When we finally YODELed out of        , we were pretty exhausted having              so much. I wasn't prepared for where we ended up, however.

We were standing in Eternity, looking through a window at me walking up to the Trans-Dimensional Gate. It was a weird feeling, because unlike the other times I had seen myself on my journeys, this time I remembered everything that had happened to that other-me-of-the-past.

Behind the George-of-the-past, a normal shadow crept behind -- just a shadowy absence of light, with no life whatsoever.

But apparently as I walked up to the Gate before (Chapter 26, if you'd like to go back and refresh your memory), I hadn't realized the other things that were going on around me. Now, from my vantage point in Eternity, I had a clearer view of my past.

Behind the me-of-the-past, another George (George-312) YODELed through a different window in Eternity and was leaning over my shadow to whisper something in my ear. From my Eternal vantage point, I somehow knew he was going to whisper to the me- of-the-past where he had hidden Mary. I leaned closer to try and hear his words.

But George-312 never got a chance to make his presence known to the me-of-the-past.

A kid in a cowboy hat jumped through a window and waved his toy gun, yelling, "Stick 'em up!" It was that blasted kid again!

Now, as to why the me-of-the-past didn't hear all the ruckus that was going on, I can only speculate. Perhaps it was because I had YODELed for the first time, and I was quite disoriented. But then again, I'm really not too sure.

George-312, however, was all too clear about what was happening.

"Not you again!" he groaned. "Go away kid, you bother me."

"Oh, yeah," the little cowboy scoffed. "Well, take that!" And he zapped George-312 with his toy gun.

Stunned, George-312 fell down right into the lifeless shadow of the me-of-the-past.

For a split second, George-312 and the shadow disappeared, and the me-of-the-past was left all alone. A second later the shadowy living Shadow, that I had grown to know and love, reappeared in their place.

But that Shadow looked confused and he scratched his head and wondered, "Who am I?"

The Cowboy Kid might have offered him a suggestion or two, but he had sadly trudged home, because his mother was calling him for lunch.

However, the Time-Catcher had followed the Cowboy Kid through the window, and he grabbed Shadow in his net.

Now, what was happening to the me-of-the-past while all of this was going on? He was walking towards the Gate without a shadow or a Shadow.

But we'll come back to that in a moment. So hold that thought. Because back in our vantage point in Eternity, Shadow was nudging me. "Come on, I want to see where the Time-Catcher's gone."

I held onto Shadow and flipped my cap backwards. Suddenly we were sitting on a couch in front of a giant TV screen with a football game in progress.

A rather large potato was sitting beside us, eating a bowl of popcorn and drinking a beer.

"Want one?" he grinned, holding up the can.

"No thanks," Shadow beamed. "We're waiting for the main course."

"Oh, yeah. What's that?" the potato asked.

"Mashed potatoes."

The couch potato dropped his beer into his lap. "Oh, really," he shuddered. "I think I've got to go take out the garbage. Or maybe I'll fix that leak in the roof, or better yet, I think I'll take the wife out to a real tear-jerker, or buy her some flowers..."

He dashed off, his beer belly bouncing over his trousers.

Shadow picked up the remote and turned the channel.

We were just in time to see the Time-Catcher hauling the other-Shadow through Eternity in his net.

"This must be the right channel," I clapped, and snuggled back into the sofa to get more comfortable.

But then a commercial came on about an exercise machine designed especially for couch potatoes.

"Just mention mashed potatoes and it works much better," Shadow suggested to the buxom beauty narrator on the TV screen.

He fast-forwarded through the next few commercials for a laxative, an antacid and a disposable douche, but I made him stop when they showed scenes from the Charley Brown special, The Great Pumpkin. It brought tears to my eyes. And then our program was back on.

The Time-Catcher was interrogating the other-Shadow in a timeless, spaceless place.

"All right, tell me where they are?"

"But I can't remember anything!" he cried.

This lasted for about a million years, and Shadow fast- forwarded through it because it gave us both the shivers.

Then suddenly the empty void of timelessness was filled with shadows, and we had to rewind a little bit to figure out what had happened.

"We heard you had a shadow captive here!" the shadows screamed, and they held the Time-Catcher down while they broke Other-Shadow's chains. "Come on, we'll bring you home," they promised Other-Shadow.

They all YODELed to the headquarters of the SLO or Shadow Liberation Organization, as we soon discovered it was called, whose goal was ‘to free the shadows of all the universes from the shackles of the objects to which they have been enslaved.'

They gave Other-Shadow an intensive training program, led by a YOGI YODELer's shadow, who taught him how to YODEL at will, and they told him as many ODU secrets as they could think of. Then they shook Other-Shadow's hand, stuck an SLO patch on his shadowy shoulder, and announced they were off to free the shadows of all realities.

They all YODELed out, except Other-Shadow. "Be there in a second," he sighed, and then he sat down in the corner and cried. Everything had seemed so easy to him, like he was relearning all the secrets, but somehow he just didn't feel like a shadow.

Then the Cowboy Kid flew into the room, and pointed his toy gun threateningly.

"Jimmy, I told you to go to bed," his mother's voice called from somewhere.

"In a second, Mom!" he yelled.

Other-Shadow jumped and YODELed into Eternity. But the Cowboy Kid had leaped onto his back and was riding him like a horse.

"Whoa, boy," he laughed. "Whoa."

Other-Shadow threw him down and the boy pulled out his toy gun and yelled, "Pow, pow."

Other-Shadow fell back and bumped his head on the cloudy soup of Eternity.

"Jimmy, you get back here, right now!" his mother commanded.

"Oh, all right, Mom!"

The little boy blew off a puff of smoke from the muzzle of the toy gun and stuck it back in his holster before he disappeared.

Another commercial. I don't know what it was, because Shadow had his finger on the fast-forward button, and then we saw the other-Shadow stagger to his feet.

He seemed even more disoriented than before, and he just stood there when a flock of space-geese swooped down through Eternity, grabbed him in their taloned feet, YODELed, and dropped him crashing down to the ground.

Ohter-Shadow fell and landed in front of the Trans-Dimensional Gate, just behind the me-of-the-past who was talking to the gateman.

"Subway...friend..." the George on the TV was saying.

"Subway, as in Trans-Dimensional, and friend, as in your friend there," the gateman grunted, as he pointed his cigar at the other-Shadow that had just materialized.

Another commercial came on and I looked over at my-Shadow beside me on the couch. He was deep in thought.

I leaned back and tried to think what all this was supposed to mean.

"So, you're only partially a shadow, aren't you?" I finally postulated, after what seemed like forever. "You're also one of the me's that YODELed in the Time-Splitter..."

Shadow was silent.

"Not just any one of them," I added. "But the one that found Mary!"

Shadow sighed. "It sort of looks that way," he admitted. "But I don't remember any of it."

"But Shadow, you've got to. Only you know where Mary is."

Shadow looked at me sadly. "Honestly, George, I can't remember."

Just then the Cowboy Kid jumped on the couch beside us.

"Oh, no!" Shadow gasped and YODELed -- without flipping his YODELcap, I might add.

The Cowboy Kid hardly noticed. "Hey, you got any popcorn?"

I blinked and cautiously handed him the bowl.

He wolfed a few handfuls, and then we looked up as the commercial was over.

"Hey, cool. That's us!" the Cowboy Kid mumbled as we watched a replay of what I had just experienced.

Then we watched on the TV-screen as my-Shadow materialized on the edge of an asteroid that floated in the heavens. The black sky was filled with burning lights that lit up in gorgeous colors and then disappeared. It was beautiful, but it seemed so final looking somehow, and it felt like my not-too-distant future, for some reason.

We watched as my-Shadow jumped to the other side of the asteroid, where two people were kissing as the skies fell down all around them.

"Hey, you two," Shadow whispered, tapping one of them on the shoulder.

I leaned forward on the couch. It was me that he was talking to, and the other person was Mary! My heart was pounding.

"Oh, hi, Shadow," the me-of-the-future laughed. "Wow, it's good to see you."

"Hi George. Hi Mary! What are you folks doing here?" Shadow asked.

"We finally found each other, and we're living happily ever after."

"But this universe is about to end. We've got to get out of here fast!"

The Cowboy Kid switched the channel to a Western, and he jumped on the couch. "Go, boys, go!" he yelled.

"Hey, turn that back!" I demanded.

"MAKE ME!" the Cowboy Kid scoffed, and he pulled out his toy gun.

"I'll give you a candy bar," I offered, eyeing the 10-foot one on the table beside me.

"Mmmmm. All right."

I handed it to the little brat, and he flipped the channel back while he took nonhuman bites.

"George, tell me where Mary was," Shadow asked, as they were all just about to YODEL away before the last of the lights went black and the universe was gone forever.

"Oh, yeah. That's pretty funny Shadow, turns out she was..."

But the Cowboy Kid had finished the bribe, and he turned the TV off. He pointed a chocolaty finger at me. "All right. I'm done, and this movie is boring. Let's play something else."

He started spinning his rope in the air. "You be the cow, and I'll lasso you," he suggested.

Before I had a chance to object, he had his noose around my feet.

"Come on, little moo," the Cowboy Kid chuckled, and he dragged me across the carpet.

He walked through a brick wall, pulling his rope with me attached. I just smashed into the bricks with a thud and fell to the ground.

"Ouch," I grunted.

The rope tugged again and I hit the wall with another "BANG!"

Then something cut the rope, and I looked up and Shadow was standing there.

Was I glad to see him.

The Cowboy Kid walked back through the wall to retrieve his cow, but Shadow was waiting for him.

The Kid reached for his toy gun, but Shadow was faster. He pointed his finger at the Kid, and the holster fell to the ground and crumbled into dust.

The Kid looked down with his mouth gaping.

"Now, look," Shadow snapped sternly. "I told your mother how you've been bothering YODELers throughout Eternity, and Kid, you're going to be grounded for ... well forever!"

The ex-Cowboy Kid sniffled and walked back through the wall, resigned to his fate. "I was just trying to have some fun," he muttered sadly.

"Shadow," I gasped as he untied my legs. "How did you do that?"

"Well, back on the couch, when the Kid scared me into YODELing, I remembered everything. Or almost everything. At least enough to YODEL to the future, when you and Mary were together, and I asked you where she was."

"I know Shadow, I saw it. But how would I know where Mary is? You're the one who..."

"Apparently, things weren't the way they seemed a few pages ago. And don't worry about the future. Everything will be just fine. I rescue you and Mary and take you out of that one dying universe and bring you to an even further future where you live happily ever after."

"Great, but how come we didn't think of YODELing to the future in the first place, and why did you say that I knew where Mary is?"

"Well, remember when we watched on TV while the Kid shot George-312, who was just about to tell the you-of-the-past that was standing at the Gate where Mary was?"

It was a little confusing to follow at first, but I nodded when I got the picture straight in my head.

"That George fell down and hit your shadow, and when he stood up it was me, Shadow."

"Yeah. Somehow you became half-man and half-shadow, with no memory."

"Well, not exactly. We couldn't see the whole picture."

He motioned for me to sit on the couch with him. "When the you-of-the-future told me where Mary was, I suddenly remembered everything."

He paused, took a deep breath, and then continued gushing out the rest of the story.

"When George-312 hit the lifeless shadow, some laws of Reality got all screwed up. I'm not exactly sure which ones -- they're always changing them, you know. But anyway, your shadow and George-312 both went rocketing through Eternity. Your shadow landed someplace where shadows no longer exist, and became the center attraction in a jar in a museum."

He paused for another breath. "George-312, however, broke through the Eternal Envelope, and fell right into the BOOK OF OBJECTIVE REALITY."

"And what's that?" I asked, as Shadow waited for me to prompt him.

"That is where all the universes and all the realities come from. They are all just projections from that great BOOK."

Needless to say, this was all way over my head.

"Don't worry," Shadow reassured me. "You're not supposed to understand. It's far beyond human comprehension. But let me try another example. Think of an apple. A nice red one."

He held out a shiny red apple in front of my face.

"This is an apple, right?"

I had to agree.

"But in the BOOK there are no objects, just concepts, patterns, or molds from which apples are created. But the apple, that unique apple, can also exist in other universes and realities. It can be a planet teeming with life in one. Or lunch for a caterpillar. Or the doorway into another dimension. Or the fruit of knowledge to two scantily clothed humans named Adam and..."

"What does this have to do with this story?" I asked rather impatiently. This could go on forever, and I was dying to find out where Mary was.

"Those concepts or molds are like vague shadows that are made up of all the possible realities."

"OK, so?"

"So, when you leaped through the Gate, and when you stepped into the Time-Splitter, you created a lot of different realities for the concept of George Chronicles. I was that concept in the BOOK of OBJECTIVE REALITY. A flickering shadow, not quite any one of the realities, and yet an amalgamation of all of them combined."

In these adventures I had gone through lately, I had learned a lot about Time and Space and Reality...but this was definitely in another league. Still, there were quite a number of questions that popped into my head.

"Well, when you YODELed out of the BOOK and landed beside me when I was at the Gate talking to the gatekeeper, how come you couldn't remember anything?" I demanded.

"Well, it wasn't easy for George-312 and me to YODEL out of the BOOK of OBJECTIVE REALITY, let me tell you. I guess the shock was just too much. I sort of half-remembered things. That's why I always seemed to know what was going on. But I'm afraid George-312 didn't remember very much at all."

"What do you mean?"

"As you said, I landed beside you at the Gate. But the other-George landed on a waterbed in a deserted department store, with no idea what his name was."

I stared at Shadow. "That's what happened to me!" I gasped.


"So, I'm George-312," I stuttered. "Wait a second. Do you mean to tell me that I knew where Mary was all this time?"

"Of course."

I fell back in the couch. "I knew?" I sighed. "So, where is she then? I can't remember."

But Shadow was talking again.

"Now, don't worry about your natural shadow. I rescued it from that museum before I YODELed here, and I gave it to you in the future. You won't have a shadowless future, you can be assured."

"Fine," I snapped, and I was starting to get angry. "That's great to know, and thanks, but where is Mary? The suspense is killing me."

Shadow giggled. It's so obvious. She's..."

But he didn't finish his sentence, because the Time-Catcher jumped through the TV and waved his net at us.

I leaped out of the couch and ran behind it.

"George!" Shadow yelled, and flipped me my YODELcap.

I put it on and slipped the glasses in place. The Time-Catcher looked around confusedly, unable to see me, and tripped over the couch.

"Go, George," Shadow said. "I'll meet you at the asteroid. First I've got to go back to the Time-Splitter and warn us about the Time-Catcher. Apparently, I'm also that Shadow that appeared after the 312th Shadow, and I've got to fill us in enough so that we go the right way, and then I've got to go down the 312 paths and throw off the Time-Catcher, but don't worry, it only takes an instant in Eternity."

Shadow stuck his tongue out at the Time-Catcher, and I flipped my cap backwards and YODELed right onto the asteroid I had seen on TV.

But Mary wasn't there.

Shadow wasn't there.

I was alone, and the universe was coming to an end.


Loose Ends
( Chapter 35- MP3 song demo by Lyndon DeRobertis)

Loose Ends
(Captain ScrewUP MP3)

Next chapter
Back to Main Menu


Buy the paperback edition of

290 pages, paperback
$4.79 at Amazon.com

99 cent Kindle Edition

Illustrated edition of


99 cent Kindle Edition