Archive | September 2010

A Little White Lie – part 10

Wil’s assembling his team. What might seem like rejects and misfits to some commanders, well, they seem right up Wil’s alley. The big question is, once they come together, can they work as a team? Things could be pretty interesting…..

Walter Bennett was in the brig again. How many times was it now? He’d forgotten and he didn’t much care. Same charge as before: Insubordination and failure to follow orders.

He knew the guards by name and had beaten them all so often at poker, they refused to play him anymore. He was reading on his bunk when one of the guards came to the cell door.

“Hey, Walt! Someone here to see you!”

“So? Tell him to go the hell away, I’m busy.”

“Not a he, it’s a she and well worth looking at. But if you want me to tell her to go….”

“A woman?” Walter’s eyes brightened.

“Yeah, man. Cute little redhead, sweet tits, tight ass. You want I should tell her to go?”

“Hell no!” He smoothed his tousled dark blond hair, his green eyes sparkling with interest. “Show me,” he demanded, following the guard to an interview room.

He was ushered into the room and the guard left, locking the door behind him. The woman stood gazing out the barred window, wistful expression on her pretty face. She was a knockout! About five foot six, compact build, nice rack and an ass so tight he could bounce a quarter off it! Clearing his throat, he saluted as she turned around.

“Corporal Bennett reporting as ordered, Ma’am.”

“Corporal?” She checked a computer file on the table. “Says here your last offense got you busted to Private again.”

“Oh, yeah,” he said, reaching in his pocket for a smoke. “Forgot about that.” He pulled a chair out, flopped into it and tipped back.

Penny eyed him with curiosity. “Where in the regs does it say you act like that in the presence of an officer?”

“Sorry, the guys are kinda casual around here.” He rose again. “Please, have a seat, Ma’am.” He clicked his heels together and bowed as she took her seat across from him.

“You can sit,” Penny said as she scanned the file screens.

Bennett sat carefully, not as causally as before. He leaned over the table, hands folded, trying to see what was on the screen.

“Quite a checkered career, Private.”

Bennett snorted rudely, then caught her look of reprimand. Clearing his throat, he formed a more appropriate reply. “Yes, Ma’am. Seems I have a little problem with authority.”

“That before or after they gave you the juice?”

He looked genuinely puzzled. “Juice, Master Sargent?”

Penny rolled her eyes. “The ‘bug’ juice,” she gestured vaguely, drawing his attention to the electronic surveillance.

Taking her meaning, he inclined his head slightly. “That would be somewhat before, but the juice exacerbated the problem.”

“You’re being given a chance to atone for past misdeeds, Bennett. You’re needed for a special mission.”

“I’m getting out? Hot damn! Want to go for a drink? I’m buying!”

“Wait a second, Marine. Nothing in this life is free. You have to earn your freedom.”

“Can’t just let me out cause of my good looks?”

She chuckled at the fleeting thought that Bennett looked like a baboon.

“Not bloody likely. Your talents, such as they are,” she grimaced, “are needed on a mission. I have your orders. Pack it up, Marine.”

“You bet!” He hopped around the table, reaching for her to kiss her when he found himself flat on his back with her heel in his armpit and his hand in a very painful Aikido hold.

“Touch me again, squid, and I’ll take your arm off.”

He stood with difficulty, and was too flustered to salute as he left the room. Penny contacted Wil on her secure comlink by which he had been monitoring the interview.

“What do you think, Penny? Useable?”

“I may have to break his arm before I get him back there, but he’ll do.”

“Excellent! Got another special assignment for you when you get back.”

“Oh, another armed escort?”

“No, ma’am, this one is of a more personal nature. VanLipsig out.”

Penny smiled secretively as she walked briskly out to collect Bennett.

Back on Greyling’s ship, Wil allowed himself a small, contented smile. Things were coming together. They still had several days before the lunatic started to kill the royal family and he had finally found a woman who understood him. He had a fleeting feeling of doubt. Life was too good, what was going to go horribly wrong?

A Little White Lie – Part 9

Now we meet the other players in this charade. Wil’s chosen his team, now they must assemble. Can he manage to whip such a disparate bunch into shape? Oh, ye of little faith–this is Wil we’re talking about!

Adam Krall slung his duffel bag over his left shoulder and picked up a ruck sack with his right hand. Travel light, huh? Bullshit, never could travel light! Too much shit to carry.” The tall, dark skinned man shifted uneasily, trying to ease his toes in the tight new boots.

“Slap a new rank on a man, try to make him feel important. It’s all bullshit.”

He headed toward the docking bay where a shuttle waited for him. He strapped in, leaning his head back so he could take a nap while he waited for the trip to be over.

“Bullshit,” he muttered.
* * *
“How much on there?” Lance Freedrick leaned over the barbells, looking at the weights.

“Two seventy-five,” the other man answered, glancing up at Lance.

He froze, suddenly terrified. Lance was nearly eight feet tall, broad as a barn and built like a stone wall. He had muscles in places the other guy would have paid real money to own. His abs doubled as a washboard and he could bend a steel rebar one-handed. His platinum blond hair was cropped short and his blue eyes twinkled from his well tanned face.

“Go ahead,” Lance gestured toward the weights. “Didn’t mean to interrupt. I’ll spot you.” He flashed a friendly smile.

The other man looked intimidated, but took his position. With difficulty, he raised the weights to his chest, broke out in a sweat, turned red in the face and dropped the weights on the platform. Breathing hard and rubbing his arms, he stepped back right into Lance. Smiling apologetically, he moved out of the way.

“Mind if I have a go?”

“Sure, help yourself.”

Lance stooped and began adding weights to the bar. The other man’s eyes grew wider with each addition.

“How much you got on there?”

Lance looked casually at the bar. “Oh, around seven fifty.”

Taking his stance, he lifted the bar, the weight on the ends causing it to sag slightly. After a clean jerk, he put the bar carefully back down on the floor.

“Thanks!” He patted the smaller man on the shoulder and moved to another station.

The man shook his head in disbelief, staring at the weights Lance had so casually raised.

“Completely took to shame,” he muttered.
* * *

Billy Wallace sat watching a Tri-D action vid, stuffing popcorn into his mouth.

“This is the best part!” He said loudly, popcorn falling out of his half open mouth. “Just look!” He slapped the fellow next to him.

The other Marine eyed him carefully, deciding whether to take offense. He shifted his weight, scooting further away from the overly excited Wallace and focused again on the movie.

Billy stood, spilling the rest of his popcorn, striking a pose like the actor on screen. “By the power of Thor, god of thunder, I swear!” He said in unison with the actor.

Laughing hoarsely, Billy flopped back down on the couch. “Cool! I fuckin’ love this movie!”

Billy Wallace was a distant descendant of the brave Scottish warrior, William Wallace. Unlike his forefather, he wasn’t wild about battles, but since the military had fiddled with his DNA, he could do nothing else. Still a country boy at heart, he drank heavily, swore too much and chewed tobacco. The guys in his platoon called him Red Neck.

The comlink beside him beeped. He answered it distractedly, eye still glued to the screen. “Yeah, 23rd, Wallace. Go ahead.” He groaned when the hero got kneed in the crotch by the female, would-be love interest.

“Stand up straight when you talk to me, grunt!” The voice of command was unmistakable.

“Yes, sir!” Billy leaped to his feet, saluting the console.

The others in the room followed suit automatically as the visual flickered on. Their salute was returned casually as if the officer couldn’t be bothered by formalities.

“Which one of you sorry, low life bastards is Wallace?”

The Marine next to him pointed and Billy Wallace took a step forward, saluting smartly, even if he was in his skivvies.

“That would be me, sir!”

Ben eyed him critically. “You always watch a vid in your underwear, squid?”

“No, sir, Lieutenant. It’s just wash day, sir,” he concluded lamely.

“At ease.” The men relaxed into their stance. “Wallace, get your gear, you’ve been tapped for a special ops. You’ll be picked up at 1800. That gives you forty-five minutes to pack and get to the shuttle pad. Pilot has your orders.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir!” He saluted again, relieved when the comlink clicked off. “Special ops?” He scratched his head. “I knew I shouldn’t have taken those specialty classes.

Throwing his gear together, he grabbed his only clean uniform, wondering how to cope with his wet laundry. “Hell, y’all send that to me later, okay?”

One of the others nodded agreement. “Hey, Red Neck,” he called after Billy. “Be careful, man!”

Billy turned and grinned, his shiny shaven head reflecting a small puddle of lamp light. “Will do! Don’t wanna mess up my hair! Their laughter followed him as he walked quickly into the night.

A Little White Lie – Part 8

Wil’s trying to put together a team-10 people to do a seemingly insurmountable job: overthrow a religious despot and rescue the imprisoned royal family. He’s not too happy about the circumstances, but even he has bosses to answer to. He’s started down the list & stirs up some ugly old memories-things better left buried.

Ben ran a hand through his short, dark curls, trying to verbalize his objections.

“Surly, argumentative, always wants to know why. In a damn fire fight, don’t ask me why, do it! If you live, ask me later.” He rolled his eyes heavenward, sighing deeply. “It’s enough to make you want to snuff him yourself.”

Wil frowned. “Is he any good? We need a heavy weapons man.”

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Ben reviewed what he knew of Walter Bennett. “On the plus side, he’s organized, expeditious, and prepared. Handles a thumper like it was an extension of him. He’s hard wired, but can use any weapon he picks up. Only weapons man I know who’s better is you.”

“Argumentative I can handle. The rest sounds like a go. No one else on that list has his experience.”

Ben shrugged. “Your call.”

“Thanks for the input, Ben. We need a monkey.”

“We have Penny.”

“Not her primary skill. I want someone who lives to climb.”

“Wil you sure you aren’t too close to her? Can you be objective?”

Wil’s glare was withering. “I’m being objective, that’s while you’ll find me another climber.”

Ben’s nostrils flared, then pinched in as he fought down his aggravation. This was exactly the attitude which had irritated him in the last mission. Ben knew Wil always had reasons for his decisions, he just never bothered to share them. In a sense, he was right. Although climbing was one of Penny’s skills, it wasn’t her primary.

“I don’t know any of the others. Use the eenie, meanie, minie mo method.”

“Penny!” Wil bellowed in the voice he usually reserved for the field. Penny dog trotted into the room, snapping a passing salute.

“What?” She looked annoyed and he wondered what he had dragged her away from, not that it made any difference.

He thrust the list at her. “Know any of those? We need a monkey.”

“I can be monkey.”

Wil shook his head. “You’ll be pulling back up with Ray.”

She frowned, but said nothing, her eyes scanning the list as rapidly as his own would have and he wondered what all had been done to her.

“Most of these names are meaningless to me, but this one,” she pointed to the last name on the list, “I associate with something.” She paused, staring just above Wil’s head and he could have sworn her eyes moved as if she were reading something.

Making a face, she blinked once and looked back at Wil. “Not that one. Pick any of the others.” She handed the list back to Wil, pushing the hand held computer into his chest.

“Why?” She had turned away, walking toward the door. Stopping, she turned her head, glancing over her shoulder.

“Bad karma,” and said nothing more. Squaring her shoulders, she huffed out of the room, back to whatever she had been doing.

Ben pretended to be terribly busy with something else and said nothing. Wil looked confused, blinked rapidly, a slight flush rising in his cheeks. He walked to the nearest computer console and called up files on “Emory, R.A.” What he saw made him less happy than before.

“Look at this guy! Every mission he’s been on in the last five years has ended in disaster.” Ben leaned over Wil’s shoulder, reading the information on the screen.

“Last man standing every time? Only one left of ten, last of fifteen… this sounds kind of fishy to me, Wil. Each was a team like ours, super soldiers. Isn’t that what the brass call us?”

“I have a bad feeling about this guy, Ben. But you know, I think his luck has run out. I want him on my team.”

“Are you crazy? We could all end up like those others with him last man standing again!”

Wil’s face went blank. “I’ll put him against me any day and bet heavily on myself. If he’s taking out our kind, he’s a traitor, just like Lil.”

Dellani Oakes is the author of “Indian Summer” available from Second Wind Publishing. Look for new sci-fi novel, “The Lone Wolf”, coming soon from Second Wind.

The Roving Pickle

The following is something I wrote for my writer’s group that meets once a week. The prompt for this week was “A Restaurant Story”. Since nothing particularly funny or interesting has happened to me in a restaurant, I decided to write about this instead. The names have been changed to protect the innocent–or something. The story is true. Pickle Lovers beware!

This isn’t a story of something that happened to me, but the story is real. Back a few years ago, my friend Jon went to his favorite restaurant for a Reuben sandwich. One thing Jon liked the most about the Reuben platter was the fact it came with chips and a slice of dill pickle. Jon really liked dill pickles and this place had the best ones in town.

Well, he sat down at the table and the waitress came over to take his order. She was new, in fact, she told him, it was her first day and he was her first customer. Thrilled at the idea of serving her first customer, she went out of her way to make sure everything was perfect. So when she came back to report that the kitchen was completely out of pickles, she was upset. Jon, though disappointed, told her to put some coleslaw on the plate instead, and he’d make due.

The waitress, whose name was Sandy, brought out his Reuben. As usual, it was perfect. He prepared to take his first bite and Sandy came out with a huge smile on her face and a giant pickle on a plate.

“I found one! The cook was saving this for his snack, but I convinced him I needed it for a customer instead. So, here’s your pickle, sir! I hope you enjoy it.” She set the pickle on the table.

Let’s go back a few seconds…. In the kitchen, Sandy did indeed find a pickle. Instead of a spear, it was an entire, huge dill pickle. Excited by her find, Sandy hastened to present the procured pickle to her patron, she placed the purloined pickle on a pretty pink platter. She purveyed the pretty pink pickle platter to her patron’s perch, plucking it down with panache.

Back to the present: The pretty pink platter plunked precisely on the precipice of the table. It teetered precariously. Tipping this way and tottering that, the purloined pickle on the pretty pink platter plopped in Jon’s lap.
Surprised by the sudden appearance of the soggy cylinder, Jon jumped. Sandy, surprised herself, leaped forward to grab the vertical vegetable from her puzzled patron’s pants. Scrabbling and scratching, she grabbed repeatedly for the slippery object, diving again and again for Jon’s lap.

Laughing loudly, Jon fetched the pesky pickle, placing it again on the pretty pink platter. Realizing what she’d done, Sandy stopped, her hand hovering over Jon’s lap. In less time than it takes to tell about it, she screamed loudly and ran back into the kitchen, his booming laugh following her humiliated retreat.

After eating, Jon paid his bill, laughing again as he reflected upon the incident. Sandy was standing by the hostess as he went to the front door. Jon stopped beside her with the intention of giving her a tip. Taking a $10.00 bill from his pocket, he handed it to her with a smile.

“Thank you for the delicious meal, Sandy. Service was sublime. And by the way, you can grab for my pickle anytime.”