Stream of Consciousness
A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl
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9
 Druid Fluid

    It was the kind of morning where sleeping in seems a shame, but then, I was asleep, so I didn't really mind, until the doorbell rang.  It was OD Esse.  I'd mostly gotten over my total aversion to the miserable snake, since we shared a passion for bluegrass, but it didn't really excuse waking me at 10 in the morning--a Saturday at that...
    "Emu oil is the next snake oil!' said OD enthusiastically.
    "Funny, I was just thinking about snakes," I said.  "So, what you said, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?"
    "It's good that I'm letting you in on the ground floor of an investment pyramid that will net you millions."
    "Of what, Egyptians or Aztecs?"
    "That's what I like about you, Phil, you're totally cryptic."
    "Um, the thing is, Emus have been around long enough now to become passe.  I don't see how I can be on the ground floor of a fad that's already run its course."
    "Are you sure?  My source that sold me the shares in the Emu ranch said..."
    Before I was going to have to do a reality intervention on the poor chump, the door bell rang again...

It was my old friend Larry, with someone new in tow.
    "What a great morning to enjoy the world!" said Larry.  "I had to have you meet my new spiritual guide as soon as possible..."
    "You!" the guide said.
    "Er, ah," OD said, unusually at a loss for words.  He was, of course correct.  OD was "you," not in that essence of being type philosophy way, but indeed he apparently recognized the speaker as familiar.  "We've met?"
    "The bus to Lewiston.  I sat right behind you..."
    "Hmm."  OD was clearly just buying time.  "You wouldn't by any chance be the Fundamentalist Druid Extremist?"
    "Bingo," the Druid Extemist said.  "But you can call me Erdimore."
    "Is that your name?"
    "It is right now, for law enforcement purposes..."
    Larry said, "Being a Druid Extremist, you have to expect he'd run afoul of the authorities.  I brought him here because I remembered how Phil told me how he became a Druid in college..."

    If my past is going to continue to haunt me, I'm going to volunteer for being in the control group for Alzheimer's experiments.  "It's true that, after a lot of beer, some of us went out to the old Oak Tree hill and swore to become Druids.  But that was after a lot of beer..."
    "Beer is good," said Erdimore.
    Actually, since meeting Alice, I'd given up my rowdy beer guzzling ways, but I seldom speak out against beer, as it's a cultural heresy...
    "So I'm going to leave Erdimore to hole up with you, while I go and arrange a secret Druid Extremist gathering in the Teddy Roosevelt Grove of Ancient Cedars by Granite Falls..."
    "Was Teddy Roosevelt a Druid?" OD asked.
    "Leave him here?"  I asked, more emphatically, as it seemed more apropos to what was happening.
    "The grove was sacred hundred of years before Teddy Roosevelt put his name to it," Erdimore replied.
    "Leave him here?" I repeated.
    Larry said, "Just for a day or so, till the big gathering.  After that he'll probably head to the Burning Man gathering in the desert...  He can't stay at my place--I live right next door to a state patroller..."  The next thing I noticed was that Larry was gone.  And Erdimore was here...

    "So, how did you make out with Melissa?" said Erdimore.
    "You even knew Melissa by name?" asked OD.
    "Sure, I sat with her until the bus stopped for a break.  I explained to her all about basic Druidism.  She was good with Wisdom, and Creativity, but switched seats when I got to talking about Love..."
    "I mean, she told you her name?  She didn't tell me her name for hours," said OD.
    "Er." I said.  "I hate to break up the happy reminiscences, but I've got a problem with harboring fugitive terrorists..."
    "And what problem is that?" said Erdimore.
    "Well, there's "harboring," then there's "fugitive,"  then there's that popular sobriquet "terrorist."  I have problems with the whole deal. Like, basically I'm a law abiding citizen..."
    "I see, and you never speed, always come to a complete stop at stop signs, and always turn into the closest lane when executing a turn onto a multilane street?"
    "When there's a cop there, yes."
    "There's no cop here now..." Erdimore pointed out,  a bit unnecessarily, I thought.
    "But the point is, if you remain here, there may be," I said.  "What exactly did you do to become a wanted man?"
    "I'm just being persecuted for my religious beliefs...  I think there are constitutional issues here..."
    "Me too.   My own pursuit of happiness, for instance..."

    In the end, I agreed to let him stay overnight, until the woods gathering at Teddy Roosevelt Grove was arranged.  He seemed pretty self-winding, sitting in the back yard and mumbling, which I presumed was something Druidic or Fundamentalist.  He did seem to be appreciating the landscaping, which my wife and I are quite proud of...
    "That's a great patch of willows you've got growing in the corner," he said.
    "Yes, it used to be a pond until the willows took over..." I said.  "We like the natural look."
    "I could thin it out for you," he said.  I've got a use for some willow splints.  I like to make baskets...
    That sounded earthy, so I encouraged him in his project.  It kept him from bothering me through the evening...
    While he worked on his basket in the basement, Alice and I discussed what we knew about Druidism.
    "Nothing--I know nothing," I said.
    "Me neither," she said.  So we looked up Druidism on the Internet.
    "It's funny there's nothing about Druid Fundamentalism," I said.
    "Maybe it's historically based," Alice said.  "Here under history it says they used to sacrifice humans by burning them in wicker baskets.  It's a good thing they're Reformed now," she said.
    "Or maybe the Fundamentalists are Unreformed," I said, waggling my eyebrows in a significant manner...

    We decided that discretion was the better part of valor, or something like that, so that Alice would come along packing a Lady Smith revolver when I took Erdimore to the Ancient Grove the next day.  It's so nice that Idaho is one state where it's easy to get concealed carry permits...
    "That's a huge basket," I commented, as we loaded it into the back of the van.
    "It's got to be big," he said.  "It's traditional."
    "Uh, right," I said, waggling my eyebrows at Alice suggestively.
    "Something in your eye?" Alice asked...

    As we drove up along Priest Lake, he marveled at the natural beauty of the place.  "This is a good place for the earth spirit," he said. The paved road turned to gravel, and we continued up for 10 or 15 miles.
    "Stop the car! Turn here," he said.
    "But we're not to the Stagger In Campground yet," I argued, somewhat nervously.
    "No, but I've heard of this place--the famous shoe tree..." So we turned across a creek, and there was a huge cedar, its bark completely covered with shoes nailed on.  "The earth weeps at such foolishness," he said.
    "Well, at least that's one tree that won't get cut for shingles," I said.  "It's so full of spikes no mill would touch it."
    In spite of the unexpected turn, he peacefully returned to the van and we finished the drive to the campground at the base of Granite Falls. In the parking lot, there was Larry, and a motley group of tree huggers.  Erdimore pulled out the large basket, to appreciative oohs and ahhs of the faithful.
    "Alice, get ready," I said.  "I can't believe Larry is in on this.   Or maybe he's the unwitting sacrifice.."
    "First we must visit Granite Falls," he said.

    Granite Falls, at least the lower part, is more of a slide than a falls--the water slides down a steep section of granite. The rapids below it are in some ways more scenic.  Part of me was reflecting on this while the other part was keeping a watchful eye on Erdimore, who had brought his giant basket along.
    "Hmm," he said, "this falls is not quite as I imagined.  Still, the tradition will be observed..."
    I was waggling my eyebrows frantically at Alice, who seemed to be taken in by viewing the falls.  But her attention turned again to Erdmore, as he set his basket into the pool at the bottom of the falls.
    "Now we'll just wait for the salmon," he said.
    Salmon!  There are no salmon in Granite Creek that I've ever seen.  But now I began to understand. This city slicker earth lover Druid Fundamentalist was trying to use the old Native American technique for capturing salmon as they try to ascend the falls to spawn.  I suppose it isn't his fault there are no salmon there to spawn (you can blame that on about a dozen dams), but still...
    Alice and I slipped off as soon as possible, not wanting to watch their anticipation degenerate into disappointment, as happens so frequently on fishing trips.  At least it was salmon they were looking to sacrifice instead of humans.  But I could see why he'd  be a wanted man-- netting isn't allowed for sports fishermen.  Fish and Game would be all over him, if they didn't decide just to laugh at his greenhorn antics...
  

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(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
Bambootees
6. The old
Switcheroo
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
Fluid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
14
Lost in the City
15
Schlemiel
Possession

16
What's in
a name?
17
The Curse of
Bently Manor
18
Shortbottom Possessed
19
The Lost
Treasure
of Iraq
20
Phil Steen
for President!
21
Phil Steen
for Rehab
 22
The Adventures of HandiMan and FiberWoman
23
Quantum
Uncertainty
Revealed
24
Pirates
of the
Puget
Sound
25
Building
a
Platform
plank by plank
26
The Quest
for
Meaning
27
Larry
and Phil
to the
rescue
28
Hurray
for the Reds,
Whites,
and Blues
29
Phil
Loses
his Mind
30
Earth
Strikes
Back
31
How I
spent my
summer
vacation

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