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July 26, 2019 – The Secret of Life
The following excerpt is from the novel TURTLE ISLAND.

Hurricane Emily howls across Turtle Island and rogue ocean waves engulf the beach house, pummeling its doors. Abruptly, the surf smashes through the dining room French Doors and floods across the lower level, knocking Sandy off her feet and into the wash.

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The water reversed its flow, a little at first, but then a lot.

The back-surge of hundreds of gallons knocked her flat on her stomach and the current whisked her down the hallway towards the dining area and the wide-open French doors and the banshee winds outside.

"Sandy… Sandy!"

Wood ground against wood as the dining table and chairs scooted around in the monstrous flux. One of the chairs teetered over and bobbed out the double doors, the current draggling Sandy along after it. She armed for the doorway as she plunged past but her fingertips grasped empty air.

She glided out the doorway…
Across the porch…
And into the stormy ocean…

Just like that.

She wondered why the water was so deep right here outside the back door but then she remembered the storm surge…
Yes…

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That ever-loving-damn-it-all-to-hell-STORM-SURGE.

She flailed with her arms and thrashed with her legs but her dress snarled, laden and heavy, and dragged her under. She struggled to kick the tangle of dress free from her legs but it knotted with seaweed and debris while the tumultuous currents rumbled her along like a clot of abandoned tumbleweed. The pounding surf lifted her high in the air and her face broke free of the salt-churned water.

She seized a deep breath…

The current draggled her down again, rumbling and tumbling through the froth in a knotted mess. The dress had to go. She wriggled one shoulder out and then the other.

She grasped the neckline with both hands and wrenched it down over her chest and then thumbed it past her belly. It snagged around her waistline because this dress was not designed to be removed this way. She struggled to cram the snarled dress past her hips but it refused to go.

Mama-Nada's little boy hips would sure be handy right about now.

She lost her grip on the dress and tumbled some more, her lungs aching from lack of air. Totally snarled from the waist down, she stroked her arms through the foamy water in an attempt to reach the surface and, just when her lungs felt like they would burst, her face broke through the foam again. She sucked another breath of delicious air.

She smacked the water with outstretched arms, trying to stay afloat, her head above water, but the undertow clutched her snagged dress and yanked her down, down, down.

She realized that she couldn't see her hands in front of her face…
The darkness was so complete that she couldn't see a blessed thing.

Inky blackness engulfed her body and briny burn stung her eyes and nasty bile clogged her throat and a gnarled-up mess hog-tied her legs.

She reluctantly accepted the facts…

The End.

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A profound melancholy set in and she stopped struggling, allowing the current to tumble her along. The Sons of the Pioneers sang their mournful song in her head.

I'll keep rolling along…
Deep in the sea is a song…
Under the waves I belong…
Drifting along like a fumbling tumbleweed!


She chuckled to herself sardonically.
In the watery darkness, an apparition of Suzi's red-devil face snarled at her.

"What the hell are you laughing at, you bloody little abortion?"

Sandy felt a surge of anger.
Bloody little abortion?
She wondered why people were so mean, so spiteful to one another…
Why are they so oblivious to the world at large?

Anger…
Hate…
Bigotry…
Selfishness…

Wouldn't it be great if we no longer needed those words? Wouldn't it be great if we never needed them to begin with? When had the human race lost its way?
More importantly…

WHY had the human race lost its way?

As she drifted down out of consciousness, a thought flashed in her mind.
It was a simple thought really…
Just three minimal words.
String them together in a plain little sentence…
And she realized…

The secret of the universe!

WOW…

This unfussy little sentence is why things go so well when they do…
And…
Fail so badly when they don't.

These unassuming little words are…
WHY each and every one of us is on this wonderful planet…
WHY there is a beautiful moon…
WHY there is a nourishing sun…
WHY there is a Milky Way…
WHY there is a universe and…

WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY!

It all makes such perfect sense now.
Is this what it takes to learn the secret of the universe? One has to die?
No…

Life must flourish!

Her lungs burned like a lava flow and her eyes throbbed like a hornet's sting.

But wait….
Something just bumped her matted legs.
She swiped her arms around the watery blackness and her fingers brushed across something. A rubbery inflated float…
Some kind of air- filled thing…

A PFD of some sort…

It felt hefty under her fingertips, bigger than an inner tube. She squeezed her fingers in a rubbery clench and pulled it towards her.

Yes, it was large.
It was so sizable that she couldn't wrap her naked arms completely around but she hugged it anyway. The inflated tote-bag floated up towards the surface, drawing her and her entangled dress along with it. Her face broke free from the disparaging depths!

She drank in a breath so profound that even the hurricane winds could not compete. With her arms wrapped around the rubbery flotation device, she hacked and coughed and spit out briny foam and hacked some more.

Even above the surface…
It was still pitch black.

She could see some of her arms, closest to her face, but they dissolved into murky darkness below her elbows. White water churned the frothy surface and sheets of pummeling rain thrashed the screaming wind. She clung to her spanking PFD with all her might.
At least she could breathe now and her newfound enlightenment flooded her mind.

Are all the stars and all their planets just one big fluke?
Is the Big-Bang just Fat-Chance?
A coincidence?
Think again.

Life must flourish.

She kicked her tangled feet and the seaweed gave way.
The laden dress billowed out from her pedaling legs and she reached down with one arm and tugged at her waistline. She worked the dress past her hips and down her bottom, scratching across her thighs, mucking down her calves. It wafted away in the roiling ocean currents.
Her naked legs were free to kick, kick, and kick.

Is Earth's comfortable distance from the sun just a fluke?
Is the Goldilocks planet of Just-Right Just-Lucky?
A coincidence?
Think again.

Life must flourish.

She clung to her rubber float-bag for a long time, boosting and plummeting across the black turbulent ocean, blinded from the pelting rain, the briny spray, the stinging wind, the perpetual darkness. She squeezed the big elastic-bobble close to her sopping skin and rose up, up, up on one cascading wave and down, down, down, on another.
How far from the island had she blown and drifted?

Is the single moon that pulls the wobble out of the Earth's spin just a fluke? Is the Perfect-Spin of Perfect-Weather Perfect-Providence?
A coincidence?
Think again.
Life must flourish.
She wondered where she was, exactly.
Was she close to the Florida coastline?
Was she churning out towards the open ocean?

Was the earth-busting asteroid that took out the dinosaurs just a fluke? Was the Planet-Killer that ended the Killer-Dinosaurs just a Killer-Joke?
A coincidence?
Think again.
Life must flourish.
The nightmarish thought of being blown out to sea tugged at her being, threatening to topple her spirit, so she forced that thought out of her mind.
Other things flooded into the voids like waves in a tide pool.

Is Climate-Change just Chicken-Little's feigned fluke?
Or is our wounded Earth bucking off its Derisive-Rider?
Is all this just Quaint-Witticism?
A coincidence?
Think again.
Life must flourish.
Suddenly, an image of hungry sharks swam into her thoughts but she shooed them away, too… Because, after all…
What could she do about any of that right now, anyway? She could survive this…
She knew it, because…

Life in the entire universe must flourish.

Not just a single species…
Not just a single race…
Not just a single gender…
Not just the one percent…
AND…

Certainly not just a single individual!

The universal lifeforce energy throughout the cosmos is so powerful…
If something somewhere is killing off part of its universe…
Then…

That something has GOT to GO.
Because…
Life must flourish.
Murdering fellow human beings…
Slaughtering the world's creatures…
Poisoning the Earth…
If humanity continues its venal trajectory…
Then humanity has GOT to GO…
Because…
Life must flourish.
The Earth's climate is changing, shifting, destabilizing…
CRASHING…
Only because…
Life must flourish.
All she could do was hang onto this overstuffed personal flotation device in this washing machine of a storm and laugh out loud at another revelation.

Emily, you suck.

Maybe it wasn't the secret of life…
But it was true, nevertheless, wasn't it?
The wind still screamed but seemed somewhat less intense…
Or…

Maybe that was just her imagination.

This PFD showing up in this gale-force current had certainly saved her life and she felt thankful. There was a glow up in the sky that wasn't there before…
Or…

Maybe that was just her imagination, too.

No, it wasn't.
The moon was glowing behind those clouds right over there…
She could see it.
And…

When was the last time she saw a lightning flash?

She couldn't remember, exactly, but quite a while, she concluded.
The rain dimmed from pelting sting to ticklish spray. She rubbed the heel of her hand into her eye sockets and blinked the spray away.

Yes… She could see a little more, now.

She could see her hand below her elbow and she could see some white caps a few feet away and she could see a little of her flotation device. She blinked at the pale rubbery thing that lent a stark contrast to her tanned arm that was draped across it.

It seemed colorless and blubbery…
Bloated and round…
Sort of like a hairless cow.

She laughed at such a silly thought!
There were no cattle on this island…
There were no critters bigger than a raccoon, really.

Still clinging with one arm, she probed her fingers over the rubbery surface as the clouds continued to part. The winds slowed and the mist diminished and the ambient moon glow grew with intensity.
She stroked her fingers over the top of the gummy float, feeling, probing.

Just what was this thing?

Her fingertip discovered a little dent… No, not a dent…
More like a hole, really…
A really small hole.
She poked her pinky into the hole but it wouldn't go past the first knuckle…
So…

Not very deep, either.

The ocean seemed to be calming, too, not nearly as rough as before. It had not quieted enough for her to let go of her bloated-float but at least she wasn't swallowing frothy spray any more. Her probing pinky came across something else that felt weird, different, not rubbery…

Furry?

The clouds parted.
The moon shown through, full and bright, and illuminated the churning ocean all around her. Suddenly, she could see for miles in every direction. She could see white water caps out there on the horizon, all crystal clear, and she could discern the shoreline over there, right there, just a few hundred feet away!
Good…

She had not drifted out into Deep Ocean.

An engorged wave lifted her up, up, up…
She could finally see what she had her arm wrapped around…
Lenny Sands' nude dead body!

She screamed and flinched away.
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Ewe, ewe, ewe, ewe, ewe, ewe!

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