Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pub Chatter #14

     I'm going to be gone for a while. It's not a vacation. A vacation would be a waste of time because I don't think a person can take a vacation if they live alone.



     Now, to me, living alone is not the same thing as being alone. I can handle being alone rather well. I have a wonderful imagination where there exist many worlds in which to wile away countless hours. But that's passing time, it's not really living. I cannot live by myself, to myself or for myself. I live when I share myself.



     I believe living takes two people; that's the way we are made. It's a blessing and a curse. To enjoy the blessing, you must risk the curse. There is no blessing like to souls touching one another or two hearts beating as one. Unfortunately to experience the blessing; to let someone close enough to share life, is to arm them with a dagger to pierce your heart and soul. sad, but true. Love and life are not safe. In fact, love is the most dangerous thing you will ever do.



     Is it worth the risk? Yes, and sometimes it's even worth the pain. I began living alone a short while ago. Getting away for a week is no relief. It really only serves to high light that I've given up on the idea of living any longer. Which only means I've resolved to be alone. I'm not sure how it will work out. A huge part of me wants to close the pub; trash the writing; lock the doors and slip away to the magical worlds inside. But there's a nagging voice that keeps saying...,

     "Wait."

     Wait for what? I don't know. Maybe next week will tell.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Chapter 19


 

          Fedryn's eyes stared up at Bryn; wide, terror-filled orbs of gold in a sea of white. Slowly, his face fell away. His arms flailed for purchase that did not exist.

          "Bryn." His scream trailed away with him. "Bryn."

          "Bryn." A sharp pinch followed his name.

          "You bit me," Bryn jumped up rubbing his arm.

          "Because you need to wake up," Oto said. "Get these people moving."

          "How far behind are the soldiers," Bryn asked.

          "A couple of hours at most," Oto warned. The way is clear ahead, but..."

          "But, we'll never make," Bryn finished for him.

          Oto bobbed his head. A twig snapped in trees behind them. The owl flapped his wings and sailed silently out of sight. One Eye stepped from the cover of the woods and came to drop down beside him. He looked at Bryn for a moment his single eye searching the boys face.

          "You know we should leave them?" One Eye held up a hand to forestall the answer he knew was coming. "We won't. I'm just saying.  How bad is it?"

          "They will be on us before mid-day," Bryn said.

          "Maybe," One eye said rubbing his chin. "We can slow them down."

          "How?"

          "I know a few tricks," One Eye said. "I was a smuggler, you know."

          "So I've heard," Bryn said with a smile. "Let's get to it."

 

          After redistributing the loads, Iko took on the job of pulling One Eye's cart. Bryn led the way as they trudged through a countryside steadily becoming less sterile. The land had been stripped of edibles. Neither flower, seed or edible root could be seen. After two hours of marching, they came to a tiny creek. The search for fish proved equally futile. A few of the humans began plucking up the grass that grew between the wagon ruts. It eased the cramps that plagued their restless stomachs, but provided little in the way of nourishment.

          Bryn's hopes sank with each step as he watched the sun climb ever higher in the sky. He could not hear the pursuing soldiers, not yet. Nevertheless, he knew they were behind them and could not be far away. Atop a small hill he admitted he must call a stop. His muscles were on fire. Iko and Wynn had to be suffering even worse. They had to rest.

          "At the bottom," he told himself and urge the little caravan down the hill.

          Bryn dropped the traces and sat down in the grass to rest. Iko and Wynn collapsed where the stood. The rest of the humans piled out of the carts. Bryn fought the urge to sleep. A silence settled over the group. They all knew the soldiers were behind them. Suddenly, the quiet was shattered.

          "Do you hear that?" Wynn sat up excitement in his voice.

          Bryn's heart leaped to his throat. There was a sound; not the sound of marching soldiers or the blasts of disrupters, but a deep throated humming. His mind made the connection Wynn had already come to.

          "Bees," cried Wynn. "Honey."

          All order vanished in the stampede that followed.

 

          One Eye watched the carts disappear around a bend in the road. Bryn was gone. He was alone. He was free of Bryn's warped sense of loyalty and duty. He was free of the whole affair. He could save himself. Only it wasn't Bryn's sense of duty that held him. It was his own. He had thrown in with the kid, the Creator knows why, but there it was. Somewhere in the whole mess, he had become Valir again. Bryn had not left him. He would not leave the kid. He owned the kid his life, but a week ago he would have called that even. Hadn't he risked his neck to pull the kid off the Edge? Had he really, or was it the purple he saved? He wasn't sure anymore. Besides, he owned the human soldiers a hurting for the dart he took from them. He went to work.

          There was not a lot to work with, but he thought he could delay the pursuit for several hours. Hopefully, that would be long enough. He gathered up stout bits of broken branches as he searched for clumps of green briar vines. As he walked, he sharpened each end of the sticks. It didn't take long to find the green briars. They were hardy parasites that grew to the oaks. Their bitter taste, sharp thorns and emetic reaction discouraged human contact, even from starving humans. He gingerly untangled the vines and cut them to suitable lengths. When he finished braiding the vines his hands were a bloody mess. He wrapped his hands in scraps of his tattered shirt to avoid leaving a trail for the soldiers to follow.

          A mile down the road he found a place where the woods closed in on the road. The road was flanked by a pair of rock outcropping that funneled traffic between them in order to escape a wide detour. He planted his sticks with the handle of his dagger leaving only and inch or two and the sharpened point above ground. He worked the sticks into a pattern around a triangle of larger points. He slipped a vine around a tree branch pulled it tight; threaded it through the planted points and secured the snare to the ground. He covered the entire thing with bed of leaves before moving on in search of his next location.

          He found the next spot for an ambush about a mile short of where Bryn was struggling to drag heavily stung humans from their feast. Several willows grew near a low spot at the bottom of a hill. One Eye fastened a vine across the road about four inches off the ground. he piled leaves near the vine but left the vine itself visible to a watchful eye. He climbed into the neighboring trees and secured a vine with a stone tied to it to a half dozen branches. Then, with a big smile on his face, he dropped to the ground and went in search of a perch.

 

          One or the other of the human kingdoms had fought a war or two with every other species on Tettias. They had also fought several wars between themselves. It had been a long time since the Kingdom of Shiloh tangled with the Valir. The old soldiers who told stories of the war were long dead. Their forgotten battles proved a big tactical for One Eye. Confident in the power of their disrupters, the soldiers advanced without fear. They were as careless as they were fearless.

          Disrupters came to the ready as they approached the narrow section of road. Starving villagers and two Valir didn't pose much a danger, but they weren't totally abandoning their training. The point man went to a crouch making himself a smaller target as he crept forward toward the gap in the outcropping. His eyes scanned the trees; the road; the underbrush around the stones; everywhere but his feet. Feet that flew out from under him with a jerk that almost snapped his ankles. The warning caught in his throat turned into a weak whistling sound. Bumping over the road bed, he hit the buried spikes with a scream and a sudden stop. Blood gushed from his impaled crotch. A second spike broke through his right thigh.

          The soldiers following stood thunderstruck for a moment, unable to believe what happened.

          "Go," their captain shouted the order.

          Four of the soldiers broke into a run to rescue their downed comrade. As they reached his side, two of the four shouted in pain as they fell. The souls of their boots leaked blood as they writhed in pain and rolled onto yet more planted spikes.

          "Medic," the others shouted.

          It took two hours to pry the dying point man off the spike and dig a quick grave. Meanwhile, the two who could no longer walk and were loaded on makeshift travois. Their bleeding was stopped, but their cries of pain at being dragged on the stretchers kept their mates pace slow. The underestimated their enemy. The swore not to do that again.

          The new point man saw the vine across the road well in advance. The rest of the patrol fanned out; avoiding the trap and working through the willows. The point man stooped to examine the trip wire. He traced it along its length to the base of one of the willows. It was tied to the tree and nothing else. He was still trying to figure out the trap mechanism when the screams began. A half dozen soldiers flew into the air, feet ensnared. As they swung forward, a stone tied to the other end of the vine swung to meet them. A few were able to ward off the blows with hands and arms. A couple weren't so lucky. The swinging stones met their heads with a hollow thud and the lights went out for good. Another burial took place along side the road.

          The pursuit was cut in half, but more importantly, the soldiers were delayed half a day. They made camp for the night planning to leave the wounded and go after the fleeing caravan the next morning. The plan was soon spoiled. When darkness settled, the sentry gave a sharp cry and staggered into the camp an arrow protruding from his chest. The triggers clicked harmlessly on sun deprived disrupters.

          One Eye slung his bow across his back. He hurried through the branches for a half mile before dropping to the ground. He followed the road and came upon the caravan just before morning. He found the humans covered with welts, but Bryn was not there.

 

           

Last Mile


Folded failures packed with care
Broken dreams and sorrows bear
Down the long black hallway sweep
To the realms of endless sleep

Open eyes that see naught
No touch, no sound, never a thought
Recline forever free of hurt
Repose ‘neath uncaring dirt

No more miles to walk
No more empty talk
Lived, loved, broken hearted
With a single tear departed

Dragon and Dove

Glorious, their armor shone,
Brave knights on chargers true.
Face the dragon all alone,
The valiant shining few.

Skilled in play of sword and lance,
Full of truth and pride,
Twirl in deadly dance
With virtue on your side.

The dragon knows not rest
His breath’s consuming fire
Fallen are the kingdom’s best
In smoldering funeral pyre.

Swept up in woeful moan,
Ash drifts where shadows fail
To lie at rest on brittle bone
Scattered by the dragon’s tail

Broken bits of knights decayed
Slain in flames of fiery rage
They lay where valor once essayed
To open up the black dove’s cage.

When his last foe is ash,
In broken hearted pain
The dragon sadly throws the sash
To set her free again.

The dragon knew her gentle voice
The coo of precious dove
So made his dreaded choice
For once he shared her love.

Before the cage’s open door
She knows not go and stay
She dares hope for evermore
And slowly flies away

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pub Chatter #13

     Lucky thirteen. I'm not feeling it. It's not the lack of sunlight here in the northwest that bothers me. It's the lack of moonlight through the pines. Really makes it hard to howl.

Have you ever been in a group that is facing a situation and one member knows with certainty how it's going to turn out? I don't mean has an idea, or faith in how things go, but he knows. He's so certain he is willing to hang his future on the outcome.


     Premonition? Insight? Maybe. Those things are real, you know. But in those instances, the seer will usually tell you why he believes in a predicted outcome. It's been my experience that when the one in the group who is certain won't tell why he believes, it is because he knows he is about to force the outcome. He has an agenda he's not sharing. Just a tip from a gray haired old man in case you ever have your back to some secretive asshole.



     Cynicism wasn't the goal tonight, that just popped in there. It can also make for a good plot twist, as Bryn is about to learn. If you don't know who Bryn is---shame on you. You haven't been reading the Trail of Troubles, my serial Tettias novel. Get with the program. Tell a friend; tell a frenemy; tune in every Saturday.



    I'm off to write more now.

Where The Heart Is




I carry home beneath my hat,
A handshake for a welcome mat.
Ever drawn by the next hill,
Blown on whims and never still.
One thing I need from time to time,
Another soul that touches mine.

So, we met as if by chance,
Hearts entwined in fevered dance.
A time, a season swept by the tide,
Immune to tears once cried.
My arms hold you. You hold me,
For a bright, shining moment--free.

Dragon Tears

Weep heart of stone,

In darkness alone.

No balm in Gilead,

Cures the dragon mad,

Who fumes with fire,

Of unshackled desire

To hold the dove,

Confess his love,

With words that flow,

From heart laid low.

Then, rise from dust,

Dragon you must.

On leather wings soar,

To far away shore,

Your heart of stone,

Must forever atone.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chapter 18


  

          A score of women and children crowded around the open packs. None of the starving reached for the offered food.

          "It's alright," Bryn said. "Take all you want."

          "No, it's not alright," a woman's voice answered.

          A tall woman passed through the crowd. Her emaciated legs and halting stride gave Bryn the impression of a rather large stork. She stood beside Bryn and turned to face the villagers.

          "We will not eat until we give thanks," she announced. Long thin arms reached skyward. Her chin followed. "Thank you God, for these You have sent to save us. Bless them with strength and judgment. Amen."

          The congregation surged forward cramming darberries into empty stomachs as fast as hands could deliver and mouths could swallow.

          "Where are all the men?" Bryn asked.

          "Where we left them," Wynn replied. "Dying back in the clearing."

          "All of them?"

          Wynn answered with a lazy nod.

          "All that was left. Iko is in charge now." He pointed to the tall woman who offered prayers.

          Bryn sat on the low stone wall that rimmed the well. The darberries vanished with near miraculous speed leaving stained faces young and old. It was a bittersweet sight; knowing it was not enough. He was full of questions and felt a dark certainty he was empty when it came to answers.

          "Come with me," Iko said when the feast ended.

          Bryn and One Eye followed her to a mud covered house a few rows back from the village center. In an open doorway, Bryn saw the mother who pleaded with him to help her dead baby. She had joined her infant in eternal sleep. Iko noticed his stare.

          "Her name was Agra," she said. "There was nothing you could do to help either of them."

          The interior of Iko's home was cool and dark. Sunlight filtered in through a hole in the roof above a earthen oven. She seated them at a wooden table with stone legs and bustled about a small pot.

          "Willow bark tea," she said, setting cups before them. "It keeps the stomach from rumbling and deadens the pains."

          The hot liquid was bitter and strong. Bryn sipped slowly. One Eye watched Bryn's face and casually pushed the cup away with the back of his hand. Iko set her cup down with a sigh.

          "This was once a nice place to live." she said. "Then, the Ferals came."

          "Ferals?" Bryn asked.

          "Half humans," Iko explained. "Wild people pushed down from the north by the Lupes. It seems the King of the Wolves doesn't want them either. Ferals don't hunt or plant. They steal from those who do. Their raids took everything, our food, our children, anything they wanted."

          “How long has this been going on?” Bryn asked.

          “Five growing seasons,” Iko said. “The last time they came was two months ago. They took everything. They made our men strip woods and the hills of food. Then, they took the men too. A few hid in the woods. The boy Wynn was with them. Tell me, what has happened to the rest?”

          “They robbed the wrong caravan,” One Eye said. “Instead of food they stole Lord Zett’s purple shipment. He made an example of them. Their heads are probably decorating the cart they stole.”

          “But you got away?” Her voice dripped venom. “How fortunate for you.”

          “We warned them to leave the cart and flee,” Bryn said. “They wouldn’t listen. They decided to try and sell the purple on their own. It was their decision to die.”

          “They were our last hope.” Iko bowed her head to hide her tears.

          “I hope you’re better at taking advice than your men,” One Eye told her. “Because this isn’t over yet.”

          Iko’s head snapped up spraying tears from her cheeks.

          “That’s right,” One Eye continued. “Zett is just that evil. He won’t take the chance that someone might have escaped. He will hunt down this village and make sure word of his purple trade doesn’t spread.”

          “You must come with us,” Bryn said. “At least until we find a safe place for you.”

 

          Iko needed no more convincing; starvation or disruptors would leave them equally dead. Bryn, One Eye and Wynn harnessed themselves to carts. Wynn carried four of the lighter children. Bryn and One Eye divided the remaining villagers between them. Iko knew of a village two days walk from Gotebo. She warned Bryn that they would not be welcomed in Manitou. The people there had been chasing off immigrants from Gotebo for two seasons.

          The little caravan started out through vacant fields that wore the signs of plundered harvest. Broken plows, uprooted stalks of corn, wasted, empty harvest sacks littered the ground where once cared for crops grew. The outlying woods looked little better. Many of the leafless trees were stripped of the bark; their limbs broken and strewed about. Wynn groaned with the weight of his cart, but continued to pull it along. Two of the older children jumped out and ran alongside to lighten his burden. Travel was slow with frequent stops to rest. Things were further complicated when half the children developed diarrhea from the darberries.

          Bryn couldn’t help but look back over his shoulder every few minutes. He pushed Wynn as hard as he thought possible. He needed to keep the boy on his feet and that third cart moving. His instincts told him the soldiers were not only coming, but closing in on them. At twilight, he called a halt. They found a meadow of tall grass that extended out from one side of the road. The forest hugged the other side. The humans piled from the carts and stretched themselves on the cool grass glad to be free of the hard wood of the carts that bumped and bruised their thin frames. Bryn kindled a fire while Iko made tea from a supply of willow bark she carried. One Eye set about scouring the woods for anything that appeared edible.

          Once the fire was going, the group huddled in a circle around it clutching their ragged clothes as tightly about them to keep warm. Iko passed cups of tea to everyone reminding the little ones to blow on it to cool the hot liquid. Before the first sip, she offered another prayer of thanks for what they had and their saviors. Bryn was impressed that these people could be so thankful for so little. He disliked Iko’s notion that he and One Eye were saviors, but thought saying so might discourage them. He wished their God had seen fit to provide them better saviors.

          One Eye returned to the camp just after darkness finally settled. It would be a while until moon rise, but Bryn could clearly see his companion was smiling. One Eye knelt by the fire and folded down his tunic to reveal a smorgasbord of beetles and grubs.

          “Every single one edible,” he promised. “I like mine toasted.”

          He picked up a smell twig and showed the little ones how to skewer grubs and hold them over the fire. The humans followed his lead and were soon crunching roasted grubs without a complaint about taste. The children were still licking their fingers when a noise from the woods sent them scurrying to the mothers.

          “It’s just an owl,” Bryn announced as he headed for the woods. “I’ll go chase it away.”

          “Don’t count on that,” One Eye whispered to Iko. “That owl’s been following us for days.”

          “Is that bad?” she asked.

          With a silent shrug of his shoulders One Eye gave up trying to convince the unlearned that owls were a bad sign. Had he been able to hear the conversation going on just beyond the firelight, he would have held on to his belief a little tighter.

          “How many?” Bryn asked.

          “A twenty man squad,” Oto said. “One of the poor bastards lived long enough to name his village and point the way. They’ll catch up by midday tomorrow.”

          “We’ve got to stall them somehow,” Bryn said. “Iko says it is another full day to Manitou. And I’ll need some time to convince those in Manitou to shelter these people.”

          “I suppose it’s useless to suggest you leave these people here,” Oto said.

          “Completely useless,” Bryn assured him.

          “That’s what I thought,” Oto replied. “I’ll scout ahead. Tell that woman to keep praying. I’m afraid we’re going to need it real soon.”

 

          “Well?” One Eye asked when Bryn returned to the fire.

          “Well what?” Bryn asked.

          “Did you chase it away?’

          “It’s gone.”

          “That’s not what I asked,” One Eye said. “I asked if you chased it away.”

          “Not exactly,” Bryn answered.

          “I didn’t think so.” One Eye shook his head. “It’s bad luck to consort with that type.”

          “Are you a witch?” Iko asked.

          “Answer the lady,” One Eye prodded him. “I’d love to know the answer myself.”   

          “No,” Said Bryn. “I’m not a witch. Oto helps me know things.”

          “Witch,” the others said in unison.

          Bryn jumped to his feet and with a loud huff walked out into the night. His anger lasted only long enough for him to look at this from their side. He talked to a bird. Worse, the bird talked back. He was no witch, he was sure of that. But, what was he? Seers often had birds. He couldn’t remember Coryn with one, but that didn’t make it untrue. He couldn’t be seer. No one from his family ever had the gift. He trained as a hunter; a warrior. Then again, Coryn, who had no apprentice, chose him. That still didn’t make him a seer. Did it?

          If he didn’t come up with a plan to get away from the soldiers following them, tomorrow he’d be a dead what-ever-he-was. He laced his fingers behind his head. Less than a minute later, he was asleep.

A Rose

Omniscience looked ahead, declaring virtue dead,

With vision unswayed the truth assayed,

A single rose of red.

 

Simple pasteboard square, love abandoned there,

Future lost, count the cost,

A single rose of red.

 

Answer left unsaid, of a future read.

A question unspoken, begat this token

A single rose of red.

 

The poet's heart of stone, left him all alone

Measure this part of his blackened heart,

A single rose of red.

 

Comes day of dread, last good-bye said,

With ne'er a knock, a pasteboard box

A single rose of red.

For the Faithful

      Just sent off my new flash fiction entry to Writer's Digest's Short, short, fiction competition. Results at the end of February, but you can read it now for free. Send a comment to this post and I'll email you a copy.

Pub Chatter #12



Just closing up for Sunday night. Mixed reviews for the weekend. Opened my big mouth and volunteered to work Friday night. I’ll regret that one until next payday. Saturday morning the Southside Writer’s canceled our meet up and write. I was looking forward to meeting them, but after working the night before I probably wouldn’t have made a good impression. Might be a good thing they canceled. Sleeping all day Saturday was a big plus though. Which kind of made up for the fact that I tried to email myself Chapter 18 of the Tettias story. I typed in on a different computer and forgot to actually attach the the file. Saturday morning I opened a blank email. HyDee came out of hiding a few minutes after the cussing and screaming stopped. Sunday my Schnauzer, HyDee and I went for a doggy play date with Mac’s dogs, Finney and Charli. A good time was had by all.

So, Monday is here. Just finished reading email and wanted to share this little note before I go to work with the day’s writing. I’ve got three stories going and I really need to second draft the novel from last year’s NaNoWriMo---National Novel Writing Month. It’s a visit to my favorite characters--werewolves. I know writing this isn’t getting any of that done, but it’s a nice warm-up. Don’t want to throw my two typing fingers out by starting cold. After all, there are only two. The rest just try to keep out of the way.

Readership on the blog is growing and I want to thank everyone who has been taking the time to read my ramblings. Thanks to all y’all ( all y’all is the plural form of y’all--- for those of you who weren’t born ‘round here.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pub Chatter #11

      Have you ever been in conversation and suddenly something comes out of your mouth that makes you wonder, "Who the hell said that?" Words keep coming out of my mouth that I'd almost swear belonged to someone else. Of course once the words are out, nobody will buy the excuse that it was just one of the voices in my head butting into the conversation. Anyway, I'm working tomorrow on my day off because somebody in there couldn't keep his mouth shut.



     It's been that kind of day. In fact, I'm not sure I'm really writing this. I can't fault the voices too much. After all, they do sometimes come up with good ideas. Like the time Eddie and I---no, wait that didn't end so well. Well, there was the time i mooned---What? No? Well shit, take my word for it, they do come up with some good stuff even if one doesn't come to mind right off.



       Actually, I've been quite diplomatic today on and off duty. Down South we don't say "diplomatic." We call it blowing smoke up someone's---er-- that is--blowing smoke. Doctors, Yankee and folks that like to be agreed with are always the most susceptible victims of a good smoke blowing.



     It's a quarter past closing time and Lloyd's pouting because I won't help clean up. Until next time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pub Chatter in Verse



 

Decided to be philosophic,

Go for a light hearted topic

Now that it's know, this bird is flown

Calling me very myopic.

 

 

A wandering writer called Alan,

Thought he was up for a challenge.

Fell in love with a girl, his heart all a whirl

Was dumped on his ass, by said lass,

All in all quite done in.

 

There once was a poetic dramatic

That dwelt alone in the attic,

He never came out, except to shout

"I ain't no freakin' fanatic."

 

Stalling ain't getting Bryn home,

Write and quit moping alone.

Go to work, you simple jerk,

Later, for sins atone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pub Chatter #10



Tonight I’m hosting dinner for no one. I’m dedicating it to all who ever chased after love. Is it surprising to anyone that I’m eating alone? Sorry, it’s Lloyd’s night off and y’all are the only ones around to listen. It’s probably not a good idea to post this, but y’all know I’m going to do it anyway. If smart was in my make up I wouldn’t feel this way to begin with.

I spend a great deal of time daily keeping my thoughts to myself. If I didn’t I’d be unemployed. Silence is golden and all that. How was I to know keeping my mouth shut merited such heartache? Well, that’s not exactly true. Anger had sealed my lips and I was safe with that. But, I opened my mouth in support of a hopeless cause and that let pain replace all else.

Which is really too bad. I made some killer shrimp and grits tonight. A new job on one hand and words unspoken on the other and, viola, dining alone. C’est l’amour. It’s an activity I can re-learn. It’s like riding a bike off a cliff, right? Once you learn it; you never forget it---until next time. I was hoping at least to write a little heartbreak poetry. Nada. The words don’t live up to the feeling.

Maybe it will help me describe Bryn’s visit to a starving village. Y’all will have to tune in Saturday to find that out. Laissez les bon temps rouler.

Pub Chatter #9


Rough weekend at the salt mines; sick people just kept coming. Glad to be there, but it wears on body, soul and spirit. Looking forward to a day at the pub. I’ve got three stories to work on today. There’s going to be a lot of shifting between worlds. I’ll get an umbrella drink and call it a whirlwind vacation.Maybe if I have enough of those the world will make sense when I get back to it.
Headed to Tukwila on Saturday to meet with the Southside Fledgling Writers Group. Looking forward to meeting new people and doing a little writing. Have an in progress short story I’ll be working on there. It still needs a title.
Looks like I’m going to need tech assistance to get the Green Door open. It’s going to to be a members only section of the pub with specials for the faithful.
Okay, got to get to that flashing cursor on the blank page. Happy Tuesday y’ all.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pub Chatter #8

     Generally speaking, I avoid participating in political around the pub. It's not that I don't have ideas or am apolitical. It's just that I've seen such discussions turn friends against each other. That said, I want to point out that tonight's chatter sounds political, but it's really about people and getting along with one another.

     At lunch tonight I was subjected to twenty minutes of Reliable Sources, I think that's CNN. Don't know; don't care. I didn't learn anything new or hear anything newsworthy which comes as no surprise. It was simply a reminder to me of how polarized America has become and why it's time to give serious consideration to secession.

     The talking heads were having a group anxiety attack that Trump was going to say or do something to turn the American public against the press. It made me wonder what planet these enlightened souls live on.

     In case you have missed it, millions of Americans--- many who voted for Trump--don't believe a single word the press says. They have never needed Trump to dislike the media. The condescending attitudes of the press and coastal liberals toward the "fly overs" has always been reason enough.

The truth is, we speak different languages in Portland and Pascagoula. For us to come together as a nation we not only must speak the same language, we must share common goals. If you listen closely to people, you'll find we do neither of those things. Here's a bit of history.

     God bless John Adams and Thomas Jefferson! In 1800 the two men ran for President. Adams was the incumbent, but Jefferson won the election. So what?

The two men hated each other. Personality wise they were different as night and day. Jefferson was a Democrat from Virginia. Adams a Federalist from Massachusetts. Their two states were competed for prominence in revolutionary America. Just like the individuals, the homes represented polar ideas on just about every aspect of life and government.

     Yet, without violent protests, rock throwing and public defecating, the government changed hands and the nation went on. I believe that's because while these men hated each other, they shared a belief that the blood spilled and the grief inflicted by their newly won liberty was the same in Virginia as it was in Massachusetts. America was common ground and common cause. The two enemies would not dishonor that for their political beliefs.

      For all the liberal bluster about their education and open mindedness, they have not learned to live the very thing they preach---to live in peace with those of differing opinion, religion, background, and ideals. Conservative are no better when everything must be their way. Perhaps we all need to grant to others the freedom that we wish to enjoy for our self. I think someone called that the Golden Rule.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pub Chatter #7

     Deep into another weekend of saving lives and snatching folks back from the brink of discomfort. Wish I could find someone to pay me to just sit here and drink. If you hear of anybody like that send him my way.



     I think No-Shave November has given me a leg up on the homeless, bar fly look. I can never really tell with people. The ones I most expected resistance from, are all for the beard. There's talk of taking pictures. The one supporter I thought I had is never going to see it. C'est la vie.



     I'm working on a little piece of flash fiction titled, Mostly. I have an eye towards entering it in the Writer's Digest short short fiction contest. I suppose win, lose or never get mailed, it will end up here one of these days.


     I'll leave you men with a thought from the poetry of Ogden Nash.


When you're wrong apologize,

When you're right---shut up.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Chapter 17 --- Pressing to Shiloh


Bryn left the security of their stone walls and walked away up the hill following a game trail that headed east. He missed the warmth of the Boubouja most on morning like this. After a few minutes walking, he came across three sets of footprints. Their tracks said it was not likely a patrol. These humans were foraging for food not looking for escaped slaves. The wind shifted, blowing from the south came a scent Bryn knew. He left the trail and pushed through a stand of second growth. He followed his nose to a wild tangle of wicked looking vines; darberries. Ripe clusters of the smooth black berries hung scattered amid the thorns. The picking was easy. Bryn came away with black fingers that ached from careless touches, but he had food for the day and that made him smile.
One Eye was sitting next to a tiny fire when Bryn made it back to the hideout. For the first time in three days, Bryn thought his friend looked stronger. One Eye smiled up at him.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” One Eye said. “Looks like you hit the jackpot.”
“Should keep us going through the day.” Bryn settled next to him.
“And you’re still set on going to Shiloh?” One Eye asked.
Bryn nodded slowly.
“You’re a fool.” One Eye held out his hand. “But, I’m with you kid. Damned if I know why.”
“Because somewhere under the rough exterior,” Bryn began. “You’re a Valir at heart.”
“Well, let’s just keep that between you and me,” One Eye said.
“The soldiers are still searching west of where we hit the stream.” Bryn released his hand. “They’re sold we’re headed for home.”
One Eye opened his beak to speak; closed it again and stared at Bryn a moment.
“Never mind,” he said. “I don’t want to know how you know that.”

‬Bryn and One Eye made a second sweep of the darberry patch to replenish what they ate for breakfast.‭ ‬They followed the tracks left by the humans,‭ ‬but kept to the trees to avoid leaving track s of their own.‭ ‬It was slow going connecting between the low branches of oak trees.‭ ‬Bryn missed the smooth steady run of highway branches that interlaced the forests of the Boubouja.‭
They heard the men long before the trail widened out and descended down a steep hill into a small opening in the trees.‭ ‬Near the top of the incline,‭ ‬they moved higher into the branches in hopes of seeing the commotion below.‭ ‬In the woods at the base of the hill a pair of dirt wagon tracks crossed the clearing north to south.‭ ‬A dozen ragged men of various ages danced around a cart Bryn found very familiar looking.
‬Just over the crest of the hill stood a lone sentry his back to Bryn.‭ ‬He was young and more interested in the proceedings below than standing watch.‭ ‬Bryn,‭ ‬wings open to soften the landing,‭ ‬dropped down on him from above.‭ ‬One hand closed over the kid's mouth.‭ ‬The other held sharpened stone to the soft skin of the sentry's neck.
"‬Make a sound and die,‭" ‬Bryn whispered in his ear.‭ ‬For emphasis,‭ ‬he pushed the knife edge until a small red dot of blood appeared.
‬Bryn walked the sentry back into the trees before removing his hand from the boy's mouth.‭ ‬The knife blade didn't move.‭ ‬The boy remained silent.‭ ‬One Eye arrived a moment later.‭ ‬The smuggler leaned in‭; ‬his beak almost touching the boy's nose‭; ‬his one good eye focused on the boy.
"‬What's your name boy‭?" ‬One Eye brought his blade up between his eye and the boy's.
"‬W-w-wynn,‭" ‬the boy stammered.
"‬Well,‭ ‬Wynn,‭" ‬One Eye said.‭ "‬What you lot are up to‭?"
"Looking for food is all,‭" ‬Wynn replied.
‬Bryn took the boy's head in his hand and turned his face to look at Bryn's.
"‬That cart belongs to Lord Zett,‭" ‬Bryn said.‭ "‬What are you doing with it‭?"
"I didn't want to steal it,‭" ‬The boy cried.‭ "‬Fargo made us do it.‭ ‬We were hungry,‭ ‬that’s all.‭"
“Thieves,‭” ‬One eye snatched the boy’s head back in his direction.‭ “‬And stupid ones at that.‭ ‬Let’s go enlighten them.‭”
Bryn marched the boy down the hill keeping him between the Valir and the revelers.‭ ‬The laughter and shouts died when the men caught sight of their sentry being forced into their midst.‭ ‬A squat,‭ ‬heavily built man worked his way around the captured cart and lumbered in their direction.
‬“Let that boy go,‭” ‬he demanded.
“‬Are you the one called Fargo‭?” ‬Bryn asked.
“‬I am,‭” ‬the man said.
“‬The boy tells me you were stealing food,‭” ‬Bryn stepped closer keeping Wynn in front of him.‭ ‬How much did you get‭?”
“We ain’t looked yet,‭” ‬Fargo said.‭ “‬What’s it too you‭?”
“Show him,‭” ‬Bryn told his partner.
‬One Eye leaped up on the wagon.‭ ‬He loosened the rope tied at the neck of one of the sacks and tilted it for all to see.
‬“What the hell is that‭?” ‬Fargo said.
“‬Crushed snail shells,‭ ‬millions of them,‭” ‬One Eye explained.‭ ‬Being taken to Shiloh and turned into royal purple dye that will fetch the owners a fortune.‭”
“Hear that boys,‭” ‬Fargo cheered.‭ “‬We’re rich.‭”
“You’re idiots,‭” ‬Bryn corrected.‭ “‬Right now every soldier the captain of that caravan can muster is on his way to reclaim that wagon.‭ ‬If I were you I’d set that wagon back on the road to where you got it and run while you still can.‭”
“Too late,‭” ‬One Eye shot upright,‭ ‬his head cocked to the south.‭ “‬They’re coming.‭”
One Eye threw a small bag over his shoulder and jumped from the wagon.‭ ‬He hit the ground running as the first disrupter blast hit one of the men in the midsection.‭ ‬The man was ripped in two.
“‬I know what you’re thinking,‭” ‬he told Bryn.‭ “‬Forget it,‭ ‬save the boy.‭ ‬Come on.‭”
Bryn nodded‭; ‬scooped up the boy with his right arm and followed One Eye toward the cover of the trees.‭ ‬Human disrupter fire sizzled by their heads and exploded in trees.‭ ‬Bryn,‭ ‬still holding the boy,‭ ‬cut a zig-zag pattern through the woods chasing after One Eye.‭ ‬When the blasts and screams died in the distance,‭ ‬One Eye signaled a stop.‭ ‬He bounded up the nearest tree taking cover in the upper branches.‭ ‬Bryn followed.
‬“Will they follow‭?” ‬Bryn asked between huffs and puffs.
‬One Eye shook his head and waited until he was breathing easier.‭ ‬He blew one last long breath and looked at Bryn.
“‬No,‭ ‬they got what they wanted,‭” ‬he said.‭ “‬They’ll tell their captain that they killed everyone and who’s to say differently‭?”
“What’s in the bag‭?” ‬Bryn asked.
“‬A little something you might like.‭” ‬One Eye opened the bag and poured out a half dozen Valirian daggers.‭ “‬Bet one has your name on it.‭”
It so happened one did have his name on it.‭ ‬Bryn tucked it into his belt.‭ ‬His eye caught on another name.‭ ‬He tucked Fedryn’s dagger in the other side of his belt with a smile and a promise.
‬“Here kid.‭” ‬With a wink,‭ ‬he handed the boy a dagger.‭ “‬Just in case.‭”
“You mean I’m not a prisoner‭?” ‬Wynn asked.
‬“Of course not,‭” ‬Bryn said.‭ “‬What would we do with a prisoner‭?”
“Feed me,‭” ‬Wynn eyed the pack on Bryn’s back.
‬“All we have is darberries,‭” ‬Bryn pointed at the boy’s hands.‭ “‬Looks to me like you’ve had some of those already.‭”
“Where are you from‭?” ‬One Eye wanted to know.
‬“Gotebo.‭” ‬He raised a skinny finger to the east.‭ “‬That way,‭ ‬about a day’s walk.‭”
“Any soldiers there‭?” ‬One Eye asked.
‬“No,‭” ‬Wynn said.‭ “‬Just hungry people.‭”

It was dark before they reached Gotebo.‭ ‬One Eye thought it might be safer to spend the night in the woods until it got light.‭ ‬They each ate a handful of darberries.‭ ‬Bryn and One Eye bedded down in the lower branches of nearby oak.‭ ‬Wynn curled up against the trunk of the same tree.
‬The Valir awakened the next morning to find their makeshift packs gone along with their entire store of darberries.‭
“Damn little thief,‭” ‬One Eye groused.
‬They followed Wynn’s tracks a short distance to the little town.‭ ‬The boy was wrong.‭ ‬His town wasn’t hungry; ‬it was slowly starving.‭ ‬Hollow eyes followed Bryn as he made his way to the square where children with bloated bellies licked darberry juice off their fingers.‭ ‬A withered hand caught Bryn’s sleeve.
‬“Please sir,‭” ‬an old woman pleaded.‭ “‬Do you have a crumb for my baby‭?”
Bryn looked at the wrinkled,‭ ‬brown baby cradled in her arms.‭ ‬The child had been dead for days.

Pub Chatter #6

      I went out to see Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children on Thursday. I recommend it to all the peculiars out there. Of course, the movie is not as good as the book. Movies just don't have the time to reach as deep. If you haven't read the book see the movie first. The endings are different so it won't really give anything important away. If you've already read the book, go see the movie too. It's still good fun and better than a lot of crap that hits the big screen these days.



      I just wrapped up Chapter 17 of the Tettias story and plan to post it later today. Bryn and One Eye are on the move again.



      I plan on doing some serious redesign of the In Cawhoots website beginning next week. I want to make the pub chatter more accessible and get the Green Door up and running. How long that will take depends on how slow my learning curve turns out to be.



     Do you have a story you'd like to tell? Send it to me in the body of an email. If it makes our Stories Section, you make ten bucks.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pub Chatter #5



It’s 0200, Thursday morning in the wet Pacific Northwest; closing time. I should say something about the election, but what? I have no real cheer that Trump won. I am happy as hell Hillary Clinton lost. My candidate dropped out in the primaries (they usually do) and I was strictly ABC, anybody but Clinton. The one thing I did like about Trump was the thing everyone in the media detested---his off the cuff comments. I think we need a President who will tell people to go f**k themselves; needed one for years. Screw a bunch of diplomatic tip-toeing.

Hey, you come in here with your pants around you knees, you’re going to leave with a tremendous wedgie.

On a sadder note, I found out yesterday that a dear niece of mine has colon cancer. She’s a real sweetheart, one of those that when you hear news like that makes you wonder why, with all the assholes in the world someone like that gets cancer.

I’ve been doing a study today on that line, “Better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.” Still undecided. It’s nice to love and be loved. I think that’s why we’re here. That losing part can tear a whole in you that may never heal properly.

There’s hope for tomorrow though. Everyday can be a new day and the start of something good.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Eye on I


I want, I want, I want,

Say the thoughts that haunt.

I will, I will, I will,

Say the spirits that kill.

I must, I must, I must

Say the dreams that rust.

I am, I am, I am,

Says the lost little lamb.

I can, I can, I can

Says the self-sufficient man.

 

And what if some do not believe?

Shall God forever grieve,

O'er the souls that went astray

By pushing Him away?

Break

A breach, a hole,

I wax and wane

Memory to spot and stain.

 

A pause, a skip

in tide and time

Gone to rust in rhyme.

 

A tear, a rend

In fit and start

Empty place, lonesome heart.

 

A void, a hollow

In ebb and flow

Light she made glow.

From the Yardarm

Valor shouted as thunder.

Foes all cut asunder

When once his cannon roared

The kingdom's banner soared.

 

Abandon the glory won

Cut off ere day done

No longer cheered

By decent men feared.

 

A pirate's song he sang

Treasure's bell he rang,

'Til from a noose he flies,

My brother, damn his eyes.

Pub Chatter #4

Monday, 11/07/16

 

     I was feeling a bit depressed at the start of the weekend, so just to make sure the party got started, a man-cold of epic proportions came around and kicked my ass for three days. The up side is---wait a minute---it was a Cat 3 man-cold---there's no #@*! up side.



     Feeling almost human again that it's Monday and I'm back at work. Unfortunately, for me the human side of me is still hurting. I think I'd rather take on the cold than heartache. I can do something to alleviate the symptoms of a cold. There's no hiding from this. It doesn't help to know the pain will ease and a scar form over the wound. I have no one to blame but myself and the stupid idea to be honest and open.



      "Llloyd another round here."



     I did manage to get off some hot toddy fueled poetry. I have yet to post two of them. I haven't fancied myself a poet since high school. Why does this stuff keep floating up and getting clogged in my brain? Even more troubling, why is it getting more attention than my story?

Hope you liked the inspiration piece provided by my grandson. I plan to include it if this piece grows up to be a real novel someday.

 

Monday, November 7, 2016

On The Way Home

Once you see, on my way to Destiny, I passed a broken wheel.
To see it there in disrepair, set my heart a reel.
So, digging in my little pack, I found a tiny tack. It fit just right with taps so light and made a perfect       seal.

Rolled down each sleeve, took my leave, the wheel went quite smart.
I went along, lost in song, and came upon a cart.
One spindle lacked a wheel, but I had just the part.

As I neared, something new appeared, it twas a cart-less horse.
His clip and clop, I bade him stop. He agreed without remorse
To pull the cart with all his heart, steadily on our course.

To Destiny I cheered, to Destiny he steered, that bright, shiny day.
Ere too long, scarce half a song, we faced again delay.
There sat a man, his bag in hand, in the middle of the way.

Hi-dee-ho, my name is Joe, I called to the man; he nodded in reply.
With a click of his feet, jumped up on the seat; landing with a sigh.
Going to Destiny, I see, he said to me. Mind if I ask why?

T’is the way of men, to meet their fathers again in a land up in the air.
Oh no, dear Joe. Why don’t you know? That place is just a myth; Destiny’s not there.
So I’m told by those quite bold. And myth it may be. But the journey’s worth the fare.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Untitled

Think the unthinkable.
Do the impossible,
Kill the invincible.

Love without mercy,
Too blind to see.
Unable to flee.

A thousand strong
All cry,‭ “‬Wrong‭”‬,
This siren’s song.

None can hear
Whispered in ear
Sounds of fear.

They rattle inside,
Where demons cried,
In practiced aside.

Truth,‭ ‬a pinch
Lie,‭ ‬an inch
Heart,‭ ‬ne’er flinch.

By tempest tossed,
What the cost‭?
A lifetime lost.