SG Scrapwood update, building guitars

SG Scrapwood update.


I did some more work to the SG project. I had last left it with places that I had filled and leveled out. The whole idea it to follow the grain on this which has been raised using a wire brush. So I spent a few hours sanding it all down and trying to get the deep scratches out of it.


I also built the rest of the loaded pickguard. I made a matte black mask for it, dug up some gold knobs to match the gold hardware, and adjusted some routing so it would all fit.


The other pieces, the nickle and the gears, will be countersunk into the top. Once I have all the scratches out I will spray this in two coats of black lacquer primer, sand that down to expose the grain, stain the grain and the exposed inset pieces and then clear coat it in two or three coats of matte clear.


Get a longer preview or get this guide at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Works-Seven-Scrap-Build/dp/1521869006



Check out Geo Dell’s Guitar Works series and learn custom guitar work #Guitar #Kindle #Luthiery GUITAR WORKS



 

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America The Dead episode five

Good Friday Morning…

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EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE

Based on the series by W. G. Sweet

Episode 5

PUBLISHED BY

independAntwriters Publishing

AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE

Copyright © 2013 by independAntwriters All Rights Reserved

Writers: W.W. Watson, Geo Dell, W.G. Sweet, G.D. Smitty

This book, in this blog format, is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book with another person, please point them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2013 independAntwriters. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the authors permission.

Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print..


EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S – AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE


CHAPTER FOUR

March 14th

Everyone was up early and ready to go before the sun was barely above the horizon.

“Yesterday,” Jake said to no one in particular. “Thirty two hours long.” Silence greeted his remark. Katie checked her own watch.

“So, like, that means things are slowing down,” Lana asked?

“You think,” Jake asked unkindly.

“Well, something like that,” Lana shot back defensively.

“Why would it go backwards,” James asked?

“Yeah. Wasn’t it supposed to stop, reverse and then start up again,” Lana asked?

“Maybe,” Conner agreed. “But that was all based on theory. No facts involved at all. I think they had some evidence that the poles had reversed at a few points in history before. And some legends that spoke about the Earth standing still for a day, something like that. But even so, that’s all theory. Not fact.”

“Yeah,” Jake chimed in. “It’s like an asshole. Everyone’s got one.”

“Don’t you mean opinion,” Lana asked sweetly?

“Whatever… We ready to go, or what,” Jake asked? Everyone followed him outside in the uncomfortable silence that fell.

~

“What’s up with those two,” Katie whispered as she followed Conner outside.

“Who knows,” Conner whispered back. James met his eyes and raised his eyebrows. Conner shrugged his shoulders and shook his head as if to say I don’t know.

“We may as well take all three trucks,” James suggested. “That way if we find stuff we want it’ll save us driving back to get them.”

“Easier if we get stuck too,” Katie suggested.

Jake shrugged his shoulders. “Fine by me,” he said. He headed for the Suburban with Lana right behind him. Jana and Katie headed for the pickup truck. James broke into a laugh and grinned at Conner. “Guess that leaves me and you in the old dinosaur… Want to drive?”

“After you,” Conner said laughing. James started the truck and pulled out last in line and followed the other two trucks as they picked their way along the edge of the ruined road.

~

“It was me that asked Jana to go with Katie,” James said as they followed slowly along behind the other trucks.

Conner nodded. His eyes following the sides of the road as James drove along. “I thought it was something like that,” he said. “What’s on your mind, James?”

“Well… A lot,” James said after a second or two. He hesitated a little longer. “I guess mainly to say Jana and I would like to go with you when you leave… And Katie, I assume.”

“Yeah,” Conner agreed. “I know that probably seemed kind of quick.”

“It’s a…”

“Quick world,” Conner finished. “Katie said the same thing. I don’t know how much better off we’ll be, but we’d be glad to have you two with us if you want to come.”

“We would. Jana and I talked it over. We talked all night long last night. I got nothing personal against Jake; he did alright by us, but he’s a little too…”

“Demanding…? Aggressive..?” Conner supplied.

James looked thoughtful. “I don’t know… Something like that. I just don’t see him being able to see this through. I feel like if we came back here in ten years we’d find him still holed up in that … He’s… I don’t know… Too immature to talk to about it. He has only one way of looking at things… That can’t work.”

“You’re probably right. He’d still be here with Lana… Probably with a couple of babies running around… But, maybe that’s not such a bad thing…Maybe that’s a good thing…” He shrugged. “The immaturity… I don’t know… It’s there though. Maybe he’ll move out of that. Maybe it’s just the situation.”

“Maybe,” James agreed. “But that’s exactly the time he should be mature, isn’t it?”

Conner nodded. James continued.

“So, maybe it’s a good thing, maybe it’s not. But not for me. I don’t want to stay here. Nor Jana either. I wouldn’t want to quit this unless I knew this was all there was. I mean, this couldn’t be worldwide, could it?”

“I don’t know,” Conner said softly. “But I agree. I know what you mean. Katie and I talked about it last night as well and came to the same opinion. It could be better elsewhere, and, whatever is right for Jake or Lana isn’t necessarily right for us. I was for going from the start. I have to know if this is really the end. If there’s anything else. If it is I’ll deal with it. Find a place to settle down. Thank God I have Katie, you and Jana… Maybe we’ll meet others on the way to… Well, where ever.”

“I think so,” James said. “There are people, other people around. We just got to find them… Or them us.”

“Yeah… We got to remember rifles or pistols… I hate to say it, James, but we may need them.”

“Yeah,” he nodded, “Yeah.”

They continued on in silence as the small caravan made its way past a collapsed building partially blocking what was left of the road.

“I think… It’s not my business,” James said, “But I think you made an enemy of Lana. She was thinking you would be with her…”

“Yeah… I could see that, James… I don’t think Jake was pleased either.”

James nodded. “Nope… None too… Him I wouldn’t worry about though. Her, she’s pretty spiteful. I’ve only known her for a week, but it’s enough. That child did pretty much what she wanted to I’ll bet… Used to having her own way… Getting what she wants… When she wants it.”

“Yeah… I can see that… But last night we talked about the journals; I’m keeping one, Katie is as well, Lana said she would… Something to leave when we leave…”

“It’s not a bad idea,” James agreed. “I’m not much for writing myself, but Jana might like it.”

Conner nodded. “Well, Lana liked the idea. She didn’t say she’d go, but she might… So, hate me or not, she might be with us.”

“Oh,” James said. “I see that. Maybe she’ll be okay… She’s a kid… Maybe she’ll change.”

“Guess we’ll have to see,” Conner agreed. “Guess we’ll have to see.”

James worked the truck up and over a huge slab of up-tilted asphalt and followed along behind the other two trucks as they made their way down the strip.

“What did you think of the idea that Jake had of fixing up one of the new trucks,” Conner ventured after a few minutes.”

“Won’t work. Or at least it won’t work without a lot of trouble. The new engines are computer dependent. We could probably find ourselves another motor, maybe even a new crate motor at a parts store somewhere around here,” James said.

“What’s a crate motor,” Conner asked?

“It just means a new motor, all crated up when it was sent from the factory. They sell them. Race cars. Old rebuilds… Like that. But even if we couldn’t find a crate motor, we could find enough parts to rebuild anything we would need to rebuild on nearly any vehicle. So really, when we’re done, we’d have what amounted to a new vehicle. Jake wants to oversimplify that. He thinks we can just find the parts and swap them out on the motor that’s in the truck. Maybe we can… I’m not that good though, and I don’t think he is. I think we should stick to what we can do for sure. Utilize what we have… The new parts.”

“That what you think we should do? Build a vehicle?”

“Yeah… Maybe two… Four wheel drive of course. Go right through them top to bottom. Everything new. It would take a few weeks, but we’ve got that and more. Meantime you could work on your Ham radio idea, “James finished.

“Can you get electric? Those big Ham radio outfits need regular power.”

“Yeah, that’s not a problem. We’ll just find a generator. That will give us all the power we need. We could even hook up a power inverter to give us one twenty in the vehicle,” James added.

Conner nodded. “So we’re going to jump right into this thing. Get ready to go?”

James nodded. “I’m with you. I’m not spending next winter in a cold factory building unless I have to. There’s a place in Tennessee… Maybe Kentucky.” He closed his eyes for a split second as if seeing something only he could see. He shook his head, frowned and then continued. “If not, I’m thinking the coast… Southern or western, either will do. Whichever one looks to be the better bet. And who knows how hard it’ll be to get there? So the sooner we’re ready to go the better.”

“I agree,” Conner said. “I’ll talk to Katie.

“And I’ll talk to, Jana. But we already talked…”

“So did we,” Conner agreed. They both laughed.

James angled the big truck around a final piece of asphalt and into a cracked and buckled parking lot. The two other vehicles sat silent; waiting for them.

As they left the truck Conner noticed that the store hadn’t seemed to incur any more damage since the last time that he had been there. The roof was bowed inward, it had been before, but there were plenty of upright pillars that supported the roof and they all appeared intact. At least the ones he could easily see. The supports were spaced about every sixteen or so feet.

“Safe,” Jake asked?

“Looks the same as it did the last time,” Conner allowed. Katie and James looked at him and he shrugged. “I’d say so. It looks the same as it did the last time I was here. It doesn’t even look as though anyone has been here.”

The scattered, powdered snow seemed undisturbed around the shattered doorway that lead into the building. Conner snapped his flashlight on and led the way inside.

The inside of the store told a different story. Someone had been there during the time Conner had last been there. Several of the glass display cases that held the weapons had been damaged. They were locked. Who ever had made the attempt had made it halfheartedly. The glass was safety glass of some sort. It had cracked, spider webbed, but it had not broken and caved in.

“Guess someone tried to get in,” James offered.

Jake held up a discarded crow bar. Even in the weak light they could see the streaks of scarlet on one end. Jake let it fall to the floor. The clatter was loud enough to make Lana draw in a quick breath in the broken silence that followed.

“Jesus, Jake,” She sputtered. Jake only grinned.

“Why does someone go through all of that when they could’ve taken a simple screw driver and just popped the locks,” Katie asked?

“Well,” Jake started.

Katie had walked behind the counter, taken a screw driver from her pocket and began to jimmy the lock mechanism. It was a cheap sliding set and easily bent to one side far enough to slide the glass door open. Katie smiled.

“Learn that up in the big city, Miss,” Conner asked with a smile.

Katie smiled back, reached inside the case, careful of the glass that had sprayed in small slivers from the spider webs in the top, and withdrew pistol after pistol, setting them on a wooden topped case next to the cash register.

“Forty five caliber… Nine millimeter, a cheap one though… Three eighty, kind of nice, though small… Here’s a much nicer Nine Millimeter…” She set several more guns on the wooden top, looked up with a crooked grin and asked, “Well, gentlemen…Lady… what will it be?”

“You really know about this kind of shit,” Lana asked in an awed voice.

“Obviously well enough to know what’s what,” Jake said.

“That’s right. Obviously well enough,” Katie agreed. She gave no further explanation.

“What do you think, Katie,” Jana asked?

“Yeah, what would be the best,” Conner asked?

Katie shrugged. “It depends on what you like. I like a three eighty myself. It’s small. Not as heavy as a Nine millimeter.” She pulled her own Nine Millimeter. “This was my Dads… A good gun, but I liked the Three Eighty I had… A Three Eighty won’t really knock somebody down, not like you see in the movies. But, a nine millimeter won’t always do that either. It’ll just make a bigger hole. If you want to knock somebody down you need this.” She held up the bigger forty five caliber pistol. She held the mostly black pistol easily in one hand. “This will knock somebody down and kill them… And, on the off chance that your aim was bad and you didn’t immediately kill them, believe me… They are not going to feel like getting back up.” She grinned. “It’s still not like the movies… You know, where you see them flying backwards through the air. But, it will knock them down and keep them there.”

“Jesus, Girl… I’m like in awe,” Lana said.

“Katie,” Katie said, “and thank you.”

“So how do you know all that…? Like for real? How do you know all that shit?”

“My dad was a cop… Not in New York, before we moved there. He had a thing for guns. I just caught it. When he knew I was going to be like him when it came to guns, he sent me for training… Safety stuff mostly, but I liked it so much I started buying my own weapons as well. I took the test… Eventually I would’ve had my foot in the door in New York. That’s a good department. I would’ve been in already if not for the economy. “

“The thing is I love to shoot. I’m good also,” she sighed.

“So… What will it be?” She let the smile return to her face, reached over and began to jimmy another of the locks on the sliding glass doors.

They spent the good part of two hours in the store. Camping gear; rifles, pistols and ammunition. Conner began to feel like they were equipping there own private army before they were done. Even so by the time they left everyone was carrying at least one pistol, and several rifles and boxes of ammunition had found their way into the back of the pickup truck. Katie, Conner noticed, had added a matte black forty five caliber pistol to the Nine Millimeter. She wore them in webbed holsters on a wide leather belt.

“I thought you preferred a Three Eighty,” Conner said half jokingly as he replaced the Nine Millimeter he had decided on back into the side holster he had chosen.

“I do,” she said. “For shooting… But like I said, a Three Eighty can’t knock somebody down.” Her eyes met his.

“Yeah… There is that,” Conner agreed quietly.

They spent a short amount of time looking through a small convenience store in the same parking lot. There was very little left. Most likely cleaned out, James voiced, by the same folks who had tried to take the guns. This was evidenced by smears of maroon on the counter tops. Even so they managed to find boxes of stuff in the storage area. They finished filling the backs of the trucks with basic First Aid stuff and several boxes full of Candy bars and junk food too.

The sun had been standing overhead for what seemed like hours. James Spoke.

“Hotter,” He said. “You can feel the heat. And,” He motioned with his hands, “the snow is melting faster too.”

“Got a theory on that,” Conner asked?

James shook his head.

“Maybe the whole process takes time,” Katie said.

“Maybe,” Jake agreed. “Maybe it’s not so easy to start something spinning in the other direction… And we don’t know if it really stopped or not. The sun’s coming up in the north, or it was, but that seems to be changing also. I don’t think it stopped all the way. I think it’s just got a different spin now. And maybe a different path.”

James nodded as did Conner. “I guess we’ll leave it for the scientists… Long as we don’t fall off the Earth.” He chuckled a little.

“Call it a day,” Conner asked?

“Yeah,” Jake agreed. “We still have to unload all of this.” There were a few halfhearted complaints, but everyone piled into the trucks and they made their way slowly back towards the heart of the city and the old factory that lay behind Old Town.

Jana March 14th

We are six people who have managed to stay alive through whatever it is that has happened to our planet. My husband James and I were fortunate enough to be protected by our spirits and brought through all of this.

I am Jana Adams; my husband is full blooded Blackfoot and a very proud man. A very good man as well. And not just to me. He treats all people well.

My mother was Cherokee and my father was French. I don’t mean French transplanted to this country. My mother met him in France. We are looking forward to whatever the Great spirits purpose is in this.

We have many young people with us. Conner Davis. He’s mixed race. Like many of us. He probably doesn’t realize it but he is in fact our leader. He’s in his early twenties. I guess the mixed race stuff doesn’t matter anymore, but I lived with it for so long that it’s hard for me to let it go.

James has suffered worse with those prejudices. Many other people besides me. Maybe the world is at that place where all of that stuff can be let go now? I hope so.

Katie Lee is a beautiful young woman. Her father is African American, her mother Asian. She has her father’s dark skin blended with her mothers features. Striking. I enjoy her company. She reminds me of my daughter. I don’t know how she fared in all of this. I suppose we’re all wondering similar things.

Jake Light. And, Lana, Marcia Lana Santos fill out our party. We are planning to leave here in a few months and head south, or west. The direction isn’t decided only the realization that we need to go. The thinking is that we should head south. Somewhere warmer. After all, there is no electricity here. And we are living in an old factory right down by the river. It’s not a bad , and we’re lucky to have it. Almost the entire city has been destroyed. Most buildings are unsafe to live in. This one was built up against the cliffs. It’s solid.

When we leave, we’ll leave all of that behind us. This is who we are. We will most likely continue to the south. We are currently looking for a Short Wave radio set to try to get in touch with others around the world. You, whoever you may be, may be able to reach us that way where ever we have gone to now.

James believes in the people. That the people will once again live on the earth the way they used to. James believes it, and so I believe it. I’ll continue to keep this book up while we’re here and include any useful information we can pass on to you before we go…

Katie March 14th

I guess I should start this the right way. I hadn’t thought about it when it was just me to think about. But it’s more than me. Or even those of us that are here now. It’s the ones who might come. Or will come after. So even if you figured out almost all of what I’m about to write I’ll write it anyway.

I read back over what I wrote and it doesn’t even seem like me. Like I wrote it. Like those things happened to me

My name is Katie Lee. I was living here when all of this happened. I’m not from here. I actually did live here for a while last year, but that’s a long story. The point is I’m not really from here like the others are.

My man is Conner Davis and we are with two other couples; Jana and James Adams, and Jake Light And Lana Santos. I came here with them; Conner was on his own then. I was too, even though I had people around me. I guess if you’ve read all of this diary you know what I’m talking about. I had Jana as my friend. This diary and my father’s gun. I Thank God for what I had, especially Jana.

Jana and James are older. They are really good people. Jake and Lana are younger. Well, Lana is. Lana’s even younger than I am, but Jake is quite a lot older. I don’t think anyone cares about that anymore though. At least nobody here does.

We are going to leave here sometime in the next few months and try to make it down to the Gulf coast. We don’t know for sure how that will go. I’ll keep this updated though until then. We’re going to leave these behind us. Hopefully they will be useful to someone. But I think I’ll keep my little Notebook. It means something to me.

Things we know: You can get trucks and cars to start as long as they are older ones that don’t have electronic brain boxes, as James put it. That is how we intend to go before winter or just after winter really lets go. Otherwise we’d really have to wait for summer to settle in before we could chance travel.

There are several sporting goods stores in the area. We’re all carrying guns now. It seems smart to do. Maybe I should say it would be stupid not to. We think it only makes good sense.

This building we are in seems stable, but many of the other structures in the city aren’t safe to live in. We don’t know if it’s even all over with yet. Whether there is more to come. We hope not.

We’re going to try to reach others with Ham Radios. We’re also trying to find a battery powered television set just to see if anything’s on the air. We’re hopeful. We’re also going to pick up some hand held F.M. radios. Walkie Talkies James calls them. That way we can speak to each other when we’re separated.

The sun is rising in the north. Really the North West. The days were long, then short, now going back towards long again. We don’t know what that might mean. Where it will end or even where we will be when it does end. And maybe end is the wrong word to use. We don’t know what began or ended; might begin or end.

I re-read that, I guess it seems melodramatic, at least to me, but it’s honest.

I’ll write more as we go along.

March 15th

Early morning darkness held the road that fronted the old factory. The moonlight, sparse, reflected off the rapids of the river.

A shadow moved by one of the pickup trucks. Another moved by the Suburban. The sound of sand gritting beneath the sole of a shoe came clearly in the shadowy darkness. The door of the pickup squealed loudly as it was carefully opened. The shadow paused looking towards the Suburban. The shadow there appeared to be fighting with the door to no avail. The shadow next to the pickup gestured quickly with both hands and the shadow next to the Suburban gave up on the door, crossed to the pickup and quickly climbed inside. Once they were both inside silence returned to the small patch of asphalt that fronted the entrance to the building. A few seconds later the pickup roared to life. The headlights snapped on, the wheels turned hard left and the driver launched the truck down what was left of the shattered roadway.

Voices were raised in alarm from inside the building, and within just a few moments everyone inside was outside. Lana, gun in hand, unloaded a full clip at the fleeing pickup truck. Both Jake and Conner snapped off a single shot, more in startled response to Lana’s’ shots than with any real hope of hitting the retreating pickup truck.

“Jesus,” Lana said breathlessly. “They stole our truck!” She turned and looked at Conner with wide, frightened eyes. “They stole our Goddamn truck,” She repeated. “How could they steal our truck?”

Jake headed for the suburban, pulled the keys from his pocket, prepared to unlock the door.

“Jake,” Conner called. “Where are you going, Man?”

That’s our Goddamn truck. I’m going to get it.” His eyes were wild. The truck keys in one hand, a pistol in the other. No shirt. Sock-less shoes, laces trailing.

“It’s an old truck, Man,” Conner said.

“It’s my old truck,” Jake said defensively. “And if I catch that fucker…”

“Fuckers,” Lana said.

“Huh,” Jake asked?

“Fuckers as in I saw two heads. Two of them. Not one,” Lana said. Her voice held a breathless, excited quality to it that Conner didn’t like. She was dressed in jeans and a thin T-shirt. She shivered slightly, whether from the cold or the excitement Conner couldn’t tell.

“Either way. One, two, how would we catch them? … And then what? Are we going to shoot somebody for stealing an old truck? Is that what things have come to,” Conner asked?

“Look, don’t get moral on me,” Jake said. He leveled his eyes at Conner. “I do things my way. You take from me you pay for it.”

Conner just stared back at him.

“You’re soft,” Jake said. But his fists, still clenched, dropped from the truck door and he walked away from the Suburban and back into the building.

Lana threw Conner a nasty look, finally managed to fish a replacement clip from her overly tight front pocket. Ejected the empty one into her hand and slid the new one into the pistol with a solid click. “Soft,” She echoed as the clip clicked home. She turned and walked back inside the factory. In the distance the muffler of the truck began to fade. It was hard to tell where it had gone. Which direction.

James stepped up beside Conner where he stood with Katie and Jana. “I’m not going to kill anybody over an old truck,” he said.

“Me either” the other three said in near unison.

“Guess we better start making sure everything’s locked up tight,” Conner said.

“We’re going to have to start keeping a watch,” Jana said.

“We will,” Katie agreed. “What if the next thing they want is a woman?”

“That’s not funny,” Conner said.

She leveled her dark eyes on his. Silvery moonlight reflecting from them. “I wasn’t trying to be funny. Now that they know we’re around…” she shrugged. “Lana may have overreacted, but… Maybe not…Who the Hell would pull a stunt like that anyway? Everything’s just lying around… Want a truck? Go get one… No… It’s a mind set. Someone who takes like that doesn’t take because it’s easy. They take because they like it. Because they can…” She lowered her voice, “Truck… Woman…. Might all be the same to them.”

No one answered.

~

Jake and Lana sat talking in low tones as the others walked back into the building. They had rebuilt the fire and the warmth and light spread out, glowing on the brick walls. “Jake,” Conner started.

“Listen,” Jake said. “I shouldn’t have said that… I didn’t mean to say that. And, no, it would be stupid to go chasing after a goddamn truck in the middle of the night. And, no, I don’t want to kill someone over stealing a piece of shit truck,” Jake said. “But that kind of shit can’t happen… I mean, what’s next?”

“Yeah,” Conner agreed. “Yeah. I guess what’s next is locked up trucks. No keys left in them. And…” He looked over at Katie. “I guess a guard at night… Katie said… She thinks someone who would come to take a truck might come to take a woman also.”

The silence held only for a second.

“Fuckin’ A,” Lana spat.

She looks positively rabid, Katie thought. “What I mean,” Katie said, “A truck… Maybe one of us… Who steals a truck when everything’s just laying around free to anyone who wants to pick it up?”

Jake nodded his head.

“Well as soon as it’s light I say we follow the tracks. If we’re careful it should be no problem at all,” Conner said.

“Goddamn right,” Lana said.

“Should be armed… I’m sure they will be,” Katie said.

“Not you… You’re not going are you,” Conner asked?

“I’m the best shot we have,” Katie said. “It’s that simple. If we don’t go after them,” she shrugged and then shook her head. “No,” she said. “The more I think about it, they’ll probably come back. And they’ll probably come back armed as well. Hell, maybe they were this time.” She looked at Lana.

“Lana saw two in the truck, but how many more were there? Or back where ever they went to,” she finished seriously.

“So. The idea is to take it to them before they bring it to us,” James asked?

“Got a better idea,” Jake challenged?

“No… No… But I’m no killer. It’s still just a damn truck…”

James finished.

“Yeah, tonight it was a truck, tomorrow it might be me… Or Katie… Or Jana,” Lana said.

James stayed silent, thoughtful. He sighed. “What a damn mess,” he said at last.

“It’s that,” Jake agreed.

“I got to agree, James,” Conner said. “It’s not the same world. What if they do come back? Do we decide then to do something? It might be too late.”

“Honey. I think it’s best to go get them,” Jana said quietly, her eyes on James’s own. Those eyes looked frightened, Conner thought. He supposed a little of that fright was resting in every ones eyes right now.

“I don’t like to be bullied or pressured into anything,” James said.

“Hey,” Conner said. “It’s no pressure, Man. It’s real. It really just happened.”

James nodded his head yes but a frown remained stamped onto his mouth. Deep lines scared his forehead. His hands twisted restlessly in his lap. He suddenly bought his hands together firmly. “Okay,” he agreed. “Okay. I see the point. I’ve done a lot of hunting. I’m a good shot with a rifle… … I’ll go.”


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EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE episode four

EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE


EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE

Based on the series by W. G. Sweet

Episode 4

PUBLISHED BY

independAntwriters Publishing

AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE

Copyright © 2013 by independAntwriters All Rights Reserved

Writers: W.W. Watson, Geo Dell, W.G. Sweet, G.D. Smitty


This book, in this blog format, is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book with another person, please point them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2013 independAntwriters. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the authors permission.

Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print..


EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S – AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE

This material is NOT edited for content and may contain 18+ content


CHAPTER THREE

March 12th

Conner closed his notebook and stuffed it down into his pack. Looking around the factory floor he was surprised how different a few more warm bodies could make it. It didn’t seem as cold, so oppressively quiet, so echo filled with any kind of sharp noise, so… so different. And it was different still. But different in a good way.

Katie had been watching from across the room where she had made a little area for herself. She hadn’t wanted to interrupt while Conner was writing, but now that he seemed finished she walked over to him.

“This was really nice of you,” she said as she walked up. “We were staying in that old school building. None to stable. Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in awhile.”

“Funny,” Conner replied, “I was thinking the same thing. For me it was just having others around. People.”

Katie smiled. She’s beautiful, Conner thought. He wasn’t normally a fan of tattoos, but she had some sort of tribal stuff that snaked up under her shirt sleeve. Just a hint of ink where her shirt didn’t quite meet the top of her Levies made him wonder just exactly where the ink ended. She caught his eyes and smiled again.

“Mind,” She asked, gesturing at the ground beside him.

“No. Sit down,” Conner smiled. “I have no manners at all. How

long does it take to devolve? I guess a little over a week.” He smiled again.

She laughed as she sat down. The silence stretched out for a few seconds, each of them looking around the factory floor as the others talked or settled in for the night. They both spoke at once.

“So…”

“Sorry,” Katie said and laughed.

“No, really. It’s that devolved thing again. Go ahead.”

She fixed her eyes on him. “I was just wondering what you were planning on doing. I mean, have you thought about leaving? I know you spoke a little bit about it yesterday when you were talking to Jake. But I could see you weren’t quite ready to fall in with the Jakeites yet.” She lowered her voice for the last.

Conner looked at her levelly. “Yeah… I guess it does show. I don’t dislike him. I don’t even disagree with what he said… I just… I just don’t know. We don’t click… Know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I do.” Katie answered. “It’s the same with me. I can think. I don’t need someone to do it for me.”

“Exactly,” Conner agreed. “But it’s a little more as well. Like Alpha male shit… This is my tribe… Me chief.” Conner finished in a near whisper.

Katie giggled but quickly clamped a hand over her mouth while nodding her head in agreement.

Conner continued. “I’m not really an Alpha male type of guy, but I’m not a dumb sheep either.”

“Me either,” Katie agreed, her giggles under control. She fixed him with her serious eyes once more. “So what will you do?”

“Probably like I said, like everyone else said, leave. But I don’t see why the south or the west wouldn’t be a good direction to go in. We’ll all see, I guess, as spring comes on, or as…”

“What,” Katie asked?

“Well. As this goes on. It might not be over yet. There might be more changes ahead. The days have slowed down, almost seemed to stop for awhile last week when the sun just hung in the sky. Maybe what was supposed to happen happened? Now the sun’s rising in the wrong place in the sky. Did the Earth’s spin reverse? That fast? Weren’t some people claiming we’d fall off the Earth? Something like that?” He took a deep breath.

“I guess I’m just waiting to see how this goes. What happens next… But in a few months, not far into spring, I’ll probably leave. Whatever has happened, is happening, should be over by then…” He smiled. “I guess that was a long drawn out answer.”

“No. Not really,” Katie answered. “I’m in the same place. I’m not sure what happened either, or if it’s all over. But I don’t think I want to live in a old factory forever either…” She looked around, “But who knows, maybe it’s come to that?”

Conner shrugged his shoulders.

“Anyway,” she continued. “I… I just wanted you to know I’m seeing it the same way as you. I mean… I mean I want to be on your side of it….” She locked her eyes on his and gave a firm nod, then flipped her short, black hair out of her eyes. She firmed her mouth, set her jaw, and spoke once more. “I’d like to go get my things… Move over here with you..” Her dark eyes settled on his own. “Be with you… I mean be together.”

“Quick,” Conner said.

She nodded and smiled, “Maybe it’s a quick world now. I’m taking you at face value, I guess. You don’t have a little harem locked away farther back in this old building do you?” She smiled.

Conner laughed. ‘Not hardly.”

“Well then,” she asked quietly, her eyes serious.

Conner nodded, which caused a huge smile to spread across her face. His own smile answered it. But, he thought, did she really mean…? He didn’t complete the thought as she stood and walked across the floor to where she had put her things and spent her first night. She turned and looked back at him. Conner stood and walked over to help her move her things over to his side of the factory.

Several pairs of eyes watched the move.

~

“Guess that settles that,“ James Adams said to his wife Jana.

His wife nodded, a slight smile on her face. For the last few days Jake had been pushing Katie. Jana had disapproved. Let the girl make up her own mind, she had thought.

“Maybe it’s for the best,” she said now. “That young man is much more likable, James.”

James nodded in agreement. The fly in the ointment might be Lana who had been making eyes at Jake since they’d first met, but who, for the last few days had only had eyes for Conner. James looked over just as a look passed between Jake and Lana. Oh oh, he thought.

Jana shook her head. She had noticed the look pass between them as well. “Maybe if those two get together it will level everything out,” she said softly. Jake had made it clear he was interested in Katie, not Lana, but the girl had made her choice. Jake would have to accept it. Jana felt Katie had made the better choice of the two. She turned her attention back to the conversation she had been having with James.

Jake watched as Katie moved her sleeping bags and back pack over to Conner’s side of the large room. He didn’t see what she saw in Conner, but it was her choice and she wouldn’t get a second chance with him. He frowned at his own thoughts. Don’t be an ass, he told himself. It’s not that serious. He looked over and caught Lana’s eyes, the question was right there. He nodded and she sprang to her feet like a rabbit. A mean look on her young face as she looked towards Katie. The look went unanswered by Katie. She turned her back to the girl as she walked back over to Conner’s side of the room.

~

Lana quickly gathered her things and moved them over to Jake’s area. Stupid, Bitch, she told herself. She can have the other dude. She’d only wanted Jake all along. Even the last few days, chasing after Conner had only been an attempt on her part to make Jake jealous. Jake would take her out of here. She hated this place and everything to do with it. Always had. Jake was tough. Tougher than the other guy. She didn’t think of it in terms of Alpha Male and territory, but it came down to the same thing. Jake was the top dog. Her top dog.

The fire burned lower as everyone settled in for the night. Some happy, some worried, some undecided, but everyone along for the ride.

March 13th

James leaned around the hood and looked through the windshield of the old truck. He nodded. “Try it, Jake.”

The motor turned over a half dozen times then suddenly fired and rumbled to life. Jake gave it a little more gas, pulled out the old fashioned choke. The motor smoothed out and began to run a little better.

James backed away from the engine compartment, a large smile on his face. “Know what this means,” he asked, raising his voice to be heard above the noisy truck.

Jake grinned and nodded back. “As long as they’re not electronically controlled they’ll run. We should find a few more.”

James nodded in agreement.

They had found the old truck in a lot out in back of one of the car dealerships out on the strip. The lot itself was wrecked; the buildings not much better, but hundreds of new cars and trucks sat on the cracked pavement, or pointed their noses or tails at the sky where they were half buried. The truck had been set up with a plow and they all agreed it was probably just used to plow the lot.

Before they had even gone looking for a vehicle Jake and James had gone hunting for a small gasoline powered engine. Lawn mower, Leaf blower. It didn’t matter, just something small without an electronic ignition or brain. They’d come up with a heavy duty chain saw. Several tugs and a little choke had got it running. That had convinced them that it would be worth finding an older, full size truck.

“We could convert one of these newer trucks. It would take some work but if we can find the right parts we could do it,” Jake said.

“Maybe,” James agreed. “Trouble is finding a block that’s still the same. Heads. Intake. It’s a lot to hope for. It would be easier to just fix the old stuff up. New tires, battery. We could even do the axles if we absolutely had to.”

Jake nodded his head. “Hmm,” he grumbled. “Guess so.”

James turned away. It was obvious to him that Jake didn’t like being disagreed with or second guessed. Yes, parts were parts, and if they were just parts, no problem. There were even kits to convert non-electronic ignition motors over to electronic ignition, but not the other way around. There were motors built mostly for racing applications that were designed to use carburetors and simple distributors. There were things they could do, but it wasn’t simple black and white.

He had been seeing more and more of this close minded attitude from Jake since they had moved into the . Jake had lost his place as leader. It didn’t matter that he had been nearly the only one who had seen himself that way. He had seen the situation that way, and now the situation had changed. He didn’t see himself as leader any longer and he didn’t like it. Oh well, James thought. He’d get over it or he wouldn’t. There was nothing for it except to watch it happen whatever way it happened.

Jake let the truck idle high for a few minutes then reset the choke dropping the idle down to normal.

“We got wheels,” Lana said happily. She, Conner, Katie and Jana had come walking back from further down the lot. Pulled by the sound of the truck starting from where they had been searching for other vehicle that would be good candidates for starting.

“We found three others that seem as though they might work out,” Conner said. “One’s an old crew cab state truck the other two are old pickups. All three are four wheel drives.” He grinned at James.

James laughed. “Well, let’s go get them,” he said. He turned and started away.

“Hey,” Jake said, leaning against the door of the truck, “Wouldn’t you rather drive?”

James laughed again. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Much rather.” Everybody piled into the Suburban. Jake pulled out of the back of the lot and headed back in the direction the others had come from.

Conner March 13th

Man, it’s been a long day. We walked out the strip to the car dealerships. Everything is torn up out there, but there are tons of cars and trucks. We found three trucks that we got running and we drove them back. So we have a pickup truck: A Suburban; and a big four door state work truck. One of those ones you always used to see along the highway when they were doing road repair. There were a few others we found that also ran, but they were in such bad shape that we left them.

Jake wanted to build one. I mean take one of the new trucks and put old parts on it. I got the idea from James that it probably wouldn’t work out the way Jake thought that it would. The right parts would be hard to find. I could see the idea. The appeal of a newer vehicle so we wouldn’t have to be concerned about break downs. But I could see James’s point of view too. I think it pissed Jake off though. But it seems that almost everything pisses Jake off.

I didn’t write this in here yet, but Katie and I are together. It just happened that fast. I was surprised in a way, but in another way I wasn’t all that surprised. Who knows how long this world will last? What it was that really happened? Maybe there is no time for slow anymore.

Katie said that and once I thought about it I agreed. Things are so different. And she’s right for me. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened this fast in the old world. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all. But everything’s changed. It’s all different and this seems right. It seems like the way it should have happened with her and me. The right way for it all to work.

It also seemed to work out for the others. By that I mean Jake ended up with Lana. She’s a lot younger than he is, but like I said it is a different world now. They seem to be happy together. I thought I felt some animosity from both of them at first. But either I imagined it or they’ve moved past it, got over it, something like that.

We haven’t discussed leaving again. It’ll come up. Katie and I want to go. I think James and Jana want to go. Jake and Lana seem to be against it. Lana keeps talking about how none of us know what it might be like anywhere else. Like she wants to throw that out before we even discuss leaving at all. Here we have food, shelter what’s so bad? I guess we have been talking about it without really talking about it at all.

Jake backs up everything she says with a nod of his head. He pointed out we have this old factory and we may not find that anywhere else. At least not easily. Maybe they’re right. Hell, they make sense, but it’s the attitude. The rest of us bend. They refuse to.

We decided to go out toward the mall tomorrow to the sporting goods stores, and also look at some of the markets out there. Something else I didn’t check out while I was out there.

Lastly: I’m glad Katie and I have each other. It makes all of this easier to deal with.

She asked me why I’m writing this journal. I felt kind of stupid. I told her why I started it though, and that I’m continuing it for someone in the future. Maybe a child? Someone to come later on?

I expected her to laugh that off, or look at me like I was crazy, but she only nodded as if that made perfectly good sense. She told me she has a journal as well. A diary, she said. Of course Lana jumped on that too. At first arguing against it, then saying she thought it might be okay. Jake said he wouldn’t do it. He said he’s not leaving to go anywhere and if someone shows up here he’ll be here, not some journal…. Okay.

It’s stuff like that that makes me wonder. And, anyway, I only mentioned it, it wasn’t like I wanted anyone else to do it or was trying to encourage someone else to do it. It’s that kind of a Jump on it attitude I don’t like. Like they think I’m looking to screw them over some how.

But it’s all good. I’m alive. I looked back at some of what I wrote in here. I had no one just a short time ago. I didn’t even know whether there was anyone else. Now I have Katie. We have some plans. Things we’ve begun to talk about. Agree about. A little ego trouble with Jake is really just bullshit in the scheme of things. I have to try harder to look past that. Maybe I’m too damn sensitive. And anyway things are good. This could be a lot worse…

A thing that bugs me and I can not figure out, where are all the bodies? I mean there don’t seem to be enough bodies to match all of those that were killed. It bothers me. Maybe they weren’t killed? But that makes no sense. Where would they be? I don’t have an answer, I only know it bugs me.

Lana March 13th

Hi! My name is Lana. I’ve never written a journal or kept a diary before. We’re all here in this . A , yes, we’re living in a dirty old abandoned factory. I can’t believe it! There are no showers. No toilets. No kitchen. Ha! We’re eating out of cans. It’s about as hard as it could be. I don’t know how it could be any worse than it is.

We’re all writing these journals to leave them behind in case someone comes after we, or some of us, leave. I might not ‘Cause I’m sort of with Jake right now and he doesn’t want to go. There are six of us; Conner, Jake, James, Jana, Me and a girl named Katie. We’re all stuck here until spring, I guess.

I guess that you know all about the world ending, or whatever it did. We don’t know. I don’t know. Not really anyway, but, hopefully we’ll get everything fixed up pretty soon. I mean, a lot of stuff is F’d up, you know? But, like, it could get fixed up eventually.

I had a boyfriend in the old world. His name was Paul, but I don’t know where he went. His apartment was gone. The whole street he lived on was gone. So I don’t know. It made me feel really bad. Hopefully this will be over really soon.

We have, like, some old trucks now to drive around. We used to have to walk everywhere. That sucked. The trucks are really old. Like Shit boxes as Paul would’ve said, but at least we’re not walking, right? Paul had an old shit box truck too. These trucks are even older. If we break down we can’t call Triple A. Ha Ha!

There are six of us and Jake thinks more will come to us; probably know we’re here and are just waiting. I guess that’s cool.

I don’t really know what else to write in here. I’ll write other stuff down as well though. … Oh, I’m almost nineteen…

Katie March 13th

I did it. I don’t know how I worked it out or where I found the courage to do it, but Conner and I are together. It’s like I wasn’t breathing; like I was waiting to breath. Something like that. All I know with absolute certainty is that tomorrow looks better. Isn’t that all that’s important?


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Twilight Zone Day and other yackity

Twilight Zone Day :

First thing this morning, I mean seven something, and that is early for me, mom dragged me to Walmart. Walmart before eight a.m. is the Twilight Zone. Including barely dressed people in night type clothing. What? I felt I was in a dream and actually dreaded turning down each aisle. I hate Walmart and although I liked the Twilight Zone series back in the sixties (Yes I really am that old) I don’t actually like being in a Twilight Zone setting. I struggled through Walmart. Did my surreal shopping and was back home before nine a.m. shopping done. Whoa… Also Twilight Zoneish…

I came into the Living room earlier in the day, about to cook brunch and mom was watching some show where they kept talking about Mothers Day. I was thinking, What? We already had Mothers Day, didn’t we? Is there another one that someone started and didn’t tell me about? A sneaky let’s screw up all the men sort of a second Mothers Day? No, but it had me for a few moments just the same. I made brunch and went back to work…

I finished work late afternoon and came out to start dinner and see if mom needed anything. I sat down on the couch for a moment. The heat has been crazy, oppressive, I hate it. So a weather update comes on and the woman shows seventies across the board. The the weather girl says “And if you are worried about the rain affecting your July 4th weekend, rest assured the rain will be gone before then.” I looked at mom and mom looked stunned too. I said.
“You know, this has been a Twilight Zone sort of day… Did she just say July 4th?”

“I believe she did,” sez mom.

“Huh,” I sez back. I looked around the room to make sure Stephen King wasn’t standing in a corner with a crooked smile upon his face. And I am listening to the weather girl at the same time, hoping she will say something like “Did I say July 4th? Silly me…” But she keeps on smiling and talking about seventies and rain. Finally it dawns on me we must be watching an old weather forecast they are showing for some unknown reason because it has been in the eighties and high humidity all week long. So at that moment I stepped out of the Twilight Zone for, I hope, the final time today…


Dinner; breakfast and dinner again…

I made this the last two nights. I often cook for mom and I, but on the weekends I cook whatever she wants and so I get the same treatment. This was my part of the meal I planned…

Ingredients:
1 Ramen soup.
1 can Pulpo
2 Chicken breast strips uncooked
1 hot pepper
1 can of black beans
2 tortillas
2 slices American cheese
2 eggs
2 pre cooked sausages

I made this last night and used the balance up tonight.

In a 12″ pan combine half of the can of black beans, the can of pulpo and half the pepper sliced thinly and left in long pieces. Add the chicken in thin sliced strips. Cook on low heat covered.

In the microwave combine a cup of water and the Ramen in a bowl and cook to a boil, about 3 minutes. Cover the noodles and let set. Throw away the seasoning packet, that stuff will kill you.

Add salt and pepper to taste in the covered pan. Simmer until the chicken is completely cooked, about 7 minutes.

Drain the noodles and then stir them into the pan ingredients. Cover the pan once more and simmer an additional few minutes. Turn the flame off and leave the pan covered.

In a separate 12 inch pan add a tsp of Canola oil. Turn the flame to a medium heat and wait two minutes until water flicked into the pan sizzles. Cook the tortillas about thirty to forty five seconds on each side. Stuff the first one while the second is cooking.

Stuffing: Lay the tortilla flat, add the cheese slice first, then add one quarter of the cooked material. Fold the tortilla top and bottom and then roll it from the sides. You should have a sealed product that looks like a burrito when you are done. Do the second tortilla.

I made home made fries and a burger for mom…

Eat your first night dinner…

Breakfast the next morning:

In a 12 inch pan combine the other half of the can of black beans and leave space to cook two eggs. I also added two precooked sausages that I first microwaved for 1 minute to thaw. Let the beans and the sausages cook as long as it takes to cook the eggs.

In a second pan fry two tortillas, again 30 to 45 seconds per side. Load them up with the beans and one egg, one sausage each. Fold them into a burrito or leave them loose. Eat your breakfast.

I made eggs over easy and toast points for mom…

Dinner the second night. Reheat the other half of the beans, pulpo and Ramen. Serve it in a bowl or on a plate. Use a fork, don’t be an animal… 

I made Pizza for mom…

You can substitute rice instead of Ramen noodles, but I found Ramen fits nicer in the burritos, rice tends to fall out, at least if you are a slob like me. Also your mom might want something other than burgers, eggs and pizza…


A true story:
Back in the late seventies my brother Dave and I went for a ride one day. I saw a white Plymouth sitting in a field. It had been hit in the front and it looked as though it had been sitting a while. I was and still am a car fanatic. I have owned more muscle cars and plain fun to drive cars than anyone I know while I was growing up. And I grew up poor so I had to fall into deals as otherwise I would never have been able to afford any of those cars. We parked at the side of the road and went to the house. The woman that answered the door told us the sad tale of the car her son had bought new and wrecked with just a few hundred miles on it. For whatever reason it was parked in the mothers side yard and left for dead.
Over the years of sitting there the motor had set up. The back tires had been stolen or misappropriated for something too, but the interior and the entire car from the front doors back looked like new.
Dave and I worked on the car, but couldn’t get the motor to budge. I had a hundred bucks on me that was burning a hole in my pocket. On the way down this particular road I had seen a set of nice chrome rims for sale with tires that looked like they would fit the car. So we went back down the road to check them out. They looked right and so I bought them for twenty bucks and we went back to the wrecked Plymouth. I was a cheap guy so I offered the lady $60.00 for the car, even though it was worth a few thousand fixed. I pointed out that I might be buying junk as it wouldn’t even turn over and so she agreed.
I’m sure Dave thought I was stupid, but that probably wouldn’t have been the first time that sort of thought crossed his mind concerning me.
The rims fit. That was absolutely a fluke, or luck or something like that. We hooked up a chain to the back of my car and Dave began to tow me home. A mile down the road I thought… “Hey, what if I put it in gear and pop the clutch…? Maybe that would force the motor to turn over.”
I popped the clutch; the whole drive line held tight and then the motor let loose and a few seconds later the car coughed and began running.
I fixed the front fairly cheaply, I had some bodywork skills and sold the car for something like $800.00 dollars a week or so later. I made a good profit on the car. I tell the story because I took something that almost anyone who looked at it would have written off as junk and I made about a 600% profit.
I approach life that way and it almost always works out for me. It is a you-never-know-until-you-try situation. It builds skills and it teaches you to have faith and confidence in your own abilities…


Hope you enjoyed some of this. Come back often and check out my blog, Dell


New From Dell Sweet: Alabama Island Only on Kindle Paperback onAmazon

Software you can get free or nearly free

MAKING MUSIC

I like to write lyrics and have done so for a very long time. There have been periods in my life where I was a serious musician and dedicated and then I shifted my attention to other things as time went by.
Even so, I never lost my love for music, or for writing songs and lyrics. That is where a great deal of the drive to build guitars comes from. An instrument I would like to use, something I will actually play and enjoy, and something that will make things easier for me or make creating music a better experience for me.
When it comes to an audio DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) I had no intention of investing huge amounts of time, effort and money into software if I didn’t have to. And, there I so much out there that it seemed impossible to me that I would be able to look it all over, download it, test it and come up with likes and dislikes, but over the last few years I have done that.
Most of what I chose to use comes from the Public domain in the form of Open Source or freeware. Let’s face it, if you want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars there are plenty of places that will gladly take your money and sell you something. But if you are like me and you simply want to record your demos of your lyrics and music you can get by with a lot less. I won’t be the one to say that you might be able to squeak by all the way with this stuff, but there are some that do and I think maybe you could.



Audacity: Audacity is what I use to record with. It is free open source software you can download and use just as it is. Or, you can download it, search the Web for VST plug-ins, load it up and use it like that. There are hundreds of VST plug-ins that are free or open source that will work with Audacity. This software records from a Microphone input, Guitar cable to USB. It recognizes and takes audio feeds from your computers ports for Line In. When I am using this to record something from another piece of software I simply use a short patch cable and run my external front panel headphone jack straight into my front panel Microphone jack. I then start Audacity, find that input and I am set to record that audio. You can use a program called Jack that is supposed to be able to join other pieces of software to this audio interface, but I have never had luck with it, and an 1/8 inch stereo patch cord for less than a buck does the trick nicely. And, I am not recording more than one input at a time.
Once I have all of my audio recorded to Audacity I can open it in the window as above and blend or mix it. I can also try different filters on the audio, stretch it, shorten it, take care of latency issues, pretty much anything I want to do. When I am satisfied with it I can save that final render as a WAV or MP3 file, and of course I can store all the separate components as Audacity Project files so that I can do another, different re-mix at some future date.

Get it here: http://www.audacityteam.org/


Chord Pulse: Chord Pulse is a nice, easy to use piece of software. This is one of the tools I use to lay out my music. Every project I do starts here. If you have a basic knowledge of music structure, specifically chord structures, you can easily build your basic song here in just a few moments. I play out the song on one of my guitars, note the chords and changes, and then lay it out on the interface for chord pulse. I may have to play with it a bit, beats per minute, the style I want behind it, but once I have that locked down all I have to do is play it.
Chord Pulse adds a bass-line, drums and the basic chording, or complex chording if I take the time to lay it out. Whatever I lay out is what it will play, backed with a drum-line and a bass-line too.
Once I’m happy with it I can export it as a MIDI file, or save it as a project to use within Chord Pulse if I intend to add more pieces, lead, bass runs, that will be used within the song.
Once I have the basic file I can take the BPM into Hydrogen and beef up the drum beat, or save it as a MIDI and use it in LMMS and add more backing tracks to it, or swap out instruments via sound fonts or VST plugins. Really, the possibilities are endless. A note: Chord Pulse is not freeware, but in my opinion it is well worth the money at under $30.00 U.S.

Get Chord Pulse: http://www.chordpulse.com/


LMMS: LMMS is a full, open source, as in free, DAW. All the things I use different software to do it can do in different ways. I use it more and more as I learn its capabilities, and I suspect a day will come when I use only it to create a song from start to finish because it has those capabilities.
It can read and play sound-fonts. It can assign a MIDI part to its own file and it will allow you to assign different instruments to that file. Was it a piano piece? Well you can make it a Sax piece, or a bass run, or even a drum beat. Let your head take it where you want it. You could very easily spend days playing with your MIDI import file and sequencing it until you get it where you want it. Or, you could spend a few moments with it and be satisfied.
It uses VST and LADSPA plugins. It reads MIDI and it saves to a native format for your project files as well.
I often use layers in my writing and sequencing, and LMMS is perfect for that. It is also a perfect looping tool. I can do a quick guitar piece, loop it, and have an entire backing.
Once I am happy in LMMS I will send it to Audacity via the patch cable and save it as an Audacity file.
Get LMMS now: https://lmms.io/



Hydrogen: Hydrogen is Open Source Software. Free for all uses private and commercial. I use Hydrogen to supplement my drum beats, but it can be used for much more than that. For me it is easier to learn as I go, and so I stick to the features I want from the product and pick up the other bits and pieces as I go along.
Hydrogen is user friendly. You can put together a beat in just a few moments. For me, I bring my info over from Chord Pulse in the form of style and Beats Per Minute. That BPM is really all I need to get a beat going that will sync with my original beat nicely, and either supplant it completely or compliment it nicely. That’s it. When I am done I can save that beat as a MIDI and take it over to LMMS or chord patch it directly to Audacity. Either way I have want I want. I tend to save all the musical pieces I generate as MIDI files so that I can use the VST functions in LMMS and swap out instrumentation.

Get Hydrogen Drum Machine: http://www.hydrogen-music.org/hcms/


Songs I Made With This Software

    


Some eBooks I Have Written

            

Earth’s Survivors: World Order from Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors: World Order from Dell Sweet

The Fold
March 12th Year two
Jessie Stone’s Journal
We had walked for days. The desert seemed never ending, plateaus, sand dunes, the bleached bones of cattle. The sun rose, the sun fell. On the fifth day we came upon the river. It was wide and deep and seems never ending. From then on we followed it.
It had taken weeks to walk out of the Nation: South after we found a highway, then west once we left the snow behind. They might have killed us putting us out in the middle of winter like that. Maybe meant to, I can not say. We found vehicles somewhere in Mississippi and started for the coast.
We lost David outside of Arizona. We had been fighting the dead as we traveled, and they seemed to have become less and less. One morning we were searching the remains of a small border town, deserted we thought, when we were suddenly attacked.
The dead had been easy to handle. They seem sickened. Slower, barely there. Like they had contracted some disease that was taking them out. I can not count the times we have come across corpses scattered on the highways or roads. Vacant buildings. It is unnerving. Especially since we do not know why it is. David fell into an old well while he was running. We managed to pull him out hours later, but he was gone. Janna was destroyed: She still is, I really don’t know if she’ll make it.
For the record I would like to say that David’s death is on the shoulders of The Nation: We were not given a choice in our leaving. Since this journal will be part of who we are, will document The Fold as it continues to grow and is established, I want the understanding to be there from the beginning of our creation. They forced us out, simply because we challenged them. They forced us out in the cold of winter with nothing but the clothes on our backs. They did allow us weapons, but only because I begged them for them. Conner, Jake, Aaron and a few others, and the guards that turned a blind eye as we were marched by them at gun point in the dark of night. There it is, understand my hatred for The Nation and her people, and understand why we have come to this place to build our Fold where any and all are welcome.



Read More instantly: https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-World-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01C99NG14

A free look at the Zombie Plagues book four

Posted by Geo 07-27-2017

A free look at the Zombie Plagues book four

The weather keeps jumping back and forth between 80 degree days and 60 degree days, sunshine and then days of rain and the lake keeps rising. Slowly but surely the new warming is coming: I can feel it.

I will leave you today with a free preview from The Zombie Plagues…


THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES BOOK FOUR

Created by Geo Dell

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell

The Zombie Plagues Book Four

Copyright © 2010 – 2013 by Geo Dell, all rights reserved


This preview is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please point them to this blog. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

The names Geo Dell and Dell Sweet are publishing constructs used by Wendell Sweet and his assignee. Copyright 2017, all rights reserved, portions copyright 2010, 2012 and 2013.


THIS MATERIAL IS NOT EDITED FOR CONTENT!

Recommended age: Age 18+


Hazleton

Bear climbed up the steel ladder they had leaned up against the bus. Beth sat looking out at the street in an aluminum lawn chair. She turned as he made the top and smiled. Bear smiled back, turned and looked back into the junkyard for a moment. The view was unobstructed. The yard stretched away before him. He turned back to the front. A house lined street, like any house lined street, in any city. He assumed it went on into Hazleton, but they had not followed it.

“Quiet?”

“Very,” Beth agreed. “These zombies don’t seem all that interested in us. Or… I don’t know, they’re stupid… mentally slower.” She shrugged

Bear nodded. “But I wonder if it works the same. I mean, I wonder if these just haven’t caught up yet. And when they do, I wonder if they’ll be as bad as the others.”

Beth looked back at the house lined street beyond the bus. She had been watching the street, occasionally turning to the junk yard, and watching the fence line for hours now. She had seen two dead. Both had been farther down the street, a good quarter mile away, so far that it may have been the same dead woman both times. She had not really gotten much of a look the first time. “I guess I’m just glad we don’t have to fight them like we were. The brain rest is good.”

They both fell silent. Bear crossed and sat in the other lawn chair that had been set up on top of the bus.

“We should probably move out in a few days,” Bear said. “It’s nice, but it’s not getting us any closer to where we want to be.”

Beth looked over at him. “Where do we want to be, Bear?” she asked.

“South… west?”

“You thought about these people that have this city all set up?”

“Yeah, except I haven’t heard anything at all about them on the radio. I wonder, if it truly did exist… if it has fallen to the dead. Just because they aren’t too smart here doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”

“So you don’t want to look for it?”

Bear laughed. “Have you considered that maybe I am not a man who can live a settled life, that maybe my life will always be in flux? I mean, in…”

“I know what flux means.”She smiled again “I am no dumb girl, Bear.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to…”

She held up a hand. “I know you don’t think I’m a dumb girl. I over explain sometimes. Or react,” she colored. She turned away and looked over the street.

The dead girl was back, wandering the street, stumbling from house to house, slamming into the houses as she found them, apparently unable to see them or stop herself. She and Bear watched as she wandered up the street toward them and the bus that would block her way.

“I guess a place to call home,” Bear said. “The year is going by so fast. We need people who know how to plant gardens, raise cows, things like that.”

Beth laughed. “You? A farmer?”

Bear looked at her and smiled. “Uh, no. I’m not going to pretend either. What I would like is to be working steel again. That’s what I did all of my life. But that’s not going to happen. This will sound crazy, but I think… This really will sound crazy. I’ve thought about it, and it sounded crazy to me when I said it to myself, but I think I might drift.”

“Drift? You mean like a cowboy in a movie?”

Bear laughed. “More like a biker movie I saw once, but I think I did get the word from a western. Yeah… Just drift. I don’t think I want to settle down yet. I’ve been here one day and it’s old. Lonesome Dove … McMurtry. I think that was where I read it.”

“Good book,” Beth agreed. “So a woman can’t tie you down.”

Bear had been watching the dead girl stagger up the street. He turned now and looked at Beth. She met his eyes and held them. She looked away first

“Sorry… Not my business,” she said.

“It would depend,” Bear said.

“On whose business it is?” Beth asked.

“No. It would depend on the woman,” Bear said quietly. Beth locked her eyes with his again. This time Bear looked away.

The silence spun out. The dead girl slammed hard into the side of a garage three houses down the street, got up, stumbled to the back of the house, across the rear lawn, and then walked off the end of a retaining wall that dropped into a deep ravine at the back of the house. She emerged a few moments later rolling in a loose flap of arms and legs down into the pit far below. One leg flew up into the air and just kept going.

“Ouch,” Bear muttered. “Jesus.”

“Took half her ass with it too,” Beth said.

Bear choked trying to hold the laughter back. “You are a sick puppy,” Bear managed after a moment.

“Hey. You laughed too. Besides, if she had made it three more houses I would have shot her, and she would have lost more than a leg and half her ass.”

Bear choked again. “That is so fucked up.”

Beth laughed back. “It is… I’m sorry. Look what’s become of us.” She choked her own giggles back. The silence came back again. In the distance, somewhere over in Hazleton, smoke began to rise up into the air, a thick black pillar. Bear watched it, as did Beth.

“That did not start on its own,” Beth said.

“Nope,” Bear agreed. He laughed again.

“This is amusing?”

“No, but the situation is, because right about now I’m wishing I was somewhere safe and warm. Drift my ass.”

Beth laughed. “I don’t want to go see what that is.”

Bear sighed. “Neither do I, but I’m going to. Can’t chance they come looking for us tonight. If we can see their smoke it’s a bet they can see ours.”

Beth stood. “Me and you? We can leave this to Scotty. It’s about time to get him and Winston up anyway.”

“Winston is up. Didn’t see Scotty though.” Bear stood too.

“Send him back. I’ll wait,” Beth said.

Bear nodded and turned to the ladder.

The Garage

The van was stripped down, wheels and frame gone, its doors off and interior stripped out. It was just a shell suspended from two A frames over the truck frame. Bear whistled as he walked by and headed up to the overhead storage area where they had set up sleeping quarters.

Scotty was up and getting dressed. “You came to get me? Must be something up,” he said as Bear walked in.

“Yeah. I hate to do it, but I need you to take my shift on the bus. Beth and I are heading over into Hazleton. Smoke, just a short while ago. I guess if they didn’t want us to know, they wouldn’t have started a fire. I’m guessing, but I’m sure they can see our fires here.”

“Take it to them before they can bring it to us?” Scotty said.

Bear shrugged. “I guess it could be good news. Maybe others that might want to travel with us.”

“But you don’t think so.”

“Nope. If they were interested in joining, they would have come over. We have fires that have been going since we got here. How could they miss it? No. Instead they start a fire on the other side of the city. Suspect.”

Scotty tugged his last boot on, shot the laces through the steel hooks that ran up each side of the boot and tied it. “Let’s go,” he said as he stood from the edge of the bed.

They were walking into the garage when Beth called on the radio.

“Company, Beth says,” Billy told him.

Bear swore. He had clipped his radio on his belt but had not turned it on. He plucked it from the belt and flicked the knob. “How many?” he asked.

“Three,” Beth answered. “But they’re attracting a crowd… dead. So don’t be surprised if you hear gunfire.”

She was no sooner done talking than gunfire erupted from the direction of the gate. All four men ran from the garage and headed for the bus.

Bear yanked his machine pistol free from the sheath that held it across his shoulder. He flicked off the safety as he ran.

Donita

They were not hers, and she did not understand them. There had been others she had met along the way that were the same. Dead, passed over into this new life, but not like her. There was no better explanation for it. These were slow, empty vessels full of holes. She could not lead them. They could not hear her voice or any other. She let the boy and the twin run them down. But they were not really good training for them.

She was on the outskirts of a small city. She and the three with her had spent the day before in the woods, not far from the city, going in at night to find the living. They were in those same woods now, Donita limping along, the twin and the boy at her side, the big man behind her. One leg had been a mangled ruin. It was still not much more than that, and she had taken shots to the chest that were healing too, but her body was rebuilding itself as she walked.

Her one remaining twin had lost an eye, a head shot that had ruined her face. It was rebuilding, but Donita did not believe the eye would come back. It seemed to be healing into a twisted mass of scar tissue that covered that side of her face. The boy was unharmed. The big man had taken most of the shots protecting the twin and the boy, but he was healing too as they walked, faster even than Donita was.

The living had thought they were like the other dead that they had found in the town, slow and stupid, so they had not been prepared for the reality that she had taken to them.

She had found them in the basement of an old farm house. No one guarding, or if there had been, they had fallen asleep. She would take six that were meant for her. The others she gave to the boy and the twin. The big man helped her with the six. It had seemed to go smoothly. The ones that were hers were stretched out on the cold concrete. She waited while the others fed. But the night passed and the morning came, and they had not come back.

It was late in the day when they did come, and they were not hers at all. They were the same slow, stupid, infestation that she had found within the town. Malformed, undeveloped. Not hers at all, not able to be made hers. She had let them go, set them free. They were no use to her at all.

They had wandered away immediately, into the small city, walking into houses, cars, street signs and whatever else was in their way as they stumbled along. She had watched them go. Blind babies, empty vessels that would never be anything more, and then the second bad thing had happened.

She and the others had been in the basement when the breathers had set it ablaze. She should have known they were there, felt them, sensed them, known, not only that they were there, but what they were about to do. But she had felt, sensed, nothing at all until a second before the house went up in flames. She had barely managed to get herself out through the small basement window that faced the rear of the house. Even then, she had nearly lost her own.

The breathers had been waiting and opened up on her as she crawled through the window. But they expected the slow, stupid ones, and that was their downfall. Donita had screamed and launched herself at the nearest breather, riding him to the ground where she had ripped his throat out before he or the others could react. That bought time for her own to get out of the basement and the burning house. Three more of the breathers had fallen before the others had fled. The big man had picked her up and carried her back to the woods, and she had lapsed into twilight as the healing began.

When she had come back to herself, they had set out through the woods. The longer she walked, the stronger she felt. She would not make the same mistake again, she told herself. She looked over at the twin with her now scared face. She would not make the same mistake again, she repeated to herself. And they would pay for this. They would pay. She remembered their scent, would never forget it, and they would pay.

Bear

He was up the ladder faster than he would have thought possible. Billy, Mac and Scotty were up next, but the firing was over. It had not come from Beth, except at the very end. There were half dozen dead laying in the roadway a hundred yards from the bus. Directly below, as Bear walked to the edge and looked down, two frightened young kids stared up at him. Teens, maybe, he told himself, not much past that, and they were both carrying machine pistols, yet they had somehow allowed the dead to get as close to them as they had – a girl and a boy. The girl had a gash on one side of her face and looked pretty bad off. He glanced back up at the dead in the road, and then let his eyes fall on the other houses on both sides of the road. Nothing and nothing. He looked back down at the two.

“How did you get injured?” he asked the girl.

Beth stepped up beside him. “Dead girl had her pinned to the ground. She wasn’t hurt before that. Had the boy too.”

“That’s a fuckin’ lie! A fuckin’ lie!” The boy screamed. “They never touched us… never. We got away,” he added in a near normal voice. He turned and looked back down the road at the dead, and when he did, Bear saw the blood leaking from his hairline. He looked back at the girl and her eyes were locked on his, staring up at him.

“Girl?” Bear asked.

She frowned and then nodded. “I don’t know. I think I cut it on the road… He did,” she turned and pointed at the boy. “They slammed his head into the road,” She tilted her head as she looked up at Bear and then Beth. “It might have been. It was this close,” she held her index finger and thumb barely apart. “Could have been.” She cleared her throat.

“We been here. We didn’t just get here. They’re dumb… They can’t even get out of their own way. But we found some this morning that weren’t dumb… somehow,” she seemed confused. “Set them on fire. Some got away,” she shook her head, staggered, and then her eyes cleared. She continued, “Hell, maybe all of them got away. The thing is, they weren’t stupid. Not like the ones we’ve been dealing with,” she shrugged. Her eyes fluttered as she spoke, and she staggered again.

“Sick,” Beth whispered.

The boy looked up. “I’m telling you, they never got her at all. Never did.” His own eyes were glazed, no doubt due to the head injury hiding under the hair that was slowly darkening and becoming plastered to his head. The blood was bright red now, flowing down his neck. He held the girl for a second, but it seemed all he could take, and they both sagged to the ground.

“Goddammit,” Bear muttered. “I guess that explains the fire though.”

Down the road, three dead staggered into the street from a house where they had seen several others come from. Before Bear could speak, Mac and Billy dropped all four with just a short burst from their weapons. “Getting a lot better,” Bear said. “A lot.” They said nothing. He looked back down at the girl and boy and then walked away and looked over at Beth.

“I am not for it. I think she’s sick… Maybe not the boy, but what the fuck can we do?” Beth asked.

Bear nodded. When he spoke, his voice was a deep whisper. “Nothing. He’s not going to leave her.” He leaned forward and looked down at her where she lay curled in the boy’s arms. He was out. Maybe not coming back. The blood was still pumping from his head and flowing down his neck.

Bear squatted and peered down at the girl and the boy for a few moments before he spoke again. “What do you think of her hand?”

Beth squatted beside him and looked down at the girl. She stood and shook her head. “I can’t tell. It looks like she’s turning. Turns black, you know, but just under the skin… like… like a spiderweb flowing out under their skin. Bad description, I know,” she finished.

“Not really. Pretty close to what I have seen. Looks like the capillaries just under the skin turn black. Takes no time at all… spreads to the rest of the body. Can take the finger, hand, foot… if you’re fast enough. Stop it right there. I’ve seen it done.”

Beth met his eyes. Her voice was low. “Can’t take her head off. She’s got the other cut on her face and that seems to be turning black too… around the edges. Can’t tell for sure yet.”

“No. Looks it to me too.” Bear sighed. He rubbed at his eyes and then turned to Billy. “How long do you guys need to finish your project?”

“Rest of today. Tomorrow to test it and make sure it’s okay.”

“Yeah? All that work and that’s it?” Beth asked.

“Not as complicated as it looks. It’s swapping out the body, really. Everything is in the wiring harness, just run it into the van cab… wire up a switch. The big deal is mounting the body. I have a welder, I have a gennie, but I’m not so hot with welding.”

“Really? Well, like I said, I am. Show me what you got, what you need, and as long as you can juice up that welder, I’ll get it done for you,” Bear said.

Billy laughed. “Man. That’s good. I was worried about it, but…” He broke off as Bear turned away and looked back over the edge of the bus. “I’ll wait for you… get the gennie fired up. I have to cut some plate steel and make what I need you to weld. We’ll be waiting.”

Bear turned back and nodded. “Be there in a bit.”

Billy’s eyes slid up to Mac, and a second later they both turned and made their way down the ladder.

“Scotty… we got this, Scotty.” Bear turned and looked at Scotty. Scotty nodded, relief clearly written on his face, turned and hurried down the ladder.

Bear reached into his pocket, pulled his pouch out and rolled a cigarette.

“Roll me one,” Beth said.

“Yeah? This is rough stuff.”

“Yeah. Roll me one,” Beth repeated.

Bear rolled a second cigarette, handed it to Beth and then struck a match. Beth leaned in and pulled a deep breath as Bear held the match to her cigarette. He lit his own, looked over the edge, and then tossed the match after he shook it out. His eyes looked down the street where the three dead had now become four, bumping around parked cars. One had walked into the side of a house. It kept backing up and then walking straight forward again, slamming into the side of the house over and over again.

One had found the middle of the street and was drunkenly staggering its way toward them. Bear flicked his machine pistol to single shot, raised it, sighted and squeezed the trigger. Half the zombie’s head instantly disappeared from its shoulders. The other half seemed to hold together for a moment and then toppled to the left. The zombie dropped in to the street in a heap. Beth coughed beside him. He turned.

“Jesus, Bear. Rough is not the word.”

Bear nodded and then looked down at the two teens. The girls face was beginning to darken, her hand was a mass of small spidery black lines. The boys head wound was slowing, but there was a fine mass of black lines running across one cheek. “Guess that answers that,” Bear said quietly.

Beth took a deep pull off the cigarette and rubbed at her temples with her free hand. “Is this the way it’s going to be, do you think?”

Bear’s cigarette dangled from his lower lip, seeming plastered there. “No…” He raised his eyes. “We’re gonna find that place and settle down there. No more of this shit.”

Beth flicked her cigarette off the edge of the roof. “Bullshit. I don’t see it. I don’t believe it exists, and if it does, I don’t think you can settle down.”

Bear took a deep pull from his own cigarette and then flicked it off the roof too. He said nothing, but leaned forward and looked off the edge of the roof. He looked back up and held her eyes for a moment. Beth stepped forward too, shrugged her machine pistol from her shoulder and into her hands. She raised her eyes to Bear. He nodded, thumbed his pistol to full auto, and sprayed the two where they lay up against the bus below. Beth’s pistol hammered away too. They were brief bursts, but they did the job. They both backed away a moment later.

“Okay?” Bear asked.

Beth nodded.

Bear slipped his pistol back into the sheath on his back, walked to the other side of the bus, snagged the ladder and dragged it upward. A moment later he was lowering it on the other side.

“Got you,” Beth said tightly.

Bear climbed down the ladder. A few moments later he was pulling the bodies away from the side of the bus, dragging them over behind the nearest house and rolling them down into the ravine that the rains had cut into the hillside there. In less than a minute, he was climbing back up the ladder and then pulling it up behind him.

Beth watched the street. There were two more dead that were getting closer. The one was still slamming repeatedly into the side of the house down the street.

“Okay?” Bear asked quietly.

She turned to him. “Yeah. It is what it is.” She thought for a second, but didn’t know what else she could say.

Bear nodded. “I’ll send Scotty back.” He waited for a second.

“Got a pint… Got a couple actually…” Beth said.

“You offering to buy me a drink?” Bear asked.

She held his eyes. “I think I’m offering more than that. I don’t want to cause problems…”

Bear nodded, “I’ll send Scotty. We’ll take a little walk. We can talk this out, I think.”


I hope you enjoyed this free preview. Check out the Zombie Plagues at the links below.


The Zombie Plagues series: KindlePaperback

All the books on Amazon

That is it for me today. I hope you enjoyed the free reading. Check out the entire series at the links above! I’ll be back next week…

Free eBooks this weekend and a free short story

Free eBooks this weekend and a free short story

Free eBooks for this weekend! Download them absolutly free from Amazon for the Kindle…

TODAY: Guitar Works six is a free download all day today, July 27th! Get it right now. Learn custom guitar work! #Luthiery https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Works-Six-Seven-String-ebook/dp/B073ZKM7PH

FRIDAY & SATURDAY: Geo Dell’s Nation Chronicles: Zero is a FREE Download Friday and Saturday! The 28th and 29th #Horror #Kindle #ebook https://www.amazon.com/Geo-Dells-Nation-Chronicles-Fiction-ebook/dp/B0745LRWPR

SATURDAY & SUNDAY: The Legend of Sparrow is Free Saturday and Sunday, the 29th and 30th. Downloads it free! #Kindle #Amazon #Mythology https://www.amazon.com/LEGEND-SPARROW-Wendell-G-Sweet-ebook/dp/B06XRM98LP


Enjoy your weekend and here is a free crime story to cap off your Thursday…


Lucky Liv – © Copyright 2017 Dell Sweet Used with permission


This material is protected by copyright laws worldwide. It is used on this blog with direct permission of the author and publisher.

It is not edited for content.

Appropriate age: Over 18


Lucky Liv

Liv Spencer had never known Rich not to answer his door. She had called him twice and someone did pick up the phone, but had said nothing. She was worried, but more than that, she needed some heroin. She needed it. Rich always took care of her. Not only did she need his help, she had no idea where else to go for help like his… Caring like his.

She stood outside in the cold predawn rain for fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes. That had seemed like forever. Fifteen minutes was all the time in the world when you needed to fix. It was every clock, every watch in the world ticking away. Hell it was everything in the world. There was nothing else. Fifteen minutes and she finally started trying the doors. Front door, back door, locked. She hadn’t really thought about the garage door, but finally she tried it. It was unlocked and it was also badly damaged at the lock set. That had made her stop.

The rain had stopped. She stood on the wet blacktop by the door thinking what she could say…

“The door was unlocked, Richie… I found the door unlocked, Rich… I just touched the handle and it turned, Rich… It was busted… It was already broken, Rich. I turned the handle and it just sort of fell open… It fell open, Rich. I needed you, Richie, the door was unlocked…  I needed a fix, Richie, where the fuck were you?”

She practiced more excuses in her head, but finally it didn’t matter that the door had been broken. She shut down the little alarm in her head that had begun to jabber about that. All that mattered was that the door was not locked and she needed to fix. She finished turning the knob and stepped into the garage.

The garage was lit, but only dimly. She made her way to the door that lead into the house, nearly tripping over a bunched up section of carpet someone had left laying by the door, and tried the door to the inside of the house. It wasn’t even closed all the way and began to swing open as soon as she touched it.

“Rich?” she called. Her voice was a rusty croak. “Richie!” She stepped further into the shadowy kitchen.

“Richie? The door was open, man. I called… The door…” She stopped when she saw the bodyguards lying in the hallway. They seemed tossed aside like big overstuffed rag dolls.

“Oh God,” she moaned. And immediately two things began to fight inside of her. The need to turn and run, because something was definitely fucked up here at Richie’s house: There was absolutely no doubt about it. And, the second thing, the need to get fixed. To stop the itch, even if it was only a little: Even if it had to be coke to tide her over… Something… And it didn’t look like anyone here was going to try to stop her… No… Nobody…

Run?… Stay?… Run?… Stay?… She stepped into the hallway, took a shaky breath and stepped carefully over the bodyguards.

The exercise room was off the living room. It was glass walled, you could exercise and watch TV on the big screen, or you could watch TV and the exercise room too. No one used the exercise room except the bodyguards and Richie’s oldest daughter. But this morning the view through the glass was anything but normal, and it took some time for her mind to wrap itself around it. When it did she bent over and threw up on the deep pile rug of the living room.

She looked back up from the carpet, staring through the glass for what seemed like minutes to her, wondering who would do things like that to another person; to people who were walking around, breathing, talking, living their lives just a few days ago when she seen them last. She’d never seen anything like it. Not even in the horror flicks she liked to watch.

She bent over double and threw up again. She continued to heave until nothing came up, not that there had been much to throw up in the first place. She staggered back into the hallway, got one more look at the two bodyguards, Karl and Geezer, still dead she saw: Karl’s brains were leaking out of the side of his head like some gelatin creation. She looked away quickly and staggered into the kitchen. She sat down at the stools that lined a small counter. The place she usually found Richie sitting. She sat there for a few seconds and then remembered the small counter was also a bar and sometimes rich kept a little something else back there too.

She got up and went to the sink, ran the water, drinking right from the tap. She swished the water around in her mouth and spat, then did it a few more times. She bent closer and splashed the cold water on her overheated face. Pushing the excess off her face with her hands. She straightened and walked back to the counter which, from this side, was open and stocked with all sorts of bottles of booze. All high test. All the good stuff. No bad ones in the bunch. She grabbed a bottle of imported Russian vodka. The label entirely in Russian, all the printing too: All that writing that looked like backwards writing to her that she could almost figure out. She snagged a clean water glass from the top shelf and filled it with the vodka. Her eyes fell on the small refrigerator under the shelves.

He kept some shit there. In the top. In the freezer section, she thought… Sometimes… Most times in fact that she could remember… He had said, “Wait just a second,” and he had walked right over to the bar, opened the small refrigerator, and come back with what she needed… Was it every time or almost every time, she asked herself?… She couldn’t remember. She was usually too fucked up to think about it, but she thought it was nearly every time. And she thought it was the freezer because it seemed to be where he reached.

She sat on the stool and sipped at the vodka. Loving the fire that it ignited in her stomach. No one would know… No one would know at all… She had seen Richie’s BMW in the other stall of the garage. She could take that to get away… If the keys…

She looked over at the small hooks just inside the kitchen door. The BMW keys looked back at her. She could see the little BMW medallion on the leather fob. She licked her lips, took a deeper sip of the vodka, let it burn its way down into her stomach. And now she could feel it inside, working its way down further, making her thighs warm. Hot even. She looked at the small, compact refrigerator again. She licked her lips once more, got up and swung the small door open.

Her eyes bugged out of her head. She had never seen the inside. She had only assumed that it was a refrigerator, but it wasn’t. It was shelf after shelf packed tight with shit. Pot, cocaine, heroin, crack, crank and pills… Probably E, she thought. And at the very bottom stacks of money. She forgot to breathe and nearly toppled over off the stool before she remembered to take a breath again. She took several deep breaths and then went over to the kitchen sink and found the garbage bags underneath. This is not real, she told herself. It’s just not real… But it was. She knew it was. She could feel that it was. She took two bags, slipped one inside the other, and then loaded everything in the refrigerator into the bag. All of it. She hefted it and then went back and got a third bag and slipped it over the first two.

She was on autopilot now. She crossed to the rack, took the keys to the BMW and walked into the hallway. Gelatin, she told herself, just gelatin, as she stepped over Karl and Geezer and then started down the steps that lead down into the garage.

She nearly tripped over the carpet again, looked down, saw one slim dusky gray hand that had slipped out from under the carpet edge when she tripped over it, and quickly looked back up before it could cause her to lose her happy thoughts again.

She opened the garage door. She had thought it would be so hard. She had been convinced it would be, but it was easy. Push the button, the door went up. She climbed into the BMW, set the black plastic bag on the passenger seat, backed the car out of the garage, and then came back and pushed the button to close the door. She stepped back out the side door, shut it as well as she could, then opened it back up, turned the knob on the handset to lock it, and swung it closed once more. It was broken, but maybe it would lock anyway, she told herself. She looked at the dented gold handle of the knob for a moment wondering what had happened here, and then turned and walked back toward the BMW. No going back, her mind said. No going back.

She was nearly to the BMW when she bent double and heaved. The vodka came back up. Burning her throat raw as it did. She slammed down onto her knees, skinning them, and retched until the nausea finally passed. She got up slowly, straightening her clothes as best she could, turned, and that was when she saw the kid standing on the sidewalk. She tried to smile as she staggered toward the BMW.

“You okay, lady?” the kid asked.

She looked at him. Sunday morning, before dawn. The newspaper carrier bag slung over one shoulder. Sunday papers. Maybe he was 16. Maybe 17. Well built. Healthy, unlike herself. She needed to dry out. Funny, a few minutes ago all she had wanted was a fix. Now she didn’t want to ever touch heroin or anything else again. Dry out, be normal. She’d been sixteen herself not so long ago.

“Are you?” the kid asked again.

She shook her head. “Probably not… But I will be… You got a girlfriend?” she asked.

The kid shrugged.

“You want to have an adventure?” She straightened up and looked at the blood running from one of the cuts on her knees. She raised her eyes to the sky and then looked back again.  “Maybe get out of this crappy fuckin’ town?” she asked quietly.

“With you?” the kid asked.

“Yeah, maybe I’m not so hot right now, but I clean up real well… Yeah, with me. There’s no one else here. Want to deliver fuckin’ newspapers the rest of your life? Or maybe get some shit-job flipping burgers someday?” she asked. She allowed a little laugh to slip into her low voice.

“No,” the kid answered.

“Can you drive?” she asked.

The kid looked at the idling BMW, the driver’s door hanging open. “Yeah,” he said a little breathlessly. He looked back at her. She smiled.

“I’m… I’m going to be sick for a while… Kicking the shit, you understand? The big H. The big H… I’ll need help… You’ll take care of me… Won’t run off and leave me?” She wobbled a little on her feet.

“Took care of my mother before she died… I can take care of you… You won’t die though, right?” His eyes looked worried, but he shifted the carrier sack from one shoulder and let it drop to the wet pavement.

“Nope,” she answered. “But I’ll probably wish I did…” She looked at him, “You’ll really stick it out?” She watched his eyes.

“Yeah… I’ll do it,” he said.

“Liv,” she said.

“Brian,” he said. He stepped toward her.

“Well, Brian, better get me into the fucking car before I pass out,” she said as her vision blurred. She wobbled, but he was right there. More substantial than he had looked. Stronger. He pushed the plastic bag off the passenger seat, belted her in, and then went around to the driver’s side. He backed out into the street.

“Where… Where to, Liv… Where are we going?”

“Down south… Stop and buy a map at a gas station. Take us south. Get a motel when you need to. When I… When I get crazy… Okay?”

He nodded as he drove. The BMW accelerating smoothly on the rain slicked streets. “I only have about 20 bucks,” he said.

She laughed, worked her way into the bag, drew out one of the stacks of money and handed it to him. She pawed through the bag taking out all the money, stacks of it: Slipped the bottom bag off, put the money in it and then tied the bag with all the drugs in it.

“You saw all the money? That bag’s got a lot in it. Take it wherever you go and be careful,” she said. “This shit?” She lifted the other bag and pressed the switch to roll down the window. The air felt cold, but good. She flung the bag into the woods that lined the side of the road. And then she burst into tears. It was gonna be so hard.

She pressed the button and the window whispered closed.

“Take care of me, Brian. Take care of me,” she said. She closed her eyes, rested her head against the glass and passed out.

~

“Liv… Liv… Come on, Liv, you got to do this on your own. There are people watching… They’ll think it’s funny if I carry you… Maybe call the cops,” Brian said.

“Oh God, I’m sick… I’m really fuckin’ sick… Leave me the fuck alone, I mean it,” Liv said.

“Liv?” he bent and pulled her upright from the car. They were in Pennsylvania. Near the Catskills. The night was not just cool, it was cold: The cold air brought her awake.

“Okay, Okay… Where are we… Where are we… Fuck… Lead the way… I’m okay… Not so goddamn fast… Slow… I hate to puke,” Liv said.

Brian had toed the door to the cabin open after he had unlocked it, and then edged it partially shut with his foot as he left to get her. He would get her into the bed, lock the door and set the alarm, then he’d get the stuff out of the car after he got her settled… Maybe a shower first too.

He had rented the cabin for three weeks. It was the best he could think of and he thought it was pretty smart. They would have privacy while she got better.

He asked himself a dozen times today why he was doing this, but he didn’t have any solid answers. Maybe because he had no family left. Maybe because he was tired of living in Foster Care with people who didn’t want him. Maybe because he had watched his mother die from this same shit. Crack had done her in instead of heroin, but it was all the same shit. Maybe it was Liv too. Maybe it was a little of both. He had never known anyone who had walked away from their life like this: Never, it was like starting over. Like getting a second chance. He had decided that, that was the main reason.

They passed one couple on the way to their cabin. He smiled politely, helping Liv along.

“A little too much to drink,” he heard the woman whisper to her husband after they had passed by.

He smiled. Good. Let them think that, by the next time that they saw Liv, she would be on her own two feet. He helped her into the cabin and laid her down on the bed. She instantly curled up into a ball holding her stomach. He got her into the bathroom just in time.

Once he got her cleaned up and into the bed, it was close to midnight. He made his way back out to the car, retrieved the stuff he had bought today: Leaving her sleeping in the car; panicking the whole time that she would be gone when he got back, but she had still been there. It had been okay. He grabbed the bag of money too, and carried everything back into the cabin.

It took a few minutes to get the loose cotton pajamas on her. The room had a huge bathtub, and after he had helped her into the bath and bathed her when she couldn’t stay awake to do it herself he was a lot less embarrassed. Besides, there was no one else to do it. He put antibiotic cream on her knee and bandaged it up. She drifted in and out while he did it, mostly to tell him to leave her the fuck alone, but he knew she didn’t mean it. He got some vitamins in her and got her to take a couple of aspirin and drink some juice: She was out cold a few minutes later. He turned the TV on low, smoothed her hair away from her brow and found something to watch.

~

Los Angeles, California

Liv and Brian

Liv sat next to the pool. Her skin was dark, healthy, and glowed under the hot California sun. She had never been to L.A. until now and it was beautiful. In fact she had never been straight long enough in her life to do much more than think about where the next high would come from.

That wasn’t exactly the whole truth, back in junior high school there had still been a real, vulnerable girl inside of her. That was only five years ago, but it felt like it was closer to five hundred years ago. Five million years ago. She almost felt young again, hopeful. Like the young girl she had been back then.

She looked over at Brian in the chair next to her. Somewhere in all of what had gone on in the first months: the sickness, the crying fits, the depression; she had stopped being so mad at the world and had fallen in love with him. He seemed so naive to her, but he wasn’t. The only other woman that had ever mattered to him had died a crack addict, still using, HIV positive with full blown AIDS for the last six months of her life. The two had used her up, what the crack didn’t kill, the AIDS virus had.

They had talked about it for hours. She had no idea how he had managed, he’d only been fifteen. Fifteen and he had taken care of her. And then when he should have been able to go on with his own life, the state had snatched him up and put him in Foster Care. Life had been tough, but she thanked God for him and the fact that his life had been so tough: Taught him such hard lessons. Someone else would have left her on her own. Not Brian. He had stuck it out.

His hand came over and touched hers. He squeezed lightly. She liked the feel of his hand in her own. She bought it to her stomach along with her own and held it as she drifted off to sleep.


I hope you enjoyed the free short story. You can get more in the Crime Time Collection this short story came from.

Crime Time: iTunes | Kindle | Nook

Some changes and Private Investigations short story

Some changes and Private Investigations short story Posted by Geo 07-24-17

Happy Monday! Things are proceeding with the Sixth Earth’s Survivors book and the decision has been made to make that book the last book in the series. I don’t make the news I just report it. With Dell out of the circle there were bound to be changes to the way things run here.

The other thing that will change soon is the short stories that Dell once published on Amazon. Those will be put in a collection. Really just an effort to clean things up a little.

As for me I will continue to write the Zombie Plagues and it will remain on Amazon only. I do make the decisions on that series. To the best of my knowledge nothing else will change.

I will write this blog on Monday’s and pass along news and updates. I think that the changes that are coming will be good for those of us left here. Dell will write on Fridays when he can. If he can’t I will cover, when I can’t he will cover; same as it has been.

As far as Dell goes: The step away is for health reasons. If something changes in the future I will print it, but I won’t go over and over it. I don’t want that, you don’t, neither does Dell. The unpublished Earth’s Survivors books and the rest of his work are going to a friend. They will decide what to do with that work, or even if anything should be done with it. As for everything that is on the table right now I will look at it all and make the decisions project by project.

It’s summer here in New York, but the weather is rainy. Later this week we are supposed to get colder weather and then more rain. That will teach me to complain about the heat.

Here is a short story from Dell. He has several dozen unpublished short stories I hope to compile for him soon…


PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS

Copyright Dell Sweet – 2015 by Wendell Sweet and his assignee’s. All rights reserved. Dell Sweet is a publishing name owned by Wendell Sweet, independAntwriters and their assignee’s.

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 this blog entry at Geodell.pcgeos.com.  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


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.

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.

I hope your week is great! Check out these series below…


ZOMBIE PLAGUES AMAZON:


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: His fingers felt at his lips: It was not going to be fine. There were chunks and pieces of his lips attached to both lips. Thread woven from one to the other had held them together. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo-ebook/dp/B00VDAFFHO

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: Tommy awakened. He blinked; squinted and tried to see better. No good; pitch black and although he was a man who had little natural fear he had begun to panic right then.

https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo/dp/1980509255


KINDLE: 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

PAPERBACK: 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


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Southland: If society collapsed today could you survive? Follow the survivors as they pick themselves up and try to rebuild their world. A world with no government… No protection… A world where the dead do not remain dead… https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W1TDLD6

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Southland: He stepped out of the truck to the ground testing the leg. Dark blood covered a large area of the outside pant leg just below his hip and the blue denim fabric was shredded and burned. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980510393


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: “They won’t come. In the city they knew how to get around… Out here,” Patty 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. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X148XZ5

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: They filled their tanks two hours after dawn at a collapsed gas station next to the interstate. A hand operated Kerosene pump made the job quick. The only hard part had been locating the underground tank. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689434295


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The attack came fast when it came. Mike only remembered the details after the fact.
Molly had, had the right side, Tim the left, Mike had taken a lead of fifty feet or so right up through the middle of the tall grass. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X7CSB7Z

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The zombie hit the ground in front of him, thrown back by the force of the bullets: A huge section of her side blown away, one arm gone, but she had no sooner hit the ground than she was rising to her feethttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1689464321


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Return: They were parked in the middle of the highway. There were three dead zombies lying scattered in the highway. They had been living in the SUV when Zac and Amanda had happened along. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X5MDR81

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Return: She laughed and took another deep hit off the joint. Okay, she admitted to herself, forty-eight, she had been a beach baby and the sun had played hell with her face and skin. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689478268


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:
Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X86FLRT

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. From the circle they would take the park. https://www.amazon.com/dp/168969615X


I hope you enjoyed the short story. Have a great week and we will see you on Friday! Geo

How did you write that

Dell Sweet 07-24-17

I recently published a story in a magazine, and had a conversation with the editor about writing and how it works for me. I said that what I do is take a mental outline of what I want and go from there. I usually commit those same ideas to paper. I don’t usually publish short stories in magazines, but the process was interesting and made me put some real thought into the interview answers.

It is pretty simple to have an idea, or a story-line; we all get them, but that doesn’t write the story, you have to do that and the first thing that you have to do is believe in what you are writing. If you do not believe in it no one else will, because you will not be able to convince them it is real or viable. For instance; if you want to write a zombie story, but you have no faith that you can, you more than likely will not ever write the story, because no matter what you do write you will not feel it, believe in it and so you will continue to reject it until you hit upon something you do believe in; or give up entirely.

I do not know how you write, but the writer friends that I have talked to have all been in that place where the words stopped, or the phrasing won’t come. The thing is it does not matter. And the reason it does not matter is that you are allowing yourself to get caught up in all the trivial things of your proposed story, so much so that you have frozen your creativity. You have no story because you are not allowing yourself to write it. You have dammed up that stream. Stopped the flow of information. What you need to do is just write, and there are a few reasons for that.

First: Write it because writing moves you past that initial word on paper place. Just write. It doesn’t matter if it is misspelled, it doesn’t matter if the punctuation is incorrect, it doesn’t even matter if you have no idea where you are going with the story, even if it seems that it is not adhering to your outline: Just write it; let it flow. You can fix all the other stuff later: And you wrote the idea down so if this story coming to you is not the story you wanted, write it anyway: It is a gift; take it write the other story some other day.

Second: Write it because the words will disappear if you don’t get them down on paper. I have heard many writers say, “I had better write this stuff in my head down on paper before I lose it.” or “I had this story in my head, I should have written it down, I did not and now it is gone.” I have never heard a writer say, “I guess I will write this story down that I have stored in my head from two days ago.” They don’t say that because it is gone, so write it down.

Yes a story idea can get in your head and be there for months. Drive you crazy, but that is the idea for a story, not the story itself. The idea without direction, and that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about sitting on the couch watching TV, or driving to work in your car, and suddenly an idea hits you and goes past that and starts to formulate into a story, and you know that it is ready to be written out…

So here is this guy and one day the world as he knows it ends. The Earth stops being predictable, if it ever really was. The buildings, houses and roads buckle and are consumed by the Earth in places. Earthquakes hit and destroy nearly everything he knows. And just like that his life is completely changed forever. I wonder what he would do?

It took me several tries and forty years to write that story out. Most of that was because I left for the streets at fourteen and spent the next two years living there. From there I went into the service. From there I became married, and then life took over; but the need to write that story never stopped. I wrote three books about it that no one ever saw, and then I lost those books for almost 30 years.

The notes above were written in 2009, me rethinking the earlier books I had lost. It made me write it out again, and it became another book. As I followed that need to write that story out of me it turned into dozens of composition notebooks full of other manuscripts, short stories, plays, lyrics, millions of words that I finally realized I could write out of me.

You see, writing is not about anyone but you. Sure, the popular authors will say things like “I wrote this one for the fans.” And in some ways that is true, but in all the ways that matter it Is not true at all. You wrote it because it was in you and it needed to be out of you so you opened up that doorway between your mind and your form of expression and you wrote it out of you. Gave it a life. It does not matter if ten thousand people hate it. If one likes it? That will make it all worthwhile. So it was for no one except you. It was because it was there and it was time for it to be birthed and you birthed it. The fans just gave you the ability to have an audience to read it.

That story I spoke of above became the original unpublished version of Earth’s Survivors. Not the story that became a series about the rise of the dead. This is a story about people struggling to survive. There was not one Zombie in that story. The dead, in fact, were not part of the story at all until far into the series, and even then they had only one book.

When I was in the process of publishing that book, it was the first thing I had published in more than thirty years, someone said, “You know, publishing has changed. This is a good book, but it probably will never sell a single copy, because it doesn’t have zombies or vampires or werewolves in it.” That bugged me. I slipped back into that anxiety mode most writers find themselves in when they first publish… The editors are cutting out this and that, changing this scene, deleting this character, it is not what I wrote any longer… That sort of stuff.

I should have known better, because I had already published years before and gone through all of that, and never published again because I hated the process so much. I saw this new self publishing as an opportunity to publish something my way: The way I wrote it.

All well and good, but the thing is that some editors, friends, people in your circle really do know better than you do. So I yanked that book, went back, wrote zombies into the plot line: Had a blast doing it, and then published the Zombie Plagues.

It took off, and I hated it. I felt like I had succumbed to the temptation to go for the cash, lost faith in myself that I had a written a good book that could have made it without zombies/vampires/werewolves and sold out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed writing a zombie series, but the series of books I had written in all of those composition notebooks was not written as a zombie vehicle. It was written as a series about people picking up the pieces of their world and starting over.

It was my need to get that story out of me that made me finish the original story when there was no market for it: When The Zombie Plagues was a going series with the un-dead center stage.

Does that mean it will be liked the original way? Maybe. If you like good characters and a good story-line you may. It is up to you. I wrote it because it was in me and it needed it to be out of me. I wrote it because it was what was given to me to write by whatever Gods were up there passing out stories, all those years ago: And I will continue with that series publishing all the books that were written for it, and then never published. Yes, even if it is just for myself.

That is the kind of faith you need. Remember, this is really about you and what you can sustain.

So you have your idea written down; write it out now. See where it is going…

This is an exercise writing about a Zombie with very few facts, just letting the story build on itself. A zombie in a kitchen… Just a zombie scene…

The zombie shambled into the kitchen and looked around.

When I wrote it, I mean when I just let the words go, it went where it wanted to go which is where I wanted it to go in my head. The brain has a pretty good idea of what it wants to do. When I did this earlier today, this exercise with my friend, that is what I wrote: The zombie shambled into the kitchen and looked around.

“So what is that zombie doing in that kitchen?” my friend asked.

Good question. What is that zombie doing in that kitchen? Where is that kitchen? How did the zombie get there? Who did it used to be? Question upon question if you allow yourself to ask them.


… The zombie lurched into the kitchen from it’s hiding place in the garage. It had heard something… Some noise that had drawn it…


If I ask a question my mind tends to want to answer it. (Notice I re-wrote that first sentence. That happened because the story began to flow. When that happens you sometimes end up on autopilot, along for the ride.) Now I know where the zombie came from, the garage. Why was it in the garage? Where did it come from before that? Does it even know? And I don’t stop to ask these questions, I just let the stream flow from me and I follow it as it flows: Because that is the other thing about this process. These stories come to you. I could not say where they come from either. Sometimes it feels like theft. They come so fast. So complete. So well formed. The characters all seem to be looking at me and asking, Don’t you know me?” And I realize I do know them. I don’t know from where, or how, or why, but I know them. They came with the story and they are products of my imagination, but my imagination wants them to live, and so it creates them and I am only the vessel with opposable thumbs that writes them out. And that is writing too. Acknowledging that this miracle came through you and you don’t have a clue how it did that. Still, take that gift, write it out and follow it…


The zombie stared around at the disorder of the kitchen. It’s vision was not the vision it had once had. The crystal clear vision that the living enjoyed. This vision was more of a knowing, supplemented with shadows, blurred movements, and something else… Light, it decided, and it did not like the light… The light caused its head to ache… The light was… The light was bad, it decided. The noise came again causing the zombie to tilt its head and stare down at the movement it had felt from the floor. Something squirmed there, moving with a purpose that suggested life.


More is more. The vision sequence came because I asked myself, How do zombies see? The zombie was in the garage. Some noise made it come to the kitchen. The kitchen is a wreck. Why? What is in the kitchen? What was in the kitchen? Remember, it doesn’t matter if there are misspellings, if it is missing descriptive content, we are simply getting the story out. We can come back later and flesh it out.


The cat stared up at the woman where she stood, head cocked, stopped halfway through the garage doorway, as if listening. The woman was different. Her stance: The way she moved. Even her smell was different. And she had not fed the cat in the past two days. Why, the cat wondered, was there no food when there was always food?

She sniffed at the air. The smell was wrong. And something deeper than that was wrong, the cat decided. And just as the cat had made up its mind to spring away from the woman and leap for the front door that lay shattered and open to the elements, the woman bent quickly, snatched the cat up, and brought it to her face. The cat snarled and clawed, but the woman paid no mind. Her strange eyes locked with the cat’s own, and then the woman leaned forward and bit one of the cat’s paws off.

The cat yowled in pain, squirming desperately in the woman’s hands, trying to free itself as the woman turned, shuffled back into the garage and slammed the heavy door behind her. The door rattled in its frame and then the kitchen fell silent.


And there is my story. The zombie came, it was explained, and then it left.

A few last remarks: If you are capable of writing you already know it; it is something inside of you, some drive that will never let you be. Not a wish to make a lot of money, because I can tell you that rarely happens. Not a desire to be famous, another thing that happens to only a few and something some of us do not want at all. In fact I have always longed for a writing partner who likes that public attention and will handle all of that public face time so I can simply write, but we writers are all nuts, and so that is something that probably won’t happen because we would probably kill each other.

So it isn’t those things. It is another thing that eats away at you. It is the sometimes bizarre train of thoughts that parade through your head every hour of every day. Yes, you might think of something else for twenty five minutes, or even fifty, but it’s coming back. Somewhere in that hour your mind will turn back to…

If you are a writer, don’t let people scare you away from it. I have seen many writers who lived parts of their lives in misery because they truly believed they sucked at writing because some dipshit pencil pusher told them that. Hey, screw that guy or girl. Are they in your head? Do they see the ideas you see? No. They are the kind of people that like to judge people. Thank God that many of our writers went through that process and passed by it to become the writers we know and love or else the world would be a poorer place for not having them as writers we know and love. Three of my favorite writers, Mark Twain, Stephen King and Jean Auel, all received bad advice that told them they shouldn’t write. Some of that came after they wrote, some before. Some mild, some horrific, you suck, stop writing, etc.

The thing is that, that can not matter too deeply to you. Yes you hear it, but don’t let it own you, drive you, don’t invest in it. What has to matter deeply to you is writing. That sounds selfish and it is. Lovers will hate you. Kids will feel neglected. Life will pass by and you will wonder where the hell it went to. Other writers will feel jealous, even hate you, or love you or a million other things… Write the stuff that is in your head and demands to be written or else all the bad shit that could happen to you in your life will happen anyway and you will find yourself at the end of your life, a miserable person who never wrote those things and figured out what this world or that world that existed entirely in your head was about.

I have been many things in my life. A drug addict, a prisoner, a bad guy, a carpenter, a father, a husband, a friend, a lover, and through every one of those things that I was, I was also a writer, except it wasn’t always also: Sometimes it was everything. Because being a writer and having these things inside of you that need to be written out can be a curse too. It can cause you to neglect the things you shouldn’t neglect. It can cause you to need that drink to cap those thoughts, that drug, that distraction. It is a blessing and it is a curse. And many writers have handled it poorly in public. I don’t handle it in public anymore, but I did, what a mess I made too. Same as many other writers with the same predilections and addictions to sort through. The same obligations they ignored. All to chase that thought to its conclusion. So forewarned is forearmed, isn’t it? Don’t say you didn’t hear the truth from me. And yet, for me, I will still chase that story to wherever the hell it is leading. I’ll open that door, go into that room that I shouldn’t go into, I don’t care.

I was told in my career as a writer that I would not make it. Too much of my past would hurt me. I would not be able to control the bottle, the drugs, the world, the thoughts. And besides, you suck as a writer too. It all makes me laugh now, but it used to make me mad, yet eventually, when I learned to look at it for what it was it had to make me laugh. It made me laugh because there is not a choice here. It is what I do. I get up every day and do it. I know when I do it that there are people who will hate what I write, hate me, and I know there are those who will read it, love it. That is life. It is the way the world has always worked and nothing that you and I can do will change it. Except you must ignore it if you want to write. Remember two things: One: Only you can say whether what you wrote is worth something. Two: Opinions really are like assholes, everyone has one and some people seem to have more than one.

I can assure you that I care what readers of my novels think, but I can also tell you that a few weeks back I pulled the plug on the most popular series I wrote. I have not looked back, and I wont. This is personal and public, heart wrenching and soul quenching. I write. It’s what I do: Until I die it is what I will do. That is the passion you need to have to write. If all of those things I just wrote are true about you to any degree? You should stop fighting it and write.

What follows is the balance of the exercise, the little story I wrote. I liked it. I did not ask anyone else…


ZOMBIE GRANDMA

Copyright 2014 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved.

THE HUNTINGTON RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

Day Three of the Zombie Apocalypse:

“Shush… Shut the hell up!” Danny hissed loudly.

“Don’t be telling me to Shush… Or to shut the hell up either,” Tamara said.

Danny turned around and stared at her bug eyed. “What? Are you frickin’ kidding me? A zombie frickin’ apocalypse happening, and you know those frickin’ zombies come right to the goddamn noise…”

“That’s true. They do come right to the noise,” Agnes agreed.

“Girl! What the hell?” Tamara said. She stared at Agnes hard.

“Well they do!” Agnes thrust her hands on her hips, jutted one hip out and tried to look older than her twelve years.

“Both of you all shut the hell up,” Danny said. “Shush” He placed one finger over his lips to illustrate. Just then a sliding, shuffling of feet came to them from the door that led into the garage.

“Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said in a whisper moan. “That is a goddamn zombie right there… A goddamn zombie… Already ate grandma and now it is gonna open that…” Her words broke off suddenly as Tamara’s hand clamped across her mouth.

“Ain’t no zombie… It ain’t… It is grandma…. We came here to find her, right? Well she has just been waiting back in the garage for us… Only place safe,” Tamara whispered in a squeaky, scared voice. Agnes frightened eyes looked up to her own.

“Mooser?” Agnes asked in a muffled whisper.

“I’m sure,” Tamara agreed.

They had stolen a car in the city and drove themselves out to the Huntington Retirement Community where grandma still lived to make sure she was all right.

The apocalypse had started two days before. Slow at first, just a murmur of problems, but yesterday it had gone full tilt crazy. The zombies were everywhere, taking over the city, but most likely there had not been too many dead rising out this way yet, Tamara thought. The problem was that grandma’s front door had been splintered apart. Someones leg, hairy, so it wasn’t Grandma’s, probably, Tamara thought, had lain just inside the door.

“That’s a mans leg,” Danny had said.

“’Cause it is hairy,” Agnes asked?

“No, ’cause it has got half a…” Tamara had slapped him in the back of the head.

“Don’t you be saying things like that in front of this child,” Tamara said.

“I ain’t no child,” Agnes had said loudly. And that had been when something had crashed in the garage.

“Son-of-a-bitch,” Danny had said, and jumped about a foot off the floor. Now the shuffling of feet came to them again, followed by a low growling sound.

“Oh, Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said before Tamara clamped her hand back across her mouth.

“Grandma never growled like that,” Tamara said.

“Yeah?” Danny turned and looked at her. “Well maybe that is Grandma’s cat… Probably been locked out there in the garage with nothing to eat for two days ’cause grandma done passed out in one of them dialectic comas, or whatever the hell you call them, so the cat is hungry… I would growl too if I was hungry… What we better do is open the goddamn door up before that cat decides to eat grandma!”

“Are you stupid?” Tamara hissed. “Grandma ain’t got no goddamn cat… Never had no goddamn cat… Hated cats… Idiot.”

“Thasafwukinzwombi,” Agnes said in her muffled voice.

“It’s not a frickin’ zombie,” Danny told her. “See what you done? Scared a little child.”

The garage door rattled in its frame.

“Gwamoo?” Agnes asked.

Danny cleared his throat. He was carrying a huge shovel with a pointed tip that he had found laying in grandma’s garden when they arrived. He tapped at the door with the shovel end. “Grandma?” he asked.

A low snarl came from behind the door, a rustling busy sort of sound and then a solid weight hit the door, rattling it in the frame.

“Stay behind me,” Tamara said as she released Agnes mouth and quickly looked around the kitchen. The door rattled a little harder; her eyes fell on the coffee carafe sitting on the counter. She snatched it up and turned back to the door. The door rattled once more and then stopped.

“I told you it was the frickin’ cat,” Danny said.

“It’s not a…” Tamara began, but just then the door slammed open, bounced off the wall and then closed once more on itself. It had been just long enough to show grandma standing in the doorway, eyes glowing red, something like foam dripping from her jaws, her hands clasping some unrecognizable thing tightly.

“That wasn’t no cat,” Danny said. “That was grandma… Dead… Shit comin’ out of her mouth an…”

The door slammed open once more and grandma lurched into the room. She dropped the stiffened cat she had been holding in her hands onto the floor, and lurched after Danny who stood still, mouth open in shock. His eyes fell to the cat and then flew back up to grandma.

“We came to save you grandma… we came to save you! What the hell you been into grandma…” She lurched forward and fixed him with her yellow-red eyes. “Wha… What the hell you been doing… Eatin’ that cat? What did you eat the cat for, grandma. What the…” Grandma lurched forward again and Danny finally realized that she was coming after him. He turned and jumped backwards as Tamara stepped forward and slammed the nearly full coffee carafe into the side of grandma’s head. The glass shattered, coffee sprayed across the kitchen and poured down grandma’s face in a brown river, shards of glass protruded from her temple. Her face began to twitch and shudder.

They all quickly sidestepped as grandma let loose a snarl and tried to claw Danny with one hand. Agnes began to scream, grandma’s rotting head swiveled toward her and she took a step in that direction. Tamara gripped the handle of the carafe tightly, looked at the sharp curve of glass still attached, and then stepped forward and drove it into grandma’s temple. Grandma collapsed in a heap, her head jerking and twitching, and then silence descended all at once.

Agnes sucked in a deep breath and started to sob in a muffled voice, her face pressed into the crook of her arm.

“I told you grandma had a cat,” Danny said. He stepped forward and toed the cat with one boot. The cat suddenly flopped around and fastened its teeth into Danny’s boot. “The frickin’ cat,” Danny screamed. “Grandma’s cat’s got me!” He remembered at the same second that he had the shovel clasped tightly in his hands and thrust it down, knocking the cat’s head away from his boot. A second after that he bought the shovel down hard, and the cat’s head rolled of into the corner where it snapped and snarled at grandma’s flowered wallpaper. Danny tried to backpedal, slipped and sat down hard.

“Oh for Christ’s sake,” Tamara growled. She stepped forward quickly and crushed the cat’s head with one booted foot. Danny looked up at her.

“I told you she had a cat,” Danny said.

“Oh, Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said. “This is worse than when Billy Parkin’s showed me his woo who.”

“What?” Danny asked. “Billy Parkin’s showed you his woo who? What the hell?”

Agnes peeked out from the crook of her arm and nodded.

“So what,” Tamara said. She fixed Danny with a hard look, reached down one hand and tugged him to his feet. “Showed me too. Don’t worry, they aren’t all that small.”

“Yeah. Showed me too,” Danny agreed as he dusted his hands against his jeans.

“You were looking at Billy’s Woo who?” Agnes asked.

“Well I wasn’t looking at it… It sort of,” Danny began. Grandma suddenly groaned from the floor and began to squirm around once more. Danny jumped forward and slammed the shovel down on her head over and over again until she stopped. The silence fell once more.

“We had better go,” Tamara said as she stared down at the smashed ruin of grandma’s head. “Find a safe place.”

Danny lifted his eyes up from the floor. Started to toss the shovel away and then decided to keep it. He nodded.

Agnes came forward and threaded one arm into Tamara’s own.

“Ready, punkin?” Tamara asked her. She nodded. The three turned and began to walk from the kitchen.

“What were you looking at Billy Parkin’s Woo who for?” Tamara asked Danny.

“I did not say I was looking at Billy Parkin’s Woo Who,” Danny started as they walked out onto the front walk. The day was fading fast, dark clouds moving in.

“We have to find a place, don’t we?” Agnes asked.

“We do,” Tamara agreed. She looked off down the street to a cluster of buildings that looked promising. Community Center, a sign hanging over the nearest buildings entrance said. She thought for a moment and then moved off toward the building, the others following.

“You did say it,” Tamara said as they walked.

“I didn’t say it,” Danny replied with a shake of his head. “I didn’t.”

The three moved off down the street toward the community center building, their voices a soft hum on the cooling air as they walked.


I hope you got something out of this. I read Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons), it made me want to be a writer, I thought. Except that bug was in me already. I read The Stand (Stephen King) and I realized that people really did write things that mattered. I read Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean Auel) and realized that the past was a real place, alive and breathing.

I mention those books because I want you to read the feedback if you check them out. I’d really wish for you to read those books if they are your speed. Some people didn’t like those books. In fact some hated them. You have to internalize that. Do you want to write? Then write something. Stephen king has a great book on the art of writing, but he loves to talk about writing in the introductions to nearly every book he has written. Samuel Clemons talked about it as well. Jean Auel has given insight several times on what it took to write her book series. Be encouraged. Write. I would love to read it. Dell Sweet