Archive for June, 2013

Over the years I’ve learned that each day presents us with its own delights, surprises and difficulties.  Prolonged dreary weather and unwanted circumstances can be powerful agents of doom and gloom that can rob us of contentment.   What is the secret to rise above these external conditions and remain centered?

I believe we can rise above a day’s wind and weather by making two conscious decisions.  Thinking of each day as a gift is the first decision to make.   The second is the act of seeing the beauty each day presents.  Cloud formations paint awesome  pictures as do the waves in a troubled sea and the cover of snow on the barren ground.   Family pictures 171

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It has been quite a while since I posted the first excerpt from my novel, Beyond the Breaking Point.  The two pages from the manuscript that follow will introduce those of you thinking of reading it to two of the gangsters who had orders to silence Monty.  I introduced Monty in the first excerpt.  He had witnessed and taken pictures of a murder the two gangster had committed.  Once Carlos, the gang’s headman, found out that Monty had witnessed the murder and taken pictures of it, he gave the order to eliminate that threat to the gang.  For several days Monty had managed to elude the two ordered to kill him. Carlos blamed them for this development. To get swifter results he did what he did best.  He threatened them.

Harry Kratzinsky sat in his living room.  He had not turned on the lights even though it was dark outside.  Switching the television on to a news channel for the eleven o’clock news he reached for the glass and bottle on the side table to pour himself another drink of whiskey.  With the bottle and glass in his hand he heard a series of dull explosions.  Three holes suddenly marked the living room window.  The television screen shattered and darkness suddenly covered the room.

Harry had been drinking for some time.  His reactions to what had happened were slow. After several seconds had passed, he recognized that someone had fired bullets into the room and hit the television.  He dropped to the floor, crawled to the chair where he had left his coat and removed his revolver from the holster hanging behind the jacket.  He snapped the safety off.  Keeping his body close to the floor he crawled slowly to the window through which another round of shots rang shattering the whiskey bottle and a glass bowl near it.  He swore.  Keeping his head low he waited.  No other shots came, but he heard car tires squeal out.  Carefully he lifted his head. He looked outside for a second before pulling his head down again.  While no other shots entered through the window, Harry remained lying on the floor for a few seconds longer, waiting to see if other shots would be fired.

Finally, he thought it safe to take another look out of the window.  He noticed the taillights of a car speeding away and turning out of sight far down the street.  He swore again and stood up.  His thinking was clouded.  He wondered what to do next.  Finally he walked to the door to look outside to see if any of the neighbors had heard the shots.  Surveying the neighborhood he saw no one out of their house.  As he looked up and down the street all appeared quiet.  Turning to go back inside he saw the note pinned to the door.  He ripped it off, swore once more and walked inside.  Not wanting to turn on the lights in the room he made his way to the bathroom.  He closed the door and turned on the light to read the note.

“This is only a friendly reminder to get it done.  The next reminder won’t be this friendly.”  The note was not signed, as he knew it would not be, but he had no doubt who had written it and who had pinned it to the door.

Harry cursed.  He crumpled the note up and threw it into the waste basket.  His anger flared up.  “Darn you, Carlos,” he hissed.  It was the second time that day that he had cursed the man whose orders he took

Daryl Nalun had fallen asleep in his easy chair while his wife sat near him watching television.  She sat up suddenly thinking she had heard something that sounded like shots.  She turned the sound of the television down to listen more carefully.  She heard another three shots and turned white with fear.  “Daryl, someone’s shooting on our property,” she shouted.  Daryl groaned, rolled over and turned to his other side.  “Daryl!” she shouted louder.

He sat up not sure where he was.  Once fully awake he saw his wife pointing outside, but what she said made no sense to him still trying to clear his head.  “What’s the matter with you?” he finally demanded.  “Have you lost your marbles?”

“Someone’s shooting out there, and I’m sure it’s on our property.  Go have a look.”  grazing-sheep

Harry took in the information, but it took him a moment to digest it and recognize its meaning and the danger it presented.

“Are you crazy, woman?  Turn out the light and get down on the floor.  If I go out and there’s someone shooting what’s stopping them from drilling me?”  He rolled on the floor to the wall at the front of the room.  He listened for other shots, but there were no more.  When he heard the sound of a car speeding away he lifted his head.  Several minutes passed in silence.  “How many shots did you hear?” he demanded staring at his wife who lay motionless below the light switch.  He saw little by the small amount of light that came through the windows.  Not seeing her move he asked, “Did you catch a bullet or what’s the matter with you?”

“I heard five shots, but there might have been more,” she finally said.  “The television was on.  At first I thought the shooting came from the program I was watching.  It was a movie of detectives hunting down a couple killers.  They were hot on their trail, and I first thought they shot the crooks.”

Daryl spat out a curse that she could not hear.  “I’m going out the back door and check out what’s going on out there.  But I think whoever was shooting took off.”

“Why don’t we call the police and let them handle it?” his wife asked.

“I can handle it.  The cops will only wag their finger at whoever was shooting and tell them not to do it again.  If I catch them, they’re going to get a belly full of lead.”  He made his way outside ducking behind cover wherever he found it.  It took him several minutes to reach the front of the property where the shooting seemed to have occurred.  Within a few minutes it became clear to him that the shooter was no longer on the property.  He looked around to see if he could see anything amiss.  Nothing appeared to be out of place.  He let his eyes roam into the pasture where several of his sheep had grazed during the afternoon.  He saw that they had bunched up in the near corner of the two acre pasture.  Suddenly he stopped short.  It seemed to him that two sheep lay in the grass on the opposite side, the side nearest the road.

“That’s strange,” he mumbled.  “Why are they not with the flock?  I better go have a look. Arriving at the first sheep he saw that the animal was bleeding.  It had been shot.  He quickly walked to the second sheep and found it shot through the head.  “Darn it,” he said and let out a string of foul expletives.  Looking up toward the road he noticed what looked like a piece of paper stuck on one of the posts above which his property sign, Cottonwood Pastures, hung.  He walked to the post and tore it off.  It was too dark to read the note.  He looked up at the sign to make sure it had not been damaged and then walked back toward the house. Under the outside light he read the note on the paper.

The words were like stabs from a knife to him.  “This is a friendly warning to get the job done.  The next time it may not be sheep that get sheared.  Hope you like lamb chops.”

Daryl turned red with anger.  He had always disliked Carlos even though he had been paid well by him.  Standing under the light outside his house he hated him nearly as much as he hated the young fellow he had been ordered to eliminate.

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We often let the weather or circumstances                        At Lake Louise

keep us from enjoying the day.

Over the years I’ve learned that when

I choose to smile in the rain,

the sun appears not as distant.

Try this week’s two brain teasers.

Which four days of the week start with the letter “t”?

What is green, grows and has wheels?

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