The Cowardly Lion, Volume Four

The Cowardly Lion becomes a volume work of historical novel importance as ‘Junior’s’ service, now ‘Beach Boy,’ ‘Snow White’, and more. begins to reshape his life and that of those around him.

San Clemente reforms itself to form the crucible in which the fires of his future start to mix and ignite.

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter I

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter I

The sun’s early light emerged from behind me as I faced out toward the large rolling Pacific swells that came in so innocently and inexorably to rise, form curls with white frothy water, and then smash themselves down on the sand as they approached the beach a quarter...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter II

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter II

I opened my eyes to see Mary sitting next to the bed I was lying in, leaning forward, her face only inches from my own. The bed was tilted so I looked a bit down at her worried expression. “Do you know where you are?” she asked, her expression serious and verbal...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter III

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter III

I didn’t remember whether any mention had been made by Richard about the Chevy having positraction. I learned that it did when Mary took off to head for the store. I watched the back end of the car disappear up Lobos Marinos until she took the corner heading north on...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter IV

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter IV

I drove the Volks down to the Dana Point Marina entrance and, after working my way through the ruts of dried mud, up to  Butch’s front door. It was closed, with a note taped to the handle: “If you sell vacuum cleaners or Encyclopedia Britannica’s then come right in.”...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter V

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter V

When I arrived at Galloways, it not being my usual pre-seven a.m. visiting time, the place was half full. Mike Manning sat at my table, so I walked right over and took the seat next to him, which was also usually the chair I occupied. “Want your chair?” he asked,...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter VI

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter VI

I walked to the front door of the modernistic throwback of some ranch-style, but not, home, noting that it had a screen door. The sweep of central air conditioning being installed around the country had just about put an end to such doors, at least as part of the...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter VII

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter VII

Saturday morning came early, as I gently climbed out of bed, knowing Mary would awaken but not stir enough to let me know she was. I didn’t require nearly as much sleep after the Nam as I had in my younger years and also had some form of sleep apnea my wife took full...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter VIII

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter VIII

I left Butch’s trailer and headed back toward San Clemente, but not before stopping back at Straight Ahead just to see if Paul might have showed up since I’d been spending time with Butch. The place was open like it always was, but Paul was nowhere to be seen. I’d...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter IX

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter IX

Unlike the Jeep that’d been waiting for me when I flew in on the C-130 the security people would not let Tom’s Blazer out onto the tarmac. I got out, thanked him for helping me with my plan, and grabbed my bag and new briefcase. Tom had found a used Hartmann case of...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter X

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter X

Regret for my conscious decision to let the artifact lie in the shattered mess of the overhead heater on the garage floor grew, as I headed for home. Down deep I realized the motivation for such a potentially idiotic decision. I didn’t need any more complications or...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XI

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XI

Little Mardian stared over the top lip of his coffee cup, drawn most of the way up to take a sip. My tone and the “you’re not in Kansas anymore,” comment stopped his hand movement as well as widened his eyes. I was surprised that he was reacting at all, since the...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XII

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XII

I opened the velvet-covered blue box and looked at the medal. There’d been no ‘pinning’ the medals to anyone’s chest, as I’d experienced in the Marine Corps. The medals and an eight-and-a-half by eleven blue plastic-covered certificates were handed out. The medal was...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XIII

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XIII

It was too early to do much of anything but head over to Galloways, the place that was growing to become the one thing I might miss the most when we finally made our geographic move. Despite my high regard for the man, my conversation with Herbert had been...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XIV

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XIV

I’d met Matt aboard the C-130 on the way back from Albuquerque. We’d not truly bonded in any way except after sizing me up he uncharacteristically and very surprisingly threw himself in with me for whatever adventure he might be a part of. My being armed and speaking...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XV

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XV

The office inside the wooden ‘bank vault’ style door was more plush than Tom Thorkelson’s office in the Massachusetts Mutual Fashion Island location. The baby blue rug under my feet made it feel like I was standing in a couple of inches of mud while four towering...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XVI

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XVI

When I got to the station and parked in the lot, I first noticed that Lieutenant Gate’s Marauder was parked in its special spot near the back door. The second thing I noticed, as I walked into the facility, was that Pat Bowman wasn’t at her desk. Gates was there when...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XVII

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XVII

I didn’t answer Mary’s question as I took a few seconds to consider its significance. Rick was a policyholder. Rick was the owner of the second-largest life insurance policy I’d ever sold. Three hundred thousand dollars was a lot of money, and the policy, being whole...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XVIII

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XVIII

I drove with abandon on the semi-broken sometimes dirt road called Route 66, as the dream smooth hurtling along, even at only fifty miles per hour or so, disappeared behind us. We were finally headed in the right direction, east, instead of the circuitous selections...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XIX

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XIX

Matt pulled a folded-up package from one of the overly large breast pockets of his vest. The special photographer’s vest he’d gone on and on about earlier because of the new store on Del Mar in San Clemente called the Banana Republic. The place catered to men in what...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XX

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XX

The seat in the Lear Jet was hypnotically comfortable and, as the pilot or pilots, since I could not see forward of the canvas between us, pushed the engine controls to maximum, I breathed deeply and went to sleep. The level of exhaustion I felt could not be held off...

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XXI

THE COWARDLY LION, Volume Four, Chapter XXI

The Sheraton Hotel was located a little more than half a mile from the airport. It was a huge building about twenty stories tall with a great, although empty lobby at our late hour of arrival. Before departure while still near the gate awaiting the call for economy...

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