The Zombie Plagues: Doomed

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: War begins:
Two minutes of climbing and they were at the back of the parking lot. From the square it probably looked as though there were no one there. Fine, Mike thought. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B00VIFXXW8

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: The end has come. Polite society is gone. No police; No government and no protection. It’s time to fight to stay alive. When society crumbles and it is only you against the world; can you survive? https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell/dp/198051027X

Winter blues and the cell phone minute monsters

Earth’s Survivors Blog…

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…

Private Investigations by Dell Sweet

PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS

Copyright Dell Sweet – 2015 by Wendell Sweet and his assignee Andrea Scroggs. All rights reserved. Dell Sweet is a publishing construct owned by Wendell Sweet, independAntwriters and their assignee Andrea Scroggs.
This preview is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This preview may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this preview with another person, please point them to independAntwriters at sotofo.com. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~1~

Nine Fifty-Nine A.M.
I lowered my wrist to my side, settled myself back into the shadows of the treeline and raised my binoculars to my eyes.
I swept the back deck and rear entrance, shot across the fence to the next house in line: Nothing; and nothing. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I had been wrong all along.
Being a private detective isn’t all thrills. Most of the time it’s doing exactly what I was doing: Sitting and waiting. For hours sometimes, with little to show Other times you just happen to walk into the middle of something, get everything you need in those few seconds and feel a little guilty about even charging for it, let alone keeping the retainer… If there was a retainer… But of course I always fight past that. After all money, making a living, is why I do this job.
Apparently this job wasn’t going to be one of those kinds of jobs, but what kind of job was it going to be? Hard to tell.
I was watching the house of Paul and Melinda Fields. At Melinda Field’s request. She was a friend of my wife Joan. So you would think that the request would have come from my wife to help her friend, but it had not. It had not come that way at all. It had come instead in the form of a phone call to my office. Melinda had called and asked me to meet with her, and she asked me to keep it quiet. She didn’t want her friends to know, meaning my wife too, I concluded.
I was okay with that. You get a lot of that sort of thing as a private eye. People think odd things, maybe they’re even a little paranoid. If a woman or a man thinks his or her loved one is cheating on them they sometimes want to keep the information as quiet as possible. They want to know. You’re the private dick so it’s okay if you know, but they don’t want anyone else to know.
This was day two and I was about to burn up the retainer. I had nothing at all to show for it. But as I said that is the private detective game most of the time. Waiting and seeing. I simply hadn’t seen anything. Well, almost nothing. Apparently Paul did keep things from his wife. Right now for instance he was supposed to be at his office. He wasn’t of course. Joan had left for work, but he hadn’t. And more than once he had checked the windows as though he were expecting someone. Peeking out of the drapes, sliding the deck door open and peeking out before he stepped outside sipping his coffee as he looked around and then quickly stepped back inside. Odd.
Odd, but not exactly indicative of much of anything at all. He had done nearly the same thing yesterday and I had wasted nearly four hours watching him pace the deck, check the windows, pace the kitchen, refill his cup, pace the deck some more, and then finally get in his car and drive to the office in the early afternoon.
Paul Fields was a contractor. Not one of the big ones, but not one of the small ones either. They lived in a nice subdivision. Melinda sold real estate. Between the two of them they did very well. She drove a nice BMW and he drove a new Ford pickup. One of the big ones with the big price tags. It looked as though it had never hauled anything in its life. All shiny black and chrome. Lots of chrome.
The man lived in Jeans, work boots and button up chambray work shirts. He was in his early forties, looked thirty five. Fit, attractive in some ways. I could see why she might think he was screwing around. I just didn’t see any evidence of it if he was. Maybe, I thought, I should have run it past Joan. Maybe she felt this same thing a few times a year, once a month. Who knew. The only thing that had stopped me was that Melinda had made it a condition of hiring me. And so I hadn’t.
I lowered the glasses, slipped a cigarette from my pack and lit it, and then settled back to smoke as I watched. I know, they’ll kill me, but isn’t life killing us all every day? I know, I know, excuses. I got a ton of them.
I took a deep drag and blew the smoke out my nose. I glanced at my watch. Another hour and that would be it.
It was about then that things got interesting. Paul had, had the drapes open on the rear sliders. They suddenly swept shut. My first thought was that he was about to leave for the office, but out of the corner of my eye I caught a taxi drift up to the curbing a few houses down and stop. It sat idling for a few moments and then the back door popped open and a woman stepped out and hurried off down the walk toward Paul’s house.
I got the camera up and snapped a few dozen pictures before she was out of my line of sight, but who knew what they might be worth? She was moving fast and her face was not fully turned toward the camera. She had one hand up, brushing at her hair as she walked. I changed the card and slipped the other into my pocket. I hated to be short when I needed to shoot.
There was a gap in the drapes. I couldn’t see much through the shadows as I focused with my binoculars. The digital camera didn’t offer much better on zoom, but I clicked a few shots off anyway. Many times I had found the money shot in the pictures I didn’t think would be worth anything at all. I then began to scan the second floor bedroom drapes for movement. There was a set of sliders there too that opened onto an upper deck.
A little movement caught my eye so I kept the lens focused there. Something or someone brushed up against the drapes, they stuttered open for a brief instant and I clicked off another dozen shots out of habit. You just never knew where the money shot was going to be, or if there was even going to be one, but if you didn’t shoot you couldn’t get anything.
I put in another hour, but there was nothing much to see. I had just about made up my mind to shift my cover to the front of the house just in case she slipped out earlier than I thought she would, when a Yellow Cab rolled up to the curb of the house next door, and then coasted to a stop, presumably, out of my line of site in front of Paul’s house. I cursed under my breath. Piss poor planning on my part. No other way to see it. I could have gotten a clear shot of the woman, whoever she was.
All in all it made no difference though. The retainer was shot, and most people never went past the retainer. He was fooling around with someone, most likely, and maybe one of the shots I took would even be enough for Melinda to recognize who the woman was. If though, proof was all she was after, she had that.
I retreated back into the woods and made my way to a dead end service road where I had parked earlier, tossed my gear onto the front seat of the beat up old Dodge I used for surveillance, and followed it in. A half a day shot. I had another case to look into, a simple straight forward process serve. I had some good information on where the person should be, hopefully she would be. Maybe it could be a slam dunk kind of day. Well, except for missing the exit shot. I cursed once more under my breath as I keyed the old Dodge and headed back into town.
~2~
Nine Twenty-Seven P.M.
I shifted into park, dropped the keys into my coat pocket and levered open my door. At the last moment I turned and retrieved my binoculars, camera and the small .380 I usually carried when I was somewhere where unexpected things might happen.
The process serve had been a bust, I was tired and grouchy. I palmed the small gun in one hand. I had found myself in the woods more than once on surveillance jobs. Bad neighborhoods a few times too. The .380 was small in my hand, but a large comfort in my head.
I had started with the gun after a friend of mine who worked for the PD and moonlighted as a private eye, small stuff, mostly process serving, had been ambushed by an angry husband he had been trying to serve divorce papers on. He’d been shot four times and had barely survived the hurried ambulance trip to the hospital emergency room. The PD career was done, and the private eye stuff too, although a few of us threw him a bone when we could: When he was sober. I decided I’d rather have something to show.
I had nearly bought a .44 caliber, but one test fire had convinced me to leave that for something smaller and hopefully non fatal. I know, I shouldn’t really be concerned with that. After all if I am going to have to use a gun to defend myself it should be capable of laying someone down. I just haven’t been able to believe in it yet. I have flashed the .380 twice and ended violent confrontations right there. My ex-PD friends say don’t pull it unless you mean to use it… Maybe… Someday.
I dropped the camera and the gun into my other coat pocket, wound the binocular strap around my hand and walked around the back to where my office is. Joan and I have a deal. I don’t track whatever I have been walking through all day into the house and she won’t divorce me. She was that passionate about it. I emptied my pockets, slipped off my boots I used for the woods, which did, I noticed, have something that could have been mud, bear shit or even dog shit that I could have picked up crossing my own back yard, on them. Joan’s poodle, Mister Tibbles. We’ve agreed to hate each other. I thought about a sniff test, decided to pass, I never could distinguish poodle shit from bear shit anyway, slid on my slippers and walked the shoes to the back door.
Joan called down from the upper level, probably the kitchen. More specifically the bar that was just off the kitchen. My office was on the lower level. You could translate that as basement and you would be correct. I would only add converted basement.
“Yeah… It’s me,” I called back.
“Be careful in the backyard. I took Mister Tibbles out and I couldn’t see where he went.”
That answered that question. “Uh huh,” I answered.
Nothing else floated down to me. I left the landing and walked down to my office. I transferred the pictures off the two cards, then opened my image program as I dialed Melinda’s number. She picked up on the first ring. Her voice low, sexy. It said Please buy this property from me, baby. Sexist, yes, I know. I try not to be. And I felt even worse about being one because of the bad news I was about to give her.
“Mike,” I said.
“Oh… Mike.” She sounded surprised.
I ignored it as I loaded the pictures and searched through them one by one. “Melinda, I have some bad news…. I’ll send you a report on this, but I thought I should call and talk to you just the same… Instead of you reading it in a report.” I searched through the thumbnails as they came up. “I have a few things left to do, but essentially… You were right, Melinda… There’s no easy way to put it, your husband, Paul is seeing someone.”
I continued flicking through the thumbnails and selected two that might be useful. One shot through the upstairs drapes showed a woman. I ascertained that from the dress she wore. Her face however was turned away from the camera, a blurry blob in shadow.
The second photo showed her hurrying from the cab. Part of her face was obscured by one hand. I would work on both photos as well as I could and try to get something that Melinda could identify. Melinda stayed silent on the phone.
“I don’t know who the woman is,” I admitted. “She outfoxed me and that doesn’t usually happen. Maybe she was being careful or maybe she’s a little paranoid… I…”
“I know who she is, Mike.”
I stopped. “You do?”
“Yes… I… I had hoped you would identify her though… I wanted to be absolutely sure.” She said sure, but she sounded very unsure.
I transferred the two pictures to some other software, started with the first one from the bedroom shot through the drapes, and selected the areas to work on.
“Mike,” Melinda said even more softly.
“I’m looking over a few photos I shot right now. Trying to get a good, clear face shot,” I told her. She sounded on the verge of tears. Like she was unraveling over the phone. It made me wish I hadn’t addressed it over the phone at all.
The face became clearer pixel by pixel. I have a good machine, it didn’t take long, and I didn’t have to bother with the other photo. “The picture’s coming up, Melinda,” I told her, but my words clogged in my throat as the picture finally came up, and I fell silent myself. She spoke into my silence.
“Mike… I would have told you, Mike… Mike?” She sounded panicked.
“What?” I managed.
“I wasn’t sure… Not completely, Mike.”
“But you hired me to find out? Me? Why didn’t you hire someone else?” A hard ball had settled into the pit of my stomach.
“I… I don’t know… I thought… I thought… I thought you would want to know… Mike… Mike I didn’t really think it through. I was angry… Upset… I wasn’t thinking straight, Mike. I wasn’t.” Now it was her turn to fall silent. I could just barely hear her breathing over the phone in the hardness of the silence.
“I’ll send the retainer back, “ I said at last into the silence. “You… You know maybe this was best… I don’t guess I would have wanted one of my friends to be the guy on this… Finding out. It’s just a little hard to think right now.”
“Sure it is,” She agreed. “I’m so upset.” She sobbed once as if trying to choke it back and then the soft sound of her crying came over the phone.
I was not at the point of tears. I was at the point of anger. That hard place where it’s brand new and you can’t seem to swallow it down. I was there, at that place. It’s a hard goddamn place to be and I realized she had been there too, maybe still was. It was also a dangerous place to be.
“I have to get the hell out of here,” I told her. Twice I had found my eyes locked on the .380 where I had set it on the desktop what seemed like a million years ago.
“Me too… It makes me sick to know it for a fact.” She was still crying but trying to get herself under control.
It was spur of the moment, but my mouth opened and with no artifice the words tumbled forth.
“I have a cabin… It’s nearly the weekend… Up in Maine… It’s a drive… Isolated… A good place to think.” Silence from the phone. “If you wanted to… Oh hell.”
She laughed a small laugh, followed by sniffles and a few seconds of silence. “I’ll meet you somewhere?” She asked.
“Airport? … You could leave your car in the long term lot… Pick it up Monday or so…”
“Let me get some things together…” She went back to crying for a few moments. “I’ll just… Just leave him a note.” She laughed again, sharply this time. “You know what, I won’t… I’ll be there in… An hour? An hour, Mike?”
I nodded and then realized she couldn’t see that. And so I told her I would meet her there in an hour. I clicked off, slid the phone into my pocket and just sat there for a moment. My eyes dropped back down to the gun and it seemed to hold me hypnotized for a length of time. Like a spell I had to break. I forced myself to look away. I got up and walked away from it. I went up to our bedroom and filled an old suitcase.
I half expected Joan to walk in, see what I was doing and stop me, but she didn’t. I expected her to say something when I came back down the stairs and crossed through the kitchen to the back door, but again she didn’t. If she was sitting there in the gloom of the bar area or had migrated farther into the shadows of the living room, I couldn’t say. She said nothing. Mister Tibbles growled lightly and that was it.
I moved the car, backed my Jeep out of the garage and out into the street. A few minutes later I was cruising the interstate through the darkness, heading for the airport…
…………………………………………………………………………

Check out the short story collection this story came from: Mister Bob…https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mister-bob/id1197058839…



Walmart jokes and Zombie Plague links

Posted by Geo  07-21-17

Another weekend is here. I spent this past week working on a manuscript and taking care of guitar build updates.

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. Amazon: Invariant

The zombie Plagues books are doing very well.  https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/5280

What’s on the burner: I am working on a new novel right now. I have also completed one other novel, editing work for that one now. The fifth Zombie Plagues novel is now available on Nook too: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-geo-dell/1121785682

 

Free Books Today and tomorrow:

Guitar Works One for the Kindle on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Works-One-Finish-Work/dp/1502825678

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Jack & Maria: https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Life-Stories-Maria-ebook/dp/B06XQFV63D

 

Writers and their websites:

Sotofo: http://www.sotofo.com/

Dell Sweet on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DellSweet

Geo Dell on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/George-Dell/e/B00T94K198

What else is going on: Summer is passing. It is hot here in northern New York but I’m sure back in the day the woolly mammoths thought it was warm enough too and then wham! They froze to death right in their fields… So, you know, maybe hit the winter coat aisle at Walmart before the prices go up…

Some absolute facts…

Absolute Fact:

Q: Who discovered America?

A: Richard Plambouise.

Huh? Richard was working at the local Walmart in 2011 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.

Absolute Fact:

Q: Is the Earth really round?

A: No.

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.

Absolute Fact:

Q: Is what mom feeds me actually good for me?

A: Yes.

Everything mom feeds you is good for you, now shut up and eat.

Absolute Fact:

Q: When a man loves a woman can he keep his mind on anything else?

A: No.

Just ask Percy Sledge who not only told us a man can not keep his mind on anything else, but that he would Sleep out in the rain if she says that’s the way it ought to be. Thanks Percy.

Absolute Fact:

Q: If my wife asks, should I tell her, Yes., her butt does look big?

A: Absolutely.

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, Dell: @SweetDell or me, Geo: @GeorgeDell01

That is me for your Friday. I hope your weekend is 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.

The Zombie Plagues Book two preview

The Zombie Plagues Book 2 follows a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive in a new world… 


Copyright protected material used with permission


Donita and the boy

The fires burned bright, freshly banked for the night. She could not say what it was in fire that frightened her, but it did. It touched something deep inside, something that she could sense had not always been there. Like at one time she had embraced fire the same way the breathers did. Now it only frightened her.

Behind her, the boy whined, high pitched and frightened. The fire did the same thing to him. She turned and allowed a growl to slip from her cracked and peeling lips, and the boy quieted down immediately.

She looked back toward the fires. She should have gone already. She should have taken the boy and moved on. The breathers could mean death to both of them. The dog kept coming around. And now there was another dog. She could smell her.

But the breathers didn’t usually hang around that long. Others had come and gone just as quickly. These should have been gone when the moon rose into the night sky, packed up and gone while she and the boy had been in twilight. But they were still there. Their terrible fires burning and sending their stink into the air, creating heat. Heat was an enemy of all things cold, she told herself. And she was a thing cold.

She stood, her legs flexing easily, something they did not do just a short time ago. Behind her, the boy stood also, soundlessly, and although she did not see him – hear him – she felt him. She knew he had stood, knew he was waiting for her to move, knew that he believed the entire world revolved around her. All this with no words, touches, conscious thoughts.

She looked off through the trees to the opposite side of the road, across from where the breathers were camped.

Her new eyes saw more than her old eyes had ever seen, though not precisely as she had seen with those other eyes. This sight was not suited to daylight. It could see – would see – in daylight, but not well. The lesser light of the moon was the light she needed.

She could see for more than a quarter mile clearly. But it was not just about the seeing. Smell, the feel of the air upon her skin, things that could not work the way they used to work, now worked with her eyes. She saw the scent on the wind. She perceived the movement of air across her skin with her eyes. She saw it. Her eyes were her windows to the world.

She saw the rabbits far across the field, past the other road, and rabbits were fine, but it was not the rabbits that had attracted her. It was the boy, not much older than the one behind her, that had caught her attention.

He carried rocks in a pouch, held a weapon in his hand as he stalked the rabbits.

He was alone. It was a thing that she knew. He was not a part of the breathers that were camped not far away. He was a loner, and he had managed to avoid the ones like her that must have scented him, followed him. She scented the air and drank in the information.

Alone… Hungry… Mistrustful. He stumbled, and the rabbits spooked. Before he could react, the rabbits were across the balding grass patches near the trees on the opposite side of the road and into the tall grass. She could feel them running through the grass. Tiny hearts beating fast, knocking against their rib cages. She tracked the boy at the same time. He had lunged for the tall grass and then had fallen back. His head came up, scenting the air the way breathers did, and she knew he had caught her scent, the same way any hunted animal did, even when they did not yet know they were hunted. It had been the reason he had stumbled and frightened the rabbits. She said nothing, simply flexed her leg and leapt into the tall grass, the boy behind her.

The woods emptied out into a narrow valley sparsely populated with scrub pines, a small creek running through the bottom. The boy made the creek at a dead run, but the fire in his side caused him to stumble. She was not there to see him stumble, but she knew it just the same. A second later the boy was on him, knocking him flat to the ground. When Donita came upon them, the boy had his hands tightly around the boy’s throat, riding his chest as he bucked and thrashed. She flew upon them, pushing the boy aside, driving a knee into the boy’s throat and closing off the air he had been fighting so hard for. She pressed her body hard against his, stretched out flat upon him, and held on as he thrashed and clawed.

~

He fought hard, but he faded just as quickly. With no air, breathers could not fight long. Something she had learned, had known, she told herself now, but she did not remember how she knew, she only knew that she did. When at last he stopped his fight, she rolled off him and rose to her full height, towering over him, looking down at him.

He was barely as big as the boy she had already. He would be just as ignorant too, stupid… but open to learn, and he seemed stronger, built bigger. Wherever he had been – and she could smell places on him that she had never known – wherever he had been, he had used his rocks and weapon well, kept himself well fed. She sighed. It was not her choice alone, and she could feel that the boy resented him, did not want him to be a part of them. She waited for his emotions – still so much like the breather he had been – to pass…

NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-book-two-geo-dell/1116974114?ean=9781492798743

Settlement Earth from W. W. Watson with Lindsey Rivers

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth


Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book One 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 62,840. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » ApocalypticFiction » Horror » Undead

(3.50)

“It will kill you well enough,” Alice said as if reading his thoughts. “It’s a bad world. You need another shooter. Who knows what you’re going to run into between here and there.” She paused and then nodded at the pistol. “You can see I’m resourceful.” She met Johnny’s eyes when they swung suddenly up to her own. “I’m not dangerous unless someone is trying to hurt me,” she finished quietly…

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Two 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 93,310. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic,Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
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. “You think they will outright kill us,” Kohlson asked after a few long minutes of silence. “Gabe… I think they will…”

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Three 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 89,390. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic,Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
A thin line of blood ran away from the wrist that had been encircled by the tie. Whether from the sharp metal she had used to escape the zip-tie, or the zip-tie itself she could not tell. A few more seconds of careful rubbing with the sharp metal edge and the other plastic cuff fell to the floor. She stood and rubbed feeling back into her hands…

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A look at the book I am working on now, Fig Street

FIG STREET

Fig Street is Copyright © Wendell Sweet 2018.

All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2018 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 1984, 2010, 2014, 2015 W. G. 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 persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2018 Wendell G. Sweet. Dell Sweet, W. G. Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell G. 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.


ONE

June: Jimmy Chang’s

“So, listen, it’s like this. When I die… No… It has nothing to do with when I die. Okay, when the people in my life who have screwed me over die? They will have to pay for what they did to me,” Bobby Weston said.

“Oh. Oh, okay. I got it. The eventual retribution deal. In other words, okay, screw me over right now, but when I die you are so done,” John said.

“Okay. Yes, but not totally. I won’t get them back, God will do it for me.”

Johnny chuckled. “So God, the God, will personally pay these low rent bastards back for you… Sweet. Very sweet.”

Bobby nodded. “And it’s all biblical too. I mean completely. God says he’ll take care of it. Don’t worry about it. I got you.”

“I would like to hear God say I got you somewhere, because to be honest I have never heard him say it here. It seems kind of like a scam though that you got to wait until you’re dead to hear it. I mean what the hell is that? Who can say if that’s the deal, whether it’s real or not? I mean that is kind of a perfect con job. That’s like… That’s like those bank account scams. You know, the guy approaches you and says: “Hey! I got a million dollars in this account, but those bastards won’t let me have it. Talking about some sort of transfer fee. That’s messed up too because I don’t have no transfer fee. I mean, that’s messed up isn’t it? I can’t get the money… My own goddamned money, it’s my money, without paying this transfer fee.”

“Jesus Christ, you make me wanna give you the money, Johnny.”

“Exactly, and that is the scam. You give me my money for the transfer fee. We set it all up legal too, and bam. I got you. I’m gone. Your money’s gone. It’s a wrap, and you never see that money back or whatever I promised extra to you to get you to do it. So… So this thing is the same. You’re dead, how do you know?”

The crowd in the bar was quiet. It was early yet, the noisy younger crowd wasn’t in yet.

Jimmy Chang’s was a neighborhood bar. You wouldn’t think so in East Glennville which seemed predominantly white, but the Asians had been here far longer than some of the prominent white families. Jimmy Chang’s grandfather had come for the railroad work out west back in the 1800’s. When the work died out he had brought his family north and settled in Glennville. There were three branches of the family now: Jimmy, who ran the bar the old man had built first and saw through the dry years of prohibition. His sister Alice who ran Chang’s which was about the closest thing that Glennville had to a Coat and Tie restaurant. And Jimmy’s uncle Billy who owned a truck stop just outside of the city. The truck stop was known across the U.S. by truckers who had spread the word. Bobby had eaten there more than once. It was better food than any of the other nearby diners, and more of it too.

Bobby smiled, ignoring the pain in his side. It had been there a few days now. Maybe a little too much jogging, that stitch in your side that didn’t want to go away. Maybe he had pulled or sprained something: Who could tell. He’d had it before, or something like it, and it had passed. This would too. “Listen, Johnny… It won’t be like that for me because I’ll be right there… I’ll know… I’ll see it.”

“No… No… I mean, like… You are alive now… I’m alive now. Two seconds from now I drop dead, how do you know what I see or don’t see? How can you know even? I mean you have to die to collect, that’s pretty suspect to me, man. No die. No know,” Johnny shrugged his shoulders.

Bobby nodded. “I know. I see. But I…”

“… Been dead before… I know…” He shook his head. “It’s about the only thing that makes me believe.”

“Me dying?”

“Yep. I mean, I believe you. I don’t think you made it up. I’ve known you all of your life. I believe it.”

“Me too,” Bobby agreed. They both laughed.

Johnny hadn’t moved to Glennville and become friends with Bobby until his early teens, but he had heard the story. Back in the fourth grade Bobby had gone fishing alone. He had crossed the Black while the dam wasn’t running, and crossed over to Saints Island to fish. He had been to that island before as a younger kid with his dad. It was an easy cross, but Bobby hadn’t known anything about the dam and the levels of water in the Black. How they could change in a matter of a minute or two. When he had started back across the top of the dam  to cross the Black to get back to the main road he had slipped and gone under. A fisherman had just happened to see his head as he went under. He had managed to snag Bobby and get him to shore, but he had stopped breathing, his lungs full of water.

Bobby had been in the hospital for a month in a coma. Then one day he had awakened. The same old Bobby: Like nothing had ever happened. Except he swore that he had not been dead that whole time, or gone away from his body even when he had been dead on the river bank. He claimed to remember every part of it; all of it, right down to the fisherman’s thoughts as he had hauled Bobby out. “This kids a goner,” he had thought. “Ain’t no hope for him at all.”

Still he had gone to work, picking up his arms, flushing out his lungs, pounding his back, compressing his chest to empty the lungs. If you lived near the river things happened more often than people thought that they did. A truck had stopped on the road above the river and a power company employee had scrambled down the bank to the river. He had taken over and begun CPR; the training was required. He had never used it until then.

He had even turned Bobby upside down and wailed his back hard enough to leave bruises. He had been as surprised as anyone else had been later when Bobby had coughed, sputtered, and then began to breathe once more. Between the two of them they had laid him out on the seat of the power company truck and the man had driven him the three miles to the Glennville Community hospital.

Johnny had never forgotten Bobby relating that experience to him. He had tried to tell his parents but they had dismissed it. Johnny hadn’t. Over the years the story had never changed and Johnny had come to believe it.

He sighed and looked around the bar. The day was growing old, already a few of the younger crowd had wandered in. Looking to nail down a stool or a booth for the evening.

“Coming in earlier and earlier every day, huh?” Bobby said.

“Exactly what I was thinking… Pretty soon it won’t be our place anymore at all.” Johnny sighed again.

“Hey, let’s go to Billy’s. They got those tables right outside. The night is nice. Shit, summer will be gone before we know it. I’ll buy steaks, what do you say?” Bobby asked.

“I say that sounds goddamn good to me, that’s what I say,” Johnny agreed. He threw a ten on the bar and then followed Bobby out of the bar.

July: Jimmy Chang’s

The bar was beginning to fill up. A young guy with a shaved head and a couple pounds of metal in his face slid in next to Bobby and eyeballed him hard. Bobby turned away. He looked over at Johnny and Johnny raised his eyebrows in a What the hell gesture.

Bobby had swung by Johnny’s work place at the Ford dealership and picked him up after work. Johnny’s car was in the shop. He could have gotten a rental right through the dealership, cheaply too, but that went against Johnny’s principle of paying for something he could get for free. A ride from Bobby was free. Always had been since they had been in high school driving clunkers that would have been better off in the junkyard. Johnny had always joked that somehow Bobby always seemed to get the better junker. It broke down less, ran better, was more reliable. He didn’t know how that could be, but it had always worked out that way.

“Time moves on. It all becomes relative,” Bobby said picking up a conversation on politics that Bobby himself had started. The kid’s cologne drifted across to him. Something from back in high school. Patchouli maybe, heavy and cloying. He picked up his beer and took a deep drink. His usual smile was not in evidence.

“Yeah…” Johnny cleared his throat and took a sip of his own drink. “I just hate those bastards. Relative or not, and I ain’t saying it isn’t relative to the way we vote, live, whatever, but the politicians seem to stay the same. No good, broke down lying bastards that would gladly swipe a lollipop from a little kid and then sell it back to them in the guise of some public work project. And!” He smiled widely. “Make the kid think he had gotten something in the deal.”

That bought a ghost of a smile to Bobby’s lips. “Hey, let’s take this out back,” Bobby suddenly suggested.

“Uh… Sure,“ Johnny agreed. “You gonna pound my ass or what? Sorry I called the politicians all broke down bastards, I know Ruth’s brother Don is one.” Ruth was Bobby’s wife of twenty five years.

Bobby laughed. “No ass pounding, just need a little fresh air.” He shot a hard look at the young guy who looked away and nursed his flavored vodka. “Besides, Donnie is the worst of the worst.” He laughed and Johnny joined in. He caught Jimmy’s eye and motioned toward the back door; Jimmy nodded. He didn’t like his bottles walking out. He owed the deposit on them. And he was one tight bastard, but he knew that Bobby would be bringing his bottle back.

They stepped out into the bright moonlight of early evening. The air was cooler. For the last several days it had been super hot. Global warming they said, global holy shit it’s hot, he thought.

“So what’s up with you? … You putting your garage addition on this year,” Johnny asked, fishing for the subject that had bought them outside.

“Oh yeah. Yeah it’s going up. Got the loan. It’s in the bank account. Hired Jeremy Jefferson. Starts in two weeks.”

“Shit. I’m hanging out over there every night after it’s done.”

“Me too,” Bobby agreed. They both laughed again. Bobby sighed heavily. “Cancer, man, the big C.” He sipped at his beer. “All through me… Nothing to do for it.”

Johnny was struck silent. “I don’t even know what to say,” he said at last.

“Well there’s nothing to say,” Bobby agreed.

“But you’re still gonna build that addition?”

“Yeah… Hell yeah… I’ve waited for that forever. Besides. I’ve known men that had a few months left to live that far outlived that.”

“That what they said? A few months.”

“At the outside,” Bobby said quietly.”

The silence spun out. A small group of bats left the tall chimney which was all that remained of an old plant across the tracks and flew across the moon.

“Damn Indiana Brown Bats,” Johnny said.

“Yep. Had to tear the factory down, but they couldn’t touch the stack. Had to fix it up instead… Preserve it… Christ they’ll be sticking money into that stack for the next several centuries to keep it up. Can’t let it fall it’s their natural home now.”

“Yeah… I was shocked when the EPA decided to do that.” The bats flew off and the silence returned.

“So… What you gonna do… I mean really… What are you going to do? What can I do?” Johnny turned to Bobby.

“Really nothing… Come on over and hang out. Watch the garage go up. I’m positive I’ll beat this shit. I don’t really even feel bad… Sick.”

“Sounds like you don’t believe it,” Johnny said.

“You know what? That’s right. This ain’t like being dead… I don’t feel it. I feel like it isn’t real. Just a phase in my life someone got wrong is all…” He made eye contact and winked. “Did you know that once Donnie tried to talk me into some land deal? Swamp land!”

“Yeah… I remember you telling me. Real swamp land too,” Johnny laughed.

“Bastard sold it all and him and his partners made a few million on the down low. Who would think you could sell swampland? Not me.”

Their laughter rose up into the moonlit summer sky. Bobby tipped his beer bottle, drained it, looked at Johnny, “Another?”

“Yeah… One more,” Johnny agreed and laughed.

October: Bobby’s House

Johnny Miller stood at the edge of the sidewalk and stared at the half finished garage. His German Shepherd Tank beside him. Ruth, Bobby’s wife, had stopped the construction as soon as he had died. The garage had sat there unfinished all through the balance of the summer and into early fall. He had heard the new owners intended to finish it before winter. He thought about that. Bobby Johnson was barely cold in his grave and some other guy was going to finish his garage and sit down and have himself a beer. A beer Johnny and Bobby had planned to have once it was done and never had. Never had, had the time for. Two weeks after their night at Jimmy Chang’s when Bobby had told him about his cancer; he had dropped dead of a massive heart attack. Forty three. Healthy. Worked out twice a week. Jogged. Bang: Out of the blue. And Ruth had already sold the house and been gone for three weeks. Gone for three weeks. Back to her people in Minnesota. Jesus please us.

Tank’s nails clicked on the pavement and Johnny looked back at the sidewalk from the garage. The German Shepherd wagged his bushy tail and cocked his head. Johnny smiled. So the big C hadn’t taken him. How was that for ironic? He wondered briefly about the life after death conversation they had, had. Well, he decided now, if there was some kind of life after death Bobby was right there. He lifted his head and looked around. Maybe even watching him right now. He wondered about that for a few moments and then the big dog whined, breaking into his thoughts.

“Yeah… Let’s go, Tank. Let’s finish this walk, buddy.”

Tank needed no further urging, eagerly examining both sides of the walk as he began padding down the sidewalk once more, tugging lightly at his leash. Tank crossed the short expanse of leaf strewn berm, stopped suddenly causing Johnny to plow into him, and then took off into the street dragging Johnny with him. The end of the nylon leash burned his palm as it Tank yanked it from him and broke into a gallop. Johnny lunged off the berm and into the roadway trying to catch it, but he was too late. Tank was already across the street as he straightened, chasing after whatever had caught his attention.

He began to straighten from the crouch he had found himself in when the entire world suddenly burst into bright light.

November

Sisters of Mercy Hospital: Room 357

Becky Miller smoothed the sheets that covered Johnny, careful not to disturb all the wires and tubes that were a part of who Johnny was now. Her brother spoke from the doorway behind her and she turned and gave him a strained smile.

“Sorry,” Dell Anders said. “I thought I would offer to sit for a while… Let you get a break… Some sleep.” He moved from the doorway and hugged her to his chest. He felt her chest hitch, once, twice and then she began to sob. He eased her over to the chairs and sat her down, pulled another close and held her as she cried…

Bobby Weston

…Johnny was walking the tracks that split the neighborhood behind Fig Street: It was night… Silent and he was not alone, a young boy walked beside him. Talking quietly as Johnny listened: leading him forward; guiding him through the darkness…

“…It’s me, Bobby,” the dream boy told Johnny Miller.

Johnny stared at the kid as they walked the tracks. He had noticed something was familiar but he hadn’t been able to place what that was. He looked down at himself. He was the same. An old man following along as a little kid walked the tracks, balancing on the rails. He stopped, lost for a second.

“You okay?” Bobby asked as he stopped and turned back to face him.

“Yeah… I think, but why are you in my dream? I didn’t know you then… This place… Did I?” Johnny asked.

“Yes and no. We share certain things.” He walked back and looked up at Johnny; his face serious.

“Will you come with me?” Bobby asked urgently.

This is the strangest dream I’ve ever had, Johnny thought. He stared around at the dark trees; the cold moonlight glinting off the steel rails. The young boy faced Johnny where he stood in the road.

“It’s no dream, Johnny, no dream at all, honestly. You can’t think of it as a dream either. If you do it’ll kill you, man. For real, I swear… Will you come?” Bobby asked again. His bright blue eyes seemed to glow as they locked on Johnny’s own.

“Where?” Johnny asked. The sound of his own voice startled him. It had changed. Become a child’s voice. A voice locked on the edge of change. A voice in between man and boy. He glanced down at his body and was not surprised to see that it had also changed. What he saw was a child’s body. And not just any child, but the same child he himself had been so many years before. The same wash faded jeans, with the same patched knees. He clearly remembered those jeans. Clearly remembered his mother carefully mending the knees. The same scuffed high top sneakers, with the same knotted laces. He raised his eyes and stared back at the small boy.

Bobby moved closer, seeming to float above the surface of the road. “Now. We need to go now. There isn’t much time,” Bobby told him.

The darkness split apart, and gray rock walls sprung up where the trees had been. In the distance Johnny could hear the laughter of children echoing against the cold stone walls. The laughter turned to screams. Shrill, panicked and growing closer, the low bass growl of a wolf mixed in with the screaming. Johnny started to move towards the sound.

“No! Bobby told him. “You’ll die. Not yet. We have to be first, see? We ain’t yet. It’s too early, man. Too early. you’ll die if you try to stop it now.”

“But?” Johnny asked aloud in his child’s voice.

“Home, man,” Bobby told him. “Home first, then here, after.”

The rock walls suddenly faded, replaced by a night darkened and quiet street. Houses lined one side of the street, a huge gravel lot filled the other side. Beyond the edge of the gravel lot long rows of leaning, crumbled buildings stood outlined in pale moonlight. The remnants of a chain-link fence ran partway down the street, still enclosing the buildings in places, overgrown and fallen in others. Johnny turned toward the houses and began to walk

“Here. Right here,” Bobby told him as they walked towards one particular house.

Johnny skirted the dirt front yard of the run-down old house behind Bobby. Peeling gray paint clung to the weathered clapboard, glass from the shattered windows lay glittering in the darkness. The few that remained were filthy yellowed panes set in crumbling frames, impossible to see through. Flecks of gray littered the hard-packed dirt yard. He rounded the side of the house and stopped. A long rope dangled from a broken second floor window. “Here?” Johnny asked.

“Here,” Bobby agreed. He began to climb the rope to the window that stood open above it. He paused part way up and stared back at Johnny where he stood watching. “Climb it, man. That’s my room up there.”

The rope was not nearly as hard to climb as Johnny had thought it would be. He made his way quickly to the top, and eased over the sill into the small room. The room was dark and quiet. He made his way to a narrow cot in one corner and sat down next to Bobby. “And?” he whispered.

“Morning. We gotta wait for morning. Then we can start. Then we can do something, see?”

“No,” Johnny whispered, “I don’t see… Start what? Do What?”

“We all gotta meet,” Bobby told him. “It’s hard to explain. You see, I was here. I lived here, and there are two other kids here. They live close by. We gotta do something important, see? And we need you. We need your help, man, get it?

“No,” Johnny replied honestly, “I don’t.”

“You will. Go to sleep, man. In the morning we’ll start. In the morning. It’ll be different this time. It will.”

Johnny laid down on the narrow cot and closed his eyes.

Sleeping in a dream, he thought. A dream about sleeping. Weird.

“Not a dream,” Bobby reminded him as he spiraled away into darkness. “Not a dream.” …


Fig Street from Dell Sweet, due this Fall from Smashwords, Amazon, Nook, Kobo and iBooks…



 

Cave man muffler job

Cave man muffler job

A few weeks back we were on the way home and the muffler fell off the car. It decided to hang on by the barest of thread and so it dragged all the way home and made a hell of a racket.

I consider myself a do-it-yourself guy. Sort of like a modern day cave man: Even if I can’t do it well, shouldn’t do it; been warned not to do it, I’m doing it. So I got on-line found the parts locally: Muffler and tail-pipe turn down piece and after nearly having to take a nitro over the price I looked on Amazon, where I buy everything, and found the same parts for less than a third of the local discount auto bargain fix-it-yourself guys price. I determined that since I have Prime and free shipping I could get the parts in two days and so I ordered them.

The parts came after much finger clicking and tapping and cat petting (I didn’t have to pet the cat the cat just wanted to be petted). I spent two hours on a piece of cardboard from a shipping box wrestling the parts into submission. Ye-Haw, I thought. I know, not very caveman like, but I am not sure exactly what a caveman would say since they didn’t have Chevy’s to work on. I believe back then all they had was Fords.

 

Mom drove the car into town… Well toward town… She made it a mile and then I heard one hell of a racket out front. I was in the back in my office. It sounded like someone started a lawn mower: One of those old ones that the muffler had rotted off of. Well, I was half right, it did have something to do with mufflers. Curiosity lead me to the front of the house where mom informed me the muffler had fallen off.

If you are a caveman you do not believe in this. Things you fix stay fixed. Bears sleep through winter. Naked bodies should have hair on them… So, I refused to believe this. I went outside and looked under the car and sure enough the muffler had fallen off. Impossible I said, yet there was the evidence in front of me. A new muffler all scraped up from being dragged home by the tailpipe hanger.

This is the part where I said some cuss words we have all never used and then I got out my trusty cardboard and crawled back under the car. Hmmm, I said. And hmmm again, and then I looked forward to see why the muffler had fallen off as it was obvious the muffler had been torn loose as the clamp was still attached. That was when I noticed that the entire exhaust was on the ground. All of it… All the way to the front of the car at the catalytic convertor.

They pay almost $550.00 scrap for a junk car now and I thought, well, ol’ Chevy you are dead meat. I had visions of Breaking Bad and Walter and Jessie crushing up the Bounder.

Sigh. But then I went back on-line, skipped the local’s this time and priced that front section of pipe to the header pipe. I assumed it was two pieces, maybe three. In the old days it would be, but it was all one piece. I found the same pipe, called the Resonator pipe because it has a built in resonator and a long pipe that joins to the catalytic converter and then extends to the wheel well and then all the way to the back of the car, for wide variances in the prices: From a few hundred to fifty bucks. I used a few more carefully chosen expletives having to do with things I use expletives for and then bought the pipe, a pair of ramps to drive the car up onto so my fat butt could crawl under the car, some clamps and some cat treats because the cat was right there and had seen the treats on my frequently ordered list and meowed. No stupid cat is my Houdini.

Yesterday I am editing a story and the last parts arrived and so I went out at noon and dragged out my now crumpled and smelly cardboard (It was rained on, and I think a neighborhood dog wizzed on it too) and went to work. Two things here: One; I am out of shape barely getting back on my feet, so I told myself I would go slowly, ha ha ha. Two, rotted, rusty pieces of metal are not having any happy thoughts at all, and this pipe system was no exception. I ended up having to cut the bolts off of the Catalytic converter where the resonator pipe joins to get it loose, that was after an hour of prep work, um, crawling around looking at this and that and wishing it would fall off. After I cut the pipe loose I realized there is a reason they do these things in a garage on a lift. How to get the pipe out? So I jacked one side of the car up and gained enough room to get the old pipe out and the new pipe in. I called that car so many names it turned from silver to red.

Anyway, in with the new pipe, back on with the muffler, all new hangers, bolts, clamps and voila a new system was in place. I went back into my cave with the other cave men and grunted with satisfaction. Tomorrow we are going hunting… er editing… Geo…