US Army Retired

US Army Retired

Saturday, November 22, 2014

An Early Christmas Gift - or Two ☺

Okay, here's a couple of things I hope you will enjoy.


Waltzing in the Shadows, a story of the Cold War set in Vienna is now available in an eBook format at a reduced price. Check it out @

And, if you enjoy it, you can indicate so by returning to the site and clicking on the star you feel is appropriate.


And, the next is special if you enjoy nature or have children who would like to think about nature. It is a short story I wrote some time ago and I hope you will enjoy it:

By: Dale Day

Robbie swam lithely to the surface and expelled stale air from his lungs, quickly filling them with fresh. His ears opened and he heard the screeches of the winged creatures circling above the wet world’s surface.

Robbie had been swimming since the golden orb rose over the dry world. His piniped mind did not understand the passage of time beyond darkness or light.

He knew he needed to find haven. He could not see the danger but his whiskers told him something big and menacing followed him through the water.

“You swim alone, Little Brother. That is not wise.”

Robbie had seen the creatures gliding through the nearby waters and their presence did not alarm him. They moved gracefully and needed to surface to take in air. Unlike him, they spent all their lives in the water, not going ashore to rest and sleep.

“I am seeking my home, Honored Dolphin. I have no family and only know that I am drawing closer.” He could smell and taste the difference in the water telling him he drew closer to where he had entered into life.

The other animal turned his grinning visage toward the young harbor seal. “You know of the Great One following you?”

Robbie replied that he did, adding, “I seek those of my kind to find a place in the dry world to rest.”

“Ease your mind, Young One. There is a herd not far ahead of you.” The dolphin chirped and chirred at the others in his pod and they turned around, racing towards the huge, menacing figure coming up behind.

The Great White’s tiny mind centered on the scent of the seal, easy prey as it swam alone. It did not care about the pod of dolphins moving in on each side. That is, until one of them rammed its side with a blunt snout. The impact did little damage but briefly broke the predator’s concentration. It twisted in rage to bite the bothersome dolphin but missed as the animal flashed away.

Several other dolphins playfully rammed themselves against the sides of the shark, knowing they were swifter than he and could easily avoid his gaping razor-sharp teeth.

The diversion worked and Robbie sensed the creature no longer threatened. “Thank you, Honored One. I cannot repay you and yours for your kindness.”

“That is okay, Young One. It was our pleasure. Your kind is just ahead, so fill your tummy and rest through the darkness.”

The dolphin pod swiftly disappeared into a nearby huge, silvery swirl of fish.

The other seals were not of Robbie’s sort, the males having big, bulbous noses. However, they did not begrudge the young seal’s presence and he quickly filled his stomach with fish before going ashore. With some difficulty, he managed to find a spot a huge rock upon which to sprawl. He soaked up the warmth of the golden ball slowly dropping into the ocean, far away.

*   *   *

“This danged seal costs us more to feed than he’s worth.” 

Robbie did not understand the sounds. He only knew that the Two Legs was unhappy. 

The human dumped a paltry mass of stale fish into the steel container in Robbie’s enclosure, glanced perfunctorily at the large tub of water and trudged off, swearing about the effort of keeping a worthless creature who wasn’t paying its way in the small, seedy circus.

The fish did not contain the nutrients Robbie needed, but his instincts told him to eat in order to live. He finished the fish and slid into the tub, sensing that the fresh water also did not provide what he needed to maintain his coat of fur and layer of blubber.

He lay there for some time until he sensed a subtle difference. He gazed around, his sharp vision taking in the shapes and forms of the strong rocks enclosing him.  When he looked at the opening through which the Two Legs entered and departed, he realized the change. It was slightly ajar.

Robbie slipped out of the water and scrunched himself across the dry ground, sticking his shiny black nose into the opening. The gate swung wider and Robbie’s whiskers told him he could pass. He made his way out of the tent into the dark. There, he stopped and sniffed the air.

Water! Robbie smelled nearby water and quickly hunched along in that direction. As he did so, he passed the cage of a huge cat that glared at him with golden eyes.

“Where are you going, Young One? Come here to me and I will help you.”

Robbie knew better. The cat had the same look and feel of hunger that filled Robbie’s body and instinct told the seal the cat wanted a meal. Him!

The water moved slowly and contained terrible things and smells within. Nevertheless, the young seal quickly slid in, his flippers driving him swiftly. He had no idea how far away but sensed the river eventually turned into the ocean that would invigorate his life’s blood.

Robbie reached the sea just as the sun rose. He joyfully leaped in and out of the salty water as it healed his hide and fur. His instincts then led him to a glittering swirl and he quickly filled his stomach with the rich nutrients he’d gone without for so very long.

Robbie noticed other creatures like himself as he fed. They didn’t welcome him or ask him to join them. But, neither did they turn him away. He followed them to the World Above and lifted himself onto a large rock to soak up the warmth of the sun. 

And rest.

*     *     *

It took many more passages of light and dark before Robbie sensed he neared the place where he had come into the world. He swam into a seemingly endless kelp forest just ahead of a pod of huge black and white air-breathing fish. His mind warned him that they fed upon his kind. He sensed them to be bigger cousins of the friendly dolphins but very dangerous. 

There were more of his kind sporting and flashing within the stalks of plants growing from the ocean floor to the ocean’s surface. It was as if they were teasing the giant animals, safe in the confines of the kelp.

“We are coming for you, Little Ones,” the lead Orca sang out in the chirping echoing he used to find his way. “You cannot hide from us.”

With that, the big animals charged into the kelp, twisting and thrashing to open passages for others to follow, seeking the seals now leaping and fleeing in panic.

Robbie slipped away from the melee, moving quickly towards deeper water instead of the shore the others sought. He did not know why, only that safety led in that direction.

Those fleeing shoreward encountered the other half of the Orca pod laying in wait for them on that side of the kelp forest. Robbie swiftly moved through the cold ocean, seeking to get as far away from the death of his kind as possible.

The sullen, golden orb hung near the rim of the ocean when Robbie tasted water telling him he was almost home. The combination of salts and minerals resounded in his body. However, he sought the shore upon which to rest during the time of darkness.

With the coming of light, he left his roosting rock and slipped into the cold water. The iciness no longer bothered Robbie as feeding had partially replenished the layer of blubber beneath his fur.

He swam until he knew he was close, speeding up and leaping from the water to land on the planks of a wooden boulder. He opened his mouth and barked, calling his family.

The cabin door burst open and a young girl stepped out on the porch. “Momma! It’s Robbie. He’s come home.”

The young girl sped down the steps to the end of the pier, dropping to her knees next to the seal no longer a little pup but bigger than she. She wrapped her arms around his sleek, wet body and hugged him tight.

Robbie was home with the Two Legs who’d nursed him when he was little and was the only mother he knew.

The girl’s mother stepped outside, pleased and frightened at the same time. She’d felt great guilt at knowing her ex-boyfriend had taken the harbor seal pup and sold it to an animal trainer in Vancouver. She was also frightened because the animal was no longer little, outweighing her daughter by many kilos with sharp teeth that could do her great harm. But, something eased her mind as the seal gave forth that happy bark she’d heard from his as a pup.

Robbie was home at last. With the only family that mattered.


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