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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
The ancestors of Captain Morgan are barely getting by, until time and circumstance give them a chance to rejuvenate the family name in the modern world.

Submitted: March 30, 2016

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Submitted: March 30, 2016




A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran


 Abruptly, every light in the Morgan home went out.
Despite the Captain and his famous rum, the Morgan descendants were considered only slightly higher than trapeze artists or human cannon balls.

Sometimes visitors to the city heard wild tales abut Josh, his ditzy wife, Gloria and their seven yard-apes, some of whom cast a distinctly Transylvanian shadow across a strong light; some swore their upper lips protruded like The Bride of Frankenstein’s and that their eyes were glassy and goofy, like the good Doctor’s after a failed experiment involving Igor.

Nevertheless, in the main, the comments about the Morgan swarm, focused on their amazing ability to eat very little human food and still stay upright.

The kids ate grass or wheat from the garden on the huge back lot of the Morgan household, while others ate apples and cherries; some downed oranges and lemons.

Now the lemon eaters were being studied at Stanford, to see what effect the elongated teeth of the Morgan’s had upon such a sweet smelling, happy fruit like the lemon.

This aberrant study was being conducted on behalf of the lemon growers, in order to discover the harshest pesticide that would ensure a firm fruit peel against both flour-legged and two-legged fruit predators such as the folks in their test group.

Dinners got a bit dicey when winter piled on the snow and ice and the Morgans had to dig around in the slush to find an odd acorn or two. Nevertheless, they were, for the most part totally undaunted by anything climatic.

There was always the cellar, where they packed the rec room and the home entertainment room with sacks of potatoes and garlic.

With all the garlic being constantly gnawed chez Morgan, the whole family discovered that their appetite was severely curtailed by the humongous halitosis wafting about the homestead, particularly when hailstorms and locusts forced them to spend a lot of time indoors with the other family members who stank equally to high heaven as themselves.

On day, Josh discovered that if he drilled a hole through the basement cement, he could warm the earth there; and so began the winter garden that produced pounds of fresh vegetables and beaucoup weed.

This accounted for the entire flock of seven being perpetually mellow both at home and at school.

However, they never sold or even ‘admitted’. 
They didn’t have to because no one in or out of class would go anywhere near them because of the overpowering stench of garlic that wreathed the Morgans like a bad dream.

On several occasions, one of the clan was reported to the principal for some errant misbehavior –or perhaps it was just a character flaw—and once the principal gruffly announced that they should enter, he would quickly dismiss them before he gagged like a semi-conscious person with a mouth full of the stinking rose.

Much more serious offences were equally short-lived, thanks again to the garlic and, of course, there was the fact that from the six year old to the thirteen year old (Mona Morgan would tell people that these were her dark years; the years popping out a little one pretty much once a year until she read about tubal ligation) would show up for class with their eyes revolving in opposite directions and then commence to get smarter as the day went on.

They were all real whizzes in the after-school classes and sports.

One of the teachers, Miss Hyde, took a fancy to Daniel, the thirteen-going-on-twenty-five lad and she became so obsessed with his learning pattern that she planned after-school classes, one on one with him in her private office.  

Daniel would tell the wildest tales to Mona and Josh, but by the time he’d had his evening weed, he would just giggle and say he was getting an A in English form the teacher in the tight pink sweater.

Josh wanted to hear more, but Mona nipped that particular bud just before she succumbed to the allure of the cellar buds, and she and Josh would wander off to test the tubal ligation.

Some lost Aussies stumbled upon the Morgan mess late one evening and were given free shelter.

“They’re a weird mob, that lot,” they reported, “but no worries, mate, they’re our cobbers now and we’re expecting some special Christmas cake from Mona any day now; even in July. Well, it’s our winter, mate; so we’re shifting the seasons.”

Henry Saddle slunk like a night-skunk along the red picket fence on the east side of the unlighted house of the Josh Morgan family.

Darkness circulated around a few other points of light on Center Street, and considering the hour of two a.m., Henry was surprised at the number of night owls on such an otherwise droopy, somewhat cuddly street, as Center.

Henry wondered why it was named Center when the damn street was on the absolute edge of the city and backed against a park of cedars and redwoods.

Sloughing off this absurd thought for the early morning, Henry could feel a sigh trying to escape past his knees that were thumping his chest as he squat-walked along the ridge of loamy dirt on the neighbor’s side of the Morgan dwelling. 

He better be there now; yeah, or we’re both cooked.

Henry loved to frame all of his life experiences in cooking terms; kinda like a cuisinart-mobile that talks and poops; that’s Henry.

“That’s Henry,” they’d say when folks saw Henry skimming along on his electric wheelchair that he used only for fun; hell, the man could run a 39 minute 10k and take only a quick breath or two before he lit up a Camel. Probably a short from the weed farm.

Henry was perfectly correct; the underground weed farm now stretched to the very last inch of the Morgan lot, and required immense amounts of juice to keep all systems A OK.

 Sometimes the circuits overloaded and shorted.

Neighboring dwellings were at least fifty yards apart and so any suspicious activity was rarely seen and if it came from the Morgan situs, neighbors would simply shrug, wink or roll their eyes.

This early a.m. was, in that respect, no different than any other ‘lights out’ occurrence in the Morgan domicile. Because no one else was awake at that hour.

Even a prowling prowl car would simply recognize the address and  immediately scoot.

The Morgans were canny and tossed the ‘Stanford University’ handle around schools, or at PTA meetings, along with the sterling progress of Daniel in his English class.

The little ones benefited from the glories (or dubious achievements) of their elder siblings.

The weed and garlic mix was not intentional, but both Ma and Pa Morgan knew a good thing when they saw it, even through a haze of cannabis smoke.

Their kids provided the entire family with a complete security system; and DEWS line: Distant Early Warning System.

The DEWS was the perfect defense against too much contact; and especially contact that involved embarrassing questions.

Then there was the amazing change in the kids’ grades when Daylight Saving Time ended and the kids kept the same pot schedule and therefore cleared their heads an hour earlier in the school curriculum. Of course, the Morgans had to resort to other methods when DST came back and the scholastic performances tanked. However, the redeeming feature of DST was that it consumed most of the year when the kids were on summer vacation.

Extra aid and tutoring, as well as the occasional marks for weed barter, managed to propel the kids through the school years with only a minimum of panic and failure.

Henry was caught by the blackout when he was only half way along the fence to the side door; the cellar door of his bud’s house.

Gruff clouds roiled their way through an inky moonless sky.

Henry instinctively held his hand in from of him and tried to see it.

He couldn’t.

Damn dark, this.
He ruffled his hands along the pickets and started to count before he realized that he could not count past twenty; and he could not see if there was more than that. 
Suddenly he wished he were back on his electric scooter with this iPod whaling and his iPad porn-playing.

It was obvious, but with Henry, we’re not dealing with a nuclear physicist here; smarter than a turkey but not by much.

At least it ain’t raining.

After popping a few Xanax, used only to  curb his considerable drool, Henry calmed his nerves and eventually saw a purple light faintly seeping through a pebble-glassed window.

 Ah ha.

His sweat immediately began a retreat.

He managed to get over the fence without an auto-castration and gently tapped the special tattoo on the invisible door.

It crept open and Mona whispered a ‘who the hell is it; do you have any idea what time it is?!’

Henry, gurgled “Henry,” through his slurry of unswallowed Xanax and mucous.

“Let me in.”

 The door eased back and three hands rocketed him through the door unto a ratty rug some ten feet from the portal.

Josh spoke just above guttural in case Henry was wired.

This was awkward because Henry couldn’t understand guttural and just shrugged his skinny forty-year old shoulders.

“Boy, you stink.” 

“Well duh,” hushed Mona,” we’re working, and having a clove between us before bed.”

Henry forced himself not to think about any of what Mona had said; particularly the last part.

Finally Josh asked what the hell Henry was doing there and at that hour.

“Jesus, Henry; what’s up, man; can’t it wait?

“No sireee Bob, Josh  . . . and Mona; it can’t.”


“The National Parks dudes have voted to seize your land; to extend the park. 
"Something called inverse condemnation; the buggers just seize your land and out you go. 
"Have to sue if you’re  pissed.”

Josh and Mona had thought about this the day when the first drill bit into the concrete basement floor.
“It’s ok Henry; thanks.”

“Yeah, Henry. Cool. I’ll get your stuff to you tomorrow. Not a word.”

“Hell no; I mean yeah; well . . . .you guys aren’t pissed?


“Guys? You hear what I just told you?”

Softly, and in a comforting tone:

“Yes Henry; and we appreciate the tip. You’ll get triple your usual from now on.”

“Now on? . . . How?”

“Leave that to us Henry.”

Over the following weeks, before the Parks Department had even issued their decree, the entire Morgan family worked around the clock.

“For your education and your weddings and your first house and your kids and your retirement.”

They truly just worked and smoked, and ate a lot of garlic.

Finally the notice came.

The Morgans bought a couple of years by rousing rabbles of Gov-haters and the Chamber of Commerce.

And all through those years, the Morgan kids worked at home and excelled at school because they all received permission to be home-schooled.

Their parents arranged for them to take their tests in the early evening due to some ocular problem—even a disease of some undiscovered etiology.

They were all A students; and as long as the sports, games and tournaments  were scheduled for early evening the Morgans rocked.

Then the bulldozers and the backhoe rumbled onto the front lawn while the Morgans were christening a brand new three-storey house of fifteen thousand square feet in the most exclusive area of Pottsville.

The entire family flourished.

Their huge swimming pool was kept heated during the winters.

Large gatherings of friends, customers as well as friends who were about to be customers, flocked to the luxury of spaing it up in January at the Morgan’s.

‘Morgan’s Best’ became almost as famous as their ancestor’s rum.

Henry would slur his first name and introduce Morgan as his last name.
Sounds familiar, eh baby?
“Sure; the Captain, right?”
Henry would unfurl a ridiculous deep bow and murmur: the same; at your service.

Medicinal pot dispensaries mushroomed throughout the world.

Rec use exploded the entire Market to the point where booze became a back marker.

And the leader of the pack of pot people became the Morgans, who supplied their product from a secret source.

As long as the product passed all tests (requested by the Morgan’s; wisely) as to pesticides, safety and being of a generally acceptable quality, they were labeled A Plus in all categories.

Thus the font of all this perfect pot remained hidden.

Only the immediate family knew the location of the perfectly disguised small trap door in the National Park that led to the massive underground plantings that disappeared from view somewhere near the spot of the former side door to the long-leveled house of Morgan.

From some ‘Treasure Cove’ in the limitless blue, the Captain smiled a rum-soaked grin at his progeny.

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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