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Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

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Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103 last won the day on October 27 2016

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About Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

  • Birthday 03/31/1956

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    Firelands Peacemakers

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Lorain County, Ohio
  • Interests
    History, calligraphy, any game that burns powder
    BOLD 103, Center Township Combat Pistol League
    Skywarn, ham radio, and no idea what I want to do when I grow up!

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  1. JOHN BRASS Lightning tilted his head a little, listening to the precision of the sender's "fist." Each telegrapher had his own unique sound, his "fist": dots and dashes were their own rigid, inflexible cadence, but the individual telegrapher's style, their "swing" or "fist" was very unique and almost always recognizable to the experienced ear. Lightning's ear, though on in its years, was experienced. He'd run telegraph when he and Old Pale Eyes were in That Damned War, and it was Old Pale Eyes that sought him out and recruited him as a brass pounder for the foundering Z&W Railroad -- it wasn't called that yet, Miz Esther hadn't taken hold of it and straightened it around -- Lightning realized in very short order that, this high in the mountains, he didn't have wind enough to swing a pick or a shovel, but he could sit on his skinny backside and run a telegraph key, and so he took the man up on his offer. Even if he had been a damned Yankee. Lightning fought proudly for the Confederacy, and when the war was over he set all that behind him and faced up to the knowledge that he had to earn a living peacefully or otherwise, and so when the chance to earn an honest wage presented itself, he accepted. Now, as he sat in his own little kingdom, his ears and his fingers stretched over miles and mountains thanks to copper wires strung between well-set poles, he considered that he'd made a wise choice. Old Pale Eyes might've recruited him, but 'twas Miz Esther persuaded him that he was in the right place. Lightning listened to the sounder and smiled, ever so slightly. "John Brass," he thought: momentarily, a stray thought, correcting his mental spelling: "Jean," he thought, hearing the word in a French-Canadian nasal: he and the other telegraphers up and down the line, and into the adjacent railroads, all knew the precise, absolute exactness of Jean Brass's fist. Some years before, a man worked for the railroad, one of the other lines: he'd lost three fingers to link and pin couplers and he'd lost his health to walking the swaying backbone of freight cars in winter, brakeman's club in hand and alternate prayers and curses on his lips: snow, ice, rain, didn't matter, he'd had to navigate these treacherous rooftop pathways with a greater skill than a sailor navigating the deck of a saltwater ship: he'd known good men and true who'd fallen to their deaths, but he had to make a living, and he made his by running hand brakes on railcars. He'd heard of a small upstart railroad -- it went bankrupt, wasn't worth the big railroads' buyout -- then a woman bought it and turned it around, she bankrupted herself and her husband both installing steel rails and safety couplers and those new Westinghouse brakes, the earliest ones the big railroads weren't even considering -- Maybe I should work for her, he thought. If she can take a bankrupt outfit like that and make it profitable, she's doing something right! Jean climbed down from the roof of the freight car, shivering, knowing this was the only way he had of earning a living, wishing most powerfully for a better. Jean had a daughter, and a bonny lass she was: quick to listen and quicker to hear, a fast learner that put most boys to shame -- though a child in his eyes, she was nearing womanhood, and with her Mama dead, she'd been running his little household, taking in sewing and doing other folks' laundry to make ends meet. Jean was friends with a telegrapher, and the telegrapher told Jean he should be a brass pounder: "Your very own stove," he'd been told, "your very own hot pot of coffee on the stove, steal a pillow from a whorehouse and have a nice easy seat," he'd been told: "no more riskin' yer neck an' their well bein' by fallin' off a boxcar" -- he'd nodded to Jean's young, and Jean shivered, for he'd come perilously close to just such a fall, the night before. His darlin' daughter Jeannie set coffee in front of Jean and his guest: she tilted her head like her Mama used to, looked at the telegrapher and said, "Tell me about pounding brass." Of all things in God's creation, the attention of a lovely young lady is one of the most flattering to a grown man: three heads converged over coffee as a practiced hand tapped carefully on the tabletop, cadencing out letters and words: a man with three fingers tilted his head and listened, and a beautiful young woman wearing her Mama's apron tilted her head like her Mama, and frowned, just a little, like her father. Jean listened with the intensity of a man who wished to bring a great change into his life. His daughter Jeannie listened because she was fascinated by the idea of this magical process of talking at a distance. Lightning knew Miz Esther took care of her people. Miz Esther would take the inspection car out to where the track crew was making a repair, or replacing ties, she'd have a specially fitted boxcar coupled behind her inspection car, a boxcar with three chimneys, and inside, three stoves: she'd have women and supplies and a good meal for the men, and when a mine collapsed over in Cripple or there was a roof fall in Carbon, she'd show up with that kitchen car, with supplies and women-folk and anything else that was needed. When one of her employees was hurt, it was Miz Esther that visited them when they were healing, it was Miz Esther that made sure they were paid while they healed, it was Miz Esther that took care of the families if there was a death under her watch. Lightning nodded his approval at the skill John Brass displayed. That's what everyone else knew the new telegrapher by, John Brass. Miz Esther carefully explained to the other stations, in her personal visits, that Jean was French-Canadian and sounded like it, but his fist was Yankee American and clear as a bell, and all who heard this John Brass on the sounder agreed, and no one was the wiser. It was a well kept secret that Jean Brass was actually Jeannie Brass, the pretty blue eyed daughter of a man who died of exposure and over work, a man who wished nothing more than to provide for his family, one of the families Miz Esther arranged to be taken care of, and she did this by providing the Z&W Railroad with its first female telegrapher. Lightning didn't mind sharing his office, not when his relief was kind of easy on the eyes. Besides, when he came on in the morning, the place was spotless and there was a fresh pot of coffee waiting on him. Lightning always did like his coffee.
  2. CARRYING CAPACITY "Paul." Chief Deputy Paul Barrents looked up at his boss. Paul was Navajo, and like his father, he was impressive: he gave the impression off being built like a fireplug, until you got close enough to realize he was very nearly six feet of fireplug; he moved silently, as a matter of habit, and he had absolutely the most marvelous poker face of any man Linn had ever known. At least until now. Linn paced over to his chief deputy, lowered his head a little. "How bad?" he asked quietly. "You remember," Paul replied in a hoarse voice, "how we were taught as children how wonderful sharing is?" Linn nodded. "You remember I had the flu." "You're still hoarse, too, you sure you want to come back already?" Paul closed his eyes, sagged against the door frame, and Linn's heart dropped several feet to see it: seeing his old and dear friend leaning against anything was like watching the Washington Monument turn to gum rubber and drape itself over the Capitol Dome. "My wife," Paul said quietly, his voice still rough with unresolved infection. Linn laid the backs of his fingers against Paul's cheek bone, then his forehead: Paul's gleaming obsidian eyes opened, and Linn saw amusement in them. "My Mama used to do that," he whispered, and Linn nodded. "Mine too. You're warm." Paul nodded. "I can struggle along without you, Paul. It won't be easy but I need you alive and well. Besides, my wife likes tellin' stories out of school and your wife is the only one she trusts to hear 'em!" Paul nodded, his eyes closed again: he turned and walked slowly, like an old man, toward the outer doors: he pushed them open, stepped out onto the sidewalk, squared his shoulders and returned to his restored, shining, burnished, '67 Ford half-ton he'd put together for his father's birthday, years ago. Linn watched Paul drive off, slowly, the way he always did. I don't think the man goes over 35 mile an hour in that truck, he thought, and smiled a little: he was the opposite in the Sheriff's cruisers, where he was known to practice the art of the heavy throttle whenever possible. Linn came back into the Sheriff's office, looking thoughtful. Sharon looked over her half-glasses at the Sheriff, looking worried. "He's no business comin' in here," Linn muttered, frowning at the coffee pot across the room. "He's not healed up, now his wife's sick. If she's like his Pa and hers both, she's flat on her back with the flu, too weak to turn over." "He just lost his dog, too," Sharon murmured as Linn crossed the gleaming, figured-quartz floor. "I know. That hit him hard too. Coffee?" "Please." Linn drew two mugs of hot and steaming, added a drizzle of milk to each, two sugar cubes to the dispatcher's, stirred, "Poor fellow looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders." Linn set Sharon's mug down in easy reach, turned the thick, glazed-ceramic handle toward her, took a noisy slurp of his own. "My Pa would never have understood how hard Paul losin' his dog hit him." Linn's voice was quiet, thoughtful. "Pa was FBI and I reckon they taught 'em to regard dogs as objects so they could kill 'em in a raid and not think twice about it. I know the law regards dogs as objects, as things." He shook his head, slowly. "The law has never looked into a good dog's eyes and seen the living soul inside one." Sharon nodded, blew across the surface of her coffee, took a tentative sip. "Ah, hell, if I know so damned much, why haven't I made a million dollars and retired, eh?" Linn's eyes wandered toward the glass double doors, at the empty foyer between the inside and the outside portals, an effective insulation against seasonal cold. "He lost a child, he lost his dog, the flu hit him like the noon freight and now his wife's got it and he's the only one at home to take care of her." Linn shook his head. "I know the Almighty will never burden us with more than we can bear, but dear God, poor old Paul must be gettin' close to his carrying capacity!"
  3. I've grown 'em in a five gallon bucket with holes bored in the side. Nowhere really to hang one so I'm giving this a try.
  4. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, or so saith the wise guy (nyuk nyuk nyuk), and too often I know just enough to get in trouble. Nevertheless -- My neighbor, rest his soul, grew his tomatoes in bales of straw. Had a wonderful crop every year. I looked up the particulars. I now have two straw bales in what used to be our dog run, soaked down and about to be rained upon as well. I expect after a few days of being kept soaky wet, I'll look out in the cool of the morning and see them steaming as they break down. Once the internal temperature drops, I'll stab in a gardening trowel, cut in a hole, add a double handful of potting soil and plant tomatoes. I understand it works with corn and taters as well, will advise. Have them turned so the cut stems are up, the dog run is fenced, I'll be working on my garden without having to bend over (a plus for my poor old back!) and won't have additional obstructions to mow around. Debating whether to insert one zucchini seed into a bale: from anecdotal tales, if I do, the entire dog fence will be interlaced with hanging zucchini! Will advise!
  5. I'VE KNOWN THAT TO HAPPEN Sheriff Willamina Keller punched a computer key, smiled with unaffected delight at a familiar face on her screen. "Don, how in the hell have you been!" she declared, then she frowned a little, looked more closely. "Don, what's wrong?" Chief of Police Donald Hoisington looked away, looked back, planted his elbows on his desk and laced his fingers together: he considered for a moment, the fine words he'd planned, gone. "I needed to talk to someone who wouldn't tell me I'm nuts!" Willamina raised an eyebrow. "Don, you're many things, but nuts you're not. What happened?" Small towns in Appalachian Ohio often have just one paid officer. Don Hoisington was chief of police and an EMT with the volunteer fire department: he was widowed, his daughters grown, and he spent as much time in the little office in what used to be the high school up on the side of the ridge as he possibly could. Home felt like a mausoleum. A very, very, empty, mausoleum. Don looked at the clock, rubbed his eyes, went out on one final patrol around town. That should kill a couple of hours, if he dawdled enough. A half hour later, as he turned onto the state route, he saw taillights, stationary on the shoulder, just shy of the north corp limits. Don marked in with County, read off the plate number, stepped out to see if the driver needed assistance, or was perhaps in need of something more official. The driver's head was bowed, his shoulders were working: as Don came up beside his window, he reached down, cranked the window down, revealing a wet and sorrowful face. Behind Don's cruiser, another: the light bar was solid blue -- State Patrol -- and Don tilted his head and asked gently, "What happened?" "I'm sorry," the driver gasped. "It's ... I just lost ..." He slashed at closed eyes with a wet and crumpled paper napkin. "My dog is all the family I had left, this side of the Mason-Dixon, and he ... I ... he's ..." Don nodded. "Recently?" he asked, his voice gentle. The man nodded. "Step out of the car, please." Don glanced over at the troop, silent and watchful in that good looking uniform the OHP wears: Don saw movement inside the troop''s cruiser -- K9 unit, he thought -- and as the driver came out of the car, the State Patrol cruiser's back window dropped suddenly and a good looking Beligian Malinois surged through the open portal, came up beside the troop, quivering, watchful. The driver took one look at the Malinois and it was as if he crumpled inwardly. He went to his knees, his chin his his chest. The Malinois thrust past the troop, reared, hit the man chest-first, both paws over his shoulders: a hot, pink tongue scrubbed salt water off the man's cheeks, then a grieving man buried his face in a police dog's fur and wept -- the hard, racking sobs of a man who'd just lost the last living soul who gave a damn about him -- and the Malinois raised his muzzle to the sky and began to howl. Don felt his blood chill several degrees. He'd heard wolves, in the distance, when he was stationed in Alaska; he'd heard neighborhood dogs howl in a happy treble chorus when the fire whistle blew, but this -- this, from a sizable dog, a powerful dog, a song of sorrow and of loss, joining the man's grief with the sorrows of uncounted generations of faithful companions who grieved to have left this earth and the ones they'd loved -- Don looked at his old friend's image on his computer screen. "Willa, that's the first time I've heard a Belgian howl." "It is a powerful thing," Willamina agreed, nodding slowly, her hand resting on The Bear Killer's shoulder: she rolled her chair back a little, patted her lap: "Up," she said quietly, and a truly huge and powerful Tibetan Mastiff came up onto her lap, looking utterly pleased with himself. It took some effort to keep from going over backwards, even with five casters under her instead of the four of Old Pale Eyes' day. Don grinned as Willamina made the introductions, as The Bear Killer gave a huge-but-quiet-whispered "Whuff" in response to Don's "Hello, Bear Killer." "Damn, Willa, you're taming bears these days?" "Mountain Mastiff. He's not full grown yet, and he's howled at funerals." Willamina looked very directly at her old friend, one hand on The Bear Killer's forepaw, the other rubbing his curly-furred shoulders. "You're right. It's impressive. We attended a police funeral and The Bear Killer and a Malinois sang on either side of the grave, and I don't think any man there was able to keep salt water off his cheeks." Chief Donald Hoisington arranged to meet the motorist the next day in the town's only remaining short order restaurant. Two men who'd lost every last living soul who gave a good damn whether the lived or whether they died, sat down with no appetite at all, and began to talk -- not as a lawman and a constituent, but as two widowers, as two men in grief: they sat for a long time, each one listening with more than his ears. Don pulled out his phone, showed the man photos of the dog he'd just lost, and the man pulled out his own, and showed pictures of his own. A week later, Don attended a funeral for a man he barely knew, a man who'd gone home and taken off his shoes, laid down on his bed and gone to sleep, and never woke up. He'd been alone in the world, save only for the love of a good dog; Don stopped in to say howdy that afternoon, and saw the still figure through the window. At the funeral, the preacher said the usual things; Don received the ashes, as there was no family left to tend this final duty: he carried them to the grave, placed them on the short plank over the small, square hole. "Willa," he told the face on his computer that evening, as Willamina smiled at the huge black Malinois groaning with pleasure as she rubbed his back, "I'm used to family singing Amazing Grace or Shall We Gather by the River." Don looked very intently at his screen and said, "Willa, tell me I'm not going around the bend here. "There was singing." "It was dogs." "It was dogs."
  6. My hand on your shoulder, my friend. I'm trying to think of something supportive, intelligent, informative and inspiring, but I can't think of anything remotely helpful. I do know this: Saying nothing would be the very worst thing I could ever say!
  7. Remarkable resemblance to my partner Sandy, bless her ... the Marshal declared baton practice, I got paired off with the lovely Miss Sandy and my life passed before my eyes. She found a 1/10 of 1 second hole in my guard and nailed be beside the breastbone with the short end of a Monadnock PR24 Prosecutor -- a sidehandle baton, think Oriental Tonfa -- to this day, where the broken rib end's cartilage healed, I have a big ugly calcium knot that hurts when the barometer drops. She's the one that picked up a two-man generator by herself, packed it across the pumper bay, stopped in front of the fire chief and asked him politely where in the hell did he want this thing. Sweet girl, danced like a feather on the breeze, a fast, effective deputy marshal, and one of the best partners I ever had!
  8. 1) The Navy runs on coffee, and so do I! 2) My pot has that separate switch for the hot plate. Never saw fit to turn it on. I've had to clean out glass pots with that quarter inch of tar in the bottom. 3) Oh look, a squirrel!
  9. PLUG Four nuns marched up the hallway, heads bowed, hands thrust into their sleeves: nurses looked at one another, drew back: the four wore spotless, flawless, pure white habits and wimples, and their faces were covered with white veils. They marched silently, steadily, a silent avalanche, unstoppable, inexorable: a linen cart was pulled out of the way into a room, and a food cart was likewise pushed momentarily into a room, to allow the four free passage. Visitors, ordinarily, would inquire at the nurse's station: where might I find this patient, where is this-or-that room: none were entirely certain where the nuns came from, but they moved with a silent purpose: eyes followed them as they passed around the bend in the hallway, stopped, entered a room. Nurses looked at one another, looked at the doorway, saw the door close. Gilead Keller grinned as he caressed the horse's neck, ran wondering fingers through the long, shining mane. "Now where did you come from?" he whispered, delighting at the feel of living horseflesh under his hands once again. Mount. Gilead remembered a voice, warm, strong, confident, he remembered hands gripping him around the ribs, high up under the arms, hands that hoist him into the air and set him in a saddle -- slick, broad, the Throne of a King, magical, swift -- his pale eyed Pa grinned at him, a look of delight and of approval, and Gilead laughed as his little legs tried to clamp around the saddle, as the horse started pacing, smoothly, around the inside of the corral. Mount. Gilead stepped back as the horse took two steps forward, stopped: the saddle -- it wasn't there a moment before? Maybe it was? He wasn't entirely sure, but he lifted his leg, thrust a boot into the black doghouse stirrup, felt the laughter bubbling in his young soul as he shoved off the ground and swung a leg over the saddle. Gilead sat up, sat straight, half-closed hands on his thighs. He didn't reach for the reins. He didn't have to. They'd been knotted and dropped over the saddlehorn ... Pa does that, he thought. "Yes, I do." Gilead looked up, delighted, as his pale eyed Pa grinned at him, just the way he remembered. "Pa!" he exclaimed. "What're you doing clear out here?" Linn shifted in the saddle, turned his stallion toward his youngest son, sidled up beside him, nodded. "You're looking like this Eastern life suits you." "It'll never be home, Pa. There's good folks here but it ain't home." "I know." Linn took a long breath, looked around. "I know." The charge nurse marched purposefully down the hallway, disapproval like a cloak about her shoulders: to think her patient, her patient! was being seen, without her permission -- She seized the door, thrust it open, glared at four silent, unmoving white nuns, one at each bedpost, facing the patient's silent, unmoving form: the bed was in the middle of the floor instead of the headboard against the wall -- "Who moved this bed?" she demanded icily. Four nuns withdrew their hands from their sleeves and the charge nurse heard the door shut behind her. Her blood ran cold, she felt fear seize her guts, she couldn't move -- Each nun held flame, living, twisting, hungry fire, blazing from upturned palms -- -- but the fires were blue and icy and cold and each one sparkled with frost -- "Sir?" "Yes, Gilead?" "Sir ... I think I'm confused." "I get that way sometimes," Linn admitted: they turned their mounts, paced across a broad, grassy meadow. "Sir ... I was taken ill." "That'll happen." "I don't remember much about it." "No, I'd reckon not." "Sir?" Their horses drew up: neither rider used the reins; Linn's saddlestock was all knee-trained, Gilead knew, and though he hadn't learned the knack, he must've picked up something from his old Pa, for his own horse stopped when his father's stallion halted. "Gilead, you weren't just sick, you were sicker'n hell." "I'm sorry, sir." "Not your fault." Linn smiled with half his mouth, the way he did when he remembered something similar. "Matter of fact, you're right next to dead." Gilead looked at his father in honest surprise. "Matter of fact, so am I." Gilead raised a hand. "Hold on," he said, "I'm not a-followin' you a'tall!" Linn laughed, that relaxed, easy laugh his sons so rarely heard: Gilead, of all his children, had heard it more often, with his Pa in his elder years, and retired. "Gilead, right now I'm flat on my back in my own bed. My family is gathered around me grieving the death that prowls outside the door, looking for a way in, and you're flat on your back, you're in a hospital back East and not expected to live." Gilead reached forward, laid a hand on his horse's neck, reassuring himself that he was, indeed, alive, lucid, not hallucinating. "Oh, he's real, too. You've seen him before, from one of the windows at the University." Gilead looked sharply at his father. "Sir, the only horse I've seen from the lecture hall has been a sway backed, worn out old plug that looked like he was ready to fall over from exhaustion." Linn nodded. "Us old-timers have to stick together." One of the White Sisters began to sing, a gentle, absolutely pure, high alto: it was the Ave, but sung as the nurse had never heard it: the others joined, a gentle, flawless harmony, voices that swam through the nurse's living soul, comfort in audible form, beauty she could hear: the bitterness she embraced like something pure fell away from her heart, leaving her feeling pure, cleansed, open, vulnerable, right before she was suddenly more terrified than she'd been in her entire life. "Gilead," Linn explained as father and son rode, at a walk, across a meadow that looked as broad as the plains of Hungary, "your body is ready to give up. The only thing that will keep it this side of the Divide is your will. You've come to a decision, and I can't tell you how to decide." "Decide what, sir?" "Whether to live," a woman's voice said, "or whether to let go of the pain of living." Gilead turned, surprised. "You don't know me, do you?" Gilead looked very directly at this newcomer, this pale eyed woman in an electric blue riding dress. "I've ... your portrait ... you're Aunt Sarah!" "He doesn't startle easily, does he?" Sarah smiled at her pale eyed Papa, approval in her voice. "Pa said he's dying and so am I. You died in Germany. Does this mean I'm dead now?" "This means it's time for you to decide, Gilead," Linn said. Sarah Lynne McKenna's big black Snowflake-mare danced, impatient: Sarah patted the shining black neck, whispered to her, looked at her young cousin with interested eyes. "Gilead, I'll tell you what your father can't. You come from a long line of warriors, and yours is blood of a warrior race. Ultimately we'll fight in The Last Battle, when our bloodlines converge to produce the very best fighters that ever weighed in against Evil Incarnate." "Har-Mediggo," Gilead whispered. "The same. Now Gilead, how good a fighter are you?" "Not very good," he admitted. Sarah looked very directly at him. "Gilead," she said, "not all fights are with knuckles or knives or even the finest guns known to man. The best weapon you have is between your ears, and you've a fine one there." She looked at her father, then at his son. "Gilead, we need your intelligence in our bloodline. If you choose to die, we won't be as good as we could be. Good, yes, but I believe in having every ace in the deck in my hand." Gilead frowned, nodded. "When a baby is born, it cries because it's born into an ocean of seething, unremitting, constant, pain. It's not until the moment of death that the pain of living is relieved, that it's taken from us, that we see beyond this world. Sometimes we're met with family -- as you are now -- and sometimes we go directly into the Presence, but when we die, we're not in pain anymore." Gilead blinked, surprised. It wasn't until she put it into words that he realized he wasn't hurting now. The nurse watched as darkness crackled and seethed around the nuns -- as if they formed a living box with their bodies and their voices, holding out something dark, something like black fire with red edges, something that wanted to rush in and consume the pale form lying still, very still, under white sheets and a white blanket. She saw a set of eyes coalesce in the living hatred burning like a black wall behind two of the White Sisters, a set of eyes that looked at her, at claws that wanted to reach in and tear the soul from the frail body -- Two of the nuns twisted, living silver searing across the figure, blades that came from somewhere, blades of incredible purity, blades made of starlight itself -- An inaudible scream as infernal flesh was seared in twain -- "Gilead, when I was a child, evil tried to stop me, because I was a link in our blood-chain. They tore at my soul and ripped half of it away. I know what hell is like, I've been there, and your father and a brother he had in lives past waded through Hell itself to get me home." Sarah's voice was quiet, but Gilead could hear the power, the strength, the truth behind her words. "Now they want to rip your soul away, they want to destroy it. They can't, of course, you're protected, but we all have choices, and this is yours." Sarah looked at her pale eyed Daddy, back to her blue-eyed boy-cousin. "Gilead, you can choose to let go. You won't have to fight anymore. You can go into the Presence and be safe." "What is my other choice?" Gilead asked carefully. "Pain," Linn said quietly. "You'll hurt and you'll be weak, you'll have to fight back to full strength." "Once I'm healed up, what do I then?" "Then you continue with your education. I recommend divinity school. You've already an excellent grounding in Scripture" -- Sarah's eyes shifted to her father, and Gilead felt as much as saw her genuine deep affection for the man -- "and you'll take that with you into the next world, when finally it is your time to take what you've learned into the next lifetime." Gilead looked at his father. "You chose to come through that damned War," he said frankly. "You've chosen to survive every trial that tried to kill you." He looked at his Aunt Sarah. "I wish I'd known you, Aunt Sarah. I gather you were a corker!" Sarah laughed. "Oh, I was worse than that, I assure you!" Gilead took a deep breath. "I choose to live," he said firmly. "Now where do I go from here?" Sarah walked her big black Snowflake-mare in a circle, stopped, thrust her chin toward a building. "That," she said, "is your lecture hall." "I see it." "Opposite is the hospital." Gilead nodded. "You are on the second floor, second window from the right hand corner. See it?" "I see it." "Race ya there!" Gilead Keller, the youngest son of the pale eyed Sheriff Linn Keller, looked over at his Pa and felt the full delight of his approving father: a Palomino stallion, a shining-black Frisian, and an undistinguished mongrel of a worn-out dray-horse leaned out, thrusting powerfully against the earth: Gilead wasn't surprised that his Aunt Sarah's gown flowed like shimmering blue waters, became a silver cuirass and skirt-of-plates, that engraved greaves covered her shins, and a winged silver helm, her head: beside him, his Pa, grinning like a young boy, reached across and drew a shining Cavalry sabre, thrust it forward, revolving-pistol in his other hand: Sarah's lance lowered, couched under her arm, and three warriors charged the darkness filling the hospital room's window, three souls going joyfully to war -- Gilead opened his eyes. Something cool laid across his forehead and a familiar face looked down into his. "Angela," he whispered. "I got here as soon as I heard you were ill," she said. "I was afraid I'd be too late." Gilead looked around, frowned. "I'm hungry," he complained. "That's a good sign," a woman's voice said: one of the White Sisters stepped around beside Angela with a tray. "Can you sit up?" Gilead twisted a little, looked at his big sis with a distressed expression. "Guess I'll need a little help," he admitted. Angela leaned back to allow the Sisters room to work. He looked at them, surprised, as they piled pillows behind him, helped him scoot back a little. "Sis, did you just get here?" "Not five minutes ago." "Who's been taking care of me?" "The nursing staff, of course. The Sisters and I arrived at the same time, and the hospital was more than happy to accept their help. The charge nurse ran out of your room screaming something about demons and swords and knights in armor, and I'm told she didn't look like she was going to stop running until she hit salt water." Gilead stared at his sister, his face suddenly serious. Angela put a finger to his lips, gave him a warning look. "Some things," she said, "are best discussed between kinfolk, and not here in the East." Gilead walked out of the hospital, through the same set of double doors he'd been carried in. His sister Angela walked with him. Gilead appeared to be looking for something; they walked across the broad yard, around the fountain, down the bank and across a street: he looked toward the University, then to his left. "There," he said. "Yonder." "I see him." They walked across a field, up to a fence: a worn out sway backed plug of a retired dray-horse came listlessly up to them, accepted the bribe Gilead offered, rubber-lipping the sugar cubes from his flat palm. "Thank you," Gilead whispered. They stood there for a long time, listening to the noises of an Eastern city; Gilead had something troubling him, and his big sister Angela waited patiently for him to talk. "Sis," he finally said, "I reckon I've decided on my course of study." "Oh?" "I thought I'd get a degree in business, and that's not a bad profession for men of ambition." Angela nodded slowly, studying the thoughts that ran across her little brother's still-pale face. "I reckon I'll become a Doctor of Divinity." "I think that will suit you well." Gilead looked down, swallowed. "Pa's dead, isn't he?" Angela took a long breath, nodded. "I didn't want to tell you just yet. The telegram came while you were yet abed." "Pa had a cousin down in Stone Creek, as I recall." "He did." "The man was a preacher." "A good one, as I recall." "He ran an orphanage too." Angela waited. "There's good to be done in this lifetime, Angela. I'll need the best foundation as I can lay to build my life on. Pa gave me the ashlars to work with. It's up to me now." He turned. "The White Sisters?" "They've gone back already." "I wanted to say thank you." "You'll get your chance," Angela smiled. "Doctor."
  10. EMERALDS, IN THE DARK The Abbott led the monastery by delegation, as does any administrator, but also by example. The Abbott, though Prior and the man in overall charge, could still be found tilling the earth, planting crops, weeding; he could be found taking confessions, as did any of the Brethren; he could be found splitting kindling, manning one end of a two-man saw, he was known to run out in front of a runaway team, staff held before him, a shaven-head warrior in an ankle-length robe in the middle of the dusty street, and at his sharp "HO!" and the upraised, wrist-thick staff, held in both hands in front of him, the team halted -- fast, skidding, dancing, throwing their heads, eyes walling, clearly wanting nothing to do with this figure in Cistercian white with a double handful of seasoned locust persuader! Abbott Wlliam often introduced himself simply as "Brother William," and so it was this day: a young man of his acquaintance asked an anonymous Brother for wise counsel, and a fatherly hand laid upon his youthful shoulder. "I am Brother William," he said quietly. "Sit with me and we'll counsel together." The red-headed son of an Irish fire chief sat down at a small table with a tonsured man in bullhide sandals and a simple, one-piece robe, tied at the waist with a common (but clean) rope. "You're asking wise counsel," the man prompted gently, and the young Irishman nodded. "Before engaging any important task, it is wise to talk to God about it," the Abbot said quietly, and they did: his address to the Almighty was spoken with respect, and spoken with brevity. Young Master Finnegan was especially grateful for the latter quality, for he'd had to suffer through excessively long winded prayers too many times in his young life. "Now, then," Brother William said, dusting his hands briskly together and looking very directly at his Celtic visitor, "what grand wisdom may I dispense this lovely morn?" "There is a girl," Michael Finnegan began, frowning. Brother William nodded, his eyes very direct, his expression intent: it was obvious to his young visitor that he was actually listening to him -- something the Abbott knew was important when discussing a matter of importance with an earnest young man. "Ma father," he said, damning his own hesitancy: "Ma father said he knew his Daisy was th' one, but he'd no' tell me how he knew." Irish-blue eyes looked away, blinking; Brother William knew that active mind was running like a runaway freight, behind those shining eyes. Brother William nodded. "Tell me how she makes you feel," he said quietly. Michael's grin was quick, bright: he sat up a little straighter, his eyes shining with memory. "She makes me ... I want to ... it's like ..." The Abbott nodded, once, patiently, his eyes never leaving Michael's. "I've no' kissed her, I've no' held her ... no' but her hand, an' I was ..." Michael took a long breath, his smile gentle, genuine, the smile of someone remembering a precious, a fragile, a truly beautiful thing. "I wanted t' fly. I was light. I could ha' floated like the Fae, only wi'out wings." The Abbott nodded again, smiling gently: he'd been young, himself, once. "I've no' been improper an' I want t' be wi' her, but I'm afraid I'll want t' ... be ..." "It is a powerful thing," the Abbott agreed in a quiet and gentle voice. "Abbott ... the Sheriff told me a priest once said you canna' bring fire an' straw t'gether an' forbid smoke, an' I know ... if she's th' right one, we'll ..." He looked miserably at the Abbott. "There's s' much I don't know," he whispered. "But if I'm t' be wi' her, I want t' be wi' th' right one, an' ..." His hands fisted, pressed down onto his knees: this handsome young man, torn with passions he had yet to really experience, much less master, hung his head, clenched his jaw, groaned with misery. The Abbott reached out, laid a comforting hand lightly on the lad's shoulder. "Let me tell you about mine," he said quietly. William bowed slightly to the beautiful young woman. She was beautiful, and she knew it: young men sought her out as bees seek out a nectar-rich flower. William placed his delicate glass cup of punch on the table, asked her to walk with him, for there was something he wished to show her. She took his arm. They walked out a side entrance and into the night, into the near-stifling warmth of a Louisiana evening, thick with ancient secrets and jasmine and the songs of ten thousand serenading insects: they walked in silence, her gloved hand wrapped around his forearm, his hand on the backs of her fingers. "There is something I would show you," he said, and she looked at him, her eyes big, dark, almost expectant. Her slippers and his boots were silent on grass, just beginning to gather evening's dew. They stopped. They were not terribly far from the mansion; far enough to be alone, close enough to be on familiar ground. William took her a few more steps, to where they a shed no longer blocked their view. "Elizabeth," William said, lifting his arm, "I give you ... the night!" Elizabeth looked out at his grand, sweeping gesture. Stars were bright overhead, thick and shining; below, fireflies looking like living jewels cast by a petulant giant's child on thick black velvet: a light mist, just moving in, trees and shadows, their margins softened by evening mists. Elizabeth looked at this living tableau, the stars overhead and living stars floating here below. Elizabeth turned and looked at William. She said not a word. She seized her skirts, turned back to the mansion: she lifted her nose, glided silently back to music and laughter and young men flocking about her, leaving William behind in a pool of disappointment. "It was the first time," William said slowly to young Michael Finnegan, "that a girl took my heart and threw it to the ground and walked over it on her way back to the party." Michael thought of his conversation with Brother William as he rode the steam train back to Firelands. That evening, after supper, he went to his red-headed Pa, before the man sat down after supper to read aloud from the Book, as was his habit. "Sir," he said formally, and Sean looked at his firstborn with honest surprise: he nodded, and Michael said, "I would ask your advice." Sean rose and he and his son walked through the house and out the back door. Father and son both had a serious expression; the other children drew back, uncertain whether this meant Michael was going to get a talking-to, or worse: none knew of any offense, but they also knew their father's corrections happened whether they knew what happened, or not. Sean chewed on his bottom lip as the pair stood behind the house, looking into the gathering night. "How can I know if ... Pa, I'm sweet on a girl and how do I know she's the right one?" Sean was quiet for a long moment, then he looked down at the ground in front of his brogans and smiled quietly. Father and son sat down on the back porch stairs and stared into the gathering dusk. "Daisy and me, we went t' a dance," Sean said quietly. "'Twas back in Porkopolis, on th' river, a soft summer night it was. Threatenin' t' rain but it hadn't yet started. "We walked a little an' there was somethin' I wished t' show her." Michael waited while his father rubbed hard and callused palms together, slowly, thoughtfully, his calluses whispering gritty secrets to each other. "I knew of a place. Uncommon beautiful 'twas, grasses an' wild flowers an' untouched, an' we come around a shed an' it looked like ten thousand stars fell t' earth an' gathered in this little run where a stream cut int' the river in a steep little hollow." Sean's hands sketched the river -- here -- the stream, coming in at right angles -- his palms smoothed something invisible, as if caressing the steep sides of the notch eroded by centuries of a stream running into the river from the fertile fields above. Sean's face was almost glowing; Michael marveled at his father's gentle smile, something he knew meant his heart was open, unguarded, and he was sharing something from his past, something precious in his life. "I gave a grand wave wi' m' arm an' said, 'Daisymedear, I gi'e ye the night!" an' her eyes went big, her hands clapped t' her mouth, she grabbed m'arm an' gasped 'It's beautiful,' an' we stood there i' the night, th' both of us grinnin' like idiots, watchin' what must'a been ten thousand lightnin' bugs i' th' dark." Michael tried to imagine it as it must have been: Sean, a strong young man standing beside the dark, oily river, Covington's lights reflecting off the Ohio, his beautiful young sweetheart on his arm; in front of them, a steep, grassy hollow, thick with wildflowers, hidden in the nighttime shadow; among these, greenish-yellow points of floating fires, living lanterns on beetle wings, looking like glowing emeralds cast on a fog-trimmed shadow-blanket. "I knew then, lad," Sean almost whispered. "I showed her somethin' I found beautiful, an' she found it beautiful too." In the fullness of time, Michael Finnegan would grow, and would find the right girl, a girl who found Colorado fireflies as lovely as he: like all young men, his heart would be offered, scorned, accepted, bruised, treated badly and treated well: the right girl became his wife, and he raised fine tall sons and beautiful daughters, and these sons and daughters of Erin would lend their blood and their strength to their land, and their songs would be sung by the generations that followed: but those are tales for another day, and may not yet be told, save only that every generation found again its love of floating emerald stars, magical in the dark, and most beautiful when shared.
  11. PREVENTION He was just a kid, and he was scared. He grabbed his wrist, looked with horror and with fascination at the red river running from his hand, at the dropped knife. He'd never seen his own blood before, at least not like this -- he'd scraped his knees when he was a child, yes, once he felt off his little velocipede and scraped his knee on a New York mansion's cement sidewalk, it hurt and he cried but he was just a little boy then -- A young man wearing a surprisingly-clean uniform powered across the muddy ground, knife in hand: he seized the shocked, shaking soldier's wrist in an iron grip, laid his blade across the bleeding incision. Not far away, an officer stopped, frowning, watching intently. He knew the pale eyed young soldier, the one that wore the decidedly non-regulation revolvers in the field: he watched as those pale eyes closed, as lips moved soundlessly, as the bleeding stopped as if a tap were turned off. The officer knew this young man, the one with pale eyes, was a Westerner, knew he was more skilled at handling Army mules and Army horses than anyone else; he also knew the military bureaucracy that refused to assign this fellow where he could actually do some good, kept him in the rear, mostly with kitchen detail, except for the occasional patrol. Two young men, their hands tightly joined, proceeded slowly into the kitchen tent. Curious, the officer followed, watched from a discreet distance as the pale eyed Westerner ministered to his fellow. Honey, he thought. Why is he putting honey on a wound? He watched as the pale eyed soldier produced a roll of bandaging cloth from somewhere, wrapped the other young soldier's hand: his work was quick, efficient, better than most medical personnel he'd seen here in the field. He stepped closer. Pale eyes looked up. "Good afternoon, Captain," Joseph Keller said courteously. "Can I help you, sir?" "Will he be all right?" the Captain asked cautiously. "A few days and he'll be fine, sir. Until then" -- he addressed himself to his pale, shivering fellow -- "keep that dry and keep it clean. Come get me if there's any problem." Joseph patted his fellow roughly on the shoulder, watched as he retreated from the far end of the mess tent, then turned to the Captain. "How can I help you, sir?" "I saw what you did," the Captain said slowly. "It would seem your talents are not ... fully utilized." "Oh, that?" he shrugged, grinning. "A trick my Grampa taught me. He got it from his Mama." "Stopping Blood with the Word," the Captain said slowly. "Yes, sir. Grampa did that when my Pa was shot in a church belfry." The Captain's eyebrow raised. "That," he admitted, "is a bit out of the ordinary." Joseph grinned. "Reavers wanted to take the town, plunder and burn and otherwise be less than neighborly. My Pa helped change their minds." "I see ... from the bell tower?" "Him and the Parson each had a Sharps rifle," Joseph explained. "I see." "Pa took a rifle ball under the collar bone and he was bleedin' to death. They got him down and Grampa laid a knife acrost the wound and spoke the Word and stopped the blood. Grandma Esther did the same with him when he was shot." "Sounds like a nice place," the Captain muttered. "Oh, it was lively, back when," Joseph grinned. "Grampa is still alive and in good health, Pa is too and they've both been raisin' horses and children and keepin' the county peaceable." "Private, why in God's creation did you volunteer to come over here?" the Captain asked gently. He'd asked a number of eager young soldiers the same question; he expected one of the usual answers. Joseph looked at the man, nodded a little. "Sir, men who conquer are men with a hunger. They want more. Conquering feels good. The Hun wants to conquer their way to the salt water ocean and if they do that they'll want more, and that means they'll take those conquered navies and come over to our side of the ocean and start raisin' hell. They might be a while doin' it, but they'll try it and I don't fancy fightin' 'em on my doorstep. Likely it would be my sons and grandsons doin' the fightin'. Now if we can stop 'em over here, if we can bloody their nose hard enough they'll stop, why, that'll keep my grandsons from havin' to hunker behind a tree and educate the sinners on our soil." "I see." "Sir, my Pa didn't want me to join up. He absolutely forbade me so I run off and did it anyhow. He didn't want me comin' home with the nightmares and the haunts that ride Grampa's shoulders. He didn't want me wakin' up in a cold sweat, clutchin' my wife like a drownin' man clutches a float." Joseph's pale eyes were quiet, intense, as was his voice. "Sir, your father served with my Grampa in That Damned War." "Yes. Yes, he did." "Sir, it did very bad things to Grampa. He carried scars and cannon fragments to his grave." Joseph saw something in the Captain's eyes -- he knew from that slight change of expression the Captain remembered a tale told him by his own father, a tale of a pale eyed Captain, nearly killed when a cannon burst as the enemy approached. "Sir, if I can keep that hell from comin' to our country, I'll take the nightmares. I've seen good people over here lose their land, lose everything they've worked for when this war rolled over 'em. I can't do a thing to stop that, but I can keep it from spreadin' to our country. I don't ever want that hell comin' home." "Nor do I," the Captain said softly, his eyes wide, unseeing, as he remembered tales told him by his own father, tales told with wide and haunted eyes and a quavering, haunted voice. Joseph stood -- grinned a quick, boyish grin -- "Captain, if you'll excuse me, I need to go gear up. We're due to go out on a reconnoiter and I reckon I'll have my hands full keepin' that shave tail Lieutenant out of trouble." The Captain nodded, rose: Joseph saluted, the Captain returned the salute: each turned, and left from opposite ends of the mess tent.
  12. A GIANT'S SON Marnie Keller slipped in the back door of the firehouse, the way she always did: the door opened, a great splash of sunlight blazing in around her; she closed the door, dimming the harsh radiance considerably: even as a little girl, she'd come in, shut the door quietly, then take a quick step to the side and stop, her back to the wall, looking around. Nobody thought a thing of it, for it's what she'd always done, ever since she first came to the firehouse as a little girl, all pigtails and red cowboy boots and big smile and watchful, pale eyes. Marnie came in today with a briefcase in her off hand. Her steps were quick, businesslike, brisk, her carriage was erect, confident, her shoulders were back and her spine straight and she marched purposefully toward the Chief's office, on the far side of the building, in the high, haunted alcove where fire horses used to be stabled, where the apparatus that once held their harness overhead, still waited ... the harness was long gone, for horsepower was no longer a matched trio of white mares, but still the pulleys and lines held faithful station, in case their need would ever rise again. Chief Chuck Fitzgerald looked up as young knuckles rapped on his doorframe, as a smile and bright eyes and athletic legs swarmed into his office, as a briefcase landed on his desk. Fitz leaned back from what he'd been reading -- nothing important, really, specs for a proposed expansion here in town, something he'd have to attend in person -- Marnie opened the briefcase, stopped, leaned her palms on the desktop, smiled. "As promised," she said quietly. Fitz looked at her, not entire sure what to say. He knew Marnie was leaving, he knew she'd been recruited for the Mars mission -- of all the people in the world, he'd thought, why'd they have to take her away from us? -- Marnie looked very directly at him, bit her bottom lip, frowned, then blinked and looked very directly at him. "Fitz," she said, her fingertips resting momentarily on the stack of folders, the notebooks in the briefcase, "here's the ancestry I've been working on for you." She stepped back, turned, looked at the oldest Chief's portraits hung on his wall. She looked back Fitz, suddenly uncomfortable. "It needs said, so I'll say it." Her voice was quiet, musical, it held a warmth he'd never heard before. "I'm leaving tomorrow and I'll not be back. I will miss you, you great Irish oaf." Fitz blinked, surprised. Of all the things this lovely young woman could've said, this was the last he'd expected to hear. "You are a direct descendant of Sean Finnegan." She smiled, a little uncertainly. "Somehow I feel like I should pull out a wooden spoon and raise hell with you in three languages, but I don't speak Gaelic, so that's out." She walked up to him, gripped his shoulders, turned him, his office chair swiveling easily: she lowered her head a little, her face close to his, her voice low, so only he could hear. "You great Irish lug, you are the son of a giant. You're a damned good chief and I'm lucky to've known you. I'll never see you again and I will miss you and everyone here and I'm going to cry now." She pressed her lips quickly to his forehead, then drew back, turned, ran out of his office, ran across the squad bay, up the two steps to the kitchen deck: she twisted around the big table, seized the stainless-steel door handle, twisted: a blast of high mountain sunlight, unfiltered by atmosphere, then gone, not even the sound of her retreating bootheels. Chuck Fitzgerald blinked, looking at where a lovely, pale eyed woman had just been, and he wondered silently what in the hell just happened. Fitz watched, with the rest of the Irish Brigade, watched on the big screen TV as a pale eyed woman in flight coveralls stood confidently behind the podium. "I attended a wedding," she began, "where the preacher had the couple turn and look at everyone in the church, then turn back to him. He said they'd just seen where they'd come from, they'd just seen the foundation their lives would build on -- that no matter where they went and what they did, they would take that good foundation with them, and that's what we're doing. "We're about to pioneer across an unknown, like our own ancestors did, we're setting off into an uncharted sea of uncertainty. We'll not see home again, but we'll take it with us -- each of us -- because where we've been is our foundation, and we're going to build on that foundation, wherever we end up." She stepped aside; someone else in a flight suit came to the microphone and spoke, not as confidently -- Fitz rubbed his closed eyelids, smelled coffee: he opened his eyes accepted the steaming mug of freshly brewed, thanked the engineer for his kindness. Later that day he wandered back into his office, feeling distinctly lost. He'd seen the Sheriff and one of his medics, the Sheriff's wife, among family gathered to see the launch, gathered to bid their young a final good-bye: he'd frowned at the screen, watched the figures, anonymous in pressure suits, filing into their shuttle: the camera showed regimented rows of human figures lying back in the contoured couches, saw the auto-dispensers settle about their forearms; he knew microneedles would find the hidden veins, would inject chemicals and God knows what else into them, to prepare them for a long sleep, to keep them from bone loss and who can tell what else might happen to them in transit: Fitz tried to pick Marnie out of the figures as they filed in, he thought he saw her as the camera made one last pan of the shuttle's passenger section. He sipped his coffee, watched the shuttle lift off in thunder and fire and rolling smoke, watched it streak across a cloudless sky, curving a little as it went: he drank without tasting, finally setting his empty mug between his brogans, not rising until the animations replaced actual camera shots. Fitz picked up his mug, set it in the sink, walked back to his office where three white mares once drowsed and waited for the alarm, waited for harness to be lowered from the ceiling, waited to run, thrusting powerfully against polished and padded collars: he sat heavily at his desk, blinked at the still-open briefcase, as if he'd forgotten entirely that it was there. Chuck Fitzgerald reached in, pulled out the notebook, opened it. A manila folder, with Fitz written in a familiar, feminine hand. Frowning, he opened the folder. Chuck Fitzgerald had been a Navy man. He'd seen much of the world; he'd ridden bulls, he'd laughed and wenched and he'd drunk his share, he'd been led by good men and he'd led good men himself: he was no stranger to the good in life, nor to the bad in life: he was a man not easily suprised, a man who tried to keep his inner self a distance from the world, for that made it easier to make the hard decisions a fire chief sometimes must. Fitz was a strong man and a man not easily surprised, a man not given easily to deep emotion. Two of his Brigade came to his office door, then drew back without knocking: one remained, to shoo away any who might try to interrupt the man, for it was noticed that Marnie had been there, that she'd come in with a briefcase, a case they saw open, a case she'd departed without, and they saw Fitz wipe his eyes and blow his nose and stare long and long again at something, something in a manila folder, laid open on his desk top. The Chief took the folder, later that day, and walked up the street a little, came back empty handed; two days later he went back up the street, and returned with a paper wrapped rectangle. Fitz hung two framed drawings in his office. One was a girl, riding a mare made of star-mist and sunlight, streaking in a bright arc across star-speckled space: the girl wore a look of delight and wore red cowboy boots, her hair and her gauzy gown flowing behind, becoming part of the shining curve of her passing: the other was complex, and Fitz stood and studied it for a long time after he hung it. It was a fire chief, done in colored pencil, all red bib front shirt and knee high boots and a white, pressed-leather helmet, it was a fire chief with a red handlebar mustache and a handful of reins, a man standing in the driver's box of a steam powered fire engine: Fitz could almost hear mares' hooves, he could almost smell horse-sweat and coal-smoke and in his imagination, he heard a great Irish tenor singing and swearing as a blacksnake whip uncurled and snapped a hole in the air a yard above the center mare's ears, and the more he studied, the more he saw, and he smiled a little, for in this great and heroic figure of an Irish fire chieftain driving a chariot to war, he saw she hadn't drawn the portrait of his Irish ancestor. She'd drawn in his own face. Behind, almost a ghost, he saw the face of Sean Finnegan, saw it in smoke and clouds and distant mountains, saw it as if Fitz were driving through history itself. It was one of the most skilled pencil drawings he'd ever seen. She'd drawn in the title, in a corner-scrolled rectangle across the bottom, and when he finally studied the notebooks she'd left, the ancestry she'd researched, and found exactly how she'd tracked his blood line back to their first Chief, the legendary Sean Finnegan, he looked at the hand drawn portrait again, and the title made perfect sense. In Marnie's slanted print, proudly across the banner, were the words, A Giant's Son.
  13. Puking up green beer is not the only way to get rid of it. Buddy of mine worked the Athens sewage treatment plant. Athens, Ohio, home of Ohio University, the Harvard on the Hocking, riots twice yearly at time change when students think they're getting cheated out of an hour's drinking time, and riots at Halloween. Grand place. Anyway -- green beer -- The fellow I knew from their treatment plant said their influent turned green on St Patrick's Day, and not from anyone adding a tracer dye to the laterals!
  14. Drink with beverage in right hand: clockwise rotation of room. Drink with beverage in left hand: anticlockwise rotation.
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