Rory Rivers, a local legend around Richardson, Texas way, was never much for reporters and writers and such. Tales of his exploits had been told and retold for decades especially in that region, but I felt they would be a fascinating read sure to keep folks rapt worldwide. Purely by chance we had become reasonably friendly with one another and had established a nice rapport after running into each other often at Texas Rangers home games. We both happened to prefer those front row seats right behind home plate back when Nolan Ryan was pitching for them.

    So when it came time for me to write this letter R story, I ran it by him saying, "Rory, I know you've resisted such overtures from others in the past, but please reconsider recounting your life story to me. I've already done such extensive research, collecting reams of notes along the way, that I could rattle off a solid unauthorized bio without your input, but there's no good reason not to get it 100% right coming from you. Rory replied, "OK Misakman, ya know, I've read your other alliteration stories and I know you're a reliable biographer. I reckon I can trust ya so let's roll with it!"

    I rode up to his residence, a modest ranch house, and there was Rory on the porch raring to go. Sipping our root beer and settled in his rattan rocking chairs, we'd be there for hours while he reminisced and relayed his amazing saga. Although he was known as a rather reserved fellow, with me he was quite the locquacious raconteur, a regular Uncle Remus. He seemed reluctant to speak into my tape recorder so seeing that it stifled his responsiveness, I ditched it and once I started scribbling along with my rollerball pen, he was more relaxed. Now as he spoke things would register more clearly in his mind and the recollections started flowing.

    We'd always rap a bit at first with some random small talk. He'd rate his Rangers mulling over their roster..."We got Juan Gone (how he referred to Juan Gonzalez) for plenty of ribbies and round trippers and don't forget Ruben Sierra and Pudge Rodriguez. Then with Nolan Ryan and that resilient rubber arm of his anchoring the rotation and with top relievers Jeff Russell and Kenny Rogers in the pen, we can realistically make a run for the pennant." He'd maybe rue the fact that he'd outlived his sweetheart Rosalind (whom of course we'll cover later) admitting, "I was becoming lonely, a bit of a recluse when she passed, so I got me Rambo the rottweiler over there, black with rust markings. Rambunctious one he is, racing after cars. Frettin' enough he's gonna make hisself roadkill but then he can't help tussling with them ringtail raccoons come around neither. So's he don't get rabies I got him vaccinated even revaccinated. Healthy fleas, ticks, ringworms, roundworms, nuttin'. Previous owner said he was the runt of the litter so was always trying to prove he was as rough and tough as the rest and do crazy stuff. Maybe he's just trying to impress that russet brown lady golden retriever next door too, heh-heh! The wily rapscallion."

    He'd mention my car..."I like your old Isuzu Rodeo (later rebadged as the Honda Passport). Good roadability but ain't no Range Rover and they outta reengineer it for cup holders." But soon enough he'd revisit the past and regale me with an episode from his life. He'd rumple his brow while ruminating as he reembarked on the long journey in his mind then speak. For this now aged retiree it had been quite a rollercoaster ride at times with many rigorous challenges to overcome but with plenty of little rillets of joy and happiness interspersed. I remarked that our project seemed to revivify him whereupon he said, "Roger to that. Mainly cuz I'm not one to be redigesting the past with a lot of regret and resentment. I'm just going into rewind here and realizing at my ripe old age that I've had an eventful life. Proves that you can do all the planning and replanning you want, but shoot, I had no roadmap to the future...just when opportunity knocked I answered that rat-a-tat-tat simple as that.

    Sometimes if it got rainy or cold we'd repair to the living room to a couple of recliners and continue. On one such occasion he revealed some reservations saying, "It ain't easy reexperiencing everything, especially the setbacks I sorta repressed. So after reconnecting all the dots and reconstructing the whole soap opera, I do gotta know ya won't go reediting making all kinda revisions Misakman. Yaknow like redrafting and reworking it to add even more razzle-dazzle and whatnot." I reassured him I would refrain from embellishment and not rewrite his bio like some fable. I'm confident the end result which follows proves entertaining yet real and true as he wished.


    Born and reared in Richardson, Texas, Rory was a responsible farm boy who worked round the clock it seemed between helping raise crops for his folks and learning his three R's...reading, writing, and ' school. His pappy was quite the Runyonesque rascal of a character, a resourceful small-time farmer and sometimes town cobbler reheeling, resoling, and repolishing shoes by day then (in his younger days) a daring rumrunner by night. His mom on the other hand had a bit more religion considering her pa had been a reverend, and ever since Rory was a mere rug rat, she resolutely aimed to instill an unshakeable moral rectitude and respect for others in her son.

    Indeed many of his peers, restless with the rigmarole of schoolwork and farm and ranch chores etc., fell in with rustlers and raiders from the outskirts or with riffraff like bank robbers and other rookery ruffians from the big cities. Most simply wound up in the reformatory or even prison if they proved to be habitual reoffenders. Yet Rory remained steadfast and steered clear of the roughnecks but nevertheless sought a reprieve from the dull repetitiveness of his current life. One day he informed his beloved parents, "Don't consider me rash but I've come to the realization that I'm stuck in a rut and it's time for me to hit the road. I'll head up to Uncle John Ross in Roxton first. He always had high regard for me and said I'd make a helluva rancher and could help him run his spread."

    Reaching into his pocket and producing a modest roll of bills he continued, "Now I ain't become rich or nuttin' but I do have a respectable amount of money saved up to get started even after rehabbing and reregistering that ragtop Wrangler of mine." The vehicle had been a barely roadworthy rattletrap rust bucket when Rory purchased it, but eventually, once he replaced the rotors, recapped the radial tires, plugged the leaky radiator, resprayed it cherry red, rustproofed the undercarriage, and most importantly, rebuilt the engine, he was able to just rev up and go onto a new life in Roxton with his hometown in the rearview mirror.

    Well Uncle John Ross could barely restrain his joy and surprise when he saw Rory riding up and galdly received him bellowing, "If it ain't Rory my long-lost nephew finally ready to become a rootin'-tootin' rip-roarin' cowboy!" Rory proved to be a most receptive pupil as his uncle eagerly taught him the ropes, and soon enough he was demonstrating remarkable skill at all tasks be it patrolling the rangleland, leading the roundup while twirling his riata, or anything else. Then when the rodeo came to town he even snagged the blue ribbon rosette for staying aloft a wild roan bronco no roughrider could tame. Rory admitted later though, "A sore rectum is one thing but no more risking squishing my reproductive organs bouncing around all crazy like."

    Anyhow, Rory certainly worked hard and transformed from a rangy, reedy, rawboned youth into a rugged, robust man. He cut quite the striking figure too in his Roy Rogers style cowboy hat, ripstop ranger pants, rose-embroidered western shirt, and rattlesnake boots complete with spurs and rowels.


    So one day after work he saunters into Rance's Roadhouse Rib Joint and Saloon, the local favorite nightspot for a rollicking good time. Rance's usually featured good old redneck country music bands but would sometimes just for the novelty of it book a rhythym and blues or rumba group or even something else like a '20s retro jazz revue on this particular night. Rory immediately caught the attention of a ravishing redhead, a singer who approached him and said, "Hiya Tex, I'm Roxie. I know it's rude to stare but my eyes have been riveted to you since you arrived. My guy radar tells me you're a true gentleman, and well, I know my raiment is a bit risque but it's only part of the razzmatazz of the show and I'm really a good girl. I have to run but let's remeet right here after the show!"

    Now Rance's had a reputation as one raucous rowdy bar where it seemed neither the regulars nor the newcomers followed the club's rules and regs much and  things often got riotuos and unmanageable. On this night a rootless reprobate drifter wandered in ruddy with drink already ripped on rotgut rye whiskey. With a  leathery voice like a ripsaw he started yelling raunchy things at poor Roxie during her big number, a medley of stirring renditions of some jazz standards. Apparently her revealing outfit and racy dance moves were too much for the randy fellow who could not rein in his passions and kept up with the ribald comments. Roxie, a showbiz vet who did repertory theatre too, was of course used to lighthearted raillery from the occasional loudmouth, but this went beyond playful ribbing and he  deserved to have his mouth rinsed out with soap.

   Unable to elicit much of a response from Roxie, he shoved his way from the rearmost view up to the stage and started blowing raspberries (Pbbbt! Pbbbt!) trying to get her rattled. At this point Rory who'd already rebuked the lout a few times telling him shut up, demanded he be reseated and stop causing a ruckus. Insulted by the reproach and not very rational due to alcohol, the troublemaker went rampaging through the crowd to get to Rory finally lunging at him with a roundhouse punch and missing wildly. Rory then countered with a ripsnorter of a wallop, a tremendous right cross, and it was rockabye baby good night for the bum who went staggering and reeling about then fell whacking his head on the redwood dance floor.

    The cops came and one informed Rory, "There'll be repercussions for his concussion and what looks like a detached retina from your sure as hell resounding blow to his eye there. So happens this ne'er-do-well runabout is a relative of my boss Sheriff Roarke, his hell-raisin' cousin Rufus." So regardless of the fact that Rory was defending himself (and Roxie's honor- as well), they arrested him and tossed him in a rinky-dink jail cell.


    Unsurprisingly, once Rufus recovered from his injuries and was released from the hospital he got off scot-free. His cousin the sheriff reportedly reamed out the  debauched roue with a stern reproof exclaiming, "This is geting downright redundant Rufus! You're always making some solemn resolution to me you'll change but then keep resurfacing in my town and continue with morally repugnant thoughtless behavior. You always been a dirty stinking rat...You never returned the rollerskates you borrowed from me when we were kids but sold 'em for reefer. I let you use my old Rambler when we got older and you went and drank too much rum and ran it into a ditch and left it there. The registrar weren't gonna regrant your license anytime soon so I pulled rank on him and had Uncle Randall on the governor's staff tell him to relicense you. A while back you wanted to try racquetball and get fit so I lent you my racquet which I had just restrung. You get all red-faced after being routed by some old geezer and smash it up and don't even reimburse me....

    Then I go raid a house of ill repute and arrest the racketeers up in there, but then I storm one of the rooms and there you are revelling in the buff rolling around in the sack having carnal relations with a harlot you lecherous rake. Shoulda hauled you in to take the rap for solicitin' but then I thought of Auntie Rowena, your poor ma already suffering so from rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory problems. Don't need her regressing and her heart riven in two over some new sordid revelation about her dummy son Rufus so I let you slip out the rear. You oughta make a serious reassessment of your ways Rufus. You probably ain't reaping no rewards in heaven if'n you gonna get all remorseful over your badness then let the devil realter your path every time. NOW GIT!"

   Now the local rag with the highest readership, the Roxton Register, had just run an article railing against the fact that the nighttime revelry had gotten out of hand.  It mentioned specifically Rance's as well as a Rudolf's Rathskeller futher down by the riverside and a Rodney's Rumpus Room over by the old raceway. Said the piece, "Like wild razorback hogs folks run amok with their unchecked roughhousing and brawling within the establishments then even more mayhem without restraint in the streets after close. The endless racket! The public safety ramifications! Enough!"

    Into the picture strode the honorable Judge Rupert Rutherford. When the longtime justice at the local courthouse retired, old Rupe came to the rescue and agreed to temporarily preside and rule on cases in the Roxton jurisdiction. With all the local residents already up in arms over the rampant lawlessness especially with the newspaper ruffling their feathers even more, the pressure was on Rupe to show some resolve. He was widely revered as a ramrod of a judge known for his rigid interpretation of the law and rimy stare. It was a bad sign for Rory when Judge Rutherford did not release him on his personal recognizance which was routine in such scuffles but remanded him to custody. Then even worse, several potentially helpful key witnesses recanted their testimony and all of a sudden had fuzzy remembrance of the event, the sudden revisionist history no doubt related to the fact that they coincidentally were all pals in the same Rotary Club with Sheriff Roarke.

    So despite Rory's dramatic courtroom reenactment and his demand (ultimately futile) that the case be properly reinvestigated, the jury, over half of whom should have been recused for being on Sheriff Roarke's renomination committee, made an example of Rory and rendered a guilty verdict. Judge Rutherford in turn with great relish sentenced poor Rory for aggravated assault with reckless endangerment for a long bid at the ominous Ravenscroft Penitentiary over Texarcana way, reviled by many as more notorious than even 'The Rock' at Alcatraz and Riker's Island in N.Y.

    Quipped the judge, "Think of it as a rare opportunity for a much needed respite at a sprawling retreat where you may reflect upon your wrongdoing and refreshen your soul and spirit. Of course it won't be 10 years of merely rest and relaxation since we'll have you also breaking rocks, clearing out mucky riverbeds and swamps, and engaging in other reinvigorating recreational activities."


    Rory found his new prison cell at Ravenscroft gloomy and even less roomy than his old jail cell but then was assigned a roomie to boot when the wretched rathole of a prison became overcrowded. Rory surmised, " I deserve the chance to have a retrial and replead my case yet my protests for it to be reheard and prove I got railroaded are met with rejection. They're not about to remodel this stupid place and repartition anything so I guess I'm relegated to being a sardine. There's no rhyme or reason for me to be cooped up in here like I'm some Johnny Ringo or Jack the Ripper or someone like my illustrious roommate here who I find out is in here for rape and armed robbery. They run me roughshod with this hard labor and well...I don't care how risky it is anymore, let 'em reimpose a harsher sentence if I'm caught, I'm gonna escape!"

    Ravenscroft certainly was no ramshackle affair easy to bust out of with its reinforced steel doors and stone masonry walls, yet a Texas tornado that had come raging through the month before had caused a bit of damage up on the roof which the warden hadn't quite gotten around to repairing. So Rory, recognizing he had a great chance to do an aerial reconnaisance, eagerly volunteered to be the go-to guy to clean off the rooftop whenever there was rainfall. He explained, "They wuz busy with some other renovations at the time...repaving the parking lot, relighting some dark corridors, even rekeying some cell doors to reduce the number of keys they had jangling on their key rings, stuff like that. So they still hadn't done the necessary reroofing and hadn't reattached some torn gutter neither. Then there's a torrential rainstorm so I'm up there to compensate, squeegeeing puddles of rainwater over the side, but don't I notice that over by one of them huge Ingersoll Rand blowers some workman left behind a rivet gun. So I'm like...I'm gonna refashion this into something...then I notice a rectangular box just resting near the blowers where I can hide it. Lift up the lid and there's all kinda rusty tools and such probably left behind by that old raddled maintenance man they had just throwed a retirement party for. Over time, after rummaging through this goldmine and grabbing stuff from the trash receptacle at workshop well man...I repurposed this and retrofitted that till I had a contraption Rube Goldberg hisself couldn't top, got me a makeshift recurve bow, could shoot out like a bullet a strong thin rope with kinduva rapelling hook on the end.

    One day I'm up there and the lazy guard assigned to me (warden always said he was recalcitrant) didn't want to bother putting on his rainwear and stayed downstairs on his rump. Weren't blustery neither so no wind maybe redirect my shot and have to recalibrate for. So I shoot and latched onto the top branches of some Texas redbud trees beyond the fence, then clipped myself on and slid across and it was au revoir goodbye Ravenscroft!" At this point I could rely on that recon I mentioned. You see Ravenscroft ( ya know looking back , the radon and asbesots levels in there woulda killed me anyway) was in a remote location and it was even rumored that much of the area was radioactive due to nuclear testing way back, mini-rehearsals for the two big ones, but it was all more hush-hush than Roswell so who knows. Anyway, runaway prisoners up to this point had always been easily recaptured making a run for the nearest town many miles away. I opted to follow a small runlet which led to a boggy riverbank. There I improvised making a raft of reeds and rushes and using whatever else I could find and rowed across the reedbed best I could till I eventually made it to the main river. After I'd ridden a couple of days I ran into what looked like not a simple speedy rift but rapids even a skilled riverboat captain woulda had trouble navigatin' so I ditched the craft. Weren't far from Roxton but figured they probably had every inch of real estate staked out there just waitin' for me to be stupid and get myself rearrested and resent to prison."


    Resigned to the fact that familiar haunts were out, Rory trudged thorugh the woods till raggedy, hungry, and exhausted he came to a clearing when out of nowhere a rumbustious little Jack Russell terrier started barking wildly. Luckily he was tethered to a ringbolt affixed to a rickety-rackety old horse-drawn covered wagon which read 'Revivalist Roscoe Ramsey Rutledge-Get Right With God And Be Reborn!" An ancient fellow popped his head out and in a deeply resonant voice shouted, "Silence Rex! 'Tis no rabbit or squirrel or some such critter yea, it's a refugee from the law it looks, sent by the Lord to me for redemption." Rory felt comfortable with Roscoe who he sensed was a righteous man who had renounced sin and earnestly desired to bring others to repentence.

    He graciously relit his campfire, reboiled some old coffee, and recooked some leftover grub for his guest, and after rifling through his trunk, came up with some duds and said, "I'm a frugal ragpicker for sure but these here come from Sears and Roebuck! They're yours!" Once Rory related his tale of woe Roscoe took pity, and rather than see him reconducted to prison by the corrupt Roarke decided to recruit him as his roadshow assistant in the service of the Lord. To escape detection Rory changed his look to Robert E. Lee facial hair then a snazzy sort of razor cut on top instead of his classic men's regular cut and dubbed himself Rehoboam since it had a very biblical ring to it.


    Roscoe wasn't much for raffish showmanship or recondite theology but just spoke the Word. Rory would pitch the rainproof tent and set up the rostrum from where Roscoe, who seemed to know the Bible by rote, would whip himself and the crowd into a religious fervor exhorting all to get reacquainted with God and avoid temptation and sin, the roadblocks to heaven. He would liken the devil to a rootworm ruining crops at the base in how he would sneak into your soul making you revolt against God. He had a gift for effecting a spiritual reawakening with folks who would respond favorably to his preaching and repent. Said he, "You can't relive your wayward life or redo your past deeds. Simply say good riddance to sin and the Lord will redeem you. Why roast eternally down in hell especially without the benefit of fire-retardant clothes? You get not a sip of refreshing cold water to help you rehydrate. It reeks of a repulsive stench worse than rotten eggs always (and maybe the restroom at Ralph's diner in Reno but I digress) and once you die there is no recourse if they review your life and reject you. So stop rationalizing your sinfulness and let your broken soul be remended then be steadfast and do not recontaminate it. Be not reclassified as a hopeless sinner as divine retribution is sure to follow.

    Recalled Rory, "He'd never retain much of the offering we collected at our informal rallies. He paid me fairly, even got a few raises, but as for himself he'd pretty much redistribute it all to the poor and needy and reputable charities by the time we rolled into the next town. His rationale was, "I seek neither remuneration nor recognition in the here and now. If the Lord bestows a resplendent robe and a radiant crown upon me up there then it all redounds to me in the hereafter, as long as I keep reemphasizing to folks to rejoice in the Lord. Amen!

    Now my Uncle John Ross and even my dad were role models to me growing up, but this Roscoe was in rarefied air. I don't remember staying anywhere for more 'n a few days, but we couldn't relocate fast enough for some local churchmen quite riled at the sudden competition lotta times. He'd counter, 'Let there be no rancor or rivalry between us brother! I spake not in riddles nor used fancy rhetoric to disguise any radical or heretical doctrine to confuse the elect. I once requested of the Lord what was my raison d'etre as they say and in a voice that resonated right through me He told me to travel and preach plainly and not resort to convenient reinterpretation to water down his intentions. So I would merit repudiation if I gave him the runaround and did not obey him. I am but an itinerant preacher who has reignited the fuse and ratcheted up the carry on and nurture your flock now more eager for spiritual regrowth.' Then he'd say 'My cup runneth over,' and regift to them practically all we'd just collected and astonish those proud roosters itching for a turf war."

    In retrospect I should have redoubled my efforts to learn more from my learned mentor, a repository of knowledge, because cruel reality came swiftly one morning when the Lord just up and took him to his rightful place in heaven. We were going to head up to the Rio Grande and I'd just finished reshoeing the horse and making us some nice breakfast burritos filled with eggs, Spanish rice, and refried beans. So I try to rouse him to give him the rundown for the day...figured we'd chow down so our tummies wouldn't be rumbin' and now that I'd reshod the horse tell him how I'd figured out the safest roadways to use so we could recommence 'reclaiming some more souls and see the Rocky Mountians too!' in his words...only I got no reaction. He'd passed in his sleep and rigor mortis had already set in so no chance to even resuscitate him. He was so peaceful lying in repose there but me, I could barely recompose myself from the shock." Rory concluded with resignation, "A guy like him revalidates your faith in the sorry human race. All's I can figure is the Lord is ramping up his war against old Beezlebub and needed some reinforcements among the angels up there and he got hisself a relentless warrior in my pal Roscoe."

    Roscoe had been looking forward to reestablishing some ties at a planned family reunion since he had grown up in the area. I looked through his beat-up rosewood rolltop desk and found the number for his next of kin, his brother Reginald and rang him up. He came rushing over and to this day no matter how much refiguring I do, I can't rightly say how he got there so rapidly. Did he have a racecar and drive faster than Richard Petty? Did Buck Rogers bring him on his rocket ship? Did he miss the redeye so rechartered a flight on a UFO with aliens from Zeta Reticuli?"


    You see, Reginald was a rapacious fellow with almost  no redeeming value who resembled Roscoe in appearance only and wrongly assumed Roscoe was hoarding cash. Now he was respectful of roscoe's wishes and though I had temporarily buried him there, did have him moved and reinterred in the family plot nearby with a tombstone that read, "What man relinquishes, God replenishes" but soon his reprehensible side came out. He dug up Roscoe's three ring binder labeled revenues and expenditures and was disheartened there was no king's ransom to be found. He did some quick recalculations though and suddenly revitalized cried, "Why I could be  raking in serious dough in this racket! Simply revise this silly business model and refuse the folks with their hands out and just remove them from the equation and there's untold riches to be had here preaching!"

    In the past Reginald had sold fake remedies far and wide as panaceas for anything from acid reflux to ragweed allergy with of course zero results for the afflicted. In Baton Rouge he had been rigging the outcomes at the racecourse brining jockeys he was rubbing elbows with to tighten or slacken the reins on their racehorses as need be at the end of certain races. When the shady betting ring was exposed,  the riders had their licenses revoked and Reginald hightailed it back to the Rockies. Countless other escapades checkered his resume and when Roscoe would reprove old Reggie over them, Reggie would vehemently rebuff any remonstrances and would become rankled over the suggestion there would eventually be reprisal from God above. When Roscoe insisted he rectify his ways and make reparation to those he had rooked in his schemes and be remade in God's spirit, reggie would razz his brother for talking rubbish labeling him a hopelessly reform-minded holy roller do-gooder and recompense nary a penny.

    This new hustle he had in mind had him practically rabid with anticipation as he envisioned himself putting on the ritz and living like a Rockefeller or Rothschild. Rory stated, "Then he asked me if I wanted in on the ruse...yes the ratfink was going to try and preach!... and I retorted, 'In my wildest dreams I could not reimagine myself working with you, a rank amateur who lacks even rudimentary knowledge of things spiritual.' Undaunted he repainted the wagon rechristening the show 'The Humble Reginald Raymond Rutledge-Avoid Ruination, Make a Donation!" but it would be all phony baloney rodomontade as they say.

    Then he smugly declared, 'You were a remora-like lackey to my brother Roscoe as if he were the pope in Rome, but you have little to show for it so I recommend you rethink your position as the financial prospects are most rosy.  And hey, I brought my Aunt Rhoda to that Rebirth Church of hers and heard enough about the Rapture of Saints and the Resurrection of Christ to get by. Heck, I'm even hip to that ritual where she would fall into a reverie and her recitation of that rosary thing so I'm all good to go!' When I reiterated I wasn't interested and hadn't even rethought his offer over for a second, Reginald shouted, 'OK then split! Now you're just another rucksack wanderer and take Rex with you! Mutt had plenty of time to readjust to me being around, but I swear he got residual hostility towards me for ragging on Roscoe in his presence way back.'

     So with great chutzpah he rented out the local hockey rink and with a lotta rah-rah-rah self-promotion going all over town running his mouth, he done filled it! But then at the event one of the faithful brings forth a ranting and raving troubled girl. She cusses wildly ina strange raspy voice and emots a rancid odor redolent of a mountain of refuse. The crowd recoils in fear seeing she can rotate her head 360 and regurgitate buckets of goo at will. Her original features are barely recognizable as she appears almost reptilean like a croc and her thrashing arms are like the raptorial claws of the ancient roc. She's demon-possessed for sure, rocking and writhing there in need of deliverance by a pro, but Reginald feels he has the requisite skill to perform the rite of exorcism. His feeble attempt to expel the ravaging demon was a joke as the entity shrieked, 'Roscoe we knew and feared but you rattlebrained greedy little *!#%*?&$* (profanity redacted) presume to resend me to hell when you're slated to rot there yourself? Hah! Your aura is just riddled with holes sinful fool so maybe I'll just come out and take revenge and just repossess!... and have another demon reenter this poor kid.'...but then doesn't Father Riley jump  into the fray."


    He resided at the rectory nearby and when one of the referees couldn't make a game that night he had rung up Father Riley asking him to sub for him. Whenever he was readily available, Father Riley would scoot on over being the reservoir of good will and expert on the hockey rulebook that he was. He had just finished reffing an informal game, a grudge match between the Rawhides from a local oil rig vs. the Roustabouts from the Ringling Bros. circus! Back then it was a rarity to find hockey players out west, especially in the rural areas, but these were guys who'd actually played for the old Fort Worth Rangers before they folded and had since found reemployment elsewhere locally. Anyhow, until pro hockey reappeared years later with the Dallas Black Hawks (a Chicago rookie team), Father Riley, who'd been the defunct team's biggest rooter, liked the idea of keeping his favorite sport relevant in the meantime. Incidentally, the circus guys won when the ringmaster on an assist from the ropewalker ricocheted one off the post and into the net at the end of regulation in what was the rubber match of a just for fun series.

    Anyway, he was about to leave so he could resume writing a homily for an upcoming requiem mass but some heavenly voice kept reverberating in his head teling him his services might be required. Then Father Riley felt the rafters shaking as the crowd filled with revulsion and fear stampeded the exits except for rubbernecker Rory who explained, "No I hadn't  had a reversal of opinion just had to see what this filthy cock-a-roach Reginald was up to. So I'm standing by the refreshmant stand way back when Father Riley rushes out of the locker room nearby where he'd been washing up. He sees the situation on stage, a rudderless ship he's gotta take charge of, and so he zooms up there like the roadunner in the cartoon I swear. My reflexes kick in and I follow him saying, 'Father, I know I'm raw and untested but I can't let you go rogue.' He waves me off but I say, 'Refusal is not an option.' So we get rinkside leap over the barrier and he repels the demon away from Reginald while hollering a whole raft of prayers and holy things but don't the horrid thing go reoccupy the girl. Father Riley, seeing there's no getting rid of me, commands me to summon all my reserves and keep her under control while he tries to roust him out.  After all, she's all rife with an evil ruthless spirit retching and regorging guck all over me and fighting me like one of them roly-poly sumo wrestlers like to go ramming into each other, not no youngster.

    And well Misakman...retelling this is downright traumatic resummoning such disturbing memories so forgive my riptide of emotions gettin' choked up, but let's just say we had ourselves a row with that ravenous creature. Father Riley unlike clueless Reginald knew how to reroute that thing back to hell, and I sure hope he resealed the portal too so there's never no rematch. The grateful family wuz landscapers and insisted on repaying him by planting some rhododendrons and rosebushes at his place and even making a rockwork grotto which he still uses for reflective prayer then asked him to rebaptize the girl. Father Riley reprimanded Reginald that day urging him to make a frim renunciation of his spiritual pride and explaining to him that the girl weren't no rhesus monkey or lab rat to be experimenting on but that it took years of regimented training to battle such demons. He later confided to me, 'Rory, just like my ma could tell which raincoat at the store wuz gonna keep the raindrops off her boy best, the Lord gifted me with the discernment to know who got resistance to evil and that's folks who'd seriously asked for remission of sins and didn't just go revertin' back to no good right after and I guess much to his relief I was representative of that. But then he couldn't reimpress upon me enough, his face reddened like a ripened tomato he got so emotional, that he didn't routinely have strangers in harm's way just I was a restive lad who wouldn't listen and he was busy reacting to an emergency.

    Over the years he'd try to set the record straight with the press who he felt romanticized about him too much. They wouldn't retract nothin' and when he'd restate the facts plainly they'd go reword what he just said so he'd stay their rock star. Their old version of things they reprint in the papers, rebroadcast on TV and radio, and nowadays retransmit over the internet just reechoes the myth. Got clippings on my refrigerator say, 'The Redoubtable Father Riley' and 'God's Rainmaker'... yaknow, stuff like that.

    He'd say, 'They all wax rhapsodic about the renegade priest who rooted out a demon and restored a girl to her former self singlehandedly. They do no rechecking so they fail to make reference that you followed me down the runway and onto the stage. They leave out that I'd already visited the family at their shack up on the ridge and had witnessed the girl ransacking the place and confirmed her revolting odor and appearance and suffered an almost ruptured spleen she punched me so hard. They never mention how with due reverence I went to my bishop who quickly reevaluated the case and gave me his blessing. It's a recipe for disaster to fight the demonic realm without this blessing. Why should the fiends relent on their assault when the one commanding is a stubborn refusenik himself, battling foolishly with religiose notions and self-reliance yet essentially rebellious himself in a state of disobedience? The evil ones find it risible that one would confront them with such a reduction in authority and one who tries to reassert dominion over them that way may easily be rent asunder.

    And no matter how often I repeat this it never gets rewritten that I do have a team in place, myself and three men who regularly assist me. Once the bishop's ruling came down we immediately made plans to regroup. The medical doctor had already left his riverfront home nearby to pick up Brother Ronald, the exorcist-in-waiting, at the railway station that night. I had sent the young curate to help rebuild an old church not far away that had fallen into rack and ruin but was soon close to being reopened. Now the doc was forever recautioning the two men to have one last hearty repast before going into their pre-ordeal regimen of prayer and fasting for several days. He told Father Riley, 'I'm bringing Brother Ronald straight to Rossini's Restaurant downtown and sending Rockne Radcliff (the 4th team member) to collect you.' By that time Father Riley figured to have written and reread to his satisfaction his homily for poor Roland Riggleman the overzealous repo man. Requescat in Pace, Amen!"

   Elaborated Rory, "Roland was having his ricotta-filled ravioli with rigatoni on the side at Rossini's one day when he noticed a Buick Roadmaster across the street from his list of vehicles to be retaken. Like some rocketeer with a jet pack off he goes but Blam!...he hadn't seen the roadroller coming through, they wuz doin' some roadwork don'tyaknow."

    Anyway, the doc had reserved a table for four in a private room at Rossini's and ordered the special, roasted ratatouille with rustic rosemary red pepper focaccia on the side along with beef mince rissoles rolled into yummy little balls. They were to have a nice meal and a roundtable discussion over the girl's case before a planned rendezvous with destiny at the ridgeline at the landscaper's house, but of course Reginald, 'a rebarbative fool anticipating a romp on the park' in Father Riley's words, had screwed up the timetable.

    Rory continued, "Now the doc was pretty much restricted to helping if a medical situation arose and wasn't there to assist with the actual removal of the spirits, but big bad Rockne who played for the Washington Redskins as a wide receiver was there for the restraining work like I had done.They say he woulda set records Jerry Rice couldn't a beat if he hadn't gotten hurt. He was a return specialist too yaknow doing runbacks on kickoffs and punts when needed. You rarely run into an athlete as clean-living as Rockne who sure got a ration of crap from his carousing teammates but he sure rated high with Father Riley. One game their QB got hurt so Rockne convinces the coach to reshuffle the lineup and put him at QB, but later on a rollut play he gets hurt bad so the team gets doc, a pioneer in reconstructive knee surgery. It's a long recuperation but doc helps him rebound enough that he rejoins the team the next year and though he never rescales the lofty heights of before, he sure refuted a lot of skeptics who figured his skills would never reemerge at all and had written him off.

    Lucky enough they were remiss in leaving me outta those newspaper reports so I figured it was like Russian roulette hanging around. All I needed was one rumormonger to tell Sheriff Roarke, 'Say hey, mighta seen the dude you gotta reward out fer (a wanted poster was being recirculated everywhere), just mighta rejiggered his appearance some!'...and I'd be facing reimprisonment.

    I just needed a few days to recharge my batteries at Father Riley's and kinda reset my mind right so I wsn't replaying the horror over and over. Just had to reprocess the images and everything and come out with a renewed sense of the power of good over evil. Poor Rex needed the recovery time too...shaken up little puppy had the runs and some kinda rash probably nerves. He'd heard Reginald's voice that day and just went off the rails...popped his head out the backpack all roiled and going roof-roof! like crazy but the durn thing weren't recloseable had a broken ripcord so he seen too much I think. But wuddyaknow, Father Riley musta reminded him of old Roscoe and it seemed to rive his little doggie heart to be leaving. Heart-rending for Father Riley too...they'd become buddies like Batman and I left him there. Kinda funny that I go off same old roaming bumpkin and the dog is all resettled and comfy...


   When I restarted my journey I simply retook the path I had plotted with Roscoe figuring the more miles I racked between me and Sheriff Roarke the better. Along the way I stop at a Ray's Roadside Diner. I order me up a Ray's 'Special Roast Coffee' but it was only warm and had a dull kinda residue on the bottom of the cup looked like sludge runoff. Rather than go ask for a refund  I tell him I'll wait till he brew another pot but he just goes and reheats it all ornery like and says refills are on the house. Yuk! I'm famished though and gotta refuel to keep my motor runnin' so I order up a bacon cheeseburger medium rare, but it comes all burnt and the rashers of bacon are all rubbery. See Father Riley had kindly stuffed a rotisserie chicken sandwich in my bag before I left, but I had reneged on my promise to him to ration myself and had eaten it all up too fast. I was about to tell ray this weren't no way to get a good referral, but ain't he busy setting rattraps and laying out rodent repellent.

    I'm about to reattempt to consume this abomination, but I just gotta glnce quickly rightwards cuz I sense this other dude gawkin' at me and I catch him dead to rights. He's dressed up in full regalia like he's the rincarnation of Merlin or something. Got hisself a cape with all kinda runic symbols on it and whatnot and wearing a turban like some rajah with rhinestones and rubies shining away on it. Figure I'll scare him and say, 'Hey you! Recast your gaze elsewhere before'n I rearrange your face!' Startled, he refocuses his gaze back to his food and putting mustard and relish on his hot dog roll. So I'm there seriously rededicating myself to the resumption of my so-called meal, but I feel this dude reappraising me from afar! Now I'm gonna reintroduce him to my wrath so I roughen up my voice a bit and warn him, 'They'll have a tough time reassembling you once I go Sugar Ray robinson all over you.' he thinks it's a riot and starts chuckling now though I wasn't trying to be Don Rickles or Nipsey Russell for that matter. I'm makin' like I'm rippin' mad but I'm really like 'What's Merlin wanna show me? His
repertoire of magic tricks?...The Indian rope trick? Radium girl? The rising card trick? Pull a rabbit out of  a hat? What?!?

    He finally says, 'I'm Rafael the ambassador from the republic of Ruritania where we have analyzed the royal bloodlines thoroughly and determined that you Rory Rivers are the lawful regent of our land until toddler prince Radu, son of the late King Razvan who died unexpectedly last week, is of age. His long reign was one of resurgent prosperity inwhich he rescaled our out-of-whack budgets and reconsecrated the nation to the long-cherished ideals of peace and fiscal responsibility.  Under him we gradually reattained some of our stature in Europe which had receded a bit under the previous regimes, eventually repassing all our neighbors in GNP. I can tell by observing you that you are not one to retrench and stand pat as his replacement but will guide Ruritania to reassume the glory of its ancient past even more.' Then he shows me an official document saying Rory Rivers is entitled to be ruler of Ruritania my regency to commence immediately.

    I told him I needed a minute to regather my senses before'n I lost the last remnants of my sanity. This information overload got me like a nuclear reactor in meltdown so bad I ain't got no snappy rejoinder with my rapier wit. Wuz he taking me for a rube or I was I heir to a regal throne? But I was like that's as preposterous as a rhinoceros in a flying saucer-ous. Yet Uncle John Ross used to say if you kept retracing our family tree back to its rootstock you'd find noble ancestors from Central Europe around Romania where Ruritania wuz near. Supposedly, one of 'em inspired by the boldness of the Revolutionary War, identified with what my history book calls the  'ressentiment of the frustrated colonists trying to reorganize under a constitution' which they later ratified. A military man, he became advisor to a regiment that did well against the redcoats using his tactics. Apparently he fought at The Battle of Rhode Island and a few others and knowed Paul Revere too and wound up staying here.

    I kindly ask him to redeliver his crazy spiel and reshow me his paperwork and after he redid all that for me I'm thinking there...'Well, those Hollywood movies is replete with plot twists...Rhett leaves Scarlet, Rosebud is a sled, (and how 'bout Fredo gets it in the rowboat but I just added that) maybe here in real life the stars have realigned in my favor and he's legit. Just cuz I done had a run of bad luck lately don't mean the remainder of my life is going to stay retrograde and I can't reorient myself to think positive.' Indeed I had been lucky when I won the grade school raffle when I was little and got me a life-sized replica Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer lawn ornament, framed Norman Rockwell reproductions of  his Rivals and Raleigh the Dog, and a toy robot cooler than any Robby the Robot or R2D2 they come up with later.

    Now I'm still having this brief recess where I'm reweighing the evidence keep rejudging the situation got thoughts revolving all up in my mind. I carefully rewound the tape inmy head and played it back restudying it from when I became Rehoboam and honestly...I hadn't recited my story or divulged a thing re my true identity as Rory to anyone but Roscoe...not Reginald or Father Riley etc. So then it hits me...the mystical Rafael here musta refined some method of divination thank God Sheriff Roarke don't know so I ask him....'Raffi, call me daffy but was you studying the remains of animals or peering into a reflective object like a crystal ball or something to find me?' He says, 'Wise One, I held dowsing rods over a Rand McNally map while retaining a picture you in my mind.' When he hands me my wanted poster  I figure some reconciliation is in order since he wasn't about to turn me in so I refolded it and kindly handed it back to him and admitted, 'Weren't about to go even a round with you especially with that Ray, a sorry excuse for a restauranteur, with a ringside seat probably call the cops and complain. They'd check out the fightin' then get right fishy who I was, reconfirm I was someone they's lookin' fer and forget it. They'd hastily reconvey me back to Ravenscroft where I'd have to get very reaccustomed to life behind bars since once they relocked the doors behind me a second time I'd be resentenced big time.

    Rafael then pulls from his cape countless rubles and rupees (as diplomatic rep he musta recircled the globe quite a few times) and came up with some dimes and quarters. Per his insistence we walked over to the Richfield gas station acrss the street where he says he can redial friends in Washington on the payphone (this was the era before cell phones with rollaway screens and a million ringtones etc.) that he already spoke to and prove everything. Sure enough he hands me the phone and it's Dean Rusk himself who later ran the whole State Dept. He says, 'Rory, Raffi is A-OK. You go to Ruritania. We're confident you'll continue the good relations between us and help them rediscover theor ability to be an economic powerhouse unlike their neighbors retrogressing stuck in recession who keep pursuing recentralization instead of doing free enterprise like Uncle Sam. I'll tlak to the Pres and we'll reverse your conviction and clear up your record. And Rory, you won't ever have any trouble repatriating if you get homesick and seek reentry in the good old USA when little Radu comes of age.' "

    So Rory acquiesced and moved to his rockbound highland castle in Ruritania. Said he, 'It was quite Romanesque but with some rococo flourishes, but I liked it and didn't go on a redecorating binge but got straight to work.


    Incidentally, whatever rifts there had been between the U.S. and Ruritania had long been patched up in a spirit of rapproachement. King Razvan had focused on reindustrialization and pledged to foreign investors that reprivatization was a priority and he wouldn't go renationalizing industries later and kick them out.  So one American company came in to retool some aged factories, another partnered up with an old oil refinrey that needed some revamping, and Razvan impressively regrew the country's economy as more foreign firms in turn built solid reciprocal relationships with Ruritanian ones.

    Rory found success reapplying Razvan's principles and staying focused on economic redevelopment and growth. He considered himself a pragmatist and strove to tweak and reinvoke what Razvan had started rather than go repealing everything and reinventing the wheel. As some policies leaned rightward and some leftward observers would relabel him as rightist or leftist respectively, but Rory was simply adhering to realpolitick and trying to look out for the res publica no just the elite. He observed, 'Weren't like I had to worry about being relected or putting things up for referendum being an absolute monarch like I was. Heck, back home you see desperate guys redistricting for political purposes trying to reapportion the electorate if they see it will help 'em get revoted into office.

    Now expecting total obedience is a reductio ad absurdum as they say since when the Cabinet ministers are worried about being reappointed they don't speak their minds and you just get a retinue of rubber-stampers. I felt the key to good leadership was to keep reutilizing the wisdom of good men so immediately reendorsed Razvan's policy of encouraging opinions without fear of retaliation." Rory explained further, "You see in my Cabinet I had moderate rearguard conservatives then also reformist liberals but all wise men who had risen above the ruck of bureaucrats in my mind. The key was to keep things harmonious enough thet they didn't repolarize into bickering factionsand refreeze into old patterns. It was a constant rebalancing act worthy of a ropedancer, but with patience I kept them from redividing and focused on seeing Ruritania regrasp itsformer glory."

    It hadn't been some sudden readoption or formal reconstitution under a more autocratic model in Ruritania just that gradually they'd revested more decision-making power to bold and capable kings who reconsolidated authority further to overcome gridlock. So Rory could still seek consensus and reconfer with his ministers but could act unilaterally to respark the economy to set things aright.

    Rory made many moves including:

    *Moved to reregulate some out of control banks telling them to stop redlining certain areas (mandating a reaccreditation process every 5 yrs. to enforce it) reasoning that citizens who met lending requirements should be able to mortgage or remortgage their properties.

    *Promoted a ridesharing program offering tax rebates for carpoolers. He just couldn't help stinky Miss Riddleberger who like to bring Roquefort cheese and old fish eggs (caviar roe) to work for lunch.

    *Increased ridership onthe passenger rail service as well by doing necessary repairs to the railroad cars and even adding roomettes to the luxury cars and hiring redcaps since everyone isn't Hercules like Steeve Reeves or Reg Park.

    *Pulled ragamuffin kids off the streets and quickly got them up to remedial or better level in their schooling and found them homes or placed them in the Roscoe Ramsey Rutledge House so they could avoid the treacherous reefs of juvenile delinquency and poverty. The goal was to not reprogram them so they would robotically do what they were told in order to curb recidivistic tendencies but love them enough so they could be reintegrated into mainstream society and reabsorbed smoothly as productive free-thinking young adults. He even reclothed them in clean duds when it became obvious after much washing and rewashing that the old rags were toast.

    *Initiated a revegetation and reforestation program for the rebeautification of barren lands. Had his Agriculture Dept. hard at work refertilizing, reirrigating, and doing whatever else was necessary and even bought them better rototillers to help them reseed. Noted Rory, "We did a full reinspection where we resurveyed and rephotographed the areas and after we reanalyzed everything, we were pleased how everything had regrown and relieved we hadn't rezoned a single acre for buildings.

    *Unhappy with the ratemaking schemes of the utility companies who always seemed to reprice their services upward  on the unfortunate ratepayers, Rory stepped in and ordered a rollback on utility rates to help consumers.

    *Feeling some of his neighbors couldn't be trusted, he refortified the ramparts surrounding the castle and remilitarized a bit by recommissioning some ships and planes and remanning them with fighting men. Felt some rearmament was in order and requisitioned some newer assault rifles for soldiers and beefed up the reservist forces just in case rather than reinstating the draft. Rory declared, "I wasn't about to just retitle land we'd taken away from aggressive neighbors who'd attacked us or wait for a reinvasion from the sore losers. Wasn't sure if they wanted to reannex the territory they'd lost or were greedy enough to try and recolonize some islands we had in the Black Sea. Anyhow, there was no recursion of any incursion so the curse of war luckily did not reinfect us though we were now adequately reprepared for war after all my moves."


    Rory then disclosed, "But turns out there was a small pocket of anarchist rebels hell-bent on regicide I had to be aware of too. Late one afternoon I had a very runny nose so I called on the eminent Dr. Rubinstein downtown who said it sounded like bad rhinitis and come right over. When I arrived he was treating for  touch of rosacea the kindly local rabbi, his brother Reuben, who kept reinsisting I go ahead of him so much that I did. Now the new receptionist, the eerie Miss Ravitch, had told the doctor, 'Oh, I need to stay behind and readdress and remail some letters that came back, do some refiling, remit some payments, and try to reformat the hard drive.' But she had lingered only to lace with deadly ricin the lone Reader's Digest knowing I wouldn't go for the Redbook magazines in the waiting room. So the poor holy man started riffling through the pages meant for me and collapsed and never reawoke. When the diabolical Miss Ravitch revealingly blurted 'Rats! Wrong guy!' we arrested her, but she wouldn't rat out her gang and kept recycling the same old lie she'd acted alone so they did restrike with murderous intent.

    The next time Rafael was driving me in the Rolls Royce state limo over a curvy mountain road near the castle. He worked for me but moonlighted for famed insurer/reinsurer Lloyd's of London utilizing his mystical know-how to retrack things for them and prove fraud. For instance, there was this rip-off artist ship's captain who claimed pirates had taken his vessel the Rochester, but Rafael divined it had merely been sold and reflagged in Rhodesia (since renamed Zimbabwe).

    Anyway, not only was a rainsquall hampering visibility but the old roadbed had potholes and needed some releveling too. Proceeding so slowly made us sitting ducks for the rabble-rousers who initiated a rockslide from above raining down on us an avalanche of boulders hoping the rockfall would crush us or maybe send us over the mountaintop plummeting into the ravine below. The man to pull us out of the rubble (thankfully unhurt) was a friendly Redemptorist monk named Brother Roderick who later explained, "My order is in Rome but I walk out of my refectory one day and there's the pope himself--he's humbly feeding rootlets and grass to a stray roe deer whose lost its mother--who says, 'You did such a great job rebacking and recasing those old books from my reliquary that I'm sending you to the St. Romulus Church in Ruritania to help them do more of that and perhaps rebind some ancient texts stored there, priceless originals not copies or recopies mind you, to be rehoused here in the Vatican later. So I came and today a voice from above I kept dismissing, more persistent than any robocall, kept reurging me to pray for your safety. When I glanced up at the roofline of the St. Romulus Church I swore I saw an angel so rather than get reinvolved in the books, I prayed and kept reasking the Lord if some evil folks were replotting to harm you and if so may they fail." Rafael later marveled, "Boss, I've reverified the timeline over and over and it'a a miracle. Our car went into reverseon its own accord and went zigzagging to dodge the rocks precisely when Brother Roderick was praying for us!"


    So I survived obviously but that was a reminder or my mortality so i stepped up my efforts teaching and reteaching young Radu all about the rough and tumble world of politics should I perish while this excellent old schoolmaster I found in Rotterdam named Rutger taught him his schoolwork and social graces. He said he was a descendant of Rembrandt and when I asked him to do the Dutchman's famous Boaz and Ruth he said he could replicate it but came up with folks two folks who bore an uncanny resemblance to Ricky and Lucy but at least he tried. Annway, he was a benign influence mor like say the Reginald Johnston (or R.J.) character in The Last Emperor than the evel rasputin, svengali advisor to the Romanovs. Finally one day I said to Rutger, 'I believe our Radu has become quite the well-rounded Renaissance man whose time has come to rule the roost.' Rutger concurred he had grown to be a man of intelligence and refinement who wouldn't go immaturely rescinding his predecessor's edicts just to show who was boss, thus reaffirming my hunch."

    That evening Rory held a dinner at the reception room of the castle and summoned Radu, Rutger, and his Cabinet.  After a wonderful dinner of a rich roux-based brocolli soup for an appetizer, then a choice of rack of lamb, Welsh rarebit, or ragout stew for an entree (all with rice pilav on the side), a fine rose or Reisling wine for a beverage, and for dessert an exquisite raspberry ripple roulade with prized Rooibos red bush tea, Rory announced his intentions. He said, "Young Radu, Ruritanian law stresses you be of age to be king, a number that can be redefined up or down depending on whether the king redetermines the successor as precocious or in need of retraining and more seasoning and though you are a bit below the offiical age I am confident of you readiness and declare you king!" Radu  then declared, "I am humbled to be the recipient of such faith and trust and since I know the utmost reflection went into your decision, I accept!'

    Rory produly stated to me. "They just recently had a symposium at nearby Rice University on Ruritania studying how we repositioned it to thrive while our neighbors are essentially in receivership they reborrowed so much to stay afloat. They invited historians from Rutgers, Regis, Roanoke, and elsewhere to participate and their formal conclusion was, 'No matter what judging rubric we use, the general consensus is that Radu has not simply reapproached Rory's benchmarks but exceeded them as he continued to reorchestrate Ruritania's reascent to prominence.'


    Now that Ruritania was in good hands with somebody else, Rory knew it was time to rekindle an old romance back in Richardson with his beloved Rosalind, his swettheart since childhood. Said he, "I'd heard she was divorced but wasn't about to retie the knot with her ex sice there were a lot of recriminations going back and forth I guess. But I felt if we could just reunite, then with just one look we could restir the passion and if she remarried one would be with me."

    Rory, who was an only child, loved to go to Rosalind's to play relievio, ring around the rosy, red rover, and ringtoss with her and her many siblings. And reticent raven-haired Rosalind with the cute little ringlets and that roseate glow of innocence about her well, it was nowonder Rory had a crush on her. He elaborated, "During our school years we'd go off to a quiet shady rill where she'd keep retesting me until I correctly respelled all the assigned vocab words. Later we'd lie there recumbent for hours looking at cloud patterns...I'd see a rhino, she'd see a devil ray...I'd spot a guy pulling a rickshaw, she'd spot a fellow operating a railcar... man what fun! Her pa would take give us each rod and reel and take us fishing to different spots where we'd catch rainbow trout, redfin pickerel, redbreast sunfish, maybe even a rock bass! And oh yeah, when the math got too tough she retaught me square roots and radiuses and rhombuses (radii and rhombi for you cognoscenti) till I was better than Rene Descartes."

   Harkening back more Rory continued, "When I was older I took her to the Rexall's where we'd share a large lime rickey. As we sipped I would feel she radiated perfection in my eyes, a natural beauty with no makeup or even rouge. All women since have been crude roughcast versions of a masterpiece, even runway fashion models. They go having rhinoplasty on their noses, reshaping their bodies and everything else surgically, and then their photos get retouched, recolored, and enhanced anyway. Heck, back in Ruritania Rafael introduced me to his stunner of a sister Regina, looked like a cross between Raquel Welch and Rachel Weisz, and if I married her woulda been called Regina Regina (!) but I just couldn't repicture myself with anyone else so I didn't pursue.

    I called the U.S. and they readmitted me back no problem as promised and it was touching reembracing all my family members i hadn't seen in so long. I went to where they said rosalind lived and smelled fragrant resin and heard a hypnotic Ravi Shankar raga playing and saw a sign that said 'Rosalind's Reiki-Heal and Resynthesize Your Mind and Body' but anyway, when I seen those rivulets of tears a-runnin' down her cheeks when she answered the door, I knew my love was to be requited. Now before I took off to uncle John Ross I had brought Rosalind to The Rotunda, an adorable little round redbrick cafe nearby. I told her, 'Darling, you wrote the book on beauty and grace and I've had recurring dreams we'll eventually be husband and wife, but I gotta ramble and see the world a while.' Now I don't have full retention of what she said because I became so emotinal, but I'll recap and say she understood. But then I got throwed into ratty old Ravenscroft and though every Romeo knew we'd been an item, they considered her reeligible at this point.

    Her pa said, 'Rory done run afoul of the low and got locked up so you gotta readjust now before'n your an old maid and now I done some reconnoitering about town and found you a good feller.' He had brought his dark thick rim Ray Bans (think Roy Orbison) to the eye doctor to have him regrind the lenses and liked the guy. Rosalind couldn't muster much of a convincing rebuttal so wound up marrying the guy who reground her dad's lenses. Though he was an optometrist, he couldn't cure his roving eye, and it was one reoccurrence of infidelity after another. One day she noticed the reefer was overflowing with produce and thought, 'I know he wants more roughage and riboflavin in his diet but this is ridiculous.' So she followed him one day to the rialto section and saw that the pushcart lady was giving him more than radishes, radicchio, rutabaga, rhubarb, and romaine lettuce. She concluded, 'I kept retrying to patch things up but there was no rewiring this Lothario's brain. He just kept relapsing into his regressive behavior so we split up.'

    She then found work as a secretary for the House of Rocco, a clothing designer cuz man she was a wiz on that old Remington and never had to retype nuttin', but she wanted to be reassigned to designing and kept resubmitting her request for promotion to the human resources manager who'd hired her. He'd pass her over with numbing regularity, but she pestered him so much he said, 'I'm tired of refighting this same battle with you so OK, I'll reinterview you right here on the spot.' He quickly brings in the CEO, a guy who'd worked with Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren and they go asking her how she'd redesign this or that and agreed they'd overlooked a diamond in the rough based on her answers. They asked her to restyle their dormant resortwear line with her keen eye, and she came up with a sundress in breathable rayon with a rollneck top and raglan sleeves among other things. When they relaunched the line reorders came rolling in. She reinjected new life into the kids division when her baby rompers with rickrack detail were a hit too regilding their rep as trendsetters further. I mean before this the vendors wanted to reship the slow-moving pre-Rosalind clothing back to Rocco, but when they couldn't get the return goods authorization were retagging the stuff at steep discounts.

    The hours and pressure of the job had her so run down however, she had a rollover in her little roadster one day when she blacked out. The radiologist who did the x-rays said, 'You look like you've been through a rugby match but amazingly you have just a few bruised ribs.' She decided not to recommit to the rat race and took courses to get herself reeducated and reskilled at reiki massage then refinanced her home to start her own business. She found a rental agent who got her a spot using half the local realtor's building but when he wanted to expand his office and wouldn't relet, she reconfigured her basement and set up shop right at home. By the way for music she also had Ravel and Rachmaninoff for some classical, then Sun Ra and Max Roach for jazz, and even some reggae from Bob and Rita Marley, but how that stuff is all more relaxing than good ole Jimmie Rodgers and Jim Reeves and Marty Robbins and Hank I'll never know but whatever....

    She was amazed I left Ruritania but I told her I weren't able to experience heartbreak redux and find out she had recrossed that bridge and got rehitched to someone other than me. I said, 'Look, I had to apply the retrorockets and decelerate and reformulate what was important and that was you...who remelts my heart every glance." So Rosalind and I were soon reengaged ( I had after all given her a ring from a box of Raisin Bran when we were little) and married and even had a romantic honeymoon at Mt. Rushmore! By the way Ruritania does show good royalty to ex-royalty and provides a pension that well...let's just say I won't be living offa Ralston Purina Puppy Chow or ramen noodles on top of rice-a-roni any time soon.

    Texans at heart we weren't going to Ruritania despite Radu begging me and besides, as word of the restorative powers of her rejuvenating reiki massage spread, she was quickly reburied in her work prompting me to annoint myself her home repairman to keep busy. I reshingled the house, repointed the masonry, restained and revarnished the floors and deck, refinished some old furniture, washed and rehung the curtains and drapes, and even reupholstered the sofa and chairs! Sensing I needed to get outta the house Rosalind said, 'Rory, you need something to refire your imagination and reboot your mojo. See my crazy brother Randy and his rockabilly band since they could use you as manager especially on the road.'


    These boys known as Randy and the Robins had made some truly exciting recordings for RCA and had started to see decent record sales, but it seemed as though their lawyer was trying to get his hands on the residuals. I took control and made sure they didn't sign over the rights to the songs, fired the creep, and to this day the lucrative royalties go to them. They had a ragbag of influences, mainly rock 'n roll pioneers Little Richard and Chuck Berry, but if you listen you can pick up some ragtime here and even a Scottish reel there, a whole potpourri actually. Randy had a unique twang and reverb sound partly he said cuz he didn't know how to retune or restring his Rickenbacker guitar properly!"

     His band was no ragtag bunch but a razor sharp outfit, his three pals (rhythm and bass guitar and drums) who worshipped Randy their ringleader, rounding out the original quartet. Later, transcending racial barriers, they added a black sax player, an amazing fellow who hailed from Rwanda originally named Rakim, who was a bit Sonny Rollins then a bit Boots Randolph but then part innovative genius with his own arresting riffs and memorable refrains.

    Rory spoke bemusedly, "I met them in a studio where they painstakingly mixed and remixed their material spending hours recombining the audio tracks even rerecording certain parts if necessary with like no breaks for rec time whatsoever. But once they left those confines they were rockers off their rockers. First night out rakim and I go to fetch them at their room at the Regatta Inn to rewaken them but fine 'em zonked out on roofies and Rolling rock with roach clips littered all over the floor- a scene right out of a rockumentary or somethin'. Of course while the out-of-it zombies get reanimated guess who gotta do the work? In fact it was always Rakim and I unloading and reloading the big moving rigs, reerecting the soundstage, packing and repacking the gear etc. while the four clowns regained their senses.

    We simply couldn't keep the hangers-on from resupplying them and do all the work too so after a month of this we hauled 'em off to a rehabilitation clinic and canceled the remaining shows. The jilted club owners demanded restitution and even threatened to seek redress in court so instead we rebooked the quickly formed funk and r&b ensemble Rakim and the Rooks!...a band made up of guys the well-traveled reedman knew who'd played with Rose Royce and behind Otis Redding and Lou Rawls."

    At the clinic the boys relearned well enough how to live without  chemical dependency that there was no sad reversion to insobriety. In fact when they left weeks later, Randy found his songwriting talent had recrystallized, and with his newly reacquired muse wrote a fresh batch of tunes then reenlisted the help of his mates to record them. Once they each convinced Rakim of their personal reformation the band's reformation was complete too! They were able to re-up with an intrigued RCA who reauthorized a sizeable reinvestment in Randy and the Robins for the "Reunification" album which sizzled from its opening drum roll to the final rimshot. The label kept trying to refloat the idea that the best way to refloat their sunken ship of a band was to rewrap and remarket them as progressive and change their sound and perhaps remodify it even more the next time after that, but Randy countered, "You won't repackage us and resell us as anything different." The old rootsy approach worked as the album garnered widespread reacceptance by the fan base which actually expanded since rap rhymesters Run-D.M.C. appeared on one track and Rolling Stones axeman Keith Richard lent a hand on another. To capitalize on the new album's success the label asked Randy to remaster the old tracks and recut a few old unused demos for a rerelease of their debut and the resultant smoking reissue (no mere rehash) sold well also as their reconquest of the charts continued.


   Rory disclosed, "The guys begged me to reprise my role as manager but I had become reinterested in sports competition, not rodeoing again but playing baseball but lemme explain!...Now Rosalind was still plenty busy with her regenerative reiki treatments so to keep busy at first I did do some replanting in the garden and repotted the house plants. I pulled up the rugs and restretched 'em to smooth out the rucks and wrinkles and reinstalled them. I went and bought a precision router which could do roundover, rabbet, and Roman cuts etc. and used it to help me reface the cabinets and reframe our repro paintings of Renoir and Rubens. I reglazed the windows and repapered the walls but then there weren't much left to do around the house. So I was getting a bit rotund sitting around eating Ring-Dings, Reese's peanut butter cups, Rolos, fried pork rinds, and those Ruffles with the ridges while watching plenty of reruns of The Rifleman and Rin Tin Tin though I was pissed they didn't show Rawhide with Rowdy Yates more often. Heck, the poor guy at McDonalds kept havin' to remount his ladder to renumber the burgers served whenever I drove off! It got so that I had to get my tummy remeasured and my clothes refitted so I knew it was time to reincorporate exercise into my lifestyle an hit the gym and stop seeking refuge in food and TV.

    I did all kinda reps and got ripped with rockhard abs, but the gym was run down and needed to be reequipped. Soon the rowing machine which was reconditioned anyway broke down and when thry didn't refurbish it I wuz, i'll just go run track by the ballfield and keep retiming myself till I can do an under four minute mile like Roger Bannister and Jim Ryun.

    So I'm there by the railing stretching when a guy waering a baseball cap with a redbird logo comes up and says, 'Hi! I'm Reed Reynolds and I'm a-scouting for the Cardinals, and they say they have a kid here can hit Babe Ruthian clouts that are off the Richter scale with natural power no 'roids but I need you help. Now in my day I was a champion bicycle rider on my trusty Raleigh. An adventurer too, I reexplored the Andes like Sir Walter Raleigh looking for El Dorado, but now the blasted adult rickets got my bones aching so much even radiotherapy don't help. Here's a nice Rawlings glove, a ball, and a rosin bag...can you pitch to him for me?'

    At that time I had never played much ball but I knowed it wuz based on rounders a British game and that Jackie Robinson, with Branch Rickey's help, desegregated the sport, and that well, no durn racists could ever resegregate it after that so everyone got a chance. I liked that they hadn't razed old relic Fenway Park and the Red Sox still play there.

    So Reed grabbed his catcher's mitt- ('Got this signed by Roy Campanella and Johnny Roseboro' he beamed)- and set himself enough back so the forward and rearward motion of the swing wouldn't deck him. The youth explained he'd just gotten over rubeola (or maybe it was rubella) which may explain why he managed only a few routine grounders prompting Reed to say, 'Okay kiddo, the computer readouts they sent me say you're Roger Maris but my eyes tell me you're Rebecca form Sunnybrook Farm, so I say you call me and reschedule when you're feeling better and then I'm sure you'll rescore better with me when we reconvene. We're definitely restocking our farm system but we don't aim to be repeopling it with reclamation projects and retreads but true prospects like you.'

    After the kid left Reed turned to me and said, 'Loud as reveille all up in my brain somethin's tellin' me you're a rara avis as they say, a unique bird, so rear back and air it out for me now. Well I put on a riflery exhibition there where I'd just lock and reload for each pitch and zing it up there right where he wanted it each time like I had a telescopic riflescope. Finally he stopped me and asserted, 'Yaknow I'm a gambler and love my gin rummy and racetrack betting and I'd take a flier on you! Son, you the most fearsome righty I seen since Robin Roberts of the Phils!' I mentioned I still had the '51 Berk Ross baseball card of him somewhere, an original and not a reprint, so pretty good resale value and that I never resold it figuring I'd get seller's remorse and just want to rebuy it...but he was too excited for my repartee and shouted, 'Look, I was the guy done signed Rip Repulski and Ken Reitz and many others for the Cards and told them dummies not to pass on Cal Ripken and I want you! We've done some rebudgeting lately and reallocated serious funds to bonus money and salary. It's all in clear roman type on the paper attached to my card, but give me your info for my Rolodex too please. Let's have a handshake agreement but I'll give you the right of recission if you talk to your family and wanna redecide.'

    We shook and exchanged info and I went and recapitulated the whole wacky story to Rosalind who opined, 'I bet you can remake yourself into a ballplayer and reduplicate the success you've had elsewhere so Go For It!' So we invited him over and he quickly gushed, 'A man of high ranking, king of Ruritania huh? Don't wanna reinflate your ego but the club restructured your deal when they figured that out since they now figure they can readvertise playing that angle up and repopulate the stands with intrigued fans. They're certain they can recoup a bigger reallotment to you since you'll bring in stronger gate receipts.' I cracked 'Given my pedigree maybe I should talk to the KC Royals. I always liked Cookie Rojas and you could always rebid on me afterwards... just kidding.' He shot back, 'Enough of your witty riposte wise guy. Sign this before I reline my ringneck parakeet's birdcage with it.'

    I signed and they started me at the lowest rung of the minors A ball, but since I was so consistently ringing up K's while boasting a microscopic earned run average and an awesome strikeout to walk ratio, I rose fast to AA then AAA in my rookie season. Opposing batters would pray for a rainout when I was pitching and say they'd reaggravated an old injury or invent a one day virus or rhinovirus or something and beg off only to ask to be reinserted into the lineup the next day. When the umps started to redraw the strike zone, resizing it much smaller on me to aid hitters, the Cards new it was time to redeploy me to the majors. But then I developed soreness the postgame rubdowns couldn't cure and they sent me for radiography which showed a torn rotator cuff and a bunch of other stuff.

    Had all kinda treatments and surgeries but when the doctors reexamined me they just couldn't recertify I was able to pitch and told the club not to reactivate me. They thoughta makin' me a position player then reconverting me back to pitcher when I was able but I didn't have the range of motion to be reusable anywhere else. I''d get close and be throwing well but then the pain would reescalate and when I'd work at it again and restage another comeback, same thing would happen. They even thought of using me as a pinch-runner but not only was I no Rickey Henderson, the line at the Registry of Motor Vehicles moved faster'n me. Then Rosalind took sick and the restoration of her health was top priority so I restruck a deal with the team allowing us to part ways.


    I prayed she'd prove renascent and be like new but I lost her to renal failure pretty quickly even though I flew in world-renowned doctors from Reykjvaik, Rio de Janiero, and Riga to help top Amercian ones but to no avail. Repeatedly I kept trying to renegotiate with God to keep her here, but ain't like everything's a Rubik's Cube or rebus puzzle got a solution you can just look up. I guess I'll just have to try not to let my heart reharden every time I think about it and just requestion God in the hereafter."

    At this point Rory summed it up..."Well Misakman, I hope I overcame any repression I mighta had and came out with everything and haven't gone and rescripted the traumatic stuff and redrew a prettier picture just to cope. If I was able to retroactively live things over, maybe I'd a redone a few things different but certainly wouldn't a reselected anyone besides my Rosalind to be my gal. Weren't easy remapping the roundabout route I've taken from Richardson all over the place and back but it's been a rewarding experience and we finally done."


    I told him, "My friend, I repromise you I won't go reweaving your saga, Rory Rivers-The Authoized Bio, and will tell it straight and stick to merely rephrasing this and that to make it plainer. If I do that I'm sure it'll be a retail sensation and be reprinted, republished, and retranslated many times over,"......and indeed it has!


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