CONNECTED: SHORT HAULS – free preview W W Watson

CONNECTED: SHORT HAULS – free preview W W Watson

CONNECTED: SHORT HAULS

by W. W. Watson 2018 all rights reserved foreign and domestic.

LEGAL

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.

Portions of this novel are Copyright © 2010 – 2015 Dell 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.


This material is NOT edited for content


A DRESS FOR JANEY

I rode slowly watching the trail side. There wasn’t much to see in the moonlight, but enough to follow if you knew where to look, and I did.

The thing was, this fella was not no kind of careful anyways. And he was not no horse man neither.

I rubbed my geldings rump, patted a time, and silently promised him a little extra rest time once we caught up to this fool sometime later in the night.

Mister Johnson was a good horse. More used to plow than saddle, but circumstances dictate those positions more’n I do. And this man I was trackin’ had dictated tonight’s circumstances clear and straight.

I turned Mister Johnson down a short chute of a canyon, keeping him to the side so as not to mark the trail, and to keep his iron shoes from ringing out on the stone. We come to a little stream that cut the canyon and I stopped, rolled myself a smoke. I sat, hand cupped and smoked. Listening to the surrounding night.

If this was a smart fella, no way would I have lit no smoke. But this was no smart man at all. This, from what I could see, was a desperate man. Desperate or dumb. Or, possibly, both. I’d know for sure before dawn.

I finished the smoke, flipped it into the crik and went on my way again, following the trail of my own other horse, Mizz Johnson.

I had, had her as long as I had, had Mister Johnson. Truth be told I thought Mister Johnson might be even more pissed off about the situation that I was. He just didn’t know how to use a rope, if so I’m sure he’d a been out for a hangin’ too.

I worked my way sideways down a gully, leaving the actual trail behind me where it out and did a loop back onto itself. The direction was clear enough, and he was far enough ahead that I wouldn’t come up on him, and the shortcut would save me time considerable.

I had me a farm, a good woman and two boys old enough to help a little already. A girl child who made me feel like crying ever time I looked at her. I don’t figure how that is: That a girl child can do that, ‘cept I can see she will have to live her life, and it’s a hard one, and I wisht better than what I got to give her.

Men is men. The boys will grow up rough and tumble. That’s boys. That’s boys comin’ to be a man. But a girl child, seems to me, looks out at the world all pretty and hope, and then the world sort of breaks her down. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

I’d seen that truth in the eyes of a whore down in Dodge several years back. A young pretty whore, but resigned to be a whore. I’d paid my dollar and stayed for a little conversation as it was a slow night. I don’t never want to see that look in my Melissa’s eyes. But I can’t see that my Janey would ever let her go down that path. We learn from our mistakes, we do: If we don’t we don’t last long in this world.

I made the trail and walked Mister Johnson on the up-slope at a steady pace. He didn’t need much help or pointin’: I figured he could smell ol’ Mizz Johnson at that point, and he was, as I said, a might upset himself.

I was two days out from home. Me out from home meant that Janey had to do it all with no help from no man. Plow what she could with that goddamn, son-of-a-bitch mule we had. Be lucky if it didn’t kick her bad is what I’d be.

This life don’t slow down for no horse thief. The kids got to be fed. The chicks fed too. The cows milked. The other things a woman’s got to do. Cook, and clean, what all. But she’s got to do all the things a man’s got to do as well. All piled in there. No break at all. That was this life out here, how it had to be. How it was.

I caught the smell of fire and meat roastin’ on the air. Fresh, green wood. Not much of a woodsman either, I opinioned. But, considering the horsemanship, the theft itself and all of the rest of it, I’d say I was not too surprised. I stopped, rolled another smoke, kept it cupped to hide the flame, didn’t worry about the odor even though I was close now. The wind was at me after all, and his own, smokey fire would hide all other smells if the wind did shift. Chances were he had no idea of smells on the wind anyways.

I let my eyes travel the sky, lookin’ and I spotted a few stray sparks as they rose into the night sky not far away. All kinds of dumb. But I bet he considered himself some sort of woodsman just because he could light that fire.

Some figure if they can build a fire they’s a woodsman. I laugh at that. I have slept in snow banks and stayed warm. I tracked snowshoes in dead winter and got them. I have been lived in the wild with just a knife for two months while I was working out of the back country and my first horse dropped a leg in a chuck-hole and I had to shoot him.

I was green then. Used up one of my last four bullets on the horse, when I could’a used the knife and saved that bullet. Packed some out with me, dried over the fire, and et better those two months. I was young, dumb and life to come. And for me I was goddamn lucky to have lived through it that time. But, as I done said the one time, you learn or you die. Life, it don’t forgive a lot out here.

I finished the smoke, crushed it out between my thumb and forefinger, then angled Mister Johnson down toward the fire I’d seen. I could be, maybe, cocky and ride right up on him, but I don’t like to misjudge. I tied Mister Johnson to a tree to keep him out of it in case there was gun-play, which I intended there might be. I’d just have to hope there were none that got Mister Johnson. But he’d fare better hidden away. A man will always try in shoot a man’s horse at first sight if he can.

I walked the last hundred or so yards into his camp. My old sprung boots was so mushy and soft they was like walkin’ in Indian mocs anyhow. He never heard me comin’.

He had a chuck spitted over the fire, and probably ever cat, wolf, bear and wild dog for two miles around was sniffing on the air. He was stupid alright. I’d seen some green eyes, and two sets of red eyes as I had made my way into his camp.

He sat before the fire. A fat man: I’d knowed that from the depth of the hoof print though. And a stupid man just as I had guessed, as he had allowed me to walk right up to him, too busy tryin’ to twist the cap off’n a store bought bottle of whiskey he’d got from somewhere.

I decided on the spot to save the bullet: Put my gun away and pulled the rope that I had bought with me free from my shoulder. If a man ever works with cattle, branding, he don’t forget how to rope. And, as a younger man, I done my share of that. I had him in on one toss, and cinched it tight as I walked up on him face to face like.

“Hey,” he says, but me, I go about my business. I got me a limb picked out. We wrestle a little while I drag him to the limb, shift that rope quick like to his neck, and haul him up. He don’t say nothin’ after ‘Hey’, he tries to though.

Folks think hanging a man is easy. And, it can at times be easy, but this wasn’t no easy time: This was one a them hard times. A fat man, a thick neck, and me being plain tired out. He kicked and thrashed for all of ten minutes before he slowed. Me hanging on the end of that rope to keep him stretched, but I could not get him to swinging. And then, me being tired as I was, I looped that rope around Mizz Johnson’s saddle horn, the dumb bastard didn’t know enough to take a saddle off’n a horse, and walked her a bit to get him swinging free. Goddamn if he didn’t kick some more at that. I waited ten more minutes, ticked ’em off on my Elgin. I seen men come back if they neck ain’t broke, and I was sure it was not.

I let him down after that time, rope don’t come cheap to me, and left him laying there for the coyotes, wolves, bear and cats the damn fool had called down. Fat man might not be their favorite, but when times is tough it will do I’d bet.

I gathered up Mizz Johnson, went back and got Mister Johnson. They was happy to see each other. Blowing and touching noses to necks.

The fat man had two pair a saddle bags. The first had a food store, no surprise there, except why he’d been about to eat chuck when he had bacon. The second was a surprise: Gold, and not a little. I will tell you it was enough to sit me right down there by the fire to look it over.

I can count, but there’s a limit. What I knowed, I did, and then I had reached the limit and there was a long ways to go yet. A very long ways. And the trouble was I did not know for absolute what each piece was worth. Coin, stamped, but I could not read none. I could only say there was five times of  counting to one hundred and a way to go after that.

Janey could read and write too. And she could cypher figures a sight farther than I could when it come to that. Whoring had taught her that. No whore could afford to get cheated.

I looked at it there in the moonlight for a piece, then put it all back in the saddlebags except a few pieces I kept for my pocket. Janey could count it; whatever it was we were a huge sight better off than we had been. It almost made me want to thank the fat man. I didn’t though. He stole my horse and he got what a horse thief is supposed to get.

I tied Mizz Johnson to the saddle horn of old Mister Johnson’s saddle by a longish lead and we rode out of there. I did put that fire out before we left. I left the chuck where it was, dug me out a piece of jerky my own Janey had made. I chewed thoughtful, thinking about the money as I rode. I was gonna stop at Abilene, which was on the way, and buy Janey a dress. She’d always had such pretty dresses when I’d met her, but times being as they was there weren’t no money for pretty dresses.

I smiled to myself thinkin’ about Janey’s eyes when she saw a new dress or two and then a saddlebag full a gold pieces. It made me feel good inside. I looked up at the moon, sent a prayer to God above up there somewhere, turned Mister Johnson for the next ridge and headed towards Abilene.


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Base One – Star travel from Author Dell Sweet

BASE ONE

Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet all rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2018 Dell 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. 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.

LEGAL

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 person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

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.

ONE

The camp was up before dawn; shelters packed away and breakfast and coffee taken quietly together around the low embers of the camp fires. The breakfast didn’t consist of much more than the coffee and a few energy bars, but it suited their purpose well enough. As the sun was touching the horizon the small caravan of six transports were once again winding their way southward; leaving the trails where they were impassable and taking to the fields.

The two transports that had been fitted with lifts and bigger tires had no problem with the on and off trail transitions. It was tougher for the other four transports.

They monitored the coms as they drove along: Bits and pieces of conversation and skip came through the static; sometimes clear, sometimes garbled and barely intelligible, but there were no conversations they could follow. They could be two thousand kilometers away, or only a hundred. It was a signal that hit the atmosphere just right, or cloud cover, or a mountain range and carried farther than it normally would have. You might talk to someone a thousand kilometers away as clearly as though they were no more than a mile down the trail: You might have that conversation for ten minutes or two hours and then suddenly they were gone because those atmospheric conditions that had allowed the conversation had changed.

Early on Michael had thought about coms from orbit. You could reach around this world with that. But all of the ships that might still be in orbit had not been heard from yet. The relays were most likely gone; at least for now. Maybe the ships would show up eventually, but they had heard nothing but a soft electric hiss cutting across the kilometers the two times they had tried the bands and no one had answered their calls: The three ships that were in orbit would keep track of them from here forward.

The short-coms had also remained dead. It seemed all the traffic was on the open Channels, but that offered a secure option for them to talk without being overheard. As they drove through the morning now they talked back and forth on the short-coms band; monitoring the other bands.

A Supply Drop

They charged their banks two hours after dawn at a collapsed crate next to the trail. A generator running on solar power made the job quick. The only hard part had been freeing the panels from the crates. The bands had been cut, the plastic stripped of the battery banks and the charger needles had begun their upward journey telling them that the generator mechanism had not been damaged in the drop.

The little area that serviced the trail contained a large building that was empty and looked as though it had only been assembled to salvage the drop.

On the other side of the building sat a barracks unit that had seen better days. Most of the units were unassembled. A second row of units running parallel to the first looked to be untouched. Across the trail were two more buildings; obviously placed to take advantage of the trail. They had pulled the transports onto the cracked cement of the main building and after they had finished charging up the transports and their spare battery banks Michael had gathered everyone together.

Tom and Jefferson came back from checking out a garage and the transport parts in several of the crates that had been piled nearby it just after the transport generators were charged up. Tom nodded his head at Michael.

“You noticed Tom and Jefferson looking over that building… It’s a garage,” Michael said. “We’re thinking of stopping here. We’d probably end up here for a few days while Tom and Jefferson work on the other four transports and we need a few other things: tail gate swing outs that can hold a spare tire, water cans; roof racks to carry gear, lifts, better, bigger tires… In short; the things we had intended to do back at the first drop.” He looked around trying to catch the eyes of each person individually.

“You can see how much easier it is for the two lifted transports to get around buckled trails down into and out of ditches. It just makes sense to give the other four transports that ability; otherwise they’ll just be slowing us down. You saw a little of that this morning.”

“Makes sense,” Phipps agreed.

Campbell nodded. “My only concern is, are those…” she paused and her face reddened, “People,” she managed after a long pause, “coming after us?” Her eyes were dark and questioning. Michael could read the fear in her posture.

“I doubt it,” Petra said. She spoke quietly but forcefully.

“We’ll listen in on the coms,” Nellie added.

“They won’t come. Back in their make-shift city they knew how to get around… Out here,” Ash waved her arms around, finally lifting them to the sky. “They wouldn’t know what to do: Couldn’t sneak up on us.” She shook her head. “I just don’t think they’re the kind that wants to deal with even odds.”

Petra nodded in agreement. “You know, Campbell; spineless, right?”

Campbell nodded and Michael watched the fear leave her and something closer to determination replace it. She nodded her agreement once more, looking directly at Petra as she did.

Michael cleared his throat and continued. “The reason we traveled on was to put some kilometers between us and them. It’s a long way for them to come. I don’t see it,” Michael said. He let the silent nods continue for a moment and then continued.

“There are other things we can do; things we need. Canned meals maybe one of those cows or a deer. They seem to be wandering everywhere. There really is enough to keep all of us busy for the next few days while Tom and Jefferson get the transport situation straightened out.” He paused but no one spoke. “So… If there are no real objections?”

“Let’s do it,” Campbell said.

“Yeah, I’m for it,” Ash added.

As Michael turned away, Ash, Petra, Campbell and Beckstead began to set up a plan for monitoring the coms. Everyone agreed that they would probably hear about anything coming their way long before it reached them. Campbell went over to the garage a few minutes later and pitched in helping Tom and Jefferson move whatever was in the way so that they could reach the racks and garage bays. There were two tow transports that they used to do most of the work, but chains and muscle power accomplished the rest.

In the end they cleared out three stalls that they could work in. Campbell stayed and not long after Beckstead found her way over and began to work side by side with her.

The garage was a prefab steel building that either because of a whim of the Gods or its design, had remained standing for some time now. The concrete base meant it had been used regularly for some period of time. By the time some others were returning with a cow and two large does in the back of one of the transports the garage was ready to go. Campbell and Jefferson wheeled out a towering chain-fall for the hunting party to use to dress out the animals and then went back to work.

By late afternoon the third transport modification was well under way. The lift was done; brush-guards installed and they were working on the carrying racks. Michael and Jane stopped by to look over the effort and were amazed. The transport looked like something that had rolled out of some sort of safari outfitters garage back on Earth; or a futuristic end of the world epic, Michael joked. But that sent them all into silence for a few moments and Michael didn’t mention it again.

Campbell and Beckstead were working on bolting a huge winch to the front bumper of one transport while Jefferson and Tom worked on stripping out one of the other transports to get it ready for a lift kit.

Yates and Ann had made their way to the garage and then found themselves drafted and made part of the work crew. Ann was in the third stall laying out the parts they would need for the lift on a transport while Yates worked at mounting the oversize tires to new; larger rims using a pair of heavy iron bars and his mechanical advantages to accomplish the work. He and Ann joked back and forth as they worked.

They were using a small air-compressor to inflate the tires after they had them mounted. They both seemed to be enjoying themselves Michael thought and they seemed happy to be in each other’s company; many of the crew shunned Yates because he wasn’t a biologic, but Ann seemed comfortable with him.

Outside; near the far end of the garage the chain-fall had been set up and a group led by Phipps which included C.J. and Kat were hoisting a large cow up into the air.

“Michael,” Phipps said as he and Jane passed by on their way out of the Garage.

Michael paused.

“We would like to dry most of this meat… If we’re going to be here a few days, I thought…”

Michael nodded. “Yeah; might as well, Phipps. We have the time,” he assured her, “And it’ll help to have the meat with us; who knows what’s ahead.” He shrugged.

Phipps smiled, turned away and Michael stood watching as the huge cow began to lift into the air from the back of the transport before he and Jane turned and walked away.

A few minutes later the two of them fell in with Petra and Ash who were sifting through what the unopened supply drop crates had to offer in the way of clothing, food stores and whatever else they came across that they could find a use for. They passed by Q-8 who had taken over the toy department; blocked off one aisle and was keeping Jerrica and Terrica busy. Q-8 was another surviving artificial. She smiled and waved as they passed. Terrica waved back. Her dark eyes finally looking rested and happy.

Jerrica had built herself the biggest Lincoln Log village that Michael had ever seen and was now busy populating it with dozens of green, plastic space men. Michael smiled and Jerrica took the time out of her game to smile back at him and Jane. She held a large plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex in one hand which seemed to Michael about to wreak havoc on the village and its population of space men.

A half dozen trips with Petra and Ash and late afternoon turned into early evening. Fires were burning to dry the meat. Two large roasts were spitted over a huge fire pit made of stone. A stew was bubbling in a pot that had been suspended over the flames. Nearly everyone had found a reason to stop by the area Phipps had set aside for cooking; most arriving just as she had been about to send some others out looking for everyone to round them up for dinner. The smell of roasting meat hung heavy in the still, cool air…

Base One Book 2 in the Star Bound Series by Dell Sweet

Stranded on a planet billions of miles from home; what is left of the human race is starting over again… This time on Hay Vida we might not have to retreat to our DNA at all. It might be possible to go forward and adapt as we age. But even if we did retreat it would not be world ending. It would only mean beginning anew in a more basic way: A more basic configuration of the true life form that we were.

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The story of Fred The Cat: Dell Sweet’s Blog

The story of Fred The Cat: Dell Sweet’s Blog post today…

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.

FRED THE CA T

I mentioned Fred the cat the last time I wrote. Here is the story of Fred the Cat.

I rehabbed the entire house my mother, aunt and uncle live in about twelve years ago, but over the years things have slid. Three people in their seventies can not keep up the maintenance that needs to be performed on a house as it ages.

So, here I am trying to fix up the house again after years of being away. One of the thing s 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 Harry 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, and how, and if a Cat could do it to, 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 along 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.

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. Cat’s 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.


OTHER THINGS

We have a little kitten who likes to climb my leg while I’m typing. The she looks at me like, Oh … Were you typing? It’s me! The kitty! Let’s play! I’m cute! I’m also persistent. I’ll keep stepping on your keyboard and attacking you thumbs (Which hang off the edge of the key board as I type) Until you pay attention to me! Gotta go before she actually manages to chew a hole through my thumb… Dell…

Check out this book:

Billy Jingo

THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES: BILLY JINGO

Copyright 2010 Geo Dell all rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2010 Dell 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. 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.

LEGAL

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 person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

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.

Additional Copyrights 2009 – 2018 Wendell Sweet all rights reserved


PROLOGUE

Six months before:

Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Tommy Murphy and Jefferson Prescott

Jefferson Prescott stood quietly and sipped at his coffee. The house in Esmeraldas was his 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 that 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 forces 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 matter 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.

Multimillion 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

Manhattan

“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 of 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 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 parted, 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 kid’s 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.

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Earth’s Survivors The Fold – Apocalyptic Fiction

Earth’s Survivors The Fold – Apocalyptic Fiction from Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors: The Fold

“You’re afraid Frank, you’re afraid that God might ask too much… God don’t ever ask too much, just what you kin handle, Frank,” Jeremiah stated calmly… 

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Cell Phones – commentary from author Dell Sweet

Cell Phones. Humor from Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors

I spent today updating websites and working on interior files and covers for the ES series, so you are going to end up with a partially recycled blog from a few million years ago when Jesus and I were in grade school together. I mean, of course, Jesus, Wanda and Pedro’s son. So don’t write me and tell me I picked on religion, I picked on Spanish friends instead.

The snow here in New York is relentless. A foot a day lately. And that just drops out of the sky as though it has always done so. Sheesh.

Today the topic is Cell Phones…

Cell Phones: Tin cans and string: This Cell phone thing is my generations fault. I’ll fess up right here. We tied string to tin cans, pretended they were loud and clear radios, and dreamed of networks of tin cans and string. Okay, I dreamed of networks of tin cans and string. I think a few of my friends did too, but I won’t put them on the spot. But, someone must have besides me, because we grew up looking for that tin can.

We spawned children with that tin can thing embedded in their DNA. That and the Communicator from Star Trek. If that wasn’t a glimpse into the future and cell phones, I don’t know what it was. It was inevitable, and we should have known it as soon as some fool back in the fifties gave us Walki Talkies.

It was almost a reality right there. Probably good enough for some of us, but no, not for all of us. Some said…

“Hey, Bob. What if I could talk to Tim, Ellie and even my sister Sherry with these things?”

“Well, Bob says. “Why would you want to talk to your sister Sherry? She’s a girl.”

“Oh… Right… Never mind.”

But, then some other guy went… “Hey, Bob. What if I could talk to anyone I wanted to with this thing? I mean like anywhere?”

“Well,” Bob said. “We’d have to make them affordable… Put them in the hands of people everywhere.. We’d have to build relay stations… We’d… We could do it! We could!”

And so Marketing and the Cell Phone industry was born right there. And Bob probably headed it. Now we all have Cell Phones and we might as well be welded to them, or they to us.

Last week I remembered I had a cell phone for a reason. To make calls to people, or so that people could reach me. I was watching a really stupid movie at the time. Four young people stranded in the desert. The moron dude (There is always a moron dude who does the dumb thing that puts them all in the bad situation), so, the Moron Dude wrecks the truck and they’re stranded in the desert. So what does he do first? Tries his cell phone. And does it work? Of course not. And, I thought, hmm, I have a cell phone, what if I paid all this money for minutes, and, and (I tend to get excited when I think of stupid things that just might be possible) I get stranded in the desert, and I flip open my Cell phone, and I have, like, 300 minutes, so I sigh, relieved, I will not die in the desert and the young woman med student won’t have to pound a hole in my head to relieve the fluid buildup so I will live! That was what she (The med student) had just finished doing to one of the people in the movie, pounding a hole in her head to relieve the pressure buildup. Hmm. It didn’t work too well. The person still died. Now, my characters do things too. But I have yet to write a scene where one actually pounds a hole into another characters head with a frickin’ rock.

I’ll tell you, I was relieved. I have enough holes in my head (Some say). Then I remembered the scenario. Minutes don’t matter. Reception matters. So, in my head, in my little world in the desert with the Moron Guy, and the Med Student woman, I look down at my phone again. Damn. 300 minutes and no bars. But, like the Moron Dude I try it anyway. Doesn’t work. The young Med Student woman is looking at me funny. Like she can’t wait to pound that hole in my head. Son of a bitch, I think. This really sucks. Then I remember, it’s not real. I am relieved again, except I am still watching this pathetic movie, and I am looking at my cell phone and wondering why I welded myself to it.

Anyway, dumb movies aside, it really did get me thinking about my cell phone. I have this many friends. (I’m holding up fingers on one of my hands). Let’s just say it’s a small amount, I have fingers left over. Now, all of those friends never call me on my cell phone. If they need to reach me they send an email or call me on my land line. Yes, I have a land line. I know how pathetic that sounds. And I rarely ever use it either. But that’s another blog. So, my friends know my email address, and my home phone and my cell phone number, and they never call me on the cell phone. Yet every month I buy minutes and put them on the damn phone. So I must have thousands of minutes on the phone. Just then the phone rang.

“Hello?” I’m cautious. No one calls me here. “No one calls me here,” I say.

Turns out it is a new-old friend. IE: One I knew years before who just reconnected and does not realize no one calls me on my Cell Phone.

“Hey,” I say. What else can I say? “No, you’re not bothering me,” I lie. Then, the phone goes dead.

“Hello? Hello?” I take the phone away from my ear and stare at it as though that can fix it or at least tell me what is wrong. Nope. five bars. Hey, wait a minute, no minutes! How can that be? I just ran out of minutes on my cell phone. But I just put minutes on it. Hmm, a conundrum.

That lead right into the stupid movie, and I realized, if it was me, my luck would be that I would find I had a signal, and then discover that I had no minutes. And so, I asked myself, why is that? And that is the crux of the problem. Because, as I mentioned, no one calls me on my cell phone. So, where do all the minutes go to? They go to all the other calls. The ones I didn’t ask for. The Cell Phone Spammers. Yes. Those guys/gals/machines. They call all of the time.

“Hi! did you know that for just three hundred dollars a month you can get an unlimited number of minutes,” the voice asks?

“Really,” I ask?

The voice just keeps yacking. It’s not a real voice. It’s a machine. But I’m lonely, they know it, and they know I am stupid enough to listen to a machine… At least for a little while.

“Press One now for the Budget Plan. Press Two for the Super Business Package. Press three for the…”

I hang up. Cell Phone Hooker, I think. I think some other unkind things too, even though I know it is a machine. An hour later the phone rings. I think, ‘I shouldn’t answer that. They probably just want to sell me something.’ But I am stupid, or I have a defective gene, or both.

“Hello? Is this a machine,”I ask right off the bat.

“No sir,” a female voice. Heavy accent. “I am calling regarding your account.”

“Oh… Oh, sorry… I get these machine generated phone calls you see…” I shut up, because of course it’s the Cell Phone. Yakking is money. “My account?”

“Yes sir… My records show that you have the Thrifty Budget plan. And I wanted to make you aware of the Super Business Travelers plan..”

“Huh?”

“Your Cell phone plan,” she explains.

“I don’t have the Thrifty Budget plan,” I say.

“Are you sure,” she asks?

“Mm, yes,” I decide.

“Hold on sir.” She sounds upset, leaves the line, and like the idiot I am, I wait for her to come back. Ten minutes later she does. “Sir?”

Probably she is checking only to see if I was stupid enough to hang on. But, no, I answer. “Yes… Ma’am.” I’m even polite. What an idiot.

“My records show that you do not have the Thrifty Budget plan. Please forgive me.”

And I am ready and willing to forgive her. It’s hot over there in New Delhi, I watch Big Bang Theory. I saw Slum Dog Millionaire. I know it’s got to be a hard job working half way around the worl… She interrupts me.

So, Sir?” She waits until I answer. The minute monster is eating my phone alive.

“Yes?”

“So, wouldn’t this be a great time to get the Super Business plan?”

Finally it dawns on me. “Hey, are you from **** & ****?”(My phone provider)

“Well, no. I’m from **** *****.”

I hang up. I feel used. Dirty. ‘Damn,’ I think. I am even cussing. ‘Damn Dirty Ape. Frig!’ It is the most severe cussing I can come up with on short notice.

Okay, so I’m sitting there, and slow as I am, it finally dawns on me where all of my minutes go, they go to answering the phone so these guys can sell me more minutes so I can answer the phone, so they can sell me more minutes, so I can answer the phone IF one of my friends ever call, and, as evidenced, if one of my friends do call, I’ll have no minutes to talk to them. Boy am I dumb. Hmm… Then I think, well, I could just let the medical student woman in the movie pound the hole in my head. Might be quicker, smarter too.

Okay, that’s my week. I hope your week was good…


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