Notes from the Edge 02-01-24


This week: It seems like last to this, the week flew by, and I had so much to do that I really couldn’t stop to think about it.

Microwave ovens and presets on microwave ovens: 

I like microwave ovens. They have made our lives better; I truly believe that. How else can you get a hot cup of coffee from yesterday’s leftover coffee in just about 120 seconds? Not that I do that. I mean drink yesterday’s left-over coffee… Okay… I do.

Here’s the thing though, it’s coffee! That’s my only argument. It should be enough though. I mean it’s like sacred, isn’t it? If I were living in a cave and discovered the coffee bean and bought it to my fellow cave dwellers, they would probably build a shrine for me and worship me… Paint pictures of Coffee beans on the cave walls instead of hands, horses and signs for water. History would have been changed! Well, would have been changed had that happened.

So, no. I won’t throw out coffee. I guess that is a shocking admission but it’s true.

Once, I can’t remember the movie, some western, the character threw the dregs of then coffee in his cup on the fire. The other guys around the fire looked at him like he was crazy… Crazy! And, he must have been. I was just a kid at the time, and I thought he was crazy! After that the other cowboys ostracized him. And he wasn’t asked along for the next roundup. That’s how serious a thing coffee was for cowboys back in the day. So. I don’t throw away coffee. Which brings me back to microwaves. Don’t you wish your mind worked the way mine does? See how I came right back to where I wanted to be? Okay. I don’t even know how my mind works; I just thank God that it does. So, Microwaves…

I like the idea of a Microwave, but I do have some issues with them. First, you cannot make popcorn consistently. In fact, I went to make popcorn the other day and the bag said, “Do not use the Popcorn Setting on your Microwave.”  Huh. Then why have the setting there? Isn’t that the whole idea? Ease of use? Push one button? Well, we’ll get to that in a minuet. The bag went on to give precise microwave instructions. If you have this many “Watts” use this amount of time. This many, that amount of time. I had a headache when I finished reading it. Finally, I put the popcorn back into the cupboard and got some chips instead and sank into a deep depression over the whole technology thing. How can you eat microwavable popcorn if the button settings are wrong, and you have to spend three hours figuring out wattage? You can’t just get out a pan and some butter, tear open the bag and do it that way, can you?

Well, as I sat eating my chips that I didn’t want I thought about that. There are a lot of buttons on a microwave. For instance, there is a beverage button on mine. It doesn’t work for beverages though. It leaves them too cold or too hot. But what if you accidentally pushed the popcorn button? And you then found out the popcorn button worked for beverages? Wouldn’t that be great? Well, it does. I tried. But the beverage button will not work for Popcorn. What a mess that was. But, in the end, I did go back out there, rip a popcorn bag open, and put it in a pan with some butter. Guess what? That did work.

As for the coffee on the popcorn setting it did come out pretty good, but I have an aversion to using a button marked Popcorn for coffee. But I wonder. If the popcorn companies don’t want you to use it, why do the microwave companies still make a popcorn button? Hmmm. And if the beverage button doesn’t work for beverages, what the Hell good is it anyway? And, if coffee is the most nuked beverage, why not a Coffee button? And stay with me here, if the Popcorn button isn’t used anyway, why not re-label it Coffee? Then I wouldn’t have to feel so bad about using the popcorn button for my coffee. Hey, I’m going to get one of those little label makers and make a coffee sticker and put it right over the Popcorn label. That will solve my problems for now. Feel free to just copy the picture above, print it out, and paste it on your own Microwave! No need to say thanks.

That only leaves the power button on mine. But that is kind of cool. You can press it, set the time amount, and watch the little turntable go around and around….

Have a good week…

Check out The Zombie Plagues:

The Zombie Plagues: Book One

by Geo Dell



Tuesday Morning:

Project Bluechip

Major Richard Weston

He read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the viruses, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people and that was just the initial infection. From there the infected would go on to infect even more, where it stopped was anyone’s guess.

Knowing it was one of the two did not solve the problem of how for him though: There should have been no way to get it out. Every area of the facility was under surveillance. There had to be more than just one of the two involved.

From Complex C they were stripped down, showered: Out of the showers naked and into a locker room where they could retrieve their own personal clothing they had stripped out of that morning: Dressed, frisked, metal wanded and then allowed into the elevators that would take them six stories to the surface. This theft was not something either of them could have committed alone.

“Alice.” He picked up the report from his desk. “I have a problem… A problem that requires your… Expertise. Two fold… First; all the guard and camera operators for C Complex are to be relieved of duty. You will personally interrogate them and find out which of them took a payoff to look the other way… Our boys, Johns and Kohlson… Both or one smuggled out the virus.” He paused… “It hardly matters in the scheme of things, it changes nothing, but it is the principle of the thing.” He tossed her the report. “Read it… Quartermaster’s office… Handle that too?” Alice nodded before she bent and looked over the thick report. “Second thing is the virus agent, and the REX agents are out there somewhere.” Alice raised her head from the report. “Find it and bring it back?” Alice nodded once more before her head dipped low again; eyes devouring the report. Weston leaned back in his chair, the cigar that was a near permanent fixture in his mouth, rolling from side to side as he closed his eyes and rubbed at his temples. “It goes without saying… They’re all expendable,” he added as an afterthought.

“Sir,” Alice said before she returned to reading.


Jefferson Prescott’s Estate

Wednesday Morning

Andrea Zurita had been alive for the second time for more than three days. The men who had left her body had done so carefully: Senor Prescott would be very angry to find them on his land. Transgressions had been met with violence in the past, the bodies dumped into the ocean.

Andrea Ivanna Zurita had taken I’ll three days before in the small village near to Prescott’s property. She worked for Prescott, someone allowed on and off the property with ease. She had taken ill at work suddenly, no one knew the why of it and her family was poor: A doctor, other than the local clinic, was out of the question. So, she had been sent home to rest, but she had never made it to the local free clinic: She had lapsed into a coma a few hours later and while her family had still been reeling, she had died. No rhyme, no reason.

Andrea Zurita was a young woman, there seemed no reason for her sudden illness and death, but there were things that should be done and so the local Mirukus, shaman had come. A few words, prayers, the shaman was a transplanted Haitian. They understood most of what he said, but not everything. He had left and they had prepared her for burial. She was washed and dressed in a plain white cotton dress. The second day came, and the family came to call, leaving their wishes where she lay in her grandmother’s home. The third day came, and the burial was coming. Cousins, men who worked in a neighboring village, were on the way to open the grave. That was when Andrea had sat up and vomited blood.

Her eyes had rolled back into her head. Her body shaken, but her chest did not rise. She had spoken no words, but she had tried to rise several times before one of the arriving cousins, crossing himself, had bound her with rope, hand and foot. They had sent for the Mirukus again.

The old Haitian had come quickly, taken one look at Andrea and then spoken cryptically, quickly. “Return her to the man that has cast this spell on her. He has bound her to him in life and that has followed her into death. Return her for she is yours no longer.”

The Mirukus believed the white man, Prescott, had attempted to control the river spirit Pullujmu, to take control of the beautiful young woman for his own devices, but she had slipped over into death and was now controlled only by those who controlled the dead. He had left fearfully, quickly and had refused to come back for any reason. With nothing left to do for her they had taken her and left her bound body on the long drive that lead to the Prescott house. The white man may have her, but he would not have what he expected to have.

Jefferson Prescott.

Jefferson watched as the men carefully skirted the body of the young woman in the back of the patrol truck. They had picked her up and, not knowing what else to do, they had bought her to him.

Her eyes rolled in her head, but occasionally they would stop and focus, seeming to stare through him. Blood seeped from her open mouth, staining the front of what looked to be a burial garb of some sort. She was, at first, unrecognizable to him until one of the men told him she was his own worker, Andrea Ivanna Zurita: Kitchen help, among other things, she had been here for more than a year. To Jefferson’s Catholic upbringing she seemed possessed, and he kept his distance as he watched her, perhaps as superstitious as the local shaman had been.

He had eventually made the phone call to the Policía Nacional del Ecuador and left the matter in their hands. He had seen stranger than this in his time in Ecuador and had no doubt he would see it again. He sent one of his men into the small village with a thousand dollars in U.S. Currency, Ecuador had no currency of its own, for her family. A thousand dollars would go a long way for a poor family living in an equally poor village.

His phone had chimed, and he had excused himself to answer it. He was needed back in Manhattan; Ben Neo had found the answers he required. He pushed the problem of Andrea Zurita from his mind and concentrated on plans to leave that evening and return to Manhattan.

The Policía Nacional del Ecuador had come some hours later, taken her off his hands without question, as though they saw this sort of thing every day and he had never heard another thing about it or given it another thought. He had taken his private helicopter back to the United States later in the day as though nothing of any significance had occurred.


Wednesday evening

“You have a beautiful view, Mr. Prescott,” Ben Neo said. He stood on the balcony of the top floor of Prescott’s building which was his home in Manhattan and where his wife and two daughters lived full-time.

“I am rarely here,” Prescott said. “But I do enjoy the view when I am. My wife and daughters seem to like it too. My eldest daughter, Lita, seems to enjoy it more than my wife Esmeralda or my youngest Mia.” His eyes slid to Carlos who met them with his own. “But we’re working on that, aren’t we?” His comments seemed directed a Carlos. Carlos nodded. Not sure what he should say or do. “We are,” Prescott said. He sipped at his drink. “Are we all set for tomorrow?” he asked Carlos?

“We are,” Carlos said. “We’ll drive back to Rochester later tonight.”

“You own a home there?” He turned to Neo.

“Yes. Everything is there; we’ll take it from there to the meet in Watertown. Carlos will go with that, I’ll pick up the cash and then meet your guys there,” Neo said.

Prescott nodded. “It seems like Tommy, and I should just dispense with all the drama and just deliver the stuff directly to each other,” he said. He laughed, “But that would put both of you out of a job. And there are so many things I can’t handle as well or don’t have the time or inclination to handle, as well as you two.”

He was interrupted by Carlos’ cell phone ringing. Carlos’ dark face flushed with embarrassment. “I’m sorry,” he said, obviously not about to answer it. He fumbled it out of his pocket ready to shut it off.

“No, no,” Prescott said. “We were done. Take your call. It is all right, Carlos. Take it out here on the balcony. Benjamin and I will give you a little privacy… Won’t we, Ben?” he asked.

Ben nodded and they both stepped through into the living room and pulled the sliding glass door shut.

“Hello,” Carlos said, obviously upset. He listened. “I cannot believe you called me here,” he said. His voice was high and panicked. “Are you crazy? Did you know he was here with me? Right here with me? He is in the living room separated by a few pieces of glass. You are crazy. Crazy,” he took a couple of deep breaths while she spoke. “No… That is even crazier! While he is right here? Meet you with him in the house? Are you trying to get me killed…? No? It seems as though you are… It does… No… How…? How will he not know?” He listened for a few minutes glancing nervously through the glass, but Neo and Prescott stood with their backs to him over by the bar.

“Lita,” he said at last, “I will meet you… Nothing else… I have to leave later on…”

She continued to talk.


Ben stood silently drinking his drink. The two voices came clearly through the small scanner behind the bar. They listened to the conversation between Lita and Carlos.

“Did you know, Ben that they were simply radio signals, and they can be picked up easily?” Prescott asked.

“Yes… I did… Although I did not realize it could be done this easily,” Neo said.

“Cheap frequency scanner. I only need to know the frequency.” He sighed. “I’m sorry you are a witness to this embarrassment. I treated him like a son… She is my daughter. He has obviously corrupted her… Take him down through the basement, leave that way… Bring me back what I requested, Ben. I would almost do it myself; right now, but I will not bring murder into my home… Call me?” he asked.

Neo nodded. It was obvious that the conversation was over. Prescott reached behind the bar and flicked off the scanner. He pulled his phone from his pocket and punched in a number.

“Yes… Bring Mr. Neo’s car to the basement elevator… Thank you.” He hung up just as Carlos came back in through the sliding glass doors, rubbing his arms.

“A little cool, eh?” Prescott asked.

“A little,” Carlos answered. “About the phone call,” he started.

Prescott held up his hand. “Not necessary. Besides, we have had a change in plans. Ben here, along with you, will drive back now. A little earlier than we planned, but apparently Mr. Neo needs to take care of something for Tommy this evening… So… You, see?” He shook Neo’s hand. “Your car is waiting at the basement entrance.” He looked to Carlos, but his face was a mask: Unreadable. Carlos said goodbye and followed Neo to the elevator.

On the road

The idiot lights came on: Ben’s Ford bucked twice and then died. Carlos looked over from where he had been watching the lights of Manhattan slip away. They were in an abandoned industrial area on their way across the city.

“Not good,” Carlos said. “Especially here.”

“Hopefully it’s not a big deal,” Neo said. “And who would be stupid enough to mess with us?” he asked. He laughed and Carlos joined in. “I think it’s a loose wire. It happened once before,” Neo said. He coasted the car to a stop and shifted into park. He reached down, pulled the release handle and the hood popped up.

“With all the money you make. You should buy a better car,” Carlos said.

Neo nodded… “Too cheap, I guess. Will you pop that glove box and see if there’s a flashlight in there?  Should be.”

Carlos searched briefly and pulled out the flashlight, held it to his chin and turned it on. He laughed. “Makes me look like a dead guy,” Carlos said and laughed again.

Neo nodded. “Come and hold it for me and we’ll get this baby fixed and be on our way.”

They both climbed out and walked to the front of the car. Neo popped the second hood latch and pulled the prop rod into the air. “Back here,” Neo said. He pointed to a block of wires and one loose red wire that had pulled free. “I knew it,” he said. “Hang on, let me get the tape. Fix it a little better this time,” Neo said. He ducked back into the car and Carlos stood holding the flashlight and thinking to himself; wishing he could have met Lita, but glad that he had not, if Prescott ever found out he would be a dead man. He felt the car shift as Neo got back out and came around to stand beside him.

“Hey?” Neo said in a soft voice.

Carlos looked over at him.

“It’s not personal. I would have done her too,” Neo said. His hand came up fast and he shot Carlos twice between the eyes before he could say anything. Carlos dropped straight down: Folding up as he went. Neo shot his hand out and snatched the flashlight out of the air before it hit the ground. He bent down and checked the pulse at the side of Carlos’ neck to make sure, but Carlos was gone. The silenced 22 was perfect. Not enough velocity to exit the back of his head, just enough to kill him dead. He walked around to the back of the car.

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Author: Dello

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