Walter Stickle and the Galactic Rangers: Larry Enright
Walter Stickle definitely has OCD. Regimental schedule, daily routines and never deviating except when circumstances happen beyond his control and his life takes what you might say a more exciting and colorful turn. Walter gets up every morning at precisely 6:03 A.M. He washes his face and combs his hair and even that requires special care and a certain procedures. Walter eats his morning cereal while standing close to the front door waiting for the paperboy to deliver his morning paper. More important than anything he needs to get his morning fix of his favorite comic strip: The Galactic Rangers. Walking to work he meets the same group of children waiting for the bus, gets his donuts from his favorite shop, says hello to the same people along the way on his way to the office. Walter is a claims rep for Social Security and he loves helping people and taking on difficult cases that others can’t handle. Walter is truly amazing but he is very fixated on the comic and as a result things happen that most of us would toss aside, think odd but not pursue but not Walter. If Walter had one wish it would be to become a Galactic Ranger. What happens that might make his wish come true is based on a series of events starting with unmatched socks. You heard me! Walter is meticulous in his appearance and would never leave his home with two socks that do not match. So, what happens when he gets to work and someone points out that he’s wearing two different colors and one happens to be GREEN! Walter does not own or ever will own a green sock! The morning started out odd when he did not see anyone on his regular to route work. Walter is stuck in his own world of strict rules, regulations, doing things the same way everyday and living a life that well you might say was totally predictable. Then something happens. A simple phone call claiming they were the cable company offering him 20 free channels and all he had to do was agree to the free upgrade. Of course he jumped at the chance and the offer but little did he know that this one phone call would not only change his life but also bring him closer to his goal. His computer and television act strange and static on his television turns into voices from the comic and the next day Walter finds himself in the comic itself. His boss, Mr. Ruben is also a fan and every morning waits for Walter to complete reading the day’s episode, speculate on what will come next and take the paper to read it for himself.
Walter is handling a case for a man named Lenny whose documentation is incomplete and whose claim was denied. Enter a lawyer named Vivian Benoit who seems to have the magic touch and manages to help Lenny produce all of the documents needed as well as representing 9 other clients for the same company who are eligible for benefits. But, when Walter delves into the history of Pandactic things do not add up and the information related to those that are eligible is not there. But, Vivian has him mesmerized and for some reason he thinks she has the most beautiful eyes, which are two different colors, in the whole world and wears the ugliest glasses to hide them, you begin to wonder just what link she might have to what is about to be revealed.
Walter’s life takes on more interesting turn as he bets himself that he will figure out the next episode and if he does he treats himself to one thing and if he does not he asks 72 year old Marilyn out for lunch. Marilyn is smart and likes Walter and the interaction is hysterical. Knowing Walter’s routine it is really hard to believe , yet he does when he starts to think that maybe his life is too boring, maybe he needs a sick day, maybe things just might change.
Walter is like an automaton programmed to do exactly what he wants the same way every day sitting behind his desk and handling cases but first reading the comics in the Pitville Times. What does he do when he sees his face and becomes a character in the comic? What happens when the two major characters, Captain Kleeg and First Officer Gak appear on his new Sci Fi TV channel? What happens when they make certain demands and he promises to assist them in their mission? The role of the rangers is to find a villain living on Earth but posing as someone else. Tobine is hiding in plain sight and the Rangers want Walter to help them capture him, but in real life. Walter, however refuses to believe that this is nothing more than a TV series, movie or some kind of hoax. He does not believe until given definite and startling proof that Earth might be in danger and his family friends might be obliterated unless he helps get Tobine.
Walter’s life takes a different turn when he becomes enamored with Vivian who by the way was warned by someone else to stay away from Walter. His daily schedule ruined. His life on a different slide and an attorney who just might not be what she seems. For ten of the cases in his SS files this lawyer handled them and whose clients had little to show by way of files or documents that they even existed on Earth. Even more confusing and startling is that Vivian’s life and social security number cannot be found> claiming she comes from a foreign country Walter buys her reasons. Kelso is the comic’s creator and writer and he is going to be in Walter’s town for a special promotion of his comic. How is Walter able to speak with these characters and what happens when they beam him up you might say? Will he help save the Earth and its inhabitants? Will the Rangers set their course for the Earth and capture Tobine? What happens when Walter learns more about the Rangers, their advanced technology and civilization? Science, comics, Lenny’s car and driving Vivien to see all of her clients to say goodbye before she returns home, what happens will surprise readers as author Larry Enright throws us a Galactic Curve Ball!
When the truth about Tobine is revealed and Vivian is kidnapped will Walter rise to the occasion, risk his life to rescue her? Things take an unusual turn as Walter has to decide if he can trust the Rangers, Millie or anyone at all. Work becomes mundane but the end result for the Galactic Ranger’s comic will surprise readers as will the twists, unique surprises and unsuspected ending of this hilarious book filled with interesting messages. When push comes to shove where will Walter’s loyalties lie?
Captain Kleeg told Walter that no harm would come to the people of Pitville since he was cooperating? Is this the truth? Talking about that humans the first officer states: have made a business of buying and selling inaccurate and non-functioning replicas of Galactic artifacts and weaponry.” Walter of course is not surprised but as they discuss Torbine and how the comic strip helps to communicate with him he automatically alerts them to the fact that Kelso might not be the person they are looking for. But, what they reveal about the Argonian communications on pages 222-223 is classified unless you read it for yourself. Just what Walter comes up with to try and placate the Rangers, get them into the Comic book event and how the costumes he creates will definitely let you know that dear Walter can once in a while think out of the box. What happens will change everything and referring to the Congress of Planets Article does not intimidate Walter any longer. But, what happened to Vivian and will Walter go to the other side to find and rescue her and who is Torbine? An ending that will make you get up and cheer for dear Walter yet one you won’t even figure out as one Social Security Accounts Representative takes on the Galactic Rangers, several Argonians and with the help of a transbeamer and metal potato peeler, you heard me a potato peeler he just might conquer more than just outer space. Find out how and where Walter winds up when you read Walter Sickle and the Galactic Rangers: Set you alarm for 6:03 A.M. Make sure you get up when it rings. Follow his daily and morning routine and you just might find yourself experiencing his adventure and maybe the next one too.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer and Honorary Galactic Ranger