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PUBLISHED BY: Wendell Sweet
Cover and Interior Art Copyright 2013 Dell Sweet
Copyright © 2013 by WENDELL SWEET
The Earth’s Survivors Book One excerpt
Copyright 2010 – 2019 Dell Sweet
Used with permission.
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this story with another person, please point them to this web page. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Bear… Are you out there?
All those guys who listened to my stories when they were just stories written to pass our time. That was a big deal.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2013 WENDELL SWEET. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the authors permission.
Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.
I buried the Mexican just after sundown. I can’t say much about the sort of man he was in life, but I can say he was a strong man in death.
The Moon has led my way and I’m on my way across the desert into Mexico of all places. What did they say, hide in plain sight? There I’m going to be. Probably already passed the border, and once I’m across the border I’ll find a small town to buy gasoline enough so I can reach South America.
I’ve played the events of yesterday over and over in my head as I’ve driven. It still makes no sense to me at all. They say shit happens, we’ll sometimes it does, and I tell myself that’s exactly what happened here. Some shit decided to happen and I just happened to be there.
It was early. I had nothing better to do so I took a walk downtown just to take a look at the buildings. Thinking, as I walked, how just a few short years ago I had spent almost all of my time down there. Chasing a high. Drunk or both. And sometimes a third thing: Taking a little comfort with the ladies. It all came back to me as I walked the streets.
About three years of my life had been spent like that. From the day Lilly told me goodbye, until the day I woke up in the alley that runs down the back of West Broad, behind the Chinese restaurant. The back of my head had been lumped up with something or by someone.
Some one, I decided as I began to blink the cobwebs away and felt carefully with my fingers. A lump only, no blood. Probably a closed fist…
Two feet away from me was a dead rat. A big dead rat, and a few even larger rats were breakfasting on him. And, suddenly, just like that, I was done. That gave me a clear message about the world. And I heard it.
Of course that didn’t mean I got off Scot free. There were many little things I’d done during my long, long slide. And it took time to fix those things. Rehab, jail for some bad checks I couldn’t remember. Bad teeth, health, ideas, depression, suicide, and finally a night where I felt strong enough to take a walk through the worst of my nightmares and see if I was truly over the drugs, the life, the weaknesses that had led me there in the first place.
So that’s how I came to be there yesterday evening. Getting my feet wet. Seeing how strong I was… Or wasn’t. And it turns out I was strong enough for the temptation of the streets but not over the bad habits I had picked up there. And that’s what got me… I cannot believe it was only yesterday when all this started.
I walked by the mouth of the alley twice. Both times I saw the old Ford sitting there in the deep shadows. Heard the soft murmur of its engine running. Some guy and some girl, I thought, or some guy with some guy, or boy who knows what. It was downtown. Shit like that happened all the time. But, I thought after the second time, this guy must be trying to set a record. He’d been there for 15 minutes by my watch, not that it was my business. All the same, fifteen minutes is a long time for a trick. Or to shoot up. Fifteen minutes could bring a cop. In the street world it was just too long for almost anything. In fifteen minutes you could get your thing on, your drug of choice, and be a half mile away and forgot all about that last little space of time. So why was this guy still there?
And that was the street part of me that was not gone. The street part of me that was still looking for trouble. And I found it.
The third time by, which was just a few minutes later, I was too curious. My evening had bought me some excitement. The drugs, I could see the flow all over the avenue. Easy to see if you knew what to look for. The ladies were calling too. I knew what that was about. I didn’t look at them like they were whores, or something less than human. It was a line I couldn’t draw, had confused many times, so I came back fast to see what this was. That Ford was calling.
I had stopped at the mouth of the alley. Same Ford. An old one. Like a classic. Nice shape to. Maybe somewhere in the sixties, but I wasn’t good with cars like that. I only knew old, classic, nice looking.
Nobody around. Of course that didn’t mean there was no one in the car. I hesitated for only a second, and then walked quietly down the alley, staying in the shadows as I went.
I found the Mexican slumped over behind the wheel. Blood dripping down the side of his head. A gun on the seat beside him. Another guy was slumped over into the floorboards on the passenger side. That one was dead for sure. A large, bloodless hole on one side of his chest. A larger hole behind that shoulder I saw when I reached over to move him. And why are you still here? A little voice in my head whispered. Why are you touching him? What are you doing? But I pushed those warning voices away and continued to look.
There was blood and gore all over the seat on that side. The coppery stench of blood was thick and nauseating. Something else mixed in with it, tugging at my brain. Blood and… Fear? Something. That was when the Mexican spoke in all that silence and nearly made me jump out of my skin.
“Don’t call the cops!” and… “No Policia.” His head came away from wheel. He shook it and drops of blood went flying. I felt it hit my face. But I was still too stunned to move.
“Hey! … You hear me, Blanquito? Habla English? … No Policia?” He muttered under his breath “Dios Christos,” he focused his eyes on me once more. “What’s the matter with you?”
“I thought you were dead,” I managed. I should’ve run. I chose to talk.
“Yeah… I get that a lot. But I ain’t dead.” He picked up the gun from the seat and before I knew it was in my face. “Come around the side, Blanquito. Get Lopez out of the car.” He waved the pistol and I moved.
Lopez pretty much helped himself out of the car. When I opened the door he spilled out into the alley, leaving the mess on the seat and a large smear of blood on the seat back and the door panel as he went.
“Good… Good,” the Mexican said. “Now getting in the fuckin’ car… No… No… This side. Come back around to this side. I can’t drive no car, Blanquito… Dios!” He waved the gun once more and I moved. Racing around the hood of the car to the door.
The Mexican did a fair job of getting himself over into the passenger seat. I was glad it was him sitting in Lopez’s blood and not me, although I had been about to sit in it.
I slid into the driver’s seat.
“You got some kind of car… Truck… Something like that?” The Mexican asked.
I didn’t have a vehicle, but my grandfather had had a truck. It was sitting in the garage in back of my house. That house had also been my grandfather’s. They were the only two things, the house and the truck, that had survived those three years on the streets.
“Sort of?” He looked around “Get this car moving. That’s the first thing… You got a place?… Close by? How does anybody sort of own a fuckin’ car anyway?”
“Yeah, I got a place” I said. I was afraid to answer, but more afraid of not answering fast enough.
“Let’s get there, Amigo.” He slumped back against the seat. I shifted into drive, worried I might drive over Lopez as I went, and drove us out of the alley.
The house was dark. I had thought to leave a light on but I had forgotten. I drove this Ford right into the garage, pulled the garage door back down, and helped the Mexican out. He looked over at my grandfather’s truck.
“That your sort of truck? Looks fine to me, Man. Doesn’t it run?”
The thing is it did run. I had been working on it here and there. I like to tinker with things. And I had a lot of spare time to fill when I quit drugging so I had turned it to the truck.
It was an old truck. But I had in the back of my mind to fix it up and drive it. So I had started with an oil change, then installed a new headlight on the driver’s side, that sort of stuff, when I had time.
I nodded. “No plates though.”
The Mexican nodded. “Don’t worry about that… Got gas in it?”
“Some… Enough to get you away.”
“Ha, Amigo.” He laughed and then clutched the side of his head where the blood still drizzled and spilled down the side of his face, spat some blood from his mouth, and looked back at me. “Us,” he said. “Us.”
I saw an amazing thing as he spoke. The Mexican had a small blue hole just above the stream of blood. A hole from a bullet. In his head. The blood just pulsed out of it as I watched. I wondered how he could possibly even be alive.
We switched the plates to the truck and left the Ford sitting in the garage. I unloaded four big suitcases from the trunk of the Ford into the bed of the pickup truck. The Mexican had me stretch a tarp over the bed of the pickup and tie it off, and we were on the road. Heading for the Mexican border.
On The Road
I drove as he gave me directions.
We stopped just before dawn at a gas station in the middle of a small desert border town. The Mexican directed me past the dimly lit islands and over toward the side of the station, and the shadowy side lot.
There was a big hound sleeping in an open bay doorway on one side of the garage. On the other side a thin man with long, greasy-black hair was turning wrenches on an old Plymouth. He glanced up, nodded, and I nodded back as we pulled around the side of the station and parked in the shadows.
There were payphones bolted to the side wall, just past the Men’s room door. I had thought that payphones were a thing of the past. But I had also thought gas stations were a thing of the past too come to think of it.
I helped the Mexican to the phone. He ran about $6.00 worth of change into the phone and then he just stood there, leaned against the wall, panting hard, for what seemed like ten minutes.
Finally he began to speak in a stream of Spanish so heavily accented and fast that I could make no sense of anything he said. Not even the gist of it, and I was usually pretty good when it came to Spanish.
He sprayed blood from his mouth as he talked. And he leaked blood from the bullet wound in his lower chest all over the wall he was leaning against.
The conversation wound down. I could tell because he spoke less and less. He finally went on a long coughing spasm, spat a few more quick streams of Spanish into the phone and then just dropped the handset. He came staggering off the wall and back to the truck. I rushed to help him back in.
He was breathing hard. “We got to kill some time. Find a place.”
I nodded. I was tempted to clean off the wall, pick up the handset and put it back on the phone. Someone might see that. But instead I wheeled out of the parking lot and found a small campground just outside of the town.
The place was deserted so I drove down into the dirt parking area and parked by what was advertised as a lake but looked more like a swampy pond. The roof line of a rusted Chevy rose just above the foul smelling the water. It was near dawn. The sun a red line on the horizon. I wore no watch, but the Mexican kept track of time on his.
The Mexican was bad off, coughing and spitting blood out of the window every few minutes. But he said nothing. Never complained.
We sat and watched the sunrise in silence. Listened as the birds woke in the trees and began to call back and forth to each other. Finally he looked at his wrist one last time, just as morning was coming on full, and told me to drive back to the gas station.
Along The Border
I had thought the place would be crowded with cops, but I was wrong. The hound dog still slept in the open garage bay doorway, and the thin man with the greasy-black hair was still wrenching on the Plymouth. The hanging phone handset, the blood, now dried to a maroon smear on the handset and the wall was still there. Untouched.
“Hang that fuckin’ phone up,” the Mexican said. I got out and hung up the phone and it immediately rang in my hand.
“Well answer the thing… Dios,” the Mexican spat. He went into a coughing spasm. I picked up the phone, and an unintelligible string of Spanish launched itself into my ear. I held it away. “For you,” I said.
He groaned and levered himself from the truck, stumbled, and then made his way to the pay phone. He took the gun with him. He spoke calmly into the phone for a short time. No rushed spate of Spanish this time, but a low murmur that I could not make any more sense of than I had the rushed torrent. After a time he took the headset from his ear, pressed it against his chest and spoke to me in a near whisper.
“Take this fuckin’ gun, Amigo.” He handed me the gun that was all splattered with gore and he pulled a second one, equally messy, from his coat pocket. “Watch our backs, Blanquito” he told me.
I suppose I could have shot the Mexican and gone free, but I never had the time to do it. I didn’t even have the time to think about doing it until later on.
As I stood there I heard the suck of rubber against the asphalt, the way it will when the road is really hot. And the morning was hot, the road hotter, the way it will get sometimes in the desert.
The car slowed and pulled into the station. I saw none of that but only perceived it from what my ears told me. A short conversation in Spanish between someone in the car and probably the thin man with the greasy-black hair wrenching on the Plymouth, and I knew that someone would be coming around the side of the gas station in a matter of seconds.
The Mexican heard the same things. He hung up the phone and put one finger to his lips, lurched his way back over to the truck and leaned against the front of the grill for support. His gun pointed over the hood. Not knowing what else to do I slipped back behind the passenger door and followed suit.
“We should be good… Don’t just start killing… But you be ready, ’cause you never know, Muchacho.”
Three of them came around the corner. Two men I hadn’t seen, and the greasy-haired thin man. He stopped short when he saw the guns aimed at him.
“Dios Mio,” he stuttered.
“Vamos,” the Mexican said. The greasy-haired thin man slipped backwards and then disappeared around the corner. The other two, hard eyed older men, stood their ground. No weapons in their hands. Silence held for what seemed a long while.
“Well, you got it,” one of the oldsters asked. It came with such a thick accent that I had to take the time to figure out what he’d said… “Chew gat et?”
The conversation switched to a quick spate of Spanish then. That went back and forth between the two men and the Mexican for a few minutes and then silence came back so hard I could hear a bird calling in the distance. The sound of a big rig on the highway, and that was a few miles away. One of the oldsters nodded, turned, and walked away. He came back around the corner of the building a few minutes later with two large duffel bags and tossed them on the ground between us. They slid a couple of feet towards us and then stopped in front of the truck.
“Get them bags, Amigo,” the Mexican told me.
I looked at him like he was crazy. But of course he was crazy, and there was nothing I could do except come around the hood, a pistol in one hand, eyes on those two older men.
I stopped by the hood when I suddenly realized that I had a problem. I could not pick up both duffel bags without putting the gun away. I debated briefly, stuffed the gun into the waistband of my pants and picked up the bags.
“In the cab,” the Mexican said. I levered the door of the cab open and set them inside. “Strip off that tarp.”
The tarp came off and the two men came forward and lifted out the suitcases. The Mexican and the two others stared at each other for a few moments, then the oldsters walked away. I watched them turn the corner and they were gone.
I started to get back into the truck when the Mexican wagged his head and put one finger to his lips. I pulled my gun back out, scared to death. It was maybe a second after I got the gun back in my hand that the two came back around the corner ready to take us out.
I shot first. Unintended. Pure reaction. The gun was in my hand and happened to be pointed in that direction and I fired out of reflex. One of the oldsters heads exploded. Something tugged at my collar, and then the Mexican dropped the other guy. A second… Less than a second and it was over. The silence didn’t come again, this time there were sounds in the silence. The hound dog up and baying. Excited voices in Spanish somewhere close by.
“Now we go,” the Mexican said. “Now we go, Amigo.”
I needed no coaching. I was in the truck and backing out of the gas station fast. The rear tires hopping and screeching on the pavement. A black Caddy sat on the tarmac, just past the pumps, engine idling. The doors hung open.
“Stop!… Stop!” The Mexican yelled. “Get them bags back!”
I stalled the truck stopping without pushing the clutch in, ran to the Caddy and got the bags along with two others from the back seat. I threw them all into the back of the truck and I had started back to the driver side when the Mexican shot.
I didn’t think I just hit the ground and I didn’t come back up until the Mexican began cursing at me to get back in the truck. I looked back at the gas station when I did. The man with the greasy-black hair lay sprawled in the open stall. A shot gun off to one side. The hound dog stood stiffly, head in the air, howling. Blood ran from the man’s body toward a floor drain. Voices raised in Spanish, loud, somewhere close by. And the Mexican yelling at me. I threw myself into the cab, got the truck started and got out of there fast. And here I am now running across the desert heading to Mexico.
The rest of the time has been fast driving. I kept expecting the cops at any moment, but they never showed up. I didn’t even know the Mexican had been shot again until later on when I realized he was coughing up less blood and sounded as though we were drowning instead. I could not even say when it was that he died, but sometime late afternoon if I had to guess. He had not spoken in some time and when I looked over at him his lips had turned blue.
When I pulled him out to bury him in a little dry wash off the highway I saw a new hole in the upper part of his chest. Right through the shirt and into the lung on that side, I guessed. Two lung shots, and a head shot, and he had still been going. I couldn’t see how he lived so I wasn’t surprised that he had died.
He died well. As well as can be expected considering it’s dead after all. He didn’t cry or beg, or curse. He just died. Slipped away.
After I buried the Mexican I checked the suitcases and duffel bags. After all, they were mine now. And I wanted to know what everybody was in such a hurry to die for.
The duffel bags were no surprise. They were stuffed full of money and guns. They were big duffel bags. They held a lot. An awful lot.
Two of the suitcases were surprises. I thought drugs, what else do people get killed for? But, no.
Of the others, one held more money, clothes and passports. I.D. That sort of stuff. All with the Mexican’s picture. Then the other two suitcases that shocked me. One contained the body of a dead dog. Shot full of holes and stuffed in there.
The other held the head and hands of someone I was sure was wishing he had them back. The last two suitcases did contain drugs. More than I’d ever seen in one place before.
I took out the money and added it to the duffel bags. I buried the Cocaine and the dog along with the Mexican. I had no idea what the suitcases were all about. I still don’t. And I don’t want to know. I do know there was a fortune in Cocaine and I did not want to tempt myself with it.
Later I got the truck cleaned up at one of
those self car washes on the other side of the border, turned off the highway
with a full tank of gas a few miles up the road from there, and I’m running in
the moonlight. I’ve got a map of South America.
I hope to find a road before I run out of gas. I figure I’ll work my way
down into South America as far as I can go. I don’t know where I’ll go from
there, there hasn’t been time to think about where…
PREVIEW Earth’s Survivors Book one:
Used with permission.
~ March 1st~
The traffic leaving the parking lot had slowed to a trickle. The lot nearly empty. The live shows were over. The bands packed up and gone. The dancers gone before or at the same time. The club was empty except Jimmy, the club boss, Don the main door security and me.
“Why are you still here, Candy,” Jimmy asked as he came up to the bar. He was on his way back from the parking lot. It was a short trip across the parking lot to the bank night deposit on the lot next door.
“I had an idea that Harry would be by tonight… He wanted to talk to me,” I shrugged. Harry was a Bookie, at least on the surface. Off the surface, or maybe it would be truer to say under the surface, Harry controlled most of the organized crime north of Syracuse. Jimmy… Jimmy managed the club, among other things, but the best description for Jimmy was to say Jimmy solved problems for Harry.
“Wants to talk you into staying here… That’s about all,” Jimmy said.
I turned away and pretended to check my face in the mirrored wall behind the bar. I wanted to Dance. I had suggested to Harry, through Jimmy, that maybe it was time for me to move on if there wasn’t any hope of me dancing. “Anyway. I ended up tending bar. So…”
“So it’s not dancing,” he dug one hand into his pocket and pulled out a thick wad of bills. He peeled two hundreds from the roll and pushed them into my hand, folding his hand over my own and closing it when I started to protest.
But,” I started.
“But nothing. We did a lot in bar sales. You and I both know it was because of you…” he smiled, let go of my hand and stepped back. “It was me not Harry,” he said.
I fixed my eyes on him. I knew what he might be about to say but I wanted to be sure.
He sighed. “It was me that put the stop to your dancing… You’re too goddamn good for dancing, Candy. And once you start?” He barked a short, derisive laugh. “The law thing? … Right out the window… what’s a cop make anyway… In this town… maybe thirty or forty a year?” He settled onto one of the stools that lined the bar, tossed his hat onto the bar top and patted the stool next to him. He continued talking.
“So, thirty, maybe forty, and what’s a dancer make? I can tell you there are dancers here who make better than one fifty a year… And that’s what I pay them, that’s not the side stuff or tips.” He moved one large hand, fished around behind the bar and came up with a bottle of chilled Vodka from the rack that held it just below eye level. He squinted at the label. “Cherry Surprise,” he questioned in a voice low enough to maybe be just for himself. “This shit any good, Candy?”
“It’s not bad,” I told him. I leaned over the bar and snagged two clean glasses when he asked me, setting them on the bar top.. He poured us both about three shots worth. “Jesus, Jimmy.”
He laughed. “Which is why I don’t make drinks.. It’d break me.” He sipped at his glass, made a face, but sipped again. I took a small sip of my own drink and settled back onto the bar stool.
“So I said to myself… Smart… Beautiful… Talented… And you have that something about you that makes men look the second time. You know?” He took another small sip. “Man sees a woman walking down the street, or across a crowded dance floor, beautiful or not he looks. That look might be short or it might be long. Depends on the woman. Then he looks away… Does he look back? Not usually. But with you he does. There are women men look at that second time… For whatever reason, and you’re one of them. I looked a second time, and then I really looked, for a third time. And I’ve seen a lot. That tattoo makes men and women look again.” His eyes fell on the tattoo that started on the back of my left hand, ran up my arm, across my breasts and then snaked back down over my belly and beyond. I knew it was provocative, that was the rebellious part of me. I had no better explanation for why I had sat, lain, through five months of weekly ink work to get it done.
Jimmy rubbed one huge open palm across the stubble of his cheeks. “Jesus do I need a shave…” He took a large drink from his glass. “It wasn’t the tattoo. It caught my eye, but that wasn’t what made me look that third time. Candy, I took a third look because I saw a young woman that doesn’t need to have anything to do with this world. You’re too goddamn smart, talented for this. So I said no. I let you dance a few times but I didn’t want you to fall into it. I made the decision that you should tend bar instead of dance.” He tossed off the glass.
“I see that,” I told him. Although I didn’t completely see it. He was reading a lot about what he thought, what he saw, into who I really was.
“Yeah? I don’t think so, Candy. And that’s a reason right there. Candy… Like a treat… When did it become okay for anyone to call you that? Because I remember a few months back when you started hanging around… It was Candace and pity the dumb bastard who didn’t understand that. Now it’s Candy to any Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along.” He saw the hurt look in my eyes. Reached below the bar, snagged the bottle, topped off his glass, I shook my head, covered the top of my glass with my hand and smiled. He continued.
“I’m not trying to hurt you only keep you on track. I’m giving you the keys. You drive. All I’m saying is set your ground rules. Make them rigid. Don’t let anyone… Me… Harry… These boys that work here… Customers… Don’t let anyone cross those lines… You see, Candy?”
“Yeah? Then why not call me on calling you Candy? I’ve done it since we sat down… Why not start there?”
“Well… I mean, you’re the boss, Jimmy.”
“Which is why you start there. I don’t allow anyone to talk anyway to anyone that doesn’t want that… Let me explain that… You got girls that work the streets. You don’t see it so much here, it’s a small city, but it happens. I spent a few years on the streets in Rochester, bigger place, as a kid. Happens all the time there.” He sipped at his drink. I took a sip of my own drink and raised my brows at what he had said.
“Yeah? Don’t believe it? It’s true. I fought my way up. I have respect because I earned it…” He waved one hand. “Don’t let me get off track…” He smiled and took another sip from his glass. “So, I’ve seen girls on the streets… Whores… It is what it is. Would you hear me say that to them? Maybe you would… Maybe you wouldn’t… If a woman sees herself as a whore… If that’s all it is… What it is… Then who am I to say different… Do you see? It’s a living, or it’s a life… There is a difference. Now back to you. You want to dance. Some of these girls,” he waved one meaty hand at the empty stage area, “work the other side… Some of them do that for me, some do it on their own… Some don’t,” he sighed. “Either way you would not see me treat them any other way than what they want to be treated. I mean that if you believe you are a whore and that is what you see then that is what you show the world, and that is how the world sees you… Treats you,” he settled his eyes on me.
I nodded. I didn’t trust my voice. I had been down this road on my own. What did it say about me? That it only mattered that I made it? That money mattered more than anything else? Would I be swayed by the money? Was I even being honest with myself about my motivations? I really didn’t know. I knew what I told myself on a daily basis… That I wanted to follow my Father into law enforcement but was it whimsical like so many other things in my life that I never followed through on?
“You are not just a dancer… There is a part of you that is… A part of you that likes the way a man looks at you… Likes the money… But, there is another part that is the private you… The real you. You need to keep those distinctions.” He rubbed at his eyes, tossed off the rest of his drink and rose from the bar stool. “Let me drop you home, Candy,” he asked?
I stood, leaving my mostly full drink sitting on the bar top. “I have my car,” I told him.
“It’s late… Creeps around maybe.”
“Jimmy. Every creep in my neighborhood knows I work here… For you. Guys stopped talking to me, let alone the creeps.” I laughed but it wasn’t really all that funny. It had scared me when I realized who Jimmy was. Who Jimmy worked for. In effect, who I worked for… Another questionable thing? Probably.
Jimmy nodded. “Smart creeps. The southern Tier’s a big place. Easy to lose yourself with or without a little help.” He looked at his watch and then fixed his eyes on me once more. “So you keep your perspective. Set your limits. Draw your lines,” he spoke as he shrugged into his coat, retrieved his hat from the bar top and planted it on his head, “Don’t let nobody cross those lines… You start next week… Let’s say the eleventh?”
“Take the balance of the time off… By the time the eleventh comes around you should be ready for a whole new world. A whole new life.” He stood looking down at me for a second. “The big talk I guess. For what it’s worth I don’t say those things often, Candy.”
I nodded. “I believe that… And, Jimmy?”
He looked down at me. He knew what was coming. He expected it and that was the only reason I was going to say it. I knew better than to correct Jimmy V. There were a lot of woods up here. They did go on forever and they probably did hold a lot of lost people. I may be slow but I’m far from stupid.
“Please don’t call me Candy,” I told him.
He smiled. “Don’t be so goddamn nice about it… Don’t call me Candy,” he rasped, a dangerous edge to his voice. “Look ’em right in the eye… Don’t call me Candy… Put a little attitude in your look.. A little I can fuckin’ snap at any minute, attitude… Let me see that.”
I put my best street face on. The one I had used growing up on the streets in Syracuse. I knew that I can snap at any minute look. I’d used it many times. “Don’t call me Candy,” I told him in a voice that was not my own. My street voice, “Just don’t do it.”
“Goddamn right, Doll,” Jimmy told me. “Goddamn right… Scared me a little there… That’s that street wise part of you.” He took my head in both massive hands, bent and kissed the top of my head, “I will see you on the eleventh,” he told me.
I nodded. I let the Doll remark go.
I followed Jimmy out the back door past Don who nodded at me and winked. Don was an asshole. Always hitting on us when Jimmy wasn’t around. But Jimmy was his uncle. I was employing my best selective perception when I smiled at him. I wondered if I would ever get used to him. Probably not, I decided, but maybe that would be a good thing. Of course it didn’t matter. I never saw Don again. Or jimmy. Or anyone else from that life.
I said goodbye to Jimmy V. Crossed the parking lot for the last time and drove myself home. I parked my rusted out Toyota behind my Grandparents house and twenty four hours later my world, everybody’s world, was completely changed…
Candace ~ March 2nd
This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know but it seems like it’s ending here. Earthquakes, explosions. I’ve seen no Police, Fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have the Nine Millimeter that used to be my Fathers. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside.
Candace ~ March 3rd
I lost this yesterday, my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it, then I found it later on by the window. There are no Police, no Firemen, phones, electric, the real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed.
I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud. So out of place. So… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away.
Candace ~ March 4th
I’m going out. I have to see. If I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this?
Candace ~ March 5th
The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is no Jimmy V. I hear gunshots at night. Screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess I would say it’s the end of the civilized world. Unless things are better somewhere else I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up too. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines, missing streets, damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now.
I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then?
Candace ~ March 6th
I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe that’s a sign. I told myself though, scared or not, I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow.
Candace ~ March 7th
The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. Most of my friends, and that’s a joke, I didn’t have anyone I could call a friend, most of my acquaintances believed my grandparents were alive and that I lived here with them. They weren’t. I didn’t. I kind of let that belief grow, fostered it, I guess. I planted the seed by saying it was my Nana Pans’ apartment. You can see the Asian in me, so it made sense to them that she was my Nana. But I look more like I’m a Native American than African American and Japanese. It’s just the way the blood mixed as my father used to say. But Native American or Asian they could see in my face. This neighborhood is predominantly Asian. Mostly older people too. There were two older Asian women that lived in the building. They probably believed one of those women was my Nana and I didn’t correct them.
I can’t tell you why I did that. I guess I wanted that separation. I didn’t want them, anyone to get to know me well. My plan had been to dance, earn enough money for school, Criminal Justice, go back to Syracuse. Pretend none of this part of my life had ever happened. Some plan. It seemed workable. I wondered over what Jimmy V. had said to me. Did he see something in me that I didn’t, or was he just generalizing?.. It doesn’t matter now I suppose.
My Grandmother passed away two years ago. The apartment she had lived in was just a part of the building she owned. Nana Pan, my mother’s mother, had rented the rest of the building out. The man who had lived with her was not my Grandfather, he had died before I was born, but her brother who had come ten years before from Japan. They spoke little English. People outside of the neighborhood often thought they were man and wife. She didn’t bother correcting them my mother had told me. Nana Pan thought that most Americans were superficial and really didn’t care, so what was the use in explaining anything to them? Maybe that’s where I got my deceptiveness from.
I had left the house as it was. Collected rents through an agency. For all anyone knew I was just another tenant. Jimmy V. had known. He had mentioned it to me. But Jimmy knew everything there was to know about everyone. That was part of his business. It probably kept him alive.
So I stayed and waited. I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. No one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday… Probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why. What all my reasons were. A lot of fear I think.
There have been earthquakes. The house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad, it’s just dumb luck it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me.
It doesn’t matter now. I met a few others today and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore.
I’m taking this and my gun with me. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it.
I’ll write more here I think, I just don’t know when or where I’ll be.
He came awake in the darkness, but awake wasn’t precisely the term. Alive was precisely the term. He knew alive was precisely the term because he could remember dying. He remembered that his heart had stopped in his chest. He had remembered wishing that it would start again. That bright moment or two of panic, and then he remembered beginning not to care. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. And he had drifted away.
Now he had drifted back. But, drifted was not exactly right. He had slammed back into himself where he lay on the cold subbasement floor where he had been murdered by a roving gang of thieves. And he knew those things were true because he remembered them. And he knew they were true because he was dead. He was still dead. His heart was not beating in his chest. His blood was cold and jelled in his veins.
He lay and watched the shadows deepen in the corners of the basement ceiling for a short time longer and then tried to move.
His body did not want to move at first. It felt as though it weighed a ton. Two tons, but with a little more effort it came away. He sat and then crawled to his knees.
the corner a huge rat stopped on his way to somewhere to sniff at him. Decided
he was probably food and came to eat him. He had actually sat for a second
while the rat first sniffed and then began to gnaw at one fingernail. Then he
had quickly snatched the rat up with his other hand, snapped its back in his
fist and then shoved him warm and squirming into his mouth. A few minutes later
he stood on shaky legs and walked off into the gloom of the basement. Looking
for the stairs and the way up to the streets.
Wendell Sweet is the author of several series as well as, nonfiction works and short stories. He lives in upstate New York. You can find his books On Google, Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, Walmart and many other eBook or paperback book sellers…
All music, lyrics, artwork or additional written materials attributed to characters in these novels or on the website, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright Wendell Sweet
Posted by Dell Sun, April 17, 2016 12:16:05
EARTH’S SURVIVORS: WATERTOWN
By Dell Sweet
Copyright © Dell Sweet 2016, all rights reserved.
Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2014 by Wendell Sweet
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Names Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. All rights foreign and domestic are retained by the Author and or his assignees.
Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.
Cover and Interior Art Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet
EARTH’S SURVIVORS: WATERTOWN
Six months before:
Tommy Murphy and Jefferson Prescott
Jefferson Prescott stood quietly and sipped at his coffee. The house in Esmeraldas was his own private escape. He could sit and watch the ocean, or travel into the mountains in just a few hours time, and Ecuador was such an easy country to live in: The people so happy with so little.
He owned a building in Manhattan, he owned a house in the hills outside of L.A., but this was his favorite place. This was where he did his real business, entertained and spent time with the women in his life, besides his wife and daughters back in Manhattan. This was the place where he bought his associates. Those another man might call friends: In Jefferson’s world there was no place for friends. The luxury the concept didn’t exist.
Tommy Murphy stood at the rail a few feet away and smoked a cigar, looking out over the ocean. He was probably the closest person he had to a friend. The two of them had a lucrative relationship. Jefferson’s drugs and drug connections, Tommy’s organized crime connections. Between the two of them, they controlled almost everything that moved on the East Coast. They had tentacles that stretched all the way to the west coast, and inroads into the south that we’re starting to look like highways.
They both dealt in millions daily. Privately, they were probably two of the richest men in the world, but they were on no one’s list of who’s who, except a few specialized task forces within the world’s governments: Even they couldn’t touch them. They owned too many of their officials, too many of their agents were on their payrolls. They didn’t fight the task force’s or special government branches the way the old syndicates had, they simply bought them. Every man really did have his price. And if that was too high you simply bought the man beside him, or above him, it was just as effective.
With all the deals they had made, and the millions they had amassed, nothing came close to what they had on the burner right now. Tommy had fallen into a deal on a tip, a way to collect on a sizable gambling debt, and the two of them had decided to take the risk.
Tommy sipped at his drink and then raised his eyes to Prescott. “Concerned?” Tommy asked.
“Unconcerned… It’s only money,” Jefferson assured him.
“Good,” Tommy said quietly. He reached into his pocket and retrieved a slim silver cylinder. A small red button, with a protective cap in the same cheap looking, red plastic covered the button.
Jefferson pulled a deep breath, audible in the sudden silence. From somewhere deep in the jungle of a forest that surrounded them a big cat screamed.
“Looks like nothing,” Jefferson said.
“I told the kid it reminded me of these little refill cylinders I used to have for my BB gun when I was a kid,” Tommy said.
“Jefferson laughed. “I can’t imagine that you played with anything that didn’t have a silencer and at least a ten round clip.”
Tommy laughed and then fell silent. “This is it, Jeff. Strip off the protective cap, push the button… The kid said it doesn’t mater after that… How close, how far, it will protect us.”
“Infect us,” Jefferson corrected. “There is a difference.”
“Infect us,” Tommy agreed. “I figure, why not… We paid the big bucks for the rest of it, but this will start us down that path… Why not do it.”
“Why not,” Prescott agreed. “A sample? Just enough for two?”
Tommy shrugged. “He didn’t say… I depended upon the reports he smuggled out more than the first hand knowledge he has. He knows what he has seen, but he has not witnessed anyone come back… The reports detail exactly that.”
Jefferson laughed and shook his head. “Immortality.”
“Immortality,” Tommy agreed. He paused, stripped the small red cover from the slim, silver tube and pressed the button before he could change his mind. Nothing. He turned the silver tube back and forth.
“Maybe there should be no sound,” Jefferson said. He had braced for what he expected: A small cloud of vapor, a hiss, something to impart that magic the tube was supposed to contain.
Tommy raised the tube to his nose, but there was no detectable odor. “But did it do its job,” Tommy said so low it might almost have been to himself if he had not raised his eyes and asked of Prescott.
“The million dollar question,” Prescott said quietly.
“Multi million dollar question,” Tommy corrected. He stared at the container a few seconds longer and then slipped it into his pocket. “In for a penny,” he said.
“In for a pound,” Prescott agreed.
“You know Ben Neo?” Tommy asked after a few moments of silence, changing the subject to private business.
“Your best,” Jefferson said.
Tommy nodded and turned back to the rail. “When you find out who it is, tell me. I’ll have him take care of it for you. He’s good. Discreet. Fast.” He turned and looked at Jefferson. “Yeah?” he asked.
Jefferson nodded. “Yeah. I appreciate it. I’ve got Carlos on it. I’ll know soon. When I know, you will know. From my lips to yours,” he said.
Tommy nodded. He sipped at his drink again.
“I have that young woman you like so much coming over in just a little while,” Jefferson said.
Tommy turned away from the rail and smiled. “I could use the diversion,” he said.
Jefferson shrugged. “It’s what we do for each other,” he said as he got to his feet. “Enjoy yourself, Tommy. I am about to head back… Take care of a few things. I will see you at your place up in the Catskills next week?” he asked.
“Absolutely, Jeff, absolutely.” Tommy said. The two men embraced and Jefferson left the warm night air of the deck and followed his driver who was waiting to take him to the helicopter pad. Tommy watched him go and then turned back to the rail, watching the waves out in the sea, rolling under the moonlight.
“Sir?” a voice said from the doorway.
Tommy turned from the rail to look at Andrea Ivanna Zurita, the beautiful young woman who stood in the doorway smiling.
The Lita Situation
“Lita… Lita, stop, Lita. What are you doing?”
“I want you… I want you… I know what I’m doing,” Lita said. Her lips fell on his, her body pressed up against his own. He had been okay until he felt the softness of her breasts pressing against him. The firmness in her thighs as they moved against his own thigh. Whatever he had held back: Whatever resolve he had, had, he lost. He felt it fall away as he pulled her to him. Tasting her. Feeling her hands on his own body.
“Lita?” he tried again, but without much resolve. He breathed it against her cheek as she kissed his neck, ran her hands over his chest, squatted and came level with his belt line. Her fingernails pressed against the fabric of his shirt, ticking downward, and she ran her hands across to stomach and found the catch to his pants, and then worked the zipper down.
“Lita… Think, Lita,” he said.
She took him in her mouth and everything flew away. Everything he had fought to say. Everything he had been afraid of. All of it gone. There was only the warm night, the girl, and the darkness.
She stood and lifted her dress, she was bare beneath. He picked her up and her thighs spread apart coming around his hips and locking together as he slid into her. Her lips fell on his neck once more, his hands pulled her closer, drove deeper into her. He stumbled forward until the wall was at her back. She thrust her hips harder, and the last vestige of doubt, the last small piece of resolve, melted away: She came alive under his hands.
Two Days Later
Watertown, New York
Carlos and Gabe
The man moved more fully into the shadows. “You Gabe?” he asked in a near whisper.
The darker shadow nodded. “You…?” He started.
“Now who in fuck else would I be?” He asked.
The darker shadow said nothing. The other man passed him a small paper bag. “Count it,” he told him.
Gabe Kohlson moved out of the shadow, more fully into the light. “It’s a lot, I can’t stand here, out here counting it.”
The man laughed. “You asked for this place. It’s the middle of nowhere. I Googled it, it comes up marked as the middle of nowhere. Who in fuck will see you?” He laughed and then choked it off with a harsh cough. “Count it. No mistakes… You got the shit?”
Kohlson’s head popped up fast from counting. “Of course I don’t… That wasn’t the deal.”
“Easy… Easy… Keep your panties on… I’m saying, you got the shit… You got access to the shit?”
“That I got… I can get it out this Thursday at shift end…” He held up the paper bag. “A lot of this goes to greasing the skids… You know, to get it out,” Gabe told him. “This stuff.”
“Whoa right there,” the man told him. “Don’t say shit about it. I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to know, see? I do a job. Take this thing there, that thing here. That’s all I know. Keeps my head on my shoulders when all about are losing theirs.”
“Uh… Lost me,” Gabe Kohlson told him.
“Just shut up about the shit, man. I don’t want to know anything past what I know, okay?”
“Okay,” Kohlson agreed.
“I do know you got to get it out and I will be here to get it… Hey,” he waited until the kid looked up. “You know who I work for, right? You fuck this up you’ll wind up out at the county landfill… Gulls pecking out your fucking eyes, let me tell you. I will meet you here next Thursday night… Seven… Don’t be late… Don’t fuck this up… Don’t make me come looking for you…” He faded back into the shadows more fully, turned and walked down the shadowed front of the building. A few minutes later he found his car in the darkness: He waited.
He heard the kids shit-box beater when it started. A few moments later he watched as it swept past him, heading out of the small park area toward the river road. He levered the handle on his own car, slipped inside, started it and drove slowly away.
Three months before:
“It makes no sense to me, Carlos” Jefferson said. “How can you say there is no one when I know there is someone? When she talks about her lover to her friends? This man, or boy, or whatever he is, is so bold as to meet her right in my very own home… Not always, but she brags to her friends about it. I know, I listen, but she never says his name. How can that be… It’s like she is torturing me with this lover.” He looked to Carlos Sanchez.
“Carlos, you are like my son. I give you everything. Power, money, whatever you need. Whatever you ask, I give, Carlos, you know that…”
Carlos nodded. “I know, Mr. Prescott, I know,” Carlos said.
“So if you are as a son to me, I am like a father to you. How could you let someone do this to your father? It is as though I were naked, would you leave me naked and laugh about it as Hamm did with Noah? Or would you cover up my nakedness, as Shem and Japheth did?” His eyes locked on Carlos’ own.
“I would cover you,” Carlos said.
“This man has left me naked, Carlos. Exposed. So has she, and I will deal with that transgression too, but you must find this man. You, my son. You.” He nodded firmly at Carlos and Carlos nodded back.
Complex C: Patient Ward
Test Subject: Clayton Hunter
Gabe Kohlson moved away from the monitors. “Heart rate is dropping, don’t you think…” He stopped as the monitor began to chime softly. Before he could get fully turned around the chiming turned into a strident alarm that rose and fell. “Dammit,” Kohlson said as he finished his turn.
“What is it,” David Johns wheeled his chair across the short space of the control room. His outstretched hands caught him at the counter top and slowed him at Kohlson’s monitor.
“Flat lined,” Kohlson said as he pushed a button on the wall to confirm what the doctors one level up already knew. Clayton Hunter was dead.
“I see it,” Doctor Ed Adams replied over the ceiling speakers. The staff called him Doctor Christmas for his long white beard and oversize belly. “Berty and I are on the way.”
“Lot of good that will do,” Johns muttered.
Kohlson turned to him. “Go on in… Do CPR if you want… They don’t pay me enough to do it. I don’t know what that shit is. Look at the way the Doc suits up. Clayton Hunter will be in rigor before anyone gets in there at all.”
“No argument,” Johns said. He wheeled back to his own monitor, called up an incident sheet and began to type.
“Me too,” Kohlson agreed. “Preserve the video, med and monitor data.” He punched a few buttons on his console and an interface for the medical equipment came up. He saved the last 48 hours of data, and then began to fill out his own incident report. These reports might never be seen by more than one person, maybe two if you counted the person that wrote it, Kohlson thought, but it would always be there. Classified: Top secret for the next hundred years or so, and he wondered about that too. Would it even be released after a long period? He doubted it. The shit they were doing here was bad. Shit you didn’t ever want the American public to know about. He had made his delivery a few weeks before. Whatever this shit was, bad people had not only come to know about it, but had come to have a need for what it did. It didn’t matter to him, not really. There were rumors, a few things he had seen while monitoring test subjects. Nothing he considered concrete. Maybe it extended life, that was the strongest rumor. From what he had seen though, as far as test subjects, it did its fair share of ending life pretty effectively too. And here was another one to add to the growing number of failures… If that’s what they were.
This incident report, along with the one Johns was doing, would probably get buried deep under some program listing that no one would ever suspect to look into. Or maybe it would get burned right along with Clayton Hunter’s body. He glanced up at the clock and then went back to typing.
“Uh… Call it 4:32 PM?” He asked.
“Works for me,” Johns agreed. “I got 94 for the body,” Johns said.
“Yeah… Yeah, me too. That’s a fast drop, but we both got the same thing. 94 it is… No heart, no respiratory, dead as dog shit.”
“Dog shit,” Johns agreed. They both fell silent as they typed. A few moments later the doors to the observation room chimed, the air purifiers kicked on with a high pitched whine, and they could both feel the air as it dragged past them and into the air ducts. The entire volume would be replaced and the room depressurized and then re-pressurized before the doors would open. And that would only happen after the air was tested and retested. A good twenty minutes away before anyone would step foot into the room with Clayton Hunter.
Complex C, Autopsy Room
Ed Adams and Roberta Summers had dissected Clayton Hunter’s body methodically. The autopsy had been painstaking. It had to be, it was recorded in detail and some General somewhere, hell maybe even the president, would be looking that video over in the next few days. Maybe even watching live now, Ed Adams thought. They had that capability. There was nothing to see. He had suffered a major heart attack. The heart had a defect. No history. One of those things that just came along and fucked up your two billion dollar research project all at once.
“Coronary Thrombosis,” He spoke in a measured voice. “Appears to be after the fact. The artery looks to be mildly occluded… The myocardial infarction appears to be caused from a congenital defect… Specifically an Atrial Septal Defect… Berty?”
“I concur. Easily overlooked. The lack of sustenance put a higher demand on the subject’s heart, the defect became a major player at that point… Bad luck for us.”
“Uh, bad luck for Clayton Hunter,” Ed Adams added.
“Of course, bad luck for the subject, Clayton Hunter. I simply meant bad luck for a research volunteer to be defective in such a way that in effect it would compromise a project of this magnitude so badly.” She turned her eyes up to one of the cameras she knew to be there. “This in no way paints a true picture of V2765. We should proceed, unsatisfying as these circumstances might be, we should proceed with subjects 1120F and 1119X… Same compound.” She turned back to the corpse on the table. “You want me to do the brain biopsy,” She asked Ed.
Ed frowned as he made eye contact with her. They had decided, at least he had thought they had decided, not to mention brain biopsies. Three times now he had discussed the importance of not focusing on the changes that V2765 made to the brain. Anything that altered the brain could alter financing, funding, lab time. Even the government didn’t like changes to brain matter.
“Are you thinking there could have been an embolism?” He asked.
“Well I,” she sputtered away for a second before Ed rescued her.
“I think all we would see is evidence of the embolism that occurred near the heart. We could search out areas of the body and most likely find more than one occurrence of embolism. Well thought, Berty, but I believe we will take a look at the brain later in the week. Right now I want to focus on the enzymes, proteins, blood work and readying the other two for a conclusion of this trial.”
“Yes. I agree entirely, Doctor Adams.”
“You have your samples?”
“Yes of course, Doctor… Rex?”
Ed frowned hard and shrugged his shoulders in the direction of the thick glass. He lowered his voice to a whisper. “None in here. That was stupid, Berty.“
“What was that,” Kohlson asked Johns in the control room.
“What?” Johns asked.
“That… Whisper, I guess,” Kohlson said.
“Oh… That. You know those two got it bad for each other. Probably making little remarks you don’t want to hear. Besides which, you make a report on that and we all have to deal with it: Them, sure, but us too because the bosses will be pissed off about it. Best to let that shit slide: If the boss wants to know, he will. He looks at all of this shit in depth.”
Kohlson looked about to say more when Doctor Christmas began talking once more in the autopsy room.
“Let’s close him up,” Ed Adams said. He stepped on a switch set into the floor, paused, and then spoke again. “Lower the air temperature in here. We intend to keep him a few hours while we attend to other parts of the autopsy… No one in here for any reason.”
Out in the control room Johns keyed his mic button. “Will do… How low, Doc.?”
“I guess about 34 Fahrenheit will do… Just to slow it all down for a while.”
“Done,” Johns agreed. He adjusted a temperature graphic on a nearby monitor via his mouse.
Kohlson leaned over across the short distance. “So we got to look at that shit for a while? Great.”
“They’re gonna sew him up, so it won’t be so bad.”
“Yeah… That’s like, I got a mild case of flu. It’s still gonna suck, because every time I look anywhere I’m gonna feel compelled to look at it.”
“Yeah. Me too. It’s there. Draws you to it. Like the Bunny on the Playboy Cover. You look at the rest of the magazine, but you know you’re gonna end up looking at her. She’s the reason you bought the magazine after all.”
Kohlson nodded and smiled. “And I’d rather look at Miss January than a dead guy with big stitches across his belly and over his chest, sewing him back up again. That is some ugly shit.”
Johns laughed. “But you look anyway… Human nature. Why do you think people slow down and look at accidents?”
“Because we’re morbid mother-fuckers,” Kohlson agreed.
“Well, that too, but it is that fascination with death we have. Look,” He pointed at the monitor. Do you think Clayton Hunter knew he’d be laying on a steel slab this afternoon, dick hanging out, with Doctor Christmas shoving his guts back in and stitching him up with his nursey assisting?” They both laughed and turned away.
“She ain’t half…”
A scream cut off the conversation and both men turned quickly back to the monitor.
Clayton Hunter was sitting up on the steel table. Arms drooping at his side. Mouth yawning. Doctor Christmas had backed away until he had met the wall behind him. Nurse Berty was nowhere to be seen.
“What the fuck… What the fuck. Get a camera on the floor… Maybe she fainted,” Kohlson said.
“Got it,” Johns agreed. He stabbed at the keys on his keyboard and a view of the table at an angle appeared. Nurse Bertie’s leg could be seen, angled away from the table, skirt hiked high. The camera paused briefly and then the view began to shift as Johns manipulated the camera angle. Her face came into view. Mouth open, blood seeping from one corner.
“Doctor,” Kohlson called over the speaker system. Outside the airlocks had clicked on and the air was cycling. Good, he thought, in twenty minutes the Calvary would be here. “Doctor Adams?”
The doctor finally took his eyes off Clayton Hunter and turned toward one of the cameras. On the table Clayton Hunter leaned forward and tumbled off the edge of the table. At the same instant the air purifier quit cycling and three armed men in gas masks stepped into the airlock.
“Jesus,” Johns sputtered into his headset microphone, “You guys can’t do that shit. That air has to be worked?” Three more men stepped through the lock and the door to the autopsy room opened as well as the door to the control room. A split second later the rifles in their hands began to roar. The sound was louder than Kohlson expected in the enclosed space. He clasped his hands over his ears, but it did little good. The soldiers, he saw, were wearing ear protection of some sort. Noise canceling headgear. The remaining three soldiers had stepped into the control room, he saw as he looked back up from the floor. They had their rifles leveled at them, the others were still firing within the confines of the small autopsy room. A small gray cloud was creeping along the floor and rolling slowly into the control room. The stench of gunpowder was strong in the enclosed space. The air purifiers were off. Kohlson knew there was another control room outside this one that controlled this space, and possibly another outside of that space that controlled that space: Built in redundant protection; it was clear that they were in a very bad place.
Kohlson saw Clayton Hunter lurch to his feet and stumble into the soldiers who were firing at point blank range in the tight confines. A series of bullets finally tore across his chest and then into his head and he fell from view. A second later the firing dropped off and then stopped completely.
Johns was listening to the sound of his own heart hammering for a space of seconds before he figured out it was his own. The smell of gunpowder was nauseating, and he suddenly lunged forward and vomited on his shoes. As he was lifting his head he saw that the soldiers were retreating back through the airlocks and into the outer spaces of the compound.
“Jesus,” Kohlson managed before he also bent forward and vomited. They heard the air filtering kick back on as both of them rolled away from the puddles of vomit and quickly disappearing low, gray vapor from the gunfire. The doors into the autopsy room suddenly banged shut and then their own door whispered closed as well: Once again they were isolated in their small space.
They both sat silent for a moment, and then Kohlson left and returned from the small bathroom with a mop and bucket from the utility closet there. He left again and returned with a bottle of disinfectant and sprayed down the vomit and the balance of the small room.
“That won’t do shit,” Johns said solemnly. “We’re infected. Whatever they infected that guy Hunter with, we got it now.
Kohlson ignored him, waited the ten minutes for the disinfectant to work and then cleaned up the mess. Neither spoke while he returned the equipment to the small closet and then came back and sat down.
“You heard me, right?”
“I heard you,” Kohlson admitted. “I just don’t give a fuck… It’s too fresh… I can’t believe it right now.” He looked up at the clock. “Mother fucker… I was off duty in twenty minutes… Twenty goddamn minutes!” He spun and looked at Johns, but Johns was looking up at the monitors that were still on in the autopsy room. The smoke was being drawn out by the air exchange, and the horror of the room was slowly coming into focus.
Doctor Adams lay sprawled in one corner, a line of bullet holes stitched across his back. The back portion of his skull was missing, jagged bone and gray-black hair clumped wildly around the fractured bone. Johns gagged and looked away.
“Jesus… They killed everybody,” Kohlson said as he continued to watch. Nurse Bertie lay where she had fallen. Only her legs visible in the shot they could see. Clayton Hunter lay against the end of the stainless slab, his head a shapeless mass. The stitches across his chest and stomach bulging. Kohlson finally turned away too.
“They’re coming back for us.” Johns said.
Kohlson spun to the door.
“Not now, stupid ass, but you can’t think we get to live after that. They contaminated our air. We’re dead. No way are we not dead.”
Kohlson said nothing.
It was six hours before the soldiers came. They had finally taken a better look at the room, Johns moving the camera around as Kohlson watched.
“Dave… Tell me I’m wrong, but that fucker came back to life, right?” He was unsure even as he said it.
Johns shrugged. “I think what happened is they missed something… We missed something. Maybe a lead came off, you know… And the lead came of and so he seemed dead and he wasn’t dead at all, not really, he was still alive… Just that lead was off.”
“Yeah. I mean… I mean the alternative is that he came back to life… You don’t think that do you? I mean, do you? Cause that’s fucking crazy, Gabe. Crazy.”
“No. No, I can see what you mean. I can see where that could be… But I’ve heard rumors…”
“Same as we all have,” Johns agreed. “But come on, that’s…”
The air lock cycled on and six soldiers stepped into the hall like space that was actually just an airlock between the control room, the autopsy room, the former patient ward and the outside world. Johns tensed, waiting for the door to their space to cycle on, but it didn’t.
The soldiers were dressed head to toe in army drab-green plastic coveralls. Respirators, big units, sat on their backs and a full face shield and breathing apparatus covered their faces, somehow joined into the coveralls. Tape was wound around the elastic cuffs of the legs and the plastic boot covers that joined there. Flexible olive-green gloves covered their hands, also taped where they slipped under the plastic coveralls. They never looked their way at all, just waited for the air lock to cycle and then stepped into the autopsy room. A second later the monitors went dead in the control room.
“Fuck,” David Johns said. “That is not good at all.”
Kohlson got up and left the room. A minute later he was back with two diet colas. He handed one to David Johns and then sat back down. Johns glanced down at the cola. The top was open already. He looked at Kohlson and Kohlson stared back unblinking. They kept the supply of the virus compounds they were testing in there, but the med supplies cabinet was also in that closet. They had talked it over once. They had decided that… He pushed it away and focused on the low whisper of the air exchange
“You think they will outright kill us,” Kohlson asked after a few long minutes of silence.
“Gabe… I think they will, Gabe.” Johns said after a hesitation. He tried to stop himself, but he glanced down at the cola in his hand. It was half full. White powder floated on the surface. Clumped and drifting like tiny icebergs across a cola sea. “Probably… No. They’re listening in right now, I’m sure. Listening to see where our minds are at: As soon as those flunkies in there are finished with that job they’ll be in here to finish up the clean up.” He swallowed hard.
“Yeah. I guess that’s how I see it too,” Kohlson agreed. He raised his can and tapped the side. “Been good knowing you, Dave.”
Johns stared him down for a few moments and then sighed. “Yeah, same here.” He raised the can in a salute and then downed it. Kohlson followed suit. Silence descended on the control room.
Watertown NY: Subterranean base.
Commanding: Major Richard Weston
Major Dick Weston read the report slowly. This was not the first hitch in SS. Last year they had lost a whole ward, three test subjects compromised, two doctors, and three control rooms, six enlisted personnel there that had to be terminated because of it, and three civilian employees.
He rocked back in his chair and pulled at his lower lip as he read the report. So it had some drawbacks, but there was too much focus on the problems, and not enough on the positives of V2765. Of all the compounds they had tested, this one did exactly what they needed it to do. It prolonged life far past the point of termination. Grave wounds, starvation, dehydration, nothing mattered. This compound changed the cells and made them able to adapt to the consequences of war. The only drawback was that it did its job a little too well. It continued to allow the subject to live after death. Everything stopped and then everything started up again. Usually with a much diminished capacity for understanding. Just the basic low end survival instincts any animal had, eat, protect, eat. And it did those things very well.
Some doctors at the third level, men whose reputations would be on the line very shortly when V2765 was released on a squadron of troops bound for the middle East, in fact, wanted a brain biopsy. They had studied the video and decided that good Old Doctor Christmas might have been hiding something with the secrecy he had afforded the previous brain autopsies. On top of that one full reiteration of this virus was missing. Four pieces total: two virus, one antidote and one Rex, the compound that ended life within the dead. He suspected Doctor Christmas had taken the samples for his own use. Maybe they would turn up, but it was little or no consequence if they didn’t. There was no way they could have made it off the base. Security, his security, was too tight. No, if they really ever existed they were right here somewhere and he would find them.
As for the virus itself, he had what he needed. He could deliver what was expected of him to deliver. That was what really mattered. He stopped pulling at his lip. Leaned forward and fed the paper sheaf from the incident into a shredder.
The thing is there was a secret. Major Weston had no idea what it signified, he was no doctor, but he had found the good doctor’s private files and brain biopsy reports on the previous candidates. Significant structural change to the brain cells. Not just slight modifications as the virus did when it infected the host, no, something deeper. A mutation. That file lay nearby on his desk too. He reached for it. If that information got out there would be a fast end to SS, and he could not have that. SS was not his baby, some General he had never even met had that honor, but Bluechip was his base, and SS was a feather in his cap. It meant jobs. It meant growth. It meant over a mile of top secret base three miles below ground. These were things that could not be compromised. If, in the field, there were incidents, so be it. They could be isolated. Tests so far showed that very few came back after actual death. Destroy the brain and it destroyed whatever life had kicked back in. And if there were a large outbreak, they had spent the last fourteen months working on an antidote to kill the V virus itself, Rex.
REX34T could easily take care of a large outbreak. REX34T took it all back to normal. The doctors had nicknamed it Rex. Rex, like a trusty dog that could get the job done, but what sort of job did Rex do? He didn’t know. Rex seemed to reverse the process that V2765 started. It could not undo the cell changes, but it did not leave a single trace of the V virus when it was finished. The dead died. According to this report, there was a counterpart to REX34T that was meant specifically for the living: The antidote. Release it in the air, same as Rex, and it affected only the living, reversing the changes that the V virus had made, and the living went on living, maybe. The testing insinuated that the longer the process that V2765 initiated had gone on the more of a shock to the human body it was when it was removed. It suggested that some might not survive the withdrawal of the V virus.
He glanced down at the three containers that sat on the edge of his desk. Evaluation units. Below, in one of the storage areas, there was enough of each to reverse the entire world population ten times over if need be. If, he reminded himself, if. He looked down at the three containers where they sat on the desk. One small vial filled with dark red liquid. The other two were small aluminum cartridges that reminded him of small inhaler refills of some kind. They looked so innocuous, so everyday ordinary. He beat out a nervous tempo with his fingers on the desktop and then picked up the three vials and slipped them into a plastic bag. He set the bag on the desktop, withdrew the test results from the drugs from the thick file and then placed the bag into the file itself. A second later he placed the file into his personal file cabinet and locked it. He called up the same report on his monitor, excised the three pages of reports, and then saved the file. He pulled a fresh file folder from his cabinet before he closed and locked it, then dropped the pages into the empty folder. He hesitated and then fed that smaller file into the shredder too.
No problem, no liability, because if there was an acknowledged problem that was preexisting in this lawyer happy atmosphere, every ex-soldier would be suing when the first x-ray showed the alteration in brain cell structure. No higher climb up the ladder for Major Richard Weston, and probably General whoever he was too. And that would be a long stop from where either of them wanted to be.
“Alice?” He looked over at his secretary.
“I want you to take this out and burn it.” He pulled the wastebasket free and slid it across to her. “I guess I’ve thought it out. Those two fools who took the overdose on morphine?” He waited for her eyes to meet his. “I think it was a mistake to try to save them. I would like you to take care of that personally, Alice… Doesn’t matter how. Let me know if you need anything.” He held her eyes for a moment. “That will be all,” he finished.
“Sir,” Alice said. She picked up the wastebasket and started to leave the office.
She stopped and turned back.
“Have that med closet removed. Stupid to put it in an interior control room… Have it moved to the very outside. From now on when they need something like that they can damn well get it walked in by our boys.”
“Sir,” Alice nodded. She turned and left the office.
Two months before:
Rochester New York
Ben Neo leaned back from the monitor and waited for the numbers to change and confirm that the amount had been wired. It was a foregone conclusion that it would be wired. It was Jefferson Prescott after all.
He had spent most of the previous week working the job and had come up with nothing that pointed anywhere, but tonight he had gotten proof. It was not the sort of proof that Jefferson had hoped for, but it was the sort of proof he had suspected, and he had been right.
To Neo it wasn’t personal. He did his work and he was paid well. It truly didn’t matter what the work was. It was all the same. He had drawn lines when he had first come down the road years before, but after redrawing those lines so many times he had finally stopped drawing lines.
He wasn’t an animal like Jimmy West. Jimmy was employed by Tommy Murphy too. A problem solver as Ben himself was, but Jimmy did what he did crudely. It was a wonder to Neo how he never managed to be caught. How he drenched himself in blood and violence, lost himself completely in it at times, yet had the presence of mind to save his own ass on occasion. Always seemed to walk away just at the right moment. Like he could sniff the air and smell his demise: Skipping out just before the ax fell.
The problem with that was the unknown. If you didn’t plan, you didn’t know what you needed to be safe. And how long could you play that game and live? Walk away? For Jimmy, almost 15 years now.
Neo believed in plans. He stacked his deck as completely in his favor as he could every time, but he didn’t get complacent. He didn’t trust to his plans completely. He trusted his head and the knowledge it contained. He watched himself and everyone who came in contact with him.
He guessed if he were to be honest, that he did have a few lines left. He would never do the sort of work that Jimmy West did: Never, but Tommy Murphy seemed to know that and had never asked Neo to do that sort of work. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do wet work. He could and did almost every week, but there was a difference in the contracts he took and those that Jimmy was given.
The other line he wouldn’t cross was working with Jimmy. And that had never happened either. Tommy knew without asking. The same as he knew about the types of work. In Neo’s mind Jimmy was a paid serial killer. He would’ve been out there doing those sorts of crimes, the way he did them, for free. He had simply been fortunate enough to find a way to get paid to do them.
The numbers changed on the screen and he picked up the phone and dialed the number he had been given. He had sent the photos as an attachment hours ago, shot from a rooftop a half mile away that had a clear view directly into Jefferson Prescott’s Manhattan penthouse. He had received Jefferson’s reply in the contract. It was only details now. When, how and whatever else there might be.
The phone was answered and Ben Neo listened. His mind worked that way. He could hear it once and that was all he needed. A phone number, a license number, a street address. It didn’t matter what the information contained, he could spit it back out verbatim whenever he needed it. And when he was through with it he could flush it out of his head just as if he had erased it from his memory for good. He listened, he said nothing until the end.
“It’s not something I would do,” he said. He listened as the voice persuaded him. It wasn’t exactly a line he was asked to cross: It was subjective, and after a few minutes of listening he came to believe it was necessary.
“Okay,” he said at last. “When the time comes let me know.” He hung up, shut down his laptop and closed it.
One week before:
Tommy Murphy stood at the rail of his deck and looked out onto the pines in the forest below. Jefferson had his place in Ecuador, this was his place in New Paltz. It just wasn’t so far away, and he spent every extra moment here that he could.
He owned 1600 acres, and the house, all cedar shakes and black glass, sat right in the middle of that. A private road led in and out, and when he was here, which was nearly every weekend he could manage, and any time in between that he could get here, his men patrolled the road and the woods. He was never disturbed by an errant hunter or hiker. After a few years of discouragement, the hunters and the hikers had begun to leave the entire area alone: Which was just the way Tommy liked it: Wanted it.
He sipped at his drink and then puffed at the cigar he held in one hand. He turned from the rail.
“Carlos,” he said. “I know that Jefferson has talked to you and I’m so glad to see you will be with us next week. It is a… A large deal… One of our largest. Neo,” he nodded at Neo, “will be along to keep things straight for me… He is my best, and it is good to see that Jefferson has sent you… His best… His right hand man… Like his own son, he tells me… You work out all the details with Neo?” Tommy asked.
“Of course, Mr. Murphy,” Carlos said.
“Carlos… Tommy… My friend’s son… So close to me too, call me Tommy.”
“Of course… Tommy,” Carlos said. “I’m sorry.”
“Carlos, never be sorry… Fuck ’em, right, Neo?” he asked and laughed. He cut his eyes to Neo who nodded, and then back to Carlos. “Never say you are sorry. In this business it means you are not up to snuff. Not good enough. Not able to get the job done. We say, “He’s sorry.” It means he’s washed up. You see?” He nodded at Carlos. “A man should never apologize, never… Leave that to the women,” Tommy said.
He looked out over the deck rail for a moment longer and then turned back to Carlos. “Carlos, could you excuse Ben and me for a few moments? Go on down to the main room. There are several young ladies here for the weekend… Enjoy yourself. Tomorrow the two of you will leave to take care of business.” Tommy nodded as Carlos got up and left the room. He waited until Carlos was gone. He turned to the huge bodyguard at the door. “Jack, I want you to speak to Kim. Put her on to Carlos. Make sure he has a good time. Tell her I said so… And Jack, when you come back give Neo and me a little time. We have some business to discuss.” Tommy smiled.
“Certainly,” Jack said. He left and closed the door.
Tommy smiled at Neo. “You’re quiet, Ben. Everything okay?”
“Yeah. Everything is good, Tommy,” Neo said.
“What do you think of our boy?” Tommy asked.
“Polite,” Neo said.
Tommy laughed. “Well, I guess he’s not too fuckin’ polite, huh?”
“Guess not,” Neo agreed.
“Everything is a go? No problems?” Tommy asked.
“None at all,” Neo agreed.
“There will be, ah, three packages. They will be inside two very large bales of pot. A significant amount of cash, several bricks of product… I figure hide it in plain sight. You, me, Prescott and of course his contact in Watertown who picked it up, that is it. Nobody on this little trip will know where it is, except you… Just another drug deal as far as everyone else is concerned. You got the little bonus I wired?” he asked.
“I did… It was very generous, Tommy. Thank you,” Neo said.
“Eh,” Tommy said, and shrugged. “We all gotta eat. Watch out for me, this is the biggest thing I’ve ever done. Believe me when I tell you that the merchandise amounts to nothing in comparison to those three packages…” He opened his desk drawer, retrieved a small silver cartridge, and held it between two fingers. “Looks like nothing… An inhaler… Or one of those small CO2 cartridges we used to use in our BB guns when we were kids… Something like that.” He fingered the red tab on the top and then handed it to Neo. “Much more than that though… There are three small, aluminum cases… Uh… You talked to Jeff?” Tommy asked, finally getting around to asking what he had wanted to ask in the first place.
“I did,” Neo said. He twirled the cartridge back and forth. He knew nothing about what it was… A new wonder drug, a new street drug or anything in between, but whatever it was it had to be big for both Jefferson Prescott and Tommy Murphy to be involved. Very big. He rolled the cartridge between his thumb and forefinger. It felt neither cold nor hot. What it did feel, was out of place in his hand, something about the feel of the metal made him apprehensive. He handed the cartridge back to Murphy.
Tommy Murphy nodded as he took the cartridge and slipped it into one pocket. “He thought Jimmy, but I told him not Jimmy. Jimmy shouldn’t be spoken of in the same breath as you. He needs understanding and your unique skills… So I said okay if you agreed… You agreed?” Tommy asked him. He tossed off his drink, looked at Neo, “Drink, Ben?” he asked.
“Please,” Neo said. “I agreed… It’s not the same as what Jimmy does. And I see the reasons.”
“He paid you well?” Tommy asked.
“Very,” Neo agreed.
Tommy poured the drinks and came back across the room, handing Neo his. “One thing. He wants you to bring the uh, some items back. That means it’s probably best to do it here, not there. You see?” Tommy asked.
“I do,” Neo agreed.
“Good… Good… One more thing… There is this man… A cop… He’s on our payroll, has been for some time, but he is a potential problem, this man. A potential problem that I thought you might personally take care of for me,” Tommy Murphy said.
Ben Neo nodded politely. “It can be dangerous to take out a cop,” he said quietly.
Tommy nodded back as if in full agreement with Neo. “It is. It is, but it is also dangerous to leave that cop around once he knows too much. And this last deal he was involved in at our request,” he spread the fingers of his hands in what Neo took to be a sometimes things happen and have to be dealt with gesture and then shrugged “Well, he may have learned too much. There is no way to know for certain, just a feeling really, but I’ve been where I am for too long not to take those little feelings seriously… And,” he spread his hands in a helpless gesture, “Unfortunately for him the local prosecutor is looking at him a little funny because he was sloppy in some help that he gave to us when we last needed it. Prescott thought we should take two birds with one stone. Of course I would be very generous and appreciative of your help in such sensitive matters, as would he.” He seemed to consider a moment. Then reached into his desktop and retrieved a tinfoil wrapped brick, nearly an exact match to the bricks of cocaine Neo normally saw coming from Prescott’s Ecuador clans. Different markings, he noticed. “Yes… A clan that works for Prescott’s competitor,” Tommy said when he saw that Neo had noticed the difference in markings. “Actual product. Hard for me to come by, believe it or not. You could plant this on the cop?”
Neo nodded as Tommy Murphy slid a photo across the desktop and left it next to the cocaine brick.
He spoke as Neo studied the photo. “He will come to you… He’ll know about the drug deal. Be tipped off.”
“Maybe he could follow me… Have an accident… It would be a shame to die in a car with drugs right there too,” Neo said.
“Exactly,” Tommy agreed. He reached into the same drawer and pulled out a stack of cash. “And money too… Must have been on the take as the prosecutors are so fond of saying. And of course the markings will get them looking away from my interests.” He shrugged and smiled, sipped at his drink. “They thought as much anyway so it will simply confirm their suspicions.” He pushed both items across the desktop, bent behind the desk and produced a small black duffel bag that he handed to Neo. “I will wire a little something to your account, Ben. And again I do appreciate your discretion. Prescott will too.”
“It’s no trouble at all, Tommy,” Neo told him. “None at all.”
“That’s it then, Ben. Go on down and enjoy the evening… I think there’s a little of everything available… I’ll be gone in the morning.” He reached into his pocket and took out a thick envelope and tossed it to Neo. “That should cover your expenses: If not let me know.” He smiled and then turned back out toward the mountains. “Send Jackie back in, would you, Ben?” he asked.
“Sure,” Neo said. He tossed back the drink, picked up the duffel bag and left the room.
Check out the book: https://books.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-watertown/id1086227131
Posted by Geo Sun, April 17, 2016 11:52:35
PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell
THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES BOOK ONE
Copyright © 2010 – 2013 by Geo Dell
Created by Wendell Sweet. Additional Copyrights 2009 – 2014 Wendell Sweet. All rights reserved
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2013 Wendell Sweet & independAntwriters Publishing and all rights to this work have been reserved by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.
Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print…
The Zombie Plagues were first published in 2011 and have only recently been brought to Amazon. The series consists of five books. Geo Dell
THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES BOOK ONE
~ March 1st~
The traffic leaving the parking lot had slowed to a trickle, the lot nearly empty. The live shows were over, the bands packed up and gone, the dancers gone before or at the same time. The club was empty except Jimmy, the club boss, Don, the main door security, and me.
“Why are you still here, Candy,” Jimmy asked as he came up to the bar. He was on his way back from the parking lot. It was a short trip across the parking lot to the bank night deposit on the lot next door.
“I had an idea that Harry would be by tonight. He wanted to talk to me,” I shrugged. Harry was a Bookie, at least on the surface. Off the surface, or maybe it would be truer to say under the surface, Harry controlled most of the organized crime north of Syracuse. Jimmy… Jimmy managed the club, among other things, but the best description for Jimmy was to say Jimmy solved problems for Harry.
“Wants to talk you into staying here. That’s about all,” Jimmy said.
I turned away and pretended to check my face in the mirrored wall behind the bar. I wanted to Dance. I had suggested to Harry, through Jimmy, that maybe it was time for me to move on if there wasn’t any hope of me dancing. “Anyway, I ended up tending bar. So…”
“So it’s not dancing.” He dug one hand into his pocket and pulled out a thick wad of bills. He peeled two hundreds from the roll and pushed them into my hand, folding his hand over my own and closing it when I started to protest.
“But,” I started.
“But nothing. We did a lot in bar sales. You and I both know it was because of you.” He smiled, let go of my hand and stepped back. “It was me, not Harry,” he said.
I fixed my eyes on him. I knew what he might be about to say, but I wanted to be sure.
He sighed. “It was me that put the stop to your dancing. You’re too goddamn good for dancing, Candy. And once you start?” He barked a short, derisive laugh. “The law thing? Right out the window. What’s a cop make anyway in this town? Maybe thirty or forty a year?” He settled onto one of the stools that lined the bar, tossed his hat onto the bar top and patted the stool next to him. He continued talking.
“So, thirty, maybe forty, and what’s a dancer make? I can tell you there are dancers here who make better than one fifty a year. And that’s what I pay them. That’s not the side stuff or tips.” He moved one large hand, fished around behind the bar and came up with a bottle of chilled Vodka from the rack that held it just below eye level. He squinted at the label. “Cherry Surprise,” he questioned in a voice low enough to maybe be just for himself. “This shit any good, Candy?”
“It’s not bad,” I told him. I leaned over the bar and snagged two clean glasses when he asked me, setting them on the bar top. He poured us both about three shots worth. “Jesus, Jimmy.”
He laughed. “Which is why I don’t make drinks. It’d break me.” He sipped at his glass, made a face, but sipped again. I took a small sip of my own drink and settled back onto the bar stool.
“So, I said to myself, smart, beautiful, talented, and you have that something about you that makes men look the second time. You know?” He took another small sip. “Man sees a woman walking down the street or across a crowded dance floor, beautiful or not he looks. That look might be short or it might be long. Depends on the woman. Then he looks away. Does he look back? Not usually. But with you he does. There are women men look at that second time for whatever reason, and you’re one of them. I looked a second time, and then I really looked, for a third time. And I’ve seen a lot. That tattoo makes men and women look again.” His eyes fell on the tattoo that started on the back of my left hand, ran up my arm, across my breasts and then snaked back down over my belly and beyond. I knew it was provocative. That was the rebellious part of me. I had no better explanation for why I had sat, lain, through five months of weekly ink work to get it done.
Jimmy rubbed one huge open palm across the stubble of his cheeks. “Jesus do I need a shave.” He took a large drink from his glass. “It wasn’t the tattoo. It caught my eye, but that wasn’t what made me look that third time.”
“Candy, I took a third look because I saw a young woman that doesn’t need to have anything to do with this world. You’re too goddamn smart, talented, for this. So I said no. I let you dance a few times, but I didn’t want you to fall into it. I made the decision that you should tend bar instead of dance.” He tossed off the glass.
“I see that,” I told him, although I didn’t completely see it. He was reading a lot about what he thought, what he saw, into who I really was.
“Yeah? I don’t think so, Candy. And that’s a reason right there. Candy… like a treat. When did it become okay for anyone to call you that, because I remember a few months back when you started hanging around, it was Candace, and pity the dumb bastard who didn’t understand that. Now it’s Candy to any Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along.” He saw the hurt look in my eyes, reached below the bar, snagged the bottle and topped off his glass. I shook my head, covered the top of my glass with my hand and smiled. He put the bottle back and continued.
“I’m not trying to hurt you, only keep you on track. I’m giving you the keys. You drive. All I’m saying is set your ground rules. Make them rigid. Don’t let anyone – me, Harry, these boys that work here, customers – Don’t let anyone cross those lines. You see, Candy?”
“Yeah? Then why not call me on calling you Candy? I’ve done it since we sat down. Why not start there?”
“Well… I mean, you’re the boss, Jimmy.”
“Which is why you start there. I don’t allow anyone to talk anyway to anyone that doesn’t want that. Let me explain that. You got girls that work the streets. You don’t see it so much here. It’s a small city, but it happens. I spent a few years on the streets in Rochester, bigger place, as a kid. Happens all the time there.” He sipped at his drink. I took a sip of my own drink and raised my brows at what he had said.
“Yeah? Don’t believe it? It’s true. I fought my way up. I have respect because I earned it.” He waved one hand. “Don’t let me get off track.” He smiled and took another sip from his glass. “So, I’ve seen girls on the streets… Whores… It is what it is. Would you hear me say that to them? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. If a woman sees herself as a whore, if that’s all it is, what it is, then who am I to say different? Do you see? It’s a living, or it’s a life… There is a difference. Now back to you. You want to dance. Some of these girls,” he waved one meaty hand at the empty stage area, “work the other side. Some of them do that for me, some do it on their own. Some don’t,” he sighed. “Either way you would not see me treat them any other way than what they want to be treated. I mean that. If you believe you are a whore and that is what you see, then that is what you show the world, and that is how the world sees you… treats you,” he settled his eyes on me.
I nodded. I didn’t trust my voice. I had been down this road on my own. What did it say about me? That it only mattered that I made it? That money mattered more than anything else? Would I be swayed by the money? Was I even being honest with myself about my motivations? I really didn’t know. I knew what I told myself on a daily basis… that I wanted to follow my Father into law enforcement, but was it whimsical like so many other things in my life that I never followed through on?
“You are not just a dancer. There is a part of you that is, a part of you that likes the way a man looks at you, likes the money. But there is another part that is the private you, the real you. You need to keep those distinctions.” He rubbed at his eyes, tossed off the rest of his drink and rose from the bar stool. “Let me drop you home, Candy,” he asked.
I stood, leaving my mostly full drink sitting on the bar top. “I have my car,” I told him.
“It’s late. Creeps around maybe.”
“Jimmy, every creep in my neighborhood knows I work here… for you. Guys stopped talking to me, let alone the creeps.” I laughed, but it wasn’t really all that funny. It had scared me when I realized who Jimmy was, who Jimmy worked for. In effect, who I worked for. Another questionable thing? Probably.
Jimmy nodded. “Smart creeps. The southern Tier’s a big place. Easy to lose yourself, with or without a little help.” He looked at his watch and then fixed his eyes on me once more. “So you keep your perspective, set your limits, draw your lines,” he spoke as he shrugged into his coat, retrieved his hat from the bar top and planted it on his head, “Don’t let anybody cross those lines. You start next week, let’s say the eleventh?”
“Take the balance of the time off. By the time the eleventh comes around you should be ready for a whole new world. A whole new life.” He stood looking down at me for a second. “The big talk I guess. For what it’s worth, I don’t say those things often, Candy.”
I nodded. “I believe that. And, Jimmy?”
He looked down at me. He knew what was coming. He expected it, and that was the only reason I was going to say it. I knew better than to correct Jimmy V. There were a lot of woods up here. They did go on forever and they probably did hold a lot of lost people. I may be slow but I’m far from stupid.
“Please don’t call me Candy,” I told him.
He smiled. “Don’t be so goddamn nice about it. Don’t call me Candy,” he rasped, a dangerous edge to his voice. “Look ’em right in the eye. Don’t call me Candy. Put a little attitude in your look. A little I can fuckin’ snap at any minute attitude. Let me see that.”
I Put my best street face on. The one I had used growing up on the streets in Syracuse. I knew that I can snap at any minute look. I’d used it many times. “Don’t call me Candy,” I told him in a voice that was not my own. My street voice, “Just don’t do it.”
“Goddamn right, Doll,” Jimmy told me. “Goddamn right. Scared me a little there. That’s that street wise part of you.” He took my head in both massive hands, bent and kissed the top of my head. “I will see you on the eleventh,” he told me.
I nodded. I let the Doll remark go.
I followed Jimmy out the back door past Don who nodded at me and winked. Don was an asshole. Always hitting on us when Jimmy wasn’t around. But Jimmy was his uncle. I was employing my best selective perception when I smiled at him. I wondered if I would ever get used to him. Probably not, I decided, but maybe that would be a good thing. Of course, it didn’t matter. I never saw Don again. Or Jimmy. Or anyone else from that life.
I said goodbye to Jimmy V, crossed the parking lot for the last time and drove myself home. I parked my rusted out Toyota behind my Grandparents house, and twenty-four hours later my world, everybody’s world, was completely changed.
Candace ~ March 2nd
This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say, never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know, but it seems like it’s ending here. Earthquakes, explosions. I’ve seen no Police, Fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have the Nine Millimeter that used to be my Father’s. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside.
Candace ~ March 3rd
I lost this yesterday; my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it; then I found it again later on by the window right where I left it. Maybe I’m losing it.
There are no Police, no Firemen, phones, electric. The real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed.
I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud, so out of place, so… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away.
Candace ~ March 4th
I’m going out. I have to see, if I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this?
Candace ~ March 5th
The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is no Jimmy V. I hear gunshots at night, all night. And screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the end of the civilized world, unless things are better somewhere else. I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines, missing streets, damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in, and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now.
I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then?
Candace ~ March 6th
I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe though, that is a sign, I told myself. And scared or not, I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow.
Candace ~ March 7th
The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. Most of my friends, and that’s a joke, I didn’t have anyone I could actually call a friend; So I guess I would say most of my acquaintances believed my grandparents were alive and that I lived here with them. They weren’t. I didn’t. I kind of let that belief grow, fostered it, I guess.
I planted the seed by saying it was my Nana Pans’ apartment. You can see the Asian in me, so it made sense to them that she was my Nana. But I look more like I’m a Native American than African American and Japanese. It’s just the way the blood mixed, as my father used to say. But Native American or Asian, they could see it in my face. And this neighborhood is predominantly Asian. Mostly older people. There were two older Asian women that lived in the building. They probably believed one of those women was my Nana, and I didn’t correct them.
I can’t tell you why I did that. I guess I wanted that separation. I didn’t want them, anyone, to get to know me well. My plan had been to dance, earn enough money for school – Criminal Justice – and go back to Syracuse. Pretend none of this part of my life had ever happened. Some plan. It seemed workable. I wondered over what Jimmy V. had said to me. Did he see something in me that I didn’t, or was he just generalizing? It doesn’t matter now I suppose.
My Grandmother passed away two years ago. The apartment she had lived in was just a part of the building that she owned. Nana Pan, my mother’s mother, had rented the rest of the building out. The man who had lived with her was not my Grandfather – he had died before I was born – but her brother who had come ten years before from Japan. They spoke little English. People outside of the neighborhood often thought they were man and wife. She didn’t bother correcting them, my mother had told me. Nana Pan thought that most Americans were superficial and really didn’t care, so what was the use in explaining anything to them? Maybe that’s where I got my deceptiveness from.
I had left the house as it was. Collected rents through an agency. For all anyone knew, I was just another tenant. Of course Jimmy V. had known. He had mentioned it to me. But Jimmy knew everything there was to know about everyone. That was part of his business. It probably kept him alive.
So I stayed and waited. I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. But no one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday, probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why, what all my reasons were. A lot of fear, I think.
There have been earthquakes. The house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. It is off the foundation and leaning. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad. It’s just dumb luck it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me.
It doesn’t matter now though. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore.
I’m taking this and my gun with me. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it.
I’ll write more here I think. I just don’t know when, or where I’ll be.
He came awake in the darkness, but awake wasn’t precisely the term. Alive was precisely the term. He knew alive was precisely the term, because he could remember dying. He remembered that his heart had stopped in his chest. He had remembered wishing that it would start again. That bright moment or two of panic, and then he remembered beginning not to care. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. And he had drifted away.
Now he had drifted back. But drifted was not exactly right. He had slammed back into himself where he lay on the cold subbasement floor where he had been murdered by a roving gang of thieves. And he knew those things were true because he remembered them. And he knew they were true because he was dead. He was still dead. His heart was not beating in his chest. His blood was cold and jelled in his veins. He could feel it. Some kind of new perception.
He lay and watched the shadows deepen in the corners of the basement ceiling for a short time longer, and then he tried to move.
His body did not want to move at first. It felt as though it weighed a ton, two tons, but with a little more effort it came away. He sat and then crawled to his knees.
In the corner a huge rat stopped on his way to somewhere to sniff at him, decided he was probably food and came to eat him. He had actually sat for a second while the rat first sniffed and then began to gnaw at one fingernail. Then he had quickly snatched the rat up with his other hand, snapped it’s back in his fist and then shoved him warm and squirming into his mouth. A few minutes later he stood on shaky legs and walked off into the gloom of the basement, looking for the stairs and the way up to the streets.
Posted by Dell Sun, April 03, 2016 11:31:53
Copyright 2010, 2016 Wendell Sweet. All rights reserved.
This material is copyright protected in all countries. You may not use, wire, electronically transfer, copy or quote this work without written permission from the author.
It was summer, the trees full and green, the temperatures in the upper seventies. And you could smell the river from where it ran behind the paper mills and factories crowded around it, just beyond the public square; A dead smell, waste from the paper plants. We were in back of the Public Square, high up on the banks looking down at the sluggish water.
I think it was John who said something first. “Fuck it,” or something like that,” I’ll be okay.”
“Yeah,” Pete asked?
“Yeah… I think so,” John agreed. His eyes locked on Pete’s, but they didn’t stay. They slipped away and began to wander along the riverbed, the sharp rocks that littered the tops of the cliffs and the distance to the water. I didn’t like it.
Gary just nodded. Gary was the oldest so we pretty much went along with the way he saw things.
“But it’s your Dad,” I said at last. I felt stupid. Defensive. But it felt to me like he really wasn’t seeing things clearly. I didn’t trust how calm he was, or how he kept looking at the river banks and then down to the water maybe eighty feet are so below.
“I should know,” John said. But his eyes didn’t meet mine at all.
“He should know,” Gary agreed and that was that.
“That’s cool. Let’s go down on the river,” Pete suggested, changing the subject.
“I’m not climbing down there,” I said. I looked down the sheer rock drop off to the water. John was still looking too, and his eyes were glistening, wet, his lips moved slightly as if he was talking to himself: If he was I couldn’t hear, but then he spoke aloud.
“We could make it, I bet,” he said, as though it was an afterthought to some other idea. I couldn’t quite see that other idea, at least I told myself that later, but I felt some sort of way about it. As if it had feelings of its own attached to it.
“No, man,” Gary said. “Pete didn’t mean beginning here… Did you?” he asked.
“No… No, you know, out to Huntingtonville,” Pete said. He leaned forward on his bike, looked at john, followed his eyes down to the river and then back up. John looked at him.
“What!” John asked.
“Nothing, man,” Pete said. “We’ll ride out to Huntingtonville. To the dam. That’d be cool… Wouldn’t it?” You could see the flatness in John’s eye’s. It made Pete nervous. He looked at Gary.
“Yeah,” Gary said. He looked at me.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “That’d be cool.” I spun one pedal on my stingray, scuffed the dirt with the toe of one Ked and then I looked at John again. His eyes were still too shiny, but he shifted on his banana seat, scuffed the ground with one of his own Keds and then said, “Yeah,” kind of under his breath. Again like it was an afterthought to something else. He lifted his head from his close inspection of the ground, or the river, or the rocky banks, or something in some other world for all I knew, and it seemed more like the last to me, but he met all of our eyes with one sliding loop of his own eyes, and even managed to smile.
The bike ride out to Huntingtonville was about four miles. It was a beautiful day and we lazed our way along, avoiding the streets, riding beside the railroad tracks that just happened to run out there. The railroad tracks bisected Watertown. They were like our own private road to anywhere we wanted to go. Summer, fall or winter. It didn’t matter. You could hear the trains coming from a long way off. More than enough time to get out of the way.
We had stripped our shirts off earlier in the morning when we had been crossing the only area of the tracks that we felt were dangerous, a long section of track that was suspended over the Black river on a rail trestle. My heart had beat fast as we had walked tie to tie trying not to look down at the rapids far below. Now we were four skinny, jeans clad boys with our shirts tied around our waists riding our bikes along the sides of those same railroad tracks where they ran through our neighborhood, occasionally bumping over the ties as we went. Gary managed to ride on one of the rails for about 100 feet. No one managed anything better.
Huntingtonville was a small river community just outside of Watertown. It was like the section of town that was so poor it could not simply be across the tracks or on the other side of the river, it had to be removed to the outskirts of the city itself. It was where the poorest of the poor lived, the least desirable races. The blacks. The Indians. Whatever else good, upstanding white Americans felt threatened or insulted by. It was where my father had come from, being both black and Indian.
I didn’t look like my father. I looked like my mother. My mother was Irish and English. About as white, as white could be. I guess I was passing. But I was too poor, too much of a dumb kid to even know that back then in 1969.
John’s father was the reason we were all so worried. A few days before we had been playing baseball in the gravel lot of the lumber company across the street from where we lived. The railroad tracks ran behind that lumber company. John was just catching his breath after having hit a home run when his mother called him inside. We all heard later from our own mothers that John’s father had been hurt somehow. Something to do with his head. A stroke. I really didn’t know what a stroke was at that time or understand everything that it meant. I only knew it was bad. It was later in life that I understood how bad. All of us probably. But we did understand that John’s father had nearly died, and would never be his old self again, if he even managed to pull through.
It was a few days after that now. The first time the four of us had gotten back together. We all felt at loose ends. It simply had made no sense for the three of us to try to do much of anything without John. We had tried, but all we could think about or talk about was John’s father. Would he be okay? Would they move? That worried me the most. His sister was about the most beautiful girl in the entire world to me. So not only would John move, so would she. The things you think about when you are a kid. He had come back to us that day not saying a word about it. And we were worried.
When we reached the dam the water was high: That could mean that either the dam had been running off the excess water, or was about to be. You just had to look at the river and decide.
“We could go to the other side and back,” John suggested.
The dam was about 20 or 30 feet high. Looming over a rock strewn riverbed that had very little water. It was deeper out towards the middle, probably, it looked like it was, but it was all dry river rock along the grassy banks. The top of the Dam stretched about 700 feet across the river.
“I don’t know,” Pete said. “The dam might be about to run. We could get stuck on the other side for a while.”
No one was concerned about wet feet if the dam did suddenly start running as we were crossing it. It didn’t run that fast. And it had caught us before. It was no big deal. Pete’s concern was getting stuck on the little island where the dam ended for an hour or so if we misjudged and the water was moving too fast over the dam when we came back to cross it again. Once, John and myself had been on that island and some kids, older kids, had decided to shoot at us with 22 caliber rifles. Scared us half to death. But that’s not the story I’m trying to tell you today. Maybe I’ll tell you that one some other time. Today I’m trying to tell you about John’s father. And how calmly John seemed to be taking it.
John didn’t wait for anyone else to comment. He dumped his bike and started to climb up the side of the concrete abutment to reach the top of the dam and walk across to the island. There was nothing for us to do except fall in behind him. One by one we did.
It all went smoothly. The water began to top the dam, soaking our Keds with its yellow paper mill stink and scummy white foam, just about halfway across. But we all made it to the other side and the island with no trouble. Pete and I climbed down and walked away. To this day I have no idea what words passed between Gary and John, but the next thing I knew they were both climbing back up onto the top of the dam, where the water was flowing faster now. Faster than it had ever flowed when we had attempted to cross the dam. John nearly at the top of the concrete wall, Gary several feet behind him.
John didn’t hesitate. He hit the top, stepped into the yellow brown torrent of river water pouring over the falls and began to walk back out to the middle of the river. Gary yelled to him as Pete and I climbed back up to the top of the dam.
I don’t think I was trying to be a hero, but the other thought, the thought he had pulled back from earlier, had just clicked in my head. John was thinking about dying. About killing himself. I could see it on the picture of his face that I held in my head from earlier. I didn’t yell to him, I just stepped into the yellow foam and water, found the top of the dam and began walking.
Behind me and Pete and Gary went ballistic. “Joe, what the fuck are you doing!”
I heard it, but I didn’t hear it. I kept moving. I was scared. Petrified. Water tugged at my feet. There was maybe 6 inches now pouring over the dam and more coming, it seemed a long way down to the river. Sharp, up-tilted slabs of rock seemed to be reaching out for me: Secretly hoping that I would fall and shatter my life upon them.
John stopped in the middle of the dam and turned, looking off toward the rock and the river below. I could see the water swirling fast around his ankles. Rising higher as it went. John looked over at me, but he said nothing.
“John,” I said when I was close enough for him to hear me. He finally spoke.
“No,” was all he said, but tears began to spill from his eyes. Leaking from his cheeks and falling into the foam scummed yellow-brown water that flowed ever faster over his feet.
“Don’t,” I screamed. I knew he meant to do it, and I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Don’t move,” Gary said from behind me. I nearly went over the falls. I hadn’t known he was that close. I looked up and he was right next to me, working his way around me on the slippery surface of the dam. I looked back and Pete was still on the opposite side of the dam. He had climbed up and now he stood on the flat top. Transfixed. Watching us through his thick glasses. Gary had followed John and me across.
I stood still and Gary stepped around me. I have no idea how he did. I’ve thought about it, believe me. There shouldn’t have been enough room, but that was what he did. He stepped right around me and then walked the remaining 20 feet or so to John and grabbed his arm.
“If you jump you kill me too,” Gary said. I heard him perfectly clear above the roar of the river. He said it like it was nothing. Like it was everything. Mostly he said it like he meant it.
It seemed like they argued and struggled forever, but it was probably less than a minute, maybe two. The waters were rising fast and the whole thing would soon be decided for us: If we didn’t get off the dam quickly we would be swept over by the force of the water.
They almost did go over. So did I. But the three of us got moving and headed back across to the land side where we had dropped our bikes. We climbed down from the dam and watched the water fill the river up. No one spoke.
Eventually John stopped crying. And the afterthought look, as though there were some words or thoughts he couldn’t say, passed. The dying time had passed.
We waited almost two hours for the river to stop running and then Pete came across…
We only talked about it one other time that summer, and then we never talked about it again. That day was also a beautiful summer day. Sun high in the sky. We were sitting on our bikes watching the dam run.
“I can’t believe you were gonna do it,” Pete said.
“I wasn’t,” John told him. “I only got scared when the water started flowing and froze on the dam… That’s all it was.”
Nobody spoke for a moment and then Gary said, “That’s how it was.”
“Yeah. That’s how it was,” I agreed…
Humor Posted by Geo Sun, April 03, 2016 11:13:43
I meant to post this the other morning, but time got away from me. Even so, I didn’t forget about you, you fake Mexican wanna-be…
So, this is to the fake Mexican who conceived of, produced and marketed the Mexican side-dish my mother saw in the frozen food aisle at the local Walmart, purchased, carried home, microwaved and put on my plate as a, well, side-dish.
Man, are you kidding or something? What the hell was that? That ain’t Mexican food. I hope you find yourself in the desert, dying of thirst, and some Mexicans find you and decide to serve you as a side dish… Well, cannibal Mexicans… If there are such things.
But really! I grew up in Texas, sir. I have eaten real Mexican food. That was not Mexican food! And, AND! What the hell kind of a Mexican name is Swanson anyway? Okay. Have a great Wednesday, just had to get that off my chest…
Posted by Geo Wed, March 23, 2016 12:30:59
Creationism versus Give Me.
We live in a world where religion and our right to practice that religion, is under attack or critical review by every other religion, and so it tends to make religion a big deal, maybe the biggest of deals, but it isn’t.
I am a man of no religion at all. I especially have pulled away from the Give Me religions. Those are the religions based on some intermediary of God giving me something for nothing, or something if I believe hard enough or well enough in him or her, or do enough good deeds. You get the idea.
The world we live in is a Give Me based world already, so it makes sense that we would back all of that Give Me attitude up with a Give Me religion. If you find that assessment hard to get behind, consider this question: Do you personally give whatever needs to be given without expecting anything back? Answer that honestly and I have proven my point. Are there times when you do give selflessly? Probably, but that is usually limited to very close family, children, mothers or fathers, occasionally a friend might fit there, but for everyone else it is a Give Me stance. You Give Me, I give you, or I give you with the expectation that you will Give Me. A Give Me Society. Trained every day to stay that way. It is in everything we do or see. Loans for cars, homes, education: A cash based or even a trade based economic system, hell, any kind of economic engine of any kind requires payback. Give Me. It surrounds us and has for all of our lives and it will surround our children and their children, and on and on.
What the modern religions say: Give me money and I will build a bigger church. Give me money and I will show up again next week and preach some more. One thing I loved about Sam Kinison was his honesty about the Christian religion and the traveling Gospel Preachers. Frauds and fakes, nearly all of them. I watched a special that showed them unguarded. All about money. And no other religion is any different. If you aspire to a job teaching or delivering religion to the masses then you aspire to be paid for it and so you are part of that self perpetuating Give Me society embedded in our religion.
I realized the other day that since I have come to the end of some things in my life I am much more critical of the real world. Not the world we say is our real world: The one we color to suit us, or look at through dark glasses so we don’t have to see how it really is, I mean the real world.
Give Me: Jesus died … For my sins.
I sinned, Jesus had to die. Okay, but he didn’t just have to die, he had to be tortured, beaten, lied to and about, nailed to a cross, abandoned by most of his disciples and followers, and then he died from suffocation. So there was even more there. A Give Me situation. In other words, I could never be completely free to be worthwhile, to be anything at all in the christian world, because of that debt.
For the Muslim it is a belief in Mohammad. For the Jews it is a belief that the Messiah never came. Jesus and Muhammad are fakes as far as they are concerned. Whatever the reasoning you are not part of their world unless, and until, you believe fully as they do. Halfway won’t cut it. A partial belief such as showing up on Sunday, which was good enough when I was a kid, is no longer good enough either. Ask a practitioner who is willing to be honest and they will tell you that. That is why you do not matter in their world too much. You haven’t been cleansed. You haven’t been prepared to receive anything. You are substandard and you will be forever unless you follow Jesus, the teachings of Moses, Muhammad, because there is no other way for you to be made whole again, worthy, worthwhile, so you are simply taking up space, and there is so much pressure for all of us to be good little zombies and follow the next guy that we will fall into line and do it. Most of us. We don’t like it. We aren’t a hundred percent behind it. Hell, we are not even sure we really do believe in whatever the hell it is we have aligned ourselves with, but there we are.
That is Give Me. That is some of us saying, Okay! I believe in Jesus, Mohammad, The damn East Bunny, save me. Let me live forever. … Whatever it is our particular religion has promised us. There we are doing our bit for it. Helping old ladies cross the street. Giving 25% of our income to the church. Delivering meals on Saturdays. Helping teach the kids in Sunday School. And all we are doing is reinforcing that Give Me society. Being good zombies. Perpetuating the lie that there is a way to earn our way into anything. There isn’t. We can’t.
That is Give Me. And a few years back I gave up on the Give Me society. The churches that spend more money on their buildings than they do on the poor. The churches whose pastors drive expensive cars and live in expensive homes while their followers pony up the jack so they can do it. All a lie. All a means to reinforce that end.
I don’t believe in any of that at all, and I wanted to make it clear that I do not believe in any of that at all. In the same breath I wanted to also say that I will have a life after I die. I am positive of that. It will be a different life than this one, but not that much different. I am looking forward to it. There are days when I wish it was happening tomorrow, but it is not. I don’t get to chose when it happens, I can only wait for it.
So how do I know with certainty that I will have life after this one when I reject all religions? Easy. When I was a kid I got a taste of it. I had a prolonged out of body experience. It was long enough so that I knew it was real. I was able to relate enough of what happened to me while I was out of my body to convince others that somehow I really did know what had occurred. And I was allowed to remember enough of what occurred to my soul, my drifting other-self, to know that was real too. For years I related, when asked, that experience. I never said “Jesus spoke to me.” I never said “Mohammad told me it would all be well.” I said I spoke with God. I asked God questions. God answered those questions. And that is how it was. God never said to me, You must believe in the Prophet Mohammad, or the Messiah Jesus, or the God of the Jews. You must walk old ladies across the street. You must help build the Crystal Cathedral. God never said any of those things, and don’t you think if those had been things I had to do that God would have made sure to tell me? Especially since God knew what I didn’t: That I was going back into that little boy’s body. That it was healing and I would go back in and spend the next several decades in it before life would end for real? Surely God would have told me, and God didn’t.
So I have spent the last several years reading Bibles, Koran’s, the Old and New Testaments, other religious writings that the Catholic Church deemed necessary to remove from the carefully crafted and presented Bible we now have. In those years I watched the churches change. What they allowed, what they don’t allow, and I wondered to myself: God doesn’t change, so why are these churches changing? And the answers I obtained when I could find someone to answer were: People change, and so since the people change the Church must change with them.
Almost all of you know I spent time in prison. I deserved to be there. It was a time of growth for me. Understanding who I was in the scheme of things. I went to church there, both Baptist and Catholic, there are not a lot of choices: And I made many Muslim and Jewish friends, because I wanted to know, because like everyone else in the world I bought into that Give Me society. I wanted to know what exactly I had to give to get what I wanted: Everlasting life, a guarantee that I would have that when I leave this world. And not one of them could tell me.
Oh, they could say the words: Believe in this, or that. Do this or that. That is all there is. When you die you’ll go to heaven. Except I saw many Jews, Muslims, Christians grow older and begin to question their faith. Once the end approached they were not so certain. Their faith was almost always shaken and they were not sure the prize they had joined the Give Me society for would really be theirs in the end. And I watched a few die in that uncertainty. Why? Because I didn’t know either, so although they were my friends I could not say the magic words to them: Do this, or Do that, or Say this, or Say that. I didn’t know either.
I am facing what will be the end of my life in the next bit of time. I don’t know when and I don’t care very much about that. I spend my days doing the things that keep my head occupied. I have a few friends I write back and forth to, the rest doesn’t really matter does it? But back there when I was imprisoned I really put thought into it. I saw so many lies, unjust treatment, and I hated it. I took a stand against the lies and mistreatment by churches and religions. I mean I was the guy to stand up in church and say “Why do you not love the people that your religion says to love? Why?”
This was not a question I asked of Christians only, or Just Jews or Muslims. I asked it of every friend or practitioner of religion I encountered that fed me the Give Me line. I got the same old tired answers. Nothing that meant anything at all and nothing that I ever saw sustain a person from the cradle to the grave. Not one thing.
Does that mean I believe that religion can not sustain you from the cradle to the grave? Yes. I believe that no religion can ever sustain you from the cradle to the grave. Ever. It will not work.
Let me ask you how your religion works: As you sit in the synagogue or church or temple do you see those siting right beside you that have nothing at all? The poor?The Fatherless children? The hungry? The prostitutes? The Other dregs of your society? Are they right there with you in that building? Why not? And if they are right there, why are they still hungry? Fatherless? Poor? Who are you that you should have something better or more than they have? Who are you that God gave you words for them but told you that you should remove yourself from their circumstances? How will you know your brother or sister if you are not in their circumstances with them? The answer is clear. You will not know them.
You will not know them because you are not with them. They are not in your building. Their clothing is not good enough to be seen in that building. They don’t smell as good as you do. They don’t speak as eloquently as you do. They have to find food, shelter, clothing, jobs, help of many kinds, and so they are not there.
Whose job is it to make sure they are there? It is your job. You are the one who is supposed to go out and collect them. Collect them from the gutters, the bars, the alleyways, the brothels, the world, but you have not done that. You left it to your sister or brother, and they left it to someone else, and so it was never done. So when you go into these temples, these synagogues and churches to see these people they are not there. They are still in the streets starving, unclothed against the weather and elements, at the mercy of those that prey on the weak, and they are there because you left them there.
Give Me: Clearly Give Me doesn’t work on any level at all except in situations where control is needed, and God is not interested in controlling his people in any way shape or form. So ultimately I turned away. I know men and women who are still involved. Some I have faith in, some I know to be liars. People who live the lie they have created and will continue to live that lie right into death. And then? Forfeiture of anything they could have had.
I turned away and I was aimless for a while, but I turned that time to reading and writing, and I began to understand some things. The first thing I understood is that Give Me does not work. It will fall apart, even as write this it falls apart. I realize that organized religion is no answer either. It is not the pure Christian, Muslim or Jew who will find what they seek. It is also not the one that becomes bitter and hateful and stays away from God because of all the lies and betrayals they experience in their lives. None of these things supply an answer. The answer lies in creationism.
Now, before you jump ship and say to yourself: This man is just beating his own drum. Realize that I am not. I am not going to change up and throw a fastball. I will never recommend religion to you or urge you to contribute to some offering. No. Never. Instead I will urge you to break ties with the institutions that perpetuate these lies. Walk away, put it behind you. You will be better off for that and so will your wallet. I have read the Koran and the old and new Testaments and no where does it say to give your money to build churches. It says to help the poor. It says to take care of widows and children. It doesn’t say to line someones pockets so they can live a life above those the pretend to lead.
Look At Mohammad, or Jesus, John the baptist, Noah, or Moses, Mary the Magdalene. Not one of those people had an easy life. Instead they subsisted on the minimum as did their followers. They were hated, beaten, cheated, lied about, tortured in most cases, and not one of them ever built a building to gather anyone into. What they all did have was faith in God. Not faith in deeds, but God. Was it the same God for all of them? I have never read a single thing that said it was a different God. So it was belief in the same God that lead them in their faith to do the great works they did, and every one of them died poor, broke, despised and misunderstood.
Creationism: So what did I learn? I learned that the key is God, not the man or woman. Blasphemy? No: Read your holy book. The man or the woman is not what matters, God is what matters. A hard fact, but it is a fact. Go ahead, read it for yourself. Come to the understanding of it on your own terms. I learned that God is the key. Belief in God, and God did not create the Give Me society, we did. God Created. Period. Nothing more. God created and said here, this is yours.
At that time I fell in with a different crowd in prison, Native Americans. I spent more and more time with them trying to understand how they could have peace in that place. How they could attain and sustain belief, and I found that they didn’t. They simply went with the basics, creationism. The creator made it. The creator said share it. The creator said we are all of us equal. Here it is. It is here for all of you. It will last as long as you respect it. The rest is as you will make it.
No complicated religions. No complicated practices. Yes, we gathered and worshiped at times, but rarely. No one passed a plate. Our leader had it every bit as tough as we did, and he was a figurehead, not an absolute leader. And we didn’t change for the times. God created, how can that change? Oh, right, evolution. We came from the slime and became something special by natural selection. Really? So what or who made the universe? What or who made the slime? The first organisms?
See? We are not so far apart in our thoughts. The things that were see and believe in were made by someone: Call them God, Creator, Yahweh, Allah. It makes no difference.
So what does creationism require? Nothing. It only means you looked at the world and realized that there was a God involved in making it. You believe that God created it. Created everything in it, and so if that is all true how can you be apart from God? You can’t. Can you reach God through Mohammad? Jesus? Mother Mary? The Pope? Yes. As long as they are conduits to that end and not the ends themselves, because none of those people in real life ever said they were anything more than just men or women. People did that after they were dead.
Jesus said he was the son of God. So am I, so are you. Mohammad said he was a prophet, simply a deliverer of Gods words, so can you be. Moses said he was leading the people to Gods purpose, and he did that. John said he was a voice in the wilderness, and he was. And how powerful were those voices that we still know about them all?
If Jesus can bring you to God, go there. If you find your way through Mohammad, or the teachings of Moses. If it comforts you to know that Mary Magdalene was also a disciple of Jesus, not just a woman tagging along: Follow that faith. But remember what you are going to, God, and you do not need to lighten your wallet or join a religion to find God.
Posted by Dell Sun, March 20, 2016 10:08:46
EARTH’S SURVIVORS WORLD ORDER
Copyright 2016 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved, foreign and domestic.
This preview is authorized only for Dell’s Blog. If you are reading it anywhere else it was obtained without permission. You may not download or transfer this edition by any means, electronic or standard print without the written permission of the author.
Jeremiah came awake with sunlight streaming in through the windshield of the small car. He recalled waking in the night, but could not recall why. The memory left him feeling somewhat uneasy, especially since he could not recall the why of it. Most probably, he thought, just the strangeness of the surroundings he found himself in.
The vines had advanced while he had slept, and now almost completely covered the roadway. They were much thicker too, he realized, and small green shoots were continuing to grow out of the twisted, wooden-looking vines winding away towards the west. Broad dark-green leaves sprouted from the vines in countless numbers, and if it had not been for the opening the road cut through the trees, Jeremiah thought, the sun would not have peeked down from the sky to awaken him. The vines were that dense.
Telephone and power poles were swallowed whole by the vines, and they crept across the wires from one side to the other of the road. In many places the wires had succumbed to the weight of the vines and fallen, but in others they had traversed the lines and established a firm grasp on either side, supporting their own weight. Jeremiah turned his attention away from the endless vines and back to the interior of the small car.
A small white-plastic key fob dangled from the ignition switch. Jeremiah pumped the gas pedal twice, and then reached forward and turned the key. The car turned over slowly, but eventually caught and sputtered to life. A blare of static pealed forth from the radio, and he fumbled with the controls until he managed to turn it off. He looked around the interior of the car.
The old blue vinyl seats were ripped and stained. The Honda insignia, although cracked and dirty, was still firmly attached to the peeling and split dashboard. Trash littered the floorboards, and the shifter knob was so worn he could barely make out the pattern imprinted into it. The motor sounded like a small sewing machine, but the choppy uneven idle smoothed out after a few minutes to a low hum. Jeremiah shifted the car into first and pulled from the side of the road bumping over the vines as he went.
The driving was slow going, but an hour later he reached the outskirts of the city of Oswego. For the last twenty minutes he had been following deep tire tracks that cut around the stalled traffic, and the closer he had gotten to the city the more he had found himself having to slow down and cut around the stalled traffic, following the muddy tracks.
He knew who had made the tracks, or at least some of the people who had made them. He also knew he was a good day behind them. He had no idea why God had chosen to put him behind them, rather than in front of them, but, he supposed, if God had wanted him to know, he would have told him. He hadn’t, so Jeremiah assumed it was simply His will.
He had given up trying to understand all the whys involved with God, and had instead just accepted what he chose to tell him. He knew only that he would meet Frank Morgan in Rochester, along with some others. What he was supposed to say to him, or what God might want from him, was a different matter, and God had not chosen to tell him.
He wound slowly through the stalled traffic, going around where he had to, and he was almost into the downtown section when the car became hopelessly mired as he tried to get around several vehicles blocking the road. It had been close before, but the front wheel drive had pulled the small car through despite the churned up ground. This time it was buried up to the undercarriage, and there was no hope of getting the little car out.
Jeremiah shut it off, and leaving the keys in the switch where he had found them, walked off into the downtown district.
When he came to the first bridge, he scrambled over the cars as the others had before him, and walked to the second bridge. He saw the same scene that Frank had seen the day before. The bridge had collapsed into the river. A large steel service walk that had run beside the bridge, however, was still intact, and he carefully walked across it to the other side.
He walked slowly down the crowded roadway, and eventually out of the downtown section. It had been eerie to say the least.
The vines, although not covering the entire city, were beginning to take their toll. Here they were still thin green twists, but they had only been thin green twists last night when he had fallen asleep in the car, he reminded himself. He knew that they would soon strengthen and become the stronger brown wood-like vines which were covering the roadway he had traveled. They hung down from the overhead wires and climbed up the buildings, swallowing everything in their path with their wide green leaves.
When he reached the other side of the city, he stopped at a used car lot by the side of the road. An older Chevy pickup sat among the line of cars and trucks, and Jeremiah walked over to examine it.
The four wheel drive truck looked to have been used fairly well. It was dented and rusty, but Jeremiah liked the look of it. He walked around it and looked it over. The tires appeared to be in good shape, and wider than most, as well as being tall and aggressively tread. He looked in the corner of the windshield, noted the stock number, and headed in the direction of a small trailer at the back of the gravel lot. The trailer served as an office, and he knew that if the keys were to be found, that was where he would find them.
He stepped over the vines as he went, noticing that they were not quite as thick, or abundant, as they had been only a short way back. He hoped the keys would be there and that the truck would start. If not, he supposed, he could cross the street to a new car lot that he had noticed. He would prefer the old Chevy, but if there was no choice he would cross the street and take one of the shiny new pickups that sat on the lot.
He supposed he would even be better off taking one of the newer vehicles, but he didn’t want to. Even the old Chevy was newer than any truck he had ever driven, and all of the newer trucks he had seen, seemed more like cars than real trucks.
He had marveled while walking through the downtown district at how many things had changed. He had been awed at the huge steel and glass architecture of the buildings, and equally awed at some of the abandoned cars and trucks. He wasn’t sure what some of them were, cars? Trucks? He couldn’t tell for sure. To him they were all strange and futuristic looking.
Jeremiah had made it barely into the fifties, and so it was understandable that he would be amazed at how many things had changed, in what seemed to him only a short span of time. Some of the building styles were the same, but the steel and glass structures seemed cold and alien to him, ugly even, he thought.
He found the keys on a small board in the cluttered office, and headed back to the old Chevy. He had to pump it several times before it would start, but it eventually had caught and started, with a large cloud of black smoke pouring out of the rusty tail-pipe when it did. Almost flooded it, he thought. The smoke cleared as the truck warmed up, and he sat and waited for the idle to fall off before he pulled out onto the roadway once more and headed out of the city of Oswego.
The truck was far better suited to the task of bumping over the somewhat smaller vines than the little car had been. A few short hours later he stopped for a rest in the town of Sodus at a small gas station.
He siphoned gas from the underground tanks, and scrounged a light lunch from the combination gas and food mart, dragged a beat looking aluminum lawn chair out from behind the station, and sat down to eat. He sipped at a warm beer as he ate. He hadn’t tasted beer in forever, it seemed to him, and he enjoyed it even though it was warm. He finished his lunch and climbed back into the cab of the truck. It started without hesitation this time. He nosed it out of the small station and headed towards Rochester once more.
Ten miles down the road, as he passed through the small town of Williamson, the vines suddenly stopped. The line where they stopped was clearly drawn across the road, as if burned into the pavement. Jeremiah had stopped to look.
The green vines didn’t just end as it had appeared from the truck, they did extend slightly over the line. On the one side the vines were green and healthy looking, and on the other they were burned and shriveled, as if the roadway had been so hot it had simply scorched the life from them. The line that resulted was surprisingly straight, and marched across the road in both directions. He had hated the vines, but it was unnerving to see them end so suddenly, and Jeremiah had climbed back into the truck and left, after looking for only a few minutes.
As he drew closer to Rochester the stalled traffic thickened, and when he reached the Webster exit a light rain began to fall, which slowed him down even more. He followed the muddy tracks that cut into the steep grassy embankment down to the road below the overpass. He slid the last twenty feet to the pavement, and proceeded slowly along the rain slicked street and out of the small town towards the village of Fairport.
He had just left the Webster town limits, when he noticed a fresh set of muddy tracks that cut across the road into a field on the right. He slowed the truck, and let his eyes follow the tracks into the field of standing hay.
A gray Lincoln rested in the middle of the field, at the end of the deep muddy grooves it had cut as it plowed through it. It had slued around at the end, and now sat facing the road. Jeremiah shivered as a cold chill crept down his neck and into his spine. He couldn’t explain the feeling that had crept into him when he had spotted the car, but it set him on edge immediately.
He stopped, but did not leave the truck. Instead, he stared through the rain slicked windshield at the car. It appeared to have been abandoned after it became stuck in the field. The rain streamed across the darkened glass of its windows, and down the sides of the gray steel body. He fought the urge to get out and check the car. Someone could still be in it, hurt maybe, he reasoned. But he couldn’t bring himself to check. He felt unreasonably positive that the car wasn’t empty, and was watching him as he sat idling in the road. He put the truck back in drive and drove past, shaking off the chill that had passed through him, and sped up a little as he left the car behind in the muddy field.
When a set of headlights appeared behind him a couple of miles down the road, he stared at them through the rear view mirror so long, that he almost slammed into the rear of a stalled tractor-trailer in front of him. He looked up just in time, and managed to miss the truck, but slid off the road and into the front yard of an old, peeling green house.
He narrowly missed hitting the rickety front porch, and fought to bring the truck back under control as he shot past it. He goosed the gas pedal and the truck swung around, clipping several bushes that fronted the porch. But the truck was now angled toward the road. He gave it more gas and steered it back onto the roadway at last.
He looked into the rear-view as he gained the road, and he could now clearly make out the shape of the long gray Lincoln behind him. It was gaining, and when it reached the tractor trailer, it seemed to skim by on the outer edge of the road without slowing at all. Jeremiah jammed the gas pedal into the floor board and the old truck began to shudder as it picked up speed.
He glanced back, and as he did, the car blew by on his left in a spray of water that momentarily covered the windshield. Jeremiah instinctively released the gas pedal and jammed the brake pedal, while working the wiper switch. The old truck shuddered in protest and began to slide down the road.
The windshield cleared as the truck slowed down, and he watched as the Lincoln spun sideways in the road. It came to rest in the center of the road, blocking it from side to side.
Steam rose from the hot tires. Its black windows gleamed in the light rain as tiny rivulets streamed across them towards the ground; washing away some mud that still clung to the lower body.
Jeremiah drew a deep breath into his lungs as the truck slid the last few feet and stopped. He ended up still pointing straight, in the right hand lane, about twenty five feet from the car.
He reached for the rifle that had slid off the seat onto the floorboard, as his heart beat quickly in his chest. The passenger side window of the Lincoln slowly lowered as he watched.
The black glass gave way to a dark gray interior, and the young dark-haired man that sat behind the wheel of the long car slowly turned towards him. Jeremiah could see his yellow and crooked teeth, from where he sat in the truck, as he grinned. His heartbeat sped along crazily, and he fought to control the panic he felt rising inside him. He clicked off the safety on the rifle as he slowly eased it up onto the seat beside him. The dark-haired man continued to grin, and as he did his mouth opened wider, revealing more of the sharp, yet crooked and yellowed teeth it contained.
Jeremiah began to silently pray in his mind. Lord? He asked, Lord, what do I do? He felt no answer at all, but his mind brought forward the warning he had been given when he had last walked with God. “They will try to kill you,” He had said. “They know.” Jeremiah wasn’t afraid to die, but he wasn’t eager for it either. The dark-haired man in the Lincoln raised one hand, thumb extended, and finger poking out, as if it were a gun, and aimed at him. It was almost funny, Jeremiah thought, looking at the raised hand. But the next instant, when the windshield on the passenger side cracked loudly, he was stunned to see a small hole punched through it when he looked. A nest of cracks ran away from it, and small crystals of glass glittered on the dashboard.
Posted by Dell Tue, March 01, 2016 12:56:31
EARTH’S SURVIVORS: WORLD ORDER
Copyright 2016 Dell Sweet
Earth’s Survivors: WORLD ORDER is Copyright © 2016 Dell Sweet
Additional Copyrights © 2010, 2012, 2015 by Wendell Sweet.
All rights reserved, foreign and domestic
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.
“Easy, Frank,” Gary warned, “you ain’t got but two inches, and you’ll be over the damn edge of the roof.”
“No sweat, Gar’,” Frank replied. “That about where she needs to be, Joe?”
“Looks sweet to me,” Joe answered smiling.
“Frank! For God’s sake be careful, you’re going to fall, I just know it,” this from Annie on the ground.
No I’m not, not unless Joe pushes me I’m not,” Frank said, and laughed.
“Oh, when you get down from there, Franklin, I’m going to swat that smartness out of you for good,” Annie called up, sounding relieved.
“She will too,” Frank whispered to Gary.
“I heard that,” Annie said from below.
“Shove it up just an inch, Frank,” Joe said.
Frank shoved the solar panel back up, estimating the inch Joe wanted.
“Good, right there, now hold on for just one second…” a heavy thunk as Joe drove a nail into the roof, through one of the panels tabs. “Two more, Frank…”
thunk … thunk.
Gary was holding the side. “’Bout done, Frank. Got ‘er?”
Frank smiled, “Easy as pie…” his foot slipped, and he slid backwards. Gary’s arm shot out quickly, a startled gasp came from Annie below. Frank held onto the panel, instead of holding the panel, and just hoped Joe had enough nails in it. One foot slipped off the edge, the other held however, and the slide stopped.
thunk … thunk.
“Okay, Frank, you can let go,” Joe told him, and looked up. Gary had him by one arm. Joe bent and quickly drove another nail into the roof.
thunk, thunk, thunk,
Frank pulled himself up carefully, with Gary’s help, and then sat down on the rough shingles.
“I didn’t know,” Joe said.
“Neither did I,” Frank told him. He laughed uneasily.
“Honey?” from Annie on the ground.
Frank leaned over the edge of the roof. “I’m fine, Hon. I think I’ll just sit here for minute though if you don’t mind.”
“Well damn, Frank, lean over the edge and fall off why don’t you!” He drew back.
Joe handed Gary the hammer and the apron full of nails, and began to work on the wiring. He popped the end of the panel open, fished the cable through, stripped it, and began to finish the circuit.
“Uh, uh,” Frank said. He took the hammer and the apron, and began fastening the bottom of the panel. Gary’s arthritis was bad: Bad enough that he shouldn’t even be up here, and he was afraid of heights too.
“Suit yourself, Frank,” Gary said, obviously relieved.
Joe twisted the wire-nut on the last three ground wires, wound a short length of electrical tape around them, and closed the panel front. “That’s it,” he said, as he stood on the sharply pitched roof.
thunk … thunk
“Me too,” Frank said, handing the hammer back to Gary. Gary turned and dropped it over the edge, close to the house, the nail apron went the same way.
Joe grinned. “Let’s go try it,” he said.
Seven months of scrounging solar panels, back-up batteries and wiring, and now the moment of truth. Joe waited anxiously while Gary negotiated the ladder, a slow trip. Gary did fine going up the ladder, it was down that was hard, he knew.
Frank waited nervously beside Dell, Annie, and Peggy on the ground, until Gary finally reached the end of the ladder. Joe fairly flew down behind him, the excitement evident on his face. They all walked inside the cabin.
It was the largest cabin at Snoqualmie settlement, built last year with some help from Ira and Anson, when they had come up. They needed a large cabin, so that all of them could get together. Snoqualmie had grown a great deal in the last year. Joe and Becky had bought Dell and Peggy when they had come cross country from the east. Six months later Frank had come without Jessie. Shortly after that Annie had come and they had become an item: Jessie had come on her own, but she had not stayed long. Lisa and her man Sam, six other couples had followed. Now there were better than seventy people here in the first encampment, and over three hundred in the small valley by the lake: The numbers kept rising.
In addition to the larger cabin, there were seven others scattered in a semicircle, and more than eighty down closer to the lake. Most had been part of an old summer camp for kids. Joe walked to a large electrical panel, mounted just inside the doorway, and waited for the others to catch up.
The panel held the main breaker. They had wired the eight cabins with florescent lights. No outlets, they didn’t have enough panels for that yet. Six large sodium lights ringed the cabins outside. Joe hesitated, his eyes locked on the overhead light fixture. “Here goes,” he said, and then flicked the main breaker.
For a split second nothing. And then, softly, a low hum, almost insectile, as the fluorescent light stuttered to life.
Gary levered the front door open. The sodium lights had a sensor switch that would automatically turn them on at dusk, but Joe had installed an override switch next to the door. Gary flipped the switch as he stepped out the door, and the sodium arc lights glowed softly. Within five minutes they were at full power, shining brightly in the late afternoon air.
“Think it’ll run anything else?” Dell asked.
“Eventually, if we can hunt up a few more panels,” Joe answered smiling. “We did it, can you believe it?”
“So long as you don’t want to build a nuclear power plant next, Joe,” Gary said and laughed. The others joined in, their laughter rolling across the clearing As they turned to walk back to the cabin they heard the sound of a motor on the quiet mountain air.
“Damn,” Gary said as he dodged inside the cabin and came back with an armload of rifles.
He passed them around as the motor grew louder. There was one road into the old forest preserve, and none of them had heard the sound of a gas motor in close to a year, the entire settlement used horses. Their outpost was the entrance into the actual settlement a half mile distance deeper into the forest, spread around the lake.
Now would be a good time for Sarah to show up, Joe thought as he took a rifle from Gary. He ejected and checked the magazine, then slammed it home once more. The rifles were the real deal, full auto at the flip of a switch, taken from some dead soldiers they had come across on one of their excursions for supplies.
Sarah ran Snoqualmie settlement. She had since Jessie Stone had left more than a year before. She had never come back and Sarah had taken over the position. Snoqualmie had risen from a disorganized settlement of outlaws, desperate men and women, to a respected settlement that was ruled with a somewhat iron hand.
He could clearly hear more than one motor now, maybe three, Joe thought. Frank looked over at him and arched his eyebrows, but the truth was that Joe had no idea who this might be. There were gangs from the larger cities that sometimes raided the smaller encampments, but none had ever come this far out, and Snoqualmie was far from small. Over three hundred people were here. Armed men and women. Gardens were planted. Houses had been built. It was home and they all felt the same about it. No gang would be taking this place from them, stealing their children, raping their women, murdering their men. It was a question that came up often living so close to what was left of Seattle Washington. It was why the rifles had been picked up, cleaned, and put into service. It was why this house was the outpost you had to pass to get down into the actual settlement.
Becky came from the house with her own rifle. “Called Sarah, she’s on the way,” she told them as she walked across the yard. She took up a position by a tree on the other side of the main road where it turned in from the old park road and then angled down toward the lake and the settlements. The motors grew louder as the vehicles turned the last corner and rolled out into the clearing that fronted the house. Three sport utilities that had seen better days, Joe saw. Their drivers shut down the motors and silence fell on the day. The tick, tick of cooling motors came to Joe’s ears. The door on the closest sport utility began to open and Beth called out from across the yard.
“I would step out unarmed if I were you,” Becky told them. The others in the yard had raised their own rifles and pointed them at the door and the person who was stepping from the sport utility.
A short woman stepped out, long black hair, black-lensed glasses covered her eyes. Joe began to lower his rifle. She stripped off the heavy leather coat she wore and tossed it back into the truck. She pulled the glasses down her nose and stared over them to where Becky stood, a wide smile on her face.
“Oh god, no way,” Becky said. Her voice caught as she lowered her rifle and moved toward the woman where she stood next to the truck. “Jessie… We thought you were dead, Jessie. We thought you were dead.” she told her when she reached her. Becky wrapped her arms around the smaller woman and hugged her tightly.
“I get that a lot,” Jessie joked. She made room for Joe as he came over and wrapped his arms around the two of them. “I get that a lot,” Jessie repeated.
Humor Posted by Geo Sun, April 03, 2016 11:13:43
I meant to post this the other morning, but time got away from me. Even so, I didn’t forget about you, you fake Mexican wanna-be…
So, this is to the fake Mexican who conceived of, produced and marketed the Mexican side-dish my mother saw in the frozen food aisle at the local Walmart, purchased, carried home, microwaved and put on my plate as a, well, side-dish.
Man, are you kidding or something? What the hell was that? That ain’t Mexican food. I hope you find yourself in the desert, dying of thirst, and some Mexicans find you and decide to serve you as a side dish… Well, cannibal Mexicans… If there are such things.
But really! I grew up in Texas, sir. I have eaten real Mexican food. That was not Mexican food! And, AND! What the hell kind of a Mexican name is Swanson anyway? Okay. Have a great Wednesday, just had to get that off my chest…
Fred The Cat
Humor Posted by Geo Tue, November 24, 2015 15:30:59
Uploaded by Geo 11-24-2015
Here is the story of Fred the Cat:
When I came back home to New York I ended up living with my Mother, Uncle and Aunt helping them. It seemed the perfect situation. They needed help, I needed to help to ease myself back into life.
I rehabbed this entire house about twelve years ago, but over the years things had slid. Three people in their seventies can not keep up the maintenance that needs to be performed on a house as it ages. What does this have to do with Fred? Hold on, I’ll get there.
So here I am trying to fix up the house again. One of the things that had happened was that raccoons had found their way into an old chimney, broken through that into a utility area, found their way into a dropped ceiling in my Mothers living room, and dropped down into her lap (practically) while she was watching T.V. with her Cats, and all hell broke loose. Well, maybe not all of Hell actually broke loose but I would say a good deal of it did.
The Cats were upset, or as we say here in the north country Pissed off. The raccoons believed, like Christopher Columbus maybe, that they had discovered this new place, therefor it was theirs. They did not try to make peace, however, with the natives like good old Chris did with my people (before he stuck it to us, that is…. Just want to keep the record straight). No. The raccoons believed that both the cats and my mother should move.
Fortunately raccoons do not always have good access to legal representation, and these were no exception, so as a result my brother-in-law came and sent them on their way and closed up the area they had been coming in through. No problem. My Mother lived happily ever after. The Cats basked in the sunshine, and I came home to a secure well maintained home. No.
Cats are curious about everything. They are probably even curious about other animals or people besides themselves, but they would probably never admit that though. So instead of leaving well enough alone, the cats decided to find out why the raccoons had gotten in, how, and if a cat could do it too, and then of course one cat probably dared the other, and so while one held the flashlight the other pried off the fix and got into the chimney. Oh what wonder! What absolute Joy! A way to get in and out of the house without having to use the door (Cats love things like this). And so the cats had their way in and out. Up the roof, into the old chimney, down the chimney, out the broken block that used to vent the furnace, drop right down on the furnace and then spring out of the utility room as soon as the door opened. My mother, who loves cats, decided in her wisdom that since the cats had worked this out she should help them along by leaving the utility room door open. Oh those were happy cats (I assume).
Then I came home and the first thing I did was shut up the hole. That was how I met Fred. Fred was the only cat still able to find a way in and out, and Fred did not believe I had a say in it, and, well, as it turned out Fred was right. I blocked every hole I could find and Fred found some new way in. Finally, one late afternoon, I came into the Kitchen after working all day on closing the roof line up and any other spot I could find, and announced to mom that the house was a cat free zone now. The utility door bumped open and Fred sauntered by me to the food bowl Mom had put down for him. She had more faith in the cat than me, well placed too.
That is how I met Fred. I just declared a truce.I thought, this rough and tumble cat beat me fair and square, he can stay.
Fred seemed like a male cat. He acted like a male cat. He chased the female cats around, corralled them (Cats do that, perfectly fine behaviors for them. I would not recommend you try that at home) So, I assumed Fred was a male cat. SURPRISE!!! Fred is not a boy cat at all. Not only is Fred not a boy cat. Yes this means I had to give him a quick exam, have you ever had a cat jump up on your lap and turn around and stick their butt in your face? Sure you have. Cat’s do that all the time. They think you Want to see their butt. Okay, it was at one of these times that I noticed Fred was not anatomically equipped to be a boy cat. Right, Fred was missing a few things and had a few things he shouldn’t have had.
“Hey, Ma!” I yelled. “Fred’s not a boy cat!”
“You’re a quick thinker,” Mom said. “I told you he might not be.”
“Might not be,” I said defensively.
“Well I guess I can change that to definitely isn’t,” Mom said and went back to watching General Hospital.
What could I say. Fred cocked her head back to me as if to ask if I got a good enough look, cats are such smart asses, then jumped down and sauntered away. End of story, except, Fred is looking distinctly fat… Fatter. Mom and I have come to a consensus, Fred the cat is probably pregnant. I said, “Well I thought Fred was just hanging out with those male cats ’cause they were his buddies!”
“Oh, they were her buddies alright,” Mom said wisely.
That is it for me for today. I am still in the middle of moving my office for the final time, back into the renovated space where it used to be. I was actually over there today looking at it and taking some stuff over, deciding where things should go, and I realized they should go back where they were because nothing else I measured out seems to fit. So months of work and everything will be back where it was, except I now have approximately ten times more space. I can walk down a short interconnecting hallway and be in my shop, back out and there is a large office, space for guitars, keyboard etc. on one end, all the book manuscripts file cabinets etc. on the other end. I added a projector that is linked to the computer and a six million pound old style TV, also hooked into the computer. Video games, music, music software, DVDs. I may not ever want to leave the office. I hooked up WIFI today and instead of being a pain it was simple. It is really starting to look to me as though I will be moved in by Friday, probably most of it tomorrow and the rest and settling in, over the weekend. Then it is back to writing and I am looking forward to that.
We had a weather advisory in effect here for all of Sunday and yesterday, blah, blah, blah, there is snow coming, it’s going to be six inches to a foot, and blah, blah, blah, and it didn’t come. Last night the weather service countermanded the warning, and so I went to sleep thinking winter had been held off for a little longer. Imagine my shock upon waking this morning and finding everything covered. Oh, and the weather forecast? No snow. That seems about right. It is still there, still cold, and it looks like winter arrived just before turkey day. Oh well.
What the Hell is Wrong with me.
Humor Posted by Geo Mon, October 26, 2015 23:52:26
Posted by Geo on 10-26-2015
I decided to entitle this What the hell is wrong with me, but maybe it’s a little too dramatic. Even so, there is something wrong with me. I just don’t seem to see things the same way as other people do. For instance, just before I sat down to write this I turned the channel to a movie channel to listen to movies while I work. Pathetic, I know, but I do it every night. The T.V. Is behind me so I have to turn to see it. So, I don’t. I just listen. But sometimes it’s so good that I do turn to watch for a second and I’m usually disappointed. Well, tonight I turned the channel and there was a sports show just ending, and one of the commentators turned to the screen and Said “We want to thank you for tuning in.”
“Really,” I asked?
He didn’t say anything. I guess we would all be surprised if he did. But, I continued… “I didn’t tune in. I hate your show! I wouldn’t watch it if you paid me.” He did seem to flinch a little at that, but the T.V. Went to commercial with no further incident… Not that there could have been one. I’m just saying…
Anyway, my point is, I do not like sports the way other men do. Several times in my life other men have stopped and looked at me like…. “Whoaaa, what’s up with this dude.” or “Did you play with dolls when you were a kid?” I learned early in my life that it is unmanly to say you do not like sports, or hint it, or not know the answer to a sports question. It’s just not allowed. Since I was young I had to go along with it, even so I couldn’t always keep up the facade. Occasionally someone would trip me up…
“So, what did you think of Babe Ruth?”
“Oh… Babe Ruth… It’s a damn good candy bar,” I answered.
He looked at me funny and I knew I screwed something up, but, eventually he laughed, I went home and asked my little Brother who Babe Ruth was, a hockey player? (My brother is a Hockey fanatic) “Sure… Sure… A hockey player,” my little brother tells me. That was payback for all the mean things I had done to him.
As I got older I’d pick a little and ask guys why they didn’t just give both teams a ball and send them home, I mean, wasn’t the point to get the ball? And didn’t they seem to take an awful long time to get it? And wouldn’t it be easier to just give them a frigging ball of their own? Wouldn’t it. That didn’t win me any points, and then, in ninth grade, I decided to not major in smoking behind the school that year and I took Home Economics instead.
My life as a social outcast was short lived though. I got kicked out of Home economics and went back to majoring in smoking behind the school. Then, voila, it hit me. Maybe not liking sports was… was… I couldn’t make the connection though. I had probably burned out too many brain cells smoking joints behind the school instead of cigarettes. Too bad, if I could have only made the connection I may have been able to see that real men need sports in their lives as much as they need to fart and burp… (Some men, not all men.). And sports lends a well rounded social adaptation you just can’t get any other way. I remember so many times at work some guy would say… “So, what do you think about those Dodgers?” And I would say, “Oh… Well they ought to go to jail…(Then, because it’s manly to swear and cuss), Frigging A! They ought to, those bastards!” Another potential social connection missed. Another opportunity to be a success in society missed.
At an early age I did decide to make a concession. I decided that I would watch Stock Car Racing. That was a sport. That would be my sport! It would solve everything. But no. Footballers, Baseballers, All those other ballers (It’s all games where you play with balls, right? … I’m just saying…) they don’t all believe that stock car racing is a real sport… What? So I had managed to like the one sport that wasn’t really a sport. What was wrong with me? I just didn’t know.
As I grew up and went to prison I realized that I had to be honest with myself about my shortcomings when it came to sports if I ever hoped to break the cycle and stop going back to prison. My whole life was in ruin. Virtual ruin. So I sat down and examined it and realized that I was uncomfortable with the games. I paid attention, I took notes, and I realized that I had some prejudices and hangups concerning the way the game was played. And, I plain didn’t understand the rules. So I took a closer look at them. And wrote down the ones that really confused me:
#1. Did you pat the other guy on the ass after he made a basket/home run/touchdown or before?
#2. Did you grab your junk whenever you wanted to or only when people were watching?
#3. Did you cry only in a strong emotional circumstance like your coach retiring, or could you cry if you just had a bad day, or the dog crapped on your new carpet?
#4. If you patted a guy on the ass more than once did it mean you had to buy him dinner?
I learned these are not questions you ask other men in prison.
After I got out of the infirmary, I tried to figure these questions out on my own after watching my sport for a while, but I only became more confused.
In NASCAR, nobody pats anyone on the Ass. At least not in public (Tony Stewart excepted, but he’s nuts anyway). I’ve seen dozens of finishes and never once have I seen the other drivers run up and pat the winner on the Ass. Not Once. There are no balls to play with. None. The drivers never grab their junk in front of the cameras, and if anyone cries, why one of the other drivers will just beat him up! Even the women drivers don’t cry, and, I’m pretty sure they don’t play with dolls either.
After much thought I decided these things:
#1. I’m not patting any guy on the ass whether it’s a game or not, and if one pats me on the ass there’s going to be trouble.
#2. I will only grab my junk when no one’s watching.
#3. If I feel an urge to cry I will remind myself that it could be worse. I could be a footballer and some sweaty, three hundred pound guy could be patting me on the ass all the time…
Okay. That’s it for this week. Check out my book series, you can download the first book absolutely free. Visit my sponsor below too. I’ll be back next week…
The Zombie Plagues:
The Zombie Plagues are now available through Amazon for your Kindle eBook reader
Humor Posted by Geo Fri, October 09, 2015 17:25:04
Posted by Geo 10-09-2015
Today I worked on deep edits for ES six. The more I work on the story the more I like it. I should be able to pass it along this early winter, and it should be out next spring. We are in the midst of yet another rain storm here. Sometimes I think it may still be raining in January or February.
Do you have anyone in your life that means a great deal to you? Stupid question, right? We all do. But, no, we all don’t. There are people who close the door on relationships and slap some padlocks on it and say, “That’s it! No one else gets in!”. So it isn’t really a stupid question when you get down to the real level where things do matter. I did not have anyone in my life that mattered on that level. Yes, some family, but family can live without you, often does. No serious relationships. No reaching out for anything either. The doors were locked. I don’t usually wax heavy here and I wont, I would just say that yes, the world can be a bad place sometimes, but if you keep the doors shut you’ll never know how good it could have been. Just food for thought, not really trying to go anywhere with this line of thought. Okay, I’ll move on.
Let me relate this story to you. This actually occurred. I’m not taking a swipe at anyone at all here, and I suppose I could have seen this a different way, not humorous, but I tend to try to find humor in things…
So I’m at the dollar store with Mom a few months back at she spies these pink cell phones and decides to buy one to support Breast Cancer and it’s a good cause and it says it’ll be so easy to move your number, set it up. A snap, plus it comes with a Cadillac full of minutes and a camera, and, well, it’s pink. So she buys it. I was for it because I am a cheap kind of guy and I would end up with her old phone which is perfectly fine, it’s just old. It’s been perfect for four years. No problems. Just ate minutes and pooped data, or phone calls. Bad analogy there but you get the idea. So, great phone, just old and a new one beckoned. I would bet there are people reading this who have almost gotten into relationship problems using that same reasoning. Funny the double standards we have, eh?
So, she buys the phone, we go home and I go to work on the computer because other than working and chasing Horny Tom Cat’s away from my cat that’s about all I do. So I typed away for a few minutes, but I kept hearing these sighs and mutterings, so finally I said… “Uh, Mom… Everything okay?”
Let’s set the record straight I knew everything was not okay, but I was hoping for an answer like “I’m taking this $#@%^ phone back it is junk!” Yes. I was actually hoping for that answer. Instead, I got … “I can’t figure it out. I’m doing exactly what it says…”
“Okay,” I soothed. I am a man. I know how to fix these things and most of the time I don’t even have to read the manual. I didn’t say that. I have learned not to say it because it just turns out to be that one time when I can’t do it and I look stupid. So I took the phone and spent the next hour doing all the same things Mom had and getting nowhere.
“$#@**%# Phone,” I said.
“I told you,” Mom agreed. “There’s a number to call.” She held up a piece of paper and I couldn’t help wondering why she hadn’t given me the piece of paper earlier when I could have possibly used it, but then I reminded myself that I never would have used it anyway.
“Hmmm.” I frowned and looked over the number. “So. You have a phone that doesn’t work and they give you a tech number to call.”
“Well, you have the other one.”
“Yes, but what if I didn’t?”
Mom shrugged and I realized the stupidity of my own question, still, didn’t it sort of make sense? Isn’t it sort of like offering a drunk a drink while he waits for the AA meeting? I don’t know. Reluctantly I punched the number into the other cell phone, pretty much jammed the end of the cell phone halfway into my brain and waited.
The phone stopped burring and a Voice came on the line. Computer voice. Push one for billing issues, two if you’ve had an affair with a politician, three for technical support. I pushed three but I didn’t push it fast enough because the whole thing played again. I ended up having to call back and immediately press three.
Now, let me say this delicately, why would you get a job in tech support for American consumers if English is not your first language? And, why would a major company hire you? After thirty seconds of trying to understand the woman I gave the phone to Mom hoping the kindred spirit thing would kick in but no, she couldn’t understand her either. She gave me back the phone. Apparently womaneez doesn’t cross the language barriers easily.
It must have been about two hours later and the third string of numbers the woman had given me before the phone finally began to work.
“You are being happy with your experiences?” The tech asked me.
“Are you serious,” I asked?
“Yes. Of Course. Serious is what I am being.”
“Oh God,” I said aloud. “Have you ever heard this?”
“Yes? I am Listening.” She obviously thought we had bonded.
I hung up. Mean, I know.
Two days later there was a recall on Mom’s Coffee Maker. I called tech support.
“Yes? I am being happy to be taking your call.”
“Never mind I’ll buy a new one.” I said.
A week later my new laptop croaked. I called customer service.
“Yes? I can be helping you?”
“What? Do you work for the Coffee maker place?”
“No. That is my sister, Sari.”
Okay. That’s it for this week. Check out my book series, you can download the first book absolutely free. Visit my sponsor below too. I’ll be back next week…
Check out the Zombie Plagues below…
Humor Posted by Geo Mon, September 21, 2015 15:29:30
Posted by Geo 10-06-14
Another weekend gone. I spent this one working on a manuscript and taking care of the guitar site.
I want to throw some congratulations to Andrea Scroggs. Her Graphic Novel, Invariant is doing well. She is working on another graphic story. Her artwork is as good as her writing and she knows how to bring both things together. Also, check out the Absent of Light website: http://www.absent-of-light.com/
The zombie Plagues books are doing very well.
What else is going on: Winter is coming. It is cold here in New York in the mornings. The furnace kicked on the other day and scared the hell out of me. It took me a second to realize it was the furnace.
Some absolute facts…
Q: Who discovered America?
A: Richard Plambouise.
Huh? Richard was working at the local K-Mart when he was assigned to move some shelving during inventory. Behind the shelving he noticed a continent that had fallen from the shelf and lay dusty and disused. He recognized it for what it was, America.
Congratulations Richard Plambouise.
Q: Is the Earth really round?
Think about it, you’d fall off of it. The earth is flat. Been flat since I was a kid, I know ’cause I ran in my new sneakers, fast as hell, and I didn’t fall of. The Earth is flat.
Q: Is what mom feeds me actually good for me?
Everything mom feeds you is good for you, now shut up and eat.
Q: When a man loves a woman can he keep his mind on anything else?
Just ask Percy Sledge who not only told us a man can not keep his mind on anything else, but he’ll Sleep out in the rain if she says that’s the way it ought to be. Thanks Percy.
Q: If my wife asks, should I tell her, Yes., her butt does look big?
Relationships are built on respect, truth and honesty. Go ahead, tell her. You can even tell her I said to. In fact, Percy didn’t say otherwise either.
You can usually find myself or Dell on twitter throughout the day
That is me for the week. I hope your weekend was good and the coming week is a good one for you. Check out the free books for the week and the websites. I’ll be back next Monday, Geo.
Life and a Geico Spoof
Humor Posted by Dell Mon, September 14, 2015 15:25:14
Posted by Dell 10-06-2013
I spent my day doing the last compound coats on the new drywall, and then trimming out all the new windows. The day before I finished the kitchen and then painted the walls there. Tomorrow (Monday) I will paint the balance of the new work and then I will spend the next several days putting in all the flooring and moldings. Then I can sit back and say ‘Am I done?’ … ‘Yes,’ I will answer myself, ‘You are done.’
It has only been a few months since I started this but it seems like forever. During the process my aunt went from sick to worse, and then passed away. In less than a year I have lost, first my uncle, now my aunt. I look at my mother every day and hope she feels fine. It’s humbling and also sobering. Life does end. One day you can be talking to someone you love. Everything may seem okay. They may be talking, laughing, and then a few days later you find yourself at their funeral. It seems impossible, but I have dealt with it twice in less than a year.
It seemed odd to me that I would be the one to deal so closely with it, but that is the way it worked out with my uncle. Not that I am somehow above having to deal with death, I certainly am not. I spent two years living on the streets from fourteen to sixteen. I saw death up close. I spent ten years in prison, I saw more. Despite that I had only lost a very few people who were close to me. My father and another uncle, both several years ago. I hated my father and loved my uncle. That really means I loved them both, I was just too damned young to understand what hate was, where it came from. When you are young it is very easy to look critically at the world around you and make snap decisions on your feelings, judge others, feel justified, righteous. Of course as we age our character is tempered. We are not so quick to judge, act, hate, love. I was a kid, I hated and I felt completely justified.
So I saw those deaths and they affected me, but I didn’t fully understand death any more than I understood my own motivations, drives, feelings. This time I spent two weeks with my Uncle as the end came. We talked, I changed and bathed him, and in the end I gave him the morphine that the nurses had told me he would want at the end. Rough. I felt it, and when my aunt came to the same point I was surprised that I wouldn’t have to be in the same position. Relieved, but depressed about it too. Of course I was doing all the work on the house, so my mind was busy. But she came to see me a few days before she died and she seemed fine. Tired, yes, but fine.
My mother is left. For the last twelve years the three of them lived on opposite sides of this house that I built for them so that they would be able to be close. It worked. They had family reunions, big picnics, large family gatherings. There is a door between the two kitchens. They would simply open that door and the two houses became one. This summer passed and there was no Fourth of July celebration. Everyone was still reeling from the loss of my uncle from bone cancer, and of course my aunt had gotten very sick, very fast, and was just as quickly diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. No get together. We had seen each other at the funeral, it was tough to think of anything else.
This past week we saw each other at the second funeral and promised ourselves we would stop seeing each other only at funerals. I doubt that though. It seems when these things start they obtain a life of their own and they feed off the things that are going on and just continue to exist when all of us wish they wouldn’t. I agreed a few days ago to build a huge double deck on the side of the house for family reunions next year. Everyone seems to think we will have all recovered from our shock enough by then to want to gather together again. Maybe. Maybe not.
For me it is simply life. It is hard to do, but it’s supposed to be hard. Life isn’t coasting and letting someone else do all the hard work. In my younger days that was the way I looked at life though, I am ashamed to say. Life is sharing the load. Being compassionate, understanding, practicing empathy. It’s not about owning the baddest car, the biggest house, the most toys. Maybe it’s tied into your feelings about the people you love. Hopefully it is, otherwise you’ll be coasting, and all of us have done that before. Anyway, I’ll move on. It has been a very rough year, but a very good growth year.
The house will soon be done and I will be able to sit on my couch and look around at the walls and remember when this wall gave me trouble, or how it took myself and two young nephews to get the new roof beams up, why I decided to build in a sound system, replace all the windows instead of just the few I had earmarked. Things like that. But I will be back to writing, sitting on my couch after a day of writing and relaxing, probably petting the damn cat that has made me its friend. Excuse me, damn cats. There are two. Can’t pet one without petting the other either. Still, I will be on the couch. No more house construction for me.
Let’s shift gears:
I like the Geico commercials, especially the Old MacDonald was a bad speller one. The Owl one was good too. Occasionally things do catch my attention. A few years back it was the HLN song. They were looking for people to write an HLN song, so I wrote one. I liked it, but I didn’t send it in: Instead I rolled it into a real song. But the other morning I had a thought. The thought was, ‘What would the next Great Geico commercial based on the same line be if I got to write it?’
Well, it isn’t written, and no one’s coming to ask me to write it. But even so, the idea would not leave my head, so at six A.M. I found my self writing it out. I’m telling you that so that you know what the writing bug is like. Things like that happen all the time. A good part of the reason I am single. Find a woman that would put up with that and the other oddball writer behaviors. That is what I will leave you with this week. Maybe it will make you laugh a little. Hard to do in this world sometimes. Meantime have a great week! I’ll be back Friday morning…
Geico Commercial Idea: Copyright Dell Sweet 09-14-2015
Two women working in a cubicle. The first woman just had an Email that tells about Geico. The monitor is in the background showing the Geico Gecko.
First Woman: “Huh… Fifteen minutes can save you fifteen percent on car insurance.”
Second Woman: “Yeah… Everybody knows that.”
First woman, taken aback a little: “Yeah? Well, do you know why the chicken crossed the road?”
Second Woman looks confused:
A group of chickens hanging around at the side of the road. They are all goofing around, pushing each other playfully, like grade school friends. Clucking and talking.
Chicken One: “I don’t know… I don’t see anything over there that looks any different to me.” He glances up and down the road nervously. Smiles at the other chickens. Glances across the road where everything appears lush and green.
Chicken two, kind of nerdy: “They say the barnyard over there is lush and green… Filled with grain and water troughs everywhere.” Gets excited as he talks. All the other chickens look at him and begin nodding in agreement. “And no one ever disappears,” he adds. Everyone clucks nervously, bobbing their heads.
Chicken One licks his lips: “Gee, I don’t know fellas.”
Chicken Three: “They say you never know ’til you try.” Glances across the road.
Silence holds for a beat.
Chicken One Laughs nervously. Smiles: “Yeah… Okay.” He looks up and down the empty road. Nothing but silence greets him. “Well, here goes.” He smiles and darts out into the road.
The other chickens stare in wonder, but their faces change fast as the sound of an automobile engine building comes to them. Their eyes widen in fear. A wind whips their feathers as a vehicle roars by, and they close their eyes. A split second later Chicken Two opens his eyes.
Chicken Three: “Oooohh… That looks bad.”
The other chickens are all nodding and clucking.
Scene shifts to black screen with announcer over:
Announcer: “Fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent on car insurance.”
Well there you go. The reason I got up in the middle of the early morning and wrote it. I complain but I love the gift of writing, especially when it is like that. Have a great week!
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Old School Mothers
Humor Posted by Geo Mon, September 07, 2015 15:27:48
Posted by Geo 4:50 PM 08/07/2015
What I am up to…
I am working on the second Dreamer’s book and the second Rebecca Monet novel with Dell. I am also looking forward to The sixth Zombie Plagues book due out next spring. And that is my time laid out for me.
Misspent youth: How I got beat up the first few times – And Old School Mothers…
When I was a kid there was no Internet, phones were barely more than curiosities that not everyone could afford, and Jesus was only in the second grade. Uh, before God zaps me let me explain that, that would be Jesus Santos whose parents had moved to Galveston where I went to school at Island Elementary, not the savior that died on the cross.
But that brings up a point, why name the kid that? Wouldn’t you be a little concerned that some smart Alec like me would come along and say. “Hey, are you that Jesus?” and “So, where are your disciples?”
Anyway, after Jesus punched me I realized that people with funny names can fight. And right after that I realized if you point that out to the person in casual conversation Jesus just might punch you again. I was not a smart child, a little brainy, but lacking common sense. What would have been great is if I could have taken Jesus through life with me to help me see those things. But no, not too long after that we moved to New York and I realized that people with funny accents tend to want to smack you when you point that out to them. And, not only that, they’ll turn it around on you and claim you have the accent because you came from Texas… I think I fought every day for the first few weeks.
But I fought. I didn’t call their cell phone and leave a nasty message. I didn’t leave a nasty note on their Facebook account, or hack it. That’s all I read about lately. That’s how it’s done. No face to face stuff. Of course, as I said we didn’t have Internet and phones were not for causal calls. I could see me picking up the phone and calling Jesus’s house…
“Oh… is this little George? How is your mother?”
And that would have been the end of it right there. Small town. Maybe we had a half dozen phones, and everyone knew everyone. His mother would have recognized my voice, asked about my mother, and then what could I say? “Oh, she’s fine, and, by the way, Mrs. Santos, do you know if Jesus found his disciples yet?”
Even if I had done it I would have no more hung up the phone than Jesus’s Mom would have been on the phone to my mom. My mom would have hung up the phone and, as we used to say back then, my ass would have been grass. The shit would have hit the fan. Never mind ‘Wait until your Father gets home’ Moms were prepared to deal with you back then. They may have looked like lightweights… No tattoos or piercings, gym bodies or anything else. They were just tough no nonsense moms hanging out in the kitchen in their June Cleaver shifts baking pot roasts and meatloaf, but they were tough. Truthfully, if you asked a group of old school mothers where Jimmy Hoffa is they could probably tell you. They were that tough.
“Do you know who that was?” She would ask me…
“Mother Mary?” See, once you start down the road of smartassery it’s hard to stop.
Have you ever eaten soap? I have, and a conversation that made smart remarks about both Jesus and his mother would have been a soap eating offense.
But we didn’t do those things, mainly because we didn’t have the technology and secondary to that any kids mother could put a foot in your butt back then. It was a federal law. I’m pretty sure. So whatever you did it was coming back at you, so kids took care of things themselves.
The whole thing with Jesus taught me about emotion and how boys handle it. Taught me to duck a punch too. You would think it would teach me to shut up, but no. I decided that since I seemed to have a big mouth, and that teeth were made to last a lifetime, I had better learn how to fight. Somehow I decided in my head that learning how to fight would be easy. And then? Well, if I wanted to make smart remarks about Jesus and his little disciples I could. Of course the part of the equation I had missed was learning. I had to learn to fight, and learning to fight meant getting punched in the face. So, not only was I still getting punched in the face, I was volunteering to do it and I couldn’t even punch them back!
I think it was around my third time in an actual boxing match that I began to think it might be smarter to, one: Read about it first. Two: Try really hard to fall down with my face off to one side. Big noses break easy. Three: Find some other way to spend my Saturday instead of getting beat up.
After I woke up from my last fight I decided that Karate was probably smarter. I mean Kato was really cool. It looked so easy. That was great until I realized that not only would people be punching me in the face they would also be kicking me … In the face… Really hard... And anywhere else their feet could reach… Kids have bad aim. But the good thing I learned was, it is really hard to break your eye… Either one of them. And a point of fact, people with funny names can also kick box like crazy too. And a punch from a gloved hand or foot can still ring your bell. So if, let’s say the guys name was Frances, and he hated the name Frances, it might not be too smart to say things like ‘Frances Is A Sissy’ (Francis of Assisi) damn Catholic school knowledge. Or do you know what Nun means? None for you and None for me! Ha, ha, ha, ouch! My mouth is broken.
After a while I learned to fight. Either that or all the kids with funny names or in Catholic school would have just continued to beat me up all through school and I couldn’t have that. And I learned to fight when I realized I had a funny name too. Huh. You know I think kids can turn any name into a funny name. Gladys becomes Glad Ass, obviously if your last name is Kuntz you’re in for it. A kid in my class had that name. And a kid named Beeman… “Hey! Where’s your Bees Man?” Oh… We were so clever.
So, I grew up and got a job as a writer. Now when I don’t like someone I just kill them off in a plot and then throw a disclaimer in the front of the book saying it wasn’t them. Piece of cake. And if I want to pick on someones name I let the characters do it for me. And I never allow any of the characters to pick on my name. After all, they’re my characters.
Okay. I have to go. That whole Jimmy Hoffa thing has me curious. I have to go ask Mom about it!
Introspective and a free story
Introspective Posted by Geo Mon, December 21, 2015 11:09:58
Posted by Geo 12-21-2015
Well, Christmas is upon us, I know that because half of my friends are depressed and the other half remembered to take their Prozac. And, everywhere you look on-line there are people having conversations about what Christmas is about. The spirit of the holidays, how they love each other and all of humanity. Yeah, unless you believe in some fundamental difference in religion or the world that they don’t. Then they don’t love you quite so much, which is probably a good thing, because if they are that borderline you really don’t need them as a friend, and this may be the perfect opportunity, with all the Christmas rush of warm and good feelings, to lose them. In fact wouldn’t it be great to take them to Walmart and lose them there? Sorry, wishful thinking I guess.
I did have a pretty good week. I am healing well, and I have also had a few good conversations during the week that were worth having too.
So the year is winding down. I spent this last year spreading myself entirely too thin. Carpenter, Writer, Plumber, Electrician, Webmaster, Son, Father and more. I returned to playing guitar, music and making video games. I guess in an alternate universe that could be a good thing, but in this universe those are things that keep me sane… At least I think they do, unless I’m not sane and don’t know it. Hmmm. But seriously, I need to take that time to escape from pressure. We all do. We all have different ways we do it but we do it. So I have promised myself that this year I am going to make time to do those things. Sure. Except, I am going to figure out a way to make more time to do those things, I just don’t know what that way will be yet. Something will give in one direction or another and the time will be there. Maybe that would have better saved as a newyears resolution.
As a writer, choosing a somewhat public life, I have been frustrated a few times this past year when it has come to being able to speak my mind. There was a time, not so long ago, when I did speak my mind and I didn’t care about the consequences. I still have a great deal of admiration for people who have chosen public paths, yet still do speak their minds. I always feel conflicted, speak my mind? Don’t speak my mind? It’s an issue for me because of the things I have seen changing in society lately, otherwise I would stay away from it.
When I was younger there seemed to be a live and let live attitude in this world I call home. Not so much anymore. Now it seems to be a ‘You better think like I do or else,’ world. That bothers me. And so the guy that never takes issue with anything is going to present an issue to you.
Here is how I look at life. Grant you, life has shaped me and is greatly responsible for some of what I am, but that is a small part. Many years ago someone said to me, ‘You can make your choices in life, or you can let someone else make them. I thought, “Just let someone try to make my choices.” But the fact is he was right. So I really do work on making my own decisions now. I don’t want someone else to make them for me, or fate, or whatever you want to look at it as. I want to have as much control of my life as is possible.
So I look at the world, what it has morphed into, what it continues to become as it changes and changes, and I choose, as I said, to walk the non-committal line. Now, for those of you who know me, that is different. I will talk about nearly anything with the people I call friends. My ears are open, my mind too, and I’m not only willing to listen, I’m willing to let it change me if it makes sense. I think that is a responsible position. But when I write, either Blog or fiction, or non fiction, I have a different level of responsibility. I am responsible on a different level because I am purposely reaching out to the public and giving them my opinion. Is that always true? I mean, do I set out to do it that way? No. But that doesn’t matter a great deal either. I have seen words people have authored, that were committed to electronic media, or traditional print, come back and bite them. So I try not to do it. I try to walk my fine line.
So as I said, when I was younger, it was live and let live. That is what my generation promoted. Now that has changed, and everyday it seems to become more extreme. If I don’t speak it really is allowing someone else to make my choices for me. So here goes.
I don’t have a problem with gays. I am not gay, I know that, but if I were I would not have a problem with it. I guess easy for me to say. I do not think Christ has a problem with gays. I don’t want people to send me six thousand scripture references telling me, ‘Yes he does,’ or ‘God hates it,’ or whatever. This is my opinion. I didn’t ask to argue about it. I have read the Bible, in fact I have studied the original scriptures, Gospels, Texts, Translations, Greek, Chaldee. I know what it says, and I know what it doesn’t say. I have read it. I don’t have a problem with Paganism, Wicka, Native American beliefs, or any other religions or spiritual beliefs. No problem. Sexual orientation, color, heritage, pride of heritage. No problem.
I do have a problem with people who are not tolerant of other people. People who hate for the sake of hate. Maybe I am the danger that is changing the world. Maybe I am the sickness that has leaked into our society. If so, good. I hope a great many others get sick. I hope the world gets sick and stays sick. If you are shocked by the words I have written then you should flush this page and never read any of my Blogs or books ever again. I say that because I assumed that my outlook on life was pretty clear. I assumed I was making a statement with my writing. If you read the Earth’s Survivors books you should be able to clearly see the way I view my ideal society, they way I wish it to be.
I don’t want to make this blog all about striking back at things I don’t like. I do want to say what this person said to me or what that person said to me. Make your own decisions. If you don’t someone will make them for you. Maybe you are like I was then and you don’t understand it yet. You will. That’s the great thing about life. All that advice. All those warnings. All that critical feedback people gave to you? It will all come back to you. You will eventually understand that you don’t know everything. This world is also about others. And then be responsible for you.
So there is my stance. Not wishy washy, that’s how I feel. And that brings me full circle. Lately I have been re-examining my life. What is important, what is not important. I suppose that anyone who went through the year I have would or should be doing that. What is not important is pretty clear cut to me. I don’t have a lot of time for game players, time wasters. I don’t have time for intolerance or people that like me if I change this or that. I’m not interested in joining anyone’s club, and I’m not trying to get someone to join mine.
I guess that means I’m not really walking that line any longer. I regret that I walked it so long, because some people made assumptions about me and what I think because I didn’t speak up. Proof positive that you can always change for the better.
As for people who do hate, hey, it’s your prerogative, but don’t do it in the name of God, or Jesus, or Allah, or the friggin’ Easter Bunny for that matter. And if you feel you must tell me all about your opinions, fine. I’ll be polite. I probably wont even light you up and tick you off. I’ll just listen and nod, and at the end I’ll tell you I don’t agree with you. Sorry. I have to, because if I don’t you might believe that I do agree with you, and if you are about hate, I don’t.
There, so that is out of the way. What am I going to do this year? I think something has to go. The next thing to go will be one of these careers. Am I a writer or am I something else? Well, several things most of the year, and nothing at all but recovering right now. The thing is, something, or more than one something, has to go. I will either throw it all behind one thing or the other. And it will be a question of return on investment. I know that sounds cold, but it has to be that way. If you really think about it the entire world works on return. If you give someone a compliment and they do not acknowledge you, do you give another? Not usually. If you are looking for a new social activity and you go and no one takes the time to greet you and say hello? Probably not going back. I’m no different. If the writing goes it doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing, it only means I’ll go back to writing for me, which is an entirely different thing…
Guess that’s it for me this week. I try not to be too political, but sometimes when you have a bad taste in your mouth it has to go. I am not, by the way, comfortable with the public side of writing. I do not go to book signings. I belong to only one writers group. It really irritates some of my author friends that I will not travel to promote my books, but I won’t. I watch them go to dozens of organized book signings. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. And I think that says everything I need to say about my writing. I do it because it is there. If you like it, great. If you don’t, great also. I will leave you with a free preview of Hurricane, which may actually get finished during this forced period of rest, and my wishes for happiness for you and your families this holiday season…
I will leave you with a free preview of Hurricane which should be published sometime this coming year…
Hurricane is book two in the Rebecca Monet series.
Copyright Dell Sweet 2015, All rights reserved.
This preview is licensed for Dell’s Blog. If you wish to share this preview with a friend, please point them to this blog. This material may not be copied, quoted, or transferred electronically, or in standard print for any reason, without the copyright owner’s permission. Permission is granted to use small excerpts in critical articles both in standard or electronic print.
“It’s bad luck to skip school on a Monday,” Amy Knowles said to her best friend Deidre Blevins.
“I know,” Deidre said, “But I hate it. I just can’t be there. I can’t deal with those Goddamn Nuns today. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, Aim… I didn’t even tell Jimmy.”
“I know that.. Obviously I want to go… I mean,” Amy fell silent.
“What,” Deidre asked?
“We’re friends,” Amy said. “It’s been me and you way before Jimmy or Mike came along… It’s just that, sometimes we get too far away from that.” Her face colored.
Deidre nodded. “We do… So, where do you and me go today…. With no car… No way to get nowhere. I hate being on foot…. It’s just about all I keep Jimmy around for. That and the pot,” Deidre said.
“Really,” Amy asked?
She thought about it. “I could think of something better… For right now he’s okay. I like him well enough.”
Amy wondered what the something better might be. Deidre had colored a little when she said it. She didn’t ask though. It was good enough just being together. She didn’t want to complicate it with feelings.
“I smell rubber burning,” Deidre said and smiled. “A penny for your thoughts. That’s what my dad always says to me,” She said.
“They’re worth more than a penny,” Amy said as they reached the parking lot. She slipped her hand through Deidre’s arm. “Lead on,” She said.
Deidre was surprised by the arm, but pleasantly surprised. She liked the feel of it, she decided. She looked up at the sky then back down at the parking lot. “We could hitch out to your place or we could walk around downtown.”
“We could get picked up by some Psycho too,” Amy said.
“Never have,” Deidre countered.
“Okay, but if some Psycho picks us up and kills us I am going to be so pissed at you,” Amy said. She tried a little smile on her face. Deidre answered it with one of her own.
“Never happen,” Deidre said as they started across the parking lot.
“I’d probably follow you anywhere,” Amy said softly. So softly that Deidre was not sure she had even heard her.
“Yeah. I wish that were true,” Deidre said every bit as softly.
Amy looked up at her. She had heard the words, but she was looking away. She was about to speak when Jimmy’s voice interrupted her. She looked up and there he was. His blonde hair hanging in his eyes, head half out the window of his truck. When no one answered he spoke again.
“I said, I thought you was staying at school today?” He said again looking a Deidre.
“Well, you said you might be here, so Amy and I thought we would try,” Deidre said quickly and smiled.
Amy nodded and smiled.
The car behind Jimmy’s truck blew its horn and Jimmy twisted around and glared back at the driver. He popped up his middle finger and showed it to the driver and then looked back at Deidre. “So, where we gonna go?. I didn’t make no plans and I ain’t got no money,” Jimmy said.
Deidre had about forty dollars on her, two tens in her pocket and the rest in her sneaker. She pulled out the two tens. “This will get us a little way, right,” She asked?
Jimmy took the two tens and slipped them in his pocket. “We can go out to Mike’s,” he looked at Amy. “He’s working on the Nissan today… I can help him… We can hang out… We have enough for beer now and gas to get there too.” Jimmy said.
The car behind him tapped its horn once more. Jimmy levered open the door jumped out and started to turn back to the car but Deidre caught his arm.
“Baby, you’ll get us in trouble. We’ll get caught,” she said as she pulled him away.
The guy in the car rolled his window up quickly. Jimmy smiled at him, flipped him off again and then turned back to Deidre and Amy. “Luck for that little fuck,” he said. “Come on.” He held the driver’s door open as first Amy and then Deidre crawled across to the passenger’s side and then turned and looked back at the car. The young guy behind the wheel refused to look back. Jimmy flipped him off again and then climbed back into his truck.
“What does it look like,” Bob Travers asked? He was at his own desk but he called up a view of the latest National Weather Service radar on his monitor.
Rebecca Monet leaned closer to the monitor, her breasts brushing against his shoulder as she did. “It could be the big one. It’s building fast and they are already predicting a path that will bring it right to us,” She told him. “I want to be the one that gets it if it does. I mean, I know I’ll have it at first but if it goes big I want to keep it instead of it going to Bethany,” she said in a low voice, nearly a whisper.
Bethany Jacobs was the anchor woman for Channel Eight News. She sat next to Bob during the newscasts. He had his pick of the big stories and left the rest to Bethany.
“Becca, you know I can’t do that,” Bob said in an equally low voice.
“Bullshit,” she said sweetly and smiled. “I know what your contract says. You schedule. You appoint. It’s your call.” Her breasts pressed more firmly against his shoulder. “Come on, Bob. I’m good. I can do it. You know I can,” Rebecca pleaded. Her hand came up and rested lightly on his upper arm. Her perfume was subtle but intoxicating.
“Bethany will go ballistic,” Bob whispered.
“So what,” Rebecca said.
“We have a …. A sort of,” Bob started.
“I know. It’s not like it’s a secret.” Her hand stroked his bicep. “I would do anything you want, Bob,” she said. The weight of her breasts against his shoulder suddenly seemed to increase ten fold. “I mean anything,” she said leaning closer and whispering in his ear. Her lips brushed his ear.
“Are we talking about the same thing,” Bob asked, his voice low. His eyes scanned the room looking to make sure no one was watching or eavesdropping.
“I’ve got a few minutes… I’m sure your dressing room is empty. Let me show you what I’m talking about. I think we’re on the same page,” Rebecca whispered. And this time her lips not only brushed against his ear they seemed planted there.
“I… I can’t right now,” Bob said.
“Can’t stand up,” she asked with a musical little laugh.
“Something like that,” Bob agreed.
“I’ll meet you there… I’ll let myself in,” She asked?
Bob nodded. The weight of her breasts were instantly gone, but the sound of her voice and the scent of her perfume were in his head. ‘Boy was Bethany going to be pissed off,’ he thought. But Tad Edwards, the station manager, had already dropped hints to him about seeing Rebecca work more, and a few other hints about how he thought Bethany was not aging well, meaning to Tad she was past her prime at twenty-seven and he thought it was time for a fresh face. A younger face. Rebecca was all of twenty, and she was… He made himself stop thinking about her. He had to, or else, he told himself, he’d never be able to get up.
‘Man oh Man was Bethany ever going to be pissed off,’ he told himself again.
Paul lay in Jane’s bed. He had left early this morning on the pretext of having to go over the paper work for the year end audit, and that was partly true, but the real truth was that they had been getting less and less time together and he had simply needed to be with her.
“We have got to go,” Jane said from beside him.
“I know,” Paul told her. Her body was pressed to his own, one of his arms holding her to him. He didn’t let go. She felt so good. She reached over and bit his chest softly.
“Ow,” Paul said… “Okay… Oh all right… Maybe tonight? I could say I’m working late.”
“I can’t… You know I’ve got classes… Tomorrow?” She countered.
He smiled “That will work.” His hand slipped down and rubbed across her buttocks, squeezing gently and then, reluctantly, he let her go.
She held him a second longer and then kissed him before she rolled away. “I love you,” she said.
“I love you to,” he said automatically. “I’ll go first?” He headed for the shower and a few minutes later he was merging into traffic on I 65 and heading towards the Airport Road exit.
He and Janey had been an item for about a year. Paul Blevins didn’t really think about it as cheating on his wife Peggy any longer. He was pretty sure she was pursuing her own interests anyway. It just was.
He didn’t think too hard about the love aspect of the relationship either. Sure, he told her he loved her, and he did. She had a perfect body, and he loved it. And her attitude was great, he loved that too. And, she was completely devoted to him, how could he not love that? But the other kind of love? The kind that made you cry? Made your heart ache? No. He had loved Peggy like that at one time. He loved his daughter Deidre like that. She could probably get anything at all out of him. But she didn’t abuse it. She was a pretty good kid most of the time. Not out running around getting involved in all the bad stuff that kids her age got involved in. He had no real concerns or worries about her. All of his real love. The kind that could hurt him anyway was reserved for her. She had never abused it and Paul didn’t think she ever would, or could for that matter.
He and Peggy had fallen apart a few years before and there seemed to be no way to fix it. Janey was pushing lately for them to be together. Her little boy, Lincoln, who was just two years old, already thought of Paul as his father. And Paul supposed that eventually he and Janey would probably be together.
Deidre had about six months of school left and then she would be off to college. Local if he had his way, New York if Peggy’s father had his way. And there was not too much that Peggy’s father did not get his way on. Money did talk and he had a lot of it.
Either way there was no reason to stay after Deidre was gone. There would be nothing there. It would feel too weird sleeping in the same bed, keeping up the charade. For what? For who? They really only kept up the pretense now for Deidre’s sake. If she was gone, what would be the point?
There would be no point, he told himself. Janey would most likely get her way… Sooner rather than later.
The radio played low as he drove and he listened as he watched traffic. Nothing much new. A tropical depression building off the coast of Africa. A big One. One that bore watching the weatherman said. Maybe it would be something, Paul thought, but he doubted it. They almost always slipped off and shot up the coast, or veered off and hit Louisiana or Texas. Most likely this one would too.
He came to a near dead stop in a long line of cars making their way onto Airport Road. Janey would be along in another thirty minutes or so. With Peggy’s fathers money it wasn’t a good idea to make themselves an easy target. On the surface Peggy might not seem to care, but Paul suspected she had to be thinking about the future too. Six months from now was the future. Or the end of their future. Six months from now, divorce most likely, and he didn’t mean to make it easy for her. So they were careful. Never leaving at the same times. Not being seen together.
The only reason he had stuck it out these last few years was Deidre. He wanted no custody dispute that she would be dragged into. No loss of seeing her. Peggy and her father’s money could make him look bad. Take her away. That would kill him. And, he knew it. She knew how much it would hurt him, which is exactly why she would do it. For Spite. For payback. Women were like that. Women whose fathers had deep pockets were even more like that, he thought. He had no doubt that had he pulled the plug a few years ago she would have made sure he never saw Deidre again until she was old enough to make her own decisions. But then Peggy may have poisoned her mind completely.
He could do without Peggy, Jane too, but not Deidre. So here he was, day after day. Six months to go and it would all be over. He inched forward through the traffic trying to clear his mind as he went.
The audit. Now there was a sobering thought. Janey really was helping with the audit. He had bought her in. It was a mess. There were real problems there. Problems that would take Janey to fix if he could convince her to do it for him. She was helping. Going through the mounds of paperwork. She was smart, she would see it. He would let it be her own idea. He hoped it would be her own idea. He pushed the thoughts away.
The line of cars suddenly poured onto Airport Road and he sped up just making it out and merging into the middle lane at the expense of a blaring horn and a pissed off driver of a beverage delivery truck who had not wanted to let him in. He made the left lane finally, signaled at the light and cut across the feeder road and then into the restaurant parking lot.
A few cars, and, for the second time in as many weeks a moving van was parked in the lot. Companies did that all the time, but he could not remember if there was a moving company nearby with that name. Peggy was what he was thinking of. Peggy and her fathers deep pockets. Her fathers money that could hire a private detective to follow him. To poke around. Six months, he reminded himself as he parked, got out and walked to the restaurant. She could do as she pleased with Daddies money after that.
He whistled as he walked to the door, unlocked it, and stepped inside the restaurant.
Dave Plasko shot the ball under his knee and across to Steve Minor. They had tried letting Darren Reed, who was part of their little group, play but he was too slow mentally to keep up. It confused him and then it panicked him, and once he was panicked he might do anything. Best to let him watch from the sidelines as he was now.
Steve caught the ball, faked left then nearly walked himself to the right, put the ball up, and it barely kissed the rim as it went through.
“That’s it. You dude’s are done,” Dave said.
“Another one?” Light said. “One more?”
“Got to work, Light,” Dave said. “Outside clearance. Can’t fuck that up. We’ll play when I’m back this afternoon.”
“Now, how is it you three white boys got that all sewn up,” Light asked?
“Hmm… We’re white? … It’s Alabama? How the fuck should I know. This is your fucked up state not mine, Light. You know we ain’t on that shit.” Dave told him.
Light bounced the ball across the small basketball court that was just off the main prison yard, and into the Recreation box on the other side.
“Yeah. If you could only play that fuckin’ good all the time…” Dave joked.
“I do, New York. You motherfuckers just cheat too Goddamn much,” Light laughed.
The yard gate opened and Jack Johnson, an overweight correction officer stepped in and looked around the yard. “What the fuck, Plasko,” he asked when his eyes fell on him. “You and your girlfriends ready to go to work or not? I ain’t got all goddamned day you know.”
“Later,” Plasko told Light. They touched fists. “On our way, Mister Johnson,” he called out. He looked to Darren and Steve and the three of them headed across the rec yard to the gate.
I hope you enjoyed the preview. Book One in the Series, Mexico is here:
Mexico. The morning starts out like any other for the residents of Watertown, but later in the morning a violent chase ending in a crash began a series of events that would put two young kids on the run from the Law, criminal underworld, and with only each other to depend on. #CrimeFiction
Introspective Posted by Dell Sat, October 24, 2015 01:35:43
Posted 10-24-15 by Dell
It’s raining in New York. Heavy, cold rain. Fall has been pretty hard to find so far this season. I thought I would share part of my past week with you…
I use Windows Seven for my operating system. Not because I like Windows Seven, but because Linux is not universally accepted yet. So I use Linux as much as I can and then Windows Seven when I have to. And forget about 8, I tried it and decided it wasn’t for me, so I have been hanging in there with 7.
I purchased a new machine a month or so ago and it came with Windows Ten. Oh, I could write a whole blog about how I hate Windows Ten. And I do. It compromises you and your information on every level, because it insists on having it. It insists on knowing everything there is to know about you. Do you have five freckles on the inside of your left thigh? That would be about the only thing it doesn’t ask or know about it, but I would not count on the fact that it doesn’t know, it just might. Anyway, for me, too nosy. I buy the software and so I guess that means I am supporting the invasion of my privacy. But I would like it to be more like a car. A Toyota will drive me anywhere I want to go, but, so will a Ford, or a Chevy, or a Dodge, or, well, you get the idea. So why is it we only have Windows? Where the hell is the support for Linux? Or something else? Okay, That’s all I have on that.
So, I deep-sixed the machine I bought because, as it turns out, you can not easily delete Win 10, at least on this machine. It would not allow me to install my Win 7. I struggled with it for a week. I decided in that space of time that there was no redeeming quality there and then one day I went online, ordered the parts from Amazon to fix my old machine. Kicked myself for not doing that first, and once they came I spent a few hours fixing the old machine. Once I was done I unplugged the new machine, stuck it back in the box and slid it under my desk. It made a great foot rest until my mother’s machine locked up the other day.
Moms machine is my old machine. I wrote several short stories and my first novel on that machine, a lawn sale item I had all of 40.00 dollars into. “Well, how would you like a Windows Ten machine, Mom,” I asked? For her it’s great. She is a social animal, Mom is. I think something like 600 face book friends. She has all her on-line shopping places, her Kindle account. Huh, I said to her, people actually use computers to socialize? Mom just laughed at me. She figured out Win 10 immediately and has no problem with it. Humph…
I use Windows Seven and it makes me money, or helps me to make a living. It’s a tool I use to run the software that makes my living, and it allows me to access the publishing services I need to be able to make my living. It also allows me to buy and sell on-line if I so choose, use software to listen to music, manipulate my artwork and create Artwork too. Record Music of my own. Read other E-Books (Yes, I read other authors, not just the ones here at independAntwriters). In short I spend a great deal of time in the Windows Seven environment and all I ever do is complain about it, uh, sort of like I am right now. But once I got a load of Win 10 I decided I would embrace Win 7. No more complaints from me.
So, last week I went to Google for a translation for a phrase spoken by one of the characters in Earth’s Survivors Three. Katie Lee is Japanese and African American. Her Grandmother spoke Japanese. I remembered the pronunciation for Grand Daughter in Japanese, but did not want to hack the spelling. And, growing up and hearing it, having an idea in my head what it meant, and then what it really means are different things sometimes. I went with Magomusume instead of Mago. Magomusume is more formal, and not really used often. But, I didn’t want to confuse things, it’s not like the character can launch into a long explanation about why it is not usually used in the Gender specific form.
So, I found it, but when I had searched, it had also shown me a few images of people that indirectly related to my search. Japanese life. Yes, for once, not porn that always seems to pop up, but actual people… With their clothes on. I was awed, and I did something I rarely do, I spent about four hours more on Google looking for more pictures of people from all walks of life. So when you read Earth’s Survivors Three and you reach the point where Katie explains Magomusume you will know that as soon as I wrote that I then spent four or so hours Googleing stuff. I went ahead and clicked the ‘Images’ link on Google. Like I said, usually I am leery of it, but this time I carefully restricted my keywords and was rewarded.
Poor, Gypsies, Vietnamese, Japanese, Native American, African and African American. One simply led to the next. And why look if you don’t intend to keep? The reason I thought of that is because I know a man who, whenever I visit, has his desktop machine (A MAC, Ironically) set to show different life scenes. And this is on his office machine, so while I’m waiting, I watch the picture show. I have been there enough times to know the pictures, and so I anticipate certain ones.
I sit in the padded leather chair, in his office, in America, where even the very poor do not starve to death in the streets, or get shot or terrorized by soldiers, or shot, killed and dumped in a ditch somewhere. At least not as the normal course of a day. Violence does happen here too. Having both grown up poor, and spent time actually living on the streets as a teen, I understand that what we see on the surface is only a poor reflection of what is under that surface, but I sit in his padded leather chair and I watch scenes from all over the world: People, Artwork, Animals, Architecture and more. It’s pleasant to watch. Soothing. I suppose it is for him too.
But the images I discovered that day were people who knew nothing at all about me. My life. My computer. The life I lead is so far from their life that it might just be incomprehensible to them. In any case, for most of them, they will never live this type of life. And they don’t look all that unhappy about the possibility of never living this life to me.
Yes, in some instances I’m sure they are. When their basic rights are violated, when they are oppressed, when they are hungry. Not our version of hungry, I mean when they have not eaten. Maybe for days. So their life is not all roses, but they don’t miss what they have never thought about, seen, or experienced. And I looked at the pictures and I thought this is what I need to look at every day. This is what can keep me connected to the real world. That is important to me. Being grounded. Staying grounded.
So I spent about four hours and downloaded every picture that I came across that I liked. I put them in a folder and I have added to that folder a few times now when I have thought of other people I would like to see. Then I set my desktop to that folder and voila. I Guess I am bringing it up because it affected me in some unexpected ways.
First, I have dual monitors, so as I work I can see the pictures change, for the most part. The only time I can’t is when I have something else up on the second monitor, but I found that I tend to leave that monitor blank most of the time now. And that, throughout my day, I am watching the faces pop up. A mother in Africa with her baby. A band of Gypsies Exiled by Hitler before or during the war. He hated them as much as he did the Jewish people. A proud but poor Father in Mexico posing outside of a house most of us would not want to step inside of let alone call home, with his family. All smiling. Looks like they have a lot of love if not money.
A young Native American mother sometime back in the 1700’s staring wide eyed at the camera, her child held in her arms. She looks so young and scared. A little boy smiling up at the camera, tribal scars on both sides of his face. He looks so happy. His smile is genuine. A mother nursing. Rebels posing with machine guns on a road in a jungle somewhere. A young Vietnamese woman making her way through the ruined streets of some Vietnamese city. A Chinese woman with her child on her back, wrapped and looking at the world go by as mom makes her way to where ever she is going. And more…
A family on the road. A father carrying his children. Images of war, images of peace. Images I have no context for, only the people looking into the lens of the camera, or away: Caught unawares. I realized it really was keeping the world in my mind. Why is that father carrying his children? What does that mother feed her children? Do they know about the western world? What do they think about it? I like it. It keeps the world on my mind. The part of the world that is important.
I don’t mean our jobs, bills, house payments aren’t important, I am only saying that people are more important. Seeing these people from all over the world. Some surely still living, some long gone away, keeps me grounded. If only because of what I just said. I know some are gone: Some still here. It reminds me that there were times with my family, friends, I wish I could have back, had cherished more. Some of those people are gone now. If I remember them as I look at the pictures it’s like they never left. And there are the questions I have for those I see in the pictures too. It keeps the important things in the world in perspective for me.
It has been an interesting week, and I am glad I made the change. It even makes me grateful, yes, grateful, to Microsoft for this desktop where I can watch those changing pictures. Or whoever came up with the idea. Does that mean I can’t complain about Windows anymore?
Have a safe weekend, Dell.
Introspective Posted by Geo Mon, October 05, 2015 17:02:26
Geo Dell 10-05-15
Okay… Just read this if you get a chance.
I have a friend, yes, you could look at my very small list of friends and make assumptions, but it doesn’t really matter. My friend, like all of us, has grown older, lived life, and is not a teenager any longer. She, as a woman, had to play the beautiful/skinny game for many years. It was her belief that that was the only way any man could want her. And, BTW, these are things she has talked to me about, not things I am guessing at.
Life goes on, she gets plenty of attention, because, although we rarely know it, we’re all beautiful when we’re younger. The things we judge beauty on really don’t mean anything a few years later when we look back, see a picture of ourselves, or someone we loved/love, and realize how beautiful we were. Maybe it’s the maturity we get as we grow older, something, but I think we all get to a place where we can see it, and I believe that because I have always heard my friends and myself say things like, “I want to get back into those jeans.” or “I wish I looked like that now.” Things like that. We long to be younger and know everything we know now. So, we see it eventually.
So, my friend got men to be interested, and like some women in life, and men, she got used, and she did her share of using too. She turned to eating, maybe drinking too, to take the edge off the unhappiness that comes with that life.
Life moved on, she got married, got a great job, but that habit of solving problems with food/booze/pills/sex (Depends on the person what they use), did not leave her, any more than it does any of us who use crutches to deal with reality instead of really dealing with it.
Life moves on more. She gets heavy. My God! It’s the end of the world! And the way society reacts to women when they gain weight, it must have felt like the end. So the unhappiness gets worse, comes down on her more often, becomes depression.
As a man I decided a long while ago that I don’t care what sort of negative stuff people think about me. Sincerely. It took real effort, years to get that mindset. There was a time several years back when I worked out two hours every day. Excellent shape, but, that was several years back. I’m not in that shape anymore, I know what it takes to be in that shape, and although I may choose to go back there some day, I’m not now. And, do you know who gives me grief over being heavy? Nobody. Because I am a man, and men don’t get it like women do. But, since I’m not a woman, I will never know what it feels like to be in a position where all of that counts against you.
My friend is a beautiful woman. She was a beautiful girl when I knew her back when we were kids, and she still is beautiful. Yes, this is the beauty inside talk, but look at it like this, do you really think you will go through life untouched? Not aging, gaining weight? Changing? Hardly. So, just try to look at things as they truly are. Treat people for real, the way you want to be treated. Help someone with their problems, don’t just criticize them, and take them as they are. Face value. Why is that so hard?
Truly, I would rather have my friend than someone who starves herself to build a body image other people promote, and she is unhappy with. Just saying…
Thanks for reading that. Here are some links to free eBook downloads for you. Welcome to Monday 🙂
Get Apocalypse free right now!
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What am I listening to: Joe Bonamassa – Driving Towards The Daylight: http://jbonamassa.com/ Ashamed to say I had never heard of Joe, and I am a blues fan, and a long time Rochester native. Great stuff.
Posted by Dell Sweet 08-21-2015
Good morning. I am going with morning because technically, here in New York, it still is.
The following blog stems from a conversation I had the other day with friends concerning control, our situations, and how we see ourselves and the things in our lives that we feel are out of or in our control either one. Dieting, relationships, all of it. We were mainly discussing dieting and it just branched out into other areas of our lives.
As writers we tend to spend a great deal of time sitting on our duffs… Well, Writing. It’s kind of hard to put exercise in there throughout the day. Write a chapter, exercise, write a chapter, exercise. It just doesn’t work that way. It is more like: Write like a crazy man (or woman) while the material is there. Sit there all day and eat there too if you can get away with it. My top three friends are full time writers as I am and so they can and do get away with that the same as I do.
The bad part of that is obvious. No exercise, bad eating habits. Too much other stuff to even list. It’s just plain unhealthy. So we discussed what we do to make sure we stay healthy. To change things up so that exercise has a place in our daily schedules. I will keep this blog on my own life, solutions, things I have done to make me healthier.
We stuck as closely as we could to dieting, because all of us in the discussion, male and female alike, seem to have reason to struggle with that and believe that the answers to feeling good about diet and the results we obtain from it are not totally in our control. It was a good conversation.
I have been overweight and dealt with the results of that as it acted upon my body. There were times when I did not believe I had the control to do anything about it at all, and then a time where I realized I did have control, could direct a path that would lead me away from that situation. I followed it and it worked. It also confirmed to me that we have much more control of our lives than we think we do. We simply allow situations or even people to take that control away from us, or we give that control to the person or situation without even thinking about the fact we are doing that.
I have found that the best way to begin to put control back into the things you do is to just do it. I know that sounds like I am making a joke of it, making it sound easy to do, but I am not. What I am saying is that it is often our own fault that we don’t make changes and allow the circumstances we are in to become our prison, and to hold and control us.
I think the first thing to do is determine exactly what the problem is. Sometimes it isn’t so straight forward as it seems. You might say … “Well, I want to lose weight.” That’s it. Nothing more, but that is not really the problem itself, it is more like a solution to some other problem. Some other underlying thing that has you upset or depressed enough to start looking for solutions that may or may not solve the problem.
There are reasons to lose weight. Reasons that are serious and shouldn’t be ignored. As a nation we are overweight, we all know that, read or hear about it almost daily in social and news media. Heart Disease, Diabetes and a host of other medical problems are waiting to kick the crap out of our bodies if we don’t get them into shape. And if the reason you are going to lose weight is right there then you need to start reinforcing it in your head. You need to remind yourself daily that being overweight could kill you. Take you away from those that you love. That should be a strong motivator, but it isn’t always. And it isn’t always because very often the reasons behind wanting to lose weight have nothing at all to do with needing to lose weight.
Where does it come from: Weight gain is genetic to a degree, and evolutionary and biological on the other side. Social pressure also comes into play.
Genetics: Sometimes, for some people, there is a gap between what they eat; someone else eats, and how that weight ends up on their body and doesn’t seem to on the other person. But maybe that simply isn’t true. In other words, for men and women, self worth is tied up in the way we view ourselves. Maybe to you I don’t look bad at all, but to me I’m a mess. Too heavy. Unattractive, the list begins and goes from there.
The problem is that all of those pronouncements we make on ourselves and our bodies gets tied up in the judgments we are making about ourselves, our self worth. It isn’t necessarily true at all. It may be you could weigh yourself and that other person, who seems to be having an easier time than you are, and find there is no difference, maybe you would find there is. Whatever you do find, there are ways to deal with it. For some genetics may play a role. For some it is a simple matter of firing up their metabolism, eating less, being more active, but the fact that we tie it all up with our self worth makes it nearly impossible to get to the truth of it.
Evolution: I will say first that I am a christian, I am not knocking God or anything else, and I realize that evolution doesn’t exist for some people. Something some scientific types made up. So possibly you may want to take a different view of it. Let’s call it pre-history. When you read the old testament you read about people living in caves. Being nomadic. They certainly didn’t have a 7 11 down the road or a supermarket. We lived a different kind of life. And because of that our bodies developed the ability to store fat for long periods of time and then release it when we needed it. That worked pretty well. There were no super models or social pressures working at us to be skinny. I can not imagine a Cave Woman getting up and saying … “Damn, Trog! Does my butt look too big?” I’m sure she could have cared less and I’m sure Trog could have cared less. So we have this evolutionary thing. We store fat because our bodies think we may need it. Maybe in a few thousand years, if the human race lasts that long, we will breed that right out of ourselves. Of course if we did and then some worldwide catastrophe occurred we would be done for. So maybe we won’t lose that ability. Either way it is there. It’s a biological fact, and we have to acknowledge it as such.
Social: This is where it gets tricky. Are you fat? Or is someone making you feel like you are fat? Good question. Sometimes people make us feel that way because they want to put us in a perfect little mold that they created for us. It has nothing at all to do with us, it has to do with their own unhappiness. Unfortunately for us that makes little difference. It hurts us and we react by saying we will get with the program and make ourselves into that person that this other person wants us to be. Never mind what we think. That isn’t important. Look at TV, the internet. Look at all the skinny women and muscled men! That must be the way it is supposed to be.
Bull. It is something we tell ourselves and we even get to a place where we believe it is our own idea to look a certain way, and completely forget we are being manipulated by society or even our own loved ones. You are the only one that can look at this critically and make a decision about what you are doing or why. I would just say be honest with yourselves.
The problem with this societal pressure is that it gets completely tied up with our self worth, and that is also evolutionary. I suppose that the first person with blue eyes must have been looked at strangely. Or blonde hair. But if you turn on your television and look at a movie from the seventies, or sixties you will see women that had little bellies. What? My God! How could they! And the men were not all cut up and heavily muscled either. That is what society was given as the model for man and woman. And that was that. Now you have Super Models who have about a 4 percent body fat content and therefore no belly, no hips, no large butt, and they look great in those designer jeans, and pretty soon the youth of society decides that is the look right there.
And that’s great when you are 15 or 19 or even into your very early 20’s but there comes a time where your body changes and in order to keep that look you will either have to become a gym rat or slip into some bad stuff to maintain that look. Bulimia, Anorexia, drug use, or maybe you will just sink into a deep depression and stay there. To Hell with the world I can’t be what they want so I quit.
And of course that is the problem. The real problem. Are you fat? Or are you trying to be what you think societies idea of what you should be is?
Losing weight: The fact is that if you eat less calories than what you burn you will lose weight. If you do some sort of exercise every day that will burn calories. Those two things are absolutes and do not change or bend to social pressure. So make sure you are doing this for the right reasons and then go from there. Set up a daily exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be complicated, or long, it only needs to be something you do on a daily basis. I would aim for a half hour at first just to get you started. What that will do is two things. First it will kick start your metabolism. That is a big deal because that will determine what your body needs for calories, and you want that number to be high. The second thing this will do is what all physical exercise does, release endorphins.
Endorphins are designed to make you feel good. It is your bodies own little reward for doing well. It can help your mental attitude, change your physiology and help you to start to look at things differently. I have done this myself and it makes a huge difference in the first few weeks. It doesn’t immediately kick the weight loss into gear, but that does come along on its own.
Be Reasonable: Come back to self worth. How much is for you and how much is for that guy or girl that is unhappy with the way you are? Or is it just some unreasonable idea you have built in your mind and come to believe that you must attain? In my experience it is some of each. There is social pressure and even pressure from your significant other or even friends that are close to you. Society, or our own wishes sometime put us in these boxes and it is tough to get out of that. So be reasonable and have an honest conversation with yourself. Am I doing this because I want to? Or because I need to? Or am I pretty much happy with myself and others are making me feel as though I need to do this? Are you beautiful? When you think of yourself is that what you think or do you think you are ugly? You might be surprised at the answer, and not just women, but also men. We have our own warped view of what we are and how we stack up too.
I had a straight forward conversation with myself many years ago. This is what I decided:
One: I am not the greatest looking man in the world, but I’m not the worse. There is nothing I can do that will be lasting to attract a woman to me. Sure, I can change the way I dress, adjust my work schedule, smile more, yes, and even lose weight, become someone I am uncomfortable with and maybe that will attract more women to me. But I can not sustain it, so I should not entertain it because it will put too much pressure on me. Besides, do I really want to be with someone that is strictly interested in looks? Do I want to play that game? Share my life with someone I am really not compatible with at all? No.
Two: What do I really want? What is it that will make me happy in a partner? Should they be involved in the same social things I am involved in? Church? Bowling? Macrame? Writing? Yes. Incompatibility is something that I also can not sustain. It doesn’t mean we have to match in every area, but we should have enough interests in common so that we can compromise on the things that remain.
Three: Do I need a partner? Do I need someone that tells me how I should look? Act? What I should wear? What I should feel? How much I should weigh? And maybe they don’t say these things with their words, maybe they only say them with their actions. I decided no. I don’t need that. I need someone that supports and encourages me.
Four: What does this have to do with losing weight? Dieting? … Everything. It comes right back to self worth. And maybe you are putting these pressures on yourself. Maybe your partner/friends are happy with you the way you are. Maybe it is you that has an unhealthy image of what you should be. But I would bet that image was begun and fostered by the way men and women in your life treated you and the supposed societal norms you saw on TV.
That brings me full circle. Self worth. Love yourself and who you are. That isn’t just words. If you can do that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say about it at all. You can allow that negativity to skip right over your head. It becomes meaningless. You cause it to lose its power, and that means you have that power now. So sit down and have that conversation with yourself. Take it from there.
From There: Set aside that time every day that you need for you. Maybe it is first thing in the morning, maybe last thing at night. I chose first thing in the morning because as a writer the day may take me anywhere. The first part of the morning is still somewhat under my control. I get up and I have an hour set aside for me. Half of that is Oh My God I need some Coffee, and the Other half is Okay, I’m awake let’s get some exercise in.
That amounts to whatever I want it to amount to. There was a time where I did intense workouts every day, twice a day, and I am heading back toward that. But for the last few years I have set an easier pace
There is no one in my life so I do what I do for me, and I would suggest that is the best approach. I would suggest that because people can let you down. Sometimes purposely, sometimes not, but a let down is a let down and if you have your self worth and getting better tied up in another person that is a bad idea. Tie it up in you, YOU be responsible for you and what you want. Set goals. Be realistic, but do it for you.
For me I set that hour aside. Today it might be an hour of cardio, tomorrow it might be a walk. Both are good, both are beneficial to you and sufficient. A start of taking a walk every morning until you can do more is fine. It helps to fire up that metabolism, it burns calories, and it is very beneficial to your health, both physical and mental.
If you have children it may be tough to get time, but if you have someone in your life that is a true partner and helper for you, you should be able to ask for that time and get it. After all, parenthood is no longer just a woman’s job.
If you can not get the time that way, take it later at night. That might seem counter productive, spending even more time running around, but exercise rids your body of many toxins, releases endorphins as we discussed, so it will have its benefits for you.
I guess that is it for my point of view. Start somewhere. Eat right. Take at look at your reasons and then sit down and have that honest talk with yourself. I think you can attain your goals if you truly want them. But better yet, I think you can maintain them if you have put the work into you and know your true motivations…
What else is going on here? Everything is now available on Kindle and the writing schedule is narrowing down to the next projects.
The next projects: That is a good question. Instead of doing things the way they have been done here at i for the last few years, we have decided to react to sales and demand rather than go with what has been voted on by staff and is therefore next in line. Whatever that will be it will not be voted on by staff, but will be from suggestions from readers and users of i.
Whatever that turns out to be I will be the writer, Geo will be focusing on his own projects. It seems like a much more logical approach. What remains on my burner right now is Hurricane. That book is very close to finished now, and will be finished up coming into fall. The winter schedule is now open for me. The only other thing I see being published in the interim might be the original Earth’s Survivors book. That is the first book written thirty years ago that started the series. It bears little on the series published now, but it is still a good book in its own right.
The Zombie Killers: Origins:
The Great Go-Cart Race:
That’s it for this Friday. I hope today finds you well and I will return next week, Geo…
Writing Posted by Dell Fri, October 02, 2015 14:28:30
Dell Sweet 10-02-15
I recently published a story in a magazine, and had a conversation with the editor about writing and how it works for me. I said that what I do is take a mental outline of what I want and go from there. I usually commit those same ideas to paper. I don’t usually publish short stories in magazines, but the process was interesting and made me put some real thought into the interview answers.
It is pretty simple to have an idea, or a story-line. We all get them, but that doesn’t write the story. You have to do that, and the first thing that you have to do is believe in what you are writing. If you do not believe in it no one else will, because you will not be able to convince them it is real or viable. For instance, if you want to write a zombie story, but you have no faith that you can, you more than likely will not ever write the story, because no matter what you do write, you will not feel it, believe in it, and so you will continue to reject it until you hit upon something you do believe in; or give up entirely.
I do not know how you write, but the writer friends that I have talked to have all been in that place where the words stopped, or the phrasing won’t come. The thing is, it does not matter. And the reason it does not matter is that you are allowing yourself to get caught up in all the trivial things of your proposed story, so much so that you have frozen your creativity. You have no story because you are not allowing yourself to write it. You have dammed up that stream. Stopped the flow of information. What you need to do is just write, and there are a few reasons for that.
First: Write it because writing moves you past that initial word on paper place. Just write. It doesn’t matter if it is misspelled, it doesn’t matter if the punctuation is incorrect, it doesn’t even matter if you have no idea where you are going with the story, even if it seems that it is not adhering to your outline. Just write it. Let it flow. You can fix all the other stuff later: And you wrote the idea down, so if this story coming to you is not the story you wanted, write it anyway. It is a gift. Take it. Write the other story some other day.
Second: Write it because the words will disappear if you don’t get them down on paper. I have heard many writers say, “I had better write this stuff in my head down on paper before I lose it.” or “I had this story in my head, I should have written it down, I did not and now it is gone.” I have never heard a writer say, “I guess I will write this story down that I have stored in my head from two days ago.” They don’t say that because it is gone, so write it down.
Yes a story idea can get in your head and be there for months. Drive you crazy, but that is the idea for a story, not the story itself. The idea without direction, and that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about sitting on the couch watching TV, or driving to work in your car, and suddenly an idea hits you and goes past that and starts to formulate into a story, and you know that it is ready to be written out…
So here is this guy, and one day the world as he knows it ends. The Earth stops being predictable, if it ever really was. The buildings, houses, and roads buckle and are consumed by the Earth in places. Earthquakes hit and destroy nearly everything he knows. And just like that his life is completely changed forever. I wonder what he would do?
It took me several tries and forty years to write that story out. Most of that was because I left for the streets at fourteen and spent the next two years living there. From there I went into the service. From there I became married, and then life took over; but the need to write that story never stopped. I wrote three books about it that no one ever saw, and then I lost those books for almost 30 years.
The notes above were written in 2009, me rethinking the earlier books I had lost. It made me write it out again, and it became another book. As I followed that need to write that story out of me it turned into dozens of composition notebooks full of other manuscripts, short stories, plays, lyrics, millions of words that I finally realized I could write out of me.
You see, writing is not about anyone but you. Sure, the popular authors will say things like “I wrote this one for the fans.” And in some ways that is true, but in all the ways that matter it Is not true at all. You wrote it because it was in you and it needed to be out of you so you opened up that doorway between your mind and your form of expression and you wrote it out of you. Gave it a life. It does not matter if ten thousand people hate it. If one likes it? That will make it all worthwhile. So it was for no one except you. It was because it was there and it was time for it to be birthed and you birthed it. The fans just gave you the ability to have an audience to read it.
That story I spoke of above became the original unpublished version of Earth’s Survivors. Not the story that became a series about the rise of the dead. This is a story about people struggling to survive. There was not one Zombie in that story. The dead, in fact, were not part of the story at all until far into the series, and even then they had only one book.
When I was in the process of publishing that book, it was the first thing I had published in more than thirty years, someone said, “You know, publishing has changed. This is a good book, but it probably will never sell a single copy, because it doesn’t have zombies or vampires or werewolves in it.” That bugged me. I slipped back into that anxiety mode most writers find themselves in when they first publish… The editors are cutting out this and that, changing this scene, deleting this character, it is not what I wrote any longer… That sort of stuff.
I should have known better, because I had already published years before and gone through all of that, and never published again because I hated the process so much. I saw this new self publishing as an opportunity to publish something my way: The way I wrote it.
All well and good, but the thing is that some editors, friends, people in your circle really do know better than you do. So I yanked that book, went back, wrote zombies into the plot line: Had a blast doing it, and then published the Zombie Plagues.
It took off, and I hated it. I felt like I had succumbed to the temptation to go for the cash, lost faith in myself that I had a written a good book that could have made it without zombies/vampires/werewolves and sold out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed writing a zombie series, but the series of books I had written in all of those composition notebooks was not written as a zombie vehicle. It was written as a series about people picking up the pieces of their world and starting over.
It was my need to get that story out of me that made me finish the original story when there was no market for it: When The Zombie Plagues was a going series with the un-dead center stage.
Does that mean it will be liked the original way? Maybe. If you like good characters and a good story-line you may. It is up to you. I wrote it because it was in me and it needed it to be out of me. I wrote it because it was what was given to me to write by whatever Gods were up there passing out stories, all those years ago: And I will continue with that series publishing all the books that were written for it, and then never published. Yes, even if it is just for myself.
That is the kind of faith you need. Remember, this is really about you and what you can sustain.
So you have your idea written down; write it out now. See where it is going…
This is an exercise writing about a Zombie with very few facts, just letting the story build on itself. A zombie in a kitchen… Just a zombie scene…
The zombie shambled into the kitchen and looked around.
When I wrote it, I mean when I just let the words go, it went where it wanted to go which is where I wanted it to go in my head. The brain has a pretty good idea of what it wants to do. When I did this earlier today, this exercise with my friend, that is what I wrote: The zombie shambled into the kitchen and looked around.
“So what is that zombie doing in that kitchen?” my friend asked.
Good question. What is that zombie doing in that kitchen? Where is that kitchen? How did the zombie get there? Who did it used to be? Question upon question if you allow yourself to ask them.
The zombie lurched into the kitchen from it’s hiding place in the garage. It had heard something… Some noise that had drawn it.
If I ask a question my mind tends to want to answer it. (Notice I re-wrote that first sentence. That happened because the story began to flow. When that happens you sometimes end up on autopilot, along for the ride.) Now I know where the zombie came from, the garage. Why was it in the garage? Where did it come from before that? Does it even know? And I don’t stop to ask these questions, I just let the stream flow from me and I follow it as it flows: Because that is the other thing about this process. These stories come to you. I could not say where they come from either. Sometimes it feels like theft. They come so fast. So complete. So well formed. The characters all seem to be looking at me and asking, “Don’t you know me?” And I realize I do know them. I don’t know from where, or how, or why, but I know them. They came with the story and they are products of my imagination, but my imagination wants them to live, and so it creates them and I am only the vessel with opposable thumbs that writes them out. And that is writing too. Acknowledging that this miracle came through you and you don’t have a clue how it did that. Still, take that gift, write it out and follow it…
The zombie stared around at the disorder of the kitchen. It’s vision was not the vision it had once had. The crystal clear vision that the living enjoyed. This vision was more of a knowing, supplemented with shadows, blurred movements, and something else… Light, it decided, and it did not like the light… The light caused its head to ache… The light was… The light was bad, it decided. The noise came again causing the zombie to tilt its head and stare down at the movement it had felt from the floor. Something squirmed there, moving with a purpose that suggested life.
More is more. The vision sequence came because I asked myself, How do zombies see? The zombie was in the garage. Some noise made it come to the kitchen. The kitchen is a wreck. Why? What is in the kitchen? What was in the kitchen? Remember, it doesn’t matter if there are misspellings, if it is missing descriptive content, we are simply getting the story out. We can come back later and flesh it out.
The cat stared up at the woman where she stood, head cocked, stopped halfway through the garage doorway, as if listening. The woman was different. Her stance: The way she moved. Even her smell was different. And she had not fed the cat in the past two days. Why, the cat wondered, was there no food when there was always food?
She sniffed at the air. The smell was wrong. And something deeper than that was wrong, the cat decided. And just as the cat had made up its mind to spring away from the woman and leap for the front door that lay shattered and open to the elements, the woman bent quickly, snatched the cat up, and brought it to her face. The cat snarled and clawed, but the woman paid no mind. Her strange eyes locked with the cat’s own, and then the woman leaned forward and bit one of the cat’s paws off.
The cat yowled in pain, squirming desperately in the woman’s hands, trying to free itself as the woman turned, shuffled back into the garage and slammed the heavy door behind her. The door rattled in its frame and then the kitchen fell silent.
And there is my story. The zombie came, it was explained, and then it left.
A few last remarks: If you are capable of writing you already know it. It is something inside of you, some drive that will never let you be. Not a wish to make a lot of money, because I can tell you that rarely happens. Not a desire to be famous, another thing that happens to only a few and something some of us do not want at all. In fact I have always longed for a writing partner who likes that public attention and will handle all of that public face time so I can simply write, but we writers are all nuts, and so that is something that probably won’t happen because we would probably kill each other.
So it isn’t those things. It is another thing that eats away at you. It is the sometimes bizarre train of thoughts that parade through your head every hour of every day. Yes, you might think of something else for twenty five minutes, or even fifty, but it’s coming back. Somewhere in that hour your mind will turn back to…
If you are a writer, don’t let people scare you away from it. I have seen many writers who lived parts of their lives in misery because they truly believed they sucked at writing because some dipshit pencil pusher told them that. Hey, screw that guy or girl. Are they in your head? Do they see the ideas you see? No. They are the kind of people that like to judge people. Thank God that many of our writers went through that process and passed by it to become the writers we know and love or else the world would be a poorer place for not having them as writers we know and love. Three of my favorite writers, Mark Twain, Stephen King and Jean Auel, all received bad advice that told them they shouldn’t write. Some of that came after they wrote, some before. Some mild, some horrific, you suck, stop writing, etc.
The thing is that, that can not matter too deeply to you. Yes you hear it, but don’t let it own you, drive you, don’t invest in it. What has to matter deeply to you is writing. That sounds selfish and it is. Lovers will hate you. Kids will feel neglected. Life will pass by and you will wonder where the hell it went to. Other writers will feel jealous, even hate you, or love you or a million other things… Write the stuff that is in your head and demands to be written or else all the bad shit that could happen to you in your life will happen anyway and you will find yourself at the end of your life, a miserable person who never wrote those things and figured out what this world or that world that existed entirely in your head was about.
I have been many things in my life. A drug addict, a prisoner, a bad guy, a carpenter, a father, a husband, a friend, a lover, and through every one of those things that I was, I was also a writer, except it wasn’t always also: Sometimes it was everything. Because being a writer and having these things inside of you that need to be written out can be a curse too. It can cause you to neglect the things you shouldn’t neglect. It can cause you to need that drink to cap those thoughts, that drug, that distraction. It is a blessing and it is a curse. And many writers have handled it poorly in public. I don’t handle it in public anymore, but I did, what a mess I made too. Same as many other writers with the same predilections and addictions to sort through. The same obligations they ignored. All to chase that thought to its conclusion. So forewarned is forearmed, isn’t it? Don’t say you didn’t hear the truth from me. And yet, for me, I will still chase that story to wherever the hell it is leading. I’ll open that door, go into that room that I shouldn’t go into, I don’t care.
I was told in my career as a writer that I would not make it. Too much of my past would hurt me. I would not be able to control the bottle, the drugs, the world, the thoughts. And besides, you suck as a writer too. It all made me laugh. It used to make me mad, but eventually when I learned to look at it for what it was, it made me laugh. It made me laugh because there is not a choice here. It is what I do. I get up every day and do it. I know when I do it that there are people who will hate what I write, hate me, and I know there are those who will read it. That is life. It is the way the world has always worked and nothing that you and I can do will change it. Except you must ignore it if you want to write. Remember two things: One: Only you can say whether what you wrote is worth something. Two: Opinions really are like assholes, everyone has one and some people seem to have more than one.
I can assure you that I care what readers of my novels think. But I can also tell you that a few weeks back I pulled the plug on the most popular series I wrote. I have not looked back, and I wont. This is personal and public, heart wrenching and soul quenching. I write. It’s what I do: Until I die it is what I will do. That is the passion you need to have to write. If all of those things I just wrote are true about you to any degree? You should stop fighting it and write.
What follows is the balance of the exercise, the little story I wrote. I liked it. I did not ask anyone else…
Copyright 2014 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved.
THE HUNTINGTON RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
Day Three of the Zombie Apocalypse:
“Shush… Shut the hell up!” Danny hissed loudly.
“Don’t be telling me to Shush… Or to shut the hell up either,” Tamara said.
Danny turned around and stared at her bug eyed. “What? Are you frickin’ kidding me? A zombie frickin’ apocalypse happening, and you know those frickin’ zombies come right to the goddamn noise…”
“That’s true. They do come right to the noise,” Agnes agreed.
“Girl! What the hell?” Tamara said. She stared at Agnes hard.
“Well they do!” Agnes thrust her hands on her hips, jutted one hip out and tried to look older than her twelve years.
“Both of you all shut the hell up,” Danny said. “Shush” He placed one finger over his lips to illustrate. Just then a sliding, shuffling of feet came to them from the door that led into the garage.
“Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said in a whisper moan. “That is a goddamn zombie right there… A goddamn zombie… Already ate grandma and now it is gonna open that…” Her words broke off suddenly as Tamara’s hand clamped across her mouth.
“Ain’t no zombie… It ain’t… It is grandma…. We came here to find her, right? Well she has just been waiting back in the garage for us… Only place safe,” Tamara whispered in a squeaky, scared voice. Agnes frightened eyes looked up to her own.
“Mooser?” Agnes asked in a muffled whisper.
“I’m sure,” Tamara agreed.
They had stolen a car in the city and drove themselves out to the Huntington Retirement Community where grandma still lived to make sure she was all right.
The apocalypse had started two days before. Slow at first, just a murmur of problems, but yesterday it had gone full tilt crazy. The zombies were everywhere, taking over the city, but most likely there had not been too many dead rising out this way yet, Tamara thought. The problem was that grandma’s front door had been splintered apart. Someones leg, hairy, so it wasn’t Grandma’s, probably, Tamara thought, had lain just inside the door.
“That’s a mans leg,” Danny had said.
“’Cause it is hairy,” Agnes asked?
“No, ’cause it has got half a…” Tamara had slapped him in the back of the head.
“Don’t you be saying things like that in front of this child,” Tamara said.
“I ain’t no child,” Agnes had said loudly. And that had been when something had crashed in the garage.
“Son-of-a-bitch,” Danny had said, and jumped about a foot off the floor. Now the shuffling of feet came to them again, followed by a low growling sound.
“Oh, Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said before Tamara clamped her hand back across her mouth.
“Grandma never growled like that,” Tamara said.
“Yeah?” Danny turned and looked at her. “Well maybe that is Grandma’s cat… Probably been locked out there in the garage with nothing to eat for two days ’cause grandma done passed out in one of them dialectic comas, or whatever the hell you call them, so the cat is hungry… I would growl too if I was hungry… What we better do is open the goddamn door up before that cat decides to eat grandma!”
“Are you stupid?” Tamara hissed. “Grandma ain’t got no goddamn cat… Never had no goddamn cat… Hated cats… Idiot.”
“Thasafwukinzwombi,” Agnes said in her muffled voice.
“It’s not a frickin’ zombie,” Danny told her. “See what you done? Scared a little child.”
The garage door rattled in its frame.
“Gwamoo?” Agnes asked.
Danny cleared his throat. He was carrying a huge shovel with a pointed tip that he had found laying in grandma’s garden when they arrived. He tapped at the door with the shovel end. “Grandma?” he asked.
A low snarl came from behind the door, a rustling busy sort of sound and then a solid weight hit the door, rattling it in the frame.
“Stay behind me,” Tamara said as she released Agnes mouth and quickly looked around the kitchen. The door rattled a little harder; her eyes fell on the coffee carafe sitting on the counter. She snatched it up and turned back to the door. The door rattled once more and then stopped.
“I told you it was the frickin’ cat,” Danny said.
“It’s not a…” Tamara began, but just then the door slammed open, bounced off the wall and then closed once more on itself. It had been just long enough to show grandma standing in the doorway, eyes glowing red, something like foam dripping from her jaws, her hands clasping some unrecognizable thing tightly.
“That wasn’t no cat,” Danny said. “That was grandma… Dead… Shit comin’ out of her mouth an…”
The door slammed open once more and grandma lurched into the room. She dropped the stiffened cat she had been holding in her hands onto the floor, and lurched after Danny who stood still, mouth open in shock. His eyes fell to the cat and then flew back up to grandma.
“We came to save you grandma… we came to save you! What the hell you been into grandma…” She lurched forward and fixed him with her yellow-red eyes. “Wha… What the hell you been doing… Eatin’ that cat? What did you eat the cat for, grandma. What the…” Grandma lurched forward again and Danny finally realized that she was coming after him. He turned and jumped backwards as Tamara stepped forward and slammed the nearly full coffee carafe into the side of grandma’s head. The glass shattered, coffee sprayed across the kitchen and poured down grandma’s face in a brown river, shards of glass protruded from her temple. Her face began to twitch and shudder.
They all quickly sidestepped as grandma let loose a snarl and tried to claw Danny with one hand. Agnes began to scream, grandma’s rotting head swiveled toward her and she took a step in that direction. Tamara gripped the handle of the carafe tightly, looked at the sharp curve of glass still attached, and then stepped forward and drove it into grandma’s temple. Grandma collapsed in a heap, her head jerking and twitching, and then silence descended all at once.
Agnes sucked in a deep breath and started to sob in a muffled voice, her face pressed into the crook of her arm.
“I told you grandma had a cat,” Danny said. He stepped forward and toed the cat with one boot. The cat suddenly flopped around and fastened its teeth into Danny’s boot. “The frickin’ cat,” Danny screamed. “Grandma’s cat’s got me!” He remembered at the same second that he had the shovel clasped tightly in his hands and thrust it down, knocking the cat’s head away from his boot. A second after that he bought the shovel down hard, and the cat’s head rolled of into the corner where it snapped and snarled at grandma’s flowered wallpaper. Danny tried to backpedal, slipped and sat down hard.
“Oh for Christ’s sake,” Tamara growled. She stepped forward quickly and crushed the cat’s head with one booted foot. Danny looked up at her.
“I told you she had a cat,” Danny said.
“Oh, Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said. “This is worse than when Billy Parkin’s showed me his woo who.”
“What?” Danny asked. “Billy Parkin’s showed you his woo who? What the hell?”
Agnes peeked out from the crook of her arm and nodded.
“So what,” Tamara said. She fixed Danny with a hard look, reached down one hand and tugged him to his feet. “Showed me too. Don’t worry, they aren’t all that small.”
“Yeah. Showed me too,” Danny agreed as he dusted his hands against his jeans.
“You were looking at Billy’s Woo who?” Agnes asked.
“Well I wasn’t looking at it… It sort of,” Danny began. Grandma suddenly groaned from the floor and began to squirm around once more. Danny jumped forward and slammed the shovel down on her head over and over again until she stopped. The silence fell once more.
“We had better go,” Tamara said as she stared down at the smashed ruin of grandma’s head. “Find a safe place.”
Danny lifted his eyes up from the floor. Started to toss the shovel away and then decided to keep it. He nodded.
Agnes came forward and threaded one arm into Tamara’s own.
“Ready, punkin?” Tamara asked her. She nodded. The three turned and began to walk from the kitchen.
“What were you looking at Billy Parkin’s Woo who for?” Tamara asked Danny.
“I did not say I was looking at Billy Parkin’s Woo Who,” Danny started as they walked out onto the front walk. The day was fading fast, dark clouds moving in.
“We have to find a place, don’t we?” Agnes asked.
“We do,” Tamara agreed. She looked off down the street to a cluster of buildings that looked promising. Community Center, a sign hanging over the nearest buildings entrance said. She thought for a moment and then moved off toward the building, the others following.
“You did say it,” Tamara said as they walked.
“I didn’t say it,” Danny replied with a shake of his head. “I didn’t.”
The three moved off down the street toward the community center building, their voices a soft hum on the cooling air as they walked.
I hope you got something out of this. I read Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons), it made me want to be a writer, I thought. Except that bug was in me already. I read The Stand (Stephen King) and I realized that people really did write things that mattered. I read Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean Auel) and realized that the past was a real place, alive and breathing.
I mention those books because I want you to read the feedback if you check them out. I’d really wish for you to read those books if they are your speed. Some people didn’t like those books. In fact some hated them. You have to internalize that. Do you want to write? Then write something. Stephen king has a great book on the art of writing, but he loves to talk about writing in the introductions to nearly every book he has written. Samuel Clemons talked about it as well. Jean Auel has given insight several times on what it took to write her book series. Be encouraged. Write. I would love to read it. Dell Sweet
What I write
Writing Posted by Dell Mon, September 28, 2015 19:57:31
I decided to write about what I have written. It might surprise you to know what I have written and published, and what I have written that remains unpublished at this time and may always remain unpublished…
Outrunners: I would love to start out by saying I am done with the third Earth’s Survivors Outrunners book, but I am not. It has about 50 pages to go, maybe. I say maybe because I have cut the story down twice and it has still ballooned, right now about 111,000 words. With 50 pages left to proof, and the ending as yet unwritten, only suggested with a few hundred words, I am unsure where it may end up. I do know that it will finish up some time tomorrow, I will do a read through, and then it will go to the editor when she is ready for it. I would say some time toward the end of the month it should be ready. I will give it away for a weekend and then it will settle into its place. That will determine whether there will ever be another Outrunners book, but, I am sure there will be , it is a really good story.
The story-line (No spoiler here) will take us back to March and the beginnings of the whole thing. We will not be back with our familiar friends, Mike, Candace, Patty, Ronnie, Bob and the rest of the eight though. Instead, we will be somewhere else with other characters. By the end of the book we will have come up to current series time, IE: to the same place that the Zombie Plagues book five ends, and a little past that. So that when the Zombie Plagues book six comes out next year the two will line up, whether you read both book series or not. That is because you could get by with the description and brief introduction of some characters from the Outrunners book at the end of The Zombie Plagues book three. You could pick enough up through the balance of book four to get an idea of who they are.
So, the upthrust is, you do not have to buy one to understand the other. There are other books planned where they will bleed together. There are two that I can think of where they will be in the same time line exactly, but, with very few exceptions the characters are their own. The exceptions are Mike, Candace, Ronnie, Patty, Bob, Janet, Lilly, Annie and Tim, Tom and occasionally a few other minor characters from the Zombie Plague main series showing up in the Outrunners books. This is because the Outrunners work for the Nation. They are part of the Nation. They protect the nation, and so there will be some back and forth. Of course Donita will be in both series as she plans to kill the nation and bring them into her own armies, and she will be in constant conflict with Bear and the other Outrunners.
The focus of the Outrunners series will be the battle with the dead, the other living factions, and keeping the Nation resupplied. These are meant to be fast paced action based stories. There are six more Outrunners Books written at this time.
As you can imagine, Bear, Cammy, Beth, Billy, Pearl* and Donita will be in the main Zombie Plague series as well. I believe I explained that well. At least I hope I did not confuse you.
*As yet you have not met Pearl. She is from the UK and is introduced in the first Outrunners book near the end. I can’t say much more about the circumstances, except Pearl is a permanent character in the Outrunners series.
Rebecca Monet: The Rebecca Monet novels follow a young woman as she works her way up the corporate ladder in the Television News business. There are six books written (Seven or eight outlined), and two more outlined for this series. My next project, in just a few weeks, when I am finished with the Outrunners book, I will be finishing Hurricane, the second novel in the series. You can check out Billy Jingo Here:
There are four other books written, Alone – Kat and Pat- Rebecca, and a second Billy Jingo novel to cap the series.
Rebecca, the lead character from These novels, is in the Zombie Plague series. Her name is changed, but she gives herself away.
Candace, Patty and Mike, main Earth’s Survivors Characters, all have cameos in the Rebecca Monet books, which are set in the before times.
Earth’s Survivors: Book six will be out in the spring of next year. The books that follow, will concentrate more heavily on the community and the lives of the people as they rebuild their world. Yes, there will be wars, action, but the main overall focus will be on the people and their lives in the valley and where ever else they may find themselves.
Eve: Eve is a small two book series that really focuses on the struggles of a small party as they try to stay alive in the changed world. They are in the same circumstance as Earth’s Survivors, except some ten years in the future when we come to know them. These two books are intense people books. They never cross lines with the Nation unless there is some point in the future that I have not yet written.
Yeshua: One of the things time alone will do for you is cause you to examine your self. Your motivations. What you truly believe in. I did that. I found there was a great deal of myself that was not worth keeping. I found that I had fairly strong beliefs. I also found that I don’t believe everything I am told. So, I sat out to be able to understand enough Greek, Latin, and Chaldea to be able to read the actual biblical translations and decide for myself what they said. Easy. That is sarcasm, Sheldon.
Ten years later I had a book. My own translation of the bible. It took a very long time to write. It deals only with the New testament and nothing else. I do not know if I will ever publish it. I do know that before I do three ministers I know will read it. I do not want to be mistaken when it comes to God.
Short Stories: Dozens and Dozens of them. I will publish them in volumes. There are currently 24 books of writing that has to be transcribed. That is not counting Lyrics, Poetry, etc.
Space Travel: I have a series of short stories that lead to a space novel. It’s there, someday I’ll finish it.
Dreamer’s Worlds: Three more books in the Dreamer’s Worlds series are written. I currently have no plans to publish them.
The Caves: There are three more Caves novels finished. Right now I can not see them being published.
The Editor: Yes. There is an editor now. She is very good. She has the right to put her name in the books as she edits, I don’t know that she will do that though. You may never hear about her again except as you read you should find no mistakes in the books. I had hoped for this solution a few months back, waited, but it did not happen. It actually has happened now.
And, the last word on writing: I will attempt to answer the why of the writing, or at least the most often asked question.
“Why, if you have written all of these novels, don’t you simply publish them?”
A few reasons. The first direct answer, is that all of them are written, but they are written in longhand. In composition notebooks. At the time it worked for me, but the problem now is to get them from that long hand and into a word processor format that can be published.
I have tried a few ways of doing this. I thought the easiest would be Speech to Text. (You can’t hear me, but I am laughing). (I am laughing hard). Let’s say that if the speech to text software improves at some point in the near future I will try it again, but thus far my experience has been poor to say the least. (I think you can find more on that in one of my blogs)
Second, more involved answer: They are complete novels. Start to finish, but, as I re-write them into the word processor, I jump right back into that story and the story grows. It is a creative process. There is not much I can do to speed it up. I can sit down and write a fresh story in about two weeks start to finish. I mean a 75k to 100k novel. It may not be perfect, but it will be complete, in need only of editing and regular re-writes. Reading my own crappy handwriting, and then typing the story in with revisions, however, takes me about a month. I sometimes think it would be better to just write a whole new book. IE: That is exactly what I did for the first Outrunners books. There were no Outrunners book that explained the characters origins. I wanted one. Two weeks ago I sat down with the first Outrunners Mission book to write it, instead I wrote the new story that introduces the characters. I was pretty happy with it, but you can see how the time gets spent.
The third thing is, what to write? Should I write only Earth’s Survivors books because there are fans and the books pay the bills? ‘Yes, I tell myself, do that.’ but then there are other books that speak to me. So, I am trying to fairly split these books up. Most authors offer one or two books a year, I have given three Earth’s Survivors books this year,. Admittedly most of that production was to separate the series and send them on their way in different directions. But, as long as there is a demand from you for those books I will write them. In fact, if there were no demand I would write them. That is how I wrote the first twenty.
At one time there were two guys who gathered to listen to my stories about the end of the world. Two guys. That was it: Before them there was only me. I had to like it, get into it, to write it. In a creative writing class I took, there were about six people that showed up on a regular basis to class. We read each other stories, short stories only, and encouraged each other to write.
My point is, I think some people who read books, think writers sit down and write for them. And in a sense we obviously do. If you didn’t like what we write we would be back working our old jobs, mine would be a carpenter, singer/song writer, in a minute. But, we don’t really do that at all. Our first fan is us. I have to like what I write or it will not come to me. I think a blog I wrote a week or so ago gets into the creative process and how it works for me. It really comes to a miracle. I have no real way of knowing how the process works. I only know it does work. And I know the first fan is me. Then maybe a few people I trust, and it goes outward from there. And then, once the process has come to fruition, I try to write for you, try to write what I believe you want to read, but it comes out as it comes out.
So, that is the longer explanation, because, when I sit down to write, what comes to me comes. Like sitting down with the first Outrunners book and then writing a whole new novel. Just stick with me though, I will write it all out, and I will listen.
Other Things: IE, A little humor
Rain and New York: The rain in New York this year has been ridiculous. It seems that the only time it isn’t raining is when the humidity is 98% and the temp is 89 to 99 and it’s getting ready to rain, and you can’t move without melting. Arrgg. Oh, and when it’s drizzling, which I believe is rain, but I was warned is not called rain, but drizzle, so may not actually be rain. Hmm. And…
Six billion cable channels: I have noticed that although I have six billion cable channels there is nothing at all to watch. Unless I like cooking shows, selling shows, reality shows, basketball baseball football Girlfriend/Wives shows, guys with 70’s hairdos selling music from the, surprise, 70’s. Um sitcoms from the 60’s 70’s or 80’s, oh and 90’s too. Um, tractor pulling, Bear hunting, NASCAR racing, witch hunting, alligator wrestling, speedboat racing, and some stuff that I pause and go, What the Hell is that, as I’m going by. Doctor Phil, Price is Right, Jerry Springer, Katie, Holy God, the list just goes on and on.
So, I said to myself, why can’t I find something out of all of that to watch? But the answer is clear, IDHTC Envy. IDHTC Envy is a very real thing. It is propagated by the cable network of course, because it pays them to do it. IDHTC Envy, (I don’t Have That Channel Envy) is a rough deal. Here’s how it gets me.
I know I don’t get HBO, CINEMAX, ENCORE and a sixty-two thousand other channels. Okay. Great. I don’t get them. I’ll just go look at the ones I do get. But, on the way to the channels I do get, I happen by the channels I don’t get, and I see all the really great stuff they have that I don’t get. Never mind I get all the Showtime channels. Sundance. IFC, Free Movies on Demand. Netflix (My personal favorite). The Movie Channel and the LMN movie channel-More about that channel. I mean, how many movies can there be about a guy who screws over a woman and she ends up paying him back? Tracking him down and bringing him to justice. I mean, do all men do these things? Apparently dozens and dozens of them do, because that is all that LMN shows! Oh, and I get the second LMN channel that shows all the other movies like that, that the first channel doesn’t have time to show, because, alas, there are only twenty-four hours in a day, thank you God.
Where was I? Oh, so, I do get good channels (Excluding that channel and channels I like to think of as the wacko channels. I’ll just shut up about those channels, but we all know they are there). But, I get good channels too. However, every time I go by HBO or Cinemax I tell myself… DON’T LOOK! DON’T LOOK! And I try not to look, but I have to know what channel I’m on as I pass, right? And I see it… It doesn’t matter what, only that it’s something better than what I get on the channels I can watch.
So then I get depressed and dive right in. Torture myself going through all the channels I don’t get. I click on them anyway. “Click to buy !,” the screen says. I chicken out. I have better uses for my $7.95 I tell myself. But I have looked. Now I can not go back to the same old, same old.
Oh, I will go and watch my sub-standard movie on the channel I get, but all the time my heart is lusting after the movie I saw the description of on the other channel I don’t get. Why, I ask myself? Why, Why, Why!
So, I decided in the end, I have plenty to watch, I am simply suffering from IDHTC. I take an aspirin and watch Grapes of Wrath for the fifteenth time. I can really feel for the Joad’s, I’m suffering too, if Henry Fonda only knew.
That’s my week here, except the rain, which never seems to stop. I am pretty sure it will though about the time the snow starts flying…
Okay. The last few days I have worked on the Zombie Plague Collection books and those are now available at Smashwords.
Geo or I will be here with Friday’s blog and post the Amazon links for you then.
Have a good week, Dell.
How I approach writing
Writing Posted by Geo Fri, August 28, 2015 16:54:25
Posted by Geo 08-28-2015
I have been absorbed in the world of the Outrunners, when I write that is the way it is for me. I jump in and it is as good as a movie for me; in many ways even better. The craft, or art, of writing is like that for me.
I imagine it is like that for other writers, I know several, but I have never really asked. So, for all I know, it is only me. That sort of brings me to my topic for this week. Writing and writers.
I thought about this the other day. I do not have any non-writer friends. And I realized the other day that I live in a bubble. I don’t purposely live in a bubble, but a bubble is a bubble, purpose built or not.
Some of it is unavoidable, because of the way I am, the rest is how it becomes because of that same thing. My time is my own, there is no one at all to put designs on it, make me feel guilty about how I spend it, and I have lived that way for so long that I am pretty sure I could not be housebroken now.
Not all of my writer friends do that to the same extreme that I do, but nearly all of them do it to at least a lesser degree. To me eighteen hours of writing is no big deal. To me pounding out a novel in fourteen days, also no big deal, but ask me what day it is? That isn’t a joke. I can not tell you how many times one of my friends has said, ‘Hey, it’s Friday,’ and I’ll look at them like they’re speaking Russian. ‘What do you mean Friday? Ha, ha.’ ‘No, it really is Friday, or Tuesday, or the 28th, or whatever.’ Of course I’ll look at a calendar, watch, something, like they would really take the time to lie to me. They’re writers but their imagination isn’t that good is it? Nope. It is me. I fell into this world or that one and the time slipped away. It is that simple.
What is pretty cool, what makes it so addictive, as a writer, is watching something come from nothing at all. No, I do not know where it comes from. I can not force it to come if it isn’t there. I have rarely been able to write exactly what I choose to write either, but when it shows up and it is right there at the tips of your fingers, pouring out onto the page, and you are reading it, getting to know it intimately as it is also being born, it is amazing: When that happens you don’t want to stop. You are afraid that if you do the words will go someplace else: To someone else, and they will write your story, only it will no longer be your story, it will be their story. So you hang in there, type, let the magic pour out of your fingers, and then someone says, ‘Uh, you do know it’s Friday, right?’
That is writing for me. And there are times when it has to stop, when sleep has to take over. And in the old days I would come back from that break for sleep, slouch back to my chair, stare at my monitor and think: Well, that’s that, my head is empty; the story is gone, shouldn’t have gone to sleep. Two seconds later the words are pouring out. The story is back from where ever it went to and I am along for the ride again. So when my other writer friends ask me about how I wrote this or that I really have no answer. In fact, usually I’ll look at them like, well, where do you get your stuff? Walmart Writers Aisle? Or I’ll get the writer I don’t understand who will give me the song and dance about how he or she plotted this out, and then did this and then pulled teeth to write it, and then… I have no idea what he or she means. The process is not that way for me at all and I have tried it, writing on demand, the same way they do it, and I turn out stuff that seems like cardboard.
That is not to say I can not write something off the cuff. I can, but it works this way: Someone says, ‘Hey, could you write me a story about a three legged dog that stops to sniff at a dead cat on the interstate during rush hour traffic, gets run over by a semi-truck and comes back as a vampire dog that sleeps in the woods, flags down semi-trucks on the highway and kills the drivers as retribution?’ … ‘Uh, no… Sorry. And, if you can find someone who can, well, you should hire them.’ But I will go back and think… Hmm a three legged dog… Dead cat… What the hell happened with that cat anyway? And why didn’t the semi-truck driver stop?… Hmm… Maybe he didn’t stop because he was distracted by the truck stop cutie he had picked up… Right, and the cat… The cat had been on the way to its kittens which were across the highway… Hidden in the woods… And I’ll work it out in my head like that. So then I’ll set down and the story just shows up. It ends up being about the truck driver and his drug addicted daughter, and it turns out the cat and the dog were simple distractions. Huh, I’ll think as I write it, I’ll be damned. Then, just at the end, the damn cat comes back, abetted by her three legged dog friend, and kills the trucker, and I’ll think ‘Son of a bitch, Never saw that coming.’
Let me give you an example: In one of the Earth’s Survivors books, Molly and Nellie, major characters, are along on a resupply trip, and Nellie gets shot and killed.
I am shocked as I write it. I stop writing and think, ‘Wow, that sucks.’ I wonder about undoing it. In the old days I would have highlighted the whole scene and then deleted it. Kill a major character? No way. So I would then spent hours, days, weeks, re-writing it. And all to no avail because after that period I’ll see it had to happen that way because that was the story. Now, I may stop, look, but then I’m back at it. I am curious to know where it is going now. What will Molly do? Well, if you read it you know; Molly could not deal with it. She turned her own gun on herself before anyone could react fast enough to stop her. Another shock to me, but that is writing to me. That is the gift God gave to me, and the way it comes out of me.
I suppose people will read that and think, bull. But it really is the process for me. And for all the writers I know too, at least the ones I hang out with. And hang out is a loose term for me. I don’t hang out with anyone at all, not really. Hanging out to me is giving up that time I was talking about earlier, and I don’t like to give that up. So hanging out might be a 3:00 AM FB conversation. No, no camera, just chat. If the conversation lasts more than ten minutes before it lags, then something is really wrong, and that is not just me talking.
The other person has some sort of project open on their desktop, same as I do, and they are either writing as we talk or thinking about writing as we talk, or actively wishing I would shut up or get to the point, so they can go back to writing. I know that because after the ten minute mark that is what I am doing, and the few times I have asked a writer friend honestly what they are doing they say those things, or, they are not as diplomatic as I am and just tell me to get the point or shut up. No, that doesn’t offend me.
That is the craft of writing to me with all the mystery and magic stripped off. I guess it is about as attractive as that dead cat in the road, huh? I wonder how that cat got there…
What else. We are working on next years books, or at least trying to look into the crystal ball and see what might be there. Probably Zombie Plagues and Earth’s Survivors books. I will finish the second Dreamer’s Worlds book. It is completely written, just needs formatting and lite editing work. I believe that Dell will finish Hurricane, and that will clear the table into fall and leave us working on separate projects for spring 2016.
I would like to mention Andrea Scroggs. She did a wonderful job on Invariant. You really should check it out. The writing and the artwork is all her. She works as a tattoo artist, she draws, writes, and does about a dozen other things. Take a look at the book if you like graphic novels.
Free Books this weekend:
The Zombie Plagues: I have decided to make the first two books in the series free. It will probably be a limited time deal, but for now they are both free to download. I was waiting to post it until it was picked up by Nook and I-Tunes. So you can find the books on either of those services and download them for free. I will include the Smashwords links, same thing as the others, Smashwords is the publisher that makes those files available to I-Books, Kobo, Nook, etc. So they will have the correct file for your eBook reader.
That’s it for me, I hope you have a good week, and I will see you next Friday, Geo…
Writing Posted by Dell Tue, July 28, 2015 16:05:48
This is a technique I use to approach writers block, or to make a start and get the words flowing, scene writing.
Writing scenes is easier to do than trying to write a full story. First, visualize the scene: I am going to write a scene where a car chase happens. It will start in a car lot with two people on the run, and it will end with those people escaping, or being caught, or whatever. Simple rules like that. Then I visualize the scene. We have all watched so much TV that it should be easy to visualize something like that, and some of us have lived interesting lives, we can close our eyes and see the things we want to write. Visualize it and then make it your own. It doesn’t matter if you write only a few paragraphs, doing this exercise over and over will produce the desired effects. Move on to the next scene. Maybe there have been romantic intentions building between these two characters. Write it out in a style that you understand and can express yourself in. Move on to the next scene.
I often read what I have written after significant time has passed and see gaps: Two characters have been traveling together and they are attracted to each other, but it has never gotten weird? Borderline relationship? I did that with Billy and Beth, two characters from the Earth’s Survivors series, and so Beth had the talk with Billy. The, we’re friends, talk. Yes, I like you, but this can’t work… She even gives him a few reasons why it can’t work. And it makes him think, and her think, because she knows half of what she is saying is an effort to keep something from happening because she is only flesh and blood, and if it does happen, she was being honest when she said it can’t work. I wrote that scene and I felt it really defined the characters as individuals. It was a very short scene too, but it set the tone for them. In the end they did sleep with one another. I wrote that scene as a what if scene and it was easy to write from my own experiences too. I then left it in because the thing they were so afraid of, the sexual tension that had built up between them as they crossed the country, needed to be expressed. That was a short scene too, but it also helped to define both of them. Afterwards he did respect her, she was afraid he wouldn’t, and they realized collectively that it wouldn’t work. Sometimes life is like that, so I left the scene in.
The thing is, I wrote scene by scene, and as I did I began to fall into those characters: I began to think like them. I woke up on those writing days with their love story in my head. I knew it was not going to be the kind of love story fans would equally embrace, but I knew it would be honest because I understood the characters. It is simply another effective way to write to get you past the rough parts. As I have practiced it more and more I have been able to say: I need a scene that starts in Vermont, with these three characters, and ends in New York with them. I need this to tell their short story of where they came from. Then I have been able to sit down and write it scene by scene. Scene one: They are stuck on the interstate. I picture the interstate. What it might be like after an apocalypse has destroyed most of the world. What does it look like? What do they need? How are they traveling? What are the relationship guidelines? Who is with whom? What do they have? What do they need. If I ask enough questions my mind will fulfill the answering and I can write it. It might come slow or fast, and I will stay on it until it quits on me. If it is enough, I work it in, if it is not enough, I start with the questions again. What scenes am I missing? What needs to be told? Where did I leave them? How far away from where they need to be is that? Is it really necessary to tell the rest or can they simply arrive at that place the next time we see them? A few questions will usually give me the answers I need.
Writers and how we think
Writing Posted by Geo Fri, June 26, 2015 22:40:04
Writers… We often sit around and think things like this…
“It was a warm winter that year…”
No, no, no… Hmm…
“It was the winter of our…” No, already used… Damn…
“Winter came quickly to the north country as it was wont to do. My brother and I had just come around to our turn to wear the fall coats, there were only the two coats for the fifteen of us children. With them, we were able to play outside while our siblings were stuck inside. It would have been better if we had also had the shoes, but it wasn’t our turn yet…”
No, no, no. Too melodramatic…
“It was a long, cold winter. The cat had a litter sometime in there. A few kittens, maybe four. I often wonder what happened to those kittens. I only know we had meat for Christmas that didn’t in the slightest resemble Turkey…”
No, no, no… It was the dog…
“The dog had a litter that winter… They were fast growing puppies and by December they were half grown, as fat and sassy as could be. I remember petting the one I had named Dingo on the head just before bed a few nights before Christmas. I remember that clearly, yes I do, and it was the last time I ever saw Dingo…. I think so anyway. It’s tough to tell. All I know is that we had meat for Christmas dinner. A small ham, Mom said., but it didn’t resemble any ham I’d ever seen…”
“PETA called, knock it off.”
“It was a long cold winter that year. The rats in the basement had eaten the corn crop and left us starving… Daddy said we wouldn’t have to resort to eating rats, but as he headed toward the basement with a claw hammer I wondered…”
By Geo Dell.
Writing Posted by Geo Thu, June 25, 2015 23:20:18
I wrote this today after taking a short stroll around my house.
One afternoon of dreary gray, I walked my yard upon my way
To destinations yet unfound, and cast mine eyes upon the ground
Tiny corpses, all about me… death, the final fee…
Gray, and furred, and fat and thin, upon the earth they are not in
No place my wandering eyes did fall, was anything that lived at all…
The cats thought I, the cats it be, that wrought this death I can not unsee…
Writing Posted by Dell Fri, June 19, 2015 10:46:31
Posted By Dell Sweet 06-19-15
The weekend is creeping up on me. I think someone stole a few days and tried to slip one over on me. Or I would, except it really is Thursday.
I would like to mention Earth’s Survivors.
I was talking about this place today with someone today. How it did not start out to be an indie publishing vehicle, but simply an outlet for my own digital book copies. Now there are nine writers here and I doubt it will stop there.
I guess we don’t say much about ourselves so maybe now is a good time to do that. We are all writers. This site was first started to create a space for Writers, Musicians and Artists. We have many of each and many who do all of those things. One thing I have come to realize is that creative people wear many hats, not just one or two.
None of us own the site, but three of us work here fulltime. Yes that makes it nice, we get to write as we write. In fact it is encouraged. The owner is not a writer or a musician or an Artist. She enjoys all three things and many others though and so she gave us this and allowed us to develop it and build it. That did not happen the way some of us saw it happening.
I can’t speak for the others but I saw a site where writers, artists and musicians all hung out and marketed their work. Now we have a site where all those things have occurred. The writers, musicians and artists are here, we talk all day sometimes, back and forth, give advice or work on projects, etc. If someone asks me to help, I do. I wrote two of my most successful short stories that way. One of the other writers wanted to publish an anthology and wanted some of my work in it. Something new. Something different. Okay. I offered Zombie Fall and Rapid City. Neither of those stories would have happened if I had not been in that creative process with others.
There are top grade musicians here. I do my own music. I used to play in bands years ago. But I have not stuck with it: Although I love it I have too many other obligations on my time. So I have turned to other musicians to catch up on the new technology, so to speak, because three of my characters in the Earth’s Survivors books write music and I want to be able to provide that music on the website as it evolves.
My point is that the creative processes here are really good. They help all of us to be better at what we do, and in some cases write things we would not have written, and, the big deal, it is not what we had planned to build here. And it continues to grow. I couldn’t be happier and I’m glad to be a small part of it too.
I believe I mentioned before that I am a tech wizard, well, at least in my own head, but, I am common sense stupid. Lacking, sadly, in that small area of the brain that says ‘What?’ or ‘Hey wait a second!’ Nope. My brain just says, ‘Yeah, go ahead, who cares,’ or, ‘Hey, it ain’t my problem, know what I mean?’
Here’s an example: I picked up a screwdriver yesterday that I had bought in case I needed it. Brilliant, because, six months after I bought it? I needed it. Brilliant. There is the brain in action. I did not have to go buy one, simply go get it and use it. But since I needed it I had to open it. Except it was packaged in that stiff, molded, welded-plastic stuff. You know, the stuff that was predicted to be gone soon because Walmart supposedly hated it? And because there were several injuries reported after trying to tear it open. Yes. That is the knowledge I had when I picked up the package, that it could hurt me. I think that is as far as my common sense thinking went because immediately my Brain said, ‘Yeah, may be, but it won’t hurt me.’ No explanation as to why it wouldn’t, just that it wouldn’t. And that is the problem with my lack of common sense. My dumb self went… ‘Okay’ and immediately began to try to rip the package open.
After ten minutes and two cuts I gave up and admitted that my brainiac self had duped me again, bandaged my two hurt fingers, thanked God I had not lost a limb, and marveled over why we don’t issue this to our soldiers. They could present it to the enemy… ‘Here. Enjoy this Swiss Army knife that you can use to stab me to death.’ Our Soldier Smiles at his enemy. The enemy looks suspicious, but I have found a lack of common sense is a pretty, well, common thing. Especially in undeveloped countries that don’t know what that stuff is. So he tries to open it and end up slicing himself all up. Great weapon. I’m sure it could work.
Eventually, with the help of a pair of scissors, I did get the screw driver out, but I cut myself once more because the edge where I had cut it was so sharp. And I wondered, because people who lack common sense often wonder about stupid things and I am no exception, what if you bought a pair of scissors encased in that crap? And you bought them because you had to have them to open that sort of packaging?. What could you do? Could you go back to the store and use a complimentary pair of scissors to cut open the packaging? Could you go get your carpenters knife (Razor Knife) and slice it open with that? (I did this once while holding the packaging on my lap. NOT Recommended.). Do you even have or own a Carpenter’s Knife? Could you run over it with the car and break the packaging? Nope. Doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I thought of all these things anyway. No, I decided, I would bend the package until the scissors popped through. That would work. So now I plan a trip to my local Walmart so I can buy a pair of scissors and try my theories. And once I get them open I’m going to run with them and see if that old wives’ tale is true. I mean, after all, how can it be dangerous if you don’t fall? I don’t plan to fall.
Well that’s my week. I hope your work week had some amusement in it for you as mine did. It’s a beautiful night here in New York, 68 degrees and low humidity. I just mowed the lawn a little while ago, so add the smell of fresh mown grass to that. If I had a pond and a fishing pole I’d be all set, but I do have a chair and a porch and I think I’ll go watch the sunset. I like the way my characters in my books get to do that. They think of those things, maybe because they have lost so much. They take time to enjoy and appreciate those simple pleasures now. Enjoy the Week… Dell.