Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ugly Bug is Dead

When I was writing a daily column for the Muncie Evening Press all through the 1980s I was always on the lookout for material. It had to be something world-shaking, of course. Something that would stop people in their tracks, make them gasp for breath. The following item lifted from a 750 word column, for example:

Ugly Bug is dead.
That was the column lead that leaped to mind when I found him belly-up under a cake of soap in the soapdish set into the tiled wall of the bathroom. I hurried downstairs and told Jackie.
“He probably isn’t dead at all,” she said. “He’s probably just sleeping.”
Sure, under a cake of soap. I know death when I see it, and Ugly Bug was sleeping the Big Sleep.
For years now Ugly Bug and Mrs. Ugly Bug have enjoyed life in our bathroom. I’m not sure what Ugly Bug does or even if he does anything at all other than get into tight spots from which I am called upon to rescue him. And I suppose he has another name but I have no idea what it is. Finding Ugly Bug legs-skyward under the soap was a bitter blow after years of going out of my way to look after him. When he’s in a hurry it takes Ugly Bug 10 minutes to cross four feet of floor, so caution must be observed when setting a foot down. That’s not as easy as it sounds, particularly at 3 a.m. when Ugly Bug enjoys taking a stroll.
It’s a rare day when I haven’t had to help him out of the bathtub before turning on the shower, shake out a towel where he has settled down for a nap so that a second shower isn’t necessary, assist him from the door frame before slamming the door. After all that, finding Ugly Bug had passed on in a most unlikely way came as a decided shock.
But I was wrong. That means Jackie was right. Ugly Bug had settled down for a siesta in one of the valleys between the ridges that support the soap, that was all. After removing him to a safer place, I had the sudden realization that my big story for the day had turned into a non-story. So let’s begin again:
Ugly Bug is not dead.


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