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Posted: 1/7/2017 2:57:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit]
I’ve spent the last 3 years hanging out in another thread and, in a period of boredom, threw some shit on the wall that stuck.  The author of that book called me and encouraged me to turn my fan-fiction into a stand alone book.

If you haven’t yet, go spend a few hours or days reading that thread.  It’s worth your time.

DCB is an author and a business man. He has studied his topics, his methods, and his message. He has a purpose. He has a goal. He knows exactly what he wants and he has been working towards it for years.

I started writing my shit as a fucking joke while I was hanging out in the garage drinking beer with my dog. I’ve authored professional white papers, written process documentation, and posted goofy shit on the internet, but I’ve never “published for profit.” In other words I have no idea what I’m getting in to.

So, in classic ARFCOM fashion, Fuck It I’m Foing.

My story is set in a time of economic and governmental collapse.  There is an entire genre of fiction set in this type of world, so one more won't crowd the field.  It's already crowded.  There will be no intentional intersections with any other book.  Unintentional intersections will be removed upon written request.  Any direct quotes will be properly attributed.  If you see something that needs attribution, please call it out in the comments.

The important thing is that I don’t want my noodling around to be a distraction when the book that inspired all this actually publishes.

Hence this thread…..

A major difference between the two of us is that DCB wants to make a living as an author. I already have several decades invested in a career. I’m doing this for fun, relaxation, and entertainment. If I get some ammo money at the end, great. If all that happens is that I provide some momentary enjoyment for a few folks, great. If I go into this with low expectations I won’t be disappointed.

My plan is to write two copies of the book at the same time. Since this IS an internet forum, the copy that is posted on Arfcom will have the screen names of the repeat offenders frequent commentors in the other thread, and maybe some from this thread if I manage to gather any new readers. The copy that is published will have actual character names that have nothing to do with the internet handles.

The call for character names has already gone out in the other thread.  If you are one of those people feel free to respond here.  If I decide to write in someone else I will ask first via PM.

I know I’m opening myself up for a lot of extra work with the name thing, but I think it makes it fun to read on a forum if the characters are able to comment and take part in the story.  If I start now and do it in parallel it won’t be that bad….trying to do it at the end would be a nightmare of find and replace. I’m also opening myself up for someone to give me something like Anatoli Ricardo Von Frenjenjensenson-Smythe as a character name, however but if that happens I’ll figure out a way to handle it.

Here we go with Chapter 1 of Promises Made……..
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 2:59:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#1]
Chapter 1

It was slightly after 4 p.m. when the white Ford pickup turned into the dirt driveway of a tidy little house outside of Conroe, Texas. A last flash of sunlight reflected off of Lake Conroe, leaving a greenish blue streak across the vision of the man driving the truck.

The man cursed softly and used his peripheral vision to park the truck about 20 feet from the front porch. Moving slowly, he honked the horn twice and stepped out of the truck, turning the palms of his hands towards the door of the house.

He waited patiently in this pose. His body was still, but his eyes flicked around the yard as his vision returned.

The house itself was a typical Texas “starter home”, long and low with a wooden front porch. Three windows faced to the front, covered by storm shutters. White bags labeled ‘Post Mix’ were stacked below each window. Similar bags formed two columns bracketing the front door.

A lone wisp of smoke curled lazily from the chimney.

Someone was home.

A faded red CJ-5 was parked at the tree line to the man’s right. The hood of the Jeep was up. Two spare mud tires formed a triangle leaning against the front fender of the Jeep. The angle of the body implied that there was no engine in the vehicle.

To his left a chicken coop stood in the middle of a fenced area under a large tree. Half a dozen chickens scratched calmly around the coop, oblivious to their surroundings. A tree house hovered over the chicken coop, held together by large nails obviously hammered into place by small hands.

The man’s observations were interrupted by a voice from the house. A female voice.

“Stay where you are and state your business.” Firm. Confident. Attentive but not excited.

Prior experience told the man that the person behind this voice had given and accepted orders for many years.

“If I’m in the right place, I have a delivery for the two boys who live here. Their names are Michael and Gabriel. I was sent by their Grandfather.”

After a moments pause the door of the house swung open and a woman in her early 30’s stepped onto the porch. As she cleared the doorframe, she took a step sideways that placed her behind a lattice with several potted flowers on top…and yet another stack of post mix bags that the man had not yet noticed. In the brief moment that she was in the clear the man saw that she was about 5 foot 6 and was what he had described in his youth as “pleasantly plump.” She was wearing a dark blue t-shirt with the letters 'USN' in gold across her chest, blue jeans, and combat boots. Her short brown hair flared in the breeze as she faced him.

“Ok, so you know a couple of names that you could get from public records. If you were really sent here there would be something else you need to say.” Still confident. Still very attentive. Her eyes flicked back and forth between his hands, his waist, his eyes, his armpits, back to his hands, and finally made lasting eye contact.

The man took a deep breath and said “In the case of no controlling legal authority. And your name would be Mary.”

The woman relaxed slightly and stepped out from behind the cover of the post mix bags. She held a Remington 870 shotgun with a short barrel and rifle sights at the low ready. The man noticed that the recoil pad of the shotgun was shaped oddly…the toe of the pad was rounded and curved towards the stock instead of coming to the usual point. The shotgun had been specially fitted for use by a woman. This woman.

As she stepped down from the porch he saw a 1911 riding high on her right hip in a fitted leather holster. When she reached the bottom of the steps and turned to face him he noticed two spare magazines in a black leather pouch, with a large knife in a basket weave sheath peaking out from behind her hip. The handle of the knife was made from a beautiful piece of spalted maple and perfectly matched the grips on the 1911. All of the wood was obviously of the same origin.

“How is my Dad?”

“I don’t know,” the man replied. “I haven’t heard from him in 21 days. We last spoke just before the troubles began.”

A small sigh escaped from Mary’s lips. “So you’re here because you have not heard from him. This was prearranged?”

“Yes. I’m sure that your Father is fine. As a matter of fact, if he is able, he will soon be making a similar visit to my son in Nevada.”

The man stepped forward and held out his right hand.

“I'm Gene Harvey.”

“My Dad has mentioned you,” she said as she stepped forward and shook hands, transitioning the shotgun to her left hand as she moved.

“Let me call the boys in and then we can have a drink and a chat.”

Placing the butt of the shotgun on her left hip, Mary reached to the small of her back and removed a small handheld radio. Still holding eye contact with the man who called himself Gene, she spoke into the radio.

“Apples and Bananas. All clear. Come inside.”

The small voice of a boy not yet 10 years old replied through the radio “Apples roger Mamma. Coming in.” The sound of the boys’ voice had a small echo, as if it was not coming entirely from the radio.

Motion to his right caught Gene’s attention as a pair of small hands gently reached out from under the Jeep and slowly placed a Ruger 10/22 on the ground with the action facing up and the barrel pointing away from the house. A pair of opened flip-up scope covers looked like mouse ears above the small rifle. A smiley face sticker was visible inside the rear scope cover.

A young boy with shaggy blonde hair popped to his feet inside the engine compartment of the Jeep and started to climb out over the grill. He stopped and looked expectantly at Mary when another voice came over the radios.

“No bananas Momma! There’s a man with a rifle standing in one of the spots Grampa told us to watch down the street. He has a rifle like Grampa has but he’s too skinny to be Grampa. What do you want me to do?”

Dropping the handheld unit to swing from a tether, Mary expertly rocked the 870 back into a ready position, the muzzle not quite pointing at her visitor. Her trigger finger tapped lightly on the safety button as she made eye contact with Gene. She moved quickly to place herself between him and the blonde boy.

Energized by his mother’s action, the boy hopped to the ground and scooped up his .22. He dropped to a sitting position and brought the rifle to bear on Gene’s chest, scooting his butt across the dirt to get a clear shot past his mother. His finger tapped on the safety button at a faster pace than his Mothers' tapping.

“One of yours, Mr. Harvey?” All kindness was gone from her eyes and her voice now.

Gene noticed that Mary’s eyes had focused intently on the second button down from his shirt collar. He knew that this was where she was going to shoot him.

Using all of his willpower he stood as still as a statue and struggled to breathe evenly. Mary was obviously trained, but the boy with the rifle pointed at his chest could do anything at any moment.

Making sure that his palms were still facing out, Gene slowly and clearly said “Yes it is.”

He turned his head slightly to expose an earpiece and looked sideways to draw attention to it. “If I may, I’ll call him in. He’s a friend. I would appreciate it if you would have Gabriel point his rifle elsewhere first though.”

Without taking her eyes off of Gene, Mary said “Gabe…stand down. Momma’s got this. We’re OK.”

A faint “Awww….man” from the boy brought a wicked smile to Mary’s lips. She continued to stare at Gene’s shirt button.

The boy took his rifle down from his shoulder and placed it on the ground again. As he stood up he said “Ok Momma.”

Mary inclined her head slightly towards Gene and looked into his eyes again.

Exhaling deeply, feeling the rush of adrenaline coursing through his veins, Gene slowly and gently touched his earpiece and spoke.

“Come on in Stimpson. You’ve been made.”

Edit - found an old reference to a set of initials
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 3:01:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#2]
“Are there any other surprises I should know about, Mr. Harvey?”

Mary wasn’t quite as relaxed as she had been earlier, but she wasn’t staring at the A-Zone of Gene’s chest anymore. He assumed that was a good thing.

With the ‘instant switching’ capability that only a young child can have, Gabriel had accepted that he wasn’t going to be allowed to shoot the visitor. He had carefully closed the scope covers on his rifle and slung it, muzzle down, over his left shoulder. His left hand gripped the forearm in a firing grip as he walked towards the house, steadying the muzzle so that it wouldn’t swing as he walked.

The boy stopped to examine a caterpillar as Gene tried to get his heart rate down.

“No. No more surprises. I was going to tell you about that but your overwatch turned out to be better than mine.”

Mary slid her hand down the tether of her radio and caught it in her hand. Bringing it up to her face she pushed the button and said “Bananas. We should be clear now. Good job. Come inside. Be careful getting down.”

Gene heard the sound of an action being cleared, and after a few seconds a green canvas rifle case on the end of a rope started to descend from a tree to the left of the treehouse, outside of the chicken enclosure. Once the rifle case was safely on the ground, a boy in his early teens jumped from the tree and did a paratroopers roll on the ground.

His mother rolled her eyes as he flashed a huge smile and brushed the dirt from his hair.

The boy hopped to the rifle case and removed what appeared to be a 30 round AR-15 magazine from an outside pocket. He slid the magazine into his back pocket and bent over the case again, this time coming up with a short barreled AR-15 flat top carbine. After checking the action of the rifle and snapping down a scope cover that had popped open, he leaned the rifle against the tree and proceeded to zip the rifle case closed and hid the case in a bush at the base of the tree, still with the dark green climbing rope attached. He tied the bitter end of the rope off to a branch, picked up the rifle, and approached the group in the driveway.

A man wearing a funny looking scrunched up hat and carrying a rifle was walking up the driveway.

There was a bit of an awkward silence as the group of people eyed each other. Mary still looked suspicious but was visibly trying to relax. The man in the funny hat was feeling rather sheepish at being spotted and called out by a boy who wasn’t even old enough to shave. Michael was obviously proud of himself. Gene had the sudden urge to use the bathroom.

Gabriel was still intently watching his caterpillar.

Breaking the ice, Gene stepped forward and held his hand out to the boy from the tree. “You must be Michael. I’m Gene Harvey. That’s Stimpson J Cat. We’re friends of your Grandfather.”

Michael took the time to sling his rifle, then shook hands firmly. Looking Gene in the eye and speaking with the careful precision of a young man afraid that his voice would crack at the wrong time, he said “I’m pleased to meet you.”

Stimpson stepped forward to shake hands with Michael. “I’m Stimpson. You’re Grand-Dad has told us a lot about you. Good job on the Appleseed qualification.”

Mary looked thoughtful for a moment, then walked to the Jeep and set her shotgun on the fender. She stepped into a clear area of the driveway. Facing to the south and standing where she could see between two large trees, she began posing with her arms in certain, distinct positions. She spoke to the men as she went through the motions. “Mr. PFunkk is really the only one that has a clear view into our yard. I’m spelling out ‘All OK’ in semaphore in case he happens to be watching. No worries.”

She finished waving, picked up her shotgun, and turned towards the house. “Let’s get that drink. I could use one.”

Mary proceeded towards the steps, shooing the boys in front of her with her free hand.

Gene noticed more details as he approached the house. Neatly trimmed rose bushes lined the circumference of the front porch. An American flag stood out proudly on a pole projecting from the roof. Two wooden rocking chairs sat beside a small glass table on the porch. An ashtray and a pipe stand, now empty, had been pushed to the back edge of the table.

Ascending the three wooden steps leading from the yard to the porch, Gene realized that the entire porch was walled in with bags of post mix cement. Two military ammo cans had been placed along the long edge of the porch, dividing the post mix wall into thirds. Each had ‘M193’ stenciled on the side in white paint. Close by the door, in the position where Mary had first observed him, a horse’s feed bag had been hung from a nail.

The feed bag was full of distinctive dark red, high brass Federal shotgun shells.

The words ‘Flite Control’ were faintly visible on the sides of the shells.

Gabriel had entered the house first and was patiently holding the door open as his elders passed by.

Michael passed through the door and turned right. Mary followed and turned left.

Stimpson paused for a moment in the doorway to get his bearings and decide where to go. He smiled down at the boy holding the door and had his gaze met by a pair of piercing blue eyes framed by tousled blonde hair. A moment passed as the man and boy held each others gaze. A connection was made.

Kindred souls recognized each other.

A small rectangular sticker was visible in the window of the door.

White background.

Red border.

A single gold star, edged in blue.

Stimpson felt his throat tighten.

The boy continued to stare at him.
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 3:02:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#3]
Swallowing hard, Stimpson lurched past the boy and through the doorway into the foyer.

To his left was a chefs’ kitchen, looking for all the world as if it had been removed from a restaurant and installed in the house as a complete unit. Perhaps it had been….the stainless steel countertops were clean but scarred by years of use.

To his right was a comfortable living room. A couch and four chairs were arranged in a rough circle, all facing the center of the room. There was no television in sight. The room had obviously been designed for conversation.

A large wood burning stove popped quietly in the far corner. Two small oscillating fans created a breeze, spreading the warmth throughout the room and the house.

A fifth chair sat apart from the others in a corner by a window, facing out. On a small table next to the lone chair, Stimpson found what he knew would be present somewhere in the house: a cased American flag and a picture. A young man with prominent cheekbones gazed calmly from within the frame, resplendent in a U.S. Marine Corps dress uniform. Even from across the room Stimpson could tell that his eyes were blue.

A pair of cowboy boots stood next to the chair. The light of the setting sun reflected from the lake illuminated the chair, the cased flag, and the picture.

Realizing that he was blocking the doorway and preventing Gene from entering, Stimpson moved through the room towards the chair in the corner, intent on getting a better look at the young man in the picture.

An insistent “Thump, thump, thump” from the direction of the wood stove drew his attention. A golden retriever was stretched out on a plush rug in front of the stove, its’ tail slowly moving up and down. The dog made no attempt to get up, only moving its’ eyes and tail. Stimpson changed course towards the dog.

As he squatted down slowly and reached his hand out, Stimpson realized that this dog was truly ancient. Its’ once beautiful golden hair was grizzled and white from the its’ nose all the way to its’ ears. Eyes that were once bright and brown and full of joy now were clouded and foggy, so much so that Stimpson saw his own reflection dimly in the grey depths. He wondered if the dog could see at all.

“Thump, thump” went the tail.

After holding his hand where the dog could smell it without moving, Stimpson gently reached out and scratched behind the dogs’ left ear. “Hi there old guy. I’m glad your tail wagger is still working. That’s always the last thing to go.”

“That’s Jonesy,” announced Gabriel. “He’s old and doesn’t move around much anymore. He won’t hurt you.”

Stimpson smiled wistfully as he scratched the dogs ears. He couldn’t define how he had expected this visit to play out, but he certainly would never have guessed it would be like this. There was much to think about here.

“Rack your guns boys, and then go wash up.” Mary’s voice cut through the room leaving no room for disagreement. Gene started to comply and sheepishly realized that the instructions were not meant for him.

The boys carefully placed their rifles onto an old fashioned wooden gun rack hanging near the entrance to a hallway. Neither Gene or Stimpson had seen such a thing in years. Everyone it seemed kept their firearms locked away. This bit of furniture was left over from a time when guns were displayed proudly, not hidden.

“Better times…” Gene said under his breath as he turned from watching the boys. Mary had placed her shotgun into a rack as well, but this rack was built into the top of the front door frame. After a moment of thought Gene recognized that placing ones hands into a surrender position while standing in the doorway placed them naturally onto the stock of the shotgun.

“I’d like to use your bathroom, if I may.”

“Sure. Down the hall, last door on the left.” Mary was headed for the kitchen. Stimpson was still talking to the old dog.

Gene moved slowly down the hallway, taking in the pictures on the walls as he went. The first portion of the hall was filled with pictures of a much younger Mary and an equally young teenage boy. The two were individuals in these pictures, each making their own way through school, graduation, boot camp, and later pictures of each one in uniform. She in a Navy uniform, he in a Marine Corps uniform. Soon the pictures changed to the Sailor and the Marine as a couple, then with only the Marine in uniform and Mary pregnant. A flurry of pictures of the tiny family of three filled the mid point of the hallway, but then the pictures changed….only the two boys were captured in print, growing up before Gene’s eyes.

As he approached the end of the hallway, he saw a single picture hanging alone at the end of the hall. A posed family sitting….Mary, very pregnant, standing between her husband and her son, arms around both of them. The two males had their ears pressed against her swollen belly as if listening for the baby to speak. One corner of the picture frame, the lower right, had the finish entirely rubbed off and was now simply bare wood.

There had been no pictures of the four of them together.

The dire need for a bathroom having passed, Stimpson and Gene were comfortably ensconced on the couch with their feet up. Gene sat to the left, closest to the front door. Both seemed a bit uncomfortable to be sitting with their back to a window. Mary sat to their right in a chair that could view the room, the door, and every window. Her body was still and relaxed, but her eyes roved constantly, never resting for more than a few seconds. Michael was sitting on the floor with the dog, idly scratching the base of the dog’s neck. Every once in a while Jonesy would thump his tail on the hardwood floor to let everyone know he was still alive.

The room was what Gene thought of as an “oak and leather” room…dark but friendly in a very masculine way. Shooting trophies, both from formal competition and hunting, were placed around the room on shallow shelves or hanging from the walls.

Gabriel had asked if he could be the bartender.

“What do you want to drink Momma?” His high, clear voice penetrated the reverie.

“I think a bit of the LaSanta would be good. The way Grandpa likes it, if you please sir.”

Gabriel dragged a stool to one of the stainless steel tables and promptly climbed up the stool to stand on the table. Opening a high cabinet door, he announced “Three orangey santa’s coming up!”

The corners of Mary’s eyes crinkled when she smiled.

With great care, Gabriel extracted a tall bottle with a deep red label from the depths of the cabinet. Stimpson couldn’t see all of the label, but he made out the name “Glenmorangie” in a heavy script at the top.

Gene turned slightly in his seat and addressed Mary. “I don’t mean to pry, but my curiosity is getting the better of me. Is it normal for the boys to stand watch outside of the house? And how did Michael know where to look for Stimpson?”

Mary brushed a strand of hair behind her ear before answering. “You’re not prying. The boys weren’t standing watch – they both have ‘places to go’ and ‘things to do’ if certain events occur. It’s a game that my Dad and I started playing with them as soon as they could begin to understand. At first it was simply ‘hide’…then it became ‘hide, watch, and report’….and finally as they became old enough it transitioned to ‘hide, learn, and react.’

“Since the troubles began, we’ve changed our routine slightly. We make a point of minimizing time spent alone outside. We never do anything unarmed. The three of us usually do things together. When you arrived I had stepped inside the house to use the bathroom. The boys simply reacted to the level of their training when a strange vehicle set off the motion sensors at the end of the driveway.”

Gene glanced at the boy in the kitchen. “Gabriel certainly seemed ready to take care of business.” Raising his voice to project into the kitchen, he asked “Gabriel son, were you really ready to shoot me out there in the driveway?”

Gabriel had successfully climbed down from his perch on the kitchen counter with the bottle of Scotch. He moved his stool to another portion of the kitchen, climbed up again onto the stainless counter, and opened a cabinet containing glasses and bowls. He selected three glasses and a bowl, making a process out of arranging them just so on the counter. Once they were arranged to his satisfaction, he answered “No. Momma hadn’t shot you yet. I’m not allowed to shoot anyone unless Momma shoots them first.”

Gene considered the statement for a moment and realized that he couldn’t find fault with it.

Gabriel carefully checked to see if his mother was watching him. Finding that she was not, he skipped moving his stool to a different spot and simply walked from one side of the kitchen to the other on the counter top. He opened the freezer and began to place ice cubes in the bowl.

“What was your plan if she had shot me?” Gene asked intently.

Gabriel closed the freezer and turned to face Gene, still standing on the counter. With calm certainty, the 9 year old announced “I was going to shoot you 10 times in the heart and then hit you with a rock.” Having finished his statement he calmly walked to the other end of the counter and climbed down onto his stool.

Stimpson said “Ya know Gene…there HAVE been times when I’ve had the same thought.”

Gene snapped back “Stuff it Stimp,” then slowly added “Although, I’ve gone into harm’s way with less of a plan than that. Your plan was solid, son. Thank you for not carrying it out.”

“As for how Mr. Cat gave away his position, why don’t you ask him?” Mary turned her gaze towards Stimpson with a sardonic smile.

Stimpson looked squarely at Gene and said “Frankly buddy, I had nowhere to go.”

Gene looked slightly confused. “How could there be nowhere to go? That’s thick woods out there!”

Stimpson leaned forward and looked at Gene over the top of his glasses. “There were quite a few places to observe the house, but every one that I tried to get into had something wrong with it. Usually something sharp and painful. There was a huge bougainvillea in one spot. Wild roses in another. I’d swear that I found jumping cholla cactus in another place but I don’t think it grows here. I ended up waiting in a spot with a crappy, obscured view. I could see the tailgate of your truck but that’s about it.”

Stimpson slowed down a bit as he noticed Gabriel standing at the kitchen sink, carefully rinsing off each ice cube individually and placing one into each glass.

Michael joined the conversation from his place on the floor. “Cholla doesn’t grow here. Grandpa brought it from Arizona and I planted it.

“When I was eleven, Grandpa had me find all of the places where you could see the house and plant sharp things there. Gabriel got to go fishing. I had to dig holes. I didn’t like it then but I understand now. There was one place that we couldn’t plant anything, so we put the beehives there."

Gabriel was now standing on the floor, working with the bottle of Scotch and the glasses at eye level. He carefully poured each glass one quarter full, wiping the mouth of the bottle clean with his fingers after each pour.

He was also taking great care in licking all of the Scotch off of his fingers.

“It was fun watching you poke yourself. You went right where I wanted you to go…just like a deer would. I could see you the whole time.”

Michaels’ eyes crinkled just like his mothers’ when he smiled.

“I won’t tell Mr. PFunkk that you pee’d on his mailbox.”
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 3:03:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#4]
Stimpson looked around the room sheepishly and tried to speak. “I...uh…well, uh, yeah.”

Gabriel had finished pouring the Scotch and was now adding a tiny bit of water, not even a teaspoonful, to each glass from a plastic bottle. The boy stared into the depths of the liquid for a moment, watching it swirl on itself. An ancient magic, part of the universal conspiracy to prevent the Irish from ruling the world.

Mary cleared her throat and said “Thirsty!”

Acting as if nothing had happened, Gabriel solemnly grasped one glass with both his small hands and walked carefully into the living room. He presented the first glass to his mother with a small bow.

“Thank you, sir” she said as she took the glass and blew him a kiss.

Gabriel repeated the performance twice more, providing drinks to all of the adults. Once his duties as bartender were finished, he skipped back to the refrigerator and grabbed two cans of Dr. Pepper. He opened one for himself, shook the other one, and held it out to his brother with an evil grin.

Mary chose not to notice.

Turning to look at her older son, she said “Michael, it’s your turn to make dinner. What are we having, and will there be enough for our guests?”

Gene Harvey and Stimpson J Cat looked at each other for a long second, then both shrugged minutely. Each was silently afraid of what a 13 year old might come up with for dinner, but they had both survived beans and franks before. Hopefully there was antacid somewhere in the house.

Michael stood and walked to the kitchen. He stretched his arms and looked around, not as a stranger, but as the master of his domain. Striding confidently to the refrigerator, he opened the stainless steel doors and began to poke around. He mumbled to himself for a few seconds, then closed the doors, turned, and addressed the group while leaning casually on the counter top.

“I was planning on putting the beef tenderloin that we got from the former infantry guy up the road into the smoker tomorrow, but instead I could cut some filets out of it. How about if I butterfly the filets, stuff them with some of that fresh crab meat that the grey guy traded to us for that jug of honey mead that I made last year, and then roll them in fresh cracked pepper. Kind of a crab stuffed steak au poivre kind of thing. I can sauté some of the shiitake mushrooms and the fresh asparagus from the garden with that minced garlic that we canned last month for a side dish, and then whip up a quick champagne and cognac cream sauce to put over it. We haven’t had that for a while. What do you think?”

Gabriel clapped his hands and bounced with joy. “Can I pick the wine Momma? Can I? That Australian Sheras that Grampa brought us at Christmas would be good with all that pepper!”

Mary reached out and smoothed Gabriels’ hair with her left hand. “You're pronouncing it the down under way, sweetheart. You sound like Crocodile Dundee and John Wayne had a love child. Say it with me…..sher-ahz.”

Gabriel nodded slowly and sounded out the word. “Shiraz. Is that right Momma?”

Wrapping her young booze hound in a warm embrace, Mary said “Yes, sweetheart. Very good. I’ll help you get the bottles down from the rack. “

Turning to Michael, she waved her right hand at the kitchen and said “Lay on MacDuff, and cursed by he who first cries ‘Hold, enough!’”

Mary pulled on the edge of a bookcase, opening a hidden doorway that revealed a set of stairs descending into darkness. As she stepped onto the first stair with Gabriel in tow, she looked back over her shoulder at her guests.

“If you gentlemen would care to take your drinks and step out to the fire pit in the backyard, Gabriel and I will join you after we retrieve the wine. Michael will be fine on his own.”

Gene was struggling to keep up.

Stimpson stared into his glass of amber liquid, watching the swirls. Yes, much to think about here.
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 3:07:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#5]
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 is a campfire scene where we learn the reason for the visit and many other things.  This chapter is being crowd sourced and will provide background on several characters, therefore it has to be carefully crafted to retain consistency throughout the story.

I jumped around this scene in the other thread and continued the story, so I'll do the same here and come back to update this post when the scene is complete.
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 3:16:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#6]
Chapter 3
Gene Harvey could not remember ever feeling as miserable as he did at that moment.

The cool touch of the porcelain against his forehead gave him a focal point, an area to try to collect his fragmented being into something resembling a man.

His eyes stared unblinking into the depths of the toilet. A single strand of spit connected his quivering lips to the surface of the water.

There were two bubbles at the bottom of the strand.

Sometime during the night he had ceased being afraid that he would die and had begun to fear that he wouldn’t.

With the glacial patience of the extremely ill, he began the effort of pulling up his pants. As long as he didn’t move his eyes he thought he might be ok. The single strand of spit was his only connection to reality.

The exercise required over 20 minutes of careful focus.

His reward was the sticky/crunchy/cold feeling of partially dried vomit in his underwear.

Timidly moving his head a fraction of an inch to the right in search of a cooler spot on the back of the toilet rim, he started sorting through memories and nightmares of the prior evening.

Food. The food had been glorious. He had never eaten shiitake mushrooms before and found their taste and texture to be fascinating. Three times he had refilled his plate with the wonderful fungus.

A small voice in his head told him “You may have chosen poorly there, friend.”

Sparks from the campfire drifting lazily into the sky, becoming stars as they floated into the heavens.

A spirited discussion between Stimpson and Michael centering around the molybdenum content of ATS34 steel and how it affected the ability of a knife to hold an edge.

Harsh growling sounds… a gurgling moan that faded into a bubbling whisper. That one must have been me throwing up, he thought to himself.

Voices rising in song over the sound of a single guitar.

If there’s a hell I’ll meet you there,
If there’s a heaven they’re serving beer,
If you’re an angel then I must be high

A dog barking.

Water swirling clockwise in the toilet while his weightless body spun in the opposite direction a few inches above.

Gene closed his eyes.

Having rested after the supreme exertion of pulling up his pants, Gene began preparing himself mentally for the next big step: sitting up.

He had been kneeling by the toilet for so long that his legs had fallen asleep, and his knees hadn’t really hurt until he moved them to get the waist of his pants up. Now they felt like they were on fire.

Slowly, gently, he began to shift his weight off of his knees, dropping his ass towards the tile floor. He strained to maintain contact between his forehead and the back of the toilet as long as possible. As he pulled his head back he watched the strand of spit becoming longer, sagging in the middle.

If that string breaks my head will fall off…..

He lost his balance and the last few inches towards the floor came in a rush. Blue light exploded behind his eyes as his senses fought for control. He wanted to throw up again but just burped. There had been nothing in his stomach for hours.

Disjointed fragments of the prior night continued to flash through his memory. Occasionally he could hold on to one long enough to identify it as real or imagined.

Stimpson arm wrestling with Gabriel to see who got the last piece of apple pie.

A story about an IED in Afghanistan. Who told that one? It had seemed important at the time…

Are engineering and poetry really the same thing?

Scratching, scrabbling thumping sounds of desperate struggle, like a bar fight but different? Like it wasn’t two people fighting but maybe something else?

The last memory made Gene shake his head. He would regret the motion for many minutes.

He began to survey the remnants of the bathroom from his new vantage point. Smeared muddy footprints (Oh God I hope that’s just mud!) defaced the side of the bathtub where his boots had rubbed against the tub during the night. That explains the scratching noises….

His face burned with shame as he looked to his right and discovered that at some point in time he had become confused about direction and had shit in the bathtub while trying to throw up into the toilet…..and he hadn’t quite gotten it all into the toilet.

Mary describing how the chickens made an excellent garbage disposal and how good their eggs were when the chickens got more protein.

Gabriel serving drinks to everyone, bringing them two at a time to Gene. ”This one is an Irish Car Bomb, and here is a Dirty Mexican Hooker to go with it.”

Did I really eat that entire tube of toothpaste?

Seeing nothing wrong that wasn’t his own fault, Gene leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes again, intending to rest and gather his resolve to begin cleaning up the bathroom. As he fell asleep he decided that the crashing memory of an FAL being fired inside the house must have been just another hallucination....like eating the toothpaste.
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 3:23:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#7]
The bathroom door crashed open with enough force to embed the inside knob into the wall.

Startled, Gene sat up just as Stimpson charged into the small room.

Stimpson grabbed Gene by the shirt collar and roughly yanked him to his feet, exclaiming “Get your ass up we need you now.” He shoved Gene through the doorway into the hall.

The adrenaline rush of the strange encounter helped to clear his head a bit, but Gene was still foggy. Using the wall to support himself he peered towards the front of the house. It was still night outside. Or was it night again? Dawn was just starting to color the darkness with orange and red.

Something wasn’t right about the front of the house.

The door. The front door is open.

No, the front door is gone.

Gene began feeling his way towards the front of the house, sliding his hands along the wall to keep from falling over.

A crumpled mass lay at the end of the hallway blocking his progress.

As he approached the mass, Gene’s shuffling feet were no longer able to move easily. They were sticking to the floor.

Dim light spilled into the hallway at incorrect angles, increasing the sense of disorientation he felt. He finally was able to make out what was in the way.

A man. Stranger. Don’t recognize him. Work clothes, boots. Face covered by one of those masks that motorcycle riders wear.

He struggled for the word.

Baklava? No. Balaclava.

What the hell is on the floor?

Oh shit. It’s blood.

Standing directly over the strange man, Gene could see that the man’s head was at an odd angle and that his throat, neck, and lower face had been ripped apart.

Chewed apart. By an animal.

Gene Harvey was now fully awake.

Moving forward, he found that the living room was…..scattered. Furniture overturned and pushed away from the center of the room. Lights had been knocked over. A window was broken.

Broken outward.

The front door had been knocked off its hinges and was laying on the floor. Broken glass had exploded outwards from the door. The only intact pane was the one held together by the gold star sticker.

The kitchen was empty.

A sudden wave of dread came over Gene and he lurched back into the hallway.

First door. A hand painted angel, holding a trumpet. No one inside.

Second door. Another hand painted angel, this one holding a sword. No one inside.

Last door. No markings. No one inside. An empty holster and a magazine carrier with one magazine missing lay on the bed.

What in the blue holy fuck is going on?

Gene moved to the front of the house again. Realizing that he was unarmed, he snatched a pair of carving knives from the block on the kitchen counter as he went by.

He found Stimpson on the front porch, busy attaching a flashlight to his rifle with a roll of duct tape.

Gene took stock of the situation as well as the dim light and his alcohol befuddled synapses would allow. There was another body laying upside down just outside of the broken living room window. Obviously dead. A significant portion of the head was missing. Brain matter and blood were soaking into the flower bed. Another body lay in the driveway a few yards away from his truck, face down, palms up, with the disjointed appearance of a man shot while running.

Two flashlights were bobbing in the darkness as hoarse voices called softly back and forth. Someone was searching the yard.

Taking an unsteady step forward, Gene poked Stimpson in the back. “What the fuck happened? Why didn’t you get me earlier?”

Stimpson rounded on Gene with a shout of rage and pinned him against the wall with a hand on his chest. The nail and feed bag full of shotgun shells dug painfully into his back.

I WAS KINDA FUCKING BUSY OK!!” Stimpson roared.

A space of two breaths went by. Stimpson realized what he was doing, released Gene, and stepped back. Blood trickled down the right side of his neck. The lower portion of his right ear was missing.

Stimpson took a deep, shaky breath and exhaled sharply. His posture straightened in a visible manifestation of his will to control his body. “About 40 minutes ago a team of men hit the house. Entry through the front door. Dog got one. He’s inside. I got one. He’s by the window. Somebody else got the one in the yard. Don’t know who. Unknown total number of bad guys. House is clear. Basement is clear. We checked on you while we cleared the house. You were moving around and trying to get your pants up so we left you in a safe place.”

“Casualties?” Gene asked, trying to process it all.

Stimpson stepped around Gene and went to the doorway. Reaching up with his right hand, he brought down Mary’s shotgun.

“Casualties?” Gene asked more insistently.

Stimpson wouldn’t look Gene in the eyes.

He was looking at a space about 6 inches above Gene’s head.

He held the shotgun out.

“We can’t find Gabriel.”
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 7:06:44 PM EDT
Nice work K, keep it up!
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 9:28:36 PM EDT
Great news Kermit.  I have enjoyed reading this story as it got started in DC's thread.  I'm looking forward to reading this one as it develops too.

Is Conroe, TX near Lake Conroe?  I'm an OH boy but I have had family in TX most of my life.  I would go visit my cousins most summers after I got a paper-route as a kid.  My uncle from Houston used to take us fishing on Lake Conroe every once in a while in the '80s, he had a buddy with a vacation house there that we could stay in.  Those are some great memories...

And in on one...
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 10:43:58 PM EDT
Yep...you're thinking of the right place.  Conroe butts up against Lake Conroe.   I don't know if one is named for another or if they're both named after some other thing/person.  

I was in Houston with some time to spare after a conference and went exploring.  It seemed like a neat little town and has always stuck with me.  As a desert person being able to walk to a lake is something...different.
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 10:45:03 PM EDT
Thank you Highstepper!  There's more to come soon.
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:04:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#12]
I'm planning on doing quite a bit of this book "playing with the cards face up" if you will.  I've never written a book before and the learning curve is going to be kind of steep in some spots.  

Who knows...the process may be more interesting than the product.  

Here's a basic idea of how I'm handling the plot outline and keeping track of characters.  I say 'basic' because the copy I have is more complete (don't want to give away all of the plot yet) and it looks much better in Word.  I actually wrote everything posted here and a bit more without an outline or a character list and I realized that it was going to get very complex very soon.  That realization led to the outline you see below.  I may find a better way to do it later.  If so, it'll show up here.  

Geek note:  when I copied and pasted "Son of Mary and Unnamed Character" into the outline, it occurred to me what I really needed to do was to drop the whole thing into a SQL database.  Then names, places, and character attributes wouldn't have to be repeated as I write....they'd be in tables with unique ID's.  I could set up triggers for cascading updates and deletes so that the referential integrity would be maintained throughout the story.   I got to the point of writing up a database diagram in my head and decided to go back to writing on a notepad with a pencil.  I did file the thought away for a future project, though.  It could be that writing a book actually turns into a dot-net application with a sql back end that can be used to make the actual writing easier.  That may be where the actual money is.  Who needs readers when you have authors?

Anyway....the first draft of the story outline is below.   The character names after the Arfcom handles are the ones that will be used in the "real world" publication.

If you're new here and just want to read the story as it unfolds you may want to skip the spoiler below.

Working title:   Promises Made

Basic Concept:  a group of older men who have been friends for years make an “agreement among gentlemen” that they will look after each others’ families in times of great need.  They divide the U.S. into geographic sections and create areas of responsibility.  A system of signals is arranged with the primary being a cessation of communication among the group.  World governments are collapsing.  The economy is in a shambles.  Government at all levels has become hopelessly corrupt.  The men begin to carry out their promises.

Click To View Spoiler

--  Ending credits, DFARM killed with a toilet plunger
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:20:42 PM EDT

Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:22:29 PM EDT
Wow!  What an awesome ride.  

I was not aware there was a side story going on in the original thread.  All I can say is MOAR!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:29:14 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By DFARM:

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You're a funny guy, DFARM.  Except this time I can write you into the story and really kill you last.    
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:33:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#16]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Tonyflyer:
Wow!  What an awesome ride.  

I was not aware there was a side story going on in the original thread.  All I can say is MOAR!!!!!!!!
View Quote

Welcome Tonyflyer!   The side story began as we were waiting for publication of the original story and kind of took on a life of its own.  Even though he said it was cool, it wasn't fair for me to hijack DCB's thread and I really didn't want people to google his story and find mine instead.  He's worked too hard on his book.  So I pushed the eject button and here we are.  

Moar coming soon....
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:33:34 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:35:13 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By kermit:

You're a funny guy, DFARM.  Except this time I can write you into the story and really kill you last.    
View Quote

I'd be honored. Lol
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:42:19 PM EDT
Check the edit to the end credits in the plot outline.  
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:49:15 PM EDT
Welcome to the party kc215.  This is Liberty Hall...you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard.
Link Posted: 1/7/2017 11:52:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#21]
Chapter 4

The words hit Gene like a physical blow.

He took the shotgun from Stimpson and checked the action. Chamber loaded. Safety on. Magazine full.

“Be right back.”

Gene stepped down from the porch and walked to his truck. Both of the flashlights in the yard settled on him briefly then continued their search pattern.

Opening the driver side door, facing out into the darkness so as not to be blinded by the dome light, Gene grabbed his pistol from the pocket in the door. A quick one-handed press check verified that it was still loaded. The pistol went into his right hip pocket.  An old Crown Royal bag containing a suppressor went into his left hip pocket, along with a spare magazine tucked into the top of his left front pocket.  Mary and Michael were approaching as he closed the door.

Michael was wearing a white t-shirt, yellow boxer shorts emblazoned with images of monster trucks, and a pair of hastily donned cowboy boots. The same short barreled AR-15 that he had carried the previous day was slung from his shoulder on a single point sling.

His grip on the hand guard was so tight that the pressure switch for the light was constantly engaged.

Michael squatted down to look under Gene’s truck.

Mary was wearing a blue nightshirt that reached to her mid thighs and a pair of rubber mud boots. She held a flashlight in her left hand and a 1911 in her right, arms crossed at the wrists. A spare magazine for the .45 had been hastily thrust into her bra.

The look in her eyes made Gene’s blood run cold. This was a stone killer with a lost child. He shuddered and looked away.

“Front’s clear. You and Stimp take that side of the back.” She flashed her light briefly towards the right side of the back yard.

Mary reached the body laying in the driveway. The night flared with light and noise as she put an anchor shot into the back of the mans head.

She had not broken stride at all.

The backyard of the house was a nightmare to search. Not knowing if there were any threats still extant only made it worse. Two old tractors, Mary’s truck, several garden carts, and a watering trough cast oddly shaped shadows throughout the yard and created a seemingly endless list of places to hide.

All four of them moved cautiously, but Mary and Michael had the benefit of living on the property. They moved faster than Gene and Stimpson, but the area they were searching was more complex.

After a few minutes of searching in the dark, Gene was barely holding on to his sanity. He was still sick, still shaking. He stopped twice to throw up. He lost track of how many times he fell down. Constantly dizzy, staggering, fumbling, and cursing his way around the yard.

Only willpower kept him going.

As before in the bathroom, Gene was having a hard time sorting reality from hallucination. The rocks and shadows sometimes seemed to be moving away from him. Avoiding his gaze.

Keep going. Keep going…..

Stimpson was scared. Not for himself….he didn’t care if he lived or died. Scared of what he might find. Scared for a precious golden haired boy with blue eyes.

What would he do if those eyes had lost their shine when he found them?

What if he never found them?

His desperation made him clumsy and incautious. He knew he was taking chances and prayed that God or the Devil or Whoever would take him and not Gabriel.

A barn loomed at the back of the property. Stimpson wanted so much to run to the barn and fling the doors open, but he continued searching. He ran into things in the dark. A tree branch cut his forehead badly, the blood stinging as it ran into his left eye.

He tripped over a rock and fell heavily onto the FAL. He forgot to turn the rifle sideways and the pistol grip and magazine plowed straight into the dirt with him on top.

He struggled to breathe and not shoot himself.

As Stimpson fought to get his breath back, he heard Gene start to sing.

Stimpson doubted that anyone else could hear, but he wished his friend would shut the fuck up.

The song was haunting, meant to be sung slowly by a tenor, like a funeral dirge.

Gene’s voice was weak and scratchy.

Sometimes whispering.

Sometimes sobbing.

Don't turn away
I pray you've heard
The words I've spoken

Stimpson pushed his face into the dirt, levering himself off of the rifle, fighting to stand up.

Dare to believe
For one last time
Then I'll let the
Darkness cover me

Still can’t breathe! Come on Stimp! Do a pushup! One fucking pushup!

Deny everything
Slowly walk away
To breathe again
On my own

Hands and knees now…get that rifle out of the way. Use it as a fucking crutch! Stand up!

Carry me away
I need your strength
To get me through this

Stimpson hauled himself from the ground with his arms wrapped around the rifle. The edges of his vision were going black from exertion and lack of oxygen.

Dare to believe
For one last time
And then I'll let the
Darkness cover me

On his feet now, one shallow breath relieved a tiny bit of the ache inside his chest. Stimpson half walked, half fell towards the barn.

Deny everything
Slowly walk away
To breathe again
On my own
On my own

Stimpson fell heavily against the barn doors. Still not breathing well, still feeling faint, all he could do to open the door was to grab the handle and throw his weight backwards. He sat down hard as the door moved and stared into the dimly lit barn.

He didn’t have enough breath in his body to yell....

....to speak

...to sob.

He did the only thing he could think of. Raising his rifle into the air, he pulled the trigger.

The FAL split the early dawn with thunder.

Gabriel and Jonesy had made their stand together in the barn.

Stimpson fired until the magazine was empty.

**song credit: Darkness, by D Draiman and D Donegal
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 1:56:00 AM EDT
In on this, I've enjoyed the recent time killing in dcb's thread, and am quite pleased to see it has it's own thread now.  

Will be with this one also, just kinda sitting on the sidelines quietly reading!
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 3:35:55 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By kermit:
Check the edit to the end credits in the plot outline.  
View Quote

It could be worse! Lol
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 11:20:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#24]
Ok....goal setting.

    Overall Goal:  Publish a book

Note that this goal is not 'convert all my income to book royalties'.  This is a learning experience.

    Measure of completion:  The ability to log in to Amazon and order a copy of the book.  

Nothing is really "done" until this is complete.

Determining milestones.....this one will take a bit of experience and manipulation to define.  The first word went onto a page on December 27, 2016.  Thirteen days later I've got 9,886 words in my draft.  That's almost 5,000 words per week.  I know for a fact that I won't be able to keep up with that level of output during February due to other commitments.   Cutting the current output in half puts me at 2,500 words per week, or 10k per month.  I'm pretty sure that I can do that.  

With 10k words in the bank and producing 10k per month, that puts me at the 80k word level somewhere in the July/August timeframe.  At 300 words per page that makes the book 266 pages long.  I've got 4 chapters done, so they're averaging about 2500 words per chapter.  That may turn out to be too short.  I'll have to see how it looks later on and possibly reorganize the chapters.  I'm 1/8 of the way through the word count.  That tells me how fast the story needs to progress in order to fit everything into the "fuzzy page count goal".  

This evening I'll be posting the last of the pre-written updates here and working on the outline.  Knowing how fast the story has to move will help the outlining process go faster.  

Bullet pointed outlines created in Word don't copy for shit into the Arfcom composition window, so I need to figure out a better way of doing that.  I'll be posting the progress of the outline here using the Spoiler function so that folks who are interested in that part of the process can see it and others who want to be surprised by the way the book turns out can move past those posts without ruining the surprise.  

Look for more later tonight.  The rest of the day is taken up with honeydoo's.

Edit:  my 'word count per chapter' math was incorrect.  Fixed now.
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 11:51:03 AM EDT
I like your plan...
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 1:49:37 PM EDT
It seems that an amazing thread is turning into TWO amazing threads!

Best of luck and much success to both of you
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 8:34:43 PM EDT

If toilet plungers are used to kill ... I'm gonna be vewwwy, vewwwy quiet!  
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 8:39:09 PM EDT
heron163, PIDDLER, and Currently  -  Thank you and welcome to the train wreck
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 8:39:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#29]
**Update follows................

Mary and Michael had reached the back of the yard and started working sideways when they heard the first shot from the front of the barn.

They were already running when the second shot was fired.

Gene could no longer walk. Waves of nausea washed over him, seeming to split a little more of his soul from his body with every spasm.

The first shot told him where his friend was.

The second shot told him his friend needed him.

He began to crawl towards the sound of the rifle.

Stimpson used his empty rifle as a crutch to help him stand up, then jammed the butt underneath the barn door to keep the door from swinging shut again.

He staggered forward into the gloom of the barn.

A body lay a few feet inside the door of the barn. Another of the invaders, dressed like the others in work clothes and a face mask.

A pattern of small round holes marked the front of the stained tan shirt.

He had been shot in the heart 10 times.

A Glock of some sort lay next to the body. Stimpson kicked it into the darkness at the side of the barn.

Near the back wall, a second man lay on his right side in a large puddle of bloody mud and straw.

The mans left arm looked as if it had been shredded with an industrial cheese grater.

A Ruger 10/22 lay next to the man’s bloody head. The stock was broken off, and the rest of the rifle looked like it had been held by the barrel and swung like a baseball bat. Strips of the dead man's facial skin and scalp had been torn away by the impact of the rifle-bat. White bone winked through the gore in several places.

One of the mans eyes had been knocked out of its socket. It dangled obscenely across the mans nose, hanging from the optic nerve.

A Mossberg shotgun lay close by the dead man's outstretched arms.

Jonesy lay on the floor to the dead mans left. The entire front half of the dog was covered in clotting red and brown blood. Stimpson couldn’t tell how much was from Jonesy and how much from the men he had fought while defending his family.

A horrific wound, a contact shot from the shotgun, marred the dogs sleek body. The muzzle blast had burned most of the hair from his left front shoulder, and his left foreleg dangled from a mere scrap of skin.

Dark red streaks marked the path of the buckshot under the dogs skin.

As Stimpson approached, Jonesy’s tail twitched twice.



Gabriel was sitting next to the dog, wearing only a pair of Spider Man boxers. He too was covered with blood, mud, and straw from the battle.

A small white first aid kit lay open on the ground next to him.

Dozens of tiny scraps of paper were scattered around in the dirt and blood.

Gabriel had opened every band-aid and was gently placing them onto the dogs ruined body.

Before Stimpson could speak, Mary slammed her body through the partially open barn door, followed so closely by Michael that both of them tripped over Stimpson’s rifle. Michael went down hard, but Mary did a shoulder roll and popped back up without really losing any speed.

She sprinted across the barn, jumping over the first body and skidding on her knees next to Gabriel. Still holding the .45 in her right hand, she used her left hand to rub Gabriel’s chest, back, legs, arms, and head, reassuring herself that her angel was not broken.

“Momma, stop! Jonesy’s hurt bad! “ Gabriel cried as he tried to push himself out of Mary’s arms. His tears formed two perfect, clean tracks through the bloody dirt on his cheeks.

Michael joined the small family group huddled around Jonesy. Human and canine comforting each other with their presence, their touch, and their voice.



Stimpson moved slowly away, tears coursing down his cheeks.

Gene met him at the door. The two old friends embraced while Stimpson shared the news.

“Gabriel is ok, but we have to take care of Jonesy.”

A long sad look from Gene. “Understood.”

The two men turned back towards the small, battered family. Four pairs of eyes watched them approach.

They knelt as part of the group, each placing a hand briefly on Jonesy’s head.



Gabriel was the first to speak. “Is Jonesy going to go to heaven with my Daddy?”


Mary looked down at Jonesy as fresh tears washed new tracks down her cheeks.

“He’s already there sweetheart.”

1,667 miles away, as the sun peaked above the mountains outside of Elko, Nevada, a battered, blue Ford pickup turned into the drive way of a newly built split level house. The name 'HARVEY' was stenciled on the mailbox in neat white letters.
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 8:41:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#30]
**Update follows.........

Chapter 5

Mary knelt and hugged Michael and Gabriel for the space of a few minutes, just long enough for Stimpson and Gene to begin feeling uncomfortable. Like they were intruding.

Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, Mary sat down on the dirt floor of the barn and motioned for the boys to both sit.

The boys sat flopped to the ground like puppets with their strings cut. Gabriel looked broken. He absent mindedly stroked Jonesy’s gory head as he cried.

Mary began speaking in a firm but gentle voice. “Ok boys….I need you to look at me now.”

Michael was fighting back tears. Gabriel had been through hell and looked it.

Mary looked each of them in the eye and continued in the same gentle, firm tone.

“We’ve had a day that would break most people, but we can’t stop now. We have things to do.

“Both of you need to remember, now and forever, that whenever God wants to make someone great he begins by breaking them into little pieces.

“He started a bit early with both of you.

“Now, do exactly as I say. Sit up straight, put the bottom of your feet together, and point your toes at me. Do it now.”

She waited until both boys had complied.

“I want you to put your hands on your knees with your palms up. Trust me please.”

When both boys were positioned to her satisfaction she continued.

“I need both of you to look at your left hand. Just look at it for me. Now take a deep, deep breath. Biggest breath you can. And hold it.”

Michael took a ragged breath, Gabriel managed several short inhalations.

Stimpson and Gene both inhaled deeply and held it. They had figured out what was happening.

“Now let your breath out.

“All the way out.

“As much as you can. “

I want you to keep breathing like that while I talk. “

“Niiiiice and slooow.



After four repetitions of this pattern all of them were breathing more evenly. Gabriels’ breathing was still ragged but improving.

“Now boys listen closely. Keep breathing. Keep looking at your left hand.

“I want you to imaging a box in your left hand. It can be any size, shape, or color you want it to be. But it has to have a lid. A tight lid.

“Take a deeeeep breath and hold it.

“Now as you breath out, I want you to gather up all your sadness. Every last bit of it. Just the sadness. And I want you to put it into the box while you breathe out.

“Do it now.”

Everyone exhaled. Gabriel used his right hand to put an imaginary something in his invisible box and then returned his right hand to his right knee.

His next breath was smoother.

“Good boys. Breathe in. Breathe out. Deep breaths. Feel all the sadness going into the box.

“Now breathe in and hold it again.

“This time I want you to gather up all your fear, all the things that make you scared, and put them in the box as you breathe out.

“Do it now.”

Gene was amazed at the physical change he was seeing in the children….and the change he felt in himself as he followed along.

Stimpson had dissolved into a statue with a thousand yard stare.

“All the fear is in the box now. Every last bit.

“Breathe in.

“Breathe out.

“Breathe in…and hold it.

“Now I want all your hate, all your anger, all the bad feelings…gather them up in a little ball, smoosh it up, and put it in the box.

“Breathe out.

“Do it now.”

All five of them were now breathing evenly. Gabriel had stopped crying.

“Breathe in.

“Breathe out.

“Breathe in…and hold it.

“Now it’s time to gather up all your love. All the love you have for everyone in the world. Look at it. Look at how pretty it is. It goes on the top of the box ‘cuz it’s the first thing we’ll take out.

“All in the box. Breathe out.

“Do it now.”

“Breathe in.

“Breathe out.

“Breathe in.

“Breathe out.

“Breathe in….and hold it. Now we’re going to put the top on. Put the top on and lock it with a great big lock. A lock no one can open but you.

“Breathe out.

“Do it now.”

“Breathe in.

“Breathe out.

“Breathe in.

“Breathe out.

“Now look at me.”

Four pairs of clear eyes looked at Mary.

“We have things we have to do yet today. Things that require us to be strong, to be focused, to be here. We’ll come back to the boxes later. We have to. But for now, we’re going to be strong. Now stand up and come with me.”

Mary and the boys all stood up, Mary stretching briefly and then gathering the group with her eyes.

“We have work to do. Let’s get to it.”
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 10:39:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#31]
**Update follows.....this is a short one, but it officially puts the story over 10,000 words.  Yay. **

The group started to head towards the barn doors in a crowd.  Mary brought them up short.  “Stop.  Stimpson, did you, can you, reload?”

Stimpson looked down at his rifle as if he had forgotten he was holding it.  “Shit…no, I can’t.  No spare.  Shit.”

Gene reached into his pocket and handed a small, European looking pistol butt first to Stimpson, followed by a spare magazine.  

Stimpson slung his rifle over his shoulder and began checking the pistol with an embarrassed grunt that may have been “Thanks.”

Mary nodded.  Looking at each of them briefly, she pointed first to Michael and Stimpson.  “Rifle and pistol on the right side.”  Pointing at Gene and then herself, she said “Shotgun and pistol on the left side.  Gabriel in the middle.”  

Picking up what looked like half a bedsheet that had been used as a painting drop cloth, she wrapped the fabric around Gabriel.  “Now we can go.  Michael and I through the doors first.  Form up, stay together and watch your sides.”  

The reorganized and rearmed group headed outside and towards the house.  The sun was just beginning to rise, casting long jagged shadows throughout the yard.  Mary spoke as she walked.

“I know everyone has questions.  So do I.  We’ll figure out what happened later.  Right now we have to make sure the area is secure and get ready for whatever comes next.  Michael, when we get to the house and make sure there is no one else there, I want you to call your great-grandmother.  You are to tell her that we are OK and that I said it is time to make chorizo.  Say that back to me.”

“We need to make sure that nobody else is in the house, and then I have to call Nana and tell her that we’re ok and Mom said it’s time to make chorizo.”

“Good.  Short call.  She won’t need anything else.  After that I want you and your brother to both get dressed and put your Grandpa packs by the back door.   Gabriel, say that back to me.”

Gabriel had been trudging along, looking only at the ground.  “Get dressed and put our Grampa packs by the back door.  Is Grampa coming?  Are we going for a trip?”

“I don’t know sweetheart,” Mary answered.  “But I want you ready just in case.”

“Ok Mama.”

Gene spoke up, “What’s a Grandpa pack?”

Mary glanced coldly over her shoulder at Gene.  “Gene and Stimpson, I want you rearmed and dressed ASAP.  You’re going to stand security while the boys and I take care of the mess and get ready for whatever is next.  Stimpson will use Michael’s tree blind.  You know where it is.  Gene will walk the fence.  We have 10 acres, so it’s roughly half a mile of fence to walk.  It’ll help you wake up.  Don’t shoot my neighbors or my horses.

“A ‘Grandpa bag’ is the result of a game that my Dad has been playing with the boys for about 4 years.  He shows up at random times and gives them 30 seconds to grab whatever they think they need, then he puts them into the truck and they’re gone for 2 or 3 days.  Sometimes it’s a fishing trip, sometimes squirrel hunting, sometimes just camping, but they have to live off of what they brought.  If they’re missing something he’ll loan them a replacement but it’s always something not quite right and they have to improvise.  After a couple of trips eating cold deviled ham out of a can with an old popsicle stick or sleeping curled up in the seat covers from the truck or wearing an old raincoat instead of a shirt, they started keeping backpacks full of gear, clothes, and food ready all the time.  

“The rest of the world calls it a bug out bag.  To us, they’re Grandpa bags.  The difference is that ours are tested and refined from actual use.”

They were nearing the back corner of the house.  From this view, everything still looked normal.  

A hoarse female voice called from the front of the house.  “Halloooo the house!”

Stimpson mentally categorized the voice:  old lady, slight accent, British or Irish or somewhere like that, hoarse from decades of smoking, drinking or yelling at children.  Maybe all three.

Gabriel yelled back “We’re here Nana!”

Mary looked at Michael with a tired smile.  “Belay that about calling your Great Grandma.”
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 11:14:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#32]
Process notes.  

That last update, beginning with the "over 10,000 words" note was 739 words.  I didn't keep track of how long it took to actually write it, but in the roughly 2 hours between that post and the one before it, I discussed dinner with the wife (I know there are rules, pics are elsewhere, you have to search), decided that it was my turn to cook, drove 5 miles to Der Wienerschnitzel, ordered dinner (I'm a great cook), waited for the food, drove 5 miles back to the house, ate dinner, fed the dogs, wrote that last update, and posted it.  

I'd guess I spent about 30, maybe 40 minutes actually typing.  

This is the first "new" scene that wasn't posted in the other thread.  Most of my thinking about what to write happens while I'm driving.  I have an hour long commute each way, so it passes the time quickly for me.  This was a shorter trip, so it was a shorter section of the story.  

The thought process was something like this:

-- I need to move the group from the barn to the house
-- Stimpson has an empty gun.  Have to fix that.
-- They can't just stroll to the house and make breakfast.  They don't know if there are any more bad guys and there's a dead body in the hallway.
-- Gabriel is in his underwear.  Cover that boy up before he gets cold.
-- The boys need to get their Grandpa Bags ready.  Have to explain what a Grandpa Bag is.  Who should do that?
-- Need to introduce Mrs. O'Rourke.  
-- Time to decide:  is she just a neighbor or is she Grandma?  
-- Do the math:  she was present and participated in XXXXXXXXXXXXX (not gonna tell you yet ) so she had to have been born in '44 or '45.  Great Grandma then.  
-- What are they going to do with the bodies, and how do I need to set that up?

The biggest decision was deciding on the relationship between the old lady and the family.  She'll be formally introduced in the next update.  

After that it was listening to my characters talk inside my head and typing it in.  

It really does happen that way.  I decide what movie I want to watch in my head while I drive, then I watch the movie and type what I see and hear.  

Taking all that apart, I suppose it means that I've learned to send a set of instructions into my subconscious mind and then step back and see what I get.  It's somewhat hard to explain but that sums it up pretty well.

I ran into a similar problem trying to explain how to shoot a shotgun when I started coaching.  I really have no clue how I do it.  I put the shotgun up to my face, I look at the target so hard that it falls apart, then I have to take an empty shell out of the gun.  I don't know how the empty shell got there.  I've shot at over 50,000 targets in competition and probably 4 times that in practice.  Never once do I remember actually pulling the trigger.  It just happens.  I know it sounds weird but I've got an attic full of trophies to show that it works.  

I guess you could say that I'm approaching this story the same way I shoot.  All the computation, experimentation, and "science" happen some other place at some other time.  When it's time to shoot, I just shoot.  

When it's time to write, I just write.  

We'll see how it goes.
Link Posted: 1/8/2017 11:29:17 PM EDT
loon_138  --    sorry I missed you earlier.  Welcome to the trainwreck.  Don't forget to check DCB's thread for updates.  We're all still there too.
Link Posted: 1/9/2017 1:20:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#34]
Additions made to the outline:

Click To View Spoiler

Also changed the main outline and this one to a Spoiler box so that people who don't want to read it can skip easily.  It's going to grow with the story, but it's on page one and new readers may not want to know.

Future updates to the outline will just have a note posted indicating that an update was made.
Link Posted: 1/9/2017 2:27:26 AM EDT
Late edit:  I was lying in bed and realized that I had used an anagram of DCB's name for his character and became concerned that Google's 'showing results for...' function still might pick that up in searches for him or his work.  Everything modified to change the last name of his character to Bojongleur.  

Merriam Webster definition of jongleur:  an itinerant medieval entertainer proficient in juggling, acrobatics, music, and recitation.
Link Posted: 1/9/2017 7:18:02 AM EDT
Kermit - great read thus far. Glad that you started a thread of your own as your writing is worth it. Don't forget the GA contingent!  
Link Posted: 1/9/2017 12:16:31 PM EDT
Thank you for continuing this story.  I look forward to it growing and maturing along with "The Other".  Now  I will have TWO books to look forward to when they are published outside of here. 
Still waiting for the Sender of the Bikers to get his well deserved comeuppance!  Perhaps with a spoon, plunger or just a 10/22??

Stimpy - not all my hate is in the box either!

Lead On McDuff!
Link Posted: 1/10/2017 1:27:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: kermit] [#38]
Edit to the introduction.  Name change for one of the characters coming tomorrow.

Typical Monday....buried at work, no chance to work on the outline during breaks/lunch.  Working out other details of the story and doing housekeeping tonight.  

Update to follow in a day or two.
Link Posted: 1/10/2017 10:13:36 PM EDT
Edits done.  Lost a couple of jokes along the way.  If I can think of a way to bring them back in later I will.

Plot outline updated in the spoiler window.
Link Posted: 1/14/2017 12:37:02 AM EDT
*****  Update follows  *****

The group of five followed the driveway around the house, swinging wide to have a good view of the front yard.  A woman was standing behind Gene’s truck, only her head and shoulders partially visible.  She was wearing a beat up and very dirty straw cowboy hat and some sort of brown, shapeless shawl.  “Yep, old lady.” Stimpson thought to himself.  “Can’t see anything but her face, but I’d guess late 60’s or so, maybe older.  Got that tanned leather look of someone who has spent most of their life outside.”

The woman’s eyes flicked over the group in quick movements as she spoke.  “I see you, Mary.  Are you alright, child?  And are those that are with you friends?”  

Mary passed her pistol into her left hand, holding it low, and made an exaggerated wave with her right hand.  “Yes, Nana.  We are OK and these men are family.”  

Stimpson thought back to the conversation about Kipling and bridle hands held low from dinner the previous night (”My God, was it only last night?”) and realized that a signal had been passed.  It didn’t occur to him that there were actually a pair of signals, and that changing the words in the reply to something different than ‘alright’ and ‘friends’ was a matter of life and death for himself and Gene.  

The woman adjusted her shawl briefly, as if she were covering something, and stepped around the back of the truck.  Stimpson realized that it wasn’t really a shawl, it was a Mexican serape, the same color as the brush in the background.  It completely covered her arms and hands, making her look somewhat like a mushroom with a head and legs.  Tan pants and hiking boots completed the ensemble.  Stimpson thought that if she were to squat and look down she would look like just another pile of dirt.  Perhaps that was the idea.  

Mary gestured towards the porch and everyone headed that direction, becoming a ragged group instead of the previous square formation.  Mary and Mrs. O’Rourke kept themselves between Gabriel and the rest of the yard.  As they climbed the steps, Mary spoke quickly in a tone that indicated she wanted nothing but yes and no answers, and would really prefer no answers at all.  She made introductions by pointing at each person as she named them.  “Gene Harvey.  Stimpson J Cat.  Friends of my dad.  Rose O’Rourke, my Grandmother-in-law.  Mother of my husband’s mother.  Stimpson, get your shit together for standing guard.  You’re our eyes.  Have you used a treestand?  You understand the rope?”  Stimpson nodded.  “Good.  Boys, get dressed and get your packs.  Meet me in the backyard when you’re done.  Gene, stay on the porch and watch the yard while Nana and I talk.  Move now.”

Stimpson and the boys stumbled through the shattered doorway while Gene moved to the edge of the porch and began experimenting to see where he had the best view of the property.  Mrs. O’Rourke and Mary watched Gene settle on his spot and then positioned themselves so that they were both looking out, watching the area Gene couldn’t see.  

Nana spoke first.  “Thank heavens you’re alright.  I heard the shots and came as fast as I could.  There was a man sitting in a minivan in front of Mr. Pfunkk’s mailbox.  The van looked like the type of thing the Mexican drywall crews drive.  It has stilts and scaffolding tied on top.”

Mary glanced sharply at the older woman.  “Do we have a problem?”

Mrs. O’Rourke smiled thinly.  “Only a problem of disposal.”  Her eyes were flat and lifeless.  

“Ok….” Mary said, “Five men came to the house.  No idea what they wanted…..money, guns, people.  You’ve heard the same rumors I have.  I don’t recognize any of them.  There are two out here, one in the house, and two more in the barn.  With Jonesy.  He didn’t make it.  Yours makes six.”  

A small feather on the cowboy hat swished in the air as Mrs. O’Rourke shook her head.  “What a shame.  You know you can’t stay now.  Whoever they work for will eventually miss them and come looking.”

Gene had become visibly agitated since the first mention of the man on the road.  He turned and interrupted the conversation. “What do you mean, disposal?”

Mrs. O’Rourke glanced at him, then looked out into the yard again.  “Mr. Harvey was it?  Well Mr. Harvey, very few people think that an old lady carrying a shopping bag will stab them in the throat and hold them by the hair as they die.  You might do well to remember that.”  The calmness in her voice terrified him. ( “What the hell kind of people have I run into here?” )

Mary looked sadly around the yard, completely ignoring the short exchange.  “I know we can’t stay.  At least with Gene’s truck we can take more stuff.  The boys will be happy to see Peter again.”

Mrs. O’Rourke sniffed.  “You’ll be going to stay with your brother the pervert then?”

Mary smiled at the old argument.  “You know he’s not a pervert, Nana, he’s just gay.  And he has a farm.  And food.  And he and Derek make a good team, you have to admit that.”

The conversation was cut short by Stimpson appearing in the doorway.  

Mary glanced at her wrist, looking for a watch that wasn’t there.  “It’s about time.  Up you go.  Try not to break your neck.  Gene, change of plans for you.  I want you to find the van Nana talked about and drive it to the end of the road.  There’s a fishing dock there.  Run the van off the end of the dock into the lake.  Leave the body inside.  Try not to go in with it.  Double time it back here when you’re done.  Announce yourself with a whistle when you get back.  You do whistle, right?  Nana will check the property alone.  Stimpson, why are you still here?”

Stimpson’s confusion showed as he looked between the faces of the three other people.  “Van?  Body?  What are you talking about?  What’s an old lady going to do by herself if there are more of them?”

Gene had started moving towards the steps.  He whispered “Let it go buddy.” as he passed Stimpson.

Mrs. O’Rourke faced Stimpson and flared her serape briefly.  Stimpson’s eyes grew larger as he recognized an honest-to-God broomhandle Mauser with the wooden stock attached held closely between her right arm and her body.  He hadn’t even realized she was armed.  “What will the old lady do?” she asked.  

“The old lady will shoot any buggers that shouldn’t be here, that’s what she’ll do.  I believe you have a tree to climb.  

“Mary, go get yourself dressed and start packing.  Depending on where these men came from, we may only have an hour or so before someone misses them.”
Link Posted: 1/14/2017 12:52:28 AM EDT
Didn't get much writing done this week, but I did spend some time with my daughter beginning to hammer out the details of the campfire scene in chapter two.  It's a long one and will contain background information on all of the players, the local and global situations at the time of the story, and provide a smooth bridge from dinner to the bathroom scene.  

The update posted above was conceived on the drive home from work tonight and posted after dinner.  Time spent:  1.5 beers.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that measures time that way.  

I do have a personal favor to ask of all of you:   Please try not to mention DCB or his book by using specific names (the book or his) in any thread other than his own.  He's worked very hard on his story for quite a while and is about to publish.  It will help him if any Google searches for him or his book go to his thread and not any others.  He deserves credit for everything he's done and that won't be achieved by having Google bring up stuff that isn't his.  I do appreciate it.  

Back to staring at the wall and figuring out what happens next......
Link Posted: 1/14/2017 11:20:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: greyguy] [#42]
“Mr. Harvey was it? Well Mr. Harvey, very few people think that an old lady carrying a shopping bag will stab them in the throat and hold them by the hair as they die. You might do well to remember that.”
View Quote

That van is going to be a mess. Gene had better bring a tarp or some plastic sheeting to sit on while he drives it...

Thanks for the update kermit!
Link Posted: 1/31/2017 8:45:36 AM EDT
Hello The Camp!
When (there is a When, right?) will we get another taste of this sprout of a story??  Once you have opened this mental snack, you must continue to have some until the full story is done.  So far this has been like opening the Jumbo Family Bag and finding only half a Kiddie Lunch Box Bag of Crunchy Goodness inside.  Still Wonderful, but not Filling.

Run out of steam?  Perhaps The Master in The Other Thread will let you borrow his Steam ACH since he is on to Cover Buffing and it sits idle in the corner of his Workshop.

Busy with Family?? You are excused, just don't forget us when you get back!
Link Posted: 2/1/2017 10:52:17 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
Hello The Camp!
When (there is a When, right?) will we get another taste of this sprout of a story??  Once you have opened this mental snack, you must continue to have some until the full story is done.  So far this has been like opening the Jumbo Family Bag and finding only half a Kiddie Lunch Box Bag of Crunchy Goodness inside.  Still Wonderful, but not Filling.

Run out of steam?  Perhaps The Master in The Other Thread will let you borrow his Steam ACH since he is on to Cover Buffing and it sits idle in the corner of his Workshop.

Busy with Family?? You are excused, just don't forget us when you get back!
View Quote

He hasn't posted in the other thread in a while either. Hopefully all is well with him...
Link Posted: 2/7/2017 12:47:42 PM EDT
Bump, Bumpity, Bump, Bump!
Hellloooo! Is anyone in here??

I wonder where that kermit feller went??  He owed us some MOAR and seems to have slipped out the door.
Link Posted: 2/25/2017 5:43:02 AM EDT
I like it
Link Posted: 2/27/2017 9:58:23 AM EDT
Dernitall!  I saw that this thread had been bumped and was hoping for some more Promises Made to be Kept!  Is it just us and the chickens in here?  Kermit, where hast thou gone?  Should we wait with baited (fish) breath or "Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Have Entered Here!"?

Impatiently patient
Link Posted: 2/27/2017 7:43:45 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
Dernitall!  I saw that this thread had been bumped and was hoping for some more Promises Made to be Kept!  Is it just us and the chickens in here?  Kermit, where hast thou gone?  Should we wait with baited (fish) breath or "Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Have Entered Here!"?

Impatiently patient
View Quote
Link Posted: 2/27/2017 10:38:34 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By greyguy:
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By greyguy:
Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
Dernitall!  I saw that this thread had been bumped and was hoping for some more Promises Made to be Kept!  Is it just us and the chickens in here?  Kermit, where hast thou gone?  Should we wait with baited (fish) breath or "Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Have Entered Here!"?

Impatiently patient
Yep, I thought it up all by myself! 
Link Posted: 2/28/2017 8:57:54 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GreenGiant:
Yep, I thought it up all by myself! 
View Quote
Well it made me laugh. Good work!
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