Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When Knowing is not Enough

Jim Harlow and Maxwell Dunn were at Jim’s home working on a project they had designed a few months before. They were both electrical engineers and were hoping to have a breakthrough product that would catapult them into their own business. Jim had more experience than Max and often times was hired as a consultant by other firms to either work out some bugs they were having with a program or to advise a company on the best methods to maximize their staff’s ability to advance them into the future.
What made this particular night ironic is that both men were having a problem running a program that was essential to their project. It was essential because it was the last piece of the puzzle before moving forward to building a prototype for testing. Without this phase of the software, the project could be stalled for an indefinite period of time. Needless to say, both men were getting frustrated and agitated with themselves, each other and the computer.
They decided to take a break and get some coffee before they lost control of their emotions and caused damage to the project or their friendship. They’d been friends for many years and were smart enough to know how such things could get out of hand real quick and ruin everything. The time and money that both had already sunk into the project demanded they not jeopardize everything by letting their emotions run amok. Both of them were well aware of the fact that to lose all they had invested was something neither of them could afford to have happen.
While in the kitchen trying to let their minds free up so they could figure out where the glitch in the software might be, neither of them spotted Jim’s son Kurt enter the living room and venture over to the computer.
After some moments, Kurt called out, “What game is this daddy?”
For a brief moment, neither man moved not thinking too much of the question, but as soon as it registered in their minds, they scrambled into the living room to see Kurt in front of the computer and the screen displaying a series of rapid changes.
“Get away from there!” Jim yelled and rushed to the computer, practically knocking Kurt to the floor. “What have you done? What did you touch?” he demanded.
Before he could say another word, Max stepped up closer and studied the screen. “Jim, don’t yell at him,” he said quietly.
Jim turned to look at him. “What?”
Max nodded and pointed to the screen. “Don’t yell at him. He’s got it running and we need to know what he did to make it work.”
Jim glanced at Kurt then back at Max. “Are you crazy? He’s seven years old. How the hell could he get it going?”
Max pointed to the screen again. “I don’t care how old he is, he’s got the damn thing running. Look at it.”
Jim reluctantly looked at the screen. His shoulders relaxed. Scratching his head he said, “How the hell…….?”
He turned to a frightened Kurt standing a few feet away. “Kurt, daddy’s sorry for yelling at you. I need you to tell me what you did to the computer. It’s very important that you tell me. Okay?”
Kurt looked at Max, then his father. He wasn’t sure what to do.
“Please help daddy,” Jim said softly.
Max nodded. “We really need your help buddy. Please.”
Kurt moved closer and Jim gently placed his arm around his shoulder. “Do you remember what you touched?” he asked.
“Yes,” Kurt answered still not sure what was going to happen.
“Can you show me?”
Kurt stepped up to the keyboard and timidly pointed to the capital lock key, then the refresh button and lastly, the enter key.
“That’s it?” Jim asked incredulously.
“Yep,” Kurt replied and stepped away.
After a few moments viewing the screen, Jim smiled and held his arms out. “Come here,” he said to Kurt and gave him a big hug. “You’re a hero. You saved dad and Max. For that you have a nice reward coming.”
Jim turned to Max. “Can you believe it?”
Max smiled a wide smile. “It was just that simple. We should have gotten our of our own way hours ago.”
They spent the next two hours celebrating and Kurt felt very special and loved.
  Chelle Munroe©

   February 25, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Something about Paris

There was something about Paris, lurking in the outskirts of his mind and, for whatever reason, he couldn’t reel it in. It had cropped up in his thoughts shortly after watching a program about France three months before. But what was it?
Was it something he had studied in school as a kid; or a movie he’d seen; or a conversation he’d had at some point in his life? Unable to make a connection, he was still positive of its significance, evidenced by the haunting way it nagged and gnawed its way into his consciousness throughout the day and kept him awake at night; constantly teasing his thoughts like the carrot in front of the horse.
Yet try as he might, he failed to ferret out the particular point in the show that had triggered his current dilemma. One thing was certain ----- it was imperative he resolve the mystery and extinguish the spark quickly, otherwise, he would run the risk of it becoming an out-of-control raging inferno which could only result in his having a nervous breakdown, something he neither wanted to or could afford to experience.
Out of frustration, he began taking sleeping pills in a desperate attempt to escape the tormenting disquietude, but the eeriness was relentless and grew in strength, forcing him to increase the dosage. Restful sleep, however, remained just as elusive as the taunting mystery itself. Exhaustion gripped him in its clutches only to be denied caressing him to sleep. Finally, on the brink of snapping into insanity, he swallowed an extra strong dose of medication and fell into a deep sleep.
Then somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, he found the answer he’d been searching for. He was in Paris and there was a crowd watching and jeering him as he was led up the long wooden flight of stairs and then forced to kneel with his head in the guillotine.
He could hear himself screaming frantically to wake up but the medication was just too powerful.
   Chelle Munroe©
   February 21, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014


 Personal Essay

Ad odd thing happened to me one day that I believe would pique the curiosity of all who looked in the shop window as I had. My first reaction was that I was seeing things, but as I stood there gazing, I knew that what I was looking at was in fact real.
Then, when I came out of my somewhat shallow stupor, I stepped back to stare up at the façade and the sign above the entrance to be certain I hadn’t read it wrong and was at the right store. Seeing I hadn’t erred, I glanced back at the window. A whole bevy of thoughts flooded my mind about the reasoning behind the clothing store’s decision to place a jar of mustard in their display window next to the beautifully dressed mannequins.
Naturally, because of the oddity of the display, I felt compelled to inquire within. I ventured into the store and nonchalantly browsed looking for a display that would show something about the mustard. Again, I felt the curiosity swell as to the meaning behind the window display. I even wondered if it was some sort of contest or promotion that would have a big reward for the person who noticed while at the same time dismissing it as absurd.
Finally, when I couldn’t find an answer on my own, I sauntered over to one of the counters where there were no customers and waited for the sales person to approach. As soon as the young man completed what he was doing, he came over to me.
“May I help you ma’am?”
I cleared my throat. “I hope so. I noticed a jar of mustard in the display window and can’t help wondering why it would be there.”
He straightened his shoulders and replied, “The mustard is a gourmet blend of special seasonings that separates if from all the rest. Its superior taste is so far above the common brands that we decided it deserved a place alongside other superior items. It is fashionable in its own right.”
That hooked me and I figured “in for a penny, in for a pound”.
I took out a five dollar bill and said, “I’ll take a jar.”
He looked at the bill in my hand and smirked. Then with a haughty tone said, “I beg your pardon but you must have misunderstood. That jar of mustard sells for $35.”
“That’s totally outrageous”, I blurted and laughed.
An icy-cold glare let me know I had overstepped an invisible line. I knew it was time for me to leave so I shoved the bill back into my purse and left.
As I walked along feeling somewhat dejected, I couldn’t help think how as humans we all have a different perception of what has value and what doesn’t. The more I pondered it, the more I realized that life is odd. So much attention is paid to the value of an inanimate object while at the same time, in many instances, none or very little attention is paid to the value of a person’s life.
I brought the subject up to a friend as a matter of casual conversation and the first words he said when I finished was, “That’s not true. It’s only in rare cases that people don’t care enough about the value of a person’s life.”
I thought about that for a moment then replied, “If that’s true, why are there so many suicide bombings today, so much genocide and murder and road rage and discrimination and bigotry?”
He looked at me and said, “They have nothing to do with what you said.”
That statement made me sit back and take note because I believed that in his own way he was guarding feelings he held inside about things. Feelings he didn’t want to surface lest he be found out or that he felt guilty about for harboring them. It’s a complex subject no doubt, but the fact remains that the value of human life has become a cheaper commodity than it used to be.
 Being transgender, I have experienced the attitude and hatred some people harbor towards others who are different. Sadly, what I have experienced is miniscule to what exists throughout the country and the world. Two recent incidents solidify my point: the first being the treatment of LGBT people in Russia; and the second being the legislation that is now being proposed in Kansas, Tennessee and other states making it legal for business owners to refuse service to anyone they perceive to be gay or transgender.
Another area that stresses the intolerance of people toward others is one that has existed since the beginnings of religious beliefs. Just read the news regarding the terrorists acts based upon religious beliefs; or the wars in the Mid-East; the Crusades and on and on. I am Catholic and have had the experience of being verbally attacked because of my beliefs --- the arguments against me being based upon events that happened in the church centuries ago or of recent years, which had nothing to do with the Catholic faith itself but the people within the church.
Discrimination in all its forms is based upon an individual’s point of view. Each person’s perception of how they feel and how they treat others is the foundation of what value they place on others. In itself, having one’s own perception is not wrong or harmful and, is in fact, encouraged so that as a society we can grow and progress. But when one’s perception causes them to act negatively to others solely based upon that factor, it becomes hurtful and wrong.
With that in mind, I thought about that jar of mustard and I realized that my feeling toward the price was grounded in my perception of value compared to other jars of mustard. I had no idea of the ingredients within nor the taste and it made me realize that when I see others I need to be careful of forming an opinion about them because I don’t know what type of person they may be or what circumstances they have experienced in their lives that brought them to the point they are at.
Regardless of whether I like or dislike what a person looks like, or has done or is doing, I need to refrain from placing a form of value on them. I don’t like being valued as less than a human being solely based upon my being transgender; and like that jar of mustard in the store window, I have a value and worth that goes far beyond the exterior and that is how I need to perceive others.
   Chelle Munroe©
   February 14, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Donkey Man In the Middle of Government Controversy

In an unprecedented move, Republicans have filed for an emergency injunction against the Democrats with the U.S. Supreme Court. The move came when the Democratic Party announced it has retained Curt Mullinsky, the man who has been labeled the “Donkey Man” because his head and legs are shaped and hairy like those of a donkey.
Democratic leaders announced that Curt is a willing and competent adult who has agreed to become the national symbol of the Democratic Party and will be scheduled to appear at various Democratic functions throughout the country during the upcoming election year.
Republican Party chairman, Sumole Trunk, told reporters that the Democratic move was in retaliation to the appointment of Ella Phant as the House Speaker. Trunk went on to claim that the Democrats are in direct violation of ethical and humane rights of an individual by exploiting his deformity.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Harry Mule, called the charges groundless and a smear tactic to thwart the Democratic chances of winning the presidency. Mule added that Democrats refuse to wallow in the mud-slinging tactics the Republicans are so eager to do and will avoid any pig-headed confrontations with members of the opposite party.
In his first interview, when asked how he felt about being embroiled in a mammoth bitter battle between the two parties, Mullinsky stated that he doesn’t understand what the big deal is because he’s willing to do it. He went on to say that just because he’s called the “Donkey Man” doesn’t mean he’s a jack-ass. He knows what he’s doing and looks forward to being the so-called “Poster-Boy” for the Democrats.
Mullinsky is still considered to be a scientific mystery having been born with the head and legs of a donkey. Researchers have found no evidence of anyone ever having been born half human and half donkey and cannot explain how or why it has happened now.
Mila Mullinsky, Curt’s mother, was a simple farm girl. During the two years after Curt’s birth, and before she died, Mila never spoke to reporters or anyone about how she could have given birth to a half-donkey and half human baby. Needless to say, rumors spread quickly about the farm being a haven for bestiality. Banal Mullinsky, Curt’s father refused to talk about it except to say he didn’t understand it but Curt was his child and he would love him no matter what.
House Speaker Ella Phant stated she has a good memory and doesn’t forget so when the Democrats obstinacy one day comes back to kick them, she will remind them of their folly and will lead the Republicans to victory.
Rumors are also being circulated that some Republicans are now combing the records for people who could be living with a mutated form of Elephantiasis, a debilitating disease that strikes a number of people each year. Their hope is that somehow through mutation, they will find a person with elephant features who will then represent the Republican Party.     
   Chelle Munroe ©
   February 10, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Annabelle Fatcher

Annabelle Fatcher
Was called an odd dame
Never accepted
Not even with fame

She wore the same clothes
Each day of the year
They never got soiled
Or so it appeared

Boys teased and mocked her
Whenever they could
Claimed she was ugly
 A pig in a hood

She never spoke out
When insults would peak
Instead made a vow
Revenge she would seek

 Then Annabelle smiled
At thoughts of a whim
How to get even
Though chances were slim

Alone she practiced
And practiced to run
For the big school race
She hoped could be won

The day of the race
She wore the same clothes
The boys laughed and jeered
Some made a pig nose

The race began and
Annabelle Fatcher
Ran like the wind so
No one could catch her

In a lightning flash
She raced to the end
None scrambled to her
For none were her friend

Annabelle snorted
As loud as she could
Then trophy held high
She raised up her hood

From that moment on
The boys felt the shame
Because of the girl
They called an odd dame

Though many have come
No one has matched her
And boys dread the name
Annabelle Fatcher
Chelle Munroe(c)
February 7, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Amazonian Secret

The End

Mike had already retrieved my suitcase and was carrying it in for me.  I stopped to look at the scenery.  When he saw me standing there, Mike called out, “Don’t stay too long or the bugs will get you and you don’t want to risk getting fever out here.”
I trotted to catch up to him.  “Thanks.”
The inside of the building was surprisingly pleasing.  It was very clean and orderly.  Carlotta motioned for me to follow her and we walked through a hallway and entered the living quarters.  The atmosphere was warm and friendly and had a woman’s touch to it.  If it hadn’t been for the ride through the jungle, it could easily have passed as someone’s home in the States.
Fernando did the cooking that night and Carlotta explained how they all took turns with the chores.  What I truly enjoyed was how we spoke about plans for the next day’s trek and yet no one asked me about my foot.  They did ask a lot of questions about back home and they all gave a brief synopsis of how they came to be here at the lab.  They were a fascinating group and I was glad my mind was occupied with other thoughts besides my foot.
However, the reprieve was short-lived because I no sooner got into bed and the toad began his mating call once again. I’m not sure how long it kept up its song because I was so exhausted I fell into a deep sleep and didn’t hear a thing.  Morning came too quickly and if it hadn’t been for Carlotta persistently shaking me, I would have gone right back to sleep.
The atmosphere in the main room was quiet as compared to the night before and as soon as we finished eating, Carlotta checked my clothing to make sure I would have the proper clothing.  That done, we headed out for what I desperately hoped would be the end of my nightmare. 
Journeying through the jungle was slow and arduous; sometimes bringing us to a complete halt until the men cleared a path.  We were traveling single file with Mike in the lead, followed by Carlotta, Tim, myself and Fernando bringing up the rear.  Before long, my clothes were soaked and I could feel the heat and humidity sapping my strength.  Every fifteen minutes or so, Mike paused long enough for us to take a drink of water and catch our breath.
Two and a half hours later, Mike turned to the rest of us.  “We’re here but we can’t go any further and we have to remain quiet or we’ll spook them and then we’d have to come back tomorrow.”
Mike summoned for me to step forward.  In a soft voice he said, “The rest is up to you.  You’ll have to remove your boot and then slowly stick your foot under these bushes.”  He pointed to a space under the closest bush large enough to get my foot through.
I knelt down and started unlacing my boot and glanced at the space where I had to shove my foot through.  A wave of panic washed over me when I realized I wouldn’t be able to see my foot once it was through the opening.  I would have no idea what was happening to it.  For all I knew, there could have been a jungle troll on the other side that loved eating toadstools and would see my foot as a feast.,
Carlotta must have sensed my fear and knelt down beside me.  “You have to do it Ellie.  I know it’s not easy but it’s the only way you can get rid of this thing.  I’ll sit with you if you want.”
I nodded.  “Thanks.”
The moment had arrived.  I sat on a rubber sheet Mike had placed beneath me and ever so carefully eased my foot through the opening.  When I felt no more resistance, I stopped and hoped I had gotten it far enough through to do the trick.  Carlotta placed her arm around my shoulders and leaned her head against mine.
Approximately between fifteen and twenty minutes later, I felt a stirring in my foot and wondered if the troll had come to dinner and then we heard the toad’s mating call.  I whispered to everyone what was happening.  Fernando began writing in his pad, wanting to record the events for future reference.
Carlotta turned her head so her mouth was near my ear.  “Can you feel anything different?  I mean, are you in pain?”
Afraid to talk, I wagged my finger back and forth.
I’m not sure how much time elapsed when I started feeling a lot of commotion around and on my foot.   My first instincts were to scream, believing the troll had arrived. I fought off the urge to yank my foot back, reached for Carlotta’s hand and squeezed it tightly.  Then, almost as quickly as it had started, everything stopped, including the noise.  None of us could see over the bushes and had no idea what was taking place. 
I glanced at Tim.  “Should I pull my foot out now?” I whispered as softly as possible but so he could still hear me.
He held his hand up and flashed his fingers signaling five more minutes.  I wanted to kill him but I remembered Dr. Lentz’s words to trust him and had to resign myself to waiting it out.  In the interim, I was like a tennis fan shifting my head back and forth from my foot to Tim and back again.
Tim finally motioned for me to withdraw my foot.  Carlotta squeezed my hand and I believe we all held our breath that nothing would go wrong.  Again, while fighting the urge to snap it back, I carefully pulled it clear of the bush. 
Tim stepped forward and gently lifted my foot.  He moved it from side to side and then examined the sole for any odd bumps or lumps.  He kept his fingers on the sole of my foot for a few minutes and nodded.
“I don’t feel anything.  I think it’s safe to say we were successful.”
“When will you be sure?” I blurted thickly, my mouth having gone dry from nerves.
“My guess is tonight.  If it’s still inside you, it will start its song all over again.  If nothing happens I would say it’s safe to posit it’s gone.”
I looked him straight in the eyes and smiled.  “Spoken like a true scientist.”
When I said that, the others breathed a sigh of relief and Fernando was the first to speak.  “Ready to head back then?  This place gives me the creeps.”
“It gives all of us the creeps,” Carlotta added and the other two men agreed.
Tim held his hand out to help me up.  “You ready?”
Wanting to get out of there, I probably could have skyrocketed to my feet but I was appreciative of the offer.
That night, it was quiet as could be and I was able to drift into a peaceful slumber.  Early next morning after a few phone calls, we were back in the jeep heading for the airport.  We arrived in plenty enough time to check in and get all our paperwork stamped.  I cried, hugged everyone and beat them all with my “thanks” for having saved my life.
The flight back home was more relaxing than when we had left and when we exited the plane, Dr. Lentz was waiting for us.  He told Tim that he would be escorting me to the clinic to get the toadstool ex-rayed and if all was well, removed.  To say I was relieved and excited with the expediency with which he wanted to remove the growth would have been a gross understatement.  Passing through the doors of the clinic, I immediately spotted the medical staff waiting to take care of me and I cried tears of joy.    
  Chelle Munroe ©
  January 29, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Amazonian Secret

Part Four

Dr. Lentz dropped his head for a moment and I realized that whatever it was he was trying to tell me, it was just as difficult for him to say it as it was going to be for me to hear it.

“I’m sorry,” I apologized.  “I don’t mean to put more pressure on you.”

He glanced at me, patted my hand and nodded.  “The only way you can remove this is by going to South America and finding the area where these things exist.  This is their mating season and it needs to find a mate.  Once it does, it will leave your foot.  At that point, the toadstool will begin to die and then we can remove it.  During the mating season, however, the toads are very dangerous and very aggressive.  They also contain some type of poison that they can administer through their saliva and that’s why we can’t even attempt to remove it now.”
Somehow, whether from being in shock; stunned by what he said; pure amazement and disbelief; or numb from being so panic-stricken, I remained calm.  I took a sip of water and just stared at the wall above his head.
“What if it doesn’t find a mate?” I heard myself asking from some distant place and wasn’t sure if I had actually voiced it aloud or if it was just in my mind.
He rubbed his face with both hands and replied, “We just don’t know.  There haven’t been enough cases to formulate any concrete evidence or to even postulate what could happen and without something to go on, we can’t risk your life.”
“Can’t you just kill it or knock it out or something?”
“We might be able to if we could get at it.  The problem with that is if we fail to catch it right away, it could poison you knowing it’s being attacked.  I’m afraid to say it but we all agree that the only way to do this is the way I explained it to you.”
He took a long pull on the water bottle, nearly emptying it before he spoke again.  “I want you to think hard before answering.  Have you told anyone about this?”
I thought that was a strange question, but I sifted my memory and responded, “No, I haven’t told anyone but you.”
“You’re positive?”
“Yes, I’m positive. Why?”
He cleared his throat.  “Ellie, what I’m about to tell you next is extremely important that you follow it to the letter.  You cannot and I repeat, cannot tell anyone about this, including your niece.”
I started to say something but he shut me down with a wave of his hand.
“Here are the reasons why.  Firstly, if word of this gets out and the right people hear about it, you could find yourself being an unwilling guinea pig for experimental purposes and your life would be the least considered element.  Secondly, you would not be able to leave the country.  And lastly, if left untreated, you will probably die like the others.”
He took both my hands in his.  “The good news, if it can be labeled as such, is that Tim Hastings, my colleague with whom I was speaking with on the phone, will be going with you to South America.  Tim knows more about this than anyone else.  You will be escorting him as his student under the presumption you are there to study some of the fauna and amphibians of the region.  If you agree to this, your plane leaves at 2a.m. tomorrow morning.  Tim will pick you up and on the way to the airport he will brief you on what to expect and what to say to whomever.”
“Now, do you agree?”
Tears trickled down my cheeks and all I could do was nod my assent.
Dr. Lentz stood up, helped me from my seat and pulled me toward him and gave me a hug. “You’re a courageous woman Ellie.  Remember that.  Tim’s a very gentle, compassionate person and very capable of taking care of you so trust him.”
He stepped back and stared down at me.  “Are you going to be okay?”
“Yes,” I whispered.
“Any questions you want to ask before you go?”
I forced a little smile to my lips.
Dr. Lentz smiled and said, “Probably a million of them I suspect.”
When I didn’t say anything, he added, “Well, if you think of any you want to ask, don’t hesitate to call.  I’ll be here for the rest of the day and I’ll give you my cell number in case you can’t reach me here.”
He leaned over the desk, tore a page off the prescription pad, wrote his number and handed it to me.  “When you get home, try to relax. Hold on.”  He took the paper from my hand.  “I forgot to give you Tim’s number.”  A moment later, he handed the paper back to me and escorted me to the outside door.  “Don’t forget; call if you need me, even if it’s just to talk.”
Impulsively, I rose up on my toes, kissed him on the cheek, then turned and left the office.  The drive home was a big blur and I was rather thankful for not having added any extra stress on my mind.
In the house, I moved about like a robot mechanically gathering things to wear for the trip.  I located a pair of hiking boots which were ideal for hiding my foot and for the façade of being a student on a field trip through the jungle. When I placed the last article of clothing in the suitcase, I zipped it up and plopped down on the couch.  I was exhausted.
I heard the phone ringing and realized I had fallen asleep.  I glanced at the clock. It showed 12:45.  The number on the caller ID was unfamiliar and I was about to ignore it when I remembered that Tim was supposed to call.
“Hello,” I said in a muzzy voice while still trying to clear the cobwebs from my mind.
“Hello.  Is this Ellie?” the voice asked.
“Yes it is.  Is this Tim?”
“Yes, I’m sorry to wake you but I wanted to let you know I’m on my way to your house now.  We have to get to the airport earlier so we can go through the scanning and whatever other nonsensical thing they do.”
“I’m all packed and ready,” I replied.
“Good, I’ll see you in a few,” he finished and hung up.
The airport wasn’t crowded when we arrived and everything went smoothly and quickly, including the boarding.  Neither Tim nor I said much in the car on the way to the airport and I was appreciative of his letting me absorb things without distraction.
The flight to South America was uneventful and Tim spent almost the entire flight explaining to me what I needed to know if asked any questions by customs officers or other officials.  He stressed how imperative it was for me to be prepared so that it wouldn’t raise questions about our intentions or alert anyone by my uncertainty. We went over everything again and again until he felt satisfied that I would handle it okay.  He also assured me that he would do most all of the talking and would try his best to deflect the attention away from me.
Waiting in line at Customs, I could feel the butterflies frolicking in my stomach as though they were on holiday and no matter how hard I tried to quell them, they persisted entertaining on center stage.  As it turned out, my concerns and worries were unwarranted because the officer who checked my luggage looked as though he didn’t want to be there and passed me right on through.
Outside the terminal, we were greeted by two young men and a young woman.  Tim introduced them as, Mike, Fernando and Carlotta, three graduate students working in a lab not far from the area we needed to go.  Fernando pointed to what looked like an extended jeep and he and Tim climbed into the front while the rest of us took the seats in back.
The ride from the airport was fairly smooth until about forty-five minutes into the trip, where Fernando turned onto a dirt road.  It didn’t take long before I was being bounced around and had to tightly hang onto one of the bars so I wouldn’t be thrown from the vehicle. I glanced at the others and saw them doing the same thing and I didn’t feel so bad, that is, mentally because I was certain my buttocks and thighs were going to be black and blue before we reached the lab.
We drove for another two hours through and around large puddles, and then Carlotta finally pointed to the front of the jeep.  Without letting go of the bar, I turned my attention to the front.  In the distance, I could see a clearing with what appeared to be a small building.  I looked back at Carlotta and we exchanged smiles, both happy and relieved the torture was over.  The lab was much larger than how it appeared from a distance.
“You do this everyday?” I asked Carlotta as we climbed from the jeep.
She laughed.  “God no, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate it.  We pretty much limit our traveling to when we need supplies.  During the rainy season, we hardly go anywhere because the road floods and some spots are just too deep to try to get through.”
  Chelle Munroe ©
  January 29, 2014