Monday, January 31, 2011

Staying Home

I am off for the next two days, unwilling to share either my good news or restrain my bad mood should the word I am hoping for prove negative. The wait is exhausting, and while I am writing slowly, it drags at me, not knowing, a funk I feel like a weight pulling me to earth.

So, off I go. More writing. More waiting.

Tomorrow, if I get no word, the Agent will call and find out why and I shall wait through that, as well.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Another Bridge of The Broken Excerpt

This is some of what I have been working on lately. I hope you enjoy. I certainly needed to pick on someone, even if it was a character in my mind:

“Who was that?” Vytas asked Cory, hating the man, his manner, and his disdain for common courtesy.

They’d been negotiating the disposition on another shipment when Cory had taken a call, ‘Just like that, in the middle of talks, while all this shit is up in the air with Prometheus and I shouldn’t even have taken this meeting, the round-headed little chimp decides he can tell me to wait while he talks to some whore?’

“Nobody, just a girl.”

“Which is it?” Vytas asked.


“Nobody, or a girl?”

Cory smirked, “Both.”

Vytas let that witty comeback drop between them like lead, just stared at Cory, trying to hold on to his temper, ‘I can be reasonably sure Alaric and his people weren’t into the attack on Prometheus. Of course, given what I’ve learned about Alaric’s opinion of Cory, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were willing to let cousin Cory get smoked to make it look good.’

“What?” Cory asked when he could take the silence no longer.

“Why allow this nobody of a girl interrupt important business discussions?” Vytas asked, just to see what kind of response the twit would give while he concentrated on other things, ‘I am pretty confident Alaric’s crew couldn’t have organized a hit down here, in orbit, sure, but some kind of word would have reached someone in Prometheus’ organization otherwise. Then there’s the fact that Alaric called me direct, offering to help.'

“What? No, she- I…”

‘God save me from morons,’ Vytas thought with feeling.

Cory missed the point, of course, decided in his discomfort that blundering into even deeper water was a good idea, “Look, I hear things ain’t all that good in your organization.”

“Really?” Vytas said, “And who would be saying shit about how things are or are not in Prometheus’ organization?”

Cory made a smoothing-out gesture with his hands, leaned away, shrugged, “I don’t know.”

Vytas leaned into the space vacated by the smaller man, “That’s right, you don’t know. You, and whoever else might be talking out of turn ought to keep their mouth shut about shit they know nothing about, lest some of that shit seep in and choke the life from them.”

Cory digested that a moment, shrinking further before swallowing his pride, “You’re right.”

Pressing the point home, Vytas lingered in the smaller man’s space.

Cory grunted, looked down at the schedule on his databoard.

Satisfied, Vytas relented, “Now. We can expect the drop at oh-three hundred, correct?”

“Yes, that’s when the shuttle is scheduled. So long as your man is there, we’ll be in business.”
Vytas nodded.

“I mean, your guy has to be there, not chasing fish or some shit,” Cory persisted, despicable smirk back on his face.

Patience vaporized in the heat of the man’s stupidity, Vytas felt his lip curl and -barely stopped his hands from wrapping around the man’s neck, settling for poking two fingers in the smaller man’s chest, “Motherfucker, if you say one more word about this organization or how it’s run, I’ll beat you till the color runs out your eyes, understand?”

“What? What did I sa-“

“So, you’re too stupid to know what you’re saying, is that it?”


“Listen, fucktard, I have had enough of your snippy little comments, your shitty attitude, and your general lack of professionalism. Get your shit straight or I will end you.”

Cory sucked in a breath, face paling, but rallied with “You wouldn’t start a war over some stupid comment, would you?”

Vytas snarled, “You think Alaric would go to war over me kicking your ass? I think you overestimate your value, you knobby, dried up little cunt. I don’t think he even likes his wife that much, let alone her cunt cousin who can’t keep his fucking mouth shut and earn his way.”
Cory’s mouth snapped closed and his face drained completely of color.

‘That’s right, you piece of shit, I know all about who you’re related to and why I’ve been saddled with your bullshit these last couple months,’ Vytas thought as the other man tried to recover. Determined to put the other man’s bullshit to bed for good, he went on, “Now, no more of this shit you think is funny, or just idle commentary, or whatever. We are not equals, and I will fuck you up if you give me the least reason. Got it?”

Cory nodded, swallowed.

“I’ll have you say it.”

“I get it. I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

“Now, get out. My men will be on hand to take the next shipment.”

“Yes, yes. No problem,” the man said, already heading out the door.

Vytas’ phone buzzed in his pocket. No one was supposed to be calling…unless Prometheus’ condition changed.

Dreading the call, Vytas answered, “Speak.”

“Vytas, there’s a problem down at the warehouse,” Gopti, the organization’s front man at the warehouse, said.

“What?” Vytas said, ‘Motherfucker, was I that off about Alaric’s crew?’

“Someone came asking questions.”

“Who?” Vytas asked.

“Nevermind. Meet me at the usual. I’ll be there in a few.”

“The man was strange, said he knew you.”

“See you in a few, Gopti. We’ll talk then.”

“Very well, I will be seeing you.”

“Yes,” Vytas said, hanging up.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Anxiety over outcomes has suddenly started to drown everything else. I am short-tempered, foul-mouthed, and generally not pleasant to be around.

Then again, am I ever otherwise?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Karma is a Bitch, Ain't It?

Today I had another riding experience I am now going to force you to hear about.

Experience one:

Heavy fog this morning, forty two degrees out. I ride.

There is an intersection that has two left turn lanes, one of which is almost always used as a U turn lane and is slow as molasses because of it. As the road drivers complete the U turn onto is narrow, drivers often edge into the other turn lane, making it slow as well. Knowing this, and needing gas, I decided to go straight, perform a legal U turn in the next intersection, and get gas at the station located at the far corner of the first intersection.

Trying to get through the first intersection, the truck in front of me slams on his brakes. I brake, come to a stop inches from the rear end of the truck in front of me. I look to see what emergency has caused my near-death experience. It appears someone does not want to go straight and wants everyone else in three lanes to stop so they can butt into line. I wish I was that important.

So, on we go. We get to the next intersection, I put my signal on and begin my U turn. Those of you who ride might know that U-Turns are not the simplest maneuver on a bike given the low speed and tight turn radius required, especially in slick conditions. I gave myself space. I performed the turn. The asshat who started behind me decides to make his U-turn inside my arc AND THEN FAILS TO MAKE IT IN ONE MOTION, requiring me to stop to avoid hitting him.


I gave him a flash or two of the lights, to let him know he was endangering my life with his impatience. He did not move his head or raise a hand to indicate, 'oops' or anything of that nature.

I rode up next to him where he was stopped at the light (Unlike me, he was not getting gas) and motioned for him to roll down his window. He stared.

That's right, he was a big man behind the wheel of his hurtling car, but unwilling to man up and face even the mild correction I might have directed at him. Such behavior causes me some stress, as I was somehow brought up to acknowledge mistakes I made and own my behavior, yet there seem to be so few people who do this.

I was satisfied to see him zoom off to get stuck in traffic. Later, after getting gas and getting on the freeway a little further down the road I saw his vehicle with its ambers on, broken down on the side of the road.

Had I been in a lane closer and could have done it safely, I might have stopped, offered to help, then told him, "Karma's a Bitch." and ridden off.

Perhaps fortunately (for my own karma, at least) I was unable to do so. My darker side does hope the fucker is still there, unable to get help and stewing in his own juices.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gaming News, and Something About Fiction Too

I still have yet to devote much time to reading fiction, though I have been reading a lot of Eclipse Phase, the roleplaying game I just picked up. It has a fascinating setting that I think I will enjoy telling stories in.

I have also been picking up the pace on my Rogue Trader game on RPOL. Delicious agonies will follow.

I let my face-to-face Warhammer game slide this last weekend to give the family more attention. I hope to add a new wrinkle and some 'new' players this weekend via webcam and microphones. One is willing to log in from England, and another from further north in California. Hopefully it will work out and everyone will have some fun. I think another heist might be in order, now they've dealt with almost all the enemies they know they have.

Today I will jack the headphones in and get some writing done on Bridge of The Broken, and consider plots for the other short story I have been thinking on.

But first, to get Boo to school.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Other Shit To Do

Lots going on, very busy. Tide yourself with this, the premiere of which I shall be watching tonight:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just In Case

You were wondering why it might be illegal to text or talk on your cell phone whilst driving:

Dumb motherfuckers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

About to Be Read: Brayan's Gold...

I have some writing I want to get done, and I'll be sending off Eyes of The Alley today. I have hopes for it, though they are not terribly high. I am trying to build a head of steam up to work on Bridge Of The Broken, but I am generally in a not-quite-funk of late. Not too tired, nor too happy, nor all that rage-filled, just kind of cruising in this mediocrity of the soul that makes me feel like I am missing something, like I have a bit of meat stuck between the teeth, making me want to suck...

In aid of pulling me from my rut, I just received Brayan's Gold by Peter V Brett in the limited, signed edition from Subterranean Press, with artwork by Lauren K. Cannon. I am sure that by reading it, the Dark God of My Jealousy will make an appearance, focus my will, and use his clawed spurs to drive me to greater effort.

I gots book to read...
I will review when done...
If I can drag myself from self-pity long enough...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Wonder

Finished writing Eyes of The Alley last week, the short horror story. It is, I think, good. Not great, not my best work, but it is a story, and it is horror, and I am told it is coherent. I have some slight edits to do and some additional clarifications to make, but it is about a week from being sent off to the publisher.

This was my first venture into short fiction, and man, is it a different discipline. Harder with regard to getting characterizations in, yet easier with regard to consistency errors that creep into longer pieces. Everything must count, and drive things forward. This is a good discipline to learn, I think, as it reinforces good habits for writing novels.

I think I might do some more.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Eclipse Phase and Warhammer WIth Old Friends

There's a game that kept calling to me from the shelves at Black Diamond Games. It has a starship or habitat in the foreground holding a space-suited humanoid in the grip of some biomechanical tentacle. Things don't look good for the humanoid. The game is called Eclipse Phase, and it is something completely different. Reading it has been a treat, and the possibilities for storytelling seem near-endless. I will continue to read it, and perhaps run it in a few months time... Perhaps on RPOL, I am not sure. The writing is of very high quality and the editing extremely well done (I have read one error in the 100 pages or so I read. Usually this number is closer to thirty for a proportionate amount of pages).

Saturday night the Greedy Little Bastards got together and dealt with Nadia, the Slaaneshi courtesan that has been preparing for the reckoning since the GLB drugged her and another prostitute at The Golden Trumpet as part of a heist. The actual theft was accomplished relatively easy, but there was a bit of a problem that led to the rat-catcher's immortal words, "If you're going to get this wound up every time a whore gets killed, I don't think we can work together."

As they stole something of great value from her, Nadia wanted it back and employed her Kislevite henchman and a local protagonist to recover the artifact. The Greedy Little Bastards weren't having it, and while one of them was savagely beaten, managed to beat off their attackers, killing the protagonist. A few days later, the Kislevite man died shortly after eating some tainted food.

While aware she was a threat, other business pressed them for time, and the Greedy Little Bastards decided not to deal with her.

A few months later, while trying to assemble information to use for blackmailing snotball league officials, the Greedy Little Bastards found out about a child prostitution ring with connections to The Golden Trumpet. They decided to catch the official in the act and one of their number arranged to be a client. Things went badly wrong, and two of the GLB were left for dead while the third one ran for help. One of the rescuers died.

Still more months passed before a man approached The Greedy Little Bastards with a proposition for them: kill Nadia and he would reward them.

They took up the challenge. With a lot of preparation, things went slightly less bad this time, despite the presence of two demons Nadia had invoked for her protection. Only one of the Greedy Little Bastards was nearly killed.

During the set-up for the assassination, the ratcatcher had yet another great line, "I'm afraid these cats are defective and not doing their jobs. I must inspect them."

Everyone had a great deal of fun, too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pointed Questions!

I have Google Analytics feeding me information on all my visitors, and it is an odd bewildering thing to me that I have at least one reader from Denmark who has visited my blog with some frequency.

Who are you?

And then, there are the Australians:

Who are you?

And then, the Canucks.

Who are you?

I am also aware that there is no one in Wyoming or the Dakotas reading my blog. NOT EVER. Find me, you Wyomians (SP?) and Dakotans! There are also few people in Idaho.

Tell me you read me!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jester Boots, and Proud of Them

I guess there is some strange shit out there for everyone! Oh, and yes, that is the actual length of his boots, which, I am reliably informed is a current trend in some pop culture circles:

And Then...

The bike is fixed, under warranty...Singularly odd that it happened at all.

Today, much work to catch up on at the day job, then I still have to complete the short horror story I have been mucking about with over the last few weeks, then the daughter has soccer tonight.

Tomorrow, a long day, but The Big K is coming to visit for the weekend, and I have plans for the Greedy Little Bastards Warhammer campaign: gonna bring the pain, I think. They've let one adversary fester for far too long.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

PoT & KoC as Well As Fueled Fear In The Night

So, yesterday I posted that the new position wasn't going to happen. Not that great a disappointment, but swimming the chum-filled waters of the Chief's floor during such a time of 'transition' is always a bit nerve-wracking.

Then, for the second-to-last court session, a regular poker of sticks at my Inner Gorilla, the self-dubbed, "Prince of Torts and King Of Courts" arrived. My Inner Gorilla stirred on seeing him, but not a great deal- the PoT & KoC was found guilty the last time he was in our court, though he left vowing to never do the community service he'd been sentenced to. Of course, he arrived too late to get a continuance and go.

PoT & KoC did come with stick or two, jabbing my Inner Gorilla as he left. Came back. Left. Came back. Left. Came Back. Left. Came back. I lost count.

Still, I managed not to bark at the asshat. Instead I watched as those forced to sit with the man edged away and avoided him as much as possible.

Perhaps a description of the man, that you might feel a tenth part of my pain: not large, not small, mid-sized, with massive feet in outsized tennis shoes. Unkempt hair in unruly kinks, small eyes rendered tinier still by coke-bottle bottom glasses. A voice that attempts stentorian tones but achieves only a mockery of gravitas as it passes bent teeth and slobbery mouth.

So we slog through the calendar having far too many people to see in one hour, our time punctuated by the squealing hinges of the door as PoT & KoC does his in and out routine.

Eventually the pain draws close to its conclusion. I step out to bring the people scheduled for last calendar in. I return to the court to find PoT & KoC standing in front of the counter where the clerk fields requests for continuances after the regular business of the courts.
The judge is calling his behavior into question and he is leaning over the counter, a put-upon expression on his face as the judge tells him not to speak to the staff with disrespect.

The clerk has stepped back from the counter, likely concerned for her safety.

"But I don't want more time to do the service."

"Then you can go home and wait for the letter from collections, sir," I tell him.

"Wha-" he says, turning to face me.

"Either do the service or go to collections," I repeat.

"Man, I don't want to do that," he turns to face the clerk, "Just give me more time, like a year. Six months."

"No, you'll get a month, sir," the clerk answers. It's more than you deserve we all think. Even the people now taking their seats for the last session.

He takes the receipt with the new date, then goes to collect his battered briefcase, pulling files from it. I follow, just to be sure he doesn't get out of control. He waves a stack of paper, turning to face the judge, "Your honor, this has been removed to federal court."

"No it hasn't."

"You must leave, now sir," I say.

"I'm not leaving," he says to me, "Your honor, you must see this," he says.

My Inner Gorilla skins lips back from his teeth and pounds his chest, cheering the challenge.

"Don't make me remove you from the court," I say.

"You ain't putting hands on me."

"Then leave," I am done repeating myself.

"Leave the papers with the clerk," the judge says.

He does as the judge tells him, turns to leave but has to go back to his briefcase. He then trots around the court, looking wildly about, clearly searching for something, "I left a file."

I see the file on the counter with the first clerk. I grab it, "Here it is."


"I will give it to you outside," I say, walking slowly out the door.


"I don't respond well to such demands. Come out and I'll give it to you on your way out."

The Prince of Torts and The King of Courts snarls, pouts, but finally follows. I give him the file on his way out.

He departs.

I return to a quiet courtroom and easy last calendar. No one wants a repeat of the nonsense, and no one is nutter enough to try my Inner Gorilla having glimpsed how tight the reins were held.

We are still later to leave than I am used to, but no big deal. I get on the bike and fire it up, headed home.

I get on the on-ramp where I was almost killed by a gore-cutting motorist last spring, twisting the throttle to get up to speed. This gore is super long, smooth, and ends in a merge at the very foot of the bridge.

At fifty miles an hour, the bike starts to slow, dumping speed at an alarming rate. I twisted the throttle, checked to see I hadn't somehow bumped the bike into neutral. No dice. The bike continues to slow.

There is a tiny emergency lane on the left, and nothing on the right, not to mention my speed is already down to twenty miles an hour and crossing four lanes at that speed would mean certain death.

I head for the emergency lane, barely make it. I smell gas.


I leap off the bike, fearful of flames. I check; no flames. There is a bit of gas on the ground.

I remove my gear and call my friend, a bike mechanic. He tells me it sounds like my fuel line has popped off or snapped, tells me where the line can be located. I hang up, worried that one of the cars speeding five feet from me might take me out. I walk the bike further into the emergency lane and into the better lighting from the upper deck.

It takes twenty more minutes, but I locate the fuel line where it comes out of the tank and into the fuel pump. The line is barely visible between the tank and frame above the engine on the throttle side of the bike. The line has popped off the nipple, spewing gas any time I try to start the engine.

I push the connection closed, barely able to see it, let alone reach it. I start the bike. Bike dies.

Cars continue to roll by. One, driven by a texting moron or other species of asshat reduced the cushion of space in the emergency lane to two feet before swerving back into the roadway proper.


I dismount, jam the line down hard on the nipple as hard as I can given the tight space I have to work in. I start the bike. It continues to run this time. I gear up and white-knuckle it back into the flow of traffic.

The bike continues to run all the way home.

Today, to the dealership.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Things, Old Things

The new job didn't work out, and I cannot say I am all that disappointed. Things happened at a level I am not privy to and had no control over, and remain changeable. I think this the best result of the situation, and count myself lucky that I wasn't already installed in the job when things changed.

I am not upset, really. The money would not have been missed, but cash is never the reason for happiness, it just lubricates it.

So we remain, my Inner Gorilla and I, attendants to the court.

Ah well. Next crop of asshats inbound. Oh, and pukebucket returns tonight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weather Wonders

I am not sure whether the Global Warming folks have it entirely right or not. I do know that it's a bad thing to keep pumping all the shit we have been into the air, I just suspect that the models we have are not complex enough to account for solar weather, which has to influence our weather to a greater degree than any model I have seen takes into account.

During the Icelandic eruption of 2010 I claimed the coming winter would be colder and have more precipitation than previous years. In some places, this prediction has come true. We can use the cooling, I think.

Regardless, the weather does seem severe this year:

At 30 degrees, it is colder here in Concord than I can remember it being in any of the nearly nine years we've lived here.

These photos are from my parent's place outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. They rarely get more than snow flurries that only accumulate in the shadiest spots.

That is about eight inches of snow accumulating in the hills of Tennessee.

I wonder at that winter wonderland...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Writing Today, and Listening To Good Things

While I had a bit of diversion this morning, I have written more than 2000 words and feel in fine fiddle for cranking more pages.

This is some seriously good stuff:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Protestant Reformation and Switzerland c.1600 AD

I've been doing some research for a potential project I'm considering.

Most of you will not know that I was raised a Methodist, which is a Protestant Christian faith. I am fairly knowledgable about my faith, though I do not attend church and rarely act like I know my soul is headed to hell for all the bad thoughts I have.

Some of you may know that I lived in Switzerland for a few years. I thought I learned quite a bit about that country while I lived there, but today I discovered how little I knew of both the Protestant Reformation and the history of Switzerland. The two are so closely entwined as to make them nigh inextricable. From my study, it appears that the urban Swiss were tired of sending their young men to war for the Pope and anyone else who had a coin or two to rub together.

This was all well and good for the city-dwellers, but the more remote cantons of the original confederation had no trade routes to subsidize their meagre farming and few trades to engage in, and therefore took service as mercenaries in the armies of foreign lands.

The urban Swiss adopted the Protestant faith, which did not accept the idea of purchasing indulgences (A strong underpinning of that era's military service: you get forgiveness of sins if you fight in God's name, under this sanctioned Prince). Protestantism therefore rendered military service to a Catholic Prince in killing other Christians an unforgivable sin.

What followed in the area that would one day become Switzerland was an odd grab for power. Church lands were taken by the civil governments, even in Catholic Cantons, to better protect against the adversary of the moment.

Fueling this at the time was the social requirement common through Europe that the ruled conform to the religion of the ruler. Even in the cities and Cantons ruled by councils, this meant that the ruling council's religion dictated what a resident's religion must be. You were allowed to emigrate, but if your method of kneeling before God wasn't the boss', that was your only option other than persecution and confiscation of property.

There is a little blurb about the Anabaptists in the material, about how the chose to use the bible as the sole arbiter of social requirements. They refused to pay taxes or submit to courts, with the result that both Catholics and more mainstream Protestants persecuted them. Yet more proof that the standout nail gets hammered first and hardest.

The less populous and Catholic Cantons had the military might and know-how, and used it to good effect, cementing control over their own territory and occasionally clobbering an urban center to show them who was boss. They eventually became so good at it that non-german, states nearby started asking for membership when under threat from local powers such as Savoy.

I am not sure where this is going, but I did find it fascinating reading, and will continue to study it, as time allows.Most of this information was gained through about an hour's worth of reference reading on the almighty Wikipedia.

Man, the internet is something else.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Feelin' The Love

My phone is also my alarm and my little office outside the office I don't really have. I usually, when drawn from my dreamless slumber, first check my email for any earthshaking news, as I am still waiting on news from that book, you know, the one that's at the publishing house I hope to whore for. I then do the usual, which is to say; shit, shave and shower (In that order, though sometimes the shitting comes much later in the day. What can I say, I'm not completely regular.).

Today's email had a nice note, actually a notification of a direct message from a writer friend on Twitter requesting a chance to read some more of my scribbles and dribbles. It warms the heart when anyone asks to read my work, let alone out of the blue.

I sent some scribbles along. I hope she enjoys. I certainly enjoyed feelin' the love.

Now, to generate some more scribbles.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Not sure why, but it seems that my work as bailiff has been trying desperately to keep me. It has been remarkably free of asshats and their asshattery of late. I've even been able to, at lunch, get a lot written.

It is, of course, too little, too late.

Hope the transfer comes quick. I might start having second thoughts if this continues.

Hail 2011!

And in keeping with the way work was, and will be again:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Music That's New To Me

Yesterday I was tooling the internets, looking for entertainment (I had already written a ton for Bridges of The Broken, so relax.) when I went to Eileen Andrews' site. She had there, for my listening pleasure, the Midieaval Baebes. I found their music a wonder and pleasure to listen too, and particularly appropriate as I was reading SM Stirling's The High King of Montival, which I received for Christmas.

Check Medieaval Baebes Out:

And, for fans of Simon & Garfunkle:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Four Birds Up, Four Birds Down on the First Barrel

Yesterday I was awakened by the dog barking madly and a thudding at the front door. I had forgotten to set my alarm, indeed I had forgotten I was going hunting with my usual hunting buddy.

I raced to get ready and we made it out there before the fields were opened.

While my buddy and I both have dogs, neither of us have dogs we could very well go hunting birds with. I could not survive the manpoint loss of showing up at the club with my poodle. He keeps a bull mastiff, unsuited for hunting all but the largest (and heavily armed) of game. So we rent from the club. The last few times we have asked for and had Rebel, an amazing two year old German Shorthair that just wants to hunt and please the hunters, so long as you don't miss the birds he finds for you.

Thus equipped, we depart for our field. We make it about halfway down the muddy side road we take to the field we are using, and there before us are four pheasant roosters wandering down the road. They refuse to get out of the way of my buddy's big red SUV.

The sudden stink of dog shit fills the car. My buddy and I begin to believe Rebel has shat in the back of the truck. The stench grows worse.

My buddy honks at the birds. They look sideways at the truck, irritated at our effrontery.

The stink grows worse.

Hoping for fresh air, I alight from the truck. The pheasant march a little faster, but don't leave the roadway. There are two trucks behind ours, the hunters within probably wondering what I am about.

My shout finally disturbs them sufficiently that they take off. One lands in our field, the others flee across the verge into a section we are not permitted to hunt. I curse my impatience. I should have gone round to the driver's side and shouted, perhaps driving more of them to flee into our field, or at least into the fields set aside for someone to hunt.

I get back into the truck, my nose assaulted again by the aroma of high-protein dog leavings.

We park and bail out of the truck. Hurrying around back to see if there is some way we might shovel the shit out.

Rebel stands defiantly, no shit at his feet. The stench was merely his incredibly potent flatulence. He tosses his head as if to say, "What?" and jumps down. He promptly shits at the base of a nearby tree, looking at me as if to say, "I know where to do my business, do you?"

We geared up.

There was a light rain, and the temperature lingered about 42 degrees. I put my Filson upland game pants on, and found they won't fit over my fat ass any longer. Luckily, they have long suspenders, so I managed to get them halfway up my ass, and keep my legs dry.

For the last couple years I have been using one of a set of twin LC Smith .12 double-barrel shotguns my maternal great-grandfather purchased back in 1929. We think he was using them for quail hunting in the Southeastern US, as he shortened the barrels a bit with a hack removing most of the choke (It's hard to get through the brush in the southeast with a long gun.). My father brought the gun with him on one of his visits, and I have been using it ever since.

The ditch between the parking area and the actual field is full to overflowing with rainwater. The wooden plank set across it sagging under the weight of the hunters assigned the other field.

Our neighbors of the hunt have two labs, one yellow, one black. Dufus dogs. Water dogs. They carefully avoid the ditch by bumbling across the planks. Rebel, disdaining such high technology (and freshly lightened of a load) leaps the three feet, lands lightly, and starts to work the field.

The labs approach and sniff him, admiring his dog-ness. Their owners walk into their field, calling their dogs, who respond by walking with us. We are, after all, with Rebel the super-dog. It takes a few minutes for it to soak in for the dufus dogs that we are not their god-kings, and actually don't like them with us.

Rebel rises above, ignoring the dufus dogs and getting into the hunt, nose up, tail rigid, and cutting back and forth across our path. Ten minutes in, and he's on the bird I flushed into the field. The bird is a runner, but instead of running straight after it, Rebel's doing the right thing, rolling left and around, keeping the wind in his muzzle and the bird closer than if he drove straight at it and it continued to run. He finally locks up in a perfect point.

We trudge up (remember, I am half-assed). The bird launches about twenty yards from me, I raise my LC, flick the safety forward with thumb and drop the hammer on the right barrel with the bird about twenty-five yards out. Bird down.

The rest of the day went that smoothly, aside from another visit from the hunters of the neighbor's dufus dogs and the last bird I shot:

Rebel had run out ahead of us, and was in the brush lining the canal at the far end of our field. I was trudging along about thirty yards away. A bird flushed. I did my usual, not thinking. A beautiful and rather long shot, the bird dropped about thirty-five yards away. It fell on the other side of the canal, which was running very high.

The dog looked at me cocking his head like, "I ain't swimming across that shit. I ain't. Get one of those dufuses to do that shit. Better yet, do it yourself."

I didn't reply, except to apologize to both Rebel and my buddy.

When we went into the clubhouse, I told them to mark me down for all the birds I'd shot, telling them the story. They laughed, and added another bird to the card.

I think Great-Grand-Dad Whipple would be proud of the shooting, if not the hunter.

Oh, and my buddy has a new set of Filson upland game pants. They kept my legs dry, but my hips started to feel like I'd placed surgical tubing around my thighs. Halfassed is not the way to take long walks.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Talkin' At 2011

That's right, I chased down 2011 in my headspace at about 1030 this morning. Here is the impromptu interview:

You look much like 2010. Is there a reason for this?

Dude, you imagine I'm supposed to look different all the sudden because of some arbitrary date has passed?

I hope for better things, as I cannot hope for better people in my life. Will this be so?

You sound like a greeting card philosopher.

Is that your final answer?

No. My final answer is: How the fuck should I know, asshat?

Is this the year I get a novel out there?

Might be. Might not. You should be writing something else instead of asking me these pointless questions.

Am I hung over?

I certainly hope so, as the quality of your questions is seriously lacking otherwise.

You always this grumpy?

You would be too, if you were birthed in an orgy of drunken idiocy and screaming. Not to mention those damn horns and bits of confetti. And then there's knowing that just twelve months from now I'll be put down with a bullet to the brain and forever after only remembered by whatever asshattery happened to occur while I was up at bat.

Well, why do the work if you hate it so much? I mean, I hear the Chinese Years are chomping at the bit to have your job.

Yeah, that's what I need: a push to outsource my fucking job. I don't hate the work, it's you people I can't stand. Fuck off. I'm out of here.