Uncle Geo’s homemade chili and jumbo dog dinner

Uncle Geo’s homemade chili and jumbo dog dinner.


This is the recipe for the dinner I made mom and I tonight.
First, go to Walmart and buy a can of chili. As a bonus you can then write a funny anecdotal story about the Walmart trip when you get home.
While you are there at Walmart buy a package of the Jumbo hot dogs that you know your mother likes.
Optionally you might want to buy a package of the jumbo hot dog rolls to go with the giant package of jumbo hot dogs.
Okay, try very hard to be good at Walmart so that when you write the anecdotal humorous story it doesn’t have any felonious descriptions in it or even worse have to be delayed due to an arrest warrant misunderstanding of some sort.
When you are ready clear a space on the counter top next to the stove. Get a few squares of paper toweling and place them there because if you are like me there is going to be one hell-of-a mess by the time you are done. And if you are a neat person, well, good for you.
So get the jumbo hot dogs out of the freezer and place them on the paper toweling. This would be after you have split the hot dogs into packages of two and thus made it easy to retrieve and use them. Um, I didn’t do that this time but I do it almost every other time… Sometimes. So get out the dullest butter knife you can find and carefully try to pry two of the hot dogs from the frozen blob. NO! Do not even think of using a butchers knife or a steak knife because, as I can attest you may lacerate a finger… Or two, or hell, even three before you pry lose two of those frozen suckers.
Okay, now open the cupboard door and retrieve one of the cans of chili (I purchased two because very often one will end up on the floor somehow… Damn, I wish we had a dog.).
Okay here I would like to extol the virtues of the ring-pull topped cans Walmart is now selling for some items like this chili I purchased. Grasp the ring firmly; no, not with the nearly amputated pinkie finger from the computer incident, use the ring finger which; let’s face it, is never going to have a ring on it again so if it is injured who cares. Okay now toss the lid in the garbage. Yes, I will be yelled at later about how it should have been rinsed and recycled and blah, blah, blah, yackity yack.
Set the can down and compose yourself because this is usually where the contents of any can I have opened ends up on the floor somehow. Get a spoon and spoon the contents into a saucepan. Yes, spoon them, because trying to shake them out into the pan has never gone well. Clean out the can, lick the spoon: Taste that? That is home made chili right there. Put the can in the sink and run some water in it and then peel the label off and throw it away outside in the garbage can so know one can ever find it.
Next take the two pried apart and pretty chewed up hot dogs and toss them into the pan also. Slap a lid over that. Turn the heat to very low, clean up the mess and go load a guitar video to Facebook… Unless you don’t have any guitar videos then you’ll have to load something else.
Come back a few minutes later; stir the frozen jumbo dogs and the chili and then take about a 1/4 pound of bacon ends and pieces and put them in a bowl, cover the top of that bowl with a saucer plate. Microwave that for five minutes. When done you will have crispy bacon pieces, give or take adding another minute or so to achieve that.
Stir that chili again, notice the hot dogs have thawed and are swelling. Wait another three or four minutes and then shut the heat off, remove the bacon from the bowl and towel it and then cut it into small pieces.
go into the living room and announce to all present that you have made home made chili and it is ready to be served. Add a tortilla to the plate as I did for myself, or a jumbo hot dog roll or just plain dog and chili as mom had it with bacon chunks spread on it. Top all of that with grated cheese and serve it hot.
Oh, deny you bought any of it at Walmart. Talk about how the tomatoes nearly failed this summer, but pulled through. Talk about how it was your first year growing Jalapenos. Everyone will be impressed including the dog if you have one. Cats, probably not so much, mine wasn’t.



Hey! Check out my Earth’s Survivors series. This series is only around for a short time longer and then it is gone forever. Get this book free while it is available, Geo…

Kate is trying to stay alive after most of the Earth’s population has been wiped out… She may not make it #eBook Click Here: https://goo.gl/y2fzZr



 More in this vein from Geo Dell…

Hash, beans, messy counters, Houdini the cat and ice cream

A basic trip to Walmart and free eBooks



 

Fixing my own car

Fixing my own car

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

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

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

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

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

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

They pay almost $550.00 scrap for a junk car now and I thought, well, ol’ Chevy you are dead meat. I had visions of Breaking Bad and Walter and Jessie crushing up the Bounder. Sigh. But then I went back on-line, skipped the local’s this time and priced that front section of pipe to the header pipe. I assumed it was two pieces, maybe three. In the old days it would be, but it was all one piece. I found the same pipe, called the Resonator pipe because it has a built in resonator and a long pipe that joins to the catalytic converter and then extends to the wheel well and then all the way to the back of the car, for wide variances in the prices: From a few hundred to fifty bucks. I used a few more carefully chosen expletives having to do with things I use expletives for and then bought the pipe, a pair of ramps to drive the car up onto so my fat butt could crawl under the car, some clamps and some cat treats because the cat was right there and had seen the treats on my frequently ordered list and meowed. No stupid cat is my Houdini.

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

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

Intolerance from Geo Dell…

Intolerance from Geo Dell…

I wanted to touch on intolerance a little bit today. The more I see intolerance in this world this more amazed I am. Does it take a truck to run over some people to get them to see? I tend to not want to shove my complaints off on someone else. I see that often and I don’t like it, you have your own opinion or you don’t. If you do and you say things like, “Well, this guy said that, or That guy said this.” Then you are just wasting time. You are arguing someone else’s position and hedging your bets so that you don’t have to say anything about it yourself. I would call that chickenshit, but if course that isn’t politically correct so I would have to call it Waffling or something, but we all still know it’s chickenshit. And if you read my blogs I would say you are already aware that I am not politically correct anyway, nor do I have any aspirations of being politically correct. In fact I think political correctness has its own place in the chickenshit lane. It says, I really want to say this, but I am afraid of what saying that can do to me.
Intolerance: I am a Christian but I am also part Native American so I kind of mix those two things. I could lie and say, No, I am completely this way, or, I am completely that way. But I tell the truth when it comes to that because I happen to think the creator would want it that way. The thing is, I have three different kinds of blood in me and I wonder about all three of those cultures.
I don’t really get anything to my face, and I have lived a while so there really isn’t too much that hurts my feelings, at least not when it comes to me. It is when I see intolerance towards others that I tend to get upset, especially if one of those someone’s is someone I care about, or it touches a nerve. Just food for thought about being a human being in this world we live in…



 

Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume.

Book One: Apocalypse.
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…

Book Two: Rising From The Ashes.
Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world…

Book Three: The Nation.
This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

Book Four: Home The Valley.
Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to leadership positions across the former United States. The first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties join and become one under the Nation Flag.

Book Five: Plague.
Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and the loss of one of the founders of The Nation without whom the Nation may dissolve…

Book Six: Watertown.
Major Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection…

Book Seven: World Order.
This book steps back to the beginning to bring you the story of the Fold. Jessie Stone, why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present day and then falls back in time to the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenger to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies…
Get a FREE preview right now!

https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-box-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01GULFBQA



 

Earth’s Survivors Collection Five free preview

Earth’s Survivors Collection Five Kindle Edition

 

The Earth’s Survivors Series 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. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in desperate struggle to survive. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The dead lay in the streets while gangs fight for control of what is left. Small groups band together for safety and begin to leave the ravaged cities behind in search of a future that can once again hold promise.
Earth’s Survivors Collection Five brings together book Six and book seven from the earth’s Survivors series in one volume. From the theft of the virus from a top secret facility to the births of The Nation’s first babies to the formation of The Fold and how it came to be.
Book six tells the story leading up to the Apocalypse. That tale includes the story of Billy Jingo, Alice Tetto, Major Weston’s private secretary. Ben Neo and Jimmy West, hired Killers, and a drug deal designed to hide the transfer of a top secret drug stolen from the Underground Bluechip facility, that goes very wrong. Set in the days leading up to the catastrophe that ends the world as we know it, Watertown is a hardcore ride through a world few would want to live in, but the world it leaves behind is somehow even worse than the one it helped to take away…
Book seven steps back to the beginning of the catastrophe to bring you the story of the Fold; Jessie Stone and why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present time in the Nation and then falls back to just a few days after Watertown ends and the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenge to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies.
Both stories in their entirety in one volume…


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More on Amazon from author Dell Sweet



 

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear. A free preview

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear. A free on blog preview


EARTH’S SURVIVORS LIFE STORIES: BEAR

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear is copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Dell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Dell Sweet

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

 

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2017 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by 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 material is used with permission

This material is NOT edited for content and is rated 18+


Harlem

March 15th

“What I care about is how it goes,” Madison said. “Things are goddamn crazy…” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “Cammy, these guys intend to run things here… Right here!”

“Never happen,” Cammy said. Her eyes slid past Madison and found Dollar where he stood with the curtains barely opened, looking out into the street, one gun stuffed into the back of his jeans, the other out and in his hand where he flicked the safety on and off, on and off as he peeked through the curtains at every new gunshot. There had been running gunfights most of the day. He was crazy, and getting crazier as the time rolled by.

“I know. This is why we need to go. When it fails, they’ll come here and kill all of us,” she whispered.

Dollar’s head suddenly appeared over Cammy’s shoulder. “And what are you two bitches whispering about?” His eyes were wild. He had access to as much cocaine as he wanted, and he had been shoveling it in for the last few days, unsure of how much he wanted, how much his body could handle, where to draw the line, or even if there was a line he should draw. He scared the hell out of Madison, and it took a lot to scare Madison.

“Shit women talk about,” Madison spat. She pushed Cammy away, got up and got right in Dollar’s face. “We need shit, and I already told you, I’m going to get it.”

“Go and I’ll shoot you dead,” Dollar said. He waved the gun in her face.

“You know what, I don’t think you will,” Madison bluffed. “And, anyway, we’re not leaving, we’re just going to get some things… lady things… then we’ll be back. You really gonna kill me over some shit like that?”

“What things?”

“Tampons.”

“Oh, Jesus,” Dollar said.

Madison laughed.

“I don’t want to hear that shit. That’s woman’s shit. I don’t want to hear it at all.”

“Yeah, dipshit. I tried to tell you that, but you wouldn’t let us go, and now it’s critical… Crit-it-cal! So unless you want us bleeding all over the place, we have to go.” She was still in his face, inches away.

Dollar stared at her. “I can’t fucking believe you said that. That’s… that’s way too much information.” He spun quickly toward the front windows as the crash of nearby gunfire broke the silence of the street. “You go out there, you’ll get killed.”

“Yeah, well, we’ll go the back way. Either way, we’re going,” Madison said. Her hand moved fast, fished the pistol that was jammed into the back of his pants – behind the belt – out, and then stepped back away before Dollar realized what had happened and spun around.

“And I said…” Dollar started as he turned around. “Wow.” He froze and stared at the gun that had appeared in Madison’s hand like so much magic. “Now why did you take my gun?” he asked. His empty hand felt along the back of his jeans where he was sure the gun had come from. He stuffed the gun in his hand into the waistband of his jeans, this time in front. Madison laughed.

“That is not the question you should be asking,” Madison said.

“No? Then what is the question I should be asking, bitch?” Dollar asked. He began to walk towards her. “I bet you ain’t got no period either… neither of you. Just said that to keep me away, I bet.”

Madison laughed. “Well, you’re right, but that isn’t where we were in this conversation. Where we were, was the question. You…” She pulled the slide back on the Automatic, chambering a round. “… Should…” Her thumb swept downward and clicked the safety off, “…be asking me the question, and you’re not.”

Dollar stopped in his tracks. “Don’t fuck around, girl. That ain’t no toy.”

“The question, you dumb fuck! The question,” Madison screamed. She pushed the pistol into his face.

“Okay! Okay! The fucking question… The fucking question…” Dollar shrank back, but bumped into the wall and stopped. “I don’t know the question. I don’t know it.”

“Will she do it?” Madison said. “Will the crazy bitch shoot me?”

Dollar’s eyes squinted. Madison waved the gun up and down. His hand darted for his own gun where he had stuffed it into the front waistband of his jeans.

“Yes she will,” Madison yelled as she fired. Dollar was falling before she finished yelling her answer. A second later, as Dollar gasped for air, laying on his side, his knees drawn up, a sucking sound coming from the hole in his chest, Madison reached down, caught Cammy’s hand, and they both fled toward the back of the apartment, and the door that lead into the alleyway.

Donita and the boy

She had made the boy a few days before. She had been heading out of another city when she had found him and his mother. The mother had given in with no fight. Donita had considered her for her army, but then rejected her. Perhaps if she had fought, maybe, but it seemed to not be a part of who she was and Donita could not take the chance that she would evolve into a non fighter. It was not something she needed.

The boy’s changing was slow, but it was happening. She had thought about it before she had done it and decided that the young would be useful. The older ones would be more powerful… But there was no way to convince them to this side, and so it would have to be the young at first. They were more easily subdued. They could grow into it. They would still change, still become powerful, but they would be much easier for her to control while they did.

Once she had more than the boy, she would have help. No longer would it be only her. She could see the way it would be, not the way her old self saw, but this new way, this new way of knowing that had nothing to do with anything inside of her. Nevertheless, it was solid, real. She could, and did, trust the knowledge that came to her. She would have her army. It would only take time.

Park Avenue: Bear

Bear was curled up on the carpet, Amanda Bynes’ carpet, where he had been for hours. Whatever had gone wrong with the world had gotten worse.

It had started yesterday with wind that was like a hurricane. It had blown into the city, and the rain had not been far behind it. Heavy rain, torrential rain. He had been in Mobile Alabama one year, waiting on a train to go back to New York. A hurricane was closing in. It had hit the city a glancing blow, and it had seemed the same as this. Heavy rain, the wind so hard it seemed to roar.

Then the lightening had come, and the thunder. Huge bolts. Deafening. Then there was a bad earthquake. The entire building shook, and he was convinced it would go down, believed it had to. How could it stand through that? But it had.

He had begun to get sick shortly after that, vomiting until there was nothing left, and still his stomach had not been satisfied. He still dry heaved for hours, it seemed.

The night went on and on, seemed to last forever. It was like the sun just decided not to rise the next day. Or the next day never came. He didn’t know which, anymore than he knew what day it really was now.

There was sunlight. Sparse, barely there, but he could see through the sliding glass doors to the balcony. It seemed to be covered with dirty snow. Mounds of it. He closed his eyes, squeezed them tightly, and rolled up into a sitting position. His stomach threatened again, but he waited it out. Once he felt he could walk, he got to his feet, walked to the glass doors and slid them open.

The entire world was gray. Ash was falling, blocking out the sunlight. The sun was like a silver disc, barely seen, riding the horizon. As he watched, the ash began to drift in onto the carpet. He closed the door and stood staring.

His stomach had calmed down. Whatever had been the cause of that, he was grateful it was easing. He didn’t feel like putting anything in it, in fact the thought alone brought back the queasiness, but left alone it seemed as though it would be fine.

The day went on. The sun seemed to slide across the horizon rather than actually rise. The rains came back hard and the winds with them. In no time the ash was washed away and the city was back, clean, fresh looking, and no dead to be seen in the driving rain. Apparently they didn’t like the rain either.

Although he was positive he could not sleep, he drifted into sleep later on that day, lying on Amanda Bynes’ carpet, watching the rain fall in sheets and wash across the glass…


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Feel, thoughts about life

Feel, thoughts about life…

Posted by Geo 08-11-2017

Good morning to all. It doesn’t seem possible to me that this summer is nearly over with. Pretty soon fall will be moving in and then the holidays and then I’ll realize another year is shot.

Work:

I spent this past week working on non-writing projects. It feels strange to say that, but it is true. I did spend part of the week doing some Earth’s Survivors writing, even though the series is over. I realized that for me the Earth’s survivors books are not over. I am not saying they will ever be published, but I am saying the story is continuing. I spent a small part of the week writing the back story for a few characters that had no real back story. And the deeper I dig the better it gets for me. I want to know more about them. So I wrote a beginning for those characters too. I think when I can allow myself to get into their world I find that I know it so well that I get lost in it and want to know more, tell more, write more. It makes little difference if I ever publish any of it the story still has to be written out. I think that is what makes someone a writer as opposed to someone who writes for a living. And I no longer write for a living. That part is over with.

 

Questions I often get:

Family: I have been asked more than once about family as it relates to my writing. Where are they, what do they think, etc…

You may notice that I don’t have family members that read my writing, proof read it, make comments about it. I don’t know if that is normal or not. I think I have the same sort of quasi dysfunctional family as everyone else in this country has. I like a few of them, a few of them like me, some of us struggle to get along, a few I could do without and I am sure a few feel that way about me. Makes me wonder what it’s like in other countries, or maybe used to be like in this country. I can remember grandparents that were very strong people. They held things together; the fabric of the family. Now grandparents are shipped off to old folks homes, care centers that really do no more than house geriatric patients, and even places that abuse those patients and are rarely held accountable for that. And why are they there? Because family is a word that now means ‘this tiny, little, immediate group right here around or near me. Not grandparents, not parents, not siblings, just these few. My goals are more important than seeing after the well being of the man/woman people that raised me. And if divorce happens? Well then that little group changes too and the kids grow up without parents. Sometime I look at the world and think it’s pretty much junk. The more we evolve the clearer it becomes what sort of race we are aiming to be: Selfish, self centered tiny universes of our own. Spinning alone through the darkness.

I hope God kills me if I ever start thinking that way again. I take care of my mother here at home and this is a place for her until she passes or doesn’t want to be here. I think that because we are so far apart on our views of this subject there is too much between some of my family and I to work out. And I understand it all because I have been self centered, and thankfully I’m not now.

I had a friend once who made a remark to me about why I am single. I thought, that is a stupid question to ask me. Can’t you see what I am doing? I have traded all of that for responsibility, isn’t that they way we were supposed to be raised? Do you mean I should put my mother in a home so I can have a wife? I think sometimes people mean well, but they don’t think things out past their own small universe.

I guess I said all of that because I wanted to explain why there is no family involved in the process with my books. I don’t really think it is a surprise to anyone who actually lives in this world. And I wanted to say this clearly in a public blog. Everything I write belongs to me. Yes I had thought to leave it when I left, but no. I will decide what to do with it before that time happens. There is a legality in play here and the reason I wrote this worded they way it is.

Writing:

I also wrote the family part of this because truly my life is an open book, but I am also always asked who helped me get started, why I write, who is my support in my family and so on.

Many people want to write, but can never seem to make the grade. They have no support, no encouragement, no one to help them. I had/have none of that and I write. No one calls me up after a long day of writing and tells me how good that was, that they like it. There is no monthly encouragement letter in the box. I don’t have weekly support classes where everyone encourages me to keep writing. People ask those things of me when they write because they assume I must have had all of that. Nope. Didn’t.

Here’s the thing though, I still write nearly every day.

In school my English teacher thought I was an idiot. Music teacher the same. Family the same. That isn’t made up, it’s true. The same may be true for you and if it is then you have to do the work yourself. Love yourself. Praise yourself. Don’t give up. Keep going forward. I can’t say it better than that, if you want it you will have it. I know that sounds like bullshit, I used to think it was, but it isn’t at all. One foot in front of the other every day and keep the end goal in mind and you will get there.

I gave a cousin of mine a set of three books from the original Earth’s Survivors series last year. These were proof books, full of typos, rare, hey if I ever become famous they might actually be worth something too. I didn’t offer them, he asked, so I said “Here you go,” and handed him the set. The Covers were test covers and had Donita the zombie queen on them. He saw the covers and his mouth turned down fast. He took them, but a few seconds later he handed them back and said, “Yeah… I can’t read this stuff I’m a Christian.” “No problem,” I said. After all, I’m a christian too.

If you are a fan you know the books are about people and those people surviving, not evil. Yet I have close family that believes the same way. They can’t read them because it would be against their religion. These are the same people that watch movies and read books that have nothing to do with God at all.

I also got some disapproval because there are gays and lesbians in my books. That they have relationships, love, feel, are depicted like real people. Of course Christianity does not allow for gays and lesbians, so for some Christians it’s okay in their hearts to hate them, keep distance from them. In my real world there are only people. Some are this, some are that. I took what I know and I wrote it and so I couldn’t apologize to my Christianity for that. And my God didn’t ask me to, it was only people who felt that. I wrote about a real world rebuilding itself after a disaster and that world included everyone.

I guess things like that should have hurt my feelings, but they didn’t. It means that your family may only see you one way. Don’t pin your hopes there, go past that. Believe in you. Look at Jesus the Christ. Nobody in his hometown took him seriously at all. He had to go elsewhere before anyone took him seriously. You could be in worse company on your quest to be a writer that’s for sure.

Still, this is one of those places where you should have family or loved ones to count on, but quite often they are not there for you. That’s because sometimes, like you, like me, they are also damaged. Probably have self image problems too and so they can’t see others that might be doing a better job that they are. In effect they can’t see past their own problems, failures, successes. You tend to get stuck in that self pity mode and everything sucks, no matter if it is things you do or others do. So unfortunately for you and I we have to depend on ourselves, but one thing that solves is being let down by those same people.

If you get to know yourself, not the public or daily persona, but you, you will know what your capabilities are. You can start to believe in yourself. Don’t believe in bullshit, don’t believe in things people sell you, believe in you. Do you have a good heart? Good, believe in that. It’s a thing that you know about yourself. Do you care about people? Social issues? Are you artistic? Does music live in your soul? Get to know these things and you will have a real base you can believe in. You, not someone else, you. That way you can not let yourself down either. So that is my advice to people who want to write or accomplish anything else in their lives. I have lived that advice. It works. In the end you should write what you feel, what you know, what you want to write, encourage yourself and you will be fine.

Suicide:

That is a funny topic to ask me about. I can see the reasoning, but my answer has to involve so much of my life that the last few times I have been asked I ignored it. I assume you have read some other things I wrote that discuss that and that is where the questions come from.

Okay. Suicide. I really want to be careful in my portrayal of suicide. Modern Christians believe that suicide is forbidden. They will point to this verse or that verse of scripture as a backup. God says this or that about it, but my problem with that is the same problem I have with many laws touted by modern Christianity and said to have clear pronouncements in scriptures. They don’t. It’s that simple. Show me a clear scripture where God says that Suicide is unforgivable, or a sin greater than another, or even that suicide itself is a sin and I will eat my proverbial hat. It isn’t there.

The problems with modern Christianity is that almost all of it is interpretive. That is why there are dozens of Christian churches that do not get along with one another, even hate each other (In actions I have seen, although they will deny it is hate). If that’s the case I can also misquote or put a spin on some scripture and have my own church inside of five minutes.

There was a time in my life when I was younger and I swallowed all of this hook, line and sinker, but I don’t any longer. Show it to me in writing. Don’t show me scripture that is vague and could cover anything from picking on your sister to skipping school to getting a felonious arrest for dealing drugs or murder. Show it to me in writing, not the Old Testament, which is not about us, but written for the Jews as a book of faith and law, not for Christians. No one can do that, and they can’t show it to me because it doesn’t exist. I have argued it before and the end argument for the other side always comes down to, “Well, it takes faith.” Right. That is so close to “There is a sucker born every minute,” that I just can’t abide it.

So back to suicide and the practical persons understanding of it and God’s feeling about it we may infer from our understanding of God.

I am a Christian. Not a modern Christian but a Christian who believes Bible. What was really said, not all the icing the Catholic Church and a few others put on the cake. After all, the Catholic Church said Mary the Magdalene was a whore for a few thousand years. They finally admitted she wasn’t, but that is the church supposedly founded on the rock, Peter, Jesus’s own disciple, so how could it have gotten it wrong? Because, the church is not run by God. It is run by men and we are fallible.

I could distort scripture and come to the conclusion that maybe Jesus himself committed suicide. After all he knew he would die. He knew the Jews would kill him. Does that make it suicide when he knew these things yet went willingly to be killed? Is that obeying God? Is it suicide? I realize I may make a few enemies here, but my point is that this is not their decision, it is your decision, you and God and what you understand about your relationship. I absolutely do believe that there are some circumstances where it should be an option for you alone. Terminal disease being one of them and yes personal choice being another.

So suicide. I made my own position clear in other writings which I assume the reader is referring to, but for those of you who haven’t read that I’ll repeat it:

I get up every day and I find a reason not to do it. I deal with despair, let downs, tragedy, hate, petty bullshit, plain old uncaring attitudes, loneliness, depression and whatever else comes along. I look for some sort of good in the world. Yes I find bad stuff too, we all do, but every day I continue. I don’t call it quits. Sometimes that is because I feel I would be guilty of a sin if I hurt someone by those actions. I believe our actions are things we are held accountable for by God. So whether I hurt someone through deed or action it is on me and some day God will hold me accountable for that. Other days it is a kind word that keeps me going. And if I wake up some day and the reason to go forward is gone? I’ll make a different decision. It’s my choice.

I got some static for the scene in Earth’s Survivors book three where Molly killed herself after Nellie, her girlfriend was murdered. I think that is the first time I addressed the suicide option. I think that writing was about a real person feeling a real thing in the heat of the moment. Would Molly have killed herself if she had had the time to think it through? I don’t know. She chose not to take that time to think it out.

Is it an unforgivable sin? No. I don’t believe so. I think that although God is the giver of life he also gave us free choice for a reason. It’s our decision. As a human being I would consider murder a sin of a higher magnitude. That is taking someones life when you don’t have that right under any of God’s laws. You are not God and you are not the person. Yet this is a sin that nearly all Christian churches will tell you that God forgives. People who argue this with me will usually end up with, “Well, you’re dead, you can’t ask for forgiveness when you are dead.” I guess that is their Ace in the hole to win the argument. It doesn’t prevail with me though, because two times in my life I have been clinically dead. I have both continued to live and to talk with God during those times. I was not left alone, I had the ability to ask anything of God. There were no restrictions of any kind. If I had needed forgiveness, absolution, I could have asked for it and received it I am sure. In fact all that stuff we sweat daily turned out to be no big deal. And yes, one of those times was a suicide attempt of my own.

Does that mean we should all pull the plug? Stop fighting this crap every day that we fight? No. I think there is so much of the world we can discover, love, be part of it. It means that you should look for those reasons, your reasons the same way I do every day. Find them. Work, because although I did not continue onward into death itself and whatever is there for us, I did get the feeling that this might be a one go around deal. One shot. And you do take these memories with you. There is no hatred, no blaming any longer, just you once you are there. There are a few people here that I love deeply. A few there I want to see again. Why not take those good memories?

I appreciate the questions. I think over the last few years this blog has taken its own direction. I’m never too concerned with the things that are discussed here and sometime discussed further and at length after with some of you. It’s growth. I hope you share in it as well as I do.

Last:

Okay, that’s it for me. This is a little longer than my usual blog. The sponsors on this page are the same people who pay the bills, so give them a look. Want to be a sponsor on this page? Let me know. Feel free to send me feedback, yell at me, hate me, like me, I’m okay with all of it.

Be back soon, hope you grow a little every day, Geo…

My life as a social outcast was short lived

Posted by Geo on 07-26-2017

I decided to entitle this What the hell is wrong with me, but maybe it’s a little too dramatic. Even so, there is something wrong with me. I just don’t seem to see things the same way as other people do. For instance, just before I sat down to write this I turned the channel to a movie channel to listen to movies while I work. Pathetic, I know, but I do it every night. The T.V. Is behind me so I have to turn to see it. So, I don’t. I just listen. But sometimes it’s so good that I do turn to watch for a second and I’m usually disappointed. Well, tonight I turned the channel and there was a sports show just ending, and one of the commentators turned to the screen and Said “We want to thank you for tuning in.”

“Really,” I asked?

He didn’t say anything. I guess we would all be surprised if he did. But, I continued… “I didn’t tune in. I hate your show! I wouldn’t watch it if you paid me.” He did seem to flinch a little at that, but the T.V. Went to commercial with no further incident… Not that there could have been one. I’m just saying…

Anyway, my point is that I do not like sports the way other men do. Several times in my life other men have stopped and looked at me like…. “Whoaaa, what’s up with this dude.” or “Did you play with dolls when you were a kid?” I learned early in my life that it is unmanly to say you do not like sports, or hint it, or not know the answer to a sports question. It’s just not allowed. Since I was young I had to go along with it, even so I couldn’t always keep up the facade. Occasionally someone would trip me up…

“So, what did you think of Babe Ruth?”

“Oh… Babe Ruth… It’s a damn good candy bar,” I answered.

He looked at me funny and I knew I screwed something up, but, eventually he laughed, I went home and asked my little Brother who Babe Ruth was, a hockey player? (My brother is a Hockey fanatic) “Sure… Sure… A hockey player,” my little brother tells me. That was payback for all the mean things I had done to him.

As I got older I’d pick a little and ask guys why they didn’t just give both teams a ball and send them home, I mean, wasn’t the point to get the ball? And didn’t they seem to take an awful long time to get it? And wouldn’t it be easier to just give them a frigging ball of their own? Wouldn’t it. That didn’t win me any points, and then, in ninth grade, I decided to not major in smoking behind the school that year and I took Home Economics instead.

My life as a social outcast was short lived though. I got kicked out of Home economics and went back to majoring in smoking behind the school. Then, voila, it hit me. Maybe not liking sports was… was… I couldn’t make the connection though. I had probably burned out too many brain cells smoking joints behind the school instead of cigarettes. Too bad, if I could have only made the connection I may have been able to see that real men need sports in their lives as much as they need to fart and burp… (Some men, not all men.). And sports lends a well rounded social adaptation you just can’t get any other way. I remember so many times at work some guy would say… “So, what do you think about those Dodgers?” And I would say, “Oh… Well they ought to go to jail…(Then, because it’s manly to swear and cuss), Frigging A! They ought to, those bastards!” Another potential social connection missed. Another opportunity to be a success in society missed.

At an early age I did decide to make a concession. I decided that I would watch Stock Car Racing. That was a sport. That would be my sport! It would solve everything. But no. Footballers, Baseballers, All those other ballers (It’s all games where you play with balls, right? … I’m just saying…) they don’t all believe that stock car racing is a real sport… What? So I had managed to like the one sport that wasn’t really a sport. What was wrong with me? I just didn’t know.

As I grew up and went to prison I realized that I had to be honest with myself about my shortcomings when it came to sports if I ever hoped to break the cycle and stop going back to prison. My whole life was in ruin. Virtual ruin. So I sat down and examined it and realized that I was uncomfortable with the games. I paid attention, I took notes, and I realized that I had some prejudices and hangups concerning the way the game was played. And, I plain didn’t understand the rules. So I took a closer look at them. And wrote down the ones that really confused me:

#1. Did you pat the other guy on the ass after he made a basket/home run/touchdown or before?

#2. Did you grab your junk whenever you wanted to or only when people were watching?

#3. Did you cry only in a strong emotional circumstance like your coach retiring, or could you cry if you just had a bad day, or the dog crapped on your new carpet?

#4. If you patted a guy on the ass more than once did it mean you had to buy him dinner?

I learned these are not questions you ask other men in prison.

After I got out of the infirmary, I tried to figure these questions out on my own after watching my sport for a while, but I only became more confused.

In NASCAR, nobody pats anyone on the Ass. At least not in public (Tony Stewart excepted, but he’s nuts anyway). I’ve seen dozens of finishes and never once have I seen the other drivers run up and pat the winner on the Ass. Not Once. There are no balls to play with. None. The drivers never grab their junk in front of the cameras, and if anyone cries, why one of the other drivers will just beat him up! Even the women drivers don’t cry, and, I’m pretty sure they don’t play with dolls either.

After much thought I decided these things:

#1. I’m not patting any guy on the ass whether it’s a game or not, and if one pats me on the ass there’s going to be trouble.

#2. I will only grab my junk when no one’s watching.

#3. If I feel an urge to cry I will remind myself that it could be worse. I could be a footballer and some sweaty, three hundred pound guy could be patting me on the ass all the time…


Okay. That’s it for this week. Check out my book series. I’ll be back later in the week…

 

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Geo Dell’s the Nation Chronicles: Zero | Death


Guitar Works: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven

 

BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL a short story from Dell Sweet

BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL

Blackness Of The Soul is copyright 2015 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved.

This short story is used with permission. If you would like to share this short story please point those you wish to share it with to this blog page. This material may not be copied electronically or digitally and or distributed without the publishers express permission. Permission is granted to use short excerpts in critiques. The publisher of record for this work is independAntwriters. The copyright holder, Wendell Sweet retains all rights foreign and domestic to this work.


BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL © 2014 Paul Block all rights reserved


This material is copyright protected as noted and is used with permission.

This material is NOT edited for content


Blackness Of The Soul

ONE

Paul Brown settled the barrel of the nine Millimeter pistol against his left palm, curled his hand around it as if to hold it forever, and then released it finger by finger. A sob escaped his throat and a fat tear drop rolled down his left cheek and splashed against the butt of the pistols grip where the clip protruded slightly. He took his free hand, wiped the tear away and then reached for the beer that sat beside him.

He raised the can to his mouth, drank deeply, and then continued to stare at the black pistol that rested in his right hand. Once again his left hand closed around the barrel, but lightly. Stroking it. Caressing it. He fished a cigarette from the pack beside him on the floor, thumbed the wheel of his old Zippo and pulled the harsh tobacco smoke into his lungs.

The smoke, or the beer, or both seemed to calm him, at least momentarily. His chest hitched, but he stifled the sob this time. The sobs frightened him more than the gun. The sobs came on their own and there seemed to be no way to fight or stop them. They were a life unto themselves. The gun on the other hand only had to speak once. And technically he would never hear it.

Probably never hear it,” he whispered into the semi darkness of the living room. He had pulled the curtains on the outside world. Blocked it away from him.

Probably never hear it. He wondered about the truth of the statement for what seemed to be an excessive amount of time to him, caught himself, and took another deep drink of the cold beer followed by a near frenzied pull from the cigarette. He waited on the sob, hoping to catch it, but it came when he didn’t expect it. A flood of tears came with it, falling from his eyes, staining his reddened cheeks before he could think to try to stop it.

“Oh, God,” he moaned. He sucked in a deep breath, lifted the pistol to his mouth and bumped the barrel across his teeth and into his mouth.

Everything seemed to freeze. The taste of oiled metal flooded his mouth He gagged, and then nearly squeezed the trigger too hard because of it. Panicked, he ripped the gun from his mouth tearing open his upper lip on the gun site as he did.

He was breathing hard. He needed to calm down. The tears just continued to fall. His cheeks felt raw. His eyes full of sand. His head began to pound harder. It had begun to pound earlier. He thought about that too. No more headaches. None. No more worries. No more anything at all. He sighed and returned the gun to his lips. He could taste the oil and metal once more, mixed with the blood from the torn lip.

His lips did not seem to want to part. He eased the gun away, took a deep drag off the cigarette, his breath shuddered in and out. He tipped the can and took a deep drink to rinse his mouth of the tastes that had made him gag, then upended the can and drained it. He reached over and pulled another beer from the bag on the carpeted floor, took another deep drink to rinse the tastes from his mouth and then lit a new cigarette from the butt of the old one. He dropped the old butt into the freshly emptied can beside him. He pulled the smoke deeply into his lungs and then let it drift from his nose as he slowly exhaled, trying to calm himself. If he could only think this out, his mind jabbered. He took another deep drink from the can.

In a way it would be nice to sit down and think this through, but in another way he didn’t care if he ever had another thought in his life. He didn’t want to take the time to think it out at all. He had made up his mind earlier. In a few minutes, when he finished the cigarette and the beer he’d do it.

He didn’t want to die with a lit cigarette in his mouth and burn down the house. Anne had to live here… Well, maybe not, but even so she’d have to sell it or something… If she didn’t lose it…

He pulled hard on the cigarette as if rushing it to its end so he could rush his own end. He took a deep drink from the beer and felt the headache ease back a little.

He could feel the buzz from the beer. Maybe it would knock down the headache after all. Either way the headache was not long for this world, he decided.

Calm seemed to come over him all at once. The sob that he had been waiting for didn’t come. His chest didn’t hitch. His cheeks still felt irritated, his eyes full of sand, his mind weary and removed from him to a degree, but the hysteria he had been sure was going to grab him didn’t make another appearance.

Through the curtains he could see the late afternoon sunlight: Still gold in the sky. Heating up his part of the south. There was no noise except the steady rumble of the air conditioner. Whatever heat the sun held was lost on him today.

He pulled on the cigarette, noticed that it was all but dead and dropped it into the can with the last one. He upended the beer can and drained it. He waited, expecting the sobs to come back, but the calm remained. He sighed once, was surprised to find that the gun was only inches from his lips, opened his mouth and slid the barrel in. The hysteria stayed at bay. He adjusted the barrel so it would be more comfortable, sighed at the absurdity of that thought, and then squinted his eyes down as his finger tightened on the trigger.

TWO

“How do you feel, Paul?”

Paul blinked and tried to look around him. He found that it was not entirely possible. He couldn’t really turn around to where the voice had come from no matter how he tried.

“It doesn’t matter though,” the same voice said.

And it didn’t. It became completely unimportant right then. Just like that.

“How do you feel?”

“I’m pretty upset. I…” He stopped. He had been pretty upset, but he wasn’t now. Now he felt… Well, at peace.

“That’s good, Paul. You should feel at peace.”

“It feels good,” he said. It seemed entirely normal that whoever was behind him could read his mind… Am I dead?

“I wanted to talk to you about how you got here, Paul.”

“How?”

“How.”

The time spun out.

“I stole about… I guess I don’t even know how much… I kept stealing and it kept adding up. And I knew they’d catch it… And they did… My boss must have called the cops,“ Paul said.

“Actually the company accountant… But I meant how you got here… To this point.”

“I… … I don’t know what you mean.”

“To kill yourself, Paul. I mean how did you get to this point where you decided to kill yourself… Take your own life… How did you reach that point, Paul?”

“Oh… I thought about it… I…” He stopped and thought about it. “I see… It’s just tough to understand… I don’t really know exactly… Are you God?”

“Do you think of me as God?”

Paul thought about it. “I think I do… I think so… I believe you are God.”

“Then I am.”

“You are? … Really? You really are God?”

“I really am, Paul…”

His voice was soft. Reassuring.

“I… I thought you would sound different… I… Am I dead?”

“No… Not yet… You have some little time left… I thought, since you asked, that before you do something that will change everything we should talk.”

Paul nodded. “I prayed… Earlier I prayed.”

“I know… You know, Paul, people sometimes think I don’t listen to prayer anymore… If I ever did. They tell themselves that and then they begin to believe it. I do listen though. I do. Every prayer. Every time. Do you believe that, Paul?”

“I do… I mean, I do now. I do know that now. I’m ashamed to say that.”

“Don’t be. There is no shame here. You are used to saying words that really don’t mean anything true. They are there, you say them… In this case you say that you are ashamed when you are not ashamed.”

Paul examined himself. “You’re right… I don’t feel ashamed. I feel good still. At peace.”

“So how did you get here. How did you come to be here? Who told you that suicide was a solution?”

“I… It was painful… My wife will leave me. We’ll lose everything… The kids… I can’t imagine what the kids will do… Feel… It seemed… It seemed right.”

“Did it?”

Paul thought about it. “Maybe not… It felt like the only choice I had.”

“Yet you called out to me. Why?”

“Because… Because, I used to believe in you… I…”

He laughed. “And I am still here. Did you think I had died? Did you think I had stopped believing in you?”

“Some people think so… That you died.”

“You?”

“No… I guess the truth is I just stopped believing… I believed in other things… Taxes… Bills… Mortgage payments… Summer… Fall…”

“The things you see every day.”

“That’s a good way to put it.”

“I have a way with words.”

Paul laughed and then stopped. “I thought maybe that was a joke.”

”It was… Do you wish you had not stopped believing? Do you see how things could have been different?”

“I can see that now, but what good is it after the fact? I pulled the trigger… I remember that.”

“Did you? I think you asked me to help… Sometimes I help in unexpected ways… Thomas needed to see… To place his hand in my side… Peter needed to see me risen… Sometimes my people ask me for help and then don’t recognize the help when it comes.”

“Like now?”

“Like now, yes. It’s time to think. To breath… To make a decision… A different decision.”

“Then what?” Paul asked.

“Then? … What comes, comes… I know what it is to live. I have felt what you feel. Struggled with the same temptations. We take it as it comes to us, Paul.”

“So the problems would still be there?”

“Yes.”

“That’s help?” Paul asked.

“I will help you all that you will allow.”

Paul thought about it and realized it was true.

“So… How did you end up here?”

“I guess I just walked away… I guess I chose to do that.”

You still choose words that are untrue. Do you guess or do you know?”

“I know. I walked away.”

“You know, it’s a split second decision… Many times if you take the time to think you can get through whatever comes at you.”

Paul nodded, took a deep breath. “I see.”

THREE

The finger stopped. He remembered something… Something…

Summer. A thousand years ago it seemed… Anne… When they had first met… The picture in his mind was so perfect, so intense. So real, and a flood of images followed it… But… There had been something else there for a moment, hadn’t there? He had been focusing on the trigger… The pressure… And there had been something else there… Just for a moment… It seemed so. It seemed as though he had been ready to pull the trigger and… And someone…

He pulled the barrel from his mouth and sucked in a deep breath. Whatever it might have been it was gone now. The sobbing came back with the fresh air. The pistol slid from his hand and fell to the carpet with a soft clunk. He lowered his head into his hands and let the tears take over…


I hope you enjoyed Dell’s story and thanks to him for letting us reprint it here. You can get more short stories from the collection this story came from, Mister Bob at iTunes: Mister Bob

Have a great Thursday and a great upcoming weekend too! Check out the link below, Geo

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The week in review and a look at Rapid City one

Posted by Dell 07-12-2017

It has been a busy week for me, and a week where I accomplished no writing at all. That seemed strange at first, but I got so much else 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 like feedback. People do write to me and tell me their opinions, I enjoy that, whether it is people I know or people I am hearing from for the first time.

It’s a little hotter here in New York. My work on the house is progressing nicely, a little slower than I would have wished, but still progressing. Next week is electrical work, insulation, security system and all the other stuff that has to go in before the Sheetrock goes on the walls. I’m enjoying it, and in a few weeks it will be down to paint and carpet, finish work, and I will be back to being only a writer for the fall and winter. By the time that happens I will be grateful for it I’m sure.

There are just so many smashed fingers and tired limbs left for my future, I guess, and then I will be only writing. But I put a limit on that a few weeks back, kind of my own end of the world. It’s a long way away, but it is nice to be counting down the time to the third part of my life.

In the meantime I will publish everything I have written in all the series and then some.  When I spent time last week going over the books and the outlines for the series, it amounts to 40 books for the Earth’s Survivors series. That probably seems very ambitious, maybe even unattainable But if you stop to consider that I have already written 20 of the main books and another 9 of the side books that fit the puzzle, it doesn’t seem so unattainable. Only 9 or so to go.

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.

Rapid City is Copyright © 2013 Wendell Sweet

All rights reserved


This material is used with permission

This material is not edited for content


 

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. iTunes | Smashwords | Nook

 

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

TRUE: True stories from a small town 1

Posted by Dell 08-03-2015

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

Last week had been a long hot week here, but the humidity, despite the rain, fell over the weekend… Finally!

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

I will leave you with this true story and my hope that you enjoy the holiday with family and friends…


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

The Last ride By Dell Sweet

Single Edition Licensed for SOTOFO Blog

PUBLISHED BY: independAntwriters All Rights Reserved

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.

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


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


THE LAST RIDE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2:30 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Smashwords: TRUE: True stories from a small town #1