Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

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Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM PETER GRANT:  King’s Champion

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After decades of peace, war is threatening the Kingdom of Avranche. Its old foes are stirring, in a new alliance with darker powers. Black wings bring death and torture in the night.

Owain, former King’s Champion, hears rumors of sorcery. Visiting the grave of his sword brother, he stumbles into a deadly raid, and uncovers coded orders for a larger plot.

The kingdom’s enemies know Owain is now their greatest danger. He must race against time to find and deal with them… before they deal with him!

MEL DUNAY:   Marrying A Monster (The Jaiya Series Book 1.

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New, professionally edited edition!

Journey to the country of Jaiya, in a world not quite like ours. Here, humans ride trains, drive cars, and use cell phones, but they share their world with insect people and trollfolk, and stranger things lurk in the shadows…

As a favor to her parents, Rina agrees to come back to her hometown and take part in an old local custom: a symbolic marriage between the town’s women and the Mountain King, a mythical guardian spirit no one really believes in. But the Mountain King really exists: a monstrous being that feeds on fear and suffering. Rina’s only hope for survival may be Vipin, the dashing scholar hunting the Mountain King, but Vipin is hiding a few secrets of his own…

Note: Rina and another character are friends with or related to a few characters from the later books in the Jaiya series, but Monster is meant as a standalone with a “happily ever after” ending. The romance is on the sweet side, but there is some violence due to the main characters’ encounters with monsters and criminals.

FROM MARY CATELLI:  The Maze, the Manor, and the Unicorn.

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A short story of banishment and magical intrigues.

Cecily had been a lady-in-waiting. Exiled to Clearwater — for her health — after she angered Queen Blanche, she has nothing to do but wait.

Until an ambassador is sent there, for his health, and Cecily finds that the court intrigues reach farther than she had known they could.

ANNA FERREIRA:  As She Was No Horsewoman: A Pride & Prejudice Sequel.

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Elizabeth has never learnt to ride a horse. Darcy thinks this a grave oversight in her education, and with the help of a little mare named Rose, sets out to teach his wife the art of horsemanship. Poor Elizabeth had no idea what she was getting herself into…

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: questionable

42 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

  1. “I swear, Dad, it was an accident.”
    “I suppose I’ll have to believe you, Cain. I certainly can’t question Abel.”

  2. “It was the Deng Fly Soup. Had to be.”

    The younger cook sighed heavily, clearing the detritus left behind what by all rights ought to have been the latest successful meeting of five races. Looking around at the chaotic mess he couldn’t help but note this did not look successful. Not in the least.

    “No way,” Cara said, shaking her curly blonde locks. “My money’s on the roast Genu. We shouldn’t have left the head.”

    She was currently shoveling a glistening mass of goop into the waiting reclaimer bot’s storage tanks. Also trying not to get any of it in her hair. With limited success.

    “We should have at least taken out the eyes. You know the Flofbu have a thing about eyes.” Mike was an older man, and cooking was at least his tenth career. He’d been around a bit, and knew things. Terrible opponent in Trivia games, good man with a flat grill.

    “Could have been any of those. Alien culture and alien taste buds.” He shook his head.

    “The tentacle monsters,whatever you call ’em, don’t have taste buds, Tom. They vomit on their food to pre-digest it then just shovel it in as one goopy mass, straight to their stomach analogues.”

    “Point.” Tom picked through what looked like a pile of rotting leaves, pulling out silverware and the near-indestructable glasses someone had used as projectile weapons. Pink smears on the edges showed where some had hit.

    “Did anybody see how it started?” Cara asked, trying to scrape something off of her shovel. The other two shook their heads and got back to mucking out the pod. The blonde finally peeled the sticky, tar-like mass off with a wet ‘shlurp!’ sound.

    Handy post-banquet tool, that shovel, Tom thought. He needed to acquire one for himself. It would make the job easier. Assuming he still had a job in the catering business after tonight. His nose was dead to the stench by now, but would it come back in time for breakfast tomorrow? Did he even want to think about that just now?

    Tom looked up in time to see someone entering the pod. Or something, rather. It looked like a giant otter. But they weren’t supposed to be called otters, he recalled. Something something cultural differences and such. Rather than barks that he expected, it warbled and hissed.

    “Is the party really over?” It said, blinking all four eyes owlishly. The voice came from a small black box attached to its harness.

    “Yes. We were just cleaning up.” Cara slammed her shovel into the reclaimer bot, dislodging the bones that were stuck. It whirred and continued on.

    “Wonderful! Just wonderful! The guests wanted to convey their appreciation for the food and the inebriating beverages, more the latter than the former of course.” Three of the eyes winked. Tom wondered where he learned winking from.

    “There was one small matter, though, the only mild sort of down note on a successful night…”

    “Yes?” Tom could hardly believe his ears. This was supposed to be the end of a *good* night? The not-otter seemed to deflate a bit. Literally shrunk a couple of inches.

    “Right. It was the french toast with syrup. The Flofbu representative found it…”

    French toast? Tom could vaguely remember the human menu. It had been more vat-meat and fresh vegetables with a heavy side of drinkables, he thought.

    “…Questionable.”

  3. “Hey, Lt? I’m not sure if we’ll be able to roll out tonight.”
    “The Captain’s not going to be happy about this. What’s wrong, sergeant?”
    “We’re down two of our four trucks. 17’s turret is down, it won’t turn more than 40 degrees before locking up. 6 has that reoccurring flutter with the rear passenger wheel that we can’t figure out. And now 9’s driver is rating it as questionable due to a problem with its gas gauge not reading properly.”
    “We really need a couple more mechanics out here. I’ll take the risk with 9, but tell the boss we need help. This deployment has been nothing but problem after problem.”
    “Welcome to being an officer, sir.”

  4. The centaurs were chatting.
    “This should be good. Just watching him deal with all the crazy queries should be hours of fun.”
    “Really, you think the minotaur is gonna get queries? Beyond the usual, that is?”
    “Sure! Look at today’s Vignettes post.”
    “That ‘questionable’ not ‘question a bull’ you goof.”

  5. “In spite of everything, when the world collapsed in 2020 we saved the best of of civilization in this data cube!”

    “That’s rather questionable” , she replied, watching the cube project a massive holograph of Fat Thor, wearing a lounge suit, singing ‘Hurt’.

    She sighed and repeated: “That’s rather questionable”

    1. Hmm, there are times I’m happy to be ignorant of popular culture. I am *not* going to enlighten myself with more knowledge of FT. (Or would that be “burden myself”? Questions. Hey Orvan!)

    1. There is a difference between knowing how to ride and being a horsewoman. And if your problems start with lacking proper basics, then you might as well start at the beginning.

      And sidesaddle requires skill. Lots.

      I know how to ride, and I know how to drive. But I don’t have a license, and most of my horse deportment is having nice chunky thighs.

  6. “Questionable?” the Karen standing in front of the grocery store hissed, pulling down her mask. “What IS questionable is your commitment to safety!” She waved her sign which said, Congregate and kill the ELDERLY!!! Rita calmly looked her up and down then said, “Well, unlike YOU, I have a family to feed, and you’re blocking my way. Now move, or I. Will. Move. You!”

    “”Are you threatening me?” the Karen asked with a shocked expression.

    Rita smiled behind her mask as she said softly, “No, Honey. That’s a promise…”

    1. “Congregate and kill the ELDERLY!!!” – sorry, sweetie, I don’t take questionable orders from strangers.

  7. “Look, just because you think my methods are questionable–”

    “Questionable?! QUESTIONABLE?! You made like you were gonna remove his eyes! With a spork! Calling that ‘questionable’ is like calling Mengle ‘somewhat controversial!””

    “Okay, one: do not go there. Just don’t. And two: it worked, didn’t it? He gave up the time and place of the exchange. We’ve got plenty of time to get set up. And three: don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same if it was your kids who were at stake.”

    “Maybe, maybe not. But rest assured: once the children are rescued, you and I are going to have a very long conversation. One that you will not enjoy.”

    “Whatever. It’ll be worth it.”

  8. Picking Nettles

    Surprisingly you ask, why would anybody want to pick nettles. You see, my wife is Albanian and nettles are one of the first green plants in spring and very good to eat, so we go forth every spring to our favorite nettle patch along the river to pick nettles. One of my son’s favorite nettle dishes is Buk misre me hithër dhe djathë e bardhë – corn bread with nettles and feta cheese – recipe below.

    Yesterday was one of first nice days this spring and, like everyone, needed to escape weeks of confinement, so off we went. To pick nettles you need have heavy gloves, scissors, and something to put them in. We use kitchen trash bags, which also are useful, because people think we are picking up trash, because the nettles are along the canal tow path, which is technically closed but everyone walks around the cross bars. We had been there about a month ago when the thistle were very small and we were able to pick one trash bag full of tender, young thistles. This was just before we had to pick son up from VA Tech where he had been working in the lab before they closed everything down.

    We left a little late in the day and it is about a 30 minute drive from across the river and upstream. On the way, there were many cars parked along side the road as well as bicycle riders . All these people were walking down to the tow path alongside the canal which goes from DC to Frederick. The place we go was up river, so and a little hard to find, so there were not too many people. A few people stopped to ask to talk to us and were surprised the we were picking thistle to eat. The thistles were much larger now and plentiful. After filling 2 trash bags with thistles, we just went for a long walk up the tow path.

    The river was over the banks by about 2 feet and there was also a lot of water in the canal. It was very peaceful and as we walked along we saw deer coming down to for a drink, lots of birds singing, geese, turtles and even a grey heron. As it was getting dark the bullfrogs started singing.

    Arriving home, now comes the hard part – processing the thistle. First, the thistles have to be cleaned. Using tongs, rinse three times to wash all the dirt and critters off, then blanch the thistles in boiling water until the small stems are tender and remove them and let them cool. Remove the large stems after they cool. Now we can finally make the corn bread. Son is getting very hungry

    All measurements are approximate.
    Sauté one large onion in a large pan.
    Coarsely chop thistles – about 2 cups.
    Add to the sautéed onion, mix and turn off heat.
    Add 2 pounds of feta cheese crumbled.
    Add about 2 cups of corn meal
    Mix everything well
    Cover the bottom of a greased 9X12 non stick baking pan with corn meal
    Spread the thistle, feta cheese and cornmeal mixture evenly in the baking pan.
    Use some of water drained from the thistles and add until the mixture is just covered.
    Spread some corn meal to cover the top of the mixture
    Bake at 400 degrees until all of the water is absorbed – about 1 hour.
    Should you not want to go foraging, then substitute spinach, arugula or the green of your choice
    Enjoy, even if it is now 11:00 PM

    1. I’ve had nettles served as a spring green, with the same basic procedure of boiling and draining off the water several times. They tasted like, oh, collards, because of the spices used.

    2. Hmm, the thistles around here (Canada in particular, not sure about Scotch) are considered Not Good because of excess nitrates. Goats love them, but cattle and horses leave them alone.

      I prefer mine with 2,4-D. 🙂

    3. Where I hail from, nettles and thistles are two completely different menaces. Nettles are medium-sized weeds bearing fairly ordinary leaves covered with tiny stinging hairs. Thistles are large bushy things bristling with long, sharp spines.

      I just can’t picture anybody eating nettles.

  9. “Hearken all ye gentles as I sing of the Quest of the Harp of Money, of the key Quest that left a Cavalier good-tempered and well, of the Quest Tunable.”

  10. The President-Elect commented to his aide, “There are plenty of questions about what those Ancients really want.”

    His aide replied, “Yet they assisted in the rebuilding of the World, including the US, after the Time Of Troubles. While they individually are more powerful than the most powerful Ultras, everybody agrees that they couldn’t take on all of the modern Ultras. Still while they Do Not claim to be gods, they definitely ruled all of mankind in their day.”

    “Yes,” his boss replied “Which makes this up-coming meeting with the President and representatives of the Ancients very interesting.”

  11. “Some will question your tactics,” said Lunette, perched on the window seat, her foot swinging. “You would have to have known that any pursuers would be dealt with after my manner, not yours.”
    Flat on his back, Apollos shrugged. “I had to protect the city. You were my only choice.”

  12. “Muoo?”

    “Moo-o”

    “Moo-Mu?”

    “Moo”

    “Muo”

    “I never imagined you could question a bull Mel.”

    She gave him a crooked smile. “It’s not like talking to a person. Cattle are more limited. He does know that several people were in the field last night, and they had a dog with them.”

  13. I sighed, and took a long, long slip of water. “We’re talking about some very questionable levels of consent here.”

    Deborah nodded. “I understand the issues better than you do, remember?”

    Remembering how I had found Deborah made me cringe a bit inside. “I know, but…”

    “We’re both Dawn Empire soldiers. Part of the mage core implantation was the gamma-level genetic augmentation and that comes with it’s own level of unique changes,” Deborah interrupted me gently. “Hyper-sexuality, vigorously dynamic optimism, the inability to maintain cognitive biases, and ability to override negative emotional states. We can literally will away our depression and angst for prolonged periods of time.”

    “And the physical augmentations,” I agreed after a moment. “We’re both on the ragged edge of baseline human strength, we have greater body control than most humans, and we can crank up our sensitivity to levels that are terrifying.”

    “And…,” Deborah gave us a moment to think, “You rescued me, yes. But, I know my cognitive biases here, everything she did was to keep us apart and you fought for me, even when you didn’t know the battle was going on. I know what I want, Adelaide, and it is you.”

    “Not quite yet, we need…,” and here I let my voice trailed off. “You already talked with Sayuri,” I said, not a question.

    “On the way back,” she agreed. “We’re Dawn Empire warriors and we know where our biases are. She’s willing to share, as long as she’s first. And, that’s fine-I don’t mind at all.”

    “I do mind, mostly because I know where my biases and I need to work more on getting out of that groove,” I shook my head and chuckled. “Still learning.”

    “Still fighting,” Deborah agreed, and slipped her hand into mine, wrapping her fingers around my palm and fingers.

  14. “What can you tell me about Adirion Gorlath?” Coquinael asked the question in the same pleasant, almost neutral tone he’d used throughout the meal, talking about sports and general clerical shop talk.

    Ligonier Rafferty had been expecting this meeting ever since he’d gotten word of the disaster in Maroa-kyo and the death of the Archon, as well as his entire cabinet. Thankfully Ligo had immediately asked both his man on the ground in Codyland’s embassy and his old friend Yanchi Siloan what they could find out about this man who’d formerly been the Archon’s chief of staff.

    “He’s from the Ael Tiereste, the Maroan Outer Banks, and he seems to have traveled abroad fairly extensively. He’s also known to have ties with some questionable people. For instance, there’s strong evidence that he did business with the late and unlamented Sebastien the Usurper.”

  15. One day, she would kill him for this. Unfortunately, until that day, she would kill him for not doing it.
    “Your Majesty, some will question your ruling.”
    She smiled. Deeply. Far more deeply than usual. “Let them. They will learn to obey the empress.”
    He bowed to hide his face.

  16. The pompous little prick was smirking. “What have you got to say for yourself? How do you explain your crimes against the people?”

    He took a tight grip on his temper and rose to his feet. “We have nothing to explain. Those are all malicious lies. I don’t know who is behind them, but it takes a really special sort of despicable coward to spread such slander behind our backs. I don’t even—“

    He stopped when his wife stood up beside him and put a hand on his arm. There was a timeless, unfathomable frost in her eyes, but her voice held only bitter disappointment. “What is wrong with you people? You dismiss all our good works, deny everything we have done to make this world a better place, yet you instantly give full credence to vile rumors from questionable sources, condemn us in absentia with no chance to defend ourselves.”

    She glared, and none of them could meet her gaze. “Are you determined to believe in nothing but evil? Can you hear only the worst about anyone, are you blind and deaf to everything good in the world? Is this how you have always treated each other, or do you reserve such cruelty only for me?”

    She gathered her resolve. “So be it. We do not need your approval, nor do we seek it. My husband told me there were things about this world I would not like, and you have proven him right. I do not understand how you can live with yourselves, or how such a good man could have come from this hateful planet.”

  17. “One wonders,” said Gormain, “what he was thinking.”
    Carolus’s laughter was a short bark. “If you wonder, you are the only one. Everyone else knows he was almost as witless as if he had been blasted by some archmage, with just enough wits to make trouble for others to handle.”

  18. The Brush Script font perfectly captures the romantic spirit of classic Novels of Manners and 19th-century literary realism in general.

  19. Rick stood beside the entrance to the hotel’s self-styled Grand Ballroom, staring at one more sign of the madness of the times, the same measured and accurate words ringing in his head again. “It’s a notion whose utility is questionable at best, negligible on the evidence, and clearly negative as many are practicing it.” But all the careful epidemiological studies in the world weren’t going to budge the government, or worse yet here private, cultists worshipping this instant ah, pop dogma.


    Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times to ensure the safety of you and all our other guests. Anyone refusing to honor this request will be asked to leave our premises at once.

    Not exactly a bloody request, is it, Rick Stark thought darkly, because you won’t really be asking when you tell us all to kiss your… ring, or kiss off, then will you, Joey Jackboot? But of course you’ll be keeping that $80 registration fee “safe” in your own pocket once you do…

    “I know that look.” The red-haired dealer at the table not so far away sounded sympathetic, not calculating, as she said it. “I’ve had it on my own face enough, though not always for the world to see.” She extended a hand in greeting, even if it was at an ample formerly-de-rigeur “social distance.” And Rick found himself, in something vaguely like relief, crossing that yawning social distance to take it and shake it.

    Interesting, how swiftly and easily a familiar everyday greeting ritual could become an act of bold defiance. And how stubbornly persistent such a shift could be, once accomplished.

    “Sarah Carter, of Roanoke, Virginia. And welcome to my little shop of horrors.”

    “Like the journalist?”

    “No, more like the character in my friend’s book, I spell it with an “h.” But don’t repeat that too loud, you might give away the conceit of the, ah, unauthorized sequel involved..” She smiled impishly. “Not every day you can inspire a whole book simply by what your parents named you.”

    Rather than mumble or stare in puzzlement, Rick returned to his… bete noir of the moment. “All the studies on that,” and he jerked a thumb at the sign, “say it’s a load of, uh, manure. ‘Ensure the safety,’ if only! And it’s Rick, Rick Stark. No relation to the physicist, the comic-book hero, or the nursery company family.”

    “Why, mister Stark, I must take exception to that. I grew up on a farm right outside of Roanoke, and good clean manure is a valuable commodity, don’t insult it so gratuituously.” There was a trace of a ‘Virginia accent’ in her words but it wasn’t the old-school plantation one, it was far more subtle and far less pretentious. “But it’s not about ‘safety’ and it’s not about ‘the science’ or what any of the studies say. It’s about what they used to call ‘virtue signalling’ or to be more precise, ‘compliance signalling.’ Like the technicolored butt-face on that baboon you may have seen mooning you from some computer screen, back in the past sometime.”

    He’d noticed she was wearing, on her midnight-blue T-shirt, a button that said in small, frilly lettering that couldn’t easily be read from a social distance,


    Remember, remember, the 3rd of November.

    With the “3rd” highlit in bright, scarlet red. And though he’d never read that graphic novel “V for Vendetta” he was pretty sure that was wrong… oh, wait.

    But he was distracted from decoding that by the type on her T-shirt itself, large enough to be read from across a room, that needed no decoding at all.


    PROJECT ARTEMIS
    Because a journey of a million light-years continues with a single step.

    “Wow…” (he said eloquently), “your shirt really is amazing.”

    “Like it? You can get one for fifteen dollars a copy right now, before the cheap cloth from China runs out and things, uh, jump over the moon.” (Sooner or later, chasing too few goods with too much money will have the inevitable result; like Russian roulette, the trick is to know when to stop playing, or never start.) “If you’re more a Space-X fan, I have a few of their new reusable ship too; but they keep changing the name and the design so it’s hard to keep up.”

    “I guess my bigger problem is ‘to go or not to go’ — you know, that sign and all. I paid extra to go to that event, in advance of course, and now…”

    “And now you’re torn between becoming another Faceless Masker or letting them enjoy your money for nothing. Well, if you’ll look at this part of my little display here, you’ll find I’ve devoted some time and attention to the problem.”

    Rick hadn’t looked, really, at her table much at all before. But now he saw about half of its area held, well, subversively-compliant “face covering” gear.

    “Now, I do have a few genuine-spec N95 masks, goggles both ordinary and steampunk-y, a couple of clear face shields, everything short of real full-face positive-pressure respirators. But almost nobody who’s really so susceptible, or so worried, is likely to be anywhere but cowering at home yet.”

    And she pointed to a little circle of colorful embroidery hanging over the table:


    Courage is better than a faint heart for anyone who would stick his nose out of doors. The length of my life and the day of my death were fated long ago.

    “Not that I’m any Norse fatalist, I’m not even fully on-board with Calvin’s predestination. But the sentiment is universal and the wisdom is timeless.” And pointed back down to the table. “Like I said, I know that look and I’ve had a bit of experience reading it by now. So, how about this one? Or,” (she bit her lip for a moment), “maybe that one.”

    The navy-and-white floral-print bandanna also read, “Howdy. I’m Frank James’ brother and I’m here to rob this here train.” But what suddenly grabbed all his attention was a simple-looking folded square of plain yellow-sand-colored cloth. With a black-and-white how-to diagram and a color illustration, titled “Desert Sheikh in a Sandstorm.” (In a zip-bag labelled ‘UV-C sterilized’ too.)

    “See? It covers your head but for your eyes, and it’s thin enough to breathe. Not worth a hoot as PPE, really, but neither is 95% of what you’ll see in there.”

    It took only a couple of minutes, with her help, to put it on securely. And a look in her mirror told him why he’d bothered.

    “Buy it, own it, live it, sell it. You can be ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ on the best screen day Peter O’Toole ever had — or a walk-on extra stuck in a low-budget remake of ‘1984.’ It’s all in the attitude. You decide.”‘ Her eyes, he noticed, were profoundly green as the coastal sea.

    “And an advantage of being ‘behind the veil’ — she picked up a diaphanous veil out of an “I Dream of Jeannie” re-run and a color shot of herself in it, with title “Arabian Nights as They Never Were” — “is that it can be very hard for others to know what you’re thinking and feeling. Even if they want to, even if you have a face that gives everything away.”

    “Thanks so much. But I’m still not happy about this Taliban virus-burka stuff.”

    “Sarah Carter of Virginia, remember.” Suddenly she wore the kind of look most people get when their rhubarb pie has way too little sugar. “Lord Governor Gungrabber Coonface the Bombastic, and all.” And then made as if to spit. A sudden blip of intuition told Rick if there’d been a spittoon or a patch of bare ground handy, it might not have been so metaphorical.

    “Will you still be here when that” — he jerked his thumb again at the door to the “grand” ballroom — “all wraps up?”

    “Count on it.” With a smile on her face (and in her eyes too) that promised him nothing specific at all, but was bright as pure sunlight flashing through a gap in the darkest of clouds.

  20. I, for one, did not find objectionable nor questionable the several movie allusions the author used in the enjoyable, silly adventure-with-a-couple-of-f-bombs novel, “Pink.”

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