A natural disaster that may bring humanity to its knees. Super volcanoes, super earthquakes, the likes of which no living person has ever seen. Not a maybe, but an absolute certainty, and it is not the first time: Seventy four thousand years ago the same catastrophe reduced the human population to a few thousand; will it be any kinder this time? Follow Jack and Maria as they try to stay alive…
“The Yellowstone Caldera.” He raised his eyes, “Familiar with that?” “Yellowstone Park?” Sammy said. “Yes. Back in 1930 the Army did an exploratory survey of that area. What we came up with was that there was a section of the Rocky Mountains missing. Looked at from the top of Mount Washburn it was easy for the team to see that the largest crater of an extinct volcano known to exist lay before them.” “I guess that’s about what I thought,” Sammy agreed. “Yeah. We all think that. Except it is not true at all because the Yellowstone caldera is not extinct, it is active. There have been several warnings,” he shrugged. He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor came to life. “All the red areas are spots where the surface pressure has increased. There were, at one time, many active volcanoes on the north American continent.” He clicked a button and the map changed to a view of the European continent with many of the same red shaded areas. “All over the Earth… Higher pressures. Up until a few days ago the brainiacs were still arguing over whether this could even happen.” He laughed. “Call it the Earth’s way of cleansing itself.” “But it’s not an absolute, right?”Sammy asked. “Don’t start sounding like the scientists.” He reached below his desk and came up with six small silver cartridges. Each had a red button mounted on the top with a protective cap over the button itself. He clicked a button on his desk, and a picture of destruction appeared on the screens. “That picture is an hour old. That is… Was, the Hawaiian chain.” Sammy stared at the monitor. “How can that be, I mean everyone would know about it.” Weston nodded. “And that would be true except the satellites are out, shut down to avoid damage. That is the official word.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor went dead once more. “The Yellowstone caldera is going to erupt sometime in the next few days. Not a maybe, not an educated guess: It has already started. We have had a few small quakes, but the big stuff is on the way.” He rolled the cartridges across the desktop; Sammy and John caught them. “Super volcanoes… Earthquakes that modern civilization has never seen… The last super eruption was responsible for killing off the human population some seventy-four thousand years ago: Reduced it to a few thousand. And that is not the biggest one we have evidence of.” He paused in the silence. “So we do what with these? Can they harm us?” John asked. “Harm you, kill you? No, but it will protect you the same as anyone else. There is enough in a single cartridge to infect about five hundred million people,” Weston said quietly. “Whoa,” Sammy whistled. “Why infect… Why not inoculate? And why six cartridges… Three Billion people?” “Be glad they decided on this. They have some others that will kill everybody in the world in a matter of days.” Weston nodded at the raised eyebrows that greeted his remarks. “It can stay alive in a dead body for days, even if the body is frozen. Same stuff is being released across the globe. Great Briton… Germany… Australia… West coast just a few hours ago. Manhattan has already been done. I want the two of you to head out from here. One of you head west, the other south. Go for the bigger cities… Water supplies… Reservoirs, it doesn’t matter.” He rose from the desk. “I’ll see you out.” The two stood in the hallway for a few seconds; quiet, except the slight buzzing from the fluorescent lights. John shrugged as his eyes met Sammy’s, waiting. Sammy pulled a quarter from his pocket and flipped it into the air. “Call it, Jack.” “Tails,” John said just before the quarter hit the carpet. Sammy bent forward. “Tails it is. You got it, Jack.” John looked down at the carpet. “West, I guess.” John said. Sammy nodded, looked down once more at the quarter and then both men turned and walked away toward the elevator that would take them back to the surface.
These are random thoughts I wrote out and then left: As a writer there are somewhere around three million thoughts streaming into your brain at the speed of light all the time unless you are sleeping…
What if you knew that the last image of you in death, like Elvis sitting on the toilet seat, would be seen by everyone? Would it make you live your life differently if you knew at the very last breath that everyone would know who you are, what you were in life, see a clear picture, see a picture of you, dead, reduced to an inanimate corpse. No magic. You can’t fly. You didn’t miss the bullet. You are no longer a star, bigger than life, you died, just like everyone else. And all the things you covered up during that lifetime, all the times when you could have bent, changed, helped, are gone. And everybody knows what you did and didn’t do. Would it change you? Would it mean anything to you to know that, or would you continue to be the person you are right now? (I went searching for a picture of Elvis. I found a picture of Elvis dead, sitting on the toilet. I was sort of shocked. I felt as though it made who he was kind of small. In the end there he was, dead, sitting on his toilet.)…
Did you know there are places in this world where people start their day without coffee? Like a refugee. A refugee doesn’t get the chance to have coffee in the morning. If I was a refugee I’d be like, “Hold your ass! I’m having my coffee here! You rebels are starting to piss me off!” (One of those mornings, any morning really, when I have to do things before I have had my coffee.)…
The Litter box zone:
If you have a cat you have a litter box, unless you’re one of those aliens that teach their cats to use the toilet (They’re probably alien cats. I tried to teach mine and it nearly drowned… Twice). We scoop cat crap, get embarrassed when our friends come over and the cat suddenly decides that fancy fish dinner has settled enough and blows up the house, but if your friend Bob came over, walked into the corner of one of your rooms and took a crap, and then threw some sand over it, would that be okay?
“Whew,” says Bob as you are trying to decide what in hell just happened. “That fancy fish dinner had to go.”
Of course it wouldn’t be okay, so why do we allow cats to do the very same thing and then calmly take a scoop and cover it or remove it? And what about litter that absorbs odor? Doesn’t work. You could blindfold me, walk me around my house and I guarantee I could tell you when I hit the liter box zone. “Yep… Right here. Smells like wet sand/clay and cat sh*t,” I would say. (Do you have a cat? Enough said then.)…
Cat Trials: To determine whether cats truly do have nine lives.
Closed after one test… No, Cats do not have nine lives.
Excuses for why the cat is gone.
It was past it’s expiration date so I had to chuck it.
There was a terrible showdown between the cat and three mice. I think the mice were carrying knives. It was bad. Yes, they may have been blind mice, but they were friggin’ mean blind mice.
I traded that cat for a Volkswagen
What cat? We had a cat?
Other Cat Stuff…
Used cats: You never see ads for used cats, you know, “Gently used cat. Very low miles. Will trade for good dog, beaver or camping tent.”
One of the things I have against cats: They have fur all over them, and since I am in denial about having evolved from some sort of monkey or other animal, it bothers me to know they may rise and take over the world some day. Funny? I’ll bet that’s what the other monkeys thought about 25,000 years ago when Bob the different monkey shocked them all by fixing a hamburger and fries for dinner instead of insects and grass.
Whistling: If you whistle to a dog they’re coming. He or she will be right there. Whistle to a cat and they may flip you off, but they’re not coming.
Things you never hear… “Brother, can you spare a cat?”
“Give a man a potato he can eat for a day. Teach a man how to grow a potato and a cat will probably come along, dig up his garden and crap in it.”
Things I have not seen:
Three legged cats. Cats with their suitcases packed (Do they have suitcases?). Cats with a drivers license. Talking cats. Unpretentious cats.
From a real Social Website Commentary
The following conversation contains bad remarks about cats and cat like creatures. If bad remarks about cats or cat like creatures offend you, you should not read this. Also, no cats were harmed in the making of this commentary, nor do any of the participants wish any cats to be harmed for any reason… Except the ones trying to take over the world…
(The conversation started in response to an Article about Cat Allergies)…
Geo Dell: I am not going to read it. I don’t want to learn how to get along with cats… Here’s my theory of how cat allergies happen. I think the ACD Gene detects their presence and alerts you. Of course we should pay attention, but we don’t. I also have another theory. There is a pheromone cats send out. This enters the brain through our olfactory organs and then is, unfortunately, absorbed into the blood stream. Suddenly, usually within hours, you find yourself liking cats. WHAT? you think, How in heck did that happen? Easy, that pheromone carried a destructive gene sequence that attacked and overcame the ACD gene. After that contaminated people are screwed. Those people will continue to like cats, and, unfortunately again, the cats will take over the world and make us their enslaved race of human pets… Or… When the ‘Fridge is empty… Pet Food…
(Name Changed for protection): I had a dream like that once where cats had taken over the world and people had to worship them or be killed. lol
Geo Dell: True, sad, but true. It will happen. It’s inevitable…
Geo Dell: Oh… ACD = A**hole Cat Detector
Geo Dell: Reasons to not like cats… They used to be ten feet tall at the shoulder… They used to catch us and take us back for the kits to chase around and learn to hunt… They are only tolerant of us… THEY WANT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
Geo Dell: Every year thousands of people die in their homes and are eaten by cats. You never hear of cats dying in their homes and being eaten by us, do you?
(Name Changed for protection): lol
Geo Dell: Old people are forced to eat dog food. Well, cats are cheaper.
(Name Changed for protection): Hey, I think people forget they are living with animals. if you die, they will eat you. You’re meat at that point
Geo Dell: Yes, but I believe cats have secretly learned how to use the phone and call their friends over. Sort of like a… Fancy Feast
(Name Changed for protection): “Hey Oscar, this is Simon, my food supply died. you wanna come over and help me eat him? Tell whiskers and the crew that dinner’s on me this weekend.”
Geo Dell: Exactly. Now you are thinking. Rise up! Rise up, I say. And… Uh, well, I really don’t have a plan, but I would say start installing video cameras, keep track of these cats, especially the radical Pink Panther cats. And then, well, we’ll do something. Start a revolution or something. Sit around smoke pot, drink and say really deep things that nobody remembers the next day. At least that’s the way it was in the Seventies when we used to talk about revolution…
(Name Changed for protection): lol…
Okay, enough foolishness…
On other fronts….
I don’t know why I should be surprised when Monday shows up and I am no further ahead to catching up on things than I was the week before. Yet every Monday here I am, surprised again. And that would be funny except it’s true, which sort of makes it even funnier.
There was progress last week of course, just not as much as I would like to see. I always want mega progress, the whole board wiped clean, and of course that is not going to happen because as the board empties on one end it fills on the other. That is life for most of us I would bet.
The fifth Earth’s Survivors book Plague, the last book for the series until next year (maybe).
This blog is where you will find information from me every Monday. Dell will do informational blogs as well, usually on Fridays or the weekend. Ami will do blogs throughout the week and load blogs for others.
That’s it for this Monday. I hope your week was a good one, I’ll be back next week, Geo Dell
America the Dead Episode 22: Check out this free Podcast from author Dell Sweet… #HorrorPodcast #Free #AmericaTheDead
The first days of the battle see large loses for the opposition, and because of their infighting the survivors have thus far escaped serious injury, and have taken the time to formulate a plan of their own…
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. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
It was 2:00 AM and they had just come back from 6 hours of sleep to get a jump on the day. The last half hour they had been interviewing the people who worked the same shifts as April Evans.
“Candace loi,” Sammy added.
Don looked up and stopped writing in his little notebook. “How do you,” spell her name, he had meant to ask Sammy, but she was right in front of him.
“EL. OH. EYE,” she said with a smile.
“Vietnamese?” Don asked. She was obviously mixed race, African American and Asian, he questioned himself.
“Japanese,” she told him.
“Nice name,” Sammy said, “Candace.”
Beautiful girl, Don thought. “Did you know April Evans? Sometimes works this shift?” he asked.
“Not really,” she answered. “I mean I met her, but only in passing… I just started here myself.”
She really was beautiful, Don thought. “You wouldn’t know if she had a boyfriend… Other friends?” he asked.
Candace shook her head. “Sorry,” she said… “What has she done?”
“Nothing: She’s gone missing,” Sammy supplied.
“She was an eye witness to a serious case and then went missing,” Don said. “She’s not in trouble we just want to ask her a few questions… And, really make sure she’s okay.”
Candace shook her head. “I just started here a few weeks back, and like I said, I don’t really know her… but I heard it might be a girlfriend not a boyfriend though.”
Don looked at her. “You wouldn’t know who?”
“No. It’s just a rumor. Someone said to me… I don’t even remember who… but I’ve never seen her with a guy. And I have seen her with other girls… Maybe also the way she looked at me a few times… That’s all I know. I hope you find her though. She seems like a nice girl,” Candace said.
“You don’t seem the type for this… Bagging groceries at 2:00 am,” Don said.
Candace laughed. “I had this idea of dancing… Tough to get a foot in a door though.”
“Any good,” Sammy asked.
“Excuse mister smooth there,” Don told her. Sammy feigned a hurt look and Candace laughed. “He meant have you done some dancing? I know somebody… Might be interested.”
Candace arched her eyebrows. “I can dance. I just need to prove it to the right person.”
“Probably start out serving drinks… Dance a little… Then if he likes you he’ll put you in.”
“I can do that,” she said slowly.
Sammy passed her a white business card with his own name scrawled across the back. “Tell him I sent you… That’s my name on the back.”
“Jimmy Vincioni,” Candace asked.
“Just V… Jimmy V. Good guy,” Sammy said.
Candace nodded and tucked the card into her front jean pocket. “I’ll call him… Thanks. Look…” Her voice dropped to a near whisper. “I’m pretty sure she had a girlfriend here… I just don’t know who,” Candace added quietly.
Don finished writing in his notebook, nodded once he met her eyes and then shook the hand she offered. She walked away.
“Beautiful,” Sammy said.
“Absolutely,” Don agreed. “You ain’t getting none of that though.”
“Yeah? Well if Jimmy V hires her? It’ll be the next best thing.”
Don shook his head, but smiled. His eyes rose and watched as Candace walked away. “Guess I’ll have to have a few drinks at the club if that happens.”
Sammy chuckled low. “You and me both,” he agreed.
They had spent most of the previous night at David Cross’s trailer. The techs hadn’t picked up much, but what they had picked up was telling. Blood stains under the bed and beside one wall in the bedroom. A splatter of small pink stains that had tested positive for blood in the kitchen sink. Two rolled up socks drenched in blood in the kitchen garbage. Blood spatters in the bathroom sink too. All his clothes seemed to be gone, or at least there were none in the battered dresser in the bedroom. The forensic team had come up with two sets of fingerprints in the bedroom, his and someone else. Hair samples from the bed, from the couch in the living room. Foot prints out back and in the soft dirt of the front yard. And best of all, a tech that had been sent back to get pictures put the girl in the trailer yesterday afternoon.
The tech said the girl had seemed quiet, subdued, standing behind Cross, like Cross didn’t want her to be seen.
Questioning her friends was fill-in work while they waited on the warrant for her place. The tech that had put her at Cross’s trailer would probably clinch that. There had been bits of bone and brain matter along with the bloodstains under the bed and by the wall too. That bothered Don. It probably meant that something had happened. He didn’t have a lot of hope of seeing April Evans alive again.
He circled the word gay that he had written on his note pad. Maybe he had been asking the wrong questions.
“This girl,” Don said and underlined the name Alice Chambers in his notebook. “Knew her well. Or at least better than anyone else here. Why didn’t she mention a possible lesbian thing?”
“They were in high school together… She’s still here, maybe we should have a conversation with her again?” Sammy said.
“Maybe,” Don agreed. He looked up, spotted the girl working one of the checkouts and walked over to the manager; a young kid who didn’t even look old enough to shave yet. The manager himself went over and relieved her and sent her over to Don and Sammy.
It was clear as she made her way over to them that she was worried. “You be the bad guy,” Don whispered to Sammy, “I’ll be the understanding father figure.” Sammy nodded almost imperceptibly.
Alice Chambers smiled weakly as she walked up. Sammy scowled at her and her smile melted.
“Don’t worry,” Don said. “I’m sure we’ll get this cleared right up. Sit down, Alice.”
“Why is he so upset?” she asked looking at Sammy who continued to scowl.
“Because I don’t like being lied too, missy,” Sammy told her. “Pisses me off.”
“I didn’t lie,” Alice said, going on the defensive.
“Yes you did,” Sammy said, as he leaned toward her across the table. “You lied, and now you’re lying about having lied.”
She cringed away from him, looking ready to cry.
“Alice, I’m sure Sam here will be fine,” Don told her. “We work around hardened criminals all the time. I guess he forgot you’re a young lady, not a criminal.” Don sent Sammy a potent stare, and Sammy sighed and turned away. “It’s this lesbian thing… It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to mention it, but this girl’s life could be at stake…” He made eye contact with her and made her hold it. Her eyes filled up and began to overflow. “Alice?” Don asked. She looked back toward the front of the store where she had been working and then looked back at them, swiping at the tears with the back of her hand and she did. “You want to tell me?”Don asked. She nodded.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. She took a few seconds, seeming to fight to gain control. Don left and came back with some tissues that he handed to her. She thanked him, blew her nose, and then took several deep breaths.
Don mentally looked her over as she got herself under control. Alice Chambers was on the skinny side. Almost no breasts. A body like a boy, no hips, short, bobbed blonde hair. Nose ring, tongue ring, probably a dozen other piercings in her ears and who knew where else. He had taken her look for punk, not gay, but now that he was really looking at her she seemed more boyish than girlish. It seemed like maybe it was more than just a subtle statement, and he had overlooked it: Seen it wrong. It wasn’t just that she didn’t look all that attractive as a woman, she just looked more like a boy. And it looked like most of it was by choice.
“We were together in high school,” Alice said in a near whisper.
Don nodded like he’d known it all along. “Here at work too?” he asked.
“No… Of course not. April isn’t… April’s not… She likes boys… It was… It was just a thing for a little while… This guy…” She took a deep breath and swiped at her eyes. “This guy forced her, you know and so she stayed away from guys after that for awhile.” She focused on Don, refusing to look at Sammy.
“This guy… Know his name? The one who raped her?” Don asked.
“She didn’t say raped, she said forced,” Alice corrected.
“Okay, forced… but you can see, Alice, that even if you don’t say it’s rape, it’s still rape, right? Are you saying there was no intercourse?” Don asked.
“No… There was,” she admitted.
“Then its rape, Alice. Let’s not cut the guy any slack at all on that, okay?” Don asked.
“Okay,” Alice agreed.
“So, his name?”
“He’s dead,” Alice said. “Tyler Matthews. Died in a car crash a few months back, remember?”
“Yeah… The local football star,” Sammy said.
Don just nodded. “So it was just the two of you. What came between you?” he asked.
“I told you, guys. She’s not like me,” she looked down at the table and then back up. “But I don’t know this David. I never heard her say anything about him. Maybe a cute guy that lived at the end of the road. And two guys on either side of the trailer who have been bothering her,” Alice said.
Sometimes you failed to ask the right questions, Don thought. Sometimes the answers were right there. “Okay… Tell me about this cute guy who lived at the end of the road? You mean the trailer park road or Lott road?” he asked.
“Lott road. I don’t know about him. She said she saw him a few times. She thought he was cute, but she couldn’t get him to notice her,” Alice said. She blew her nose once more. The tears seemed to be dried up, Don thought: At least for now.
“Anything else about him… Anything at all?” Don asked.
“She said he worked nights… Drove a truck back and forth to work… That’s all I know, honest,” she looked over at Sammy who nodded. Done with his bad cop routine.
“Did you know David Cross at all… I can’t remember if I asked you that before,” Don said. He knew he had asked her; he simply wanted her to answer again.
“No,” Alice said.
“Didn’t know he lived at the end of Lott road… All the way at the end?” don asked.
She looked surprised. “No. I didn’t know that. I guess that means it was him she thought was cute… Did he do something to her…? Is that it? Did he?” her voice rose slightly and panic crept into it.
“I don’t know… I certainly hope not, Alice, but I don’t know,” Don said. “He’s a bad guy though… I can tell you that. Did time… If there’s any other thing you remember I could use the help. He may have done something to her… We just don’t know yet,” Don finished. Actually he was pretty sure that David Cross had killed April Evans in the back bedroom of the trailer at the end of Lott road that he called home: All, but positive.
She looked at him and her eyes began to spill over again. “I couldn’t stand that,” Alice whispered. “I couldn’t.”
He nodded. “You want me to talk to your boss, get you the rest of the day off, Alice?” Don asked.
“No, no,” she said. “I think I’ll go have a cigarette… Then I’ll be fine.”
“You know, I was thinking of having one too,” Don said. He reached out and took her hand and she came to her feet, “Come on.” He made his way to the front door taking her with him. Everyone in the store watched them walk out. The manager raised his hands slightly and looked at Sammy.
Sammy made a calm-down gesture with both hands. “It’s fine,” he said. “It’s fine.”
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=VyKzDwAAQBAJ
I am in the middle of home construction, writing, and a half dozen other projects. I spent yesterday doing yard work, cutting tree limbs and trees, clearing out an old garden, and in the midst of that the delivery truck showed up with all the building materials I ordered and, of course, I was here alone when it showed up.
The delivery guy uses a lift to take the stuff off the truck bed, a tractor trailer flatbed actually, and sets it on the ground. So there it was, a pile of Sheetrock, studs, and other building materials sitting in my driveway. I had been in the middle of cutting down a tree, so I went back to that. A kind of, ‘Finish one thing before you start the next thing,’ approach. And of course I was hoping someone might show up to help.
The Tree: If you have ever cut down a tree you have maybe been where I was yesterday. In the ground, stretching up into the sky, the tree didn’t look so big, tall, formidable. First, a short explanation about why I had to cut down the tree: It was where it should not have been. Maybe that’s a little too short, here is a longer explanation: Over the years the previous owners had allowed the tree to grow right next to the house. As a result the trunk was now touching the roof edge, and towering over the garage, and the base was right up against the garage wall, to one side of the door.
At first, I thought, I’ll buy an ax and chop it down. Then I looked it over and decided it would take all weekend to chop it down, and, besides, I don’t know anything about chopping trees down, so I canned that idea. Next I thought of a chainsaw. But, I thought, if I buy a chainsaw to cut down this one tree that isn’t a very good tool cost to tool return ratio. And, knowing me, I will begin to look for other things to cut down. And that is bad as there is a whole forest behind my house. And I have seen people juggle chainsaws, not that I would, but… So, I decided against the chainsaw. So how to get the tree down?
I looked it over, judged the tree to be no big deal. Went and got my new reciprocating saw (This is a great tool for any do it yourself-er.). It is like the electric knife you use to slice the turkey with, only a lot bigger and with a selection of blades to cut through nearly anything at all. Cut a car in half? No problem. Cut a wall right out of your house? No problem. Cut a pipe, piece of wood, window opening into a wall (That is why I bought it. I want a window where there is none), no problem. I know these things are true because I have used a reciprocating saw to do them at various times in my life, but cut down a tree? No. Never.
I sorted through the blades. I bought blades for everything, but there were none marked ‘Tree Cutting’ so I selected one marked ‘Wood and Metal’. I ran out the extension cord, plugged in the saw and started cutting. I mean, why think it out first? It’s a tree. It needs to be cut down. The saw is in my hand. Could it be any clearer? Well, as it turns out, it could be.
I began my cuts on the front, a wedge chunk cut out in the direction I wanted the tree to fall (I saw that as a kid hanging around loggers one day in the woods. The north country used to be full of loggers. That’s how they did it). Step one done. My cat, Buster, peeked around the corner of the house at me, decided I was crazy, and took off toward the other side of the house. But I have noticed, unlike dogs, cats will abandon you in times of need, or just when you need a little encouragement. A dog will look at you and grin, and your confidence soars. A cat looks at you, shakes it head and runs away and you begin to rethink your entire life. Don’t get me started on cats.
Okay, I moved on to step two, coming from the back of the tree and cutting towards the front notch I had made. I guess now would be the appropriate time to say I had taken off my gloves, believing I did not need them. And also, to note three other things. First: A reciprocating saw is not made to cut down trees. Second: If you’re going to use a reciprocating, or any type of saw, for something other than what it was intended for, wear your damn gloves! And Third: Don’t try this at home kids. I’m a trained professional writer, and I have written about people who have cut down trees with reciprocating saws, so I have some experience.
Ten minutes later, I realized my plan was not going according to, well, my plan. My plan was simple and effective, cut the tree through until it fell. I like simple plans like that because there isn’t much to go wrong. But, the blade was not coming through the tree, so I stopped. That is when I realized I had misjudged my angle, I had cut through part of the trunk and was now cutting a swath through the dirt, stone, etc, that surrounded the tree, but not actually making any progress into the trunk itself.
$#@%*$#, I said. And then a few other things I have neglected to write down here. I looked at my palm, no gloves, so I had blistered the palm in a quarter sized circle. Brilliant, I thought. Then, @#$%^*$# Tree, I muttered. The tree didn’t seem to mind. It sort of just stood there. I re-positioned the saw, and began again. This would have been a good time for someone to interfere, but no one did.
It only took a half minute of cutting at the right angle to cut through to the notch, and then the tree swayed back onto the garage and the blade, stopping the saw. The tree seemed about to go over onto the roof, and that was when I realized just how big that tree was. Even so, I put my weight into it, convinced it to pivot, and down it came, away from the roof and the garage, just like I had planned it.
That was when I noticed that neighbors on both sides had stopped to watch. Probably sure I would drop the tree on the house or the garage, but I disappointed them and dropped the tree on my truck instead. Everything got quiet instantly it seemed. I heard my neighbor on one side snigger, but when I turned in that direction he seemed to be looking up at the sky for rain. Which, I might add, I should have been doing.
So, there I am. Tree on truck. A huge load of building materials sitting in my driveway, neighbors amused to say the least, a hole worn into my palm. A second blister on my thumb.
I know, quit whining.
Okay, I will.
After I cut up the tree into manageable chunks with the reciprocating saw, I realized that my mistake had been misjudging the size of the tree. And the weight of the tree. And the wisdom of cutting down a tree with a reciprocating saw. And, well, maybe the cat was smart to hit the road early on. Once it was in pieces it didn’t seem so big to me. I had planned to load the pieces into the truck and take them to the land fill. But the truck was a little messed up, so I dragged the trees around to the back of the house and made a pile, called the wrecker for the truck, and about the time I had that done it was obvious I had to get the materials inside before the rain began. I barely made it.
In the end I sat and watched the rain fall as I sipped a Lipton Iced tea (Love that stuff), picked at the broken blister on my injured hand, and wondered why I ever decided I could cut down a tree with a reciprocating saw in the first place. Was I really an idiot, or only a throw back to the days when… Uh, I have no ending for that, because I’m pretty sure there never were days where men and women cut down trees with reciprocating saws. I mean, how would they get the power out there in the deep woods? And in my deep woods there are always bad things lurking about, so they would have been killed and eaten by something long before they cut any trees down, with or without a reciprocating saw.
I thanked God that I didn’t hit the car too, which had been sitting right next to the truck. At least there is something to drive until the truck comes back… If the truck comes back. On the plus side, the tree is no longer growing into the garage roof, and since I was on a roll I actually raked up all the mess I made and things look pretty good. And all the materials are here for me to start the remodeling job on Monday. And skin grows back. My palm will heal. I fear the truck is terminal though.
In other news. I got very little work done on Earth’s Survivors Six, but it is progressing. The Zombie Killers book three is still with the editor. The oppressive heat wave and high humidity broke for a while last night. A promise of things to come? I hope so. And, Open Office, the software I use, has a new version 4.0 if you are an Open Office fan. If you aren’t, you should be. It is very good.
The rain was good for all things living, except the cat. He did not appreciate the rain at all. Came running up to me and jumped on my lap soaking wet, and cats do not like being wet, so, instead of shaking like a dog will, he just rubbed against me until he was dry again. Great. None of the drywall got wet. That would have been worse. And nothing lasts forever. And, the tree is not rubbing against the garage. I know I said that but it bears repeating because it was the whole reason I went out there in the first place. Oh, and the reciprocating saw was not damaged at all. So I can cut that hole in the wall tomorrow that I wanted to cut to install a new window. Wish me luck…
This is an excerpt from the Dreamer’s book. The first book is available…
In The Sunlight:
The Book Of Memories;
I started from the first page of the book of memories. It was not a long book. Not a new book. The leather covers were old, mellow, but it had been taken care of. The pages were yellowed, slightly stiff, but they were not falling apart. A slim book, but I felt that what words it did contain most likely more than made up for the size. I began to read from the first page…
… In the beginning there was only the Creator. There was no Earth Mother. No Grandfather Sun to shine. No Grandmother Moon to light our way in the night. No Animals. No Thunders. No Directions. No legends to tell, because there were no peoples.
The Creator lived with the Star People in the heavens. But The Star People were not talkers, and so the Creator became lonely and wished for someone he could talk with.
One day as he walked among the Star People, he decided that he would create a world where he could go and talk to his creations.
Now all the things that ever were, or ever could be, lived within the Creators words. Within himself. So even though he had never walked on a world of the kind that he had in mind, he knew exactly what he wanted and what it should look like.
As he walked among the Star People thinking it out, he realized he did not want just another world full of rocks and trees, mountains and plains. The stars were full of worlds just like that. Those were worlds that were alive, but they were not the kind of life that the Creator was. What the Creator wanted was companionship. Someone he could visit with. Talk with. Someone like himself.
Now a tree or a rock could be visited, talked to, but what he had in mind was something that would answer back. At that time trees and rocks were not much on talking. There came a time within the legends when the trees and the rocks, when many things we do not think of as talkers, did talk. But that was not at this time.
Many cycles passed by as the Creator decided on what he wanted to do and how he should do it. What it would look like: Where it would live. And what the Creator would talk about with this new creation.
Finally, the day came when the Creator decided to create. He chose the earth as the place to create. At that time the Earth was a small, dead world with no Sun. No Moon.
He formed the Sun from the Star People around him and he set it into the void. He formed Grandmother Moon from a small part of the Earth and set her on her path. They had no life of their own at that time though, they simply reflected the life of the Creator.
The Creator then began to speak the words of life as he stepped from the stars onto the Earth, coming to stand in a summer tall field of wheat.
Next he made the directions and named them. The winds; and he gave individual names to each wind. But there was nothing yet to move the winds. No reason yet to the directions. No purpose yet to the greenery, for the wheat, for the rocks. For the Creator had not yet made purpose.
The Creator then bent and placed his hands upon the Earth and spoke her into life, calling her Mother. The Mother of all that could be.
As he stood from the ground he began to create purpose and assign it to his creations: The winds to move the air. Mother Earth’s breaths to move the winds. The directions so that the winds could find their way over the Earth Mother as they moved.
Mother Earth took her first breath and the tops of the Wheat began to sway as the winds picked up her life giving breath and began to carry it to all the corners of the Earth.
The Creator and Mother Earth spent the next several cycles talking. The Creator was pleased with his creation.
Now the Creator enjoyed Mother Earth’s company, but he also had many friends and favorite places among the Star People. Sometimes he would go for long walks among the Star People. Every time he left Mother Earth would become lonely and long for his companionship.
One day when the Creator returned from a walk among the Star People, Mother Earth spoke about her loneliness. The Creator understood her loneliness. It was the same loneliness that the creator himself had suffered through. So The Creator reached deep inside of himself. Taking a part of himself, the Creator mixed this with the words that lived within him, the words of Power and Life. He sowed this seed into the soil that covers Mother Earth.
“These seeds are the words of life become whole. They are of me,” the Creator told her. “Part of your Creator. They will speak themselves into being in the fullness of time and you will never be lonely again.”
The Creator lifted his hands and spoke Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon into life, causing the Creators own breath to fall upon them; and so they began to move on their own paths of purpose. “They will be for Times and for Seasons,” he said.
Now several cycles passed and the seed that the Creator had planted within the Earth Mother began to grow. The day came when Grandmother moon came down to hold Mother Earth’s hand and comfort her during her birthing of life.
Grandfather Sun spilled his light upon them and spoke quietly with the creator as the Earth Mother cried out in her birthing pains.
The peoples came first. Red, Yellow, Black, White, the Brown man, and all the shades in between. The birth waters gushed forth from her as Mother Earth’s womb opened and all the peoples were born.
The birth waters became oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.
The Clan Totems and Animal Totems came next. Their place was not on the Earth. Their place was among the Star People where they would live with the Creator. But they bought the Earth animals before them and instructed them on what they were to be for, before they themselves ascended into the Heavens.
Mother Earth’s sacred birth waters bought life to all that they touched. The fish swam in them. Brother Eagle came from the waters and ascended to the sky. Brother Wolf walked from the birth waters and made his home in the forests and the mountains with brother black Bear. Each animal found its place and knew its purpose.
Now the people had no spirits living among the stars. They had no ancestors to guide them. They did not come to fully know the Creator or the Mother Earth. They had no leaders. Knew nothing of totems. Spirits. Brotherhood. And they did not seek to learn because there was no one they would listen to that would tell them.
Now after a time the people began to divide themselves according to their colors. Leaders arose, but leaders who ignored the purpose within their souls, so they began to provoke wars among each other. With the other peoples. This was their nature.
Mother Earth became sadder and sadder as the peoples continued to war and fight. Many died, sending more and more of our kind into the spirit worlds, but they were proud. They didn’t understand life or purpose and they would not lift their arms or their voices to the Creator or the Earth Mother to ask for help. In fact as time passed they did not speak to Mother Earth or the Creator at all. They withdrew and became laws and Gods unto themselves.
One day a little boy was born to a great war chief. The chief held him in his arms at the naming and called him ‘He who speaks with those unseen.’ He did this because even with his first words he began to speak to the ancestors and those who had passed into the spirit worlds and now lived among the Star Peoples.
As the boy grew he spoke of the things that the ancestors told him with his people: He told them everything that the ancestors talked to him about.
He warned them about war. Spoke to them about peace and how all people, every one, were made for a purpose, to live a purpose. How part of that purpose was to live together. Even so the way of death and war continued.
But his own peoples believed and they began to worship the Creator. Speak to the Earth Mother. Sending praises up to the Creator and asking Mother Earth for guidance. In return The Creator and Mother Earth taught them about purpose, life, and to respect all living things on the Earth.
As the creator listened to his peoples, he realized that many of them wished to live in peace, even though some of them desired to make war and follow the way of death. With Mother Earth’s help he made places for all of them to have their own territories; and he separated them with oceans and deep lakes to keep them apart.
“We will have to hope that they have learned to live in peace by the time they learn to cross the great waters,” the Creator told the Earth Mother.
Time moved on. ‘He who speaks with those unseen’ grew up to become the leader of his people. They prayed to the Creator and kept his ways. They held Mother Earth in great regard, respected her ways, and the people grew and prospered. There were no wars, no famines, no sickness in his people.
‘He who speaks with those unseen’, finished his time and went to be with the spirit people among the stars. As the generations passed, however, the peoples again forgot the ways of the Mother Earth and the Creator. They learned to cross the great waters. They learned to hate again: To make war again. And Mother Earth called to the Creator to separate them once more, but he refused to do it.
“They will only come to kill each other once again. To Enslave. To make war. They must learn to make their own peace. Learn their lessons as a law. Come back to us as they should: As they once were. They will have to learn what peace means. Respect, until then we can do nothing with them.”
Mother Earth knew that the Creator was right. Even so with his words she wept. Her tears became the rain that we know. Lifted into the air and carried by the cloud people, to bring her gift of life from the heavens to all peoples through her tears.
It is said that they will continue to come as Mother Earth weeps for all the peoples. And they will be a sign for all peoples to remember that war and killing is not the way.
They will be a sign to us that Mother Earth will continue to bring life from death, the peoples cause. Sending her tears to us in hopes that they may heal us. And to show us that her love will always be with us.
I held the place in the book as I closed my eyes and sent a small prayer to the Creator for allowing me to read those words.
Across from me Bear slept. His paws twitching. The fire crackled companionably. I opened the book and began to read once more…
Enjoy your weekend! Check out Dreamers at the link below, or if you need a free book to read check out Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse below, Ami…
This week: It seems like last to this, the week flew by and I had so much to do that I really couldn’t stop to think about it.
Microwave ovens and presets on microwave ovens:
I like microwave ovens. They have made our lives better, I truly believe that. How else can you get a hot cup of coffee from yesterdays leftover coffee in just about 120 seconds? Not that I do that. I mean drink yesterdays left over coffee… Okay… I do.
Here’s the thing though, it’s coffee! That’s my only argument. It should be enough though. I mean it’s like sacred, isn’t it? If I were living in a cave and discovered the coffee bean and bought it to my fellow cave dwellers they would probably build a shrine for me and worship me… Paint pictures of Coffee beans on the cave walls instead of hands, horses and signs for water. History would have been changed! Well, would have been changed had that happened.
So, no. I won’t throw out coffee. I guess that is a shocking admission but it’s true.
Once, I can’t remember the movie, some western, the character threw the dregs of then coffee in his cup on the fire. The other guys around the fire looked at him like he was crazy… Crazy! And, he must have been. I was just a kid at the time and I thought he was crazy! After that the other cowboys ostracized him. And he wasn’t asked along for the next roundup. That’s how serious a thing coffee was for cowboys back in the day. So, I don’t throw away coffee. Which brings me back to microwaves: Don’t you wish your mind worked the way mine does? See how I came right back to where I wanted to be? Okay. I don’t even know how my mind works, I just thank God that it does. So, Microwaves…
I like the idea of a Microwave, but I do have some issues with them. First, you can not make popcorn consistently. In fact, I went to make popcorn the other day and the bag said “Do not use the Popcorn Setting on your Microwave.” Huh. Then why have the setting there? Isn’t that the whole idea? Ease of use? Push one button? Well, we’ll get to that in a minute. The bag went on to give precise microwave instructions: If you have this many “Watts” use this amount of time. This many, that amount of time. I had a headache when I finished reading it. Finally, I put the popcorn back into the cupboard and got some chips instead, and sank into a deep depression over the whole technology thing. How can you eat microwavable popcorn if the button settings are wrong and you have to spend three hours figuring out wattage? You can’t just get out a pan and some butter, tear open the bag and do it that way, can you?
Well, as I sat eating my chips that I didn’t want I thought about that. There are a lot of buttons on a microwave. For instance, there is a beverage button on mine. It doesn’t work for beverages though. It leaves them too cold or too hot. But, what if you accidentally pushed the popcorn button? And, you then found out the popcorn button worked for beverages? Wouldn’t that be great? Well, it does. I tried. But the beverage button will not work for Popcorn. What a mess that was. But, in the end, I did go back out there, rip a popcorn bag open, and put it in a pan with some butter. Guess what? That did work.
As for the coffee on the popcorn setting it did come out pretty good, but I have an aversion to using a button marked Popcorn for Coffee. But, I wonder. If the popcorn companies don’t want you to use it, why do the microwave companies still make a popcorn button? Hmm. And if the beverage button doesn’t work for beverages, what the hell good is it anyway? And, if coffee is the most nuked beverage, why not a Coffee button? And, stay with me here, if the Popcorn button isn’t used anyway, why not re-label it Coffee? Then I wouldn’t have to feel so bad about using the popcorn button for my coffee. Hey, I’m going to get one of those little label makers and make a coffee sticker and put it right over the Popcorn label. That will solve my problems for now. Feel free to just copy the picture above, print it out, and paste it on your own Microwave! No need to say thanks.
That only leaves the power button on mine. But, that is kind of cool. You can press it, set the time amount, and watch the little turntable go around and around….
Have a good week…
Check out The Earth’s Survivors Newest: SE collection books:
By Geo Dell The SE books are two book collections from the Earth’s Survivors series. The Earth’s Survivors books follow 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. Los Angeles: Billy and Beth start out with a small group and wind up on their own as they make their way across America trying to find others and safety. Manhattan: Adam leaves the safety of his apartment to find his way out the dying Manhattan, gathering others as he makes his way. Old Towne New York: Conner is alone for the first few weeks, but then he finds Katie and a reason to live again. They set out to survive and find much more than survival. Watertown New York: Mike Collins goes to sleep thinking about his first vacation in many years that he will start in the morning. He awakens to destruction.
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!
Earth’s Survivors Plague has been released. Click below to get it or read a free preview.
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 am going to be working on publishing Fig street in the next few weeks. It is out for test reads right now, then I will comb through it again, make the rest of the changes, send it back and wait for the editing to finish. It is finished and needs a run through for context before it goes off to the editor (Geo Dell). Geo and I are doing that book together. I really enjoyed writing it, taking it from a small serialized story to a novel.
I will leave you with this true story…
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.
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 full time nights.
I was never bored. The nights kept me awake and interested. They supplied their own entertainment. Conrail crews, regulars that called only for me, the assorted funny drunks late at night when the bars were closing. Soldiers on their way back to the nearby base, and a dancer at a small club just off downtown that had been calling for me personally for the last few weeks: Using my cab as a dressing room on the way back to her hotel. It was always something different.
Days, the few times I’d driven days, couldn’t compare. Sure, there was violence 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.
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…
I hope you enjoyed the story. I will be back again next week. Enjoy your week, Dell.
I was watching a commercial for a chicken farm, a popular brand of chicken we have all probably eaten (Unless you do not partake of meat then please excuse me). They called it a safe and clean place for the chickens. Yes, the announcer said, ‘We maintain a safe and clean environment for our birds.’ I thought What! I was amazed because, after all, the chickens end up being slaughtered. So I wonder if anyone besides me has thought, how is that safe? Safe up until the time we kill them? Do they give a warning first?
‘WONK! WONK! WONK! WARNING! WARNING ALL CHICKENS! IT IS TIME TO GO INSIDE THE PROVIDED HUTCHES FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY! WE CAN NOT GUARANTEE YOUR SAFETY ANY LONGER IF YOU STAY ON THE MAIN FLOOR AREA! … WONK! WONK! WONK! WARNING ALL CHICKENS…’
Of course when they go inside the provided hutches as any good chicken would do they are snatched up and killed. Poor chickens. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that the chickens are not safe, maybe clean, maybe they have public showers for the chickens, but safe? I guarantee the chickens don’t think so.
Reduced prices in the grocery store. I realized the other day that I have a severe thinking disorder. I was at the store and I saw a box of doughnuts marked REDUCED. Probably day old or something, or even week old for all I know. But I realized as I looked at the box that somehow in my brain I translated REDUCED as REDUCED FAT. So I grabbed it and threw it in the cart, all the while my brain is saying Yippee! (Or something like that, maybe a little more appropriately manly) Fat free! or Fat Reduced! Arrg. It goes past that too. Later when the box was sitting on the counter, I stopped and snagged a doughnut… Then another, because, after all, they are/were reduced.
Random things from today: I put in a new mailbox today. The old one got taken out by the plow the year before last. So Mom went out there, took some clothesline and tied it all back together. So for the last two years it has worked that way, the box itself suspended from the post by a cradle of clothesline. I was not here of course or I would have fixed it with drywall screws. I fix everything with drywall screws. Well, nearly. If you haven’t discovered drywall screws and screw-guns (The two go together) you should get in your truck (Or sedan or minivan or whatever) and motor on down to the local building material store.
Drywall screws come in many lengths. My personal favorite is 1 5/8″. Yes. That is because you can fix so many things that are broken. Just long enough to get in there and hold, but not so long that they poke out the other side. Now, granted, you may find that you have your own favorite. Some folks like
1 1/4″ or even 2″ which are right on the edge of long.
So what’s so great about them? They hold well. They are Phillips head and they grip well. They come in packs of 250 to 500 (Contractors can purchase boxes of 2500!) for God’s sake! What’s not to like? They have only one drawback that I know of, when you hold them as you are screwing them in they sometimes have small thin pieces of black (The screws are black) metal that ends up embedded in your finger/thumb. But, it’s not really a big deal, and, besides, you can probably get some sympathy for it later. Show it to your wife-girlfriend/significant other and she/he might say, Awww poor baby. Anyway, that’s my plug for drywall screws. With duct tape and drywall screws we could probably fix the entire world. I mean look at those NASCAR guys and what they do with duct tape. Now ask a carpenter about drywall screws (I used to be a carpenter, union even) and they will tell you they are gold.
Anyway, I have said enough about drywall screws and I only said it to let you know that I installed a brand new mailbox and only used four drywall screws to do it. Yes, that is because it was new and all I really had to do was secure it to the post. But what I really wanted to talk about was the waste. That old box? It so could have been saved. I mean it only needed maybe a half dozen drywall screws and we could have kissed the clothesline goodbye. Good as new. Well, sort of, after all it was hit by a plow. But, the amazing thing about plastic is that it bounces right back.
To prove I was right I actually screwed the whole thing back together, removed the clothesline and it only sagged a little and leaned to the right a few degrees. But I could have fixed that with some 2″ drywall screws and some black duct tape (The box is black) and a little black spray paint and maybe some ¾ inch pine. But no. I dragged it out. Cut a new post. Sharpened the bottom. Pounded that into the ground with a 5 lb sledge hammer. Put the new one together, slipped it over the new post and then used my magic drywall screws to screw it on, well, and the two lag bolts that came with the kit and were totally unnecessary if you have drywall screws, not to mention the lag bolts are silver and stick out like a sore thumb and the drywall screws are black and blend right in… Sort of.
Let me say also, while I’m not on the subject, that maintenance men that come and do work for little old ladies (My mother in this case) and tell her they are putting in a four by four pressure treated post should actually put in a four by four pressure treated post and not a scrap piece of two by four they called a post. Just saying. I pulled the old post free and found that it was a two by four and then had to get back in the truck and go buy a four by four. So ten years ago when this guy originally put the post in he lied and charged for the more expensive piece of lumber.
Okay, I did yard work the rest of the day. It finally warmed up here. Past the middle of May, about time. I swore I saw a woolly Mammoth stroll past the house the other day, but it could have been my bearded friend from down-street. He does have a big head and he sort of looks a little Woolly Mamothish on occasion. I got the yard work done and then watched the cats run around in the yard. They are brave right now, but, the Turkeys are up and about and they are particularly fond of cat. If you look back to my blog from last year you will see we have turkeys that fly up into our pines and wait for the cats to come out, then dive bomb them and try to get them. I don’t know if this is because they were sparrows in another life and harassed or possibly killed by cats and now it is payback time, or if these are just a mean species of Turkey. All I know is it is very disconcerting to watch 25 or 30 pounds of turkey drop from the sky and go after the cats.
I shouldn’t laugh, but cats are always so haughty that it’s good to see them rattled for a change. That got me thinking about Jamestown and the early settlers that disappeared one fall/winter. I’m telling you, Turkeys dropping from the trees could have been the deal there. Turkey plummets, hits the settler, knocks them cold, the other Turkeys come up and drag him or her off into the woods where bad things happen and the next thing you know they have all disappeared. Yes, I know, hard to prove, but every time I walk out by the pines I wonder. And sometimes it looks like those Turkeys are grinning… Maybe…
Okay. What’s up this week. I worked on the SE books. This has been a long term project. First released in paperback only, but with a different editor than the main books. Finally, re-edited by the same editor that revised and re-edited all the books and now released in eBook format, as well as updated in paperback too.
Earth’s Survivors Plague is the latest and probably last Earth’s Survivors book. Hurricane is on the burner along with Fig Street, and then I believe we will all be looking towards our Fall releases and maybe even enjoying a little summer weather… I hope you do too. Have a good week… Dell.