Ugly Cat Speaks

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

preserves and other stuff (including an excerpt from my novel)


there isn’t a day
when you are not with me
in my laugh at a clever line
or the clumsy stroke of my pen

twenty-three years is
a long time to keep
memories alive

they grow stale unless
I pack them away
and take them out
only when I need them


And now for something completely different.

I am a cynic. Well, really I like to think of myself as a realist; but since I fantasize a lot, I find that hard to reconcile with the definition of "realist". Perhaps I am an optimistic misanthrope. No, it's more like I am a misanthropic optimist. Trust me, there's a difference. Recently I was opening a bag of lettuce and saw a few tiny clumps of what appeared to be dirt. My first thought was this: "I wonder whether They manufacture bits of dirt to include with the lettuce to give consumers the appearance that the lettuce is "fresh from the ground?" Come on, now that I've said it, you're wondering too, aren't you? What a sad commentary on Capitalism is that? Or is it more a comment on what America's society has devolved to? Actually, it wouldn't make a difference to me whether the lettuce was grown in a lab or in soil, as long as it was safe to eat and nutritionally sound. Heck, I'll even eat THIS lettuce. :*)

And since a few people have asked, I am including part of my novel here. This is the beginning of Chapter 14. You probably don't need to know any of the back story, but if you have questions, email me. (Though I feel it important to note that my main character, Delancy, is not actually a mermaid. That's just a fantasy of my bad guy, Lord Cumberland.)

Tentatively Titled Pirates Dream

Chapter Fourteen

Delancy’s long brown hair glimmered in the sunlight. She ran her fingers over the array of seashells she had spread out beside her. The sun made the large, flat rock she was basking on pleasantly warm and Delancy dipped her fingers into the foam of the ocean below. She fished a handful of seaweed strands out of the wave that sprayed saltwater on the browning skin of her shoulders. She smoothed the seaweed out on the rock, squeezing the excess water out. Diligently, she braided each piece into her hair and lay back on the rock, letting her scaled tail slip into the water. She dreamed of her soul mate - a dashingly handsome and powerful man. She imagined him wearing black leather leggings with a thin suede belt adorned with shells dangling at his side. She could almost feel his long, black hair flowing loose in the cool breeze and his ruffled, white shirt fluttering open to reveal his…

“Sir, we’re having trouble contacting the submarine.”

Cumberland sloppily threw his bottle of rum at the intercom, but it crashed to the ground underneath his old metal desk. He slipped off his armchair to his knees, lamenting the remnants of rum that had spilled among the broken shards of glass.

“Sir? What should we do?”

“How should I bloody know? Why are you bothering me? I don’t want to be disturbed again.” Cumberland slapped the chrome display over his glass desk. He spun around, staring inquisitively at his roll top desk. He turned his head towards his metal desk and squinted intently at the industrial grey drawers. “Dammit!” He crossed over to the roll top, opened it and rummaged though the drawers until he found a bottle of rum. He took a long swig and brushed the hair out of his face. He let his fingers slide through the thick, black strands.

Delancy stroked Cumberland’s silky, raven hair. He tried to speak, but she placed her slender finger tenderly against his lips. The water waved onto the shore, covering them both in sand and foam.

“Sshh, my darling. Feel the pulse of the ocean - always moving. Stop worrying about that silly submarine. Think about me instead. Calm and stable. Beautiful and powerful.” Delancy splashed her tail in the surf. “I am everything and anything for you, my love.” She kissed his eyes closed.

“Why would he say he’s having trouble reaching Dmitri? Either he can or he can’t. There’s no middle ground there.”

“Perhaps he makes a connection, but there’s no sound or picture.”

“Maybe, but that’s still a connection. He wouldn’t have said what he said.”

“The lines could be out.”

Cumberland opened his eyes and looked quizzically at Delancy. “Sweetheart, you are far smarter than that. Mermaid or not, you know how the satellites work.”

“Cumby, my dear, I was being metaphorical. Obviously, I know there are no physical lines with the GSCS, but there have been no shortage of problems over the years with the global system. What with all the space junk up there, not to mention atmospheric interference – especially during heightened solar activity – any number of things could have caused a problem with the communication.”

“Of course, that’s what I needed. I shouldn’t worry about it.”

“Although, you do have a state-of-the-art telecommunications system and it doesn’t seem likely that your men would have trouble reaching the sub. And while there may be a myriad of problems, the chances of them occurring are improbably low.”

“That’s exactly what I thought!”

“Really. You’re brilliant.” Delancy’s fingers caught on a tangle in Cumberland’s hair.

“Ow. I know! So why can’t we reach them?”

“Where are they?”

“In the sub.”

“Obviously. After leaving the Swiss Confederacy, where were they headed?”


“That narrows it down. Would they take the Pacific or Atlantic route?”

“Definitely the Atlantic. I asked Dmitri to make some inquiries in New Orleans prior to meeting up with Three and Five in Antarctica.”

“New Orleans? Well, that explains it.”

“It does?”

“Of course, my love. They had to have passed through the Bermuda Polyhedron!”

“But Dmitri is smart enough to avoid that.”

“But, he’s also stubborn enough to think he wouldn’t have any problems. He’s also very much like someone else, I know.”
“You don’t know Dmitri.”

“I know, Lordy-Lord, but you do, so I do. Has anyone checked in with Three or Five to see if they have heard from him?”

“Of course!” Cumberland jumped up from the floor and grabbed at his comm link, tapping haphazardly until someone answered. “Who’s this?”

“My name is Kevin, sir.”

“Kevin? I don’t like that. I’ll call you Ed. Have we had any contact with Three or Five, Ed?”

“No, sir. They’re due to check in directly with Dmitri, then with us.”

“Oh. I forgot about that. Well, try to reach them. I need to know if they can reach the sub.”

“Aye, sir.”

“And, Ed, where are they torturing Watende today?”

“Uh, Sir? I, uhm…”

“Spit it out boy! I’m on the move. I need to know which direction to go. I don’t want to stop and think about it.”

“Well, sir, he was in the courtyard…”

“Stockades. Perfect. It’s been grey for hours, maybe it’ll rain.”

“Uhm, okay.” Kevin shut off the comm link and looked around the control room. The other techs looked away quickly. “Well, I wasn’t going to tell him! I wasn’t the one who let him escape. Why should I get punished?”


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