Trolley songs

I’m not sure whose idea it was, but for some ridiculous reason (likely financial), the Tampa Electric Company Streetcars only offer afternoon and evening service on weekdays/Sundays. If they want to appeal to “commuters” (which is already laughable given it’s only 2.7 miles long and barely serves the downtown core), they NEED morning service. Let’s not forget visitors (like me); sure, the TECO serves mainly hotels/tourist attractions, but we need to get around too.

For instance, I came to Tampa to participate in the Florida Public Archaeology Lab in Ybor City (the city’s historically Cuban district, and last stop on the streetcar line) at 10am. So, I dutifully got up at 8am, showered, got dressed, had a quick breakfast and was out the lobby door by 9:30am. I specifically chose this hotel because the lobby opened directly onto Dick Greco Plaza (the penultimate stop on the extremely short system).

I waited along with a half-dozen other people most of whom stood around for 10 minutes, got impatient and left – and after 25 minutes (after it became apparent that there was no way I was getting to Ybor City for 10am), I was reluctantly forced to find alternate transportation.

Though none of the five cab drivers lined up outside the hotel was all that keen on taking me on such a short trip, I get one to grudgingly admit that, yes, he “knew where Ybor City was.” It didn’t make him happy about it, but he did agree to take me there (thankfully, I could take the trolley back if need be).

I won’t bore you with the historical information they never gave me, but it was the site of one of the city’s first public schools which was apparently torn down in 1905 and eventually rebuilt as a distillery (which is currently used as a commercial property of some sort). They didn’t really give me a lot of details.

My job was to clean and bag increasingly smaller pieces of window glass, broken bottles and rusted nails. Exciting, I know, but one of the girls next to me (did I mention only six people showed up to this event – SIX) found an old Pepsi bottle (with writing on it), a penny from 1934 (plus another from 1973), a button and some old slate fragments (likely from the school roof).

We got a slight break around 11am as three different sets of 3rd graders ran through the small museum and quickly found where we were working so one of the organizers gave a spiel about how “the museum and the garden we’re standing in were once townhouses for Cuban immigrants who worked in the nearby cigar factories.” She made no mention of archaeology or what we were doing (processing artifacts), but she did explain the site history to a reporter from the Tampa Bay Times who dutifully took our names, ages and hometowns as well as snapping several photos before leaving as quickly as he arrived (once the story is posted to their website, I’ll provide a link to it below).

Shortly after the reporter and third wave of students came through, my table reached the bottom of our bag (the group behind us finished a few minutes earlier), so our facilitator pulled out two bags of larger artifacts and had us wash/clean them.

This second bag took all of 10 – maybe 15 – minutes to get through at which point, she asked us to return our siphons (which we used to keep our artifacts in), brushes and wash out our washing pans. At which point, it was only 11:35am – a full 25 minutes before streetcar service began for the day…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Channelside\Downtown, florida, Tampa, Ybor Ciy | Leave a comment

Thankful Thursday memes

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“Buddy, ya mad psyc elf”

Did that headline make sense to you?

Good, that makes TWO of us. I was thinking of that annoying Will Ferrell movie, but, sadly, it had nothing to do with that abomination.

I was going out to buy milk from the 7-11 catty-corner from my apartment. That was my only intention for this humid fall night – nefarious or otherwise… and, yes, I’ll get to that later in this essay, but first some context…

It was 7:45pm, and, due to the quaint anachronism known as “Daylight Saving Time,” it was practically pitch black out there save for oncoming traffic (which are extra dangerous for me due to my having a 1.5 second processing delay – which can be absolutely deadly as a pedestrian), a couple of flickering/sparsely placed streetlights and the signs on top of the two hotels – plus the aforementioned convenience on the other side of the extremely busy intersection.

That is stressful enough for me under normal conditions (but is far better than being out in the day’s heat), but did I mention that I also had to deal with the deafening noise of a rapidly approaching fire truck with horns blaring and sirens at FULL VOLUME.

I get it – it’s an actual emergency, but it doesn’t have to stop an inch behind me blaring said horns directly into my ears while I’m in the middle of a busy intersection with the pedestrian signal up (it was also the very thing I was trying to avoid so, congrats, mission accomplished).

This caused me to jump 3 feet in the air and freeze temporarily while their sirens were still going and now they were shouting “MOVE YOUR (horn)ING ASS (double horn), YOU (horn)ING RETARDED ASS(horn)!!!”

“Shit. God damnit, that hurts,” I said holding my ears in pain as I tried to continue crossing the street while the fire truck nearly clipped me as it shot off behind me.

“Buddy, up ya mad psycic elf,” this guy in a black and grey hoodie said passing me from behind, I could barely hear over the ringing in my ears.

“HEY, BUDDY,” he said repeating it for me impatiently. “I SAID ‘YOU’RE OFF YOUR MEDS AGAIN, YOU FUCKING PSYCHOPATH!!!’”

That is both helpful and not helpful at the same time – especially since I once again only caught half of it.

“God damnit,” I said stepping onto the sidewalk, “that horn was loud and an inch away from my ear. What the hell is wrong with them? Fu…ow. Seriously.”


That I sort of understood, but as I tried to work it through in my head, I didn’t realize I was repeating everything I was saying out loud.


“MASS SHOOTER?!! WHERE,” I shouted looking around frantically for a place to hide. Of course, there wasn’t so much as a bush in a 100-foot radius, so I looked like a madman to 100s of oncoming cars.

YOU ARE,” he said flipping me off as he finally disappearing somewhere into the darkness.  “YOU GOD-DAMNED RETARDED LUNATIC!”

Sure, he was gone… but what if he came back later in my trip? I wondered as I continued to walk towards my destination, my body still shaking as I entered the convenience store, but, hey, at least, my hearing was starting to come back…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, florida, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Can’t you get it?

Do I really need to take that awful phrase apart? I will anyway, but first let me provide some context. This is a comment I made on the Facebook page “Joy of Autism” on a picture of a boy with the caption: “I asked him to do something. He said “no” so we celebrated.”

Was it inartful? Probably. Was it insensitive? Possibly. Did I prove I have absolutely no understanding of what Autism is (and by implication never will)? At least one commenter thought so asking:

Jonathan Twiggar, can’t you get it? He’s nonverbal, and he spoke.”

“Can’t you get it?”

There were 100s of enraged replies I could have posted, and, believe me, I considered all of them. Was see implying I was stupid or just that I wasn’t worth explaining things to? This is why I quickly learned to not ask questions in school – either my teacher, classmates or both would have that “why are you wasting our time with this shit? This is OBVIOUS to anyone with half a brain!”

Can’t you get it? Of course not, and you never will because you’re stupid/retarded/etc. so why should I bother explaining it to you if you’re never going to get it?

To be fair, not 100% understanding something relatively trivial that I didn’t know and had no way of knowing based on the scant information presented to me is a federal crime… at least on Facebook.

Heck, I guarantee my mom could see that same reply and react like “what’s the problem with this? Why do you think she’s ‘attack’ …wait, what did YOU say to… how dare you write something like that!” #supportive

Speaking of Facebook, I couldn’t post any of the replies I wanted, but I eventually collected myself enough to give a reasonably measured response (which to my amazement, no-one argued with). However, that doesn’t mean I know anything about Autism – least of all mine…

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, entertainment, Internet\FB | Leave a comment

Awesome Autumn memes

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Photos: A walk in Orlando

These are pictures I took on my phone on a walk in Orlando almost 2 weeks after the storm. A lot of downed trees and branches, but most of the debris seems to be cleaned up. I may add more photos later.

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Photos: Somewhere on 95

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Why I hate getting my haircut

Just got a haircut, after waiting for over a half-hour in the half-full waiting room I was finally called back to the chair. I told the barber that I wanted “scissor cut” (because I hate the noise/vibration against my head), and he replies: “Right, okay, like a 4 or 5? Okay, I see, gotcha.”

“No longer like-”

“You mean like a 6 or 7? Okay. Okay, I see. Gotcha,” he pulls out his clippers and starts giving me a 5 anyway.

When I tell him I wanted a scissors cut, he says “you did not. Your said ‘give me a 5 with clippers.’ Yes, you did, and that is what I am giving you.”

“No, YOU asked about a ‘4 or 5.”

“I told you that was too short and you recommend ed a ‘6 or 7.’ Why would I tell you to give me a clipper cut when I know I hate when barbers do those things?”

“Because you did,” he shrugged, “maybe if you told me in Spanish…

“What, you don’t speak Spanish? Pfft,” he said putting his clippers down and picking up a large, shoddy looking pair of scissors. “How do you understand what the people in the next chair are saying if you ‘don’t speak Spanish.’ I mean come on, this is Florida, EVERYONE speaks Spanish.”

He then proceeds to spend the next ten minutes manhandling my head with his giant hands (good thing I’m sensitive to touch too). I REALLY wanted to rip my apron off dramatically and walk out (wouldn’t be the first time), but I didn’t because “!el Stupido” or something – especially since I knew without even looking that it was already too short.

He then pulls out the razor for my ears and neck which is even worse from a noise/vibration stand point and doesn’t seem remotely phased by how clearly uncomfortable it is for me (as I had a stylist in Baltimore nearly cut my ear off doing that). He then puts it down, shows my hair and it looks like a damned buzzcut – and a sloppy one at that.

“See, what did I tell you? I gave you a great haircut. Huh, huh, huh,” he said elbowing me annoyingly. “Ya look great.”

Um, no.

On the plus side, he charged me full price for it (couldn’t understand how I couldn’t be happy with such an “awesome” cut), and I gave him a $2 tip simply because I already had too many 1s on me to get change from him. Very frustrating and disappointing, and it happens nearly every time I get a haircut.

Probably the reason I avoid them at all costs, just like my dentist…

Categories: adventures, Autism, florida, Orlando | Leave a comment

Fiction: Children of Wax: Part 1

“The hottest day of the year,” Wes said. “And, of course, the A/C decides to give out. I swear, by the end of the day, we won’t have a museum – we’ll have a giant pool of wax. I don’t want to be the one who has to clean that up.”

“Neither do I,” Jake replied drolly. “Did you ever hear back from that college you applied to?”

“WE applied to, and, yes, I’ve got the envelope in my bag…I can open it now. I’m sensing good news.”

“Let’s hope so.”

“‘Dear applicant,’” he began as Jake cringed. “Must be one of those ‘form letters’ I keep hearing about… ‘Thank you for your interest in our school. We re…gret t-to in…form you that…’”

“It’s okay,” Jake said putting his hand on his fiancé’s shoulder reassuringly.

“No,” he said rebuffing said hand. “It’s not. We were supposed to go t-together, and now… and now, we can’t. Just go. Check the galleries, make s-sure nothings melted yet…”


Jake Norway went through the galleries (normally Wes’ job) straightening wigs and repositioning dummies. He knew his fiancé would tell him they “looked sad” for some reason, but he’s been working there long enough to know that was usually the result of either a slid wig, misaligned eye…or the viewer’s imagination (like Wes with his silly paranormal “reality” shows).

As he was evaluating the Appalachia scene (the one directly behind Rodney’s), he heard the restroom door slam loudly. Fine, nothing strange about that, he’d be out in a minute or so…but he wasn’t. However, he did hear an unfamiliar voice shout his name from that general area – despite the fact that the museum hadn’t actually opened yet. Spooky, but more than likely just his imagination…

He got into the gallery where Daniel was and heard his name called again, but in a much louder, more urgent voice. He then, having finished his tour, checked the restroom next to the curator’s office to see an unconscious Wes sprawled on the floor holding a pocket knife in his hands as blood spurted from his wrists…

Oh right, he pulled his cell phone out and frantically dialed 9-11, hoping it wasn’t too late…


While the doctors were still treating Wes, Jake returned to work the next day to find that his replacements had set up a bunch of fans in the museum (even though fans do not actually “cool” air, they just move it around). There was a large, relatively new oscillating fan in the lobby and several older, smaller fans set up in the individual galleries plugged in the loose, aging outlets.

“Idiots,” he said seeing the ragged extension cords (that looked like the rats had been chewing on them) duct taped to the floor. This was an obvious fire hazard, but he couldn’t leave to replace them as he was the only one working there that day. He probably didn’t want to see the job they did cleaning up the restroom.

He continued his inspection, noting that he thought some of the figures in the first room seemed worried. “Happy,” “sad,” or “angry” were common interpretations, but “worry” was new to him. Bah, he was probably just projecting his own feelings on some lifeless pile of wax.

He goes back to the lobby and checks his e-mail to find an ominous looking message from the park owner…


Wes woke up sometime later to find himself standing rigid and immobile on a small platform in the museum lobby across from where Jacob and some other dude was sitting. Was that Kenny from the go-kart track or Brice from the putt-putt course or…it didn’t matter, he was probably dead anyway.

Then he realized, the reason he was awake now – the ring on his left hand was gone, and he just saw the smug little shit (no older than Rodney or Sara) leave the museum with his mom. That bastard was definitely going to pay for that, and as much as the others tried to dissuade him, he decided to follow him around the 3rd rate park – making damn sure the punk thief saw him.

Finally around 11pm, as said thief was playing an online game, his system suddenly shuts off and he could see the reflection of a certain red-haired boy lying on his bed in the black monitor holding the power cord in his left hand.

“You know what I want. You may as well give it to me – call it an even exchange.”


“Absolutely not,” the boy shouted. “This PC cost my parents $8500, this ring will pawn for less than $200.”

“It’s not about money, my fiancé saved up for months on a part-time minimum wage to buy this ring for me. Frankly, you can’t put a price on love.”

“I don’t care about you and your gay, faggot ass lover.”

“Damned straight…err, not straight. Augh, it doesn’t matter, boy knows a good thing when he sees it.”

“I don’t care about you. I want my power cord back. NOW!”

“Phillip Ryan Thatcher,” his mother said sharply as she entered the room. “What the hell are you carrying on about? Your father and I are trying to sleep. Now go to bed before I bring your father in here.”

“Go on, tell her. It’ll be fun.”

“No,” Phillip said (to Wes).

“Don’t talk back to me, young man. You do not want your father up here.”

Suddenly, there was a noise of loud footsteps on the stairs.

“That’s it,” she continued. “You’re really in trouble now…”


The footsteps stop a few feet from the boy’s door, but neither of him nor his mother saw anyone come in leaving both vaguely unsettled.

“Who are you,” Wes asked cocking his head slightly.

“George,” Phillip’s mom blurted as he (unbeknownst to her) stepped into the doorway.

“Dang it,” the fair skinned boy with shaggy brown hair and a dirty grey uniform shouted in his thick Southern accent. “For the last time, my name isn’t… you can see me?

“Um, yeah, and your little thief here can see me so you may as well tell me.”

“I am not a thief.”

“What was that,” his mom asked sharply.

“My name isn’t ‘George.’ It’s Jonah.”

“George? Jonah? They are kinda close.”

“Jonah,” Phillip asked. “I like it.”

“We were half-right,” his mother added.

“Not the point, the point is your antics woke everyone up.”

“HIS antics,” Wes said pointing to his left. “He’s the one who stole my engagement ring off my finger. Wants to pawn it for $200.”

“I did not ‘steal’ anything. He’s a fucking mannequin. What the fuck does he need an ‘engagement ring’ for anyway?”


“It doesn’t matter,” Jonah said. “You can bet that if someone stole one of my possessions that I’d be mad too.”

“You’d better not have!”

“Three against one. Better hope your dad doesn’t come in here.”

“Like I care what some 60-year-old thinks.”

“Six-TEEN!! I’m SIXTEEN not 60. Stop making me older than I am.”

“TEEN,” Wes said. “He’s three years older than you are.”

“He’s sixteen? I thought he was supposed to be some grizzled old vet.”

“Don’t you dare mock his service.”

“I did not ‘mock’ his service.”

“His uniform is grey, but his hair is dark brown. Give it a good cutting, and he’d look damned sexy. Don’t worry, kid, as you’ve probably heard by now, I’m already engaged…”


“Who are you talking to,” Phillip’s mother said. “I said nothing about his service. I swear boy, I love you, but you’re starting to worry me here.”

“You mean like this kinda service,” Jonah said closing the boy’s dresser drawer loudly and tossing the ring to Wes who catches it making them both visible for a moment.

“Thanks, Jonah,” he said sliding it onto his finger. He turns to Phillip’s mother, bowed and continued: “Sorry for the interruption, Ma’am. Oh, and Jonah…”

“Hi,” he said waving awkwardly as he realized they could see him, but, for the life – err, afterlife – of him he couldn’t think of a single thing to say after that. Thankfully, he didn’t need to as Wes continued:

“You’re more than welcome to visit me in the park if you need me.”

And with that, Wes disappeared triumphantly followed shortly by a slightly embarrassed Jonah who quietly shut the door behind them passing Phillip’s father on the stairs…


Several days later, Wes stood guard as his former colleagues sat down for their weekly staff meeting. The first item on the docket (which his former fiancé had no interest in entertaining) was “strange occurrences” around the museum/park.

“Well,” Jacob said skeptically. “There’s only one fair way to settle this. We need to bring in fair, impartial outside observers.”

“You mean like those paranormal investigators I saw on TV,” Kenny asked (didn’t he work rides?).

“I was thinking more along the lines of scientific investigators…”

“Oh, come on,” Brice said (the mini golf course wasn’t good enough for him?). “It would create buzz for the park – plus, wasn’t Wes a huge fan of that show?”

“Um, yeah,” Kenny chimed. “It’ll be a fitting tribute. You should totally call them after the meeting.”

“Fine,” Jacob sighed as he looked up and thought he saw Wes’s statue smiling at him cheesily. “Compile a list of anything suspicious or ‘paranormal’ that you think the so-called ‘ghosts’ did around the museum and/or park and I’ll present it to them IF they come.”


As the TAPS team entered the aging amusement park, a young employee with caramel skin handed Dave Tango a map, imploring him to “enjoy his stay.”

“Hey, thanks.”

“Hey, Dave,” Steve Gonsalves asked. “Who are you talking to back there?”

“The employee over there, the one who gave me this map.”

“What ‘employee,’ the park is closed today?”

He motions to where the young man was standing, “what the..? He was JUST here a moment ago.”

“Your imagination is acting up on you again, Dave.”

“Then where’d I get this map from,” he said showing it him. Steve grabs it from it his hands impatiently.

“Hey, wait, there’s two here,” he said handing the one back to Tango before opening his own to find a large drawing of a spider tucked into the inside of the brochure with the word “Boo” written below it.

“What’s going on back there,” Lead Investigator Jason Hawes asked.

“Nothing, Jay.”

“Good, catch up, we’re trying to find this ‘museum’ place.”


“My map says it should be around the corner to the right.”

“When did you get a map,” Co-founder Grant Wilson asked. “We didn’t get a map. Did we, Jay?”

“Oh come on, I couldn’t possibly be the only person to see him standing there!”

“So, around this way… and to the right,” Jay said ignoring Tango’s outburst. “Looks like some kind of food court and…it should be right…around…THERE! Looks like your map was right, Tango.”

“Um, thanks, Jay.”

“Let’s get inside,” he said opening the door and practically pushing them inside. “You two can go first.”

“Yeah,” Grant agreed half-jokingly. “Keep you two from causing any more trouble.”


“Um, guys,” Tango said peering into the main gallery. “This is him.”


“The kid I saw at the entrance.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jacob said. “That reminds me of something I was going to tell you anyway. He was one of our last arrivals, and I still remember the first thing Wes said when we unboxed him was ‘doesn’t he look like he should be standing at the gate-’”

“‘…Handing out maps,’” Tango continued holding up his for the group to see. None of them noticing the boy in question smiling subtly (…except the cameraman who happened to pan up during the exchange).

“Um, yes,” Jacob said awkwardly. “He then insisted on leaving a pen and notebook in the room while we went out to the floor. When we came back, there was writing in it. No clue how it got there, but it wasn’t any of our handwritings.”

“Interesting…,” Jay said.

“Wait, do you still have this notebook,” Grant asked.

“In the desk drawer, I can get it if you want.”

“Please do,” Jay said. “It would be a great help.”


“Do you mind if we take it with us,” Grant asked.

“Why,” Jacob asked. “It’s only two pages.”

“Still. Anything you could give us would be a big help towards our investigation.”

“Whatever, you can have it. Now, if you follow me, I’ll introduce you to them personally. This is the main gallery, the expansive Virginia Beach scene on the left, the manor house scene on the right and the models from both of these scenes are in the notebook.”

“What about the kid on the raft,” Jay asked of the relatively small endcap.

“Huck here is just a mannequin, but around the corner is our Appalachian scene leading into the Hollywood and Ole’ West dioramas.”

“So, anything reported back here,” Steve asked wondering if his cords would reach this far back.

“Nope, but the next room where our newest model, which was apparently part of some planned robotic display give some visitors ‘weird feelings,’ yet none of the reporters say they were ‘scared’ or ‘intimidated’ by it.”

“So, he’s not bothering anyone,” Jay asked.

“No, but if you follow me,” Jacob said leading them through the archway to the lobby. “I can show you the rest of the park…”

Categories: Autism, entertainment, museums, writing | Leave a comment

Fiction: Children of Wax: Part 2

Later, as the two lead investigators entered the main gallery, there was a loud knock on the museum door.

“DA FRICK,” Wes shouted.

“Hey, that’s MY line,” Grant shouted back.

“You two,” Wes said pointing to the two younger spirits. “Keep them busy. I’ll see what they want.”

“Right,” they said smiling mischievously.

“‘Keep them busy,’” Grant said testily. “What are we five?”

“Well,” Jay conceded. “At least, we know how many we’re dealing with now.”

“Oh,” Wes said pointing to the older boy. “…And make sure they don’t follow me.”

“Yessir,” he said pounding “Shave & a Haircut” onto the wall behind him as Wes left and the other two pounded their response simultaneously on each side of the wide doorway on the opposite side of the room.

“Actually,” Jay said moderately impressed. “That’s not bad… but can you do it again?”


“Jonah,” Wes asked incredulously. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“You said ‘if I ever needed anything’…”

“I didn’t mean TONIGHT! Can’t you see we’ve got a film crew here?”

“I didn’t choose to have my house burn down, and I sure as hell didn’t make my way all the way out here just to go back and haunt some ruined shell.”

“Okay, fine, just calm down, and I’ll see what I can do for you doing the scene change. Just stay there, and don’t interfere with production – that’s MY job. So, yeah, just – just stay there and I’ll be back shortly. Okay?”

“Okay…I guess.”

“Good, I shouldn’t be long in there. I promise.”

“Hey, Jay,” Steve said into his radio.

“Yeah, Steve”

“Is everything all right where you are? We thought we heard arguing near your location.”

“Possible, we had some knocking outside the building a while ago. Could you two come by and do a perimeter check?”

“Um, sure, no problem”


Meanwhile, Wes comes back inside and signals to the older boy to come over: “Just him,” he whispers. “You two keep going.”

The blonde headed boy approached Wes, pulling on the back of Grant’s jacket as he passed.

“What the…someone just pulled on my jacket. If that was you, could you give me another sign of your presence – like pulling on mine or Jay’s clothes?”

“We got a kid outside,” Wes explained. “…But I don’t want to distract too much from your fun here.”

“Gah,” Grant said as Riley tried to pants him. “I said ‘pull ON’ not ‘DOWN.’”

“They must really like you, Grant,” Jay quipped as he and their cameramen laughed.

“Great, you’ve had your fun at MY expense. Now can you try pulling on JAY’s clothes?”

“I just want to get him into the storeroom without being seen or heard. The problem is: I’m probably going to need your help to do it…”


“Hey, there you are,” Tango said entering the museum.

“We finished the tour of the perimeter,” Steve continued. “…And there was nothing unusual there.”

“We’ll check the tapes later,” Jay said. “Now you two go change the digis, and we’ll go check out the ‘Midway’ area.”

“Good,” Wes said as they left. “Now’s our chance. Get in here now, you should be safe here in case they co…”

“Who’s that,” Jonah asked pointing to a broken mannequin (non-human) in the corner.

“Unlike these two here,” Wes said nodding towards Riley and Sara. “He doesn’t have an ‘official’ name, but I always called him ‘Johnny Reb’ since he was in our Southern scene.”

“Works for me…”

“He does kinda look like you,” Riley said tilting his head slightly.

“Well,” Wes said. “That was easier than I thought… and, now, if only we had room for him somewhere…”

“How about that slot across from Daniel,” Sara asked. “He always looks so lonely over there by himself.”

“I always kinda felt bad for him,” Riley added. “As he’s essentially left out of everything.”

“I guess it’s settled then,” Wes said. “Assuming we can find an extra outfit back here…”


“Hey, guys,” Jay said into his radio. “It’s about that time. Time to wrap up and get some sleep.”

So, while the two Lead Investigators were off collecting digis, Tango and Kris Williams were off working in the now brightly lit museum.

“I know it’s gonna sound weird,” Tango said handing her a coil of wire he’d stripped off the otherwise pristine floor.

“I know,” she said with a cheeky smile as their cameraman laughed. “And, that’s why you love you.”

“Not me, I mean this room. It’s, um, different. I’m not sure how, but something seems a bit… off he…AUGH!”


“I swear someone just tapped me on the shoul… hmm,” he said turning around quickly. “Wait…when did he – err, it – get here?”

“You mean he wasn’t there on your tour?”

“Um, no.”

“Are you sure? It’s not like he could just walk out here on his own.”

“Yes, I’m ‘sure.’ It definitely was-”

“What’s going on in here,” Grant asked entering the back gallery. “I’m not going to have to separate you two, am I?”

“Oh, thank God you’re here. We have a question for you…”


“So,” Jacob asked skeptically as he sat down next to the small monitor the producers set up for them. “Find anything ‘paranormal?’”

“Well,” Jay said. “We’ve actually found a few things. Almost all of it here, the rest of the park was absolutely quiet.”


“Yeah, we can show it to you now, get your opinion on it. Maybe you know something we don’t.”


“Anyway,” Grant said. “This is a video of Jay and I exploring this gallery over here.”

They play the footage of them entering the gallery and a loud knocking on the door which startles both of them.

“See if you recognize this voice.” Jay said. “He clearly was expecting that as much as we were.”

“DA FRICK” Wes shouted.

“I should. He was my fiancé, and a huge fan of yours I might add.”

“Um, thanks, I guess. Wait, did you say ‘fiancé,’” Grant asked.

“Yep, and he’s standing right behind your little monitor.”

“You mean like he was real – not a mannequin – a REAL person?”

“Yep, as were Riley, Sara, Rodney and Chad.”

“So, you know their names then,” Jay said.

“I should. I work here…”


“Hey, that’s MY line,” Grant shouted as Jay resumed the tape

“You two,” Wes shouted.

“That would probably be Riley and Sara, they are the two newest additions. One of your colleagues claims to have met him on the way into the park.”

“Right, Dave Tango, yes,” Jay said resuming the tape. “Good memory.”

“Keep them busy,” Wes continued.

“‘Keep them busy,’” Grant said testily. “What are we five?”

“At least,” Jay conceded. “We know how many we’re dealing with here.”

“…And keep them from following me.”

“That would probably be Chad, the blonde kid dressed as the lifeguard. He’s the oldest one here at 19, and the default ‘protector’ of the younger ones.”

“Yeah,” Jay nodded. “That makes sense. The rest of this doesn’t, so we’ll skip it for now, and move onto the next clip…”


“What the…someone just pulled on my jacket. If that was you, could you give me another sign of your presence – like pulling on mine or Jay’s clothes?”

“Gah,” Grant continued as some unseen force tried to pants him. “I said ‘pull ON’ not ‘DOWN.’”

“Any ideas who could have done that,” Jay asked.

“Not really. However, since that notebook I showed you was presumably written by Riley, I’d say he was the most likely culprit.”

“They must really like you, Grant,” Jay quipped as he and their cameramen laughed.

“Great, you’ve had your fun at MY expense. Now can you try pulling on JAY’s clothes?”

“They didn’t,” Grant added bitterly.

“Of course not,” Jacob said. “It was a distraction. Not sure from what, but they clearly didn’t want you interfering with it.”

“We have ONE idea,” Jay said getting up, signaling his camera guy over and heading over to the back gallery. “Not sure how we could have missed it, but this figure definitely wasn’t there when we started this investigation.”

“Sure, as heck wasn’t MY doing. I’d never let a model out on the floor with an outfit like that…”


“So, what does that mean,” Jacob asked as they sat back down at the folding table the producers set up for them in the lobby. “Is the park ‘haunted’ or not?”

“I can’t speak for the rest of the park,” Grant said conciliatorily.

“But,” Jay continued. “We think this museum area is defin…”

“Nurse! NURSE,” Jake shouted as Wes slowly opened his eyes to find himself in a hospital room. “Come quickly. He’s moving. He’s opened his eyes.”


“Shush, you’ll be alright. The doctor said you were lucky, you should have lost twice the amount of blood you did.”


“Daniel? The robo-”

“Actually, he hates that word… anyway, he slammed the door when he realized what I was… doing, s-sorry…”

“It’s okay. Don’t try to talk.”

“…And immediately starting shouting… your name and then talking to me… holding my arms tightly to prevent… b- blood from coming out until… you got to the door… What happened to him… anyway?”

“Well, you see, it’s a bit complicated.”


“Yes. You see, the park was sold to some outside developer who plans on demolishing it to build ‘vacation condos’ along the lake.”


“Sorry, I haven’t even gotten to the ‘strange’ part – or parts – yet…”


“Heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure are all normal. I’ll alert the doctor of the news.”

“Thank you, Phillip,” Jake said. “As I was saying, the strange part – the first part of it anyway – was that someone moved the broken ‘Johnny’ fr…”


“YOU gave him that name.”

“I’ve since been corrected.”

“Anyway, the ‘model,’ as you call them, was moved back on the floor for whatever reason. No clue why, it just was. The second and arguably more important is that since they couldn’t fix the A/C, they plugged in fans all over the gallery.”

“But… fans just move air around.”

“Exactly, and since they were as old as the wiring here…”

“What,” he asked with a weak laugh. “The building caught fire or something?”

“Yes,” he said annoyed at having his story stolen from him. “…But, when the firefighters arrived, they found five fully intact figures on a bench outside the building.”


“Yes, five – Chad, Joh- sorry ‘Jonah,’ Riley, Rodney and Sara –”

“What about Daniel?”

“Um, yeah, I was getting to that…”


Two weeks later, Joey and company enter the third-rate theme park in the middle of nowhere. Near the entrance, they saw a blonde-headed boy stocking maps in various languages for what was probably the last time. When he saw them, he sighed, took three off the top of his box and handed them to the trio.

“Sorry to bother you,” Joey said. “My name is Joey Westin, and I’m looking for my brother. I’m told we was in one of your attractions.”

“A lot of people work on rides here,” Jake said.

“Actually, I said ‘IN one of your attractions.’ I know it’s gonna sound ‘weird,’ but he was my hero and I’ve been trying to find him since he was, um-”

“Robo-OW,” Jimmy said.

“What did I tell you about using that word?”


“Anyway, his name is – or was – Daniel, and I was going to say broke his leg…”

“You don’t mean Daniel the, um… animatronic from our museum?”

“Possibly. Last I heard from him, he had just failed his qualification exam for the fire department for not rescuing enough ‘dummies’ from their simulated fire. So, anyway, if you can tell me where he is…”


“I’d love to,” Jake said closing his box. “But, the museum burned down two weeks ago. There were no ‘humans’ inside – living ones anyway – but the fire department said when they went inside there was a boy dressed as one of them who apparently said, ‘THIS time, I did get all of them,’ before disappearing in a ‘column of light.’”

“Trust me,” Andrew said. “We’re more than familiar with that column.”

“…Or, at least, HE is.”

“So,” Joey said. “If you could tell me where he is, that would be a great help to us.”

“You see, when they pushed into the building, they found a charred body blocking the back entry to our main gallery. The second one of them touched him, he fell apart. I-I’m sorry…”

“Thank you anyway,” Joey said turning away disappointedly.

“Wait,” Jake called. “He was a hero. He saved my fiancé’s life, and all of the known ‘human’ figures in the museum.

“Oh, and I know it’s not much,” he continued, reaching into his pocket and handing Joey a shiny golden badge. “…But they found this is in what little remained of him…”

Joey pins the badge on his shirt, and his body starts glowing faintly. He looks up, smiles and says: “Thanks, Danny, but I’m nowhere near done yet…”

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