Essentially Ashland: By Lance Pugh — So, after a good meal last night, I watched a little television, then decided to get into some serious reading.

So, after a good meal last night, I watched a little television, then decided to get into some serious reading. I picked up a copy of "War and Peace" and tried to give it an Evelyn Wood speed-reading. It worked and, for those of you who have not tasted this informative tome, it is, in the final analysis, about Russia.

Six minutes later I was wading through the best literature known to humanity, Sanskrit editions held aside for further scrutiny by bomb dogs and Dick Cheney, who, I believe, is hunkered down between a flight of previously caged doves and a democratic attorney somewhere near a Minuteman missile silo deep beneath an undisclosed location.

We have many hundreds of books sequestered about the house and in a few minutes I had a dozen lined up, ready to rip. My eyes scorched the painfully turned pages as sagas surged into my mind, leaving me with only a thirst to read more. Soon eye drops entered the equation, leaving my reddening eyes with a lacquer of relief as interpretations of history unfolded to reveal that Ashland is still in a dance with time and only the Last Tango will reveal what awaits us.

I was reading so fast that I almost forgot to duck as I travelled through the 3,107-foot-long Tunnel 13 in 1923 when the "Last Great Train Robbery" was conducted, leaving the D'Autremont brothers and Ashland in large print as the first worldwide man hunt was introduced. While attempting to steal massive wealth they left four people dead, did not make a dime and left fodder for a world of speculation. We were the talk of the planet.

I then bounced upon a mound of unread newspapers while clicking my computer mouse faster than a fan in the Bronx in the middle of summer. Some hours later I sat back on the sofa and tried to reconcile events.

Reading with such rapidity has a few drawbacks, the first being that it becomes difficult to distinguish between the events that have entered the brain at thousands of words per visual gulp. I only began to notice this as I conjured up the notion that Anna Karenina, Tolstoy and the D'Autremonts were somehow scheming on taking out a railroad line that might have continued to serve us, but, after millions spent on repair and upgrading, leaves Ashland with a fence and endlessly deserted railroad cars to separate us.

Knowing that I had seriously misinterpreted events, I began to re-read that which I had consumed, while gently tossing Evelyn into the woods. It was only after hours of review that I realized that Tolstoy had no hand in the events in the tunnel, but, rather, an eye toward riches paved the way, not unlike Wall Street. The brothers D'Autremont were eventually imprisoned and the last of the Wild West was hobbled after being confined and discarded, along with much of our infatuations.

This all happened after the pandemic of 1917 and our town's infatuation with all things healing. It will be instructive to see how we rebound from all of this, but, I am sure that we will, all pulling together, extricate ourselves free from fear and float again to the surface to face the day anew.

As an aside note, I have reworked my computers to read me the works that I wish to read.

So far only my faithful dog, Spooky, can keep up with the transmission rate, which I still keep high, for fear of missing the past while praying for high-speed rail, electric cars and blimps to span the globe.

Lance@journalist.com was last seen at the site of the Golden Spike ceremonial location trying to look forward and backward at the same time. Please send him something to read, as, unfortunately, his computerized system just ate his last book.