Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Travels of Jack Pynesapp - Book 2-5: Red and Jimmy - Chapter 5

This is 38 in a series of lblogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]

Travels of Jack Pynesapp

Book 2: Red and Jimmy

Chapter 5; 

So here's Grandma. But that still doesn't answer the question as to why they are here (either here in this story or here in L.A.)

"Grandma, what's going on?" Red asked, as Grandpa got up out of his chair.

"I'm sorry kids but I need to talk to Grandpa for a second, privately. Please, just a second."

She grabbed Jack's arm and lead him past the next table, leaving Jimmy and Red standing together and watching them go.

Jack and Marge were scanning the room and whispering back and forth excitedly. They were both frowning and they looked very concerned.

Jimmy had returned to his breakfast when the grandparents returned to the table. Before Red could say a word, Marge said; "Red, James, something very important has come up that Grandpa and I have to deal with immediately."

"What?" Protested Red.

"There's no time to explain right now," Grandpa said; "Marge and I have to run. Can you get me the box, Red?"

Jimmy pulled the suitcase from under the table and handed it to Red.

Grandma handed Jimmy two little boxes. "Here," she said, "these are a couple ports for you and Red. These are what they use to communicate here -- kind of like cell phones."

Jimmy opened one of the boxes and took out a small pendant and a pair of pea-sized things.

Red handed the box to Grandpa and closed the suit case. She then opened her little box.

"You hang the pendant around your neck and put the ear plugs in you ears." Grandma explained. "
They're made to allow all sounds to pass through so they don't effect your hearing. They little 'handles' allow you to pull then out anytime you like. "

Red and Jimmy examined the plugs and Grandma said;  "Please put them on now. We need to activate them quickly."

Grandpa looked around and then tucked the box into his backpack while Red and Jimmy hung the pendants and put the plugs into their ears. "Now what?" Red asked.

"Just listen." Grandpa said.

Red 'heard' a voice say; "Please say your name."

She said; "Red Vanderbilt."

Jimmy said; "James Vanderbilt." at the same time. They looked at each other."

Red 'heard'; "Hello Red Vanderbilt. Is this your port?"

Red and Jimmy both looked at Grandpa and he said; "Say 'yes'."

They both said; "Yes"

Then Grandma said; "You both want to be a member of a 'node' called Pynesapp 485."

Both Red and Jimmy seemed to answer Grandma, but really they were answering the questions by their nodes. "Yes." They said. And then; "Pynesapp 485."

The nodes said thank you and that they were now registered and ready to begin. "I am at your service." They said.

"You can introduce your ports to other names that you answer to. It will learn other things about you as well while you learn about it." Grandma said.

Grandpa added; "Right now it will answer only to the names it knows."

"So now if you want to talk to me or Grandpa, just say our names and, if we're available, it will connect us and we can just begin talking."

"Pretty slick." Grandpa said.

"Grandpa."; Red said and then paused, waiting for the port.

"You have to say 'Jack Pynesapp'." Grandpa explained. "But trust me for now that it works."

Grandma interrupted; "Now we have to leave." She took a box out of her purse -- similar to the one Grandpa put in his backpack -- and handed it to Red. "Here dear, take this back to your Dad for us."

"What's in it?" Jimmy asked.

"Money." Grandma whispered. "Money for this side. So keep it hidden and keep it safe."

"You can use some it if you need it while you're here, but don't use more than you absolutely need."

"Now we absolutely have to go." Grandma said as she hugged Red and Jimmy. "We probably won't be back before your train leaves."

"We can skip this one and take a later train." Red offered.

"No! No don't do that!" Grandpa insisted as he gave Red a long hug.  "James, please don't let her talk you into that. No matter what happens it's imperative that you are on the next train back home."

He hugged Jimmy and looked over his shoulder at Red; "Promise me, Red."

"I promise, Grandpa. If it's that important."

"Please trust us, it is." Grandma said as she took Jack's hand and pulled him away.

"Introduce yourselves to your ports and ask them whatever you want to know." Grandpa said.

"And call us." Grandma said over her shoulder. "We love you and be very careful"

And they disappeared out the door leaving Red and Jimmy standing over their unfinished breakfasts.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Travels of Jack Pynesapp - Book 2: Red and Jimmy - Chapter 4

This is 37 in a series of lblogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]

Travels of Jack Pynesapp

Book 2: Red and Jimmy

Chapter 4; 

So what is grandpa doing in a book called "Red and Jimmy"? Apparently we can't get rid of the old coot. Maybe this is just a cameo.
But I needed something for Red and Jimmy to do in L.A. because they sure aren't there to play a gig. (Or are they? ) Frankly, I just panicked. 

"Hello James," Grandpa beamed as he shook Jimmy's hand, "so how did you like the express  trains?"

"Very impressive."  Jimmy admitted. "They really fly." Jimmy smiled. "Literally. we're told."

"Oh, Grandpa," Red interrupted, "it's so good to see you finally. I didn't sleep at all last night waiting for this."

"Yes, I'm so glad you decided to come."

"Where's Grandma? Where are you staying?  Why haven't you come back home? People are starting to wonder, you know. They're asking if you died or something."

"So many questions." Grandpa protested; "Well, Grandma had to run a little errand, she'll be here soon. She can't wait to see you, too." He continued; "So don't people know that we're in Florida?" Grandpa smiled slyly.

"Yeah, that's what we keep saying, but they're wondering about the house. And I guess a lot of them miss you guys and are genuinely worried, you know. You've been gone for three years. "

"Kinda mysterious Jack, you gotta admit." Jimmy added.

"But you guys are staying in the house, like we planned, right?"

"We stay there between semesters, you know, but we're both still in school and we're away most of the time."

"But JJ mows the grass and keeps an eye on the place while you're away. Right?"

"Yeah, Daddy does a great job. The place looks nice all the time."

"Well then?"

"We miss you and Grandma?" Red gives him another big hug and then says. "That's all, you know? When are you coming home?"

"Well that's why I wanted you to come out here. Sit down. We need to talk about things.

Red and Jimmy sat. Jimmy put the suitcase under the table and out of the way.

"Have you eaten? Are you hungry" Grandpa asked.

"Last night." Jimmy said.

"We ate in the dinning car. It was good and we met some interesting people."

Red briefly told Grandpa about  their conversation with Alice and Bill. 

"Yeah, they pretty much force you to meet people." Grandpa chuckled.  "It's cool once you get used to it. So you wouldn't mind some breakfast then? "

Grandpa waved for a waiter and they placed their orders. "It's on me." Grandpa smiled.

"That's good," Jimmy said, "we're running short on credits. Since our money isn't any good here."

"I would imagine, if you're having fancy dinners on trains." Grandpa said sternly.

"We just thought it would be fun to try." Red protested.

"I'm kidding guys." Grandpa laughed, "It's just fine. We'll add some more to your account."

"Thanks Grandpa." Red smiled.

"It's worth it just to see you." Then Grandpa leaned close to Red and whispered; "You brought the box, didn't you?"

Red smiled and whispered back; "Yes, it's in the suitcase. I'll get it." She began reaching under the table for the suitcase and Grandpa gently grabbed her arm and said softly; "Not now, Red. Just leave it there for now." He gave a quick scan of the room with his eyes -- not moving his head. "We'll deal with that later."

"So Jimmy, " Grandpa continued, "why do you say literally flying?  What have you figured out about that train? What did you mean when you said 'literally, we're told'?"

"Well Jack, we didn't have time to figure out too much, " Jimmy  said, "before we met a guy who was happy to tell us all about it."

"But only up to a point." Red added.

"Yeah, he started to tell us but then he kind of clammed up." Jimmy continued.

"He was sitting next to us -- in the seat across the isle -- when he overheard us talking about it and he introduced himself and he said something about the train flying and said it was riding on a gravity wave." Red said.

"What was his name?" Grandpa asked.

"Arthur." Jimmy said.

"Just Arthur?" Grandpa asked. "No last name."

"He didn't say." Red said. "He seemed anxious to tell us all about it and he suggested we move to the observation car"

"So we wouldn't disturb people around us." Jimmy continued.

"But once we got to the observation car, all he seemed to want to do was ask us all about ourselves." Red said.

The waiter arrived with their food. 

When the waiter left, Grandpa leaned in closer and said quietly; "So he didn't explain any more about this drive system."

"No,"  Red said as she took her first bite.

"He just wanted to know about us and he was starting to creep us out." Jimmy continued while Red was chewing.

"How much did you tell him? " Grandpa asked; concerned.

"Not much, like Jimmy said. " Red  swallowed and continued. "We made up some story about us being musicians and heading for a show in L.A."

"Yeah, Red started that one." Jimmy laughed. "I had all I could do to keep up my end."

"Did he buy it?"

"I don't think he was convinced, really." Red smiled.

"So we bailed on the whole thing and went back to our seats" Jimmy said.

"We just left him sitting there." Red added.

"Did he say anything when he came back to his seat?"

"He never came back." Red said.


"Red said she was awake all night and he never came back." Jimmy added.

"Where was he then, I wonder."

"It gets weirder. " Jimmy added.

Red took a sip of coffee and said; "When I was getting off the train this morning."

"I was digging for our luggage."

"A couple cars up I saw Arthur getting of the train. And he was with the two people we met in the dining car last night."

"Did they see you?"

"They all saw me. And they all waved and smiled. And then they turned and headed for the station."

"They looked like they were together. Like they knew each other." Jimmy added. "I was there by then and Red pointed them out to me."

"Interesting." Grandpa said thoughtfully.

Just then Grandma Pynesapp walked hurriedly up to the table. 

"Grandma" Red cried as she jumped up and gave her a big hug.

Marge Pynesapp was trying to catch her breath as she hugged Red; "Oh Red I'm so glad to see you. You look great. We've missed you so much."

As Marge gave Jimmy a big hug, she looked over at Jack and to him she said softly; "You and I need to talk - alone."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Train crossings

Press Release:

Rep.  Cliff Darlington (R- Marionette) introduced legislation in the Wisconsin Legislature calling for the repeal of right-of-way for trains at roadway intersections. He sites the danger posed by speeding trains to motorists and pedestrians as the main reason. "Too many of my constituents have been killed or injured by speeding trains,"  he says, "we need to stop this carnage."
Under the terms of the new law,
crossings signals like this
will no longer be needed.

He also points to the inconvenience and loss of productivity suffered by scores of motorists and commercial drivers who are required to yield as long trains pass. "This has given the railroad companies an unfair competitive advantage or far too long." He explained; "It's about time to level the playing field."

He claims broad support in the Republican led State Legislature and predicts easy passage. The Governor is expected to sign the bill if it arrives on his desk.