Tuesday, September 30, 2014

500 Words- day 1 (Sidewinder Finale)

As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day. Today is part of a draft of one of the last scenes in my novel, Sidewinder. Spoilers to follow.
     The bunker was cool and dark on the inside. Men stood at the windows with weapons ready, most looked like locals. Mundy sat tied to a chair while there was quiet conversation around him. He tried to pick up on what Ash was saying to Nottage. Yeah, these two would get along just fine. They weren’t using names, but Mundy thought he knew what the general gist of things was. Dean had picked up and left Channel to come out to this tiny little planet out in the sticks for little more reason than to exact revenge on a kid who had turned traitor on him a little bit ago. Nottage seemed incredulous, but Ash was cool about it.
     “… already known as the biggest boss on a core world,” Mundy heard Ash say. “He’s going to expand his empire. A little world like this is a good start. The local gangs may not have heard of him, but he can offer them a cut of the big deals off world. Eventually, they’ll be working for him, another world under his control. And it starts with him coming after someone who did him dirty.”
     It got quiet and Mundy dared to look in their direction. Nottage was looking straight at Mundy with a blank look, as if he was reading a menu card but not hungry. Then he turned away and walked toward Reetow. Maybe these two were new lieutenants. Maybe they would run the operations on Indus IV.
     Mundy tried to remember the other time he saw this building here at the old spaceport. Roy had pointed it out as a relic of the war, the only one left around here, just a fortified bunker. Had he really been that happy then? Why? What had been so good? He was out for a ride, what was so splendid about that? It didn’t take much thought to know why it had been such a good day. Mundy knew. It wasn’t just that he was spending the day riding and exploring. It was everything, especially what was waiting for him back at Sidewinder. He had friends, real friends who were looking out for him. It was almost like a family. In his mind, the image of Jerusha smiled. Mundy’s stomach knotted and the urge to cry shuddered up his windpipe. Mundy took a deep breath and got it under control.  
     They wouldn’t come for him. He had turned them in. He was a sidewinder just like Jarlath Ivanpah, a traitor, worth nothing more than a bargaining tool. And what if they did come for him? What if? Things would never be the same after this, not after what he did. But no, they wouldn’t come. And when they didn’t come, Mundy knew what would happen.
     He counted 19 men around the room, most at the alert.
     “Time,” Dean called out.
     Ash nodded. “Time’s up.”
     Spelunk walked over to Mundy’s chair and pulled a huge sidearm. Mundy felt his every muscle tense up. The big man paused, probably enjoying the sight of him cringing.
     “No sign of anything?” Deal asked.
     Ash walked to the window and raised his power binoculars.
     “I don’t see anything out there,” he said.
     Spelunk’s stepped closer and Mundy closed his eyes, not before he saw the man’s arm move in a fast arc. The next thing Mundy knew, he felt like his left knee was ripped off. The world turned purple with pain. He fell forward, bringing his chair down with him and landed face down on the dirty floor. He couldn’t hear himself, but he knew he was crying in pain. Spelunk hadn’t shot him. He had brought his pistol down across Mundy’s knee. But this must hurt worse than a bullet. His leg wouldn’t move and he blinked through tears and dirt to see blood soaking through his trousers.
     “Take it easy on him still,” Dean said calmly.
     “Can I do the other one?” Spelunk asked.
     “Just wait. I don’t want him passing out from the pain just yet.”
     Spelunk pushed the chair back upright. Mundy gasped and tried to get his breathing under control. If his knee wasn’t broken, he didn’t want to know what a real break felt like.
     Mundy couldn’t tell how much time passed after that. The throbbing seemed to keep the time, but he kept losing count.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sharing What's Good

     Even Hawaii had a few unpleasantly hot days out of the year and I was walking through one. Turning off the crowded main strip of the tourist town I lived in, I walked down a short alleyway to the little kiosk I knew would provide relief, the shave-ice stand. Call them sno-cones if you want, in Hawaii, it’s shave-ice. And this little stand, part of a local chain, made the best I knew. The girl behind the counter complained how bored she was as she fixed my treat and put on the three syrups I asked for, cherry, watermelon and bubblegum. I understood how she felt. The kiosk was in a little commercial mall, set back from the main strip of the town. Despite the crowds of the heavy tourist season, I was the only customer.
     I got my shave ice and walked back toward the street. Out in the sun the sweet red syrup began running down my hand, so I stopped right where I was and sat on a stoop. Right there, ignoring the crowds walking past me, I ate my cold shave ice with the joy one would expect, vaguely aware of people stopping to look at me.
     When I was done I stood up, entertaining the thought of perhaps going and just chatting with the girl at the kiosk. But to my surprise, there was a line reaching almost to the street. What had happened? Me. The only thing that had happened to bring business in was me sitting and eating the shave ice where everyone could see me.
     I walked home, cooled by the cold delight, but pondering what I knew about my faith. That shave ice was like The Kingdom of God. Yes, it was tasty, but not for that reason. I didn’t go out on the street and wave signs about the shave ice stand, I didn’t drive around the town with a bumper sticker and I didn’t go to the nearest ice cream parlor and yell people away from it. All I did was be among people walking down the hot sidewalk, enjoying what I had.
     Psalm 34:8 tells us  Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Sometimes all we need to do is show others the truth of that.