Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wordzzle #19

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: fabulous, aristocrat, tricycle, soft summer breeze, cat litter, silver-tongued devil, curtain rod, lilacs, Abraham Lincoln, garbage can

Mini Challenge: strangle-hold, revelation, dormancy, tripod, space cadet
Go by the Raven's Nest for the rest of this weeks stories.

Sgt Johnson and Zan exited the Atlanta airport and immediately spotted the outrageously painted van of Thomas McCool. Inside the van, McCool and his wife Jean waited for the Sgt and his fabulous looking girlfriend in air conditioned comfort. "She looks like some exotic aristocrat" Jean commented to Thomas. "Yes she does" he agreed as he lowered the window to catch the soft summer breeze and wave to his friends.

Jean and Zan had become fast friends and were accustomed to these impromptu meetings held in towns throughout the southeast. McCool wouldn't fly except to get on a cruise ship or go to a foreign country and Johnson often flew several times a week. So over the years the two had worked out a way to get together, spend some time with their mates and consult on interesting cases and catch up.

The two couples would be staying at a B & B in the country outside Atlanta for the weekend. "Hi Tom you silver-tongued devil" Zan laughed as they walked up to the van. McCool stepped from the vehicle, opened the back door to stow their luggage; first moving an antique tricycle he and Jean had purchased at a yard sale on the drive to Atlanta. Simultaneously he grabbed a canister of cat litter he carried and sprinkled it on a spot of diesel fuel spillage he noticed next to the van.

"Man you never quit do you?" Johnson joked as they shook hands and embraced. "Hey, every chance I get, I take it" McCool answered. "How were the freaky skies?" McCool continued. "Did they beat any passengers with curtain rods this trip?" he quipped. "No, but they did march up and down the aisles banging on garbage can lids" Zan shot back. "Flying is not as bad as you make it out Tom" Sgt Johnson said. "You're probably right Paul, but the few remaining airlines seem to have a strangle-hold on the market and I don't think it makes for very good customer service," McCool answered seriously. "Well, I'll give you that" Johnson agreed.

"Where are we heading this weekend?" he asked to change the subject. McCool and Jean took turns describing the B & B where they would be spending the next two days as McCool guided the van out of the airport and towards the beltway. Jean told them how Abraham Lincoln was rumored to have stayed in the old house and how the antebellum mansion was famous for its lilacs.

The real revelation was how the owners had done a "green renovation" and managed to make the old place look original but energy efficient as well. McCool stated that though the energy conservation movement was currently in its dormancy, that businesses large and small were starting to catch on. He went on to tell Johnson and Zan that though the husband in the couple that ran the B & B was something of a space cadet, the establishment checked out as well above average.

"I even brought a camera and tripod for taking some nature stills if we have time" McCool added. "I wonder if you will, between cigars and whiskey and the alley cat murders." Zan commented.
An old tradition between the two men was long talks into the wee hours over Johnson's cases and McCool's ideas on saving the planet. Neither man commented after this statement. They both knew that their weekend would be filled with Johnson's current case and the odd tie-in to the environmental movement. Though Johnson and McCool had these get-togethers often, this one was scheduled on an urgent basis and would for the two men be a primarily working weekend. McCool had consulted with Johnson before, but never when the evidence pointed so close to home.

"Well, I know Zan and I are going to have a fabulous weekend by the pool" Jean broke in to break the mood. The two couples left it at that and enjoyed the ride in the country in silence, each person with their own thoughts.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wordzzle #18

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: solitaire, pathological, grackles, alternative life style, manifest destiny, polarization, ugly duckling, folding chairs, flibberty-gibbet, and hand grenade

And for the Mini Challenge: marathon, the butler did it, curtain, hand cream, flatulence
I have to work some today, but found time to introduce you to Thomas McCool, Ace Comfort Advisor. See you all in the funny papers.
Adventures of Thomas McCool, Ace Comfort Advisor - Part 1

Thomas McCool stepped out of his retro minivan into the 100 degree heat of Hickory, NC. He knew his manifest destiny was to bring coolness to those in need and he was pathological in his determination to help his hot and uncomfortable fellow citizens.

The ugly duckling minivan was his symbol of defiance against the forces of heat and humidity in the summer and cold and damp in the winter. Even though the exhaust note resembled mechanical flatulence, he loved his CoolVan as he called it, and wouldn't use any other vehicle on his marathon rounds as Comfort Advisor and alternative life style guru.

The polarization of Hickory and the surrounding area's population during the Bush years had been severe. There were those who actually thought for themselves and those who blindly followed BushCo's propaganda. No one was sure if global warming was here to stay, but all knew it was hotter this year than last. Like a hand grenade at a debutante ball he made his prospective clients aware of the need for conservation, life style change and of course coolness.

He felt at times that he was just playing Solitaire in life's big card game. So many just didn't get it. When he explained that R-22 was being phased out in 2010 to help save the planet's ozone layer (and our increase our atmosphere's ability to deflect harmful skin cancer causing radiation) some of his clients looked at him like he had the grackles. (A skin disease and partial dementia from medieval times.) And when he stated that his systems only used Puron, a non-toxic coolant, they at times went all flibberty-gibbet and complained that could only be more expensive for them.

Yes, McCool would say; if you want to build your home's comfort system on a foundation with the stability of folding chairs, buy a soon to be obsolete system. If you like the idea of something more lasting and more earth friendly, then look to the future. (The very near future)

Thomas reached into his bag and applied the bacterial hand cream he used before shaking hands. He would never risk his customer's health by exposing them to the things his hands came into contact with when inspecting ductwork and air handlers.
If one of his clients should succumb to one of the various diseases lurking there would he shrug it off and proclaim (like an old Hollywood murder mystery), the butler did it? Not hardly, McCool would never risk the health, safety and comfort of those he was charged to bring out of the dark ages of household discomfort and indoor air pollution. No, McCool would fight on to bring down the curtain on all things hot and sticky, dusty and dingy and of course all those sad and unsuspecting homes filled with VOCs and bacteria.

Fight on McCool, fight on!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hope the hood is good

I've been too busy and too tired to do much writing. I'll try to get around the hood this weekend and get caught up.

I know the good writers are still writing well and the great writers are writing stuff I should be reading.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wordzzle #16

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: spaghetti, larkspur, Prilosec, roaring lion, adamant, green green grass of home, paradox, filibuster, face cream, trout fishing

Mini Challenge: jury of ones peers, barking dog, a wing and a prayer, liver, sprained ankle

Go to the Raven's Nest for the rest of the stories and guidelines.

Sgt Johnson smiled across the dinner table at Zan and took another bite of spaghetti. He once again noticed the larkspur glint in her eyes. The blue tending to almost purple was fascinating to him. He remembered he needed to take his Prilosec and reached into his pocket to retrieve the pill he'd placed there. He swallowed it unobtrusively with a sip of the house wine, knowing that he was escaping the fierce heartburn that would have come on after this dinner like a roaring lion.

His doctor had been adamant that he continue the pills and treatment. He had expressed his concern for Johnson by reminding him that his taking a dirt nap beneath the green, green grass of home became more of a reality with each time he failed to take the pill. The paradox was that Johnson rarely had acid reflux unless his case was going badly, then whatever he ate, be it spicy Tai food or oatmeal gave him excruciating heartburn.

He listened for a minute as a wife at the next table went on a filibuster about her husband's drinking and he countered he needed it to sleep with a harridan covered in face cream. Of their upcoming weekend plans the husband voted for trout fishing and the wife wanted to go antiquing. "A match made in heaven" Johnson thought to himself as he turned his attention back to Zan.

"So they finally tracked down the neo-fascists that murdered Carla" she stated. 'Yes they did" he replied. "Though it will be hard seat a jury." When you're a whacked out fascist it's hard to be judged by a jury of one's peers if there aren't any." "At least I hope there are not any more barking dog crazy neo-nut jobs out there."

"How do you do it Paul, how do you deal with all the violence and weirdness? She asked. "Sometimes only on a wing and a prayer baby; I get depressed and disappointed just like everyone else" he replied. "But I know I've got you to come home to and that's a pretty good thing for me."

Zan picked at her liver manicotti and reached down to rub her sprained ankle. She was glad she'd taken the redeye to Miami. Something was bothering Paul about this latest case and he needed some TLC. Well, that at least was no mystery. When it came to loving and caring for each other it came very naturally indeed. She reached across the table and gently wiped a bit of spaghetti sauce from his chin, then leaned in closer and licked the spot sensually with her tongue. As she looked at him he caught the glint of larkspur in her eyes and a gleam of something else as well.

"Let's get out of here" he said as he smiled.