scene 3

dreamstime_m_7005470 old pickup truck web
Old Pickup Truck Photo
© Typhoonski | Dreamstime.com

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)

The old truck rattled a lot. I probably should have taken better care of it when it was newer, so it wouldn’t rattle so much now. I suppose.

The important thing is I kept it running now – I know how to take care of it, and it gets me where I need to go. It’s old enough that it doesn’t have computers and GPS and all of the things that track where it is and where it’s been. Not that those things aren’t important – to me – I just don’t know whether they’re important enough to anyone else who’s minding their own business.

After awhile the rattles just fade into the background, and I don’t notice them unless I have a passenger who says, “Whoa! This truck rattles a lot!” or if the rattle changes. Change means something shifted and I should make sure I don’t need to shift that something back into place. Continue reading scene 3

Scene 2

My beautiful picture

(Our story thus far)

I figured I could trust her at least as far as I could throw her, and she was a trim thing, as I said, so I could probably throw her farther than a lot of folks if she were to let me close enough to throw.

Besides, she came with a recommendation from Pete Bratcher. Or, at least, she came with a name drop. I would have to check with him about that.

Pete and I go way back. Back to before there were cameras in every nook and cranny of civilization to surveil the guilty and the innocent alike. We would scope out the new cameras as they were being installed and figure out how to beat them. The train station was one of the first to be outfitted, so the tech was a little older, a little more primitive, a touch easier to beat. But just a touch. I’d still have to be careful. Continue reading Scene 2

Fleas, monkeys, and the box

fleas, monkeys and the box

Zig Ziglar told the story of how to train a flea. If you put a bunch of fleas in a glass jar with a lid on it, Zig said, the little critters will jump as high as they can, which usually involves banging against the lid.

Naturally banging against the lid is not a pleasant experience, so the fleas eventually will jump only as high as they can without slamming the ceiling. After a while you can remove the lid but the fleas will not escape the jar, because they have learned from experience not to jump as high as they can. Continue reading Fleas, monkeys, and the box

The end of the opening scene

My beautiful picture

(Picking up where I left off)

She snorted in derision. “Nice try, Hank,” she said, leaning on my name like we were kids on the playground and Hank was the dumbest name on the planet. “No, it’s a coin – a commemorative coin. I need to snatch the coin and replace it with a counterfeit.”

Now we were getting somewhere. She knew I could make the coin and make the switch.

“Do you have photos of this coin?” I asked. Continue reading The end of the opening scene

A partial opening scene

crossroads

(Sometimes you sit down to improvise a story and nothing comes out. Sometimes a story comes out, and sometimes a beginning or an end. Thursday morning, I sat down to improvise and my fingers gave me a beginning …)

In those days before the huge starships, in those days when everything everywhere whirred and hummed and sang and rattled and chirped – in those days before the wasteland was wasted and “the homeland” was a phrase used by long-ago tyrants …

A walker walked alone. From this distance it was hard to tell if it was a man or a woman, but the walker was walking this way, so I waited and, sure enough, as she grew closer her walking clothes revealed the form of a woman – a trim woman with trim breasts and trim hips and medium-length hair under a baseball cap. Blonde. Blue eyes. The kind of face and body men tended to appreciate, but holding herself with an air that said she didn’t care if I appreciated how she looked, this was how she looked and that’s that, end of conversation.

But then she started a conversation.

“Are you Hank Stiller?”

“I might be,” I said. “You are –?”

“Someone who’s looking for Hank Stiller,” she said. “If you’re Hank, I have a proposition for you. If you’re not, then maybe you can tell me where I can find him.” Continue reading A partial opening scene

The rebirth of Myke Phoenix

Myke Phoenix Novelettes

The “director’s cut” is done. And here’s a new freebie for you.

For the past four months or so, I have been (for the most part) quietly repackaging and rebooting the Myke Phoenix Novelettes into what I am aribitrarily declaring their final form. Let’s face it, from now until my last breath I could constantly tinker around the edges, add deleted scenes, and update the special effects ad nauseum, but at some point you move on. Continue reading The rebirth of Myke Phoenix

Our incredible shrinking electronics

dreamstime_xl_9150573 box vert

I used to talk about all of the incredible improvements in technology my dad had seen since he was a boy. And this was in the 1970s, when he was in his fifties. Now that he’s in his nineties, and I’m in my sixties, I marvel at what I’ve seen myself.

What a marvelous invention is the smartphone, for example. When I first broke into the real world and became a radio news guy, I was commissioned a cassette tape recorder that weighed about 10 pounds that I slung over my shoulder and plugged a microphone into – and that had replaced a reel-to-reel tape recorder that earlier news guys used and probably weighed 35 pounds. Continue reading Our incredible shrinking electronics