[Using today’s prompt from The Daily Post to develop an encounter from one of my story drafts]

“Just fixing to be on my way, once this log’s been cleared.” Jimmy squinted as the officer pointed the beam of his flashlight onto Jimmy’s face. “Say, John Law, mind getting that light outta my eyes?”

Without acknowledging Jimmy’s request, the officer moved the beam down to the lower edge of the van’s windshield. “Your county permit’s out of date.”

Jimmy scoffed. “Mailed my check in the other day, sticker ain’t come back yet.”

“Has to be there by the 31st — ”

“Check was mailed the 30th.”

“You’re late — ”

“It’s the goddam second of February!”

The officer brought his flashlight up to the side of his face, and flashed its beam across Jimmy’s face again. “Need to see your license and registration.”

Sitting in the passenger seat of the van, Rex reflexively reached for the glove compartment — but was immediately stopped by Jimmy’s right arm, reaching across his chest.

“Officer, you wanna gimme a ticket for an out of date county permit, go ahead. Do what I done last year — go to the registrar, show ’em my cancelled check for the permit fee, get them to waive the fine. People do it all the time. No need for you to see no — ” Jimmy spat out the next words — “license, no registration.”

The officer grasped his flashlight tighter. “There’s no need to get angry. I just need to see — ”

“You don’t need to see nothing!

Tweety & the Monkey Man

For most people, stopping a murderous man-ape would be enough challenge for one day. But Jess Friedman, Monster Hunter Mom and protagonist of “Tweety & the Monkey Man”, must also endure the killer stares of disapproving mothers, sadistic personal trainers, and self-righteous daycare providers.

The novella, the first of a series set in the same fictive universe as Eric Asher’s Bubba The Monster Hunter, is fast-paced, suspenseful, and enjoyable work of urban horror fantasy. Blackrose’s attempts at humor can be a little forced at times — there is a reference to the famous “failure to communicate” line from “Cool Hand Luke” which seems entirely out of place for a mid-thirties woman in 2017 — but the overall quality of her writing more than compensates for her occasional faults.

Like all the books in the Bubba universe, “Tweety & the Monkey Man” is published by Falstaff Books, an independent fantasy/sci-fi press from North Carolina. The book shows all the qualities of professional editing — the tone is consistent, the cover design is subtle but appealing, and each of the secondary characters is given an opportunity to shine. More than a few typos slipped through the cracks, and I do wish the editorial staff had talked the author out of that “Cool Hand Luke” reference, but their efforts certainly give this book a polished appearance.


[A response to today’s prompt from The Daily Post]

Coach Dan approached the young fencer. “You look puzzled, my friend.”

Rune, a junior in his second year in the sport, shook his greasy head. “Last week you told me to extend my arm when advancing, to establish right of way. Now Annie’s telling me to keep my arm back, to prevent beat attacks. Every time I think I understand what I need to do, somebody tells me I’m all wrong. ‘Puzzled’ doesn’t really describe how I feel about all the contradictions — more like, my brain’s been jigsawed, and the pieces have been scattered all over the place.”