MOONSHINE SKETCHES OF A PICKLED TOWN by W.G. Milne “Lighthearted Tales of Isolation and Panic”


There are a bunch of stories called, ‘LIGHTHEARTED TALES OF ISOLATION AND PANIC.’ Some pretty wild stuff about a town ( I made up the location = couple of hundred miles south of Inuvik….just west of Great Bear Lake….) but the town actually exists in many places up and down the Mackenzie River…
           It’s a village of foxholes because a fly-boy bombed the place out of jealousy…
The town is like Orillia in Steven Leacock’s book, but it is far, far, far more savage.          Have you ever been left abandoned in a strange remote place… and the plane that comes 4 times a year has left without you… and you’re from New York City, and after 4 hours of utter silence you start teetering on the edge of totally unrefined madness… and you start crawling and weeping in a most undignified way… And you realize you are the only entertainment the village of weirdos living in foxholes have….
And they try not to laugh in your face, but it’s difficult for them, because they’ve all been through the panic. And you’re the first tourist they’ve seen in 3 years…
Pretty soon they’re on their knees laughing. Especially when you panic and run down towards the river, but you run smack into a tree instead.
See it from their point of view. There’s no T.V. up there. The postman’s been shot. Once every couple of weeks they might get a hint of radio.
link at:
You’ll find the whole story there.
(C) 2013-2017 by W.G. Milne .

Hope you enjoy.

Some of these stories are over 18 only.



A radiant day on the granite, yes
The sky displayed the white light of Eden
No one planted a seed, no one mended
We were sailing into the sea of dawn

The ruby fingers of the dawn lit up
Crimson colours on the great ship’s side,
The Cosmic vessel’s ties to Earth are cut
Sailing beyond the seven seas and tides.

We drift now into high weightless realms
Where messages of Mind travel right fast;
Words become unnecessary on this helm
Released the bonds of gravity at last

And now we speak in silence, each to each
Thoughts already heard before a voice can                  

(C)2017 by W.G. Milne



Wait-A-Bit has a new newspaper. It is called,
“THE RAVIN’ TIMES” and as yet no one can predict whether the paper will be released daily, weekly, or whether it is to be released pursuant to
 diurnal rhythms or  some strange biological clock
the workings of which are yet unknown to man.
           My guess would be – follow diurnal rhythms.

        Lately your reporter has been writing his way through a gout attack – gout of the knee,
no less… and it’s hard to tell what
kind of unedited excrement  has stained the
immaculate pages of this blog… what kind of
horrifying ugliness  has passed muster
and found its wavering way into
our lives.
         Truth is, our author has very little idea what he’s writing now, and no idea what he’ll be writing
next.  Plot and planning he avoids like a mole ( I’m told) avoids the noonday sun on a sidewalk or a closely cut lawn.
         It’s said comics are miserable bastards
underneath it all, and I believe this. All I have to do is look at myself in the mirror and, “Ha! Ha!” are not
the words that leap to mind. No what leaps to mind are words such as, “Oh, no!” or “Oh, shit! Look at the eyes on this beast!”

HANK:        “He said this would be an underground newspaper, but it looks as if this reporter
has been under the earth for too long!, not the paper.
                 “His skin has that mollusk look….and his eyes maintain the expression of some unspeakable horror he has witnessed, seen at an undisclosed date… some monstrous reality
 he cannot report on…some dread he cannot
          Or… maybe it’s just a bad hangover,”
Hanks says.
           Hank’s lips are moving. He’s speaking
to himself. It worries me when he mumbles
like that – feels like some kind of stress
madness…And he’s been mumbling quite a bit
throught the last two nights of winter, fumbling
with the fetish papers he nicked from the preacher’s
           A lot of panting and heavy breathing
behind the curtain… I know what these sounds mean, and they’re perfectly normal, far as I’m concerned.
            It’s the frequency of his gasping wrist exercises, this is not normal… not doing it all the time. It’s the obsessive look in his eye he has
as he returns to his corner. this and the constant mumbling – these factors are irritating and a tad
               Now the preacher wants his porno back?
Good luck with that!

            Me, I’ve got problems, too.As a
writer, I need discipline. Maybe I’ll
hire an English Governess to whip me late
at night…  errrr, no. I kin do that meself.
If I’m agonna hire a woman I better find
some tittilation in the exercise.

         Yes,   ” RAVIN’ TIMES” would be a
better name than the “EVIL SCREED”.
We’ll have a picture of  a black bird at the top of the
page…And no picture of  this reporter
at all…

                     THE RAVIN’ TIMES

                Chances are any time this paper comes
out it’ll be Hank or Frank writing it. 
               Tho Matilda has promised to put in some recipe’s,and Dexter and Dementiava have agreed to put in the recipe for the Green Chartreuse,THE DRINK everyone got so stoned on last year that the whole town began hallucinating 
at the same time.

          First they’d better get the permission of the Tunnel People.The Tunnel People invented the evil brew.
         We couldn’t ask their permission last year, because  we didn’t even know  they existed. Though several gallons had been found in Matilda’s
          A group of them had been living in a
bomb shelter…two floors down… all this time. Not a peep from them. I guess when the bombs dropped on Incineration Day, they thought it was the end
of the world.And they haven’t come out since.
         In a very real sense, this is the ‘World’s End.”
         You can’t get farther away from it all
than right here…!  Unless you want to live
in Rat River.                 
          As your mayor and , I guess, editor
of this paper – I should say, don’t trust these
recipes to taste as good as the first night
we tasted them…Because we’re sober now,
and nothing tastes as good if you’re sober,
because you look more closely at what you’re eating.
              Fact is, many of the ingredients of
these recipes aren’t strictly legal. So those
parts  will have to be kept out of the written
 recipes, and out of this newspaper.
            Although no one’s going to arrest anybody
up here for doing pretty much anything. And if we did arrest somebody and found him guilty of some
infarction, where the hell would we put him?
            I mean, the jail was incinerated
at the same time City Hall went up
and turned into a piece of dazzling, briefly
molten incandescence… before it dissipated
into the upper atmosphere.
      ( With all the crap we’re putting up
in that upper atmosphere, you have to wonder
when some of it might come down… )
           This could  cause
some huge embarrassment – if someone’s
trying to sell a lot by the river and a hunk of
space junk should land on your purchaser’s private lot to be.

           Artie’s been reading over my shoulder.
           “Ha! Ha! Ha!,” he says, “Did you say
‘sell a lot by the river’?”
           “Yeah, that’s what I wrote,” I say.
           “No one’s ever sold a lot anywhere
in Wait-A-Bit,” Artie said, ” I mean, no lots have been drawn up or approved… and even if we drew
up a plan of subdivision – who’d buy an acre
from us?  There are about a billion
acres just adjacent to the one we’d be
trying to sell.So good luck with that!”
           ” I get it, Artie,” I say. “It’s called
a hypothetical situation… I mean, that
should be obvious. Any salesman
trying to sell the damn, hypothetical lot
would be devoured by weasels even before he
could make the hypothetical deal…  If he tried
to sell anything down by the river…he’d better
not be near ‘weasel town’.
           “Damn right,” agreed Artie, “Them real estate sellers don’t like the big surprises…
Like being jumped from behind real quick!”
           “Then all you can say is, ‘Oh no! This can’t
be happening to me!’ As your pants are ripped
off you by the strong jaws of your soon-to-be
rapist, and your tender bits are exposed
bass ackwards to the Great Beyond and
the wheeling of the Milky Way.”
            Hmmmm. Artie made a speech.
Then again sudden rape from behin  by a sub-human  creature… This theme has
plagued Artie’s mind ever since the surprising
event happened to him a year ago.
         Ever since the  unpleasantly penetrating
experience Artie had…He still don’t go outdoors no more. Our bartender’s always at home in the bar.            

         This morning I stuck my head up
out of the winter hatch – put a scarf around 
my ears and a fur hat on my head, and a
pair of shades to protect my eyes from
glare and blowing bits of ice.
           We get a good n’ nasty wind up the
hill here. From over the forests and mountains
to the west, howling over the tree-tops
curling off the river right up into out faces
in this little town by the side of the big River 
           All the landscape is frozen down, except 
for the wind, and the flight of the occasional
raven. We don’t put out much garbage from
Wait-A-Bit, but I suppose it’s enough to keep
three ravens alive… Whatever else they eat
to stay alive, I cannot imagine. In this vast white
landscape, suddenly this flying flash of black!
It’s surprising.
            Those ravens, they don’t have much in the way of camouflage.
         In the few summer months, they have it
easy… and they like to fly and hoot and honk over
a herd of caribou… And the strange sounds the
birds make,  they’ll spook the herd and make
the whole herd run across the grasses. One
 mischievous bird – and there goes the whole herd.         

        The air is sharp and pure. It
bites into the back of my throat, as I breathe
it on the wind – great, lonely restless wind…
wind that knows the whole continent, covers it, swirls over, fresh and clean, then blasts down the
valleys, across the plains  into the red eye 
of the setting sun.
            Always the feel of distance, always
the sense  of interminable distances, the
vastness, the sense of massively long unending
trails, trails that no one has walked entirely.
 Miles rolling endlessly on, the white blank snow-blind vastnesses…the travelling
wind blowing on over incalculable wastes,
 rolling on and going forever.

            I keep trying to describe it in my
notebook, but I always fail. I came close once
a poem.

           There’s a strange economy up
here… Now that Hank’s gone east with the
bulldozer to find an Elk and drag it back…
            Good luck with that!
             A bit of coffee.  A good chunk of salted
moose steak,,, a frozen stew of I don’t
know what… a pile of turnips, taters…
No cheese. A small pinch of tobacco.
And the cold howling wind outside.
…Time to kill something. 
              Hank has the right
idea…But he’ll likely scare everything
alive away from him for about five miles
in all directions.
          I better walk after him and tell him…Before he gets stuck… Awww shit! It’s cold as fuck,
and my socks are wet…  I don’t dare
take my boots off.

          Nothing like walking thru frozen
muskeg with wet feet… after a dumb friend
rides a bulldozer  into oblivion. Ain’t
no fucking elk out east just now, they’ve all turned
south. And this madman is wasting diesel.
        I didn’t have the heart to tell him
there is nothing out here.
        About the only meat we can nab just
now is porcupine, dog or weasel.
And you better be standing right beside
whatever you kill.  Shoot a weasel,
the weasels’ll devour him in about 17
seconds…shoot a dog, the dogs’ll eat
him faster than they can catch a turd,
flung from an asshole in a north wind.

          Finally I catch Hank, cause he got
stuck on a hillock growing out of a frozen
pool… I want to shoot him. My pant legs
are both  stiff, my feet are froze beyond
all feeling.  
           And I have to get this idiot
home and take something out of the vast
freezer outside, and cook it up.
Thaw then cook, so we’ll have something to eat for



     We have two new residents of Wait-A-Bit!
They skidded in last night, pulling a sled
that seemed to have lumber on it. Looked to be
a preacher and a stripper.
      They’re gonna build a house – two stories!
It’ll be the tallest building in town! The preacher-
guy wants to be a writer…and the stripper wants
to help Artie with the bar.
      (Oh, she can help Artie, all right!)   I buy them a drink at Artie’s. 
       He says,”Well, I was a writer before. But I wrote only porn stories.  Started a glossy
magazine, made some money. That’s how I
bought that lumber on the sled… selling dirty
       “Good for you,” I say, “It’s good
to hear a success story every once in a while.
Something other than death, savagery, muskeg
drownings and a Skidoo going thru the ice.”
       “Yeah, I bet,” Bernie, the preacher says. 
Then he leans in closer to me and says:
          “I left some pretty wild erotica under my bed,
last time I lived here…”
        “Aha!” I say. “Yeah, I know who’s got it. Hank, my roomate’s been pawing through the pages all through this winter. Not sure what shape
the pages will be in… Hank’s been developing
a strong right wrist reading them. He reads them
with a magnifying glass.”
          The two left the bar.

                     Yes, I thought I recognized the preacher .  . He’d been here before. He lived in Wait-A-Bit some years back.
He kept pretty much to himself. With what Hank found
under the preacher’s mattress, I understand why
the preacher had been a solitary man.




May, it just drifted away on the wind;
April disappears like a poet’s dream.
Philosophers think of what is and what’s                      
Mystics hear the blood in stone five miles

Shakespeare both thought and dreamed and                  
           knew what is;
Ministers need lessons from the artist’s eye,
The seasons roll by inexorably –
Not one day can be slowed or hurried by.

The same is truth of youth and age and sight;
Rational understandings disappear;
Visions of dawn – best learned in endless                    
And what you know, it’s best to keep it near:

As the dawn comes and Maitreya comes too,
My deepest heart-mind turns to 
          dreams of you.

(C)2017 by W.G. Milne