Thursday, September 21, 2017

Two Benadryls and a Baby Aspirin

 
Courtesy of Pixabay
 Apologies for being late posting this. Getting forgetful. Forgot to push "Publish."

Regular readers know that I went to visit my family in Texarkana, Texas over the Labor Day holiday, the first time I’ve been back for several years. My son Grant decided to go with me and meet some relatives he had never seen before. As we both have bad backs, we made a solemn pact not to push ourselves on the drive and to stop each afternoon to rest overnight so we wouldn’t arrive “all stove up.”

We left on a Tuesday morning around nine-thirty and started driving east on I-40. Our first over night was planned for Amarillo, but Grant noted that there was a lot of daylight still remaining when we arrived in that city, so we pushed on to Childress another hundred miles down the road. The long and the short of it is, we arrived after two days of driving instead of three.

As I am the eldest of my three siblings by eight years or more, they all welcomed me with the respect age is due… ignoring some of the nasty things we did to one another when we were growing up… and greeted Grant with open arms. In short, the visit went quite well.

My sister and her husband and the younger of my twin brothers and his wife took turns taking both Grant and me plus my elder son Clai, who lives in Texarkana, for evening meals. The older twin, who is ill, and his wife hosted us for lunches. They live on a home and something like eight acres at the edge of a forest just south of Texarkana. His wife is a beautiful woman and a marvelous cook, so this arrangement suited us just fine.

The first day, they introduced us to their dog Lady, a two-year-old golden retriever. She was friendly and feisty and apparently approved of us. The next day, however, when we arrived, my brother told us she had been bitten by a copperhead about an hour after we left. The older of their two sons and his wife are both veterinarians, so the dog received prompt treatment and was pretty well recovered by the time we arrived for lunch the next day. When I asked what the treatment was, the answer came back, “Two Benadryls and a baby aspirin.”

A bit disbelieving, I asked what the treatment would have been had the bite victim been a man. 

“Probably two Benadryls and a baby aspirin.”
*****
Who knew? Apparently a rattlesnake bite requires an anti-venom, but a copperhead bite does not. (Please don't take this as a medical fact. If you are bitten seek treatment from a doctor.) Don’t think anyone particularly enjoyed this true tale, but I hope you learned something from it.

The following information provides contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sam and Sheila

Well, I returned from my trip home to see my older son, my brothers and sister and all the assorted in-laws, nephews, nieces, cousins, and the like. The result? I’m convinced I have pretty good kinfolk. I’m likely the only member dragging down the family reputation.

I hope you enjoyed Mark’s story about Hawk and Grove last week. Got a pretty good number of views, so someone must have cottoned to it. (I've been in Texas, recently, you know)

This week hits a more somber tone. Some will wonder why I wrote it, but such situations do arise, and each individual meets them in his or her own way. Anyway, let’s learn about Sam and Sheila.

*****
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
SAM AND SHEILA


          “Sheila, you know I love you, don’t you?”
          “Yes, I know you do, Sam,” came the tremulous reply.
          I’d said that to her every day for over fifty years, but this time it held a special significance. I positioned the pistol, closed my eyes, and pulled the trigger.
          I couldn’t bear to look at her poor, broken body, but neither could I resist giving her a long, tight hug. My salty tears disturbed the slight film of powder on her soft, lined cheek. Lifting my head, I gazed upon her delicate features, serene now that the thing growing inside her lungs no longer tortured her. The delicate blush of lipstick on her lips and a touch of mascara on her lids—now closed forever tore a sob from me.
          Cruel reality struck like a tornado, drawing breath from me and sending my mind whirling. The thought, the idea…the plan had seemed benevolent—heroic even—but the act rendered everything into bone and gristle and blood. How could such a frail little body hold so much blood? The gun, a Luger brought back from the war, fell from my nerveless fingers, and I scrambled out of that death bed on legs that would hardly hold me. I made it to the bathroom, fell on my knees and retched into the stool. I vomited until there was nothing left in my stomach and then threw up again. My nausea was no longer of the physical. It was now more of the spiritual. And there was a lifetime of ugliness to expunge there. But eventually, even that was drained, and I labored to my feet and stood on shaky legs.
          A wild-eyed old man stared back at me from the vanity mirror, his hazel eyes sunk in puffy pouches. Once taut flesh sagged like his face was disintegrating. I watched him gasp for breath, but the air no longer held enough oxygen. Inhaling brought only desperation and sadness and terrible, crushing loneliness. What was wrong with him… me. Sheila would know….
I gagged on the thought. Sheila had always known how to take care of me, even when I didn’t. In her gentle way, she nagged and coaxed until I gave in to her wishes only to find her judgment had been correct. She had tended my body, my mind, and my spirit for all these years without seeming to give a minute’s thought to what a mulish clod I could be.
          Until last year, that is. We didn’t know what the problem was for a long time, but she lost her energy and suffered aches and pains so severe they brought complaints from a strong but gentle woman who never complained. The doctors fussed and prodded and MRId this and scanned that until we used up our medical benefits for the year. Then our savings went, and a mortgage on the house became necessary.
          Eventually, the medics wanted to put her in hospice, but that was like giving up, wasn’t it? I saw that the idea frightened her, and not much frightened my mate of half a century. So I declined. Things got no better. More pain. More medication, which brought more nausea, more exhaustion, and more insomnia, and eroded her will to live.
          She began asking me to help her months ago. I, of course, wouldn’t hear of it. But she grew steadily worse. Medication stopped even pretending it kept the pain at bay. Her suffering was unbearable—to me, as well as to her. A week ago, her pestering requests began to take on a note of earnestness. She was mortified when I had to help her with her personal hygiene, even though she’d done the same for me during my bout of pneumonia two years back. Last night, when she cried in the darkness for the third night in a row, I made up my mind.
          This morning, I helped her apply her makeup—she never used much—and dress in her church clothes. She was calm as we lay beside one another for half an hour, reminiscing about family—not many of them left now—friends, and our years together. Then I did what I promised to do.
The old man’s eyes staring back at me through the mirror widened in horror. Oh Lord! I’d murdered my wife. Killed the woman I’d loved since I was sixteen. Taken a life I had no right to take.
          I closed my eyes a moment before opening them and staring at my accuser… myself. He was wrong. I did what she wanted. No, what she needed. I released her from her suffering, sent her to a better place. There was no way that beautiful soul wouldn’t have earned a spot in heaven. Now she was pain-free and happy. Most likely greeting the son and daughter we’d lost years ago. Chatting with her mother and sisters… and missing me.
          That thought made what came next much easier. I shucked my bloody clothes, washed and shaved, and dressed in my Sunday duds before lying back down beside Sheila.
          Then I picked up the Luger and pulled the trigger.

*****
I can’t ask if you enjoyed the story… who could? But did it make you grapple around in your memory and wonder if you’ve known people desperate enough to go to such lengths? And if you could have helped in some way?

The following information provides contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Red Rezes

As I told you last week, my son Grant and I are on a visit to our family in East Texas. I grew up in Southeast Oklahoma, Southwest Arkansas, and Northeast Texas with no more than 70 or 80 miles between the three points, so I should have remembered some things. For instance, I should have recalled that when you take a shower, you can never dry off… at least in August and September. You simply mop off the worst of the moisture and pull on your clothes.

This week, I’d like to give you an excerpt from my fellow Okie writer Mark Wildyr’s novella entitled Red Rezes. In it, you meet Curt Huntinghawk and Grover Whitedeer, two members of the Rezagados Colorados, a drug enforcement group. Hope you enjoy it.
*****
Courtesy of Pixabay
RED REZES

By Mark Wildyr

          Hip-sprung and sweat-stained, Curt Huntinghawk stood in the shade of a paloverde and gazed at the twisted, tortured panorama spread out before him. The Sonoran Desert, sliced and diced by an endless web of gullies, arroyos, hills, and boulders, was a forbidding territory with something always eager to bite, sting, rip, tear, or puncture a man. An unseen army of traficantes, coyotes, illegals, or just plain citizens bent on mischief might linger over the next ridge, secure from discovery unless rooted out by the arduous process of tracking by foot.
          Senior members of the Rezagados Colorados, an organization of Native Americans engaged by the Border Patrol to keep a drug watch along the Mexican border, Hawk and his partner, Grover Whitedeer, were on the hunt for drug mules. The hot, exhausting, dangerous work was the most satisfying and challenging either man had ever undertaken. The skill, strength, endurance, and downright stubbornness required of the job put them in spiritual contact with the warrior clans of their ancestors… even if they were toting water for the white man.
          Grove, two inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter than Hawk’s six-feet, hundred-sixty-pounds pointed with his chin. “Rooster tail over yonder. Coupla miles, I reckon.” He grinned, transforming him from merely handsome to devilishly good-looking. “We could just forget about it.”
          “Quit daydreaming and go get the Jeep.” Hawk turned and made his way up the rocks behind them to report the wisp of drifting dust in the distance on his hand-held radio. Receiving the go-ahead from headquarters, he joined Grove in the four-by-four. “Moving west by northwest. Probably making for Dragon’s Back.”
          Dragon’s back was a huge hogback of rugged rock that sheltered the only natural water source in the area. Dominating the horizon no more than five miles as the crow flies to the west, the big hump was more like twenty through the washes and arroyos.
          After locating tire tracks two arroyos over, the two Rezes followed at speed in order to outrun their dust tail. Clutching the door posts for support, they flew around the truck’s interior despite seat restraints. They drove with the windows down because it was too enervating to bail out of an air-conditioned vehicle to chase bad guys on foot in the blazing sun. Chances were the other vehicle was more interested in comfort, which might give them an edge.
          As they drew closer, Grove threw the Jeep into four-wheel drive and abandoned the sandy wash to crawl up a crumbling tufa mound. The way was shorter, but hell on the kidneys. As they climbed, Hawk glimpsed the other truck below them.
          “What the hell is that?” he exclaimed.
          The contraption raising a rooster tail in the arroyo below wasn’t quite a tank, but it was close—an army surplus four-wheel-drive deuce-and-a-half fortified with sheet metal sprouting gun barrels like porcupine quills.
           “Get in front of them. That sucker travels on rubber; it can be stopped!”
          His partner rode the brakes down the far side of the rise. More than once Hawk feared they had overcome their center of gravity, but Grove was a good driver and kept the vehicle more or less on four wheels. They nosed into the wash well ahead of the monster crawling up the arroyo toward them. Grove parked the Jeep in an easily accessible side wash, and they piled out to collect rifles from the gun rack.
          “We’ll flatten their tires, and then play it by ear,” Hawk said.
          Grove shook his head. “You’re betting my ass on your ear?”
          “Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of it. It belongs to me, you know.”
          Grove gave him a look. “You gonna stand out there and give them the old ‘halt in the name of the law’ routine?”
          “No, but I’ll cover you while you do it.”
          “You’re dreaming, Cowboy.”
          “Well, if armor-plate and gun ports aren’t enough probable cause to bring them down, then tough shit.”
          The two Rezes took up positions and waited for the big vehicle to crawl clumsily around the bend. When it was within fifty yards, Hawk gave the signal.
          They popped both front tires, but the behemoth came plowing on. Half a dozen copper-jacketed shells shredded the self-sealing chambers, and the big truck ground to a halt, the front end dropping like a gargantuan creature brought to its knees. Return gunfire was sporadic and confused.
          The Indians methodically worked on the double rear tires until they gave up the ghost, as well. The truck was now immobilized. Most of the traficantes’ weapons were at the sides or rear of the vehicle. Head-on, the outlaws were only able to bring to bear a couple of side arms. Shifting his attention to the windshield, partially protected by a steel grate, Hawk starred the shatter-proof glass and sent two figures ducking. Grove worked on the radiator until he punctured its shield. The overheated engine spewed scalding steam up the arroyo. Hawk gave a grunt of satisfaction when he burst the canvas water bag hung over the bumper to allow for evaporative cooling, spilling its precious contents spilled into the thirsty sand.
          Three angry men piled out of the rear of the vehicle, spraying the countryside indiscriminately with automatic weapons fire.
          Satisfied the smugglers weren’t going anywhere until the Border Patrol came to scoop them up, he and Grove scrambled for the Jeep. They were halfway up the side of the rocky hill before the bad guys knew they were leaving.

*****
As I understand it, Mark hasn’t published this story as yet. Let him know what you think of it at dontravis21@gmail.com.

The following information provides contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

THE CITY OF ROCKS

As this post publishes, my younger son and I are driving across New Mexico and Texas to visit my older son, my brothers, and sister—not to mention a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws, and probably an outlaw or two. The purpose of this introduction is to say everyone should buy a copy of my new book, The City of Rocks… as well as The Zozobra Incident and The Bisti Business. I have to finance this trip somehow, you know.

At any rate, I wanted to give the readers another glimpse of the new novel. The following is a doctored version of a post from my publisher's blog:
*****
Artist: Maria Fanning

Valuable Boot Heel Area Duck Kidnapped—No Ransom Demand Yet Received
At least according to Don Travis’s The City of Rocks


That was the headline in southwestern New Mexico newspapers recently... at least in Don Travis's The City of Rocks, the third in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series published by DSP Publications. The Zozobra Incident came out last November, followed by The Bisti Business in March of this year. City is due out July 18. The fourth novel The Lovely Pines is in production at DSPP with a target date of 2018. The fifth novel in the series, Abaddon’s Locusts, is growing fat on OneDrive on my desktop.

City opens “tongue-in-cheek,” but things become serious very quickly. The following is the book’s blurb”

Confidential investigator B. J. Vinson thinks it’s a bad joke when Del Dahlman asks him to look into the theft of a duck… a duck named Quacky Quack the Second and insured for $250,000. It ceases to be funny when the young thief dies in a suspicious truck wreck. The search leads BJ and his lover, Paul Barton, to the sprawling Lazy M Ranch in the Boot Heel country of southwestern New Mexico bordering the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

A deadly game unfolds when BJ and Paul are trapped in a weird rock formation known as the City of Rocks—an eerie array of frozen magma that is somehow at the center of the entire scheme. But does the theft of Quacky involve a quarter-million-dollar duck-racing bet between the ranch’s owner and a Miami real estate developer, or someone attempting to force the sale of the Lazy M because of its proximity to an unfenced portion of the Mexican border? BJ and Paul go from the City of Rocks to the neon lights of Miami and back again in pursuit of the answer… death and danger tracking their every step.

Regular readers of either my books or my weekly blog at dontravis.com know that BJ, my protagonist, is a former marine and Albuquerque PD detective turned confidential investigator after he was shot on the job while apprehending a killer. They also know that he is a gay man, neither in the “closet” nor flamboyantly advertising the fact. Actually, he considers himself a pretty regular--but very lucky—guy once he found his life mate, Paul Barton. Unlike the prior books, Paul plays a prominent role in City. He’s a grad student at UNM and intends to pursue a career in investigative journalism. What better place to start practicing than in the middle of one of BJ’s cases. But maybe he picked the wrong one to start with when people start dying.

DSPP informss me I have to tell you a little about myself. Boring! But here goes. Growing up as a tubercular child in my native Oklahoma, I eschewed physical activities and lived in the local library. It was not until I found myself in the US Army, trudging up and down the mountains of southern Germany with a light machine gun or a Browning Automatic Rifle slung over my shoulder that I discovered I could do what any other guy my age could do. But by then, the die of my life had been cast, and I was hooked on reading, and by extension on writing. I tried oil painting for a while (and did okay with it), but it did not scratch my creative itch, so I returned to a childhood habit of writing short stories. After selling around 60 of them under another name, I decided to try my hand at novels.

After eight years as a widower, I have not yet learned to cook or keep an orderly house. Passable… but not orderly. I do not own a pet, but have dog-sat a great little black and white Papillon named Gizmo for fourteen years. Yep, fourteen years. This is the best of all worlds. I get to see Gizzy often and then return him to his parents, just like a grandchild.

To give back to the community, I am active in SouthWest Writers and teach a free writing class at the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center in Albuquerque. I warned you it was boring.

*****
Feel free to render your unvarnished opinions at dontravis21@gmail.com.

The following information provides contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

COY

Last week’s post about Cleveland brought back memories of not only the feisty Bichon but also my redheaded wife Betty. In truth, almost everything from my past reminds me of my late wife. I still miss that gal.

This week, I’d like to return to the word of flash fiction with a little story. Hope you enjoy it.

*****
Courtesy of Pxhome.com
COY

Albuquerque’s Episcopal Cathedral of St John overflowed with people both prominent and ordinary—like me. Empty, seemingly without bones or nerves, I squeezed against a back wall and wept silently as a somber pipe organ and tremendous banks of flowers filled the church with oppressive dirges and a cloying redolence that would have appalled Eliot Ross.
A door to the left of the altar opened, and the relatives filed in, led by his blonde ex-wife in figure-hugging black, the epitome of expensive simplicity. Two pretty, yellow-haired young women and a tall, dark youth followed closely, trailed by the extended family. The girls were Eliot’s daughters, but the identity of the trim, graceful young man stumped me until I figured out that he was Eliot’s nephew… the son he’d never had.
Tears streamed down my cheeks during the sophomoric eulogy by Eliot’s brother. God! Were these people blind or just stupid? Eliot had been so much more than a captain of industry and doting family man. He was alive and vibrant and joyful and caring and… loving. Sensing I was drawing unwelcome attention, I made an effort to pull myself together, ineffectually swiping at my tears and resolutely staring into a stained-glass window above the altar until the sunlit colors fractured and swam before my eyes.
The nephew, Ryan Ross, I think his name was, read a passage of scripture in a rich, deep baritone that put me in the mind of a preacher, although I knew him to be a senior at UNM where I was pursuing my Masters.
As a line formed for the viewing, a desperate yearning for a last look at the man I had loved selflessly for the past five years gave way to the knowledge that I was an unwelcome interloper. I stumbled to my car and drove straight to the place of interment to arrive ahead of the pack and locate a vantage point in a thin copse of trees. The freshly dug grave made a hideous scar on the otherwise uniformly green expanse.
Within half an hour, the slow, stately cortege appeared at the gates of Heaven’s Rest Cemetery. Two white limos and a line of Cadillacs, BMW’s, Mercedes, Bentleys, and a host of other luxury cars trailed the huge hearse. The few Fords and Chevys probably belonged to staff.  Mercifully, the graveside service was short. As soon as the family moved toward the limos and the crowd thinned, I made my way slowly down the hill and stood at the open pit.
Eliot would have hated the burnished bronze casket. Polished oak would have been his choice. My eyes threatened to fill again. The odor of moist, recently turned earth brought me to the realization this was really happening. Afraid of losing control, I gently released a love poem to flutter like a graceful butterfly into the grave with him.  Utterly drained, I turned on my heels and came to an abrupt halt.
A tall young man stood not three feet from me. The nephew… Ryan Ross. He was handsome, as were all the Rosses, but in a totally different way. Dark, saturnine almost, with strange green eyes that contrasted nicely with his ebony hair and coconut-butter complexion.
“I’m Ryan,” he said in a voice sounding so much like Eliot he sent shivers down my back. “You’re Coy Dawes, aren’t you?”
Lifting my head defiantly, I swallowed hard, grateful that tears were not flooding my eyes although my lashes were wet. “Yes.”  My voice broke slightly.
“I thought so.  I’ve seen you at the U a couple of times.  Glad you came.”
Surprised, I could only manage a nod.
“Well, they’re waiting for me, so I’d better run. But I wanted to meet you.” He reached out and took my hand in a firm, masculine grasp. “He loved you, you know.”
“I-I know.”
“The others don’t understand how Uncle Eliot could love a man.” A gentle smile touched his lips. “But I do. Would it be all right if I called you? You know, after we’ve had time to grieve him in our own way?”
My missing parts returned in a rush: my heart again thudded in my chest, numb extremities regained feeling, my belly took its proper place under the pressure of his warm grip. I felt as if Elio had reached out to me from the grave.
“I’d like that.”
 *****
Let me know what you think of the story at dontravis21@gmail.com.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but The City of Rocks is now available. Hope you will show your support by buying a copy. Publishing houses are rather insistent that there be sales before they’ll bring out another of my books. The following provides contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Me'n Cleveland

Not Cleveland, but a look-alike
Courtesy of Pinterest
Umpity-umph years ago, my wife Betty decided to do dog sitting for a friend who owned a beautiful little Australian Shepherd. She was quiet and gentle and obedient, so Betty expanded her horizons and accepted a second dog, this one a bichon named Cleveland who taught me several lessons about the art of dog sitting.
The first lesson was to meet the dog and its parents before accepting responsibility for said animal. Cleveland’s owner brought him over after we’d made telephone arrangements to care for the dog while his owners went on a three-day trip. Second lesson: Especially do not accept the responsibility for a pet for more than one day at a time without meeting the animal first.
When Cleveland’s dad, a very nice man named Dale who’s become a good friend, brought him for the first time, I took the leash and the dog followed me without a backward look at Dale. His dad’s dismay at being dismissed so readily was evident, but I was so pleased that the dog wasn’t going to give me trouble about being parted from his family I thought nothing about the exchange.
I took him upstairs to our apartment where Betty and Cleveland met for the first time. It was love at first sight. He galloped over to her and showered her with licks and kisses, and the world was right.
Then he turned around and glared at me, and I’ll swear I could hear his thoughts: “Okay, buster, I’ll put up with you just so I can be around her.” And that’s the way it was. From then on, he loved Betty and tolerated me. In fact, I’m convinced he preferred the company of women over that of men.
Bichons are built long and low so that they appear to be small dogs, but they must have bones like dinosaurs. Cleveland loved laps, but he didn’t fit onto Betty’s very well, so he must have figured mine was better than nothing. That dog weighed forty pounds. My legs went dead within minutes, and he didn’t tolerate much wiggling around to try and restore the blood flow.
In truth, Cleveland was a great guy with short, curly white hair and coal black skin that only showed when he got wet and big, deceptively innocent eyes. A perfect pet… except he had a mind of his own. That dog possessed free will and exercised it often. Especially when we went on walks, as I discovered on the very first excursion.
He was well trained to the leash and followed me downstairs without a problem. But once on the sidewalk, we discovered we had different goals in mind. I wanted to walk around the apartment complex. Cleveland wanted to go the other direction. I patiently explained we were going north, and he watched intently with those big, intelligent eyes before heading south. I halted him with the leash. He planted all four feet and dug in when I tried to walk off in the direction I wanted. It was a case of a small dog with big bones vs. an overweight man who wasn’t trained in canine psychology. I pulled and backed away. I gave sharp, authoritative commands. He responded with a defiant stare. Nothing to do but hope he went about his duties quickly so I didn’t have to drag him all the way around the place.
When Dale got back, a little anxious about the well-being of his beloved pet, he found a happy, healthy dog thanks to Cleveland’s love for Betty.
It wasn’t long before Dale and Carol went on another trip and we accepted Cleveland for another time. He was overjoyed to see Betty and condescended to allow me to pet him and chuck him under the chin. On our first walk that visit, we had the same problem. It took three months for me to learn to simply stand for a minute and direct my attention elsewhere before saying “Okay, we’re going this way, Cleveland.” Then he’d come along and take the lead as if this had been his intent all along.
We continued to sit Cleveland for several years until the little guy got cancer and had to be put down. One day, I related my walking experiences with Dale—who’s a pretty sharp guy—and concluded with the way I’d trained his dog to comply with my wishes.
Dale looked at me for a minute before asking. “Who trained whom?”

To this day, I haven’t figured out the answer.

*****
Let me know what you think at dontravis21@gmail.com.

The City of Rocks is now available. Hope you will show your support by buying a copy. Publishing houses are rather insistent that there be sales before they’ll bring out another of your books. The following are my contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don

New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

More of ABODDON'S LOCUSTS

I’ve told you of my fifth BJ Vinson mystery novel (three published, one pending, and one still a gleam in my eye. Well, that fifth one, ABADDON’S LOCUSTS, is fleshing out and growing on my One Drive. On April 13, I gave you the Prologue and the first couple of pages to Chapter 1. Now let me give you a sample of Chapter 2.

In the following scene, BJ’s life companion, Paul Barton, arrives home to find a hunky Navajo inside talking to BJ. Let’s pick up from there.



*****
Courtesy of PxHere
ABADDON’S LOCUSTS
        
  “Whose bike is parked out there?” When Paul came into the den, he stopped dead still. “Henry? Is that you?”
          The Navajo had made an impression. They’d only met once about three years ago in my motel room in Farmington when I was working a case up there. Of course, both Henry and his brother Jazz were impressive guys—as was Paul.
          “’Fraid so. Hope you don’t mind me coming over without no warning.”
          I cut straight to the issue. “He’s got a problem. Or at least, Jazz has.”
          The love of my life took a seat as I explained the situation. I wasn’t certain how he would react. The green-eyed monster had shown up briefly when I introduced Paul to the sexy teenager I’d been working with in Farmington while searching for a wine mogul’s missing son. Paul was as secure as any man I knew, but Jazz Penrod was such a package of raw sex that he made most men—gay or straight—feel threatened. My lover fooled me… once again.
          “Vince, you gotta find him.” The world called me BJ, but two men referred to me as Vince: Paul and my ex, an attorney named Del Dahlman. Paul pointed to Jazz's laptop Henry had brought. “Check this Juan guy’s username through that fraud service you use.”
          “Okay, but I can almost guarantee it’s going to be a dead end.”
          The two of them followed me into my home office so I could use my own computer to conduct the search. The NoFraud.com service I used wouldn’t lead us to a URL address, but when one was exposed as a fraud, these guys published the Internet address. Juan’s address wasn’t listed, which was no comfort at all. He simply hadn’t been exposed yet.
          “Well, crap,” Paul said.
          Henry blew air through his nose. “I thought these things were easy to run down. You hear about guys getting hacked all the time.”
          “You’ve just said the magic word. Hack. Hackers do it if they have the time and equipment necessary. Law enforcement has to get a warrant, hand it to the server, and wait for a response.” I took Jazz’s computer from Henry. “Don’t know if you caught it, but there were a couple of messages where Jazz and this Juan guy exchanged personal information.”
          I searched until I found the Email I wanted. “Here it is. Juan Gonzales with an address of 111½ Fifty-Ninth NW in Albuquerque. And there’s a phone number.” I asked the two of them to be quiet while I dialed. It proved to be disconnected.
          “Well, we have his name and an address anyway,” Henry said with a dangerous look on his face.
          “They’re both probably phony,” I said.
          Paul put in his two cents. “And Juan Gonzales is like John Smith. There’s a million of them.”
          “Let me put my office manager Hazel on this,” I suggested. “She’s better than I am at locating people over the Internet. Give me Jazz’s cell phone number so Charlie can start trying to trace it.” Charlie Weeks, Hazel’s husband, was a retired APD cop and my partner in Vinson and Weeks, Confidential Investigations.
          The number Henry supplied matched the number already in my records for Jazz. He also handed over the license plate number for his brother’s Jeep, after which I phoned my office and handed out some assignments. That done, I called my old APD riding partner Lt. Gene Enriquez and explained the situation. He was still at the downtown police station.
          “You know this kid pretty well?” Gene asked.
          “He was one of the local assets I told you about when I was working on the Alfano case up in the Bisti Wilderness. He’s a good kid.”
          “Yeah. If I remember, you said he was pretty open about being gay.”
          “Yes, honest and open. Why?”
          “How do you know he didn’t just go off and meet this other gay guy for a fling?”
          “Because he’s more responsible than that. He would have contacted his mother at the very least. No one’s heard from him for a month. At least put out a BOLO on his vehicle.”
          “Okay. Give me the details. But this means I gotta open a case. Have the brother come in and file a request.”
          “We’ll do that first thing in the morning. In the meantime, will you put out the order.”
          “Yeah. Be here at nine, okay?”
          When I hung up, Henry asked me what a BOLO was.
          “Be on the lookout,” Paul answered. “But tell me something. You say that’s Jazz’s computer. If he was going to meet someone wouldn’t he take it along?”
          He’s got a smart phone and a tablet, whatever that is. He claims that gives him access to anything he needs. He usually leaves the laptop at home when he travels around.”
          “With photos like that on it?” Paul asked. “What if his mother saw them?”
          “Nobody invades Jazz’s privacy. Only reason I did was because I’m worried about him. If he turns out to be all right, he’ll give me hell for peeking at his private photos.” Henry frowned, showing his uncertainty. “And I hope that’s exactly what happens. BJ, you sure we gotta involve the police in this?”
          “We need their help. And somebody, Jazz’s Uncle Riley maybe, needs to go to the Farmington PD and file a missing person’s report.”
          “He already did. Said he’d go in the next day after he gave me Jazz’s laptop. That would be today. He should have gone in this morning. He was gonna ask for that Sgt. Dix Lee we met back when we were working together.”
          “Good. Henry, you’ve got to get over your aversion to authority. If this is what I think it is, the feds will be involved.”
          “Which ones?”
          “I don’t know much about it, but when the victim is a US citizen, the FBI is called in. I think they have a Domestic Sex Trafficking Program. If it’s over the border stuff, I’m sure ICE will be involved. That’s US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They’re both a part of Homeland Security, so it’s apt to be an interagency thing. A task force, maybe.”
          “Crap. What if he just went to meet a guy and they got wrapped up in one another?”
          I leveled a look at the hunky Navajo. “Do you believe that?”
          He hung his head. “Naw. I don’t. Something’s wrong. So let’s get the big bad Feebees involved. So whadda we do now? Sit around and wait until tomorrow?”
          “Nope. We’re going to check out 111½ Fifty-Ninth NW—even if it is a fool’s errand.”

*****
Folks, I sincerely believe this is turning out to be a good tale. Let me know what you think so far at dontravis21@gmail.com.

The City of Rocks is now available. Hope you will show your support by buying a copy. Publishing houses are rather insistent that there be sales before they’ll bring out another of your books. The following are my contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
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Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


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