Celebrating With A Grand Finale And Gearing Up For A Second Season Of When Fact Met Fiction

Okay, Since the Grand Finale of When Fact Met Fiction we HAVE been writing – a lot.  Just not on the blog.  And we are sorry for being silent for a bit. But we’re back, so let us catch you up on what’s been happening.

The Top 5 Things That Have Kept Us Too Busy To Write Blog Posts:

  1. We had a GRAND FINALE!

    We filled up seats at Asheville Pizza and Brewing co. on Merrimon Ave. with cast, crew and some amazing fans to watch the entire first season of When Fact Met Fiction. As you can see, we had a fantastic time.

    When Fact Met Fiction premier
    The crazy cast of When Fact Met Fiction. Madison Garris, Rebekah Babelay, Jeff Alexander, Josef Liner, Miles Rice, Karen Covington-Yow and Carol Anderson at the When Fact Met Fiction Grand Finale.
    When Fact Met Fiction premier
    The music team for When Fact Met Fiction. Ethan Liner, Matt Williams and Miles Rice.
     Rebekah Babelay, Jeff Alexander, Mondy Carter and Carol Anderson at the When Fact Met Fiction premier.
    When fact Met Fiction on the big screen.
    When Fact Met Fiction premier
    Director/creator Stefan Liner with Jeff Alexander and Rebekah Babelay to the When Fact Met Fiction Grand Finale.
    When Fact Met Fiction premier
    Madison Garris signs a poster at the When fact Met Fiction Grand Finale.
    When Fact Met Fiction premier
    Karen Covington-Yow gets tickled at the When fact Met Fiction Grand Finale.

    When Fact Met Fiction premier
    Rebekah Babelay and Jeff Alexander.
  2. We had a table read with the cast.

    Not only did this give a feel for where we are going in season 2, but it was just so much fun having these great people in one room again. Can’t wait to start shooting later this year.

  3. We have been tweaking some episodes for season 2 of When Fact Met Fiction as well as writing new episodes.

    This is always a process. I can confidently say that everything we thought would happen for these characters could change. It is never set in stone and is always possible to change until it is a wrap.

  4. We’ve been working on the main page for our crowdfunding campaign.

    This is a huge job and there are only three of us managing it so needless to say, we are covered over, but we’ll do our best along with everything else.

  5. We got some of our cast and team together to shoot the video for our crowdfunding campaign.

    We are blessed with a cast of people who go out of their way to help us out. We worked four hours getting our crowdfunding video shot and we can’t say a big enough THANK YOU to those who were able to participate. They are the best! We’ll share the final video with you soon.

… And we aren’t going to have much breathing room for the next few months. Here’s why:

  1. We are swimming in pre-production stuff –  Finding locations, running auditions for new characters, hiring crew, designing sets, creating our new branding. This list feels endless.

  2. We are managing fundraising –  Not only are we building a crowdfunding campaign, but we are knocking on the doors of businesses and people who love supporting the arts. Especially, those who want to support talent local to Western North Carolina.

  3. We are in development for other projects coming down the line – In order to not lag behind we have to double our efforts where future content is concerned. That means working toward the next big thing, while we are working on the current project.

  4. Sometimes we need to eat, sleep and breath – We try to fit this in on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, we don’t always succeed. Good thing we love coffee… and we love what we do.

We can’t wait to bring the next season of When Fact Met Fiction your way. Thank you for being –  THE BEST FANS EVER.

In case you missed it, here is a fun Video Interview with Karen Covington – Yow on playing the part of a ‘cougar’ on When Fact Met Fiction.

Thanks for reading.



Man Catcher: a short story by Jon Frank

Man Catcher is a story set at a funeral first introduced to our audience in Episode 5 of When Fact Met Fiction.

In the episode Mel addresses Jon.

” You had to write an article about a funeral?” He continues, ” Nothing like exploring food beauty at a wake.”

Jon’s article is hardly focused on the food, although the reference is there as always. His story is a hilarious excursion into one woman’s attempt to catch the ‘man of her dreams’, or at least the man who ,”was so hot and so handsome,” from her office.

You may want to watch Episode 5: The Ultimatum , to get you ready for your read of the following story.

Man Catcher

By Jon Frank

Lauren pulled her car over to the side of the little road that wound its way through Lewis Memorial Cemetery. Even though traffic had yielded to the funeral procession as usual, she was so far back in the car line that she hadn’t even parked by the time the family gathered at the graveside. Her stomach was rolling from anxiety and hunger, and the scent of turkey casserole wafting around the car interior didn’t help. Well, at least the rain had stopped, and the sun was now flickering through the clouds. Excellent. Spencer would see her strolling up in perfect light.

Lauren had started a new office job only two months ago, and she had immediately noticed Spencer. He was tall, black-haired and grey-eyed, with a strong jaw and a body that had regular dates with the gym. He worked at the opposite end of the fluorescent-lit common room, but she could see directly into his office from her cubicle. Lauren made countless excuses to walk past the other cubicles and his office to get copies or more coffee. Truthfully, she detested coffee, but pretending she needed a constant supply was worth catching glimpses of him. Normally, she wouldn’t be so flirtatious, she told herself – but he was so hot and so handsome. Plus, she was sure she had caught him looking back a few times.

Lauren knew she wasn’t supermodel material, but the looks-decent fairy had left her with a modicum of petite cuteness. However, maintaining a fit body was a herculean effort. She managed to remain slim, but there was that slight pudge no amount of spin classes would get rid of. She had finally accepted it because she was sure she had ridden that stationary bike to the top of Kilimanjaro and back at least a dozen times.

When she had taken the job she had three decent office outfits. She couldn’t afford anything expensive and the clothes she had didn’t scream high-end department store as much as thrift store. With her first paycheck she splurged on several outfits she could mix and match. She chatted with her best friend Julie on the phone while she shopped, and Julie talked her into purchasing a new bra and a couple of push-the-edge-of-modest blouses to catch Spencer’s eye.

When Lauren strolled by his doorway or paused near him at the copier, she tried her best to suck in her little gut or turn so her fit calves showed to the best advantage. She felt she had finally gotten a bite on the line the other day when he had talked to her in the break room. Well, not talked to her, exactly. He had asked for the creamer, but they made eye contact and their fingers touched briefly when she passed it to him. Connection.

Now, Spencer’s grandmother had “passed,” and Lauren was attending the service as a show of support in his time of need. When the office sympathy card circulated, she signed her name and added, “Here if you need anything at all.” Nice touch. Even better, she was fortunate to be the last employee to sign, so she personally delivered the card to Spencer’s office. He was working at his desk. What a trooper; he was so strong.

Lauren handed him the card and said gently, “Hey, how’re you holding up? Do you need anything? We’re all here for you.” She gave him her best concerned smile, trying to make it look as genuine as possible. He nodded and said, “Thanks.” Lauren felt sure she succeeded in exiting the doorway looking both supportive and alluring.

She returned to her cubicle and immediately searched the local listings for the service time and place. Then she read the obituary thoroughly to familiarize herself with the particulars. After work, she spent three-and-a- half hours selecting a black dress that would both beckon and console. The dress was a shocker of form and perfection. Modest in neckline and hemline and constructed of soft chiffon, it slimmed and draped all the right curves Audrey-Hepburn fashion. Well, if Audrey Hepburn were three inches shorter and wearing Spanx for tummy control.

Attending the graveside service was crucial, but she hoped to close the deal at the family visitation afterward. It was tradition in the South to bring food for the mourners to eat while gathering for comfort, stories, and memories. Other people might bring something from a store or restaurant. However, Lauren’s plan required a certain type of homemade dish. On one hand, the recipe must be so sumptuous that Spencer – or maybe even his parents – would notice she was not only easy on the eyes, but was quite a cook as well. On the other hand, if she made something too elaborate, it would seem like showing off. And, even worse, she would be expected to cook like that forever. Checking her bank account balance, she knew it also had to cost next to nothing. So it had to be cheap, easy to prepare, and absolutely delicious. And there was only one dish that would do: The Man Catcher.

She contacted Julie for the turkey casserole recipe. Julie’s mother called it “The Man Catcher” because it’s the reason her future husband had noticed her at the church picnic, and she continued to make it often over the years – which might explain why Julie was one of six kids. To display the dish, Lauren purchased a real casserole pan, not aluminum foil, with a lid and carrying case, fancy enough that Spencer would feel obligated to return it or, dare to hope, ask her to come by and pick it up.

When Lauren finally arrived at the graveside, the mourners were all pressed together around the perimeter of the funeral-home canopy. Leaving her raincoat in the car so the fabulous dress would be on full display, she weaved through the standing crowd to the family seated in front. With a somber look, she positioned herself strategically to Spencer’s left at the edge of the row. The preacher had just begun his remarks when a peal of thunder heralded the rain’s return. The shower quickly became a downpour that ushered most of the mourners under the canopy, and caused umbrellas to sprout like mushrooms among those unable to fit.

Lauren scooched in tight between two blue-suited elderly men, which allowed her to stand at the head of the casket immediately in front of Spencer. He glanced up but didn’t seem to notice her yet. Lauren thought quickly and made a grand show of wiping “tears” with a silk handkerchief. That did it. Spencer’s steel-gray eyes bore into her and he nodded his head to acknowledge her presence. Yes, she said to him with her eyes. I am here for you, my beloved.

The preacher’s sermon droned for a bit. The steady rain thrummed on the canopy and made Lauren painfully aware of her need to pee. She gritted her teeth and shifted her high-heel dress shoes on the cheap green outdoor carpet placed around the grave to hide the dirt. The preacher finished and asked the mourners to bow their heads in prayer.

At the same moment he said, “Dear Lord,” the rain-swollen canopy overflowed and a torrent of freezing water poured down Lauren’s back, causing her to invoke the name of the Lord as well. She staggered forward, but her spiky heels lost their grip on the wet carpeting and rain-softened grave edge. Her feet flew out, her bottom hit the ground, and she rode the carpet like a water slide under the casket lowering device and down into the grave itself. There was an ominous ripping sound as she fell the entire six feet and landed on her bottom again, causing her to release her bladder, as well as more appeals to the Almighty.

She looked up to see several sets of eyes, including Spencer’s, peering down around the edges of the casket. A glance at the hole she slid through also revealed a muddy swath of black chiffon dangling from a bracket of the lowering frame above her head. As she stood there in her new bra and mud-crusted, urine-soaked Spanx, one of the older gentlemen she was previously standing beside deftly unhooked the dress between pinched fingers and dropped it gently to her. She missed catching it, of course, and it landed in the brown puddle already drowning her new high-heel pumps.


Lauren leaned on the doorbell of Julie’s house until she opened it. “What? Oh Lauren, oh Lauren,” she cried. Her best friend stood before her in a black dress that was ripped, mud-plastered, inside-out, and backward. Lauren’s mascara and snot were wiped across her face and her hair looked like Barbie’s after being in the bathtub. In her hands was a casserole dish with matching lid. Through blubbering lips she spoke. “I need a shower, and a fork.” To which Julie replied, “I’ll get the wine.”

The End

If you have any funeral stories that top this one we would love to hear from you.

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Banana Split Pudding With Praline Sauce. When Fact Met Fiction

Banana Split Pudding With Praline Sauce

Banana Split Pudding With Praline Sauce first makes an appearance in the third episode of When Fact Met Fiction.

Jon is being led away into Celeste’s office for a “talk” with Poppy Stanhope. But on the way Poppy spies the photo display for her recipe, “Banana Split Pudding With Praline Sauce. She stops to address Mel as he prepares to take the photo. She questions why he has a bikini instead of a coconut bra.
My Banana Split Pudding with Praline Sauce…
(correcting Mel)
Shouldn’t there be a coconut bra instead of a bikini.
Have any laying around?
A few.
The story Jon Frank writes on the show and the story that ends up being published have definite differences, but the Banana Split Pudding and the coconut bra play an important part in one of the most entertaining stories found in Southern Sunset Magazine. You can read, Tarzan And The W.A.S.P. before you dive into making some of the best Banana pudding you’ve ever tasted. Or you can watch the episode that inspired it HERE.

This Banana Split Pudding recipe is enough to feed a small crowd.

Perfect for family gatherings and potlucks.

Banana Split Pudding With Praline Sauce. When Fact Met Fiction
Banana Split Pudding With Praline Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins

Banana pudding is a southern staple in the dessert category. Now we have raised the bar by having banana folded in throughout the pudding, adding a delectable praline sauce and strawbeey garnishes.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
  • 4 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups sugar divided
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 6 Large Bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 box Nilla Wafers
  • 6 Strawberries
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar Firmly Packed
  • 1/2 cup Half and half
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp rum extract
  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F

  2. In a large saucepan whisk 4 cups milk and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Place pan on medium heat and bring liquid to a simmer.

  3. Whisk the egg yolks together .

  4. Temper the egg yolks by adding a small amount of the hot milk then whisk the egg mixture into the rest of the hot milk mixture.

  5. Make a slurry by dissolving the cornstarch in the remaining milk.

  6. Whisk the slurry into the hot milk mixture. bring it to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the mixture stirring constantly, until the pudding is thickened. This will take 4 - 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

  7. Chop 3 bananas into 1/2 inch cubes. and slice the other 3 bananas (set theses aside)

    Chopped Bnanas
  8. Fold into pudding the vanilla, cubed bananas and butter.

  9. In a large, oven safe dish make one single layer of Nilla Wafers, sliced bananas, and pudding. Depending on the shape and depth of your dish you will make either 2 or 3 layers. Set aside.

  1. Beat egg whites with whip attachment until soft peaks form. slowly add the remaining sugar and whip into stiff peaks.

  2. Cover the pudding completely with the meringue and bake at 400 degrees F for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven.

Praline Sauce
  1. Combine brown sugar, half and half and butter in small saucepan. Heat to boiling and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in extracts.

    Praline Sauce
  2. Drizzle praline sauce over the meringue and garnish with strawberries.

Add some pizazz by garnishing with decorative strawberries.

Do you have a favorite dessert that is perfect for serving a large group of people?

Tell us about it in the comments.

Be sure to share this recipe with your friends and Subscribe to this website for more videos, stories and recipes.

Thanks For Reading

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PBY WW II plane

Tarzan and The W.A.S.P. by Jon Frank

It’s episode 3 of When Fact Met Fiction.

Mel has staged a photo of a bikini for the story that accompanies Poppy Stanhope’s Banana Split Pudding With Praline Sauce. But there was no bikini mentioned in the story so why is there one in the photo display? ” I didn’t have time to order a coconut bra…” is Mel’s reply.

This story ended up being significantly longer than most of Jon Frank’s articles. So settle in for a bit and lose yourself in the South pacific during WW II. As one of Poppy’s fans would say, “It is like Nathaniel Embers wrapped himself around one of her recipes and made me fall in love all over again.” Get ready to fall in love with Tarzan and the W.A.S.P.

Tarzan and The W.A.S.P.

By Jon Frank

There is always that one uncle, you know? The guy that tells the most amazing stories. Stories too fantastical to believe and yet you don’t care because the tale is just too good. My Uncle Pete was that guy. He served in WWII in the South Pacific, and after the war continued to work for the government all through the Cold War years up until he died in the early Eighties. My brothers, cousins and I called him the Candy Man because he brought us treats any time he was in town to visit our grandmother.  But what set Uncle Pete apart most was the stories. Uncle Pete had a story for every situation. If you saw a fire, he saw an explosion. If you rode in an airplane, he built one out of bamboo and flew it and six men out of a prison camp to safety. If you had a scar, he had given a man a worse one. And if you met a girl – well, here’s that story.

Our grandmother lived in a massive two-story house, and when Uncle Pete was in town, that’s where he would stay. The rest of our huge family would gather to meet him there and he would regale us with his latest exploits. In addition to his stories, Uncle Pete was famous for his Banana Split Pudding with Praline sauce. Man, it was the best tasting thing to ever hit the planet. One bite would literally blow your plaid bell bottoms off and straighten your disco hair.

It was during one of his visits in 1976 when I first heard of The Girl. My cousin Wayne and I had just come back from a huge Fourth of July picnic in downtown Black Mountain, North Carolina. We were twelve years old and had only just begun to discover girls ourselves. We had spent the day flush with the  excitement of seeing girls walking around in crop tops and cutoffs and were only too eager to keep the edge going. Wayne said he knew where some dirty magazines might be hidden and I was anxious and intrigued to say the least.

Everyone was either in the back yard talking or enjoying Uncle Pete’s pudding. Wayne and I slipped away and out to the old storage shed at the end of the property. Inside were the usual Christmas stuff and old dress mannequin things, but the item Wayne and I sought was Uncle Pete’s old footlocker. Wayne’s thoughts were sound and logical: Uncle Pete was military, and all Navy guys had dirty magazines and such. I concurred.

Military Footlocker

There was no lock on the chest and we grinned together in heated anticipation. I cracked the lid open and we were blasted with odors of dust and dry paper goods. The chest was not your typical G.I. footlocker. It was some four-by-six, big enough to hide a body if the need arose. It had two levels consisting of two removable trays on top and a deep space underneath. Every inch of the thing was filled with memorabilia that would probably be worth a fortune nowadays. The two trays contained old Navy documents that held little interest to us since we wanted to get to the good stuff. Sadly, the closest thing we found to girly mags were a few pinup post cards and some old photographs.     But as we dug, my cousin and I found ourselves drawn in by the contents. Some of the photos were of fellow sailors, ships and equipment, but some were of burned structures and other horrors of war. Stunned, we fingered the cracked pictures and occasionally looked up at each other and shook our heads. We were so enthralled we failed to notice someone else had entered the shed until Uncle Pete cleared his throat.

“You boys are in trouble.”

Only twice in my life was I so scared I nearly wet myself. This was one of those times. I see now I have failed to properly introduce you to the sheer physicality of Uncle Pete. He was a staggeringly powerful man even then, in his fifties. He was an avid swimmer and athlete, the poster image of what recruitment posters wanted a sailor to be. His jaw was square with a cleft chin, and his forehead sported a perfect widow’s peak. I had never in my entire life seen a serious look on Uncle Pete’s face until that moment, burning us both down with a clenched jaw and flared nostrils. Wayne and I looked at each other. He was starting to cry. We both muttered, “Sorry, Uncle Pete.”

Then Uncle Pete let loose with the loudest laugh I have ever heard, which in turn produced the second moment of my near and present urination.
He walked over, slapped us both on our backs, then rubbed our necks vigorously.

“What’d you find? Nudies?” He asked, guessing our hormone-driven intentions. “Nah. I got rid of that stuff years ago. My ma  would never let me keep that here. But there’s still a bunch of good stuff if you look hard enough. Let’s see.”

He reached in and began sorting through things with us. He briefly touched the horror photos, as we would later call them. “You boys don’t need to be looking at this stuff. Ain’t good for you.” He tucked them into his breast pocket and continued the rummaging.

We were amazed at how casually he handled some things – like his numerous medals, including a navy cross. Other things, like a small piece of a hair ribbon and a tiny Bible, he held gingerly like a tiny, fragile bird. I reached in and pulled out a nondescript shoe box. It was partially wrapped in brown shipping paper and tied with twine. It must have had a dozen stamps and water stains from sometime in the past.

Uncle Pete reached for the box. “Here, let me have that one, son. That’s very special. That’s the one I came out here to get when I found you.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“Oh, you don’t want to hear that story, boy. It’s all mushy and stuff.”

“Come on, Uncle Pete!” Wayne begged. “You tell the best stories! Please?”

“Well, all right. But don’t you laugh.”

We both shook our heads and crossed our hearts. Then we pulled up some old lawn chairs and settled in as Uncle Pete closed the trunk and took a seat. “It was Summer, 1944 . . .”

Now I’ve told you boys how both your mamas called me Tarzan when I was a boy. They called me that because I can swim like nobody’s business. But I’ll tell you this, and it’s a true story. I was in the hospital pool walking around trying to strengthen my leg when this giant of a guy strolls up with a small entourage of doctors, officers, and young pretties. Lo and behold, if isn’t the real Tarzan himself, Johnny Weissmuller! He was touring about trying to cheer up the troops and sailors and such. Well, Mr. Tarzan strolls right to the side of the pool and peers down at me. He starts asking what I’m doing and there’s these photographers taking his picture and the like. I explain I’m trying to strengthen my leg muscles by swimming. He said it didn’t look like I was doing too much swimming at the moment. I laughed and said I wasn’t quite up to the good stuff yet.

Ol’ Johnny puts his hand down in the water and splashes about a bit. “You know,” he says,”I got hurt filming once when I came down off an elephant wrong and wrenched my leg badly. I spent some time in the pool myself to heal it. I learned a neat stroke to help. Here, I’ll show you.”

With that, Ol’ Tarzan kicks off his brogans, jerks off his jacket, and jumps in right beside me and shows me how to do it. Damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. Oh, sorry boys. Don’t tell your mamas I cursed, okay? Good. Well, he and I hit it off real good and we even joked about how my sisters used to call me Tarzan. Of course I could never do the yell quite like Johnny could.

After my stint in the hospital I was given a special assignment. You see, we’d been surprised by Pearl Harbor, and the Navy was never going to be taken like that again. So some admiral or other high muckety-muck decided having a series of men set alone and secret along several islands from here to Japan was a wise idea, and it was. Boys, there must be a thousand small islands that are not much bigger than Black Mountain. A sailor could set up with a radio and some binoculars and get the jump on the Japs before they got to us.

So, I was set out on this island that was maybe two miles long and a mile across. It was surrounded by a vicious coral reef which made it near impossible for any water craft to approach safely. The only way in was by parachute or a seaplane that could land inside the lagoon – and you’d have to be a mighty da. . .er, darn good pilot to do that. So essentially, they sent me to war to have a vacation in the tropics.

Every few weeks, they’d send a plane over and drop some supplies like food and radio parts cause sea air plays hell on components. I had to be on the lookout because they were never on a schedule of any kind and there was always the thought of someone intercepting my transmissions and getting a triangulation on me. They used a PBY 3, which was not the quietest of planes so most of the time I heard her long before the cargo dropped.


Well, one time one of my radio’s main tubes had blown and I went to replace it, only to find out the tubes they had sent as spares were all the wrong size. It was no big deal at the time because the plane was due any day and I just had to hope the Japs wouldn’t choose to invade until then. Anyways, I had resolved to just relax and maybe get some R&R so I headed down to the beach to hit a few golf balls into the surf. Oh, yeah. One thing I had plenty of was golf balls. One of my drops had gotten mixed up with some captain’s or admiral’s and I had gotten a nice set of clubs and about five hundred golf balls. The crate was marked Top Secret with all these fancy numbers that were supposed to mean eyes-only or something.Island

I was just about to beat Bobby Jones in Augusta when I heard the familiar sound of the PBY. I scanned the east and could just make out her silhouette. The PBY is a very distinctive bird. She has what’s called a parasol wing design, meaning the fuselage is suspended beneath the wing and connected by a pylon in the middle. She’s a tremendous water landing craft with excellent long range. As the PBY drew closer, I shaded my eyes and noticed she had smoke trailing behind and the sound of the motor didn’t sound so good either. The plane dropped low and was making the approach to land. Problem was, it wouldn’t clear the reef. I started running and stripping off my shirt, hitting the water in full stride, hoping maybe I could get to the pilot before it sank. That is, if it didn’t explode.

I crossed the lagoon in record time but the plane was already making contact with the reef by the time I was halfway through. Whoever the pilot was, he was damn good at his job. He had managed to keep the plane from nosing in and going into a flip, but the outriggers on the wings caught some projections under the surf. Both wings tore back into a W, and the whole shebang began to spin clockwise like a car on ice until its belly crunched up on the larger section of the reef. Smoke boiled out the engines, both of which had somehow remained tenuously attached to the pylon. I poured on the speed, stroke after stroke. I’m a good swimmer but I had never had to drive like I was doing. My lungs hurt, my shoulders burned, but I didn’t see the pilot bale and I had to make the effort as much for my own conscience as for the pilot’s life.

I reached the reef just as the twin engines burst into flames. I knew I had seconds before the fuel would ignite. Already the surf was kicking up flaming oil and fuel and would soon overwhelm me. I tore my hands and feet apart on the coral as I climbed up. The cockpit door was open and I could see the pilot was unconscious. I had no time to grab a life jacket so I just popped the seat belt and drug him out.

Or I should say, her. The pilot was a woman! But I didn’t have time to be shocked, and I drug her from the wreckage and down into the surf. I turned over on my back and held her in a rescue hold. I was actually thankful she was out. See, it made swimming easier that she couldn’t struggle. I began slowly paddling back. I wasn’t really sure she was even breathing. When we finally made it to the beach, I put my ear to her mouth. She was breathing, but still out. I flopped down next to her, put my hands over my head, shielded my eyes  against the sun and passed out from exhaustion.
When I woke, she was still there, but she was sitting up looking out over the lagoon at the wreckage. I sat up quickly.
“You the moke that pulled me out of that?” she said.

It took me moment to realize she was actually speaking to me. She was, to say the least, stunning. She turned her full face to me and it was like glancing at the sun. I had to look away. I nodded and finally got the courage to look back. “Pete. Chief Pete McKennon.”

“Well, Pete-Chief Pete Mckennon, I guess I owe you my life. I’m Laura Stuyvesant, former pilot of your supply drop.”

She looked back forlornly at the still smoking wreckage. “How long before the tide takes her away?” she asked.

“Not long,” I replied. “Tide starts about five and surges up pretty quick. Don’t worry too much though, the reef there is pretty high so it may stay for a while. Which actually presents a problem. We’ll have to clear it so the Japanese patrols won’t see it,” I explained. “But let’s not worry about that just now. Are you okay? You took quite a hit to the noggin there.”

“Yeah, fine, thanks to you. Can’t say much for your cargo though. Hope it wasn’t anything important.”

“Well, as a matter of fact…” I started to say. “Nah,” I replied instead. “Nothing that couldn’t wait another week.”

“That’s good,” she said, “because this was my last run for a few weeks.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well, they don’t tell us moxies much, but the scuttle is there’s a big push planned west in the China Sea. It’s one of the reasons I get to fly. They don’t want to waste good men on little nothing runs like this. Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to imply. . .”

I told her it was okay. Truth is, she could’ve punched me square in the face and I still would’ve been enthralled. She stood up and I finally got a good clear look at her. She was wearing heavy wool men’s coveralls. She was long and curvy. I thought she should be painted on the side of an aircraft, not flying one. The evening wind was just picking up and it began to blow her light blonde hair around in wisps. She had sea-green eyes and Kewpie doll lips.

“Come on,” I said, “let’s get you warmed up and dry.” She nodded and we made our way back to my little shack in the jungle.
My “house” was placed just at the base of the only high point on the island. I had run the antenna up a big old palm to hide it and the shack itself was hidden from view by dense jungle foliage.

We were soon in my happy bachelor abode. I offered her a clean shirt and bell bottoms, which she took readily. I apologized for the lack of privacy and stepped outside. I lit a cigarette and stared out and down the island and then across the sea.

“Wow,” I thought, “did I find a magic lamp or something?” Here I was, on my tiny island kingdom, a lonely – but actually content – guy. And lo and behold suddenly the sky dumps a gorgeous woman literally in my lap. Oh sure, she’d be going back soon, but what could it hurt for a man to dream, right?

In a moment she emerged and set my chest flaming again. My shirt had never looked so good, as well as fairly tasked to contain the treasures she possessed. The trousers fared better but only just fit over those flared hips. “Are those okay? Sorry I can’t offer anything else,” I managed to stammer out.

“They’re fine. It’s not like you were expecting company, especially a woman. We W.A.S.P.s are used to wearing man’s clothes, since they don’t make duty uniforms for women. I’m so glad to be out of those sopping wool overalls. However, unless you want to go and carve out some coconuts, I have to hang my dainties up to dry.” I blushed at the thought and showed her where the clothesline was.

Asian shack When Fact Met Fiction

We sat on the steps of my small shack and ate some C-rations. I again apologized for my lack of proper accommodations. “You’ll have to forgive us, madam, but our wine cellar is sorely lacking in proper vintages.”

“Of course, but it will reflect poorly in my review of your establishment,” she laughed, and my heart melted further.

After dinner we smoked and enjoyed small Navy talk, neither one of us particularly interested in the current situation of her downed plane and my lack of radio parts. We just seemed to click, you know? She was witty and smart and well-educated in contrast to my course, country-college boy ways. I could say I was in love, sure, but it seemed more. I started feeling complete, like something had been missing all my life and here it was, sitting across from me in my shirt and trousers, smoking my cigarettes with her perfect mouth.

Then a memory dawned on me and I had to ask. “Hey, Stuyvesant. I saw an airshow in California around ’37. They had a family of wing walkers in it named Stuyvesant. Any relation?”

“Yep. That’d be my mother and I. We were the Flying Stuyvesants, queens of the air. My father was a pilot in the Great War and he taught me, my sister, and my mother how to fly. I could work a stick before I could drive a car. My mother was called a flying flapper in the Twenties. She would get up there and dance the Charleston in her heyday. When my sister and I came along, we just kind of fell into the business.”

“They still fly?” I asked. “I mean, do they fly at home or does your sister do what you’re doing in the W.A.S.P.s?”

She flicked her cigarette butt away and blew out a long stream of smoke. “No, she died a year before the war. Her fella got drunk one night and accused her of cheating on him. Shot her twice, realized what he had done and tried to run, stumbled into the street, and caught the bus with his face.”  She looked up at the clear, night sky and stood up.

“Hey, sorry I asked. I didn’t mean. . .”

“No, it’s okay, really. We tried to warn her. Thing is, she probably would have died anyway. My father crashed the plane less than a year later and killed him and my mother.”

“Wow, yeah. I had forgotten that. I read it in the paper. I’m sorry, kiddo. I’m just pouring lemon juice in your wounds, ain’t I?”

“No, I’m fine. I’ve dealt with it. Flying really helps me with it. Although, that will be a long time coming now,” she said looking again through the jungle in the direction of the beach. She shook her head and turned quickly to me, “Got any kind of dessert in those rations?”

“Not really, I usually get some fresh fruit from my supplier, but she seems to be running behind this week,” I smiled at her.

“Sorry about that, I had a load of bananas for you too.”

“Bananas? I haven’t had one in a long time. You’d think being in the tropics, they’d be in every jungle, but these places only have coconuts and  breadfruit. If there are bananas you have to cook the devil out of them. Man, I’d kill for some good banana pudding.”

“Banana pudding? Well, you are in luck, sailor. You are sitting in the presence of the premier and elite of all banana-pudding makers. I have a recipe for a banana split pudding with praline sauce. If you’re good and behave yourself, maybe I’ll make you some and bring it back on my next trip.”
My heart soared. Next trip. It meant she was coming back, but it also meant I would have to let her go in the first place. I wasn’t prepared for that yet.
That night Laura slept on my cot and I strung up a hammock on the porch. Thankfully, my little island was mostly devoid of flying insects and the only real nuisance was the occasional sand flea.

I awoke at first light and performed my morning scans of the horizon. I had crept into the shack to procure my log books and struggled mightily to not sneak a peek at Laura on my bunk. I made it almost to the door when she began to stir. “What time is it?” she said groggily.

“About five. Go back to sleep, I’ll make breakfast in a bit.” It seemed so surreal to me, almost like actually being really with someone.  That face. That beautiful face. What I would have given to just be able to wake up to her face every morning for the rest of my life.

Now boys, I prided myself on my self-sustainability. I had a fresh water supply I collected from the evening rain, as well as a cistern I had made from some barrels. I also had chickens I had brought in as chicks which now provided me with daily eggs. I even placed extra golf balls under the hens to get them to lay. I am proud to say my little flock of  hens were the best layers on the whole island.

So after morning duties I collected about six eggs and fixed us a good solid breakfast. After eating we acknowledged the need to get serious about the downed-plane situation, though neither of us seemed to want to put much effort into it. I explained what I needed to fix the radio and she thought some of those things were probably in her drop cargo, but in all likelihood it was at the bottom of the sea, or at the least smashed and soaked. I asked her what kind of radio she had on the plane, and she said she had the standard GO9 – but again, it was probably smashed to bits in the crash. That is, if the plane was even still on the reef.

We got our answers when we hit the beach that morning. The plane was still on the reef, and by the looks of it wasn’t going anywhere soon. My next question should have come earlier. “Won’t they be missing you? I mean, wouldn’t they send another plane?”

“Here?” she replied. “No, not for a while. I make several hops like this one and with all the confusion of the upcoming offensives, they wouldn’t notice for weeks. I guess you’re stuck with me, handsome.”

I felt a blush from the top of my head to my wiggly little toes. “Yeah, I guess so, but I still have a mission. Do you swim?”

“Oh, I can stay afloat. But as you can tell,” she gestured with her hands, “I’m not exactly built for it.”

I wasn’t going to argue with that. I kicked off my shoes and waded out towards the surf. “Be right back.” I stopped, turned around and handed her my service pistol. “Any good with one of these? Sharks, you know.”

“I can manage,” she chuckled.

Tarzan and the W.A.S.P.I dove into the surf and began my swim. It was easier going, not being pressed for time or carrying her exquisite extra weight. Soon I was at the reef and able to more carefully climb up onto it, avoiding the razor sharp edges. The plane was a mangled mess. It bobbed somewhat in the water, but I could see it was now a permanent addition to the reef. To move it would take explosives or a piece-by-piece dismantling, neither of which I currently had the patience to undertake. The tail section was mostly submerged, but the nose was holding on like a desperate cliffhanger. I climbed back through the cockpit canopy, not bothering with the waist doors. Inside, debris floated all about but fortunately all the fuel had burned off and enough of the plane’s integrity remained to keep any dangerous predators out. I made my way to the radio and confirmed it was  smashed beyond repair. I plunged my hands beneath the water and felt around until I found what I was looking for: the radioman’s repair bag. I located a few tools and popped off the cover of the GO9. I knew what tubes I needed and I took some of those and a few others for spares. Funny thing, though, the headset was sitting just as pretty as can be, still on its hook. It was nicer than my set and still had good ear pads. I found a map tube floating in the water, pulled the map out, and dropped the radio tubes in. There was no way to keep the headset dry, but it was pretty durable, and if cleaned of salt and allowed to dry, it should be fine I thought. I glanced around and found a few more small things, but couldn’t figure a way at the moment to carry them back. I took some radio wire, made a sling, and put the tube around me.

She was waiting on the beach for me, like I had just gone for a quick dip. “Did you get it?”

“I think so. Let’s go find out.” We made our way up the beach, but neither one of us in a hurry. Somewhere along the way our hands found themselves entwined.  We made it to the shack and I reluctantly let her hand go. I noticed her hand went back slowly as well. “I’ll put these at the radio and see if I can’t scare up some grub.”

“Please, let me do that. I’m not such a bad cook if you’ll give me a try. It won’t be banana pudding, but it will be edible.” I nodded and sat down to repair the radio.

She lied. I have never tasted C rations so badly mangled. Of course I said it was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted and she called me out on it. “Liar! You’re just saying that. Oh, it is bad, isn’t it? Ewww! What was I thinking?”

“I don’t know, but it looks like I’ll have to be the cook in the family.”

I immediately realized what I had said, but either she didn’t notice or maybe she did and accepted it. Family? Us? Cheese and crackers, I’d just met the girl and I’m picking out names for our kids already.

The radio worked perfectly, so I got a signal off to the Rook, that’s what the main HQ for us islanders was called. My call sign was Kingfisher, which Laura thought was appropriate considering my swimming ability.  Laura had been correct in her assessment of the next plane’s arrival. It would be an indeterminate amount of time so we would just have to wait it out and make our daily reports. I felt my heart leap.

“Well, sailor, looks like you just hit the jackpot,” she said and draped herself over a chair suggestively.

Now despite what you boys may think of your old Uncle Pete, I was a good boy. Your grandma and grandpa raised us all right. You have to believe that nothing happened between us. . .well, not nothing. . . but anyhow, over the next few days, we made do, rationed our supplies, and arranged the shack to accommodate us both just like she was another sailor. We took turns at lookout and the radio while I, of course, did all the cooking. Soon we had us a neat little house with regular laundry days and meals, followed by music from AFRS and an evening smoke. I would sing in my best tenor and she was a fantastic soprano.

Once we were singing to Dorsey’s Take Me, and when she got to the last line of “make me your own,” I leaned over and kissed her. I tell you, boys, I have never, ever been kissed like that before or since. When we finished, I think I could have swum to Japan and whipped Hirohito and the whole Imperial Navy myself. I would have done anything for her. But remember, I was raised right. We said our good-nights and went to our separate little “rooms”.

In the morning I made cursory lookout reports and scans of the horizon. I wasn’t paying much attention though, thinking instead of the kiss. I wanted to walk back into the shack and not be a good boy. I was struggling with it when something caught the corner of my eye. It was small and distant, but it was there. I took the glasses and looked again. Smoke. Not much. The ship was trolling at low speed but definitely heading this way. Fortunately it was on the opposite side of the reef and wouldn’t be able to see the plane unless it went around, which I’m sure it would do. I ran to Laura’s area and flung back the curtain. She jumped at the sound but kept her composure. “What is it?’ She gasped.

“Patrol boat. We have to get the plane off the reef.”

“How? You said yourself it would take explosives to release it and they would surely hear that. There’s no way we can avoid them seeing it.”

I looked around the room and spied an idea. “Maybe they should see it.”

“What are you thinking?” she asked.

“Just follow me and grab that crate of grenades. I hope we have time for this.” I also grabbed two hollowed-out coconuts we had jokingly made a few nights before.

Down at the shore I found the crate of golf balls, set it to one side, and got to work. Taking apart several grenades, I emptied their contents into one of the coconut halves. I punched a small hole in the other half and wrapped both halves with radio wire until they were solidly bound together. I filled the hollow coconut up the rest of the way, emptying about eight grenades into it. Then I carefully inserted a firing pin and set the makeshift bomb aside.
Meanwhile, Laura was tasked with collecting all loose golf balls she could find of the original five hundred and returning them to the crate. I must have gotten pretty bored in my solo time, as Laura was able to refill the crate only about two-thirds. So she packed the remaining space with sea shells, sticks, rocks or any other debris she could gather. I placed my improvised bomb into the crate, running a wire to attach the firing pin to the lid. Then I carefully nailed it down and set the whole rig afloat in the surf.

“Kiss for luck, sailor,” Laura said as she pressed her body to mine and laid on me the second-best kiss ever, boys.

I towed the crate out to the reef. Now you might be thinking golf balls sink, right? Well they won’t in salt water and definitely not in a sealed crate. However, once again I was in a race against time that sorely pressed my swimming ability. I was thankful Ol’ Johnny’s tips on rehabilitation had been spot on.

At the plane, I managed to wrestle the crate to the other side of the reef and wedge it under the mangled wing. It bobbed a bit but held without bumping into anything. I plunged back in and swam the hundred or so yards back to the beach. I grabbed Laura’s hand and we sprinted for the jungle.
The patrol boat made its way around the island about an hour later. I looked through the glasses, trying to spot anything distinctive in its markings. It appeared to be just a simple boat with a crew of maybe eight or so. I suspected they sported a radio comparable to ours with about the same range. Hopefully they would want to do a full inspection before radioing back. I imagined they wouldn’t want to be dishonored calling in an old wreck and wasting the time of their superiors.

We watched as the boat pulled in close, cautious of the reef itself. They lowered a small dinghy of about three men, two with oars and one with a rifle. They only took a few minutes to ascertain the craft to be kaput, and as I had hoped, they took the crate into the dinghy with them. Laura and I waited for what seemed like hours. I could see some movement on the boat and soon a man emerged from inside and stood with his hands on his hips. He gestured animatedly towards the shore and the subordinates bowed in response. When they stepped aside, however, he pointed at the crate and more buzzing activity occurred. One of the crew disappeared inside and for a few tense moments I didn’t know if my plan would work. I looked at Laura and shook my head.

We were just about to get up and leave when I looked back just in time to see and hear an explosion. Seconds later, we were visited by the sounds and zippings of dozens of golf balls bulleting through the jungle and caroming off the trees. One ball landed deeply in the sand just inches from our faces. I joked, “Bad lie, for the old boy. He’ll need a gap wedge to get out of this one.”

I took the glasses and peered back out at the ship. Smoke poured from where the men had been standing with the crate. The boat began to list and I saw no swimmers or further activity on the deck. Apparently, the whole crew had been on deck.

I made radio contact with the Rook again that day and they confirmed activity in the area. The island would be too hot for me now, and they would be sending a recovery plane the next day. I set the headset down and wiped my face.

Laura had gone outside to gather eggs and I found myself not wanting to tell her, afraid she would be disappointed – or even worse, relieved and excited. That part I didn’t think I would be able to take. We spent the rest of the day and evening making small talk about what we would do after the war. Laura was going straight back to flying and aeronautics, and I expected I would continue on with the government.

She did and I did.

Uncle Pete rubbed the box lovingly and, to our surprise and embarrassment, tears rolled down his cheeks. “After we returned to Port Moresby, I gave her my address here and she promised to write when she had a permanent one in California. After the war, I came home for a bit and found this package waiting for me at your grandma’s. I tried to write back but your grandpa took sick and I got called out to Norfolk for a bit.”

“What happened, Uncle Pete? Did you ever see her again?”

“No. I wrote to her from Washington about a month later and found out she had been killed by a drunk driver in ‘Frisco. S’funny huh? Woman flier like that makes it all the way home to be killed by some slob on the ground.”

“Sorry, Uncle Pete.

“S’okay boys, you didn’t know.” He sniffed and looked up at us. “Well, I guess you want to know what’s in the box.” He untied the twine and slid it off. He gingerly opened the box and pulled out the contents, two halves of a coconut strung together with a recipe for Banana Split Pudding with Praline Sauce pinned to it.  A note attached said, “Come and see me, Tarzan, and bring these with you.”

The End
Thanks for reading. This story was inspired by Episode 3 of the Web Series When Fact Met Fiction. You can watch the episode HERE.

Have you heard any interesting war stories? We’d love to hear about them. Share them in the comments below or simply tell us what you loved most about this story.

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Organic Cat Treats

Organic Cat Treats Your Pet Will Love

      Celeste comes excitedly from her office.

“Six years and we’ve finally hit on what our demographic wants.  Our email has been flooded with stuff like this.”
She picks up a paper and starts to read.
“Finally, a home magazine I enjoy reading.  I love the way you mixed in that fictional story about the lady losing her cat and the sexy Fed Ex driver finding him along the street and teaching the housewife how to make organic cat treats.  Keep up the good work and I’ll keep reading.”

Who doesn’t want to read about a sexy FedEx driver saving a cat?

And all the better if you can get a great recipe for Organic Cat Treats while you’re at it. That is exactly what we have for you today. And our test kitchen at Southern Sunset has perfected a recipe that is “Cat Approved.” Yes, Chloe, our test cat gobbled these delectable treats down like they were the best thing since catfish.

Also, the accompanying story for this recipe is the cat’s meow. In fact it is our first story written from an animal’s perspective instead of a human’s perspective, which is saying something since Jon Frank’s alter ego Nathaniel Embers has been known to kill off his animal characters from time to time. The only spoiler we will offer is that in this story the cat lives. Yay!

To read Jon Frank’s clever story, “Mine” click HERE.

As I said this recipe was a hit with our test subject. So do your feline friend a favor and make them Some:

Organic Cat Treats Your Cat Will Love

Organic Cat Treats
Organic Cat Treats Your cat Will Love
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins

Made with wholesome ingredients, these treats will have your cat coming back for more.

Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 cat servings
  • 1/2 cup Organic powdered milk plus extra to dust treats
  • 1/2 cup Organic whole wheat flour for binding
  • 1 small can Organic chicken
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 Organic egg
  • 1 tbsp catnip (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and thoroughly combine until a soft dough is formed.

  3. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper coated with organic non stick spray. Sprinkle powdered milk over the parchment paper. Spread mixture over paper and sprinkle with more powdered milk to keep dough from sticking. Layer another piece of parchment paper over the top and gently press down evenly or roll out with rolling pin until 1/4 " thick.

    Remove the top parchment paper and score the flattened dough with a pizza cutter or sharp knife so that you have a grid of half inch pieces.

  4. Bake in prepared oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. treats should not be slightly soft. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

  5. Once cooled break the treats apart. Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to a week.

    Organic Cat Treats

Did you miss the episode where Celeste talks about Organic Cat Treats? Watch it now!


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Schokolade short story


An Amish Love Story


By Jon Frank

He watches as his breath melts the snow on the log. Drip, drip, drip, then liquid sliding along a sharp sliver of bark to drop off unseen but icy under his collar. The wrenching pains in his leg and arm have mostly subsided now, probably from both cold and shock. He attempts once again to shift himself, but meets resistance from renewed pain and the weight of the timber. The massive pile groans softly, and he glances at the butt end of a log clinging tenuously to a position six inches above his face. He guesses one small shift will equal immediate and gruesome death.Amish love story
Jacob ponders this fact. He weighs the possibility against his other choice, slow sleep into hypothermia and death, and finds the prospect of a quick end alluring. No, he says to himself. It would be suicide. While whoever finds him will not know, God will – and the thought of eternity without his beloved Miriam is more painful than his current situation.
He remembers he first noticed Miriam when he was just fifteen, on a trip to the community sawmill with his father. Miriam’s father Reuben owned and operated the mill alongside her two brothers, and she had brought lunch for the men. Her green eyes were brilliant above the dull gray homespun of her dress, and despite its modestly-loose folds, he could tell she had a slender waist and round hips. He was smitten at once.
That same week was his family’s turn to host church. Miriam had, of course, sat in the adjoining room with the womenfolk. She was just through the open doorway, and he leaned forward on the edge of the bench to keep her in view. His father caught him looking and jerked his arm firmly.
The same arm, in fact, now pinned between several hundred pounds of timber.
Drip, drip, sliiide.
The snow drifts down through cracks in the log canopy above him. It collects on his coat in a ragged square, reminding him of the piece of creamy white cloth he found that same long-ago Sunday while stacking chairs and benches after the service.
The cloth had been torn, possibly from an apron, and appeared to be intentionally placed where Miriam had been sitting. He picked it up and stuffed it into his waistband for safekeeping. That evening, he examined its wispy threads for a long while in the fading window light. He tucked it under his pillow and dreamed stirring dreams of deep green eyes. In the morning he hid the cloth in his waistband again, a habit he would keep for a handful of weeks until the cloth fell out somewhere in the course of daily chores. Several times his mother questioned him about his faraway countenance, but he dismissed her by saying he was merely tired. He felt guilty for lying, but was afraid his mother wouldn’t understand.
Pain rockets through his leg now and he needs no medical training to know the break is probably severe. His left arm is likely broken as well, but it mercifully went numb awhile ago. His uninjured right arm is pinned against his torso, with only his hand able to move. He pats his coat and finds he can just reach the wooden toggles on the lapel, but his fumbling attempts to release them are unsuccessful. He can, however, slip his fingers under the hem to tug a corner of the cloth-covered package tucked inside, releasing a deep rich aroma that entices his nostrils. Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies. Miriam’s best.
The smell takes him back three Christmases ago when he was eighteen. While the community recognized and encouraged rumspringa, he found little need for the typical wildness of other boys, instead spending most of his time at Miriam’s family sawmill learning the trade. Reuben came to trust Jacob, granting the young man unusual leeway with his only daughter. The Sunday before Christmas Jacob asked and received permission to take Miriam for a ride after church. They crossed the river and sat under a bare oak tree on a wool blanket, huddling close together in a heavy handmade quilt and laughing at the absurd fun of a picnic in wintertime. Miriam’s packed lunch included double dutch chocolate brownies for dessert. If she had needed a way to cement her hold on Jacob, beyond her sweet smile and unexpected humor, it would have been accomplished with those brownies alone.
Drip, drip, sliiiiide.
Jacob wonders where Klubert is now. He has always been a steady and sure beast, not prone to spooking. The massive Belgian stands eighteen-and-a-half hands and can pull more weight than any two-horse team Jacob has seen. Yet he is an exceptionally gentle boy who loves Miram’s brownies nearly as much as Jacob.
Once while in the field, Klubert suddenly stopped and refused to pull the plow. Jacob looked over his crops and spied his beloved Miriam setting the table outside for lunch. Jacob commanded the horse to finish the job, but Klubert instead turned the plow and headed like an arrow to the tin of brownies on the table. Thankfully, Miriam was able to appease him with a couple of brownie squares from her own hand. Jacob felt a tinge of jealousy, pouting pitifully until Miriam fed him a brownie too. “Careful boy,” he said, “that’s how she got me too.”

Amish love story

Jacob winces again, partially in pain, and partially from knowing the treat is wasted inches from his chapped mouth.
Drip, drip, sliiiide.
The water runs slower now, signaling a drop in temperature. He listens now as the snow turns to ice. It pelts the logs and icy fall begins to block out what little light has been able to reach through the cracks. Night is coming and soon Jacob will be alone in smothering blackness. He has a sparker, but it’s in his unreachable coat pocket. Ah well, there is nothing to light anyway. Well, besides twenty-four massive pine logs piled on top of him, he notes wryly. The thought of fire, however, warms him somewhat.
Funny, he recalls a summer wildfire was the reason he asked Miriam to marry him. A blaze started at the sawmill and Jacob, along with everyone for miles, turned out for the bucket brigade. The determination of Amish men and women availeth much, and the flames were extinguished long before the local fire department arrived. Miriam did more than her share, spending the better part of two hours filling pails and passing them on without reprieve. Her hands were puckered with blisters and Jacob found her running them under the pump to soothe her wounds. He offered to pump the water and she thanked him. There in the waning summer light were those same vivid green eyes and captivating smile, albeit smudged with grime and sweat.
“Marry me,” he blurted.
“What? Jacob…wha…You can’t just ask. What about my father?”
Her statement wasn’t so much resistance as it was a plea for him to do things rightly. He released the pump handle, looked about, set eyes on his objective, and strode across the yard.
“Jacob, what are you..?” Miriam cried. He noted her pleas, but kept walking.Amish love story
“Reuben Miller, I would like to formally ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage. I am a good worker, as you have surely seen. I own no property, but I am my father’s only son and stand to inherit the family land when he dies. I will take your daughter to live there until then. She and I will obey the Ordnung and the family traditions, and I’m sure she will bear you many grandchildren. Sir, what say you?”
Reuben stood up straight. He stroked his soot-grimed beard and walked around the pile of lumber he had been leaning against. The other men watched silently with stern, blackened faces. Reuben returned to look Jacob in the eye. He squinted a bit and Jacob noted a slight quiver along Reuben’s jowls.
Suddenly, Reuben’s mouth curled in a grin and his head tossed back in laughter. He gestured to the scorched mill with outspread hands.
“Boy, did you really need a fire lit under you to ask me that?” Reuben continued his hearty laugh while slapping Jacob’s back. “Of course, son, of course.”
Jacob felt relief and allowed himself to smile.
The wind picks up and Jacob hears the ice cracking around him as the log pile shifts above him. It is late now; the other men have already eaten supper and begun nightly prayers with their families. Miriam is worried by now, he is sure. But he knows even if a rescue effort is mounted, the chances of anyone getting to him in time are slim because no one knows he is here.  Jacob ponders the events that led to this predicament. He had come to the cut in the late-afternoon snow after the other men had already decided to leave. He can’t call them faulenzen for leaving early, for now it is clear he too should’ve taken heed of the weather and gone on home.
But he had wanted to retrieve one last load in fresh snow that would make Klubert’s pull easier and faster. He had dropped off the empty sled and quickly harnessed the horse to the loaded one. Twenty-four logs is not a large load, and he knew Klubert would make quick work of the journey. Jacob had climbed the fifteen feet, settled on the pile’s pinnacle, clucked to Klubert, and set off.
Fifteen minutes into the hour-long ride, something had snapped sharply and he violently tumbled down with the load. He remembers crumpling hard on the ground and the massive logs bouncing around him. When he awoke he was in his present position and Klubert was gone, broken loose from the tack. He does not know how long he laid unconscious but he guesses only a few moments.
Math has never been Jacob’s strong suit, but to hold back panic in the gaining dark, he attempts to estimate a rescue time. Less than an hour for Klubert, unburdened, to reach the sawmill. An hour or longer for someone to return, depending on the weather.
But Jacob knows the mill is empty. Old Christmas is tomorrow and the twenty-sixth the following day. Everyone is preparing for the holiday. Of course, Miriam will eventually realize he is missing if he does not come home, but Jacob is prone to hang at the mill sometimes to discuss things with her father – so it is not uncommon for him to be a bit late for supper.
No, he should probably prepare himself for the inevitable. Jacob begins praying, scanning his memory for any verses that might be appropriate. Yet his prayers are interrupted with thoughts of his wife and who will take care of her, of children they will never have, of her sitting widowed. He feels tears grow and freeze on his cheeks.
He drifts off, how long he doesn’t know, and awakes later to pale snowy darkness and sounds of movement outside his log prison.
“Hello?” he croaks. “Is anyone there?”
The shuffling stops. In a moment he hears movement again. Is it a bear or some other wild animal? Both seem likely. In a moment his heart sinks, for the jangling harness reveals it is Klubert. Maybe he has returned out of some kind of loyalty, or he just doesn’t know where else to go. Jacob hears his hooves stamping and his breath blowing, and despair approaches. No one is coming for a while now. He is alone. He begins to weep again, instinctively raising his hand to brush cold tears away. His uninjured hand doesn’t reach, of course, but he feels the reflexive jerk of his wrist knock the package of brownies loose from his coat. He manages, even with shaking fingertips, to pinch the corner of the covering cloth and slide it up to his mouth. He eagerly works his teeth to the brownie and is soon enraptured by that deep chocolate taste.
Thanking God for the blessing of a final taste of this world, Jacob almost doesn’t notice the steady, warm gust of air coming in on him. It is Klubert’s muzzle in the crack just above his wedged face. Hot snot and spittle begins dripping down on Jacob’s face and then works its way along until it hovers above the package of brownies. He can just make out a long flicking tongue making its way down between the logs to barely touch the top of the cloth.
“I’m afraid that’s a bit of a stretch for you, boy.”
The horse increases his efforts to reach the tasty treat. Not content to use his tongue anymore, Klubert begins to paw at the logs with his hooves. Blowing in frustration, he nickers loudly. He pulls at a log with his leg, which shifts the pile dangerously. The precarious log above Jacob’s head suddenly slides down to within an inch of his right eye.
“Whoa, boy! Stop! You’re going to kill me. Whoa!”
The horse seems unconcerned and begins another relentless attempt to obtain his prize. The logs roll slightly and grind against each other in the cold, but this time the slight shift allows Jacob to free his uninjured arm enough to move it about. Klubert pauses at the shift, surveying his options for obtaining the dark chocolate treat. He brings his muzzle once more to the now larger crevice. Jacob can almost see Klubert’s broad head through the crack.
“Hey, boy, come down here. Yes, I’m not mad. Come here.”
The chattering of his master calms the giant horse. The muzzle leans in close and Jacob is just able to grab a loose rein and secure it. The horse balks a bit but realizes Jacob is back in charge.
Jacob pulls the leather rein into the tiny space with him, and in a moment he has gathered its full length. He begins wrapping it around one of the logs above him, a difficult task in the near-dark with one numb hand and one eye’s view blocked by a massive log. It is also a gamble because Jacob has no idea in what condition the log pile is above him. For all he can tell, he is preparing his own death. Still, he continues to tie the leather strap securely, then slips a piece of the brownie up through the crevasse to his mighty horse. He inhales, prays, and exhales.
Closing his eyes and turning his face away from the log suspended above, Jacob clucks to the horse, “Pull, boy. Ha! Pull!”
The horse straightens his neck. Klubert is mighty when pulling normally, from the stout shoulders, but his neck is not designed to pull. Despite this fact, he knows there are more treats inside with his master. He begins to back up, stops, backs up again, and heaves. Jacob hears shuffling and the beast’s massive weight shifting, jingling metal, and splintering of frozen sled planks. He imagines Klubert stumbling on the broken shaft dangling from the dee and tug stops twisted under his feet by the harness in a manner that forces him to step on them. No common horse could even attempt this effort. Even most draft horses would balk at such a task. But this is the mighty Klubert. He will have his treat!
The timber moves and Jacob cringes as he expects the killing log to smash in his head. Instead, the log attached to Klubert’s rein pivots, and the danger swings out and down. The log pinning Jacob’s broken arm slides away as well.
“Whoa, boy. Come back here,” Jacob summons.
The horse is all too eager to comply. Jacob rewards him with a tiny piece of brownie and reaches up to secure more straps from the harness. In a bit, he turns the horse and secures any strappings he can reach around the log on his leg. Again he commands Klubert, and with a scraping boom that surely would’ve been excruciating had the leg not been numb, the massive log tumbles free of Jacob’s leg. Jacob commands the horse to stop and slides along the ground until he can free the horse from the log.
Jacob sees what he suspected, that the sled is in splinters with pieces scattered about. He crawls to the largest flat piece he can find, attaches the trailing leads to Klubert as best he can, and rolls himself aboard, shouting with bright pain mixed with joy.
He calls to the horse, “Home, Klubert, Home!”
The big brute takes off at a trot, flinging clods of snow back in Jacob’s face. He pulls the coat tight around his face, braces himself for the pain, and settles in for the long ride.

 Jacob awakes in his own bed, warm but still unable to move very much. He is greeted by sunlight through the window. Ice has formed at the corners of the glass and he watches as the warmth of the room causes the ice to slowly melt.
Sliide, drip.
He inhales and smells the wonderful aromas arising from the kitchen below. He feels content and soon drifts back to sleep. When he wakes again, he is greeted by the green eyes of home.
The End

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Kowareta And nana short story

Kowareta And Nana

Kowareta and Nana

By Jon Frank

He sat solemnly in the small boat as the oarsman paddled quietly behind him. The mist of the afternoon’s rain was beginning to settle on the water, and lanterns were already lit in a few of the shoreline Uchis where the fisher-folk lived.

He had been away a long time. The battles had been fierce and exhausting, but he was finally returning home. He pulled back a sleeve and allowed his hand to glide in the water, enjoying its silky coolness. The setting sun peeked through orange clouds, casting a golden glow on the palace above the village. Oh, how he had missed his house and gardens, his birds and writing desk. But there was something he must do before returning to those grand walls and furnishings.

As he approached the shore, his gaze scanned the shoreline and settled on a particular structure, a squat two-story dwelling with an ornate set of red lanterns festooning the front porch. Would she still be there, his favored one?  Even on this return to his peaceful home, his mind and heart remained at war. He knew it was wrong to feel this way about a geisha. They had met when she was a Minarai, that second level of training when the girl is permitted to follow her teacher or onee-san into banquets. She had just achieved the third level when he departed for war over a year ago. Now a Maiko, she received the full benefits and courtesies of a geisha. She entertained, served her teas, and played the shamisen skillfully. She could attend a man in all manner of ways except physical intimacy – unless consent was given by both parties. Such consummation was rare and deeply frowned upon, however, for it was purity that made a geisha desirable to men. Geishas were tiny, delicate blossoms that any touch would shatter and taint for all time. And his favored one’s elusive, untouchable position is what attracted him to her. Yet he could not deny the truth, that he wanted all of her, to possess her. As a lord, he could choose to buy her outright. But then she would be no more than his concubine, and that was not enough.

The boat bumped the shore and he leaped forward, clearing the bow in one step. Landing surefooted, he drew a deep breath of his homeland, tasting the air and relishing the sounds. He knelt and placed his forehead on the rocky surface, thanking the spirits for a safe return. He stood and nodded to the boatman, who bowed in return.

“Welcome home, Daimyo-san.”

Geisha waits for her SamuraiThe samurai turned on his heel and climbed the three steps to the geisha house. The interior was bright and colorful. Two younger geishas approached and removed his outer clothing and weapons with the tenderness of a mother to her babe. A third girl led him further inside and bade him sit at a low table. She left and returned shortly with tea.

As she began preparing his tea, the samurai caught her eye and asked, “Is she here? Is Nana here?”

The girl nodded, rocked back on her feet, stood, and left silently. In a moment, someone else returned. It was his favored one! The samurai’s breath caught and his heart bent ribs back in its hunger for her. Could it be that his dreams and thoughts had betrayed him all this time? For they were ugly and horrid compared to the beauty before him. She glided like a koi in a stream. Her piercing eyes of the rarest jade green stabbed his soul. Her hair was black as the night sea, and he felt he might need several strong men to restrain him from touching it. She knelt, her back arrow-straight as she prepared the tea.  A tiny smile flitted across the corner of her mouth. She remembered him! He clinched his fist in anguish at her tease.

He kept his eyes on the steaming teacup as attendants brought forth supplies for the meal. Unlike many houses, where food was prepared beforehand by a cook, a geisha in this house prepared the meal for her guest. The samurai’s beautiful host prepared a precise portion of his favorite dish, a refreshing Asian Kale Salad with Craisins. Each motion was carefully choreographed to emphasize the exquisite ivory beauty of her small hands. Working seamlessly between knife and bowl, she expertly carved delicate shapes into radishes and chestnuts and placed bamboo shoots and tiny cabbages in a pleasing arrangement. She completed the dish and set it before him, along with a fragrant dressing of ginger and essential oils. He ate vigorously, glancing at the burning incense stick used as a timekeeper. It showed precious few moments remaining, and he felt his heart ache for her once more.

“Delicate one, I would speak to you before we leave.”

She responded in the traditional “Oh-hoo,” accompanied by a polite nod.

“I have been away a long time,” the samurai said. “I see you have gone beyond your previous training and taken the mantle of Maiko. I have commanded men to die and been willing do to so myself. Yet in this moment I find courage fleeing like a petal on the wind. Your beauty is more formidable than any sword or arrow, and I am defenseless before you. Speak your wishes and I will raze the kingdom to fulfill them.” He punctuated his words by placing a hand at his hip where his sword normally hung. She bent her head lower, then brought her verdant eyes up to meet his own dark ones. She spoke, her voice a whispering wind on temple bells.  “Kowareta-san, I too have longed for your return, but dared not speak of it. I feared for your safety, not from enemies’ weapons, but from the gaze and charms of another woman. For many nights have my dreams found you, and I blush to say you are every bit the man I long for. I have but one wish, yet my position will not allow me to say it.” She cast her gaze downward again. He reached forward to take her chin in his hand. There was an intake of breath from the attending geisha.Quote from the story Kowareta and Nana

“Leave us!” the samurai commanded. Each girl cringed, bowed, and scattered. He turned back to his favored one. “Forgive my harshness, little flower. I mean for our words to be heard only by our ears.”

A sparkling tear ran down her soft, pale cheek before angling to the corner of her lips and finally to the thumb of his hand. He brought her eyes up again to meet his. “Please, speak,” he coaxed.

She took his hand with hers and placed it against her face, not concerned about the disruption of her makeup. “I long to become a full geisha, and yet I long to be joined with the other half of my soul.”

“I too wish to complete my soul.”

The geisha ran her hand along the samurai’s arm and felt the lean muscles there. She continued upward to his broad, stout shoulders and thick neck muscles. The tears came unchecked now, but they had become tears of happiness. He stood and brought her to her feet. The onee-san entered and bowed in respect, her face bright with worry.  “Daimyo-san, what is the trouble? Has this one displeased you? I can replace her.” She snapped her fingers and another girl entered.

“Stop, old woman! Do not dishonor the moment. However, it is true you will need to find another to replace this one – I believe that to be impossible.” He gripped Nana-san’s shoulders and turned to leave.

“Please, Daimyo-san, if you must take her, then let us gather the small belongings from her room.”

“No,” he said firmly, “I will provide all she needs. She leaves tonight and takes nothing but her heart.”

The End

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Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies

Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies

” So, Jon, what’s the story for Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies?” Olivia asks.

Jon smiles at the mention of his first name and adds, “Let me think. I see a young bearded Amish man, Jacob. He looks over his hard earned crops to lock eyes with Miriam…”

This was how Episode 2 of When Fact Met Fiction ended. Click the link to watch it if you haven’t had the chance yet. Then head on back because you won’t want to miss this amazing recipe. But before you get to baking consider the following piece of trivia about the story written to accompany the recipe for Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies.

A friend recently informed me that Amish romances are called ‘Bonnet Rippers’. For some reason that term cracks me up. Today, you can lose ourselves for a few minutes in our own ‘Bonnet Ripper’ Amish love story, about the  afore mentioned Jacob and Miriam. And this one has some hints of the Christmas holiday. Read Schokolade now.

As always, we will follow up our story with the recipe for Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies, so be sure to come back to this recipe, because you’ll be wanting to get baking.

Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies
Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies

The richness of Dutch processed cocoa and the decedance of whipped ganache make this delicious brownie 'melt in your mouth' good.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch Processed Cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz dark chocolate, chopped or semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a parchment papaer lined  large cookie sheet and set aside. Place a large mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.

  2. Combine all of the dry ingerdients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

  3. Stir in the butter, eggs and vanilla and spead evenly into parchement paper lined cookie sheet.

  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes or until brownies spring back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

  1. Once the brownies have cooled heat 3/4 cup heavy cream in a medium sauce pan until just starting to boil. Remove from heat and stir in the dark chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside and cool. Once the ganache has cooled remove 1/4 cup to use for glaze later.

  2. Place the rest of the ganache in the chilled mixing bowl and beat on high until the mixture thickens and becomes lighter in color.

  3. Using a large knife cut the brownies evenly down the middle of the pan. Remove the brownies from the pan and cut the parchment paper where the brownies had been cut. Use one side for the blottom layer and one for the top.

  4. Spread the whipped ganache on the bottom layer of brownie. Cover with the top layer of brownie. Trim any uneven edges and cut the brownies into squares.

  5. Add the 2 extra tbsp of heavy cream the the reserved ganache and stir to make a glaze. Drizzle a small amount of glaze over each brownie. Serve and enjoy.

Watch through to the end of Episode 2 to see where Jon starts sharing his ideas for the story that will go along with Double Dutch Chocolate Brownies.

Let us know how you liked the recipe. We love hearing from you. And if you haven’t already subscribed to our website or YouTube Channel do that now. Until next time.

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Episode 2 – The Iron Maiden

Find all of the videos related to Episode 2 below

When Fact Met FictionIn The Iron Maiden, we learn a bit more about the people of Southern Sunset in episode 2.

  1. Mel Tennant does not have a good relationship with the magazine’s celebrity chef, Poppy Stanhope.
  2. Olivia’s favorite author is non other than Nathaniel Embers.
  3. Celeste’s daughter Sunny will be working at the magazine offices in the afternoons.
  4. And Jon, much to the chagrin of Olivia has an incredible grasp on what the readers of Southern Sunset want to read.

Find out if Olivia can fit in as the editor for Southern Sunset in Episode 2 of When Fact Met Fiction.

Episode 2 – The Iron Maiden

Teaser for Episode 2 – Cold Leftovers

When Fact Met Fiction IMDb

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Episode 3 – Poppy Stanhope

Videos that pertain to Episode 3

When Fact Met Fiction
Poppy Stanhope shares what her fans have been saying about Jon’s articles.

Sunny announces that Nathaniel Ember’s newest novel has hit #1 on the New York Times best seller list. Celeste announces that Poppy Stanhope will be arriving in a few minutes. Poppy enters enthusiastically singing the praises of the magazines new format. When she meets Jon she is immediately impressed, much to Jon’s chagrin. After a private conversation it is revealed that Poppy has made Jon an offer to write for her TV show.





Episode 3 – Poppy Stanhope

When Fact Met Fiction IMDb

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