1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 

Flying June Bugs, Half Way Island, Wireís Teeth and
The Hooked X

Paul E. Bland - September 2, 2011

Prologue:
Private Detective Stone Cold recently returned to Alderson from Alaska where he had been investigating Sarah Palin. As you might recall, Stone has agreed to investigate the International Brotherhood of Walnut Heads on a worldwide basis. Stone told me that his investigation of Sarah has revealed that she is not a Walnut Head no matter how she has been portrayed in the press. He did say, however, that Sarah loves the spotlight and he believes that she will continue to travel around the country giving speeches as long as she can draw a crowd. He said that Sarah appears to be a little ďflightyĒ at times and he doesnít think that she is ďpresidential timber.Ē He said Sarah accomplished many wonderful things for Alaska while governor, many things that the people of Alaska are very thankful for. Most importantly, she was able to deal with the oil companies in a manner that brought quite a bit of revenue into the coffers of Alaska. She only got into political trouble after she tried to have the ex-husband of her sister removed from a state job. Stone indicated that he spent quite a bit of time with Sarah during his investigation and he said that at one point he thought he was in love with her. However, he told me, quite reluctantly I might add, that he was quite surprised when he realized that it was only indigestion.

Stone is quite anxious to continue with his investigation of Walnut Heads and he has only returned to Alderson to ďhook upĒ with Pretty Penny. Pretty and Stone are close friends with benefits. Pretty, who has also recently arrived in Alderson for a brief stay, is a beautiful athletic woman with an infectious smile who turns heads when she walks down the street. Pretty is a multi-talented woman, who like Stone, is skilled in the martial arts and shape shifting. She is fluent in five languages including Mandarin Chinese and she holds degrees in English literature, geology, physics, and economics as well as medicine. Pretty is a retired Secret Service agent who has served her country well and who, over the years, has taken part in many clandestine operations, often putting her life on the line. Pretty was a little late in arriving in Alderson to meet Stone due to the fact that she was called away to perform delicate brain surgery on a small child.

Boozer met Stone and Pretty for the first time one morning over coffee at Rossís gas station, backroom eatery and gossip point. They agreed to have lunch together later in the day at the Big Wheel to enjoy each otherís company and to get to know each other. It was over lunch at the Big Wheel where the mystery began.

It Started at the Big Wheel:
Boozer, Stone and Pretty Penny met up at the Big Wheel for lunch and they were in a booth at the back of the restaurant when Alice Ann Asbury came in. Recall that Alice is the twin sister of the recently deceased A. A. Asbury who died in Scotland while searching for Wireís teeth, a search he was conducting on behalf of the Freemasons of Alderson. Alice immediately spotted Boozer, so she came over and Boozer introduced her to Stone and Pretty. Alice joined the group and after a few minutes of ďsmall talkĒ she spoke up.

Alice: I have something important to tell you that I donít think you are going to believe. Last night, I woke up from my sleep and saw the ghost of A. A. standing at the foot of my bed.

Boozer: Come on Alice, what have you been smoking? And, by the way, donít you want Stone to investigate the Controllers?

Alice: No, Iím not interested in the Controllers at the moment. I need for you to take me seriously. What I have to tell you is that A. A. spoke to me. Well, he didnít actually speak, but he was able to somehow transmit his thoughts to my mind.

At this point Boozer, Stone and Pretty were looking at Alice, shaking their heads in disbelief.

Alice: The thoughts of A. A. were garbled. It appears that there was some kind of interference, a kind of static, so what he had to say was often not very clear. The only things that I seem to remember clearly are, June bugs, Half Way Island, Pugh, the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y.

Boozer: Well, I know where Half Way Island is; itís just up the road a bit toward Fort Springs and there used to be Pughs who lived in Alderson, Pete and Bill. Both, however, are no longer with us.
Stone and Pretty now started to take an interest. If Alice was being truthful, then there seemed to be a connection among the thoughts of A. A. and the things that Boozer knew about the Alderson area.
 
Stone: Alice, whatís a June bug?

Alice: I didnít know until I asked my grandmother about them this morning. She told me that they were small green and apparently harmless flying beetles that were about the size of your thumb nail. Grandmother said that when she was young she used to fly them.

Pretty: Fly them?

Alice: Yes, grandmother said that she would catch a June bug and tie one end of a piece of light sewing thread about 3 or 4 feet long to one of its back legs and the other end to one of her fingers. She would them pitch the June bug into the air, where it would fly at the end of the thread. Thatís what she called flying a June bug. From what she said it seems that a lot of young people in those days flew June bugs.

Pretty: Have you ever seen a June bug?

Alice: No, not a live one. Grandmother got a small match box from her dresser drawer this morning. She slid it open and showed me a small green bug inside that she said was a June bug. Why she had kept the bug over the years is a mystery to me. Maybe it was for some sentimental reason. Grandmother said that she hasnít seen a live one in years. She said, like butterflies and lightning bugs, they seem to have almost, if not completely, disappeared. She did say, however, that a few lightning bugs can sometimes be seen on a summer night and the sighting of a butterfly is now fairly rare.
 
Boozer: O.K. We have June bugs, Half Way Island, Pugh, the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y. We know something about the first three, but, Alice, do you have any idea what the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y might mean?

Alice: No idea whatsoever! Itís a mystery to me. In fact, I donít know what A. A. had in mind with any of it.

Boozer: Well, letís think about it. Maybe something will come to one of us.

At this point they finished their lunch and left the Big Wheel. Each promised to contact everyone else if he or she came up with a good idea about what the thoughts of A. A. might mean.

Pretty Penny Has an Idea:
Stone and Pretty were out walking early one morning, when a thought flashed through Prettyís mind.

Pretty: Stone, I have an idea about the mystery that Alice presented to us. Letís call everyone together and Iíll tell you about my idea then.

Stone and Pretty phoned Boozer and Alice and they all met up at the Big Wheel.

Pretty: Alice, you mentioned several things that A. A. told you when he appeared at the foot of your bed: June bugs, Half Way Island, Pugh, the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y. Is it possible that you misunderstood A. A. and that Pugh was really Poe and June bug was gold bug?

Alice: Well, I guess so. Remember, I told you that A. A.ís message was a little garbled, so you could be right.

Pretty: Maybe A. A. was trying to point us toward a buried treasure, just as in Edgar Allen Poeís story ďThe Gold Bug,Ē where a treasure was found using a little solid gold bug. And there was an island in that story too and the treasure that was found was one of Captain Kiddís.

Boozer: Oh, I remember that story, it was required reading in Stella Nelsonís English class at Alderson High School. But you know how disappointed A. A. was because he was unable to find Wireís teeth. It could be that the spirit of A. A. is troubled by the thought that he let the Freemasons of Alderson down. Maybe, he has given us a clue as to where Wireís teeth can be found.

Stone: Could be, but I believe that if we are to get to the bottom of this, then we will have to visit Half Way Island.

Half Way Island:
The next day Stone, Pretty, Alice and Boozer drove to Half Way Island. Boozer had indicated that the island is separated from the road by part of the Greenbrier River which is only about the size of a small creek. The main part of the river lies on the other side of the island.
 
Stone parked the car and since the water in the river was low, they were able to wade over to the island where they began to walk around taking in the length, breadth and foliage of the island. After several minutes of tramping around, Pretty spoke.
 
Pretty: People, this will get us nowhere. We need to use the clues that A. A. gave us.

Boozer: Iíll go along with that, but we only have the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y left. We have pretty much used everything else.

Stone: Wait a minute, maybe the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 are meant to help us locate something. But they donít give a starting point, so I donít see how can use them to locate whatever it is that we are supposed to find.

Alice: Could the numbers be Global Positioning System numbers?

Boozer: Alice, I think you may have something there.

Stone: I have a portable GPS device in my car. Iíll go get it.

After Stone returns with his GPS device, they begin to walk around the island and they eventually find a point on the island that reads Lat: 370,43í,34íí N, Long: 800,36í,00íí W on Stoneís device.
Stone: Well, this seems to be the spot indicated by the numbers, but I donít see anything unusual here.

The group now found itself standing at the base of a large tulip tree.

Pretty: This rings a bell with me from my English lit days! It was a large tulip tree in Poeís story, where the little gold bug was dropped through the eye of a human skull that rested on a dead limb in the tree. The point where the bug hit the ground marked the spot where the treasure was found at a depth of five or six feet in the ground.

Alice: O.K. So why donít we try the same thing here? Boozer will have to climb the tree and find a spot on a limb where he can drop a small rock or something.

Boozer: Me? Why should I be the one to climb the tree? And how am I to pick a limb to drop a rock from and how in the heck do I pick the correct spot on the limb?

Stone: Boozer, youíre the youngest, so you should do the climbing. How to pick a limb? Well, climb the tree and have a look around as you go. Maybe something will stand out.

At this point, Boozer reluctantly agreed to climb the tree. Fortunately, the limbs on the tree were nicely spaced, so climbing wasnít too difficult. Boozer climbed about fifteen feet above the ground and stopped.

Pretty: Boozer, see anything unusual?

Boozer: No, nothing.

Pretty: Well, go higher.

Boozer: I canít thereís a dead limb above me.

Pretty: Do you think itís rotten? Hey, wait a minute, one of the clues is a dead Y and you have found a dead limb. Boozer you must go higher.

Boozer: Well, Iíll try, but if I fall, you all will have to pay my hospital bill.

At this point, Boozer climbs to the dead limb and sits down at the base of the limb next to the treeís truck.

Stone: Boozer, now do you see anything unusual.

Boozer: No, not really.

Alice: Describe the limb to us.

Boozer: Itís just a dead limb, but it does have the material for a nice sling shot at its end. But it would be a fairly large one.

Pretty: A sling shot?

Boozer: Yes, I used to make them when I was a youngster. I would find a small limb on a tree that had two smaller limbs that branched off from it to form a V shape and Ö
Boozer was quickly interrupted by Pretty.

Pretty: You have two limbs forming a V at the end on a dead limb, so, hey, doesnít that fit the a dead Y clue?

Stone: Sure, exactly.

Pretty: Boozer, you are going to have to slide yourself to the end of the limb and drop a coin or something through the V in the Y.

Boozer: O.K. Iíll give it a try, but this is getting more dangerous all the time.

Boozer carefully slides himself out on the dead limb to a point where he can just reach the V on the limb.

Alice: Boozer do you have something that you can drop through the V?

Boozer: Yes, I have a quarter.

Pretty: Well, itís not something gold as in Poeís story, but at least it might contain some silver.

Boozer reaches into his pocket, withdraws a quarter and reaches to drop it through the V. But before he can complete his task the limb breaks and Boozer begins to fall toward the ground. Fortunately, there were quite a few vines that had grown among the limbs of the tree which served to break his fall. Boozer landed on his rear end and due to the vines and the soft ground he came away a little scratched up but unfazed.

Alice: Well, it isnít a gold bug, but only Boozerís golden butt that marks the spot to dig for treasure.

Boozer: Funny, Alice, Funny! My rear end hurts.

Stone: All right letís give your rear end a rest. Letís go for coffee at the Big Wheel and come back tomorrow to do the digging.

The Dig:
Stone, Pretty Penny, Boozer and Alice returned to Half Way Island the next morning with shovels. They dug a hole in the ground that was approximately six by six feet at the spot previously marked by Boozerís golden butt. When they had reached a depth of around five feet, Boozerís shovel hit something solid.

Stone: Boozer, what do you think it is?

Boozer: Let me clean it off. Well, it looks like a chest of some kind.
 
With some difficulty, a steel chest was lifted from the hole and Stone broke open the, by now, rusty lock. Inside was what appeared to be a blank piece of paper and a small rock. Stone looked at the paper, crumpled it up and threw it away. Examination of the rock showed nothing unusual.

Pretty: Looks like we hit a dry hole.

Alice: I guess so. I wonder what A. A. could have been thinking when he gave us the clues leading to the chest?

Stone: Seems like there is nothing new here, but I want to keep the rock.

Boozer: Why?

Stone: To remind me of my adventure with you guys. Iíll clean it up and use it as a door stop.
At this point the group returned to the Big Wheel, disappointed that they hadnít found a treasure as in the story written by Edgar Allen Poe.

Stone: I think Pretty and I will head to Minnesota tomorrow.

Boozer: Are you going to investigate Tim Pawlenty to see if heís a Walnut Head?

Stone: Could be, but I donít think thatís very important now that he has dropped out of the race for president
.
Stone and Pretty Head for Minnesota:
The next morning Stone and Pretty loaded the car and headed north toward Minnesota. Stone had decided to put his investigation of Walnut Heads on hold, at least temporarily, and he was a little disappointed that Alice hadnít asked him to investigate the Controllers.

Pretty: Why do you want to go to Minnesota?

Stone: Because of the rock. Didnít you notice the faint carving on the rock?

Pretty: No, what did it look like?

Stone: Well, I believed itís a hooked X.

If so, it may be connected to the Kensington Rune Stone found near Kensington, Minnesota in 1898 by Swedish American farmer Olaf Ohman. That stone was a 200-pound slab of rock covered with ancient Swedish alphabetic characters known as runes. The stone seems to suggest that Scandinavian explorers were in America long before Columbus.

Pretty: So what?

Stone: The discovery of the hooked X in this alphabet connects the Kensington Stone with the Medieval Cistercians, with the Knights Templar and with modern Freemasonry.

Pretty: The Medieval Cistercians?

Stone: Yes, they were a medieval order of catholic monks and nuns. I believe that the connection to the Knights Templar might lead us to the fabulous treasure that the Knights unearthed in King Solomonís Temple in Jerusalem.

Pretty: Do you think this has anything to do with Wireís teeth.

Stone: Definitely. The clue contained in Wireís teeth dealt with the location of the Templarís treasure. Some believe that these Knights brought the treasure to the New World and, in fact, it is rumored that this treasure is mentioned in the Presidentsí Book of Secrets. It is also a rumor that our government firmly believes that this treasure is hidden somewhere in America, but those in government who are ďin the knowĒ about the existence of the treasure have no idea where it can be found. These government officials now refer to it as the National Treasure, apparently in hopes that if it can be found, then governments of countries from the Middle East cannot lay claim to it.

Pretty: Do you think we can find it?

Stone: Well, I donít know, but it wonít hurt to look and if we can find it, then there will be a very large finderís fee. Not only that but if we can find the treasure, this might also lead us to the location of Wireís teeth.

Pretty: Do you remember the piece of paper that you threw away when you opened the chest on Half Way Island?

Stone: Sure.

Pretty: Well, itís not paper, itís parchment. In Edgar Allen Poeís story, heat was applied to a piece of parchment and this brought out a secret message. I kept the parchment from the chest, so when we get a chance, if we apply heat to it, then this may also bring out a secret message.

Stone: Pretty, what would I do without you!

Pretty: But what about Boozer and Alice. They helped us and it was Alice who laid out this mystery for us in the first place.

Stone: Sure, if we find the National Treasure, then everyone will get an equal share of the finderís fee. I didnít mention the hooked X on the rock we found because I simply didnít want to get Boozerís and Aliceís hopes up. Also, if finding the treasure leads us to Wireís teeth, then we can give them to Alice who can present them to the Freemasons of Alderson in memory of A. A and Wire.
 
Pretty: Stone, what do you think of Boozer? I myself sometimes think that his plumb bob is hanging a little off vertical.

Stone: Why?

Pretty: Well, there are stories about him going around Alderson. He thinks he fell down a rabbit hole and thatís where he met Alice. He also believes that this encounter was somehow connected to the story in the book Alice in Wonderland. To add to this, he believes that he and Three Eight Ball had an encounter with Elvis Presley in a hollow located a short distance from Alderson and to top all this off, he thinks he and his friend Fuzzy actually split an atom using only a sharp pointed chisel and a big hammer.

Stone: Yes, that does sound a little off the wall. Are you sure that these tales arenít just intended to pull everyoneís leg and told maybe just for a bit of fun?

Pretty: Thereís no way to tell, but I guess he could just be joking. But hey, letís get back to the important stuff; letís find the National Treasure.

Stone: Oh, by the way, did we fill in the hole on Half Way Island before we left?

Pretty: Gosh, I donít think so. You know it was really short sighted of us to leave a big hole on the island that someone might fall into. Do you think we should have Paul Bland, who is at this very moment writing this story, go back and rewrite the dialogue so that it reads that we filled in the hole before we left the island?

Stone: No, never mind, thereís no need to bother him with that. Iíll call Boozer on my cell phone. Heís a good lad and I donít think heíll mind doing that job for us.

Postscript:
Well, what do you think? Do you think itís possible for Stone and Pretty Penny to find the National Treasure and maybe even Wireís teeth? Is the hooked X really a clue and should Stone and Pretty try to gain access to the Presidentís Book of Secrets to hunt for clues? And will new clues emerge if heat is applied to the parchment that Pretty has? Could it be that the Freemasons of Scotland and the Knights Templar hid the treasure until after Columbus discovered America and only then decided to move it to the New World? Is it possible that the treasure was not hidden in America contrary to what our government believes? Might new clues lead Stone and Penny to Oak Island in Nova Scotia, where a fabulous treasure is thought to be buried in the Money Pit.

Due to unanswered questions such as these, it is entirely possible that Stone and Pretty will spend the rest of their lives hunting for the treasure and we may never hear from them again. If Stone and Pretty are unable to find the treasure, then maybe other adventurous souls such as Boozer and his friends Alice, Fuzzy and Three Eight Ball, will take up the quest. However, one thing is clear; the history of America will be incomplete until the treasure has been found.

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