Donna Rentfrow Writes Prose and Poetry

Manhole Haunting

I stood outside our office complex located at One City Center in the 800 block of 10th Street, NW and breathed in some fresh air.  It was overcast, but warm this Tuesday morning in mid-February, pleasant weather for Washington D.C. this time of year.  I bought a cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee from a street vendor nearby.  It was a wonderful day to be outdoors so I decided to walk to the 500 block and wait for the streetcar connection across the street from Ford’s Theatre that would take me to the 1200 block on First Street, NE.  I’m a sales rep with Thermal Pipe Systems, Inc. and had an appointment with the Storm Water Management officials at the Department of Energy and Environmental Services.  I was anxious to introduce our plan for a more efficient and economical underground steam pipe and storm water testing.

            I take the public transit system quite often in lieu of driving in the crazy traffic here in D.C. and besides, I enjoy looking across the street at Ford’s Theatre admiring the architecture and imagining the ghosts of actors, the excitement and drama that must have taken place in the building over the years, and especially the shooting of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Boothe.

            My mind was in a fog fantasizing a scenario of Wilkes approaching President Lincoln and shooting him, when there it was!  I saw it, the people across the street and the ones beside me saw it, everyone saw it, or did they?  Why were so many of them not paying attention and just walking away?   My God, steam was rising from the manhole in front of us and within the steam was a perfect image of a male figure – bazaar and unbelievable to anyone who saw it, to say the least.  And so, if they did see it, how could they just walk away as if it wasn’t there?  I stood there mesmerized for a second or two while I tried to decipher what I was actually seeing.

            My mind was racing with imaginary thoughts, like could this be a ghost of a storm water engineer who may have had an accident and met his demise during the installation of the pipeline years ago?  Or perhaps, could this just possibly be the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, himself?

            The streetcar arrived and I boarded the first couple of steps without taking my eyes off the manhole.  I wasn’t able to board any further because passengers were standing and crowding to the front.  They were squeezing into each other and straining their necks to peer out the front and right- side windows for a closer look at this incredible phenomenon.  I was relieved to know the vision was real to so many other eyes and not a phantom figure of my imagination.  A few passengers held their hands over their mouths and gasped in disbelief.  The streetcar operator seemed intrigued with a paralyzed stare, but soon shook his head and announced that everyone be seated.  I boarded the rest of the way, deposited my fare in the farebox and fortunately found a seat in front with a head-on view of the manhole.

During the short time the streetcar idled while the operator connected with dispatch, I continued to watch the human form in the steam.   After I was able to recollect my senses and able to clearly evaluate what we had seen, I realized what the image actually was as we drove away.

             I was relieved and yet slightly disappointed that it wasn’t really a ghost after all.  Of course, I’ll only share my realization with you, as the streetcar operator and passengers are still in awe with their own thoughts about what they had experienced. 

            I’m not wanting to burst anyone’s bubble and you of course, are free to analyze and come to your own conclusions.  If you will in the meantime, visualize with me as I try to explain my theory.  As I see it, the rising steam from the manhole as being both the artist and the medium, surrounded small parts of the buildings across the street and thus, created this extraordinary piece of art!

            Do I dare share my experience with my friends and colleagues?  No, I think not.  Even my family would laugh and say that I was making up a wild story or kid about maybe there was something in the coffee that made me hallucinate.  And, I’ll have to admit at first, I did think about the coffee.  

During the short time the streetcar idled while the operator connected with dispatch, I continued to watch the human form in the steam.   After I was able to recollect my senses and able to clearly evaluate what we had seen, I realized what the image actually was as we drove away.

             I was relieved and yet slightly disappointed that it wasn’t really a ghost after all.  Of course, I’ll only share my realization with you, as the streetcar operator and passengers are still in awe with their own thoughts about what they had experienced. 

            I’m not wanting to burst anyone’s bubble and you of course, are free to analyze and come to your own conclusions.  If you will in the meantime, visualize with me as I try to explain my theory.  As I see it, the rising steam from the manhole as being both the artist and the medium, surrounded small parts of the buildings across the street and thus, created this extraordinary piece of art!

            Do I dare share my experience with my friends and colleagues?  No, I think not.  Even my family would laugh and say that I was making up a wild story or kid about maybe there was something in the coffee that made me hallucinate.  And, I’ll have to admit at first, I did think about the coffee.  

            Oh well, wild as it is, this is my story and I’m sticking to it!!

Written by Donna Rentfrow

How Arnie Saved the Ant Colony on Merkel Mountain

Our new book “How Arnie Saved the Ant Colony on Merkel Mountain” is live and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books A Million.  The story is another whimsical fiction for children ages four through ten, about a young ant who becomes a hero by finding  a clever way to rid a terrorizing anteater from Merkel Mountain forever.   Fun entertainment for the entire family!

 

The Fishining School

This story takes place on Lake Tate, a private lake community in rural

Sylacauga, Alabama.

The Fishining School is an advanced finishing school known for its out-

standing curriculum of survival tactics for young fish residing in Lake Tate.

Short excerpt:

Sam Chomper, an experienced older Large Mouth Bass, is the school instructor.  He

teaches swimming techniques to clear fishing lines, ways to avoid threatening

predators and ways to improve willpower to resist tempting bait on hooks.  The

school’s warning slogan is “Once Hooked, You’re Cooked!”  None of the school’s

graduates have ever been “battered”.

Marlin and Bubbles Fynn, a well-liked Perch couple, have lived in this private

community lake with friends and families for several years.

Their three older Perch children, Flow, Stripes, and Aqua, have graduated

from the Fishining School with honors and are nicknamed Wiggles, Splish and

Splash.

Now there are Zig and Zag Fynn, their young Perch twins, who have recently

enrolled in the Fishining School.

Most of Instructor Chomper’s students are well behaved and cooperative,

but there are exceptions.  Zig and Zag are full of energy and always getting

into trouble………

The Fishining School is available for purchase online at Amazon, Barnes &

Noble and Books A Million.

 

Canine Detective Club Goes to the Marble City

Canine Detective Club Goes to the Marble City is another whimsical short fiction animal tale in progress, a sequel to Canine Detective Club.

     There has just been an unusual break-in at the Marble City Museum and a valuable piece of marble sculpture is found to be missing.  The Canine Detective Club has been requested to help break the case!

 

Victorious Victor Byrd

Short Excerpt:

Victor Byrd lives in the foothills of the Appalachians on Merkel Mountain in rural Sylacauga.  He is not the typical Horned Owl, as he is the General who commands a flock of one hundred soldiers in his regiment.

The Command Post is on Merkel Mountain so that they have an “owl’s” view overlooking Sylacauga and the surrounding areas.

They feed on rodents on the mountain and in the valley and catch fish on nearby lakes named Lake Howard, Lay Lake and Lake Tate.

One foggy morning, on of the soldier owls named Lieutenant Harry Peck spotted a flock of Canadian geese and he was wondering what they were up to.

He reported to Victor and asked, “What are we going to do?”

Victor ordered a scout to check them out.

No sooner than the scout named Jack Wing left, he ran into the most beautiful goose he had ever seen.  She was so beautiful that all he could do was stare at her and almost forgot what his mission was.

Purchase “Victorious Victor Byrd” at amazon.com to find out what happens next!

View more of our books on our website :

http://marblecitybooks.wixsite.com/booksforchildren