identity of this candidate. “Gentlemen, Mr. Shakes expresses the sentiment that his name and his fame do not matter; that he brings to the table a strong imagination and boundless creativity. He’s proud of his accomplishments and liable to brawl with anyone that displays the audacity to criticize his work. (Also, gentlemen, notice that the man carries a sword.)”

“Why,” Kren asks testily, “didn’t he just come out and say what he meant?”

I express the opinion that’s precisely what he did.

Lonagan shrugs and grins at his boss. “Ain’t got no problem with it.”

William Shakes

Kren reads the next question:

  • “What is your greatest accomplishment?”
  • Shakes sits there in that hot scratchy outfit, seeming at ease. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” He says. “The play’s the thing. Thirty Seven there be, wherein I catch the conscience of the king and posterity.” The man runs off these lines without breaking sweat.
  • More muttering and both Kren and Lonagan turn to me. I clear my throat. “He’s considered the supreme writer in the English language and highly respected throughout the known world. Among other things, he produced 37 highly prized major works of written material that have captured the attention of world leaders.” (Privately, I take violent exception to the widely-held belief regarding his supremacy as a writer.  Such accolade is more aptly applied to myself. But I refuse to squabble.  Honour is at stake. Yes sir! I will do nothing to lampoon this interview!)

A brief dumbfounded silence. Then the barely vocalized sounds of approval indicate that these two examples of lower life are suitably impressed by the response. I warm to the task! Kren scans his page of questions.

  • “What major problem have you had to deal with recently?”
  • Shakes: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
  • I immediately translate: “He says he’s learning not to underrate himself. As a result, he never shirks a task, even if he feels inadequate. Because of that, he’s consistently surprised by hidden talents.”

Lonagan finally gets up the nerve to ask a question himself:

  • “Are you one o’ deeze team players?”
  • Shakes: “Prithee, it be thus. Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
  • Me: “Ditto that.”

Loop’s dog Clamps. No known photograph of Lonagan exists, but they look a lot alike.

Lonagan again:

  • “What’s yer biggest weakness?”
  • Shakes: “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”
  • They both sit there stunned, so I venture another paraphrase: “He says he’s only human, subject to the same vices of body and character as you two.”

Kren throws up his hands, then with an obvious effort, composes himself, and manages to appear grave and somewhat skeptical. Then he plods on.

  • “How do you think you can add value to our magazine?”
  • Shakes: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our venture.”
  • Lonagan: “What didee say dat time?”
  • I happily translate: “He says the magazine could go on the rocks due to poor staff and lousy management. But we’re at a critical stage right now and must take full advantage of it while the opportunity is ripe.”

That last answer emits a bit of grumbling between the two louts. Those fellows have no idea who they’re dealing with. Lonagan asks what I can only assume expresses the issue that bears most tenderly on his feeble mind:

  • “How much money d’ya want fer dis gig?”
  • Shakes: “While I am a beggar, I will rail and say there is no sin but to be rich; and being rich, my virtue then shall be to say there is no vice but beggary. If money go before, all ways do lie open, but the comfort is, you shall fear no more tavern-bills.”
  • I immediately insinuate myself: “He says he doesn’t come cheap, but he never pads the expense account.”

Kren utters a deep sigh and hits him with what I am sure is his final payoff question:

  • “Why should I hire you?”
  • “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
  • I try not to bust out laughing. “He says, don’t be a ninny.”

Kren and Lonagan stare at each other. Face it—they botched the interview. There is nothing remaining to discuss. No sir! Jonelis wanted this relic on staff. These goons found no reason to reject the man.

Kren shrugs. “Show up tomorrow for work. Eight o’clock sharp.”

Shakes gives a bow and a flourish. “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

As William Shakes nobly marches out, I can barely contain my mirth.  But tomorrow, the man will stand on the sidewalk for hours.  Our office rents space in the back room of a fine establishment and Ludditis doesn’t open the bar till the potato pancake connoisseurs crowd in for lunch.  Kren’s revenge.

 

Read the first in this series – TO BE OR NOT TO BE HACKED.

Image Credits – John Jonelis, Public Domain
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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. Please perform your own due diligence. It’s not our fault if you lose money.
.Copyright © 2017 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved
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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, Big Corporations, Characters, Chicago Startup, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Jim Kren, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, Startup, startup company

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM

20161201-_jaj0288tby Mark T Wayne

Howard Brookins Jr, the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward, was biking along Cal-Sag Trail on Nov. 13, when a squirrel darted into his path. The squirrel wrapped itself in the spokes of the alderman’s bicycle. [The Washington Post.] According to the alderman, “I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge.” [The Chicago Tribune.]

If this is revenge, there is good reason for it. Yes sir! As the Post also reports: “Brookins denounced the eastern gray squirrel in a Chicago City Council meeting and has publicly spoken out about a toothy menace.” He complains of “aggressive squirrels that undermine efforts to overhaul the city’s trash carts.” [Chicago Sun Times] He claims that squirrels are gnawing through garbage cart lids at a cost to the city of $300,000!

According our own Alexander Harbinger PhD, such behavior is perfectly normal. “Like all rodents, the teeth continue to grow during an entire lifetime. It is gnaw or die.”

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Posted on Facebook by Alderman Brookins

As proof of the squirrel’s malicious intent, Alderman Brookings posted a photograph of the unfortunate animal on Facebook, caught in the wheel of his bicycle.

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Closeup of Brooking’s dead squirrel

Brookins did not escape injury from the ferocious creature’s attack. “The alderman flipped over the handlebars, fractured his skull, broke his nose, and knocked out a handful of teeth.” [Tribune]

The remedy proposed is extermination of all urban squirrels.

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Mark T Wayne

Revenge of the Squirrels

Of course, when faced with annihilation, any red-blooded squirrel is compelled to take action! Who can find it in their heart to condemn this animal?  But for the protection of the residents of our fair city, we must guard against further malevolent behavior perpetrated by these scheming creatures.

So far, this activity appears unique to the gray squirrels in Brookins’ 21st Ward.  The implications are startling and frightening.  These particular animals exhibit traits that must not be permitted to spread.

  • Brookins’ squirrels take a keen interest in civic matters and monitor city council meetings.
  • When action is required, Brookins’ squirrels organize in secret and plot the required counter-attack.
  • In this case, one squirrel soldier carries out a kamikaze raid on a leading enemy, Alderman Howard Brookins.

Jim Kren, our assistant editor, offered this opinion: “Squirrels are good-for-nothing vermin. They look out for their kind and know who is persecuting them. If you thwart their plans, they figure a way to take care of the problem. Nothing can stop them from getting what they want!”

But renowned squirrel expert, B. A. Christie MLS, holds a different view. “Squirrels are attractive, with fine coats and tails—a benefit to any neighborhood. They are strong, brave, loyal, intelligent, entertaining, and acrobatic. Squirrels prune and plant trees. And tough? I saw one fall fifty feet to the pavement—but after a few minutes, the little dear just hopped to its feet and ran off. Every levelheaded individual knows that squirrels are friendly. I believe Bill Murray said so in a motion picture.”

No, I am not entirely satisfied with the alderman’s flippant slur against these creatures. Nor do I entirely agree with the other opinions ventured damning them. No sir! Permit me to propose a few alternative theories on the matter:

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Greedy Guts the squirrel, outside my window

Cruelty to Animals Theory

Does it not seem a whole lot more believable to you that this squirrel lodged in the spokes of the good alderman’s bicycle during his hightly successful attempt to run it down? A fat squirrel lounging on a path can present a tempting target to certain personality types, and such behavior may seem quite natural to a politician, particularly an alderman. Has Brookins intentionally misrepresented the facts and blamed the true victim for the consequenses of his personal indulgence in an urban blood sport?

One strong indication of the veracity of this theory is seen in the alderman’s photograph. The squirrel is lodged in the front wheel, which indicates an attack by the alderman, not the squirrel. If, on the other hand, the animal lodged in the rear wheel, the alderman’s story might carry some weight.  Take dogs as an example.  Dogs are known to snap at automobile tires and invariably go for the rear wheel. It’s a question of catching the vehicle as it speeds by. Perhaps the ASPCA should investigate the matter. The evidence is clearly on display in the photograph published by the man himself!

 

Guilt by Association Theory

Squirrels will eat just about anything, and have been known to forage during daylight hours, when they find trash conveniently strewn about—but they do not do so at night! They sleep at night. Does the timid squirrel gnaw through a garbage can in broad daylight, vulnerably exposing its hide to every kind of predator for an extended period of time? No sir! The thought seems akin to a neighborhood bunny rabbit attacking a Pit Bull in the act of sullying somebody’s front lawn!

Nighttime is the rat’s domain, not the squirrel’s. Nighttime is the likely period for damage to ensue. Could it be that, during the daylight hours, the alderman observed some squirrels in the civic-minded act of cleaning up the nocturnal mess left by sloppy rats? This is guilt by association of the worst kind! Both are rodents, but the similarity ends there! I propose that we are dealing with an unsuccessful rat control problem.  That is where the battle must be fought.

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Greedy Guts gets fed

Mistaken Identity Theory

Permit me to relate a perplexing personal incident. After one fine Christmas afternoon dinner, I noted a scurry of cold and hungry squirrels—sweet, harmless, and industrious animals that every normal person loves. My wife calls the big one Greedy Guts—an admirable fellow, in my opinion. I slid open the window and tossed out a handful of peanuts to the little beggar. Little did I know that my benevolence would provoke a strong reaction from my houseguest.

Jim Kren, our guest, turned violently red and spoke in loud and vitriolic indignation, “You feed those rats?” This man hails from an affluent tree-lined neighborhood teeming with a large and healthy squirrel population. Imagine his constant horror, living in such exquisite surroundings and unable to distinguish a squirrel from other rodentia. Unbearable! It explains that nervous tick.

For those that share Kren’s malady, permit me to quell such unwarranted and hysterical fears:

  • Rats hide in dark, filthy places—squirrels live in trees.
  • Rats carry rabies—squirrels do not.
  • Squirrels behave more like neighborhood bunny rabbits.

 

Scapegoat Theory

As noted, Brooking’s 21st ward appears to be the only area of Chicago suffering squirrel damage. No other alderman or city councilman has taken up the cause. That raises some questions. I own a home in the country. Its peaceful environs swarm with squirrels, rabbits, hawks, turkey vultures, and deer. Yet our garbage bin remains intact. How can this be? Are the alderman’s cans of less quality than others? Impossible! Those receptacles reportedly cost the city hundreds of thousands of tax dollars! Is it possible that squirrels are a scapegoat for some sort of political shenanigans? I put it to you, sir! Chicagoans have learned to accept business-as-usual in our longstanding tradition of machine politics as long as one keeps quiet about it. There is no call to harm the wildlife.

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A squirrel is not a rat

Noble Savage Theory

But what if Alderman Brookins’ allegations were true?  Could it be that we are witnessing an altruistic and noble example of squireldom? Yes sir! Such an image of heroic sacrifice warms my heart. Faced with the the personal hatred and vendetta of one malevolent alderman—faced with the annihilation of family and friends—faced with the end of a way-of-life-as-he-knows-it—one of Chicago’s bravest takes matters into his own paws.  He takes one for the team!

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Go to Part 3 – SECRETS DARK AND OLD

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Mr. Wayne’s speculations are his own and do not always represent the opinions of this journal.

Image Credits: Bicycle photo by Alderman Howard Brookins. All other nature photography by John Jonelis.

 

Sources

Washington Post – ‘Suicide bomber’ squirrel hospitalizes Chicago politician who spoke out against squirrels

Chicago Tribune Kamikaze squirrel gets revenge on Ald. Brookins

Chicago Sun Times – Alderman says ‘aggressive squirrels’ eating through garbage carts

 

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Characters, Chicago Venture Magazine, city, Conflict, Education, gentrification of the city, Jim Kren, Mark T Wayne

THROW THE BUM OUT

Mark T Wayne 1cTby John Jonelis

Mark T Wayne hurls his cigar to the barroom floor and grinds it under his heel. “Lonagan, you’re a consummate ass!”

“Shuttup ‘n’ have anudder whiskey.”

“You sir are heavily inebriated.” Wayne’s voice resonates above the noise of the crowded bar.  “I know better than to get tight oftener than once in three months.” He lifts his chin and peers down his nose at Loop Lonagan. “It sets a man back in the esteem of people whose opinions are worth having.”

“So whaddayuh think I should do?” His dog, Clamps, squirms in his arms and kicks wildly as Loop wrestles to gain a better hold on the 85 pound bull terrier.  He finally locks an arm around the animal’s thick neck.  Clamps immediately relaxes, bone in mouth. “Look Wayne—yer da one said I oughta take da guy in.  So you tell me how t’ get ‘im out.”

“Hmm…yes, I see your point. Options are a bit scarce at such times.  Your editor shows up at the door leaning on two canes, a bit unsteady on two new metal knees.  Never refuse to do a kindness, unless the act will work great injury to yourself—especially when it’s a close friend and your employer.” Wayne pauses a moment and inspects Lonagan more closely.  “But five months have elapsed since that day, and now I find myself sharing this fine bar with a sloppy drunk—a man utterly beyond reason or decorum, hugging a dangerous beast to his body like a rag doll.”

Loop plays with his dog’s ears.  “The police don’t want poor Clamps tied at da curb again.  Dey say he might eat a pedestrian.”

Therapy Dog

Therapy Dog

“Don’t blow smoke rings, Lonogan! There is only one course of action left to you! Claim back your domicile!  Throw the execrable bum out!”

“Throw out Jonelis?”

“That, sir, is precisely what I say.”

Loop Lonagan slowly wags his head. “He’ll throw me outa da magazine. Then where am I?  Gone, like a puff o’ smoke.”

“Where is your spine, sir? Can it be that abusive over-exposure to bitter hops has eroded it in total?  Look at you, stroking that hideous beast as if it were some lovely young woman.  Is that the proper posture for a grown man while seriously drinking?  Get ahold of yourself!  I say put the moocher out on the street!”

“Don’t ya think I tried? Sheesh, he moves right in with dat new therapy business.  Pavlovian PT he calls it.  Gals right outa some Hollywood movie swarmin’ all over da joint.  I can’t get no peace er sleep.  He fills my penthouse with exercise machines.  And busy? If he ain’t liftin’ weights, he’s gettin’ a Swedish massage or an ice pack or he’s loopy on pain killers, and then he’s asleep er somepin. Can’t hardly talk t’ da guy. When I do, I dunno what t’ say.”  Loop squeezes his eyes closed a moment.  “Today dis crew shows up t’ move da resta my furniture out da door—where to, I dunno.  More weight machines is comin’ in!  Yeah, Jonelis finally graduates therapy.  It’s strength trainin’ from now on!  So insteada my nice penthouse condo, I got a swank health club.”  Loop swallows a shot of scotch and immediately chases it with a slug of beer.  The pungent amber liquid dribbles down his jaw.

Mark T Wayne 1d Bold

Mark T Wayne

Wayne scowls at him. “You, sir, are mixing good medicine with poison. Give an Irishman lager for a month and he’s a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and beer corrodes it. But whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him.  You’ll do well without that swill.”

“Dat’s da best idea you come up with since I knowed you. No wonder my belly’s naggin’ at me.  Bartender!”  Lonagan shifts his dog so it can lap beer from his mug.  Clamps knocks it over and yellow suds run down the counter.  The dog leaps onto the bar and voraciously polishes the wet varnished surface with a wide tongue.

Loop lifts the animal from the bar and hugs it close.  “Bartender! Gimme anudder scotch.  Make it a triple.  No more Blatz fer me!”

A muscular kid shows up with a towel and mops up the smelly mess while glaring at Loop under thick black eyebrows. He talks in a low voice with clenched teeth: “What’s with the dog?”

Loop makes an indignant expression. “It’s a therapy animal. You got a problem with that?” 

A long scar on the kid’s cheek flames red. “Hold down the noise, mister, or you and and your dog and the guy with the white suit are outa here. Y’ follah?

“Big talk—yadda yadda yadda.  Y’ gonna back it up?”

The bartender abruptly moves down the bar and serves another customer while Loop raises the fresh tumbler of whiskey.

Wayne’s finger idly traces the rim of his empty glass.  “Certainly the Drone’s Club is near at hand.  I believe they offer a gymnasium.  You might mention the possibility.”

“Yeah, yeah, but dey won’t let ‘im bring in his Pavlovian PT team. Same with East Bank, Union League, ‘n’ all da udders.  He’s too cheap t’ buy all them gals memberships.”

Both men stare into space. This goes on for a good two minutes as the noise of the crowd swells around them.

“Ah! A thought occurs to me…” Mark T Wayne draws himself erect, yanks his white lapels, and takes a step as if lecturing an audience, “Your domestic problem is transparently simple. Argue with the man!  Pick a fight!”

“How’s a guy gonna do that? Jonelis treats ever’body so nice—so polite.  No a harsh words, No foul language.  No nothin’”

“Shout him down! You need not be logical or coherent, nor do you require provocation.  Drown him in curses at high volume!  If that brings no response, I happen to know that you are skilled in the fine art of fisticuffs.  Pummel the man with blows!  Violence, sir!  That’s the ticket!  Beat him senseless!”

“C’mon Wayne, he’s just outa surgery ‘n’ all…”

“That man is gaining health by the day as you lose yours!”

Loop Lonagan goes suddenly quiet and rubs his chin with a blunt fingertip. He drops Clamps to the floor and the dog immediately strains the limit of a heavy leather lead, lashed to the stanchion of the barstool.  People immediately abandon the area adjacent to Lonagan and Wayne.  The dog pants with teeth fully exposed, tongue lolling outhis way of smiling but people shrink back, forming a big empty circle.

After a minute, Loop pulls out a cell phone.  “Hey Nick? It’s me.  Remember our talk?  Well, what about it?”  Loop rolls his eyes as he listens.  “Yeah…yeah. Okay! Done!”  He pockets the phone and grins a satisfied grin. “I’m takin’ yer advice.  If Jonelis fires me, you’ll find me right here.”  He moves his arm in a sweeping gesture.  “Dis whole place is mine now.”  

READ SERIES FROM BEGINNING

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, Characters, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, vc, venture capital

HOW TO TREAT THE OLD MAN

20150624-_JAJ0962by John Jonelis

Here’s the right way to treat your old man:  For Father’s Day, take him where you’ll boat 402 hard-fighting northern pike, the trophy of a lifetime, and as many fat walleye as you want—all in four days.  That’s 4 minutes per fish—not counting walleye!  Maybe the Old Man’s memory isn’t showing signs of improvement lately, but he’ll remember this trip the rest of his days.  It’s a glimpse of paradise.

He knows this lake and longs to go back.  With the right encouragement, there’s no way he can turn down your invitation.  But what if he can’t bust free?  Let’s say he gives the usual objection that he’s too busy.  Here’s what you do:

20150623-_JAJ0933402 Northern Pike

Justification

Figure out what’s got him tied down.  In this case it’s Chicago startups.  So you point out this is one of Chicago’s hottest startups and qualifies as a business trip.

Sure, it’s way north of the North Side.  It’s north of the 55th parallel.  That puts it at the northern fringe of the Boreal forest.  North of that lies tundra.  Last year the ice still measured four feet in early June.  But according to Mark T. Wayne, it qualifies as a Chicago Startup for two good reasons:

  • Most all the patrons either hail from Chicago, once enjoyed that honor, or pass through O’Hare Field on their way.
  • This is only their second season of operation.

They don’t even stock the waters.  You cast barbless hooks and release every fish unharmed—except, of course, the big fat walleye you eat for shore lunch.  Ever experience waters as virgin as that?  Wanna go?  I guarantee he’ll say yes.

20150621-_JAJ0836

Fresh Walleye for Shore Lunch

Solitude

A huge part of the value of this excursion is the solitude of the north woods.  Solitude has no price tag, so shoot the works!   Surprise the old man!  RENT THE WHOLE LODGE!  Sure, the facility holds 25 guests.  So what?  It’s only money!

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Think of it—just the two of you.  The only habitation on the lake.  No civilization for hundreds of miles!  No roads.  No phones.  Nothing but a 45-mile-long stretch of ice-cold drinking water.  150 islands.  More shoreline than Lake Michigan.  Fir and aspen trees as far as you can see.  Beaver, deer, and bear.  The bald eagle.  The blue heron.  The loon.  Loads of pike and walleye.  A comfortable boat and the best fishing guide in Canada.  A top-pro staff that caters to the old fart’s every whim.

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Did I remind you to get a big plane?  There’ll be 40 empty seats on that turboprop when it whisks the two of you from DuPage Airport to this wilderness paradise.

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That empty plane gives a good, strong first impression.  Don’t underestimate the value of a first impression.  And the stewardess has little to do but serve drink after drink to the old goat!  Congratulations on beating the O’Hare rat race!

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Your destination is a 4,000 ft. landing strip carved out of the forest and paved with gravel quarried on site.  The harvested trees make up the raw material for building such a facility.

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Comfort

You pick this particular outpost because it boasts all the amenities and you know the Old Relic loves the lake with a passion.

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Suppertime, he sits quietly on the deck, gazing at the magnificent view as if in a trance. You grill up a thick steaks and he tucks his away with obvious relish, then pats his profound middle and pronounces himself satisfied.

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Remember how old he really is.  Fishing from a plush swivel seat will wear him out, even after that nap at shore lunch. No, he doesn’t have any energy left in him tonight—not even enough for a quiet game of chess.  But don’t let that trouble you.  At that latitude and time of year, the day peaks at 17 hours and 22 minutes of sunshine.  Neither of you will see the dark of night and you’ve got the place to yourselves.  So just tell him stories till he happily nods off.  Then slip over to the lodge to sharpen your skills at the pool table.

20150621-_JAJ0840

 

Don’t Laugh

Show the old codger some respect.  He doesn’t deserve it and sure doesn’t get any at the office.  It will take him off guard and make him happy.

  • Don’t laugh when he dresses in camo from head to foot so the fish don’t see him. He really believes it helps.

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  • Don’t chuckle when he flails away with his fly rod while you’re fishing spoons with a fast reel. Sure you cast twice as far as he can.  Sure, you boat a pike before he completes his first cast. Sure, you boat another before he strips in six feet of line.

He finally hooks a five-pound hammer handle.

Naturally you put away your rod as soon as he hooks that little fish.  You stand mum as he plays it for a ridiculously long time.  You don’t even snicker when he mentions his light tippet. Sure, you could’ve boated five more lunkers in that time span and you’re itching to get back in the game.

You refrain from casting your lure. You praise him effusively. You give him a sense of victory and you’re patient. That pike he just caught has rows of sharp teeth that will destroy his hand-made creation. Eventually he must run out of flies and start fishing your way.

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  • Don’t gloat when the Old Fogey finally switches to conventional tackle. “After all,” he says, “the fish are so aggressive, it’s inefficient to fish a slow retrieve.” But he insists on using a fancy and expensive bait casting setup rather than simple spinning gear. Naturally, he experiences the usual backlash incidents and you boat more pike every time he digs a mess of line out of his reel. At such times you avoid snide remarks that others will thoughtlessly make, such as, “I’ve yet to catch a fish while my lure is in the boat.”

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  • You intend to use just one lure the entire trip. Your tackle box merely carries spares of the same design. His carries every pattern known to man. Don’t criticize him for constantly switching baits. He acquired this habit over decades of fishing unproductive waters close to home and he’s trying to match the hatch. Avoid such comments as, “Fish are not impressed with the time you spend fiddling with your tackle box.” No, let him stalk his prey slowly, in his own way as appropriate to his age.

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  • Show an extra measure of kindness. Give him the boat’s casting deck for the whole trip. He’ll appreciate that. Don’t make derisive comments when he asks the guide to mount the swivel seat up front. Remember, his feet are as old as he is.

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  • Don’t laugh when his expensive 16-inch-long stainless steel needle nosed pliers goes over the side. That can happen to anybody.

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  • Hold your tongue when the Old Geezer methodically de-barbs the hooks on that snazzy new lure, using a special and expensive tool. He then plops the bait into the lake, forgetting to attach the line. It sinks to the bottom before the guide can reach for the net. You’ll be glad you remained silent when he gives you a wan smile and says, “I forgot to remember.”

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  • There are plenty of legitimate ways to lose lures.  Like that monster pike that strikes right at the boat, just as the Old Fossil lifts his lure from the water.  As you and the guide watch, it shakes its awesome head once, twice, three times, straightens out a new and expensive 50 lb. titanium leader, and then makes wake as it swims away with a precious hand-painted spoon.  Naturally you’re thinking, “I hope that thing tastes good,” and “I wonder if that paint job will give the fish indigestion.”   But of course, you keep those comments to yourself.  Losing a fish that big hurts real bad and you want to treat the Old Man real good.

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  • Don’t scoff when he wonders where on the lake you are at any given time. Admit it. You don’t know either.

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  • Above all, hide your smirk when, every day, you outfish him almost 2 to 1. He’ll face the numbers when he pays off the bets. He’s not so competitive these days and after such terrific quantities of fish, he really won’t care if you get more than he does.  He may even prefer it, and where does that leave you if you crack wise?

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I Got the Whole World

You and the guide untangle a small Pike from the net.  Eventually, you look up to see the Old Man’s line snagged on another rock.  As usual, he keeps his rod bent in an exaggerated manner and his line taught way too long —  just to make sure.  There’s no movement whatsoever.  He’s telling you it’s a big one, but even the guide doesn’t buy it. “You’re towing the boat,” he says softly.  Yeah, the Old Reprobate’s got bottom.  But you humor him and in a couple minutes you’re glad you did because his reel slowly goes click, click, click.  That’s life at the end of the line!  Something with a lot of weight!

When the fish decides to swim, it peels off line fast and at will, making the reel sing.  That happens again and again — every time the Old Man works it close.  You get several good looks and cry out in awe like any faithful son.

Finally, the monster tires and doesn’t shy from the boat.

Now it’s safe in the enormous net.

The Old Man hoists it and you snap a photo.

Have you ever seen a pike so healthy?   That fish measures 43 in. and weighs maybe 30 lb.  He caught it on a homemade lure and it puts him in the record books a fourth time.

And it’s Father’s Day!

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Now you note fresh tooth marks across that lunker’s midriff.  That also happened last year when he brought the magazine staff up here.   The guide will bring you back to this spot to cast for that bigger one nobody saw—an opportunity of a lifetime!

The Old Man is bending over the side of the boat, gently reviving the fish.  Pike are sprinters, not marathon runners, and after the long fight, it’s exhausted.  He slowly moves it back and forth, forcing water through the gills.  Artificial respiration.  It finally requires a rap to the head to wake it from its stupor and the trophy pike slowly, slowly disappears deep into the cold clear lake.

And that’s how to treat the Old Man.

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The Numbers

(Because of standard boat bets, you keep an accurate tally of northern pike.  All fish are caught on barbless hooks and released unharmed. 4 days on the water, less shore lunch = 27 hours in the boat.)

27 hrs / 402 northern pike = 4 min. per pike by actual count.  You don’t count walleye because they’re too easy to catch and this is a protected northern pike habitat.

62% by Son, 38% by Old Man.  Naturally you refrain from gloating and you don’t even consider saying, “If you stopped fooling around, we’d catch more fish.”

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How do they get a big ornate pool table and all that other stuff to such a remote place?  Check out the episode of Ice Road Truckers that involves a winter convoy to this lake over the frozen river system leading to Hudson Bay.

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The Hot New Startup

This is North Star Executive Outpost on Knee Lake, Manitoba, a protected pike sanctuary.

northstarresort.ca

Talk to Hope Levenhagen at 800-563-7151

hopelevenhagen@northhavenresort.ca

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Personal Notes

This advice is for others, because you, my son, adroitly accomplished it.

Heartfelt thanks to Curry Fequet, Doug Woodland, Lynn Peters, Hope Levenhagan, and the entire North Star crew for giving the Old Man a slice of heaven on earth.

Read BEST GIFT

Read ROUGHING IT

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press.

www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com

Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

All photos by the author.

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HAWKS

Hawk Logo_JAJ0561by Mark T. Wayne

“Quit talking business!  This is important!”  A shocking pronouncement coming from one’s employer!  I go mum.  We sit behind thick glass, watching the Chicago Blackhawks clobber the Anaheim Ducks in the final game of the series.  The Hawks will win this game and go on to the coveted Stanley Cup.  That is correct, sir—an opportunity for a third championship in just a few years!

I comply with Jonelis’ rude order.  I do it because I sympathize with his lack of discipline in this arena of violent chaos.  And of course, like most men, I am quite prepared to revive my boyhood when the opportunity arises.  Certainly, there are subjects other than business worthy of utterance.

Mark T Wayne

Lonagan is at my right, constantly jostling, constantly booming, “Did ya see dat?” shouts the execrable fellow.  “He jammed da butt o’ his stick right into dat poor sap’s kisser.”  Permit me to note that Lonagan is able to perform a multitude of tasks simultaneously:

  • He shouts expert opinions about every detail of this free-for-all.
  • He gnaws great hunks from greasy bratwurst.
  • He swills beer from a paper cup with great skill.

I have never before witnessed a hockey game.  I attempt to test its worth with my closest scrutiny, but find it difficult to comprehend my editor’s rationale—dragging me out here to write about six bearded hooligans with faulty dental work beating up six over-muscled goons.  How can I stay abreast of the Chicago private equity action?  Nothing of impact happens in California.  Most of their financiers chase after the same-old, same-old mobile apps.  But I agreed not to talk business.

John thru the glass_JAJ05618B

Against the glass

Jonelis and Lonagan both jump to their feet and beer sloshes onto my fine white flannel suit.  “Goal!” they scream in rough unison, and the stadium erupts in opposing voices of victory and outrage.  Jonelis pounds my shoulder.  “Did you see that?  Did you?  A rebound—that’s the way to score a goal—always crowd the net!”  I am perplexed.  How can he possibly assume that I did not witness the occurrence?  Does the man think I am blind?  We are right here in the front row of the roaring crowd, watching this madness with an entirely unobstructed view!  A gentleman named Toews, who I am told, for some unknown reason, pronounces his name Taves, just flung a small black object into the goal by artful use of a stick.  I saw the act, as did every other bloodthirsty spectator in this crowded coliseum.

Meanwhile, Lonagan gesticulates broadly with both arms, then breaks into impassioned laughter that squeezes out a few tears.  He reaches across me and punches Jonelis square on the shoulder.  “Dis is da best!  First class airfare.  First class box seats!  I kin hardly believe I’m here!  What made ya ask me?”

Jonelis seems momentarily at a loss for words.  He grins sheepishly, then admits in a somewhat lower tone, “You know how to throw a party—I don’t.”  He clears his throat.  “After we win this game, I want to celebrate.  I want to do it right.”

I catch a glint in Lonagan’s eye.  “You want I should pour it on industrial strength?”

A wan smile.  “That’s the general idea.”

“Yer on!”  Lonagan grins like a slathering bulldog.  “What about old whisker-puss here?”

“He’s covering the game.”  Then Jonelis addresses me.  “Get the article out tonight, will you?”

I care not about a drunken felon denigrating the quality of my mustaches, but the second insult inflicts its sting.  My host reduces my status from guest to employee.  Such is the level of respect shown an accomplished novelist.  A writer is without honor, sir!  (I secretly resolve to delay the entire project for several days.  I, too, enjoy the Lonagan fellow’s raucous celebrations.)

Two huge bodies in bulky uniforms slam into the glass inches from my nose with an impact that rattles the structure of the enclosure.

I sit up and take notice.

Pinned, the Hawk reaches under an inadequate face guard and grabs the nose of the angry Duck, who bars his stick against the Hawk’s hairy throat.

A whistle!

With a bleeding nose, the Duck skates to the penalty box.

In the ensuing power play, I note amazingly deceptive and expert stick handling.  Fascinating!  Other members of the team, entirely out of the action of play, perform acts of sadistic menace upon each other’s persons.  These go unnoticed by the officials, otherwise engaged.  As an organ plays magnificent chants, I wonder how thugs learn to skate with such skill.

Toews scores another goal and I am wearing flecks of Lonagan’s mustard.  Only a few minutes have transpired since the splattering of beer—inadequate time to allow my suit to dry.

I stand and cheer!  “Hooray!”

This represents an important lesson!  Yes sir!  How is it that I have never before attended such an event as this?  And I speculate on the odds of bribing a season ticket from some luminary with the only real weapon I own—the promise to not write about him.

Read KIDNAPPED

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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KIDNAPPED

Clamps and Bone TBy Mark T. Wayne

Weeks have passed since my last conscious memory.  Weeks, I say!  A man can lose his hat and perhaps even his pants, but to lose several weeks is inexcusable.  Think what mischief might transpire over such a span of time!

I find myself crammed in the back seat of a slow moving vehicle on an unfamiliar and crowded freeway.  How did I get here?  I know the date by the prominent display on that infernal wireless device issued me by my employer.

Big Beefy Bill Blaire the Giant and Jim Kren the Toady occupy the front.  Neither accosts me with the usual raucous humor or churlish inquiry.  Perhaps they assume I still sleep peacefully. I resolve to surreptitiously conduct an investigation on the mobile internet.

Not a single message from Jonelis since he left.  The man must still be on sabbatical—in Israel, I think.  He left me in charge of this yellow rag of a journal and nobody has heard a peep from him since that day. That, sir is not good for troop morale.  Men will lose their discipline under such circumstances.  My last memory is a wild party at our offices behind Ludditis Shots & Beer.  I recall watching that execrable Lonogan fellow crack open another bottle of vintage Scotch and pour it into a dish for his trusty bull terrier, Clamps.

Now I sit in this automobile with no memory of circumstances since that time.

Mark T Wayne

Bill Blaire, the Paul Bunyan of Chicago, grips the mangled steering wheel of this automobile with his sausage-sized fingers.  That man knows how to fill space.  His head protrudes through a hole in the ceiling colloquially known as the sunroof.  The driver’s seat jams against the back, clearly off its rails.  Big Bill blocks any view to that side, but at least I feel secure in the knowledge that he is comfortable and in full control of the vehicle.

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Where Are We?

Kren gesticulates wildly at an overhead sign.  A glance reveals the surprising fact that we are driving away from Newark Airport toward the Holland Tunnel.  I have no recollection of the flight and from his plaintive squawks, I am given to understand that he does not wish to go in that direction.

I consider the possibilities and grit my teeth.

Perhaps we are running from the law.  I steel myself with the thought that whatever damning evidence comes forward at our trial, even if I gain back my personal memory of it, we can blame Jonelis for everything that has transpired.

Perhaps the magazine staff has kept me in a drug-induced coma all these weeks to accomplish some foul purpose yet to play out at an undisclosed but diabolical destination.  Even now, they run rampant down the public highway, my helpless body in the back of their car, kidnapped!

I stop this line of thought because there is no profit in such dire speculation, I choose to assume we are indulging in a sightseeing excursion.  I will enjoy the view.  Here we are in New Jersey and it is a fine day!  And such scenery, sir!  If I remain very quiet, those two may let me alone to enjoy it.

Yes, scenic wonders hold a peculiar attraction for me.  I will cross any wasteland on horseback, donkey, or camel and sleep in a tent to catch a glimpse of a marker of dubious historical import.  Travel in this comfortable little automobile seems a luxury by comparison to other excursions I have expounded upon in my writing.

We cross a high bridge fringed by a continuous line of blowing garbage.  I take that as the source of New Jersey’s fertile moniker, The Garden State.  The vista features a spectacle of belching smokestacks along with the other evidence of this nation’s industrial might, stretching all the way to the horizon.  I am in awe, sir!  Awe, I say!

Smokestacks

The two in front are still unaware that I have aroused from my slumber.

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Wireless Travel

We escape the Holland Tunnel and exit to Staten Island.  I receive my first clue to the real points of interest in the area. The sign directs us to Freshkills Park, New York.

Freshkills!  Every muscle pulls taught as I consider the possible motives for a destination with such a name.  But no—I quickly recover my equilibrium.  We are probably bound for some historic battlefield from the Civil War.  Lacking a travel guide, I turn again to my infernal device to consult Google, the fount of all modern knowledge.

My search reveals alarming locales such as Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull.  According to Wikipedia, these are bodies of water separating Staten Island from New Jersey.  Also listed are Dutch Kills, English Kills, Bronx Kill.

Here I see references to the Whorekill River and the Murderkill River.  Who can explain such rude use of the English language?  I live in a city known far-and-wide as the murder capital of the world, but we have no such violent names associated with our waterways.  I believe I can travel to foreign lands and experience less culture shock!

My interest in this excursion is piqued and I cling to the hope of keeping these revelations alive in my mind.  Now that recent events have proven my memory faulty, I write everything down.

Further investigation reveals that Kill as a corruption of the Dutch word for creek.  I look up English Kills and find it feeds into Newtown Creek, an estuary that separates Brooklyn and Queens.  Wikipedia identifies that important waterway as the most polluted industrial site in the country, containing decades of discarded toxins, thirty million gallons of oil, raw sewage from New York City, arsenic, cesium-137, and polychlorinated biphenyls.  I leave the definitions of those ominous titles to your imagination.  The main point is the anthropological significance.  Yes sir!  It helps explain various behaviors and escapades the citizens perform in this area of the country.

But I believe we are headed for Freshkills Park.  I punch that name into the infernal device.

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The Park

What one can learn on the internet is staggering!  I say it again—staggering!  Freshkills Park is a 2,200 acre site—twice the size of Central Park.  Long before ecologists corrected our opinions of such property, the area was deemed an undesirable swamp.  Those were wilder days when intrepid men did not shrink from massive and daring exploits.  In 1947, the city began to improve the place by filling it in.

Their ingenuity gained admiration from municipalities everywhere.  This was the main destination of those daily barges of Manhattan refuse—barges that apparently did not always dump their cargos at sea, as other cities in the world do.  Why, with twenty barges a day, each loaded with 650 tons of material, this landfill has become the largest man-made structure in the world!  The Empire State boasted that it would one fine day become the highest point on the East Coast!  Consider that colossal achievement, sir!

Artist's Conception - Wikipedia

Artist’s Conception – Freshkills Park – courtesy Wikipedia

What better landfill material than garbage?  Garbage is the single biggest commodity produced by man!  It is readily available and inexpensive.  People actually pay their city haul it away!  Now, with merely another twenty years of planning and many billions of taxpayer dollars, this dump will become the second-largest park in New York City!  I call that progress!

I address the individual sitting ahead of me in my magnificent baritone.  “Mr. Kren,” I pause for effect. “Did you bring the camera?”

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The Awful Truth

The man looks back at me and drops his jaw.  “Yer awake!”  He punches the giant.  “He’s awake!  Hey Blaire, Mr. Wayne’s awake!”

Just then we turn into the Staten Island University Hospital.  I sense the worst.  Running my hands through every pocket, I fail to turn up my pistol.  There is no taser app installed on my infernal device.  I am entirely at the mercy of these men and whatever foul operation they intent to perform at this institution.

Big Bill pulls to a stop at the curb.  His door creaks loudly and he extricates his head from the open sunroof.  Then he smiles at me, wide enough to display the gaps in his dental work, and utters in a deep, slow rumble, “Hi…Mister…Waaaayne.  Hope…yer…feelin’…oh…kay.”

They wheel me into the clinic and Kren explains the circumstances to the doctor who is apparently some relative of the execrable Lonagan.  I sit aghast at the account of the staff party—my last memory of home—Clamps happily lapping up good Scotch from his dog bowl and I, innocently reaching down to scratch the coarse fur behind his ear when he abruptly lifts his massive head—

Clamps & Bone

Have you ever been clocked on the jaw by an 85 pound bull terrier?  The dog means no harm and I understand it’s a common enough occurrence among those that own the breed but there is nothing to recommend the practice.  No sir!  I cannot recommend it!

read SABBATICAL

Mark T. Wayne is acting managing editor of Chicago Venture Magazine.

Photo Credits – Wikipedia, MS Word, John Jonelis

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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SABBATICAL

Tahiti TBy Mark T Wayne

“He’s in Tahiti,” says Loop Lonagan.  “Dat’s where Jonelis is.  Them guys at Heartland Angels oughta know.”

Speaking strictly for myself, I see no excuse for a man like Lonagan and place no weight on his opinions.  I may fire him—I have not yet decided.  After all, Jonelis ain’t here.  He announced a sabbatical and disappeared.  That is correct, sir!  I am in charge!  That is my hat on the hook.  Those are my boots resting on the WWII Air Force desk.  I will take this opportunity to exercise my power as I see fit.  Any fool that criticizes my splendid white suit or magnificent mustache may face instant dismissal!

“I dunno….”  Big Bill Blair’s deep bass rattles the desk drawers.  Mark T Wayne 2“I bet Mr. Jonelis is just…I mean prob’ly just…just holed up someplace on a binge.  That’s duh way I’d play it.  I mean with a bottle and a broad—”  Bill stops, puts his huge hand across his mouth, lazy eyes locked on Janet Case—the only woman in the room.  Perhaps Bill is experimenting for the first time with some form of deep thought.  Then he seems to come to a decision:  “Well he’s just holed up, see?”  He sets his jaw.  I consider it providence that he does not utter any more lewd speculation.  Even a giant must take account of the moral sensibilities of others.

Bill is so big we built a special chair for him out of packing crates and lumber.  It keeps him in one place.  Better that than permit him to roam the office like a rogue elephant, knocking over boxes and squashing feet.  It is true, there is plenty of space in the back room of Ludditis Shots & Beer, but Bill is a large and powerful man and rather clumsy.  Perhaps this is not your plush corner office but while I’m in charge, I insist on keeping it neat!

Albert EinsteinDonatas Ludditis breaks out in a big Lithuanian grin.  “I take sabbatical too, some day.  On yacht maybe—all alone.  Ride ocean waves.  Snooze away in peace.  Fight sudden squalls.  Fish for meals.” He sighs happily and settles back.   “Is good.  I think Yonn think same way as me.”  I grant Ludditis his opinion.   He owns this bar and is technically our magazine’s landlord, but at his age, I would advise him to consider that trip right quick.

The sweetest part of my new situation is that Jim Kren, the insufferable toady, remains Assistant Editor.  Now he is my toady—mine, I say!

“Jonelis isn’t the yachting type—he’s a pilot,”  Kren says peevishly, then points to a photograph hanging from a nail, depicting John’s yellow Stearman biplane in flight.  “He always talked about making a flight across the Atlantic.  That’s what he’s doing now.”

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“In that crate?”  Lonagan grabs the photo and studies it closely.  “Where’s he gonna store the extra fuel?”

A feminine voice cuts the air.  “Strike the airplane.  What kind of idiot would cross the ocean in an open cockpit during winter?  The only place to refuel between here and the British Isles is Reykjavik, Iceland.”  This is Janet Case talking, a professional correspondent that Jonelis hired prior to leaving.  She slips off her horn rimmed glasses and speaks in precise diction.  “Put away the sailboat.  John gets violently seasick.  You can forget about Tahiti, too.  I happen to know he won’t be caught dead on a beach.”

Ludditis Shots and Beer

“Maybe it’s one o’ dem nude beaches.  I’d kinda like—”

“Lonagan!”  At my shout, he abruptly stops.  That man is execrable.  “Have the decency to let the lady speak.” 

Janet inspects Lonagan from a distance, as she might a fungus growing in an unexpected place.  “That’s ridiculous.  The man can’t tan.  Twenty minutes in the sun and he’d fry to a crisp.  Ugh!  What a repulsive thought!  I regret bringing it up.”

I shudder at the image as well.  A fully exposed over-plump torso, red as a rotting apple crawling with flies.  Intolerable!

Lonagan plunges into further speculation and the others add their opinions in rapid fire:  mark twain collection“Maybe he’s opening a casino.  Hitchhiking the continent.  Climbing Everest.  Racing the Iditarod.  Spearfishing for Great Whites…”  The room is loud with the shouting of opinions.

For my part, I can think of no better sabbatical than rafting the Mississippi.  Knowing John, I figure he’s in a comfortable houseboat or cabin cruiser, swaddled in a comfortable chair, sipping a hot coffee, reading the collected works of America’s greatest author.

Perhaps one day we will know the truth.   ■

read ROUGHING IT

Photos of bar by John Jonelis.  Stearman from Wikipedia.  Others public domain.

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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