Today I will toot my husband’s horn for him because I can, and because he won’t do it himself. Author Arthur Oroz has written an historical fiction novel, Okinawa Moon, about the Korean War—OK, “incident.” But if you were there dodging bullets, it was a War. Art has also written short stories and poems. Today I will share one of his short stories with you. He wrote it years ago when we lived at the edge of a lake. In his own words:
I didn’t want to move here, but she, a Santa Cruzean, did and I had promised to move later, after I retired. Now it was later. There’s no doubt that the lake, a large pond really, surrounded by trees with the Santa Cruz Mountain backdrop, was striking with it’s changing and intricate hues and patterns brought about by the changeable wind and slow moving sun. The ducks, egrets and a widowed honky goose made patterns in the blue-green water. And there was that busy muskrat pushing bits of leaves and twigs from one part of the lake over to his ever increasing home in the copse under the softly covering willow trees.
My artist-wife would wax loquacious over the beauty of the lake and surroundings. “Look Hon, come see how the fog has covered the middle of the mountains like a fluffy white comforter. The lake magically disappears into it…and look at the vibrant yellow-green of the mountain to our left caused by that ray if sunlight peeking through the clouds.”
I would dutifully look and nod. “Yes, I see.” But I saw something else. Transylvania. Through the white mist I could see the faint outline of a tall forbidding castle nestled in the Carpathian Mountains and I knew who lived there. Of course, I never told her of my misgivings and now my worse fear had come to pass—flood.
Slowly the pond increased in size under the hard-driving rain and run-off from the nearby Carpathian Mountains. Every morning I would wake and quickly walk to the second floor kitchen window. What was once a perch to look at an idyllic scene was now an opening to a huge, cold overflowing lake. The water had turned to a cesspool of ugly grey-brown, lapping ever higher on my house. A herd of mallards, coots and miscegenized ducks were floating in over two feet of water in my back yard bobbing deeply, incessantly to feed on the tender green grass that I had looked after so carefully. The honky goose sat on the old rotting dock jutting up from the flooded lake noisily calling for its long departed mate. I don’t know why she did so, the mate was long gone. The goose previously believed she was a duck and ran with the flock. This was a bad sign.
This morning I surveyed the garage and lower workroom and found water nearly two feet deep and rising. Maybe it was time to get out before the water reached the electrical junction boxes and joined the forces trying to do me in. I went upstairs and through my wet porthole looked at the menacing lake. Now I could see it through the rain, mist and fog: a clear outline of a dark castle with crenulated walls and high towers jutting from the center. From afar, coming from the castle towards me, were two huge men slowly rowing a large strangely shaped boat. I knew I didn’t belong here with these strange coastal people and now I would probably be abducted and used for experiments. I thought I better prepare myself and put on my raincoat and new knee-high rubber boots. Might as well get some use out of them.
I startled when I felt my wife’s hand on my shoulder. “You’re still staring out that window. Oh, it looks like our neighbor Daryl rowing over to see us.” She added happily, “Well, it took El Nino to bring the lake up. Isn’t it just the most impressive sight you’ve ever seen? This is one of the most beautiful places to live in the world.”
I stared at her for awhile, looked back at the castle and only saw the honky goose staring glumly at me. I knew I had to head east over the mountains to sanity amongst the nerds.