Thursday, October 20, 2016

Auto-da-fey in Santa Fe

As the release date for The Zozobra Incident draws closer, I am increasingly excited at the prospect. November 15, 2016 is a red-letter day for me… Zozobra day. So forgive me for continuing to talk about the upcoming re-release.
Old Man Gloom, Alias Zozobra, Burned to Cinders to the Cheers of Spectators.

Not to worry, it’s an annual burning-at-the-stake that’s been going on in the City Different since 1924. The victim, of course, is not flesh and blood; he’s a fifty-foot articulated puppet whose annual incineration is designed to render all of our woes and worries to ashes... along with him. Or at least, that’s the Mexican folklore legend.

The event takes place on the Thursday following Labor Day and kicks off the Santa Fe Fiesta, a grand celebration dating back to 1712 when the Marquis de Peñuelo, the Governor of New Spain, decreed a party to mark the reconquest of Santa Fe by Don Diego de Vargas following the Pueblo Revolt. The Fiesta is billed as North America’s oldest continuous civic celebration.
Now comes Don Travis’s timely novel, The Zozobra Incident, using the burning of Zozobra as a pivotal moment in his contemporary murder mystery. He provides the flavor, as well as the history, of this symbolic purging of our souls. Zozobra is the first of a series of mysteries featuring BJ Vinson, an Albuquerque confidential investigator. Each novel in the series takes place in New Mexico, allowing the author to paint vivid word pictures of some of our beautiful landscapes and historical places.

New Mexico author Sarah Storme reviewed The Zozobra Incident and awarded it five stars: When BJ Vinson's ex-lover comes to him for help, the investigator is drawn into an increasingly dangerous mystery full of murder and blackmail. And the big question: is his new love interest involved, or simply at risk?

Don Travis weaves a fast-paced mystery over the backdrop of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, sending his protagonist into more and more dangerous situations as the story progresses. BJ Vinson, ex-Marine and ex-cop, not only deals with gangbangers and thugs with ease, he also handles most of the prejudice against his sexual orientation with an admirable shrug. He's a guy who is easy to root for.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries full of suspense, and with deliciously exciting endings. Readers will also enjoy the excitement of new romance laced through the tale.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Buyer’s Remorse

From age and experience comes wisdom; from wisdom comes decisiveness. Right?

Perhaps not. I’m a “status quo” sort of guy. Except for a computer, almost everything I own probably qualifies as an antique. Until absolutely forced to replace it, I slept on a bed bought over fifty years ago. Heck, I use handkerchiefs that are thirty years old. Ragged, but old. A couple of tables in the apartment are senior to my sons.

 The point I am trying to make is that other than consumables, I do not often buy things. In addition, I am really attached to my favorite chair. But when my legs start going numb after sitting for a period of time, I consider the idea of acquiring another. You must understand that there are two centers to my universe (well, three… but we won’t talk about the refrigerator): my Lazy Boy recliner and my computer desk. I eat meals in that chair. I read there. Nap there. Work puzzles and write short fiction on my laptopand it’s only fifteen-years-old, hardly an antique.

     Nonetheless, when Lazy Boy advertises a sale, I consider this a sign from on high that it is time to act. I visit the store and ask to see their cheapest…er, least expensive chair. In passing, the sales representative points out a recliner he considers their best buy. Naturally, it is fully $100 more than the chea… least expensive. The man invites me to sit in the chair of my choice and try out all sixteen of its positions while he goes to the office and works up a pricing sheet.
    The old boy knew what he was doing. After five minutes, I recognize the chair is too small. When I recline, the foreshortened back leaves my head hanging with me staring at the ceiling slightly behind me. My hips don’t fit properly. On and on. So I do what he knew I would ask him to show me that other chair. By comparison, it is heaven. The cost is at the upper limit of my budget, so I have to bargain. I agree to handle the sales tax if he eliminates the charge for “stain-proofing” the fabric. He agrees but won’t budge on the $80 delivery charge. Okay, so I’ll pick it up at the warehouse and do away with that deal breaker. I know people with trucks and muscles. Shouldn’t be a problem. So we make all the arrangements, and I return home.
    Once there, I sit in my old recliner and note how well it fits the rather odd contours of my body. How comfortable it is when I lie back and close my eyes. Heck, I don’t need a new one. Can probably get another fifteen years out of this one. Then I make the mistake of eating supper in the chair. By the time I finish, my legs are well on the way to numb.
    Wednesday arrives… the day of the Great Chair Pickup. I’d asked my neighbor (hereinafter known as MN) to help me pick up my new purchase. MN is big, hefty fellow almost as old as I am who has a Nissan van equal to the task. Between the two of us, we should be able get my chair into the apartment and dispose of the old one.
    Lazy Boy’s workers at the warehouse load my purchase into the Nissan and we head home. Unloading the chair presents no problem. MN has a two-wheeled trolley, so getting it to my apartment should be easy even though we have a series of steps to maneuver. Two at the sidewalk, five where we turned into my building, and two more on the way to the front door.
    We make the first two steps but then discover that the chair is dragging on the sidewalk. We reposition it, which isn’t as easy as I expected. Even so, we make it to the set of five steps in front of my building where we run into a problem. MN insists we fasten the chair with a bungee cord so it won’t fall off the trolley as we bump our way up the steps. I don’t think thait's necessary because I am at the bottom supporting the chair, but we’d used his truck and mostly his muscle power thus far. Besides, he’s a trained scientist. (True, he’s a geologist, but it has an “i-s-t” at the end, doesn’t it? My government and history degrees only have an “e-n-t” and an “o-r-y between them. And what’s an ent and an ory when compared to an ist?)
    The trouble was, we don’t have a bungee cord long enough to do the job. We can hook it one place or the other but not both. MN sits down on the third step to rest while he puts his scientific mind to work solving our problem, but when muscle power won’t stretch a six-inch cord to twelve inches, he decides to stand up. That’s when I discover he’s no better at getting off the ground than I am. I think for a minute he isn’t going to make it, and I certainly can’t help him. He’s bigger than I am (configured differently, but bigger), and I have trouble getting me up, much less him.
    As he’s fighting that battle, another neighbor comes by (hereinafter known as My Other Neighbor or MON) and sees our predicament. After taking in the situation, he grabs the trolley, pulls it up the steps, and rolls the chair into the apartment. Then he hoists my favorite recliner over his shoulder and hauls it up an entire flight of stairs to his apartment—without even a wobble in his knees—thereby saving me the trouble of disposing of it.
    After that, I collapsed into my new chair and squirmed for ten minutes bemoaning the fact it didn’t conform to my exhausted body before finally falling into a restless asleep. MN went to his own upstairs apartment (most likely on his hands and knees) to fall into his bed for a nap. MON tripped down the stairs from his apartment and whistled his way to his car to go do who knows what? Probably slay dragons and save old duffers from poorly planned physical activities.


Just wait. In fifteen or so years, you’ll read this post from an entirely different viewpoint than you are now. Let me know what you think  at Thanks for being readers.

New Posts published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

More Characters from The Zozobra Incident (A Reprint)

I apologize for another reprint (and promise to use them more sparingly in the future), but I want to complete my introduction of the major characters from both the book, THE ZOZOBRA INCIDENT, and the BJ Vinson Mystery Series. Remember, DSP Publications is giving rebirth to the novel (and the series) beginning November 15.

Last week, we learned about BJ, our protagonist, took a look at Hazel Harris, his secretary-office manager-surrogate mom, and met Del Dahlman, BJ’s first love and first bitter disappointment, who is now a successful Albuquerque attorney. We will see these characters throughout the series.

We also gained some insight into Emilio Prada, the handsome gigolo responsible for breaking up BJ and Del. Now let’s look at some other individuals who populate BJ’s world.

Detective Eugene (Gene) Enriquez is just shy of his forty-first birthday when we first meet him. A local (he was born in Bernalillo, a town fifteen miles north of Albuquerque), Gene is stocky, five-seven, and weighs 155 pounds. A Hispanic, he has vaguely Polynesian features a lot of women find attractive. After his army service, he goes through the Albuquerque Police Academy and is sworn in as an officer. He walks a downtown beat and even rides horse patrol for a short period, but his ambition is to become a detective. Some years after he achieves this goal, he finds himself assigned to a new partner… a gay partner. B. J. Vinson. It bothers him at first that BJ, who could have passed as a hetero, doesn’t bother to deny his homosexuality when asked about it. Before long, Gene comes to admire his new partner’s honesty. The guy is gay, and that’s that. Once Gene learns he can trust his partner’s judgment and instincts, they get along professionally and socially. Gene takes some flack from other cops about riding with a queer, but Gene is married to Glenda, an attractive woman with whom he has five kids. He figures that all the cover he needs. He takes it hard when BJ nearly dies while they are apprehending an accused murderer, but he keeps in touch when his partner takes medical retirement and opens a confidential investigations office. He is one of the few people who knows BJ inherited a fortune upon his parent’s death. We’ll see Gene again.

Paul Barton looks Hispanic to Anglos and Anglo to Hispanics. When BJ first meets him, the family name “Barton” takes him by surprise. He expected it to be a Spanish surname, but it is Paul’s mother who carries the Latin blood. Paul was born on June 13, 1985 in Albuquerque’s South Valley. That makes him twenty-one at the time of THE ZOZOBRA INCIDENT. BJ first spies him with a cowgirl on the dance floor at the C&W Palace, Albuquerque’s biggest book-stomping joint. Drawn by Paul’s good looks and lean frame, BJ later realizes the kid is the new lifeguard at the North Valley Country Club where he swims as therapy for the bullet wound in his thigh. Once the connection is made, their mutual attraction soon becomes evident. This is the first time BJ has been tempted since Del’s betrayal. Paul is not only a lifeguard, he is also a full-time student at UNM pursuing a degree in Journalism. In addition, he works in the school’s cafeteria so he can live on campus his senior year. Paul is 5’11” and weighs 155 pounds. He has brown eyes, brown hair, and a swimmer’s build, A small dragon tattoo decorates his left pec. Fiercely independent, he drives an old Plymouth coupe even though BJ offers to buy him a more recent model. He’s an expert swimmer, plays soccer and golf, and loves to dance. His father, Paul Barton Sr. was a carpenter who died of TB when Paul was ten-years-old. His mother, Luisa Marta Arrular de Barton, works two jobs while raising her son. He is exposed to gang activity in the South Valley, but resists the temptation to join. Once Paul and BJ get together, Paul is absolutely devoted, even though there are some stormy times ahead. Needless to say, we’ll see Paul in future novels.

And then there is the surprise fun character. The widow Mrs. Gertrude Wardlow has lived across the street from BJ for as long as he can remember. He considers her as a frail, diminutive old woman who wears her white hair like a helmet and speaks in a thin, tremulous voice. But when the chips are down, he learns she and her late husband Herb were both retired from the DEA and that she still has the spirit as well as the will of a fighter. She is a continuing character.

This is the last of the reprints for a while. Let me know what you think at A hoorah to all readers.

New Posts published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Other Voices in the Zozobra Incident (A Reprint)

Last week, we learned a little more about the protagonist of THE ZOZOBRA INCIDENT, BJ Vinson, so I’d like to take the liberty of another re-post to take a deeper look into some of the other voices in the novel, starting with Hazel Harris, BJ’s office manager and surrogate mom.
At the time ZOZOBRA takes place, Hazel, a retired teacher and best friend of BJ’s deceased mother, is sixty-three-years-old. She stands 5’5” and weighs 150 pounds. She is plump, rather dowdy, gray-eyed, and considers it her responsibility to be a stand-in mom. Although he tweaks her nose now and then, BJ puts up with Hazel’s smothering because he is truly fond of her. Besides, she runs the office—and sometimes him—efficiently and makes sure the clients pay their bills… something BJ wouldn’t be nearly as proficient at doing. Plump, capable, and nosy, Hazel reminds him of that sassy maid of the same name in the comics and on TV who runs the fictional Baxter household. She doesn’t approve of his gay lifestyle but loves him like a son. We meet her throughout the series.

Delbert David Dahlman, known as Del to his friends and associates, is a slender, blue-(sapphire) eyed, blond with an athletic build (obtained in a gym). He stands 5’11” and weighs 160 pounds. Del possesses an eternally youthful appearance that seems to defy aging. A Chicago boy who attended the UNM Law School, he’s practiced mostly corporate and tax law in Albuquerque ever since 2001. He is an associate attorney with a large local firm named Stone, Hedges, Martinez, Levishon, etc.… or the Blahs, as BJ calls them. He is thirty-two-years old in 2006 when he comes to BJ and asks for help running down a blackmailer. He had met BJ in the line of duty, and when they were attracted to one another, they ended up living together in BJ’s home on Post Oak NE until BJ was seriously wounded in the right thigh by a bullet from an accused murder’s gun. During the long recovery, Del wasn’t able to handle the home nursing and allowed himself to be seduced by a handsome gigolo named Emilio Prada. The manner of the split-up makes it hard for him to come to BJ when he assumes Emilio is handing around some raw pictures. Nonetheless, he swallows his pride and asks BJ for help. Del also lives on throughout the series.

Emilio Prada is a twenties-something legal immigrant from Durango, Mexico. He is handsome in that way some Hispanic juveniles are prettier than their girlfriends, although “Milio” never grew out of it. Rather than work for a living, he uses his looks and slender, wiry build to make his money. He is amoral more than immoral. He sees nothing wrong with selling himself to men or women. In fact, he enjoys the seduction. When he meets Del Dahlman, he figures he’s found a goldmine… the answer to his dreams. Here is a handsome, successful man wealthy enough to take care of him for the rest of his life. Besides, the sex is good. But Milio likes to dominate his marks (and that’s what Del is) and oversteps the bounds of their relationship. When Del sends him packing, he takes some very graphic pictures of the two with him, the genesis of Del’s belief that Milio is behind the blackmailing.

But things are not as simple as they seem.
Let me reaffirm my belief that readers are the greatest people on earth. Let me know what you think at

New Posts published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Because my BJ Vinson books are being published anew by DSP Publications, it seems appropriate to reintroduce the major characters in the series. Therefore, I would like to reprint a post to this blog that appeared on August 30, 2012. 

When I write a novel, I constantly struggle to avoid "over describing" my major characters. This is to allow readers to paint a mind picture of these individuals for themselves. Apparently, I succeeded with BJ. When an artist presented a proposed a dramatic book cover for THE ZOZOBRA INCIDENT showing BJ as bearded, I reacted by saying my protagonist was clean-shaven. The artist responded that I hadn't given a clue as to whether BJ had a beard or not. So I was successful in my goal of allowing the reader to create my hero in his or her own image. Please feel free to picture the Albuquerque PI as bearded or not.

Actually, I have a very firm idea of how he looks, acts, thinks, and feels. I know who he is because I created him. I know, for example, Burleigh was a family name (his mother's father's name, as a matter of fact), and that J was a MIO--middle name only. He was born September 12, 1972 and was 34 at the time The Zozobra Incident takes place in 2006.

His parents, Robert and Frances Vinson, were both educators. They raised him with a steady, firm hand and always sought to guide rather than impose. His father was a very strong influence in his life and probably knew BJ was gay before he did. Robert was supportive and encouraged his son to play football in high school and even backed his decision to join the Marines. In later years, BJ understood this was not an attempt to "convert" him, but was his father's effort to provide as normal a background as possible to give BJ a rock-solid basis for deciding who he was and who he was going to be.

BJ came to grips with the fact he was gay slowly, finally accepting his sexual orientation in his late teens. Since he had a strong, supportive father and a nourishing, yet not dominating, mother in his life, he came to the conclusion his homosexuality was "hard-wired." Thereafter, he accepted who he was without obsessing over it. He neither hid nor flaunted his sexuality. As a result, he moved easily through all the spectra of Albuquerque society.

Both senior Vinsons died on January 2, 2003 in a car accident on Interstate-40, leaving their only son and heir an estate of $12 million. Some years earlier, they had loaned a struggling local business a modest amount of operating capital. That business later moved to Seattle and became Microsoft. By the time of their deaths, BJ had a degree in Criminology from UNM and was a detective with the Albuquerque Police Department. A little over a year later, he was shot in the thigh while he and his partner, Gene Enriquez, attempted to apprehend a murder suspect. That occasioned both the breakup between BJ and his lover, local attorney Del Dahlman, and his medical retirement from APD.

Even though he was independently wealthy, BJ continued to live in the home his father built at 5228 Post Oak Drive NW in Albuquerque's North Valley. The residence was located in a '50s middle-class neighborhood, which was growing a bit geriatric. The home, a contemporary red brick, white-trimmed, cross-gabled structure with stone foundations, had a basement--something unusual for Albuquerque at the time.

BJ was incapable of sitting around and living on his inheritance, so on September 18, 2005, he opened B. J. Vinson, Confidential Investigations. Referrals from his many cop friends helped turn the business profitable. He hired his mother best friend, a retired public school teacher named Hazel Harris, as secretary and office manager. What he got was a surrogate mother, whom he suffered fondly.

Eleven months after opening his office doors on the third floor of a historic building across the street from the Albuquerque Library's main facility, Del Dahlman came to ask his help. The lawyer was being blackmailed. Against his better judgment, BJ accepted his former' lover's request...and thus The Zozobra Incident began.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cafeteria Buddies

Let’s go for a short story this  week. Hope this gives you some reading pleasure.


Handsome face, loopy grin, great build.
That was my reaction when I first laid eyes on Billy Watts. As a new transfer to the high school, I didn’t know anyone, and the hunky guy sitting all alone at a table in the corner of the bustling cafeteria immediately drew my eye. He was likely waiting for a bunch of buddies who hadn’t showed up yet. Nonetheless, I walked over and sat down. He looked up and smiled. Wow! Green eyes like cut emeralds.
“Hi.” I extended a hand. “I’m Sally Bealls.”
“Hello,” he rumbled in a baritone. “I’m Billy. Billy Watts.”
I faltered as he grasped my small hand in a broad, firm one. Something about the way he spoke. Very deliberate. Was that why he was sitting alone? Because he was… slow? Too late now. I’d chosen a flowerbed and was stuck in it. “I’m new. We just moved down from Albuquerque.”
“Big city girl, huh?”
I laughed at the thought of Albuquerque as a big city, but I guess it was compared to New Mexico’s small towns. And this berg where we’d ended up when my father was transferred by the power and light company was definitely a small town. Now that I had to create my own space in a brand new environment what did I do? Sat down with the slow guy on campus. Too bad, because he was a real looker.
Making the best of the situation, I chattered as I worked on my lunch. Billy answered questions with carefully enunciated words. His speech might come at the speed of a racing turtle, but the answers were lucid. He never initiated speech but responded patiently.
On Monday, I sat at a table with a girl from my homeroom who seemed friendly. I’d no sooner squared my tray on the Formica top than she elbowed me.
“Not eating with Low Watts today?”
“Why do you call him that?”
“Duh. He’s a dim bulb, or didn’t you pick up on that? Should we call you Dotty Sally?”
I sniffed and speared a baby carrot with a fork. “Can if you want, but I’m warning you. I’m gonna raise the grading curve in English.” While we ate and joked and talked about boys, my eyes wandered back to that lonely table in the corner.
The next day, I walked past the girls and sat down directly opposite Billy Watts. He glanced up, smiled, and then frowned in concentration.
“Hello, I’m Billy Watts. You’re that girl from the big city.”
“That’s right. I’m Sally.”
That big loopy grin came back, making me shiver. “You’re pretty, Sally.”
“Why thank you, sir. You’re quite handsome yourself.”
Billy Watts blushed like a three-way bulb switched from low to high.

I spent a lot of time with Billy after that, not only at the cafeteria but also hanging out after school when he didn’t have to rush off to  help his father carpenter or to finish something he was working on in the wood shop at school.
The first present he gave me was a small wooden ladybug pin he’d fashioned and painted. I wore it with pride. The next was a spider, but he saw my frown before I complimented him on his—unfortunately—realistic work and next gifted me with  a small bluebird pin. It was so absolutely perfect it caused my heart to stutter.
Charles Edward Street, who dubbed himself Ched, stopped at our table one day and looked down his long—but handsome—nose at me. “If you can separate yourself from this dim bulb long enough, I’ll take you out for a good time. After I finish quarterbacking the team in tonight’s game, that is.”
I looked him up and down. Twice, actually, because he was worth a second look. “Thanks, but Billy and I have something planned.”
Ched’s jaw dropped. “This guy? Why are you wasting your time on him?”
I stared right into his disconcertingly attractive brown eyes and stroked Billy’s latest gift pinned to my sweater. “Rather spend time with someone who can create beautiful things like this than one who runs around worshiping an odd-shaped ball and thinks that makes him a hot shot.”
Of course, that finished me with the smart set at Mountain View High.

I was brushing Jeanette’s hair when I heard a car door slam. The child ran right out from under the brush shouting “Daddy! Daddy’s home!” I walked to the window to watch Jeanette and her older brother William greet their father.
Bill welcomed them with his eternal beaming smile and wrapped them in his arms. I’d quit calling him Billy years ago. It hadn’t taken me long to figure out that my cafeteria buddy suffered from a mild form of autism—probably with a dose of the Savant Syndrome thrown in. He could create anything with his hands, but he didn’t fare well in the rest of the school system. He wasn’t dumb. In fact, he possessed a keen intelligence. It just didn’t show well. For example, he drove a car like a pro, but it had taken weeks of working with him before he was able to pass the written test.
We lived in the big city now—Albuquerque. He still thought of it that way, even though it’s simply an overgrown town. He worked as a carpenter for a local contractor, and while he would never be a supervisor, all the foremen wanted him on their crew.
Every day after his shift at the company, he came home and fashioned the most intricate little creatures from exotic woods and paint that anyone had ever seen. They flew straight out the door as freebies until I took control. Other than to family, he sold them now. Or rather I did. Bill didn’t realize he made as much from his “hobby” as he did working for a wage. He’s kind, amiable, and an altogether fitting father, neighbor, and husband. Me? I’m perfectly happy being his wife and soulmate. He’s more than a handsome face, loopy grin, and great build… much more.

Keep on reading, guys, and let me know what you think at

New Posts published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Three nice covers, huh? At least, I think so. Unfortunately, I don't yet have one for the next book, but I like to think it will be as good. By the way, the covers you see down the right panel are the previous covers for two of the books. I left them for the sake of comparison.

Let’s take a look at some action from the fourth novel in the BJ Vinson series with the working title of THE LOVELY PINES (now in progress). Regular readers will know that our hero BJ Vinson, a confidential investigator, was drawn into the case when there was a break-in at the Lovely Pines Winery in the fictional village of Plácido, New Mexico north of Albuquerque. Nothing was taken, nothing was destroyed, but the suspicion lingers that someone is still prowling around. The following scene takes place in Chapter 13. BJ is returning to stakeout an area west of the winery.

     Remembering how the sniper had scanned the parking lot the one time I’d caught a glimpse of him, I pulled off into the forest on the south side of the highway a hundred yards west of the logging road that paralleled the Pines property and hiked the rest of the way in. Once I located a likely spot where I had an oblique view of the winery doors, the wallow where I’d encountered the sniper, and by turning my head could see the area where the bicycle tracks had ended, I pulled my backpack off and settled in a sheltered spot. This was not the perfect stakeout location, but since I was keeping an eye out for two separate individuals on two separate missions, it would do. Once comfortable, I hauled out my Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm semiautomatic and stuffed it in a jacket pocket. We might just be heading into July, but twilight was coming up fast, and at this altitude the temperature would drop sharply once the soil lost the sun’s warmth.
     I no sooner poured myself a lid of coffee than the odor of weeds and wildflowers and fallen pine needles surrendered to the pungent aroma of the hot liquid. I resolved to take my refreshment in smaller doses hereafter.
     Hours passed. Despite the coffee and isometric exercises, I was losing ground to the need for sleep rapidly. I’m a trained stakeout artist and had done this a hundred times, but the gentle swish of the pine boughs all around me was as effective as a sleeping tonic. I’m sure I dozed at times but for the most part managed to remain on guard.
     Somewhere around midnight I grew aware of something. I hadn’t actually heard a car, but there was one down on the highway. I glanced south but caught no glare of headlamps or parking lights. Then I heard a slight growl as a motor accelerated. The vehicle had stopped for some reason. To let someone out, perhaps? But there had been no bang of a car door. Of course not. He was sneaking in.
     Just as I was about to move, I caught movement down near the wallow. It wasn’t much, just a slight swaying of brush. In the darkness, I wasn’t even certain I’d actually seen anything, but something had snared my attention.
     Son of a bitch! The sniper! He’d snuck into place right under my nose. And movement told me he’d heard the car, too. He was going to intercept whomever had gotten out of the car. Sniper and intruder were about to meet.
     I stood up, making sure to create a racket in doing so. No reaction. Cautiously, I worked my way, tree bole by tree bole toward the wallow. He wasn’t there. He’d slipped by me again. I turned and ran to the road and headed south. I caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure ahead of me. There was just enough moonlight piercing the overhanging canopy to determine the man carried a rifle. I had no doubt he’d use it if cornered. More troubling, would he use it if he met the intruder? I couldn’t take the chance. I raised my S&W and fired three bullets into the trunk of the nearest pine. The flashes blinded me, but I stumbled left into the covering wood in case the fleeing man decided to return fire. There was nothing. Nothing but the roar of an approaching vehicle.
     Before I reached the logging road again, I heard a car screech to a halt, a car door slam, and the vehicle roar away. The sniper had phoned a buddy who’d been hanging around nearby to retrieve him.

I sincerely hope you found that worthy of your time. Maybe I’ll get the novel finished one of these days and DSP Publications will see fit to publish it.

Feel free to mail me at As always, thanks for being readers.

New Posts published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.