Final Stretch of the Journey



The Ox has a magical quality!  It's something hard to understand, and even harder to describe! -- Headline News [article excerpt]

Ralph Oxner's eccentricity no longer makes him a freak -- it defines him, makes him interesting, and gives him a character all his own. -- The Spectrum [article excerpt]

By all appearances, Ralph Oxner is blossoming into a living-legend.  His appeal amongst the masses is of a gargantuan magnitude! -- The Expose [article excerpt]


        The following day, the incident was reported all over the TV newscasts, and it was inundated in newspaper publications, as well.  The media was having a field day with it!  Walter Krouse Loses his Mind in Store read the International Inquirer's front page headline.  World Report phrased it: Crazy-Acting Krouse gets Arrested, while Euro News declared, Walter Krouse Lands in Psychiatric Facility.  Other newspapers across the globe printed things like:

Walter Krouse has Nervous Breakdown

Krouse Cracks

Walter Krouse goes Berzerk in Public

Krouse Attacks Shopper for No Apparent Reason

Ultra Bizarre Behavior gets Krouse Committed

Walter Krouse is Psycho

Krouse Flies off Handle

Deranged Madman Identified as 'Walter Krouse'

Walter Krouse Makes Scene in Grocery Store

Krouse Hits Rock Bottom

Mental Meltdown for Walter Krouse

Walter Krouse goes off the Deep End

Disgraced Psychiatrist, Walter Krouse, is Loony

Krouse Acts Crazy in Supermarket

Walter Krouse Totally Flips Out

Assault; Dissorderly Conduct; and Psychotic Episode for Krouse

Walter Krouse is Certifiably Insane

Infamous Assailant Institutionalized

Krouse Makes a Public Spectacle of Himself

Walter Krouse goes Bonkers

Krouse Suffers Emotional Collapse




        Veteran Private Investigator, Arnold Fetz, walked to his paperbox at the end of his driveway in his upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood.  Then he took a seat at the kitchen table with the newspaper, while his loving wife prepared his breakfast on the stove top.  He habitually checked out the 'National' section first, and this morning was no exception.  But the front page headline printed on it was quite exceptional.  It said, Walter Krouse Arrested and Sent to Dorean Hix Hospital.  The mug shot within the newspaper's square outline was downright ghastly!  A scowling, fiercely staring maniac with disheveled hair and facial stubble seemed enough to make that hardened ex-Marine recoil in fear.  He did a double-take -- not even recognizing the formerly dapper doctor.

        "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!  The S.O.B. cracked!" he mumbled to himself after he finished reading the lengthy article.  It was compiled from a copy of the police report that was faxed to the media following his embattled client's arrest.

        Marianne cracked an egg shell and dropped the contents into the frying pan.  "Nothing but bad news in the paper again, I suppose," she nonchalantly said as she cooked.  The old man at the table smiled and responded, "No, actually, there's some good news in here this time... some VERY good news!


       The Sea Gypsy's longest voyage was on its last lap.  In the dark night sky, stars twinkled and the harbor loomed.  While nearly everyone else slept, the Oxners stood on the tenth level deck behind the guard wall, gazing at the heavens above.

        "There's a reservation for us up there," Ralph stated, in a tone that sent shivers down Angel's spine.

        She sighed and reminded him, once again, that she loved him.  Then, feeling a sudden tinge of sadness, she said she wished the cruise would never end.  "This has been the best time of my life!  And it began when I met that big, fat piano student.  Right from the start, I knew you were special, Ralph."

        "And right from the start I knew that you were a total babe," he returned, causing her to laugh.  Their lips merged -- just a little peck, nothing more.  But it was enough to express the affection they felt toward one another.  Then they looked upon the area of the ocean that the Sea Gypsy's side-beams illuminated and witnessed a school of dolphins leaping up over the water's surface and falling back in again.  In the artificial light, they appeared luminous.  It was quite a sight!



        Ralph glanced over and noticed that his love's light blue eyes had welled up with the liquid substance of sorrow.  "Hey, what's wrong, precious?" he asked in a solicitous tone, as he gently combed her long, blonde locks with his fingers.

        Angel dropped her head and timidly said, "I'm afraid you'll go to prison, Ralph!"

        "Angel, darling, you're still worried about that?!  Aaron Hughes has hired me the best defense attorney in the state of North Carolina.  He's going to do his best to get me out of this mess!"

        "So you're saying you won't be going to prison??"

        "Listen, I can't guarantee you that I won't do some time.  But even if I do, it won't be for life."

        "How long would it be?"

        "I doubt I'd serve over ten years."

        "Ralph, ten years is a LONG time!" she shrieked.

        "I know that ten years is a long time, but you'd get to visit me.  I'm not saying I'll get ten years, but I want you to be prepared for the worst."

        "I'm sorry I spoiled the mood!" Angel sniffled and wiped a teardrop off her cheek.  "It's so beautiful and peaceful out here on the deck.  I just can't stand the thought of you being behind bars!!"

        "I know, honey, but I've been behind bars for nearly half my life in one form or another.  I can handle prison.  You don't need to worry about me.  I'm a very tough guy!  They don't call me 'The Ox' for nothing!"

        Angel reached out for a hug and The Ox wrapped his muscular arms around her back and held her up against his stout chest and flat abdomen.  She rested her head securely on his broad shoulder.  Angel loved her man's new body, but much more than that, she loved his soul!

        They left the deck, descended the escalator, and headed down the hall to their suite, holding hands along the way.

        "You coming to bed, honey?" Angel drowsily asked, after she changed into her nightdress.

        "I think I'm gonna stay up and work on my autobiography," came the reply.

        While Angel sprawled her body on the mattress, Ralph walked in the study and sat at his desk in front of the monitor screen.  He wanted to conclude Chapter 7, which he'd entitled: 'A Cruise for the Ages,' before the ship sailed in to port, while everything was still fresh in his mind.  And so The Story of Ox resumed.

        ... ... ... So many great things happened to me during my cruise.  The whole trip was like a glorious fairy tale.  Without a doubt, the best part of it was marrying Angel.  I can't praise that lady enough!  She's my prize!  The Leader blew my mind!  He's out of this world -- a truly unbelievable man!  I consider him my hero.  I made a lot of friends.  Roger Freeder is one of them.  He's a good kid.  I just hope he never climbs up another guard wall ever again!!!  In a strange way, I've come to know The Sea Gypsy as a living entity and a close friend, as well.  I will feel sad when--hours from now--I depart it and bid farewell to all my friends.  But I will step off knowing that I've completed my inner spiritual voyage.  Though my past on land was miserable and my future on it is uncertain, my memories of happy times at sea will be with me for the rest of my life!

        DOCUMENT: "Ox's Auto" / Saved to File




       South Floridian pedestrians, beach bathers, and laborers alike felt the heat outside.  The temperature was 98 degrees and the air was humid.  But inside the confines of the District Attorney's office the temperature was 70 degrees, and cool air flowed through the vents.  Yet another meeting between Mr. Carranza and his right-hand man, Assistant D.A. Simm Banglio, had just gotten underway.  For months on end, they'd been working hard to build up the State of Florida's case against Ralph Oxner, in conjunction with the State of North Carolina -- where his crimes were allegedly committed.  They were also seeking to prosecute everyone whom had complicity in his ongoing flight.  This list included his brother, Harold; Dexter Howell; and The Leader, himself.  But the progress they'd made thus far had been stifled by the comments and opinions expressed by Aaron Hughes on the TV talk show, Celebrity Interview.  Ever since then, a barrage of impassioned letters had been ceaselessly pouring in to the courthouse requesting, and sometimes demanding, that all felony charges against Ralph Oxner get dropped.  They came from all over North America, and overseas, as well.  Public opinion was stacked up so heavily against conviction that Mr. Carranza had given up all hope of fishing out twelve impartial jurors.  He thought he'd be lucky to acquire just three neutral-minded, unsympathetic Florida citizens.  But he hoped that when the time came for a trial, his polemic skills could persuade the vital dozen.  It would, he knew, be a difficult task.

        The FBI's tape had arrived to the stressed out District Attorney.  On the package envelope was written: Attn: D.A. Oscar Carranza, Room 1102.  On the black VHS tape was a white label-sticker with the typed caption: HAROLD OXNER INTEROGATION, February 9, 2009.  Carranza had waited several hours for Banglio to wrap up his court case so they could view the tape together and discuss it afterwards.  He inserted it into the VCR slot, and walked back to his swivel chair, holding the remote control in one hand and a clipboard in the other hand.

        About thirty minutes into the interrogation proceedings, something caught Banglio's eye.  "Did you see that???" he said excitedly.

        "No.  I was looking down, taking notes.  What was it?" Carranza inquired.

        "Rewind it and I'll show you," Banglio suggested.

        Oscar, his curiosity roused, rewound it and pressed PLAY.

        "There!!!  NOW did you see it??!!" Banglio said loudly.

        "Yeah, I think I did," Carranza slowly responded, in a tone that reflected his deep sense of intrigue.  Then he played that portion of the tape once again.  Afterward, he commented, "Man, that's strange!" while shaking his head.

        "What do you make of it, Oscar???" Banglio asked.  He always valued his boss's opinions.

        "Honestly, I don't know.  It appears to be some kind of white light engulfing Harold's body.  It's quite a peculiar manifestation.  All I know is that natural light doesn't move like that, and take on a shape of its own, and then disappear!  I'm no scientist, but I know that what we just saw doesn't conform to the natural laws of light."

        Banglio submitted his own theory: "Maybe these White Light Liberators have some holy force on their side.  Shit, now I feel like I'm trying to help crucify Jesus Christ!"

        Carranza wasn't having any of it!  "Dismiss those superstitious thoughts from your feeble mind!!" he sharply commanded.  "We've got a job to do, Simm!" he went on to explain.  "These White Light Liberators have broken the law.  In the past, we've gone after guys we knew were innocent just to win cases.  But that's not the situation here, so we shouldn't feel guilty about what we're doing!"

        "Well, I guess you're right, Oscar.  The Romans had to do what they had to do, and we've got to do what we've got to do!"

        "Exactly!" Carranza said, heartily.  Then he got up out of his chair and patted his subordinate on the back for, once again, agreeing with him.




Day of Century set for Tomorrow

By Reginald Gallagher



WASHINGTON -- Ralph Oxner's eccentricity no longer makes him a freak.  On the contrary!  It defines him; makes him interesting; and gives him a character all his own!  Indeed, he has a supremely unique persona!  That's why he's reached a level of fame that surely will never be matched.  And the rapidity of his rise is just as remarkable!  Tomorrow will probably be the day he steps off the Sea Gypsy to be viewed by a throng of wide-eyed, heart-pounding worshipers.