Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 23, 2021

KODAK Digital Still Camera

It’s with a heavy heart I announce the passing of one of our feline friends–Charlie. While not as devastating as what’s happened during the pandemic, animal lovers will certainly understand.

A starving Charlie joined us during a heavy snowstorm in January 2015. We have no idea where he came from as we lived in a semi-remote area, with only one full-time neighbor, and he didn’t have cats.

When we took Charlie to our vet, his age was estimated at eighteen months. He was a gentle cat, afraid of his own shadow, but was a fantastic addition to the family. Unfortunately, his end came far too soon, but we had to do what was right for Charlie. He’ll always be in our hearts.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Life is short. Don’t waste it being angry or sad. Be happy and enjoy the time you spend with your loved ones.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 23rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Spanish writer; Giuseppe Parini, Italian prose writer and poet (Il Giorno); Thomas Hood, English poet and composer (The Song of the Shirt); Henri-François-Alphonse Esquiros, French poet and writer (Les Vierges Folles); James Gleason, American writer and actor (Bishop’s Wife, Flying Fool); Adrian Roland Holst, Dutch poet (Raged & Tired); Pär Lagerkvist, Swedish writer, Nobel laureate; Scott O’Dell, American author; Walter Reisch, American screenwriter (Ninotchka, Gaslight, Titanic); Margaret Wise Brown, American author; Barbara Ward, economist/writer (Only One Earth); Leo Lerman, American writer and editor (Condé Nast Publications); Margaret Hayden Rector, playwright (living legacy award 1995); Robert KJE Antonissen, South African literary; James [Benjamin] Blish, US/UK, sci-fi author (Hugo, Star Trek Reader); Friedrich Achleitner, German poet; Barbara Barrie [Berman], American actress and author (Breaking Away, Barney Miller); Lasse Strömstedt, Swedish writer and actor; Peter Preston, editor (Guardian); Jane Kenyon, American poet; Mitch Albom, American writer; and Ryan Coogler, American director and screenwriter (Fruitvale Station, The Black Panther).

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

I manged to complete chapter thirty-eight of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure of the final number of chapters yet, but now there’ll be forty-seven or forty-eight.

Over the past week, there were another fourteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 595. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier stood and offered a hand to his long-time friend. After shaking, they took seats in front of Javier’s desk. “So, what can I do for the DEA?”

Mitch laughed. “That’s what I’ve always liked about you—no beating around the bush.”

“When I was in the military, I used to call it efficiency. Now, time is money.” Javier chuckled.

“Couple of things. First, I want to congratulate you on your retirement.”

Javier nodded. “Many thanks. When are you pulling the plug?”

“Me? Not for a few more years. One of the kids is a freshman at Georgetown, and the other will join him next year. After they graduate, Bella wants to head back to Lombardy where she grew up.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Figure I’d buy a cab and schlep people around—at least when we’re not checking out the vineyards.”  He shook his head. “Not sure yet. Bella wants to open a deli.”

“Why not both?”

“I thought the same, but Bella wants to do something together.” Mitched sighed. “Plenty of time to make our minds up. The primary reason for dropping in was to dangle some work in front of you.”

Javier leaned forward. “Whad’ya got?”

“A British colleague of mine needs some help. Intel indicates a drug smuggler is using Bermuda as a base to ship his product into Florida.”

“Why aren’t you taking care of it?”

Mitch sighed. “We’re overstretched in the area, and this guy’s volume is too small for us to take an interest in—at least at this time. This would be an off-the-books assignment, which would give you an easy win while at the same time, I’ll improve relations with the British.”

Javier pursed his lips as he stared at the ceiling. “Okay, we’re in. How many operatives do you think we’ll need?”

Mitch pulled an envelope out of his coat pocket. “I think three or four max to handle this. All the details are here, including Cedric’s contact info.”

“Cedric?”

“The name of my British counterpart.”

Who to use? Perhaps a couple of the Snakes can take some leave. Take two of my new team. Should be enough. “Count us in.”

“Fantastic!” Mitch glanced at his watch. “I better run—have a meeting in an hour at headquarters. If any questions arise, give me a shout.”

The men stood and shook hands.

Javier showed Mitch back to reception.

A distraught Sindee sat in a chair, chest heaving, eyes wide.

“What’s the matter, Sindee?” Javier rushed over.

“S—Sorry, I’m late. L—Last night. A problem at my apartment building.” She took a deep breath to calm herself.  “I’ve been with the police all morning.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Undaunted Valor: An Assault Helicopter Unit in Vietnam by Colonel Matt Jackson. This is a true-life story as told through the eyes of Colonel Dan Cory as he flies combat missions during the Vietnam War.

This is a well-written account of various service personnel caught up in the war, from cowards to heroes, and from imbeciles to gifted pilots and leaders, told by someone who experienced it. Whether you supported the war or not, this rendition will give you an honest picture of how our people lived and died. Well worth a read!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

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