Fragments of thought and bursts of creativity from the wordsmith, podcaster and journalist, author of the Myke Phoenix Novelettes, Refuse to be Afraid, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.
We piled into the truck, Stella, Buzz and me. We all had black on – Buzz and I with our black floppy T-shirts and black jeans and black gloves. Like everything else about her, Stella’s outfit was efficient – the T-shirt fit just fine, and so did the jeans. I know I’ve been using the word too much, but she looked trim. The clothes fit her trimly, and her blond hair was tucked into the black baseball cap so that the only thing that would reflect light would be her face.
The strap for the 9 mm Luger at her ribs lay comfortably across the center of her chest, accentuating her trim – well, accentuating her trimness, let’s say.
She also had a hunting knife strapped to her belt.
“You came loaded for bear,” I said, looking at the gun and the blade when she walked up to the cabin.
“You didn’t,” she noted. “Never hurts to be prepared.”
“I’m more of a run and hider than a stand and fighter,” I said.
“What if you have no choice but to stand and fight?” she said with a glint in her eye that suggested maybe she’d faced such a choice more than once. Continue reading Scene 5
She walked up to the cabin same as before, a week pretty much to the minute since she first appeared, not a word until we were face to face. The only difference was she walked up to the porch this time.
“Hi, Kathy,” I called, and she stopped dead in her tracks.
We looked at each other for a few seconds, calmly.
“I see you talked with Pete.” It was hard to make out her eyes under the baseball cap, so it was hard to tell what she was thinking. Continue reading Scene 4
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
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
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.
(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