People of the world and news from Dell Sweet

Posted 06-09-13

Well, Earth’s Survivors Three is available now. I gave it away over the weekend. Usually that is about 150 books or so for me, but this came to several hundred. I hope those of you who downloaded it enjoyed it.

I am currently working on the second space novel (Just editing for Geo) Tomorrow I will start upload the first Earth’s Survivors Outrunner book. I will send that to Jay and Geo next week or the week after. For a guy who dropped out of school and lived on the streets, could not read or write because of that and had to be taught by someone, it amazes me that I spend all of my time either reading or writing now. If I don’t have a book I have either written or intend to write running around my head at any given time, something is wrong.

It’s raining in New York. Heavy, cold rain. Spring is official, but has been pretty hard to find so far this season. I thought I would share part of my past week with you…

I use Windows Seven for my operating system. Not because I like Windows Seven, but because Linux is not universally accepted yet. So I use Linux as much as I can and then Windows Seven when I have to.

I purchased a new machine a month or so ago and it came with Windows Eight. Oh, I could write a whole blog about how I hate Windows Eight. And I do. It compromises you and your information on every level, because it insists on having it. It insists on knowing everything there is to know about you. Do you have five freckles on the inside of your left thigh? That would be about the only thing it doesn’t ask or know about it, but I would not count on the fact that it doesn’t know, it just might. Anyway, for me, too nosy. I buy the software and so I guess that means I am supporting the invasion of my privacy. But I would like it to be more like a car. A Toyota will drive me anywhere I want to go, but, so will a Ford, or a Chevy, or a Dodge, or, well, you get the idea. So why is it we only have Windows? Where the hell is the support for Linux? Or something else? Okay, That’s all I have on that.

So, I deep-sixed the machine I bought because, as it turns out, you can not easily delete win 8, at least on this machine. It would not allow me to install my Win 7. I struggled with it for a week. I decided in that space of time that there was not redeeming quality there and then one day I went online, ordered the parts from Amazon to fix my old machine. Kicked myself for not doing that first, and once they came I spent a few hours fixing the old machine. Once I was done I unplugged the new machine, stuck it back in the box and slid it under my desk. It made a great foot rest until my mother’s machine locked up the other day.

Moms machine is my old machine. I wrote several short stories and my first novel on that machine, a lawn sale item I had all of 40.00 dollars into. “Well, how would you like a Windows Eight machine, Mom,” I asked? For her it’s great. She is a social animal, mom is. I think something like 600 face book friends. She has all her on-line shopping places, her Kindle account. Huh, I said to her, people actually use computers to socialize? Mom just laughed at me. She figured out Win 8 immediately and has no problem with it. Humph…

I use Windows Seven and it makes me money, or helps me to make a living. It’s a tool I use to run the software that makes my living, and allows me to access the publishing services I need to be able to make my living. It also allows me to buy and sell on-line if I so choose, use software to listen to music, manipulate my artwork and create Artwork too. Record Music of my own. Read other E-Books (Yes, I read other authors, not just the ones here at independAntwriters). In short I spend a great deal of time in the Windows Seven environment and all I ever do is complain about it, uh, sort of like I am right now. But once I got a load of Win 8 I decided I would embrace Win 7. No more complaints from me.

So, last week I went to Google for a translation for a phrase spoken by one of the characters in Earth’s Survivors Three. Candace Loi is Japanese and African American. Her Grandmother spoke Japanese. I remembered the pronunciation for Grand Daughter in Japanese, but did not want to hack the spelling. And, growing up and hearing it, having an idea in my head what it meant, and then what it really means are different things sometimes. I went with Magomusume instead of Mago. Magomusume is more formal, and not really used often. But, I didn’t want to confuse things, it’s not like the character can launch into a long explanation about why it is not usually used in the Gender specific form.

So, I found it, but, when I had searched, it had also shown me a few images of people that indirectly related to my search. Japanese life. Yes, for once, not porn that always seems to pop up, but actual people… With their clothes on. I was awed, and I did something I rarely do, I spent about four hours more on Google looking for more pictures of people from all walks of life. So when you read Earth’s Survivors Three and you reach the point where Candace explains Magomusume you will know that as soon as I wrote that I then spent four or so hours Googleing stuff. I went ahead and clicked the ‘Images’ link on Google. Like I said, usually I am Leery of it, but this time I carefully restricted my keywords and was rewarded.

Poor, Gypsies, Vietnamese, Japanese, Native American, African and African American. One simply led to the next. And, why look if you don’t intend to keep? The reason I thought of that is because I know a man who, whenever I visit, has his desktop machine (A MAC, Ironically) set to show different life scenes. And this is on his office machine, so, while I’m waiting, I watch the picture show. I have been there enough times to know the pictures, and so I anticipate certain ones.

I sit in the padded leather chair, in his office, in America, where even the very poor do not starve to death in the streets, or get shot or terrorized by soldiers, or shot, killed and dumped in a ditch somewhere. At least not as the normal course of a day. Violence does happen here too. Having both grown up poor, and spent time actually living on the streets as a teen, I understand that what we see on the surface is only a poor reflection of what is under that surface. But I sit in his padded leather chair and I watch scenes from all over the world. People, Artwork, Animals, Architecture and more. It’s pleasant to watch. Soothing. I suppose it is for him too.

But the images I discovered that day were people who knew nothing at all about me. My life. My computer. The life I lead is so far from their life that it might just be incomprehensible to them. In any case, for most of them, they will never live this type of life. And, they don’t look all that unhappy about the possibility of never living this life to me.

Yes, in some instances I’m sure they are. When their basic rights are violated, when they are oppressed, when they are hungry. Not our version of hungry, I mean when they have not eaten. Maybe for days. So, their life is not all roses, but they don’t miss what they have never thought about, seen, or experienced. And I looked at the pictures and I thought this is what I need to look at every day. This is what can keep me connected to the real world. That is important to me. Being grounded. Staying grounded.

So I spent about four hours and downloaded every picture that I came across that I liked. I put them in a folder and I have added to that folder a few times now when I have thought of other people I would like to see. Then I set my desktop to that folder and voila. I Guess I am bringing it up because it affected me in some unexpected ways.

First, I have dual monitors, so as I work I can see the pictures change, for the most part. The only time I can’t is when I have something else up on the second monitor. But, I found that I tend to leave that monitor blank most of the time now. And that, throughout my day, I am watching the faces pop up. A mother in Africa with her baby. A band of Gypsies Exiled by Hitler before or during the war. He hated them as much as he did the Jewish people. A proud but poor Father in Mexico posing outside of a house most of us would not want to step inside of let alone call home, with his family. All smiling. Looks like they have a lot of love if not money.

A young Native American mother sometime back in the 1700’s staring wide eyed at the camera, her child held in her arms. She looks so young and scared. A little Boy smiling up at the camera, tribal scars on both sides of his face. He looks so happy. His smile is genuine. A mother nursing. Rebels posing with Machine Guns on a road in a jungle somewhere. A young Vietnamese woman making her way through the ruined streets of some Vietnamese city. A Chinese woman with her child on her back, wrapped and looking at the world go by as mom makes her way to where ever she is going. And more…

A family on the road. A father carrying his children. Images of war, images of peace. Images I have no context for, only the people looking into the lens of the camera, or away: Caught unawares. I realized it really was keeping the world in my mind. Why is that father carrying his children? What does that mother feed her children? Do they know about the western world? What do they think about it? I like it. It keeps the world on my mind. The part of the world that is important.

I don’t mean our jobs, bills, house payments aren’t important, I am only saying that people are more important. Seeing these people from all over the world. Some surely still living, some long gone away, keeps me grounded. If only because of what I just said. Know some a re gone. Some still here. It reminds me that there were times with my family, friends, I wish I could have back, had cherished more. Some of those people are gone now. If I remember them as I look at the pictures it’s like they never left. And, there are the questions I have for those I see in the pictures too. It keeps the important things in the world in perspective for me.

It has been an interesting week, and I am glad I made the change. It even makes me grateful, yes, grateful, to Microsoft for this desktop where I can watch those changing pictures. Or whoever came up with the idea. Does that mean I can’t complain about Windows anymore?


Take a look at my books on Amazon: Dell Sweet


FREE EBOOKS FOR FRIDAY from GEO DELL and DELL SWEET

FREE eBOOKS FOR FRIDAY, GEO DELL, DELL SWEET

Free eBooks tomorrow. This is the advance list of Free eBooks for tomorrow, Friday. Download them starting after midnight in most locations. They are on west coast time. Enjoy, Dell…

Earth’s Survivors Collection one Kindle Edition

Normally 2.99 now free for an extended period of time

Links: Amazon U.S. – U.K. | Smashwords | Kobo | Nook |  iTunes


The Zombie Plagues Book One

What if the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive? The Zombie Plagues books follow a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive on a vastly changed earth, where the dead sometimes do not remain dead. Follow along as they try to rebuild their own lives as they rebuild their world…


Normally 3.99 now free for an extended period of time

Get the first Zombie Plagues Book: iTunes | NOOK | Smashwords


Enjoy the free eBooks and please post or re-post this page to let others know about them, Geo…


The Friggin’ Mayans or fault predictions

Posted by Geo 02-01-2017

Happy Wednesday! Cold here today but warming, so I am told, no surprise there. I am writing today and so I will leave you with some humor that hopefully will get you through your Wednesday and I will be back here bright and early on Friday! A word about Fridays. On Fridays, starting this Friday next, I will be uploading guitar builds or Zombie Plague chapters . I will start a build and stick to it start to finish, uploading the images and text for that session of building. The following week with be a Zombie Plagues installment. Both uploads will retain back issues and so you can kick back and read them at your leisure. So look forward to that or drop me a line if you think it would be better implemented another way.

The Friggin’ Mayans: (Written when the end of the world predictions were everywhere, the Mayans foremost)

I am not all that pleased with the Mayans. I have been waiting, but here it is creeping towards the middle of January and the earth is still here. What happened? Great mathematicians my… Well you know.

But really, we are so gullible That’s how these whack jobs like the Mayans get us in the first place. The whole thing probably went something like this…

Bob and Ted Mayan (Well, they were called Mayans, right?) were bored one day. Maybe they had just smoked a little weed, had a couple of ancient beers (Probably not a good European Dark beer, but hey they’re lucky they had any at all), and most likely Bob said something like…

“Hey, man… What if… What if… I forgot.”

“The world ended,” Ted supplied.

“Yeah… Yeah, Man. That’s it. What if, like, the world just ended and… and…” he shrugged (Probably too stoned to think straight).

“Yeah… Yeah… I see it,” Ted nearly screams. “And we all float off into space!”

“Dude!” Bob says.

“Dude,” Ted agrees.

And that was probably it right there. Next thing you know Bob and Ted have started themselves a little cult. Got a bunch of their contemporaries following them. Probably put it on their version of Face Book (The Cave Walls) and that was it. One kid’s a math wiz (At least on their level) and the next thing you know the Mayans are predicting our future. Makes me mad just thinking about it.

So here I am a few thousand years later… I don’t know the Mayans were high that day… I don’t know they had three or four arrests for possession before they were sixteen. Nope. I’m just an average Joe saying Hey What the hell is the deal? And I start to think maybe it’s happening. I’m at work and I turn to Fred my Cat…

“Fred… Fred, does it feel like the Earth is spinning slower to you? … Does it?”

“Meow,” Fred says. Whatever that means. And while I’m on the subject, which I wasn’t. How can a Cat or a Dog express themselves with so few words. This damn cat always answers Meow.

“Fred, what do you think? Were the Mayans right or not?”

“Meow.”

“Really.”

Or

“Fred, I think I hear a dog out there in the yard.”

“Meow.”

“Really.”

What does it mean? Couldn’t once he say…

“A dog you say? Well that clinches that. I’m not going out in the yard at all.”

“Really,” I would say, surprised and probably in shock.

“Really? What the hell does really mean? Don’t you people ever say anything else,” Fred asks?

Anyway, the Mayans. It’s mostly our faults. I read somewhere that people who make predictions, by the odds, have to be right 50 percent of the time. That’s pretty limited thinking. Maybe if it’s strictly yes or no, otherwise the variables come into play and who can tell, and that is exactly how they get us. That… maybe it could be … That… You don’t suppose…? And we are so fatalistic in our overall views that we just jump on it…

“BARB! Let’s get down to the Walmart and stock up on all the stuff we’re gonna need! The World’s Ending!!!”

And the religious whack jobs? Oh, they’re happy. They just look at you and smile. They’re God is gonna kick some ass now, that’s for sure. You people will starve in the wilderness… STARVE! But God will take care of me! God told me to get a rope and tie myself to the church steeple so that when the world ends, and the Earth stops spinning, I won’t float away…

Good. And when nothing happens I suppose you could use the rope to lasso a cow. Start a life as a cowboy.

We are so gullible. A friend bought a book to me a few years back. He handed it to me…

“Look, don’t pass that around…” He looked around to make sure no one was listening. “It’s the secret to life,” he whispered. “Says so right on the cover… A secret..”

“A secret?”

“SHHHS. Not so loud. It’s a friggin’ secret. Secret knowledge… Read it, I did.”

Or another friend shortly after that.

“It’s the Mayan prophecy, Dude. See this guy that wrote it… Well, he’s not a Mayan, but he’s good with numbers, see, and he says it’s gonna be December 2012…” He looked at me meaningfully.

“Uh huh… December?”

“Yeah… December.”

“Yeah. I got that. I mean what’s gonna be in December 2012?”

He looked at me like I was nuts. “Dude! The world’s ending, Dude.”

“Oh… That December 2012 thing.”

“Yeah, see this guy has a ship full of virgins and he’ll be in the New York harbor waiting to sail…”

“Ah, virgins?”

“Yeah… Yeah, see, to re-populate the world when most everyone dies.”

Gullible. We want to believe it. I personally think if the moron that wrote that book would have showed up with a ship full of virgins he would have found himself in jail. But hey, maybe the Mayan’s could post bail…

Anyway. I’m still here. The world didn’t end, and I didn’t see a single Mayan on T.V. apologizing for the misinformation. Not one. The world is still going and if you went ahead and maxed out your Visa card you’re gonna have to pay it. Next week or the week after that the light bill’s gonna be due, then the car payment, and the next thing you know we will have moved right past those Mayans and their faulty math.

Listen, keep this to yourself, but I read this book and it predicts that the real date is a year or so away. Then the whole friggin’ thing’s gonna fall down…. Honest. The book says so…

……………………………….

Check out the Zombie Plagues and don’t forget this Friday I will be kicking off some content uploads with a free Zombie Plagues read that will stay on the website and be added to every other week. Meanwhile, check out these links and go get yourself a free eBook! Geo…

The Zombie Plagues

The Zombie Plagues Book One

Series: The Zombie Plagues, Book 1 · Free eBooks. Price: Free! Words: 73,100. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories:Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic

(5.00)

What if the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive? The Zombie Plagues books follow a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive on a vastly changed earth, where the dead sometimes do not remain dead. Follow along as they try to rebuild their own lives as they rebuild their world.
The Zombie Plagues Book Two

Series: The Zombie Plagues, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 65,700. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead,Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Book Two picks up the tale of Mike Collins, Candace Loi, Patty Johnson, Ronnie Vincent, Robert Dove and the other Survivors as they make their way across the country and into the Heartland, Looking for Robert Dove’s promised land. A place where they can live their lives in peace, rebuild their worlds and those of the people they meet along the way. But the world is not done with them yet…
The Zombie Plagues Book Three

Series: The Zombie Plagues, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,190. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead,Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The Zombie Plagues Three Is Here! The struggle to stay alive has leveled out. The Survivors have found their place in the wilderness and The Nation is growing. Life is good for those who are lucky enough to be there. But out in the real world it’s a different story. The dead are taking over. The cities, the countryside, small towns and villages, everywhere the living go the dead are there.
The Zombie Plagues Book Four: The Outrunners

Series: The Zombie Plagues, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,680. Language: American English. Published: November 14, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead,Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
I saw the Zombie on Madison take a mouthful of her back, just below the curve of her neck, and rip the flesh away from her spine. Cammy’s rifle came up and barked, and the zombie blew apart, raining down on Madison, a storm of black blood. Somehow, I managed to switch to full auto, get my rifle up, and spray an entire one hundred round clip into the other zombies where they rushed along the path..
The Zombie Plagues: Book Five

Series: The Zombie Plagues, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,580. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2015 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead,Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Something hit the truck hard and it rocked on its springs. The smell of death hit them at about the same time. A rotting hand came through the open window and fastened around Beth’s throat, yanking her backwards. The truck spun hard to the left and accelerated, her foot still mashed on the gas. A second later they slammed into the house and Billy watched as Beth hit the dashboard face first…
The Zombie Plagues Dead Road: The Collected books.

Series: The Zombie Plagues. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 436,750. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2016 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic,Fiction » Horror » Undead
This book contains all the published Zombie Plagues books, one through five, as well as book six that was not published. It also contains a complete character bibliography and a small series epilogue. If you were waiting to read the complete series in one place, wait no more. From the first days of the apocalypse to the first babies, and then the epilogue, and the last days of Bear…

Satellite cable

Posted by Geo 01-30-17

Last day of the month. The time is flowing by quickly. Winter will be gone before I can even get a good complaint going about the cold and ice and summer will be here with its heat and humidity and I’ll wish I had never said a word.

Spent today waiting on the satellite company, spent yesterday waiting on the cable company. I love waiting for service people that have you completely at their mercy. In the end it all got straightened out and only half of today was wasted saying the same thing over and over as I was transferred to department after department.

I had bought into an advertisement on TV that promised satellite internet speeds as fast as cable. Just so you know, it isn’t true at all. Not even close. Half the speed, hard to even stream a movie without interruptions, and there is a data cap. Read that as one or two movies, a little light duty surfing and you are done for the whole month. That would knock me out the first day of the month. So I went through the whole hook it up and then disconnect it thing. My own fault. If something sounds suspect it probably is. I know that, yet I still fell for it. And so you know, it costs a great deal to buy your way back out once you take the plunge, but I ate that too. Live and learn.

So that kept me away from my writing schedule today and my day off yesterday. I will fix that though. I have a little story in my head where a Cable company installer gets involved with a Satellite installers wife. The husband finds out and all hell breaks loose. That’s the nice thing about being a writer. You can get retribution and it isn’t even a felony.

We are about a third of the way through the writing process for book Ten of the Earth’s Survivors series. It is coming along well. There is other writing for the 7th Zombie Plagues book happening at the same time as I mentioned last week. In any case it is going well. A few days of cable and satellite interruptions wont bother it at all.

So while I was waiting on the satellite service today, I decided that it was a good time to move my wireless router since I was changing the service over, and make the location more central to both machines and the printer that use it. I was wrong. I mean it got moved, but it was not a good day to do it. It is 28 and windy and snowing hard: You need windshield wipers for your glasses. I ended up drilling holes and running wires, all of the things I didn’t want to do in the cold, but somehow talked myself into. I am an idiot at times I will admit that.

I went ahead and assumed it would all work out great. I unplugged the modem, collected up the new modem and then the wireless modem and went to work drilling the holes and running about 50′ of cable for Ethernet too. Got out my little wire staples and popped it all together nice and neat and turned it on. It worked great. It worked great for about 3 minutes and then it quit working. Shut it off and turn it back on and it’s fine for three more minutes then it’s off again. It has been such a crazy two months using brand B’s service that I seriously considered whether or not I could get my web stuff done in that three minute window. When I realized I was seriously considering it I kicked myself in the ass and went back to work trying to figure it out.

The router would take me to the router site but then it claimed that it couldn’t recognize the service provider and refused to set it all the way up. So I went step by step as it said to.

#1. Reset the unit and wait 2 minutes before you cycle through the start up process.

I waited two minutes, same three minutes of internet access and then nothing. It finally occurred to me that I had never reset the other modem, the cable company one. Should that matter? Yes, it should and did. I reset it and it all came on and worked fine. Told you I was an idiot.

But really I think I expect everything to be intuitive. Maybe ask me a question or two in a robotic voice and then proceed to setup. No problem. I hate technologies that can’t communicate with each other and so have no clue why they are not working and no ability to chat back and forth to you to find out. I know this is true because several times this morning I called the router a No good ***&^ and a &^^**%, and it made no difference. If someone had called me those things I definitely would have reacted. So I am puzzled as to why it didn’t. It didn’t have to say much, just a short Sorry, or even Wow, you screwed that up, right? Anything like that, but it stayed silent: Nothing at all to say.

I made it past that though and everything is hooked up and very fast. So I thought, well I’ll take advantage of this super fast connection to access my account and cancel the old stuff and that was when things got even worse. Three hours later I managed to find an English understanding person in tech support, at least he sort of understood it about as well as I understood him. So I got off the phone. I considered that the cap to my morning. Stung by the satellite company, then the cable company, then tech support. Bastards. That was morning. It’s now afternoon and 5 degrees, that is about all that has changed. And of course it’s nearly 3:00 PM too. How in hell did that happen?

Well, there you go. That is my Monday, and I hope that your Monday is a lot better. I will be back on writing tomorrow, and from there the rest of the week stretches out pretty much problem free. I hope your day is problem free, and go download these free books. I’ll be back Wednesday, Geo.

The free books for today are:

Free eBooks

Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse

Series: Earth’s Survivors · Free eBooks. Price: Free! Words: 94,690. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2015 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General,Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic

(4.00)

Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. Small groups band together for safety, leaving the ravaged cities behind in search of a new future…

Earths Survivors The Zombie Killers: Origins

Series: Earth’s Survivors The Zombie Killers, Book 1 · Free eBooks. Price: Free! Words: 77,890. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2014 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories:Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
The Zombie Killers are the men and women who keep the new settlements safe for the other survivors. Those in the Nation and those in the Fold, and the many independent colonies that would not be able to exist without their help and intervention. They are the ones who search out supplies, fight the Zombie Plagues so that the others can live in safety…

The Zombie Plagues Book One

Series: The Zombie Plagues, Book 1 · Free eBooks. Price: Free! Words: 73,100. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories:Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic

(5.00)

What if the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive? The Zombie Plagues books follow a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive on a vastly changed earth, where the dead sometimes do not remain dead. Follow along as they try to rebuild their own lives as they rebuild their world.

Connected: Sanger Road

Series: Connected · Free eBooks · Crime Novels. Price: Free! Words: 41,020. Language: English. Published: September 24, 2016 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories:Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Sanger Road: An explosive morning on a dead end road is about to change Carl Ever’s life forever. Ami Anderson is a young woman living a dead end life, the same as Carl. They are thrown together and find themselves in a set of circumstances neither could ever have predicted. Murder, hired killers, cash and drugs are all in the mix. Soon Ami and Carl find themselves on the run for their lives…

Free eBooks: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/25786


Write, right

Posted by Geo 01-25-2017

Good morning! The world is ice and snow. The weather can’t make up its mind what it wants to do. We have had the strangest weather the last few days and now it seems to be warming again, melting all the ice that has formed and caused accidents and taken down trees.

I have been working on this new book and finally finished the basic novel yesterday. When I say that I mean the story is completely there. That is how I do it. Sometimes when I am writing like that it feels like it is pouring out of me so fast that I can’t think fast enough to translate it to the keys on the keyboard. It feels so fast that I think I should pull the plug… It’s too fast. it will tip me over. It gets like that. All consuming when that story grips you and just pours out of you. Time for a lunch break? No, not today. I may have been called to lunch or something else, but I never moved because I know as well as any writer knows that when that story is flowing like that you let it be. You don’t stop. You emerge hours later from this fog you were in, and go about your business, but it is hours before your brain settles down, and sometimes it doesn’t and you find yourself right back at it, the words pouring out of you once more.

So that is how the story came. Now it needs to sit a few days and then I will go over the entire thing and fix all the mistakes. Sometimes when the story is flowing like that you miss whole words, type half sentences. So I wait a few days, the story line is still fresh in my head, and I go back and fix all of those things. Then I make another pass fleshing it out. Sometimes I will throw in short talk, just a message to myself like “Put something about Karen right here!” At the time I knew exactly what I wanted Karen to do, be, say, fall into and so I want to write that extra scene while my brain is still there. And there are usually dozens of those sorts of things.

Then I leave the story for a month or two. I want to move on to another project, maybe even complete it before I come back. After that time I do a read through to see how the story strikes me with some perspective… Do I like it? Do I see glaring mistakes in characters or plot lines? Does it seem thin in places? After that, if I have decided to keep it I fix those places. Then I have  friend who reads it raw like that. She tells me what her impressions are and I make those changes. She is looking at it with a completely new set of eyes having never dealt with the story before. After those changes are made I am ready to flesh the book out to the size I want it to be. Am I aiming for a long book or a short book? With digital books I try to keep them around 50k, paperback only books closer to 100k. So I go to work expanding or contracting scenes until I am where I want to be. Sounds like surgery, and really it is.

I used to hate the whole process of attacking my own work and making it into something salable, but the fact is if you don’t there are no sales, you have to put it into the category and it has to be ready and whole when you do. So, one book down for the spring, summer or fall release, two to go.

The rest here is life a usual. Something large attacked one of my cats the other night. I found the tracks, the cat has a bruised ego and a sore tail, nothing worse. The track looks like fox to me. Could be, I found the tracks again this morning in the fresh snow. It came from the woods, up onto the porch, off the porch and down the side of the house and then crossed the road and wandered off into the woods on the other side.Until I figure out what it is I will have to be careful with my own animals so they don’t get injured or worse.

That is me this Wednesday. I will leave you with an excerpt from the next book I will be jumping into starting tomorrow, Hurricane. Hurricane has been the working title for over a year now. It will be book three in the Connected series when it is finished and should arrive some time between spring and fall of this coming year. I hope all is well in your world, see you Friday, Geo…

Hurricane

Copyright Dell Sweet 2017, All rights reserved.

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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 reading. You can check out the Connected series from W. W. (Jay) Watson below…

Connected: Sanger Road

W. W. Watson

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Connected, a series from W. W. Watson. Sanger Road: Book one…
Pulled from his mundane life, Carl finds a world where anything is possible if you are willing to risk everything…
The smell of hot metal filled the air. Carl looked first to the car down the road, partway onto the cement pad: The trunk had popped open and all manner of stuff that had been inside now lay scattered across the ground. Hot oil and antifreeze dripped from under the hood onto the concrete. The front roof line was crushed flat to the top of the driver’s seats. The backseat area seemed untouched.
He slipped around the end of the trailer and looked at the other car. A newer Ford: He could see the badge on the rear deck. The front end of the car was wrapped around the oak in the backyard just as he had thought and steam was rising up into the air. The Ford first, he decided. The car across the road would have to wait.

The Ford had hit the tree and climbed it a few feet before it came to a complete stop. Carl had to stand on tip toe to peer into it. The driver had no head left, that had been the huge stain on the windshield. There was no passenger. Looking out from the inside it was not just red but gray and black too: Bone, hair and brain matter. His stomach did a quick flip and he began to close his eyes as he turned away.
As he turned, his eyes caught on the floorboard and a blue duffel bag that was jammed into the space with the drivers legs. There was no way that the door was going to open, but the glass was gone from the window. He balanced over the edge of the door trying to stay as far away as he could from the dead man as he did, leaned in and tried to snag the duffel bag. His fingers brushed the two plastic handles, but he could not get a grip on them.
Carl levered himself further over the window sill and nearly came down into the dead man’s lap as he lost his balance and his feet left the ground. His hand shot down quickly, bounced off the dead man’s thigh and hit the seat, stopping him just a few inches above the man’s lap and a small splattering of bone and blood that was there. His hand slipped, but he pressed down harder and held himself.
He could feel the slick blood and splinters of bone under his hand, but he pushed the knowledge out of his mind, took a deep breath, braced himself and then reached down with his free hand and snatched the handles pulling the heavy bag free.
Read more with a free preview right now…

…More

Connected: Dello Green

W. W. Watson

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Jimmy West:
Jimmy West backed his big Dodge around to an open dumpster container, late afternoon was a perfect time. The county residents not in evidence: The large trucks done with their routes for the day: The dump about to close down for another day. Whenever he had something to dispose of and he needed privacy, he timed it so that he was here in the late afternoon just as he was now.
Smith, who now resided in the trunk of the Dodge, had met him on a back road of the local base. That was not as risky as it seemed. The base had been a small winter camp back in the early nineteen hundreds: When it had expanded the first time it had incorporated an entire nearby village. The whole township: Farms, streets, fields. At the third expansion, when it became a major base most people had forgotten about the old township and its farms and roads rotting away on the vast reservation. Jimmy, who had grown up in the area, had not.
Jimmy handled problems for different people. Very many of those people did favors for, or had business dealings with, people who had bad habits. Theft. Gambling. Prostitution, drugs, just to name a few. And many of those people with those bad habits got to know Jimmy West because they also had another bad habit: They constantly forgot to pay their debts.
Jimmy could see how a two dollar debt might slip someone’s mind. After all it was insignificant, but a three thousand dollar debt? Or even a thirty thousand dollar debt? No. He could not see how a debt that large could slip anyone’s mind. He couldn’t see how a debt that large wouldn’t be on your mind day and night until you had it paid, settled. Somehow, for some, it wasn’t that way and that was unfortunate for them because it meant they would most likely be getting a visit from Jimmy. A personal collection, so to speak.
Jimmy had a certain propensity for violence. His psychological evaluations in the service had shown an aptitude for following orders without question, and a certain flexibility of morals that some would find alarming, but which the government had used him for more than once. Killing didn’t seem to affect him the way it did others. In fact, it didn’t bother him at all. Killing was part of the job. That was how he looked at it then: And that was how he had explained his lack of empathy to the Army shrink that had debriefed him when he had resigned after his second tour. It was nothing special, it was how he was built. It was something his boss, Jojo White appreciated.
Jojo White ran the largest organized crime outfit on the east coast. He had met West fresh out of the service when some of those aptitudes had nearly gotten him killed. He had embraced that side of him. He employed West to fix problems for him.
Jimmy shut down the car and walked around to the back, looking in all directions, trying not be obvious as he did it: There was no one around. He keyed the trunk lock and the lid rose slowly. West looked down into the trunk: Smith had been easy. Sometimes ordinary people picked up information or habits that became liabilities. When that happened Jimmy’s phone would ring. Not every problem he took care of knew something, but if need be every one of those problems had given up their information before he had allowed them to die.
Smith had been selling in Jojo White’s cocaine territory. A bad idea. Jimmy knew he had sold the idea to a local bookie he had been in deep with. Move in, steal a little territory, sell fast and get the f**k out before Jojo even knew he had been there. It all sounded so easy when you were blue-skying it..
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Rainy Wednesday

I think the other day, Monday, I mentioned we were in a deep freeze here and we were. Well late yesterday it began to rain all over the state and it has not stopped yet. They say tomorrow it will be colder and the rain will stop. That sounds like a perfect Ice Storm setup. I have been there before.

Around here things are the same. The new year is laid out before me and I am leaving in the things that will fit, taking out the things that clash. The year is rolling. Already it is nearly a week into it and it seems to be showing no signs of weakening soon. What is going on in your world? New years resolutions? I made none. Parties yet to attend? Did attend? I attended none. I must admit I was invited I just didn’t go. Next year, I told myself. Next year I will go! Bull, I will not go. I will be the guy that volunteers not to go. The one who stays back to cover the runaway nuclear power plant story that might just pop up. Or the guy who volunteers to do site updates that aren’t necessary. Yep, that is me. Sometimes I think I am too much the same from day to day. Maybe I should get a haircut, a tattoo, a piercing, buy a Camaro, I have secretly been looking at them. Then I think, No! Don’t be a rebel. Conform. Go ahead, be Assimilated. But then I think, no, I don’t want to be assimilated exactly, I just want to be part. Different, but part of the whole. Snif, snif…

Okay, well the new year really is off to a good start. Dell is doing well. Jay is writing, life is good.

It has been a busy week for me, and a week where I accomplished little writing. That seemed strange at first, but I got so much other stuff done that I decided it wasn’t strange, just a temporary kind of new.

I worked all week on remodeling, smashed almost every finger and thumb that I have, wore myself out completely a few days in a row, and still felt grateful for it. It made me wish even harder to be living a life that models my books. I think that is why we find tales like that, a struggle to survive, impelling. It is a lifestyle we long for because it is completely different from what we have. No taxes, no $4.00 a gallon gasoline. No boss on your ass, and all the rest of it that would personalize it for each of us. That kind of life has pulled at me since someone bought it up to me at 18, and offered me a chance to live it.

I had an opportunity then to homestead in another country. It was serious. Isolated. Living completely off the land in a very wild place. No neighbors, cars, roads, telephones. Nothing at all. I was young. It sounded so great. My wife was pregnant and said no and that was that. She would not have a baby in the middle of nowhere. And that bought the realization that even if we stalled a few years, eventually she might have to have that baby in the middle of nowhere. It was a dead issue for her after that.

I understood it on two levels. First the reality of living that life or a life in the real world where my wife, child and family were. And just examining that on the surface made the decision for me. Second, even though the decision had been made, I was absolutely convinced that if I had gone I would have succeeded at it and loved it.

Because of that duality in me, I always pressed to learn as much as I could that would make me as self sufficient as possible, and I have. It allows me to write about things in my books with assurance. I can write it because I have done it. Learned it. Not because I read it in a book or Googled it. (Although Googling things is pretty damn impressive too, and I have used that a few times). My point is that for the past three weeks I have left the keyboard alone and turned back to working with my hands. And, as is usually the case with me, working alone too.

It’s been great, despite the broken finger, smashed truck and busted up thumb, blisters and dead tired, nothing-left-at-all, way I have felt most nights. That is my compromise for life. It’s like an uneasy truce I declared back there at 18. I have to have some of that sort of time.

It has seemed to work great most of the time. But I found the same unhappiness, missing something that many of us find in life. Marriage, success, money, it doesn’t matter. There is, and always has been, something missing for me, and it took a great deal of life to finally forge an uneasy truce, compromise, cease war with myself.

It takes real effort to keep it working, moving, but it can be done. Part of it is what I write. I say I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s obvious that it is strongly flavored by my desire to live that life I felt I should have lived.

Some people I know would leave this life to live that life in a heart beat. Others flat out say they would never do it. If given the opportunity I would go in a second, I say. And then I think of all the obligations I have. Things that I have said that I would see through, do, people I would be there for, and I know I could never do it.

What is my point? My point is that when I write about it. Or I take a few weeks off to really work hard with my hands, it’s just as good. It can be just as good. Or as good as having feet in both worlds can be. I think the writing is the grand escape. A good story should be able to take you away. I hope mine take you away. I hope you enjoy it so that when all the crap you have to deal with in the real world comes along you can deal with that easier because you took a little breather in your head.

I hope you had a great week, where ever you are. Hello to my friends in the UK. I am glad I have friends there. My Mother’s parents were English and Irish. I have always felt that connection. My father on the other hand was African American and Native American, so I have always felt that pull too, and I am grateful to my friends here in the States and the UK that share that sort of heritage too.

I will leave you with a short story, the first short story from Rapid City. I’ll be back next week…

Rapid City #1

By

Wendell Sweet

BLOG EDITION

* * * * *

PUBLISHED BY:

Wendell Sweet & independantwriters All rights reserved

Rapid City

Copyright © 2013 by Wendell Sweet

If you would like to share this book with another person, please direct them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

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

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.

DEDICATION

For Shell. Nothing else to say

Rapid City is Copyright © 2013 Wendell Sweet

All rights reserved

One – The Town At Twilight

Two – The Blood And Breakfast

Three – The Gunfighter Profession

Four – The Good Old Days – Dinner and Conversation

Five – The Challenger

Six – In the Alley By The Door

RAPID CITY

The Town At Twilight

It was late when I came into Rapid city. Though the buildings had been thrown up as temporary shelters some twenty years past, they still held sway over the main street. But they seemed empty, abandoned in the twilight.

A faded, crudely lettered, wooden sign nailed to one side of the bat wings of Blood and Breakfast made the street official. Or as official as anything ever got in Rapid city.

My horse didn’t seem especial nervous as she made her way along. If you ride a horse, and everyone did now, gasoline was long gone unless you were a part of the Nation, you got used to their moods… Perceptions, and you paid attention or you might wind up dead. Horses were still free and Zombies couldn’t chase them down and eat them. Not that they didn’t get one occasional, they did. But it was rare.

My own horse watched the shadows slide from alleyway to alleyway between the old buildings. Her large, liquid brown eyes watching careful like. She was no fool, but she also didn’t appear to be alarmed to me.

The zombies weren’t out. They rarely came near the city in my own experience. At least not before full dark came on. So I didn’t concern myself with them. But I didn’t slide either. My eyes automatically slid from shadow to shadow in the buildings alleyways as I tied my reins to the rail out front, made the steps and headed up to the bat wings. I Heard a pigs squeal suddenly cut off and hoped there’d be some meat to be had with the usual eggs and biscuits.

Rapid city had been thrown together by some survivors who had come out of the North looking for a warmer place to live. You might as well say driven out and not just by the cold, but the zombies. Zombies didn’t mind cold. You could come across one naked as a jaybird, seeming frozen at the side of the road in the middle of the winter and think it would be no trouble. But the minute you turned your back they’d be up and on you. Once bitten there was no turning back. Oh in the early years there had been talk of some kind of cure, but it had never come to anything. After a while all those Government mouthpieces that kept talking cure got bit themselves and you just didn’t hear from them anymore. Not too long after that the whole government structure fell apart and for all intents and purposes, excepting those of us who could fight, the world belonged to the Zombies.

I had taken to gun-fighting. First: you had to be good with a gun so you could get them bastardly Zombies before they got you. Second: For some reason those that were left alive seemed to be hell bent on killing one another. A man couldn’t hardly turn his back on no one lest a bullet find him between the shoulder blades. And women? Well, short of whores of one kind or another, I had no truck with them. A woman, a real woman, was in short supply and worth killing over: Even if she was an ugly woman. I’d seen a four way gun battle over a one legged Whore down by Texas a few years back. And I’d heard about a thirty two man shoot out over a woman out on Alabama Island. And she was a slatty slip of a woman, but they said she could breed and that was that. I’d come across that one when it was over and they was counting the bodies. But these were things that were in the past. Years ago.

Back then things of that like seemed a waste to me. Here these Goddamned Zombies were killing us by the thousands, millions and these dumb son-of-a-bitches were killing each other. No sir. I’d rather take me a whore in some town when I need one. You can keep those so called proper women. And I will tell you; in my experience a whore can be a perfectly good woman. Love just the same as one of those sulky, pale things I seen out on Alabama Island a few times.

They say the plains is free of Zombies. That’s what they say. They say the Zombies is smarter, they stay around the cities where they can find food. And from what I’ve seen I’d have to agree. They seem to be evolving. But, didn’t we kind of know that was gonna happen? And do you know what the bitch is? There ain’t no goddamn way to win. You got to die, and when you do they got you. Pisses me off just to think about it.

The Blood And Breakfast

I made my way careful up the balance of the splintery steps, through the bat wings and into the Blood and Breakfast. The Blood and Breakfast only served two things. Whiskey and Breakfast. You could order just about anything you had a mind to at any time of day. And they might even listen to you, let you ramble on ’til you was done, but in the end they would tell you. You could order eggs and biscuits, meat if it was to be had. And you could have your whiskey in a bottle or a glass if you considered yourself fancy. But that was what there was and no more to be had. I put my head back to thinking as I looked around the interior.

I’d heard a lot of things about the plains. There was land. There was food to eat. And they say there’s men that has run off with whores and made them proper women out there. I heard it enough that I got to go. This will be my last stop in Rapid City and then I’m going. I’m tired of looking over my shoulder waiting for a damn Zombie to get me. Or another gunfighter. There’s a broken up BlackWay, what we used to call a road. Ain’t many seen it, but probably ain’t many been looking for it. Not only have I seen it I know where it goes. Like I said, a short stop here. Load up on supplies and I’m on my way.

The original settlement had not been laid out to serve other travelers but as a refuge for those escapees from the North. Even so within a few months all the original settlers had been run off or killed by the Zombies. The ones that came later settled the city. After that Rapid city had become the main gateway to the southern states.

The name had come from the rapids in the nearby river. Well, the river had been near town. Things changed pretty quick back then. Dams a thousand miles away burst with no maintenance, rivers sprang up, died out. Nature did what nature wanted to do. Before the first coat of paint was drying on the church building, the river had spread out nearly a quarter mile wide and was no longer the fast moving body of water that it had once been.

These days it was more like an evil smelling swamp, with the actual river nearly a mile away. It was Hell in spring when the Mosquitoes hatched but the good side of that was the other residents of rapid city, the Zombies, didn’t like the Mosquitoes Something in their bite made them zombies drop like flies. Didn’t kill them outright but it knocked ’em down, gave them some kind of sickness, and a knocked down Zombie is one you can kill real easy. Most of the Zombies that found their way to Rapid City became residents of the swamp in just that way. Their bodies tossed unceremoniously to the alligators that had found the swamp a few years back. Alligators didn’t turn when they ate Zombie. They didn’t even seem to mind eating it. The residents, few as they were, breathed a little easier, and life went on.

The blood and breakfast was located in the old church building. The building had been gutted except the altar area which had been turned into a small dance floor for the whores and travelers. The ratio of whores to travelers was about 3 to 1, but the ratio of clean, disease free whores was about 1 to 5. You had to be real careful. If old Doc mulberry had rejected it, you should be smart enough not to check it out for yourself. If it could kill you you didn’t want it. But of course if the whores didn’t get you, the Zombies would. And some men liked to gamble.

The blood came anytime after the dinner meal. We’ll, after it had been served , not necessarily eaten and ended. It was kind of fluid so to speak, always had been. There was no violence while the serving was going on, and that was enforced by a shotgun wielding crew of about four employees who would show you some blood quick if you really needed it. In my experience it always turned out better to obey the rules and wait. No matter who you were. Even the gunfighters who visited knew the rules and obeyed them.

As I stood looking around I smelled coffee brewing too, probably thick as molasses and only black, but that was fine with me. I beat my hat against the doorpost, shook off as much dust as I was able to, caught the bartenders eyes, Smoky, was his name, and took the table his eyes had given me.

There was no fresh pork yet despite the screaming pig. But there was still bacon to be had, a better treat to my thinking. It seemed like the only meat I ever ate was venison or horse. And the zombies didn’t have it that way. They didn’t care what kind of meat they ate. But of course they preferred people. It just galled me that they was never having the problems with food that the rest of us had. I’d heard of a few places where the tables had been turned. Where hunting parties went out looking for Zombies. Shot them down. Bought them back to display them. But I also heard how them places went bad too. There was always one that stepped over the line and decided to eat what they shot. Don’t let that shock you. After all, isn’t it the same Goddamn thing the Zombies are doing to us? Sure it is. Except that old saying you are what you eat comes into play pretty damn quick. To me it made no sense. I couldn’t cypher how they had got to think to eat a Zombie. The things were dead. Stunk to high Heaven. And it only made sense that it would turn you. Just about every Goddamned thing you had to do with them frigging Zombies would turn you.

Like them idiots that thought you could mate with them. Breed the UN-dead right out of existence. That never turned out well neither. I guess men just thought strange thoughts sometimes when they set down to ponder this whole situation out and there wasn’t always someone there to talk sense into them. Anyway, I knew I was tired of horse and venison, and nowhere near ready to lunch on Zombie. But a little bacon would be a good treat. It’d been a few years since I had any, a little place down toward Texas where it had once met Mexico was the last time.

I took the bacon. A half dozen biscuits and as many eggs: When there’s fresh food you take it. Jerky and hard biscuits was the normal fare. Horse or Deer jerky. And once Turtle jerky. Jesus, that there was some bad stuff. I suppose you might get to thinking around the campfire late at night, belly rumbling, that a little Zombie might not be so bad after all.

I rolled a smoke and sat watching twilight paint the dirt street golden as the sun sank. I spoke to a boy leaning on the wall watching me and sent him to do for my horse. He was off the wall as soon as I flipped a gold piece at him and out the door. I heard him lead my horse away, feet clomping in the early evening stillness. I sometimes worried about my horse. A zombie will eat a horse if that Horse is tied up and can’t get away from it. I seen a Zombie horse or two in my time too. Yes. A horse could be turned. Jesus. It’s a rough sight to see.

The kid would make sure the horse was inside but not penned. She could go if she needed to. I’d find her later. Wouldn’t be the first time. In this world your horse was everything. I’d known men who loved the company of their horse mor’n other people. There was something I understood, but dinner was coming so I put the horse out of my mind. The evening was nearly here and I was safe inside. And I felt good.

The Gunfighter Profession

I am Robert Evans, a gunfighter. I wear stitched leather gloves with no fingers. There is a man in Alabama City that makes them special for me and a few others that be in the life of gun fighting. They protect my palms. They give a good grip. And they leave my fingers clear so they do not get tripped up when I need them. Those gloves have always made people look twice, and a lot of what I am about is psychological. A painted picture. I want to be feared. Sometimes I think I am no better than the Zombies when it comes to that. If you fear me you stay away from me. But there was the other side of that too. You kill what you fear. Yes you do.

I don’t fight overly much anymore. That sort of occupation is dying out I guess. There was a time when the world was crazy though and we found ourselves in a different kind of life. The cities fell. The cops failed to keep us safe. Governments were all talk, and then they were no more. The dead were everywhere.

That was our time. Gunfighters. Gold on the nail and we could make death happen. I carried two fully automatic 45 caliber pistols with custom extended clips. Made my own ammo. Still do. Knock a Zombie down at 100 yards. Walk into a crowd of Zombies and take them all out before one could touch me. And although I was not special I was no slouch. There were only a few in my league. Jimmy Jenkins… Lila West… A few others. We were sent for from all over to take care of Zombie outbreaks. But the sheer numbers overcame us. And the shock wore off and those that were still alive began to fight back. And we, gunfighters, became outcasts. Social misfits. Hated almost as much as the Zombies we had once been hired to kill. The people felt we had taken advantage of them. Lied to them. And some even suspected that we ourselves had something to do with those Zombies. Some sort of bond. Like maybe we had spawned them so we could profit from them. I never made no Zombie any more than I’d ever be willing to eat one. But back in the beginning? We was feared. I could not tell you how many Zombies I put in the ground for permanent. Thousands. High numbers of thousands.

Now nobody gives a shit about us. There were so few people that lived that it looks like it would probably take about ten thousand years before anybody would need to be fighting over anything. Maybe the Zombies will take over. Maybe the earth is no longer for the living. But there is land everywhere. Gold everywhere. The women live longer than the men. Life is just harder for a man. Die sooner, except when the zombies get you then you don’t even get to die. And even if the women that are left are mostly Whores there are enough for everyone. No need to kill over them anymore, despite those things that still go on. Really, there are just a few of us left and every time I come around somewhere it seems there is a half dozen less faces that I had been used to seeing. The Zombies get a few, and we still kill each other too. Makes no sense to me at all.

There was and is speculation about that. Are we dying out? I think we are. Looks pretty clear to me. How can you kill something that’s dead? You can’t. Is this God’s judgment? Maybe. Government fuck-up? That’s what I think. We will never know for a fact what did happen, but I know this, I believe we’re done. I wouldn’t say it if I was you though unless you’re prepared to meet your God. It’s just that way. We may be dying out. And we may know we’re dying out. And the Zombies may be on the verge of inheriting the earth, but we don’t want to hear it. Saying it will usually get you dead fast.

The Good Old Days – Dinner and Conversation

When I was younger it was cockroaches. People believed that someday a nuclear missile would take all of us out and the earth would be left to the cockroaches. That’s funny because even when we are gone the Zombies will go on and the cockroach population will be kept in check, because, as it turns out, Zombies love cockroaches. Eat those little fuckers just like Popcorn. Like a treat. And, it applies to nearly every goddamn bug there is. If you study Zombies for a while, I killed them for a living for many years so I had to, you will see them do it. Just reach down and snatch a bug from the ground, or the floor, or the air and stuff it in their mouths. And they are fast. Gone are those early days when they were slow. No more. Only the mosquitoes are a different story. If we could have just found out what was in Mosquitoes we might have gotten someplace, but it’s too late for that now, truly it is.

I flicked my cigarette away as the food came. It’s been a good six months since I’ve eaten real meat. That had been on Alabama Island. The Nation. I was looking forward to the Bacon. Just seeing it on my plate made my mouth water.

The Nation is what has bought most of this country back under control. They control the communist whole, not just each and every little area but the whole of the continent. North, South, East and West. They’re there. I do trade with them. I could probably fall in with them and establish my own settlements, be myself again. Beef, Coffee, Sugar, Textiles, Electricity if you were in one of their settlements or one of their larger cities like Alabama Island you would think that nothing had ever happened.

But there were rumors about the nation. They were getting shaky, falling apart, and on my last trip to Alabama Island I saw that, that might be true. If they were shaking it might take some time before they shook themselves apart. They were so big that I couldn’t really see it. The only thing that made me really examine it at all was that America was big… The biggest… And it fell apart.

I mulled life over as I began to put away my dinner and listened to the surrounding conversation.

Concerns about the weather. Too much sun. The farming, crops. The Nation. Concerns about the Zombies, was it over? Was it done? Talk about a gunfighter who had been tracked down in a small town down near the Texas border and killed. That one I had heard about. Vigilantes, something like that. Tracked him down. Betsy, one of the whores, had caught something bad. Bad enough that Doc Mulberry didn’t know what to do about it. A zombie that had been acting strange, coming around the Blood and Breakfast and going through the trash. Even in the daylight. If it was like that with zombies now I guess it didn’t really surprise me. They’ve come around like that before. Zombies were adaptable… Changing… We all knew it. And then the conversation moved on and I lost interest as I ate my dinner.

The Challenger

It took me a few seconds to realize that it was quiet. All the conversation had fallen off. The roar of the silence broke through to me. It’s odd like that, ain’t it? How the absence of sound can call you up out of your thinking sometimes, faster than actual noises can. This was bad though. Stupid of me. The old me would not never had been caught like that.

I looked up following the directions of the stares and heard the low clacking of new boot heels as they made the wooden steps that came into the saloon.

He was known to me, but that didn’t mean I was known to him. I had seen him fight more than once. Perhaps four times total if I recalled correctly. Gunfighters were so rare now as to draw attention. I drew my share of sideways glances and small murmurings as I said. And handling my own business was nothing new for me. I did it when I had to. My guns talked for me.

John Baxter, that was the gunfighters name, walked in and straight to the bar. I would have liked to have thought that he had not seen me but I knew he had. He was working way too hard to not look my way. He had used his peripheral vision to check me out same as I would’ve. And I was caught completely off guard. I had not heard him soon enough. Not his horse coming, nor whatever it had been that had tipped off the bar crowd and caused them to fall silent. The only edge that I had if there was trouble, and in my world there always was, was that he did not know I was unprepared. And even as I thought those thoughts I prepared myself. And as far as I was concerned we were back on even ground just that fast.

In those seconds I had freed up my pistols, changed my leg position and looked over the room completely. I ended by moving my body slightly to present a smaller target. Seconds spun out. John ordered a whiskey and kept his back to me. I considered shooting him dead right in the back. I’m not above it. Better dead, no matter whether you were right or wrong in the way you got it done.

The crowd was absolutely silent and drawn back away from us. Making room. They had seen a few gunfights in the Blood and Breakfast. Even so two gunfighters in the Blood and Breakfast at the same time had to be something unheard of in a while. Most likely the whole town had been aware that something might be up, maybe from the second I come into town. Certainly before I knew.

I looked at my plate regretting that I’d saved the bacon for last as it now sat untouched on my plate along with the biscuits sopped in egg yolks. There were at least three flies having a feast. It pissed me off, but it would not keep me from eating it later. I told myself I should have shot him in the back just for the pure fact that he was making me miss my breakfast. And I would have to eat it cold later with fly shit that looked an awful lot like black pepper after we were done with our business. John turned slow from the bar. Dinner in the Blood and Breakfast was done being served.

“Come to kill you, Robert,” he said easy. His eyes were gray, hard and flat. A tight smile played at his small mouth. His lips were pursed. His hat sat upon the bar where he had thrown it.

“So I thought,” I said aloud. I moved not at all. My own blue eyes gave away nothing of my emotions. My hands did not shake.

Silence fell and held. Just the sliding and shuffling of the feet of the townsmen, the whores and the travelers alike sliding backwards from what they considered to be the fighting zone. I was thinking I had waited too long, that I should have shot him in the back, when a twitch of his shoulder told me he was going for his gun.

The noise was deafening. I emptied half a clip into him from under the table top. Half a modified clip was fifteen bullets. And the first four or five took the bottom edge of the table off as they flew at John.

The thing about a gunfight is that it slows down time somehow. You ask any gunfighter and they will tell you that’s true. I watched as my first bullet plucked at his shirt front before his own gun had completely cleared leather. My second bullet blew his collarbone apart just a few inches from where it joined with his neck, but his gun was out and spitting fire. It was about then that two things happened.

The first was, I felt a sudden heaviness in my chest. I didn’t have time to puzzle that before one more bullet found its mark and I saw John become dead. This one midway in his chest. Showing only as a tiny hole but it was like the light went out of his eyes all at once: When those two things were done it finally registered in my thoughts that I had been shot too. Hit, not killed. I was pretty sure not dead or dying. To prove it I forced myself to move and I was able to move just fine.

The smoke hung like a curtain in the air. The smell of hot metal, gunpowder expired, hung in that same air.

Someone said… “They is both hit… Lookit!” Real low… Like a whisper.

In the Alley By The Door

John finally had the sense to fall down. His gun clattered to the floor just before John himself did.

Time slipped by. I wanted to see how bad I was hit. I had no real idea. I finally stood from the table and looked down at myself. A small neat hole just below my shoulder in my upper chest. Red blooming around it like a small, spring flower. I was hurt, but not bad. I had been shot worse.

“Get the Doc,” I said to some skinny, slat-sided whore crouching in the shadows. She looked scared to death or almost. She lit out, seeming glad to, and I walked over to John where he lay sprawled on the floor and put one more bullet right between his eyes. Best to do it soon. I’ve seen a body start turning before the life is really even done leaving it. Those bastard Zombies can’t wait… Or the Dead disease. Whatever it is that turns them. A little dog hiding under a nearby table yelped when I fired and scrambled, nails clicking on the wood floor, trying to secret itself better. I reached down and took John’s guns and personals, gold mostly, set them on the table, grabbed one booted foot and dragged him towards the back door.

I kicked the rear screen door open, dragged him bumping down the steps and rolled him over towards the trash cans. I’d done my part and now my chest was beginning to hurt. I felt like sitting down all at once. There was a little bubbling in the lung on that side. I could both feel and hear it. It was an odd thing. And I could feel the bullet in there, wedged tight, burning. I didn’t relish Doc. Mulberry operating but the alternative was unacceptable. And I had come through much worse. Much worse.

I was turned to go back in when the Zombie got me. He must have been crouched down by the garbage cans in the shadows and I hadn’t seen him. He had me by the wrist growling and snarling before I could shoot him. I got my gun up and put one through his head as fast as I could, hoping the ricochet didn’t take off my hand. He let go and laid down with one leg twitching and his back arched stiff for a second. Then he was dead for good, Amen.

I stood for a few seconds wondering what the hell had just happened. But, I knew what had just happened. I had lived through a goddamned gunfight at the old age of fifty-two just to get bitten by an ever-lovin’ friggin’ Zombie. I stood a few seconds longer thinking of how unfair that was, remembering the conversation from inside while I had been eating. A Zombie had been coming around… Going through the trash… but then the craziness of the situation hit me and I had to laugh. And laughing was how old Doc Mulberry found me.

He looked from the Zombie to my wrist dripping blood on the dirt of the back alley.

“That from the fight or the Zombie,” he asked me.

“Zombie,” I answered . I tapped lightly at the bullet hole in my upper chest. He nodded.

“Ain’t that a bitch,” he said.

I laughed. “Ain’t it… Ain’t it just…”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Check out the Earth’s Survivors book Apocalypse, still a free download for you.

U.S. Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Apocalypse-George-Dell-ebook/dp/B00YDAXFLE

U.K. Link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-Apocalypse-George-Dell-ebook/dp/B00YDAXFLE

Find more at the Earth’s Survivors website…

http://sotofo.com/earth’s%20survivors/index.html

Enjoy the rest of the week! I’ll be back next week, Geo…


I Am A Writer

Posted by Dell 12-23-2016

It is a beautiful day here in New York. Yes, rain, on and off. It looks like the perfect set-up for an ice storm. I hope that doesn’t happen. It is supposed to cool off through the day, but then warm again tomorrow, so we will have to see how it plays out.

I once moved to the great state of Alabama and lived there for ten years. I stayed so long because where I lived the weather turned to what would amount to very early fall here, 65 to 75 degrees, about mid September to early October and stayed that way until the middle of March. About 5 months of beautiful weather. Native Alabamians thought I was crazy walking around in a pocket T-Shirt while they were in jackets and coats. I stayed because that weather was so perfectly suited to me. Here in northern New York I get a few days a year that are like that. Maybe ten total. It isn’t enough.

I suppose other people might think that is odd liking cooler weather. I also like the mountains and rainy days too. I think a lot of it is set in our early memories and that is it. From then on, sometimes for reasons we don’t even remember, we like certain things. I can remember three very clear rainy day memories from my early life and those are probably what make up my attraction to rainy days. The first is a small aluminum travel trailer my father parked behind our house. One of those shiny, silver Airstream numbers you could tow behind your car or truck. He ran an extension cord to it so it had power. I can remember standing inside the doorway watching the rain fall just outside that doorway. Listening to the rain pound on that curved aluminum roof. I was safe and dry.

My second memory is a camp I went to as a slightly older child. Lying on the top bunk reading Robinson Crusoe as rain drummed against the corrugated steel roof, the other kids spread around playing board games, writing letters. The rain the reason for the time to be able to read, play, otherwise we would have been doing other camp things I suppose.

The third time was only a few years later, but life had changed a great deal for me in those few years between eleven or twelve to thirteen and fourteen. I was standing in a doorway, rain falling hard, watching the traffic pass me by. Cars shooting up sheets of water as they went by, none able to reach me where I was hidden in the shadows of that doorway. That should be a bad memory, after all I was alone, homeless, a runaway living on those streets, and I should have been afraid, but I wasn’t. I listened to the pounding rain and it made things all right. Made me decide to be alive when my thoughts were dancing on the head of a pin, back and forth… Quit, live, quit, live.

I began to write an account of my life not long ago because someone asked me about it. It is funny when you start to write something how much more you remember than you thought you did. Some things I was happy to remember, others not so much. I’m not going down that road right now, but I will eventually, I suppose. For now I will illustrate how you can take those parts of your life and make them work for you as a writer. Take that emotion and write it out of you.

A quick word about what you write: Write what you know. I won’t spend a lot of time on this because it has been pointed out by every writer I have ever read, that when it comes to writing write what you know. I have done that in every book I have written. The First Earths Survivors book. Candace is someone I know. Mike is a better copy of me. Bob is the Native American man I wish I could be. And it goes on. Ronnie is the part of me that has African American blood. I write what I know. I only get into trouble when I step outside of that. Billy Jingo is a story about a a dirt poor kid who lives in a little dead end town and has nothing. Been there and done that. That book is set in the town I grew up in, and blended with people and places I have known and understand. All things I know. The Dreamer’s Worlds Book is really a book about Native American traditions and beliefs. I studied and read for months to be able to understand Native American religion only to find that there are many versions of it just as there are many versions of Christianity or the Muslim faith, or Buddhism. I studied to find the things that are in my blood that my father would not tell me about, not to write a book, but when I began the book I wrote from that knowledge I had leaned and internalized by going to traditional Longhouse services for those years. I took that and the things my Chief gave me and I wrote what I knew. And as I wrote it I added emotion.

Writing is emotion in my opinion. So is artwork, film, storytelling. Some of the best storytellers in ancient history probably learned how to channel emotion into their writing. Jean Auel writes more than a few scenes that illustrate that passing on of stories and the emotion that went into it. I also learned that the Native Americans passed down all of their history that way. If you think about it, they had no written history. They had fantastic storytellers though.

Some of the best writers I have read, talked to, known, are able to write their emotion into a storyline and make you feel it. Sometimes I write a piece and re-read it and I can’t get the depth or feelings from the characters. I can play with it until I feel something, or I can set it aside for another day. Usually it is best to set it aside for another day. Maybe it will make sense to me, evoke an emotion, maybe not. But forcing it to be or mean something that it doesn’t, or to pull out some emotion that isn’t there, won’t work for me. If the second go around doesn’t do it either, then it’s usually over for whatever that piece I was writing was about.

What I am saying is there is a time to set a piece aside and go on to the next thing. When I say set it aside I don’t mean to throw it away. I rarely do that, in fact I can’t think of a time that I ever did. What I mean is to leave what is there, words on a scrap of paper, an incomplete document in your word processor: Title it whatever you thought it might be, file it, and move on. I have a real file cabinet because sometimes I write stuff down on real paper that comes to me at 3:00 AM. In it goes. I have a virtual file cabinet on my machine too. All the other stuff goes there. The point is that it has been set aside, but to me set aside is like the Windows Trash Can, it just moves it to an unused part of the hard drive. Occasionally I will go fishing there and see what there is to see. Sometimes it is clear to me why I moved a piece there, other times it isn’t. But that is usually rainy day stuff.

One of my points today is that you can and must move pass those blockages in your writing that cause you to fail, stop, or do anything else that disrupts that flow of words. And the easiest way to move on is to move that piece that just won’t come together right into the virtual file basket. Start something else, jump into it, if that doesn’t work move it out too. It works for me. But whatever you do don’t actually toss it away. Save it someplace and revisit it. You never know what might make sense in a year or even ten years from now.

In 2010 I wrote this on a scrap of paper… “War has taken my country.” I looked at it. The imagery had come from something that had popped into my head the way those things do with most of us. Emotion tied into it. A little boy watching war erupt around him. Those sorts of things don’t really happen very often in this country, but those things do happen in other countries all of the time. The world can be sane, safe like that rain falling on a tin roof, and then it can erupt into violence, and in the space of a few seconds everything can change permanently.

Vietnam was like that for me. I went into the service at the end of Vietnam, never went to Vietnam. In fact never went anywhere at all. But I grew up those last few years with the imagery that was on the TV. Reporters following soldiers into war. I notice that doesn’t happen anymore. Not like it was then. I can remember being a kid, watching dead bodies pop up on the TV, men shot down and dying, it was crazy, and I can see why they don’t cover war like that anymore. They need the nice, clean, sanitized version for TV. But what I saw then stayed with me, shaped my thoughts, probably shaped me and thousands of other kids who saw those things. That is where those words came from. That little vision of that little boy who was not an American, standing in his village and watching his world change forever. Emotion.

I wrote the note and it went nowhere at all. It was very compelling. It begged me to complete it, but it went nowhere. I filed it in my paper file since I had scratched those letters onto a piece of paper, and I went on to the next thing which was to write several stories in a row. I enjoyed that. Westerns, space travel, cave people (None of it published). All the stuff that interested me that I had not written. Then I began writing a long project, the Earth’s survivors series.

A year later, a rainy day in fact, I happened to pull out all of those notes, a small folder of them, from the last year. Just to take a look at them and see what I had been thinking about, trying to write. I found that scrap of paper and immediately the whole story jumped into my head. I wrote this…

*******

Lyrics Copyright © Wendell G. Sweet 2011 ♪ ♫ ♪ Date Written; 04-28-2011

Song Title: War At Home Style: Alternative

Verse One:

War has taken my country… Brother fighting his brother… It will be what it will be… See how we kill each other…

War it ain’t no way to live… It ain’t no way to die… Takes all that you can give… Takes every tear you cry…

Instrumental————-Steel drum rhythm with short lead transition———–

Verse Two:

War along the borders… Kills the father and the mother… Soldiers acting on their orders… Little Sister… Who will take care of your Brother…?

Their blood is crying from the ground… Who will reap the seed they’ve sown…? as you turn to run… pray that God will take them home…

Hook

let me have my country… Leave me to my home… Go back to your land of plenty… Leave this man alone…

You have come to kill the people… Watch them weep and moan… Come to kill our spirit… Why don’t you take yourself home…

Instrumental———————————————-Long Lead———————————–

Verse Three:

See the hills light up with fire… Young men running to their graves… Bad news coming down the wire… But you tell me Jesus saves…

Children sleeping in the gutters… Bodies lying in the street… Machine gun stutters… Pray… Your soul to keep…

Bridge:

Generals send their orders down… From their bunkers underground…

Freedom fighters honor bound… March to death without a sound…

Death is falling from the sky… Did you march today to die…?

Why is no one asking why…? too sad to cry…

Verse Four:

See it on your television… It all seems so far away… Think it’s real think it isn’t… Anyway… Don’t affect you today…

Take off your silver glasses… Take a good look around… As your time passes… may be you… that is lying on the ground…

Hook

let me have my country… Leave me to my home… Go back to your land of plenty… Leave this man alone…

You have come to kill the people… Watch them weep and moan… Come to kill our spirit… Why don’t you take yourself home…

Instrumental———————————————-Long Lead———-Steel Drum—————

Verse Five:

Justify your means… It is not you who has to die… Tell me it isn’t as it seems… Still… You can not answer why…

When judgment comes upon our heads… We will stand as we must… His words can raise us from the dead… or… return us to the dust…

Instrumental——————————-Short Steel Drum Rhythm——————————–

Verse Six:

I got to get away from here… This life is taking a toll… Always living in fear… I am… Less than whole…

Blood is welling up in fountains… Shooting up into the sky… I’m going home to my mountains… There is where I’ll die…

Hook / W Xtro

let me have my country… Leave me to my home… Go back to your land of plenty… Leave this man alone…

You have come to kill the people… Watch them weep and moan… Come to kill our spirit… Why don’t you take yourself home…

Why don’t you take yourself home… Leave us to our war at home… Take yourself home… Leave this man alone… Leave me too… My war at home… … … …
Why I Wrote It:

When I was a kid Vietnam was all consuming. The hippies hated it (I wasn’t quite old enough to be a Hippie but I liked the drug, rock and Roll, sex culture), society was torn. Young men kept dying. The T.V. Was full of news stories. They followed the soldiers into firefights. It was very graphic and there were kids all over the place that sat in front of televisions and watched that violence.

I saw dead men, children. Children crying, burned, separated from loved ones. The song came from that, although, really, war is war. It could be just as applicable to what’s going on now in the middle east… … … …

*******

All of the above was written at that single time, in one shot. Maybe it took me a half hour, changing this little thing or that little thing, but not much more than that. The emotion I connected to was strong. The story had had to wait a year but it had finally come to me. The little boy is there, and the man I grew into is also there as you read the words. And of course my emotion is there too.

At the time I was in a creative writing class. It was offered so I took it. I didn’t expect much because I had found that most creative writing classes were run by people who didn’t seem to have a lot of creativity, and were populated by people who needed to fill a hole in their schedule. More often than not I would go to those classes and find half the class asleep. There was no interaction, no back and forth discussions. So I nearly skipped this class and at the last minute changed my mind and took it because, well, I needed to fill a hole and decided to fill it with something that at least might offer good written materiel to me. Ironic, I know.

The woman who ran the class actually liked to write. She devised exercises that were interesting and set it up so that we would read the things we had written in class and get feed back on them. Incredible. I had been toying around with this book I wanted to write about a young woman, a drug addict, who was straightening out her life and she stumbles into something she doesn’t understand, dream travel. She discovers it in her sleep. Again this came from a note I had written to myself about this young girl trapped in a stone. What I wrote from that seed was The Dreamer’s Worlds. I had been coming to class and reading the book as I wrote it, an amazing way to write, especially with that book which is such a left field concept that most people would probably never read it. Add to that that I tried very hard to write the dream sequences as real dreams would be. Disjointed, jumbled and out of sequence to one another, the same way dreams can really be. The feedback was invaluable because it told me whether I was succeeding in still getting the story across or not. But I decided to take a break and read what had come from the note instead. They got it, they understood it. Something that would not have happened had I not written it down after the first failed attempt, and then waited for the time to come without even knowing if it would ever come around. I went on to write music for that and turn it into lyrics as opposed to a poem of sorts. And I put the piece of paper back into the folder and put it away. Saved it again.

So a few months back I am moving into my new office space (Read that as an unused room in the house), and I am moving files and I come across a mountain of paperwork that has to be sorted and put away. So I came across that folder again and the note. I remembered it inspired me to write those lyrics. I remembered also how those lyrics had started as words on paper and I had nearly left them as poetry or verse instead of lyrics. The next thing I knew I had a pen in my hand. I wrote this…

*******

Tanks On A Blue Sky Day

What if you were standing in your own yard and the world was the same. Great. Safe. Comfortable. And you were standing there in your yard. Just a kid, a man, a woman, the day right there before you. Feeling like the world would always be the same.

And this safety was all that you had known, ever. And the sun was shining in the sky. And then the tanks rolled in. And the soldiers with their guns. The noise incredible. The soldiers glancing at you as they walk past you. Like they know your name.

And everything changed. Your yard was not your yard anymore. Just a piece of dirt and grass with tank tracks running across it. But the sun is still shining… How can that be? And the soldiers are soldiering, they don’t speak. It’s like they don’t even care.

And you turn away but it is the same all around you. Your friends in their yards. Looking at the same blue sky, the same bright sun. The same tanks. The same soldiers with the same guns. They don’t speak either, but the same questions are on the air.

And you feel like the black clouds should move in and blot out the sun. The bright day should not exist in this world that your eyes see. You blink but it doesn’t go away, refuses to change. Your whole world has changed and a minute has not expired.

The tanks, clank, clank, clank. On their way to where, you wonder. And the soldiers step, step, step. One foot follows the other never questioning where. The children begin to cry. You think to wipe your own tears from your eyes, but find you are too tired.

The tanks, the soldiers, the sun in the blue sky. The day that started as your own…
The noise, the fear. Time is moving, but you don’t know where it’s going…

*******

Not really poetry, more like verse. Not much of a title, but there is emotion in it just like War at Home. Two pieces from the same note. I stuck the note back into that folder and who knows what it might evoke the next time I pull it out? Sort of like my own Magic Lamp I suppose. But the point again is that I wrote it. It came from emotion because emotion matters. When you connect your writing to emotion it clarifies many things immediately for you. You have hooked it into your own well of experience, whatever pain, hatred, love, confusion or anything else that is in that well is now able to lend itself to that story. For that scrap of paper, for that idea, is was only waiting for the right day to make that connection.

This is shorter: How to connect to the emotion. I have explained what I wrote from emotion, but not how I tapped into that emotion. That is simpler still, and if it isn’t you should not consider writing.

Writers, every writer I know, have spoken to, spent time with, is messed up. Something is not quite right with that person, me included. Maybe it is a big problem, many problems, or maybe it is many small problems. But if you truly examine that statement, is anybody quite right? Any one at all? I don’t think so. We are all flawed. We have all used and been used, bullied and been bullied, loved, hated, been lonely, bored, happy, ecstatic, depressed and the list goes on and on. It is why we can all relate to one another on the most basic levels.

No, I have not lost my mother so I can not know for a fact how it feels to lose your mother. My friend has though, and she has talked about it and helped me to understand the parts I didn’t know. Even so, I don’t know how it will affect me completely, and that is sort of like writing. If I had to write a story about a man or a woman losing their mother I would first relate it to things I do understand that are similar, losing my father, my uncle, aunt, yes even when my dog died. That is an emotional place. Once I am there my mood is going to change drastically. I am going to remember holding my uncles hand as he lapsed into a coma at nearly 4:00 AM. He died about 12 hours later. I am going to remember that my father died with things unresolved between us and how it hurts to feel that that can never be fixed. And I will remember that that same uncle whose hand I held as he passed away was like a father to me. He came and picked me up when my time on the streets was done. He loved me. And then I will think about the fear of losing my mother, the last parent. The person who has always loved me. Then I will remember the things my friend said to me. How she misses her mother all of the time. How it never really goes a way.

After that I am in that place where I am connected to that emotion, I only need to write it out. And to be honest, I would not want to take myself to a painful place like that and not write it out, express it. When I begin to write it may not be pretty. It may only be a note that I write that will be expressed fully years later, but it may be the story whole and complete coming right then. And whatever way it does end up it is connected directly to that emotion, and so every time that I read it I am instantly re-connected to that emotional well that it came from.

Have you never watched a movie and become emotional? Watched a favorite scene that took you someplace? Read a book that made you cry, love, feel? That is because that writer has connected that emotion to themselves and then conveyed it to you via their writing, imagery, pictures, artwork.

The thing about writers is connecting with that place, channeling it into the story and then letting it go. Not always easy but always necessary to really write. The reason to write it out should be obvious, if you don’t it can infect you, depress you, ruin your life. That is why so many writers are living on the edge of what they consider the real world. Can’t step into it, can’t live without it. Depression, alcohol, drugs. Good mental health means connecting and then walking away after the story is written. Let it go, get it out in that story, verse, lyric. That is what writing from emotion is all about. It makes a strong story and hopefully it makes a strong writer too.

I am not saying that the only strong emotion is sadness, or fear based. There are many happy wells you can go to also. Don’t think so? Actually think about it. There may not be dozens and dozens right there on the surface, but they are there. As humans who like to think a lot we tend to, at times, only look at the negative things. I know I do, but if you look you can find those good moments. You just have to let them be what they are. In other words, a moment of complete joy and happiness for me was watching my son born. An amazing thing for a dumb young guy who hadn’t thought past more than his tiny little world, and circle of knowledge. I could not imagine a stronger moment of happiness. But I could continue to follow that thought and remember that my wife and I split up not long after that. I could follow that thought to another negative thought and on and on. And that is what we sometimes do. I am saying get that one good thought and stay with that. Play it in your mind, over and over if need be until you are sure of it. Now go find another good thought. The first time a girl kissed you, or a boy. The first time it was summer and school was over for the next few months, and the world was yours. Or maybe the first car you bought: First home; the first time you did twenty miles on a bike. My point is that those good things are there too, and you can tap into them as easily as you can tap into the bad stuff.

Have you loved? Drank to excess? Lost someone you thought you couldn’t live without? Drugged? Gone to prison? Fell into or out of love? Left your home? Lost your home? Husband? Wife? Watched your children grow up? Those are the places you need to go to to get the emotion you need. Don’t live there, but know it. And the fact is that you know it anyway. To be honest anyone who has ever been hurt or helped by anything has learned from it. Now I am telling you to learn to write from it. It may not be pretty at first, but as you do it you will get better at it.

Here is a short story from that same well. This story was written years ago and published on the first writers site I ever owned back in 1985 or so. It is the same well of emotion that I went to to get War at Home and Tanks On A Blue Sky Day.

*******

FIRE FIGHT

By: Wendell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY:

independAntwriters

FIRE FIGHT

Copyright © 1984 – 2013 by Wendell Sweet All Rights Reserved

*******

FIRE FIGHT

*******

FIRE FIGHT

“Stay down next to the friggin’ bank, Johnson!” Beeker yelled. Beeker could see that Johnson probably wouldn’t be hanging around for long. He didn’t have the sort of balls that Simpson had. And a fire fight was no fuckin’ place to have to baby sit. Why was it that he always ended up up with all the ass-holes any way? They had been pinned down in this particular position a sandy beachhead for fourteen days. Sand and water in front of them, Jungle behind them. The gooks were on the other side of the river, and if the man upstairs the man that pulled all the friggin’ strings, Beeker liked to think, didn’t do something damn soon they might not see fifteen.

The fire was just as heavy as it had been on the first day. Non-stop. Round after round of machine gun fire, and mortar rounds that came so fast it was hard to tell when one ended, and another began. But the man upstairs, now that was something to consider. What was it with him, anyway? Vacation? A little mental constipation? Just how long was long enough, for Christ sakes. Johnson crawled over, eating some dirt as he came. But at least he had crawled. The numb son-of-a-bitch had walked the first few times. Like he was out on a goddamn Sunday stroll.

“Sergeant Beeker?” he whisper yelled over the sound of the gunfire. “Shouldn’t we maybe ought a return fire, sir?”

“Hey, fuck you, if I say we lay low, we lay low. Now, shut up and crawl your white-ass back over to your position, mister, NOW!”

Johnson went, he didn’t have to be told twice. Beeker was one mean bastard, and he had absolutely no desire to mess with him. Even so this whole situation didn’t set well in his mind, and that was mainly due to the fact that it didn’t make any sense. And how in hell could it? he asked himself. There was no answer, because there could be no answer at all. Fifteen days ago he had been safe and sound in… In… It wouldn’t come. Someplace. He had been someplace, not here, and he had been safe, and he had been sound, he could remember that much. He could also remember waking up here with Beeker, Philips, and Ronson. In the middle of… Of… Where am I? He didn’t know that either, and they weren’t disposed to tell him. Other than waking up in the middle of this fire-fight, he couldn’t remember jack-shit. He made the outside perimeter, and curled up into a near ball as he pressed himself into the dirt embankment.

“About fucking time,” Beeker yelled above the roar of gunfire… …They had been pinned down for the last several hours, with heavy fire from the North Vietnamese regulars. It had finally fallen off somewhat. It was time to make a move, and Beeker was no fool, he had every intention of getting his men the hell out. They’d already lost four good men on this mission. He couldn’t see losing any more. He looked across the short, smoky distance, directly into Ronson’s eyes, and signaled left, away from the sand, towards the jungle that pressed in from behind them. A quick sideways flick of his own eyes told him that Johnson and Phillips had caught it too. Beeker signaled Ronson out first, then Phillips, and then Johnson. It was a slow go, belly crawl for the first few hundred yards. The bullets continued to whine above them, but they all made it one piece. Two hundred yards in they were able to stand. The jungle finally offering some protection. Beeker led the way quickly yet carefully, through the lush greenery. The others fell in behind him silently. Two miles further through the dense jungle, they finally lost the distant sounds of gunfire, and the jungle fell nearly silent. They fell silent themselves, moving as quietly as they could from tree to tree. Aware of the noises that surrounded them. A short while later when the gunfire had completely fallen off, the jungle seemed to come back to life. Bird calls, and the ever present monkey chatter. That was a good sign to Beeker, if the jungle was full of gooks, the birds sure as fuck wouldn’t be singing. They pushed on through the night, and morning found them… Morning found them…

… “Oh, man,” Ronson complained. “Fucker dropped the ball again,” Beeker agreed wearily. He was leaned back against the side of a burned out hut, smoking a cigarette he’d pulled from inside his jacket.

Johnson didn’t have the slightest idea where they were, let alone what they were talking about. Beeker had led them through the jungle and at first light they had come upon a small village. They had crept in warily, ready for whatever lay before them. There had been no need, it was empty, save a couple of dozen scattered bodies, busy gathering flies. He had thought Beeker would move on. He hadn’t. They were still here. But where here was, and how Beeker had found it, eluded Johnson.

“Sure as fuck did, he always does towards the end though,” Phillips agreed. “Gotta work it out… Make it just right. Set it up for the next one.”

“Yeah, well, we made it this far,” Ronson said. He grinned, and then the grin turned into a full fledged smile, and he began to laugh. Phillips joined him, and a second later, when Johnson was sure Beeker was going to open his mouth to tell them all to shut the fuck up, he started laughing too. “Oh… It’s good, look-at-him,” Ronson said, holding his side, and pointing at Johnson, “he don’t have a friggin’ clue.” That seemed to drive all of them into hysteria, Johnson saw. Including Beeker, who was usually hard-nosed and moody. He was doubled over too. Holding his sides. Tears squirting from his eyes.

“That true?” Beeker asked at last, once he had managed to get the laughter somewhat under control. “That your friggin’ problem is it, Johnson, you don’t have a clue?” he stopped laughing abruptly, and within seconds Ronson and Philips chuckled to a stop. “Do you have the slightest idea where your white ass is?” Beeker asked seriously.

“No… Well, a jungle, I guess,” Johnson answered.

“No… Well, it could be a jungle, I guess,” Ronson mimicked in a high falsetto.

“Is it?” Johnson ventured in a near whisper.

“Look…” Beeker waited for silence. “Take a break, it’s gonna get worse. Why don’t you have a smoke and kick back… Enjoy the break?”

“Well, the thing is that I don’t smoke, bad for the lungs. I’m pretty careful about my health.”

“Really?” Beeker asked politely. He chuckled briefly, lit another of his own smokes, and then spoke softly. “I would like your complete attention, Johnson, do I have it?”

“Yeah, sure…”

He cut him off, his voice a roar. “In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a fuckin’ war goin’ on, you pansy mother-fucker. A fuckin’ war, Johnson, you understand that, you ain’t gonna live much fuckin’ longer anyway. Get with the program mister, now!”

Johnson’s eyes bugged out, but as Beeker finished he forced himself to speak. “I know that… I can see that… It don’t mean I havta die though, not necessarily.”

“Man, Beek, don’t waste your time, he hopeless, same old shit, like Simpson. Like all those friggin guys before Simpson,” Ronson said.

Beeker drew a deep breath, winked at Ronson, and then spoke. “Yes it does,” Beeker said calmly. “It does because you ain’t a regular. You ain’t been here long enough, and you don’t mean a fiddler’s fuck to anybody. And that sucks, but that’s life, Johnson,” he paused and looked over at Ronson. “How long was the man upstairs gone the last time? Fourteen days, am I right?”

“As rain,” Ronson replied coolly.

“And where are we now?” “Seventeen?” Phillips asked.

“Uh uh,” Ronson corrected, “eighteen, man, remember? Seventeen was when Simpson bought it, and this ass-hole came into play. Replacement, supposedly.”

“Right!” Beeker said. “It is eighteen, and that’s why nobody gives a fuck about you, Johnson. Eighteen’s too far, we’ll be done at twenty, he never goes past that, and I’ll bet bullets to bodies you’ll buy the farm long before we’re done with eighteen. Depends on how long the man upstairs gives you, see?”

“No,” Johnson said slowly, “I don’t see.” Seventeen? Eighteen? What the hell was that all about? he wondered.

Ronson chuckled. “I think he’s confused, again, Beek.”

“I think he was fuckin’ born confused,” Phillips added.

“Seventeen? Eighteen?” Johnson asked aloud. He didn’t get it, not completely anyway.

“Have a cigarette,” Beeker told him.

“I told you, I don’t…”

“Yeah, right, fuck that noise, there’s a pack inside your jacket… Check it… See if I’m right.”

Johnson fumbled with the jacket snaps, and finally pulled the jacket open. A half pack of smokes resided in the inside pocket. A silver Zippo tucked in beside them. He looked up with amazement.

“So?” Beeker asked, smiling widely.

“One of you guys stuck them there, while I was sleeping, has to be,” Johnson said.

“And when was it that you were sleeping, Johnson? For that matter, when were any of us?”

Johnson thought about it. Had they been awake for fourteen days? Not possible, he told himself. He Looked over at Beeker. Beeker just smiled.

“None of us have. None of us have to, unless he makes us… Don’t you get it yet, Johnson?”

“Yeah, don’t you get the feeling someone’s putting words in your mouth?” Ronson snickered. He began to laugh once more.

“Can’t be,” Johnson mumbled.

“It is, and hey, it’s a bitch, ain’t it? But think of it this way. Us three have done this… Five now?” he asked to no one in particular.

“This’ll be six,” Phillips replied.

“Jesus, has it really been six?”

“This one makes it,” Ronson agreed as he stopped laughing once again. He leaned back against a nearby tree and fired up a smoke. His eyes twinkling as they locked on Johnson and Beeker.

“Okay, it’s six. You’re an extra, Johnson, you got wrote in to replace Simpson. You see the man upstairs figures it like this. You gotta kill somebody every once in awhile, right? Otherwise he’ll lose the readers attention. So he writes in disposable’s. Yeah, man, it’s a bitch, but it’s you. It sure as hell isn’t gonna be any of us. You don’t kill off the main guys, it don’t happen,” he softened his voice. “Look, it was hard for Simpson too. He kept him with us for better than ten chapters, and you know, I liked that sucker. He was all right for a white dude.”

Johnson swallowed hard, lit up one of the smokes from his jacket, and leaned back against the side of the hut. The silence held.

So,” Beeker finished quietly, ” you gotta deal with it man… You just got too… It won’t be long…

*******

There you have three expressions from that same well of thought and emotion. They were written over the space of 30 years. It seems impossible to me that that could be true but I can remember writing them out, the story, Firefight, the lyrics, War At Home, and the verse Tanks On A Blue Sky Day, like it was thirty minutes ago.

I will just remind you: Believe it or not some people hate my writing. Amazing, right? All joking aside, that happens to be as true for me as it is for anyone else. The thing is there are people that hate what I write. Go read some of my reviews and you will see that. But you will also find reviews written by people who like what I write. It will be the same with you. I have a friend that I am constantly reminding that she is good. I mean so very talented, but it doesn’t matter what I say if she doesn’t believe it inside of herself. That is where you need to go with what you write. I do not mean to close yourself off from criticism or feedback, you need that. How else will you know when you provoke someone strongly? What I do mean is that you must know in your heart that once you get past the writing errors and mistakes that we all make (Read some history about any writer at all or check this) you are good. You are writing something that is worth reading and interesting.

The Dreamer’s Worlds book was like that. Here I am writing a book that is not written in a traditional way at all. I published it and no one bought it. But I knew enough then to know that if you don’t have zombies or an in somewhere in publishing, you are not going to get people to flock to what you write (Zombies now, Vampires back in the 80’s). It is going to be harder. All you can do is have that faith that it is good. Continue to plug away and build your self confidence. It doesn’t matter whether you ever sell a single copy of your books at all, it only matters that you believe in yourself. Maybe that book was not the book that will do it for you, maybe the book that will do it for you is the next book in the magazine, and if you do not have faith in yourself you will stop and that book, that one that is the one that makes it, will not get written.

Another problem that is not a problem for me, is a man writing a female character, or a woman writing a male character. At first it was. Somehow I convinced myself that men and women are completely different and therefore I could never write like a woman because I am a man. And that might be true in as far as it goes. A story that is written by a woman might contain things I could not match because I could not understand them. But I know women, and I am no longer shy, I will ask about what I don’t know. And I will understand it, but as a man, I still might not capture what the woman wrote. But that doesn’t matter in almost all the important cases, because I want to write a female character. I don’t want to become a female, I don’t want to be let into the secret society of women, and by the way, if there is a secret society for men I have never been invited in. Either because I am unacceptable of because it doesn’t exist. I don’t want to do anything other than write a female character that seems like something a woman might write. A female character that seems real, believable. It isn’t a big deal to do that.

First of all, as a man or a woman, you know far more about the opposite sex than you think you do. It is like I started out saying, you remember more than you think you do. All those little remarks, mannerisms, ways of talking, handling problems, you remember those things and you do understand them. You don’t have to jump to the stereotypical male or female either. Have you, as a woman, ever seen a man cry? Never mind the old school thought that men aren’t supposed to cry, men cry all of the time in public now, and as a man I can tell you they cried before too, in private maybe, but they cried. The differences between a man crying and a woman crying are not that different. It sometimes may seem as though the man is a little more emotional. But if you think that through you will see that that makes perfect sense. Men are not used to dealing with strong emotions in that manner. Sure, we live in the politically correct world where men are not physical or aggressive. Bull. Men are still raised in almost all societies to be aggressive. To hide emotion, and so when a man cries it might seem to you to be more intense, but in reality it probably isn’t. It is a man expressing the same emotion, maybe in a slightly different way, but they are expressing it. The man is the same as the woman then, right? No. Of course not. The part you remember is all of the men, you as a woman, or all the women, I as a man have known. Are they all the same? No. Pick one and use it the next time you write about a man or woman. Or pick more than one. Let me give you an example. This is Candace from the First Earth’s survivors book:

CANDACE

March 1st

The traffic leaving the parking lot had slowed to a trickle, the lot nearly empty. The live shows were over, the bands packed up and gone, the dancers gone before or at the same time. The club was empty except Jimmy, the club boss, Don, the main door security, and me.

“Why are you still here, Candy,” Jimmy asked as he came up to the bar. He was on his way back from the parking lot. It was a short trip across the parking lot to the bank night deposit on the lot next door.

“I had an idea that Harry would be by tonight. He wanted to talk to me,” I shrugged. Harry was a Bookie, at least on the surface. Off the surface, or maybe it would be truer to say under the surface, Harry controlled most of the organized crime north of Syracuse. Jimmy… Jimmy managed the club, among other things, but the best description for Jimmy was to say Jimmy solved problems for Harry.

“Wants to talk you into staying here. That’s about all,” Jimmy said.

I turned away and pretended to check my face in the mirrored wall behind the bar. I wanted to Dance. I had suggested to Harry, through Jimmy, that maybe it was time for me to move on if there wasn’t any hope of me dancing. “Anyway, I ended up tending bar. So…”

“So it’s not dancing.” He dug one hand into his pocket and pulled out a thick wad of bills. He peeled two hundreds from the roll and pushed them into my hand, folding his hand over my own and closing it when I started to protest.

“But,” I started.

“But nothing. We did a lot in bar sales. You and I both know it was because of you.” He smiled, let go of my hand and stepped back. “It was me, not Harry,” he said.

I fixed my eyes on him. I knew what he might be about to say, but I wanted to be sure.

He sighed. “It was me that put the stop to your dancing. You’re too goddamn good for dancing, Candy. And once you start?” He barked a short, derisive laugh. “The law thing? Right out the window. What’s a cop make anyway in this town? Maybe thirty or forty a year?” He settled onto one of the stools that lined the bar, tossed his hat onto the bar top and patted the stool next to him. He continued talking.

“So, thirty, maybe forty, and what’s a dancer make? I can tell you there are dancers here who make better than one fifty a year. And that’s what I pay them. That’s not the side stuff or tips.” He moved one large hand, fished around behind the bar and came up with a bottle of chilled Vodka from the rack that held it just below eye level. He squinted at the label. “Cherry Surprise,” he questioned in a voice low enough to maybe be just for himself. “This shit any good, Candy?”

“It’s not bad,” I told him. I leaned over the bar and snagged two clean glasses when he asked me, setting them on the bar top. He poured us both about three shots worth. “Jesus, Jimmy.”

He laughed. “Which is why I don’t make drinks. It’d break me.” He sipped at his glass, made a face, but sipped again. I took a small sip of my own drink and settled back onto the bar stool.

“So, I said to myself, smart, beautiful, talented, and you have that something about you that makes men look the second time. You know?” He took another small sip. “Man sees a woman walking down the street or across a crowded dance floor, beautiful or not he looks. That look might be short or it might be long. Depends on the woman. Then he looks away. Does he look back? Not usually. But with you he does. There are women men look at that second time for whatever reason, and you’re one of them. I looked a second time, and then I really looked, for a third time. And I’ve seen a lot. That tattoo makes men and women look again.” His eyes fell on the tattoo that started on the back of my left hand, ran up my arm, across my breasts and then snaked back down over my belly and beyond. I knew it was provocative. That was the rebellious part of me. I had no better explanation for why I had sat, lain, through five months of weekly ink work to get it done.

Jimmy rubbed one huge open palm across the stubble of his cheeks. “Jesus do I need a shave.” He took a large drink from his glass. “It wasn’t the tattoo. It caught my eye, but that wasn’t what made me look that third time.”

“Candy, I took a third look because I saw a young woman that doesn’t need to have anything to do with this world. You’re too goddamn smart, talented, for this. So I said no. I let you dance a few times, but I didn’t want you to fall into it. I made the decision that you should tend bar instead of dance.” He tossed off the glass.

“I see that,” I told him. Although I didn’t completely see it. He was reading a lot about what he thought, what he saw, into who I really was.

“Yeah? I don’t think so, Candy. And that’s a reason right there. Candy… like a treat. When did it become okay for anyone to call you that? Because I remember a few months back when you started hanging around. It was Candace, and pity the dumb bastard who didn’t understand that. Now it’s Candy to any Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along.” He saw the hurt look in my eyes, reached below the bar, snagged the bottle and topped off his glass. I shook my head, covered the top of my glass with my hand and smiled. He put the bottle back and continued.

“I’m not trying to hurt you, only keep you on track. I’m giving you the keys. You drive. All I’m saying is set your ground rules. Make them rigid. Don’t let anyone – me, Harry, these boys that work here, customers – Don’t let anyone cross those lines. You see, Candy?”

I nodded.

“Yeah? Then why not call me on calling you Candy? I’ve done it since we sat down. Why not start there?”

“Well… I mean, you’re the boss, Jimmy.”

“Which is why you start there. I don’t allow anyone to talk anyway to anyone that doesn’t want that. Let me explain that. You got girls that work the streets. You don’t see it so much here. It’s a small city, but it happens. I spent a few years on the streets in Rochester, bigger place, as a kid. Happens all the time there.” He sipped at his drink. I took a sip of my own drink and raised my brows at what he had said.

“Yeah? Don’t believe it? It’s true. I fought my way up. I have respect because I earned it.” He waved one hand. “Don’t let me get off track.” He smiled and took another sip from his glass. “So, I’ve seen girls on the streets… Whores… It is what it is. Would you hear me say that to them? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. If a woman sees herself as a whore, if that’s all it is, what it is, then who am I to say different? Do you see? It’s a living, or it’s a life… There is a difference. Now back to you. You want to dance. Some of these girls,” he waved one meaty hand at the empty stage area, “work the other side. Some of them do that for me, some do it on their own. Some don’t,” he sighed. “Either way you would not see me treat them any other way than what they want to be treated. I mean that. If you believe you are a whore and that is what you see, then that is what you show the world, and that is how the world sees you… treats you,” he settled his eyes on me.

I nodded. I didn’t trust my voice. I had been down this road on my own. What did it say about me? That it only mattered that I made it? That money mattered more than anything else? Would I be swayed by the money? Was I even being honest with myself about my motivations? I really didn’t know. I knew what I told myself on a daily basis… that I wanted to follow my Father into law enforcement, but was it whimsical like so many other things in my life that I never followed through on?

“You are not just a dancer. There is a part of you that is, a part of you that likes the way a man looks at you, likes the money. But there is another part that is the private you, the real you. You need to keep those distinctions.” He rubbed at his eyes, tossed off the rest of his drink and rose from the bar stool. “Let me drop you home, Candy,” he asked.

I stood, leaving my mostly full drink sitting on the bar top. “I have my car,” I told him.

“It’s late. Creeps around maybe.”

“Jimmy, every creep in my neighborhood knows I work here… for you. Guys stopped talking to me, let alone the creeps.” I laughed, but it wasn’t really all that funny. It had scared me when I realized who Jimmy was, who Jimmy worked for. In effect, who I worked for. Another questionable thing? Probably.

Jimmy nodded. “Smart creeps. The southern Tier’s a big place. Easy to lose yourself, with or without a little help.” He looked at his watch and then fixed his eyes on me once more. “So you keep your perspective, set your limits, draw your lines,” he spoke as he shrugged into his coat, retrieved his hat from the bar top and planted it on his head, “Don’t let nobody cross those lines. You start next week, let’s say the eleventh?”

I nodded.

“Take the balance of the time off. By the time the eleventh comes around you should be ready for a whole new world. A whole new life.” He stood looking down at me for a second. “The big talk I guess. For what it’s worth, I don’t say those things often, Candy.”

I nodded. “I believe that. And, Jimmy?”

He looked down at me. He knew what was coming. He expected it, and that was the only reason I was going to say it. I knew better than to correct Jimmy V. There were a lot of woods up here. They did go on forever and they probably did hold a lot of lost people. I may be slow but I’m far from stupid.

“Please don’t call me Candy,” I told him.

He smiled. “Don’t be so goddamn nice about it. Don’t call me Candy,” he rasped, a dangerous edge to his voice. “Look ’em right in the eye. Don’t call me Candy. Put a little attitude in your look. A little I can fuckin’ snap at any minute attitude. Let me see that.”

I Put my best street face on. The one I had used growing up on the streets in Syracuse. I knew that I can snap at any minute look. I’d used it many times. “Don’t call me Candy,” I told him in a voice that was not my own. My street voice, “Just don’t do it.”

“Goddamn right, Doll,” Jimmy told me. “Goddamn right. Scared me a little there. That’s that street wise part of you.” He took my head in both massive hands, bent and kissed the top of my head. “I will see you on the eleventh,” he told me.

I nodded. I let the Doll remark go.

I followed Jimmy out the back door past Don who nodded at me and winked. Don was an asshole. Always hitting on us when Jimmy wasn’t around. But Jimmy was his uncle. I was employing my best selective perception when I smiled at him. I wondered if I would ever get used to him. Probably not, I decided, but maybe that would be a good thing. Of course, it didn’t matter. I never saw Don again. Or Jimmy. Or anyone else from that life.

I said goodbye to Jimmy V., crossed the parking lot for the last

time and drove myself home. I parked my rusted out Toyota behind my Grandparents house, and twenty four hours later my world, everybody’s world, was completely changed.

Candace ~ March 2nd

This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know, but it seems like it’s ending here. Earthquakes, explosions. I’ve seen no Police, Fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have the Nine Millimeter that used to be my Father’s. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside.

Candace ~ March 3rd

I lost this yesterday; my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it; then I found it again later on by the window right where I left it. Maybe I’m losing it.

There are no Police, no Firemen, phones, electric. The real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed.

I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud, so out of place, so… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away.

Candace ~ March 4th

I’m going out. I have to see. If I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this?

Candace ~ March 5th

The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is no Jimmy V. I hear gunshots at night, all night. And screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the end of the civilized world. Unless things are better somewhere else. I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines, missing streets, damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in, and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now.

I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then?

Candace ~ March 6th

I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe though, that is a sign, I told myself. And scared or not, I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow.

Candace ~ March 7th

The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. Most of my friends, and that’s a joke, I didn’t have anyone I could actually call a friend; So I guess I would say most of my acquaintances believed my grandparents were alive and that I lived here with them. They weren’t. I didn’t. I kind of let that belief grow, fostered it, I guess.

I planted the seed by saying it was my Nana Pans’ apartment. You can see the Asian in me, so it made sense to them that she was my Nana. But I look more like I’m a Native American than African American and Japanese. It’s just the way the blood mixed, as my father used to say. But Native American or Asian, they could see it in my face. And this neighborhood is predominantly Asian. Mostly older people. There were two older Asian women that lived in the building. They probably believed one of those women was my Nana, and I didn’t correct them.

I can’t tell you why I did that. I guess I wanted that separation. I didn’t want them, anyone, to get to know me well. My plan had been to dance, earn enough money for school – Criminal Justice – and go back to Syracuse. Pretend none of this part of my life had ever happened. Some plan. It seemed workable. I wondered over what Jimmy V. had said to me. Did he see something in me that I didn’t, or was he just generalizing? It doesn’t matter now I suppose.

My Grandmother passed away two years ago. The apartment she had lived in was just a part of the building that she owned. Nana Pan, my mother’s mother, had rented the rest of the building out. The man who had lived with her was not my Grandfather – he had died before I was born – but her brother who had come ten years before from Japan. They spoke little English. People outside of the neighborhood often thought they were man and wife. She didn’t bother correcting them, my mother had told me. Nana Pan thought that most Americans were superficial and really didn’t care, so what was the use in explaining anything to them? Maybe that’s where I got my deceptiveness from.

I had left the house as it was. Collected rents through an agency. For all anyone knew, I was just another tenant. Of course Jimmy V. had known. He had mentioned it to me. But Jimmy knew everything there was to know about everyone. That was part of his business. It probably kept him alive.

So I stayed and waited. I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. But no one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday, probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why, what all my reasons were. A lot of fear, I think.

There have been earthquakes. The house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. It is off the foundation and leaning. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad. It’s just dumb luck it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me.

It doesn’t matter now though. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore.

I’m taking this and my gun with me. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it.

I’ll write more here I think. I just don’t know when, or where I’ll be…

*******

That is a female character written by me, a man. It works because I went with what I knew. I didn’t go for a stereotypical woman, but a woman who is a composite of a few women I have known in my life. She is loosely based on four women. The first and most obvious was a woman whom I met in the early eighties, when I drove a cab for a living. She was a dancer at a little club whom I picked up every early morning and drove back to her hotel room…

*******

The Last Ride is Copyright © 2013 Wendell G. 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’d told myself for most of the last year that I should stop driving taxi, settle down to a real job and be more responsible. And then a Conrail contract came along and then the opportunity to work with another driver who handled the Airport contract, and 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 full time 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 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 two 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 OK, 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 and 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 up on 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 fast. 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, Joe,” Smitty told me over the staticy 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…

*******

The dancer is not the complete focus of that story. Two different women take the focus, the one that dies and the dancer. The dancer was where I went for my first look at Candace. For the purposes of the story I didn’t go into a lot of detail about the dancer, but you could assume that I had been picking her up every night for quite some time and that we probably had conversations and you would be right. What I got was the sense of a woman who did what she had the ability to do. Not because she was a whore, or a slut, or a loose woman, but because she wanted to live. Yes, she offered more than conversation and I turned her down, on another night I wouldn’t have turned her down most likely. That fact doesn’t make her or me either saints or sinners, just human beings. She seemed honest, unapologetic for the life she lived, I loved that. She was not pretentious, she was simply alive and living. She was great as my initial Base for Candace.

My second mold was my mother who has worked hard all of her life. She has been afraid in situations I am sure, but she always did what she had to to get by or survive and take care of myself and my siblings. That is real, not a composite, and I wanted Candace to have strength like that. I have met other women with that strength too. It is something I admire, something I think is sometimes lacking in female characters, so I wanted my Candace character to have it.

My third mold was my first girlfriend. Maybe in my head, we never actually made it official, but she was a funny person. Bold. Unafraid of life. She went for the things she saw that she wanted in life. She kept a positive outlook. She didn’t let the fact that she was a woman slow her down. I remember falling in love with her about three minutes after I met her. She was just an awesome person and she happened to be a woman too. One of the first women in my life that made me stop looking at women in a stereotypical way. I wanted Candace to have that strength.

My last mold was a buddies wife. I got to know her a little, and one night when we were drinking she told me a story about her life…

*******

Lyrics Copyright © Wendell G. Sweet 2011 ♪ ♫ ♪ Date Written;01-24-2011

Song Title: Vegas Style: Alt

Intro

It’s snowing in Watertown… Kat’s packing the car with Jo Jo… They’re leaving for the promise of a better life… Someplace…

Instrumental ———————————— Small Lead transition into song tempo —————-

Verse 1

They left the small town for Las Vegas… Kat she wants to see new places… Run the bases… And Jo Jo’s born to be told, you can tell… He takes her west where the snow never fell

But there ain’t no easy life in Vegas, it’s just a little brighter than some of the other places… Times are tough… You can see it in the faces… When’s enough enough? And who decides? It’s tough…

Instrumental ——————————————Small Transition —————————————

Hook #1

The pretty lights will make you blind… to the things you got to do. So you put them out of mind…

Someday, you know, you got to get wise… Time keeps slippin’ by… You fall through the cracks if you don’t compromise…

Verse 2

Time goes by and they find themselves sleeping in the car. Kat, she finds a job dancing at a bar, and Jo Jo fills in pouring drinks most nights… But he… Hates the dancing. Hates the men.. Hates the life…

And some days Kat’s thoughts are so black, all she can think about is going back… Promises… You know they don’t amount to jack when life ends up like this… When it… moves past promises…

Instrumental—————————— Long Lead ———————————————————-

Verse 3

Jo Jo ain’t got much to say… Feels like he… Pissed his life away… Wakes up to do the Jo Jo show… Believes that’s just the way that life goes…

He’s just trying to make his way through it all… Waiting for the curtain to fall… But maybe it fell and he’s just waitin’ on last call… Hard to tell.. Maybe it’s just as well…

Instrumental —————————————–Small Transition —————————————

Hook #2

The pretty lights don’t seem so bright when you’re working through the long night to the gray daylight…

And sometimes all you want to do is pack it in… But life here beats you down so hard… Don’t know where to start…

Instrumental—————————– Short lead transition ———————————————–

Verse 4

Kat, she sleeps through the day… Gets up for work and dances the night away… Walk this way… Slide down the pole… Some days it’s like it’s all she knows…

Just smiling her way through it all… Listening… Waiting on the curtain call… Sometimes she wonders is it her last curtain call? It’s all numbers… Still she wonders…

Instrumental —————————————Small Transition —————————————

Hook #1

The pretty lights will make you blind… to the things you got to do. So you put them out of mind…

Someday, you know, you got to get wise… Time keeps slippin’ by… You fall through the cracks if you don’t compromise…

Instrumental—————–Transition to end –slower —————————————————

Xtro

And it’s raining… In Vegas… As they make their way home… Still looking for the promise of a better life…. Someday….

Why I Wrote It:

(Note: Additional work 05-15-11 / 05-16-11 There is music for this written in C)

I knew a girl who lived that life. She left Watertown and ended up working in a bar. One night, over thirty years ago, she told me about it. I remembered that conversation and wrote the song about it.

Jo Jo is modeled after me. The aimless life I used to live. I put the two things together and wrote the song…

*******

That was my last piece for Candace. I made those connections in the blink of an eye. I didn’t have to explain them or show you the work that lead me to them, but it will be the same for you when you get there I am sure. The thing is to delve into your life. What was your mother/father/aunt/uncle/ex-wife/husband/minister/boyfriend like? Write it. Remember, characters that are non typical are more realistic in the long run. They are also more interesting to the reader, I think, and as you personalize them you base them on your own history and so they take on the characteristics that women or men you have known possessed, and they also become much easier to write because you know them.

Another problem is we sometimes let a friend or family member read our work and we don’t get the response we hoped to get from that friend or family member.

I gave a copy of my first book to every family member that I could find. A month later I wrote and said, “Excuse me, but have you had time to read my book yet? I put a lot into it and I think it’s good and I would really, really like to have your opinion.” I waited but not a single person wrote back. Huh, I thought. I must really suck very badly. I reminded them a month or so later “Hey! Me again. Just wondering if you read my book yet. Let me know!” Nothing.

Well I’ll be damned, I thought. I knew I wasn’t the greatest of writers, but I have read published stuff far worse than what I write, and besides, I poured my heart and soul into it.

I realized then that you have to find your audience. And your audience is there. They don’t know you yet, and you don’t know them yet, but they are there. They are there sitting patiently and waiting for you to publish that book so they can fall right into it.

Did you notice that I went to my humor well and injected a little humor into my re-telling of passing books out to my entire family and not one reading it or commenting? As you can imagine I was crushed. But I learned from it. I realized that my family didn’t write the book. They had no emotional attachment to it, so I went ahead and published it and not long after I got some of the real feedback I needed. I found people that liked it. Still do like it, and identify with the characters. Of course I found people that hate it, hate the style of writing, and that is to be expected also. My point is I based my faith in my ability on me, no one else. Yes, it was good to get feedback, and I took some it and rejected other parts of it, but the main thing was to get it into my head that I had to like it first. If I didn’t like it, believe in it, have faith in it, then it was dead already. Might as well bury it.

Again, we are not on impossible ground, we just have to know where we are. No body gets to go through life without being smacked around a little. Either life does it to you or other people do it to you. Sometimes it can destroy you if you allow it to, other times it hurts, makes you cry, but you pick yourself up and get your ass back in gear and go. You learn from it. That lesson is usually like this: “Wait a second, goddammit. Did I do anything to deserve getting used like that? No!” or “Does he/she really hate me? Why? What did I do?” And that might go on a little but you will come to the realization that you didn’t do anything at all. You were just you and some people like you and some people don’t. Before you know it you meet a woman/man that does like you as you are, does accept you. Maybe that takes some time, but as long as you don’t stop looking you find out how to be you and be liked. It is that simple. And you know what? It might not be five thousand people that like you. It might be five million, it might be less. But when you learn that, you now have a well to draw from. That is the same well you should go to for the basis of your confidence in yourself as a writer.

The reasoning is clear. You may live, as I do, in a small town/village. Things in a small place are small, small post office. Smaller roads, smaller school. But in another way that is all dead. With the advent of the internet that has all opened up. The world, literally, is right there at your fingertips. And how many people, do you suppose, are similar to you in your likes and dislikes? Millions? Thousands? A million? A million people out of the entire world is a small number. I would say it is safe to assume that there are a million people out there that would like your writing if you can get it to them. That is your strength. You have been down that road, all the way down that road, you know there are people who do like you, now apply it world wide and you can see what you have. Another well of strength to draw from.

Now that doesn’t mean all of those people are ever going to know about you. They might not, but if you never publish your work they will never have that opportunity and that would be a loss for you and for them. So go to that well where you have that emotion stored from that time you were rejected, put down, passed over, and then go to that other well of strength you used to get past that. Maybe the Bible, Quran, prayer, friendship, something inside that you can’t even explain. Whatever it is go to it. Tell your self that you personally have that faith in yourself. Believe it.

Last words: Family. Family is what we have to turn to for our strength usually, right? Not always. We turn there but it doesn’t always help, in fact sometimes it hurts. They seem to be more hypercritical of us that anyone else, or, they never read that book you sent them. Jesus went back to Nazareth to preach and was rejected there among his own people. They said, paraphrased, “What is this? This guy is a carpenters son, he’s not a prophet or a God or a messiah.” They rejected what he had to say. How many writers have you read that said their families encouraged them and read their work? Not many. Not many because it didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean they hate you, or your work. If it was someone else who published it and they read it they might even like it, but it wasn’t someone else it was you. And you are Mary’s/Bob’s/John’s kid. “Yeah, I went to school with you., You aren’t a writer, you work down at the Walmart, right?” And there you go.

So don’t look for what isn’t there. If you get that support great, but it isn’t a given and you shouldn’t let it impact you negatively if you don’t find it. Go to that well of strength and get what you need, and then publish your work.

Works and People mentioned here:

Jean Auel

The Dreamer’s Worlds Book

The First Earths Survivors book

Billy Jingo

True Stories From A Small Town #1 (Last Ride Excerpt)

I hope you enjoyed and learned from this. Please check out my sponsors and I will be back soon… Dell.


Settlement Earth

12-21-16

Good Morning. Christmas is nearly upon us and that means a new year is on the way too. Thanks for stopping by here, it is appreciated, and I hope you keep this place on your list of places to visit in 2017. Here is a free preview of Settlement Earth from W. W. Watson. There are links at the end to the other two books, and to get the first book free. Hope your holiday is a good one, Dell…

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book One

Created by W. W. Watson

PUBLISHED BY: W. W. Watson on Smashwords

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book One

Copyright © 2010 – 2013 by W. W. Watson & independAntwriters Publishing All rights reserved

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

………………………………………………….

“Well, Ira, what do you think?” the figure beside him asked.

Ira and Cora were walking through a field of tall grass somewhere in Oklahoma. The figure, that Ira perceived as a man who resembled his father, and Cora perceived as an older woman who resembled her long dead mother, walked beside them through the tall grass.

The air was warm.A light breeze touched the tops of the grass as it moved around them and through the field.

“I need to tell you of something that will soon come to pass,” the figure said, he paused briefly. “Do you accept me as God? The figure looked from one to the other as it asked the question.

“Absolutely,” Ira said, almost at the same time that Cora did. “Why? What else would you be?” Ira asked, with a trace of fear in his voice.

“Ira, my question was not meant to alarm you. Only to remind you of what I have shown you. Do you remember the man that was brought before me from the pit?”

“Why of course, Lord,” Ira replied. “It was Satan himself. Terrible,” Ira said as he shook his head. “That thing was Satan, wasn’t it, Lord?”

“Well, he has other names, Ira, but for you that is who he was. He is evil never doubt that, but he can come in many shapes, many forms. The man-creature you saw was how he chose to reveal himself to you, but you must be careful, he can take any shape, human; animal, and some you would not be able to look upon. Do you understand?”

“Not completely, Lord, but if you’re telling me avoid him, you needn’t worry. I don’t want nothin’ to do with him. He scares me, to be honest, Lord. Is that a bad thing?”

“No, Ira that is not a bad thing, in fact it is a good thing. The reason I reminded you, is not to set your heart to worry.”

Ira looked over at Cora. They had apparently stopped at some point in the conversation, he realized, and Cora was sitting on a large boulder, looking out over the field, seemingly unaware of their conversation.

“Do not be concerned,” the older man beside him said. “She is still walking beside me through the field. She needs to be told of the things that will soon come to pass as you do. She is well. Satan does not want that to be so, but the stars are not his to hold. Neither the Earth nor any of which you know, Ira. They are mine. They and all which are contained within them, and I love them. Do you wonder where a lie is born? Or where it came from?”

“Well… of course, Lord, from Satan, in the garden,” Ira said, and continued. “Course he was a serpent, and was made to crawl on his belly fer it, right?”

“Yes, Ira, but I mean the first, the beginning of the lie,” the older man said.

“I don’t get it, Lord,” Ira replied and wrinkled his brow before he continued. “He was sin, wasn’t he, and all sin came from him, right?”

“Only after a fashion…” the older man said.He paused before he continued. “Deceit is mine as well. It is a thing that was necessary to have. What He did was to embrace it and call it his own. But it was I who allowed it to be embraced. I knew that it would be as such. I knew, as well, that there would be others who would embrace it, but it was still a necessary thing.”

The older man paused as if in thought, and then continued.

“If you accept me as your God and as the creator of all that is and is to come, then you must accept the lie as mine as well. Do you understand, Ira?”

“I can’t say as I ever looked at it quite that way,” Ira said, and then continued, “but yes, I do, Lord.”

“I knew that you would see, Ira.” The older man said.

“It is not my wish to allow him dominion over this world or any other. While it is true that I told him I would abide him for three score, the speaking of those words did not in themselves make a truth…”

“…He has now a child which he has taken from among my own people. He believes the child is his, to do with as he pleases, and it pleases him to place him high above the world and all people. To rule them, Ira, to be his son, and to sit at his side on my throne, as a God.”

“He dreams of greatness, but he is small and pitiful. And he believes the child will be great and powerful, for that is the lie. He has deceived himself in his belief that it was He that created evil… For even evil is mine,” he paused. “Is it clear to you, Ira?”

The kindly, older man turned his eyes to Ira.

“Yes, Lord, it is. But if you didn’t intend to allow him to rule the Earth why did you turn him loose?”

“Choice, Ira. My people must be free to choose the path they wish to follow. Even him, your Satan. The path that he has chosen is evil, just as the ones he has called to him have chosen the same path. Your choice was to follow the path of truth, was it not?”

“Yes, Lord, it was,” Ira replied.

“His, and those that surround him, had the same choice to make. They chose the path of evil. It is that simple, Ira. He believes he has three score to prepare for the battle, but I have used his own device against him. That is the lie. I will not allow the time he thinks he has.” The older man paused before continuing.

“The battle will come soon, but the outcome is not assured. The outcome depends upon the path of truth. I can only supply it. I will not suffer any to tread it unless it is their choice.”

“Michael is preparing for the Great Battle,” he continued. “He has assembled those who have traveled the path of truth for the fight, but Michael will not lead in this world, he is unable. It is a circumstance I do not wish, yet one I have created.”

Ira looked at him with confusion in his eyes.

“My words are not meant to confuse, only to make you aware of a need. Someone must lead, Ira. Someone must lead who has no doubt. You are my child, Ira, yet it is you I would ask to lead.”

Ira opened his eye’s wide, as he spoke.

“But I can’t, Lord; I mean I will, but…How? I’m a man, Lord; I ain’t even an Angel, who would listen to me? I ain’t sure if I’d know how to fight, or even who, or where… Who would follow me?”

“Ira,” the older man said gently. “It matters not at all that you are only a man, and you will have little use of any army, or any angel. You will only need your heart and what it contains. That and nothing more. The armies are not upon the lands of the Earth, they are only within the spirit of the people. The evil one has his army unto himself, but only in spirit as well. They draw no breath, as you do. He may convince them that they do, but I assure you they do not. He draws no breath himself, though he believes that he breaths. He is insubstantial, Ira. He is a means to an end and nothing more. Nevertheless, he will find those that still draw breath, to fight his battles upon the land, as you yourself will find those who would oppose him. He will know of you, and he will become aware of the lie. I wish him to know, I do not wish him to succeed however. I would wish that he had stayed within the pit, but some wished for his release and the choice must be allowed. It is a promise to all that I love, that they may have a choice. And many wish to follow his path, so it must be allowed for the sake of the promise, Ira.”

“But still, Lord, who will follow me?” Ira asked.

“Did not many follow another? Who was also a man?” the older man asked.

“But, Lord,” Ira said, “he was your son.”

“Are you any less my son, Ira? Any less my own child?” the older man questioned as he took Ira’s hand into his own and continued to speak. “Are you any less worthy to be my son? No, Ira, you are not unworthy. You are my son, as Cora is my daughter, as Adam and Eve were also my children, and as even the one you think of as Satan is my own child. All are my children, Ira, the good as well as the bad. They all came from me and they shall all return to me in the end. It is my desire that you lead. That you bring the remainder of my children who wish to be with me to me. They will need to make the choice. Some have already made it, although they do not believe they have. Will you, Ira?”

“I’ll go, Lord, I can’t say that I’ll go without some fear though. I ain’t afraid of dying, but I’m afraid of failing you, Lord,” Ira lowered his head into his hands, and rubbed his temples. “I just think that you could do a whole lot better, Lord, is all. But if I’m it, I’ll go, and I’ll do the best I kin.” Ira finished speaking, and raised his eyes to the older man beside him.

“Ira…You are the best. There are none that would be better, or could be. You must remember that I made you. Everything I make is the best it can be. Nothing is imperfect, even the evil one you call Satan.” the older man stared deeply into Ira’s eyes before he continued. “He will, of course, try to kill you. You have life now, and will always have it, but he will try to kill your body.”

“I kind’a figured that, Lord…Will he?”

“Ira, it is not a thing that you need to concern yourself with. Do you think you can be killed? Has not your body been killed before, and yet you still live, and draw breath? Do you think he can do more to you?”

Ira shook his head, as he spoke. “I’m not afraid of death, Lord. I can’t rightly say I want to die either, but if it happens, I kin get through it, Lord. I kin still pray to you, can’t I?”

“Of course, Ira,” the older man said. “I will go with you as I will also ride with Michael to defeat the armies of evil. I do not wish to speak with words that confuse you, Ira. I will be there if you need me. Do not doubt that.”

“Will Cora be with me, Lord?” Ira asked.

“She will be with me, Ira, and I shall be with you. We will await your return. Come, it grows late.”

Ira looked towards the sky, and saw that it was true, the light blue of the sky had phased to a deep indigo as they had talked. Cora still sat upon the rock. Tears streaked her face as she stared into the setting sun.

“Go to her, Ira,” the older man said, “she waits for you. There is time for you, and you will draw strength from her. I shall leave for a time, and then return to take you to begin your journey.”

Ira turned his eyes back to the older man, but he was no longer there. He walked towards Cora, lifted her from the rock, and held her.

“I understand, Ira,” she said, as he brushed the tears from her cheeks. “Make love to me?”

Ira took her into his arms, kissed her, and after they lay down upon the soft grass he made love to her, and then held her gently as they talked.

“I will be with you,” she said. “I’ll always be with you, my love.”

Ira kissed her. “Cora, I love you too.It won’t be long, and then I’ll be back, Honey.”

The older man walked slowly towards them across the field. “I have to go now, Honey.” Ira said. He kissed her good bye.

Cora stood in the field with the older woman and watched him walk off towards the setting sun. He seemed to slowly fade away as he walked, until he was no more.

“Cora?” the older woman asked, “would you like to walk with me?”

“I would,” she replied. “Will I see him soon, Lord?” she asked as they began to walk through the tall grass.

“Look into your heart, Cora, he has never left you,” the woman replied.

They walked through the grass in silence, a peaceable contenting silence. They crested a small hill, and looked down upon a wide green valley. A blue river snaked its way through the valley, and horses grazed upon the grass. Buffalo grazed contentedly beside them, as the sun rode low on the horizon. The older woman spoke, as they stopped at the crest.

“This is the land that I promised to, Ira,” she said. “He chose it himself as we walked one day. I wanted to bring you here to prepare it for him, so that it will be ready when he returns. Are you pleased, Cora?”

“It’s beautiful,” she cried, as she looked out over the valley. “But how will I prepare it, lord?” she asked as she turned towards the older woman.

“You will not be alone, Cora, I will help you,” the older woman said, as she smiled. “Can you swing an axe, or pound a nail?”

“Course I kin,” Cora replied, returning the smile, “I learned when I was little, but you know that, Lord.”

“Well,” the older woman said, as she began to roll up the sleeves of the old fashioned dress she wore. “I guess we better get to it, Cora. Let’s see, a house, a barn, maybe a couple of fences, that about it?”

“I never built anything from the ground up, Lord,” Cora replied.

“Well I guess then, that it is time to learn. Come on child, let’s pick a place to build the house,” the older woman said as she took Cora’s hand in her own and started down the hill.

The two women walked down the hill in the direction of the river holding hands. When they reached the bottom, Cora broke into a run. A smile lit her face as she ran through the tall grass towards the river. She spun around like a small child and turned towards the older woman.

“Come on!” she called, smiling. “It’s so beautiful.” She spun again and skipped off into the tall grass, as the older woman smiled back and began to follow.

……………………………………………..

I hope you enjoyed this peek at Settlement Earth. You can only get these books from Smashwords and Smashwords re-sellers like, NOOK, I Tunes, KOBO and other fine booksellers.

Smashwords:

Book One: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360313

Book Two: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360317

Book Three: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360319

Series Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/7285


Dello Green Preview

Well here we are at Monday already. It seems to me that the weekends just fly by faster and faster. I remember thinking the other day that it was a long way off to Christmas and how it seemed that they start the Christmas ads earlier and earlier each year, and the next thing I know it is days away. Wow. Too fast. Remember when you were a kid and time crawled? You couldn’t wait to be an adult and be the boss? Well, here we are. We are the bosses, and it seems like all that water under the bridge was just the other day.

Here is a look at Dello Green the second novel in the Connected Series of novels. I’ll included the link at the end so you can get an even longer preview or pick up the book for that crime fan you are or know. See you tomorrow, Geo…

CONNECTED: DELLO GREEN

Copyright 2016 W. W. Watson and Dell Sweet, All rights reserved…

This preview may not be reproduced in any form present or future and displayed publicly. If you wish to share this with a friend please point them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

……………………………………………………………..

Two months earlier

Dello and Nikki

Springfield New York

“Get up, get up, get up,” Dello said. He laughed. Nikki ignored him. “Honey, I have to go… I’ve got about a million things to do.”

She opened her eyes and looked of him. She was curled into his side, it was the way she slept and as much as he had to get moving he didn’t want her to pull away from him.

Dello was up on his elbows on the bed, Nikki pushed up on one elbow herself and laid her head on his stomach.

“A million, huh?” she asked.

“At least,” Dello said. One nipple poked out at him as she raised her head once more.

“But this is your day off, baby. We always sleep late…” She pouted.

“Uh huh. Except, baby, it’s almost over. And we’ve got things to do. You have your own things to get done today too… Right?” Dello asked. His hand dropped to her bare back and then trailed along down the center of her spine to her ass. He knew it was counterproductive. Not likely to get either of them moving any sooner, in fact probably later, but she had a great ass. A great ass.

She smiled at him, her blue-gray eyes mischievous. Her hand snaked down under the edge of the sheet and found him already hard.

“Ah, hah,” she said. “I think I’ve discovered something.”

He laughed, but his hands, both hands, ran across her bare cheeks. “Bring me this,” he said quietly.

She rose up on her knees and then threw one leg over his chest. His hands came up, cupped her cheeks and pulled her to him.

The morning passed them by for a little while.

Later

Dello looked at the clock. An hour had slipped by. Nikki was curled back into his side. Her breasts pressing against him, one hand resting on his stomach.

“I know, I know,” she mumbled. She raised up, one nipple poking out at him again and gave him her crooked smile.

“Couldn’t we just lay in bed all day? I promise you, you won’t regret it,” she said.

“Not until we have finished our part and it’s not done.” Dello answered. He reached for her and she came to him, the weight of her breasts against his chest. “A little while longer and days off will really be days off, baby,” he promised.

“I love it when you call me baby,” Nikki said. She sighed. “Since I can’t convince you with my womanly charms, I guess I better get myself in gear,” she said.

“You already did convince me. It’s an hour later, baby. You’re going up there to check things out, right? That’s a four hour trip.” Dello said.

“I know… I know,” she kissed the tip of his nose. “And I do take it seriously. I know it’s for us. For our future… Do we have tomorrow?” she asked.

“No, baby. I’ve got something I have to do for Jojo… I’ll be gone three days… I told you,” Dello said.

“I know,” she put her hands behind his neck. “Back in three days?”

“Back in three days and all yours, baby,” Dello agreed.

“I’ll do anything for you, baby. Anything. So long as it’s you and me in the end,” Nikki told him.

“You and me is all it is,” Dello said.

“You and me,” Nikki agreed.

Brownsville Two weeks earlier

Rico

“I grew up here,” Rico said. “That’s why I came back. Spread the money around, you know?”

Kelvin Gaynor nodded. “Sure, man. I can see that. You been good to us.”

“Yeah,” Sweet Jones added. “Gonna make you an honorary black man. A brother of another color.”

Kelvin smiled. One gold tooth glinted back at Rico.

“You ain’t fuckin’ around with anything anymore, right?” Rico asked. He looked at both of them. Letting the question fall between them.

“No,” Kelvin said. “Been clean… Gonna stay clean… Ain’t messing with nothing.”

“I got too much respect for my body to do that shit again,” Sweet said.

“Had to ask,” Rico said and smiled. “Some men can’t walk away. Fall into that shit and it gets them… You stay straight and I’ll give you work,” he said. “Same token, if you fuck up I won’t be able to save your asses… This is a big deal… I’m taking a chance with the two of you. I don’t need to tell you, right?” Rico asked.

“No, man,” Sweet said.

“Yeah, we’re good,” Kelvin told him.

Rico smiled, slipped one hand into his jeans, and pulled out a folded envelope. “There’s three grand in there. Get a halfway decent car. Buy one,” he looked at Kelvin. “I know how good you are, blanquito, but I can’t afford for you to get popped… So, buy one. Just ditch it when you’re through with it; so don’t buy it in your own name or some dumb shit thing like that.” He smiled. “Fifteen for each of you when we’re done… A day’s work… You can’t get that nowhere else. That ain’t no food stamp money, ese”

They both nodded.

Rico turned and got into the back of the limo that waited at the curb. He leaned out the rear window. “I’ll let you know… Get the car, it’ll be a few weeks… Stay out of trouble.” The black glass rolled up silently and he was gone. The limo purred away from the curb, traveled slowly down the block. People along the street stopped to look. The car made the corner and disappeared.

Kelvin looked at the envelope in his hand.

“Tell me you ain’t thinking of buying no fuckin’ car,” Sweet said.

Kelvin grinned. “Fuck no. I can’t spend money when I can take it for free. Like a woman. What man pays for it if he’s getting it for free? None,” Kelvin said. He looked around, people we’re looking at them.

“Come on,” Sweet said. “People is watching.”

They walked off down through a nearby alley and a few minutes later they were walking a rusty section of railroad track that ran behind the buildings.

………………………………………

You can get Dello Green at Smashwords, NOOK, KOBO, Amazon, I tunes and many other fine booksellers.

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/669086

NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/connected-w-w-watson/1124723005?ean=2940153758398

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M8OT7QN

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/connected-dello-green/id1160394883?mt=11

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/connected-dello-green


ZP Free

Posted by Geo 12-13-16

Back to the cold here, but they do say that spring is coming and summer has been seen lurking somewhere down close to the Bahamas. Okay, so they are months away an d we are just getting started down this road. Nasty here in western New York.

I guess the explanation for Earth’s Survivors has to be made once more. I don’t pretend to think that everyone who reads the books reads the blog. So I can say something in a blog, have a few hundred people that got their answer to the question and several more who didn’t. There is really no alternative for me though. If it means something to you to be up on the news then you read the blog, if you don’t then you make all sorts of assumptions and I can’t do much about that.

Several months back we addressed the problem with the Earth’s Survivors books. At least the problems I considered most important at the time and the problems I got feedback on. The biggest problem is that they did not start life as the Earth’s Survivors books and so there has always been confusion about that title. They started life as The Zombie Plagues. The decision was made months ago to migrate them back to that name. It was in my blogs, Dell’s blogs. Still when I did that I got nothing but negativity about it, which made me question where the people that asked for it were? Must have just gone on vacation. My solution was to offer the original books. That solution was not acceptable to a few writers so my last solution was to kill the books completely, at least in the Earth’s Survivors name, and so that is what I did two years or so ago. I left both Earth’s Survivors SE books. Earth’s Survivors Collection 1 and Earth’s Survivors Collection 2. Those two books have the first four full length books in their entirety. Or if you count the little books they cover all ten of the little books, the 8 that were released and the 2 that were not. That is what is left of the Earth’s Survivors Branded Nation Series. If you have read the first four books? You don’t need these. If you have not you can get two books for the price of one. Of course that solved nothing and so Dell worked to republish both series and the decision was made to write final books and end both series.

So, where did the original Earth’s Survivors books go to? They went back to the old title The Zombie Plagues. They are available At:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/5280

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/?series_id=926742

Paperback CreatSpace: One | Two | Three | Four

Paperback Amazon One | Two | Three | Four

And the Earth’s Survivors are available both at Amazon and through Smashwords, which means Nook, Kobo, ITUNES etc.

So we did not abandon the series as some feared, we just followed the plan we had set into motion, nothing more. Jay and I continued to write those books until last year where we had split the series away from one another and then wrote the last Earth’s Survivors book World Order. That means seven of twenty were published.

Dell wrote a series of twenty books, approximately 75k per book. They are done, written longhand. Entitled The Nation series.

What is published is published. Dell is stepping all the way away from publishing due to health issues. The remaining books will be turned over to someone at some point in the future for possible publication, but as for myself, or Dell, or Jay, there will be no more books in either series coming from any of us and we three are the only ones who can make those decisions. Actually, when it comes right down to it, Dell is the only one who can decide, and he has. He made sure the remaining books will go to someone who has had a hand in the writing, understand the stories and is willing to deal with them. I think that is a big deal alone.

I guess that is the news. I would also appreciate passing along the updates from this blog when you can. Let other readers who don’t read the blog know what is going on. Hopefully that answers all questions about the series. Thanks.

I will leave you with a free extended view of the first Zombie Plagues Book…

The Zombie Plagues Book One

Created by: Wendell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell, Wendell Sweet and independAntwriters

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ISBN:1482301733

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The Zombie Plagues Book One

Copyright © 2010 – 2013 by Geo Dell & independAntwriters Publishing All rights reserved

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

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

This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2016 Geo Dell & independAntwriters Publishing. 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…

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The Zombie Plagues Book One

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CHAPTER ONE

CANDACE

~ March 1st~

The traffic leaving the parking lot had slowed to a trickle, the lot nearly empty. The live shows were over, the bands packed up and gone, the dancers gone before or at the same time. The club was empty except Jimmy, the club boss, Don, the main door security, and me.

“Why are you still here, Candy,” Jimmy asked as he came up to the bar. He was on his way back from the parking lot. It was a short trip across the parking lot to the bank night deposit on the lot next door.

“I had an idea that Harry would be by tonight. He wanted to talk to me,” I shrugged. Harry was a Bookie, at least on the surface. Off the surface, or maybe it would be truer to say under the surface, Harry controlled most of the organized crime north of Syracuse. Jimmy… Jimmy managed the club, among other things, but the best description for Jimmy was to say Jimmy solved problems for Harry.

“Wants to talk you into staying here. That’s about all,” Jimmy said.

I turned away and pretended to check my face in the mirrored wall behind the bar. I wanted to Dance. I had suggested to Harry, through Jimmy, that maybe it was time for me to move on if there wasn’t any hope of me dancing. “Anyway, I ended up tending bar. So…”

“So it’s not dancing.” He dug one hand into his pocket and pulled out a thick wad of bills. He peeled two hundreds from the roll and pushed them into my hand, folding his hand over my own and closing it when I started to protest.

“But,” I started.

“But nothing. We did a lot in bar sales. You and I both know it was because of you.” He smiled, let go of my hand and stepped back. “It was me, not Harry,” he said.

I fixed my eyes on him. I knew what he might be about to say, but I wanted to be sure.

He sighed. “It was me that put the stop to your dancing. You’re too goddamn good for dancing, Candy. And once you start?” He barked a short, derisive laugh. “The law thing? Right out the window. What’s a cop make anyway in this town? Maybe thirty or forty a year?” He settled onto one of the stools that lined the bar, tossed his hat onto the bar top and patted the stool next to him. He continued talking.

“So, thirty, maybe forty, and what’s a dancer make? I can tell you there are dancers here who make better than one fifty a year. And that’s what I pay them. That’s not the side stuff or tips.” He moved one large hand, fished around behind the bar and came up with a bottle of chilled Vodka from the rack that held it just below eye level. He squinted at the label. “Cherry Surprise,” he questioned in a voice low enough to maybe be just for himself. “This shit any good, Candy?”

“It’s not bad,” I told him. I leaned over the bar and snagged two clean glasses when he asked me, setting them on the bar top. He poured us both about three shots worth. “Jesus, Jimmy.”

He laughed. “Which is why I don’t make drinks. It’d break me.” He sipped at his glass, made a face, but sipped again. I took a small sip of my own drink and settled back onto the bar stool.

“So, I said to myself, smart, beautiful, talented, and you have that something about you that makes men look the second time. You know?” He took another small sip. “Man sees a woman walking down the street or across a crowded dance floor, beautiful or not he looks. That look might be short or it might be long. Depends on the woman. Then he looks away. Does he look back? Not usually. But with you he does. There are women men look at that second time for whatever reason, and you’re one of them. I looked a second time, and then I really looked, for a third time. And I’ve seen a lot. That tattoo makes men and women look again.” His eyes fell on the tattoo that started on the back of my left hand, ran up my arm, across my breasts and then snaked back down over my belly and beyond. I knew it was provocative. That was the rebellious part of me. I had no better explanation for why I had sat, lain, through five months of weekly ink work to get it done.

Jimmy rubbed one huge open palm across the stubble of his cheeks. “Jesus do I need a shave.” He took a large drink from his glass. “It wasn’t the tattoo. It caught my eye, but that wasn’t what made me look that third time.”

“Candy, I took a third look because I saw a young woman that doesn’t need to have anything to do with this world. You’re too goddamn smart, talented, for this. So I said no. I let you dance a few times, but I didn’t want you to fall into it. I made the decision that you should tend bar instead of dance.” He tossed off the glass.

“I see that,” I told him. Although I didn’t completely see it. He was reading a lot about what he thought, what he saw, into who I really was.

“Yeah? I don’t think so, Candy. And that’s a reason right there. Candy… like a treat. When did it become okay for anyone to call you that? Because I remember a few months back when you started hanging around. It was Candace, and pity the dumb bastard who didn’t understand that. Now it’s Candy to any Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along.” He saw the hurt look in my eyes, reached below the bar, snagged the bottle and topped off his glass. I shook my head, covered the top of my glass with my hand and smiled. He put the bottle back and continued.

“I’m not trying to hurt you, only keep you on track. I’m giving you the keys. You drive. All I’m saying is set your ground rules. Make them rigid. Don’t let anyone – me, Harry, these boys that work here, customers – Don’t let anyone cross those lines. You see, Candy?”

I nodded.

“Yeah? Then why not call me on calling you Candy? I’ve done it since we sat down. Why not start there?”

“Well… I mean, you’re the boss, Jimmy.”

“Which is why you start there. I don’t allow anyone to talk anyway to anyone that doesn’t want that. Let me explain that. You got girls that work the streets. You don’t see it so much here. It’s a small city, but it happens. I spent a few years on the streets in Rochester, bigger place, as a kid. Happens all the time there.” He sipped at his drink. I took a sip of my own drink and raised my brows at what he had said.

“Yeah? Don’t believe it? It’s true. I fought my way up. I have respect because I earned it.” He waved one hand. “Don’t let me get off track.” He smiled and took another sip from his glass. “So, I’ve seen girls on the streets… Whores… It is what it is. Would you hear me say that to them? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. If a woman sees herself as a whore, if that’s all it is, what it is, then who am I to say different? Do you see? It’s a living, or it’s a life… There is a difference. Now back to you. You want to dance. Some of these girls,” he waved one meaty hand at the empty stage area, “work the other side. Some of them do that for me, some do it on their own. Some don’t,” he sighed. “Either way you would not see me treat them any other way than what they want to be treated. I mean that. If you believe you are a whore and that is what you see, then that is what you show the world, and that is how the world sees you… treats you,” he settled his eyes on me.

I nodded. I didn’t trust my voice. I had been down this road on my own. What did it say about me? That it only mattered that I made it? That money mattered more than anything else? Would I be swayed by the money? Was I even being honest with myself about my motivations? I really didn’t know. I knew what I told myself on a daily basis… that I wanted to follow my Father into law enforcement, but was it whimsical like so many other things in my life that I never followed through on?

“You are not just a dancer. There is a part of you that is, a part of you that likes the way a man looks at you, likes the money. But there is another part that is the private you, the real you. You need to keep those distinctions.” He rubbed at his eyes, tossed off the rest of his drink and rose from the bar stool. “Let me drop you home, Candy,” he asked.

I stood, leaving my mostly full drink sitting on the bar top. “I have my car,” I told him.

“It’s late. Creeps around maybe.”

“Jimmy, every creep in my neighborhood knows I work here… for you. Guys stopped talking to me, let alone the creeps.” I laughed, but it wasn’t really all that funny. It had scared me when I realized who Jimmy was, who Jimmy worked for. In effect, who I worked for. Another questionable thing? Probably.

Jimmy nodded. “Smart creeps. The southern Tier’s a big place. Easy to lose yourself, with or without a little help.” He looked at his watch and then fixed his eyes on me once more. “So you keep your perspective, set your limits, draw your lines,” he spoke as he shrugged into his coat, retrieved his hat from the bar top and planted it on his head, “Don’t let nobody cross those lines. You start next week, let’s say the eleventh?”

I nodded.

“Take the balance of the time off. By the time the eleventh comes around you should be ready for a whole new world. A whole new life.” He stood looking down at me for a second. “The big talk I guess. For what it’s worth, I don’t say those things often, Candy.”

I nodded. “I believe that. And, Jimmy?”

He looked down at me. He knew what was coming. He expected it, and that was the only reason I was going to say it. I knew better than to correct Jimmy V. There were a lot of woods up here. They did go on forever and they probably did hold a lot of lost people. I may be slow but I’m far from stupid.

“Please don’t call me Candy,” I told him.

He smiled. “Don’t be so goddamn nice about it. Don’t call me Candy,” he rasped, a dangerous edge to his voice. “Look ’em right in the eye. Don’t call me Candy. Put a little attitude in your look. A little I can fuckin’ snap at any minute attitude. Let me see that.”

I Put my best street face on. The one I had used growing up on the streets in Syracuse. I knew that I can snap at any minute look. I’d used it many times. “Don’t call me Candy,” I told him in a voice that was not my own. My street voice, “Just don’t do it.”

“Goddamn right, Doll,” Jimmy told me. “Goddamn right. Scared me a little there. That’s that street wise part of you.” He took my head in both massive hands, bent and kissed the top of my head. “I will see you on the eleventh,” he told me.

I nodded. I let the Doll remark go.

I followed Jimmy out the back door past Don who nodded at me and winked. Don was an asshole. Always hitting on us when Jimmy wasn’t around. But Jimmy was his uncle. I was employing my best selective perception when I smiled at him. I wondered if I would ever get used to him. Probably not, I decided, but maybe that would be a good thing. Of course, it didn’t matter. I never saw Don again. Or Jimmy. Or anyone else from that life.

I said goodbye to Jimmy V., crossed the parking lot for the last

time and drove myself home. I parked my rusted out Toyota behind my Grandparents house, and twenty four hours later my world, everybody’s world, was completely changed.

Candace ~ March 2nd

This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know, but it seems like it’s ending here. Earthquakes, explosions. I’ve seen no Police, Fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have the Nine Millimeter that used to be my Father’s. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside.

Candace ~ March 3rd

I lost this yesterday; my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it; then I found it again later on by the window right where I left it. Maybe I’m losing it.

There are no Police, no Firemen, phones, electric. The real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed.

I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud, so out of place, so… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away.

Candace ~ March 4th

I’m going out. I have to see. If I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this?

Candace ~ March 5th

The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is no Jimmy V. I hear gunshots at night, all night. And screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the end of the civilized world. Unless things are better somewhere else. I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines, missing streets, damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in, and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now.

I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then?

Candace ~ March 6th

I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe though, that is a sign, I told myself. And scared or not, I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow.

Candace ~ March 7th

The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. Most of my friends, and that’s a joke, I didn’t have anyone I could actually call a friend; So I guess I would say most of my acquaintances believed my grandparents were alive and that I lived here with them. They weren’t. I didn’t. I kind of let that belief grow, fostered it, I guess.

I planted the seed by saying it was my Nana Pans’ apartment. You can see the Asian in me, so it made sense to them that she was my Nana. But I look more like I’m a Native American than African American and Japanese. It’s just the way the blood mixed, as my father used to say. But Native American or Asian, they could see it in my face. And this neighborhood is predominantly Asian. Mostly older people. There were two older Asian women that lived in the building. They probably believed one of those women was my Nana, and I didn’t correct them.

I can’t tell you why I did that. I guess I wanted that separation. I didn’t want them, anyone, to get to know me well. My plan had been to dance, earn enough money for school – Criminal Justice – and go back to Syracuse. Pretend none of this part of my life had ever happened. Some plan. It seemed workable. I wondered over what Jimmy V. had said to me. Did he see something in me that I didn’t, or was he just generalizing? It doesn’t matter now I suppose.

My Grandmother passed away two years ago. The apartment she had lived in was just a part of the building that she owned. Nana Pan, my mother’s mother, had rented the rest of the building out. The man who had lived with her was not my Grandfather – he had died before I was born – but her brother who had come ten years before from Japan. They spoke little English. People outside of the neighborhood often thought they were man and wife. She didn’t bother correcting them, my mother had told me. Nana Pan thought that most Americans were superficial and really didn’t care, so what was the use in explaining anything to them? Maybe that’s where I got my deceptiveness from.

I had left the house as it was. Collected rents through an agency. For all anyone knew, I was just another tenant. Of course Jimmy V. had known. He had mentioned it to me. But Jimmy knew everything there was to know about everyone. That was part of his business. It probably kept him alive.

So I stayed and waited. I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. But no one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday, probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why, what all my reasons were. A lot of fear, I think.

There have been earthquakes. The house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. It is off the foundation and leaning. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad. It’s just dumb luck it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me.

It doesn’t matter now though. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore.

I’m taking this and my gun with me. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it.

I’ll write more here I think. I just don’t know when, or where I’ll be.

~Downtown Watertown~

He came awake in the darkness, but awake wasn’t precisely the term. Alive was precisely the term. He knew alive was precisely the term, because he could remember dying. He remembered that his heart had stopped in his chest. He had remembered wishing that it would start again. That bright moment or two of panic, and then he remembered beginning not to care. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. And he had drifted away.

Now he had drifted back. But drifted was not exactly right. He had slammed back into himself where he lay on the cold subbasement floor where he had been murdered by a roving gang of thieves. And he knew those things were true because he remembered them. And he knew they were true because he was dead. He was still dead. His heart was not beating in his chest. His blood was cold and jelled in his veins. He could feel it. Some kind of new perception.

He lay and watched the shadows deepen in the corners of the basement ceiling for a short time longer, and then he tried to move.

His body did not want to move at first. It felt as though it weighed a ton, two tons, but with a little more effort it came away. He sat and then crawled to his knees.

In the corner a huge rat stopped on his way to somewhere to sniff at him, decided he was probably food and came to eat him. He had actually sat for a second while the rat first sniffed and then began to gnaw at one fingernail. Then he had quickly snatched the rat up with his other hand, snapped it’s back in his fist and then shoved him warm and squirming into his mouth. A few minutes later he stood on shaky legs and walked off into the gloom of the basement, looking for the stairs and the way up to the streets.

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Have a great week, I’ll see you soon, Dell