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The Lost Pen


At work the other day, I dropped my pen. I saw, and felt, it bounce off my left knee, and I heard it hit the floor near my feet. I did not retrieve it right away, as I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. Besides, I was focused on a task and wanted to complete it. When I was finished with what I was working on, I looked down, and around my shoes, and then all over the floor beneath my desk. The pen was nowhere to be seen. I knew it had to be down there somewhere. I took flash pictures with my iPhone, just in case the dark-print carpet was playing tricks with my eyes. Nothing.

The next morning, upon arriving at my desk, I got down on hands and knees and did a thorough search. Nothing. The stupid pen was gone. Even though I am predisposed to looking at life from a Fox-Mulderish perspective (as I am a dedicated X-files fan since 1993), I know full well that there is a logical explanation. Until the pen turns up, though, I don’t know what that would be. So, I sigh, and I go about my business.

Life is full of annoying mysteries like this. Most of the time we ignore them, because they are of little significance. You know what I mean—socks that allegedly disappear from the dryer. A book that keeps getting “misplaced.” The phone cord (that is, if you still have a phone with a cord) that gets twisted up into tight knots, even though you know you’ve never, in conscious memory, spun a handset 360° during any given phone conversation.

Once on a busy street in San Francisco’s China Town, my wife and I were briefly separated and, though we were only a few feet away from each other, could not see one another. That was weird. In fact, on a return visit to China Town some time later, we tried to recreate what happened. We think we figured it out, well…at least my wife is convinced that she figured it out, me—I’m not so certain.

I came across a book some years back entitled, “Time Storms” by Jenny Randles. The author dealt with the supposition that momentary rifts in time and space can appear and create portals to a parallel universe, and thus account for strange disappearances and missing time. She suggests that these “rifts” are responsible for situations that have been miscategorized as UFO or alien intervention. Yeah, I know, weird stuff.

One of the accounts she transcribes in her book was familiar to me. When I was in junior college, I visited a good friend who had a part-time job in the science department. He was putting together a slide show for one of the professors. Together we listened to an account that took place in 1977 (back then, for my friend and myself, this would have been a recent event) of Corporal Armando Valdes, a Chilean military man who vanished in full view of the men in his patrol. When he turned up fifteen minutes later, he was disoriented, had a week’s worth of beard growth, and had no explanation as to what happened. Upon hearing the mysterious conclusion to the anecdote, my friend and I exchanged what-the-heck looks. And I got the requisite chill on the back of my neck.

The slide show presentation categorized this incident as a possible UFO abduction, but Jenny Randles makes the case that the Corporal stumbled into a “time storm,” lived five days in a different quantum universe, then returned home. All I know is that I now have a headache and need an Advil.

There are other mysteries that are of a grander and more sinister nature. Not long ago, while perusing Facebook, I came across a post concerning the mysterious case of Elisa Lam.

The young woman was staying in the Cecil Hotel located in Los Angeles. The 21-year-old woman was found dead in the hotel’s rooftop water tank. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning. There is elevator surveillance video that shows her acting strangely just a matter of minutes before she died.

The video is easy to find. If you’re really curious, and want to see what a real Twilight Zone episode looks like, enter “Elisa Lam video” in the search engine of your choice. A warning though—knowing the final fate of this poor woman, and that it will occur mere moments after her final appearance in the footage, makes her actions all that much more strange and unnerving.

As for the Cecil Hotel itself, one could do an entire post on that establishment alone. It has the infamous distinction of having housed two serial killers, and has been the site of murders and suicides. Can you imagine being an employee at this place?

And I should mention Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared on March 4, 2014. I’ve heard some people say that the jet was shot down. Others say the Pilot wanted to orchestrate a grandiose suicide. One suggestion was that the plane crash-landed on an island. How many LOST fans got a shudder down their spines at that one? As of this writing, nobody knows what the heck happened, other than it’s probably at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. I have a feeling that this will remain an unsolved mystery forever.

It’s about six months since I wrote the first draft to this post. My pen is still gone. We’re supposed to get some new office furniture soon. Perhaps it will turn up when my old workspace is torn out. I’ll let you know…




a glut of baubles
form tangled necklace web
no spider did it



The writing place was empty and still
for the writer was outside, walking the
streets of Baltimore on unsteady legs
He wore clothes that were not his own
and he seemed drunk, disoriented, and
listening intently to mortality’s siren call
Restlessly lying on his death bed
he was never coherent enough
to say how he came to be
in such a dire and disheveled state
Several times, the writer rallied enough
to call out the name “REYNOLDS!”
The creator of the first modern
detective story seemingly crafted
a mystery around his own demise
The circumstances will never be resolved
And thus the case will never be solved
There is only that one name
and nothing more

Monday Breakfast


This early Monday
I have the place
all to myself

save for the big guy
behind me who
sits at the counter

and a waitress who walks
about armed with a pot
of strong, black coffee

I order the ham & eggs special
and enjoy near-perfect peace
except for the intermittent

updates by the waitress
who complains about her
nineteen-year-old daughter

and how she was awakened
late at night by a phone call
and, for criminy sakes,

surely her daughter knows
that she has to be up at three
in order to start her shift on time

suddenly she’s there looking
right at me from the next booth
half kneeling, half standing

on the bench seat
so that she can face me
as she talks as if we’re old friends

as comfortable as can be
with both her awkward position
and conversation with a stranger

she admits to enjoying time
with her little granddaughter
watching Micky Mouse Clubhouse

and it occurs to her that’s time
well-spent and better than going
out drinking with her friends

and then she’s gone
busy with more of her
waitressing duties

and I find that an epiphany
makes a fine pairing with
a ham & eggs special

Pinterest Plug



I post most of the cartoons I draw for my blog on Pinterest, and discovered that it makes a cool collage of the images. If you want to check it out, here’s the link:

Throwback Thursday Offering


Back in the early 1980s, I had a cartoon that ran
three times a week in the local newspaper. I wanted
to call it “The Erniverse.” When I tried to get it syndicated,
that was the name I used. I still have a friend who calls
me Erniverse when he sees me. The newspaper publisher,
however, had his own idea. And so, my cartoons ran under
the name “Ernie’s World.”


Noyo Harbor


Noyo Harbor’s gate
entrance to and exit from
a fishing Mecca


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