Overheard in the Halls: Part Six

Angry Student: Why is it doing that?

Mr. Long-Slavic-Last Name: Because it hates you.

A.S.: Mutter mutter, snarl.

Mr. L-S-L-N: What are you doing in the workroom, pray tell?  [Students are verboten in the workrooms without an adult present. Their adult]

A.S.: Trying to make a copy for Fr. Martinez.

Mr. L-S-L-N: There’s the problem. It knows you are a student and it rejects your imposition on its nap.

A.S. [deflated]: Oh.

The problem with the student’s effort was that A.S. did not have the pass code for the teacher in order to make a copy, and should have gone to She-Who-Knows-All, the school secretary, to have a copy made. Thus the printer’s refusal to function. You can’t skip any steps when dealing with the Printing Gods. Continue reading

Poof! There it Was

I’d taken advantage of the low overcast, brisk, cool wind and time off to indulge in a stroll at noon. Yes, I still wore a hat, dark glasses, and long sleeves. The hawks had been playing, the swallows swooping, and a mockingbird was harassing all and sundry. Two large vans full of preschoolers from one of the churches had taken over the park, generating much noise and stirring up lots of bugs from the grass, to the delight of the birds around. And someone had walked a dog with “digestive distress” and had not bothered to clean the sidewalk. Continue reading

Chapter Excerpt Part 2

Joschka has talked Rada into visiting Santa Fe with him. As tends to happen with that pair, things have not gone quite as planned…As with the previous excerpt, this was written several years ago, so it is rough and does not always match series continuity as it currently stands.

The next morning Rada got up before dawn. She stretched and dressed, then caught a whiff of an intoxicating scent. Ooohhh, that smells like . . . She inhaled deeply and then drifted out of her bedroom, following the delicious, sharp perfume. There, on the table, lay the source of the heady odor. The woman reached for the dark green stems and leaves only to have them snatched up and held out of her reach. Without thinking she jumped, trying to grab the foliage, and Joschka laughed as she bounced with frustration. “You evil, wicked . . !” she accused, eye locked on the bundle of fresh catnip.

“Fascinating,” he observed in a clinical tone, his blue eyes gleaming with mischief. “So there is indeed a universal constant among all the species called ‘feline.’ Plato was correct.” As he spoke, he waved the herbs up and down, watching Rada trying madly to grab them. He relented and dropped the bundle and she snatched it out of the air, burying her face in the leaves. “I also got things for breakfast,” Joschka added, laughing at the woman’s blissfully silly expression. After two or three minutes she returned to something closer to normal and went and shut the catnip in a drawer in her room. “Ready?” and he discretely checked his own weapons as she slung her “camera bag” over one shoulder. Continue reading

Chapter excerpt Part 1

This is from a chapter that I pulled out of In Sheltering Talons because of length and because, while it is important to Rada and Joschka’s story, it is not as important as some other things. It was written a number of years ago, so it is rough in spots.

The early June breeze whispering over the tarmac at Kirtland Air Force Base carried a chill. Sgt. White wondered if he would ever get used to the high desert. He was from Louisiana and his previous tours had been at Barksdale and MacDill, both in sunny, humid climes. But sunrise would come in another hour and already the few stars visible through the city lights were fading, even though it would be a while before the sun slid up from behind Sandia Mountain, east of Albuquerque.

White heard footsteps and turned to find someone striding up towards the gate. “Has the Graf-General arrived?” Major Gonzales asked from the darkness.

“No one has approached the gate, sir.” White replied, wondering who or what a ‘graf-general’ was.

Obviously unhappy about being awake so early, the major started to say something. Then he stopped—both men turning to the sound of car tires and the shine of headlights as a civilian vehicle approached the Air Base gate. It stopped ten meters from the gate and the headlights dimmed. Major Gonzales swiped his pass at the pedestrian gate and waited while it opened slightly. He squeezed through, then stopped and made certain it closed behind him before cautiously approaching the SUV. Sgt. White wondered just what in the Hell was going on and why this person was coming on post at 0400, if that was who was in the vehicle. Apparently it was, because the major entered something into the gate’s code reader, swiped his card and opened the vehicle gate. The light-colored SUV rolled in, then stopped a few meters clear of the fence. Continue reading

Sunrise Mountains

It is not unusual, especially in spring and early summer, to see mountains on the eastern horizon at sunrise. This is not a mirage, nor is it due to my lack of caffeine while walking at a quarter before sunrise. It has everything to do with Panhandle weather, and when our monsoon-season storms come through. Continue reading