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Riding Shotgun  
With Adventure  

by Ron Langston  

Ron Lancaster

Part 14 - The Everlasting Light

Physicists, skeptics and debunkers of urban legend would have you believe that it does not exist, but such is the depth and breadth of the corporate conspiracy that kept it secret for so many years. Like the car that gets 200 miles per gallon, no one really knows how the light bulb that never needs replacing escaped the inner sanctum that protected its existence from the masses, who would gladly have paid thrice the going rate never to have to climb a ladder in the dark again, but escape it did, and its trail led here, to the mighty Andes.

I approached an unassuming shack as strains of "The Toreador Song" from the Rushville Main Street Theatre's neo-classical musical production of Gilligan's Hamlet , which I had seen on my last night as an active member of civilized society, echoed through my weary mind. Nearly breathless with anticipation, I shouted to no one in particular, "is anyone there?" The bone-chilling reply, "Who wants to know?" sent shivers up my spine and banished the Professor's Polonius to oblivion.

The door opened and I was assaulted by the stench of cheap wine, cheaper women, and song. Ozzy Osbourne's soulful rendition of "Paranoid" played on 8-track, wafting through the not-too-plumb doorway where before me stood Sanford Williams III. Trey, to his few remaining friends, was a man of toothless grin, missing eye, and hair that looked like it hadn't been washed since he hot-footed it out of Bean Town for South America to avoid the draft in '71, who had brought with him to this mountain hideaway what I hoped he wouldn't know was the greatest scientific discovery since the flush toilet. I could just make out the bulb of legend, a GE Soft White, 40-watt, burning dimly, as if it were Williams' AWOL orb watching over the remains of what might once have been called a kitchen. As it had for over 30 years, it shone constantly without so much as a flicker. Many men had lost their lives in desperate attempts to unlock its secrets, yet now it was in my sights, precisely where Manolo told me it would be only moments before succumbing to the wounds he suffered at the business end of a cornered alpaca. My Andean guide, grudgingly provided by the Peruvian consulate a mere two weeks ago, my friend, my Manolo, had not died in vain.

Next week, Part 15 - That's Got to Hurt

(Transcribed by Charles Gulledge)

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