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  Magazine Notes, Issue #12 December 2003
We are happy to say that contributors and contributed stories, poems etc., have made it necessary to create a whole new page just for contributor's bio's. Click here to view Contributors' Page.

dj otterson's work in progress: "An UnRemarkable Girl" is here, so far five parts/chapters of this novel are on line. This story has Supernatural and Psychological themes (so consider yourself warned?)

Jim and Cathi have moved into cute older house in Arnprior, Ontario, and Jim's novel Legacy is slowly coming on-line.

Happy Holidays!

Decembre 28, 2003



Clockwise from "12 O'clock": (1) Cute little house in Arnprior, Ontario that we now call home. (It's bigger than it looks). (2) Jim (TaleRocker) sipping 'tea' from cup of one of the statue women at the Ottawa "Parliament Hill" tribute to the movers of Canadian Women's Suffrage. (I love the idea that the woman behind me is laughing her butt off at my antics.) (3) Erin at the tea party. (4) Cathi (Dreamcat) at the tea party. (5) ice ('hoarfrost') covered tree that showed up purple in the cheapo digital camera's shot. Erin's favourite colour is purple (Canadians wonder what we do with all the 'u's? I told them we used them up chanting "USA - Number 1!" they thought that was cute.). (6) Ben, sitting on the base of a different statue in Ottawa. This kid was born with a stubborn streak ten miles wide (up here, that's between 12 and 15 kilometers... : ) And he insisted he had to be photographed there, alone. )


The Fox Who Didn't Like Bullies.

                          by Jim Wellington
(First Draft in 1962)

Once there was a fox named Ponnick who liked to sit by himself and think about things.

He lived in a part of the forest where most of the foxes were bullies who only talked about how they could beat up everybody they knew.

Ponnick didn't like that.

He sort of had a girl friend named Eslyn. Well, he liked her a lot, but he was afraid to tell her. Lately, he realized, he was thinking about her a lot, how pretty she was, how nice her voice sounded, he even liked the perfume she wore, and perfume used to make him gag and choke.

It was a grey and windy evening. The air smelled like it would rain soon. Ponnick watched a quick little bird zoom from flower to flower, on a vine that climbed trees around his favourite thinking place.

He heard somebody running, and thinking it might be a bully fox coming to beat him up he jumped and swirled around and bared his teeth and got ready to fight back.

Eslyn saw him and skidded to a halt, suddenly terrified that he was going to fight her.

Ponnick gasped, "Oh, it's you.."

She nodded, "It's only me."

"No, it isn't ONLY you- being you is a good thing." Ponnick blushed.

She looked confused, then swallowed and looked down, "Oh-" she smiled to herself.

("Uht-oh," Ponnick thought, "She knows I like her, she'll probably make fun of me now.")

But then Eslyn looked worried, "I came to tell you... There are a bunch of foxes talking about you. They say -they think you think you're better than they are because you don't play with them and they say they're going to find you and beat you up."

Ponnick growled softly, ("bullies....!") he bared his teeth, "I'll bite them hard- Somebody has to show them how stupid it is to pick on people..."

"No!...." Eslyn looked scared, "You're better than that, and besides, there's so many of them and they're the really big guys, I don't want you to get hurt-" she blushed and looked at the ground.

("She Likes Me!" he thought, "Wow!") but then he thought he could smell danger in the wind, "They're coming."

"What are we going to do?"

Ponnick looked into the wind, and blinked, "My cousin, Trouble, lives on the other side of the pricker thicket. he showed me the secret way through it. We can escape that way, quick, but we have to leave a false trail... follow me."

She nodded.

He ran to the edge of the deep cold fast stream and then stopped. She almost ran into him, "Now back up-" he whispered.

They backed up for quite a way, then, "Stop-" he whispered.

She stopped. So did he.

They were at the edge of a flat rock. To one side there was a steep ravine, "Jump where I jump, watch-"

Ponnick jumped, landed on a fat tree branch from a fallen tree and hopped a few jumps out of her way as she jumped after him.

They dashed into a thick clump of fat leaves and made themselves very quiet.

They heard a lot of feet running. The bullies were trying to be quiet. Then one of them growled, "Stop, I smell them, they stopped here..." he looked right at the spot where they were hiding.

Another fox sniffed, "They stopped here, too, then they ran to the river."

"They must have heard you step on that branch, you clumsy jerk-" one fox growled at another.

"Nahhh, they couldn't have heard that, I'm as quiet as you are...."

"They're running to the stream. They know we're after them and they're running away."

"Eslyn must have told him, when we catch them, I'm gonna beat her up, too."

Eslyn shuddered.

"Go to the stream, you jerk, you're in my way... I want to see that stupid fox's face when he knows we're going to kill him!"

They all growled and ran toward the river.

Ponnick tapped Eslyn on the shoulder and pointed, then he hopped toward the pricker thicket.

She followed.

He sat down at the edge of the thicket, then rolled to his side and rolled under some low branches, into a pile of leaves. He disappeared.

She swallowed, these prickers were especially nasty ones, and she'd just seen Ponnick vanish. But she sat, then rolled and felt herself fall.

Her eyes opened wide and she saw a slippery metal hole, Ponnick was sliding down the hole in front of her and then it was real dark, and then suddenly the evening was very bright and Ponnick was rolling out of her way.

She hit a bump and rolled and then rolled toward Ponnick, landed in a heap right next to him.

He touched her shoulder with his paw, "Are you okay? I should have told you about that bump."

Her arm tingled where he touched her, she looked at his paw, then nodded, "I'm okay...that was fun."

"Yeah it was," Ponnick grinned, "My cousin told me I shouldn't come here too often or any enemies would smell my way here... but-"

Somebody growled. Somebody with a very large and scary voice.

Ponnick and Eslyn jumped to their feet, ready to fight to the death-

Somebody laughed. Somebody with a very happy laugh, and a very quiet whisper, "You two make almost as much noise as those bullies on the other side of the ravine." They couldn't see who was whispering to them.

"Are they coming...?" Ponnick whispered.

"No- one of them thinks you both died. The stream is swollen today and it smells like something just died there."

"I didn't smell-"

"No you didn't," a medium sized adult fox stepped out of the shadow of a bush with thick, nice smelling leaves, "You're lucky you have me looking out for you."

Eslyn pushed Ponnick's shoulder and looked at the older fox.

Ponnick looked confused.

"She wants you to introduce her to me, cousin...."

Ponnick rolled his eyes, "Oh, I forgot my manners, having a girl friend makes me nervous."

She gasped, "Am I your girlfriend?"

Ponnick gasped, "Uh, um, uh, do you want to be?"

She looked worried, looked at the ground like somebody had left a very important message there, then she smiled, "Okay-"

Ponnick smiled, "Cousin Trouble, this is Eslyn."

"Ummm," Trouble nodded, looking wise, "Eslyn..."

"Have you heard of her?" Ponnick looked worried, "Trouble knows a lot about a lot of things, and people too..."

Trouble smiled, "I knew her mum when we were kits together."

Ponnick opened his mouth to say something, but Trouble signaled for quiet, then whispered even more quietly than before, "Follow me, but look out, this is what humans call a junk yard. There's lots of old metal stuff here and it's sharp."

They moved very carefully. There were lots of rusty things and lots of broken things everywhere and if they made a lot of noise, the bullies might hear them.

Trouble stopped and pointed up, at a pretty steep angle. He climbed a low branch and then stepped out onto something metal and rusty, and hurried up.

Ponnick saw the rusty metal and tested it with his paw, then stepped quickly, but not as quickly as his cousin.

Eslyn looked at the metal and thought it was the metal skeleton of something big. She climbed more slowly than the other two.

They climbed very high, above most trees, where the metal skeleton had a big metal almost square thing attached to it... that square thing was half full of of dirt and decaying leaves, and had some small plants growing from the dirt.

"This thing used to dig very big holes in the ground," Trouble whispered, "Humans call it a steam shovel."

"Now they grow stink weed in it?" Ponnick asked. He wanted to hold his nose.

"No. It's been here so long that very old leaves turned to dirt and birds ate stink weed fruit and left the seeds here. "

Eslyn didn't like the smell either, she wrinkled her nose and didn't want to go any closer.

Ponnick tried not to smell as he breathed, followed Trouble's careful steps into the stink weed.

When the stink weed ended there was nothing between them and a very long fall. Ponnick took a step back. Eslyn stepped up beside him.

He was afraid she'd think he was a coward, so he whispered, "Be real careful..." and stepped close to the edge again.

Eslyn gasped (quietly), "I don't want to look..." she closed her eyes.

"There they are..." Troubled whispered.

Eslyn opened her eyes and turned to see what they were looking at.

Five foxes were staring into the stream. They were sniffing the air and looking down stream. They were talking but the stream was making a lot of noise.

Or maybe it wasn't the stream, maybe it was the wind. It sounded like wind, but it sounded like quick short blasts of wind and then it was quiet. And she couldn't feel the wind on her fur.

She turned her head and saw Trouble looking right at her, "That's not the stream and it isn't the wind... That's a human road, a big one. With lots of very dangerous cars."

"Can you hear my thoughts?" she whispered.

Trouble smiled, "Your ears move when you listen hard."

She smiled to herself and looked toward the sound. Cars? They had their lights on, and it was almost dark. But-

"OOoo, " she whispered, "There's awaterfall over there-"

"A very nice waterfall-" Trouble whispered, "And a little bit farther that way, well, I have a girl friend too, and she lives over that way, and when the cars don't come in a big thick line, we can run between them, it's almost safe."

"That's pretty over there," Ponnick whispered.

"Okay, lets go before the rain, this steam shovel thing can be slippery when it gets wet," Trouble turned around and led them (slowly) down the scary skeletal arm of the steam shovel.

It was almost fully dark when they reached the ground. Their eyes were adjusting, but lights from the road kept lighting up plants and rusted metal near them.

"The lights hurt my eyes," Ponnick complained, in a whisper.

"You should see what it does to deer," Trouble answered, then he led them along a path that smelled like deer and blood. "That's what's dead in the stream," Trouble sniffed the air, "Left its leg way up there and hopped on three feet until it lost too much blood.

Eslyn shuddered.

It started to rain, a fine mist. Lights from the cars made the mist look magical.

The path led, almost in a straight line, to a hill that looked down at the very wide road. There were thousands of lights coming at them one way and hundreds more coming at them the other way.

"I don't like this..." Eslyn said.

"I don't either," Trouble said, "But it's almost the time when cars stop coming."

They heard a terrible screech and a loud crash. Even Trouble jumped.

Then there was another screech and another crash. This time fire jumped around some of the cars.

Trouble almost ran back down the path. But the rain started falling much harder and he led them under the thickest leaves he could find.

There were some very scary noises for a while and then Trouble raised his head, "That's very strange. No cars at all...." He looked at both of them, "Let's go before they come back."

The three of them ran like death was right behind them. They ran across one wide road, jumped over one big cement fence and ran across another wide road. They ducked through some thick bushes and ran up a short hill. And dove into more thick bushes.

"Okay," Trouble panted, "now we can rest."

"I don't like the smell of that road," Ponnick panted.

"Me neither," Eslyn gasped.

"Something dies there, every day. Some days a lot of somethings die there." Trouble was looking back at the road. "Those red and blue lights and that awful noise we heard, I think that means humans died. It's dangerous here. Don't ever try to cross that road again, unless you have to."

Eslyn nodded, she looked scared.

Ponnick looked back and thought he saw shadows of bully foxes, growling and baring their teeth, "I never want to go back there, anyway."

Trouble sighed, "Well, Janine wants me to stay over here, she's got a nice cozy den. It doesn't have a steam shovel, but it doesn't have that road, either."

Ponnick sniffed the air, "It's raining harder again."

Trouble nodded, "Follow me..." He ran around a boulder and found another deer path. They ran quite a way and then Trouble stopped, smelled the air and pointed. "Little Cave- Bear used to live there. Bear tried to cross the road. Now his smell is gone." He bounded up a slight hill and dodged around a wet rock and two very wet tree trunks.

Ponnick and Eslyn followed.

"I don't like it," Eslyn said, "too big. Too easy for a bear or a dog or something to get in here."

Trouble nodded, "There's a real nice tree near the waterfall. It still smells like me. Little bit hollow. Lucky hollow tree. Almost can't find the opening. Has a nice tunnel out the back. Nice and warm in winter. You can have it. But tonight, we better stay here."

Very shortly after that they heard something that sounded like broken thunder and saw a huge light in the sky come right at them and then turn away. All three of them almost ran.

Trouble growled quietly, "Smells like fearful death... and stinky fire."

The other two nodded.

Rain started falling harder.

Trouble whined for a moment, sniffed the air, "Better get used to the idea. We're here for the night."

Ponnick found a soft spot to lie down. A few moments later he felt Eslyn lie down beside him. He started thinking about how nice she smelled. He dreamed about streams and roads and fire and bullies dying on the road. When he opened his eyes it was almost morning.

Eslyn was smiling at him, "This is fun." she whispered.

Trouble moved out of a shadow, "It's almost daylight. Let me take you to the tree. If you like it, you stay inside and listen to all the sounds and sniff all the smells, I think you'll like it. If you don't I know some other places."

They looked at each other and nodded.


They nodded to Trouble.

He led them out into the morning. They hurried until the smell of fire and death was gone.

Then they ran over stone and between sweet smelling trees. They walked between pine trees and into a world of soft pine needles. They stopped beside a gurgling stream and drank some very good tasting water.

Then Trouble led them through a cool, shady section of pine forest where they stepped on nice soft pine needles.

"Oh, it smells so nice here..." Eslyn said.

Ponnick nodded. He thought of how nice her perfume smelled when she was resting next to him.

Then he heard rain but the sun was bright.

Trouble led them around a fallen tree and they stepped out onto stone that was covered by fresh pine needles, looking at a series of small water falls that fell down a long gradual hill.

"Humans don't come here because it's too rocky. They can't build their dens here without working way too hard." Trouble grinned.

Ponnick nodded, "Yeah, humans are bad news."

Eslyn nodded, she remembered the stories the elders always told about how mean and stupid humans were.

Ponnick stepped to the edge of a pool of quiet water and sniffed it, "Smells okay..."

Trouble nodded, "It's better than okay, even when everything is frozen, there's good flowing water here. And berry bushes over there... and a pricker thicket around there that keeps a lot of animals out of a secret berry patch. I'll show you the way in, maybe tomorrow. But right now, I have to go see Janine..."

"Wait," Eslyn said, "Where's our tree?"

Trouble grinned, "I'm sitting on it."

Not the fallen tree, but a very old and knobby tree... It had to be about four feet wide, but it wasn't very tall.

"It's a very wise old tree, and it has bark that hides the entrance." He ran around behind the tree and disappeared.

Ponnick and Eslyn walked around the tree several times and then Trouble was standing there again. He smiled and showed them his secret. They were marveling at the space inside the tree and the tunnels that ran under it and between the roots and then Trouble said, "There's a really nice bed in there where a lot of pine needles came down a tunnel during a heavy rain. That's how I found the secret way out... follow me..."

Trouble moved quickly around and between tangled roots and crouched low beneath another root and then went down a sudden slope and was gone.

Ponnick followed him slowly, then cautiously peered around another root and there was the outside... almost, he had to crawl under another root and then stood in the sunshine. Two fallen branches, some flat hard stone and a wall of flowers filled the world around him. As soon as he stepped over to the flowers Eslyn was beside him.

"Okay, I'm leaving, those are my secret berry bushes, follow your nose and you'll find the water that runs in the deep roots, so you don't even have to go outside in the winter..." Trouble bounded up the slope through the flowers. "If Janine isn't busy, maybe she'll come back with me tomorrow and we'll see how you two kits are doing..." he chuckled, they watched his tail seem to float in the air above them and then he was gone.

"Let's explore our new den," Ponnick smiled.

"I love it." Eslyn kissed his cheekbone, "This would be a wonderful place to start a family."

Ponnick's mouth fell open and his eyes almost popped out. He didn't think she saw how silly he looked, but she started laughing really hard. Then she kissed him again, "Hide and seek.... you're it." and she varnished.

"Oh, this is going to be a lot of fun...." he smiled.

They played and explored all day. In the early evening they slipped out their new front entrance and circled around through their new neighbourhood.

Twice they saw foxes, smaller foxes, kind of reddish blond foxes. But the foxes bowed and stepped back and disappeared. They were so silent that Ponnick wondered, "Maybe we really got killed on that road by a truck we didn't see and this is Fox Heaven? Maybe those foxes are angel foxes..."

Eslyn smiled, and shook her head.

Trouble and Janine came the next day. Janine brought a mouthful of nice smelling stalks of some kind of plant that smelled almost as nice as flowers. She whispered something in Eslyn's ears and then both the women foxes rolled around on the nice smelling stalks.

They stayed for a while and Janine told them that Trouble decided he was going to move into her den with her.

For two weeks Ponnick and Eslyn explored their new forest, only catching quick little glimpses of their new fox neighbours.

Then Ponnick said, "You know, we've found so many great places to sit and think, I don't know which one I like best."

Eslyn nodded, said, "You have to pick your own favourite spot, or just keep going to a different spot every day.... I think I'd like to go look at my favourite spots, too, do you want to come?"

Ponnick nodded.

They hadn't gone far, when they walked into a small clearing where three older foxes were sitting and maybe eight or nine young foxes were sitting in a circle around them.

The three adult foxes looked at them and smiled, bowed and nodded.

All the younger foxes bowed and nodded, too.

"Oh, we're sorry..." Ponnick said, "We'll go somewhere else."

"You don't have to leave. We have watched you for two weeks and we know you're not like your brothers on the other side of the man road. We don't need to hide from you now..." One elder, a woman, said, "We'd like to welcome you to our forest. We knew your cousin for years, and you may live in his tree with no interference from us. If our berry bushes dry up in a hard summer, we may sneak into your secret berry patch and take some of your berries. That's all."

Ponnick and Eslyn sat down, "I'm Ponnick and this is Eslyn."

The elders bowed again, The kits all bowed. They all introduced themselves but they had such confusing names that Ponnick couldn't remember any of them.

"So why did you take the perilous journey across the man road?"

Ponnick frowned, "I don't like bullies and they didn't like the way I never bullied anybody. Eslyn warned me they were going to try to kill me and we ran away."

The elders nodded to themselves and then, another one spoke, "We have found it a blessing that the man road keeps those other grey foxes across the road. They do have a mean streak."

"What do you look for every day?" the last elder asked.

Ponnick looked around, "I had a favourite place to sit and think about things. Since we came here, there are so many nice places to sit and think... I keep trying to decide which is the best."

"And what kind of things of did you think about?"

Ponnick lowered his head, he thought they would think he was silly, "Oh, I used to wonder why all the foxes I knew were such mean bullies to each other and I used to try to think of things that would make life better for all foxes."

The three elders looked at each other and nodded. "Did you think of anything that would make life for all foxes better?" The woman elder asked.

Ponnick suddenly felt very stupid. He'd thought of a lot of things, but right then he couldn't remember anything, "Oh, I don't know, I thought that if we could sit and talk together, we'd all have ideas that would be interesting and if we shared them, we'd come up with all sorts of good ideas."

The elders' mouths fell open, "You thought that talking about what we think in private might make all our lives better? Young one, you certainly are wise beyond your years. Will you come and talk to us often? I do believe we could learn a lot from you."

Ponnick and Eslyn stood up and bowed, then finished their walk.

Every day, when they went out more and more foxes stopped whatever they were doing and bowed. Even the kits bowed to them. At first, they felt silly bowing back to every fox they saw, but it wasn't long before it felt like a normal thing to do.

Trouble showed up two weeks later, "Hey, cousin, they think you're some kind of hero here. Everybody's talking about ways to make all foxes lives better, and they're coming up with some pretty good ideas. They showed me a man-made cave under the road, where a sometimes streams flows. It's safe, and the other end is near a village of skunk dens, so nobody will ever find it." Trouble ginned widely, "Ya know? I came very close to our old village last time I was over there, and I heard those idiots talking. They were all bragging about how they scared you into running away, they think you died in the stream..." he shook his head, "I almost laughed out loud, over here they think you're an angel fox sent from heaven and over there they're really happy they drove you away...."

# Edited and Posted: 6 February, 2004 10:40 #

Photos :

Cathi's kids [aged 12 & 7] January, 2004

Boy with Strange spheres flying around (Digital Camera, Colour levels adjusted)
(Psychic Photo? A friend got similar 'visitors' on photos taken at a funeral)

Domino stalking the evil box of tissues.

Tissues Captured, now what?

Couldn't find the boy for the family portrait... 7 Feb, 2004

Jim & Cathi W/Snow Bank - 7 Feb, 2004 - Still couldn't find the boy... : )

Jim behind the video camera, yes, his ears are pointed....
(Note, Cathi's painting and custom painted walls)

Max looking for a little bit of peace, but we found him...

Sasha hiding under bed, with ball.

Sasha with her eyes closed, wishing we'd gone away.

A young woman and her dog, 7 Feb, 2004




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