Most of the gods are on the make. Being at least part human, as I am, may cause one to harbor some scruples. These Sylvie relies on to keep me on the straight and narrow. It’s no wonder humans have created shame in an attempt to keep the activities of the gods under some control and keep them from seducing and infesting people with their talons and talents for abuse of power. The god Sot was both cob and pen. I was waiting for Sot’s message which should tell me when to expect Wally the Whale who would carry me in its belly out to sea. It should come as no surprise given the ambiguities of our origins that gods often have more than one name. I am sometimes called Chucker’s Chance, also Prior Probability. Possibility is not the same as probability. Nothing is impossible, but not necessarily probable. Initial singularity, an oxymoron, illustrates. The problem is we like to see something happen more than once so we can begin a line of best fit. One occurrence only creates a point, but not a line. Points are multidirectional in potential, while lines are by definition linear, lineal, and must contain at least two points, one of which can always be used as a referent. All of that the actuaries to the gods taught me – but that’s not to say I was a good student. For the next seven nights I made my way down to the pier to fish, waiting, testing my new cover, hiding out during the day in an attic above a garage in North Redondo. I had let my hair quickly fall to my shoulders as part of my new disguise. The beach cities are not particularly safe havens for hiding. Because the cities are relatively small and wealthy from enormous taxes from expensive properties and prolific and diverse businesses, their police are well funded. And the locals are not friendly to outsiders, though on the pier exceptions are made for the fishers who are supposed to add color and character which satisfies the tourist expectation and taste for the exotic. Still, there are rules written and unwritten that could mean either one’s safety or danger, depending on unknown, random forces at work. One had also to watch out for the Lifeguards.
“Waiting for Sot” is episode 17 of Ball Lightning a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads. (Click link for continuous, one page view of all episodes.)
Chased by Corvette. Vespa. Candy apple red. Not Bulldog Drummond.
A real nice fellow turns out driving the candy apple red Corvette, vanity licensed MYID. Catches up with me, powers up and flips me the bird as I try to negotiate the Harley kickstand. Vetteman angry with me for some reason. Cut him off. Where? When? My anger management pills must have finally kicked in because I felt little urge to cut Vetteboy down to size and make him eat his license plate. Little, not none. I wanted to feel none, nothing. The little urge didn’t come on from getting the bone, and not even the vanity plate was to blame. Those were little nubbers up along the first base line. You picked them up bare handed, stepped on the bag, and tossed the ball to a kid in the stands above the dugout. Big hitter, little nubber. Maybe the candy apple red drew the little urge out. Very few cars should be painted candy apple red, and never a Corvette, an old pick up truck in retirement maybe, I don’t know, but not a Vette. Candy apple red is a very special color. But like I said, little urge, but not none, but still, the pills seemed to be kicking in. Maybe I should up the dosage again. I wanted to experience nothing. Why did the gods keep me alive? To do their dirty work. Then Vettepunk said it, one of the words, called me one of the names, the names no one calls me and gets away with it, without a bit of divine retribution sits you back on your butt and gives you something to think about other than your Corvette id. First, let’s back up. I don’t ride a Harley. I ride a Vespa, candy apple red. I am not Bulldog Drummond. I am not Mike Hammer. Not Philip Marlowe. I’m not Sam Spade. I stand five foot two, and my eyes are blue, but I’m no stereotype. I learned early on to mind my own business. But minding your own beeswax is not so easy with dudes like Vettedog off leash and full of road rage and megalomaniac vitamins. “That scooter a little big for you?” Vettestalker says, sneer and all.
“Candy Apple Red” is episode 3 of Ball Lightning a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads
Late for a meeting. "extreme and unusual risk." "hacked and...gobsmacked"
I was late for my meeting with Walter. I had some explaining to do, but I wasn’t in the mood for working together as a team in the spirit of cooperation toward common goals for the mutual benefit of all. Nor did I feel like throwing any bums a dime. I was their in house Risk Manager. Walter was itself a Risk Management Brokerage, specializing in extreme and unusual risk. Sometimes avoidance was the best answer. I rode down Pine to First and over to Pike to the Market and looked for a place to pull the Harley over and park. Cleo nodded I could squeeze into the space in front of his international news stall. The rain had stopped, the clouds still low and grey and blue and hanging bushed like wads of cotton candy over the diamond. Out on the water a ferry would be approaching, carrying Walter from his The Breakers West on Bainbridge Island. I was late with my quarterly report. We’d been hacked and I was still too gobsmacked to explain it. Walter would want to know who, when, what, where, why, and how. “Damned if I know,” was not the answer he’d want to hear from his six digit plus bonus contracted Risk Manager.
“Hacked and Gobsmacked” is episode 2 of Ball Lightning a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads