Fables and Foibles

Tale of the Whale

Circa Mid 1940's/ WWII

On shore leave in California, Billy and some fellow US Navy Seamen are strolling along the Pacific Coastline. They happen upon a beached whale, and marvel at the size of the deceased creature. For Billy Bruce, a light bulb of recognition goes off. He recalls reading that whales produce ambergris, a highly prized ingredient in perfumes, and very valuable.

Bruce finds his way to the local City Hall, laying legal claim to the whale and, he thinks to himself, a small fortune.

In the weeks that follow Billy Bruce discovers the expense of extracting the coveted ambergris far exceeds his meager resources, and he reluctantly abandons his prospect. Bill's 'rags to riches' story becomes a 'fool and his money' fable, when City Hall tracks him down and demands that he promptly remove His Whale from their beach...which he does, at the cost of a small fortune!

Tale of the Banana

Circa Late 1940's/ Miami, FL

Bill Bruce is in love with sports. He's an encyclopedic historian of baseball, football and basketball; every statistic comes with a story about the people who make the games great.

Bill's an accomplished athlete himself. He's named "Mr. Ballpark" of Miami in the late 1930's. He leads his minor-league team to success when folks still spend time in local baseball stands, in the company of their friends and neighbors.

After one game, Bill goes to a barber shop for a traditional 'shave and a haircut'. His face is covered in a hot towel, in preparation for lather and a straight-razor. Two elderly gentlemen come in chatting.

"Do you believe that throw? Did you see the way that third-baseman charged that bunt and scooped it up, falling forward? Falling down on the run, he throws it toward the shortstop, it starts curving in front of second base and bends in the air like a banana on its way to that first basemen's glove...Runner Out! Damndest throw I've ever seen!"

Bill thinks to himself, I'm glad my face is covered; those guys might not have complimented my play otherwise.

Tale of the Oracle

Circa Early 1980's/ Washington, DC

Bill is the featured "Louse Lecturer" for the Saints and Sinners Club in Washington, D.C. His knowledge of sports comes in handy when he first meets Jeane Dixon, the renowned psychic, hours before the banquet. He says, "Hey, I know all about your brother..." and proceeds to iterate obscure facts and figures about the sportsman to an appreciative sister. She invites Bill to come up and meet her husband and continue their chat in her suite at the Shoreham Ambassador.

That afternoon, the popular astrologer and famous prognosticator reads Bruce's palm. Her first utterance is "Bill, you must be about the most private man I've ever read."

She continues, saying "What an interesting life line! One of the longest I've seen...but it is odd...there's a very clear break along the line, right here...did you experience a life-threatening event somewhere in your late-twenties or early-thirties?"

Bill shares the 'Tale of the Unbeating Heart', when he passed away and was brought back to life. For Bill, Jeane Dixon was ever after a kindred spirit.

Tale of the Mother Goose

Circa Early 1980's/ Hialeah, FL

Bill Bruce is in his late-fifties, and has settled into a new job, Executive Director of the Hialeah Chamber of Commerce. Behind his office flows the Okeechobee River, where he one day watches a mother duck lead her flock of ducklings slowly upstream.

One of the numerous brood (there's always one!) breaks formation and swims off alone. Mama duck paddles over smoothly and recovers baby. A few minutes pass, and the precious little loner scoots off again. Mother leaves the head of the floating triangle and again retrieves her wayward ducky.

Bill has seven children of his own, and appreciates the patience of Mother Goose.

He idly watches the upstream progression, and Bill smiles to himself as the recalcitrant baby swims off again. Mama has to abandon her flock (albeit momentarily), and with obvious maternal instincts, diligently pursues her independent duckling.

Mother arrives and stretches out her wing (so to herd baby back, assumes the fascinated Bruce). But with a suddenly violent and relentless slapping, Whap-whap-whap-Whap-WHAP!!! she uses her feathered appendage to drown her free-wheeling baby duck. When the deed is done, she calmly paddles back to the head of her flock and swims her now obedient family into the sunset.

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