As a reminder, you can find me over at Adventures in Writing, every Wednesday, until the END OF TIME ITSELF.
Today I talk about, um, coffee.
One day I was talking to a young friend of mine. She was wondering when would be a good time to start a family. She and her husband wanted to travel and do couple things.
What, I wondered, should I tell her? Sometimes, more often than people like to admit, a couple doesn’t get to pick a time. Sometimes there just is, but on the flip side, sometimes there is nothing.
The nothing stretches on. It can stretch on for months.
The dirty little secret. Sometimes, you don’t get to pick. Sometimes, you just can’t. Sometimes you need help. Help that can take months.
I know this lesson well, but what could I say to my friend?
In the end, I told the truth. I begged her to consider her youth might be the only thing that would give her a family. That 30 could be 35 in a blink of an eye. Or 40. Or never.
Don’t play the odds.
Make the odds.
Sometimes, a value judgment is more than the courage of our convictions. Sometimes it is a way past a cold, uncaring, pile of noise. Life matters, and love is not a series of check marks. It’s a wonderful bundle of chaos, but while parts of it can grow, other parts can fade, lost in the relentless march of time.
The value judgment. Making a decision with limited data based on one’s values. The rational mind rebels against such actions. But life depends on these values.
Happy Birthday to my favorite geek, President George Washington.
It tickles me to no end we share the same birthday.
On December 25th, 1776, Washington lead a column of troops across the Delaware and delivered a surprise smack down against foreign troops. Despite his orders not to, a “certain number” of his men got drunk on captured rum. We don’t know what was said on the boat trip back, but I’m willing to be it was funny.
At least to the Continental Army. The one thousand captured Hessians, most likely, did not see the humor in it at all.
The alien peered through her Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50 Police Marksman LP Riflescope at the meat below.
Her favorite human killing rifle was a Bushmaster Predator in 5.56/.223. She liked the barrel length, and the 1:8 twist was perfect for her Hornady 75 grain 5.56 TAP rounds. The rifle and optic were, in her mind, perfect. Each magazine held 30 rounds (although she only filled hers to 29), and her vast experience with firearms centered on having as much ammunition as she could carry.
The rifle had other advantages, mainly the optic was a superb light gather and the reticule was an outstanding visual interface to her internal sight augmentation program. The rifle did not have any fancy bells and whistles. She had a simple sling on it, and that was all. Low-recoil, lightweight and very accurate, the 20” barrel was fluted and bled heat at a surprisingly good rate.
Heat, of course, was bad.
The meat below was noisy. The local cops called them meth maggots; the populace called them tweakers. She chose to think of them as low-hanging fruit.
She did not know how many would be here, but now there were five. It was a big operation, and they had supplies to camp here for a week or two as they did their cooking. Meth cookers were inadvertently tweakers themselves. They were about the only people stupid enough to expose themselves to the chemicals to make it.
Home labs had been dangerous as of late, the alien mused. The state prosecutor made it his mission to rid the state of the things, and the Sheriff was more than willing to comply with the push. Unfortunately, federal lands were a great place to cook something up, and the Olympic National Forest was very large indeed.
The rangers were sparse and kept to the hiking trails to keep close to the hikers. Not many people suspected, she thought, that a cooking operation would be on the wet side of the mountains. Putting a meth lab where it rained constantly was very stupid. Gutsy, but stupid.
Their isolation would not help them today, oh no. She found them by scouting, something she did at least once a week, and fining their tracks. She was new to the area, but she already thought of the temperate rainforest as “hers”. She would not suffer evil men in one of the planet’s most beautiful places.
From her perch, they were just over 142 yards away, a figure she derived at with her internal range finder that calculated distances based on the size of objects relative to the hash marks in her scope’s reticule. There was no wind, but there was considerable cover if she lost the surprise advantage. This is why she chose the semi-automatic rifle as her sniping platform. Fast as she was with a bolt-action rifle, this situation called for even more speed.
She sighted carefully. Twilight was here.
Sight. Breathe. Squeeze. Kill. Recover and aim.
Breathe. Squeeze. Kill. Recover and aim.
Breathe Squeeze. Kill. Recover and aim.
One of her victims was finally running. She shot him in the leg, careful to aim below the knee. The bullet blew a huge chunk off his lower left leg off, and he went down screaming.
The very last man was firing blindly in her general direction with a Mini-14. If he knew where she was, that would be bad. It was mostly accurate, assuming one aimed it properly.
She carefully aimed for his head.
His head exploded.
BOOM headshot, Baby! The alien giggled.
Cody was simply talking to Justin about their favorite topic: alternative music. Then Justin’s back exploded outwards the same time he heard the rolling echo of a gunshot; the large crater in his back obscenely disproportionate to the small hole in his chest. Before what was happening registered, most of the crew all around him died, including his brother.
He ran. Miguel was firing blindly off in the woods; maybe he could use him to cover his escape.
That’s when Cody’s leg blew apart.
He screamed and screamed, and then Miguel’s head exploded.
That caught his attention. He pulled his SIG from his waistband.
Suddenly his hand was gone.
Cody resumed screaming. He felt sharp pains and it made him dizzy. Eventually it dawned on him, he noticed he was still alive.
Suddenly a pair of boots came into view. He looked up, resigned to his fate.
She put down her rifle.
Off came the boots and socks.
She took off her clothes.
Quickly, she was naked.
Beautiful, he could not help thinking through the pain—even though he knew he was bleeding to death.
She stood there looking at him, holding something small in each hand.
Cody began to pant with fear.
“What is the name of your main buyer?” she asked in a strange accent.
“W-w-Warren.” Suddenly Cody could see fangs in her mouth. He began to cry.
“Please… please… don’t kill me.”
“Shhhhhh,” she said, “no begging now. Keep some dignity, eh?”
“What… what are you?” he stammered.
Suddenly, the thing flexed her wrists, twisted her hands. Two long dirks she was hiding under her arms appeared as if magic.
“I am silf, and I will be your personal chef for the evening.”
As the silf walked towards him, Cody began to scream once more.
“Ender, my lover I had a fling with seven months ago, just told me she was pregnant with my child, a pretty neat trick considering I’m a woman.”