Monday, April 30, 2007

MBDD excerpt 4.2

      Another excerpt for Frenzied Feline since she woohooed the last one in the comments. I reward my fans. Well, fan, anyway. In this excerpt, Bernard and Lisa talk, and Bernard says almost everything wrong.

Excerpt 4.2 from Murder by Dewey Decimal
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Chapter 4.2

      "Imagine that," Lisa said as she and Bernard drove back to her place. "All this time, Agatha was a millionaire. This is going to make a great story!" And she needed to sell another to the Dispatch. Her checking account was getting a bad case of anemia.
      She had worried that Veit would assign another reporter to cover the murders while she was in the hospital, but the Dispatch editor had not -- probably due more to being short-handed than her writing skills, she thought ruefully. And if he had known about the attack, he probably would have, but he didn't learn of it until the morning of the second day after it when Bernard had faxed her story to the Dispatch.
      "What I like to know is where that money came from," Bernard said, turning onto Owens Street. "It just doesn't make any sense. More than once she told me that Eliah Ryton left her nothing. She was very bitter about it."
      "Eliah was her grandfather, right?" Lisa asked. At Bernard's nod, she continued, "So what happened to her parents?"
      "Well, this story is from Millie who swears her mother told her, so your guess is as good as mine concerning its truth, but, Millie says Agatha's mother, Margaret, was pretty wild at least by the standards of that time. She ended up getting pregnant. She never told anyone who the father was, and he never showed up. Margaret died giving birth to Agatha and Evelyn -- fraternal twins if you haven't guessed. Old Eliah raised the girls but could never forgive their mother. So he took it out on them."
      "Good lord, it's like a soap opera," Lisa said. "I actually feel sorry for her. It's no wonder she was such a crone."
      "Yeah, maybe. In some ways, I guess life does shape us, but still it's not an excuse to let it make you mean," Bernard said. "What she said to her sister in that will was vicious, pure and simple."
      "Sometimes it's hard not to be," Lisa said slowly. "It's easy to say you shouldn't let things affect you, but it's a lot harder to do when you're the one they're happening to. And when you're pushed around a lot, there comes a point where you start getting mad at the world because its sole purpose seems to be to dump on you, and then you decide to start dumping back." Lisa realized Bernard was looking at her strangely. "I'm not saying it's right; I'm just saying it's understandable. And maybe her sister really did steal the family jewelry."
      "I guess so," Bernard said, pulling up in Lisa's drive.
      Lisa thought about it for a moment and thought about it some more and then asked, "What exactly does 'I guess so' mean? Does that mean: 'Yes, I agree' or does it mean: 'No, I don't agree, but I'm too polite to say so.'"
      "What kind of question is that?" Bernard asked.
      "The interrogative kind," Lisa said, turning to look squarely at Bernard.
      "I guess it means I don't know for sure," Bernard said. "Does it matter?"
      "Yes, it does," Lisa said. "One way, you're being judgmental, and the other, you're being understanding. There's a big difference."
      "I don't understand what we're talking about," Bernard said. "Why is this such a big deal?"
      Lisa sat quietly, realizing why she had started this and gathering together her courage to tell him. "Because I couldn't get deeply involved with someone who saw the world in such a bleak and black-and-white fashion."
      A long silence.
      "Are we getting deeply involved?" Bernard asked.
      "I don't know," Lisa said. "I'm confused about us, about if there's even an 'us' to be confused about. What exactly are we to each other?"
      Bernard didn't say anything.
      "Look, we've been together a lot these past few days," Lisa said. "And we've done some kissing so I know this is a little more than just friends. I'd just like to know if we're going to try to be more than that."
      "Do you want us to be -- more than just friends?" Bernard asked, looking out the side window and apparently finding Lisa's garbage can endlessly fascinating.
      "I don't know. Do you?" Lisa asked, seemingly finding the shrubs that lined her drive as interesting as Bernard found her trash can to be.
      "What does being more than just friends mean? Are we talking about going steady, having sex, getting married or all or none of the above?" he asked.
      "Some, all or maybe none," Lisa said.
      "That's not much of an answer."
      "Sorry. I don't know. But I think we need to talk about it," she said, turning to look at him. "I don't know if we have something good here or not, but I think it might be. I'm willing to find out if you're willing."
      Bernard looked at her.
      "Well?" she asked, feeling her pulse in her temples.
      "I don't know what you want me to say," Bernard said. "I think if something happens between us, it'll happen. I don't think we can force it."
      "That's not what I meant," she said. "It's just that if we don't make some choices toward that direction, it won't happen because circumstances aren't going to allow it."
      "What circumstances?" he asked, placing his hands behind his head.
      "Look, I'm having to make some decisions here," she said. "I don't have a job, and my money is getting low--"
      "I'll loan you some," Bernard cut in.
      "Thanks, but no thanks," she said. "That's not good for any relationship. But what I'm trying to say is that if we have something good here, I'll try to find a job in Ryton. If not, I'm probably going to try somewhere else."
      "I think you should do what's best for you and not worry about our relationship," Bernard said. "I mean--"
      "Never mind," she said, as she got out of the car. "Good night." She walked to the house, hoping he would come after her. He didn't.
      She closed and locked the door. Picking up Obsidian, she walked up the stairs. When she looked in the mirror, she realized tears glistened on her cheeks. She wiped them away. This is stupid, she chided herself. I've barely known him for a week. We come from entirely different backgrounds. He's only being friendly. And if it's anything more on his part, it's because he's on the rebound from Sherry what's-her-name.
      She took a deep breath. Obsidian purred as she scratched his head gently. Placing the ebony cat on the bed, Lisa sat down at her desk. It was unlike her to become attached so quickly to someone. Since the attack she seemed unable to control the swings of her emotions. Sometimes she simply became afraid for no reason. The chief had told her yesterday that he was no closer to finding whoever attacked her and murdered Agatha and Leonard. It made her angry and frightened that her assailant was still out there, literally getting away with murder, while she jumped at every unexpected noise and shadow. Yesterday, she had spent a large amount of badly needed money on a handgun. She had never owned a gun in her life, and now a blue-steel weapon rested in her top desk drawer. The man at the sporting goods store had shown her how to load it and told her that the YMCA had a shooting range she could use.
      She walked downstairs and mixed herself a rum and Coke. Sitting on the sofa, she took two sips and then stopped. What am I doing? What. Am. I. Doing? She poured the drink down the kitchen sink.
      "I'm too strong for this to break me," she said, listening to the sound of her words and pulling courage from them. Tomorrow, she would see about talking to that friendly minister at The United Fellowship Church. She knew he counseled with people and didn't charge for his services. A friend of hers recommended him highly. She nodded to herself. Talking to someone would be a good idea.
      She went back upstairs and sat down at her typewriter to write up a story about Agatha's will. Agatha's money will certainly pump new interest into the story, she thought.
      And, tomorrow, she decided, I'm going to type up my resume and see about getting on as a reporter for the Dispatch. I'm not going to be able to live on what they pay a stringer. And if Veit doesn't want me, maybe he can suggest a suburban paper that will, but I'm finished with Ryton. She nodded firmly and began to type. She became immersed in the story and only thought of Bernard occasionally.

End excerpt. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. No copying or downloading without express written permission.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

MBDD Except 4.1

      While I'm waiting for Mikey to get home from church -- he and his papa attend a different church than I do -- I thought I'd post another MBDD excerpt. I'll try to post another one this evening after the miniature fireball has returned home. Hope you enjoy this. Agatha's will gets read, and there are several surprises.

Excerpt 4.1 from Murder by Dewey Decimal.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Chapter 4.1

      The peach trees never seemed tall enough to the chief. Although he knew the semi-dwarf Harvesters and Loring Stark Brother varieties were designed to be ten to twelve feet tall, they looked like overgrown bushes which shouldn't produce anything but their crescent-shaped leaves. But the trees' branches sagged gently with pastel-colored peaches in lush abundance. He smiled as he regarded the fruit. They'll be ready to pick in a couple more weeks, he thought.
      He walked over to the irrigation pump and connected the main water line which branched into several smaller pipes. Each pipe ran down a row of trees and had an emitter at each tree. Peaches required a lot of water. The chief started the pump. Its chug-lug faded in the background as he headed back to his car to sit while the pump pulled water from the well for the thirsty trees.
      Although it was only the middle of May, the sun soon made the car uncomfortably warm. He got out and started walking the rows, something that he had done a lot lately, trying to make sense of Agatha's murder. Brewer's murder was easier to find a motive for; he'd simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
      It had been nearly a week since the deaths, and the chief attended Agatha's funeral this morning. Few people showed up; only Bernard, Lisa, Richard Storer, Mayor Brunson, a couple of councilmen, the chief and Maggie, and a handful of elderly ladies who seemed to show up at all the funerals of people of their generation. The funeral had depressed the chief as it seemed to reemphasize that he was no closer to catching Agatha's killer.
      Once again he went over the few facts he had. The same person or persons had killed both Agatha and Leonard. That was established; the forensic report said the same weapon had killed them both. No motive yet for Agatha's murder. But, apparently Brewer was killed because he had seen the murderer while changing his flat tire. And Lisa had been attacked because the killer was afraid she would be able to identify him.
      And more the pity, Lisa had been too drunk or simply didn't get a look at him to remember. Sims had even convinced the chief to have Lisa hypnotized by that dentist who used it for "painless" tooth surgery. She remembered nothing of value.
      After some thought, the chief released the fact that Lisa could not identify the man. He hoped the murderer would realize that he was safe and not attack her again. So far it seemed to be having the desired effect. The chief was still having her house watched; it never hurt to be safe.
      Jay Jones, the janitor, remained missing. The chief wished he could believe Jones killed Agatha and then ran when his attempt to kill Lisa failed, but he couldn't. And even if Jones had killed Agatha, too many questions remained. Why would he and Agatha be meeting in the middle of the night? What was in the safe? Why would Jones carry the body upstairs?
      The chief sighed. He couldn't find any answers. He had gone through Agatha's house thoroughly and discovered nothing. Same for the janitor's apartment. He had read the coroner's reports until he could recite them. He had questioned Bernard and Lisa until they dodged him on the street.
      Bernard and Lisa. Now, there's an interesting couple, the chief thought. Bernard had visited Lisa at least twice every day she had been in the hospital, and when she got out the day before yesterday, he'd been the one to drive her home. Last night, Sims saw them at The Senor restaurant and said they were holding hands and "makin' eyes" at each other. The chief hoped Lisa had finally found someone who would treat her decently. She hadn't had an easy life, and it would be nice if one good thing came out of this awful mess.
      The chief looked at his watch. He'd better head for the house. Agatha's will was to be read today at one, and the chief intended to be there. He thought it would probably be a waste of time, but right now, he was clutching at straws.
      And maybe being here isn't such a bad idea, after all, the chief thought as he surveyed the people assembled in Harold Hastings's office to hear the attorney read Agatha's will in his quiet and too sincere voice.
      Bernard sat on the leather-bound sofa, talking quietly to Lisa who was taking notes on an yellow spiral pad and looking around like a dog sitting under a barbecue grill. In a chair across from him was Richard Storer, looking uncomfortable and tired. Neal Gibson, on the other hand, looked relaxed and jovial as he sat chatting with Jimmy Fedler, vice-president of the First National Bank of Ryton. Hastings was at his desk, ostentatiously going through some legal papers.
      The intercom buzzed, and Hastings picked up the phone.
      “Yes?" He listened for a moment and then said, "Send her in." He replaced the phone on its cradle with the slow, deliberate speed that so grated on the chief's nerves.
      The chief looked at the door as it opened, and a woman stepped in. She was wearing a plain white dress that emphasized her extreme thinness. A large white hair barrette firmly held her white hair. White hose, white shoes, and a large white leather-look purse completed the monochromatic outfit.
      "Evelyn!" Richard Storer rose.
      "Rich." The woman nodded in acknowledgment, glancing around the room.
      "Come in, Miss Ryton," Hastings said. "This is Evelyn Ryton, Mrs. Ryton-Storer's sister." He introduced everyone else in the room. The chief noticed her eyes seemed to linger on his badge when he was introduced.
      "Evelyn, I tried to get in touch with you, but you'd moved." Storer said. He looked even more uncomfortable.
      Evelyn nodded. "Yes, I moved to Tulsa about six years ago. I saw no reason to update you."
      "Miss Ryton contacted me yesterday," Hastings said. "Very fortunate since we were already seeking her regarding the will. Now that we're all here, shall we get started."
      The chief squashed an impulse to say no.
      "Mrs. Ryton-Storer recorded her last wishes in a legally prepared will and on this cassette." The lawyer held up a tape cassette which he placed in a player. “While the recorded
version is not in the proper legal form, the will is. If everyone is ready ..." He pushed a button, and Agatha's sharp tones filled the office.
      "I, Agatha Wilhelmina Ryton-Storer, being of sounder mind than most and certainly more sensible, do order my goods, wealth and property to be disposed in the following manner:
      "To Richard Storer, I leave all the photo albums and pictures of his brother and also any of my books he might desire. We have been through harsh times together, and I hope his life is better for having seen how bravely I have held myself during these many long years of adversity and pain."
      "I can't believe it," Richard Storer muttered.
      "To my sister Evelyn, I leave our mother's brooch. Mother would have wanted me to have it, and I had intended to be buried with it, but since Evelyn stole all the other jewelry, she should also have this piece. It may be the very first thing she's ever received without committing theft. And, Evelyn, he would have come back to me."
      Evelyn Ryton simply shook her head and looked at the floor.
      "My other belongings, goods and property are to be sold by the Gibson Auction service. The money received from the sale and the rest of my financial securities are to be given to the Ryton Memorial Library on the condition that it be renamed in my honor, The Agatha Wilhelmina Ryton-Storer Memorial Library, a fitting tribute for my years of long and faithful service."
      Bernard looked pole-axed while Lisa scribbled frantic notes.
      "I name Harold Hastings of the law firm, Hastings and Simmons, as executor of this will."
      Hastings switched off the player and picked up some papers.
      “These are copies of the will," he said as he passed them out. "I will be happy to answer any questions."
      "No, thank you," Evelyn Ryton said, rising. "All of this is perfectly clear. She only placed me in the will so that she could have one more chance to attack me. Sell the brooch, too." She turned to leave. The chief rose.
      "Miss Ryton, I would like to talk with you if you don't mind," the chief said.
      Evelyn looked at him for a long moment. "I have some other calls to make today. Perhaps we could talk tomorrow."
      The chief didn't like the way she made her last statement sound like a order but decided not to press it. "That would be fine. Would around ten in the morning be okay?"
      "Yes," she said. "I'm staying at the Eagle Inn." She left, her heels clicking a staccato rhythm.
      "I don't have any questions," Richard Storer said hastily and followed Evelyn out.
      The chief could hear him calling after Evelyn. I wonder what they have to talk about, the chief mused.
      Neal Gibson was talking to Hastings, and from the gist of the conversation, Gibson was being hired to appraise and auction Agatha's house and contents. Gibson seemed to find the whole will immensely funny and was chuckling as he left.
      Bernard, however, was not laughing. "Mr. Hastings, I would have to consult with the City Council about this, but I don't see any way they would agree to rename the library."
      "Mrs. Ryton-Storer and I anticipated your response," Hastings said. "But, I think when you have all the facts, you might reconsider. I asked Mr. Fedler here as Agatha banked with First National. Jimmy, if you would give Mr. Worthington a financial report on the estate now."
      "Well," Fedler said, opening a briefcase and pulling out a sheaf of papers, "I prepared this for you." He handed the papers to Bernard. "Of course, you must understand that much of Mrs. Ryton-Storer's monies are in certificates of deposit, bonds and other investments of that nature, some of which have not reached maturation. She was extremely conservative in all of her financial dealings--"
      Hastings cut in. "Perhaps Mr. Worthington would be more interested in the value of her investments."
      Fedler looked annoyed. "He should also be made aware that some of the investments are not fully realized as of yet and that it would be in the library's best financial interest if care was taken in handling the estate."
      Now, this is interesting, the chief thought. It appeared to him that Fedler was worried that the library might want all of Agatha's money immediately. Just how much did she have, anyway?
      "Mr. Fedler, exactly how much money are we talking about?" Bernard asked.
      "Actually, it's impossible to say exactly," Fedler said. "As I was saying, many of her investments have not been realized fully in the way of financial--"
      "Your best estimate would be fine," Bernard said.
      "Well, at the moment, at our bank ..." Fedler wiped his brow. Bernard leaned forward as did the chief. Hastings was leaning back with a vaguely superior smile while Lisa's pen hovered over her notebook like an eagle over prey.
      And then Jimmy Fedler told them how much money the late Agatha Ryton-Storer had in the First National Bank of Ryton.
      The chief broke the silence first. "Well, I'll be dipped in vinegar. She was a millionaire!"

End excerpt. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. No copying or downloading without express written permission.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday night

      I saw this on Trixie's blog and decided to take the vocab test.

Your Vocabulary Score: A

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

      Mikey's asleep. We had such a good time today. I'm going to hate for him to leave tomorrow. He is learning to read and doing very well! I'm so proud of him. I didn't take any photos today, but I'll try to take a couple tomorrow. Good night!


      I'm waiting for Mikey to arrive. I got to see him briefly yesterday before he left on a camp out with his papa. He didn't want to go on the camp out. He wanted to stay here with me. Made me feel good, but I suspect it was the attraction of video games and DVDs. Anyway, I helped get him ready for the camp out.
      Last night the play really started coming together. There are some rough places, but overall, it's good with flashes of excellence. I wish we had one or two more weeks of rehearsal, but it's still going to be worthwhile. Our audiences will get their money's worth.
      I spent this morning working on the Murder by Dewey Decimal blog. I'm still making decisions about how it should look and how I'm going to arrange the chapters. Chapter 1 is there and in the right order, but I think I'm going to change how it's presented. I'd like it to look as professional and be as easy to read as possible. I'm probably obsessing too much.
      The post office is raising the rates again on stamps. Sigh. And I have a couple of rolls of the 39 cent still unused. I'll have to get some more 2 cent stamps, I guess. Apparently the post office is going to introduce a "Forever" stamp or already has. You can buy it at the current rate, and it will function as a First Class stamp no matter what the rate ends up being om future. I'm wondering how that's going to work. Doesn't seem like they'd make money that way. But maybe they'll save money by not having to print as many 2 cent stamps.
      Michael's here! Gotta go.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rock and roll world

      It's been a rock and roll world here. I've had some difficulty adapting to the diabetes med and diet. I mean this in the sense of the Titanic being a little boating accident. Now I can do this, I know I can. And I also know that this adaptation period will be the roughest. In a month or so, I'll have this under control. I just gotta keep my head above water and keep swimming. That's all that's required, and I'll make it through this and back to my life.
      Yeah, I'm trying to reassure myself. I need the reassurance. Food has always been my friend. Now it's an enemy. I feel betrayed. I should have known not to trust those Twinkies!
      What a whiner.
      In the good news department:
      1. I'm going to get to have Mikey this weekend! He'll arrive Saturday afternoon and have to leave Sunday afternoon, but all that time inbetween, we're going to have a great time. I've some new toys for him and some new DVDs. I'm hoping it doesn't rain so that we can play outside. I need to remember to put the battery charger on his Jeep so he can drive it some. Anyway, I'm looking forward to spending some time with my handsome little boy. I'll be sure to take some photos so you can see how much he's grown.
      2. I've been making progress -- slow but steady --with the writing of Darkness, Oklahoma. A couple of new villains are doing bad, bad things. They've allowed me to showcase my heroes more as well as develop minor characters and the town itself. I don't know if I can get it finished by July or not since it's going so slow, but maybe. Either way, it will be finished this year.
      3. I've put some time into the edit and rewrite of Murder by Dewey Decimal. That's going well. I hope to have it finished by the end of June. Don't see any reason why it shouldn't be. It's turning out much stronger. I was hoping I could put more humor in it, and I've been able to tweak it a little that direction.
      4. I used and designed a calendar with my sky and flower photos. It's not for sale yet as I ordered one for me to inspect first, but maybe soon you can buy a calendar with my photos.
      5. The weather is turning warmer. I am so ready for glorious summer. If I can, I'm going to the garden center Saturday and buy some plants and flowers. My yard looks really bare this year.
      6. I paid off a credit card! Wahoo! The only leaves me with one now. Unfortunately that one has thousands of dollars on it with a rotten interest rate, but starting in June, I'll be able to put more money on it and start getting it paid off. My money plan, despite everything, is still on course. My emergency fund has been able to handle the medical stuff. I dread some of the bills that are going to be coming in, but I think I'll be handle everything without selling a kidney.
      7. Lord willing, I'm going to post some excerpts from MBDD this weekend.
      And now I have to eat lunch and get back to work. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


      Howdy from the underworld! Or at least it's felt like I've been under things lately. Let's catch up a bit.
      First, The doctor found that I am a diabetic. And apparently have been for a while. I started my medication Actos today. It appears that 40 percent of my pancreatic cells have died or stopped functioning. Actos is supposed to increase the insulin sensitivity of my regular cells so that my pancreas doesn't have to work so hard and that my body will start bringing my blood sugar levels down. Or something like that.
      Besides damaging my pancreas, the diabetics also caused decreased liver function, kidney inflammation and enlargement of my heart. It is also probably responsible for all the aches and pains that I've been feeling in my joints. Basically it worked me over, and I wasn't even aware it was happening.
      However, there are good things, too. We caught it before it could do any more damage. The doctor thinks my liver will recover. The enlargement of the heart is not much and unlikely to increase my chances of a heart attack or stroke by too much. As the blood sugar drops, the kidneys should recover. If my diabetes had remained unchecked for another six months or a year, my situation would be horrible. As it is, with the diet, exercise and meds, I should be okay. Maybe even better than I've been in years.
      It's a big adjustment, and I'm still trying to understand this whole thing. It's confusing and complicated. I'm gathering material and books and will get a handle on it. But at least I know what's wrong and have a way to combat it. That's a good thing.
      Second, the play was cast. Last night I went down to the theater and worked with the cast some. I think they're doing to do a great job despite my absences. Only goes to show that no one is irreplaceable, certainly not me.
      Third, the Murder by Dewey Decimal blog is up. It only has the first chapter there, but I'll move over there as I can. The story will be in order over there, which is harder than it sounds to arrange on a blog. And eventually there will be a link to go and buy a self-published version of the complete book. I hope to have that done in the next couple of months.
      Fourth, it's time for me to go to work. Have a great day. Talk to you later.

Friday, April 20, 2007

MBDD excerpts 3.5 & 3.6

      The post below this one explains what's been going on about my health the past couple of days. Now that I've had time to think about it and digest the bad news, I'm going to be okay. I'll learn about diabetes, I'll take my meds, I'll lose the weight, I'll exercise. There is just another bump in the road. Same for the sleep apnea. Same for the other thing that I don't want to talk yet until we know for sure. But however things turn out, I'm the orginal bump-n-go boy. I'll be okay.
      I remember being amazed by Agatha's past and how it warped her life. I was amazed because her story seemed to come to me fully formed. I knew what she did and why she did it. I even understood her enough to pity her.

Excerpts 3.5 & 3.6 from Murder by Dewey Decimal
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Excerpt 3.5
      The chief could see that Richard Storer, the brother-in-law of the late and so far unlamented Agatha Ryton-Storer, was shook up but didn't know whether it was because the murder had rattled him or because he was standing knee deep in the wreckage of his late sister-in-law's house. Someone had systematically torn Agatha's small house apart. Her belongings were in the floor, most broken; the seat cushions of her living room couch were shredded.
      "I found it this way," Storer said. "I just can't believe someone would do this."
      The chief nodded, kicking himself mentally. He should have sent deputies over to the house yesterday.
      Sims came into the living room. "Chief, all the rooms are torn up like this."
      "Figures," the chief grunted. "Mr. Storer, we had better go outside so that we don't disturb anything. There might be some evidence in here. Sims, you'd better call for some help and start dusting for prints."
      Storer followed the chief outside to the covered porch and stood quietly, almost seeming to ignore the chief. The bookstore owner was slight, with sandy brown hair and a crease in his brow. He looked rumpled with his tie loosened and his shirt wrinkled.
      "Are you doing okay, Mr. Storer?" the chief asked.
      "Yes." Storer sighed. "This is ... I'm taking this harder than I thought I would." He took a deep breath. "I took off work for a few days so that I could handle all the arrangements. I was planning on staying here, but I guess that won't be possible?" He looked questioningly at the chief.
      "At least for a couple of days until we're finished, if you don't mind," the chief said.
      "No, that'll be fine. I have an uncle I can stay with." Storer watched as Sims went to the police car to use the radio. "Tell me how she died," Storer requested so quietly the chief could barely hear him.
      The chief thought for a moment, looking for a gentle way to tell the story, but couldn't find one. "Sometime between seven and eight Tuesday morning, someone attacked her in her office in the library. Her throat was cut. She was found upstairs by her assistant around nine. Also, that morning, the murderer killed a man who possibly could have identified him or her and later that night may have attacked a woman. And that's about it. We don't have much more than that."
      Storer never looked up, studying the unkept lawn as if it was a tome of precious knowledge. Storer was so quiet and still that the chief began to get uneasy.
      "Are you okay, Mr. Storer?" the chief asked.
      Storer didn't answer for a moment, then sighed. "Yes, this has been quite a shock." He moved to the side of the porch and sat down on the old wooden swing. It creaked uneasily, and the chief decided he wouldn't test it by sitting down also.
      "I was wondering if you could tell me anything that would help understand why this has happened," the chief said, leaning against the porch railing. He felt that something about Storer's reaction wasn't right, but he couldn't pin down what.
      “I really doubt that I would know much that could help," Storer said, knitting his fingers around his knee. "Agatha pretty much lived her life, and I lived mine. We talked about once a year, usually on August tenth." He stared at the porch roof. "That's the anniversary of my brother's death. And we didn't talk long then. To be honest, I always wondered why she called. I guess that I was just the nearest thing to my brother she could find. And she did like to hold on to things."
      He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and offered one to the chief.
      The chief shook his head. "Never picked up the habit. Why did you have keys to her house?"
      "Two or three years ago, Agatha went to California to attend a relative's funeral. She asked me to check on her house while she was gone. I came up and spent a few days here visiting some friends. She had a spare set of keys for me, and I never gave them back. I forgot I had them until you called."
      It occurred to the chief why Storer's reaction seemed off, so he said, "If you don't mind me asking: if you weren't close, why are you so upset?"
      Storer laughed. "Good question. It's hard to tell you how I feel about Agatha. She was rude, irritating, insensitive--pick your bad quality, she had it. Still, she was just always there. Kind of like an old sofa that you hate and move to the basement but never get rid of. It's hard to explain. But I’ll miss her."
      The chief nodded. He could understand that. "Tell me, are you familiar with the library?"
      Storer lit up the cigarette and took a long draw. "No. I haven’t been in it since it became a library thirty years ago."
      "Did you know there was a safe in her office?" the chief asked.
      "No, though it doesn't surprise me," Storer said. "Old Eliah loved secrets, and Agatha was a lot like him. And if your next question is do I know what was in it, the answer is also 'no.' Agatha and I weren't that close."
      The chief shrugged casually. "Just wondering since whatever was in there was gone."
      Storer didn't reply.
      The chief tried a different tack. "Could Agatha have had any jewelry or anything like that?"
      Storer laughed shortly. "No, the Ryton family jewels were stolen a long time ago by Agatha's sister. Or at least that's what Agatha always said. Of course, she believed Eve was
actually Satan in disguise anyway."
      "That would be Evelyn Ryton," the chief said, moving upwind from Storer's cigarette smoke. "We haven't been able to find an address for her."
      "I might have an old one," Storer said. "We haven't stayed in touch. Not after --"
      "Not after?" the chief prompted.
      "My brother's death," Storer said.
      The chief felt certain that Storer had almost said something else.
      "Was there any particular reason Agatha didn't get along with her sister?" the chief asked.
      Storer seemed startled. "Well, what do you know. Old scandals do die. I didn’t think this town would ever forget."
      The chief waited.
      "My brother was killed over thirty years ago in a car accident," Storer said. "He was driving too fast on Watts Ridge and went off the side of the cliff. Just an hour before, he had told Agatha that he was leaving her and running away with another woman. The other woman, of course, was her sister, Evelyn."

Excerpt 3.6
      Lisa woke up in pain in a room she didn't recognize. Her throat throbbed with fire, and her face felt numb and stricken. She began to panic and started to rise, but the effort was too much, and she slid off in darkness again.
      When she woke again, a nurse was checking her pulse. "Where am I?" she tried to ask, but only a strangled noise came out.
      "Ah, you're awake," the nurse said. "I imagine you're not feeling so hot. I'm Tina Hayden. You might know my husband, Deputy Hayden."
      Lisa tried to talk again and did a little better. "Where am I?" she rasped. The effort made spasms of pain in her neck.
      The nurse looked concerned and said, "You're at the hospital, dear. Doctor Osborne treated you last night, but you're going to be just fine. You have a slight concussion, and that has you all mixed up right now."
      Lisa nodded. She could remember her attack in startling detail, but after that, it was hazy, disjointed.
      "Dear, we were wondering if you had any relatives that you might like us to call. Your friend Rita didn’t know."
      “Rita was here?”
      “Yes,” the nurse said. “She heard about it on the radio and came to see you. I’m afraid you were sleeping all the time she was here.”
      “She used to work with my mom at the truck stop,” Lisa whispered.
      “So is there anyone you’d like us to call?”
      Briefly considering her elderly Aunt Stella, Lisa finally shook her head. Stella had enough health problems of her own.
      “Well, Rita said she would be back later,”
      Lisa started to nod, but fell asleep again. It was afternoon before she opened her eyes again. Her thoughts were clearer, and the pain in her bruised throat had settled down to a dull throb.
      "You're awake."
      Bernard's voice startled her. He was sitting in a chair beside her.
      "I only got here a few minutes ago," he said. "I didn't want to wake you."
      “Obsidian?" she asked in a soft whisper.
      "Oh, the cat. He's fine. I went around this morning and fed him again. How many times a day should I feed him?"
      Lisa held up two fingers.
      "Okay, I'll go around tonight. Rita was here when I got here. She went down the cafeteria.” He looked embarrassed. “I think she thinks we’re … ah … dating.”
      Lisa raised her head a little. "Did they catch him?"
      "No. He ran away when I showed up, but the chief thinks they will soon," he said. "There's a policeman just outside your door."
      She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. She felt bereft, alone and beaten. Tears welled up. Suddenly Bernard reached out and took her hand.
      "I want you to know I'm here for you," he said.
      For some reason, him saying that seemed funny. And it was even funnier that she saw Rita stick her head in the doorway and smile at them. She tried to laugh, but it hurt. She drifted off to sleep as he held her hand.

End excerpts. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.


      It's been a miserable time here. I go back to the doctor this morning for -- I hope -- some new drugs that work. Or something that works. What we've been doing hasn't been working at all.
      The play did get a cast selected for it, but I haven't been down there much. I simply haven't been able. I hate to leave the play in a lurch, but one of the cast members is a good director in her own right and she's keeping them in line.


      Well, it's much later now. I've been to the doctor and am home again with new drugs and more needle holes as they took more blood for me. I wonder if they're selling it to a local blood bank or something. I'm hoping the new drugs will make a major difference; it's still too early to tell.
      As for what's wrong with me, I should have an answer Monday when they start giving me results from the tests. Disappointingly, apparently there is something wrong. They're fairly sure that I have diabetes and sleep apnea and maybe something else. Truthfully, I suspected that I was a diabetic for a couple of months now, but I was hoping I was wrong. We'll know Monday, I hope, and then they'll decide on the medication and diet and lifestyle changes. We'll go from there. But the doctor thought I'd just have to take a pill and not the shots. So that's something positive.
      Anyway, I don't what else to say. I'm still pretty sick, the test results aren't back, and I'll just have to wait until they are. Yeah, I'm depressed. That's life sometimes. But I'll bounce back.
      I hope things are going okay for you. I do think about you and this blog and those excerpts. I suspect that's not much consolation. I'm going to lay down for a while. If I feel better when I get up, I'll try to post an excerpt. No promises, but I'll try. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A very bad day

      This has not been one of my better days. Last night the antibiotics triggered a massive IBD attack. It’s been a while since it’s been that bad, but it’s been nearly two years since I’ve taken antibiotics. I’d been consciously avoiding them because there might be a link between antibiotics and IBD, IBS and Crohns. The idea behind it is that antibiotics kill off helpful bugs in our digestive systems as well as harmful ones. There’s a lot of research on it, but no one has shown definitely that is a link or that there isn’t one.
      Anyway, on a lot of health sites, they talk about controlling IBD by cutting back on sugar, reducing the amount of red meat, using probiotics, eating more fiber, avoiding antibiotics, etc. Over the past couple of years, I’ve done just that. And I’ve seen a marked improvement. Still not normal, but getting there.
      Now I’m worried this mega-antibiotic the doctor prescribed might undo all that work. Oh well, I needed something to help me get over this respiratory infection, and I can breathe better today and am having less fever. So I’m on the way back to health. I've completely lost my voice from the vomiting, but I'm hoping it will return by tomorrow.
      The play continues to totter on the brink. I’ve developed a wait-and-see attitude. If we have enough talented and dedicated actors to put it on, great. If not, it wasn’t meant to be. I’ll be okay either way. Tonight I'm going to get someone to drive me down there, and if no one new shows up, I'll be back home quick. If anyone new shows up, I'll have them read a page or two and then call it a night. I hope to spend less than 30 minutes down there. I simply don't have the energy.
      Anyway, that's my day. No excerpts until I get back on my feet, but I hope to post a couple by the weekend. Take care.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Panic in the aisles

       Okay, I am officially panicking. I don't have enough men to cast the show. Unless I have some show up tomorrow night, the play is off. Our community theater only has a limited number of men, and most of them have bowed out of this production, citing other commitments, family and work obligations, etc. So I don't even have the possibility that they might show up. I'm going to continue to call them and twist some arms, but this play may be ended before it begins. I'm trying to figure out whether I'd be disappointed or relieved. A little of both probably.
      I went to the doctor today. He gave me some antibiotics and had a chest X-ray done. We'll find out what the X-ray shows tomorrow, I think. Man, my throat hurts. Any soothing cures you know of?
      Happy Birthday to Crystal! I had her present delivered Saturday and called her cell phone and sang Happy Birthday on her voice mail today. Jeanne Diane left a birthday tribute to Crystal on her blog ( Happy birthday, Crystal! I hope you had a great day and have many more. The best is yet to be.
      Anyway, that's my day. Hope yours was better. Talk to you tomorrow. Night.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Same as Saturday

      I'm still sick, but maybe a little better. But no news since I did nothing. Oh, I will be directing another play for the local community theater, God help me. Although I'm not sure how He feels about people who deliberately do dumb things. Well, actually I am sure, but I don't want to think about it.
      The play is "Daddy's Dying' Who's Got The Will?" The title makes it sound like some over-the-top redneck comedy. Instead it's a family confronting death and how they deal with it. It's not necessarily a play that I would have chosen to direct, but it is a good play. We only have four weeks of rehearsal on this one, so we'll have to hustle to get it on stage in time. Fortunately the set is already built -- the set for "The Vigil" will require only a little modification to work. I just have to get cast and get them rehearsing.
      And now I'll close. Have a great week. Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sick day

      I've been sick all day. Throat swollen, cough, fever, nausea, etc. It's like I'm a poster child for the flu. So there's nothing to tell you about other than a day spent in bed. Hope your day went better. Good night.

Friday, April 13, 2007

MBDD excerpt 3.4

       I'm relaxing in the afterglow of Stargates. Here's an excerpt for you. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Excerpt 3.4 from Murder by Dewey Decimal
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

      "I can't find any of them, Bernard," Millie said, handing Bernard the shipping invoice that he had picked up off the ground yesterday before finding Agatha's body.
      "They have to be here somewhere," Bernard said. "We couldn't have lost an entire box of books."
      "Maybe they're in -- there." Millie pointed at Agatha's office. "Can I go see?" she asked eagerly.
      Bernard looked pointedly at her. "You're just dying to look inside there, aren't you?"
      "No, of course not," Millie said, looking wistfully at the office door. "I just thought I'd offer. After all, she always unpacked the books."
      "True enough," Bernard said. "I guess it won't hurt if we look inside. We'll just stand at the door."
      Millie followed him eagerly to the door. A yellow banner that read 'Police Line: Do Not Cross' hung across the door.
      Bernard unlocked and opened the door. Millie leaned forward and gasped.
      "Wow, it's really trashed," Millie said. "Are those brown places her blood?"
      "Yes," Bernard said. "Quite a little ghoul, aren't you?"
      "I've never seen where anyone was murdered before," she said. "You know, this is just like something off of The Shadow Seekers. Do you watch it?"
      "I don't watch soap operas very often," Bernard said.
      "Oh, you should," Millie said. "Right now, Joshua has developed an evil second personality. And it's driving Kristin crazy -- that's his wife -- 'cause she's attracted to them both."
      "I'll have to try to catch it sometime," Bernard said. "Well, I don't see any boxes in here."
      "No, unless there's one behind the desk. Should I go look?"
      "That won't be necessary," Bernard said dryly. "It's sitting too close to the wall; the box we want wouldn't fit behind it."
      "Oh," Millie said, disappointed.
      Bernard closed the door. A night's sleep had lessened the shock, and looking in her office hadn't bothered him. Maybe the shock of it had finally undone what the shock of his father’s death had done. And that’s our pop psychology for today, he thought.
      "Is it okay if I go to lunch now instead of one?" Millie asked as they walked over the circulation desk. "I'm supposed to meet my mother at the Fashion Hutch and try on clothes. I'll be back in an hour."
      Agatha had always been a stickler on lunch times for the help. Bernard went at twelve and returned at one, Millie went at one and got back at two, and Agatha went at eleven and came back when she was ready. But Agatha was gone, and Bernard was in charge, at least for a while.
      "Sure," Bernard said. "After lunch, I want us to get caught up on our shelving. Since we're closed today, it'll be a good time. And maybe we'll run across those books."
      Millie grabbed her purse and hurried out of the library. Bernard locked the door behind her. He didn't want anyone wandering in for a look, and Millie had keys. In his office, he picked up the phone, dialed the hospital, and asked for Lisa’s room. A woman who identified herself as Rita answered the phone and told her that Lisa was sleeping, but had been awake earlier and complaining about the hospital food. Bernard told Rita to tell Lisa that he had called and hung up. He looked at the shipping invoice again. It was dated a week ago and listed thirty hardcover books, including at least four bestsellers that he had wanted Agatha to order for the library. Where could they be? he wondered. Could she have taken them home?
      He began to consider Agatha's procedure on checking in books. She had always insisted all deliveries be brought unopened to her office where she could open them at her leisure. Sometimes books would remain in her office for one or two weeks before she gave them to Millie or Bernard to be checked in and cataloged. Bernard had simply put it down as another of her eccentricities.
      Could there have been something else besides books in the missing box? Something that someone would kill for? Oh, man, I have completely lost it, Bernard thought disgustedly. Next thing you know I'll be making Agatha into a druglord.
      "Enough," he said, mentally shaking himself. "Time to get to work."
      The book cart wasn't behind the desk. He looked around and then remembered he hadn't brought it back down after he found Agatha. He walked up the marble stairs. A yellow police banner was pinned across the aisle where he found Agatha's body. He looked at the white tape on the floor that outlined where her body had been. The book cart wasn't there but was pushed all the way back down the next aisle. He pushed it out and picked up a book: “The Joys of Kite Flying” by Webster Bennings. He looked at its spine to read its Dewey Decimal number which was 796.15a BEN.
      He carried it to the 790's and was about to place it on the shelf when a thought occurred to him: What did the 'a' in the number mean? The 796.15 placed the book in The Arts classification under the subdivision of Recreation. The 'BEN' was the first three letters of the author's name.
      Bernard pulled another book out of the shelves. No 'a' on its number, but there it was on the next book. He began to randomly check books. Most had a small 'a' after the number. He moved to the 200's; nearly all had the letter also. He checked other shelves. The 'a' showed up on nearly all newer books and quite a few of the older ones.
      Could the 'a' stand for nonfiction? He went downstairs and began to check the fiction shelves. The fiction books were grouped by authors, and their classification was simply the first three letters of the authors' names. Most also showed a small 'a' either at the top or bottom of the spine.
      He went to the juvenile section. He knew a small 'j' marked all the juvenile books. Perhaps the 'a' stood for adult. He quickly discovered he was wrong as several of the books he looked at were marked with both letters.
      Thinking over the past few months, he remembered that he had noticed the 'a' before and had meant to ask Millie or Agatha about it but just hadn't done so. If I'm going to be in charge for a while, I should know how we classify books, he thought.
      He heard a noise up front. Millie must have returned. But as he walked around the staircase, he saw a tall, well-built man in a blue sports jacket opening the door to Agatha's office.
      Bernard stopped. Could this be the murderer? His heart raced. "What are you doing?" he demanded.
      The man jumped, tried to turn, and stumbled to the floor. He swore and got up. "You about gave me a heart attack, you know that," he said, brushing off his clothes.
      "I'm sorry," Bernard said, not moving any closer. "Who are you? What are you doing here? Why were you looking in that office?"
      "I'm Neal Gibson," the man said, walking toward Bernard and extending his hand. "You must be Mr. Worthington."
      Bernard backed away. "You haven't told me what you're doing here, and I think I'd rather you didn't get any closer."
      Gibson looked baffled. "I don't understand."
      "Someone was murdered here," Bernard said. "If I'm overreacting, I'm sorry, but I'd like to know what you're doing here."
      "Jumpy, aren't you," Gibson said. "'Course I guess I can't blame you. I own Skyways Real Estate. Mrs. Ryton-Storer asked me to do an appraisal of the library." He pulled a sheaf of papers from his coat pocket. "Here it is. She didn't tell me if it was for her or the library, and so I thought I would stop in and see if someone knew. I haven't been paid for it."
      "Why were you looking in her office?" Bernard asked, indicating the yellow police banner.
      Gibson looked abashed. "Well, I was just curious. I didn't go inside."
      Bernard relaxed. Gibson seemed harmless. He also realized that the real estate agent must think he was a paranoid nutcase. "I'm sorry about my behavior." He walked over to Gibson and put out his hand. "I'm afraid that the murder has left me edgy."
      Gibson shook Bernard's hand. "It's okay. Actually I was feeling a little awkward myself. I mean, I don't want to seem uncaring about about Mrs. Ryton-Storer, but if the library needs the appraisal, I need the money for doing it. I have the bill for it." He fumbled in his pocket.
      "I'm afraid I don't know anything about an appraisal," Bernard said. "She didn't say why she wanted it?"
      "No," Gibson said, looking disappointed. "I was hoping it was for the library."
      "Not as far as I know," Bernard said. "I could call the city and see if they know anything about it."
      Bernard phoned the city offices but couldn't find anyone who knew why Agatha would want an appraisal.
      "Well, I guess I just lost out," Gibson said. "Thanks for checking. Here's my card. If you should find out anything about it, I'd appreciate a call."
      "When did she order it?" Bernard asked.
      "Last week," Gibson said. "I came by Wednesday night and looked over the inside and looked over the outside Thursday. I had to check on a few things and was supposed to get back with her today. Of course, she was killed yesterday."
      "Millie and one of our part-time helpers work late on Wednesdays instead of me, or I would have recognized you," Bernard said. "I'm sorry I couldn't be more help."
      Gibson nodded and left, passing Millie who smiled and spoke to him cheerfully.
      "You know him?" Bernard asked Millie as she dropped her purse and some shopping bags behind the counter.
      "Oh, yes, I've known Mr. Gibson for years," she said. "I went to school with his daughter, Georgia. She's married to Mike Carter now. Mr. Gibson owns Skyways Real Estate and, I think, some businesses in the city. He used to have lots of money, but when his wife left him, she took a big chunk of it. Or so I've heard. Boy, his daughter sure was a cow, I mean, a real heifer. And stuck up. I never did like--"
      "Thanks," Bernard said hastily. "I've got some errands to run. Why don't you get started on the shelving, and I'll be back about two."
      Bernard left the library, wondering why Agatha would want an appraisal and whether he should tell the chief about it.

End excerpt. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


      I spent all evening converting the blog to the new widget "Layouts" template only to change it all back. The Layouts template lost a couple of things that I liked, in particular showing who the commenters are on each post and showing the last ten posts. I find widgets hard to work with. Of course, HTML is no walk in the park, either, but I'm used to that code. I'll have to get some books on widgets and get up to speed. I saved the new template so I can always go back to it when I can figure out how to fix the parts that annoy me. I appreciate Gloria letting me use Wry Words to experiment on.
      I only wanted the new Layout to fix a problem with labels (topics) on the current template. If a label has more than 20 entries, when you click on it, it takes you to a page that only shows the latest 20 entries with no links to show you the rest of the posts. The Misc. label already has 23 posts in it -- soon to be 24 after this post -- and Murder by Dewey Decimal will quickly have only 20, too. Also, I have to go into the template to update the number of posts on each label every time that number changes. The new Layouts templates don't have the 20 post restriction and automatically keep count of the posts.
      There are some cool widgets out there to add to blogs, but frankly, none of them really fit with the theme of 51313 Harbor Street. Newsfeed? No, Harbor Street is not a place to read about the latest gossip in the headlines. Tagboard? No. There are plenty of IM services out there if anyone wants to chat to another commenter. And I don't like not being able to moderate commenters. I'm not, contrary to rumors, always on this blog. So there aren't any widgets that I just have to have. Yet.
      Oh well. Maybe Blogger will get those two annoyances fixed. I suspect that Blogger will eventually "help" all of us using the classic templates to convert to the widgets. But that's a problem for another time.
      I've just about decided to create a separate blog for Murder by Dewey Decimal. I'll post excerpts here, and then in the few blog, post them in the correct order for someone who wants to read it in order from the beginning. What do you think? I could also use it to send people to purchase the self-published version if they don't want to wait for the posts.
      Well, it's getting late so I'm going to call it it night. By the way, Stargate: SG1 returns tomorrow night! Wahoo! Don't call me between 7 and 10 tomorrow night. I won't answer.
      Have a great day tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April 2007 Giveaway Winner!

      Michelle of Soul Patches is the winner of the 51313 Harbor Street April 2007 Giveaway! In a few short days, Michelle will receive in the mail: "The Vigil" written by Ladislas Fodor and recently directed by me; and "Hogwild" and "There's A Body In The Closet," two one-act plays co-authored by me and published by Contemporary Drama Service. Michelle, please send me an email to my home address with the address you'd like the package sent to, and it will be on its way.
      I already have some ideas about what the giveaway stuff will be in May.
      In site news, I'll be changing the template to the new widget template over the next couple of days. We'll probably lose some links and a few other things, but they'll be back as I fix the problems. Bear with me.
      I'll close now (I've already posted twice today). Y'all have a great night. And congrats again to Michelle, the first winner of the 51313 Harbor Street Giveaways!

File problems & self-publishing

      Frenzied Feline and a couple of others have requested the file of Murder by Dewey Decimal. FF didn't want to wait until I self-published it. That would be no problem except I'm having to retype the whole book.
      You will recall that I originally wrote it on Wordstar all those years ago. Turns out that the ancient WS file format is not completely compatible with Word. When I converted the file to the .DOC format, much of the file gained strange symbols, weird spacing, blank pages and garbled words. It's largely unreadable.
      Fortunately I have a printed copy. So I'm typing the whole book into the computer again. Well, not the whole thing, because sometimes there will be a page or two of almost uncorrupted paragraphs. I'm also using this type-in to change a few things.
      About ten years after I finished the book, I looked at revising it. I don't know why I didn't, but I wrote nearly 30 pages of notes for the revision before abandoning it. I'm finally using those notes. Nothing has changed in the primary plot, but the characters are gaining a bit more depth and I'm fixing a few continuity problems as well as adding a clue or two and one more red herring.
      Anyway, when I finish the re-type, it will be a better book. And it will be ready to be sent to the publisher after it's properly formatted. Understand this is just a way to get the whole book in print. I'm not expecting it to sell more than a few copies, and I will price them as cheaply as I can. I'll be using a free POD publisher so I won't have any money invested in them. You'll buy them directly from the publisher.
      I will continue to post excerpts on the blog, but I don't think most of you understand how long it will take to post the whole book. If I posted one every day -- which I won't since that will bore the readers not interested in MbDD -- we wouldn't be finished until next year, probably in February. And yes, there are people not interested in MbDD. Since I started posting the excerpts, traffic on the site has dropped a bit, and the length of page views on the days I post an excerpt has dropped also. In other words, the uninterested readers drop by, see I've posted an excerpt, and leave quickly.
      This evening I will announce the winner of the April 2007 Giveaway. You still have time to enter if you'd like. We only have nine entries so far so the odds are good. I'll be having a giveaway each month, featuring either my writings or writers that I want to introduce you to. (We'll definitely be having a Holly Lisle book giveaway soon.)
      Time to return to work. Talk to you this evening. Oh, did you notice that the word count on Darkness, Oklahoma is inching up again? We are finally moving forward.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

MBDD excerpts 3.2 & 3.3

      As promised, excerpts from Murder by Dewey Decimal. By the way, I dropped the Bimmer nickname from the book about a third of the way through. No one used the nickname except for Sims, and after I thought about it for a while, it seemed cheesy. Also, I worried about trademark infringement problems with BMW. Of course, I thought the book would be a bestseller, and I'd have a lot of money for them to sue me for. Ah, the dreams of youth.
      Tomorrow evening, I will announce the winner of the April 2007 Giveaway. You still have time to enter. And now today's excerpts.

Excerpt 3.2 from Murder by Dewey Decimal
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

      "Lisa's a nice girl," Sims said, breaking the long silence in the patrol car as he drove back to Lisa's.
      "Yes, she is," Bernard said.
      "Man, I'd like to pound whoever did it."
      "Me, too," Bernard said wearily.
      "Hey, are you okay?" Sims asked, glancing at Bernard.
      "I guess so. Compared to her, I'm doing great. It's been quite a day. I feel like I've dropped off the face of the earth and ended up lost somewhere," Bernard said.
      "Yeah, well, a good night's sleep will help you out. And don't worry, we'll catch that guy. The chief is very good."
      Bernard stared out the window. If only he had arrived a few minutes early. Lisa's door was ajar when he drove up. He walked up the sidewalk and into a bad dream. When he saw the attacker, he yelled and then grabbed the guy. He didn't really know what he intended to do other than get the guy off Lisa, but the attacker pulled free and ran. Bernard dropped to his knees beside Lisa. For a horrible moment, he thought she was dead. He nearly fell apart as all the old, bad memories of his father's death came flooding in. And then she moaned. A moan was his salvation. He called an ambulance and the police. The second time today I've called the police about a crime, he thought. It'd better be the last. I don't think I can take much more.
      Sims pulled in Lisa's driveway. "Do you want me to come in with you?"
      "Is there any reason for you to?" Bernard asked.
      "Guess not."
      "Is there anything I could disturb?"
      Sims looked baffled.
      "I mean, like evidence," Bernard explained.
      "No, we already went over the place. He wasn't in there very long and he didn't leave anything behind."
      Bernard got out and walked up to the door as Sims drove away. He let himself in. It took him nearly thirty minutes to locate Obsidian. He finally found the black cat under Lisa's bed. It hissed, spat and struck at him and wouldn't come out. Leaving the animal to sulk, he refilled its water dish in the bathroom. Canned cat food filled one of the kitchen cabinets, and as soon as he started the electric can-opener, Obsidian appeared, purring and weaving between Bernard's legs. After feeding the cat, he emptied the litter box. He found a bag of kitty litter under the kitchen sink.
      Going into the living room, he sat down on the couch, pushing a couple of books and a pizza box aside. The room was filled with books that ranged from science-fiction to romances to grammar usage manuals and style books. He counted two bookshelves devoted exclusively to poetry. Her front window overflowed with plants. His own apartment was neat, and there had never been a plant he couldn't kill. I need to go home, he thought. Why am I still here? He couldn't think of an answer. He finally rose, carefully locked her door and drove home.
      He pulled off his clothes and fell into bed. And surprised himself by going to sleep quickly and having no dreams.

Excerpt 3.3
      Along with the coroner's report on Agatha, the chief had three surprises on his desk the next morning. The first was the coroner's report on Leonard which was a surprise because he hadn't expected Dimes to get it to him until later in the day. The second surprise was what the report said. He read it twice just to be sure he fully understood. The third surprise was the report from the Oklahoma City police concerning Bernard. The chief read it as Sims looked on.
      "Well, that's interesting," the chief said. "I thought I remembered a Worthington in the news."
      "The guy who did it was never caught," Sims said.
      "I did read the report," the chief said pointedly. His ulcer was bothering him, and he wasn't feeling friendly.
      "Do you think maybe Bernard killed Agatha?" Sims asked. "Suppose what happened to his dad made him crazy--"
      "You watch too much TV. I don't think Bernard could kill anyone, but I do think I'd like to talk to him. Call him and ask what time he gets to the library. We'll meet him then." The chief settled back in his chair. "I need a little time to try and make this all fit."
      The chief was still working on it as he and Sims walked up the library steps. Sims rattled the door and knocked on the glass. After a moment, Bernard let them in.
      "I wouldn't have answered your knock if I hadn't known you were coming," Bernard said, walking them to his office. "At least ten people have come by since I got here, trying to get in and look around. I never realized how ghoulish people are. Would you like some coffee?"
      "Yes," Sims said.
      "No," the chief said. "Doesn't help my ulcer."
      "It's over on the table behind the circulation desk," Bernard told Sims. "Help yourself. There should be creamer and sugar if you use them."
      The chief and Bernard sat down in Bernard's office. Sims, holding a steaming coffee cup, joined them.
      "What did you need, chief?" Bernard asked. He seemed nervous.
      "Well, I got some surprising news today," the chief began. "Did you know Leonard Brewer?" Bernard shook his head. "Maybe he came in the library a few times?"
      "I don't think so," Bernard said. "I know our regulars fairly well. I guess he could have before I came here, but I don't think he has in during the last six months."
      "Leonard probably didn't know how to read," Sims said, earning a sharp look from the chief.
      "Why do you ask?" Bernard asked.
      "Well, the coroner says the knife stuck in him was also the one that killed Agatha Ryton-Storer," the chief said.
      "The same knife?!" Bernard looked startled.
      "Yes. The coroner found traces of her blood and tissue on it. Apparently, the knife lodged in the bones in Brewer's chest, and the killer couldn't get it out. A lucky break for us, I guess. So right now I'm looking for a connection besides the one I think I've got."
      "Which is?" Bernard asked.
      "Last night, when Leonard and Lisa were driving to his place, they had a flat tire. Leonard got out to fix it. Lisa said some man helped Leonard change the tire. She thought Leonard's car was blocking the guy's drive. I think maybe it was blocking the drive into the library's parking lot."
      "And the guy killed Leonard and tried to kill Lisa because they saw him here!" Bernard stood up in his excitement. "But, wait, that doesn't make any sense."
      "Why not?" the chief asked, confident he knew what Bernard was going to say.
      "Why would a murderer help someone fix a flat tire?" Bernard sat down.
      "Maybe he wasn't intending to murder Agatha," Sims suggested.
      "That's what I think," the chief said, nodding at Sims. "For some reason, he was meeting Agatha here late at night. He wasn't intending to kill her. Perhaps they argued. He lost his temper and killed her without thinking. Then, because Leonard could place him here, he had to kill Leonard."
      "So Lisa knows who did--" Sims started to say.
      "No, she doesn't. Too drunk. She said she never got a look at him," the chief said. "She left her purse at Leonard's. When the murderer killed him, he found her address. Remember he probably knew what she looked like. Just because she was too drunk to notice him doesn't mean he didn't notice her."
      "We can use Lisa as bait," Sims said. "He doesn't know she didn't see him. He'll try to kill her again."
      The chief shook his head in disgust. "You do watch too much TV. We don't risk her life. In fact, I've already sent someone down to the hospital to watch over her. Now, he might try again, but we're not going to try to set him up." At least not yet, the chief added silently to himself.
      Bernard stood and began to pace. "So the real question is why was Agatha killed?"
      "At the moment that seems to be the big one," the chief said. He watched Bernard for a moment and then said, "But, perhaps you should sit down because I need to ask you about something."
      Bernard looked at the chief and sat down.
      The chief took a deep breath. "We've talked to the Oklahoma City police department about your father." Bernard became still. "I thought maybe you should tell us about it."
      "Why?" The question was flat and hard.
      "Because I think you should," the chief said, his voice just as emotionless.
      Bernard looked away. "He was a jeweler. He sometimes carried a lot of money. One night in August about ten years ago, he was walking home from the store. We didn't live very far, but he didn't make it. Someone robbed … and stabbed him several times. He was thrown into a ditch. A man heard his moans and called an ambulance. He died at the hospital." Bernard stopped.
      "And they never caught who did it," the chief said.
      "No, they didn't. He didn’t live long enough to give a description. And his throat had been cut."
      “The report said you were at the emergency room,” the chief said.
      Bernard didn’t say anything for a long time. Sims looked at the chief. The chief shook his head. He waited.
      Finally, Bernard said, “I was an EMT at the time. I was hanging around the ER with my partner, waiting for our next call when another ambulance brought him.” Bernard looked at the chief. “They rolled him right past me. He was so cut up and covered in blood that I didn’t recognize him. Not at first. But he looked at me. I realized who he was when I saw his eyes. He died in the ER. There was too much damage.”
      Sims let out his breath.
      "I'm sorry," the chief said.
      "It was years ago," Bernard said. "Why did you want to know?"
      "Well, there was a chance it had unbalanced you," the chief said. Sims shot him a look that the chief ignored. "I wanted to see how you reacted."
      "Did I pass the test?" Bernard snapped.
      "I think so," the chief said. "Now, we need to figure out why the murderer was meeting Agatha. Any ideas?"
      "No," Bernard said shortly.
      "Could she have been meeting a boyfriend?" At Bernard's incredulous look, the chief said, "It's possible."
      "If she had one, she never mentioned it," Bernard said. "And I can't see her having one. She had a low opinion of men."
      "I wonder if that included her brother-in-law," the chief said.
      "Who's that?"
      "Richard Storer. Lives in Oklahoma City and owns a bookstore," the chief said. "Ever meet him?"
      "No. She mentioned him a few times, but I thought he was her brother," Bernard said. “He never came here as far as I know. And she only mentioned him to complain about how bad he treated her, although she never explained what he did that was so terrible. I think Agatha had a sister, too."
      "She did, but her sister left Ryton years ago and I haven't been able to get a line on her," the chief said. "Tell me, can you think of any possible reason Agatha was killed?"
      "No, I can’t make sense of this," Bernard said. “But I don’t see how it could have anything to do with the library other than she was killed here.”
      "If you think of anything, let me know," the chief said. "I hope my questions didn't upset you. We'll be going now." The chief rose. "If you think of something, anything, be sure to call me."
      "Chief, how long will the library need to be closed?" Bernard asked.
      The chief paused. "Do you need in her office for anything?"
      "Let me make sure we're finished upstairs, but I don't see why you couldn't open Friday as long as her office stays shut."
      "That will probably be exactly what everyone will want to see," Bernard said with a grimace.
      The chief nodded and walked out, followed by Sims.
      Once they were outside, Sims asked, "What do you think of him?"
      "I still don't think he did it, but the boy may have a few problems," the chief said. "Let's try to keep a close eye on him for the next few days."

End excerpts. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 09, 2007


      So basically I came home from work, thought I'd take a quick nap -- no more than 30 minutes -- before starting my plans for my night, and instead, I slept until now. Got up to eat a snack, get ready for bed, blog and then back to bed. Yeah, I'm a fireball of energy.
      I've mentioned before that I dislike cold weather, but it's worth mentioning again. We had snow early this morning! Snow! It didn't stick because it's too warm, but there's definite something creepy about snow in April. Or there is here in southern Oklahoma. Perhaps where you live, snow is April and even May is a normal thing. To which, I can only ask, why are you still living there?! Move!
      What else? Crystal -- who has a cruel streak -- asked me today how Darkness, Oklahoma was going. I confess that I haven't written on it for a week. I ran into a problem with my vampire. I couldn't figure out why he didn't cut and run when the battle begins. I had set him up as a creature who loved his own life beyond all other things. Why else would he bargain his soul to darkness for eternal life? So why would he stay in a conflict that could cost him his precious life? Finally I worked it out, but it took a while. So I hope to start putting those words down on paper in a major way over the next few days.
      My back continues to give me problems. As do my legs, particularly my right ankle, which has never been right since I fell a couple of months ago. I'm particularly tired of being feeble and hope that this summer will show a marked improvement.
      I restarted Weight Watchers today. Didn't do that well, but it always takes a couple of days to get back into the groove. I've got to lose this weight before I get too much older or it may keep me from getting too much older. I'm obese, and it's time I faced that rather than excusing myself as having "big bones" or using that phrase "pleasantly plump." Look, I passed "pleasantly plump" a long time ago. I'm at "hysterically huge." Lord only knows what's past that. Probably a piano box as a coffin.
      Frenzied Feline and I had this thing going about blogging every day, but she hasn't for the past two days. She won't get into heaven with that kind of attitude. I suggest you go by her blog and say, "Hey, FF, don't you want to walk those streets of gold?" Perhaps that will cause her to reflect and change her slothful ways.
      I think we will have another excerpt from Murder by Dewey Decimal tomorrow. Things are heating up in the story, and our murderer soon has another target. There's something deadly about that library. Have any idea what? I've been thinking about self-publishing Murder by Dewey Decimal. I won't be able to excerpt the entire book here -- it would take a good year to do so. By self-publishing, the people who would like to see how it ends wouldn't have to wait a year to do so. I'm pobably going to use or Both services are free, and both seem to produce a decent paperback. I want to hang on to the copyright in case some publisher ever wants a look at it -- although I don't know who else to send it to. We'll see how it goes.
      You still have two days enter the April 2007 Giveaway. It's open to everyone. The spoils this month consist of a script for "The Vigil," the play that I've droned about these past two months and two plays co-authored by me: "Hogwild" and "There's A Body In The Closet." Both of my one-act plays were published by Dramatic Publishing and are now out-of-print. To enter, just answer one of the questions in the comments for the April 3rd post. (The answers are found in the posts featuring Murder by Dewey Decimal excerpts.) The catch: you can only answer one question and you can't answer the same one as any other commenter. You can only enter once. I'll put all the qualifying entries in a hat and draw a name. The winner will email me his/her name and address, and just a few short days later, he/she will receive his/her prize by regular mail. I'll be drawing the winner this Wednesday evening, April 11. We currently have nine entries so you have a good chance to win.
      Congrats go out to my friend TL who was baptized into the Catholic church Saturday night. Someday we'll have to get him to write a guest post telling of his journey from Baptist to Catholic. I don't know the whole story myself, but it promises to be interesting. I'll ask him to do that, but probably after his wedding in June to the lovely and talented Miss M.
      Well, it's past 11:30 here so I think I will head to bed -- again. Hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Have a good night.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter 2007


And so sang the Host:

Be, spider and bird,
Be, wolf and whale,
Be, mite and giant,
Be, all things that fly,
All things that crawl,
And all things between, be!

Be, cherub and serphrim,
Be, man and woman,
Be, dragon and griffin,
Be, all things that are fierce,
All things that are gentle,
And all things that are both, be!

Be, love and hate,
Be, sorrow and joy,
Be, envy and generosity,
Be, all things that move the heart,
All things that still the soul,
And all things that renew the spirit, be!

Be, all things that were,
Be, all things that will be,
Be, all things that could be,
Be, all things that will not be,
Let all things be!


Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

The Easter Story
According to Matthew
Chapter 28, King James Version

    1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
    2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
    3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
    4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
    5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
    6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
    7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
    8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
    9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.
15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nada da nada

      And that's what I have to say tonight: nothing of interest. It was particularly long day, and I'm worn out. I'm going to bed now. Have a wonderful Easter tomorrow. Good night.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A busy, sad day

      I had a busy day. I worked this morning and then spent the afternoon mired in paperwork, laundry, errands and other upkeep.
      I also received sad news this afternoon. My Uncle Junior Lee passed away. His funeral is tomorrow. He was my Aunt Edith's husband. Junior Lee was a farmer his whole life. He was a good, decent, steady man who provided for his family. He didn't talk a lot in crowds, but he was always kind to me as a child and listened to me attentively as an adult. He was a good friend to my father, and they would get together and discuss farming and life. He had been fighting cancer for several years now, receiving a blood transfusion every couple of weeks. We all knew it was only a matter of time, but I don't think anyone is ever ready to let go of someone you love.
      My heart goes out to his children and my aunt. They will be in my prayers and thoughts.
      I don't really have much else to say. Have a good night, and I'll be back tomorrow. I have to be so that I can nag FF.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Finally a plot

      Excerpt 2.5 (posted Tuesday if you haven't read it yet) nearly marked the end of the book when I was writing it. Murder by Dewey Decimal was the very first book I attempted to write. I didn't know anything about plotting or even writing itself. I was typing away with no idea of where I was going or why people were doing what they were doing. In other words, I didn't know why Agatha, Leonard and Lisa were attacked. But I realized after the attack on Lisa that I needed a plot. Or least a reason why these three very different people had been targeted.
      So I put the book aside for nearly a month. I almost gave up. Finally I sat down with a piece of paper and begin to list reasons that people kill other people. I began to chart possible connections between Agatha, Leonard and Lisa. I drew lines, jotted notes, discarded ideas (for instance, for a while there, Lisa was a lost Ryton family heir) and generally stumbled my way through an outline. Things got better from there. I knew why those three had been attacked. I knew what scenes were supposed to happen when. And I knew how the book was going to end.
      Well, I mostly knew those things. The book would have several more nasty surprises to throw at me before I finished it, but none of them would make me nearly quit.
      And now we start Chapter Three.

Excerpt 3.1 from Murder by Dewey Decimal
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

      "You'll just have to wait for the doctor," the nurse said and turned to answer the phone. The chief scowled at her back. He hauled himself off the counter and headed back to the waiting room, hoping that the doctor had come by in his absence.
      As he turned the corner, he could hear Sims questioning Bernard again. The chief allowed himself a brief moment of pity for the librarian. It was obvious that Bernard was having a hard time with all this. I'm not having it that easy myself, the chief thought.
      "Are you sure you can't think of any other details?" Sims asked Bernard.
      Bernard shook his head. "Like I've already said, it happened so fast I didn't get a good look at him. All I could tell about him was that he was wearing dark clothes and a red ski mask. We've already went over this twice--"
      "Did you notice anything about him when you fought?" Sims interrupted.
      Bernard sighed. "We didn't fight. Not really. When I came in, he was on top of Lisa, choking her. I grabbed him and pulled him off. He shoved me against the wall and then ran away. I stayed with Lisa and called the ambulance."
      "Could you tell how tall he was?" Sims asked.
      "Maybe my height or a little taller," Bernard said. "But I can't be sure."
      "Yes, he had two, and no, I didn't see what color."
      "Any distinguishing features?" Sims persisted.
      "You mean, like a mermaid tattoo or a deep-sea diving scar?" Bernard snapped.
      "Give it a rest, Sims," the chief ordered. He dropped into a chair. "Has the doctor come yet?"
      "No," Bernard said.
      "They won't tell me anything up there," the chief said with a disgusted wave in the general direction of the nurses' station. "How bad did she look, Bernard?"
      "She was ... beat-up." Bernard looked at the floor. "But she woke up in the ambulance and talked a little." Sims leaned forward eagerly. Bernard looked at him disgustedly. "She didn't say anything important. Just wanted me to take care of her cat."
      "Who's the doctor?" the chief asked.
      "I think his name is Osborne."
      The chief nodded. "He's good. She's just lucky you came early."
      "Some luck," Bernard said shortly.
      "It could have been worse," the chief pointed out.
      "Just because it could have been worse, doesn't make what happened better," Bernard said.
      "She could be dead," the chief said bluntly. "We can be grateful that she isn't."
      After a moment, Bernard nodded.
      Wearily, the chief put his head back on the chair and listened to the muted sounds of the hospital. Maggie had once told him that no matter how quiet a hospital was, it still wasn't restful. He understood what she meant.
      Bernard broke the silence. "I don't get it. Why would anyone want to kill her?"
      "Maybe that wasn't his intention," Sims said. "He might have been intending to rob her -- or maybe rape her. I watched this movie where the killer would capture women and put them in his basement ..." His voice trailed off as the chief glared at him.
      "We'll know more after we talk to her," the chief said. He regarded Bernard. "How are you doing?"
      Bernard let out a long breath. "Okay, I guess. I think I'm more angry than anything else." He turned to look at the chief. "This isn't what I associated with Ryton. This seems more like New York City or some place like that."
      As the chief nodded soberly, he could feel his ulcer beginning to burn. He fumbled in his coat pocket and brought a roll of antacids, thinking glumly about the delicious dinner that Maggie had prepared and that his stomach would be in no shape to finish when he got home. He'd been right in the middle of enjoying the meal--despite the murders--when Sims had called about the attack. And what with two murders unsolved, one of which involved Lisa, the chief had decided that he wanted to talk her if that was possible.
      "Chief, could this be connected to the murder of Brewer?" Sims asked.
      "The thought has crossed my mind," the chief said. "Maybe someone thought she saw something."
      "Like who the murderer was?" Bernard asked.
      "Or his car," Sims said, excitedly.
      "It could also be completely unrelated," the chief said. "Let's talk to Lisa before we get all carried away."
      Deputy Harris entered and came over to the chief. "We looked around the neighborhood, Chief. Couldn't find anyone who shouldn't be there."
      "Did any of the neighbors see anything?" the chief asked.
      Harris shook his head. "For one thing, the house across the street from her is empty. It's up for sale. And so is the one next to it. The people in the house next door to hers on the south side weren't home. The other side is an apartment complex and it faces the other street. Hayden and McGraw are talking to the residents now, but it didn't look good when I left."
      "The way things have been going, I'm not surprised." The chief thought for a moment. "Listen, I want you to check every dumpster in that neighborhood. Look for a red ski mask and any dark clothes. Check any trashcans and anywhere else you think someone could throw some clothes."
      "Yes, sir."
      "And get Hayden and McGraw to help. It needs to be done before the trash trucks make their rounds."
      As Harris left, Sims asked, "Do you think they'll find anything?"
      "Maybe. If no one noticed him wearing a ski mask, he had to take it off, and he wouldn't want to be caught with it," the chief said. "Why don't you go up there and see if you can find out if we're going to get to talk to her."
      But Dr. Osborne was already heading toward them.
      "How is she?" the chief asked.
      "Fairly well all things considered," Osborne said. "I'm going to keep her overnight. She has a slight concussion, and the left side of her face suffered severe bruising as did her throat."
      "Can we talk with her?" the chief asked.
      "Yes, if necessary, but keep it short. She needs rest. Sleep will help her the most." Osborne looked at Bernard. "Are you Bernard?"
      "She wanted me to give you her keys so you could get in her apartment and take care of her cat," the doctor said, handing the keys to Bernard.
      "I think I'll go in by myself," the chief said.
      "I--" Bernard started to protest.
      "It would be less stressful if she only saw one person now," Osborne said.
      Bernard nodded slowly. "Well, okay. Tell her I'll be by tomorrow. And the cat will be fine."
      "Sims, drive Bernard back over to Lisa's and then help Harris," the chief said.
      Sims and Bernard left. The chief followed Osborne into a room. Lisa lay in a bed, an IV attached to her arm. The left side of her face was swelled and reddish. The chief could see the heavy bruises on her throat. Her eyes were shut.
      "Lisa, it's Chief Donaldson," the chief said. "Can you talk for just a moment?"
      Her eyes opened. Her voice was a soft, painful whisper. "Yes."
      "Do you know who attacked you?" he asked.
      She shook her head.
      "Did you get a good look at him?"
      She shook her head again and closed her eyes.       Tears ran down her cheeks. The chief awkwardly patted her arm.
      "You might try tomorrow," Osborne said.
      The chief nodded. He patted her arm again, shook his head, and left quietly.

End excerpt. Copyright 2007. All right reserved.

      And now it's time for work. Did you register for the April 2007 Giveaway yet? Oh, there are new scrollies and new quotes. Have a great day. Talk to you later.