Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SuperBig Block Party! Har Mar Superstar! Plus a short story of Mice, Mayhem, and Caffeine.

It was the Labor Day weekend and the downtown event to be at was the SuperBig Block Party hosted by the Red Herring Lounge and Fon du Luth Casino.  The event was an all day music festival block party extravaganza featuring some great performers, one of which was the Har Mar Superstar.

I had never seen the Har Mar Superstar and this was a hue oversight on my part, but his performance really got the evening fired up!  High energy and the crowd was very in to it!  Luckily I had been around for set up and established my place as a special enough person to sneak behind security and take pictures free of the fray of the crown either from the wing, or from right in front of the stage between the crowd and the stage proper.  It was definitely the place to shoot from.

As usual I was shooting old school, I brought one lens, my trust manual focus, manual aperture, prime, 28mm f2.8 Vivitar.  That is right, the 12 dollar Ebay lens on a nice modern Canon body.

A little bit of basic processing and here I am ready to show!  I hope you enjoy.

As some of you may remember,  hate captioning albums, therefore I am just going to write a story between the photos.  If you love a photo, just remember to link back to the blog, non-commercial use (facecrank, etc) is fine.  If you want to use a photo elsewhere, get a hold of me.

But anyway, now a story about a mouse, and coffee.

Mocha Mouse....

My job was to be simple, I was there lust to show that the old man had not lost his mind.  He had something going on around him that anyone else would think was insane, but he wanted to make sure that in the end it was not himself that the moniker of insanity was placed.

So after receiving a nice engraved invitation and verifying my RSVP I arrived at the warehouse office of Sir Walter Eddington.  The famed importer of rare and valuable goods from around the world, one of his specialties was coffee, it wasn't his largest by volume or value, but it was his favorite, and the only one of his imports that was allowed in the warehouse he kept his private office.

Sir Walter was rich, and that allowed him to become a recluse.  It had been years since anyone had seen Sir Walter other than his private staff.  Every few years there would be a report that he had passed away, and every time a reply would be post from the office to report that he was still very much alive.

Sir Walter was very much alive, but at the moment he was also very much troubled.  He had an interloper in his warehouse, one that he very much wanted to be rid of.  Tonight was to be the night where the interloped was to be removed.  I was there to report the event, so that no one would question the authenticity of the reports, no matter how strange or surreal they were.

I had worked for the Banana City times for most all of my adult life, and now, nearing retirement I was at the top of my career.  I had interviewed presidents, rock stars, I had gotten to the bottom of murder investigations that even the police could not solve.  my integrity was beyond reproach.  I could neither be bought, bribed, or befuddled.

And now I was in a conference room with the only man in Banana City that I had never interviewed, Sir Walter Eddington.  I was there with my pen, and a my notebook.  At the head of the room stood Sir Walter.  He looked stoically at the room, glanced at his assistant, looked at myself, and then at the three others sitting along the opposite wall.  And then he spoke.

"Good evening, I am Sir Walter Eddington.  Tonight I have brought you all here for the purpose of removing a great burden from my presence, and a menace from my life.  The nature of this menace has also made me decide to bring a preeminent reporter from the Banana City Times to witness the events that will occur this evening, and verify to anyone who hears reports that all is above board, all is well, and all of us are completely sane."

"I have brought three hunters, carefully selected for their skills and masteries.   I have brought from the Bayous of Mississippi Guy Francious, the master of traps.  I have brought, from the mountains of
British Colombia, Dar Bear, the animal trainer and tracker.  And last, but not least I have brought Victor Selenko, the master hunter and quite likely the worlds most dangerous man with a blade."
"The three of you will be up against the most vicious of opponents.  I want it dead.  I want to know that this menace is removed from my house, and I want to be able to sleep with out having to hear from it again. There is a prize for removing this menace, of course, if any of you succeed, you will all be paid.  There shall be no competition between you for if one succeeds all proceed.  This is how much I want this taken care of."

"And now I will tell you about the target of your efforts tonight.  I know you will think I am insane until you witness this creature for yourselves, but I will hand you know a dossier of what we have tried, and what we have seen in our previous attempts with normal means to remove this... creature."

All four of us were handed a wrapped dossier sealed with a string.  I unwrapped the string and started to look through at the contents inside.  The first picture showed what looked like a small mouse, I looked around the picture more to see some foul creature, but all I saw was the mouse.  I flipped through the next pages to see images of mangled mousetraps.  Eviscerated felines, shell shocked exterminators mumbling to themselves.  It seems like Sir Water had tried everything at the hands of normal humans, now he had called in the big guns.

"As you can see we have tried everything within the means of normal people to remove this menace from my home, but it has defeated us at every turn.  I have given this creature a name, it sounds harmless, but do not under any circumstances underestimate the danger of this creature.  Even with the name we have given it, Mocha Mouse, it sounds cute and fuzzy.  But I repeat, do not underestimate this creature.  You have seen the damage it has done, and the chaos it has caused."

Victor Selenko was looking through the dossier with interest, I could see Dar Bear fiddling looking off and thinking, but Guy Francious looked incredulous.  "You brought us here to deal with dis mouse?"
"Guy Francious, yes it is a mouse, but this is not the normal mouse that you may see meekly wandering around the bayou.  Unless you have mice that normally prey upon the alligators around there."
"Therrrreee be no mouse alive could prey 'pon a gator."
"You have not seen a mouse like this.  I have witnessed this vicious creature a few times around the warehouse.  The gnawing sounds it makes keep me up at night, and I have caught a glimpse of it, and the exterminators we have brought in have confirmed that it has glowing red eyes."

Victor finally stirred from his investigation of the dossier.
"Glowing red eyes, I have heard of things like this in my native land, we have stories that we are told when we are but wee children meant to keep us afraid of he dark.  I have always been suspect that these stories have more reality to them than the normal stories that children are told."

Dar bear decided that it was his time to speak, not to be left out.
"You have used cats I see, have you tried anything that attacks from the air?"
"No sir, all of our efforts on the animal fronts have been with the creatures on the ground with reputations for the dispatch of rodents.  Cats, weasels, minks."
"I see, and all have failed, very interesting."

The three of them all had their own looks and were very distinctive.  They looked at each other and you could tell that under normal circumstances they did not work well with others.  Guy Francious was dressed to the nines, assuming you were at a dive bar in the bayou.  Dar Bear was equally dressed to the nines, but for the woods.  It seemed like most of the creatures that may have been previously dispatched by this Mocha Mouse could make up a good portion of his clothing.  Victor Selenko was also distinctively dressed, but he looked like something out of a Eastern European spy novel, like the bond villain who speaks little and kills silently.

"Well gentlemen, I will take my leave of you, you have free reign over the warehouse.  I will be heading into my house.  The internal security systems are disabled, I have cameras and I will be observing your progress from my office.  With each of your dossier you will see you have a walkie-talkie.  You can speak among yourselves, and you can also contact myself.  Good evening, and good luck."

The three of them looked like the kind of people that never work with others and the instant that they left the conference room they all went their separate ways.  I saw Dar Bear motion to the caretaker that he needed some supplies from his truck.  The Caretaker grabbed his walkie talkie, and over mine I heard that he was just going to get some of his animals from outside.  Victor Selenko looked to have every knife, blade, even what appeared to be a fold-up crossbow and bolts already on his person, which made me wonder how he ever made it through airport security.  Guy Francious walked up and loudly spoke to the caretaker as well.  He did not bother with the caretaker as everyone could hear him anyway.  "Ya, I need to get some traps from me truck." The caretaker nodded and led Guy and Dar outside.  Within fifteen minutes they were all back inside.

Sir Walter Eddington then walked up and spoke to me.
"I am sure that you have questions, come into my office, we may watch the hunt from there."
I followed him from the conference room into a large tasteful office space.  It had everything but windows.  In lieu of windows it had a wall of screens that appeared to show every corner of the warehouse, including views of the outside.  We watched the three hunters getting themselves rigged up and spreading themselves around the warehouse. 

"I know we have never spoke for I have shunned the attention of the media for many years.  I hope that this will open a small glimpse into the world where I spend my time.  I never leave this building anymore.  It used to be because I was so busy I never had time to get away from the office.  Eventually it became habit to just be here all the time.  Once the rumors began to fly I let the rumor mill run.  The more of a hermit I made myself, the more it helped my business by making people actually value the time that I gave them.  As you can see it has worked for me."

"This mouse affair has been a burden on my soul for quite some time.  I know that it sounds insane, but this has been about a two years, which by itself  is a long time for the life of a mouse.  At the same time it does not seem to be slowing down.  At first I thought it would be a temporary problem, it would work itself out."

"The mouse seemed to have other plans, however, we tried to remove all of the possible sources of food from the warehouse in order to eliminate the problem and then we discovered that it was actually eating the coffee beans that we import through this warehouse themselves."

We had tested the coffee beans in the past and discovered that the beans themselves have almost no nutritional value until they are roasted and unlock all of the goodness that we know as coffee.  In their green form they have almost nothing in the way of digestible sugars, it is basically just what the plant needs, but the animal digestive system cannot access these forms of sugar."

"As soon as we found out that the mouse was living off of these beans we did some further testing using both samples of the mouses feces and also some scraps of hair that were left in a glue trap in one of our early attempts.  We discovered that this mouse has developed a mutation that allows it to digest the coffee beans, and also access the caffeine contained within.  We think it is the digestion of these beans, along with the extreme caffeine consumption that gives this mouse its strength.  It is the only lead that we have." 

At this point the caretaker called our attention to the screens, it seems that Guy Francious had been setting traps on one side of the warehouse.  Shortly there was a call across the walkie talkie, "There be traps set along the wall to the South line, keep care if you be wandering in there."

This was almost immediately followed by a call from Dar, "I have been stalking the northern stretch, I have not seen anything as of yet."
A few moments of silence followed, then Victor replied, "Da, I am in the middle."

Up on the screens we watched as the three all worked independently, Guy was setting traps that looked like they would take the leg off a bear.  Dar had what looked like a griffin flying back and forth along the north aisle of the warehouse.  Occasionally we would catch glimpses of Victor moving silently from shadow to shadow.


Then, just after I heard a clock strike midnight the first action occurred.  One of the first traps that Guy had set was tripped. 
"I heard a snap over 'ere, I think me got em."
This was followed by another snap, and then another.  Guy carefully moved towards where he heard the last snap and then n reported back.

"Well, I'll be a Ga'damned, that is one tough little bugger."
We looked at the screen as Guy was holding up one of the traps, it was warped and bent.  It looked like it had been run through an industrial shredder.
"Well, guys, this is gonna be an interesting night..."

As we turned away we could see Guy doing some adjustments to the remaining traps, it looks like he was tightening springs and sharpening tines.  He was determined to make this the end of the mouse.  Dar soon hailed Guy, "Have you seen the mouse, do you have any idea where he is now?"
"Nah man, I thought I saw something, but I have no idea where it went, it was alike a glow, a red glow, and then it was gone."
"If you see anything, let us know."

"I was fearing that this would happen, I just hope that no one gets hurt."
The caretaker was using the cameras to scan the warehouse, soon he saw something.
"Ah there it is...."

"I see the mouse on the cameras, Guy, it is in the south aisle, I think it is heading towards you.
"Ya, I think I har' it chewing."
"It also appears to be pulling into the shadow with one of your traps..."
"What t' hell, where 'bouts?"
"End of the row where you were working before."

"K, I gonna get dis lil' bugger, we are allowed to use firearms?"
"As long as everyone else is clear, just for verification Guy is heading towards the center of the south aisle, is everyone clear from that location."
"I am clear up here in the north aisle."
"Da, I'm clear."
"Firearms are cleared, good luck."

We watched on the cameras as Guy approached the center of the aisle, "Ya, I hear somet'ing up 'head, it sound like metal on metal, 'n chewing."
On the camera we watched as Guy pulled out a revolver that looked like something that you would use to hunt buffalo and stalk closer to the aisle.

Guy got to the corner of a pallet, gun in one hand balanced with another where he had mounted a flashlight on his wrist.  He swung around the corner and turned on the light looking down to where he would assume the mouse would be.  Then the light swung upwards, there was a shot and a scream.

"Guy is down, repeat, Guy is down, assistance to the south aisle."
The caretaker, Sir Walter, and myself arrived at the same time as Victor and Dar.  Guy looked like he had been caught by his own trap.  From the appearance and where we had last seen Guy on the camera, the trap must have come down from above.
"I had feared that this would happen, this is the first time anyone has been killed by the mouse, I am hoping that he does not make a habit of it."

"That trap has to weigh at least fifty pounds, that must be a very strong mouse."
"Da, very strong mouse."

The Caretaker, Sir Walter and I walked back to the office, I could have sworn I heard some chewing and felt like something was watching me.  I turned and thought I saw a red glow for just a second.  "Di you guys hear that?"
"Yes, we heard, we always hear it, it watches us."

Victor and Dar seemed were still discussing things as we got back to the monitors to watch the progress.  We saw both of them turn as they also seemed to sense that they were being watched as well.
Victor shortly reported via the walkie talkie, "Da, we are going to stay clear of this south stretch, here and report between each other, we think it is as aware of us as we are of it."
The caretaker replied calmly, "Be careful and stay sharp."
"Da."

Dar soon had his bird in the air, flying back and forth, they seemed to know each others body language.
"Victor, the bird does not seem to be seeing anything."
"Da, I am not seeing anything either."

For about thirty more minutes nothing happened.
"Victor, the bird has eyes on something, he is looping north."
"Da, I see him, he is going towards far corner."

Seconds later we saw the bird dive down behind a pallet in the far north corner of the warehouse, there was a burst of activity and we saw Dar and Victor quickly moving towards the corner.

"Well I'll be, that mouse just got my bird."
"Da, the bird is dead, looks like it did get a claw on it though."
"Ya, it looks like the bird got a good grasp with its claws before he got his."
"Da, blood on the talons."

Sir Walter looked at us with a look of worry.
"Everyone knows that the most dangerous animal, other than man, is a wounded animal."
Victor came across the mic shortly.  "Da, Dar is going to retrieve da gun from Guy, I will meet back with him at the center of the warehouse."

"It is good that they are working together, this is a positive sign. I was fearing when we invited these three that they would not work together under any circumstances, it seems that they have decided that this is enough."


We watched on the monitors again as Dar walked back to where Guy's body was still lying.
"I can't seem to find the gun."
"Da, be careful.."
"I am going to look around some more, I fear where this gun may have gotten itself off to."
"Da."

"I am not sure how a mouse would aim and fire a gun, but I am also not about to underestimate the abilities of this mouse." 

"I am still not finding the gun, I am going to meet back up with you Victor."
"Da, I am in the center."
From the monitors we watched as Dar walked carefully towards the center of the warehouse.
"I think I hear chewing up ahead."

From the monitors we saw Dar as he carefully wended his way through the warehouse.
"I think I hear chewing...."
We saw Dar as he slowed down and carefully worked along through the pallets.
"Da I am coming towards you, I hear chewing as well."

"Victor, did you hear a click?"
"Da, be careful."

From the monitors we saw Dar as he was stalking towards the center.  Victor was at the most thirty feet away.  We saw the flash and then heard the report.

"Da, Dar is down."
The caretaker, Sir Walter and I only stared at each other for a second before we also decided we had to see what had happened.

As soon as we got to the threshold of the warehouse we heard a struggle and the sound of blades sticking into pallets and ricocheting off of the floor, walls, and girders.
"Da, very fast you are mouse." 

The rattling of blades was still ringing through the warehouse and we were approaching the area as fast as we could.
"Ok mouse, no more throwing of the blades, hand to paw it is going to be."

It was only a few seconds before a wet gurgling gasp echoed from the aisle.  We knew instantly what had happened.  As we came around the corner Victor was lying on his back, it appeared as if his throat had been torn out.  On his chest say, staring at us a small white mouse.  A small white mouse with glowing red eyes.

The three of us were unarmed, and the mouse stared at us, waiting for us to make the first move.  The caretaker moved himself between Sir Walter and the mouse.
"See what you have done, look at the destruction you have caused, why wont you just leave us alone?"

The mouse said nothing, likely because as a general rule mice do not have the capability of speech.  The caretaker continued to approach the mouse, slowly, continuing to berate the mouse, the mouse say on Victor's chest, munching on coffee beans, staring at the caretaker. 

When the caretaker approached with in six feet suddenly the mouse leaped at him.  The caretaker tried to grasp the mouse, but it was already too late.  He turned towards us as he fell.
"The teeth, the teeth...."

The mouse now stood between the body of the caretaker and myself and Sir Walter.  He appeared to be looking back and forth between us, we were both equidistant from the mouse and it seemed that he could not decide which one of us he was going to kill first.


(On a side note, this is my favorite crowd shot)

Sir Walter and I would not pull our eyes away from the mouse, we slowly backed away from the center of the aisle and as a result we both ended up with our backs to the pallets of coffee.

My hands were behind me making sure that when I backed up I would not stumble as I backed into the pallet.  But before my had reached the pallet it touched something else.  It was cold and felt like steel.  The only thing that it could be was one of Victor's blades.  I silently pulled it out of the coffee and kept it behind my back and hidden from view.

The mouse continued to stare at us, going back and forth between Sir Walter and myself.  Finally Sir Walter began to speak.
"Mouse, I am not sure if you understand what I am saying, but I figure that it is worth a shot."

I am Sir Walter Eddington, and I am the owner of this warehouse and I am the one who supplies the coffee you have been eating.  This man here is a reporter, he is only here to observe.  He is innocent."
When Sir Walter gestured at me the mouse momentarily looked in my direction, it was like the mouse understood.

"Mouse you may thin that I am the one you want, and you may even want to kill me.  I know that I have done wrong by treating you like an ordinary mouse and trying to get rid of you, but this has to stop.  You may kill me, but if you do then there we be no food.  We are at an impasse."

The mouse looked at the floor as if he was contemplating what Sir Walter had said and considering his next move.  A few seconds later the mouse leaped at Sir Walter.  Sir Walter was a fast old man, likely because he was the only one among us with a caffeine intake that could rival the mouse.  The mouse was caught off guard by his sudden movement, but he was not thrown off the scent. 

As Sir Walter tried to stay a step ahead of the mouse I leaped at the two of them myself.  The knife was clumsy in my hand but it got into place just as I reached where the two of them were in combat.  The mouse saw me coming at the last moment and turned, but it was too late.  The blade caught the mouse on his side and went straight through and stuck to the frame of a pallet in the next row.  The mouse bled brown blood that smelled and looked like espresso.  I picked up my notebook, knowing that no one would ever believe my story about the night and promised myself that I was never going to touch a bad cup of coffee again.

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