Notes from the Edge 05-04-24

 Notes from the Edge 05-04-2024

   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 set 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 far as my commonsense 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 screwdriver 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 wife’s tale is true. I mean, after all, how can it be dangerous if you don’t fall? I don’t plan to fall.

Okay, enough kidding around. I have finally added Earth’s Survivors: Alabama Island to Amazon. Why you ask? Glad you asked, because all the books there are written under my George or Geo Dell pen name or my W. W. Watson pen name or my Dell Sweet pen name and a few dozen other pen names. So, now it will be in my name so you can be even more confused. 

I will leave you with a free short story that will be published soon in a new short story work as of yet untitled…

Andrea Zurita

Carlos and Gabe

A top-secret Military Base

The man moved more fully into the shadows. “You Gabe?” he asked in a near whisper.

The darker shadow nodded. “You…?” He started.

“Now who in fuck else would I be?” He asked.

The darker shadow said nothing. The other man passed him a small paper bag. “Count it,” he told him.

Gabe Kohlson moved out of the shadow, more fully into the light. “It’s a lot; I can’t stand here, out here counting it.”

The man laughed. “You asked for this place. It’s the middle of nowhere. I Googled it, it comes up marked as the middle of nowhere. Who in fuck will see you?” He laughed and then choked it off with a harsh cough. “Count it. No mistakes… You got the shit?”

Kohlson’s head popped up fast from counting. “Of course I don’t… That wasn’t the deal.”

“Easy… Easy… Keep your panties on… I’m saying you got the shit… You got access to the shit?”

“That I got… I can get it out this Thursday at shift end…” He held up the paper bag. “A lot of this goes to greasing the skids… You know, to get it out,” Gabe told him. “This stuff.”

“Whoa right there,” the man told him. “Don’t say shit about it. I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to know, see? I do a job. Take this thing there, that thing here. That’s all I know. Keeps my head on my shoulders when all about are losing theirs.”

“Uh… Lost me,” Gabe Kohlson told him.

“Just shut up about the shit, man. I don’t want to know anything past what I know, okay?”

“Okay,” Kohlson agreed.

“I do know you got to get it out and I will be here to get it… Hey,” he waited until the kid looked up. “You know who I work for, right? You fuck this up you’ll wind up out at the county landfill… Gulls pecking out your fucking eyes let me tell you. I will meet you here next Thursday night… Seven… Don’t be late… Don’t fuck this up… Don’t make me come looking for you…” He faded back into the shadows more fully, turned and walked down the shadowed front of the building. A few minutes later he found his car in the darkness: He waited.

He heard the kid’s shit-box beater when it started. A few moments later he watched as it swept past him, heading out of the small park area toward the river road. He levered the handle on his own car, slipped inside, started it and drove slowly away.

A few weeks later:

Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Tommy Murphy and Jefferson Prescott

Jefferson Prescott stood quietly and sipped at his coffee. The house in Esmeraldas was his private escape. He could sit and watch the ocean, or travel into the mountains in just a few hours’ time, and Ecuador was such an easy country to live in: The people so happy with so little.

He owned a building in Manhattan, he owned a house in the hills outside of L.A., but this was his favorite place. This was where he did his real business, entertained and spent time with the women in his life, besides his wife and daughters back in Manhattan. This was the place where he bought his associates. Those that another man might call friends: In Jefferson’s world there was no place for friends. The luxury the concept didn’t exist.

Tommy Murphy stood at the rail a few feet away and smoked a cigar, looking out over the ocean. He was probably the closest person he had to a friend. The two of them had a lucrative relationship. Jefferson’s drugs and drug connections, Tommy’s organized crime connections. Between the two of them, they controlled almost everything that moved on the East Coast. They had tentacles that stretched all the way to the west coast, and inroads into the south that we’re starting to look like highways.

They both dealt in millions daily. Privately, they were probably two of the richest men in the world, but they were on no one’s list of who’s who, except a few specialized task forces within the world’s governments: Even they couldn’t touch them. They owned too many of their officials, too many of their agents were on their payrolls. They didn’t fight the task forces or special government branches the way the old syndicates had, they simply bought them. Every man really did have his price. And if that was too high you simply bought the man beside him, or above him, it was just as effective.

With all the deals they had made, and the millions they had amassed, nothing came close to what they had on the burner right now. Tommy had fallen into a deal on a tip, a way to collect on a sizable gambling debt, and the two of them had decided to take the risk.

Tommy sipped at his drink and then raised his eyes to Prescott. “Concerned?” Tommy asked.

“Unconcerned… It’s only money,” Jefferson assured him.

“Good,” Tommy said quietly. He reached into his pocket and retrieved a slim silver cylinder. A small red button, with a protective cap in the same cheap looking, red plastic covered the button.

Jefferson pulled a deep breath, audible in the sudden silence. From somewhere deep in the jungle of a forest that surrounded them a big cat screamed.

“Looks like nothing,” Jefferson said.

“I told the kid it reminded me of these little refill cylinders I used to have for my BB gun when I was a kid,” Tommy said.

“Jefferson laughed. “I can’t imagine that you played with anything that didn’t have a silencer and at least a ten-round clip.”

Tommy laughed and then fell silent. “This is it, Jeff. Strip off the protective cap, push the button… The kid said it doesn’t matter after that… How close, how far, it will protect us.”

“Infect us,” Jefferson corrected. “There is a difference.”

“Infect us,” Tommy agreed. “I figure, why not… We paid the big bucks for the rest of it, but this will start us down that path… Why not do it.”

“Why not,” Prescott agreed. “A sample? Just enough for two?”

Tommy shrugged. “He didn’t say… I depended upon the reports he smuggled out more than the firsthand knowledge he has. He knows what he has seen, but he has not witnessed anyone come back… The reports detail exactly that.”

Jefferson laughed and shook his head. “Immortality.”

“Immortality,” Tommy agreed. He paused, stripped the small red cover from the slim, silver tube and pressed the button before he could change his mind. Nothing: He turned the silver tube back and forth.

“Maybe there should be no sound,” Jefferson said. He had braced for what he expected: A small cloud of vapor, a hiss, something to impart that magic the tube was supposed to contain.

Tommy raised the tube to his nose, but there was no detectable odor. “But did it do its job,” Tommy said so low it might almost have been to himself if he had not raised his eyes and asked of Prescott.

“The million-dollar question,” Prescott said quietly.

“Multi-million-dollar question,” Tommy corrected. He stared at the container a few seconds longer and then slipped it into his pocket. “In for a penny,” he said.

“In for a pound,” Prescott agreed.

“You know Ben Neo?” Tommy asked after a few moments of silence, changing the subject to private business.

“Your best,” Jefferson said.

Tommy nodded and turned back to the rail. “When you find out who it is tell me. I’ll have him take care of it for you. He’s good. Discreet. Fast.” He turned and looked at Jefferson. “Yeah?” he asked.

Jefferson nodded. “Yeah, I appreciate it. I’ve got Carlos on it. I’ll know soon. When I know, you will know. From my lips to yours,” he said.

Tommy nodded. He sipped at his drink again.

“I have that young woman you like so much coming over in just a little while,” Jefferson said.

Tommy turned away from the rail and smiled. “I could use the diversion,” he said.

Jefferson shrugged. “It’s what we do for each other,” he said as he got to his feet. “Enjoy yourself, Tommy. I am about to head back… Take care of a few things. I will see you at your place up in the Catskills next week?” he asked.

“Absolutely, Jeff, absolutely,” Tommy said. The two men embraced and Jefferson left the warm night air of the deck and followed his driver who was waiting to take him to the helicopter pad. Tommy watched him go and then turned back to the rail, watching the waves out in the sea, rolling under the moonlight.

“Sir?” a voice said from the doorway.

Tommy turned from the rail to look at Andrea Ivanna Zurita, the beautiful young woman who stood in the doorway smiling.

Ecuador

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 shook, 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.

The Morgue

Andrea Ivanna Zurita lay on the cold steel table. Her flesh was cold, blue and she was unmoving.

Senior investigator José Murcado stood on one side of the room as the doctor performed the autopsy. The doctor was a hospital staff member; there were no specific forensic doctors in the village.

Jorge Manivad had declared Andrea Ivanna Zurita dead shortly after her arrival at the small hospital. Her body had been covered and left waiting for the investigator to make the three hour drive to examine the strange tale of the young woman.

The autopsy showed no specific cause of death, so the doctor assured the investigator it was probably illicit drugs as he found some damage to the heart that had surely come from such usage. It was well enough for the investigator, he had a three hour drive back to the city and a report to write after that. For the small Policia Nacional there was no such thing as overtime, one worked until there was no more work and then went home to rest, if there was a home nearby wherever they ended up.

The report had been greatly exaggerated; the young woman coming back to life after being declared dead already several days prior. Impossible, but villagers were a superstitious people, and there was a rumor, a whisper really, of a Mirukus being involved at some point. Murcado was superstitious himself when it came to magic, especially the magic the Mirukus used. Evil, at least it was how he had been raised to see it.

He glanced over as the doctor made a deep y incision into the young woman’s chest and downward into her abdomen where he had already made a rough incision to look at her heart and aorta. He cringed as the doctor used something that looked like ordinary bolt cutters to cut through her breastbone and then folded her chest cavity back further to her sides, her smallish breasts sagged to the sides looking completely out of place in that position. The Murcado had had enough, he gagged, and quickly stepped form the room and then outside into the darkness.

A sweet flower smell, he didn’t know what they were, floated from the surrounding jungle overgrowth and almost gagged him again before he could light a rough cigarette and inhale deeply, driving the vision of the young woman and the flowery smells from hi with his first exhale.

Flowers; the smell of flowers reminded him of death. He had always hated the smell. He took his time smoking, clearing his head and exhaling the smoke on the warm night air. A short time later he stepped back in to find the doctor awaiting.

The young woman now had a series of heavy black stiches across her chest and abdomen but at least she seemed more normal to him than she had.

He took the offered clipboard, signed the forms in triplicate and the doctor gave him one of the carbon copies.

“Familia?” he asked

“Si, mañana,” he answered.

The inspector nodded and left the cold unpleasant room.

Later

She came awake at some point in the darkness. She was cold, sick inside, and her thoughts seemed jumbled, out of order, making little sense.

A small fire burned in her stomach, hunger. She knew it for what it was and it needed an answer from her. She sat upright on the cold, steel table her hands flitting lightly across the dark stiches across her stomach and chest.

Her body seemed wholly uncoordinated, and she nearly fell to the floor as a sudden urge to vomit gripped her and she bent double while sliding off the table. Her feet slapped against the cold tile and the vomit left her body, exiting her mouth in a cold jet and splashing on the floor. A deep growl came from her throat as she stood to her full height and made her way out of the small room and then out into the darkness…


Hope you enjoyed that story. The collection, actually two collections should be available within a few weeks, dell.


Home: https://www.sotofo.com


Author: Dello

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