I spent a good while last night down loading some research material that i need for a project I'm working on. Unfortunetly it was too big to store on a disk. I ended up having to break it into seven files to get it onto two different disks. The ironic part is that the material I need will actually only be a half dozen lines. Problem is I don't know which half dozen lines.
I spent a good while last night down loading some research material that i need for a project I'm working on. Unfortunetly it was too big to store on a disk. I ended up having to break it into seven files to get it onto two different disks. The ironic part is that the material I need will actually only be a half dozen lines. Problem is I don't know which half dozen lines.
Had a nice Father's Day yesterday. Matt called, that he is remembering to call on holidays and birthdays is a good sign. We may have him come over and do some more work around the house this week or next, a lot of it depends on the heat.
Sue took me to a movie yesterday, Terminator Salvation. Not a bad movie, not the greatest but it was enjoyable. There were some major differences between this and the previous ones in the series. Oh well, even movie series have to change in order to keep up with the audience.
Afterwords we went out to eat. The orginal plan had been to go to Rib Crib but there were more cars in the parking lot there , than I have ever seen at that restraunt before. So instead we ended up at Schlotsky's where I had a turkey and jalapeno (hold the jalapeno's) pizza. I had been in the mood for a pizza for sometime but just had not been motivated enough to suggest that we go out for one or order in.
My step-son Matt came over today. He's been doing some work that has been needing to be done around the house for sometime, weeding in the garden, digging a french drain, pulling out some bushes etc. That sort of thing.
I left him to it and somehow managed to get some actually work done myself. Sent out queries on two projects, one fiction and one non fiction. The non fiction would be an article on the Heavner Runestone. Sue and I visited it on our aniversarry weekend in April. Not only was southeast Oklahoma beautifal, it was amazing to look at this thing and know that if it is legit (and I think it is) that means that northmen were actually in Oklahoma anywhere 5 to 900 hundred years before Columbus conned the king and queen of Spain into paying for his voyage.
I also got more research done on another nonfiction piece I'm working on, more about that when it is done and turned in. Plus I sent out a short story of mine. With the sales I've made recently this has left only three unsold pieces in my inventory.
Last weekend Sue and I did a double feature, cought Fast and Furious at one theatre then the next day went to see Angels and Demons. Fast and Furious as a fun, silly movie with not a lot of plot but a lot of good driving and some dynamite car chases. Angels and Demons was not bad, there were plot holes a mile wide in, but it was a decent popcorn movie. I doubt I would pick up either of these on DVD,
It’s been just over a week since we got back from Soonercon. I actually had the report written up about it and ready to post to the live journal but the file seems to have mysteriously disappeared. Those crafty little cyber gremlins have been dogging my heels again.
Ah well, I just spent a rather frustrating hour trying to get as second set of some paperwork I need to do taken care of done, I got an earlier set figured out, the problems with it being due to operator error. So I decided to put the second set aside and work on it later.
Hokay, now on the matter of Soonercon. Because of work considerations instead of going over to Oklahoma City on Friday we opted to wait and drive in early Saturday morning. This meant we just had to get up at our regular time, ie: no weekend sleeping late. Everything went well and in fact we arrived a half hour earlier than we thought and had plenty of time to get a room, it took some dealing with the desk who at first said that they didn’t have any rooms clean. Then amazingly they found one.
The reason we had to be on site early in the morning is that there was a Bubbas of the Apocalypse being shot and Sue had volunteered to play the part of a Yumbie (for those who haven’t read the series that’s a zombie. If you haven’t read it then you should go buy copies of all the books and read them, right away!).
I did several panels that morning, in fact showing up a half hour early for one due to the fact that the pocket program had been laid out in a way it was difficult to know exactly when some panels started. However both panels, one dealing with world building and another with the 1632 series went very well. In fact I got an idea for another story to submit to the Grantville Gazette thanks to my friend Lou Antonelli doing an excellent Godfather imitation.
Later that afternoon I conducted the GoH interview with Dave Wolverton. He was a remarkably nice fellow with some terrific stories to tell. Prior to the interview he and I had been chatting and we both were certain we had met before, but neither of us could recall where. This was the third year in a row that I’ve done the GoH interview for Soonercon. I have offered my services for next year, especially since the GoH is the one and only Joe Lansdale. So if they want me I am definitely available.
We waited until later and ate dinner with Rachel Caine and Cat, ka Cat and Rox Conrad. This was really the first time we’d had to just sit down and talk with them for an extended time in sometime.
The only big problem that we had during the con was not with the con, but rather with the hotel. The mattress in the room was hard as a rock. Since we didn’t discover this until later Saturday night there was nothing to do but endure it. The management was apologetic and made some adjustments in the bill.
There were as you might expect a large number of the Yard Dog contingent there.So we all did our best on pimping the various books, from what Selena said there was some decent business done by Yard Dog at the con.
I also brought copies of Echoes From the Darkness and ended up selling four copies, which was not bad at all. I’ll probably be needing to order more shortly
You can can count Sue and myself in the later bunch. We both came out of the theatre pleased with what we had seen. The casting was spot on with all the major characters, ok there was something about the voice of the guy who played Chekov bothered me, but that was all right. Yes, there were some major , major plot holes. But what Trek movie doesn't have major plot holes? Also there is no way Nero scores up to the Khan level on the villian scale. But that said, it was worth seeing. We will definitely be seeing it again and getting the double disk dvd.
One thing that amused me, when they rebooted the James Bond series with Casino Royale there was an awful lot of running in the movie, now with this reboot of Star Trek there was a whole lot of running. I guess we will see if there is a whole lot of running in the new Terminator movie.
You’ve been waiting for this! You know you have. What happened to Max and the Slayer after the exploding penguins took out the spa? And what about the hurricane? Find out all the answers here! And watch at the end for a special offer for Rosie Hughes fans!
It had been so long since I’d tried the key in the lock that I had to struggle to turn it. I pushed open my apartment door, made more difficult by the pile of mail on the other side. My friend Ryk had told me he’d collect the mail and put it on the table, but apparently that didn’t last long.
The living room was cool and dark—just what I needed after what seemed like a lifetime of vampire hunting. I had to be absolutely certain that I removed the rest of Rosie Hughes’s “sales team” before the whole state of Florida was hanging upside down under bridges instead of sunning on the beach. I can’t begin to tell you how sick I am of the color pink. Pink shoes, pink hair, pink cars and the ever present pink cosmetic containers. If I saw just one more Suzy Q pink logo I was going to scream.
And I did. “Aaaahh!” Underneath the pile of past due, second notice and shut-off envelopes was another stinking PINK box, bearing the Suzy Q logo! I recoiled like it would bite me. The postmark was nearly a month ago, and was sent from some company named Slayer Productions in Los Angeles and was addressed to me care of my own address. Okay, that is just not fair. I’ve spent nearly six years cleaning up the entire east coast and one of them moved west?
I walked to the window, fully intending to toss it out into the dumpster below. I didn’t even care if it was bomb or free samples of eyeliner. They were nearly the same to me at this point. The pane went up and I held the box out with both hands, just to make certain it would drop straight down. That was when I noticed the printing on the bottom in virulent pink marker. I read it as it descended the two stories into the metal container.
If you don’t open this, Max, you’ll regret it. Mary-Beth, aka Mary-Ssss
What the hell!?
Mary-Ssss was dead. Killed when the building exploded. Or surely the hurricane got her. The whole block was devastated by that storm. We went to check back the next day, and although I looked for her—looked hard, there was no sign of the teenaged wanna-be slayer. I swore that day I would kill every vampire I met to avenge her death.
But what if she wasn’t dead?
I bolted down the stairs and around to the back of the building. The drunk guy who’d already laid his grubby hands on it dropped it abruptly and ran out into the street when I pulled the sawed-off from beneath my trench coat. Fortunately, he didn’t stick around long enough to realize the shotgun was actually a modified super soaker loaded with a combination of holy water and make-up remover. It looks more impressive than it is. But you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find vampires now that they can walk out in the sun. Yeah, I’ve gotten slapped more than once for soaking an innocent human, but it’s been more than worth it for the number of vamps who screamed as that ‘sunkissed bronze’ foundation dissolved just before the rest of them did.
I stared at the box, sorely tempted to put a couple rounds through it just to be safe. More than one vampire had heard Mary-Ssss’s name from my lips as I drove a stake into his or her heart. It could easily be a trap. And yet, minutes later I found myself cutting open the top as I plopped down in my recliner hard enough to raise a cloud of dust.
There was a DVD inside with “Play Me” written on the box. That was it. A whole lot of pink packing peanuts and a disk. Weird. Fortunately, when I decided to come back to town, I called ahead and had the power turned back on. With the apartment deemed part of the territory of The Fallen, the TV and player hadn’t wound up in some pawn shop yet.
“Welcome back to the Biography Channel special on Mary Beth. Of course, who hasn’t heard of the phenomenal vampire series The Slayer, still ranked at Number One in the Neilsen ratings for the third season in a row? Thank you so much for agreeing to our interview, Mary Beth. We know how you dislike cameras.”
The voice preceded the picture of the room’s other occupant. “Well, I don’t dislike them as much as they’re always scheduled for the daytime. Thank you for waiting until dark.” And there she was. Mary-Ssss. She looked good, even though she was dressed in pink satin. There was a confidence in her eyes that hadn’t been there when I knew her. She smiled just then and I felt my heart skip a beat. Fangs. I hadn’t saved her after all. She was a freaking vampire. My thumb hovered over the Off button, but something made me keep watching.
“Of course, after the season finale, you’ve got everybody wondering—what happened next? When Rosie Hughes died, what happened to you?”
Yeah. What did happen to you, Mary-Ssss—and how in the hell did you get a television show?
The kid, or actually, I suppose she isn’t a kid anymore, smiled again and I flinched again. The reporter was going to be toast and I was going to have to watch it. Because I couldn’t seem to turn it off.
Mary-Ssss took a deep breath. “Of course, you know that everything in the season really happened. There really was a Rosie Hughes, and her squad of undead cosmetics salesbats. I have to tell you, Sarah Michelle was amazing as Rosie. She really captured the essence of Rosie. Nobody else could have pulled off that pink leather catsuit with fur. Nobody!” Sarah Michelle? As in the Sarah Michelle (all hail!) who the kid had idolized? She was a guest star on the kid’s show. Oh, that had to have been something to watch. I found myself grinning and put the remote on the table. “But here’s what happened. As Max rode off into the sunset, I pulled myself out of the rubble. I thought about going back to the bar to tell them I was okay. But I wasn’t. Not really. Ryk—and isn’t he wonderful in the role of Max?!”
The reporter nodded and patted her chest while I stared at the screen in horror. Ryk played me? “Anyway, he and the bikers had done the best they could. I wasn’t completely a vampire, but I wasn’t human anymore either. I wouldn’t blame them at all if they flat staked me when they saw the fangs. So, I was scared and I ran.”
“You’ve really struggled with the blood thing haven’t you?”
Mary-Sss nodded and rolled her eyes. “You have no idea! After three days of cold sweats without blood, I was nearly crazy. Thankfully, the night I gave in and decided I was going to have to find a neck, the one I found was on his way to an AA meeting. He begged me not to kill him, because he’d just gotten his life back. Well, I figured a drinking problem was a drinking problem, so instead of killing him, I joined him at the meeting.”
The interviewer’s eyes widened. “I would imagine that was a little startling to the group.”
She shook her head. “Not as much as you’d think, actually. It was the only group in the little town I wound up in, so they had alcoholics and drug addicts and a few pedophiles. But they did pass around pencils for everyone to hold the first few meetings—just in case. I could hardly blame them, what with the glowing red eyes and all.” She laughed and her fangs became evident once more, but now I was more curious than worried. “I’m the world’s only blood-free vampire. It’s probably because I’m half human. Sushi and steak tartar do me just fine and there’s a terrific beet substitute out there that has all the same proteins.”
“And then you came to California, and the rest is history?”
Mary-Ssss laughed. “Hardly! No, it took me a couple of years to get my head on straight and get in touch with my inner slayer. I’m the real deal. I don’t have any stunt people on the show. I studied hard when I worked with Max—the real Max. I cleaned up the west coast while he was cleaning up the east. I heard stories about him and have worked very hard not to give away too much about him in the show. Nobody knows what he looks like or where he is. I’ve been very careful . . . because he can’t do the good work he does if the bats know he’s coming.”
Really? Way to go, Mary-Ssss!
There was a knocking on my door just then, and I hit the Pause button. A quick glance through the keyhole revealed Ryk and a couple of the guys. He looked good, too. Really good, like a week in a spa good, with some botox on the side. I opened the door and he grinned. “Saw your bike downstairs. Welcome home, Hunter! I see you got the box. Don’t worry, the kid doesn’t know where you are. I told her this was my place. She doesn’t want to know.”
I motioned to the screen. “Yeah, she just said that. What the hell though, preacher . . . you’re an actor now?”
He shrugged and stepped inside, the boys coming with him like they were attached at the hip. One passed me a beer, which I accepted gratefully and everybody took their normal place on the couch, like we’d seen each other last week, instead of the better part of a decade ago. “Yeah. I told you I had something interesting going on, when you called from West Virginia a while back, right?”
I nodded. “But acting? And what’s this show about anyway? Is it like the other vampire show, the one the kid was all hot about?”
Ryk nodded. “Yep, but a lot better. It was real, after all. We just wrapped up the third season. The first two seasons were our story. It got amazing ratings, Max. You can’t even believe what a hit it’s been. I just bowed out of the series. I want to get back to the bar and my old life. That whole Hollywood biz just isn’t my thing. I thought the story was important—and who better to make sure they got your persona right?—but that’s it. We wrapped up your story and now Mary-Beth is on to actual fiction. A whole new threat that’s nothing close to reality. But you really should finish watching this special, and you might actually get a kick out of the series. We made Line up the penguins into the latest teen catchphrase. Pretty cool, really.”
So we watched it. I laughed when I learned Mary-Ssss bought a controlling share of Suzy Q cosmetics to that “nothing like this could ever happen again.” I rolled on the floor when I saw the interview with the chauffeur that I thought I killed, but who wasn’t dead. Instead, she was the new regional sales rep for the make-up giant. And Jason, aka Jayce, the transvestite, was now Suzy’s chauffeur. “Irony at its finest. I never was paid by those witches.”
“Like that matters anymore, huh?” Ryk laughed but it wasn’t really a laughing matter. I used my last hundred bucks to get power back in the apartment and unless I rolled the guys after they were drunk and emptied their wallets, I was going to be chewing on those pink peanuts by nightfall. There probably wasn’t anything left in my cupboards that I’d want to eat after this long, and even Mickey-D’s needs the green stuff.
“It’d be nice. I’ll be honest. It’s gonna be a little tight until I can get a job.” A little being an understatement.
“Didn’t she send the check? She said she was going to.”
Check? “What check?”
Ryk grabbed the box from the floor and dumped it out. Pink peanuts scattered all over the apartment, caught in the breeze from the window. He hit the bottom of the box and a white envelope fluttered out. “There it is. That wouldn’t be like Mary-Beth at all. She really worked hard to get your name on the contracts without you actually signing them.”
Jacobi rolled his eyes. “Royalties, Hunter. Don’t you know how the TV game works? Mary-Beth gets paid with royalties. So did Ryk, so do we. And so do you. I’ve been spending mine on a string of bikes, but if you haven’t touched yours yet, it’s gotta be pretty.”
He handed me the envelope just as the interviewer was wrapping up. “Is there anything else you’d like the audience to know, Mary-Beth?”
“Just one audience member in particular, Stacey.” She stared at the camera, her eyes glowing red over flamingo pink lipstick. “Max, if you’re out there, I just want to tell you thank you. If not for you, I would have died from loss of blood next to those exploding pink flamingos. If not for you, I never would have believed how dangerous vampires could be. If not for you, I never could have gotten in touch with my inner slayer—because that slayer inside me is you. Rock on, Max Hunter. Keep fighting the good fight, and go out and buy something pretty and pink with all those zeroes.”
I opened the envelope. I’d never actually seen a check that required use of the entire ‘write out the check amount’ line because there were that many freaking words to print! All three of the guys laughed as the beer can dropped from my hand to splatter across the floor. I could buy my apartment. Hell, I could buy the whole stinking building. And a new bike, and a bar of my own. Or anything else I wanted. Holy pink vampires, catman!
Behind the check in the envelope was what made me laugh out loud, though. I laughed until I couldn’t breathe and until Ryk finally took the envelope from me. It was a notice of stock share. I owned exactly ONE share of Suzy Q cosmetics—donated on behalf of Rosie Hughes.
At least she was good for something.
Just who are the strange authors behind the Rosie Hughes saga?
C. T. Adams was born in Illinois. She spent seventeen years in the Denver metro area and now resides in Texas with a large dog and pet cats. Office work provided a living while she pursued the goal of becoming a novelist. Forming the partnership with Cathy Clamp was the catalyst that led to publication and the two have enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration, with two series published within the Tor Paranormal Romance line: The Sazi, and the Kate Reilly/Thrall books. In addition they have authored stand-alone novels and participated in several anthologies. Working both as a team with Cathy and individually, Cie plans to be involved in writing novels for years to come. She’s now additional writing with Cathy Clamp under the pen name Cat Adams. They will have a brand new urban fantasy series, beginning with NIGHT SONGS coming out next summer under the Cat Adams name. She can be reached online at: http://www.catadams.net, or on her MySpace or Blogger blogs.
Rachel Caine is a fictional person who writes fiction. She (or her evil twin, at least) was born at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, which explains … virtually everything about her. She loves books, exotic animals, and her wonderful husband R. Cat Conrad, who puts up with those first two things. She writes a bunch, at very odd times of the day, and currently has three series of novels running simultaneously: the Morganville Vampires series, the Weather Warden series, and the Outcast Season series. Some may say this is, in fact, insane. Some may be right. For more proof, visit her website at http://www.rachelcaine.com or catch up with her on Myspace, Livejournal, Facebook, and Twitter.
Cathy Clamp is a real person who also writes fiction. After a long career in law in Colorado (which many say is what warped her brain) she and her husband decided that the reason they lived in Colorado didn’t exist anymore and moved to Texas to raise goats and live in the middle of nowhere among the trees, rocks and cactus. After discovering that the comic books in her night stand nearly gave the moving men a hernia after a fire required new carpeting, she decided that perhaps she was, after all, a comic book geek, after all (her husband had been trying to convince her of it for twenty-odd years.) She co-authors the Sazi and Thrall novels with C.T. Adams under her real name and as Cat Adams and will be branching out into solo novels soon. She’s disgustingly available online, at http://catadams.net, on LiveJournal, Blogger, MySpace, Twitter and at multiple online writing forums. Just Google her name and she’s hard to miss. They will have a brand new urban fantasy series, beginning with NIGHT SONGS, coming out next summer under the Cat Adams name.
Jackie Kessler used to run around in Wonder Woman Underoos and watch Challenge of the Super Friends. Now she writes about superheroes and watches cartoons with her kids. She lives in upstate New York with her Loving Husband, two Precious Little Tax Deductions, one curmudgeonly cat, and about 8,000 comic books. When she’s not working on stories about superheroes (or about beating the snot out of superheroes), she tends to write about demons. For more about Jackie and BLACK AND WHITE, visit her website: http://www.jackiekessler.com
Bradley H. Sinor has seen his short stories published in numerous anthologies, such as DRACULA IN LONDON, BUBBAS OF THE APOCOLYPSE, HAUNTED HOLIDAYS, ON CRUSADE, GATEWAYS, SMALL BITES, PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO KILL, ALL HELL BREAKING LOOSE, SPACE CADETS, HOUSTON, WE GOT BUBBAS, THE GRANTVILLE GAZETTE and RING OF FIRE 2. Three collections of his short fiction have been released by Yard Dog Press, DARK AND STORMY NIGHTS, IN THE SHADOWS, and PLAYING WITH SECRETS (which also features two stories by his wife Sue Sinor.) His newest collection of stories ECHOES FROM THE DARKNESS is from Arctic Wolf Press. He has also seen his non-fiction appear in a variety of magazines and anthologies. His latest essays can be found in STEPPING THROUGH THE STARGATE, THE CHERRYH ODESSEY, and HOUSE UNAUTHERIZED.
Sue Sinor started writing at the urging of her husband, Brad. She also is involved with community theatre, both on and off stage. Together, she and Brad are the caretakers and household staff for two cats, Pewter and Ashe. She has stories in several Yard Dog Press publications: International House of Bubbas, Flush Fiction and, in collaboration with her husband, the chapbook Playing With Secrets and a story in Houston, We Got Bubbas. They also have a story in the anthology Rotten Relations. She also has two stories in the charity anthology Small Bites.
And now: our special surprise to you!
We’re going to be making T-SHIRTS of the Rosie Hughes Project! All proceeds are going to go to a charity that even Rosie herself would support — the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation (a very “pink” charity!)
Take a look at one of the shirts. How could you live without this?
We’ll let you know as soon as we’re ready to take orders. Stay tuned
I don't have any programing until tomorrow, but I have a feeling that I may get drafted to help out on several things.
We went over to the eye doctor to have her check Sue's eyes and redo her prescription. The eye glasses place and they said that it would be seven to ten days to get her glasses. This was said as thetech was standing right next to the sign that said "One Hour."
I had to walk back to Rosie’s house after the limo blew up. It was a good thing I wasn’t wearing the pink Manolo stilettos that Rosie likes me to wear when I take her to Corporate HQ, because the heels would have broken off after the first few blocks.
I got madder and madder as I walked. I had a splitting headache and various other aches and pains, which I wouldn’t mind inflicting on someone else.
I’d apparently run over a nail or something recently, and the slow leak had caught up with us before we had gotten that far from home. I had pulled over and had my head in the trunk looking for the jack, when BOOM!
The blast knocked me back twenty feet onto a short cement wall covered with graffiti. I guess I was knocked out for awhile, because when I finally woke up, Rosie was nowhere to be found. She had stayed in the limo with the door open, complaining about being late, and the blast must have blown her a different direction than I’d been.
What made me want to strangle someone, specifically my employer, what the fact that she just left without even checking to see if I was still alive. As she had told Morgana earlier, she could always get another driver. But I’m a lot more valuable to her than just for my driving skills, and I’ve tried to convince Rosie of that fact. Also, the fact that I knew more about her financial affairs than she did didn’t hurt to make me indispensable, or so I thought, and she just left me there!
I considered letting her worry for awhile before I showed up. Maybe she’d treat me better next time.
Anyway, I stumbled in the door in the friggin’ middle of the night looking like I’d been in an explosion, Duh!, wanting to assure her that the limo was toast, but I was not. She just said, “You’re alive! What took you so long?”
I snarled, “Thanks for being so concerned for my safety.”
“Well, you’re here now. I’ll bring you up to speed. When I got back this time, Max and that incompetent little accomplice of his were vandalizing my beautiful custom-made flamingo! That made me so mad I grabbed them by their scrawny necks. I threw Max in the pool, and that somehow made my flamingos blow up. So, to punish them, I snacked on Mary-whatever. I knew Max would be, well, upset, when he saw what I did and would have to take her somewhere to keep her from becoming my thrall. And if he didn’t, well I know how much he would enjoy “staking” her. That way I would have enough time to prepare for his next assault.”
“By the way, you do know that a hurricane is coming through around noon today, don’t you?” I asked. I wasn’t mollified, yet, but given the circumstances I thought it better to move on.
“Yes, I’ve heard, I do watch the weather channel every now and then,” she replied.
“Don’t you think we should get ready for it? You know, batten down the hatches. You know, get the plywood out. We probably wouldn’t have flamingos anymore anyway after it hit even if they hadn’t been blown up.”
“No, I think we’ll relocate instead. I’ve had a few indispensable things packed. Yes, I have your laptop, too. You need to pack some things quickly. We’ll be leaving by dawn.”
“We have no vehicle, as I recall. And what about your sister? Is she coming with us?” I was slowly getting back into employee mode.
“Alas, poor Morgana is no more. The wretched Mary-whatever eliminated her after we left. I get home and Mary and Max are stuffing the birds with explosives. I’m not sure what they meant to accomplish with that. However, when they come back, we won’t be here. Oh, and we can take your little SUV. You change into something ugly, jeans and T-shirt or something, and I’ll put extra sunblock on. They’ll never recognize us. Chop, chop!”
I went up to my apartment over the limo garage. When my work hours became 24/7 I leased my condo to a friend and moved on site. It was so much easier that way. I changed my clothes like she wanted and threw a few things into a bag, including IDs and passwords to Rosie’s online accounts, in a small notebook, encrypted. By then it was getting to be early morning. I retrieved my SUV, an older model RAV4 that I’d bought from my parents for almost nothing when they bought a new car, and pulled around to pick up Rosie. The few things she had packed filled up all available space in the back, forcing her to sit up front with me.
“OK, where to?” I asked.
“New York City, I think. I have friends there who can put me up until I can get a new sales force ready. I’ll tell HQ that I’m transferring. Besides, there are a lot of places to hide in The Big Apple.”
I kicked the door of the biker bar open. It wasn’t like I could actually open it with my hands, since I had an armful of Mary-Sss,
“What the hell is going on?!” someone yelled as I pushed a couple of guys aside. Behind the bar a lanky one-eyed man was reaching, bending forward to grab for either a sawed-off twelve gauge shotgun or a Louisville slugger baseball bat, both of which were right below the cash register.
“Jacobi, I need Ryk, now!” I yelled at him.
Diablo’s Forge had once been a family bar, at least that’s the story they tell. Something strange had happened about thirty years ago, exactly what, nobody seemed to know for certain. What was known was that people had died, some of them in some nasty ways that made even the cops sick to their stomachs. It sat empty for a long time; that was before Ryk Garton had taken it over.
Ryk had been a medic in the first Gulf War and had come back a changed man; he’d also found God. Whatever had happened in the bar, he had driven it out, whether by calling on the Almighty or by the force of his own personality I didn’t know and didn’t care. If there was anybody who could prevent Mary-Sss from going vamp, it was him.
There were more than a dozen guys spread out around the bar and at the tables. More than half of them wore the club colors of The Fallen, a motorcycle club made up mostly of Gulf War vets. Two of them were shooting pool at a table in the back. I pushed one of them aside and laid Mary-Sss on the table.
The slight moan told me that she was alive.
“Hang in there, kid; I’ve brought you to someone who can help. We’re not going to let the bitch win!”
A moment later a man mountain appeared in the doorway from the bar’s store-room. He was six four of solid muscle with shoulder length dirty blonde hair and a scraggly red beard with a single spot of gray in it. A plain silver cross hung down in front of his tacky-looking western shirt.
“Dragging in strays again, Hunter? I hope that’s not blood staining my pool table.”
“It’s blood.” I reached over and moved Mary-Sss’s head to one side so Ryk could see the puncture wounds on her neck. He pushed two fingers just below the wound. I could see the rhythmic movements of his head as he counted off her pulse.
“She’s still alive, for the moment.” He looked toward the bar. “Jacobi! Lock up; we’re closed for the rest of the night. Hunter, you wouldn’t by any chance know what this girl’s blood type is?”
“Not funny. Figures you would be useless when it comes to important information. Okay, we’ll have to take a chance with universal donors. Whose type O?” Ryk looked over at the bikers; three of them raised their hands. “Congrats boys; you just volunteered to donate blood. Harry, go back to my office; find my med bag. Oh, somebody get my big leather Bible from the back; I’m going to need that, too!”
She had a fighting chance. If Ryk didn’t think so he would have called for another kit that he keeps in the back. One with Holy water, carved ash stakes, a mallet and a big knife sharp enough to cut through bone.
I moved away from the pool table and sat down in one of the booths. That was the last thing I knew for some time.
# # #
Water splashed onto my face, ice cold water, and that stuff stung like a son of a bitch. My right hand closed around the butt of my pistol, my left reaching for the knife I had in my boot. I stopped in mid movement when I saw Ryk sitting across the table from me.
“Wakey, wakey, sleeping beauty.”
“You really need to get some new script writers,” I said.
Ryk shoved a bottle of beer and a plastic container that proved to have what was supposed to be a roast beef sandwich. Frankly, it tasted wonderful, as long as I didn’t think too much about what ingredients were actually between those two pieces of bread.
“So, will she live?” I asked between bites.
Ryk cocked his head at me and heaved a big sigh. I could see the vague circles under his eyes. Admittedly I wasn’t looking at him that closely when I came in, but I was fairly sure they hadn’t been there when I brought Mary-Sss, or whatever the hell her name really was, through the door.
“Yeah. It was close, too close for my tastes. So who did this to her?” he asked, slowly drumming his fingers on the table.
“The cosmetics cult? From what I can see, they are on a par with the Moonies and Scientology.”
From what I had seen of the Pepto-Bismol pink clad zombies, it would have been a tough call. Taking a long swig of the beer, I began to fill Ryk in on the whole situation with Rosetta Stone-Red, aka Rosie Hughes aka “Call me Rosie.”
“You know, I’m not sure what about this whole Suzy Q cult is worse, the crap they produce, or the fact there is a damn vampire behind it.”
“Not all of it is run by a vampire, just the area here in southern Florida, at least as far as I know.” I looked over at the far wall just in time to see a digital Budweiser clock shift over to 5 A.M. I had apparently slept for nearly five hours.
Ryk produced a thick bar of chocolate from inside his jacket. He broke it in half and passed part of it over to me. Oh, it was good, very good. No wonder this stuff is as addictive a heroin.
“So, old buddy, I know you too well. I figure that you have already got something in mind and I doubt it means taking over the franchise for Suzy Q in this area.”
“I do hate being predictable,” I laughed.
# # #
The traditional time to attack a vampire is at night, if you believe Hammer horror films. Personnaly, I think that’s stupid. I figured that Rosie would be on the alert after dark, so that was not when I planned to hit that stingingly pink place she called home.
“Showdown at High Noon?” said Ryk. “Sounds like you’ve been watching too many old Gary Cooper movies. But I always thought of you as more the Bruce Campbell type.”
“Hey, you can always find a use for a chain saw. I’m going to need a distraction, something nice and noisy. So do you think that you and the rest of The Fallen would be willing to give me a hand?”
“Against a vampire? Sounds like fun. When do we go?”
“In about six hours,” I said.
“Obviously you haven’t been paying attention to the weather?”
Ryk cocked his head at me. “Actually, I have.” I could tell when it dawned on him.
“You crazy son-of-a-bitch. That’s brilliant.”
I got out my cell phone and brought up the internet connection, then surfed over to weather.com. As I hoped, the forecast hadn’t changed. The first hurricane of the season, Hurricane Alonso, was heading right for this part of the Florida coast and should be here in about six hours.
As my favorite German philosopher, Arte Johnson, used to say on Laugh-In, this was going to be “Very Interesting.”
end of chapter 15----Sue will be right back with Chapter 16
I pulled the limo around in a U-turn from the shoulder of the road. Rosie had insisted that I let her out so she could fly home. We hadn’t gotten so far that it would take much time to get back to Villa Rosetta, especially in bat form. That was odd just because we were on the way to a meeting at Suzy Q Corporate Headquarters. It had to be spectacularly important to make Rosie miss a meeting that she had called herself.
It was...interesting... to see Rosie change into a bat, and somewhat unsettling to see a very large bat with a pink crystal necklace dangling from its neck. She had been listening to her favorite Bach CD when she gave another of her piercing shrieks, nearly shattering the car windows, and told me to pull over, she had to get back home. I figured I’d find out why when I got back.
I arrived at the house to find that Rosie’s sister, Morgana, had come for a visit. I saw no sign of Pollyanna, but I knew I’d find out what was up later. I wondered if it had anything to do with those two I caught skulking around the yard just before we left. Looking back, I’m not sure I buy the story that guy told. I’m not even sure he’s really gay. I don’t know any gay guys who lisp. What a stereotype! He was awfully cute, though, but with my luck, he probably was gay. Well, Pollyanna should have been able to handle them. If nothing else, she’d have talked them to death.
Apparently, Rosie and Morgana had discovered the two skulkers hiding in the yard, since they were sitting bracketed by the two sisters, but there wasn’t any sign of Pollyanna. I decided not to intrude, but then I heard the man saying, “You won’t get me this time, Rosie, and you won’t get Mary-Sss, either.”
I stuck my head in and said, “Need any help here?” Rosie said, “Of course not, Suzy. You know I am capable of handling anything that comes my way.”
The girl, Mary-Sss I guess her name was (who would name a baby girl Mary-Sss?), shouted, “You filthy blood-sucking vampire, where’s my best friend, Janey? I know she’s here.”
“Oh, Janey,” Rosie sighed. “Janey was getting to be a good salesgirl, but she blabbed about my, er, life-challenged status. That’s a no-no, so she paid for it, or at least, will pay for it. She may be salvageable, but if she’s not, well, I’ll have another snack waiting for me. I’m keeping her at an undisclosed location.”
“Noooo,” Mary-Sss cried, and struggled to get loose. But Morgana had a tight grip on her.
“You’ll be a snack, too, if you don’t settle down. Actually, I was thinking appetizer. Max, here, will be the main course. Yum.” Morgana licked her lips at the thought.
Max? Where had I heard that name before? Oh, yeah. Rosie had had a couple of run-ins with him before. I think he was the one who had thrown her off the roof of the hotel at Scarefest, when she landed almost literally at my feet. Then there was something that had happened involving this Max guy at some kind of Arthurian conference Morgana had chaired, when I had been out of town on business. All I had heard was that Rosie thought he was gorgeous, and she wanted to rip his heart out.
Right about then, Rosie asked Morgana, “Have you seen Pollyanna? I’d have thought she would have shown up by now.”
“Pollyanna and I had a misunderstanding. When I got here she was packing her suitcase – with Suzy Q products. I didn’t believe her when she tried to tell me she was ‘just getting rid of a few old things,’ so we did lunch.” Morgana smiled at the memory.
“Damn it, Morgana!” Rosie replied. “That’s what I was going to do! I found out she had altered an e-mail I sent to Corporate, telling them to absolutely NOT put garlic in the sunscreen. I found that out when Magenta Barrington dropped by and went up in a puff of smoke all over my favorite sofa. She had just gotten the shipment of the new formula, tried it, sent the orders out to all her vampire customers, and came by to tell me there was a problem. And she was my best sales rep, too. Anyway, I found out it was Pollyanna and was plotting her punishment, but you beat me to it. Poo!”
Morgana shrugged and said, “Sorry. I didn’t know. Why don’t I let you have Mary-Sss instead?”
“I’ll think about it,” Rosie pouted.
Just then, Max made his move. While the sisters had been arguing, he had, ever so slowly, been moving a hand toward his jacket pocket. I’d been watching the tennis match going on, so I’d missed it, too. He pulled out a small spray bottle of water and started spraying it in Rosie’s face. When she covered her face with her hands, he jumped away, reaching for Mary-Sss’s arm.
Morgana must have figured that if she let go of the girl to grab Max, she’d get sprayed, too, and lose the girl as well.
“Suzy, get him!” Morgana cried. Before I cold do anything Max was behind me, his arm wrapped around my throat, a rather nasty-looking stake aimed at my heart, ripping my new Vera Wang blouse in the process!
“I’m not a vampire,” I screeched.
He turned me around and said, “You’re not? I thought all of Rosie’s employees were vampires.”
“Not all,” I replied, gazing into his oddly compelling eyes.
He blinked first, noticing that the sisters were thinking faster than he was. He spun me back and returned the stake to my chest. “Give me the girl and I’ll let this one go,” he said.
Morgana said, “Go ahead. Rosie can always get another driver.”
But Rosie cried, “Wait. Maybe I can get another driver, but Suzy handles a lot more than transportation for me. I’ll let you go, for now, but I’ll keep the girl, and expect you to come back for her. However, if you harm Suzy, I’ll have the girl for three meals a day, for as long as she lasts. Now go!”
Max started walking backwards, pulling me with him. “I’ll be back; you can be sure of that. And if you harm Mary-Sss, I’ll tan both your hides, and make a tent with them.”
When he got to the door, he pushed me away and ran, yelling, “Don’t worry, Mary-Sss, I’ll be back.”
Thus endeth Part Ten. How will Max rescue Mary-Sss? Stay tuned to Part Eleven by Rachel Caine, on Wednesday.