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Copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet


New York

12:30 am

Carl Evans watched from the mouth of a dark alley. It was one of the things he loved about this place. You could hang out in an alley, smoke cigarettes all day and night long if you wanted to, and nobody said a word to you. Where else, but New York could that be true, he asked himself.

He leaned back against the wall, one sneakered foot propped on the brick behind him to hold him, the other flat on the cobbled stones of the alley. Another thing about New York, he thought as he inhaled deeply of his cigarette, and then let the smoke roll slowly out of his mouth. Old things everywhere you looked. These cobblestones for instance. He wondered how old they truly were.

“Young man.” The deep voice startled him from his thoughts. He lifted his head to see an old, gray haired gentleman standing at the mouth of the alley a few feet away. His face was creased and seamed. His skin so dark it was nearly blue. A cane in one hand supported his weight.

“What’s up, Pops?” Carl asked politely.

The man placed his second hand on his cane and leaned forward. “That cigarette will kill you. “

“Pops…”

He held up one hand as Carl began to speak. “Just telling you. Don’t need an argument. It will kill you. The big tobacco’s, they knew about it back in the day when I was a boy chasing that habit. And they knew about it when it was in commercials in magazines, and T.V. and what not. That cowboy died from it you know, they knew it and they still know it. It will kill you. In case you didn’t know it I wanted you to know it.” He straightened his back, lifted the second hand, nodded once, and moved across the mouth of the alley disappearing as though from some sort of magic.

Carl chuckled, lifted the cigarette to his mouth, took a deep drag and then found himself blowing the smoke out, dropping the cigarette, and crushing it. The old man had ruined it for him. He hadn’t smoked in ten years, but it tasted as good now as it had then. And he had figured with the way things were nobody had much time. Certainly not enough time to die from cancer or some other nasty surprise from cigarettes, but just the same the old man had ruined it for him.

He looked down at the blackened mess he had made as he ground the cigarette into the cobbles. Just as well, he told himself, it was time. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small silver canister. He inhaled a sharp breath involuntarily. He knew what it was. Knew what he was doing, but he still couldn’t believe he was actually going to do it.

He fingered the small red button on the top of the silver canister, hesitated, and then pushed it down. Something inside clicked. There was no other sound in the stillness. He tossed it down the alley, turned, and walked out to the sidewalk.


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The weekend is creeping up on me

Posted By Dell Sweet 06-29-17

The weekend is creeping up on me. I think someone stole a few days and tried to slip one over on me. Or I would, except it really is Thursday. The image is a herd of deer in my side yard. There were actually about eight of them when I first spotted them.

I would like to mention the book Zero Zero. I wrote this book some time ago, as in years, and it is only now available. I write an end of the world book series, Earth’s Survivors, and this book is in the same vein. Different, but I think equally good. I mean that.

I was talking about this place today with someone today. How it did not start out to be an indie publishing vehicle, but simply an outlet for my own digital book copies. Now there are nine writers here and I doubt it will stop there.

I guess we don’t say much about ourselves so maybe now is a good time to do that. We are all writers. This site was first started to create a space for Writers, Musicians and Artists. We have many of each and many who do all of those things. One thing I have come to realize is that creative people wear many hats, not just one or two.

None of us own the site, but three of us work here fulltime. Yes that makes it nice, we get to write as we write. In fact it is encouraged. The owner is not a writer or a musician or an Artist. She enjoys all three things and many others though and so she gave us this and allowed us to develop it and build it. That did not happen the way some of us saw it happening.

I can’t speak for the others but I saw a site where writers, artists and musicians all hung out and marketed their work. Now we have a site where all those things have occurred. The writers, musicians and artists are here, we talk all day sometimes, back and forth, give advice or work on projects, etc. If someone asks me to help, I do. I wrote two of my most successful short stories that way. One of the other writers wanted to publish an anthology and wanted some of my work in it. Something new. Something different. Okay. I offered Zombie Fall and Rapid City. Neither of those stories would have happened if I had not been in that creative process with others.

There are top grade musicians here. I do my own music. I used to play in bands years ago. But I have not stuck with it: Although I love it I have too many other obligations on my time. So I have turned to other musicians to catch up on the new technology, so to speak, because three of my characters in the Earth’s Survivors books write music and I want to be able to provide that music on the website as it evolves.

My point is that the creative processes here are really good. They help all of us to be better at what we do, and in some cases write things we would not have written, and, the big deal, it is not what we had planned to build here. And it continues to grow. I couldn’t be happier and I’m glad to be a small part of it too.

I believe I mentioned before that I am a tech wizard, well, at least in my own head, but, I am common sense stupid. Lacking, sadly, in that small area of the brain that says ‘What?’ or ‘Hey wait a second!’ Nope. My brain just says, ‘Yeah, go ahead, who cares,’ or, ‘Hey, it ain’t my problem, know what I mean?’

Here’s an example: I picked up a screwdriver yesterday that I had bought in case I needed it. Brilliant, because, six months after I bought it? I needed it. Brilliant. There is the brain in action. I did not have to go buy one, simply go get it and use it. But since I needed it I had to open it. Except it was packaged in that stiff, molded, welded-plastic stuff. You know, the stuff that was predicted to be gone soon because Walmart supposedly hated it? And because there were several injuries reported after trying to tear it open. Yes. That is the knowledge I had when I picked up the package, that it could hurt me. I think that is as far as my common sense thinking went because immediately my Brain said, ‘Yeah, may be, but it won’t hurt me.’ No explanation as to why it wouldn’t, just that it wouldn’t. And that is the problem with my lack of common sense. My dumb self went… ‘Okay’ and immediately began to try to rip the package open.

After ten minutes and two cuts I gave up and admitted that my brainiac self had duped me again, bandaged my two hurt fingers, thanked God I had not lost a limb, and marveled over why we don’t issue this to our soldiers. They could present it to the enemy… ‘Here. Enjoy this Swiss Army knife that you can use to stab me to death.’ Our Soldier Smiles at his enemy. The enemy looks suspicious, but I have found a lack of common sense is a pretty, well, common thing. Especially in undeveloped countries that don’t know what that stuff is. So he tries to open it and end up slicing himself all up. Great weapon. I’m sure it could work.

Eventually, with the help of a pair of scissors, I did get the screw driver out, but I cut myself once more because the edge where I had cut it was so sharp. And I wondered, because people who lack common sense often wonder about stupid things and I am no exception, what if you bought a pair of scissors encased in that crap? And you bought them because you had to have them to open that sort of packaging?. What could you do? Could you go back to the store and use a complimentary pair of scissors to cut open the packaging? Could you go get your carpenters knife (Razor Knife) and slice it open with that? (I did this once while holding the packaging on my lap. NOT Recommended.). Do you even have or own a Carpenter’s Knife? Could you run over it with the car and break the packaging? Nope. Doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I thought of all these things anyway. No, I decided, I would bend the package until the scissors popped through. That would work. So now I plan a trip to my local Walmart so I can buy a pair of scissors and try my theories. And once I get them open I’m going to run with them and see if that old wives’ tale is true. I mean, after all, how can it be dangerous if you don’t fall? I don’t plan to fall.

Well that’s my week. I hope your work week so far had some amusement in it for you as mine did. It’s a beautiful night here in New York, 68 degrees and low humidity. I just mowed the lawn a little while ago, so add the smell of freshly mowed grass to that. If I had a pond and a fishing pole I’d be all set, but I do have a chair and a porch and I think I’ll go watch the sunset. I like the way my characters in my books get to do that. They think of those things, maybe because they have lost so much. They take time to enjoy and appreciate those simple pleasures now. Enjoy the Week… Dell.


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