Setting Scenes with Props

Reality Makes Fiction Believable. Threat makes things interesting.

Deveraux stared at the calendar on the wall while he waited: a pastoral farm scene above a month of days and dates. Young men haying in the foreground, scythes in hands, an older man – broader back, heavier build – guided a horse-drawn cart. A few passes remained. In the distance a setting sun. One of the field hands stood wiping his brow with a bright red neckerchief. Another leaned on his scythe, watching him. A white-sided farmhouse and barn with two towering red silos in the distance, at the far end of the field.
Why didn’t they start here and finish at the barn? Wouldn’t it be less work that way?
Under the picture a woman’s delicate hand wrote over specific dates: anniversaries, birthdays, doctors and vet appointments – cat? dog? He hadn’t seen any pets when he walked in – school meetings, church cookouts. Two gold stars where kids won awards. A red heart on a Friday, a church holiday. He’d have to step carefully when he explained why he was here.
Someone approached, a woman, her step light, delicate – the same woman who marked the calendar? The smells of fresh washing line-hung to dry, a lemony furniture polish, a light soap and talcum came through the door before the woman did, wiping her hands on her apron as she did, speaking his name as a question, welcoming a guest yet unsure of his purpose, her voice rising at the end, “Lieutenant Deveraux?”
He held his gray fedora in his hands, his fingers on the brim, spinning it slowly like a kaleidoscope showing nothing but dull browns and blacks and grays.

Now consider this:


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Dancers in the Eye of Chronos

Is there a love so strong it outlives the gods?

Dancers in the Eye of Chronos originally appeared as the “Free Worlds” cover story in August 1994. It’s also the lead story in my Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires anthology and Susan‘s favorite.

Below is the latest version of Dancers (also available on Kindle).

Hope you like and let me know what you think.


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Thankful Turkeys Celebrate – Turkey Day of Infamy 2018

Did you celebrate the Turkey Day of Infamy?

Hello, World.

Non-USA readers may know that yesterday was the USA Thanksgiving, also known as Turkey Day of Infamy.

Oh? You’ve never heard of the Turkey Day of Infamy?

It’s widely known around these parts. Turkeys gather, flock, peck, commiserate, consolidate, and those who remain celebrate making it through another season of bloodshed and horror.

I mean, consider Thanksgiving from the turkeys’ point of view.

Oh, the turkanity!

Yesterday, before we took off to feast (to our everlasting shame!), we took a moment to thank the turkeys who remained with us.

We interviewed a few. Can’t share those. Such fowl language, you’ve never heard. (ha)

But quite the flock, folks.

Such is life in The Wild.

It’s a Man’s World

No man wants to be another’s pet, and love can’t free a slave

 
“Where are you going?”

Susan’s face softened but she looked away.

All the women in the neighborhood were dressed in what we use to all “Easter Sunday” clothes; light dresses, bright, Spring colors of sky blues and yellows and whites, some with flower prints with big roses or tulips or daffodils or morning glories or black-eyed susans and all with long, lush green vines wrapping around them. All of them wearing wide-brimmed sun hats, many with scarves tying their hats around their chins. A few wore sunglasses. All had nice big purses, lots of different colors but most of them white, white cloth gloves covering their hands and all of them in either tasteful heels or flats. Nobody was wearing stilettos or CFMs of any kind.

And they gathered in front of my house.

It started with AnElla. I was walking the dog and she came out of her house in her Easter Sunday finest. I waved and she ignored me, walked back into her house then and came out with all her daughters, her granddaughters, her sisters, even her ailing mother-in-law. They were all standing nice and neat and trim and proper in front of her house.

A few minutes later all the other women in the neighborhood came out of their homes and stood in front of their houses. Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, they looked around, waved at each other, a few looked at the sky – not a cloud to be seen, by the way. Clear sky, bright sun. Clearest I’d seen it in years, really – and one by one then two by two they moseyed over to my house.

Susan came out dressed like all the rest. Sunday is her day to sleep in. I didn’t even know she had those kinds of clothes anymore.

A bus pulled up. An open air bus, a kind of parade or tourist bus with a roof but no windows. The paintjob matched the women’s dresses; blues and yellows and whites and flowers everywhere. No city markings whatsoever.

Women gathered around the bus. Some got in. Susan stood in line with them.

“Where are you going?”

“Don’t worry. It’s okay. You’ll be fine.”

You’ll be fine?

Here’s the thing about Susan: she can’t lie. She never could. Not to me, anyway.

 
“No, come on. Where are you going?”

Tears welled up in her eyes. She looked away. “It’s okay, Paul. I’ll be back soon.”


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Search – Friday, 28 September 73

A triple murder in 1973 Maine starts a search for evil that ends with a discovery of one’s destiny

 
I mentioned being asked to write some kind of murder mystery/detective/profiler and that I’d been doing just that. The work-in-progress, Search, is fact-based. Here’s the first chapter. Let me know what you think.


Grandfather Wolfe sat in the upper right corner of the auditorium listening to his nephew, Isaac Many Deer, talking to the cenhepé about things they could never understand. He’d come in late and planned on sleeping anyway so he didn’t take off his black AIM jacket or cowboy hat except to wave it at Isaac as he sat down.

He stretched out, legs crossed in front of him, the rough feel of freshly washed Wranglers scratching a little, his fingers gently intertwined and his hands resting across his stomach, his thumbs tapping his red on gray flannel shirt, wondering why college auditorium seats were so unaccommodating to old bones.

He didn’t hear the preacher’s question and half heard Isaac’s answer, “What kind of test did you have in mind?”

Wolfe smiled. That’s it, nephew. Piss them off early and often.

It seemed the preacher mumbled while Isaac spoke plainly, clearly. Perhaps he was more familiar with his nephew’s voice.

Wolfe’s nose twitched. Isaac looked over. “I’m familiar with the Old Testament’s test of a true prophet, yes.”

His nose twitched again.

Wolfe nodded at his nephew. His thumbs drummed a Nowiy’o Pe, a war song, on his shirt. The hairs bristled on the back of his neck. Isaac returned his nod; he felt it, too.

Somebody in the auditorium was hunting.


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