Microwave Ovens

Dell Sweet

NEWS

This week: It seems like last to this, the week flew by and I had so much to do that I really couldn’t stop to think about it.

Microwave ovens and presets on microwave ovens:

I like microwave ovens. They have made our lives better, I truly believe that. How else can you get a hot cup of coffee from yesterdays leftover coffee in just about 120 seconds? Not that I do that. I mean drink yesterdays left over coffee… Okay… I do.

Here’s the thing though, it’s coffee! That’s my only argument. It should be enough though. I mean it’s like sacred, isn’t it? If I were living in a cave and discovered the coffee bean and bought it to my fellow cave dwellers they would probably build a shrine for me and worship me… Paint pictures of Coffee beans on the cave walls instead of hands, horses and signs for water. History would have been changed! Well, would have been changed had that happened.

So, no. I won’t throw out coffee. I guess that is a shocking admission but it’s true.

Once, I can’t remember the movie, some western, the character threw the dregs of then coffee in his cup on the fire. The other guys around the fire looked at him like he was crazy… Crazy! And, he must have been. I was just a kid at the time and I thought he was crazy! After that the other cowboys ostracized him. And he wasn’t asked along for the next roundup. That’s how serious a thing coffee was for cowboys back in the day. So I don’t throw away coffee. Which brings me back to microwaves: Don’t you wish your mind worked the way mine does? See how I came right back to where I wanted to be? Okay. I don’t even know how my mind works, I just thank God that it does. So, Microwaves…

I like the idea of a Microwave, but I do have some issues with them. First, you can not make popcorn consistently. In fact, I went to make popcorn the other day and the bag said “Do not use the Popcorn Setting on your Microwave.”  Huh. Then why have the setting there? Isn’t that the whole idea? Ease of use? Push one button? Well, we’ll get to that in a minute. The bag went on to give precise microwave instructions: If you have this many “Watts” use this amount of time. This many, that amount of time. I had a headache when I finished reading it. Finally, I put the popcorn back into the cupboard and got some chips instead, and sank into a deep depression over the whole technology thing. How can you eat microwavable popcorn if the button settings are wrong and you have to spend three hours figuring out wattage? You can’t just get out a pan and some butter, tear open the bag and do it that way, can you?

Well, as I sat eating my chips that I didn’t want I thought about that. There are a lot of buttons on a microwave. For instance, there is a beverage button on mine. It doesn’t work for beverages though. It leaves them too cold or too hot. But, what if you accidentally pushed the popcorn button? And, you then found out the popcorn button worked for beverages? Wouldn’t that be great? Well, it does. I tried. But the beverage button will not work for Popcorn. What a mess that was. But, in the end, I did go back out there, rip a popcorn bag open, and put it in a pan with some butter. Guess what? That did work.

As for the coffee on the popcorn setting it did come out pretty good, but I have an aversion to using a button marked Popcorn for Coffee. But, I wonder. If the popcorn companies don’t want you to use it, why do the microwave companies still make a popcorn button? Hmm. And if the beverage button doesn’t work for beverages, what the hell good is it anyway? And, if coffee is the most nuked beverage, why not a Coffee button? And, stay with me here, if the Popcorn button isn’t used anyway, why not re-label it Coffee? Then I wouldn’t have to feel so bad about using the popcorn button for my coffee. Hey, I’m going to get one of those little label makers and make a coffee sticker and put it right over the Popcorn label. That will solve my problems for now. Feel free to just copy the picture above, print it out, and paste it on your own Microwave! No need to say thanks.

That only leaves the power button on mine. But, that is kind of cool. You can press it, set the time amount, and watch the little turntable go around and around….

Have a good week…

Check out The Earth’s Survivors Newest: Collection One and Two: This preview is from Collection One, which has the entire text from Books one and Two: Apocalypse and Rising from the ashes, plus a complete major character bibliography, trivia, and more…

Earth’s Survivors Collection One: Contains Books one and two and bonus material.


U.S. Link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013H08B5U

U.K. Link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013H08B5U

Earth’s Survivors Collection Two: Contains books three and four and bonus material.

U.S. Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Collection-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B013H08JI4

U.K. Link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-Collection-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B013H08JI

I hope you enjoyed the preview. You can get a longer preview at any of the links above, or buy the book.

Enjoy the rest of the week and I’ll be back in a few days, Geo.

A true story from Dell

Posted by Dell

This week: I have a true story from, “TRUE: True stories from a small town #1”. These stories are from my past. I have three volumes published and I will probably add a few more this winter when I have the time.

The Earth’s Survivors Plague:

Amazon U.S.:
http://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Plague-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B0137DRAUY

Amazon U.K.:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-Plague-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B0137DRAUY

I-Tunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-plague/id1015630497?mt=11

B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-dell-sweet/1122252296?ean=2940152010350

 Things are going to continue to be absolutely crazy here as I adapt to the changes with my health, but so far I am doing that well.

I will leave you with this true story…

Back in the eighties I drove taxi for a few years. That time of my life has provided tons of written material, but this is the only true story I wrote about that time period. I hope you enjoy it, and I will be back next week…

The Last ride By Dell Sweet

Single Edition Licensed for this Blog

PUBLISHED BY: independAntwriters All Rights Reserved

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. 

This short story is Copyright © 2013 – 2015 Wendell Sweet & independAntwriters. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print

The Last Ride is Copyright © 2013 – 2015 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved

________________________________

THE LAST RIDE

It was early in my shift. I owned my own taxi so I could pretty much pick which 12 hour shift I wanted to drive. I drove nights so that I could be home with my son during the day while my wife worked. I had told myself for most of the last year that I should stop driving taxi, settle down to a real job and be more responsible, but then a Conrail contract came along, and then the opportunity to work with another driver who handled the Airport contract: Suddenly I was making more money than I could have reasonably expected from what I would have considered a straight job.

The hours were long, but there was something that attracted me to the night work. Always had been. Like my internal clock was Set to PM. It just seemed to work and after a few failed attempts to work day shift work, I gave it up and went to work fulltime nights.

I was never bored. The nights kept me awake and interested. They supplied their own entertainment. Conrail crews, regulars that called only for me, the assorted funny drunks late at night when the bars were closing. Soldiers on their way back to the nearby base, and a dancer at a small club just off downtown that had been calling for me personally for the last few weeks: Using my cab as a dressing room on the way back to her hotel. It was always something different.

Days, the few times I’d driven days, couldn’t compare. Sure, there was violence at night too, but it rarely came my way and never turned into a big deal when it did.

It was Friday night, one of my big money nights, about 7:00 P.M. and my favorite dispatcher, Smitty, had just come on. He sent me on a call out State street that would terminate downtown. Once I was downtown, I could easily pick up a GI heading back to the base for a nice fat fare and usually a pretty good tip. My mind was on that. My mind was also on that dancer who would be calling sometime after 2:00 AM, and who had made it clear that I was more than welcome to come up to her room. It was tempting, I’ll admit it, and each time she called, she tempted me more. I figured it was just a matter of time before I went with her.

I really didn’t see the lady when she got into my car, but when it took her three times to get out the name of the bar downtown that she wanted to go to, I paid attention. Drunk. It was early too. Sometimes drunks were okay, but most times they weren’t. This one kept slumping over, slurring her words, nearly dropping her cigarette: I owed the bank a pile of money on the car and didn’t need burn holes in my back seat.

I dropped the flag on the meter, pulled away from the curbing and eased into traffic. Traffic was heavy at that time and I pissed off more than a few other drivers as I forced my way into the traffic flow. I had just settled into the traffic flow when a glance into the rear view mirror told me my passenger had fallen over. I couldn’t see the cigarette, but I could still smell it. I made the same drivers even angrier as I swept out of the traffic flow and angled up onto the sidewalk at the edge of the street. I got as far out of the traffic flow as I could get so I could get out to see what was up with the woman in the back seat.

I was thinking drunk at the time, but the thought that it could be something more serious crept into my head as I made the curb, bumped over it, set my four way flashers and climbed out and went around to the back door.

She was slumped over into the wheel well, the cigarette smoldering next to her pooled, black hair. In her hair, I realized, as the smell of burning hair came to me. I snatched the cigarette and threw it out then shook her shoulder to try to bring her around, but it was obvious to me, just that fast, that the whole situation had changed. She wasn’t breathing.

I reached in, caught her under the arms, and then suddenly someone else was there with me.

He was a short, thin man, wearing a worried look upon his face. Dark eyes sat deeply in their sockets. His hair hung limply across his forehead. He squeezed past me and looked down at the woman. He pushed her eyelids up quickly, one by one, and then held his fingers to her lips. He frowned deeply and flipped the hair away from his forehead.

“Paramedic”, he told me as he took her other arm and helped me pull her from the back seat.

We laid her out on the sloping front lawn of the insurance company I had stopped in front of and he put his head to her chest.

He lifted his head, shaking it as he did. “Call an ambulance,” he said tersely.

I could feel the shift in his demeanor. He wasn’t letting me know he could handle the situation, like when he told me he was a paramedic, he was handling it. I got on the radio and made the call.

The ambulance got there pretty quickly. I stood back out of the way and let them work on her, raising my eyes to the backed up traffic on occasion. The paramedic had torn open her shirt. Her nudity seemed so out of place on the city sidewalk. Watching the traffic took the unreal quality of it away from me. I watched the ambulance pull away, eased my car down off the curb and back into the sluggish traffic and went back to work.

I got the story on her about midnight once things slowed down and I stopped into the cab stand to talk to the dispatcher for a short while. His daughter knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone at the hospital. The woman had taken an overdose. Some kind of pills. It was going to be touch and go. He also had a friend in the police department too. She did it because of a boyfriend who had cheated on her. It seemed so out of proportion to me. I went back to work, but I asked him to let me know when he heard more.

2:30 AM

The night had passed me by. The business of the evening hours catching me up for a time and taking me away from the earlier events. I was sitting downtown in my cab watching the traffic roll by me. It was a beautifully warm early morning for Northern New York. I had my window down letting the smell of the city soak into me, when I got the call to pick up my dancer with the club gig.

“And,” Smitty told me over the static filled radio, “your lady friend didn’t make it.”

It was just a few blocks to the club. I left the window down enjoying the feeling of the air flowing past my face. The radio played Steely Dan’s Do It Again, and I kind of half heard it as I checked out the back seat to see if the ghost from the woman earlier might suddenly pop up there.

The dancer got in and smiled at me. I smiled back, but I was thinking about the other woman, the woman who was now dead, sitting in that same place a few hours before. The dancer began to change clothes as I drove to her hotel.

“You know,” she said, catching my eyes in the mirror. “I should charge you a cover. You’re seeing more than those GI’S in the club.” She shifted slightly, her breasts rising and falling in the rear view mirror. We both laughed. It was a game that was not a game. She said it to me every time. But my laugh was hollow: Despite her beauty, I was still hung up on someone being alive in my back seat just a few hours before and dead now. Probably being wheeled down to the morgue were my friend Pete worked. I made myself look away and concentrate on the driving. She finished dressing as I stopped at her hotel’s front entrance.

“You could come up… If you wanted to,” she said. She said it lightly, but her eyes held serious promise.

“I’d like to… But I better not,” I said.

She smiled, but I could tell I had hurt her feelings. It was a real offer, but I couldn’t really explain how I felt. Why I couldn’t. Not just because I was married, that was already troubled, but because of something that happened earlier.

I drove slowly away after she got out of the cab and wound up back downtown for the next few hours sitting in an abandoned buildings parking lot thinking… “I was only concerned about her cigarette burning the seats.”

I smoked while I sat, dropping my own cigarettes out the window and onto the pavement. A short while later Smitty called me with a Conrail trip. I started the cab and drove out to Massey yard to pick up my crew. The dancer never called me again…

I hope you enjoyed the story. I will be back again next week. Enjoy your week, Dell.



Writers and how we think

Posted by Geo 

Writers… We often sit around and think things like this…

“It was a warm winter that year…”

No, no, no… Hmm…

“It was the winter of our…” No, already used… Damn…

“Winter came quickly to the north country as it was wont to do. My brother and I had just come around to our turn to wear the fall coats, there were only the two coats for the fifteen of us children. With them, we were able to play outside while our siblings were stuck inside. It would have been better if we had also had the shoes, but it wasn’t our turn yet…”

No, no, no. Too melodramatic…

“It was a long, cold winter. The cat had a litter sometime in there. A few kittens, maybe four. I often wonder what happened to those kittens. I only know we had meat for Christmas that didn’t in the slightest resemble Turkey…”

No, no, no… It was the dog…

“The dog had a litter that winter… They were fast growing puppies and by December they were half grown, as fat and sassy as could be. I remember petting the one I had named Dingo on the head just before bed a few nights before Christmas. I remember that clearly, yes I do, and it was the last time I ever saw Dingo…. I think so anyway. It’s tough to tell. All I know is that we had meat for Christmas dinner. A small ham, Mom said., but it didn’t resemble any ham I’d ever seen…”

“Geo!”

“Yes, mom?”

“PETA called, knock it off.”

“Yes, mom.”

“It was a long cold winter that year. The rats in the basement had eaten the corn crop and left us starving… Daddy said we wouldn’t have to resort to eating rats, but as he headed toward the basement with a claw hammer I wondered…”

By Geo Dell.

Jimmy Hoffa and other things that make me wonder.

Posted by Geo Dell

I have been concerned about the fact that Jimmy Hoffa must be buried somewhere. And they have had such reliable snitches to tell them where the body is that I started thinking about the odds of actually finding it. I mean, eventually, after sixty million wrong guesses, the odds will narrow, right? Then I thought, hey, when I was kid and anything came up missing, the cat, or the dog, you could usually get a pretty fast answer from Mom or Dad…

“Well, Spot went to the farm. You see, son, Spot was getting to be a handful and with your mother and I both working, well, we thought it would be better for Spot at the farm.”

“Well, geez, I didn’t want Spot to go to the farm. Can we at least visit him?”

“Sure, son. Sure we can.”

And of course we never did, but I built up a story in my head about the farm and what it was like. There would be Spot, running through the fields, chasing butterflies. Toilet bowls and fire hydrants everywhere. A cat to chase under every tree. Good old spot.

So, when I heard that maybe Jimmy Hoffa went to the farm, I thought, well, hell, that’s not so bad. I never heard any complaints from Spot about it, but as we all know, for the fourth or fifth time, Jimmy Hoffa is not at the farm chasing butterflies with Spot, or Tigger, or Frisky. Not there. But it got me thinking. He hasn’t been at the farms. Nor in the bridge. Nor the dump. Nor the vacant lot. Here is a short list of places he wasn’t:

Sources: Combined Google searches: API, NPR and CBS. (Paraphrased)

Authorities have pursued multiple leads as to Hoffa’s whereabouts since his disappearance in 1975. He was last seen outside an Oakland County restaurant where he was to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.

Waterford Township, Mich.: Roughly two months after he vanished, in September 1975, investigators spent three days digging in a 29-acre area on a farm in Waterford Township. State police and members of the organized crime division of the state attorney general’s office broke out their spades after a Mafia informant’s tip…

Detroit area: In October 1975, FBI agents probed the trash compactor at the Raleigh House restaurant, roughly five miles from the Machus Red Fox, the restaurant where Hoffa was last seen alive. The theory was that Hoffa’s body was stuffed in the compactor and hauled off by a Mafia-connected sanitation company; investigators turned up nothing in their search of the 40-cubic-yard compactor…

Jersey City, N.J.: The search for Hoffa took investigators to Jersey City, where in December 1975, FBI agents searched a 47-acre landfill with mob connections. Officially, investigators weren’t searching for the rumored 55-gallon drum with Hoffa’s remains, but rather the body of Armand Faugno, a missing loan shark…

Hampton Township, Mich.: An incarcerated informant, who had already led police to another body, claimed Hoffa’s body could be found under an above-ground pool in the backyard of his former home in Hampton Township. The tipster, brought to the scene in handcuffs, watched as a backhoe demolished the pool in July 2003 and dug beneath it. Later, the people living in the home would get a new pool paid for by the county…

Milford, Mich.: The FBI called it quits after a 12-day search of Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford in May 2006. A 100-foot barn was demolished as part of the search by 35 agents, geologists, archaeologists and other experts. While the dig didn’t yield any remains, it proved to be big business for the Milford Baking Co., which sold 3,500 “Hoffa cupcakes” featuring a green plastic hand reaching up through the icing and sprinkles…

East Rutherford, N.J.: In 1999 a convicted mobster alleged Hoffa’s body was buried at Giants Stadium, though the feds never dug it up to find out. In a Playboy interview, Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos said Hoffa’s body was cut up in Michigan, then driven to New Jersey and buried in the concrete foundation of the stadium — Section 107…

Roseville, Mich.: After a tip in the fall of 2012, authorities began sampling soil on the property of a Roseville home. Investigators had used radar and found an unusual mass, which prompted the sampling, but the results showed no sign of human decomposition in the dirt…

There are more of course, but remember, these are places Jimmy Hoffa is not. They have  been checked, cleared, in Cop speak. Not there. But this past weekend I decided to put in some outdoor security lighting at home. What does that have to do with Jimmy Hoffa? Well, hang on. We’ll get there. I decided on two of those big sodium vapor lights, except one wasn’t sodium vapor.

I got to the store and I saw all the ‘Go Green’ stickers, you know – “Don’t use so much energy!”  “It’s your world too!”   “Save up to $298.00 a year!” Okay, I speak that language, ‘You had me at money’ so I bought two of the Fluorescent yard lights. Unfortunately I had to take one back as it was missing parts. So, I ended up having to put a sodium High Pressure system in and a fluorescent system for the other light. Hmm. The whole idea had been that they match, same replacement bulbs. But hey, It’s my world too and I do care… And I saved $300.00 bucks (Nearly).

So I get the lights. I get the post for the one that goes in the side yard (A 16 foot 4 inch by 4 inch pressure treated post. I buy a shovel. Thought about post hole diggers, said, Nah, I’m a Man, I don’t need post-hole diggers (Note: Get the post hole diggers. They’re called Post Hole Diggers for a reason! God, I can be so stupid), outdoor wire, Wire connectors, and on and on. Then I came home and picked the spot for my pole, but then I thought, ‘Whoa… Wait a minute… They have not found Jimmy Hoffa yet. He could be right under that spot I want to dig up to sink my post in the ground.’

I’m pretty sure Jimmy Hoffa is not in my garden, or my side yard, or the driveway. Those are all areas I have worked on lately, had to dig down into, and I didn’t see anything at all that looked Jimmy Hoffaish.  Yes, I know that is an incorrect usage of ish, but, really, are there any correct uses of ish?

Here’s the thing though, I have not dug into the front yard and I am very concerned that he could be there, but not concerned enough to do anything about it. And if you are, and you would like to dig up my front yard to look for him, no. No! Now, after I’m dead, sure. Have a blast. Tell the new owners, in fact, that I said you could.

Reasons why Jimmy Hoffa might be in my front yard.

1. He wasn’t at the last place, so he has to be somewhere.

2. He had a friend who had a friend who had a cousin who visited New York one time.

3. Jimmy Hoffa worked for the Labor Union, and a lady just down the street went into labor a few days ago.

4. It’s not a farm. They’ve dug up enough farms.

5. The cats always seem to avoid a certain section of the lawn. Walking right long and then hop straight up into the air. Yes. I realize cats are nuts and I do have crazy cats, but still.

Okay, that’s enough reasons. I believe that is more than the FBI had, information wise the last time, isn’t it?

But hey, considering all the places they have dug to find him the odds are pretty good, or even just as good, that he could be out there in the front yard. So, I mounted the light on top of the garage instead. Yes, I know, I bowed to my own fears. And the side yard light pole I installed next to the house and incorporated into the deck. I figured, ‘Okay. Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is out there in the yard, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have buried him right next to the house.’

I am happy to report that I dug the hole and did not find anything at all… Well, one bone, I’m pretty sure it was a ham bone the dog buried there. I say that because the neighbors dog, I don’t have a dog of my own, seemed pretty bent out of shape about me digging up the bone. But, come to think of it, that is better than the FBI did. At least I found something.  Anyway, I didn’t call the FBI, the dog took the bone and left, he’ll probably rebury it somewhere else, you know how dogs are. Meanwhile, Jimmy Hoffa’s still missing I’m sorry to report.

In other news. Fred, my cat was nearly taken by the turkeys again. You may not believe this but there are turkeys that live in the woods behind me. Today I was in my office taking care of some email when I heard a rush of wings, a squawk, and some gobbling: If you have never heard a 35 to 40 pound bird drop out of a pine tree to the ground you should. Nothing that big should be a bird, and if it is it should not be falling from a damn tree.

Anyway, I rushed from the house. No, really, I did rush from the house, and what do I see, Fred standing her ground against a turkey that looked to be about three feet high. No, I don’t really think it was three feet high, but it was all of two and some change. The turkey saw me and took off. Good, I was not in the mood to fight a turkey, I was still concerned about Jimmy Hoffa as I had to put mulch in the garden, and that meant turning over the soil.

Well, it is obvious that the turkeys have it in for Fred. Fred has killed just about everything that lives in the woods at one time or another: When she was a kitten she used to bring them to me. Yes, Fred is female cat. It’s a long story. Damn cat. I think, sort of like that Clint Eastwood movie, Unforgiven, that the birds, mice, chipmunks, (This year has been a tough one for the chipmunks, that’s all I’ll say) and yes, probably the neighborhood dogs too, got together and sent word to the turkeys. I think, like the cowboys in Unforgiven, that Fred’s days are numbered. But if you had told me a year or so ago that a turkey would try to attack a cat? I would have laughed. Not no more. Not no more. This is serious business. These turkeys have taken a contract out on Fred I believe.

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Okay. Once again it’s raining here in northern New York. I guess I don’t mind the rain so much. Have a great week…

Cats

Posted by Geo 
I wrote this today after taking a short stroll outside my house.

Cats

One afternoon of dreary gray, I walked my yard upon my way
To destinations yet unfound, and cast mine eyes upon the ground
Tiny corpses, all about me… death, the final fee…

Gray, and furred, and fat and thin, upon the earth they are not in
No place my wandering eyes did fall, was anything that lived at all…
The cats thought I, the cats it be, that wrought this death I can not unsee…

Yes, I will never be a great poet, my cats, however, are prolific rodent killers…

Books, weather, work, and yackity from Geo

Posted by Geo

I spent today working on finishing up the links for the website change. At the beginning of the month Dell changed all the books over, so Amazon has it books back again.

Earth’s Survivors Nations Books:

One: Apocalypse

Two: Rising From The Ashes

Three: The Nation

The Website: https://www.earthssurvivorsbook.com

I know that it took a lot of work to get those books back in that format. So I hope it works out well. He intends to support that series.

What else? It was so beautiful out today that I thought possibly someone screwed up, drugged me in my sleep, and transported me to somewhere warm. It was disheartening to find I was still here in New York but it was definitely heart lifting to feel warmth outside. I guess God turned the heat back on. Okay, he’s a good landlord after all. Forget all those bad things I said. I took the afternoon and threw together an acoustic guitar I could kick around with. I am also working on a bigger project that still has a way to go before it wraps up.

We have talked about books and besides finishing the second Dreamer’s book, and then Hurricane this fall, the winter writing schedule is open.

I live less that two hundred miles from most of the people I know. I have one friend that lives quite a bit further, the middle of the country, and another that lives all the way on the opposite end of the continent.  What amazes me this year is that even though some of us are so far apart we have all had a long winter with all kinds of unusual weather. It’s strange to me that I can be talking to someone 1500 miles away and they are having the same weather I am having. That isn’t usually the case. It has been an odd winter.

Here is a short look at White Trash that I hope you enjoy…

White Trash

Copyright Dell Sweet 2018

* * * * *

Original Material Copyright © 2010 – 2014 by Geo Dell

All rights reserved


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

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2013 Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. All rights are retained by the Author.

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

Cover and Interior Art Copyright 2019 Dell Sweet

~

Friday morning: Mistakes

The headlights swept the area of the lookout and then flicked off. Ben waited to see what would happen next. The car had parked right next to their own car, but they weren’t in it. They were a hundred yards up, just inside the tree line.

The door opened and a light came on. A voice: “It’s the right color maybe it is them,” the voice said. A young, thin black man stepped out into the circles of light cast by the headlights and stretched his legs.

The driver, a shorter even skinnier white kid, got out and looked around. “I don’t see them,” he said. He lit a cigarette and then shut the car door. “Yo ho,” he said loudly. “If you’re here speak up. We know we’re late.”

The silence held. Ben put one finger to his lips so Ed wouldn’t be tempted to answer.

“Told you. They’re fuckin’ long gone,” the black kid said.

Ben made a follow-me motion and headed over to the car. Not really sneaking, but walking quietly. He held his gun at his side and Ed did the same.

Both men were smoking now and looking out at the city lights. Ben walked right up to them and then purposely ground his foot into the gravel to make a noise. Both of them screamed and jumped.

“Where the fuck have you two been?” Ben asked. He actually was mad but he was even more relieved and trying hard not to laugh at the way they had screamed.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” the black kid asked. He seemed to recover the quickest. “We don’t know you.”

“Yeah?” Ben asked. “Do you know Carlos by any chance? Are you two sorry looking fuckers Daryl and Danny? Huh?  Would that be you two?”

“Man, there ain’t no call to cuss,” Daryl said.

“No? Then explain why you’re almost twenty-four fuckin’ hours late?” Ben asked.

“Car broke down. Carlos only gave us enough for this shit box and it broke down,” Daryl said.

“For twenty-four hours?” Ben asked.

“Hey, man, we had to get a part, okay?” Daryl asked.

“What part?” Ben asked.

“The mother fuckin’ alternator, okay, white man?” he asked.

“No need to go in that direction,” Ben said.

“Yeah? Then get off my fuckin’ back,” Daryl said. “And put those guns away unless you’re gonna use them.” He pulled a gun partway out of his own pocket. It looked like a Chinese made 9 mm.

Ben was tempted to shoot the kid just for the threat, but he slipped his pistol back into his jacket pocket, walked over to the Ford’s trunk, unlocked it and swung up the trunk lid.  “You ready or what?” he asked.

Up The Hill

It felt like he broke his kneecap when he slammed it into the bottom of the dashboard. He must’ve dozed off. When he had come awake, he heard them talking and realized the deal was finally going down. He jumped out of the car, rubbed the knee for a second and then started down the hill at a quick pace.

It was maybe a quarter mile and he wasn’t in bad shape, but he wasn’t in great shape either. It was the goddamn cigarettes. That was what was the worst of it. Killed your wind. Heart, lungs, bad shit. He had to stop soon before they fucking killed him.

By the time he got close to the lookout he had to stop and catch his breath. He didn’t want them to hear him breathing heavy. He wanted to sneak up on them. He finally caught his breath and crept forward into the woods that surrounded the lookout area.

~

Daryl opened the trunk of the Toyota and picked up the blue duffel bag. He tossed it to Ben and Ben caught it deftly. Ben stared at him until Daryl broke the stare.

“If you want it any time you can have it,” Ben said softly.

Daryl’s eyes cut back up. “What’s that supposed to mean, white boy?” His hand plunged into his jacket pocket.

“Words to an old song,” Ben said and smiled. The smile didn’t extend to his eyes. His eyes said, ‘If you want a piece of me you can have it.’ Daryl looked away again.

Ben set the bag down and ran the zipper. He pulled a few bricks out, counted and then looked back at Daryl who refused to meet his gaze. His eyes kept sliding way.

“A little short,” Ben said.

“My ass,” Daryl said.

“It is going to be your ass,” Ben agreed quietly. “There are two and two missing. See this mark?” He turned one of the bricks over to show a mark in the shape of a star. “I know that mark. That mark tells me a lot. Where it came from, which clan made it. And what it is. Pure heroin. I mean pure. Hasn’t been touched. From Torres, deep Mexico.” He turned the other brick upside down. A double circle with a triangle. “Also pure.  This time cocaine. Almonte’s crew, Ecuador. I know this stuff, like I said. And I know what should be here. Two and two missing. Cough it up.” His gun magically appeared in his hand.

“Hey, man,” Danny said. “I think we need to calm down. Why you wanna kill someone right off the bat, man, huh?”

“Where is it?” Ben asked. He set the duffel bag into the trunk, and switched the gun to his shooting hand. “I don’t necessarily want to kill anyone, but I will. I have no problem with that.” He lifted the gun and aimed at Daryl’s head.

“Hey,” Daryl started.

“Drop the mother fuckin’ gun,” a new voice said. “Don’t think about changing positions… I mean all you fucks. All of you.  Starting with you, wise guy. Bring that gun down.”

The man who owned the voice stepped up behind him and pressed the barrel of a gun to Ben’s neck. Ben’s hand dropped and the man took the gun from him. “On the ground out flat, Hands behind your head,” the man told him.

He took Ben’s gun and dropped it into the blue duffel bag. He took Ed’s gun, then Daryl’s, and Danny’s last. He checked the cars, found the other 9 mm in the glove box. He took Ed’s bundle of cash when he searched him, whistling as he did. He dropped the cash and the three cheap, black 9 mm guns into the blue duffel bag, which he set into the open trunk of the Ford. He holstered his own weapon and flipped the safety off the small Chinese gun Daryl had been carrying. He stepped back and tripped over the curb.

The gun went flying and all hell broke loose. Ben jumped up and caught Ed’s elbow dragging him backwards fast. Daryl and Danny grabbed the brown suitcase, threw it on to the back seat of the Toyota and jumped inside.

Ben had been just about to make his own move when the cop made the mistake of tripping, playing right into Ben’s game plan.

The cop found his feet, got his own gun back into his hands and then ran for the woods. Ben got his other gun from his jacket, passed the 22 to Ed, and palmed the silenced 9 mm himself. They both duck walked around to the front of the Ford, got to the door, levered it open and got in. Ed crawled across to the passenger’s seat while Ben jumped into the driver’s seat. A shot came from behind them, staring the rear window and passing through the fleshy part of Ben’s shoulder. Ed leaned out the window and opened up on Daryl who was leaning out of the driver’s side of the Toyota trying for another shot. He apparently had no idea how to use the gun. He ducked downward into the car when Ed fired back.

“Ed, you gotta drive. You gotta drive, Ed” Ben said. He held his shoulder as he slid across the seat and they switched places.

Ed was nervous, but he got the car going. He started to turn around to see where he was going, but another shot starred the glass and he simply floored the Ford and dropped it into reverse.

The Ford leapt backwards, smashed into the rear quarter panel of the Toyota and pushed past it. The Toyota skipped across the gravel as the Ford screeched past it, spun around, and came to a stop pointing outward. Ed floored it and started out of the turnout.

Daryl had the Toyota started a second later. “We got to get them, Danny. We got to get them or were dead, man. We got to.” He spun the wheel hard left on the Toyota, jammed the gas pedal to the floorboard and slewed around, clipping the stone wall and then screaming out onto the blacktop; chasing after the Ford.

Ben managed to get his cell phone out of his pocket and punched in a number.

“I’m coming to you,” he said… “Like a dream… A bad fuckin’ dream… I’ve been shot… Not bad, but be ready for me.” He clicked off the phone and shoved it into his pocket. “I’m gonna tell you where to turn. Don’t sweat it. This is part of the plan, only it was supposed to be just the cop, not these dip shits. Now it’ll probably be both… I can shoot: If I have to take them out I will… You understand, Eddie? You got me? You drive. Turn when I tell you, we’ll be fine. Drive hard, but don’t lose them. They stole from us, we have to get that back, plus the cop was probably parked farther away. We have to give him time to reach his car and follow us.”

Ed nodded.

“Good…” He took a deep breath. The pain was heavy in his shoulder. Maybe a fractured bone, maybe worse. Or maybe just the freshness of the wound. “Okay, turn left at the bottom of the hill. First left, that will get us on our way.” Ben told him.

Up The Hill Again

He made it back to the car and nearly passed out. He couldn’t open the door. The door was stuck, and then he remembered he had locked it. He reached into his pocket for his keys but the pocket was empty. He searched his other pocket, his coat, but there were no keys.

He yelled. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” He slammed his fists into the top of the car over and over again. He finally turned around, leaned back against the car and then slid to the ground.

He stayed that way for a while, he had no idea how long.  Finally, the rage passed and he got back to his feet and walked off down the hill in search of the keys.

Thankfully most of the lookout was well lit. Still, he didn’t find the keys until he was at the absolute end of his journey.  They were on the ground amid some scuffed up earth, just about a foot past the curbing he had tripped over.

He pocketed the keys just as the sound of distance sirens came to him and looking out over the city he saw the red lights heading for the park. He sighed and began to run once again.


I hope you enjoyed the preview. You can get the book at the link below.

That’s it for me. I hope you have a great week. Dell will be here Sunday. Check out the new site when you get a chance. Geo…

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/902330

Writing

Posted By Dell

The weekend is creeping up on me. I think someone stole a few days and tried to slip one over on me. Or I would, except it really is Thursday.

I would like to mention the book Zero Zero. I wrote this book some time ago, as in years, and it is only now available. I write an end of the world book series, Earth’s Survivors, and this book is in the same vein. Different, but I think equally good. I mean that.

I was talking about this place today with someone today. How it did not start out to be an indie publishing vehicle, but simply an outlet for my own digital book copies. Now there are nine writers here and I doubt it will stop there.

I guess we don’t say much about ourselves so maybe now is a good time to do that. We are all writers. This site was first started to create a space for Writers, Musicians and Artists. We have many of each and many who do all of those things. One thing I have come to realize is that creative people wear many hats, not just one or two.

None of us own the site, but three of us work here fulltime. Yes that makes it nice, we get to write as we write. In fact it is encouraged. The owner is not a writer or a musician or an Artist. She enjoys all three things and many others though and so she gave us this and allowed us to develop it and build it. That did not happen the way some of us saw it happening.

I can’t speak for the others but I saw a site where writers, artists and musicians all hung out and marketed their work. Now we have a site where all those things have occurred. The writers, musicians and artists are here, we talk all day sometimes, back and forth, give advice or work on projects, etc. If someone asks me to help, I do. I wrote two of my most successful short stories that way. One of the other writers wanted to publish an anthology and wanted some of my work in it. Something new. Something different. Okay. I offered Zombie Fall and Rapid City.  Neither of those stories would have happened if I had not been in that creative process with others.

There are top grade musicians here. I do my own music. I used to play in bands years ago. But I have not stuck with it: Although I love it I have too many other obligations on my time. So I have turned to other musicians to catch up on the new technology, so to speak, because three of my characters in the Earth’s Survivors books write music and I want to be able to provide that music on the website as it evolves.

My point is that the creative processes here are really good. They help all of us to be better at what we do, and in some cases write things we would not have written, and, the big deal, it is not what we had planned to build here. And it continues to grow. I couldn’t be happier and I’m glad to be a small part of it too.

I believe I mentioned before that I am a tech wizard, well, at least in my own head, but, I am common sense stupid. Lacking, sadly, in that small area of the brain that says ‘What?’ or ‘Hey wait a second!’ Nope. My brain just says, ‘Yeah, go ahead, who cares,’ or, ‘Hey, it ain’t my problem, know what I mean?’

Here’s an example: I picked up a screwdriver yesterday that I had bought in case I needed it. Brilliant, because, six months after I bought it? I needed it. Brilliant. There is the brain in action. I did not have to go buy one, simply go get it and use it. But since I needed it I had to open it. Except it was packaged in that stiff, molded, welded-plastic stuff. You know, the stuff that was predicted to be gone soon because Walmart supposedly hated it? And because there were several injuries reported after trying to tear it open. Yes. That is the knowledge I had when I picked up the package, that it could hurt me. I think that is as far as my common sense thinking went because immediately my Brain said, ‘Yeah, may be, but it won’t hurt me.’ No explanation as to why it wouldn’t, just that it wouldn’t. And that is the problem with my lack of common sense. My dumb self went… ‘Okay’ and immediately began to try to rip the package open.

After ten minutes and two cuts I gave up and admitted that my brainiac self had duped me again, bandaged my two hurt fingers, thanked God I had not lost a limb, and marveled over why we don’t issue this to our soldiers. They could present it to the enemy… ‘Here. Enjoy this Swiss Army knife that you can use to stab me to death.’ Our Soldier Smiles at his enemy. The enemy looks suspicious, but I have found a lack of common sense is a pretty, well, common thing. Especially in undeveloped countries that don’t know what that stuff is. So he tries to open it and end up slicing himself all up. Great weapon. I’m sure it could work.

Eventually, with the help of a pair of scissors, I did get the screw driver out, but I cut myself once more because the edge where I had cut it was so sharp. And I wondered, because people who lack common sense often wonder about stupid things and I am no exception, what if you bought a pair of scissors encased in that crap? And you bought them because you had to have them to open that sort of packaging?. What could you do? Could you go back to the store and use a complimentary pair of scissors to cut open the packaging? Could you go get your carpenters knife (Razor Knife) and slice it open with that? (I did this once while holding the packaging on my lap. NOT Recommended.). Do you even have or own a Carpenter’s Knife? Could you run over it with the car and break the packaging? Nope. Doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I thought of all these things anyway. No, I decided, I would bend the package until the scissors popped through. That would work. So now I plan a trip to my local Walmart so I can buy a pair of scissors and try my theories. And once I get them open I’m going to run with them and see if that old wives’ tale is true. I mean, after all, how can it be dangerous if you don’t fall? I don’t plan to fall.

Well that’s my week. I hope your work week had some amusement in it for you as mine did. We have already had snow, and now it is like Indian summer here. It’s a beautiful night here in New York, 68 degrees and low humidity. I just mowed the lawn a little while ago, so add the smell of fresh mown grass to that. If I had a pond and a fishing pole I’d be all set, but I do have a chair and a porch and I think I’ll go watch the sunset. I like the way my characters in my books get to do that. They think of those things, maybe because they have lost so much. They take time to enjoy and appreciate those simple pleasures now. Enjoy the Week… Dell.

A free look at Hurricane a book I wrote in 2007 and have yet to publish

Hurricane is a book I have been working on for the past few years. Every time I think I will have time to finish it something else pops up and wipes out that spare time I thought I had. The book is actually written, squirreled away in one of my notebooks: Written completely in longhand several years ago. I have dozens of stories and books just like that; written between 2006 and 2012.

Now when I want to write I do it with Word or Open Office, but then I did not have that luxury; all I had was composition notebooks and sometime I didn’t even have those. When I didn’t have composition notebooks I used to feel stories slip away. I knew them; I heard them in my head, but I had no way to write them down or out of my head and so I lost them… I hope you enjoy this excerpt and the balance of your weekend, Dell…


A free look at Hurricane a book I wrote in 2007 and have yet to publish



Hurricane

Copyright Dell Sweet 2015, All rights reserved.


This preview is licensed for Dell’s Blog. If you wish to share this preview with a friend, please point them to this blog. This material may not be copied, quoted, or transferred electronically, or in standard print for any reason, without the copyright owner’s permission. Permission is granted to use small excerpts in critical articles both in standard or electronic print.


One

Elements

Monday:

“It’s bad luck to skip school on a Monday,” Amy Knowles said to her best friend Deidre Blevins.

“I know,” Deidre said, “But I hate it. I just can’t be there. I can’t deal with those Goddamn Nuns today. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, Aim… I didn’t even tell Jimmy.”

“I know that.. Obviously I want to go… I mean,” Amy fell silent.

“What,” Deidre asked?

“We’re friends,” Amy said. “It’s been me and you way before Jimmy or Mike came along… It’s just that, sometimes we get too far away from that.” Her face colored.

Deidre nodded. “We do… So, where do you and me go today…. With no car… No way to get nowhere. I hate being on foot…. It’s just about all I keep Jimmy around for. That and the pot,” Deidre said.

“Really,” Amy asked?

She thought about it. “I could think of something better… For right now he’s okay. I like him well enough.”

Amy wondered what the something better might be. Deidre had colored a little when she said it. She didn’t ask though. It was good enough just being together. She didn’t want to complicate it with feelings.

“I smell rubber burning,” Deidre said and smiled. “A penny for your thoughts. That’s what my dad always says to me,” She said.

“They’re worth more than a penny,” Amy said as they reached the parking lot. She slipped her hand through Deidre’s arm. “Lead on,” She said.

Deidre was surprised by the arm, but pleasantly surprised. She liked the feel of it, she decided. She looked up at the sky then back down at the parking lot. “We could hitch out to your place or we could walk around downtown.”

“We could get picked up by some Psycho too,” Amy said.

“Never have,” Deidre countered.

“Okay, but if some Psycho picks us up and kills us I am going to be so pissed at you,” Amy said. She tried a little smile on her face. Deidre answered it with one of her own.

“Never happen,” Deidre said as they started across the parking lot.

“I’d probably follow you anywhere,” Amy said softly. So softly that Deidre was not sure she had even heard her.

“Yeah. I wish that were true,” Deidre said every bit as softly.

Amy looked up at her. She had heard the words, but she was looking away. She was about to speak when Jimmy’s voice interrupted her. She looked up and there he was. His blonde hair hanging in his eyes, head half out the window of his truck. When no one answered he spoke again.

“I said, I thought you was staying at school today?” He said again looking a Deidre.

“Well, you said you might be here, so Amy and I thought we would try,” Deidre said quickly and smiled.

Amy nodded and smiled.

The car behind Jimmy’s truck blew its horn and Jimmy twisted around and glared back at the driver. He popped up his middle finger and showed it to the driver and then looked back at Deidre. “So, where we gonna go?. I didn’t make no plans and I ain’t got no money,” Jimmy said.

Deidre had about forty dollars on her, two tens in her pocket and the rest in her sneaker. She pulled out the two tens. “This will get us a little way, right,” She asked?

Jimmy took the two tens and slipped them in his pocket. “We can go out to Mike’s,” he looked at Amy. “He’s working on the Nissan today… I can help him… We can hang out… We have enough for beer now and gas to get there too.” Jimmy said.

The car behind him tapped its horn once more. Jimmy levered open the door jumped out and started to turn back to the car but Deidre caught his arm.

“Baby, you’ll get us in trouble. We’ll get caught,” she said as she pulled him away.

The guy in the car rolled his window up quickly. Jimmy smiled at him, flipped him off again and then turned back to Deidre and Amy. “Luck for that little fuck,” he said. “Come on.” He held the driver’s door open as first Amy and then Deidre crawled across to the passenger’s side and then turned and looked back at the car. The young guy behind the wheel refused to look back. Jimmy flipped him off again and then climbed back into his truck.

~

“What does it look like,” Bob Travers asked? He was at his own desk but he called up a view of the latest National Weather Service radar on his monitor.

Rebecca Monet leaned closer to the monitor, her breasts brushing against his shoulder as she did. “It could be the big one. It’s building fast and they are already predicting a path that will bring it right to us,” She told him. “I want to be the one that gets it if it does. I mean, I know I’ll have it at first but if it goes big I want to keep it instead of it going to Bethany,” she said in a low voice, nearly a whisper.

Bethany Jacobs was the anchor woman for Channel Eight News. She sat next to Bob during the newscasts. He had his pick of the big stories and left the rest to Bethany.

“Becca, you know I can’t do that,” Bob said in an equally low voice.

“Bullshit,” she said sweetly and smiled. “I know what your contract says. You schedule. You appoint. It’s your call.” Her breasts pressed more firmly against his shoulder. “Come on, Bob. I’m good. I can do it. You know I can,” Rebecca pleaded. Her hand came up and rested lightly on his upper arm. Her perfume was subtle but intoxicating.

“Bethany will go ballistic,” Bob whispered.

“So what,” Rebecca said.

“We have a …. A sort of,” Bob started.

“I know. It’s not like it’s a secret.” Her hand stroked his bicep. “I would do anything you want, Bob,” she said. The weight of her breasts against his shoulder suddenly seemed to increase ten fold. “I mean anything,” she said leaning closer and whispering in his ear. Her lips brushed his ear.

“Are we talking about the same thing,” Bob asked, his voice low. His eyes scanned the room looking to make sure no one was watching or eavesdropping.

“I’ve got a few minutes… I’m sure your dressing room is empty. Let me show you what I’m talking about. I think we’re on the same page,” Rebecca whispered. And this time her lips not only brushed against his ear they seemed planted there.

“I… I can’t right now,” Bob said.

“Can’t stand up,” she asked with a musical little laugh.

“Something like that,” Bob agreed.

“I’ll meet you there… I’ll let myself in,” She asked?

Bob nodded. The weight of her breasts were instantly gone, but the sound of her voice and the scent of her perfume were in his head. ‘Boy was Bethany going to be pissed off,’ he thought. But Tad Edwards, the station manager, had already dropped hints to him about seeing Rebecca work more, and a few other hints about how he thought Bethany was not aging well, meaning to Tad she was past her prime at twenty-seven and he thought it was time for a fresh face. A younger face. Rebecca was all of twenty, and she was… He made himself stop thinking about her. He had to, or else, he told himself, he’d never be able to get up.

‘Man oh Man was Bethany ever going to be pissed off,’ he told himself again.

~

Paul lay in Jane’s bed. He had left early this morning on the pretext of having to go over the paper work for the year end audit, and that was partly true, but the real truth was that they had been getting less and less time together and he had simply needed to be with her.

“We have got to go,” Jane said from beside him.

“I know,” Paul told her. Her body was pressed to his own, one of his arms holding her to him. He didn’t let go. She felt so good. She reached over and bit his chest softly.

“Ow,” Paul said… “Okay… Oh all right… Maybe tonight? I could say I’m working late.”

“I can’t… You know I’ve got classes… Tomorrow?” She countered.

He smiled “That will work.” His hand slipped down and rubbed across her buttocks, squeezing gently and then, reluctantly, he let her go.

She held him a second longer and then kissed him before she rolled away. “I love you,” she said.

“I love you to,” he said automatically. “I’ll go first?” He headed for the shower and a few minutes later he was merging into traffic on I 65 and heading towards the Airport Road exit.

He and Janey had been an item for about a year. Paul Blevins didn’t really think about it as cheating on his wife Peggy any longer. He was pretty sure she was pursuing her own interests anyway. It just was.

He didn’t think too hard about the love aspect of the relationship either. Sure, he told her he loved her, and he did. She had a perfect body, and he loved it. And her attitude was great, he loved that too. And, she was completely devoted to him, how could he not love that? But the other kind of love? The kind that made you cry? Made your heart ache? No. He had loved Peggy like that at one time. He loved his daughter Deidre like that. She could probably get anything at all out of him. But she didn’t abuse it. She was a pretty good kid most of the time. Not out running around getting involved in all the bad stuff that kids her age got involved in. He had no real concerns or worries about her. All of his real love. The kind that could hurt him anyway was reserved for her. She had never abused it and Paul didn’t think she ever would, or could for that matter.

He and Peggy had fallen apart a few years before and there seemed to be no way to fix it. Janey was pushing lately for them to be together. Her little boy, Lincoln, who was just two years old, already thought of Paul as his father. And Paul supposed that eventually he and Janey would probably be together.

Deidre had about six months of school left and then she would be off to college. Local if he had his way, New York if Peggy’s father had his way. And there was not too much that Peggy’s father did not get his way on. Money did talk and he had a lot of it.

Either way there was no reason to stay after Deidre was gone. There would be nothing there. It would feel too weird sleeping in the same bed, keeping up the charade. For what? For who? They really only kept up the pretense now for Deidre’s sake. If she was gone, what would be the point?

There would be no point, he told himself. Janey would most likely get her way… Sooner rather than later.

The radio played low as he drove and he listened as he watched traffic. Nothing much new. A tropical depression building off the coast of Africa. A big One. One that bore watching the weatherman said. Maybe it would be something, Paul thought, but he doubted it. They almost always slipped off and shot up the coast, or veered off and hit Louisiana or Texas. Most likely this one would too.

He came to a near dead stop in a long line of cars making their way onto Airport Road. Janey would be along in another thirty minutes or so. With Peggy’s fathers money it wasn’t a good idea to make themselves an easy target. On the surface Peggy might not seem to care, but Paul suspected she had to be thinking about the future too. Six months from now was the future. Or the end of their future. Six months from now, divorce most likely, and he didn’t mean to make it easy for her. So they were careful. Never leaving at the same times. Not being seen together.

The only reason he had stuck it out these last few years was Deidre. He wanted no custody dispute that she would be dragged into. No loss of seeing her. Peggy and her father’s money could make him look bad. Take her away. That would kill him. And, he knew it. She knew how much it would hurt him, which is exactly why she would do it. For Spite. For payback. Women were like that. Women whose fathers had deep pockets were even more like that, he thought. He had no doubt that had he pulled the plug a few years ago she would have made sure he never saw Deidre again until she was old enough to make her own decisions. But then Peggy may have poisoned her mind completely.

He could do without Peggy, Jane too, but not Deidre. So here he was, day after day. Six months to go and it would all be over. He inched forward through the traffic trying to clear his mind as he went.

The audit. Now there was a sobering thought. Janey really was helping with the audit. He had bought her in. It was a mess. There were real problems there. Problems that would take Janey to fix if he could convince her to do it for him. She was helping. Going through the mounds of paperwork. She was smart, she would see it. He would let it be her own idea. He hoped it would be her own idea. He pushed the thoughts away.

The line of cars suddenly poured onto Airport Road and he sped up just making it out and merging into the middle lane at the expense of a blaring horn and a pissed off driver of a beverage delivery truck who had not wanted to let him in. He made the left lane finally, signaled at the light and cut across the feeder road and then into the restaurant parking lot.

A few cars, and, for the second time in as many weeks a moving van was parked in the lot. Companies did that all the time, but he could not remember if there was a moving company nearby with that name. Peggy was what he was thinking of. Peggy and her fathers deep pockets. Her fathers money that could hire a private detective to follow him. To poke around. Six months, he reminded himself as he parked, got out and walked to the restaurant. She could do as she pleased with Daddies money after that.

He whistled as he walked to the door, unlocked it, and stepped inside the restaurant.

~

Dave Plasko shot the ball under his knee and across to Steve Minor. They had tried letting Darren Reed, who was part of their little group, play but he was too slow mentally to keep up. It confused him and then it panicked him, and once he was panicked he might do anything. Best to let him watch from the sidelines as he was now.

Steve caught the ball, faked left then nearly walked himself to the right, put the ball up, and it barely kissed the rim as it went through.

“That’s it. You dude’s are done,” Dave said.

“Another one?” Light said. “One more?”

“Got to work, Light,” Dave said. “Outside clearance. Can’t fuck that up. We’ll play when I’m back this afternoon.”

“Now, how is it you three white boys got that all sewn up,” Light asked?

“Hmm… We’re white? … It’s Alabama? How the fuck should I know. This is your fucked up state not mine, Light. You know we ain’t on that shit.” Dave told him.

Light bounced the ball across the small basketball court that was just off the main prison yard, and into the Recreation box on the other side.

“Yeah. If you could only play that fuckin’ good all the time…” Dave joked.

“I do, New York. You motherfuckers just cheat too Goddamn much,” Light laughed.

The yard gate opened and Jack Johnson, an overweight correction officer stepped in and looked around the yard. “What the fuck, Plasko,” he asked when his eyes fell on him. “You and your girlfriends ready to go to work or not? I ain’t got all goddamned day you know.”

“Later,” Plasko told Light. They touched fists. “On our way, Mister Johnson,” he called out. He looked to Darren and Steve and the three of them headed across the rec yard to the gate.


I hope you enjoyed the preview. I hope someday to finish that book and several others. Take a look at The new Survivors books…

NEW RELEASES



The Original Survivors: From Ashes. The survivors face the apocalypse head on #Horror https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074B7T4MC


The Original Survivors: On The Road. Some who have survived are on the road looking for safety https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0749Y4M1R


 

A free look at Mister Bob and the title story

A look at the title story, Mister Bob…


MISTER BOB

Collected Short Stories

Mister Bob: Collected Short Stories is Copyright © 2015 Dell Sweet

Copyright © 2015 by Dell Sweet All rights reserved

Cover Art © Copyright 2015 Wendell Sweet

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Name Dell Sweet is a publishing construct used by Wendell Sweet. Portions of this text are copyright 2010, and 2011, all rights reserved by Wendell Sweet and his assignees. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s or assignees permission.

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


MISTER BOB

The Middle of the night: Lisa

She awoke suddenly in the darkness of the bedroom. Panic rode tightly in her throat, but nothing in the silence told her anything she needed to know.

The clock read 2:38 AM, green numerals lighting the bedroom in eerie, fairy half light. Spooky light, she decided. It was adding to her sense of something wrong. Would red be better, she wondered. She would pick up a new clock… Make sure it had red numerals.

Don slept on beside her, apparently undisturbed, but the sense of panic, touch of fear, would not leave her.

“Mommy…!” Alandra, sobbing, calling her name. She threw the covers aside and nearly leapt up, out, and to her feet in one motion: The cotton night shirt fell to her knees as she ran for Alandra’s bedroom. Behind her, Don grunted in surprise, but she barely heard him: Her mind had kicked into a higher gear; suddenly working overtime.

…Nightmare?   … Kidnapping? …Killers? … Burglars? … My baby! …

And why is it, she thought, as her mind threw all the worst possibilities at her, that your mind does exactly that? Why?

She pushed it all away as she pushed the bedroom door open to find Alandra sitting up, staring at the closed window that looked out over the back yard.

She reached the bed and gathered Alandra in her arms… “What, baby? … Bad dream?”

“No,” Alandra sobbed. “Not a dream. You have to stop them, Mommy. They were killing Mister Bob… He told me.”

Lisa let her eyes fly quickly to the window, and then flit around the bedroom, alighting here and there, in case there was some wack-job standing in the shadows… Closed window… Tree limbs outlined outside it in moonlight… Closed closet door… She thrust one foot at the darkness under the bed.

“Baby, there’s no one here.” She pulled Alandra’s head away from her breast which was already wet from her tears.

“Honey, Alandra.” She waited until she turned her tear stained face up to her own. “Baby, there’s no one here… See?” She turned her eyes to the empty room.

“Mommy, Mister Bob,” Alandra said. “Look at the window.”

Lisa looked more closely at the window, but saw nothing more. “Honey, are you saying that Mister Bob was at the window?”

Alandra nodded solemnly.

Dan was supposed to take care of getting the tree outside the window trimmed. Lisa had been concerned of just this thing: Someone climbing that tree and having access to Alandra’s bedroom window. A spike of fear lodged directly in Lisa’s heart. “Stay here, baby, okay?”

Alandra nodded once more. Lisa gathered herself, rose from the bed, and went to the window, wishing she had thought to grab her pepper spray. Better yet, her mind supplied, Don’s 9 mm. The window was closed, but the thumb lock was off. She eased up next to the window, holding herself in the shadows, and scanned the back yard. … Nothing … The bedroom door opened suddenly and she turned quickly, her heart hammering hard against her rib-cage.

“Whatzit?” Dan asked.

“Jesus, Dan,” Lisa said. One hand went to her throat.

“Sorry…” He turned to Alandra. “What’s wrong, honey-pie?”

“She said someone was at the window,” Lisa supplied.

“Christ,” Dan muttered. He walked across to the window: A big man who moved fast. His eyes scanned the yard.

“Well… I don’t see anyone now,” he said.

“I don’t either, but I thought…”

He nodded. “Tomorrow morning, noon at the latest. It’s spring… He’s backed up.” Dan shrugged helplessly. “I’ve been on him, Lissy. I have.”

“Dan.”

He held up a hand. “Or I’ll take the day off and do it myself… Promise… I’ll call him in the morning before I leave.” He sighed.

Lisa yawned.

“Honey, you want to sleep with Mommy and Daddy,” Dan asked?

“Uh, uh. What if Mister Bob comes back?” Alandra asked.

“Mister Bob?” Dan asked.

“He told her that was his name,” Lisa said.

“Were you dreaming, honey?” Dan asked.

“She wasn’t dreaming, Dan,” Lisa warned.

“Well… Cops… Should we?”

“There’s nobody… What do you say exactly? No… Just make sure it can’t happen again,” Lisa finished.

“Okay… Okay.” He turned back to Alandra. “Come on, honey. Sleep with Mommy and Daddy tonight. Tomorrow we’ll make sure Mister Bob can’t wake you up in the middle of the night again.”

“Mommy will stay in here with you,” Lisa countered.

Alandra nodded.

Dan looked from Alandra to Lisa. Lisa shrugged.

Dan frowned and then turned and left the bedroom. A few minutes later he was back.

“Here,” he said as he handed Lisa her pillow. His own pillow and a wad of blankets were tucked under his other arm

“We’ll have a camp out,” Dan said. He looked at the floor, yawned deeply and then spread out the blankets and tossed the pillow to the floor.

Alandra giggled as Lisa climbed into the narrow bed and pulled her close.

~

Dan was already softly snoring and Lisa was sure that Alandra was sleeping too. Her own thoughts were getting farther and farther away from her. Her mind free falling into the spiral of sleep when Alandra whispered.

“Mister Bob is my friend, mommy.”

She came up from the edge of sleep just that fast.

“He talks to me every night.”

Lisa pulled her closer. “When, baby?” she whispered back.

“All kinds of times… Sometimes when I’m awake, sometimes he wakes me up. He’s not mean, mommy. He’s my friend.”

“But, baby, a man shouldn’t be climbing a tree to talk to you,” Lisa told her.

“But he doesn’t, mommy. He’s already there. Mister Bob is a tree. My tree.”

“Oh, baby… A tree? The tree in the back yard?”

Alandra yawned. “Uh huh. My friend, Mister Bob.”

Lisa nodded.

“He talks to me… He said… He said, they’re going to kill me, sissy. Don’t let them kill me.”

Lisa’s heart leapt in her chest. Sissy had been Alandra’s nickname until she had discovered that she liked her real name better in Kindergarten and had solemnly told she and Dan not to call her Sissy anymore. Lisa yawned in spite of herself. She pulled Alandra closer. Maybe it had been a dream after all.

“He calls you Sissy?”

“I told him I’m not a baby.” She yawned again and the rest of what she said was lost as she began to drift into sleep.

The fear that had been rising in Lisa’s heart bled out just that quick. Her own lack of sleep caught up to her. She yawned too, and a few seconds later she drifted down into sleep thinking about talking trees that spoke to little girls and called them by their nicknames.

Morning:

She heard the alarm from her own bedroom. Dan had turned over, pulled the covers over his head and balled the pillow up under his head. He slept on, oblivious. She recalled a dream of her own. Must have been after all that had happened, she thought. She had dreamed that she had awoken briefly to hear Alandra holding a conversation with Mister Bob. Something like, “I told her… She’ll make sure you’re okay.” And the impression of another voice. Deep, resonant. She couldn’t understand it. A weird dream provoked, no doubt, by what had happened earlier and what Alandra had told her. She looked down into Alandra’s sleep eyes.

“Want to sleep a little longer, honey?” Lisa asked her.

Alandra nodded.

Lisa kissed her forehead, got out of bed and then tucked her back in. She turned to Dan.

“Do you want to sleep in a little longer too, honey,” She asked.

The wad of blankets surrounding his head nodded.

“Well, you don’t get to sleep in. Come one. Get up.”

Dan groaned. He struggled briefly with the wad of tangled blankets that surrounded his head. Alandra looked over the edge of the bed and giggled. Lisa looked at her.

“You’re not going back to sleep are you.”

“Nope,” Alandra agreed.

“Well come on then. We’ll get breakfast and coffee going while Daddy gets his shower.”

Late Morning:

Lisa shifted through her email: Nothing too pressing. She closed the browser and popped open her scripting editor. She worked for the next three hours straight after she had gotten Alandra off to school. The website she was writing a script for was nearly done. She had written the site, incorporated the graphic elements, and was finishing up the scripting that would load the cart system for the site and control purchases. She had one small script to write yet, and a few graphics to tweak and that would be it. She reached for her coffee cup, found it was empty, and headed for the kitchen.

She had just poured the coffee when she heard the sudden roar of a chainsaw. She knew the sound. She heard it often enough in the spring and fall, but it was close. Much closer than it should be, and that rattled her. She took a deep sip from her coffee, set it down on the counter, and headed for the back door, glancing through the windows as she went: Two men she didn’t know were in her backyard.

At first it alarmed her and then she realized they must be there to trim the tree. She levered open the rear door and popped her head out anyway. They both looked over and nodded.

The bigger one held the chainsaw in his hand. A bigger saw than the models she had seen used for yard work. Somewhere, probably in the garage, they had one of the small ones tucked away for just-in-case themselves.

She smiled. “Here to trim the branch?” It made her blush. She felt a little foolish asking, but the saw was huge. Maybe they were at the wrong house… Wrong job… Something.

“The tree, miss,” the smaller man answered over the roar of the chainsaw.

The smile left her face. The words Alandra had said the night before surfaced on their own but she couldn’t quite get them. Something like, Mister Bob was her friend… A tree… This tree, in fact, and they were going to kill him… Trying to kill him

“The branch,” she said.

“Uh, uh,” the small one said. He pulled a notebook from his breast pocket, studied it. “Danny said… Danny said take the whole thing.”

“Well that just can’t be right,” Lisa informed him.

“Well, miss. I got it right here in black and white.” The big one was revving up the chainsaw and looking at the big tree with something like desire on his face.

“Well, see, I give Danny a good price, ’cause we’ll just cut this son-of-a-whore-tree…” He seemed to remember that he was talking to Lisa, met her eyes and blushed deep red. He turned away. He continued after a few seconds of silence.

“This ol’ tree, we’ll cut her up for firewood,” the bigger man continued. He had let the chainsaw fall to a rough, popping idle as they talked. From the kitchen came the ringing of the telephone.

“Excuse me,” Lisa said. She turned to go and then turned back just a quickly. “I’ll have to call Dan… Maybe that’s him. It’s only the limb though, not the tree.” She turned and headed for the back door.

The phone stopped ringing just before she reached it. She cursed under her breath, picked up her coffee, sipped at it, then picked up the handset, punched in Dan’s number.

The house phone was something that their friends considered an oddity and she considered a necessity. She liked it. She had a cellphone she rarely ever used. She had no real reason to. Her cell phone dislike wasn’t part of some strange phobia, it was just a habit she had never developed. She was a stay at home mom, what did she need a cellphone for, she asked her friends when the chided her about it. Secretly she hated it. More truthfully, she knew, she loathed it. It was something akin to being tracked everywhere you went. She had tried one for a year and that was how it made you feel. You didn’t have to slip it in your pocket, but you did. You didn’t have to answer it in the super market, but you did. While driving, while gardening, she had even tentatively answered it once when she had been in the bathroom.

That had been it for her. The cell phone had gone in a drawer, and the next time she had been at the big shopping center she had bought a wall phone with a built in answering machine. She had bugged Dan to get the house phone put in and things had been perfect. Calls went to the machine: If she felt like answering she did. But she didn’t rush to answer. She didn’t buy a portable phone to add to the line. She liked it the way it was.

Smooth silence greeted her on the line, then it clicked and a voice was in her ear.

“Hello? … Hello?”

“Hello?” Lisa answered.

“Miss Stevens?” A voice asked.

“Yes.”

“That’s so weird… It never rang… Just sounded as though a number was being punched in,” the voice said.

“You must have been there when I picked up to dial,” Lisa said. “Sorry.”

“No… No, it’s okay… Miss Stevens, this is Ms Edwards… Joan Edwards?” Alandra’s teacher.

“Is something wrong?” Lisa heard the panic as it jumped into her voice, but she couldn’t have stopped it if she had wanted to.

“No… No, but, well, Alandra’s upset… Very upset. I’ve honestly never seen her like this… She wants to talk to you… About Mister Bob? I know her father’s name is Daniel, and the explanation about Mister Bob is hard to understand… She”s upset of course, but whoever this Mister Bob is, she believes…”

“Someone is going to hurt him?” Lisa supplied.

“Well, yes… Her words were stronger.”

“Kill?” Lisa asked. Her words seemed forced, her heart hammered right at the back of her throat, fast, hot, her tongue was dry and hard to move.

“That was it… I know it’s unusual, but I’m here in the principle’s office…, She’s quite upset.”

“Put her on? Put her on,” Lisa told her. “Baby? Alandra?” The sound of Alandra’s sobbing came to her. “Baby, what’s wrong…? What about Mister Bob?” She was getting more than a little freaked out. Two men had come to cut down her imaginary friend the tree. But there was no way she could know that, was there?

“Mommy, they came to kill Mister Bob.” Lisa only understood it because she was listening for it. Otherwise, it was just broken sobs and syllables. In the backyard the chainsaw revved up to a high whine.

“Honey, they won’t cut down Mister Bob.”

“Kill, mommy, kill.”

“Kill… They won’t kill Mister Bob. They won’t kill Mister Bob… I promise.”

“Mommy, I want to come home, mommy. I want to. I want to see Mister Bob!” She sobbed even harder. The phone clattered and the teacher was back on the line.

“Miss Steven’s, I don’t know…”

“Ms Edwards… Ms Edwards I’m coming to pick her up. I’ll explain when I get there, but I’ll come to pick her up.”

“Well if you think…”

“I do… Thank you so much, Ms Edwards.” The phone was back on the hook before the teacher answered, and Lisa was palming the back door open. The big guy was getting ready to cut a notch into the tree. She waved her arms and yelled at the smaller guy who tapped the bigger guy on the shoulder. He seemed to hesitate, then he turned to face Lisa. She motioned impatiently at the saw: Reluctantly he shut it off.

“Did I say you’re not cutting down my goddamn tree?”

“Miss… The mister said…”

“I don’t care what the mister said. The tree stays.”

“Miss,” the big one soothed. “It’ll be quick. I’m insured if that’s what you’re worried about. Let me take this ‘ol bitch down and get it over.”

“It’s a he,” Lisa said.

“What?”

“A… Never mind. You’re not cutting down my tree… Are you really standing here on my property arguing with me about my own goddamn tree?” She took a few steps toward him and he stepped back, flinching as he did, despite the fact that he was easily twice her size.

“Miss,” he started, but the smaller one patted him on the arm. He turned, paused, and finally seemed to realize he would not be cutting down the tree after all. “We’ll be going,” he said after a long period of silence.

Lisa didn’t wait. She walked back into the house and was backing her Honda out of the driveway before the two men had finished loading up their truck.

Late Evening:

Lisa popped her head into Alandra’s room, but she was fast asleep. Dan looked over the top of her head.

“Okay?” He asked.

Lisa nodded, closed the door a little farther and then followed Dan down the darkened hallway to their own room.

“A talking tree,” Dan said, not quite laughing as he changed for bed.

“She believed it… Believes it… I can’t cut down her tree.”

Dan shrugged. “Willy and Timmy were pissed off.”

“So was I.” Lisa said.

“I heard.” He held up his hands. “Not that you didn’t have a right to be… I should have told you. I made a deal to just take down the tree. I figured I’d just end up trimming the thing for years… It’s a bad place… But, if it stays, it stays.”

“I didn’t say the tree talked to me,” Lisa said.

“I know,” Dan agreed.

“I feel a little defensive.”

“Don’t.”

“Don’t?”

“Don’t… It’s over.”

“Would you have done the same thing?”

“Are you kidding? Nandie crying on the phone? I would have run them both out of the yard.” He sighed.

Lisa smiled. “Okay, that made me feel better.” She reached for the light, casting the bedroom in half light from the glow of the red numerals on the clock. Dan noticed but said nothing.

“I didn’t like the other clock,” Lisa said.

He pulled her close. “Okay,” he agreed. “Red’s good.”

“Baby,” Lisa pulled back and looked up into his eyes. “Do you think, well, do you think trees can …”

“Talk,” Dan supplied.

“No, I was going to say feel pain… Weird, right?”

“Well, they’re alive, aren’t they? But pain? I don’t know… Are you serious?”

“Well, Alandra was so upset… So hurt and…”

“It was a bad dream. You know how a dream can seem at that age. Like everything… Real. Completely real to a kid.”

“You think?”

“I think,” Dan soothed. He pulled her closer.

Lisa snuggled her head into his chest, meaning only to close her eyes for a few moments, but she drifted off into sleep instead.

Late Night:

“Sissy…” Softly on the wind…

Alandra’s eyes opened in the darkness of her bedroom.

“Mister Bob,” she whispered. She sat up and looked to the window, got out of bed and walked over quietly raising the window a little. She sat down on the floor and looked up at the branches that were only a few feet outside the window. The blue-gray moon floated above the limbs far above the tree. The name came again on the wind. Softly… Barely there.

“Sissy…”

She smiled. “Mister Bob,” she whispered once more…


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