I Hear That The Pink Ones Are The Most Dangerous

Went for a walk along the river the afternoon, and came across a small croc sunning itself on the shore down by the stadium.

Be careful out there, folks.


Night Poll: Snippet #1


I have been doing my best to keep my butt in the seat, writing, for the past few weeks.  While I haven't always been successful, I've done well enough at it that I have an outline, copious notes on characters and places, and 15k words written so far.  Once Da Goils are back in school, I'm hoping that I'll be able to keep to a more regular schedule.

So - here's another sample.  There's a lot still to be written, obviously.



Coy knelt next to Mike.  “You going to make it?” he asked.

“Broke my node,” Mike slurred.  “Ag’in.”  Coy thought he sounded more annoyed than anything.  “Hurts like a son of a bitsh.”  He put one hand on the ground and tried to lever himself up.  Wincing, he lowered himself back to the ground.  “Ribs.”  He waved at the truck.  “Warn ‘em e’s in da woods.”

Coy stood up and trotted back to the truck.  He reached in through the open passenger side window and grabbed the radio.  “Jon Paul.  You there, kid?”  he said into the handset as he walked back towards Mike.  He waited a few seconds, then said, “Jon Paul, are you there?”  Again, no answer.  He looked at Mike.

Mike peered up at him.  “Dere’s a button.”

Coy grunted.  “I know, I know.  You just sit there and let me do all the work, as usual.”  He keyed the talk key on the radio.  “Jon Paul, Jon Paul.  You there?”

There was a short pause, then a brief bit of static before Jon Paul answered.  “Coy.  Jon Paul here, over.”

Coy shook his head.  Of course both the folks who were familiar with using a radio were in one group.  He looked at Mike and made a show of pushing the call button.

“Jon Paul, Alexi’s in the woods, and probably headed in your direction.  Mike’s down.  Got clocked pretty bad.  Couple of busted ribs.”  He stopped, bit his lip as he thought.  “Not sure what we can do for you.  Mike’s in no shape to go for a walk in the woods, and we don’t want to come any closer than we already are.  We’re going to have to stay put.”  He let go of the call button, then pressed it again.  “Over,” he said, giving Mike a smug look.  Mike rolled his eyes.

“Coy, hon, this here’s Sophie,” the sasquatch drawled.  “Jon Paul and Amy are putting their heads together to try and figure out what all we can do, ‘sides keep an eye out for him.”

“Sophie, where are you?  Any chance you could circle around and head back?”

“Don’t know, hon.  Bean’s got the GPS, but it’s been flaky.  Should be a straight run up to their farm, but JT thinks we might have gotten turned around some.”  She paused for a second.  Coy could hear Jon Paul and Amy in the background, though he couldn’t make out what they were saying.  “Hold on,” Sophie said.  “Amy wants…” there was a burst of static.

“Lost you there, Soph,” said Coy.  “What does Amy want?  Oh, yeah.  Over.”

“Coy, Amy.  We really need to work on your radio discipline.”  Coy glanced at Mike, who snorted and winced.  “What was his status?  Is Alexi armed?  Was he injured?  Over.”

“Amy, Coy.  No.  Mike popped him once or twice, but otherwise, he’s ok.  Don’t think Alexi had a gun.  He’s dangerous as is, though.  If he finds himself an old tree branch, you could be in a world of hurt.  Best thing would be if you were to avoid him entirely.”

There was another burst of static.  “What’re you doin’ to that thing?” Mike asked.

“Just pushing the button and talking,” said Coy indignantly.  “That wasn’t me.”

“Coy,” said Jon Paul.  Coy waited a second, then smirked and keyed the radio.  “Coy here.  Did you mean to say over, kid?”

“Coy,” said Jon Paul again.  Another burst of static, longer and louder.  Then Amy said, “What.”

Coy frowned.  “Amy, lost you there.  Repeat?”

“Coy.” Jon Paul again. “Coy.”  Amy.  “Coy Coy CoyCoyCoy.”  Their two voices, alternating and then blending into one another.

Static.  Silence.

“Crap,” whispered Coy. He looked at the radio, then at Mike.  “That does not sound good.”

The radio chirped.  “Coy, Amy here.  That wasn’t us.  Say again, that was not us.”  Her voice was clipped.  He could hear the stress in it, even over the radio.  “Does Alexi have a radio? Over.”

“Amy, Coy.  No, he doesn’t.  I don’t know…”  He trailed off as the radio gave a squeal that devolved into another burst of static.

“Dangerous,” the radio said.  “Hurt.”

Mike licked suddenly dry lips.  “Coy,” he said slowly, “that was your voice.”

Coy looked at Mike, then up at the mid afternoon sun.  “It’s already awake.  Damnit.  It should still be…”  He trailed off and forced himself to take a deep breath before he keyed the radio again.

“Amy, Jon Paul.  Sophie.  Listen.  Forget finding the Cole’s pot farm.  Just - just leave.”  As he spoke, static played back and forth over his words.  He raised his voice.  “Amy, answer if you can.  Leave now.  Say again, leave now.  Avoid Alexi.  Go northeast, look for the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We can come pick you up.”  Static.  “Amy, Amy.  Answer, Amy.  Can you hear me? Amy!”

The radio squealed loudly enough to make him wince, then went silent.  He opened his eyes.

“Dangerous,” it said in his voice.  “Hurt.  Come.  Stay.  Stay stay stay stay stay…”  A final bust of static, then the radio squealed continuously until Coy finally turned it off.

“It’s talking on t’e radio,” Mike said angrily.  “T’e radio!  Why did’ you say t’ey could do ‘at?”

Coy sighed and crouched down to get his arm around Mike.  “I didn’t know,” he said.  “The last time we did something like this, Marconi wasn’t even a glimmer in his dada’s eyes.”

“Ah, right,” Mike grudgingly admitted as Coy helped him to his feet.  “F’got.  Sorry.”

The Faerie's Godmother


Larry Correia, this is all your fault. It may end up being a heaping pile of suck, but dang it, I've got a story to tell.
You need to set a schedule, put your butt in the seat, hands on the keyboard, and friggin’ TYPE STUFF.
Giving it my best go. I'll let y'all know when I hit 40k words, since I'll apparently need some encouragement around there, according to the ILOH.

Night Poll : Prologue

Blue Ridge Mountains

“Hon?  It’s almost time to go.”

J.T. nodded in the general direction of… well, not his wife.  Partner.  Life-companion.

“In a minute,” he said, staring into his cup of coffee.

Eight thirty in the morning.  That was no time for a decent man to be up, he thought, staring into the last dregs of coffee in his mug.  Not for the first time, he realized that if it wasn’t for Bean, he would be completely useless.  A slacker, his dad use to say.  Sleeping until noon, drifting through life, not amounting to anything.

He chuckled to himself, lifted the mug, and downed the last of the coffee.  It was lukewarm and wonderfully bitter.  He paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts.  Yeah, ok.  He was living in a shack in the middle of the Blue Ridge mountains with his… life-companion.  Might as well be wife.  They made a living, sort of.  By being slackers.

A certain type of slacker.  And they were good at it.

He let the coffee mug drop to the old, scarred oak table with a satisfying thump.  They had found it left out for the garbage man one night when they were coming back from Asheville.  A perfectly fine table, left out for whomever happened by.

Story of his life, he thought.

“Hon?”

“Coming!” he called.  He pushed himself back from the table.  Another cast off they had found.  Their whole shack was like that.  Made up of things that looked useless, but still had some good life in them. Just needed the right person to appreciate them and make them worthwhile.

Kind of like him.  Da… Dang.  Some ways, Bean was a pain, he thought.  He sighed.  She didn’t like him swearing, so now he was not just watching his speech, he was watching his thoughts.  “It’s for the children,” she’d say.  Not that they had any, right now, but neither he nor Bean were getting any younger, and she was talking more about kids these days.

He looked around the shack.  It wasn’t the best, but… yeah.  He could raise a kid or two here.  Maybe it was time.

“Hon?  It’s getting late.  We gotta...”

“Coming!” he repeated, standing up.  Time to make the donuts.

He stepped out into the morning light, Bean was waiting for him, two battered old backpacks by her feet.  She already had them all packed up and ready to go, he thought.  She was a woman on a mission.  Bud, their golden lab, was sitting next to her, already panting in the morning heat.  Bud looked at him expectantly.

J.T. raised his arms above his head, enjoying the feel of the muscles in his back stretching.  Yeah.  He was ready, now.  He walked over to Bean, and gave Bud a scritch before looking at his… Well.  Wife.

Best to get used to that, he thought.

He cocked his head at Bean, and enjoyed the sight.  At five ten, she was just a hair taller than him.  Even after all these years, he couldn’t get over just how wonderful she looked.  Even in her jeans and a flannel shirt, she looked good, with her big brown eyes and her dark hair falling around her shoulders.

“Ready?” she asked.  “We gotta get going, or…” she trailed off.  He knew what she meant.  They’d have to head out now if they wanted to make it to their patch by noon.  Any later, and they might as well call it a day.

Which was tempting.  He could imagine a lot of pleasant ways to pass a lazy day in summer with Bean.  But they had done just that, they day before, and the day before that… and they needed to check on their patch.

He winked at her.  “Ready as I’ll ever be,” he said.  He grabbed his pack, gave Bud another scritch. “Who wants to go for a walk?”  Bud looked at him, and started jumping up and down on his hind legs. “Oh, you do?  Want to go for a walk?”  He grinned at Bean, and she smiled back at him.  Stifling a yawn, he patted Bud on the head, and leaned in to give Bean a quick kiss on the neck.

“Right,” he said. “Let’s go.”

They headed off towards the edge of the forest behind their shack, with Bud gamboling around them.  Three hours, more or less, to their patch, assuming they didn’t stop along the way.  A beautiful walk in the late summer morning with his woman at his side and his dog keeping them company.

“So,” he said.  “I was thinking…”

“Mmmm?” said Bean, looking at the trail ahead.

J.T. looked over at Bud.  “Ya know, If we hurry, we might get back in time to head into Asheville.”

Bean looked at him.  “Night out?” she said.  “It’s Wednesday.  Not a lot going on.”

J.T. took a deep breath.  “Yeah,” he said. “But.  Um.  You know, um.” He stopped for a second, there amid the trees.  Bean took a few steps, and looked back at him.

He scuffed the dirt with his foot, and carefully said, “Well.  The JP stays open a bit later on Wednesdays.  I was just thinking, um…” He stopped, and looked up at Bean.

She was grinning like a madwoman.  The sight of her melted his heart.

“Why, J.T.,” she said.  “Are you thinking of finally making an honest woman out of me?”

He looked at her for a moment, then took a deep breath before lowering himself to one knee.  Bud immediately came careening over towards him, and he pushed his dog away with one hand.  “Well... yeah.  If you’ll have me.” He fended off Bud’s kisses again, and looked up at Bean.  “Whatd’ya think?”

Bean got a serious look on her face.  “I think that if we stop along the way, we won’t have time to make it to the JP tonight,” she said.  Then she grinned again, and reached down to take his hand and pull him up.  “And we will stop, you dork!” she said, just before she planted a kiss on him that was… well.

If he had known it would be like this, he would have proposed years ago.

When they she finally let him go, she looked him in the eyes, and said, “I don’t think we’ll make it back in time, do you?”

“Um.  Probably not?”

“Darn sure not!” she said, kissing him again.  She pulled back, and grabbed his hands.  “But tomorrow, right?  First thing?”

He looked at her.  God, she was beautiful.  Everything he had ever wanted in a woman, and she loved him.

“Yeah,” he said.  He smiled at her.  “First thing, for sure.”



They had met in high school.  At first, they were just part of a crowd that hung out and smoked together.  Stoners, the lot of them.  Some of their crowd had drifted away, into harder stuff or onto the wagon, but he and Bean were content to just be themselves and enjoy whatever came their way.  That attitude brought them closer together, and before long, one thing had led to another.  By the time they graduated, he and Bean were a couple.  A couple of what, he wasn’t quite sure, but they fit together like peas in a pod.

Right around graduation, folks started asking them what they planned on doing with their lives.  They both made some noises about going to college, or maybe getting a job.  By then, though, they both knew they had the same dream.  A small one, sure, but they agreed that small dreams were the ones that you could actually work out.  A cabin in the woods, just enough work to keep their bellies full, and… well.  Just time together to smoke and contemplate life, and each other.

By that point, “contemplating each other” was a big part of their lives.

They might have ended up going their separate ways, like a lot of high school couples seemed to do.  Except that right after they graduated, Bean’s uncle Lucas died.  Out of all the folks in her family, she’d be the closest to him, his favorite niece.  She was the only one who had patience for the old man, the only one who loved being out in the middle of nowhere in God’s own creation as much as he did.

After the funeral, a lawyer sent Bean a letter, letting her know that good old Uncle Lucas had named her as the sole inheritor of his few worldly possessions.

Including his little shack in the woods a couple hours north of Asheville.

It was a bit of a rough time for Bean - she really had loved her uncle - but that cabin, falling into her lap like that, had made half their dream a reality.  J.T. saw which way the winds of fate were blowing, and called in some favors with some friends.  With some seeds set aside, and a bit of scouting, he found the perfect place, and made the second half of their dream a reality.

Their own little patch, up in the hills.

They worked their tails off that first year, making everything work.  Cleaning out the shack, tending their patch.  J.T. and Bean both worked odd jobs to make ends meet.  It wasn’t the easiest life, and they didn’t have a lot except each other.  

That was enough.

By their second year in their shack, it felt like home.  J.T. had scavenged enough materials from construction jobs he worked that they were able to build a wood shed, and off further into the woods, a drying shed.  Just in time for their first harvest from their little patch in the woods.

More than enough to keep them both happy, with some to spare.

The idea was to just grow enough for themselves.  Keep a little patch, off on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest, somewhere where nobody would bother to look.  Big grow operations attracted attention, but a little clearing with a few plants?  Nah.  Nobody would ever pay attention to that.  Especially if they were careful, and picked a good spot well away from the cabin, and just, you know, let it grow.

They had never really meant to start dealing, but… well, that first year, they got a bumper crop. J.T. had found the perfect little dell a couple of hours into the woods.  There was a nice little natural clearing in between a couple of ridges, right next to a spring.  They tilled the land, laid down some seed, and the stuff grew like… well, like weed.

Excellent, primo, mellow, smooth weed.

J.T. didn’t know if he had scored some really good seeds, or if he had just picked a good spot, but their little patch produced more than they could possibly use in a year.  When they looked at the excess, and looked at each other, selling a little bit to make ends meet just seemed like the easiest thing to do.

Bean stopped taking the odd job that fell into her lap, and soon after, J.T. was more or less out of the work force as well.  Oh, he still took the odd construction job just to keep busy, but really, once a year, they would meet up with his friend Chaz and pass on a bale or so of really, really good stuff.  J.T. knew Chaz made more from selling it off than they ever saw, but even then, they made more than enough to keep food on the table, money in the bank and just live the life that they had always wanted: the two of them, a shack in the woods, and enough weed that they could just kick back and enjoy their life together.



J.T. was broken out of his reverie by Bud.  They had covered a good five or six miles or so, hiking through the woods.  Bean would occasionally check her GPS, and reorient them so they were headed in the right direction. They tried to never take the exact same path twice, to keep from beating a trail that anyone could follow.

Right around 10:30, though, Bud pulled up short next to J.T., and started whining.

J.T. looked at him and sighed.  He hadn’t always been like this.  Last year, though - no, the year before that, he corrected himself - Bud had started getting antsy around the patch.  As time went on, he got more and more anxious the closer they got.  Today, they were still a good two, three miles out, and Bud was calling it a day.

J.T. couldn’t really blame him.  He told himself that Bud was just getting old.  About the time that Bud started getting freaked out about the patch, though, he noticed that there was a change in the woods.

The first couple of years, he and Bean would generally head up to the patch later on in the afternoon, and make their way back just before it got dark, in the cool of the day.  Then things started getting… well, spooky, he admitted to himself.  There was no other word for it, he thought.

One day, Bud had balked at going into the clearing.  He had sat at the edge of the woods, whining the entire time Bean and J.T. were checking on the plants, pulling weeds and making sure everything was good.  It had freaked both him and Bean out, to be honest.  Without really mentioning it to each other, they had moved their departure time from the shack up so that they ended up arriving at their patch earlier and earlier in the afternoon.

Now, they only came out in the full light of day.

Bean looked at J.T. as he leaned over to scratch Bud behind the ears.  “Already?” she asked.  Her brow was furrowed.

“Guess so,” said J.T.  He gave Bud a pat, and straightened up.  “We’re going on, Bud.  Head on home.”  Bud just sat and stared intently at him.

“Go on, git!” he shouted, slapping Bud on the butt.  Bud jumped, and looked over his shoulder, and let out a low growl.

J.T. looked at Bean.  She looked a the GPS and gave him a quick, nervous nod.

Bud was barking towards where their patch was.

J.T. stooped down and gave Bud a quick hug.  “Go on home, boy,” he whispered.  “We’ll be fine.”  Bud gave him a quick lick on the face, then stood and trotted back the way they had come.

J.T. straightened up and glanced at his watch.  10:30, on the dot.  He look at Bean, and took a deep breath.  “Let’s go, then,” he said.  His voice seemed suddenly loud to him, and he realized that the normal woodland sounds of the forest - the insects, the birdsong - had quieted.  He could hear the soft sound of the wind in the trees, but nothing else.

“In and out, right?” said Bean, quietly.

“In and out,” he said, just as softly.  “Then back home, and I’m thinking maybe a night out after all.  We can get a room, stay in town, visit the JP first thing in the morning, OK?”  He gave her a smile.

Her eyes got wide, and she smiled back at him.  “Sounds like a plan.”

He looked back at where Bud has disappeared for a few seconds, before saying, “Yeah.  Then maybe next week we, we should maybe look for a new place for our patch.”

Bean glanced at the woods, and whispered.  “Yeah.  Works for me.  Let’s go.”

Proud Son

About 18 months ago or so, I made mention of my Dad's brain surgery.  While things went well... any time you start taking a scalpel to brain matter, you generally end up with a long road to complete recovery.

The past few months have been particularly hard on Dad.  I won't go into details, but will mention that they have had him on medication that has left him incredibly tried and often struggling to get his thoughts in order.  For him, that last bit has been a real trial.

This past Saturday, we went to visit, and took him out to see the local fireworks display at my old home town's Community Days.  Dad was - almost literally - a new man.  Still not back to 100%, but very, very obviously doing better.  Walked around, talked to some folks, and generally was more like his old self than I've seen him in a long time.

Now, Dad's on the borough Council.  He was president for a few years, in fact, when his party (call them Party A) was in the majority on council.  Things change, and while he's still on the council, Party B is now in the majority.

So I was kind of surprised that while we were there, waiting for the fireworks to start, he stopped by to talk to the folks manning the booth for Party B.

I kidded him about getting in trouble for talking to them, and he said, "You know, I tried to resign from the council last week."

"You had said you were going to if you weren't feeling better.  Didn't they let you?"

"No.  They talked me out of it."

"Why?  They didn't want to have a special election or something?"

"No.  (Party B) would have gotten to appoint somebody."

"So (Party A) talked you out of it?"

Dad stopped and looked at me.  "No.  (Party B) did."

"Wait a minute.  They passed up the opportunity to appoint another (Party B) guy to council in order to keep you around?"

Dad just shrugged.  "Yep."

Dang.

I mean... I love him.  He's my Dad.  I think the world of him, despite his faults and failings (just as he loves me, despite mine.)

But when your opponents would rather have you around than someone they agree with?  Man.  That is a special kind of awesome.










A Hearty Welcome

It kind of caught me by surprise when the Adaptive Curmudgeon was kind enough to link to me, but I want to make yinz guys and all y'all feel welcome and at home while you visit.

So - welcome!  Here's a picture of my wood shed.


It's filled up a bit more since this picture was taken, thankfully.

I would warn you about ending up on someone's watch list by visiting, but let's be honest - if you're coming from the AC, you're probably already on a list somewhere.  Welcome to the club.

My Day...

[ The phone rings.  SMB Server picks up. ]

SMB Server : Hello?

SMB Client : Hello!  Can we talk?  I speak a dozen different dialects!  Pick one!

SMB Server : Oh, sure!  How about German?  I speak that the best.

SMB Client : English it is, then!

SMB Server : Wait, I said... Ah, never mind. I'll speak English.  What can I do for you?

SMB Client : Can you handez-vous das datei over yonder, señor?

SMB Server : ...

SMB Server : There's something seriously wrong with you, kid.

[ SMB Server hangs up. ]


But... They're Just Ponies... Right?

So... taking Eldest Daughter to her SAT prep class this morning, the topic of My Little Pony came up.  (I'm the father of three girls. Don't judge me.)

Specifically, I was wondering - where are all the male ponies?

The Alldaughter pointed out that there's Big Mac, of course. There's also some male ponies - royalty, mostly - in Canterlot, and a few others. But the majority of the inhabitants of Equestria seem to be female.

"It's a show for seven year old girls, after all," she said.

Which kind of surprised me. I mean, there's one situation that immediately came to mind when I though about the lack of males hanging about...

War.

Total war.

A war so brutal that it has sucked up just about every remotely qualified male pony in Equestria into its unforgiving maw of death and destruction. A war so unforgiving that only the mentally deficient, the elite, and the infirm can keep from being drafted to serve. A war so horrifying that those left behind cannot even bring themselves to make mention of it, instead carrying on as if life was sunshine and roses.

Which got me thinking...

We know that the ponies can perform magic. They are also able to move between certain locations in Equestria and our world; and when they do, they do so directly. Their males are drafted to serve in a relentless war that those who remain behind dare not speak of.

Who else knows of a hidden, relentless war taking place in a realm just a hop, skip and a jump away from our world?

That's right... Harry knows.

Equestria is located in the Nevernever.

The strongest of their population - the male ponies - are off at the Outer Gates, fighting and dying in Mab's endless war to keep all of creation safe from the Outsiders.

Ah-yep. I just shoehorned MLP:FIM into one of the most epic storylines of modern urban fantasy.

"For Avoidance of Doubt"

Ruthlessly stolen from a friend's Facebook post, because he's far more eloquent than I am. Some advice for both Democrats and Republicans who wish to discuss politics with me in this election season:
If you're interested in talking to me about the issues that matter to you, it will help your cause if you refrain from assigning me the role of villain or hero on the basis of my demographics.  
For avoidance of doubt:
  • You have an absolute right to the identity politics that are meaningful to you.
  • However, I feel absolutely no obligation to engage with you on those terms. 
  • If your intent is to hector or lecture me, save your breath. I'm not even going to pretend to take you seriously.
  • If you're not interested in talking to me, then by all means keep talking to yourselves.
I think I may need to get these printed up on a business card.

Join The Club

From a friend's wall of the Book of Faces, where the topic of discussion is the current DNC train wreck. A fellow who I presume is a Democrat commented:
"I'm having a hard time digesting some of what I've seen from people who are supposed to be in the same party as me."
Dude. Welcome to the club.

We're looking for a name. How does "Libertarian" sound to you?