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The Lady in the Lake Dan Blaine DBLIVIT On a hot May Saturday afternoon, a young boy got tired of playing stickball at PS29...he REALLY didn't get tired of it, he just wasn't being picked on any sides. The older kids just wanted him to be steady outfielder.

Cutting out of the schoolyard he headed down Victory towards Clove Lake. Crossing Royal Oak road, he headed across the bowl shaped depression with the stone paved walls that used to be a reservoir. He climbed up the steep sided dirt and stone wall and into the woods.

Wandering through the woods he came to a rocky steep overhang which had an opening in the middle of it...a cave! And a famous cave at that...THE Indian cave. On the right side of the cave’s entrance implanted in the ground was a large black and white “NO” commandment placard that was signed at the bottom by Moses. The boy could smell aromatic smoke coming out of the cave, so he ventured inside and saw a most unusual sight. Sitting by a fire was a bearded man with a top hat and tails wearing a sandwich board which said: "Rent Me at Gatto's for the Prom".

The man motioned for the boy to come inside and bade him to sit down on a upended Weissglass milk box next to the one he was using. Suspended over a fire on a stick was an old 5 gallon Keiber's Horse Radish can "borrowed" from SI Pickle Works. Boiling in the can was some sort of dark broth and tadpoles were swimming around a vortex caused by the man stirring the broth.

"Who are you?" asked the boy.

"Some call me Merlin, some call me Gandalf or Goniff but here on SI the folk know me only as "the Queen Mum's" brother." Replied the wizard.

"Can you help me become a better batter?" asked the boy. "Nope, only the lady in the lake can do that." replied Merlin.

"Well, who is she and where is she, and what must I do for her to obtain her favor?" asked the kid.

"Hold on! Not so fast. I don't even know your name and besides, why is being a better batter so important? See those books up there?” The boy looked up on the wall that was festooned with various magical signs. Above the tin sign stating “Another Improvement by Tilo” and to the right of a round, mounted as a shield R&H serving tray was a long bookshelf filled with dusty, leather bound books.

“If you stay here with me, I'll teach you everything there is to know about torts and maybe even workman's comp." said the Wiz.

"OK, my name will be Rumpole or Rumplestilskin, but you can call me rs for short." And I really don't care about torts and wc, I wanna be a ballplayer! (little did he know!)

The Wiz shook his head in disapproval, but then proceeded to give the
aspiring ballplayer instructions on how to proceed with his quest...

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