Running Late   

            Though my father, Art, and his friend, Stan, raced to get to the cruise ship on time, they were running late.  Departure for the cruise across Lake Michigan from Downtown Chicago was minutes away.  Art and Stan were anxious to get aboard the ship with their friends from Western Electric, cruise across the lake, and enjoy the picnic in Michigan City, Indiana that Saturday July 24th,1915.    

            Back then, transportation crept along.  My father and Stan ran part of the way.  Could they still make it?  With the Chicago River almost in sight, commotion and screams got their attention.   The closer they got the more hubbub. 

            Art asked a bystander, “What’s happening?” 

            The man screamed at them.  “The Eastland capsized and sunk in the Chicago River.  Hundreds of people drowned.”   

            Shocked by the news, Art and Stan looked at each other.  If they had been on time, they could have been among the fatalities. 

            For them and for me, late was lucky.

Ed Pahnke

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The Castaway

So he’d found riches beyond his wildest dreams. What good did it do Lon Sum? He’d been a castaway for more than seventeen years, marooned on the South Sea Island without another human being in a thousand miles. White hair straggled over his shoulders.
Lon and his adventurous, churchman friend, Friar Dennis Day, an Irishman, were shipwrecked on the nameless rocky island. Their ancient yacht had sprung a leak and foundered in the bay. It sunk beneath the waters while they swam ashore. A map had led them to the treasure island, but they had no way to leave.
First they followed the instructions on the parchment map. It led them to a huge, old wooden chest, containing a cache of gold coins and jewels.
The two men celebrated drinking fermented coconut juice. When the high wore off, they realized they were stuck. Using wood that they found on the beaches, they built a makeshift raft. Then they drew lots to see which of them would try to get to civilization. The good Friar won. Lon bid him goodbye. Lon stayed to safeguard the treasure from possible intruders. Lon never saw as much as a sail.
Lon bid his friend goodbye on a Thursday morning more than five years ago.
Being alone so much had driven Lon a trifle nutty. Night after night he slept in the cavernous wooden treasure chest. He felt secure inside it. He was becoming an old chest-nut. Even he chortled at the thought.
Lon had secreted the treasure inside a cave nearby.
Was Lon going wackier? Was that a human voice? He couldn’t be sure. It had
been five years since Friar Day disappeared over the horizon on that faithful Thursday morning.
Again, “Ahoy.”
Lon squinted out to sea. He saw his friend standing on the beach. Beyond, a sailboat bobbed on the waves in the bay.
He dashed onto the beach. The two men hugged, in a manly way.
Not used to talking, Lon croaked. “Thank God it’s Friar Day.”

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Here’s another of my “jest for pun” stories while I’m at it. Ed Pahnke

Mending Her Way

                The pile of clothes to be mended didn’t appear to be going down.  Mary Gold stole a glance at the clock between stitches.  Two o’clock.  She’d never finish mending Santa’s suit in time for the Christmas Eve run and forget the elves clothes.  Why did Santa have to have a trial run and tear his outfit and put more dents in the old sleigh?

The used reindeers were not even close to Dancer and Prancer, and the five hundred year old sleigh was held together with duct tape.

Everybody thought he was a right jolly old elf.  Ha!

She should get extra when she pinked designs in some of the fabrics, but nothing extra.  Three dollars an hour, and she was lucky to get that, Santa told her.  “Take it or leave it.”  He punctuated his words with a “Ho, Ho, Ho.”

Mary Gold set her mind on finishing mending just Santa’s clothes, and no more fancy stuff.   If she didn’t, there was no Christmas bonus.  She frowned.  Here it was Christmas Eve, and she’d counted on the bonus for presents.

The three hours flew by.

Almost five o’clock and just a few more stitches.  She quickened her pace and with three deft strokes of needle and thread, she finished before the five o’clock whistle sounded.  Mary sighed and smiled as Santa sauntered in, ever jovial.

“Ah well,” she thought, “alls well that mends well.”

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What on Earth

What on Earth? ©

The newscaster virtually shouted out, “Alien spiders have invaded our earth.  Giant spider-like creatures have been seen docking their spaceships at various locations around the planet.

“At the moment, their intentions are unclear, but our government anticipates sending envoys to meet with the giant alien spiders.  Wooing the aliens, President Juan Zorro and Senator Valerie Minton claim to adore spiders.  To determine which of the two likes spiders the better, the President and the Senator are calling for a debate.

“Wait!  I’ve just been handed a bulletin.  Oh no.  Judging from this, we won’t have to worry about the debate, the harmful rays of the sun, or anything else for that matter.

“The spiders are spinning gigantic webs that will eventually envelop the world.

“Asked for a comment on the alien invaders, Actor Monty Tain said, ‘Somewhere H. G. Wells is shaking his finger, saying he told us so.   We’re about to lose the war of the worlds.’  Monty turned his glance heavenward.  ‘Look, up in the sky!  It’s a spider web blotting out the sun.”  Alarmed, he rushed off towards theChurchofScientologyto await the outcome.

Back in the studio, the newscaster gathered his thoughts together and said, “First the Internet now the spiders.  Is there no escaping the ‘World Wide Web?’”

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Writing “jest for pun” and mysteries, Hi to mystery readers and writers from my detectives, Charlie and Jimmy Chief. Ed Pahnke

Raise Your Glasses

     Mary Wanna, the old hippie, went into hiding in the late 1960’s after her escapades had brought down the wrath of the law upon her.  She and a few other extremists fled toBoliviaand safety.  She had two weaknesses: getting into trouble and drinking Budweiser.  Where she and her cohorts settled there was no “king of beers” available.

Mary tried to occupy herself with other interests, but the more she fought against it, the greater the thought of Budweiser – cool and refreshing – dominated her thinking.

The pressure of thinking about “the King of Beers” began to tell on her.

Her health was affected; she became depressed.  She paced back and forth in her cottage.  She was driven to the extreme, thinking about sneaking back into theUSAto get a drink.  She convinced herself that she’d been forgotten, and it was safe to return after twenty years.

Though close to ninety, Al Zheimer, the retired police detective, hadn’t forgotten.  Catching and imprisoning Mary Wanna was the one passion of his life.  He’d circulated Mary’s pictures in border towns.  If she emerged from hiding, he was convinced it would be inTexas.

He was right.

InTexas, Mary rushed into the Border Beer Hall.  She watched while the pudgy bartender pulled a cold bottle from the cooler, popped the cap, and carried the frosty beer towards her.  She licked her lips.  She grabbed the bottle from his hand, and raised the Budweiser to her lips.  Her pulse raced; her heart pounded.  She couldn’t wait another instant.

Before her first swallow, however, Al Zheimer clicked the cuffs around her wrists.

She swooned, the victim of – “High Bud pressure.”

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Hello world!

Write on

                 Since graduating college in 1961, Pahnke has completed a wide array of college courses and seminars.   He entered banking in 1961 and has been auditor at three banks.

Ed Pahnke’s first short story appeared in “Et Al” in 1971.  Since then he’s had numerous short stories and articles published in periodicals.  He also wrote and edited a bimonthly newsletter for twelve years.

In 2004 he published Northern Knights, a mystery novel set in Wisconsin’s North Woods in the early 1930’s and based upon the Robin Hood legends.

In 2009 he had a chapbook of “jest for pun” jokes published.  He’s now preparing to publish the chapbook as an eBook.

Recently, Calderwood Books published The Chiefs Investigate.  The protagonists in the fifteen mystery stories are a father and son team of Native American private investigators.

Planning to write on, Pahnke has more Chief mysteries and a sequel to Northern Knights in the works.  Even when time is short, he makes time for “jest for pun” stories or short stories or creative nonfiction.

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