Ragdoll Chronicles 12.25.17
Robert Langdon had just sat down with a fresh cold can of beer in his hands. He plopped his sock covered feet onto the scarred coffee table and snuggled a half-eaten bag of chips close beside him on his recliner. Using his remote he flipped through the channels until he found an old murder mystery movie. He was in for the day as far as he was concerned. But then the phone rang. “Robert,” his estranged wife’s voice jumped from the earpiece startling him. He brought the recliner fully up tossing the potato chips onto the floor and spilling his beer.
“What?” To say he was startled would be missing the mark. This was his day to rest and relax. Why was she calling him?
“Robert, did you forget that you had the day today to take Chase fishing?”
Robert quickly ran through the calendar and his mind. “No that’s next week.”
“I’m sorry,” a familiar sarcastic tone assaulted his ear. “No dear, your week, this week, this weekend, this hour, this very minute, you were supposed to be here to take Chase fishing.”
“What? Are you sure? I think you’re wrong. Besides that I just settled in with a beer bag of chips and a TV program and,” he glanced outside hearing a clap of thunder, “it’s raining dear heart.” This last was delivered with a sarcastic curl to it.
“You promised Chase to take him fishing, rain or shine. Now get your ass over here and take him out like you promised to do. God what sort of father are you.”
“I’m the kind of father that wants to sit and watch his program on TV and not go out in the fucking rain.”
He heard the deep sigh from the other end of the line. “It’s raining Denise. I can’t take the kid fishing if it’s raining.”
“His name is Chase, he is your son, and he is not just a kid.” The words came hard and biting. “Now are you going to get up and get over here and do your duty as a father?”
“Denise I didn’t want to be a father in the first damn place.”
“I realize that,” she sighed. “I wish I had known that before we got married. You’re not a father your sperm donor.”
He smiled. “What you seem to have liked my attention at the time.”
“Chalk it up to youthful stupidity on my part.”
“Yeah,” he smiled.
“Don’t start. He’s waiting for you.” He heard her call Chase.
“It’s raining Denise.” There was silence on the other and the phone. Then he heard her call their son again.
“Wait a sec, I’m not sure but I think I heard the door slam.”
He sat back in his chair prepared to kick the recliner back and took a sip of beer. A few moments passed and then Denise was back on the phone. “Your son just left the house. He has his fishing pole and a slicker on and he is heading down the street towards the river. Now get over here.”
Robert brought the recliner back forward, sighed, and hung up the phone. There was no getting around it, he knew that. Might as well face the music and get dressed then go get the kid. But he wasn’t going to take him out in the rain fishing. There was a bar down the street with arcade like games and a pool table in a side room. Most importantly there was a large screen TV. The Kid could play games in one room and he could watch a football game with his friends sucking down beer and eating bar peanuts in the other. Denise did not need to know. He would give Chase 10 bucks to keep his mouth shut. He’d done it before. He stood, yawned, scratched his groin and then began the search for his car keys while muttering to himself, “Damn ex-wives and dumb assed kids that don’t stay home in the rain.”

12.22.17 RagDoll Chronicles.

12.22.17 Ragdoll Chronicles

“Gypsy girl?” Nouveau said looking from Listen all the way around the surrounding group to end at Cawkin who was standing close to him but was not paying him any attention. “What is a gypsy girl?”
Just then Cawkin stepped up close enough to be within whisper distance wanting to assure with polite and soft tones that all was well. “Nouveau,” he said under his breath, “It is no secret here that a gypsy band moved through the glen and actually set up camp here for well over 9 months. We need to find them and the girl who created you.” He then turned back to the congregation of cats and crows and added, “There is ample sign further in and over by the entrance along where the water flows. But we must forget this fact and concentrate on other issues for the time being. We must honor this new life and seek guidance from one another on how to protect it. We will deal with the gypsy girl later. She may yet be an ally, so no harm must come to her.”
Listen turned to face her Clowder of Cats. “We will seek guidance from the trees. They were talking earlier, mumbling I guess more than talking. We couldn’t make it out, but I am sure they are aware.”
Cawkin turned to the crows. “Starter,” he said to the closest of them, “while I wait here with Nouveau you and the others climb to the clouds and see if you can spot the gypsy caravan, it can’t be too far down the road, maybe in the next village. We need to talk to that girl.”
“Yes, talk to her, talk to her,” Nouveau said with his voice growing more silent and taking on distance as if he was perhaps moving away. “We must … find … must …with … her.” And then his voice was gone from the circle.
“Let’s hope we don’t get the same or similar greeting from them that we did the last time,” Starter said, his voice conveying his concerns. “Remember, Cawkin, they shot arrows at us.”
“Yes, I remember,” Cawkin said, “and if I recall I got it straightened out after I found you with the King’s daughter riding on your back.”
“She was having the time of her life,” Starter said slightly defensive, but grinning.
“But they thought you had captured her for a meal.”
“I know, I know. It was her idea after she came upon me in the woods where I had gone to take a ….”
“I don’t need to know what you were doing. I just want to make sure it won’t happen again.”
“Agreed. But she was so cute in her gypsy dress and….”
Cawkin just stared at Starter and the message sank in.
“Yes sir, I will do as you say.”
“Thank you.”
Then, after giving more instructions and having individual discussions with several of the crows that had come forward, each in charge of separate sections of the Murder in which Cawkin was the central leader, Cawkin turned back to speak to Nouveau and found him gone.

Ragdoll Man Chronicles 12.21.17

“We saw it too,” a voice from the tree line said. “We have been sitting and watching.”

The crows all looked in that direction as a very large female cat emerged slowly walking with several like it following. “We all saw it,” they said in unison. “A young girl with magic like we have never seen before,” the lead cat said.
“Listen, is that you?” Cawkin called out.
“Yes. We’ve been sitting here at the edge of the wood watching all of this play out.”
“Just like a cat hiding in the grass ready to pounce,” Tender said with a bit of sarcasm. “Are we to trust you now?”
“Oh come now,” Listen began, “I thought we had this all worked out. I don’t chase you and you don’t chase us. Isn’t that how we worked this out? We have nothing but friendship to offer you.”
“And we you,” Starter joined the conversation.
“Yes,” Cawkin said. “We haven’t talked in a long time, Listen. How have you been doing.”
“Just fine, Cawkin, just fine.” She and four others had managed to cross to the center of the Glen where the crows opened a path and let them enter the inner circle.
“My name is Nouveau,” the Ragdoll Man said proudly introducing himself.
“Yes,” Listen said and closed to the point where she could sniff him. “Yes, you are quite Nouveau.” She then turned to Cawkin. “So, what to do with…” she hesitated with a sideways glance at Cawkin, “it….I mean…that….I mean, him?” She pointed with a paw.
“Is there anything that needs to be done?”
“Well, I mean, I don’t know.” She sat down. “I’ve never been in such a situation as this. I mean, a Ragdoll Man in our midst. What do we do with him?”
“Do,” Nouveau said, interrupting Listen, “what do you mean what do we do with him.” His head tilted to one side.
Listen continued, “He is obviously alive.”
“Alive,” Nouveau echoed, “yes, obviously.” His eyes were wide with curiosity trying his best to follow the conversation that was about him and yet he wasn’t sure if it was.
“Exactly,” the old cat said. “Has anyone thought this through?”
“Thought,” Nouveau said and rubbed his chin as his nose twisted to the side. “What is there to think about? Do we need to think? I find that it gives me a headache to — uh—think. I think.”
“No, I think not, Listen” Cawkin said ignoring Nouveau who he knew was just trying to be a part of the discussion but not realizing they were really talking about him. Cawkin’s brow furrowed in thought. “How could it be? We have never run across such as this.” He raised a wing and pointed it in the direction of Nouveau.
“No, not,” Nouveau joined in smiling and raising his arms and hands. “Who would have thought? I never would have thought. Would you have thought?” He put his question to Listen who moved a bit away from him.
“How could we?” Tender also asked. “We just now came upon him.”
“Just now,” Nouveau added shaking his head up and down. “It just happened. How could we when it just happened.”
“Well, don’t look at us,” Listen said and stepped back further waving a paw in front of her in dismissal of the situation.
“Yes,” Nouveau said, “and don’t look at us either.” He pointed to Cawkin and then to himself. And then he added, “What gypsy girl?”
Copyright 2017 Gordon Kuhn


The Ragdoll Chronicles: I Am Nouveau

As the two stood in the Glen they suddenly noticed they had been passed over by a shadow. In fact the sky above them had shifted from a light blue to a growing and respectfully ominous gray. The sudden increasing darkness caused them to look up, and there they found that the flock of crows that had ascended with Cawkin had turned back earthward after noticing he was missing from their formation.
Searching for their friend from high up among the clouds they quickly spotted him on the ground engaged with what appeared to be a pile of brightly colored rags. Concerned and curious at the same time, they wheeled as one and headed down in mass, their bodies closing upon one another, wings tucked in tightly, blocking out the sunlight causing the sky to turn from light blue to gray to almost a worrying black.
And then, magically it seemed, Cawkin and Nouveau, were suddenly surrounded by a mass of at least 100 crows all of them as tall as Cawkin was at 6 foot. One hopped up close to where the two were standing and said, “Sir, is there a reason you left the formation and may we be of some assistance?”
Cawkin replied, “There is no need for concern, Starter. I spotted my newfound friend standing alone here in the Glen and I decided to speak to him.”
Starter glanced at the oddly constructed ragdoll man next to him. “Do you mean this gentleman?” He nodded in the direction of Nouveau.
“Yes,” a third crow broke in. “Who is this—this creature?”
Cawkin cleared his throat doing his best to remember to be calm and yet he knew the others would not understand. “He is who he is.”
“And that is?” A chorus of voices rose up around the pair. He felt the slow crush of feathers as the group moved closer.
“Nouveau! That is my name,” Nouveau proclaimed proudly.
“He is but a pile or rags,” another said in a complaining voice.
“Yes, Nouveau, that is your name. Do not be afraid, my friend.” And with that Cawkin lowered his head and said into the surrounding blackness of wings, “He is my friend.”
The crowd of crows stepped back and the 2nd crow moved closer. “Cawkin,” her female voice had softened from her first try. “He is a pile of brightly colored rags. Can you not see that?”
“Of course I can see that, Tinder,” did you think that I have gone blind?
“No,” she stepped closer. “He began his life here in this Glen. Gypsies I saw them.” She leaned in closer. “It’s was a young girl, she did magic. I heard them tell her to do the laundry, to wash the rags, but she chose to do magic. I saw her. She dumped the rags out on the ground from her washtub and spoke to them. I saw that Cawkin.”
Starter pushed his way into the conversation. “And yet you said nothing? You said nothing to the rest of us of the Gypsies doing magic in the Glen?”
“I— I— I didn’t think that—”
“That is a problem Tender,” another voice broke in. “You never think.”
12.18.17 Copyright Gordon Kuhn All rights reserved.

The Ragman Doll Chronicles Two

The Ragdoll Chronicles continued 12/13/17

The crow stared at his new found acquaintance. He shuffled back a step or two and shook his head. “Why,” he began gently, “I thought everyone knew what dead meant.”
The animated collection of colorful rags that had formed into a shape resembling a man blinked his eyes. But it was clear he was confused.
A moment passed as the crow thought about how to move forward with this strange creature as he watched the ragdoll man for some sign that might help. Then he said gently, pointing to the other’s shirt pocket, “May I see your friend?”
“Oh, most certainly,” the other replied happily. “Let me get him out. I think he’s sleeping,” he said as if confiding something very secretive. The crow watched patiently as the creature carefully extracted the remains of the butterfly. He held them in the palm of his hand and placed it out so the crow could see. “There, you see my sleeping friend?” he asked doing his best to cover his excitement by lowering his voice. “He is my very first friend.”
The crow knew instinctively that the butterfly was dead. But he was not sure how he should tell this newborn to world before him. His eyes drifted from gazing at the ragdoll man before him to the butterfly then back to the man. Finally he tilted his head to the side and, clearing his throat, asked softly, “Do you have a name?”
With that response, Randall the Crow, said, “Never mind.” He stepped forward and with the wave of his wings said, as if crowning a king, “I shall name you. From this point forward your name is Nouveau.”
“Yes, it means new.”
“Yes, it’s French for new.”
“Nouveau. I am Nouveau!”
“Yes, you are Nouveau in many, many ways, my friend,” Randall the Crow said as a tear ran down the Ragdoll Man’s face.
“I am Nouveau.”

The Ragman Files

But it was all new to him as he was new to it all as well no one ever seeing or being near a real living ragdoll man. And, to them that would later meet him it was a very strange tale that was told with whispers mostly because such things as a living ragdoll man are impossible —- at least in the common speak of the day and was only spoken of when the doors were closed and bolted at night for fear of —– well the fear of —– a fear of something we cannot speak of here as it might come and then what? But he was alive and he was alone and he sorely sought his own kind —- but he had no knowledge of what he was either. Our poor ragdoll man was alone and so he sat and stared at the stars and the moon and he picked up the pile of colored cloth strips lying at his feet and he held them to his face so that he could breathe in their scent.
And there, as he sat and smelled each strip, some having exotic scents and some very bland, he became mesmerized by all that was around him, hypnotized by it all, not understanding, but not afraid, and then, slowly, his eyes closed and he slept. When the dawn came he woke and found himself in the glen with just one other creature present, and that was the butterfly upside down on the grass near his pile of rags. Oh, how joyful he was to see it there, but then he thought to himself, if he could think as we are not sure that he could as far as understanding what he thought about the world around him, that it seemed odd to him for it be lying on its back and not fluttering about as it had the day before. And, so the ragdoll man gently reached out and with just the tippy tip tip of a finger he touched the butterfly that was lying in the grass on its back.
He felt the softness of the butterfly’s body as it lay on the ground beneath his touch. He expected it to rise up from where it was and fly to his nose again where he would once again stare at it cross eyed. But it did not move and so he sat for a very long time staring down at it while tucking in the loose ends of his ragdoll body.
He touched it again after a few moments and he spoke to it, if you can say he spoke as he issued a noise from within not unlike speaking but it was a low hum and no words that we would know were formed. At first he was startled. He brought both rag arms to his chest and stomach area for that is where he thought the noise came from. He sat back and waited for more noises to come while a group of inquisitive Robins flew in to land near him. But nothing happened. No sound.
So, he touched the butterfly’s body again and waited to hear noise coming from within his own body and when nothing was heard he drew himself up and stood looking down at the dead butterfly wondering what to do. Death was nothing he knew about. He knew nothing really about being alive. And then he did a strange thing (something odd to you and to me) he bent over and carefully picked the butterfly up by its wings and lovingly placed it in what suddenly had appeared on his then chest of rags and was much like a pocket.

Not far from where the ragdoll man sat, surrounded by a black wood, with the sun slowly rising and burning off the dew drop mists that covered all like a thin sheet of moist silk, black birds rose from the limbs and the leaves they had slept within and took to the air calling one another as they flew ever higher, challenging those who rose with them to gain speed and altitude while greeting the warmth that slipped down on them from above and to the east. Their purple black heads twisted this way and then up and then down and then to the opposite side and away and back as they searched the air for predator and friend and then one saw the ragdoll man in the field far below. Wheeling in flight, it brought in its wings fully in and dropped like a falling spear towards what had become a target far below, it came with eyes wide open, its dive growing in speed at moment by moment through the clouds it came focused on the multitude of colors it saw on the ground below which moved suddenly causing the bird to wide spread its wings, cupping them, grabbing at the surrounding air——brakes slammed on with his beak mouth wide open emitting a shrill cawww! that slipped past it in the rush of air and rang out to all the others in flight and to those on the ground.

The ragdoll man looked up just in time to see the great bird hurtling towards him shouting, “Get out of the way.” The bird could speak, you see, and as it was incapable of being able to stop or break from the speed of his diving, the creature smashed head-on into the body of the rag doll man that had been the bird’s target not knowing that the pile of cloths was in fact sentient like himself for the bird was quite aware of its place in life, unlike the rag man. The collision sent a large part of the ragman’s colored cloths sailing to become free agents in the light wind that summer’s day in 1943. The crow un-wedged itself from the rag man. It sat back on its tail feathers and stared at the creature before it. “What sort of thing are you?” The bird basically snarled and was most stiff with an air of superiority. “Come now, man, I have never seen such as you before.” He leaned forward as he pulled a pair of glasses from a pocket hidden beneath his feathers and sniffing quite rudely, I might say, looked the rag man up and down. “Can’t speak,” he actually shouted at the pile of cloth strips sitting in front of him. “Come on, now, speak up, eh, what,” he coughed, “I don’t have all day here.” He stood and quite angrily and aggressively brushed off his feathers while waiting for the odd creature in front of him to speak, but the ragman only blinked back.
“Well, of course you don’t,” the ragdoll man said evenly. Then, shock set in. “I spoke!”
“You spoke,” the bird said evenly looking at the ragdoll man who had brought both hands up to his mouth, his eyes growing quite wide. (I should add they were the color of the ocean, his eyes were. No, not just blue, but a blue with depth and with green swept in along with flecks of white scattered there and here like the frothy peaks that come with stress)
“Yes, you bloody well spoke. Am I to put you in for an award of some sort?” He paused and looked down at his feathers. “Just look at me,” he complained with a bit of a whine in his voice, “I am a mess and I was going to a meeting, a breakfast meeting, a very important breakfast meeting and then” he paused and sighed loudly, “you happened about. And this,” he waved his hands down most broadly over the front of his feathered chest, “is the bloody result. You did this.” A wing swept up with its tip pointing directly at ragdoll man.
“I did no such thing,” ragdoll man replied defensively. And again, he brought his hands to cover his mouth. Then began to search himself for the source of the sound.
“Here there, what’s the trouble mate,” the crow came closer. “You’re acting like someone not accustomed to having a voice.”
“I’m not,” replied the ragdoll man. “I mean….”

The crow closed its wings close to its body and twisted its head to look at the ragdoll man. It took several steps one way and then back the other way with its head moving constantly to examine the odd creature standing there before him. “Got a name?” he asked, his beak close to the other’s face.
“Name? What’s a name?”
The crow stepped back. “There, see you spoke again. What do you mean by thinking you can’t speak?”
“Did I say that?”
“In as many words, yes.” The crow said dryly and stepped back a foot or two where he seemed to grow a bit in size. Then, after a long pause where neither moved nor spoke, he said, “My name is Randall. I suppose you can say that I am the leader of the Crows hereabouts.”
“I said my name is….”
“Yes, yes, I heard you but—” he held up his arms made of a collection of brightly colored rags all somehow clinging together. “Who am I? Do you know who I am? Or,” he hesitate, “what I am.”
Randall laughed. “Well,” the crow began, “you can clearly see you are not much else than a collection of brightly colored rags. Yes, rags,” he said, noting the semi shocked look on the other’s face. “Yes, rags. Not much else to tell about.” He sat back on his tail feathers. “Do you have anything on you that can help with finding out about you?”
The ragdoll man thought for a moment and then said expectantly, his eyes growing bright, “Yes. Yes. I have this friend tucked in my pocket. Perhaps he might help.”
Randall stepped closer, his head twisting down and leaning towards the man. “A friend? What sort of friend could you have in your pocket?” He twisted his head more and bobbed it a bit. “Can I see it?”
“See what?”
“Your friend,” Randall’s voice took on a bit of a growl. “Your friend, you said you had a friend in your pocket. I should like to see your friend.”
“Well, he is small and, I think—asleep.”
“Asleep?” The crow stood back rising to his full height. “How do you know he is asleep?”
“Well, he isn’t moving.”
“Not moving? Is he dead?”
“Dead? What is that.”
“What is what?”
“You said my friend might be dead.” He leaned forward and tilted his head quietly asking, “What is this thing you say is——dead?”