Slated for September 2016
Since nothing extraordinary occurred to prevent it, a car driven by Darryl Mockridge,
with passengers Henry Edward Fool in front and Emma Moonsinger in back, was
involved in a collision with a freight train, at a railroad crossing just outside of Delphi,
Kansas, on November 1, 2015, at 2:38 in the afternoon.
All three persons in that car were killed.

The two-tone green, 1952 Oldsmobile that Mockridge was driving belonged to Henry
Fool. And although the engineer of that freight train saw the car upon the tracks, there
was nothing he could do to stop that full-loaded, 104 car long train before impact.

From the dash-cam which Darryl Mockridge had installed to record their conversations
during that trip, we know that, while frantically trying to get it started, Darryl Mockridge
cursed the car, cursed the on-coming train, cursed the engineer, the fireman, the
conductor and every person on board before cursing the car again and turning his
fiery attention to the gods above, before being struck.

During those same few too-brief moments, Henry Fool scrawled a few words quickly
upon a scrap of paper: In the back seat, Emma Moonsinger had calmly placed her
prayerful hands against her lips, close her lovely eyes and whispered, “Enjoy the ride.”

At that point, mere seconds before impact, Mockridge adjusted the rearview mirror, in
order to glare at Emma, and demanded, “What did you say?!”  Henry Fool stopped
scribbling on the scrap of paper, and turning in his seat to face her, asked “What did
you say, Emma?” Emma Moonsinger opened her lovely blues eyes and addressed her
friends softly, “I said, Enjoy the ride.”

At that very instant the locomotive, brakes locked, slammed into the Oldsmobile, killing
all inside (... for the sake of you squeamish, INSTANTLY) and shoved the thing, now
crushed to half its normal width, shuddering violently with resistance, along the rails,
over the ties and through the gravel, for nearly 3/5 of a mile before coming to a stop.

It has never been our goal, at Estuary, to sell books; our goal is to put the work of
writers into print. This devastating event has galvanized our commitment to publish the
work these people have left behind.

With Henry that should be no problem; he generally produced 600 or 800 pages for a
book which, after we take an axe to it, ends up a nice trim 300. He had three such
pieces, which we were aware of, in the works. They will each see print, in time. Luckily
for us, they are all in fairly good shape. His latest concept: EXITAINMENT: Eulogy for a
Generation Not Quite Yet Dead, is in no shape to be published, and for certain other
obvious reasons, will not see print.

Emma worked differently, building her books with excruciating care from word one until
the final ethereal note. She has, we think, one book of poetry which may become
available, and a treatise on something which we admittedly neither understand nor
believe in—The Centered Mind—which we intend to see in print, if that’s possible. Her
novel Nicolette Joyeux will not be published, unless you beg.

Darryl Mockridge was working on a book—The Recidivist—which, in large part, is a
mocking criticism of Henry Edward Fool's laughably quixotic, apparently futile, blindly-
tenacious productivity, despite the ever-emerging, seemingly-endless onslaught of
wild public indifference. Though it might seem inappropriate—given these tragic
circumstances—Estuary Publications will, if it is at all possible, produce that volume.
Nobody could see Henry Edward Fool’s weaknesses as clearly as the man himself,and
we are sure he would be all for it. Additionally, if we did not feel that Mockridge
(cynical, sarcastic, sardonic, with a cold eye for unearned smugness and idiotic
contentment) might somehow ultimately prove to take his place—though always
remaining carefully buried—in the true American literary tradition, we wouldn’t offer his
work to our readership. (We're joking of course.)

So, there you have it: the end of an era.

Richard Mansfield,
editor
Charles, Dark Cloud, Bellwether, publisher
TRAGEDY AT ESTUARY PUBLICATIONS
Enough of that.
Now...  back to the Library

On January 17, 2016 Charles, Dark Cloud, Bellwether, set sail from San Francisco
headed for Kauai in the 30-foot sailboat ABJURED. Bellwether is a well-seasoned
sailor, and ABJURED was well-equipped with the best electronics and survival gear
including life raft, emergency position-indicating radio beacon, flares and satellite
phone. The 2138 nautical mile crossing was described by some as “foolhardy at
best”. Pilot Wilfred Snard told us, “Attempting to conquer the Pacific Ocean single-
handed in a 30-foot sailboat is both dangerous and delusional.” Thirteen days out,
all contact with ABJURED was lost as the boat simply disappeared in heavy winds
and high seas. No distress call was received, and Bellwether has not been seen or
heard from since.                                          
                                                      r m
                                           PREFACE  

As our generation gets older, it becomes increasingly important
that we take the time necessary to offer new ways for emerging
generations to despise us, to express their indifference to
whatever good our existence may have brought to this world, and
to provide them additional opportunity to delight in our imminent
passing. It’s only fair, and perhaps the least we can do. So, I’ve
provided much of the ammunition needed to launch and maintain
such a campaign in these pages.  

Going in I knew this would be no easy task, because each
emerging generation seems to have a good and natural grasp of
these matters without anyone’s assistance. It is the idea of
offering them
new ways to despise us that is the real challenge.

Of course, I also recognized that it was a task which needed to be
handled with some delicacy, since the kids these days are so very
sensitive. Where they got such sensitivity I cannot even guess. I
can assure you of this much however: it certainly wasn’t from us.  

In college we never had a safe place where we could nestle up
snuggly with our petty political compatriots in a vicious, snapping,
defensive little circle and comfort each other by tracing every
failure and discontent in our lives back to evil old white
heterosexual males in suits. And, we never received
encouragement from the faculty and administration to seek out
offense in everything anyone might say or do, either on our own
behalf or, more nobly, on behalf of others.

Nonetheless, I thought if there was any hope of ramping up their
distaste for rational thought—assuming they haven’t tapped out
entirely already—it might best be accomplished by first
recognizing and then openly admitting that whatever burden we
bore through life was due merely to our own stubborn way of
thinking about things. Our view—to which we still cling
unnecessarily (Time being what it is)—is shamefully revealed in a
single foul concept. Conveniently, that foul concept is captured in
a single archaic word: discernment.   

Discernment is becoming increasing irrelevant in this rapidly
evolving world. Since the word is never uttered, it is neither
pondered nor even considered. But, it is not only unspoken, it is
unrecognized and, from every indication—with the groundswell
enthusiasm for Hive-mentality—soon to be rendered obsolete. In
brief, discernment is a useless concept which serves no purpose
to emerging generations. For them the function of either the word
or the concept it encompasses is unimaginable. Of course, all that
is so universally and readily accepted at this point that it seems
peculiar to mention it at all.   

Still, I’ve had some difficulty accepting the inevitable because, in
my mind, discernment and the archaic concept Liberty are so
closely linked. The only reason I bring it up is so that ever-
emerging future generations might glance over their shrugging
shoulders, down upon us, if only by chance—should they have
the time to gaze down upon us at all—and find further evidence of
our relentless foolishness. I say these things strictly for
entertainment purposes only.

Unfortunately, if our generation has anything of real value to pass
down to generations that follow it is that rusty old relic
discernment in all of its various despicable forms:  independent
thought, individualism, cynicism, criticism, sarcasm, good-natured
jibing, and intolerance (recognition that there must be some
things out there that are still just plain unacceptable). My fear is
that, such concepts never having been put into their heads—and
with so little room left in there, after gorging themselves on
pixelated violence and puerile political nonsense—that the
importance, the value, the necessity of discernment, as so much
that is good in this world, is either immediately understood or
simply can not be explained. (Yet, I shall try.)  

Let me state directly that if I thought for one moment that it would
harm these future kids in any way to look at things with a cold eye
for a change and possibly, by way of that new experience, free
themselves of the tyranny of mindless devotion to vague hopes,
misconceptions, self-imposed ignorance, and feel-good
ideologies, I’d go no further. I would not attempt to do what I am
about to attempt to do because, it would just be so much easier
for me not to.  
As it is, I’ll have to ride the brakes pretty hard throughout. From
past painful experience I know that calling a moron a moron to his
face only leads to broken noses.  
Of course my concern is not merely for the most immediate
generation, but also for generations yet unborn. I want to be sure
they each have the opportunity to look at who we were and what
we have done and find what humor they can in our antics, or at
very least ammo enough for derision.

On the personal front, I have to admit that I am having some
difficulty with the fact that nothing I have done in this world—either
as a mediocre artist, so-called writer, or ne’er do well with no
marketable skills whatsoever—has any real or lasting value.
Nevertheless… as they say.  

In truth, my greatest accomplishment was swindling my dear and
trusting wife out of twenty dollars by betting her that a French
carpenter would not place drawer pulls on his otherwise finished
cabinetry within a year. Even with the knowledge that being
French-born provided her, she took that bet. And I think we both
learned a thing or two in that process. For example, I learned that
it is only with some distance on certain matters that we may gain
any clarity.  

That admission does not make all of what I am about to say sour
grapes. Admittedly, some is. But, in large part, I recognize the
futility of offering direction to the Children of the Hive, who—their
thoughts provided for them—have little or no need for a thing like
discernment.   

Still, you’d think I’d have greater compassion for those Children
for, like them, I’ve managed to live a life devoid of any deeper
meaning. Either way, I mean well. Without giving it thought it
probably does not deserve, this simple observation is the best I
can offer, while still maintaining any semblance of phony-baloney
aristocratic bluster.