Final Draft Everlasting Wonka (Unedited)

The Everlasting Wonka

FINAL DRAFT

Editorial notes

Copied from my personal blog so I can do some editing in Google doc.

This is one of the last known copies of this story I sent to be published by Lulu publications. I have the published printed copy but there are obvious edits I want to make before I submit it again to a publisher that will print it again. This time if I get it printed, in book bound form again, I’ll get several copies and make sure my family and friends get those copies.

Original submission published online is from

Thu, February 5, 2009 12:10:11 AM

Subject: The Everlasting Wonka 2/4/09 draft

I revisited editing it after my son Alexx died in July of 2016. These story characters, alone with other fictional characters from my other stories, help me deal with his loss. 

Cut from blog. Pasted here for editorial purposes (7/15/21). Full disclaimer and copyright notes at the end.

This is my attempt to take the writings of Roald Dahl and continue on with an idea of what might take place following his “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”and “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.”

The last words in the latter saga of Charlie’s adventure are, “It’s not over yet . . . it hasn’t even begun.”

With that in mind, and with all due respect to the author, Roald Dahl, I take great pleasure and ask for a little poetic license to go on with Charlie’s inheritance.

Please consider this as a type of fan fiction.


The Everlasting Wonka

A Story

by

Tom E. Bailey


CHAPTER 1

“It Hasn’t Even Begun.” 

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

What happened to Charlie Bucket after his amazing trip to Wonka’s Chocolate factory and his stupendous ride on the glass elevator?

Do you recall? He became heir to the Chocolate Factory and had a lot to learn before Mr. Wonka left it all behind.

Mr. Wonka loved Charlie, and his entire family. He cherished them so much he moved them in to live in the Chocolate Factory.  Having Charlie’s mom and dad there, as well as his four grandparents available, offered a little structure, order and lots of love to the otherwise chaotic life as experienced in Wonka Land.

 As Charlie and Mr. Wonka sat and brainstormed for hours at a time, they came up with some of the most unbelievable and innovative ideas: new concepts that required changes; updates that improved the factory and its distribution of the best chocolate in the world; incomparable types of sweets that could only be produced by them.  

It wasn’t all fun and games, however.  Oh, no! There were the normal difficulties with some merchants, some customers, and competing companies. And, although Mr. Wonka thought he had taken care of all the challenges dealing with spies trying to steal his ingredients and ideas, something occurred that upset his whole system.   Much to his dismay, one of his best Oompa-Loompas requested a vacation to return to his homeland; but instead, the Oompa Loompa traveled to other candy factories and chocolate investors, sharing not only secrets, he also sold other information about Mr. Wonka’s future plans.

When Mr. Wonka found out about this, his heart sank, to think he would be betrayed by an Oompa-Loompa!  When the police asked if he wanted to press charges for this invasion of copyrights and trademarks, Mr. Wonka just said, 

“No, no, of course not.  I couldn’t possibly press charges and let my poor Oompa-Loompa family member and friend spend the rest of his life in prison.” 

Rather, Mr. Wonka allowed the Oompa-Loompa traitor to return to live in the factory!  How grateful that Oompa-Loompa was!  What would prison be like for such a small, different person?  Still, Mr. Wonka felt so hurt because one of his workers couldn’t keep secrets. We’ll hear more about that lucky Oompa-Loompa later, but first, let’s catch up on how Charlie and his family settled in with Mr. Wonka.

Charlie’s grandpa Joe became a completely different person and as his other three grandparents finally got out of bed, they were like kids again. Unfortunately, their bodies had spent so much time running that it was impossible, even with Mr. Wonka’s vita-wonk, to make them physically younger.  Mr. Wonka was heard to say,

 “To live forever seems such bliss, but true peace comes when death you kiss.” 

 In response, Charlie started coming up with his own sayings, such as, 

“Live long and be blessed, but know someday you’ll finally rest.”

They had lived full lives and Charlie had grown so much as the years flew by.  He kept getting older, but remained bright-eyed. He knew and appreciated what it meant to be alive and have every opportunity to do whatever he put his mind to.

Even though living in the factory was like living in a world where nothing was impossible, Charlie, like all of us, had to witness the death of his grandparents. He watched them fail, but it was not painful for them at all.  Oh, heavens no, not with the inventions that Mr. Wonka was able to put to use!  Mr. Wonka made sure that each of them received transfusions of the purest chocolate, made to stimulate the all-natural endorphins their bodies produced, giving them the feeling of falling in love. Charlie said his good-byes as they smiled and went, not just in peace, but in true bliss.

Charlie also watched his parents change with age. He noticed Mr. Wonka was becoming more frail and elderly too. He knew those adults’ minds just didn’t work as efficiently as they used to. Sometimes He longed to just be alone and have complete control of his life and management of the factory. Life inside the Chocolate Factory kept him young at heart, but he found himself not just maturing but gaining physical aches and pains that accompanies the wear and tear of all human bodies.  As children do when they become adults, he also became wiser and more clever.  (Well, as some children do when they become adults!)

One day, alone, Charlie entered the Chocolate Room. Usually he and Mr. Wonka joined each other on this morning stroll, so what a shock it was to find Mr. Wonka lying on the bank of the Chocolate River. In full dismay, Charlie yelled for help. The Oompa-Loompas were just waking up, but ran to Charlie’s aid. Mr. Wonka was fading fast. Charlie flipped him over and away from the edge of the river.  Mr. Wonka just looked up at Charlie with his tired eyes and managed to get out the words, 

“This … is it … Ch … ar … lie …”

Charlie coughed and began to cry,

 “No, Mr. Wonka, no!”

“Oh yes, my dear boy.”

and then, with a smile, he made his best attempt to signal the Oompa-Loompas.   They all surrounded him as Charlie tried to stay close, touching Mr. Wonka.

In frustration, Charlie anxiously yelled, 

“What are you doing?  Mr. Wonka, what are they doing!!??”

Mr. Wonka just smiled again and whispered,

“It’s O.K., Charlie.  Things have to be this way.  It’s really the ONLY way.”

Charlie stood by paralyzed with fear, watching the Oompa-Loompas move Mr. Wonka closer to the edge of the flowing Chocolate River.

“Charlie?”  

Mr.  Wonka called in a raspy voice.

“Yes, yes, what is it, sir?

“Let them … “ 

And then Charlie realized what they were doing. They were going to throw Mr. Wonka into the river. He would surely drown. He was barely breathing by this time!  When Charlie tried to stop them, several of the Oompa-Loompas surrounded him, making him fall to the ground as they tripped him up. Charlie got up on his knees, reached out his hand toward Mr. Wonka, but it was too late.  After accomplishing their mission the little Oompa-Loompas ran away, singing some song in gibberish. Charlie scolded them,

 “What have you done?! Why, why would you do that?!  You’ve all gone completely mad!”

Mr. Wonka floated on his back, just as if he were lying down for a nap, with his arms up under his raised head.  As the current took him away, he was able to call to Charlie, 

“It’s ooooO.K., it’s aaall yooours nooow.”

The Oompa-Loompas continued to sing as Charlie ran toward the hidden door that held the special monitoring room set up to see every part of the factory, inside and out. Charlie heard the Oompa-Loompas singing the song they had been saving for just this moment,

“To live is bliss, what did you miss?

Or did you cry an alibi?

You know some day you’d have to pay

And this, … my friend, is … the … end.”

It was short and sweet, but that was what Mr. Wonka was all about.

Chapter 2 

“Into The Out Of Control Room”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

Charlie made it to the control room door and struggled to find the right key. Talking to himself, he moaned and groaned, 

“COME ON!”  

Jostling the keys, the Oompa-Loompas knew he desperately wanted in, and so they finally  opened it from the inside.

“Which screen?!”,

Charlie cried.

In a room filled with monitors that faced every area, in every angle possible, they pointed him in the right direction. Charlie watched the cameras following the Chocolate River. For a brief moment all the monitors went black, then just as quickly, one word appeared on 3 different screens, creating a message that Charlie read aloud, 

“Don’t     be   alarmed.” 

Again, the screens went blank, flashing back on with the message, 

“This is all part of my request, Charlie.”

Then the recorded voice of Mr. Wonka came over the speakers, as pictures of the river flashed here and there on the screens.  

“Charlie, and my dear family, all of you…”, 

they heard Mr. Wonka begin,

“Consider this my Last Will and Testament of sorts. I’m not good at good-byes. I don’t like good things to come to an end. How could bye ever be good?

I especially hated closing down my factory years ago, but, lesson learned, just as I shut down the factory and was able to open a new one, so also my life here is closing; however, a new one opens. I am trusting Charlie and each of you to be that new life. Let me and my dreams live on in what you do.”

A strobe light then pulsed as the monitors went dark again. As the strobe light went faster and faster, the voice of Mr. Wonka began again, also increasing in speed.  

“Ah hah!  Now I will take you on one last adventure. So watch, listen, feel, smell and …”  

A puff of sweet cotton candy aroma filled the room.  He then ended with the last word, stimulating their last sense, 

“Taste.”

You could actually breathe in sweet, soft, cotton candy and, oh, who doesn’t like THAT!  But wait, there was more.  Mr. Wonka paused, the strobe light turned purple and hit a mirrored disco ball in the center of the room.  Although Charlie was now in his twenties and knew Mr. Wonka did everything with such flair, he was confused, sad, and filled with anxiety, fearing for Mr. Wonka’s life. Willy Wonka was not just a mentor, nor was he even just a friend. He had become family.  The light hitting the mirrored ball sent a message scrolling about the room and Mr. Wonka’s pre-recorded voice matched the written words carrying his typical flare, 

“In a moment you will all see my last few moments with you on this earth. I have programmed the monitors to show exactly what happens to me and how it happens, but I am sure you all are asking, ‘Why?’  Very well, enough dilly and enough dally, if I do say so myself,”  

he  chuckled. 

“Soooo, here is what gets who.  I mean, . . .” clearing his throat, “who gets what.”

Just then it was as if everything broke down. The Oompa-Loompas started shouting, 

“The Wonkerator!”  

This is the name they gave the generator. The room was too dark to find the main switch. Just then, Wonka’s voice came through the overhead speaker, very calm and comforting, 

“The Wonka generator is not failing friends, and neither shall I.  I have many things I could not reveal to anyone when I was alive, not even to Charlie, so I will now show and tell. But first, I want all of you to put your busy little worried wart heads to rest. I floated down the Chocolate River and, thanks to my Oompa-Loompa buddies, I was funneled to the end of the river where another waterfall drops into the incinerator.” 

There was not a dry eye in the room. Charlie’s parents and the workers outside the monitoring room heard the voice on hidden speakers throughout the whole factory. Wonka continued,

“Now, dear friends, don’t fall apart, keep it together.  Many people are cremated these days, and what better way than this? You must know this as well, my premeditated plan was to drink large sips of chocolate from the river, so by the time I reached the end, I would be in a complete state of nirvana, completely high from the coco bean’s effect that we all know so well.”

The lights began to fade in the room. Very slowly, from floor to ceiling, it was orange, red, a little purple, and amber. It actually looked like a sunrise. They realized it was Mr. Wonka’s doing.  Not one detail was left out.  He whispered, 

“Now … hus.s.h.h … don’t say a word and don’t tell anyone else what I am about to show and tell you.”

Chapter 3

“Behind The Curtains”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

The screen at the far edge of all the monitors came on very slowly, revealing a type of surveillance camera showing people going through their everyday lives.   Charlie gasped, but the Oompa-Loompas were not shocked at all. Charlie crawled over to a chair, never taking his eyes off the screen. The hidden lives of all the children who found the golden tickets were being revealed.

First, Augustus was shown, eating, eating, eating … and yes, some more eating, as well as, putting away a lot of soda. He looked and acted so greedy, like everything belonged to him and was for him to consume.

Next, Charlie saw Violet at her house, the gym, and school. Charlie saw another girl next to her chewing gum.  

“That must be her competition she spoke of.”, he thought.

Then Veruca was heard yelling at the top right corner of all the monitors. There was footage documenting her mom and dad’s involvement. It unveiled how Veruca, nor her parents, found the ticket personally; how they made hundreds of workers go through countless cases of candy, tearing the paper from each Wonka bar they touched, searching for a golden ticket.

Finally, Charlie noticed Mike Teavee. A camera peeking down under his desk, catching him playing with a hand-held video game while in the school classroom. Another hidden camera showed him watching a small hand held DVD player while sitting in a school assembly. The special guest spoke to them about the importance of reading.

“Wait!”,

said Charlie.  

“What ?… Whaaa …” 

he hesitated.  Then expressed one word, 

“Explain.”

The Oompa-Loompas were about to try to explain. Interrupting them the pre-recorded words of Wonka blared out,

“I can explain. I paid people, specialists in surveillance, tracking, and investigation, to find someone pure, sincere, and honest.  I wanted to show the world that no good can come from being bad. We found five that fit all the typical behaviors and attitudes.  I chose these to come in and see my factory. When I found each particular child that would portray the particular point I wanted to stress, we would plant the golden ticket where they were bound to find it. Yours was planted too, Charlie. As I have already told you, I knew you’d be the one, and now the day has come. 

You were the HARDEST kid to get the golden ticket to because your family couldn’t afford it. We are so glad we were finally able to put one in your path. We had to use seven tickets on Augustus because he kept eating them right along with the candy bars.”

He paused as each child was shown in their everyday life behaving exactly as they did when at the factory. One screen showed Augustus burying his head into a bowl of some kind of chocolate pudding, then flashed to him reaching into the Chocolate River. Another screen captured the attention of everyone by its sheer loudness.  It was Violet.  She was all mouth, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, while the whole time chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing (Take a deep breath to finish). Chew, chew, chewing! Clips of her before she came to the factory revealed her chewing while talking in the halls, bathroom, and classroom. Some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, unlike Violet. This girl could not only do that she could also talk her head off, expressing how great and talented she was in everything she does. She even talked as she waited to see the school principal for talking too much. The sad thing was that every time she opened her mouth to talk, it was usually about being the best GUM chewed in the world! She constantly flapped her gums while chewing the same gobs of gum she chewed while on the tour of the factory.

The video faded. Then they watched as she snapped when Wonka got to one of the only machines he had that made gum.

As the surrounding speakers began to make a rustling sound, a sort of static, everyone thought there would be another breakdown. Deep down, they knew it was all part of Wonka’s overall show. Expecting the unexpected the rustling got louder, some voices were added to it, then, bells and whistles started sounding off. 

When all those sounds diminished, all you could hear, coming from every direction, was Veruca’s voice, making greedy demands. One overlapped the other, until finally, everything went silent. Completely silent. Screens lit up slowly, first dark brown, then light brown, then gray, and finally, reaching their full capacity, each screen showed thousands of little pictures together, when looked at from a distance, they made up her full face. Somehow Wonka even got the image to say, “I WANT IT NOW.”  What followed was a rush of images the day she was in the factory.  They slowed down just showing her face. Everyone witnessed how she appeared as she was going down the garbage chute.

Once again, everything went blank.  No light appeared in the room at all, just Wonka’s voice, trying to sound like a movie announcer, reverberating around the room, 

“Ladies and genteMEN … en … en, of ALL … L … L AGES … s … s … I introduce … s … s  YOU … ou … ou to … oo … oo MMMmmmmister MmmmikeTeaveE… e… e.”

The room immediately went  from completely black to an overbearing brightness. Their eyes could not adjust fast enough. No one was able to see anything. They were blinded by the light, but they could still hear. They heard Mike in school telling other kids how dumb they were and then he was even mouthing off to the teachers, thinking he was smarter than they. As the light descended, each screen began to show a different TV show, ones that Mike liked the best. The room was filled with chattering rackets and then all the monitors worked together as one big screen, showing Mike insulting Mr. Wonka in the factoried TV room. They watched the replay of Mike sending himself through the Wonka-vision machine then Wonka pulling him up and out of the minitor.

The screens showed a curtain closing as if the play was over. Shortly after closing the curtains slowly opened back up, revealing Mr. Willy Wonka standing in the middle of a stage. No one could top him.  His first words were,

“Don’t try to grab me like we did Mike Teavee.”   

He smiled and twirled his cane around. The cameras moved in for a close-up. He declared, 

“I have lived a full life. I have done more in ONE DAY than most people do in their whole life. I’m not bragging. It is a fact. FACT!”

Emotionally, he finished,

 “Greed, rudeness, selfishness, and lack of interaction with other human beings: these are the four traits we must stay away from. I had to pick the right ones for the right job, otherwise not only would my point not WORK, but the Oompa-Loompas would not know who or what to siiing about.” 

He winked and the picture started to fade, going fuzzy, full of static.

“Am I fading?  Just a little?”

He coughed, and just as his image faded completely, his voice came through with

 “My factory will help you stay young and playful and never grow up or get old, Charlie. . . life is just TOO sweet.  While you’re alive, enjoy it!”  

Circling around them, from speaker to speaker, was the word, 

“Sweet.” 

It echoed on and on, around and around. That was the last they saw or heard from Mr. Willy Wonka.

CHAPTER 4

“Without Wonka”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

The factory was entirely Charlie’s now.  No longer was Mr. Wonka there to lean on, learn from, or depend upon. 

Depressed, not only at losing his grandparents, but now Mr. Wonka, too, he went to his mom and dad’s bedroom. Trying to comfort each other, Charlie’s mom suggested they get out of the factory for a little while, get some natural sunlight to help take the blues away. 

Living in the factory they never saw much true sunlight. There were sunroofs here and there, but they were still shut off from the outside world. So,they did what his mom recommended.  They piled into the glass elevator and took off through the ceiling as Charlie reminisced about his first trip in the elevator with Grandpa Joe and Mr. Wonka.

Getting out into the sunlight did the trick and inspired Charlie with his next new idea and invention. He exclaimed, 

“A garden, a CANDY garden!”

“You already have the chocolate room, Charlie! Why, that’s just like a garden,” 

His mom replied.

“Yes,” 

Charlie rebutted, 

“but that is inside. I am talking about a garden outside, with grass you can eat, cotton candy trees, a taffy merry-go-round, lollipop see-saws, swings of licorice stripps, and a sandbox filled with fine shaved chocolate!  We’ll call it a CHOCOLATE BOX, and use white chocolate that will look just like sand. The moms and dads could let the kids eat it instead of yelling at them to not eat the sand!”

Charlie was getting louder as he continues to exclaimed,  

“We’d have enormous candy cane poles to slide down and even a gingerbread house, trimmed in huge pieces of candy, big enough for someone to live in!”

“But, Charlie,” 

his dad interrupted. 

“It will melt in the hot sun!”

Charlie put his hand on his dad’s shoulder and grinned, 

“Dad, you’re talking to the candy man now. Mr. Wonka invented ice cream that wouldn’t melt on the hottest day in July.  He made kites of compressed fruit candy that endured the wind, rain and sun.  Come now, back to the factory!  No time to dilly or dally.  We have so much time and so little to do.”  

Charlie’s speech stopped dead in its tracks. He, along with his parents, realized he was even beginning to talk just like Mr. Wonka now!  A short second later, Charlie said, 

“Wait a sec.  Stop.  Reverse that, Okay?  Onward, moving right along now, folks, oooon we goooo!”

Charlie shouted as he took the wonkavator back in for a safe landing.

Charlie’s walk back through the factory was a mimic of Mr. Wonka, followed by his parents, struggling to keep up. It was as if Charlie was possessed with the same charisma, innovation, and quirkiness.

So, Charlie and his workers soon began making the outdoor garden and playground a reality. Charlie didn’t share the secret ingredients with anyone, or the directions on how to make the durable edibles for outside. He just kept them in his head where no one could get in and steal them.

The day arrived, faster than Charlie thought possible. It was time to send out public announcements and invitations, welcoming all to come and see the garden. The population was notified by t.v., radio, newspapers, the internet and especially by social media. Charlie beckoned for all children to come and play on his delightful, magical playground.

At the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Charlie declared, 

“I know we all wish Mr. Wonka could be here. As you know from what you’ve read in the newspaper, he has left this old land, free, and is in candy heaven with cotton candy clouds, eating from a huge banquet table more amazing than our minds could ever conceive.”

He paused for a moment of respectful silence. Then he spoke loud and clear for all to hear,

“But we are not here to mourn. We are here to celebrate! Just as Mr. Wonka originally told all the LUCKY winners of the golden tickets so I tell you, please, stay very calm.  Don’t lose your heads. We wouldn’t want any of you to do that. Now I, formerly Charlie Bucket, now Charlie ‘Wonka’ Bucket, declare this public park, the new ‘Wonka World,’OPEN!”

With these words, Charlie cut the candy ribbon and all the police, security guards and special riot prevention SWAT teams could not hold back the rush of people.

CHAPTER 5

“In The Open Air”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

As Charlie walked through the crowds, he thought, 

“Perhaps I should have allowed only a certain amount of people in at a time.” 

 People not only swarmed throughout the park, grabbing and gobbling, but men, women, boys, and girls  pressed against him, asking all sorts of questions, some of which were very private and personal.

“Excuse me, all questions must be submitted at the end of the day, in writing.  Thank you for calling and have a nice day.”,

was Charlie’s stock answer.

When asked about his secret of how the candy was made to last outside, he replied, 

“Folks, candy is dandy, but . . . silence is GOLDEN, and a little silence now and then is cherished by the wisest men.” 

Charlie thought it best to keep them guessing.

He smiled as he tried to get away from the crowd, but one final shout stopped him,

“Charlie, can you keep up with the demands of production like Mr. Wonka did?”

Charlie turned slowly, and from out of nowhere, like magic, there was a puff of smoke from Charlie’s sleeve. All eyes shifted their attention to Charlie. In one hand he held up Mr. Willy Wonka’s cane and candy shot out of his other hand just as an illusionist keeps pulling scarves from his sleeve. Candy sprayed all around them as if a global size pinata had just been broken open! While the people were busy with the candy shower, Charlie was able to get away, pushing through to take refuge inside the factory.

Once inside Charlie took a deep breath, still happy and excited about the opening.  He rushed to the top of the main smokestack and peered out a little window, just big enough for his eyes. 

 “They look like ants,” 

Charlie said aloud to himself. 

 “Oh my, oh my ohmyomyo!!! 

he exclaimed. 

 “What have I done?”

He raced back down the spiral stairs and announced over the internal speaker system,

“Blblblblbl, all Oompa-Loompas, blblblblbl, come quickly!  

Drop whatever it is you’re doing! Meet me in the front lobby of the factory! This is an emergency! Blblblbl, flapflapflap, eeeahhwww. This is NOT a drill!!”

He slammed down the microphone, started to rush off, and then, in one quick, jerky motion, picked up the microphone again and yelled into it, 

“Thank you. That is all!”

Off he raced to the lobby, where he announced to them, 

“We are in GRAVE trouble.  The people are behaving like locusts.”

The Oompa-Loompas stared at him in confusion.

 “Oh, you don’t know what locusts are, do you?  Well, ah . . . “ 

He searched for a word. 

 “Oh, I’ve got it!  They are like vicious conides or roaming winzzels, and they are ruining our garden.”

Several Oompa-Loompas tried to spokeak up, using the English language the best they could. Charlie heard the loudest one shouting,

“Sir, I’ve got an idea!!!” 

His words were drowned out by others as another one cried,

“That is their nature, sir! Just like the children Mr. Wonka left the factory!”

“They are all full of greed, uncontrollable lust!”,

blurted in another.

“With no respect!”,

shouted another.

“Spoiled!”,

interjected another.

Floodgates of indistinct chatter filled the air, murmurs of how badly people behaved on the outside as opposed to Loompaland. Charlie felt as if he were losing control and nervously managed to pull them back together.

He said, 

“Okay, so at least we all agree, and we are all on the same wavelength of thinking.”

“YES!!!”  

THEY ALL CHANTED IN UNISON.

Surprised, Charlie went back to the first one who said he had an idea and asked, 

“What is your idea?”

As the little Oompa-Loompa scratched his head, the scratching sound turned into the sound of a musical shaker, followed by a group of them hitting their bellies making a boom-boom sound like a big bass drum. Then the rest of them started humming. Finally they all broke out into song!

“Oh, we knew this would take place. 

These people are a disgrace.

We tried this all before. 

They kick, they punch, they knock down the door.

What shall we do? 

What can we do? 

We must come to a rescue.

Help, help, you say, and so we must 

take down this nasty ornery cuss.

Aliens are what we are, 

we come down like a shooting star.

Aliens are what they see.

SOoOo000, let’s all go 

and set them free.

We do not need them in our place.  

They are all up in our face.

So, so, SOoOo000, let’s go scare ’em, 

one by one, 

and not stop 

until our job is done.”

And with that, the song was done.

Charlie applauded their performance and said,

“You are the best!  Let’s get out there and scare the taffy out of them! Hurry! Scare them away!! Go, go, go! Blblblblb be gone!!!”

Charlie Went his way and they went theirs. When he got on the public address system he picked up the microphone that blared outside the factory and proclaimed,

“WARNING!  EVERYONE, WARNING!  THE WHOLE FACTORY IS BEING INVADED BY STRANGE AND DANGEROUS ALIEN CREATURES.  THEY ARE ALL OVER THE INSIDE OF THE FACTORY AND ARE NOW COMING YOUR WAY OUTSIDE TOWARD YOU.  ALL OF YOU, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!”

Charlie smiled, set down the microphone, and headed toward the stairs that led up to the little smokestack window. With a quick jerk, however, he returned and picked up the microphone.

  “Thank you. That is all.” 

he said.

Laughing maniacally, he raced up to the observation window. Peaking out to see what was taking place, he hunched over and whispered,

 “This is going to be a good show!”

A smile spread across his face as he watched people running around like crazy people! The Oompa-Loompas scurried out of the factory, and when the tourists saw these knee-high men of different color, they screamed, hollered, and shrieked in fear so loud that Charlie could hear them all the way up in the smokestack. The sight made him giddy.  Even the official public police and security forces didn’t know what to make of all this pandemonium. Within sixty seconds the crowd cleared out, not just out of the park, but out of sight. When the Oompa-Loompas came inside Charlie met them with a big 

“Thank You!” 

They all nodded in response and laughed. 

Charlie said, 

“I’m sure you are ready to sing another mischievous song, huh?”

Laughing in unison, they returned to their own areas of the factory. They hummed in harmony the same tune they sang earlier. They were truly happy to return back to the work they loved.

Charlie went out to assess the damage. Standing on the front steps of the factory, his eyes slowly scanned the horizon. His eyes began to flood with tears. He wept as he surveyed the destruction caused by the general public. The white cigarette candy fences that surrounded the garden were completely broken down, as well as the area containing the organically edible candy treats that made the garden such a splendid place to visit. Although the fences were extra high, the public literally ate their way through the barriers. The gingerbread house had gaping holes in the walls. Everything on the playground had been leveled to the ground. It looked as if a bomb had hit his candy garden. He felt defeated and depressed. He asked himself a hard question,

“Is this the end to all the rest?”

CHAPTER 6

“Aftermath”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

Charlie stepped back into the factory, slammed the door and fell face first against the door, with his head buried in his arms.  Suddenly he felt a warm hand touch his shoulder.

“Son,” 

his dad whispered. And that was all his dad needed to say.  Charlie turned into his father’s arms and cried like a baby.

Later, during a nice family dinner, Charlie, reflected on how Mr. Wonka had closed the factory because of the spies and how he started it up again, but with no outside workers. He also recalled when Wonka opened it for the five children, and how,  after Charlie and his family moved in, no one from the outside was allowed entry.

Charlie’s mom searched for the right words that may help the situation. She uttered, 

“Son, we, you, I mean out of all of us here, the Oompa-Loompas included, we may not be able to deal with the public in the future, other than selling and shipping the chocolate out to the stores.”

Charlie made no response, just hung his head, looking down. His dad then tried to comfort him,

“Charlie?  You know most factories that do mass production do not allow the public to come in for open houses or… ah, tours through the factory.”

Looking up, Charlie said, 

“But Dad, this is not like most factories.  

This is Wonka’s…”

He could not finish. The rest of their dinner time was finished in silence. 

For the next several months they all retreated back into the factory. Even though the interior climate was warm, the atmosphere remained cold and dark. Outside was gloomy too, keeping all natural light from coming in. Fear of spies gripped Charlie. No one would help him preserve the outdoor garden because of the public’s lack of respect. He felt so alone.

Years passed and Charlie’s parents became bed-ridden, just as his grandparents were. Charlie had lost his grandparents and Mr. Wonka. Now he had to accept the fact that his parents were not going to live here with him forever.  Heavy-hearted, he recalled that even one of Mr. Wonka’s Oompa-Loompas deceived them and threatened the future heritage of the factory by selling secrets. The future would see Charlie’s decision on what to do with that Oompa-Loompa, but meanwhile Charlie knew exactly how Mr. Wonka felt just before he made plans for the five golden ticket tour. Loneliness was preferred over disrespect to his family and workers. the display of typically selfish human nature and unruly behavior of outsiders could no longer be allowed. Charlie was the owner of a lonely heart. He felt that was much better than being the owner of a broken heart.

Charlie came to his parents with an idea of developing robots that would look and react like human beings.  They didn’t say anything, but he saw in their eyes their true opinion.  

“I’m trying, mom, dad . . . “ 

he said, holding back tears.

In a raspy voice, his dad tried to speak clearly,

“Charlie . . . son, we love you. We know you want to have more than just us.”

“It’s more than that, dad.” Charlie replied.

Then his mom spoke up, softly and gently, 

“Oh, Charlie, we both know.  It is Okay, son. You don’t just want, you need more than us.  You need . . . “

Charlie looked away before his mother finished, but then turned back to face her as she beckoned. 

“Don’t go, son.  I haven’t seen you like this since before you came to the factory the very first time. Remember what Grandpa Joe said when I asked him not to fill your head with dreams?  He said, ‘Let the boy dream.’  And you wanted that golden ticket, that golden opportunity, more than anything, son.” 

Taking a deep breath and releasing it, she went on,

“Dream again, son. Cheer up Charlie.”

Charlie went to their bedside and hugged them both, saying, 

“If we can’t go out of this factory because of the way people treat us on the outside, we’ll have to bring them in . . . somehow . . . I just don’t know how, yet.”

They both nodded their heads, saying, 

“You will, son . . . you will.”

Just like the great outdoors cannot be duplicated, so also people cannot be synthetically duplicated.  Nothing is like nature other than nature itself, and metaphorically speaking, the same is true with the character of the human race. In Charlie’s eyes, he saw how the majority of the human race had let their own nature crowd out any good, deep-rooted, well-rounded mannerisms, common sense, and valuable, respectful relationships.

As Charlie fell asleep that night, his mind continued to work and search for the ultimate answer to this whole dilemma. His concerns had nothing to do with financial gain. Growing up he had become accustomed to living with bare necessities. He knew that memories and family members were more important than money. He remembered the old house they lived in as he dosed in and out of restless sleep. With each toss and turn, his mind wondered, pondered, and stormed.  

Finally, he could sleep no more. His racing mind went through rough draft after rough draft, crumbling one thought then onto another. Eventually, just like Mr. Wonka himself, Charlie kept going back to figure out the right recipe so things would be as sweet and tasty as possible. He heard Wonka’s voice in his head, 

“Some of my dreams become reality and some of my realities become dreams.”  

With that, Charlie’s body gave in, his mind rested, and he dropped into a much needed deep, deep, sleep. When awakened, he swiftly sat up in bed and proclaimed, “A muse, a muse!!!”

Chapter 7

“In The Muse”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

Inspiration and creativity blossomed in his mind. All his jagged thoughts became consolidated and solidified into one picture perfect tapestry. 

A muse is a label given to someone, or something, that inspires original and innovative ideas; some type of being or entity that gives visionary concepts so the one needing and receiving it can bring that burst of art to life.

Charlie could not control himself. 

“A muse, a muse, a muse, a muse!”,

He kept exclaiming, getting progressively louder each time he repeated it.  He catapulted out of bed, ran through the factory halls and rooms. He barged into his parents’ room, which had been specially equipped with health care needs and Oompa-Loompa medical staffing. He leaped into the middle of the one big bed they both shared, waking them from their deep sleep.  Charlie never knew whether they would be asleep, awake or even alive.  However, Charlie brought them to consciousness quickly. Their eyes flew wide open, disbelieving what they were actually seeing.  Charlie was jumping so hard he almost bounced both of them right out of bed.

He continued to shout louder and louder,

 “A muse, a muse, a muse, mom, a muse, dad!”

His parents looked at each other in wonderment. They had seen some very strange and bizarre behavior from Willy Wonka and Charlie, but this was beyond explanation. Mrs. Bucket said to her husband, 

“What does he mean, dear?”

Although they were both hard of hearing, they could not help but hear Charlie’s over-excited cheers. His father replied, 

“It is not what he means, dear, it is what he is meant to do!”

When Mr. Bucket uttered those last few words, Charlie abruptly froze, almost in mid-air. Charlie looked down at his dad and whispered, with a smile,

“Say it again, dad.  Say . . . it . . . again.”  

There was a certain desperation in their son’s voice. His father swallowed hard, looked at his wife, and then back to his son.

Charlie riveted his attention on his dad as Mr. Bucket repeated, 

“It’s not what you mean, Charlie.  It is what you are meant to do.”

Then, as if Charlie’s dad could read his mind, his father said slowly, 

“It is what you were meant to do. What you are meant to be. It is your contribution to the entire world, Charlie, as only the candy man can!”

Charlie dropped to his knees right there in the center of their bed. He spoke softly, but his parents were able to hear, 

“Mom, dad, you mean more to me than anything else in life, and the words I just heard from you provide me with the missing link, the final ingredient I need, to bring this factory, with all its glory, back to life.”

His mom lit up as if a radiant angel flowed into her body.  Charlie never saw her face beaming with such joy as she uttered the long awaited and victorious statement, 

“A muse, as in amusement.” 

She smiled even wider and began to laugh out loud, 

“An amusement park, Charlie?! Haha HAAA!”

Charlie sprang to his feet and said,

“That’s right!”  

And as he jumped up and leaned back, he yelled, 

“AN AMUUUUSEMENT PAAAAATK! An amusement park, WOOO HOOOO! wooo hooo!”  

He landed on his back, still directly in the center of their bed. Upon landing, he burst out in laughter.

His exuberant child-like joy was contagious. They all began laughing as if they were silly, giddy, school kids.  The Oompa-Loompas laughed also, but, then again, they were always laughing!  Charlie jumped up and they all grabbed hands.  Charlie could hardly speak, having lost all control of his composure. He just kept repeating, almost unintelligible, an unstoppable sing song chant,

“An amusement park…Amuse, amuse, amuse ment park! Aamuse, amuse, amuse ment park! Amuse, amuse, amuse ment park! Aamuse, amuse, amuse ment park!”

Like singing monks, the Oompa-Loompas joined in as the montra continued,

“An amusement park, an amusement park, an amus-ment-park! ! !”

Building an amusement park was exactly what everyone needed: to bring back the whole spirit of Willy Wonka.

Charlie sat in bed with his parents for four days, working with them as a CEO or president of another company would with their board members. They ate all their meals right there in bed while they bounced ideas off each other. Some concepts they had only dreamed of making into a reality long ago, and many other new ones evolved right then and there very rapidly.  As a tightly knitted sweater, they all joined their ideas into a warm quilt of amusement.

When Charlie’s parents would doze off, unavoidably, into a slumber, Charlie continued. He relentlessly, put into place all the necessities to erect an exclusive signature amusement park unlike any other in the world. 

Charlie was even able to use some of Mr. Wonka’s  original plans he used while building the palace for an Indian prince. He remembered that the structure was a disaster only because of heat from natural sunlight; or was it the fact that the prince did not begin to eat it right away? This made Charlie smile. Natural sunlight is what the factory was missing. He realized outside of the factory would be the perfect environment for a Palace. Everything in the park could revolve around such a monument.  He laughed out loud in glee, realizing that with the right formula he could make the building structure last forever.

Fears that haunted him from the horrible experience with the outdoor candy garden were pushed far from his mind. In an amusement park setting, he would be in control. There would be security, proper guides, trusted operators, and other general employees who would receive a good pay to help take care of, and contribute to, the future of the park.  

As his parents took their cat naps, Charlie sat in the center of their bed, legs crossed, and let his dreams soar limitlessly. The whole time Charlie wrote nothing down. He could see in his mind a clear vision of the factory, and the ground around it, turning into a place of enjoyment that would grow, bloom, and continue to advance, constantly developing into more. He was able to envision the what, where, when, and of each newborn idea.

At the end of the fourth day, Charlie jumped up and walked briskly through the various halls that led from one room to another, talking out loud to himself. He waved his arms manically here and there, pointing out what was going to take place throughout the entire factory. It was as if he was a professional tour guide leading a crowd behind him, with a memorized script, giving note to the surrounding highlights.

He walked faster and faster, until he was literally running down and around through the long corridors, darting in and out of rooms, the whole time continuing his monologue, proclaimed such things as, 

“And here we’ll build a roller coaster that dives into and through a wall of whipped cream, covering its thrill-seeking riders with a light, sweet texture.”  

He had already configured how the wall of cream would be reconstructed and ready for the next exhilarating stream of oncoming roller coaster cars packed with fun seekers, eager to blast their way through. He could see, taste and hear the impact, with cream flying everywhere!

An electrical excitement surged through Charlie’s body and mind, occupying his very being. This hype and eccentric presence had not been present since Willy Wonka originally developed the factory. In Charlie’s mind, the chocolate waterfall became a spiraling slide with several dips and swoops. To get to the top of it on the other side was a challenging rock climbing course with three different skill levels, all made out of the best rock candy, of course. Guests of all ages would enjoy the climb as well as the taste.

Charlie came to a long hallway that held lots of memories. He stopped, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. He could smell all flavors of candy.  Opening his eyes, he turned his head toward the wall and licked the wallpaper. He smiled and said, 
“The snozberries still taste like snozberries. We are still the music makers, and we are still the dreamers of dreams. Thank you Mr. Wonka.”

Chapter 8

“The Date”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

Charlie was ready to set a date to re-open the factory.  There were a few more things that needed to be completed, and as Charlie himself prepared to lead the first tour around the amusement park, even more original ideas came to him.  To capture the attention of those on the outside of the factory and to build up a desire to visit, Charlie, along with his workers, took part in painting the factory in bright cheerful colors. All of the paint was laced with candy so that no unpleasant paint fumes were emitted. The smell of different types of candy settled over the whole city. 

People pressed against the gates, making remarks that Charlie got a kick out of.  Many times they would shout out questions, but Charlie would just turn, smile, and say, 

“All in good time, my friends.  All in good time.” 

Sometimes, when the shouting from the television and newspaper media got to be too much, he would simply turn and tip his hat to them.

The most difficult task, to finish in time for the opening, was the reconstruction of the old outdoor garden that he had tried to share with the public.  It was decided that the most interesting thing to do, which was also the fastest and easiest, was to turn it into a haunted forest, leaving the old rotted, broken fence just as it was.

Charlie set up an insect barrier to keep outdoor bugs from entering the factory area. He continueually fed the bugs outside the factory to keep them satisfied. That was his secret. As a result the pests never came any closer jeopardizing his work with other sweets. However, that barrier around the outside garden area had been consumed and there was a problem with insects there. To resolve this, he went to the top of his smokestack and dumped scalding syrup which, as you can imagine, killed the insects and sent them to their own candy heaven. The syrup was thin and you could see through it as you walked around the transformed garden. You were able to see bugs of all kinds under your feet, much like dragonflies caught in amber. The Oompa-Loompas were then able to set up another barrier to keep any other insects from entering.

The garden, now labeled,

“The Haunted Forest . . . that will give you the willies!” 

depicted the horrible results from vandals. It showed the truly terrifying side of life around us. It displayed the message that human nature can be very ugly. Behind each bush of spearmint leaves, under every destroyed hard tack bridge, were spine chilling scares.  Charlie called all this,

“Controlled chaos.”

After creating all amusements in the park, indoors and out, Charlie interviewed and hired employees for extra supervision, ride operators, and security. The Oompa-Loompas continued with their jobs, making the candy, and Charlie was the only one adding the ingredients, so the secret could never be divulged by anyone.

Finally, Opening Day arrived! Rather than having the usual brass band play at the opening for the newly vamped factory, Charlie had a rock band. After the performance of a few songs, Charlie came down from the sky in the famous glass elevator. Everyone noted that is was much larger than before, and he wasn’t alone. It was filled with Oompa-Loompas. Many people still feared them, thinking they were aliens of some kind. The elevator landed so quietly, you could hear a candy wrapper drop!

Charlie exited and stepped up to a microphone,

“Attention!  May I have your attention please!  I am honored to announce that, with the help of my staff, my very own parents, and the one and only Mr. Willy Wonka himself, the muse, I have been able to change the factory into an amusement park. You will see things here that you have never, and will never, see anywhere else. Today I welcome you, one and all, but I also ask that you do well while you are here.”

Charlie pause, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath before continuing,

“I want to give so much, but I don’t want you to take too much. There is a time to play hard, yet at the same time remain responsible. No adult will be allowed to enter without a child and no child will allow the adult they are with to misbehave.” 

He ended with, 

“We must all use common sense. Come on in, the candy is fine!!!”

With that, he cut the candy ribbon, the rock band fired up again, and each person was checked by security before they entered.

Chapter 9

“The Entrance”

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

The glass elevator had set down right in the center of a courtyard area. The people were not fully aware of what they were about to see, but when the Wonkavator landed, it showed them just the tip of an iceberg, or as Charlie would say, 

“An ice cream burg”.

The Wonkavator had been made larger and was equipped with strapped-in seats for one hundred visitors. Once inside, a very realistic, lifelike hologram of Mr. Willie Wonka himself appeased to kick off the tour. His famous quotes baffled, but also impressed, everyone. Once locked and loaded the Wonkavator shot straight up, high into the air. When it landed once again the doors opened to the entrance of Willies Haunted Forest. The guests were reminded of the need to be  more conscious and considerate of everyone and everything while in the factory/park.

Immediately after walking through the old garden, they were shocked upon entering one of the largest greenhouse rooms imaginable. The thick crystal clear Plexiglas enclosed all sorts of exotic plants.  When guests would press their hand against the glass,  huge exotic animals lunged  right into the glass, freaking out the spectators. The barrier was a foot thick but seemed much thinner when these creatures banged into them.

The guests were then greeted by a tour guide telling them,

 “There are little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous . . . ”

subtly adding,

“Nothing deadly.” 

It was at this point that some of the guests thought, perhaps they should not have come. But they soon learned that they really were safe and specific provisions were in place to protect them.

They also learned that the animals in that area fed mainly on organic candy grown on the ground, as well as the much needed cocoa bean. The visitors watched as the coco beans were devoured by these never-before-seen insects and creatures with names they couldn’t even pronounce correctly. It was explained that cocoa beans were scarce at times because they were the main food for all living things in the area and also cherished by the Oompa-Loompas who shared the environment.

An amazing feature was then introduced as the eye-opening tour continued. Right in the center of the domain was a sealed off area. It was a complete and an exact replica of Loompaland. Remember the Oompa-Loompa mentioned earlier who sold Wonka’s secrets? Willy and Charlie did not forget that he lied when he told Mr. Wonka that he was returning to his home land for a vacation. They had not forgotten his betrayal. No charges were brought against him; but rather, a lush, yet outlandish and deadly cell was provided for him to live in. Just like he once lived in Loompaland. Spectators had a full view of this dwelling. His every day fight for survival was witnessed. Most of the guests found this to be sick and demented, yet were still amused nonetheless!

They also learned of the dangerous beasts that were imported. It was these beasts that produced a rich fertilizer better than any other available source in the reproduction of the foliage, trees, and indescribable plants found only in Loompaland.

The specially constructed cable cars, better known as Sugar Sky Riders, traveled directly through the center of Loompaland. The ride provided a safe haven far above the terrain below. Each car was made from upside down gumdrops. Children longed to reach out and touch the cotton candy clouds but the cars were completely enclosed.

At the top and end of the ride there was an enormous movie theater. The screen was made of marshmallows and the curtains were thin fudge, their sweet aromas filling the air. The show was the video footage of the children who went through the factory so many years ago, entitled The Lucky Golden Ticket Wieners.  So that the audience wouldn’t think the word wieners  was supposed to be winners, there was an immediate introduction and narration.  Everyone had the opportunity to see first hand how embarrassing, rude and selfish those first guests were. The parents featured in the video threatened to press charges until they found out that the footage was completely legal according to the contract they had signed. The movie was used as a teaching took, making it clear,

“No rebellion  nor over-indulgence would be tolerated.” 

This assured that, as Wonka used to say, 

“No one loses your head. We wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone.  Stay very, very calm, and enjoy!”

Financial provision flowed in bountifully, and much more money was put into what Charlie called Scrumdiliumcious Candy School, named after one of Wonka’s largest chocolate bars. The purpose was to train children and young adults, as well as those young at heart of any age, to carry on the art of candy making. This also insured the factory’s future. Without giving away any secret knowledge of ingredients, the pupils were rewarded with jobs as their skills developed.

With the reality that candy, sugar especially, raised the risk of tooth decay, the Association of Dental Hygienists generously, yet secretly, made yearly contributions to the school.  They realized they profited from it as well!

Meanwhile, the guests were able to enjoy gummy bear bumper cars, a taffy tug-o-war, licorice strip swings, and even caramel bungee cord jumps, all made of the finest ingredients, of course!  Everyone was pleasantly surprised when a shower of fruit flavored snow flakes began to shower upon them and they stuck out their tongues to catch as many flakes as they could!

Best of all, out of all the amazing and mind bending rides and attractions, was when Charlie Wonka Bunket would lead a tour himself.  This was reminiscent of what Mr. Wonka did with all the same unpredictable shenanigans. Charlie only did these tours on the weekends that had the fewest number of people entering the gates.  Attendance varied from day to day. The welcoming staff, dressed like Mr. Wonka, kept count of how many people were allowed to enter each day.

When the park first opened any group fewer than two hundred was taken on tour, this being the number of seats available on the new boat that drifted down the Chocolate River. The boat still ventured through numerous intricately channels, cascades and tunnels.

After a number of years the news spread world-wide and attendance was never under a thousand people a day.  At times people had to wait in line to get in as others exited. Charlie would not allow more than four thousand in at a time. If five people left, five were allowed to enter. Some had to leave “the old way” because they ignored the rules and stepped out of the set boundaries. Those waiting in line hoped that some would get kicked out, shot out of one of the garbage shoots or escorted out by a bunch of wild, yet trained squirrels.  Many would wait overnight in hopes of getting in the next morning.

Charlie had to come up with a way for everyone to have a chance to explore, visit and learn what Wonka started. And so, he assigned his best Oompa-Loompas to set appointments. This. helped allow Charlie to limit the amount of people entering the factory.  After all, this was also his home!      

When crowds were just too large, Charlie spent most of his time with his mom and dad. Oh, how he loved and cared for them. They shared a beauty that only a good family life can provide. The satisfaction of acceptance and bonding with each other is what kept them alive so long.

Chapter 10

“Inside Charlie”

The conclusion

(Editorial note: Use Google heading size 3 for chapter numbers and titles)

As Charlie observed the oneness in his parents’ lives, he also began to long for that unity. So he decided to search for a wife, a companion or simply a friend. The problem was that every woman and potential “friend” seemed to have the wrong intentions and motives for wanting a connection with Charlie. It was as if they were all gold diggers, or in this case golden chocolate diggers, lusting for Charlie’s fame and fortune.

At the end of each day, the last Oompa-Loompa could be seen passing out a type of key to the city, much like a mayor would award to a visiting dignitary. It was called “The Wonkey.”  When asked why, Charlie said, 

“It will fit any lock. If you’re ever locked out of some important place, here is a spare, the Wonkey.”  

When asked how, he was quoted, 

“As you can tell it is made from some of the finest candy and you can just lick it until it is the right shape!” 

Charlie continued, 

“And if you’re not ever locked out, but you’re very, very hungry, then here is a snack!”  

They could almost hear Mr. Wonka himself as Charlie laughed in the same distinctive way!

One strange day, for some reason, it seemed to be a little brighter than other days. Charlie was giving the standard tour when he observed an extremely shy young lady who hardly lifted her head for fear her eyes would meet Charlie’s. He couldn’t keep from staring at the most humble, meek, shy and stunningly attractive woman he had ever seen.  Recognizing her significant attributes, he knew immediately that somehow he HAD to get to know her.  He found out where she lived from the appointment log and then he sent her a regular Wonka chocolate bar, enclosing was a classic golden ticket which was actually the very same ticket Charlie found as a boy.  He kept it in a frame in his room, only now deciding to use it in hopes that it would have the same allure to this young woman as it did to him. The difference was that there were not five other tickets involved. Enclosed was a note telling her when to come to the factory. Although he felt a little deceptive, he felt it was a unique way to arrange a personal meeting. 

Done in the utmost secrecy, the media, which would have created a frenzy,  had no inkling of his formulated plan. Charlie wanted her to be completely comfortable at their first meeting.

Charlie’s wishes came true as the young lady accepted the invitation. She said she thought there was something personal, very personal, about the “date set up” because she could see how old the ticket was and that it was exactly like those she had seen in photographs. She also found it strange that she was told to meet at the back entrance. Nonetheless she showed up and Charlie’s mission was accomplished. 

After some time getting to know each other, Charlie and his beautiful new friend, Chalet, knew without a doubt that they were destined to get married and spend the rest of their lives as one. 

Not long after their small, private, very informal wedding, Chalet gave birth to an extremely enchanting baby girl whom they named “Willma Wonka Bucket.” It was a bittersweet time because as the baby began life in this world, Charlie’s parents came to the end of their stay in this world. They bidded farewell as Wilma bid hello! 

Wilma was raised right there in the factory, where she enjoyed the amusement park right along with all the other entertainment. But most of all, she loved her mom and dad so much.  When she was asked,

 “What is your favorite part of all that surrounds you?” 

She answered, 

“Spending time alone with my mom and dad, JUST them.”  

Willma Wonka Bucket grew into a very refined young lady, learning what happens when a child is given too much, or is disrespectful, or shows irreverence.  She knew that she didn’t want to be like those children who had first visited the factory: overeaters, always trying to be the winner, spoiled, or fixated on TV fame.

Upon Charlie’s first visit to the Chocolate Factory, he learned that human nature can be vicious and that even if you mess up, if you end up “doing the right thing” it is always be rewarding.  As he recalled, Mr. Wonka said, 

“So shines a good deed in a weary world.”  

And now, Charlie is passing on the legacy to his daughter, the new heir.  They are still running the Chocolate Factory to this very day and continue to preserve the concept that we can all make a difference for the better in this world if we focus our interest on others, not just on ourselves. THAT is the sweetest thing life offers.

THE END

This story or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise – without prior written permission of the publisher.

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or businesses in practice, are purely coincidental. The views expressed here are my own, as are whatever factual errors exist in the text.

For a list of other stories go to: https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/stories-poems-and-art/

Who Dat? Holy Spirit?

Is that You, Holy Spirit?

Inspired by Who Is The Holy Spirit? Day 5 of a 6 day devotional reading  plan called  ‘Who Is The Holy Spirit?’ by @YouVersion.  Link at bottom.

Think for a moment about the magic of radio, T.V., Telephones, Cell Phones and Satellites. Specifically a satellite, 🛰

🛰an artificial body placed in orbit around the earth or moon or another planet in order to collect information or for communication.”a communications satellite” 🛰

All those devises feel magical, but if you understand a little bit about how those waves, towers, dishes and antennas work, some of the wonder fades.

Hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice is sort of the same way. We never really lose the wonder, but when we learn how God speaks, it can start to feel more natural. The more We seek God the more We are equipped to understand Him.

It’s a Spirit thing.

Newsboys song

So, how do we know it’s actually the Holy Spirit’s voice in our head? It’s not as hard as you think.

Remember that God wants to speak to you, and He built you to hear His voice. When you hear or feel something you think might be God, you can run it through a few simple tests to be sure.

Test #1

First, test it against the Bible.

Is that voice in your head asking you do something that doesn’t match up with God’s character as described in the Bible? If so, then it’s probably not the Holy Spirit. God never lies. And God will never direct us to sin or to make wrong choices. He loves humanity deeply, even the people that you don’t like.

So sometimes, He’ll ask us to do things that we’re sort of uncomfortable with, like giving someone a second chance after they hurt you or going out of your way to encourage someone you’d rather ignore.

That’s why reading the Bible is so important. The Holy Spirit can use what you read in the Bible to teach you about God’s character so that when you hear His voice it sounds familiar.

Test #2

Next, you can test it against your own selfishness.

As humans, we’re naturally selfish. So, when that voice in your head says to do the unselfish thing, or to think about someone else first—that’s probably the Holy Spirit. You know how it feels when a parent or a teacher encourages you to do the right thing, and you really don’t want to do it? On the inside, you resist it. That little rebellious voice—that’s not God. But, the voice that’s asking you to do what’s right instead of what’s easy—that just might be the Holy Spirit.

Test #3

For this test ask, “Does it sound like something Satan would do?”

I know this one’s probably obvious, but if you haven’t read much from the Bible, it can be easy to confuse his voice for something good.

We have to know and understand how the enemy works.

To Hell with the Devil.

He even used God’s words when tempting Christ. He loves twisting and misusing God’s recorded words.

Satan always makes things sound good, but one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to give you something called discernment.

Basically, that means the Holy Spirit will help you recognize when something is coming from Satan instead of God.

So, if the voice in your head is asking you to do something that sounds a little off, but you can’t quite pinpoint the reason—that’s probably the Holy Spirit helping you recognize the wrong voice.

Sometimes, people can throw God’s name around like a badge to do and say some ridiculous and sometimes hurtful things. Don’t do that. If you haven’t seen this yet you will.

If you ever feel like God is telling you to do something that could hurt someone else, it’s definitly not God.

Bonus Test

There’s actually a great bonus test we find in the book of Galatians. It talks about

the fruit of the spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.

Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 CEB
  • love,
  • joy,
  • peace,
  • patience,
  • kindness,
  • goodness,
  • faithfulness,
  • gentleness, and
  • self-control.

The Holy Spirit’s promptings will line up with those outcomes. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit asks you to be a little more loving. Or patient. Or kind. But He’ll never ask you to be the opposite. He’ll never ask you to be impatient or hateful.

And the great news is that if you aim to please God, He will honor the intent of your heart and make His voice obvious. Jesus said,

“My sheep know my voice.”

So don’t worry. When He speaks, you’ll recognize Him.

If you know who the Holy Spirit is and how He speaks, it’s time to start a conversation with Him.

If you’re still unsure just simple ask Him for understanding.


God’s Word

John 10:1‭-‬15. Jesus went on to say,

‘I am telling you what is true. A shepherd keeps his sheep in a safe place with a wall round it.

There is a gate into that safe place. Anyone else who gets into that place by another way, not through the gate, is not the shepherd. That person is a robber. He comes to take away the sheep that are not his.

The shepherd goes in through the gate. The person who watches the gate opens it for the shepherd. The sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice. He calls each of his own sheep by their name and he leads them out.

When he has brought out all his own sheep, he goes in front of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. They will run away from a stranger because they do not recognize his voice.’

Jesus told them this story like a picture to teach them. But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus spoke again. He said,

‘I am telling you what is true. I am like the gate for the sheep. All other men who ever came to the sheep before me were like robbers. But the sheep did not listen to them.

I am like the gate. Everyone who comes in through me will be safe. They will be free to come in and to go out. And they will find plenty of food.

The robber only wants to take away my sheep. He wants to kill them. He comes only to destroy them. But I have come so that they can have true life. And so that they can have everything that they need. I am the good shepherd.

The good shepherd would die so that he can save his sheep. Another man may work with sheep so that he gets money. But the sheep are not his own. A man like that is not the shepherd. If a wolf comes, a man like that runs away. When he sees the wolf, he leaves the sheep and he runs away. Then the wolf attacks the sheep. It causes them to run away in all directions. That man runs away because the sheep are not his own. The sheep do not really matter to him.

I am the good shepherd.

I know my own sheep, and they know me. I know them in the same way that my Father knows me. And they know me in the same way that I know the Father. I will die so that I can save my sheep.
John 10:1‭-‬15 EASY

Romans 8:5‭-‬17 Some people do what their weak human thoughts want them to do. They think about the things that will make themselves happy.

But people who live with God’s Spirit as their guide think about what will make God’s Spirit happy.

People who let their human thoughts rule them will die. But people who think about what God’s Spirit wants will have life with God. They will have peace inside themselves.

If our weak human thoughts rule us, we become God’s enemies. People like that do not want to obey God’s laws. They are not even able to obey them.

People who let their human thoughts rule them cannot make God happy. But you are not like that. You no longer obey your weak human thoughts. Instead, you obey God’s Spirit as your guide. That is true if God’s Spirit is really living in you. But if anyone does not have Christ’s Spirit in them, that person does not belong to Christ. But, if Christ lives in you, you have a new life because of HIS SPIRIT. Your body will die one day because of the power of sin. But your spirit lives because Christ has made you right with God.

God raised Jesus, to make Him alive again after his death. Now God’s Spirit lives in you. So God, who raised Christ from death, will also cause your human bodies to live again. He will do that by his Spirit who lives in you.

So, my Christian friends, we must not obey what our weak human thoughts tell us to do.

We no longer have to live like that.

If you agree to live in that way, you will die. Instead, you should let God’s Spirit help you with HIS POWER. Then you can stop doing the wrong things that your bodies want to do. As a result, you will have life with God.

All those people who live with God’s Spirit as their guide are God’s children. The Spirit that you have received from God does not make you serve him like slaves. That would make you afraid again. No. The Spirit that God has given to you causes you to become God’s children.

Now HE takes care of you.

God’s Spirit makes us call God: ‘Abba (Daddy), our Father.’ God’s Spirit himself causes us to know that we are God’s children. God’s Spirit and our own spirits agree that this is true. Because we are God’s children, we also know that we will receive good things from Him. Those are the things that he has promised to give to his children. Together with Christ, we will receive the things that God has kept for him.

That is true if we agree to have troubles like Christ did. Then we will also enjoy life in heaven like Christ does.
Romans 8:5‭-‬17 EASY

Galatians 5:16‭-‬26 So, this is what I say: Let God’s Spirit show you how to live in a good way. Then you will not do the wrong things that you may want to do, as people who are weak and human.

The things that you want to do as a weak person are opposite to the things that God’s Spirit wants. The things that God’s Spirit wants are the opposite of what we want as weak people. Our own thoughts fight against what God’s Spirit wants us to do. As a result, you are not free to do the things that you really want to do. But if God’s Spirit leads you, then the rules of God’s Law have no authority over you.

Everyone knows the kinds of bad things that weak people want to do.

They have sex with people that they are not married to. They do things that are bad and dirty. They worship idols. They do magic to hurt people. They become enemies and they fight one another. They are jealous of other people. They become very angry. They want to please themselves and to be important. They cause trouble. They make people belong to different groups (such as cults and sects). They want things that belong to other people. They are drunks. They have wild parties. And they like to do many other bad things like those.

So I warn you again, as I have already warned you before. People who continue to do any of those bad things will not receive good things from God. God has prepared those good things for the people who belong to his kingdom.

But God’s Spirit causes us to live in a different way. We love other people. We are happy and we have peace in our minds. We are patient, kind and good. People can trust us to do what is right. We respect other people and we rule ourselves properly.

God’s Spirit helps us to live in that way. There is no law that says these things are wrong.

We belong to Christ.

As a result, we no longer obey our wrong human thoughts. We stop doing the bad things that our thoughts want us to do.

It is like we have killed those thoughts on the cross. Now it is God’s Spirit that gives us life. So we must let God’s Spirit lead us in how we live. We must not become proud. We must not be jealous of each other, so that we cause trouble to one another.
Galatians 5:16‭-‬26 EASY

You just finished day 5 of the 6 day @YouVersion plan ‘Who Is The Holy Spirit?’. Check out the full plan here: http://bible.com/r/3Li
Links: https://bible.com/bible/2079/gal.5.16-26.EASY https://bible.com/bible/2079/rom.8.5-17.EASY https://bible.com/bible/2079/jhn.10.1-15.EASY
He knows

Music:

A Church Without Walls

We’re all one

Thoughts from

Who Christ Calls You To Be (http://bible.com/r/3rI) Day 4: Christ Calls You to Unity and Fellowship

Key Verse

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

In his letter to the Galatian church, the Apostle Paul offers a glimpse of the demographics of heaven. And it looks like paradise. If there were a census in heaven, it would ask only one question: 

Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Everything else is incidental.

But Paul is not necessarily talking about heaven in Galatians 3. He’s talking about the church—Christ’s followers in this world. The unity of our shared purpose far outweighs any differences in race, gender, or background.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12–31, Paul uses the human body as an analogy for the church. Within the body, various parts have different features, different functions, and different ways of working. But they share a common goal—one that unites them profoundly and overrides their differences.

Like the parts of the human body, Christ’s followers work together and depend on one another to accomplish Christ’s work.

The unity to which Christ calls us can serve as an example to the world. It can inspire and give hope to people who know little about Christ. Learning to embrace—and celebrate—the unique set of cultural mores, personal experiences, and God-given gifts and sensibilities that every believer brings to the work of Christ is one of the most powerful forms of outreach the church has to offer.

A lack of unity within a church can have a devastating effect on its outreach. If people look to the church and see fractious relationships, backbiting, and internal warfare, they will likely, and justifiably, chalk it up to hypocrisy.

For many, it will confirm their worst suspicions about Christianity. If they see there’s nothing special about the way Christ’s followers interact with one another, they may question Christ’s ability to change lives.

If, on the other hand, people see loving concern, cooperation, encouragement, accountability, and “iron-sharpening iron,” they may be inspired to investigate Christ further.

Romans 12:18 gets to the heart of the matter: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” You may be surprised by how much does depend on you—that is, how much unity you can inspire simply by developing a Christlike heart for others.

The walls that separate us are much more fragile than they seem.

If you take the time, effort, and risk to reach out to other believers, especially those who are different from you, you’ll find that those walls can be toppled in no time.

The opportunities for unity and fellowship are endless. To learn more about how you can align yourself within the body of Christ and create relationships within the church that will inspire others, click on this link: https://bibl.es/ThisIsFamily. 


God’s word

28 It does not matter whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. It does not matter whether you are a slave or a free person. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman. You all belong together because you all belong to Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 EASY

12 Each person has only one body, but that body has many parts. All those different parts make only one body. It is like that with Christ too. 13 When they baptized us, we all became parts of one body. It was the one Spirit who brought us together. It made no difference whether we were Jews or Gentiles. It made no difference whether we were slaves or free people. God poured his one Spirit into all of us. 14 A person’s body does not have only one part. It has many parts. 15 If the foot could speak, it might say, ‘I am not a hand, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It is still a part of the body. 16 If the ear could speak, it might say, ‘I am not an eye, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body was an eye, the body would not hear anything. If the whole body was an ear, it would not recognize different smells. 18 But God has decided where each different part of our body should be. 19 If our body was all the same part, it would not be a proper body. 20 But as it is, a body has many parts. It is still only one whole body. 21 For that reason, the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ 22 No. Even the parts of a body that seem to be weaker are very necessary. 23 Think about the parts of our body that are not very special. We dress them carefully! And we take special care of those parts that we do not want people to see. 24 But we do not need to do this with the beautiful parts of our body. God has put all these parts together in one body. Some parts seem to be not very special. But God has shown that those parts are very valuable. 25 He has done that to bring all the parts together as one body. All the parts work together to help each other. 26 Then if one part of the body hurts, every other part also hurts. If people praise one part, every part of the body is also happy. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body. And each of you is a part of that body. 28 Like the parts of a body, God has put people in different places in his church. First, there are apostles. Second, there are people who speak messages from God. Third, there are teachers. After that, there are people who do miracles. There are people who have gifts to make sick people well. There are people who help others in special ways. There are people who can lead others. And there are people who can speak different kinds of languages. 29 Not everyone in the church is an apostle. Not everyone speaks messages from God. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can do miracles. 30 Not everyone has the gifts to make sick people well. Not everyone can speak in different kinds of languages. Nor can everyone explain what messages in those languages mean. You know that. 31 But it is good if you really want the more valuable gifts from God. Now I will show you a way that is better than anything else.
1 Corinthians 12:12‭-‬31 EASY

18 If it is possible, try always to be friends with other people.
Romans 12:18 EASY

Will Of The Walls

Post from, “The Faith to Become Fruitful” • Devotional (https://bible.com/reading-plans/23809/day/2?segment=0) Link at bottom too.

Walls have the ability to prevent access. Isn’t it funny how something that is standing still has so much power to prevent someone from entering into a next part or phase? 

Have you ever pursued building, buying, or just renovating a home and you found that there were ONE TOO MANY walls in that particular area? You might’ve requested for one of the walls to be torn down because you had a vision and an idea for that space. You saw the potential but there was something standing in the way. 

This might sound pretty cliche’ but

“as it is in the natural, it is in the spirit.”

Who’s responsible for the walls in our lives? The person who put them there. We’re the builders of our life, therefore, we decide what walls we’re going to put up and what walls we need to tear down.

Now, let me help you understand that there are walls that protect us from the enemy. They control our interaction and defend us from the attacks of the adversary. 

Nehemiah had a unique responsibility. As a levite priest, his assignment was to supervise and secure maintenance around the temple by filling and fencing the wall of Jerusalem in efforts to keep religious laws away sent by his enemy Tobiah.

In chapters 7-13 of Nehemiah, the wall was rebuilt, but rumors began to spread regarding Nehemiah’s position as King of Judah. Tobiah, Sandballat, and Geshem tried to frighten Nehemiah during the course of his project. But he made no efforts in entertaining what they were saying. 

When we interview the reality of our lives, some of us are distracted by the voices that are surrounding us. These voices can impede us from fulfilling our assignments,

only if we allow it.

Nehemiah didn’t allow it. He ignored what they were saying, yet he responded to protect his character. He continued building the wall and did not come down according to scripture.

When the enemy sends a distraction our way, we grow fearful, and intimidated by the threat of a rumor. It’s important and necessary that as you’re building whatever you’ve been called to build, whether it’s your ministry, your business/brand, your legacy that you remain solid and stable in what you believe. 

If you’re not strong in your faith, then situations like this can create other walls that will eventually become strongholds. Strongholds that have been heavily fortified by the enemy.

This will cause you to continue wrestling between the process and the promise, the journey and the manifestation.

We all desire access to the miraculous things that God has waiting for us. Don’t come down from your assignment. Whatever you do,

KEEP BUILDING!

God sees our potential even when we’re blinded by it. We’re consumed by our walls, yet God is saying,

“I want to consume you with my love.”

God wants you to have victory over every generational stronghold in your life. 

The goal of the enemy is no match to the promise of God. God wants you fruitful and productive in every area, seen and unseen. The demonstrative power of God has the ability to demolish every demonic assignment that has built walls around the sanctuary of your life. He wants to give you access to a fruitful life.

Post from, “The Faith to Become Fruitful” • Devotional (https://bible.com/reading-plans/23809/day/2?segment=0)

Yesterday’s post ties in with these thoughts. If you want to you can go back to that post click here:👉Labor Of The Labyrinth ( https://wp.me/p6Exj2-4Ax )


God’s Word

17‭-‬20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
Romans 7:17‭-‬20 MSG

Labor of the Labyrinth (Maze)

2nd Co. 10:5

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Corinthians 10:5 MSG https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/2co.10.5/58400

Classics Christian Rock song “Plunder He’ll and Populate Heaven” by Jerusalem:

“You know my heart, Lord.”

He smiled back and chuckled ,

“I also know your head.”

Then He went on to explain. (Excerpt from The Maze Blog Post. Link below)

Link to very short story “The Mazehttps://wp.me/p6Exj2-m

What Is Worship? Back To The Basics • Devotional

Taken from the Back To The Basics • Devotional (day 2 of 7 day reading plan) https://bible.com/reading-plans/15533/day/2?segment=0

What is Worship?

Scripture says: “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.” Psalm 59:16

Devotional: What is worship through song?

Worship is first and foremost about the longing of God for unfettered relationship with his people.

In authentic worship we can touch the heart of our Creator—satisfying the desires of he who paid the highest price simply to have us.

Scripture is clear that God loves when we sing to him and about him.

Ephesians 5:18-19 tells us to “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”

John 4:23 states, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” 

God loves worship. He longs for it. Think of that!

You have an opportunity every day, through worship, to satisfy the heart of the one who paints sunsets, breathes life into dust and forms mountains, galaxies, animals, angels and humankind with just the power of his voice

You bring your Creator immense joy and satisfaction when you worship through singing.

You see, God is after your heart. He’s after direct connection from his Spirit to yours.

Music has this profound ability to reach past our limited understanding and help our heart connect with HE who is limitless and eternal.

It serves as an avenue for this cyclical (occurring in cycles), reciprocal (done in return) act of love and devotion between the Creator and the created.

Music can take our worship to a new, next level, different than reading Scripture or spending time in prayer or community.

In worship we can sing to God songs of adoration, thanksgiving, high praise, and unadulterated love in response to his character, nearness, and devotion.

Simply put, in worship we give and receive that which is most important—love. 

Whether you normally engage in personal worship right now or not, know that you were created to worship. You were made to connect directly with the heart of God. As you engage in the act of worship you will discover the nearness of a God so filled with steadfast love and devotion for you that everything changes.

As you consistently touch the heart of the Father your life will be transformed by his limitless grace and passionate pursuit. Engaging in worship will result in an overflowing, unquenchable joy, as there is no greater experience than that of,

a perfect God meeting with an imperfect person. 

Take time in guided Scriptural prayer to reflect on the importance of worship and connect directly with the heart of your heavenly Father. May your time be marked by a greater revelation of his nearness and love. 

Guided Scriptural Prayer:

  “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, HE is God! It is HE who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” Psalm 100:1-4

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to THE ROCK of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For (because) the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” Psalm 95:1-6

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:2 2.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23

“That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the  saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that  surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” Revelation 4:8

“But for me it is good to be near God.” Psalm 73:28

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17


If you feel the weight of the world resting on your shoulders at any point, take a few minutes to engage in worship. A small time of worship has the power to reprioritize our lives and make the stresses and burdens of life diminish in light of God’s eternal love. May your day today be marked by the peace and joy of one who knows the love and nearness of the Father.

May we continually Ask God to show us how much he loves our worship—to give us a revelation of His great love for us. May His desire for worship be the foundation of our devotion. 

We can also spend some time resting in the presence of God. Asking Him to reveal His love to us in a fresh way and, in response, worship Him.


Remember, God told the people of Israel, before going into battle, to put the singers first.

Classic Christian Rock song by Petra, “Let Everything That Has Breath”

Check out Let Everything That Hath Breath (Praise Medley) (Live) by Petra on Amazon Music
https://music.amazon.com/albums/B000TEMSRK?trackAsin=B000TE0JS0&ref=dm_sh_ubVU6RA66Mz27pfltEsayNudA


Taken from the Back To The Basics • Devotional (day 2 of 7 day reading plan) https://bible.com/reading-plans/15533/day/2?segment=0

This Is A Job For Jesus

I just finished day 3 of the 4 day @YouVersion plan ‘A Job for Jesus’. (Link at bottom) today’s post related directly with yesterday’s. Some things are worth repeating a second time, reedirating for a deeper meaning

I believe God is the source for everything we face in life. Here is what I gathered from this resource;

It looks at “Disproportionate Faith And The Mountain”

The beginning of this text (Mark 9:14‭-‬29 at bottom) is the ending of a lifelong trauma for a little boy who has spent his entire life under demoniac power.

As difficult as it is today to understand emotional and mental health you can imagine what it was in the days of Christ.

This was more than Schizophrenia or some mental malfunction. This boy was moved under the unction of the devil—falling into things that he did not even want. 

The father, in exasperation, has come not to Jesus first, but to his disciples asking them to heal his son.

Note:

there are only nine disciples present, because the rest of them are up on the mount of transfiguration.

When Jesus comes down from the mountain he is confronted by a crowd of people and there are serious accusations being thrown at him because of the frustration of a father who has come to his wits’ end

The retreat from the mountain top is over. The revelation has been experienced. It is now time to get back into the valley. What do they encounter? This is a chaotic mess.

This is not dissimilar to Moses when he came down the mountain after experiencing God’s glory and having the law revealed, only to see God’s people deep in faithless idol worship. But,

this mess is where the mission is.

In the crowd are people who are hurting, families with members who are sick physically and oppressed or possessed spiritually.

At the end of the day you may appreciate everyone praying for you but,

There are some problems that rise to a level that you cannot bring to anyone or even God’s servant. You have to bring them to the feet of Jesus.

You have to go to God for yourself. This is a job for Jesus.

When they bring the boy to Jesus, he begins to peel back the layers of the complexity of the problem.

Often our problems are complicated. It wasn’t that Jesus just touched him and said be healed. Jesus enters into a dialogue with the father that affects the son and then delivers the boy because this is a multi-layered problem which is complex. We all have problems that are complicated. Jesus deals with the father’s duality of faith. The dad says,

“Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.”

How can you believe, and not believe. How can you trust. and not trust? How can you have faith and still have doubt? Is it possible for both to coexist?

To heal the boy all they needed was faith “as small as a mustard seed.” In that day and age the mustard seed was the smallest thing the human eye could see. We can only conclude, then, that the disciples’ faith was even smaller than the mustard seed. Jesus is saying that their faith was so small that it was non-existent Faith is so impactful. If it’s a mountain you want to move, don’t use a cup—a grain is enough. 

Remember Jesus has just come down from a mountain so the mountain is there right in front of him, right in front of them too. (Think about the mountain that is in front of you that is staring you right in your face).

Jesus is saying the promise is not proportional.

You don’t need a mountain of faith for a mountain of problems. I know that when Jesus is talking about mountains, he is not just talking about literal mountains but whatever is standing up in your life blocking your view that you cannot see him—that is your mountain. 

Sometimes our perception of being small comes from how we see ourselves.  

If you read Numbers 13: 32-33 notice it  says because of how we saw ourselves—as little insects and we saw them as giants.

Sometimes our smallness is imagined or imaged on us.

Where did we get those images from? Why did you believe them? If you have been beaten down and all you have is a little bit left, that’s all God needs. He is the God of all, the big and the small.  


God’s Word

Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.”

He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well. When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked,

“Why couldn’t we throw it out?”

“Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus.

“The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”
Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG

This is also in The Book of Mark

Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG. When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him. He asked,

“What’s going on? What’s all the commotion?”

A man out of the crowd answered,

“Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.”

Jesus said,

“What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.”

They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth. He asked the boy’s father,

How long has this been going on?”

“Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus said,

“If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried,

“Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”

Seeing that the crowd was forming fast,

Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!”

Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up. After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked,

“Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?”

He answered,

“There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.”
Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG

Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”
Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 MSG

You just finished day 3 of the 4 day @YouVersion plan ‘A Job for Jesus’. Check it out the whole plan here: http://bible.com/r/4UQ

Feel Like A Gresshopper?

we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 MSG

As I tried to organize my thoughts I felt like that rodeo clown trying to wrangle a bull or two. After sitting still, reading my Bible, and resources backing “The Source”, along with prayer (communication with God), here is what I gathered from that dialogue with God.

Listening to Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 & Mark 9:14‭-‬29 in the MSG (Message version) Jesus was deals with a father’s duality of faith. The dad said,

“Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.”

This leads us to many

Questions:

How can you believe, and not believe. How can you trust. and not trust? How can you have faith and still have doubt? Is it possible for both to coexist?

To heal this dad’s son all they needed was faith “as small as a mustard seed.” In that day and age the mustard seed was the smallest thing the human eye could see. We can only conclude, then, that the disciples’ faith was even smaller than the mustard seed. Jesus is saying that their faith was so small that it was non-existent.

We hear the saying,
“I’ll believe it when I see it.” But, with faith we have to say,

“I will see it when I believe it.”

Here is a great song with that correct statement:

Dogs of peace song, “When I Believe It”

Ya know when we are about to take a flight somewhere we have to get on a plane. If we wanna fly we can not keep our feet on the ground. It’s the same thing with a cruise ship. We have to be on board or keep our feet on the ground right where we are. We can’t do both.

Jesus says,

“If you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
Matthew 7:26‭-‬27 MSG

Consider who Jesus Christ is. Ask, “Who is this man? Even waves obey Him?”

Late one day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying,

“Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!”

The wind ran out of breath;

the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples:

“Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”

They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”
Mark 4:35‭-‬41 MSG

Remember God tells oceans, “You can only go this far.” Remember He controls every wind in the sky.

Remember the scouts, children of God, who went out as scouts to check out the land God promised to give them. They came back with the report,

we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

Numbers 13:31‭-‬33 MSG

When we face what we were compare to a giant, or a mountain, may we remember that we have a higher power and God is bigger than it all.


Source & Resource: Day 3 of the @YouVersion plan ‘A Job for Jesus’. Check it out here:http://bible.com/r/4UQ

God’s word:

Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG
Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well. 19 When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, “Why couldn’t we throw it out?” 20 “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Matthew 17:17‭-‬20 MSG https://bible.com/bible/97/mat.17.17-20.MSG
Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him. He asked, “What’s going on? What’s all the commotion?” 17‭-‬18 A man out of the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.” 19‭-‬20 Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth. 21‭-‬22 He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?” “Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” 23 Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” 24 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” 25‭-‬27 Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!” Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up. 28 After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?” 29 He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.” Mark 9:14‭-‬29 MSG https://bible.com/bible/97/mrk.9.14-29.MS

Remember The Password

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”

Psalm 100:4‭-‬5 MSG Translation. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.
Psalm 100:4‭-‬5 MSG

Psalms 139:1‭-‬18 EASY Translation: Lord, you look deep inside me, and you know all about me. You know when I sit down, and you know when I get up. Even when you are far away, you understand what I am thinking about. You see me when I go out, and you see me when I stay at home. You know everything that I do! Yes Lord, before I open my mouth to speak, you know what I will say. You are all round me, in front of me and behind me. You put your hand on me to keep me safe. What you know about me is so great, I cannot understand it. My thoughts cannot reach as high as that! Is there anywhere that I can go to run away from your Spirit? Anywhere that I go, you are already there! If I go up to heaven, you would be there. If I dig deep down into the ground to reach Sheol, you would be there too. If I fly away to where the sun rises in the east, or to the other side of the sea in the west, you would be there. You would use your hand to lead me. Your strong right hand would keep me safe. I might say, ‘I will hide myself in the dark, and the light round me will change into night.’ But it is never too dark for you to see. For you, the night has as much light as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you! You made every part of me. You made me grow inside my mother before I was born. I thank you for the wonderful way that you have made me. Everything that you do is wonderful! I know it is true. While you caused me to grow in a secret place, none of my body was hidden from you. You made me deep in the earth. Your eyes watched me before I was born. Before I had seen the light of day, you decided how many days I would live! You wrote it down in your book. You have so many thoughts about me, God, that I cannot understand them all. They are too many for me to count, more than the sand on the shore of the sea. Even if I finished counting them, you would still be there!
Psalms 139:1‭-‬18 EASY

Matthew 18:19‭-‬20 (AMP version) Jesus said, “Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.”
Matthew 18:19‭-‬20 AMP

A few notes from the Everything I Need • Devotional

Craving God’s presence, God’s voice, and God’s Word.

In His presence, fear flees faster than the tiny lizards that line the path on a South Florida sidewalk.

Peace falls like a warm heated blanket on a cold winter’s night. Dreams leap and dance with newfound delight.  

Align with His heart because He abides in ours and transforms us from the inside out.

Let His Holy Spirit fill and overflow our hearts.

He is always and forever crafting new things out of the old and dried up areas in our lives. God doesn’t simply change your circumstances and battles, but writes NEW stories, NEW memories, and NEW adventures.  

God’s presence makes broken things whole. Not because of anything we have done, but because:

  • He is whole.
  • He is unbroken;
  • He is undamaged.
  • He is not divided or disjoined;
  • He isn’t injured or impaired.
  • He isn’t wounded;
  • He is complete.
  • He isn’t hurt.
  • He is sound. 

And through Jesus Christ, we are also whole. We are made new in His presence.

There is nothing like pressing into His presence in pursuit of our portion through Him. There is nothing like pursuing the Provider.

May we continually,

Pursue our Provider with praise & thankfulness, with worship, and with the truth of His Word.

Remember, we don’t always have to try to pursue by ourself, even when it is awkward or embarrassing. May we fight through the desire to always or only retreat to the comfort of solitude on our couch (or with the empty company of Netflix).

Remember, the words of Christ, where there are two or more gathered in His name, God has promised to be there (Matthew 18:19‭-‬20).

God is the God over every good and bad season, both the dry and the fruitful seasons, the busy and the restful seasons.

He desires our thankfulness, our praise, and our worship because He knows it will remind us that He is on the throne and has already gone ahead of anything we may be facing today.

My heart beats for you, the reader of these words. More than anything, I want you also to know Him, and just remember how good He is.

He doesn’t leave us on our own, He doesn’t sit back and watch us fend for ourselves when we ask for His help. 

Regardless of where we are, and how we got there God has promised us that when we seek Him, we will find Him. God has a perfect portion waiting for us.

Closing Reflection and Prayer

God, every good and perfect gift comes from You, and we can’t even fathom what You have in store for us in the future… but we do know that You have already secured it, already paid for it, already laid out a path for us to get it.

God, we want to be where You are. We want to see Your face, to hear Your voice, to be in the very presence of perfect Love. Love undefiled. Love as pure as the cry of a newly born babe.  

Lord Jesus Christ, Come meet me and the person reading this right where we are at this moment, for You, Lord, know us completely. You know the struggles, the battles, the failures, and the giants we are fighting against. You know what is needed to win, and You already have it secured. Now we claim it and will proclaim it. More than the good gifts You bring to us all, bring Your presence to us right now.

In the tension, in the darkness, in the battle, in the wilderness, during all this we will not stop praising You, worshipping You, crying out for You, trusting You, humbling ourselves to You, and remembering how You have faithfully brought us here.

We wait expectantly to accept and understand that we are always in Your care and in Your presence, especially when we don’t “feel” like You’re in us and we are in You . You alone Lord, are everything we need.

Amen (may it be so).

These notes were taken from day 3 of the 3 day @YouVersion plan ‘Everything I Need‘. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/5wZ

KIDEATERS Ch. 6 unedited

KIDEATERS Vs. Zoo BoyZ unedited

Chapter 6
Meeting Mission Command

Now our boys are a year older than they were when they went to Zoo Island (editorial note for blog place link to Zoo BoyZ here). And they are 2 years older than when they broke into The Forever Happy Amusement Park (editorial note for blog insert link to The Park), although John did not commit that crime with the other three.

When you are 15, 14, 13, and 12 you naturally jump between all kinds of different factors from without as well as from within. Those years are arguably the most developmental years of everyone’s lives. It was no different for our boys. We find them suddenly going through some brutal progressive
changes: hormonally, physically, emotionally, morally, even financially, while also being forced into invading the foreign soil of Zoo Island. This was no world war, no Vietnam or Pearl Harbour, but to these four children it was as serious as any other, full on military invasion. The strategic situation they found themselves in now was as complicated, confusing and combative as they had only witnessed through motion pictures released from Hollywood. Hanson wasn’t just unleashing the boys from jail he was also plunging them into what could be a suicide mission.

Mr. John Hanson was gracious enough to not send the boys alone, although after hearing their testimony and how they outwitted his octopus on their last visit to Zoo Island, he was confident they would do a better job than his own professional scouts, survivalist, animal tamers, and biologists.

As planned, the boys were transported under extremely high security measures, as if they were linked to part of some major mob or one of the organized criminal empires. Shackled, not only on their wrists but on their ankles as well. They even had black hoods placed over their heads to keep their final destination confidential.

When they arrived at the secret location of John Hanson’s underground layer they were drug out of the black suburban SUV and forced to their knees. It was there, in a position only an assassination would use, they were released from their bonds. Each boy greatly appreciated being uncuffed,finally, and the feeling of being set free for the first time in a year.
One of Hanson’s assigned henchmen rapidly pulled the hoods off their heads. It was almost like a dream, almost too hard to believe, almost incomprehensible. The reality was that they were still captives, still convicts, still restricted from being able to go home and live out an average, normal, life, like any other boy their age. Most teenagers were over concerned about the pimples and blemishes on their face. Many teenagers were right acme, growing pains, and broken hearts from crushed that wanted nothing to do with them; but right here, right now, these 4 young men were only beginning to discern the blasphemous, immoral principles they were forced to face. They had no idea how deep seeded John Hanson’s plot ran.

Still on their knees, side by side, in a parking lot, the smell of fresh air and wind hitting their face gave some ease to their minds. Their adolescent eyes were still trying to adjust to the sudden brightness. The transition took much longer than they desired. In the distance they could only make out a slender silhouette, a vertical line. Soon they realized it was a tall thin figure coming toward them. Their minds rapidly fired images from several sci-fi movies they caught by sneaking into the local movie theater. Any ease they were offered didn’t last nearly long enough. Within seconds the creature was standing right infront of them. Too close for comfort. This wasn’t the first over authoritative obstacle they met, however, there was something even more… what is the word? Something like… a dominatrix, strangely taboo but also enticing. There was a hint of allure and almost a strange sense of sexual gratification in nature. Although they couldn’t put their finger on it they knew it was some type of tempress. “It” was their assigned chaperone and guardian. Another grinding voice shouted at the boys,

“THIS IS HIGHTOWER!!! YOUR NEW MASTER!!!”

The unusually tall figure blocked out the sunlight. That alone gave their eyes an opportunity to recover but made their palms become sweaty, like clams grasping a grain of sand.

Back home the Parents worry about their children’s safety but in THIS situation, destination unknown, the boys feared for their own security.

Hightower growled,

“Get up boys! Come with me!”

They were being led but also had armed officers behind them. Dave whispered to his partners,

“I think he’s really a woman.”

The other three noticed the whisper went unnoticed by their captures so Jeremy spoke next, a little softer than Dave. As he let out his words with a soft breath only his friends heard him state,

“Shhhh…she just dresses like a man.”

Ronnie’s words were almost too low to hear,

“Ah, so?! So do I! But, ya think he ahh..sshhhhe is a good leader?”

John said softly,

“I guess we’ll find out.”

He swallowed hard as Dave spoke again. Hardly even a whisper anymore he announced to his friends,

“Dogs, shhhe ain’t leading shhhit. We leadin’ her. That is the whole point. The whole purpose. We gonna lead this operation. Their boss picked us.”

Sometimes to see the best you gotta understand the worse. Others would claim Dave always stuck out like a sore thumb but the truth was that Dave was the healed finger in the bunch. So many teens his age were like black and blue or paralyzed appendages, not functioning well at all. Dave had such a hard upbringing that he was willing to take on dangerous tasks others never dreamed of addressing. Often Dave’s careless, fearless demeaner came across as idiotic, foolish, and even cocky when in reality the fact of the matter was he was raised to endure, survive, overcome, and conquer whatever was thrown at him.

Jeremy’s voice remained soft and timid,

“Bu, but we’ll need their co…cooper…ah…ation.”

His words were warped and hard for him to form. John shrugged his shoulders. Trying to shake off the doubt and the unmistakable, uneasy, feeling surrounding him. He knew nothing was within their control. His voice was just under a hush,

“Guys, like I said, I guess we’ll see. We better stay quiet.”

Although he told his friends to remain silent he himself went on talking,

“Oh, also by the way Ronnie, this is an opportunity to take Tina back, bet she misses her family and ya know if you get caught with her here, just like if you would have got caught with her while we were in jail we’d be dead.”

Tina was an extremely tiny tiger, smaller than Ronnie’s pinky finger. He took her from the island on their last trip there, masking his secret for a full year. She still hadn’t grown and was very calm in the darkest recesses of his pocket. His brain entertained what John said. He knew if an adult discovered her they’d take her, do scientific experiments on her, and throw him and his friends in solitary confinement. Ronnie’s mouth opened. Unknowingly he released his thoughts,

“Yeah, who knows what they’ll do to poor Tina. I gotta get her back.”

Ron was hurt and sad but if he would be honest with himself he knew John right. He fought with the fact that even if he took her back to her original home she’d still be taken away. Part of their chore was to capture animals there and put them into the hands of, well, of who knows who.

Jeremy put his hand on Ronnie’s shoulder. He reassured him,

“Dude, it sucks! I know, but, it is time to take her back. Return her home where she belongs. She belongs to her mother.”

He heard his own words then added,

“So do we. This is mucked up man.”

Without putting his hand in the pocket containing his secret pet, for fear their captors would think he was pulling out a weapon, Ronnie just gave it a soft, delicate, pat. His 3 friends admired how Tina was so small Ronnie never got caught with her. Even when they thoroughly searched him while being booked, or admitted, let alone when they left. For other searches while in jail Ronnie always hid her in places the guards never checked.

As Sargent Sladder
was turning the boys over to Hightower he yelled with his hard “A”, North Eastern, accent,

“Don’t disreGOD any instrAhctions yous guys Ah toad! Just do as yous AH TOAD!”

Dave spoke up, using his full on out door voice, he demanded,

“Where ya taken us now??!!”

Sladder’s answer came back with even more volocity,

“THAT IS ON A NEED TO KNOW BASES!!! AND YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW!!!”

Sladder nodded to Hightower. He added,

“This tAss fours gonna tac ovAh!”

Sladder was referring to
their chaperone, this new task force taking over. The fully armed adult stepped toward as Sarg. Sladder and the other armed minions retreated. The name Hightower perfectly fit the physical description of this new character. The boys dwarfed in size while this high towering tyrant stood directly in front of them. The kid’s emotions and mental status shrunk as well when the,
supposed guardian, spoke with a tone just as harsh and cold as Sladder. In Spite of this, at the same time the voice somehow carried a form of reassurance, almost like a parent giving loving discipline. Direction and instructions flowed out of the mouth of this new forerunner. Out of the sea of jargon 1 key word stood out to the boys. That specific word was,

“Classified!”

Their minds were full of questions but without asking they knew the answer for everything was going to be that same word,

“Classified ! ! !”

Classified rang in their heads over and over
again and again. The reply for every single question and request was going to be the same during the time they served here. They could clearly imagine it being taken to the extreme,

“Can I go to bathroom?”
“Classified.”
“Where is the bathroom?”
“Classified.”
“Can I please have some toilet paper?”
“Classified.”
“Will you please let me wipe my ass?”
“Classified!”

They knew, without even asking, this hard nosed adult would chant and the boys would soon join in unison,

“Classified, classified, CLASS IF IED!!!”

The boy’s eyes were fix on Hightower, not only because they were coherst to. They took mental notes of sleek curves indicative of the female anatomy. Past the strong willed voice, beyond the utility belt and bullet proof vest the young men’s minds uncovered and revealed to them Hightower’s figure. Masculine? Yes.
Brawny? No question.
Stern stance? No doubt! But time after time with a few hip thrust and sideview glances the hormonally fueled juveniles unveiled the undeniable fact that Hightower was definitely a full grown, completely developed woman. She was exposed. As she addressed them they couldn’t help but to continually try to undress her with their minds. Her voice was loud, concret, and demanding; and yet every so often it cracked into a higher range than most men the boys knew. They absorbed her words as she spoke to them,

I am MAJOR Hightower. You call me Major!”

The boys thought, we got major problems here.

Before the boys were released from jail they met with Hanson’s staff in a pre-briefing meeting. That was a complete turn off, unbearable boring. It was a lot like being in school. Now they were about to undergo some hands-on training.

From somewhere inside themselves they felt a surge of excitement and unbridled energy. They studied her motions as Major Hightower displayed some weapons and certain specific tools of the trade. Occasionally their thoughts would divert to what was actually being demonstrated, like when she shot out an net launcher onto a fairly nearby taxidermied bear. They expressed somewhat of a gasp but their eyes and thought flow quickly recovered focus on who was teaching them, not what was being taught. She seemed to be taunting them by bending at the pelvis rather than at her knees. David noticed a weakness in his own knees, one that he had never experienced before. Ron thought back to some of the stories he wrote that involved a beautiful model seducing the special agent. He got a certain thrill when describing those characters and their actions. What he wrote formulated beautiful fantasys in his mind. Jeremy remembered a sports illustrated swimsuit edition being past among classmates. Before that the original hint of arousal that accompanied looking at females he discovered by looking at his mom’s J.C. Penny’s catalogue, the women’s undergarments section. Not too long ago, before all this, Dave found his dad’s girly mag.s under a mattress. He mixed what he saw in front of him now with the adult images he took mental pictures of back then. John, being the oldest and being an artist, checked out the natural, anatomically correct, well formed, defined structure of the female’s body. He marveled at the proper,
perfect, placement and proportioned curves. For him human sexuality had not been perverted yet. He was aroused by photographs and paintings he viewed in several art Museums he was fortunate enough to visit. He blushed as he passed by certain provocative exhibits and tried to take a quick glance when passing by, his hope was that no one else noticed he was looking. The boy’s sex drive was preventing them from hearing important details and drills. Ms. Hightower held their attention without diversion but for all the wrong reasons.
What Major Hightower was explaining was the safety instructions needed when using the equipment they were taking with them to Zoo Island. The young adults she was tutoring assumed they already knew how to fire a gun, after all they had seen it done in so many high impact, action movies. That was more fantasy than reality but it was all taken for granted. Ron’s fantasy of Hightower taking advantage of him were interrupted by an extremely deafening explosion. The other 3 were reeled in as they gasped for air. The Major shouted,

“AS I SAID, COVER YOUR EARS BEFORE SOMEONE FIRES THE FLASH BANG!!! YOU ALL NEED TO FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS AND DIRECTIONS!!!”
DO YOU HEAR ME?!! ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?!!

The youngsters were willing to follow this figure anywhere. She repeated herself,

“CAAAN YOOOU HEEEAR MEEEE!?!?”

They nodded in reply. Their Major continued in a shout,

“CHILDREN, IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH!!!

John, although the oldest, was the first to realize he was way too young to be romantically involved with his teacher in any way, form, or fashion. As the ringing in their adolescent ears was dissipating, the officer reached for the next piece of artillery. Dave’s eyes moved off of her and toward the ridiculously large gun she grasped with both hands. Her voice pulled Ron’s imagination back into the current situation. They heard the words,

“SOME MAY HAVE SHARP TEETH AND A FEROCIOUS APPETITE TO FEED, AND OR FIGHT! NOT RETREAT!!! THEY WANNA EAT ANYTHING THAT IS AVAILABLE, LIKE AN AFTERNOON TREAT. YOU WOULD BE LIKE AN AFTERNOON DELIGHT FOR THEM.”

Jeremy, without thinking said,

“All the better to eat you with.”

John replied,

“KIDEATERS!”

Ronnie nodded in fear.

Dave said,

“Just let them try.”

Hightower didn’t hear him. Even their nonverbal responses made her feel like she finally had their attention on the content being covered rather than on the way she was sexually created. Her demands were made clear,

“You could end up hurting yourself, or worse, hurting one of your platoon members. This ain’t no joke boys. Any of you ever fire a real gun?”

Her students didn’t want to admit it. She took their silent response as a hard no.
As she picked up and flung another riffle around she pointed out the safety switch. She also showed them another button that, when pushed in, drops the cartridge holding the magazine of bullets. She confirmed,

“If you push that rather than flipping the safety switch off you’ll not only not be ready to fire, you’ll instantly be out of ammo. We must:
Get ready!
(She crouched down. Then went flat onto her belly).
Aim!
(She closed one eye and pressed her opened one onto the scope above the barrel)
Confirm what we are aiming at!
(Her eye still fixed within the scope connected to the gun)
ONLY THEN DO WE (Her voice lowered in volume)
Release the safety.
(Her trigger finger slid down slowly to move the switch ever so gently and soft.They noticed she took a deep breath and held it in. They were memorized as they observed her finger move back to the trigger).
Theeeen…
(John covered his ears and looked at his friends. All but Dave moved their hands to muffle their own ears. They heard a quick and almost quiet

PLATTY PLATT TAT TAT!

Dave said,

“Well that was underwhelming.”

Major Hightower argued,

“Not every assault is loud. Some are almost silent but this one serves its purpose.”

They watched her saunter over to the big stuffed bear. Ronnie said,

“It did nothing.”

She bent at her knees as she grasped the bear to turn it around. The side they had not seen yet was in ribbons.

Jeremy said,

“The little
ratty tat tat does that?”

His new hero answered,

“We call them barbed bullets. They go in, hardly leaving a trace but after passing through the victim they grab vital organs and splatter them across any and everything beyond your target. You can kill several things with one shot. When you aim take note of what is behind where your aiming because these projectiles will hit well past where you intended.”

John raised his hand. She nodded. He formulated his question,

“Well we, I mean you, plan on like… killing the animals?”

Before she answered she looked around as if not wanting anyone to hear her. As far as the boys knew they were there alone with her. This was the first time their director was really soft spoken,

“Some of them.”

She crouched again and let out a grunt as she moved the bear back around,

“Aaand ifff weeee…”

Her grunts continued as her body gyrated to move the bear.

“…yeah, yes! Yes, If we are in danger, if any of them resist our attempts to capture them, putting us in harm’s way, we will kill. I say we because you may have to pull that trigger too.”

The severity of the situation was kicking in. This wasn’t just playing war in the woods with plastic toy guns.

She stood erect once again, towering over the well stuffed grizzly bear. She admired how she had the boy undivided attention. She knew she had to give some credit to her gender. Just being the oposite sex caused the boys fixation. She spoke with such confidence and clarity,

“When Mr. Hanson first offered me this job I refused it. My indifference with this training, with this whole mission, is that you children shouldn’t even be old enough to hold, let alone handle any type of tactical weapons. These are not b.b. guns you begged your mama to buy you for Christmas. They aren’t like a paint gun that are virtually harmless unless you get hit in the eye! However, we do have some less lethal munitions. I want to see how you kids handle some of the armament that fire less lethal ammo. You…”

She pointed to Ronnie.

He felt the blood rush to his face then back out again. He shivered as he answered, pointing to himself with one hand and placing his other hand over the pocket containing his pet.

“Mmm me?”

“YES YOU! Come up here to my table.”

His friend wondered why she picked the youngest and smallest of them all first. Ronnie took small unesertive steps toward her. She picked up one of the bulky firearms then continued,

“This one shoots less lethal artillery. Notice I did not say it is non-leathal or that it is NOT lethal!”

Although Ron was now up there with her she addressed all 4 boys.

“Even a taser can be lethal if used the right way, or the wrong way, depending on your mission or what you’re trying to accomplish.”

David’s eyes moved over toward the cattle prodding taser on the table. He remembered that instrument from their last trip to Zoo Island. She handed the gun to Ronnie as she reached for an identical one that was sitting on the long table full of all kinds of gadgets, devices, and hunting type gear. Ronnie took the one she gave him and he marveled at how heavy it was. He pointed it toward the ground and kept his fingers away from the trigger. Hightower spoke,

“Mine looks like yours doesn’t it?”

Without warning she took quick aim and fired it at a wall, putting a hole right through the concrete block.

“Now you shoot the one you have.”

Ronnie slowly raised the gun. He tried to remember the prior instructions. He held it in the direction of the wall, put his finger in the trigger, and squeezed it. Nothing happen. Hightower asked softly,

“Did you remove the safety?”

He slid his finger down, searching for the button he saw the Major click. It wasn’t there. Major Hightower took a deep breath trying to be patient. She formed her words as gentle as she could possibly muster,

“Are you left handed?”

Ronnie didn’t answer. She prodded, 

“What hand do you write with?”

“Mmm my left??”

He didn’t mean for it to come out as a question. He knew he was left-handed. She nurtured him,

“So, let your trigger finger be your left index finger.”

Ronnie shifted  the gun into his dominant hand. He still didn’t see a safety switch near the trigger. It took everything in Hightower not to become completely exasperated. They heard her take another deep breath then explain,

“Okay. So. The safety is going to be a little tricky because it is on the other side of the trigger. If you were right handed it would be located on the right side but…”

She took another deep long breath in.

“But you’ll have too…. Oh here jis’ give it to me!!! Point toward the ground and hand it to me!”

Ronnie felt like a coward. John feared he’d have the same issue. He was left-handed too. He asked his own mind,

“Guns are made for right handers only?”

He had no answer.

Hightower sat hers on the table and tried holding his with her left hand. As she fumbled trying to demonstrate properly she enquired,

“How many of you are also left handed?”

John slowly inched his left hand from close to his body up and into the air. He looked at his friends and defensively proclaimed,

“What? I was born this way.”

Although still in fear Ronnie confirmed,

“Yeah! Me toooo.”

Hightower tsked,

“Well, I read a background profile on you four kids but it didn’t state two out of four were Southpaws! That would have been helpful. All these guns are for right handers! I didn’t bring any that are especially made for the opposite handlers. So Lefties, you’ll have to use your right hand to release the safety, then aim, then pull the trigger with your left hand.”

She handed the gun back to Ronnie. He didn’t want to take it but felt forced to.

“Careful now! The safety IS still on so look on the right side of the riffle. See the little round button next to the trigger?”

Ronnie turned the gun sideways. As he did he unknowingly pointed it in the direction of the instructor and his friends. The Major’s shout startled him so bad he almost dropped it. The friends and Hightower instinctively ducked. She barked,

WOE! NO! NO! NEVER POINT IT AROUND. POINT DOWN… BUT NOT AT YOUR OWN FEET EITHER!”

Ronnie felt so defeated then he became angry at himself. She reminded herself that her audience were just children, babes. She noticed his timid, unconfident, demeanor. She knew she wouldn’t be able to help them if she shot down what little self confidence they had. Ronnie begged,

“Can you just let David do it first so I can see?”

Ms. Hightower insisted,

“No, no you’re all gonna get a chance. All 4 of you need to learn, even if it is just the basics.”

Ronnie whispered to himself,

“I don’t wanna chance.”

Major Hightower went around Ronnie and approached him from behind. Davis smirked. John and Jeremy were thinking the same exact thing, 

“She’s gonna hug him from behind !”

She did just that. Ronnie felt her warm inner arms against his. She crouched down a bit, arms around his, crotch pressed tight to his butt. Ronnie felt drops of sweat trickle from his underarms. He became light headed as he noted her breath moving through the hair on his head. Then her cheek touched the hair on the back of his neck, making him shiver a little. The hair on his arms stood up at attention. She spoke soft and gentle,

“Okaaay. Now.”

She grabbed his right hand and moved it toward the safety button. Ronnie was turning into jello. Still at a whisper she guided him,

“Push this button, the safety, now then… put your left hand on the trigger. So,  you’ll have to take the safety off then take aim. Normally we would aim first and confirm our target but… it’s okay.”

Her left hand cupped his left hand. She placed her finger on top of his. As simple as this gesture was, it was something Ronnie had never experienced. 

“Now breathe in… hold your breath… aaand gently squeeze.”

She forced his finger to fire. The bullet shot out with tremendous force, causing Ronnie to be thrusted back a little, pressing him into Ms. Hightower even more. The bullet bounced off the concrete wall. The boys thought Ronnie did something wrong. Ronnie’s vision was still a bit blurred from having one eye closed too long. He blinked trying to get his full vision back. He was able to see a black streak flying through the air. He was sure he hit something. Whatever it was must have been blown to pieces and that was one of those fragments.

“RUBBER!”,

Dave shouted. Ms. Hightower confirmed,

“That’s affirmative. This one is loaded with rubber bullets. Less lethal than the ammo I have in the gun I fired first. Pay attention because some guns can hold real bullets as well as less lethal bullets, like that one.”

She pointed to the bullet  that flew off the wall and onto the ground closer to where they stood. John wondered if being shot with a rubber bullet still hurt. Jeremy wondered what it felt like to be hugged from behind by a woman. Dave asked,

“Can those bullets also kill something?”

She answered, 

“Only if hit in the right place or if it is a very frail creature, like some birds. However, these and the bean bag launchers are more of a deterrent than something you are shooting at to kill. Some animals just get more angry if you sting them with these.”

Ronnie shook his head trying to transition from fantasy and get back into reality. Jeremy raised his hands and blurted out,

“I wanna be next! Please?!”

Their mentor had so much to cover and only a day to cover it. She knew she’d have to give an extremely brief summary of the equipment and leave out somethings that she could not trust the boys to use at all. As she went along she emphasized which instruments they were forbidden to even look at for any length of time, let alone  lay a finger on.

She covered the difference between gas grenade launchers and smoke bombs they would throw by hand. She covered how to wear a gas mask, how to apply camo makeup,  and wildlife containment devices (just a fancy name for a cow proder) that was the long staff with the taser prongs on the end. That was the same kind they saw that lunatic Robinson carrying on their last exit from Zoo Island. The boys had no trouble recalling when Dave handled the one given to him as they made their way back out of Zoo Island, no longer accompanied by that Crusoe character. It was even the same brand as the one Dave surrendered when the rescue helicopter showed up. 

This new training in services gave the kids the confidence they needed to begin this major undertaking. They knew more than Major Hightower when it came to what life was really like on Zoo Island but she knew more about tactics and would be packing the fire power needed to back them up. She got them as 

prepped and ready to go as she could but they knew there was a need for more than Army Navy schemes and streams. It was going to take an actual army to win this battle and they really needed some of the scientists who bred the creatures to begin with; however, they had none of that at their disposal. To decode the islands secrets behind the habitats dwelling there was no small task. Both great and small creatures were going to be almost impossible to round up, coral, and get into crates or cages then get them onto a ships, or aircraft and eventually onto trucks waiting on the mainland. 

After a full day of rigorous training they finally stopped everything so they could have  dinner. Although their bodies stopped their minds were still racing and trying to comprehend all the information and details that were thrown at them. They felt as if they were trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. In between bites Dave let out what he had been trying to hold in since they were delivered to this place. He blurted out,

“Um Major, so let’s meet the crew and get on with this classified excursions.”

Major Hightower proclaimed, 

“HAH! Crew? My dear boy, HA HA! You are the crew, you 4 and me. That’s it, and I’m all you really need.” John thought how much that sounded like something Dave would say.

To Ch. 7 “To The Zoo”