A secret internal document prepared for Pakistan’s
government indicates that as many as 400 innocent civilians, many of them
children, have been killed in drone attacks over the past nine years.
Of course, the U.S. government insists that it’s only killed
50 or 60 “non-combatants,” which is somehow supposed to make it better. The
thing about this latest report is that it was never meant to go public, so
there was no reason for the Pakistani officials who prepared it to fudge the
What warped rational is there for this kind of activity? So
what if we kill a few dozen children, we got our SUSPECTED terrorist, who was
never found guilty of anything in a court of law? If a murder suspect were
hiding out in a childcare facility in Milwaukee, would we drop a bomb on the
building to stop him?
Why is it okay to murder innocent Pakistani’s in our zeal to
stop people we think might be terrorists? Why isn’t the UN loudly condemning
this action? Why is the Pakistani government allowing it to go on or do they
know that they really don’t have the power to stop it?
Our government is acting like an international thug, going
wherever it wants to do whatever it wants regardless of the law or signed treaties.
And to top it all off, they want to punish anyone who exposes their lies and atrocities
to the world.
How have we come to this, but more importantly, how do we
The two-tone Olds 88 clung to the
heat-softened blacktop as it hissed along a narrow rural Northern Minnesota
road. Two children in back, two parents up front, the Holzinger family was into
hour seven of the eight-hour drive from their home in Waterloo, Iowa to their
destination, Fall Lake, Minnesota, and tempers were fraying like an old knit
“Dad, what’s human
Dennis is reading that comic book again.”
sharp-featured and even sharper tongued Eve Holzinger rested her elbow on the
top of her seat and turned around with a scowl. “Didn’t I tell you to throw
away that piece of trash?”
called “Weird Tales,” just like him,” said his sister Nancy.
“Mom, it’s Captain
Marvel,” complained the nine-year old boy.
don’t care if it’s Captain Jesus Christ, hand it to me right now.”
driver, 40-year old Peter Holzinger, glanced tiredly over at his wife as she
retrieved the offending material from Dennis. “Eve, we’re on vacation.”
don’t know why you keep telling me that,” shot back the irritated Eve. “Why
don’t we just all take our clothes off and dance in the road. We’re on
old Nancy groaned from the back seat. “Mom, please.”
gaunt, bony man with a shiny pate and tired brown eyes, Peter shook his head in
quiet resignation. Subservient to a fault, discouraged enough to keep a loaded
handgun in the back of his sock drawer, Peter clung to the towrope of life
simply hoping that he wouldn’t fall off before he got to the end. With each
passing day, however, he felt his grip weakening.
Peter. If I have to spend another half-an hour cooped up in this car I am going
to scream.” Eve checked the small vanity mirror in her visor, a ritual she had performed
every twenty minutes since they pulled out of their driveway in Waterloo,
nervously poking fingers into her wavy brown hair to try and achieve a look
that that was “guaranteed to turn heads” by Elizabeth Taylor. A furtive smile
curled her lips momentarily as she thought about the only head she enjoyed
turning; the perpetually tan VP of Marketing Dwight Hawkins.
close, Eve. Very close.”
what you said two hours ago.”
shouted Dennis, kicking the driver’s seat.
are you going to teach me to shave? You promised.”
closed his eyes for the split second it took to consider and reject steering
the car into oncoming traffic, and he unclenched his grip on the steering wheel
and refocused on the road ahead of him and the joy of spending the next week
with his family in a trailer the size of a phone booth.
hour-and-a-half later, Peter pulled the car onto a gravel road blocked by a
metal gate with a padlock. To one side of the gate was a large sign that read,
“Glenn Creek subdivision. Lots for sale now.” “This is it,” Peter said with a
sense of accomplishment. He put the car into park, got out and walked to the
God,” said Eve, fanning herself with her hand. “I was going to throw up if we
had to drive another mile.”
around in his pocket and pulled out the key for the padlock. Beyond the gate
the road wound through a dense stand of maples and scrubby pines until it
opened up to a large treeless space the size of several football fields. The
ground had been leveled by a grader and small sticks poked up from the dirt to
indicate lot boundaries.
“Here we are,”
said Peter, smiling for the first time. He pulled to a stop near the western
edge of the field and everyone got out of the car.
“This is where
we’re camping?” asked Nancy incredulously. “I thought there were going to be
mountains and waterfalls and stuff.”
“No one said
anything about mountains or waterfalls,” said Peter. “But there is a lake.” He explored
the wooded edge of the field until he found the beginning of a path cutting through
the brush. “Here. This is exactly where Bill said it would be. Come on.”
“I’m shocked,” remarked
Eve. “My brother the real estate mogul hasn’t been right about anything since
the fifth grade. You go on. I need a cigarette.”
Nancy and Dennis
followed Peter along the overgrown path, pushing away weeds and branches and swatting
at mosquitoes with every step, until they finally emerged from the brush onto a
thin, sandy beach leading to the dark blue-green water of Fall Lake.
Dennis. “This is unreal.”
added Nancy in a rare display of positive emotions.
repeated Peter to himself. Framed by dense green deciduous and evergreen woods,
the lake stretched out to the north like a broad river, its glassy surface
reflecting a blue sky and marshmallowy clouds floating overhead. Enveloped by
the smells of lilacs and pine, the three Holzingers went to the edge of the
water and breathed in the beauty of the moment silently. This was almost worth
the agony, thought Peter, dipping a hand into the cool water and rubbing it on
Later, the trailer
tent now set up, a small fire burning a short distance away, Peter and Eve
relaxed in their camp chairs while the kids played at the lake. Eve had mixed a
thermos of martinis before they left, and they sipped from plastic cups and
smoked cigarettes as the late afternoon sun slowly dipped behind the tree line.
Just behind the congenial conversation, like scenes playing out just beyond the
firelight, Eve imagined her next lunchtime tryst with Dwight, while Peter contemplated
the possibility that this was the last family vacation they would ever have.
The outer tranquility and inner turmoil were short lived, however, as Nancy and
Dennis stomped back from the lake arguing loudly.
Eve. “Knock it off.”
“What are you two
arguing about?” asked Peter.
“We came back
because Dennis got scared,” announced Nancy loudly.
“I heard voices.
People talking,” responded her angry brother.
toward his son. “Voices?”
“Yeah. It sounded
like people whispering or something.”
Nancy pulled out a
Coke from the cooler and opened it. “I didn’t hear anything.”
through branches, water lapping up on the shore, the sounds are different here
than they are at home.” Peter was trying to help his son out.
“Yeah, sure,” said
Dennis, clearly unconvinced. “Nobody believes anything I say.”
“Tomorrow we take
the boat down to the lake and catch some walleye or trout. How’s that sound?”
“You all have a
grand time,” said Eve. “I’m going to sleep as long as I can and then get some
sun. Oh,” she continued, pointing at Peter. “You clean everything you catch.
“Yes, dear. I’ll
gladly gut the fish.”
It was a struggle
getting the heavy aluminum rowboat down to the lake the next morning, but with
Peter on one end and Nancy and Dennis arguing at the other, they managed to get
the craft into the water without a serious injury. Peter loaded up the boat
with fishing poles, a tackle box, a net and lunches, and finally children,
before pushing off into Fall Lake. He grabbed oars and enthusiastically rowed
away from shore, noting to himself with a smile that he hadn’t felt this alive
in years. As the boat glided across the dark water, the three talked idly,
debating whether “Make Room For Daddy” or “I Love Lucy” was funnier and why no
team will ever beat the Yankees in the World Series. Muscles now beginning to
protest, Peter drew in the oars and rested as the boat quietly slid along the
“This is heaven.
Isn’t it?” asked Peter, not expecting a response. “A nice crispy green dollar bill
to whoever catches the biggest fish today.”
“Always?” protested Dennis. “One time you got
Peter was reaching
for the tackle box when they heard the first thud on the bottom of the boat.
“What was that?”
“I’m not sure,”
said Peter. “Uh, sometimes tree branches fall into the lake and the boat can—“
There was a
second, louder thud, and everyone jumped. Peter leaned over the side of the
boat and inspected the black water.“I
don’t see anything.”
announced Nancy. “I want to go back.”
“Yeah. Me too,
concerned but not alarmed. “It’s a lake full of small fish. I really don’t
think it’s anything to worry about.”
Then a new sound;
metal on metal. Something was slowly scraping along the bottom of the boat,
from underneath. Nancy screamed and Peter quickly set the oars back into the
dangling from her rose-red lips, Ellen smoothed suntan lotion along her legs
until she was glistening like a basted turkey. She had brought out one of the
sleeping mattresses and laid it on the short grass next to the tent for maximum
sun exposure, and, capping the bottle, she lay back, removing her cigarette and
adjusting her body. Her idea of vacationing was a far cry from her husband’s.
There was no hiking or cleaning dead fish or cutting firewood for this girl.
Sun, cigarettes and a siesta — that’s what vacations are all about.
The afternoon slid
by quietly for Eve until the sun grew uncomfortably hot and she had to find
other things to occupy her time. She read a magazine, made herself a sandwich,
did her fingernails; but soon the silence grew tiresome, and she became bored
and grouchy. After getting dressed, she decided to go down to the lake and see
if she could locate her family. Maybe she’d even go out in the boat with them
for a while.
Even Eve was impressed as she emerged from the
shadowy woods and saw Fall Lake for the first time. We should be camping down
here, she thought to herself as her eyes roamed over the bucolic scene. At the
waters edge, she lit another cigarette and became engrossed in the gentle,
tension-relieving sound of water lapping up against the sand. She saw no signs
of a boat, however, and decided to walk north along the shore until she found
Peter and the kids. When she turned to her right to begin her journey, her eyes
caught sight of something in the tall reeds near her that looked out of place. Pulling
back the giant tendrils, her heart stopped. There sat the Holzinger’s rowboat. The
rods and cooler were resting on the metal bottom, but no husband or children. It
bobbed gently in the water as if it had been abandoned. Then she heard a voice
“Mom. Help me.
There was no
question in her mind it was Dennis yelling for her. She squinted and scanned
the lake’s surface, finally locating a small dark figure bobbing up and down and
splashing in the water about three hundred yards into the lake.
yelled back, her cigarette dropping from between her fingers. “Dennis?” It only
took an instant for her to realize that there had been an accident and her
children and Peter were in freezing lake water. Eve grabbed the nose of the
boat and jerked it in closer, at the same time jumping in clumsily and grabbing
the oars. Frantic, she wielded the oars like propeller blades, slapping wildly
at the water until she was pointed in the direction of the voice. “I’m coming,”
she yelled over and over again as she rowed furiously out into the lake. The
voice called out one more time, fairly close to her location, but when she
pulled the oars out of the water to listen, there was only the sound of
blackbird jeering from the shore. No splashing. No calls.
Hysterical, Eve got
on her knees, leaning against the metal sidewall of the boat, looking into the
blackness and listening. “Please God,” she said to herself. “Please let them be
okay.” She lowered herself even farther over the edge, the boat tipping on its
side, trying to pierce through the gloomy depths for any signs of her family.
Crying, panting, praying, Eve continued searching in the water, but the only
face she saw was the pale wobbly reflection of a terrified woman who had lost
everything of meaning in her life.
Eve’s sobs echoed from
shore to shore, and the small craft bobbled aimlessly in the middle of Fall
Lake a cork.
So I've self-published my first novel "Fall Lake" as an ebook. Here's a brief synopsis of the book:
is the land of 10,000 lakes. One of them is evil.
When emotionally scarred Gabriella Romano returns to her
childhood home on Fall Lake, Minnesota with her daughter, she soon discovers that
the tragedy and horror surrounding the lake’s history, and her own dark
secrets, are converging to pull her and everyone she loves into a living
Gabriella’s return to Fall Lake stirs up dark memories of a
tragic past related to the death of her disturbed and menacing sister Bethany
some twenty years earlier. Through flashbacks, we learn that death and sorrow
have long been linked to Fall Lake, and that the evil remnants of historic
events are inextricably woven through the lives of Gabriella and her family and
friends. A childhood friend dies in a fall from his apartment window. Another
friend is haunted by visions of the nefarious Bethany. Gabriella also grows
concerned about changes in her daughter Selena and her daughter’s enigmatic new
playmate, Sarah. When someone close to her is killed by a runaway semi,
Gabriella is forced to acknowledge that her sister’s spirit has returned to
seek vengeance for a death in which Gabriella was involved. Estranged husband
Alex, fearing for the safety of his daughter and his wife, drives north to seek
reconciliation, but he too, is caught up in the evil environment that surrounds
the lake. On a bleak, frigid winter’s day in Northern Minnesota, Gabriella
fights for her life and the life of her daughter and husband as the ghost of
Bethany attempts to fulfill her murderous agenda on the ice of Fall Lake.
If you're interested, you can click on the link to your right for purchasing information.
The Obama administration and members of Congress continue to
harp at countries who might harbor Edward Snowden with vague “oooh,
you’re-really-gonna-get-it” threats. As an American citizen, I find the actions
of my government humiliating and degrading because I know that all of this
bluster is for one purpose and one purpose only; to frighten any other
potential leakers into silence.
This is, after all, how a bully works. He rules by threats
and intimidation. “If you tell the teacher what I did, I’m gonna kick your ass
after school.” Sound familiar? What is the U.S. going to do to a dirt poor
country like Bolivia if it takes in Snowden? Hurt its economy even further? In
one breath Obama minimizes Snowden by calling him a, “29-year old hacker,” but
in the next breath he acts as if the young man is Hitler’s clone.
Have some dignity, Obama. You got caught with your taps
down. From the government’s standpoint, what’s the huge issue here? There isn’t
even a great groundswell of public indignation over the revelations, which is
truly unfortunate. Just do what you’ve always done and throw out those
buzzwords — al Qaeda, terrorism, threats to our security, blah, blah, blah — and
it will all settle down in no time.