What I want to be when I grow up…

Posted by Dell. Um, I’m in my sixties, isn’t that young?

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 cooler 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.

DEDICATION

For Shell. Nothing else to say

Rapid City is Copyright © 2013 Wendell Sweet

All rights reserved


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.

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

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Earth’s Survivors at Barnes and Noble and NOOK eBooks

From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The deadlay 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… https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-apocalypse-geo-dell/1129594134?ean=2940046551945


The end has come for most of the world’s population. Small groups of survivors are picking up the pieces… Learning to live again…
When the sun began to peek over the top of the ridge on the opposite shore of the Black river. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-rising-from-the-ashes-geo-dell/1129594132?ean=2940044254039



The dead woman Jeff had told him about bothered him a great deal. He had remembered a day he had gone out, after things had fallen apart. He had heard airplanes in the night. In the morning, there was some sort of blue liquid they had sprayed all over the city.  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-geo-dell/1129594131?ean=2940044308596


The morning turned to early afternoon before the four trucks pulled up out of the field together, followed the service roadway back onto route 3 and headed toward Clifton. Cammy studied a map as Bear drove. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-geo-dell/1129594130?ean=2940152008579


It seemed as though the entire world turned into a solid wall of noisy gunfire. On both sides and front and back.
The zombie hit the ground thrown back by the force of the bullets. A huge section of her side blown away … https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-geo-dell/1129594071?ean=2940152010350



Geo Dell

Posted by Geo

I spent today working on finishing up the links for the website change. At the beginning of the month Dell changed all the books over, so Amazon has it books back again.

Earth’s Survivors Nations Books:

One: Apocalypse

Two: Rising From The Ashes

Three: The Nation

I know that it took a lot of work to get those books back in that format. So I hope it works out well. He intends to support that series.

What else? Well spring has sprung here. It was so beautiful out today that I thought possibly someone screwed up, drugged me in my sleep, and transported me to somewhere warm. It was disheartening to find I was still here in New York but it was definitely heart lifting to feel warmth outside. I guess God turned the heat back on. Okay, he’s a good landlord after all. Forget all those bad things I said. I took the afternoon and threw together an acoustic guitar I could kick around with. I am also working on a bigger project that still has a way to go before it wraps up.

We have talked about books and besides finishing the second Dreamer’s book, and then Hurricane this fall, the summer writing schedule is open.

I live less that two hundred miles from most of the people I know. I have one friend that lives quite a bit further, the middle of the country, and another that lives all the way on the opposite end of the continent. What amazes me this year is that even though some of us are so far apart we have all had a long winter with all kinds of unusual weather. It’s strange to me that I can be talking to someone 1500 miles away and they are having the same weather I am having. That isn’t usually the case. It has been an odd winter.

Here is a short look at White Trash that I hope you enjoy…

White Trash

Copyright Dell Sweet 2018

* * * * *

Original Material Copyright © 2010 – 2014 by Dell Sweet

All rights reserved

* * * * *

This preview 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.

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 persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.

Cover and Interior Art Copyright 2019Dell Sweet

~

Friday morning: Mistakes

The headlights swept the area of the lookout and then flicked off. Ben waited to see what would happen next. The car had parked right next to their own car, but they weren’t in it. They were a hundred yards up, just inside the tree line.

The door opened and a light came on. A voice: “It’s the right color maybe it is them,” the voice said. A young, thin black man stepped out into the circles of light cast by the headlights and stretched his legs.

The driver, a shorter even skinnier white kid, got out and looked around. “I don’t see them,” he said. He lit a cigarette and then shut the car door. “Yo ho,” he said loudly. “If you’re here speak up. We know we’re late.”

The silence held. Ben put one finger to his lips so Ed wouldn’t be tempted to answer.

“Told you. They’re fuckin’ long gone,” the black kid said.

Ben made a follow-me motion and headed over to the car. Not really sneaking, but walking quietly. He held his gun at his side and Ed did the same.

Both men were smoking now and looking out at the city lights. Ben walked right up to them and then purposely ground his foot into the gravel to make a noise. Both of them screamed and jumped.

“Where the fuck have you two been?” Ben asked. He actually was mad but he was even more relieved and trying hard not to laugh at the way they had screamed.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” the black kid asked. He seemed to recover the quickest. “We don’t know you.”

“Yeah?” Ben asked. “Do you know Carlos by any chance? Are you two sorry looking fuckers Daryl and Danny? Huh? Would that be you two?”

“Man, there ain’t no call to cuss,” Daryl said.

“No? Then explain why you’re almost twenty-four fuckin’ hours late?” Ben asked.

“Car broke down. Carlos only gave us enough for this shit box and it broke down,” Daryl said.

“For twenty-four hours?” Ben asked.

“Hey, man, we had to get a part, okay?” Daryl asked.

“What part?” Ben asked.

“The mother fuckin’ alternator, okay, white man?” he asked.

“No need to go in that direction,” Ben said.

“Yeah? Then get off my fuckin’ back,” Daryl said. “And put those guns away unless you’re gonna use them.” He pulled a gun partway out of his own pocket. It looked like a Chinese made 9 mm.

Ben was tempted to shoot the kid just for the threat, but he slipped his pistol back into his jacket pocket, walked over to the Ford’s trunk, unlocked it and swung up the trunk lid. “You ready or what?” he asked.

Up The Hill

It felt like he broke his kneecap when he slammed it into the bottom of the dashboard. He must’ve dozed off. When he had come awake, he heard them talking and realized the deal was finally going down. He jumped out of the car, rubbed the knee for a second and then started down the hill at a quick pace.

It was maybe a quarter mile and he wasn’t in bad shape, but he wasn’t in great shape either. It was the goddamn cigarettes. That was what was the worst of it. Killed your wind. Heart, lungs, bad shit. He had to stop soon before they fucking killed him.

By the time he got close to the lookout he had to stop and catch his breath. He didn’t want them to hear him breathing heavy. He wanted to sneak up on them. He finally caught his breath and crept forward into the woods that surrounded the lookout area.

~

Daryl opened the trunk of the Toyota and picked up the blue duffel bag. He tossed it to Ben and Ben caught it deftly. Ben stared at him until Daryl broke the stare.

“If you want it any time you can have it,” Ben said softly.

Daryl’s eyes cut back up. “What’s that supposed to mean, white boy?” His hand plunged into his jacket pocket.

“Words to an old song,” Ben said and smiled. The smile didn’t extend to his eyes. His eyes said, ‘If you want a piece of me you can have it.’ Daryl looked away again.

Ben set the bag down and ran the zipper. He pulled a few bricks out, counted and then looked back at Daryl who refused to meet his gaze. His eyes kept sliding way.

“A little short,” Ben said.

“My ass,” Daryl said.

“It is going to be your ass,” Ben agreed quietly. “There are two and two missing. See this mark?” He turned one of the bricks over to show a mark in the shape of a star. “I know that mark. That mark tells me a lot. Where it came from, which clan made it. And what it is. Pure heroin. I mean pure. Hasn’t been touched. From Torres, deep Mexico.” He turned the other brick upside down. A double circle with a triangle. “Also pure. This time cocaine. Almonte’s crew, Ecuador. I know this stuff, like I said. And I know what should be here. Two and two missing. Cough it up.” His gun magically appeared in his hand.

“Hey, man,” Danny said. “I think we need to calm down. Why you wanna kill someone right off the bat, man, huh?”

“Where is it?” Ben asked. He set the duffel bag into the trunk, and switched the gun to his shooting hand. “I don’t necessarily want to kill anyone, but I will. I have no problem with that.” He lifted the gun and aimed at Daryl’s head.

“Hey,” Daryl started.

Drop the mother fuckin’ gun,” a new voice said. “Don’t think about changing positions… I mean all you fucks. All of you. Starting with you, wise guy. Bring that gun down.”

The man who owned the voice stepped up behind him and pressed the barrel of a gun to Ben’s neck. Ben’s hand dropped and the man took the gun from him. “On the ground out flat, Hands behind your head,” the man told him.

He took Ben’s gun and dropped it into the blue duffel bag. He took Ed’s gun, then Daryl’s, and Danny’s last. He checked the cars, found the other 9 mm in the glove box. He took Ed’s bundle of cash when he searched him, whistling as he did. He dropped the cash and the three cheap, black 9 mm guns into the blue duffel bag, which he set into the open trunk of the Ford. He holstered his own weapon and flipped the safety off the small Chinese gun Daryl had been carrying. He stepped back and tripped over the curb.

The gun went flying and all hell broke loose. Ben jumped up and caught Ed’s elbow dragging him backwards fast. Daryl and Danny grabbed the brown suitcase, threw it on to the back seat of the Toyota and jumped inside.

Ben had been just about to make his own move when the cop made the mistake of tripping, playing right into Ben’s game plan.

The cop found his feet, got his own gun back into his hands and then ran for the woods. Ben got his other gun from his jacket, passed the 22 to Ed, and palmed the silenced 9 mm himself. They both duck walked around to the front of the Ford, got to the door, levered it open and got in. Ed crawled across to the passenger’s seat while Ben jumped into the driver’s seat. A shot came from behind them, staring the rear window and passing through the fleshy part of Ben’s shoulder. Ed leaned out the window and opened up on Daryl who was leaning out of the driver’s side of the Toyota trying for another shot. He apparently had no idea how to use the gun. He ducked downward into the car when Ed fired back.

“Ed, you gotta drive. You gotta drive, Ed” Ben said. He held his shoulder as he slid across the seat and they switched places.

Ed was nervous, but he got the car going. He started to turn around to see where he was going, but another shot starred the glass and he simply floored the Ford and dropped it into reverse.

The Ford leapt backwards, smashed into the rear quarter panel of the Toyota and pushed past it. The Toyota skipped across the gravel as the Ford screeched past it, spun around, and came to a stop pointing outward. Ed floored it and started out of the turnout.

Daryl had the Toyota started a second later. “We got to get them, Danny. We got to get them or were dead, man. We got to.” He spun the wheel hard left on the Toyota, jammed the gas pedal to the floorboard and slewed around, clipping the stone wall and then screaming out onto the blacktop; chasing after the Ford.

Ben managed to get his cell phone out of his pocket and punched in a number.

“I’m coming to you,” he said… “Like a dream… A bad fuckin’ dream… I’ve been shot… Not bad, but be ready for me.” He clicked off the phone and shoved it into his pocket. “I’m gonna tell you where to turn. Don’t sweat it. This is part of the plan, only it was supposed to be just the cop, not these dip shits. Now it’ll probably be both… I can shoot: If I have to take them out I will… You understand, Eddie? You got me? You drive. Turn when I tell you, we’ll be fine. Drive hard, but don’t lose them. They stole from us, we have to get that back, plus the cop was probably parked farther away. We have to give him time to reach his car and follow us.”

Ed nodded.

“Good…” He took a deep breath. The pain was heavy in his shoulder. Maybe a fractured bone, maybe worse. Or maybe just the freshness of the wound. “Okay, turn left at the bottom of the hill. First left, that will get us on our way.” Ben told him.

Up The Hill Again

He made it back to the car and nearly passed out. He couldn’t open the door. The door was stuck, and then he remembered he had locked it. He reached into his pocket for his keys but the pocket was empty. He searched his other pocket, his coat, but there were no keys.

He yelled. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” He slammed his fists into the top of the car over and over again. He finally turned around, leaned back against the car and then slid to the ground.

He stayed that way for a while, he had no idea how long. Finally, the rage passed and he got back to his feet and walked off down the hill in search of the keys.

Thankfully most of the lookout was well lit. Still, he didn’t find the keys until he was at the absolute end of his journey. They were on the ground amid some scuffed up earth, just about a foot past the curbing he had tripped over.

He pocketed the keys just as the sound of distance sirens came to him and looking out over the city he saw the red lights heading for the park. He sighed and began to run once again.

*******

I hope you enjoyed the preview. You can get the book at the links below.

That’s it for me. I hope you have a great week. Dell will be here Sunday. Check out the new site when you get a chance. Geo…

White Trash: ItunesSmashwords – KoboNookG Play

Jimmy Hoffa

Posted by Geo Dell

Jimmy Hoffa and other things that make me wonder.

I have been concerned about the fact that Jimmy Hoffa must be buried somewhere. And they have had such reliable snitches to tell them where the body is that I started thinking about the odds of actually finding it. I mean, eventually, after sixty million wrong guesses, the odds will narrow, right? Then I thought, hey, when I was kid and anything came up missing, the cat, or the dog, you could usually get a pretty fast answer from Mom or Dad…

“Well, Spot went to the farm. You see, son, Spot was getting to be a handful and with your mother and I both working, well, we thought it would be better for Spot at the farm.”

“Well, geez, I didn’t want Spot to go to the farm. Can we at least visit him?”

“Sure, son. Sure we can.”

And of course we never did, but I built up a story in my head about the farm and what it was like. There would be Spot, running through the fields, chasing butterflies. Toilet bowls and fire hydrants everywhere. A cat to chase under every tree. Good old spot.

So, when I heard that maybe Jimmy Hoffa went to the farm, I thought, well, hell, that’s not so bad. I never heard any complaints from Spot about it, but as we all know, for the fourth or fifth time, Jimmy Hoffa is not at the farm chasing butterflies with Spot, or Tigger, or Frisky. Not there. But it got me thinking. He hasn’t been at the farms. Nor in the bridge. Nor the dump. Nor the vacant lot. Here is a short list of places he wasn’t:

Sources: Combined Google searches: API, NPR and CBS. (Paraphrased)

Authorities have pursued multiple leads as to Hoffa’s whereabouts since his disappearance in 1975. He was last seen outside an Oakland County restaurant where he was to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.

Waterford Township, Mich.: Roughly two months after he vanished, in September 1975, investigators spent three days digging in a 29-acre area on a farm in Waterford Township. State police and members of the organized crime division of the state attorney general’s office broke out their spades after a Mafia informant’s tip…

Detroit area: In October 1975, FBI agents probed the trash compactor at the Raleigh House restaurant, roughly five miles from the Machus Red Fox, the restaurant where Hoffa was last seen alive. The theory was that Hoffa’s body was stuffed in the compactor and hauled off by a Mafia-connected sanitation company; investigators turned up nothing in their search of the 40-cubic-yard compactor…

Jersey City, N.J.: The search for Hoffa took investigators to Jersey City, where in December 1975, FBI agents searched a 47-acre landfill with mob connections. Officially, investigators weren’t searching for the rumored 55-gallon drum with Hoffa’s remains, but rather the body of Armand Faugno, a missing loan shark…

Hampton Township, Mich.: An incarcerated informant, who had already led police to another body, claimed Hoffa’s body could be found under an above-ground pool in the backyard of his former home in Hampton Township. The tipster, brought to the scene in handcuffs, watched as a backhoe demolished the pool in July 2003 and dug beneath it. Later, the people living in the home would get a new pool paid for by the county…

Milford, Mich.: The FBI called it quits after a 12-day search of Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford in May 2006. A 100-foot barn was demolished as part of the search by 35 agents, geologists, archaeologists and other experts. While the dig didn’t yield any remains, it proved to be big business for the Milford Baking Co., which sold 3,500 “Hoffa cupcakes” featuring a green plastic hand reaching up through the icing and sprinkles…

East Rutherford, N.J.: In 1999 a convicted mobster alleged Hoffa’s body was buried at Giants Stadium, though the feds never dug it up to find out. In a Playboy interview, Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos said Hoffa’s body was cut up in Michigan, then driven to New Jersey and buried in the concrete foundation of the stadium — Section 107…

Roseville, Mich.: After a tip in the fall of 2012, authorities began sampling soil on the property of a Roseville home. Investigators had used radar and found an unusual mass, which prompted the sampling, but the results showed no sign of human decomposition in the dirt…

There are more of course, but remember, these are places Jimmy Hoffa is not. They have been checked, cleared, in Cop speak. Not there. But this past weekend I decided to put in some outdoor security lighting at home. What does that have to do with Jimmy Hoffa? Well, hang on. We’ll get there. I decided on two of those big sodium vapor lights, except one wasn’t sodium vapor.

I got to the store and I saw all the ‘Go Green’ stickers, you know – “Don’t use so much energy!” “It’s your world too!” “Save up to $298.00 a year!” Okay, I speak that language, ‘You had me at money’ so I bought two of the Fluorescent yard lights. Unfortunately I had to take one back as it was missing parts. So, I ended up having to put a sodium High Pressure system in and a fluorescent system for the other light. Hmm. The whole idea had been that they match, same replacement bulbs. But hey, It’s my world too and I do care… And I saved $300.00 bucks (Nearly).

So I get the lights. I get the post for the one that goes in the side yard (A 16 foot 4 inch by 4 inch pressure treated post. I buy a shovel. Thought about post hole diggers, said, Nah, I’m a Man, I don’t need post-hole diggers (Note: Get the post hole diggers. They’re called Post Hole Diggers for a reason! God, I can be so stupid), outdoor wire, Wire connectors, and on and on. Then I came home and picked the spot for my pole, but then I thought, ‘Whoa… Wait a minute… They have not found Jimmy Hoffa yet. He could be right under that spot I want to dig up to sink my post in the ground.’

I’m pretty sure Jimmy Hoffa is not in my garden, or my side yard, or the driveway. Those are all areas I have worked on lately, had to dig down into, and I didn’t see anything at all that looked Jimmy Hoffaish. Yes, I know that is an incorrect usage of ish, but, really, are there any correct uses of ish?

Here’s the thing though, I have not dug into the front yard and I am very concerned that he could be there, but not concerned enough to do anything about it. And if you are, and you would like to dig up my front yard to look for him, no. No! Now, after I’m dead, sure. Have a blast. Tell the new owners, in fact, that I said you could.

Reasons why Jimmy Hoffa might be in my front yard.

1. He wasn’t at the last place, so he has to be somewhere.

2. He had a friend who had a friend who had a cousin who visited New York one time.

3. Jimmy Hoffa worked for the Labor Union, and a lady just down the street went into labor a few days ago.

4. It’s not a farm. They’ve dug up enough farms.

5. The cats always seem to avoid a certain section of the lawn. Walking right long and then hop straight up into the air. Yes. I realize cats are nuts and I do have crazy cats, but still.

Okay, that’s enough reasons. I believe that is more than the FBI had, information wise, the last time, isn’t it?

But hey, considering all the places they have dug to find him the odds are pretty good, or even just as good, that he could be out there in the front yard. So, I mounted the light on top of the garage instead. Yes, I know, I bowed to my own fears. And the side yard light pole I installed next to the house and incorporated into the deck. I figured, ‘Okay. Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is out there in the yard, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have buried him right next to the house.’

I am happy to report that I dug the hole and did not find anything at all… Well, one bone, I’m pretty sure it was a ham bone the dog buried there. I say that because the neighbors dog, I don’t have a dog of my own, seemed pretty bent out of shape about me digging up the bone. But, come to think of it, that is better than the FBI did. At least I found something. Anyway, I didn’t call the FBI, the dog took the bone and left, he’ll probably rebury it somewhere else, you know how dogs are. Meanwhile, Jimmy Hoffa’s still missing I’m sorry to report.

In other news. Fred, my cat was nearly taken by the turkeys again. You may not believe this but there are turkeys that live in the woods behind me. Today I was in my office taking care of some email when I heard a rush of wings, a squawk, and some gobbling: If you have never heard a 35 to 40 pound bird drop out of a pine tree to the ground you should. Nothing that big should be a bird, and if it is it should not be falling from a damn tree.

Anyway, I rushed from the house. No, really, I did rush from the house, and what do I see, Fred standing her ground against a turkey that looked to be about three feet high. No, I don’t really think it was three feet high, but it was all of two and some change. The turkey saw me and took off. Good, I was not in the mood to fight a turkey, I was still concerned about Jimmy Hoffa as I had to put mulch in the garden, and that meant turning over the soil.

Well, it is obvious that the turkeys have it in for Fred. Fred has killed just about everything that lives in the woods at one time or another: When she was a kitten she used to bring them to me. Yes, Fred is female cat. It’s a long story. Damn cat. I think, sort of like that Clint Eastwood movie, Unforgiven, that the birds, mice, chipmunks, (This year has been a tough one for the chipmunks, that’s all I’ll say) and yes, probably the neighborhood dogs too, got together and sent word to the turkeys. I think, like the cowboys in Unforgiven, that Fred’s days are numbered. But if you had told me a year or so ago that a turkey would try to attack a cat? I would have laughed. Not no more. Not no more. This is serious business. These turkeys have taken a contract out on Fred I believe.

Okay, last news. The writing is done for the fifth Earth’s Survivors book. Itwent through editing and is now available. This book, Plague deals with the plague that is sweeping what is left of civilization. Some call them un-dead, some zombies, some plague victims: Although no one can agree on a name, they all agree that there has to be some way to stop them. This book sees the beginnings of Alabama Island, The Fold, and the first babies born in the Nation. It also sees the loss of a major character from the founders of the Nation.

Earth’s Survivors Plague @ Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/555784

Barns & Noble (Nook):

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-dell-sweet/1122252296;jsessionid=58A5B3A892CD4085C814FD26EB1A1555.prodny_store03-4?ean=2940152010350

Apple (iTunes):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-plague/id1015630497?mt=11

Free eBooks for your weekend reading:

Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse:

United States link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515457

United Kingdom Link:

Okay. Once again it’s raining here in northern New York. I guess I don’t mind the rain so much. Have a great week…