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Disclaimer: while we are all aware of the notion that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction, for practical and legal reasons let's just call this fiction.

Chapter one
Early attempts at flight

On a hillside in southeast Missouri a home was being built. Young Bud stood on the edge of the i-beam overlooking the valley below. A maze of rafters and framed walls spread out bellow him. He threw his head back and swallowed the country air. Bud lifted his arms, already that morning covered with sawdust and dirt, out to his sides like he was a trapeze artists on a really fat rope. He was confident, he understood the beauty below him. He had a plan. He had a hammer.

Young Bud's brother called from behind. "Hey Brad, go to the basement and get a short two by four."

Buoyed by the challenge of fetching wood, Bud skipped down the steps to the second floor. This was the first house he ever helped build. He turned the corner, avoiding the open atrium to the basement and headed down the second set of stairs. Bud had arranged his work schedule at the restaurant so he could help his brother build his dream house. He would spend one week a month in the county building until the house was finished.

Maybe a step gave way or perhaps he tripped on his untied shoe laces, definitely if he had held the railing, Bud's fall to the concrete floor below might had been prevented. Despite the fall being only eight feet Bud still had time for his usual absurd thoughts, flashbacks, testimonials, regrets, a poorly acted t.v. Drama and a growing sense of apprehension about his future as the concrete floor approached.

On the third floor Bud's brother, father and some guy named Tony heard a scream and then there was silence...

"Brad!" Bud's father called out with concern.

Chapter two

SEE! Young Bud question his idealism

HEAR! Young bud say to his physical therapist, "God damit! If i had known you were going to try to straighten my arm I wouldn't had use them to break my fall.

WATCH! Young bud experience the rebirth of euphoria (and should this be a concern to the doctors).

Chapter two

Fall was about a month late. Bud remembered an FM DJ commenting on how warm this October was just before he had changed his car stereo dial. He wondered why they only played crap in the country. It was about a two hour drive from St. Louis to his brothers farm. He drove through the shadows of small compact clouds squirting the surrounding hillsides and concrete of highway 55. He enjoyed the peaceful solitude of this drive.

Bud wasn't sure how long he had been unconscious and his father and bothers repeated assistance that he hadn't passed out irritated him. His head hurt and he wasn't sure where his arms were. From the corner of his eye, he could see the spot from were he fell. Nine feet? Ten? Fourteen?


Bud continued to wonder how far he had fallen and also who was Brad? One thing he did know was that the fetal position wasn't glamorous and he better work on that. He first slowly stretched out one leg, but failed to get the other leg out from under himself. Collecting his thoughts, he pictured an aerial view, Elmer Fudd at the moment he was hit by a cannon ball, only there was one extra long leg with a hiking boot sticking out his butt. That wouldn't do.

Bud heard dad, "Brad are you okay?".

Then his brother, "Brad are you okay?

Tony, "Brad, you okay?"

A theme had evolved, but Bud didn't pick up on it. After about a minute, bud finally said, "yea, i'm fine." He would have to show them when it didn't hurt to much.

Bud needed a smoke. He had continued to work until his arms stopped binding at the elbows a which point he figured it was a good time for a break. On the cedar porch of his brother's trailer bud devised an apparatus where a small wooden spear gouged into the butt of a cigarette. The spear stood upright in the vent of a Weber outdoor grill. Bud reasoned that when the ashes became to long they would break off and gently fall to the earth landing in a discarded cat food can he had found. He still had two glitches to work out. First, the cigarette kept slipping on the spear into a position where it would have to be smoked from above (a smoker will know). Second, he couldn't light a match.

Bud looked down at his useless hands. They weren't going anywhere. His nose itched. Tragically, he wondered who would scratch his nose? Weber?

It was also at the fateful moment Bud realize that he wasn't well.

Coming soon!

Maybe you should have buckled my seat belt.

Where our young Kant-like creature gives us safety tips and also, are those stigmata marks?

Chapter three
Fault lines

The rolling hills and gentle flowing streams stood in stark contrast to the earth, ten miles below the town of New Madrid, Missouri were two colossal forces meet. On this pleasant fall day there was little evidence that continental plates were about to collide.

Bud sat next to the x-ray table trying to clean the dirt from under his finger nails before the nurse came back. He wasn't particularly attracted to her but he had seen enough tv dramas to know this was one of those classic moments. He, the brave young foot solder tragically denied the use of his arms, must help the forlorn nurse rediscover her heart... .

Doctor Raimus looked up from her paper when nurse shelly entered the break lounge, "what's the matter with the coffee maker?"

"I think the coils burnt out." Replied the nurse.

"Does linda know?"

"Yea, I think she ordered one two days ago."

"Why does she need to order one? Can't she just go to target."

Nurse Shelly shrugs, "I don't know. I have some coke in the ice box Doctor Raimus shakes her head, "no that's all right. Do I have any one up yet? Bud was now trying to remove the Liquid Nail splotches that covered his hands. The dirt and sawdust stuck to his fingers had turned an ugly brown. Bud worried what his nurse imagined it would be.

Doctor Raids walked into the room, holding buds x-rays "how are you doing, Mr. Bowers?"

Bud looked around wondering who the doctor was addressing.







Chapter four
The blue dress

Bud sat on the edge of her bed, looking at herself in the mirror as her mom combed her long brown curls. Bud flinched when the comb hit a knot, she pursed her lips, but she didn't complain. Ever since her cheerleading accident she had to rely on her mother to do things she would normally do herself.

Homecoming was only a week away and she wondered if she would be able to get her damaged arms into the dress she bought last month at Stobe's. Maybe john dropping her on the New Madrid high's football field during the game against Scott City, was a blessing. Kip was such a geek and she'd love any excuse to get out of their homecoming date. At least she wouldn't have to dance.

Kip really wasn't that bad, but to Bud he seemed more like a sibling. Kip lived on a farm two miles from her. His family had horses and she could ride them anytime she wanted. She wasn't sure how she knew, but she was sure Kip wasn't that special person she dreamed one day she would meet.

Her mother pulled on her hair and she flinches again. "mom," she asks.

"yes, Brad."

"what did you think of dad when you first met?"


Chapter five; A dog's life

Bud joins a twelve-step recovery program. The group, entranced by Bud's charismatic word pronunciations and green eyes, become his followers. At night his cult carries out raids on neighboring towns, stealing wheat and small cows.