Monday, December 23, 2013

A Dream of Christmas

A Dream for Christmas

Once upon a time there were two young cousins named Molly and Hudson, and their dog, a beagle named Daisy.

One day they were playing in the backyard as snow fell around them. They wore their warmest coats, green for Hudson and purple for Molly.

On this day they were joined by their friends Stephen the Gnome and Amelia the Fairy both as high as Molly‘s knees. Stephen wore is fancy hat with the feather in it and a red and white scarf. Amelia wore a fancy pink coat, which matched her wings, with fluffy white fur around the wrists, neck, and wing slots.

The five friends ran and played, building snowmen, winter forts, and riding sleds. They drank cups of hot chocolate and ate bright shinny fruits, and a big bowl of water for Daisy.

As the day grew late and sky got dark Amelia saw Molly wave to a little boy sitting at a window.

“Who’s that?” asked Amelia.

“That’s Morgan,” answered Molly, “He’s been sick.”

“That’s a shame,” said Stephen. “But he will get better soon.”

“Not soon enough,” said Hudson.

“What do you mean?” Asked Amelia?

“His mommy was going to take him to see Santa today,” said Molly.

“But because he’s sick, he can’t go now,” said Hudson.

“Woof,” said Daisy.

Stephen gasped, since gnomes speak perfect dog, “He hasn’t told Santa what he wants for Christmas. Are you sure daisy?”

“Woof.” answered Daisy.

“Oh no,” said Stephen.

“That’s terrible,” said Amelia.

“I wish there was something we could do,” said Molly, who was very kind.

“I wish we could call Santa,” said Hudson, who is very clever.

“Woof,” said Daisy, who is very loyal.

Stephen became very excited. “Daisy that just might work.” Stephen grabbed Amelia’s wrist, “Come, we have much to do if we should be ready in time.” Stephen and Amelia waved to their three friends and ran off into the enchanted woods behind the house.

*  *  *

That night, Hudson and Daisy were sleeping over at Molly’s house. They had gotten pizza for dinner and watched their favorite cartoons. Though all through the night they wondered where their friends had gone off in such a hurry.

After a long day of playing outside, they were tired and fell asleep as soon as their heads touched the pillows.

That night the three friends dreamed. In their dreams they saw wonders: skies filled with rainbows, pirate ships and forgotten islands, mighty princesses and their valiant quests, and large bones buried beneath the earth.

As they dreamed they saw a shadow approach from inside a field of beautiful wildflowers. It was Amelia and when she saw them she became excited and cried out, “I found them! There over here!”

A moment later three more people joined them in the field. The first was Stephen who burrowed up from the ground on the back of a mole. He jumped off and thanked the mole for its help. It squeaked and went back into its hole.

The second was a tall man with a plump belly and a fancy beard in multi-colored pajamas. They were covered in shapes and pictures that flowed and moved. They constantly changed from dinosaurs to motorcycles to ponies to unicorns. He carried a heavy pillow case full of sand.

The forth was a slender fairy as tall as Molly. She wore pretty pink dress that shimmered and glowed. Sparkling wings fluttered behind her and with each flap they changed color, first red then orange then yellow then green, blue, purple, and back to red. Little bubbles danced in the air around her, like balls of sparkling light.

Stephen and Amelia began dancing in a circle with cries of, “it worked. It worked. Hooray.”

“Woof,” barked Daisy.

Stephen and Amelia stopped dancing and faced the three. “Of course, you’re right Daisy, we have little time,” said Stephen.

“Who are your friends?” asked Hudson, who is very curious.

“Hello,” said Molly to the newcomers, because she is very polite.

“Yes, we must make introductions,” said Amelia.

“Certainly,” said Stephen. He removed his hat and bowed to Molly, Hudson, and Daisy, “allow me to introduce the Sandman,” Stephen once again bowed, this time with a grand flourish, “bringer of sleep and dreams.”

The Sandman smiled at the children and said, “You may call me Kevin.”

“Hello,” said Hudson, reaching out and shaking Kevin’s hand.

“Woof,” said Daisy, offering a paw to shake Kevin‘s hand.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Molly giving a slight curtsy.

Amelia giggled and whispered to Stephen, “I taught her that.” She then turned to the fairy that was with them. Amelia then clapped her hands together and separated them streaming a long rainbow that stretched out over the fairy. Amelia then said, “This is the Sugarplum Fairy, she guides children through dreams and away from nightmares.”

The Sugarplum Fairy curtseyed, “You may call me Terri.”

“Woof,” said Daisy, lowering her front legs and bowing her head.

“Charmed,” said Molly returning the curtsy.

“Hello,” said Hudson, taking the Terri’s hand and kissing her knuckle.

Stephen leaned to Amelia, “I taught him that.”

Amelia sighed.

“Well,” said Kevin, “we have a busy night ahead, and must hurry if we are to complete our task.”

“What are we doing?” asked Hudson.

“We’re taking Morgan to see Santa Claus,” said Amelia.

“How?” asked Molly.

“The only way you can get there,” said Stephen, “in dreams. First, we must find Morgan. Do you think you can find him Daisy?”

“Woof,” said Daisy, who had an excellent sense of smell. Daisy sniffed the air and off she ran. Daisy stopped every so often, looked back, and barked while everyone caught up.

“Yes,” said Stephen at one break, “we are slower then you, but you must remember we only have two legs.”

After that Daisy ran slower and everyone else was able to keep up with her. It wasn’t long before they found Morgan battling evil troopers in space using a sword made of light.

They quickly explained where they were going and who everyone was. When they were all friends, Kevin asked everyone to join hands and nodded to Terri. Terri waved her wand and bright sparkling bubbles flowed out of the tip. The bubbles floated and bounced about the group. When one touched someone it popped leaving the sweet smell of sugarplums.

More and more bubbles flowed out of the wands tip and surrounded the group some began to flow beneath their feet. As more bubbles gathered everyone began to rise up off the ground and soon they were off, flying over the land and headed towards the North Pole.

They passed over sprawling cities with twinkling lights and ancient forests with snowcapped trees. Soon the land went away and only the sea was left. They saw whales and dolphins and sea monsters as big as houses.

They flew over islands filled with pirates and Indians, dinosaurs and explorers, dragons and knights.

Soon the horizon was filled with bright lights flowing through the sky. The ocean turned to ice and they saw polar bears and penguins and seals. As they grew closer to the North Pole they saw forests made of peppermint trees. They saw the fields of the cookie farms where cookies grew on chocolate chip vines and oatmeal raisin trees.

Then they saw it. The workshop they had all dreamed of. Tall spires wound with lights, massive arches hanging with wreaths, and a rooftop runway.

The group landed on the runway where they were immediately surrounded by elves. Each one a few inches taller than Molly, Hudson, and Morgan. The elves all wore greens and reds and had pointy hats with bobbles on the end, their long slender ears sticking out of the sides. The elves brought them hot chocolate and cookies, and wrapped blankets around them.

Kevin knelt down and spoke quietly with one of the elves, and they pointed at the group and gestured towards the workshop. After a few moments the elf exclaimed, “He hasn’t told him what he wants?”

Kevin shook his head and the elf ran towards Morgan. He took Morgan’s hand, “Hello Morgan, my name is Shawn. If you would follow me please?” Shawn led Morgan away and the rest of the group followed. They entered a door and went across walkway. From there they could see the entire workshop; it was filled with every color of wrapping paper, miles of ribbons, mountains of bows, and colorful tissue paper mounds. Elves ran from section to section putting the finishing touches on toys and presents.

They group hustled past the room into a large stable filled with reindeer. Each reindeer stood in its own paddock, filled with everything a reindeer could need. They had all the carrots they could eat, piles of straw and hay to keep them warm, cable TV to watch all their favorite shows.

After that they entered a long hall way filled with letters, postcards, and computers with email, tweets, and video messages showing what different children wanted for Christmas. Busy elves read letters, double checked delivery instructions, and made last minute corrections.

They entered another room with dark eyed somber elves sitting in front of rows of monitors showing children around the world. Some were playing, some were asleep. There were children at school and home. A cry went out, “We have broken dishes in Colorado.”

Another elf shouted, “Put it on the main screen.”

Everyone grew quiet and Shawn stopped moving to watch. Molly began to ask a question when Terri quietly said, “shhh.”

A large view screen on the wall lit up showing a little girl standing next to a broken plate. A woman’s voice could be heard from the next room, “Mary is everything okay?”

The elves all leaned forward waiting for the little girls reply. “I broke a dish Mommy. I’m sorry.”

The woman entered the room, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, Mommy, but I broke the plate.”

“We can get more plates.”

The two of them hugged and then they both started cleaning up the pieces of plate. The head elf cried out, “We have a sincerer apology. She stays on the Nice List.” The elves cheered, and pieces of paper were thrown into the air.

Hudson tugged on Kevin’s pant leg, “Aren’t the papers going to be out of order now?”

Kevin shook his head, “No. Those are the throwing papers, for when something good happens.”

Shawn quickly moved everyone along, a wide smile on his face.

They moved through more halls and more rooms. They finally found their way to a long grey hallway with dirty white carpet. At the end of the hall was an old wood door, faded by the years. Shawn walked to the door and knocked gently.

“Come in Shawn, and bring your friends,” called a voice from behind the door.

Shawn opened the door and the group entered. The room beyond was bright and warm, red and green furniture was laid out about the room. The walls were decked in multi-colored lights blinking in time to the happy sound of Christmas Carols. A trio of elves tended to plates of cookies, mugs of hot chocolate, and a fancy shinning digital camera. Smiles winked across their faces as the children entered the room. In the center of shinny festive Yule greetings, atop a small platform for all to see, sat a frozen throne, carved of ice and filled with a welcoming glow. Resting upon a pair of thrones, cloaked in crimson cloth and trimmed in cloud like fur sat Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Laughed Santa as he looked down at the children and smiled. “Hello Molly.”

“Hello Santa,” said Molly.

“Hello Hudson,” said Santa.

“Hello Santa,” said Hudson.

“Hello Daisy,” said Santa.

“Woof,” said Daisy.

“Hello Morgan,” said Santa, “I understand you have something you need to tell me.”

Morgan smiled, “Hello Santa.”

Santa reached down and lifted Morgan up and placed him on his knee. “Tell me Morgan, have you been a good boy this year?”

“Yes,” said Morgan.

“Do you help your Mommy and Daddy around the house?”

“Yes,” said Morgan.

“That’s good. Why don’t you tell me what you’d like to get for Christmas?”

Morgan spoke softly as he told Santa what he wanted for Christmas. When he was done Santa hugged him and one of the elves took their picture. Santa lifted Morgan to the ground and when he stood next to Molly and Hudson they both cheered and hugged him.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Laughed Santa. “Is there anything else?”

“Woof,” said Daisy.

“That’s right, I haven’t heard from you either,” said Santa.

Daisy jumped up on Santa’s lap and woofed at Santa. When she was done the elf took their picture and Daisy jumped back to the ground. “Woof,” said Daisy.

Santa smiled at the children, “well, as you may know I have a very busy night. So I’m afraid it’s time for you all to wake up.” Ho. Ho. Ho.

*  *  *

A few days later the friends woke up on Christmas morning. Each found the thing they wanted most under the tree. Everything they asked for. Molly got a Princess, Hudson got giants, Morgan got a saber made of light, Daisy got a big chew toy, Amelia got paint brushes, and Stephen got a new hat with an even fancier feather.  Finally, after all was done, two pictures were found on the trees of their homes, one each of Daisy and Morgan with Santa Claus, and to this day none of the friends has told where they came from.

And now I say to you as has been said to me, Merry Christmas, good night, and may you have wonderful dreams.

The End

Well folks, as I said last year, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Festive Kwanzaa, and to any one I missed I am deeply sorry and all I can say is Happy Holidays.  Be well, sleep long, and enjoy a good tickle.

If you wish to see more of my holiday stories click here to read the first one.  Tell me what you and your little ones think, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter, or leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 17

The last week has been odd, we’ve not stayed anywhere more than two nights. We switch cars as often as possible. We try to use cash whenever possible. We using a series of internet café’s and dead drops to communicate with family and friends. Even I’m not sure where we are anymore.

Last night we drove from our hotel sometime after midnight. I think we may have left Ohio, or maybe not. In all my travels I have learned that the Midwest looks surprisingly similar no matter which part you are in.

There is some good news, I spoke at length with Jeeves, the Nussbaum family butler. He served with my grandfather during World War II. We spent some time telling each other stories about him.

In all of this, in all our precautions we were still attacked by two men just yesterday. Jeeves dispatched them, but we still are unsure how they found us. Jeeves has told us that getting supplies will be a bit of a hardship, since he’s unsure of how secure the families usual contacts are.

We sat talking for a long moment and finally narrowed it down to a few things we would need. Keith joked, “So all we need is: lawyers, guns, and money.”

Which gave Mark a rather good idea. I’ll not say what here, as we’re no longer certain who is reading. Hopefully, Marks idea will work.

If I never post this and someone finds it. Whoever you are, I ask you a favor, please tell my family I love them. Tell them I’m sorry.

To Stephen Mayne,

I hope these messages are reaching you. I hope they’re reaching someone.

We have hiked through the jungle for the past few days. The trip has been harsh and unforgiving. We’ve crossed rivers, climbed a small mountain, and faced wild beasts in the night. A few days ago a search plane started doing circles over our area. We haven’t tried to signal it, because we simply do not know who is flying the damn thing.

Perhaps we’re just stricken with paranoia, but I fear it may simply just be caution.

A few days ago we had a small amount of luck. We found a outpost manned by smugglers. We’ve watched them since then and seen no amount of unsavory dealings: drugs, guns, and this morning they brought in children.

We’ve decide we can wait no longer. We’re going in. This may be the last time I ever contact you. If it is, thank you for all you’ve done.

God help us.
Your friend
J.P. Nussbaum

Let me know what you think, I'm always interested in the opinions of the reader, good or bad. You can either leave a comment below or on facebook. You can also follow me on twitter.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 16

I’m afraid. The wheels have fallen off and we’ve jumped the rails. There is no longer any doubt our lives are in danger. With everything that’s been happening I was worried that we were in over our heads, and now…I’m worried I won’t see tomorrow. Yesterday everything came to a head.

This week was mostly quiet, nothing out of the ordinary had happened until yesterday afternoon. I was at home when the door burst in and, let’s say, a more experienced English gentleman entered. He was cracked and scarred, dressed all in black. He had a damp patch on his side, I would later learn was blood, his blood. He carried a sig in one hand and a bloody knife in the other. He yelled at me to grab what I needed and get moving.

I was stunned at first. I wasn’t sure what to do. He yelled again, and Started grabbing some things from my desk. He told me we didn’t have much time and we needed to get moving. I just started following him, I’m not sure why. I think it was because he exuded so much confidence and control. I grabbed a few things, some clothes and my laptop. I started to pick up my cell phone and he grabbed it from me and smashed it against the wall.

When we ran outside there were a dozen men, dead men, on my lawn. I was hustled into a van, and we left for safer places. We spent the rest of the day gathering my friends and our families. Our families were moved to safer places, scattered for their own protection, even I don’t know where they are. The lot of us: myself, Keith, Mike, Mark, and Jeeves, the mysterious gentleman, are headed out of town. We’re driving now, as I write this. I’ll post it as soon as we get near an internet hub. If I get a chance.

If I never post this and someone finds it. Whoever you are, I ask you a favor, please tell my family I love them. Tell them I’m sorry.

To Stephen Mayne,

I’ll be fast, we’re lost. We hired a small dual engine and flew for Spain. The pilot, betrayed us. I’m not sure when or how he was hired, but as we slept he changed course. We didn’t know, and at some point the bailed out of the plane. I was woken by Beth, shaking everyone. We weren’t sure how long the pilot had been gone.

We were low on fuel and flying over a jungle. Christina managed to land the plane on fumes and prayers. Thankfully, she had spent five months flying with the Blue Angels in the States. We’re down now and trying to find a way home. Our satellite phone isn’t receiving, I’m not even sure it’s transmitting at this point. Our GPS is shot, we can’t call for help, and have very little idea of where we are.

I’m attempting to transmit this in hopes you get it.

God help us.

Your friend
J.P. Nussbaum

Let me know what you think, I'm always interested in the opinions of the reader, good or bad. You can either leave a comment below or on facebook. You can also follow me on twitter.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 15

Someone shot at Mike this week. He’s fine, before anyone worries. He was driving home from work and traffic was awful. Most people had started going home early for the holiday and he was trying to move forward on a near parking lot paced highway. He got an opening and swerved into the lane on his left in order to take advantage of a faster pace. As soon as he turned the wheel three shots went through his windshield. If he hadn’t been changing lanes, he’d have been killed.

He managed to get off the side of the road. After a few minutes he calmed down and was able to finish the trip home. Right now we figure that whoever shot at him was caught in traffic and unable to get back and finish the job.

We’ve all decide to stay in a hotel while we figure out what to do next. Though we have decided to arm ourselves. We’ll need to get in contact with a friend of mine who owns a significant arsenal. Until then, I’m just not sure.

To Stephen Mayne,

Of all the things I expected to deal with this may have been the last thing on the list. We’ve finally managed to get out of town escaping the men who have harried us for the past few days. On the way out they did get one last attack on us.

It was fast, brutal, and coordinated. These men are extremely well trained, and now we know why. As we were loading the van and preparing to leave, they appeared at the head of the alley and opened fire on us. Some men closed from the sides with tazers. We already had most of our equipment in the van when they struck and decided to abandon the rest.

As we made our way to the van, returning fire the whole way, Christine managed to grab one of the men. As we drug him into the van all of the others suddenly turned their attention on killing that one man. The sheer number of bullets was amazing. They tore him to pieces.

We managed to get out of the alley, Jones ran over one of the gunmen as we departed. As we drove away he tossed an explosive device out the side of the car to hinder pursuit. We moved onto the local expressway and blend into traffic. We managed to escape.

When we got a significant distance from the city, we took time to search the body of the man we captured. While he had no identification, he did have a few tattoos. He had no finger prints, they seemed to have been removed by some sort of acid bath. Even his teeth had been capped making dental recognition a very slim chance.

We were able to take some photos of his tattoos and his face and send them to some of Jones associates. It took less than five minutes to let us know what we were dealing with. Nazi’s. I can honestly say, I never expected Nazi’s.

He belongs to a group called the White Sons Rising. I’m really not even a little sure what to make of this. We did learn that their leadership is believed to be in Spain at this point, so we’ve decided to make our way there.

Maybe we can get ahead of these men and deal with the problem that way.

Until next time.

Your Friend
J.P. Nussbaum

Let me know what you think, I'm always interested in the opinions of the reader, good or bad. You can either leave a comment below or on facebook. You can also follow me on twitter.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 14

It’s been a scary week for us here in Ohio, Mike’s computer was targeted by a series of coordinated viral attacks that eventually fried his mainframe. While he’s attempting to rebuild, we feel it has become necessary for all of us to disconnect our computers from the internet. Hopefully, this is just us being over cautious, but I’m uploading this from Epic Loot, a game store near my home. We won’t know how massive the damage to Mike’s system was until he manages to get his computer up and running again. He said it could take a couple of days, maybe even a week.

When you add that to what happened to Keith, it gets a little dicey for us all; Keith was run off the road two days ago. He was on his way home from work when a silver sedan started to follow him. When he got to a place where the road widened the car passed him and swerved over clipping the front of his car and forcing him into the ditch. Luckily Keith is an experienced Ohio driver and was able to keep control of his car once it started to skid. He still ended up in a ditch though.

Fortunately for Keith, the entire incident happened maybe fifty feet from a patrol car looking for speeders. The officers chased after the sedan but lost sight of it, whoever it was is apparently a very skilled driver. Keith is fine, a little shook up, but no injuries. We have no idea who was in the car or how it might be connected to us and what’s been going on. For all we know it could have been a random accident, it just feels like more. We just can’t help but feel that it’s all connected.

Add to this the events in JP’s latest letter and I just feel like I may need to look into getting some firearms.

To Stephen Mayne,

I fear we may have angered a great power. I’m sending this from, honestly I don’t know where we are. Two dozen men attacked our hotel, they were well armed, very well trained, and extremely deadly. If Jones hadn’t been returning to his room from a local bar we might not have survived at all. Jones spotted the men arriving on our floor from the lobby. The three story hotel has a large balcony on each floor that overlooks the spacious lobby with it‘s antique fountain.

Jones having spotted the men quickly called our suite and managed to wake us. Christine was the first called and she responded by firing a shotgun through the room door launching two men over the small safety wall and to the lobby below. We told Jones to get the car and bring it around to the back of the hotel. Beth grabbed some climbing gear from her kit and while she got it ready, Christine and I held the door.

I don’t know how many we had managed to kill; maybe six. We were surprised and completely unprepared. When Beth got the rigging set up we prepared to make our escape but not before leaving behind one of Jones devices to cover our retreat. The blast was a lot larger than we anticipated, and Christine’s harness broke when she was still fifteen feet in the air. She landed hard; it doesn’t look like she broke anything, but she’s not doing well.

After escaping we climbed into the car and Jones drove us to safety. At least we thought so, we’ve been harried by these men for the past two days. Everywhere we go they show up and find us. We’ve managed to avoid them for the most part, but I can’t say what will happen if they ever catch us unaware.

We have begun hiding in random locations, we did manage to get Christine to a doctor, it looks promising. Anywhere we can find solace for a few hours. We’ve managed to reach out to Christine’s contacts and should have a way out of the city before to long. Right now, we just don’t know. I’m so exhausted from all the running, we all are. I hope we can find somewhere safe soon.

Your Friend
J.P. Nussbaum

Let me know what you think, I'm always interested in the opinions of the reader, good or bad. You can either leave a comment below or on facebook. You can also follow me on twitter.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 13

Well, my friends and I have discussed what to do next. We’ve decided to continue posting the letters. We’re not sure if any of the things that have happened to us this year have been a part of this experience, but we will continue.

As for the things we’ve experienced there have been some developments. Mike has made headway on the viruses found on our computers, he’s tracked them to a server farm in Budapest. While we still don’t know who was responsible for the attack, he’s getting closer to their identity. Each of us has noticed the presence of an odd white van parked down the street from our homes. We can’t tell if it’s the same van, several vans, or just a coincidence. However, the fact that we’ve each seen one leads us to believe it’s something. We’ve given up on mailing or copying the letterhead as it has become obvious that there is some sort of security measure in place to prevent it.

I’m waiting to hear from J.P. again. I’m curious who our mutual friend is and how my grandfather is connected to all of this. It seems like our families are connected. I’ve asked some of my relatives and none of them have heard of the Nussbaum’s. Which I found disappointing because that means in addition to everything else, none of them are reading my blog. Keith is doing some research into my grandfather and the Nussbaum family and looking for any connections, hopefully we’ll learn something eventually.

To Stephen Mayne,

I have much to report. As I said in my last correspondence we have rescued Maria. She is unaware of why they took her, other than they kept asking where her father was, a question on all of our minds. We have moved her to a safe house for her own protection, I’ll not say where since I’m not sure who is reading these off of the internet.

We were able to go through Schuler’s computer network and discover some interesting information. There are files on several scientists, many of them have disappeared over the last eighteen months. We have a friend of my cousin Christine looking for any connection between them and Dr. Cavallaro. We’ve also been able to trace Schuler’s finances through several international banking institutions. We’re not sure where it will lead, but we hope it is a clue to who may be behind this.

On a personal note, I reached out to my sibling through secure channels and was able to make contact with my two brother and my sister. We are as fine as can be expected under the circumstances. Each of us is currently working on a different case and we are unsure if any of these are connected to what happened to mother. Once we learn, I may have to leave what I am doing here to deal with that problem. If I do have to abandon my current line of inquiry I will attempt to inform you if possible. Until then.

Your friend,
J.P. Nussbaum

Let me know what you think, I'm always interested in the opinions of the reader, good or bad. You can either leave a comment below or on facebook. You can also follow me on twitter

Friday, November 8, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 12

I received two letters this week, the usual one from J.P. Nussbaum and a second letter that sheds some light on some of my questions. I post them both to you while my friends and I try to make sense of this and decide what to do next.


I had hoped that contacting you directly would be unnecessary. However, after your visit to Wold Newton I became aware of circumstances that were unknown to me. Had I realized that you had no knowledge of the Nussbaum family, I would have found a different outlet for these letters. Unfortunately, since you have posted the letters to the internet as factual instead of pretending they were fiction as the procedure calls for, you have unwittingly entered yourself into a world you are not prepared for. I can not explain everything now, what I can tell you will seem insignificant in the grand scheme of the events unraveling around us.

Your friend Keith has hit on a truth that many would have rather left buried. He discovered a link to the past with what he referred to as the Nussbaum Histories; most of his information was accurate. However he did make one mistake. The Nussbaum histories were not the fantastical product of a single man, but the efforts of a single family to chronicle the history of the Nussbaum family. The Nussbaum’s have always worked to make the world a better place, but to ensure the lessons of the past not be forgotten they needed someone to record their exploits so people would remember the appropriate heroes and learn the useful lessons.

The chroniclers of the Nussbaum family go as far back as Ulysses and continue through great historians such as John the Baptist, Allen-A-Dale, and your grandfather. During World War II your grandfather and Jacob Nussbaum worked alongside General Patton.

After finding out about your blog and reading it I discovered that your grandfather had died suddenly and I now believe without sharing your families legacy. I should have known this, I should have checked. Your life has been endangered by my actions, and for that I am sorry.

I am working to find you protection, something I can do to make sure you are safe. I owe Bill that much. I hope to one day sit down and talk to you about exactly what is happening to you and what should have been done about it. Until then, if you wish to be removed from this situation I can give you only this as an option, and to be fair it may not work. If you want out, simply stop posting the letters. As I said it may not work, but then again it may.

Good luck.
A friend.

To Stephen Mayne,

We have never met, but my name is J.P. Nussbaum. I have recently been introduced to your blog, and would like to first thank you for the kind words about my mother. Having said that, I do not know what kind of man you are, though I can guess. I have read your blog, seen your poetry, your short stories, and your description of events surrounding my letters. For any hardship you have been placed under, I am sorry.

With that out of the way, I must inform you my family has a very strict policy on how we handle correspondence. To wit, I must write someone and let them know what is happening to me and my team, should we fail at any point and need to be replaced, my siblings will be able to step in for us. I will continue to write, though I will be addressing my letters to you instead of my mother. If you wish to ask me anything, I will continue to read your blog when able, and respond to inquiries if possible.

Now, you should know that we raided Schuler’s home in Cairo. Franco and Jones had managed to get a complete layout of the structure before turning our prisoner over to the authorities. We each of us was armed with a firearm of their own choosing, I had a Walther. I know it’s not an ideal weapon for this type of incursion, my eldest brother used to mock me by calling it a lady’s gun. I also prefer it as I’m capable of firing it one handed, I was sick as a child and it has added a bit of a hurdle for me to overcome.

We started just after dusk, we wanted to take advantage of the lower visibility and the shift change of the guards. We knew there would be three teams of two walking crisscrossing paths around the house. We moved up slowly keeping to the many topiaries that Schuler has sprinkled around his land. We found and dispatched the first team with little noise. Christina was able to stop one man and silence him quickly with a thrown knife, she lived for six months in a Russian Circus where she picked up such skills. Jones stopped the second by grabbing him from behind and snapping his neck. We secreted their bodies inside the some of the bushes and continued to the house. It took a half hour of careful movement to reach the building, we were able to dispatch both remaining teams on the way.

The home had a security system and a series of electronic locks. The code to these was randomly generated at the start of each guards shift. Because of this we knew there was no way to retrieve the codes before hand. Jones had brought a bundle that we could use to enter the house. However, Beth examined the lock first and determined it was a Devlin and Rogers mark 5. She was apparently very familiar with this type of system and managed to open it in under a minute.

We knew the house would have eight men in addition to Schuler. We entered through a side door that led to the kitchen. Everyone moved silently inside with Christina and Beth in front, Jones and Franco in the back, and I was in the middle. It was decided I would be best served there as my cane might make the scout and rear guard positions difficult. We entered slowly and moved from room to room making sure to keep our sightlines clear.

The first guard we came to went down quickly, Beth used a taser to bring him down. Unfortunately, when he fell his convulsions fired his weapon and alerted the rest of the house to our presence.  At this point we had reached the living room and were quickly pinned down by guards firing from the doorways and a balcony that wrapped around the second floor.

Jones and Franco flipped a couch over and we dropped behind it for cover. However the bullets easily punched through the flimsy materials. We fired as quickly as we could, Christina managed to drop one of the men holding a doorway that led to the second floor stairs, but there was another one behind him.

Franco took a hit to the arm, and I had been shot three times in the vest. We were beginning to worry about our ability to survive, when Jones began doing something with his toolkit. After a few seconds he said, “cover your heads and count to three.” He then fired his assault rifle at the second floor balcony one handed while hurling his kit with the other. I ducked down as he instructed, and didn’t come up again until the entire house shook from a terrible explosion. Chunks of mortar and concrete rained about the living room, the fact that none of us were killed is a miracle.

Taking advantage of the sudden chaos Franco and Christina leapt up and started firing at the still stunned men around the room. Beth stood and drug me to my feet to helped me move towards the side of the room. Most of the balcony was gone now, and the house was on fire. As we moved from the center of the room the large crystal chandelier gave way and crashed down on the place we just left.

We dispatched three more of the guards, and I was would have been hard pressed to say how many were still up and moving after the explosion. We managed to reach a side hallway that led to a set of basement stairs. We had learned any hostages Schuler had would be kept there. We staggered through the building as gunfire occasionally sounded behind us. Franco and Jones did a good job of keeping would be pursuers at a distance.

When we arrived at the bottom of the stairs there was a solid steel door with an ancient lock. It took Beth less time to open it then I took to write these words.

We burst into a basement complex filled with empty cells. Schuler stood in the center of the room behind an over turned table with Lucia next to him. Lucia yelled out for us to save her and we scattered as Schuler opened fire on the door. Franco took a round to the temple and died there.

Christina was moving across the room in a serpentine pattern, moving back and forth with no rhyme or reason. She would occasionally come to a piece of furniture that she would either leap over or slide under. Every so often she would pause long enough to fire a shot from her pistol and then start running again.

As she neared him Schuler’s aim grew more deadly, at first he missed by wide margins but the more shots he took, the closer they came to striking my cousin. As Christina ran straight towards him firing her pistol Schuler aimed steadily at her approaching body. At the last second she started to slid under a stainless steel table only to shove her foot up into its underside and launch it over and use it as a shield. Schuler cursed, stood and began to move forward to engage her when a shot from behind him launched him forward over the table.

Jones stepped forward from the side of the room where he had circled around while Schuler was distracted. He stepped forward to help Lucia up from the ground. While this had been going on Beth had circled back to one of the cells and managed to free Maria, whose mouth had been covered. With her gag removed Maria shouted out, “Don’t trust her. She’s with Schuler.”

At that moment Lucia lunged at Jones with a hidden knife and stabbed at him. Fortunately, the blade glanced of his body armor and Jones was able to move backwards to safety. Lucia stood drawing a pistol and a shot rang out. Lucia stopped for just a second and then started moving again. She slumped forward an expanding spot of red oozing out from her chest. Christina stood behind her with a smoking gun.

We rescued Maria, returned to our safe house at which point I read your blog. Some things have happened since then. First, I was indisposed for a couple of days. Second, we spoke with Maria about what she could tell us about Schuler and his plans. Third, a friend of Beth’s went through the computer files from Schuler’s home and we believe we know where to go next.

We are now headed out of country.

When I have a clearer head and more time, I will let you know what is coming next. Until then.

Your friend
J.P. Nussbaum

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 11

It’s been an odd week. My friend Mike found a virus on his computer. While this isn’t to odd in this day and age, especially with the near Bond-villain level of security Mike has on his computer. (We joke that the NSA sends him letters asking him to knock it off.) It was only really interesting because Mike found the exact same virus on my, Keith, and Marks computers. This isn’t odd either since we all e-mail one another and any one of us could have picked it up from somewhere and sent it along to the others.

What makes it odd is that when Mike started following the virus to see what it did and if it transmitted anything anywhere, it deleted itself from all of our computers. Mike had made some progress with it though. He discovered the virus was transmitting some information to an outside server. What was unusual about this was that it wasn’t looking at passwords or personal information, it was entirely focused on word documents and blog entries.

Further, he was able to track the virus’ route. He’s been able to do this before, I’ll have to find my photo’s of our road trip to Fort Wayne to “talk” to the fellow who stole his mother-in-laws banking information. Typically, when someone sets up a series of information relays they only use three or four. There’s the occasional jump to seven for the really paranoid. Mike followed this path through fifteen relays before he was discovered and the system shut down.

As for the letter I received this week, I’m interested to see what happens next. Interested is the wrong word.

If what happens next is what I think happens next…

I’m very sorry. I don’t know how to tell you about any of this. At this point, I’m not certain what to say that might help. I wish there had been a better way for you to find out. This is never the way to learn.

Dearest Mother,

We have had a breakthrough, a sad an unfortunate breakthrough. Earlier this week were able to capture one of Schuler’s men. We noticed that one of his people would go out every day and make a pickup. We watched the route they would take and then when we felt our time was right we would grab him.

It happened earlier today. We were able to grab the fellow and take him back to our safe house. We were going to wait another day or so before putting our plan into action, but something occurred when Christina and I went to see her contact.

He is a boisterous man named Omar, called the Opal Hippo. I asked him why he was called that and he laughed and slapped me on the back. Our meeting was interesting, even Christina was a bit worried about it. When we arrived he told Christina he knew as soon as he’d read the she was coming to Egypt that he would be receiving her call.

He regaled us with stories of what had happened to us for the last few months. He spoke of Doctor Cavallaro and Maria. He knew about Giorgio, Franco, and Schuler. He talked about our fleeing Italy. He knew everything. When pushed for details he spoke of a website that has been posting everything. Some young man named Main is posting our information. I’m not sure what to make of this.

He showed us the website, some sort of blog. We haven’t had time to check the entire site, but we’ve decide to move forward and find out later.

As always, my love.
Your youngest son
J. P. Nussbaum

Let me know what you think, I'm always interested in the opinions of the reader, good or bad. You can either leave a comment below or on facebook. You can also follow me on twitter

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Amish

Throughout his life Benjamin Yoder has been called many things. First, he was called Benjamin after his grandfather. His parents called him son, or boy when he misbehaved, and a man when he was old enough. The neighbor girl, Mary, called him brat. then friend, and finally husband. After some years, Elisha and Hannah, would call him father.

When he started his own farm his neighbors would call him friend. When admiring his fields they called him industrious. When he began speaking at church they called him charismatic. When he accepted the role of leader, they called him Shepherd.

The traditions of his people were simple so they referred to themselves as the Plain Folk. They had set up their community outside the reaches of the nearby town, but still they dealt with the local populace. When they went to Dodge City, the people there called them Amish.

When James Riley, a local rancher, wished to extend his reach, he needed water and land to do it, he called them obstacles. When Benjamin refused to sell the land his family and friends had worked; Riley called him a fool.

A week later when a group of hard men rode into the community. Their leader a scarred man, named Dixon, told them to leave. He had said it was their “last chance.”

Benjamin walked forward and said, We will not leave.”

Dixon and his men laughed, “You have a choice; you can leave or you can die.“

Benjamin looked him in the eyes, “we’re not leaving and we won’t fight you, so you may as well just go now.”

As Dixon’s men laughed behind him, “you mean to tell me, you wont fight me, even to protect all these women and children here?”

“The Lord protects us,” Benjamin said placing his hand over the Bible he kept in his jacket pocket. “We will not fight you.”

Dixon scratched the straggly beginnings of the facial hair dirtying his chin, “Mr. I can’t tell if your wise man or a coward.” Dixon’s hand moved fast and with four loud cracks, Benjamin fell backwards into the dirt. “Well, I guess he was a coward.”

They laughed has they drug his badly wounded still breathing body to the church and locked him inside. When they set it on fire, they called him a dead man. Benjamin’s last conscious memory was watching the iron church bell crash through the roof towards him.

*  *  *

He woke a week later, in Doc Millers office. The folks from Dodge had found him under the church bell. The falling bell had engulfed him in it’s open mouth, protecting him from the flames. He had three holes in his gut, two of the bullets had passed through and the third had been easy to find and remove. The fourth shot had pierced the bible he kept in his breast pocket, stopping the bullet that would have pierced his heart. Doc Miller called him lucky.

The people of Dodge had always been friendly to him. Patty from the general store brought him food, three meals every day. He was thankful though he wasn‘t very hungry. The widow Jones had brought him clothes, her husband had been a large man as well. The clothes fit, after a fashion, and being a banker, Mr. Jones tended to favor the colors that Benjamin’s order preferred.

Reverend Clemens came bearing dark tidings, it had taken nearly a week but he and several parishioners had gathered the bodies and buried the dead. Dixon and his men had murdered everyone. Each man, woman, and child now “sat with god,” he had said. It was a small comfort to Benjamin. Dixon’s men, no, Riley’s men had burned the town, trampled the crops, and run the livestock off.

There was a vigil held and most of Dodge turned out, even Riley. He expressed his disbelief at how such a tragedy could occur. He blamed Indians, not knowing that Benjamin had survived. Miss Janet, the school teacher, lit a candle for Benjamin‘s family, since he wasn’t well enough to go. Now people were calling Benjamin a survivor, widower, and tragic.  Benjamin called himself alone.

Tom, the sheriff, came by the next day to apologize. Since the Ordnung was outside of town it wasn‘t in his jurisdiction. There was nothing he could do officially, he would see if he could get a Marshal to look into it. But they only came through once every few months, and no one was sure when they‘d be back.

*  *  *

When he was well enough Benjamin moved into the small, rarely used store room in the back of the church. Dusty and cobwebbed but with a little light from a window placed high up on the wall.

He spent most of his days sleeping in the back room of the church. With no farm to tend or a family to love he had lost his sense of purpose. Like molasses in a coffee cup, doubt filled his mind. He became thin and weak, but still hunger escaped him. Even though it was one of the symbols of his marriage, he had stopped keeping his beard neat and trimmed. He had even considered cutting it off, asking for the scissors and razor that sat on the otherwise empty nightstand.

The worst of it was his lack of Faith. He was no longer sure he believed in God. He sat in the chapel one night watching as each of the candle flames winked out of existence. After the last one went away he continued to sit there. He so wanted to join his family, to see them again, hear his sons laughter, his daughters singing, to feel the gentle caress of his wife’s fingers through his hair. He prayed for answers, for proof, for an explanation. Finally, he prayed to die.

He rose and stumbling through the darkness he found and lit one of the lanterns. Shortly after returning to his room in the back of the church, Doc Miller had shown up. Doc had found the bible Benjamin had abandoned on the nightstand at Doc’s place. “Pure chance, I happened to be passin by,” Doc had said in a neighborly manner, “I was on my way back to my home after deliverin Mrs. Levins boy. A good healthy child, eight pounds, strong lungs. I tell ya that child screamed loud enough to wake the…” Doc let the sentence fade to nothing. “Any how she wondered, if I thought it would be all right for her to name the boy Elisha, after your son. I told her, I’d ask, if’n I saw you. I just happened to notice the light in the window and figured I’d run your bible to you. Kill two birds with…” He let that sentence go as well.

Benjamin took his wounded bible, a gaping hole torn in the aged and cracked leather, and placed it on the nightstand in his room. “Thank you Doc, and if you see Mrs. Levine please tell her I’d be honored.”

*  *  *

He woke the next morning hearing Reverend Clemens giving his Sunday sermon. He was telling a long story about an old man and a flood, even though Benjamin had told it before he listened as if hearing it for the first time.

“An old man sits on the front porch of his house, built in a river valley. And a messenger comes to tell him there’s a flood coming.” Jack Riley had told him he‘d regret his decision. “The old man refuses to leave, knowing the Lord will protect him.”  Benjamin refused, knowing the land was theirs and the Lord would help them. “A family comes by with a wagon and offers to take the old man to safety.” The Sheriff had offered to try and reach the Marshals to deal with the situation. “The old man refuses.”  Benjamin said no. “The flood comes and the water rises to the roof of the man’s house, two men in a row boat come and offer him aid.” A gunslinger needing his horse shoed learned about their problem and offered to stay and help. “Again the old man waits for God to help him.” Benjamin knew that they would be fine. “The old man drowns and asks God why?”  Benjamin’s people are murdered and their hard work destroyed.

“God tells them both, I sent you a messenger, a family in a wagon, and a row boat, what more was I to do?”

Benjamin sat there in his room for hours just staring at the small window leading into the chapel. “Was it was my fault?” he thought. He lifted the bible off the nightstand, and let his finger touch the bullet hole. He began to turn pages looking for where the bullet stopped. Finally he came to psalms and read 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd;  I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul: He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort and protect me.

The word protect is where the bullet stopped. A small pip in the page right in the middle of the word. Benjamin touched the pip with his hand, not sure if it’s really there.  After staring at it for a long time, he rose and walked into the now vacant church. Even though it’s empty, for the first time he didn’t feel alone.

Holding the wounded Bible in his hand he approached the crucifix. “I was their Shepherd, and I didn’t protect them. I am sorry for that. I think I know what you want me to do now, but I’m not certain. I won’t ask you for a sign, you’ve given me plenty. However, If I am wrong I will gladly accept your judgment when my time comes. Until then, please help me. Guide my hand and my heart. Help me protect those who can not or will not protect themselves. Give me the strength to do what needs to be done.” The next day Benjamin went to see Tom and told him what he needed and asked him for his help.

Benjamin Yoder has been called many things. The Plain folk call him shunned and outcast. Riding across the west in black clothes, on a Clydesdale named Johan most folks call him, Father or Reverend. His speed, his aim, and skill with twin onyx handled Colt’s got many to call him gunfighter. Mostly, because of the men he’s killed and the lives he saved, they just call him The Amish.


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Friday, October 25, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 10

Keith and I returned to Beavercreek with more questions than answers: What exactly happened in Wold Newton, who were the people working in the house, who is redirecting the mail to me, how did they know Mark would be staying in my house, and how do I let J.P. know his mother has died. I’m unsure of what to do next. I have no experience with anything like this. I’m a writer, a gamer, and a geek, I only pretend to deal with earth shattering problems. I’m lost. Hopefully my friends and I can come up with something before too long.

In the meantime…

Dearest Mother,

It took five days, a train, two steam ships, and a twin engine Cessna skimming the treetops in the middle of the night but we finally arrived at our destination. Cairo is beautiful, there is a certain air of mystery that seems to cling to the landscape here. I’m thrilled to have arrived, and can’t wait to tell you about my journey in more detail, but we are short on time.

Jones, Beth, Christina, and I arrived early this morning as the sun was beginning to inch above the horizon. We’d left most of our gear and weapons behind due to the weight limitations of the plane we took two days prior. It seems we will need to find more equipment. Christina informs me there is an old family friend in the area and we may be able to get an appointment with him.

We spent most of our first day looking for a safe house, and once Jones procured us a small apartment we were able to settle in. We spent the next few hours cleaning from the trip and resting up. It was good to feel a shower again.

The trip has been hard, my back hasn’t felt this bad since my teen years. A condition, I fear, that will only get worse as the prescription medication I’m taking is about to run out. Jones thinks there might be a place to get more of the pills, some sort of traveling black market, but it’s a long shot we’ll even be able to find it.

We found Schuler’s home today; it’s a fortress. There are maybe twenty guards patrolling the grounds, a dozen security cameras at various locations along the walls, and a self contained generator for the entire complex. We haven’t seen Schuler yet, but if we do, we shall have to strike quickly for fear of him moving again.

We will keep the home under surveillance until further notice.

As always, my love.
Your youngest son
J. P. Nussbaum

Let me know what you think, I'm always interested in the opinions of the reader, good or bad. You can either leave a comment below or on facebook. You can also follow me on twitter

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 9

I feel the need to apologize for a minor deception I made. Last week I wrote that I would eventually be heading to England in order to look into the town of Wold Newton. This was a lie. I’m writing from Wold Newton right now. Keith and I left for great Brittan last week on Saturday, boarding the first flight we could catch. It was feared that someone was monitoring my blog and might decide to interfere with our ability to leave for Great Brittan. Thus, I lied about what we were doing and when we might head for Wold Newton.
As for my trip, well that’s where this gets really weird. We arrived in Wold Newton and now I’m even more confused than I was when this started. It turns out the ancestral home of the Nussbaum family was in this town until roughly six weeks ago.

First, everyone in town has nothing but good things to say about the Nussbaum family. When asked specifically about J.P. we were asked to be more specific. Apparently all of the children, boys and girls, have the initials J.P. When we inquired we were told the family always said it was for security. A claim no one in the town took seriously. Until six weeks ago when several vans of armed men forced their way into the home.

While no one could say exactly what occurred the stories were incredible to hear. It turns out that several members of the staff were retired military, including the butler a former member of something called E Company. It seems that the house hold staff were able to do quite a bit of damage to the attackers.

Even the matron of the house who was apparently in her seventies, killed several men. Reports vary as to whether she armed or performed the actions with her bare hands, but wither way she was able to stop at least six men single handedly. Eventually the men assaulting the house would prevail. The Mother was killed as were several other members of the staff. Only a handful of people survived the aftermath of the attack.

Those that did quickly went through the house, and loaded several cases into three cars. The vehicles then pulled out of the town and left in different directions. After this the butler, Jeeves, rode a motorcycle to the end of the driveway, typed a code into the intercom system, and watched as the manor house imploded.

I honestly have no idea what to make of these events. Added to the fact that I took photos of the crater in Wold Newton and e-mailed them home only to learn the email never arrived and all of the pictures I took have since been erased from my camera. I have asked a friend to stay at my home so he could sign for the registered letters that have been arriving from J.P. Nussbaum for when one shows up at my house.

Mark will be posting that letter plus any other information that might come up as a part of it’s arrival.

Hello, this is Mark. I have only the following to report because it’s freaking me out a little bit. The letter from J.P. Nussbaum has arrived today, and was addressed to me, not Steve. I’m posting it as Steve requested. I hope this helps what ever is going on.

Dearest Mother,

We’ve begun raiding Schuler’s clubs locally in order to find information on whether he is in country or not. It’s been an interesting week, the group of us have raided fifteen of his underground clubs, casinos, and fight rings. We’ve seized nearly three hundred thousand Euros’ in cash, several weapons, a bevy of computer files that we have barely begun to scour for information.

Each attack is the same Christina and I go in while Franco waits outside with the car. We’ve set a time limit for ourselves of no more than five minuets inside any business. The early part of the week was fairly easy but as the week has gone on Schuler has increased his security to a point of near impregnable. To counter this we have hired a few more people.

Christina has relied on some of her contacts to obtain us two more team members. We’ve added Jones, an American trained in demolitions and safe cracking. Christina refuses to confirm my suspicions but I suspect Jones is a criminal. I believe she may have met those eight months she disappeared during college and a cat burglar named the Lynx began appearing around the States.

The second person we’ve added is a woman named Beth who is skilled as a second story man. She is an expert at cat burglary and alarm systems. She’s also an expert at picking both locks and pockets. I am absolutely convinced that she is a thief. However, whenever I broach the subject she merely pats me on the cheek and tells me I’m adorable. I’m not entirely certain how to deal with this.

Tonight we had a stroke of good luck and managed to confirm that Schuler has in fact left the country for Egypt. He is apparently dealing with someone higher up in the organization. They are apparently dealing with the fall out from some sort of strike gone horribly wrong. While I’m not certain where the strike took place, it seems like good news for us. If there organization took a sizeable enough hit we may be able to capitalize on this. It may also give us a potential ally in the fight against them.

We will continue to attempt to learn who they attacked and exactly how badly it went for them. By this time next week we hope to be in Egypt. It may prove difficult as we are still wanted and will have to find alternate routes to our final destination.

Wish us luck.

As always, my love.
Your youngest son
J. P. Nussbaum

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Friday, October 11, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 8

The Nussbaum histories have yielded another interesting piece of information. Keith feels he has discovered the location of the Nussbaum family home. Apparently, there is a town in the English countryside named Wold Newton. The town is somewhat famous for having a meteorite strike during the 1700s. Keith’s research shows that this may be the location of the Nussbaum family lands.

We wanted to make sure we were right so we had Mike help us go online for more information. Mike went to Google maps and discovered an irregularity in the image. He didn’t catch it at first, but there is a ten acre section of the picture that exactly copies a ten acre section from a mile away. Mike only noticed it because there is half a falcon flying over the border between the sections.

With this knowledge the three of us are wondering what we should do. We have decided to mail a letter to the house that would be at the address hidden by the map error. Maybe this will work and maybe it won’t, but we feel we have to try.

I’ve also learned something else. A classmate of mine has started reading the letters, and last week told me they were beginning to look forward to seeing the new one go up every Friday. The problem is, I post everything in Thursday. I went and checked after last week, and all of my posts are dated on Friday’s. For some reason, all of my posts about the Nussbaum family are being delayed by twenty-four hours. I don’t know exactly what this means, but Mike and Keith feel we may need to advance with caution from this point forward.

Aside from that, I have another letter for you all to read.

Dearest Mother,

My rage has reached a new level. Christina’s contact has retrieved the information from the lap top, and we have discovered someone code named Little Bird has been feeding Schuler and his employer information about us. There is a traitor in our midst’s. There were the remnants of communications that gave itinerates, names, and what appears to be a list of known associates. This mean that everything that has happened from the beginning has been broadcast to our quarry. Antonio’s death, Lucia’s capture, the disappearance of Giorgio and his team, and the murder of Rosa, were all the result of a base coward.
I believe I will kill them.

We were also given some information on Schuler’s properties around Italy. Additionally there was a flight plan for a small private plane that flew to Egypt. We are trying to decide how best to proceed, since we can’t be sure if Schuler left Italy, or if he sent someone else away. We’d like to start raiding his clubs and business but it’s uncertain if he would learn about our actions. We don’t want him to know we’ve managed to unhack one of his laptops.

I’m sorry Mother, I know this letter isn’t particularly clear, but I don't know what we will do next. I will inform you as soon as we know.

As always, my love.
Your youngest son
J. P. Nussbaum

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Friday, October 4, 2013

The continuing adventures of J P Nussbaum 7

Well, it’s been one of those weeks. My friend Keith got back to me on the Nussbaum family and if it weren’t for all the problems we’ve had with copying and mailing the letters I’d think he was nuts.

Keith went about using a series of online services and research libraries to find what he could on the Nussbaum’s. He even but his interns on the project after initial searches were proving fruitless. At one point he called in some favors from both the Guttenberg Library and the Library of Congress. I may not have emphasized how good a researcher Keith is and the types of people who have come to him for help in the past. Sufficed to say, Keith is probably one of the best people in the field at what he does, check a reference book and your likely to find him in the acknowledgements.

That aside, Keith found practically nothing on the Nussbaum family until he came across a reference in an old British history book. A small footnote mentioned the Nussbaum name in conjunction with a British historian who has been discredited. The family name has been discounted by modern historians as a figment of fiction. While no one can seem to agree on when the historian lived, most agree this nameless man was a member of the Royal Historians Guild. The RHG is a group of men used by the crown heads of Great Britain to record the important events of history. At some point in his tenure as a Royal Historian our nameless historian began inserting the name Nussbaum into the legends of Great Britain; all of these additions are called the Nussbaum Histories.

The Nussbaum Histories are a collection of stories that are a mixture of historic events and legends. It took some doing but Keith was able to locate several tales featuring the Nussbaum’s. In each of the stories included in the collection is a reference to a member of the Nussbaum family, or the  participation of a single person named Nussbaum.

It was a difficult series to find because after the RHG discovered the addition of Nussbaum the historian was removed from his position in disgrace. Historians then went about fixing the stories and removing the offending Nussbaum’s and replacing them with someone more appropriate or simply adjusting the name of the person. An example of this practice is Robin Hoods merry man Little John. In the version we all know and love Little John has no family name in the Nussbaum Histories he is Jonathan Nussbaum. Something similar happens in the legends of King Arthur’s court where Sir Percival is listed as a Nussbaum.

This wasn’t just limited to British history and folklore. In the Nussbaum Histories Saint Patrick of Ireland is listed as a Nussbaum. In the United States, Johnny Appleseed was a Nussbaum first and became an Appleseed as the legend grew. This continues through out history: in the French Revolution, during the Spanish invasion of the British Isles, and even in the Crusades. The Nussbaum is never the leader, they are an aid or agent, some supporting personality. There are even mentions of a Nussbaum as a traveling companion for Baron Munchausen, the Monkey King, and some doctor that Keith has been unable to find a name for.

Two months ago I wouldn’t have believed any of it, but after the events of the past few weeks I‘m no longer certain. With everything that has gone on, with all the events that have happened, with every problem I’ve had copying this letter these stories may be true.

Keith still has a little research left to do. He keeps seeing references to the ancestral family lands gifted to them by Charlemagne, “until no Nussbaum still draws breath.“ He wants to see if he can figure out where they are and thinks maybe that could give us a clue to the origin of the stories.

Until then, I post this weeks letter in hopes that…I honestly don’t know anymore.

Dearest Mother,

I write with a heavy heart, some of my team has died. As I said last week, we were to meet this week at a designated central location. Christina and I waited for several hours before we were joined by Franco, he was the only one to show. If you will recall Franco and Antonio were sent off as a team, we learned from Franco that Antonio is dead. In the first day they were set upon. To ensure accuracy I am handing the duty of reporting the event to Franco so you will get the report of his experience first hand.


Antonio and I were sent to the southern part of Maria’s travel plans. I had chosen a nice Maserati Quattroporte from my garage to take us to our destination. Good mileage, spectacular handling, and I had one of my guys work it over for better shocks and speed. I realize this may seem trivial now, but it does become important later.

We visited our town and found very little on the first day. It wasn’t until day two that a problem arose. We were leaving the town headed North in an effort to arrive at our next location. That was when four black Panamera Turbos came roaring up the road behind us. Not wanting to draw attention I pulled over slightly to let them pass. I wasn’t positive something strange was going on since Italian drivers tend towards speed, a crime I myself am often guilty of. Had they been a little bit more patient, we would probably both be dead. One of the Turbo’s pulled up along side of us and a man in the back seat started firing on us.

As a standard feature on all my teams cars they are armored which is usually enough. Whatever these men were firing must have been a heavy caliber as it was cracking the windows. I floored it to get out ahead of them and try and put some distance between us. This might have worked except the road we were on was heading towards a mountainous region and the twists and turns were going to make it difficult to maintain a top speed.

They had some pretty decent engines in their cars and while not able to match us in the straights we weren’t pulling away as quickly as I wanted. We hit the first turn pretty quick and it was a monster, on the outside of the curve was a seaside cliff with very little hangover. I managed to drift through it though even still, I could still feel the rear wheels clip the lip of the cliff. The first two Turbos made the turn as well, the third one would have made it but the rear car misjudged the turn and clipped it sending it over the side.

From this point forward we were up in the mountains and the twists and turns had us constantly doubling back in such a way that is was easy for the rear two cars to keep firing on us as we passed. Occasionally one of them would get close enough to tap us or try and force us off the road. This went on for a while until we came to a short gully with a bridge over it, the driver of the lead car was spending so much time focusing on me that he missed the oncoming single car width bridge. We made the bridge and they sailed off into the gully.

We got rid of the second car on a decent straight away, when he managed to get even with us and tried and put us in the ditch. I let him get a bit upfront of us and when he tried to clip over I braked, up shifted, and nudged the wheel pushing us into his rear quarter panel. This spun their car and let me put my grill into the door between his tires. As we were moving, I shimmied the car and watched as they pushed forward into the ditch and rolled their car. It helped that the last driver rear-ended us giving us enough bump to jiggle the other car loose.

We were able to lose the last driver as we rounded a curve into a much more even spot of road. As we approached however, the fire from their guns finally broke through the rear window on the car. When I got my chance I hit it and we shot forward down a nice two mile straight. He tried to keep up, and would have done fine except he wasn’t able to maintain speed on the loose gravel and old blacktop. He spun the wheels, lost control and ate the ditch.

It wasn’t for a few more miles that I realized Antonio had taken a hit, probably when the window blew. By the time I noticed he was already gone. I’ve dropped him and his ID at a near by hospital and went out on my own. I stayed close to the timeline we were supposed to follow but I used alternate routes and went in a different order.

Mother, it’s me again. After the meeting, Franco told us he almost didn’t show up at the meeting, he was afraid that if everyone had been betrayed the final meeting might be a trap. We hope this is why Giorgio never showed. If he was ambushed like Franco, then…

Other than that I have nothing new to report. We have delivered the laptop to Christina’s contact and now must wait his call and hope for good news.

As always, my love.
Your youngest son
J. P. Nussbaum

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