About Don Royster

Don Royster has spent many lifetimes accumulating adventures from a multitude of galaxies. Some of his magic carpet rides have taken him to Japan, the Phillippines, and Texas. Gifted with an insatiable curiosity, a love for creativity and a strange sense of humor, he has been a student, and still is, of everything from A to Zen and back again. Along the way he has written poems, stories and novels about his many adventures and travels. His latest adventure is the blog, Uncle Bardie's Stories & Such.

Near 500 words: TW makes a decision

Episode # 29 of The Writer

TW (aka The Writer) locked the Dr. Baxter’s door behind him, then he heard footsteps coming down the hall. “That’s them,” he whispered to Dr. Christine Baxter.

“What do you think they want?” Christine asked.

“I don’t know. And they’ve been after me for the last twenty-four hours.”

“Why don’t I talk to them?”

“They killed my cat and Buddy Grady. They’d kill you too. We have to get out of here.”

“Why would they kill me?”

“Maybe because they thought you were in their way. Of getting to me.”

Christine stood up and opened the window behind her. “We can get out this way.”

“We’re three stories above ground.”

“There’s a tree. Follow me.”

Christine climbed up on the ledge and out the window. She reached over and grabbed a branch of the oak and followed the branch.

TW was right behind her.

She went down the tree, stepping from branch to branch until she reached the ground.

TW made the final jump and joined her. “What now?”

“Let’s head over to Jack Reed’s office. He’s the expert on the K’lggsh.”

Above them, they heard the two men crash into her office.

Christine started to run. TW looked up to see the two men at the window. Then he was off after Christine. They came to a second building. They dashed inside and down the hall. Christine went out the back door and grabbed TW’s arm and pulled him inside. She opened a janitorial closet door.

“Wait. I think I know what they want,” TW said. “They want the postcard.”

“You think?”

“Yes. And I’m not going to let them have it.”

“How can we keep it from them?”

“We can’t. That’s why I have to destroy it. Do you have a match or a cigarette lighter?”

“No. Why don’t you just rip it up?”

“I don’t think that would be enough.”

Footsteps passed the closet and down the hall. They heard the building door slam shut.

Christine took TW by the arm, opened the door and slipped into the hallway. “Let’s go.”

The two of them were out of the building. They hurried toward a red brick, three story structure. Breathing hard, they entered the property.

“Jack’s office is in here.”

TW let go of her hand. “No. I have to go. Otherwise you and Dr. Reed will be in danger.”

“We can help you.”

“No, you can’t. Your lives will just be in danger.” Then TW went out the door and across the campus. He saw a student smoking a cigarette about ten yards ahead of him. He looked behind him and the two men were coming.

TW dashed toward the student. He felt the two men getting closer and closer. He reached the student. “I need a light.”

The student laughed, then handed over his lighter.

TW pulled the postcard out of his rear pocket. He clicked the lighter. It didn’t light.

“No,” the two men yelled. The two men were almost on top of him. The first grabbed for the postcard. But he missed.

TW clicked the lighter a second time. It lit. He set the light against the postcard. The postcard caught fire.

The other of the two men reached out and grasped for the card. TW managed to keep the burning card away from him as the second of the two went for him.

The student stepped in and knocked the smaller man off his feet.

The curl of the fire burned the tips of TW’s fingers. TW dropped what was left. The card was ashes when it touched the ground. A robin, then a butterfly rose from the ashes.

He knew that this was Sylvia. This was the last he would ever see of her.

He looked around. Like Sylvia, the two men and the student were gone.

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The Three Ems

The Three Ems is “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon Prime.

Joel Maisel has the perfect life. He has a great job. He makes beaucoup amounts of dough at the job. He has a great wife, the perfect housewife fifties-style. He has two great kids. He has a great apartment in a great city. New York City to be exact.

Yet it isn’t enough. Joel isn’t happy.

He has a dream. He wants to be a stand-up comedian. He’s wanted this since he was a kid. He wants it so bad he is doing stand-up at The Gaslight Cafe in New York City and he is using Bob Newhart’s material. Because “this is the way comedians get their start.”

When Midge, his wife, finds out, she insists he do his own material. Maybe a bit on his sweater. It has holes in it. He takes a risk. He steps off the cliff with the sweater bit. He doesn’t fly because he just isn’t funny.

But Midge is. When Joel leaves her because his stand-up doesn’t stand-up, she gets smashed, loaded, drunk. She walks onto The Gaslight Cafe stage and has the audience rofl-ing. As Jackie Gleason used to say, “Away we go.”

Fpr tjhe rest of Season One, Midge, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, has to learn how to do stand-up sober. Along the way, she gets some help, and bail money, from the legendary Lenny Bruce before he was the legendary Lenny Bruce. And she has to prove herself in 1950s America when women were not allowed to be funny. They were housewives.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is the real deal. Mrs. Maisel is hysterically funny. Besides that, she is laughing-out-loud funny. And Rachel Brosnahan nails the role. In addition to a great lead, Amazon has surrounded her with an outstanding casts. There’s the wonderful Tony Shalhoub as Abe, her father; Alex Borstein as her agent, and friend, Susie Myerson; Michael Zegen as Joel Maisel, her ex; Marin Hinkle as her mother, Rose; and Luke Kirby is Lenny Bruce.

The creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” have given me two great seasons to binge on. I can’t way to crawl back into the Amazon time machine in December and return to 1950s America. Maybe, just maybe, John Kennedy will be elected President and Midge will get a spot on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Who knows? She might get the chance to share the stage with The Beatles.

Near 500 words: TW and the Two Men

Episode #28 of The Writer.

As TW (aka The Writer) sped away, he looked in the rear view mirror. The police car blew up. But the two men walked away from the disaster. Their police uniforms were gone and they now wore black suits.

“Unbelievable.”

He saw that the speed limit was 30 mph, so he slowed down to make sure the real cops didn’t stop him. That was all he needed. Every chance he had he whipped down a left street, then a right one. He tried to come up with a strategy to keep him safe from the two goons who had killed his friend and his cat.

Before he knew it, he was at the University and pulling up into one of the many parking garages. Since it was still early, he easily found parking spots. But he wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to make things easy for the two men. So he pulled up between two other cars in such a way that only a drive-by could spot his car.

He looked at the time on the dashboard clock. It was eight o’clock.

He had made up his mind. Dr. Baxter was the only one who might be able to help him figure out what to do next. Otherwise he was on his own. For one thing, no one else, not even the police, would believe he was being chased by what he had decided were immortals.

“What do they want?”

He slid out of the car and locked it. He was famished. He decided he would go by the college cafeteria and get a breakfast, then head on over to Dr. Baxter’s office.

The scrambled eggs and bacon were a little too greasy for his liking, but still, they would do. He finished the food, then drank what was left of his coffee. He stood up to take his tray over to trash the paper plate and stack the tray. The two walked through the cafeteria door.

Before they could see him, he ducked and made his way to the kitchen, then out the back door. The nearest building was the gym. He ran inside the building and found himself on the basketball court, then through the men’s locker room and out the back hall.

He hurried into the library and past the check-out desk and down the hall. He turned and went downstairs. He was in the archives when he heard the two men’s footsteps. How did they know where he was?

He dropped onto his knees and stilled his body, breathing heavy. They passed him one book shelf over. Then they were out the back door.

TW went the way he came. Once outside the library, he checked out both directions and made a quick decision. He had to make it to Dr. Baxter’s office without being seen. Maybe the two of them could decide what to do.

He went around to the back of her office building, then slipped inside and headed up the stairs. He opened the third floor door. From the other end of the building, he saw the two men. They were closing in on him.

He hurried down a side hall and found Dr. Baxter’s office and opened the door. She looked with surprise up from her desk. For a moment, he felt like he was going to pass out. “You gotta help me,” he said.

“What?”

“Two men are after me. I think they are K’lggsh.”

A story with no names in it

Two trees on a hill. One, a strong oak lifted its limbs to the sky, wings ready to carry the tree to the clouds. Beside the oak, another tree, a willow bent and gnarled, its limbs reaching for the oak. Their shadows fell on a bridge below, a bridge that crossed a wide river.

On the bridge stood a man in his late forties, his hair completely gone. He steadied himself as he stepped over the parapet and onto the ledge. He faced the sky, a sky colored by the coming sunset. He thought about the times he’d dreamed of walking on air. But those were lies. All dreams were lies, he’d surmised some time ago.

Behind him, footsteps. A woman’s shoes.

He half-turns. A woman in a flowered summer dress joined him on the parapet some feet away.

“What are you doing?” he called over.

“Oh. Where did you come from?”

“Didn’t you notice me?”

“Can’t say that I did.”

“Well, this is my bridge. I’m not sharing it.”

She laughed. “I don’t see your name on it.”

“I called ahead to the bridge people and reserved it. I’m going to put it to good use. Now go away.”

“I will not.” She stepped over the parapet and onto the ledge.

“I’ll call a cop.”

She gave him one of those “you’ve got to be kidding” looks.

“Then at least leave me alone,” he said, “so I can finish what I started.”

“Isn’t that a gorgeous sunset? It’s a great way to go out. Makes me think I’m a star.”

For the first time, he took a real look at her. Her face glowed from the light. Her thick black hair rising in the breeze. “You are a star.”

She gave him a stunned look. “You’re not trying to pick me up. If you are, this is not the time. Or the place.”

“No.”

“I bet you tell all the girls who come here to end their lives that they are a star. You break their heart when they believe you. Then they have good cause to kill themselves. Well, I’m taking the short cut. It’ll save me and you a heap amount of time.”

“In fact, I’ve had my heart broken and I can’t go on.”

“You too, huh?” she said, then added, “You know you’re kind of cute. In a middle-age kind of way.”

“I am not cute. I hate that word.”

“Cute,” she threw at him. “Cute, cute, cute.”

“I know why you’re here. You annoyed the last guy you dated, and he told you he couldn’t stand your cutes anymore.”

She started crying. She looked down at the river. Her left foot stepped out onto the air.

“Now hold on.” He stepped back over the parapet and onto the bridge. He looked across the space that separated the two human souls. “Don’t. Don’t do it.” His don’t-do-it had a bit of hope in it. Not just for her, but for him too.

She set her left foot back on the ledge. “Why not?”

He took a step toward her.

“Just stop.”

“Look. Why don’t we just not.”

“Not?”

“Yes, not jump.”

The breeze sighed.

He looked up to the top of the hill. The oak and the willow stood before a large full moon. They looked like they were holding hand. He pointed at them.

“Do you see that?”

Her eyes followed his finger.

He approacehed her, and she let him approach her. “Are you the oak or are you the willow?” He took her hand and led her over the parapet and onto the bridge.

She felt the warmth of his hand. “Maybe sometimes I’m the willow; sometimes I’m the oak.”

“And maybe sometimes I’m the oak, and sometimes I’m the willow.”

He looked into her dark, Italian eyes. Stardust floated like snowflakes.

Near 500 words: TW and the Cops

Episode # 27 of The Writer.

“Can you give me a minute? I have to get something out of the bathroom,” TW (aka The Writer) said to the two cops.

“Sure,” said the one who had spoken earlier. “Just make it quick. Don’t want to make the sergeant wait.”

TW slipped into the bathroom and closed the door behind him. The first thing that came to his mind was that these two were not cops. It had been a lieutenant who was in charge of Buddy’s case. Also, there was something weird about the two. Then he realized that these might be the two who had murdered Buddy.

He opened the door, took one look at the two cops, grabbed his cellphone and ran toward the two men. He rammed into the big one. The force of his body sent the first against the second and both out the motel door and onto the second floor walkway and over the guard rail.

The two hit the pavement below. They jumped up and went for the stairs. Normally cops would have pulled their guns. These two did not. Which meant they wanted something that only TW could provide.

TW darted back into his room, scooped up his keys and headed outside and down the walkway, making a speedy attempt to escape the two. He jumped three steps at a time down the stairway and hit the ground running for his car. Clicking his car remote, he opened the doors and jumped in, started the car and headed to the highway and off down the road.

Behind him, the police car was making chase. If these were real cops, TW surmised, they will have their buddies join them. And if these were real cops, he would be in a heap of trouble.

As far as he could tell, no buddies were joining them.

He took a look at his gas gauge. He was almost full. At least, that’s not something I have to worry about.

TW had an idea. He’d seen a certain maneuver in a James Bond movie. So here went nothing. He swerved and turned the car around. Then he hit the gas and accelerated. If this worked, they wouldn’t know what hit them. He turned on his headlights and hit bright. Just as he was about to hit the police car, he veered to the left and onto the shoulder.

Then he heard the police car crash into a tree. Smoke was coming out of its tail pipe.

The driver got out of his car and went to pull his gun.

TW put his car in reverse and sped toward the driver. The driver aimed and TW made a quick move to the left. The bullet missed him and his car struck the driver. The driver flew through the air. The passenger from the police car was climbing out and trying to get his orientation.

TW went into drive and took off. Where he was going he wasn’t sure but he wasn’t sticking around to let those two do their business on him.