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Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

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Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103 last won the day on October 27 2016

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About Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

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  • Birthday 03/31/1956

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Lorain County, Ohio
  • Interests
    History, calligraphy, any game that burns powder
    BOLD 103, Center Township Combat Pistol League
    Skywarn, ham radio, and no idea what I want to do when I grow up!

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    27332
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    Firelands Peacemakers

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  1. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    SHORT STORIES!

    Something always comes before. Well remembered is the pale eyed Captain's desperate ride to warn of the imminent attack, riding despite his injuries. Until now we only had his account; we look at a small part of it through another set of eyes, and perhaps now we have a better idea why their sky pilot was in the bell tower with a Sharps instead of hiding in a closet, on his knees, shivering and mumbling over an open but unseen book. 19. MINISTRY Good Ames steel bit into the sod. Men grunted and sweated, complained and swore: at one time they might have bridled their tongues. Earlier in this damned War, they might've moderated their language and glanced uncomfortably at the man who labored with them, muttered some beg-your-pardon, but not now, not this long into the conflict. No, the good Chaplain was one of them: he shared their same poor rations, he shivered under their same issue blankets, he marched in their ranks and dug in the dirt the same as they, whether to throw up breastworks, to dig a latrine, or as the did today, dug holes for the dead. He was one of them and they respected him for it. There was a shout, a shot, the sound of galloping hooves: one head, then another, rose, turned. The men were all veteran fighters by now, blooded and bloodied; all had lost friends and fellows, boon companions and blanket-mates: they'd been sent here, here where no attack was expected, here where the grey-coat enemy would surely not attack. Not here, not for a while, at least; the men needed a respite, and they'd allowed themselves to relax, but the single musket shot brought them all back into a vibrating state of awareness. Parson Belden straightened, leaned on his shovel, wiped sweat off his forehead with a kerchief that used to be a bedsheet, an eternity agone: he blinked, wiped his eyes and his eyebrows, forestalling the saltwater that was wont to cascade and sear his eyeballs. He saw a chestnut mare, a good looking horse, rear its head away from the sentry's grasping hand, dance to the side, and he saw a bloody-sided figure laying over the horse's neck, arms limp. "Dear God," the boy to his left swore. "It's the Captain!" Parson Belden stabbed his shovel into the dirt he'd excavated and leaned forward into a run. Parson Belden was a noted runner, fleet of foot since earliest youth: he ran swiftly, easily, skimming over the rough ground, and he came pounding up to the command tent just as the rider more poured off the horse than fell from her: he saw the commanding officer swat the tent flap back, advancing with a firm, assured step, surprise and then recognition on his bewhiskered face, and the Parson saw the bugler, nearest the fallen man, drop to his knees, lower his ear to the man's lips, and the Parson saw the fallen man's hand raise up, seize the bugler's blouse: he saw the knuckles whiten, he saw the bugler's eyes widen, he saw the hand fall away and then men abandoned shovels and whatever else they might've been occupied with, and sprinted for the neat tipis of stacked muskets. The bugler's lungs were young and powerful, his lip was well practiced, and he turned a little as the commanding notes of "Assembly" shivered out across the encampment. Parson Belden stood behind the well crafted pulpit and looked out over the empty church, smiling a little. It had been years since he'd worn Union blue, since he'd marched and ducked as musket balls ripped through the air, since he'd been shoulder to shoulder with good men and true: now, two decades and more later, he'd come West, he'd been churched in the mountains, in a little community he'd never heard of, a town of no great size, a town near the Cripple Creek gold strike. Firelands, it was called, and he smiled a little, for this was the least likely place he could think of to be associated with a conflagration, unless maybe a seaport would be even less likely. Shining mountains surrounded them; it took him a year to get used to the high country, but he'd stayed, he'd worked side by side the same as he'd labored with his fellow soldiers, and was respected for the same reason. He'd known clergy who'd stood back and let others labor, preaching on Sunday but living a poor example: no, when there was wood to be cut, his were the hands on the bucksaw or the ax, setting the wedge and swinging the sledge: if a barn was to be built, he was there, though ever since those long, lean Kentucky men set up operation on the mountain, most of the woodworking was done by these skilled craftsmen: the Parson knew men like that, quiet mountaineers who listened much and said little, men whose keen blue eyes were on him listening to his every word as he spoke on Sunday, men who seldom smiled, save with those penetrating eyes, and when the Parson was presented with a jug of something that smelled of distilled fruit, something that went down like Mama's milk and blowed the socks right off his feet, he knew he'd been accepted by them as well. This gave him a deep satisfaction, for trust is not easily earned, especially by mountain folk, and these quiet, clannish folk had come West from their own mountains, and it was only natural that they sought out these granite mountains for their new home. A set of hands descended on his shoulders, he smelled his wife's soap-and-sunshine: she rubbed his shoulders, then began to knead his neck, where the cords were tight, and he leaned his head a little to the side and groaned. "You're remembering again," she murmured, and he nodded and gave a quiet "mmmm" of agreement. "You get so tense when you remember." Her voice was gentle, understanding. "I thought you might. You were restless in your sleep." "Mm-hmm." "You were remembering when the Captain rode in and you feared for his life." He nodded again, eyes closed, letting her massaging hands work the tension out of his shoulders. She was right, he realized: he'd tensed up more than he'd realized. He always did, when he remembered. "You'll be going out to Bob Parsons today." He smiled, nodded: Bob Parsons ran the mercantile in Carbon Hill, and the man was crippled with a recent apoplexy: stubborn and hard headed as any, he insisted on working, though he moved slowly, dragging a bad leg that served as a stiff prop, working with one arm with the other straight down at his side. The Parson took pains to visit every Wednesday, putting on an apron and stocking shelves, sweeping the store, working beside the man. He knew the two of them would work in silence for a couple of hours, he knew Parsons would carefully not notice the two covered baskets the Parson would surreptitiously hand off to Mrs. Parsons, two meals' worth of his wife's preparation: he'd helped the man three times a week at first, until his sons could be summoned: nowadays the Parsons family was come together again, and Parson Belden was able to see sons mend their youthful rifts with their father – the young always rebel, and young men always pull away, often with harsh words, and these had, until they came home and realized their words may have contributed to their father's distress, realized the consequence of their actions, their words, could be the crippling of what had been a strong and capable man: now his sons and their wives all made the Mercantile their own, and the Parson was no longer needed to help keep their business alive, but still he went, and he stocked shelves and swept the store, and afterward, he'd tell his parishioner he was tired and needed to set down, and only then would the prideful proprietor deign to rest from his labors, and they would sit, and eat, the Parson eating with the same slowness as his old friend. He worked shoulder to shoulder with the man, and he listened. When the reavers came to town, he'd spoken from the pulpit and spoke words to strengthen the spirit and harden the resolve: men and women alike were resolved to war, for this was their home, and they'd labored to prepare Firelands to receive deadly attack: the Parson well remembered the example of a Revolutionary War parson who delivered a fiery sermon against the red-coated oppressors, and at the height of his sermon, stripped off his black clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a Continental soldier, who raised his hand in blessing, and then took up his musket and marched from the church to join his fellows in the fight. Parson Belden climbed into the bell tower with a Sharps rifle, climbed up with the Sheriff's pale eyed son, feeling the same fire in his blood he'd felt as a young man: he knew what it was to stand in ranks with musket in hand, he knew what it was to fight for his very life: this man of God dropped the breechblock of his octagon barrel rifle and ran in a shining brass panatela and thought of his wife, young and beautiful, and her tidy kitchen, and he thought of every face he looked at on Sunday morning, and he closed the rifle's breech and waited, for he too was fighting for his home and for his family, and he knew from this rifleman's perch he could make very good account of himself. He'd split wood with others in his congregation, he'd plied a froe and split shake shingles and handed bundles of shakes up a ladder to the boys roofing their father's barn, he'd turned a hand to shoveling manure, or patching harness, and always he listened: it was an era when a man was strong and unsmiling in the public eye, and men confided in a trusted few, and the Parson was one such. It might have been splitting wood and it might have been shoveling second hand horse feed, it might have been stacking cans of peaches and swinging a brush broom, but always he listened, and his replies were well considered and prayerful, and he was respected because his hands were callused and his ear was open and ready to listen. In time of war, or in time of peace, it's what he did. It was his ministry.
  2. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    The Red Part Is Too Big

    I painted our brand new basement, white. My wife regarded me as if I had a fish sticking out of my shirt pocket. After I finished painting she was pleased -- "It makes it look so much bigger!" My motive was more mercenary. Bare concrete floors are not a uniform shade, there is enough variance to efficiently camouflage springs and screws and small parts. If the floor is white I can see dropped components much more easily. (That's all well and good but when it flies off to who knows where and dives under the bench or elsewhere beneath or beside something shadowed, sometimes a white floor doesn't help that much!)
  3. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    Underused Coffeepot Feature

    Now that's my size a coffee mug!
  4. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    SHORT STORIES!

    I know what it is to bury a daughter, to bury a wife: maybe that's why the Old Sheriff fell so desperately in love with the violet-eyed Bonnie McKenna and her little girl Sarah when he first saw them, why he did not hesitate to deck the crooked lawyer Slade on the boardwalk in front of the Silver Jewel Saloon. Maybe that's why he taught them both how to shoot and why he especially taught Sarah the Rules of Knife Fighting, so eloquently demonstrated on the silver screen a century and more later, and maybe – just maybe – that's why Sarah grew up to try so desperately to make her pale eyed father proud of her. Sometimes in a child's life there is a seminal event that starts their career choice. This might have been Sarah's. 18. THROUGH A CHILD'S EYES Sarah Lynne McKenna, a pale eyed child of the mountains, was later in life known as the Black Agent, as Sister Mercurius, as one of the two schoolmarms in their little whitewashed schoolhouse. Before she was the investigating arm of the Firelands District Court, before she was Miz Sarah, before she was the founder of the Faceless Sisters, known also as the White Nuns, she was just Sarah, a waif, an orphan, a scared little girl with sad eyes and a shy disposition. Her life changed – all lives change, but hers changed suddenly, radically: she went from orphan to beloved daughter, she went from waif to a scrubbed-clean and well-dressed child, she went from nearly starving to well-fed – and now, as her new Mama pressed her lips together and shoved the ends of two pianos together, forming a protective triangle, Sarah's arm tightened around her rag doll and her other hand gripped Dawg's thick, curly hair, and the big, scarred, stub-tailed canine leaned companionably against her. Dawg smelled considerably better than he had. Sarah insisted on giving her favorite dog in all the world, a bath: she'd dumped most of her Mama's bath salts in the steaming tub, she'd somehow managed to convince this veteran of many battles into the tub, he'd closed his eyes in – pleasure? Patient tolerance? – as her pink young fingers scrubbed through his fur, working suds into his fur, scrubbing accumulation from his underlying hide. He'd decided the nice warm bath felt pretty good to his old bones, and he'd not objected when Sarah giggled and piled soap suds on his wet black head like a crown. He'd even tolerated the bright red ribbon Sarah tied around his neck, at least until he could work a paw under it, then his lower jaw, and reduced it to ragged scrap just before Bonnie McKenna bade her daughter to hide between the back-to-back saloon pianos, then shoved the ends together, trapping her little girl in their protective walls. Sarah's bottom lip pooched out in disappointment. "Dawg," she said in a small voice, "I wish I could play the piano!" Dawg's mouth was open a little, his pink tongue run out a little, panting. "I'm glad you're here," Sarah whispered, and Dawg heard the stress in her young voice: he turned his head, gave her a companionable lick. Gunshots – yells, the sound of horses – Dawg came to his feet, hair bristling down his spine: Bonnie glanced quickly into the shelter and said "Dawg, protect," and Dawg's jaws snapped as he bit off a deep "Rrowf!" Sarah drew back, eyes big, until her shoulders just touched the wall at her back, the she flinched away: a child cannot remain long affrighted when there is something to tease her curiosity, and she saw her Mama's eyes widen as she felt boot heels, hard and powerful, shiver the floor through the soles of her patent leather slippers. Sarah's chest tightened and she drew her arms up protectively in front of her, the rag doll trapped in the bend of her elbow, but forgotten: she knew the voice she heard, she knew the harsh and demanding tone, she knew the menace, the threat, and she saw her Mama shrink, and then she saw her Mama glance at her and she saw her Mama change. Sarah was a curious child and Sarah was an intelligent child and Sarah might not know her letters nor how to read, but Sarah read (or tried to read) anything she could get her hands on, and she'd stared long at the copperplate print of a woman, tall and lean and beautiful, long curled hair and a gleaming helmet on her head: she carried a shield in one hand, a long spear in the other: Athena, the letters at the base of the statue said, and her Mama explained this was a warrior-goddess who kept ancient Greece safe. Sarah remembered she'd blinked, for she was a little confused. Her Mama kept her safe. She'd up from the page, looked at her Mama, and her Mama didn't look a thing like this woman-statue in the book. Sarah looked out between the ends of the piano and she saw her Mama and her Mama was different. Her Mama wasn't wearing a bronze helmet, but her hair was carefully styled and ornately atop her head, it was clean and it shone in the lamplight. Sarah's breath caught in her throat and she stepped forward as far as she could go, at least until Dawg flowed in between her and the gap in the pianos: she could feel more than hear the deep, powerful rumble in the aging canine's big chest, but she wanted to see, she came up on her toes, she watched, wide-eyed as her Mama went from shrinking with fright, the way she'd done upstairs when she was badly put upon – no, that was not her Mama now – her Mama looked at her and she became like that woman in the book, she set her jaw and she straightened her spine and she looked at someone Sarah couldn't see and Sarah heard her Mama's voice tighten and her Mama said in a loud and commanding voice, "YOU LEAVE US ALONE!" and Sarah saw her Mama pull a big revolver from somewhere and Sarah saw her Mama's thumb lay over that stand-up percussion hammer and ear it back and Sarah saw the cylinder roll around and Sarah knew it was going to get really loud and Sarah clapped her hands over Dawg's ears and pressed hard and squeezed her eyes shut against the concussion she knew was coming and she felt more than heard the Army Colt cough deep in its machined steel throat and she heard the loud and flat-sounding BOOM and then another BOOM and her Mama's angry voice and BOOM and she bent down on top of Dawg and whimpered a little but she kept her hands on Dawg's ears because she didn't want his ears hurt by the noise and she felt footsteps and she opened her squeezed-shut eyes and looked just in time to see her Mama's skirt disappear and she felt her Mama's footsteps light and quick and BOOM and she heard men yelling and horses scream and the tortured tocsin of the Irish Brigade's shiny steam machine's whistle as it wailed past the Silver Jewel and she heard her Mama's voice way far away yelling "YOU CAN'T HAVE US!" and BOOOOOM again and Sarah squeezed her eyes shut and sat down and found her rag doll and she hugged it to her and fell over on her side and curled up and she heard Dawg give one loud ROWF! and then he laid down half on top of her and she shivered a little and then she relaxed a little, just a little, because he was warm and he was solid and she felt him breathe and she kept her eyes shut and she shivered a little and Dawg got up and she felt his cold nose and then she felt him snuffing at her jaw and he licked her chin and she felt the pianos being pulled apart and she opened her eyes as Dawg got up and her Mama was there and Sarah let go of her rag doll and she hugged her Mama and her Mama hugged her and Sarah giggled because she was her Mama again and she didn't look a thing like that woman in the book. She'd looked an awful lot like Athena a minute ago, but not now. Sarah hugged her Mama and she felt Dawg nose her leg and through her child's eyes she saw everything would be okay now.
  5. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    SHORT STORIES!

    17. LAST VISIT "Grandma?" Sheriff Willamina Keller looked at Captain Marnie Keller and smiled a little, the big Malinois at her right leg slitting his eyes with pleasure and running his tongue happily out under a moist black nose. Both women were in uniform: the Sheriff, in her skirted Sheriff's uniform, as this was her day as court officer; her daughter, in the skirted uniform of a Navy Captain. Her appearance was a little unexpected, though when a big black Sea Stallion came hammering overhead, several people looked up, shading their eyes and squinting a little: the family Maxwell, up on Daine Mountain, smiled a little, because they knew their mountain-bred daughter was the pilot, and very likely the pale eyed daughter of their pale eyed Sheriff was aboard as well. They were right. Willamina was waiting at a correct parade rest, eyes narrowed against the rotor wash as the big black bird with the white snowflake on its nose settled onto the local crash patch tarmac: it was not unknown for military craft to land – a C-130 landed one evening, delivering the Sheriff's surplus US Marine Corps tank – or, more correctly, Tank: a Belgian Malinois with whom the Sheriff was acquainted in her overseas service: it was, however, unique enough to see something this big, this black, this ... naval. Of course, the service crew that ran out to the bird, the fuel truck, all had been arranged as well. This happens when both pilot and passengers are in the revived Space Program, especially when they were riding the countdown to their Mars launch. The pilot had her shutdown procedures, this Willamina knew; she'd admitted to Chief Deputy Barrents, before jumping in the Suburban and wheeling up the mountain, that you could take everything she knew about flying a rotary wing and stuff it down in a sewing thimble, and have room enough to pour in a quart of whiskey on top, and so she waited patiently, watching activity through the canopy, watched the conference with the ground crew, waited while a half-dozen souls came out of the big black bird with the impressively-sized engines, with the twin chain guns, with the snowflake on its nose and a rearing, winged stallion, ridden by a helmeted Valkyrie bearing a silver-tipped spear, painted on the side, and beneath, in what she knew to be authentic Viking runes, Odin's Daughter, and beneath this, in block letters, CAPT MAXWELL VALKYRIE! Of the half-dozen who finally disembarked, three came to the black Stallion's nose: two, shoulder to shoulder, in flight suits, and one in her class As: they paced off on the left and marched directly to the Sheriff. Willamina came to attention as they neared. Three hands came up in salute, and the salute was returned, and after that, all formality was cast to the mountain wind: women's voices raised in the happy confusion of family coming together, and then there was a pause, and Willamina turned her pale eyes on a tall, slender, blond headed, blue eyed Teutonic officer. Willamina bent, seized his trouser cuff, hauled it up to expose an ugly, puckered scar slashing across the meat of his calf. She lowered the trouser material, gave it a little tug, straightened. She extended a hand and he took it without hesitation. "Waddsmanheil, Hauptmann!" she declared, and she saw the grin hiding in his Teutonic-blue eyes: "Any man with a boar's tusk on his leg is a man worthy of the name!" Hans blinked, surprised, then looked accusingly at Gracie. Gracie batted her eyes, doing her very best to look innocent, and almost succeeding. "She's the Sheriff," she said with a shrug. "She finds things out." Hauptmann Hans Merckel, ace pilot with the Luftwaffe and hand picked for the Mars mission, grinned like a delighted schoolboy as he tried to look everywhere at once. He'd heard Gracie talk about home, about mountains and ravines and magnificent sunrises, and Hans told her of the Alps and the Hartz Mountains, and they shared a love of flying: Hans told of his great-grandfather, the Baron Manfred von Richtofen; Gracie told of her great-grandfather, a lean moonshining Kentucky mountain runner: Hans told her of his grandfather, and of his father, both pilots with the Luftwaffe, and how they wouldn't call out "Tally-Ho!" or "Bandits!" as did the Allied pilots ... no, the German cry was "Indians!" – to Gracie's immense amusement – and she found that the American West enjoyed a romantic reputation in Germany (and in Israel, as she later learned, but that's a separate story) Hans looked around, absolutely positively delighted to be in an honest to God Western saloon: a pretty young girl in a saloon girl's short skirt and stockings was playing a merry tune at the piano, and Willamina pointed out the Old Sheriff's portrait, pencil-drawn, with his beautiful bride: the Sheriff pointed out the elk's antlers over the bar and told the German pilot about the pale-eyed ancestress Sarah McKenna, and how she and Charlie Macneil took this particular elk with a knapped obsidian spear. The Hauptmann stared, open-mouthed, at the antlers, then regarded the Sheriff as if she were bearing a divine revelation. "Die Stoffpuppe?" he breathed, as if whispering out the name of a living saint. Willamina regarded him frankly, nodded. "Yes," she said. "The Ragdoll." "Mein Gott," Hans whispered. "Another grandfather?" "Jawohl, mein Sheriff!" "Ever been in a genuine Old West saloon before?" "Nein, mein Sheriff." "Belly up to the bar, then. Mr. Baxter, give the man what he's having." They retired to the private, back room, where a good meal was laid before them: over tenderloin beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and salad and sourdough bread, Willamina listened with pride as her great-granddaughter and her shirttail niece laughed and described their adventures in the military, how each had been absolutely floored when approached about the Mars mission, and how each had trained harder than they'd ever done in their young lives, and how now, now it was going to happen! "Marnie," Willamina said, "I'm a little surprised they didn't pick a Marine for this job." Marnie laughed. "Grandma," she said, her pale eyes bright, laughing in the electrified lamplight, "I still carry a deputy's commission, and I still remember every trick of dirty fighting you ever taught me!" "She iss a good student," Hans offered innocently – Gracie's expression was less innocent and more wolflike, for she remembered the night the three of them were set upon by twice their number of street Apaches, and how the Sheriff's granddaughter was less the proper "Offizer undt a Lady" and more an unmitigated mankilling tornado in blue jeans and cowboy boots. Hans leaned forward, elbows on the table, looked directly at the Sheriff and lowered his voice confidentially. "The most frichtening part," he almost whispered, "the most frichtening part, Sheriff, your grandt daughter fights silently." He shivered a little, closed his eyes, remembering, then opened them again. "The street Apaches set upon us mitt shouts undt demandts undt zis pair, zey mooft as if zey'd braktist all zeir lifes for zis!" Willamina smiled a little, remembering long hours with her granddaughter and her shirttail niece in the restored barn, Daciana's barn as it was known, a great round structure built beneath the overhang of a natural granite cave: she'd taught her daughters there, she'd taught her sons there, and elsewhere, she'd taught her granddaughters, her nieces, she'd taught the Ladies' Tea Society there. "You could say that," Willamina agreed slowly, took a final sip of her coffee, pushed back from the table. "So. You're here in the Wild West. What would you like to see?" Hans' grin was quick, bright, boyish. "I voot like to zee," he said, looking at Gracie and back to the Sheriff, and his accent disappeared entirely: "The Lady Esther." "We can do that!" Hans stopped dead on the boardwalk and honestly stared. A long, tall, lean waisted lawman with an iron grey mustache regarded him with pale eyes: hard eyes, cold eyes, eyes like the very heart of a mountain glacier: within these eyes he saw humor, and a laugh that crept out the corners, and wrinkled his flesh, and the black-suited lawman with the brushed black Stetson and gleaming stovepipe boots thrust out his hand. "Linn Keller," he said. "Willamina is my mother." "Mein Gott," Hans breathed. "A cowboy!" Linn laughed. "I've been called worse!" He looked at the Sheriff. "I have the carriage." "Thank you, dear," Willamina said in a tired old woman's voice, so convincing Hans looked at her in shock: she laughed and so did he, and they boarded the gleaming carriage, settling into the tuck-and-roll upholstery, as Willamina's hired man eased off the brake and flipped the reins, and they clattered down the pavement toward the depot. Hans marveled at this little town he'd heard so much about. He'd had Gracie describe it, and her description came to life as they drove. There, on the left, the funeral parlor – it used to be taller, with a false front; beside it, the alley, then the Sheriff's office – a gleaming, polished-quartz structure with heavy, double glass doors, built on the same site as the original log structure – uphill from the funeral parlor, the Mercantile, modern now, with plate glass windows, with mowers and tillers and hand tools on display, and across the street, the library, and its display of ladies' period gowns from the 1880s, and a treadle sewing machine from the McKenna Dress Works. He turned, gawping like a tourist: there, the little whitewashed schoolhouse, the town park, the little whitewashed church – he peered into the darkening shadow, trying to make out bullet gouges in the bell tower ceiling. They drove on down the street, past the bank, past the firehouse, broader and more modern than the original tall, narrow horse house; they turned beside the firehouse and were at the depot, and chuffing quietly, breathing in the dusk like a great and powerful iron beast, The Lady Esther waited patiently on steel rails. Hans vaulted happily from the carriage, reached up and swung Gracie down: he took her hand like it was delicate bone china, walked slowly, reverently towards the locomotive, his eyes wide, feeling the heat from her boiler, staring at the spray of black-ribbon-tied roses on the side of the cab, and the letters beneath – gold leaf, with black shadowing – "The Lady Esther," he whispered aloud, and nodded. "Would you like to climb up, stand in the cab?" Willamina offered, and Hans shook his head, smiled. "Nein, mein Sheriff," he said gently, then laughed and looked up at her sand dome, her steam dome, the diamond stack breathing invisibly into the darkening night. He turned and laughed a little uncertainly. "Ironic, isn't it," he said thoughtfully, his accent just flavoring his words, but only just. "Ironic ... I fly beyond Mach mit impunity, I am going to fly –" He looked at Marnie, who gave him a warning shake of the head. "I am going to fly on Mars," he amended, "but I would be ... intimidated ... to set foot ..." He nodded at the cab, at the grey-haired old man in overalls and the hickory stripe cap leaning casually out the window, looking down at his guests. "I vouldt be intimidated to set foot in there." They drove back, past the Silver Jewel and on up the street and out of town but a little ways, to the Sheriff's house: The Bear Killer drowsed on the front porch, at least until they drove up, until the door opened and a man stood silhouetted, and the smell of baking bread rolled out to greet them. They sat around Willamina's kitchen table and laughed and talked and drank tea and ate fresh from the oven sourdough with hand churned butter, and Hans pressed the Sheriff for tales of her pale eyed ancestor, that lean old lawman with the iron grey mustache, and Willamina laughed and told him tales of the grand old man, and finally conversation sagged, and Marnie looked across the table and her voice grew serious. "Grandma," she said, and her voice was almost that of a little girl, "this is probably the last time I'll see you." "I know," Willamina whispered, her throat dry. "I mean ... ever." Willamina nodded. "I know ... a century and more ago ... covered wagons and oxen and all that, and people left all they knew and everyone they knew and they went into a distant land and faced death and that's what we'll be doing but Grandma ..." Marnie swallowed, blinked, bit her bottom lip. "Grandma, I'm a little scared." Willamina smiled gently, nodded. "If you weren't a little scared," she said frankly, "you'd be a little nuts." Marnie laughed, surprised, Gracie laughing with her. "I think we're all kind of nuts, running off to another whole planet!" Gracie declared firmly. "Weight will be at a premium," Willamina sighed. "Otherwise I'd rig you with a full gunbelt and ten thousand rounds of ammunition, a rifle and shotgun and –" She stopped, frowned. "But I suppose you'll be issued what you need. That, or you'll make it once you get there." "You wouldn't believe what we can 3-D print nowadays, Grandma!" Willamina nodded. "It would cost a young fortune to freight one pound of goods from here to there." "Zere vill be communication," Hans said slowly, "but iss not the same." "No it's not," Gracie agreed, picking up her tea, taking a sip, the smiling. "I think tea is something I will really, really miss!" "So tell me, Sheriff," Hans said, breaking the spell, "tell me something of your own career. Your granddaughter tells me you are a most effective Sheriff." "Oh she does, does she?" Willamina smiled, looking at her granddaughter and leaning back a little. "Well, there was the time, back in Chauncey ..." It was well that they had two days' leave. Hans and Gracie and Marnie went back to Houston, and then to Canaveral, with memories of actually riding the steam train, of watching the Sheriff's son buck out an Appaloosa stallion, of sleeping in a log home well older than all their years added together. Hans insisted on formally asking the eldest Maxwell for the honor of his permission, to ask Gracie for her hand in marriage: he'd shaken hands with a blue-eyed Kentucky moonshiner, and they'd toasted the upcoming marital union with something that went down like Mama's milk and blew the socks right off his feet, and when Hauptmann Hans Merckel lay back on his launch couch and took his first long breath of the anesthetic gas that would prepare him for stasis, he smiled a little, for he'd gotten to wear a gunbelt and handle a pair of revolvers worn by a lean old lawman with an iron grey mustache. Just before his eyes closed, he wondered drowsily about that white wolf he'd seen outside the Sheriff's house, and he made a mental note to ask his wife sometime about it, and then his eyes closed and he did not wake up until a slender man with a caduceus embossed on his skinsuit removed the oxygen mask from the Hauptmann's face and said, "Wake up, Hauptmann. You're a Martian now!"
  6. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    SHORT STORIES!

    There is a marvelous freedom with not having to keep things in chronological order. In this short snort, the Sheriff is considerably younger, as is her son: we infer his youth from having his appendix removed, and that this is not her firstborn, as she's in the cafeteria having a meal, while he's in recovery. Here we see a glimpse into her past, a facet only alluded to in the several past tales we've told of this pale eyed descendant of her pale-eyed ancestor ... you know, the one with the iron grey mustache and a fiercely protective nature. 16. YA GOT MINE BEAT! "May I join you?" Willamina looked up and smiled tiredly, nodded to the chair opposite: a tall, slender man in scrubs set his tray down, swung his narrow backside into the chair. "How's your son?" Willamina chuckled a little. "His appendix is out now. He's still in recovery." The nurse nodded. "They know you're here?" Willamina picked up the pepper shaker, briskly anointing her mashed potatoes and gravy: the nurse opened his hand, she slid the heavy glass shaker across the table to him: he peppered his own, traded pepper for salt, gave a quick double-shake, slid it across to the pale eyed Sheriff. "I don't need to taste 'em," he muttered. "Taters always take salt!" Willamina laughed. "Man after my own heart!" "I heard they tried to recruit you." Willamina nodded, chewing a bite of meatloaf. "I told 'em I get in enough trouble as Sheriff, I didn't need to work as a nurse too!" "How did you like nursing?" Willamina wrinkled her nose. "I started out hating nursing school and it went downhill from there!" "You too?" She nodded, tearing open the roll, twisting her butter knife in the little individually packaged pat, spread the gut grease, looked up at her companion. "You've got a story. You go first." His chuckle was dry, almost forced. "Not much to tell, really. The school discriminated against men hell west and crooked. I was lied to and lied about from the word go. On graduation day they waited until I crossed the stage, got my pin, handed the stub of my short timer's stick to my favorite instructor and then a runner came up and told me the Dean needed to see me immediately if not sooner." "Short timer's stick," Willamina mused. "You're an Army brat?" He nodded. "My Dad was in the Southeast Asia War Games. You?" "Sandpile. Marines." "That's right, I'm sorry. I forgot." She waved a hand. "What did the Dean want?" "She asked me why I hadn't taken my Pharmacology final. I told her the instructor told me my grades were good enough I didn't have to, so I didn't. She said that wasn't right, I had to take it and since I hadn't, my graduation was invalid. "I told her if she had any questions she should call the instructor and she said the gal was on a Bahamas cruise and I said 'How convenient,' and my voice just dripped sarcasm." Willamina's eyes were half veiled and he saw her eyes go a little more pale. "I told her, 'Why don't I just tricky-trot upstairs to the testing center and take it right now." She waved a dismissive hand and said 'Do what you want.' "I went upstairs, I was back in five minutes, I laid the paper on the desk in front of her." Willamina raised an eyebrow. "I scored one hundred per cent." Willamina's eyes narrowed at the corners, a smile of approval from one warrior to another. "I asked her if there was anything else and she couldn't even look me in the eye." They ate in silence for a minute, long enough for the nurse's curiosity to get the best of him. "How about you, Sheriff? You've got a story and I'd like to hear it." "You are familiar with confidentiality." "Intimately." "You have read the statistics that most nurses were raped as a young teen, that the head shrinkers theorize that's why women become nurses, to heal where they themselves were harmed." He nodded. "My father was town marshal back East. He was killed in the line of duty. My mother was a damned drunk and she threw out his gunbelt and the flag they gave us at his funeral." She saw his hands close slowly into fists. "I was ... brutalized ... but I didn't just go into nursing." She looked up, her eyes hard and cold. "I went into the community college's police academy as well." He nodded slowly. "The nursing instructors did not like it ... that I was taking a dual major, that I arranged my classes to avoid conflict between them, and they really did not like my arriving in class in a police uniform." The nurse grinned, nodded encouragement. "I was in my emergency room rotation as a nursing student when we had a situation." He leaned forward, elbows on either side of his tray, the meal forgotten: fingers laced, he pressed his upper lip against his index fingers, eyes intent on the quiet-voiced, pale-eyed woman across from him. "A man came in and pulled a gun. "I trained for that, and the fact that I wore a white dress and pantyhose didn't stop reflex from taking over." Again that slow, encouraging nod. "I seized the muzzle and twisted, I got both hands on it and wound it around backwards and yanked hard." Her bottom jaw slid out as she talked, as she remembered. "I remember driving my foot into his thigh as I yanked. "He was high on something and breaking his finger and then tearing it out by its roots didn't stop him so I had his gun in both hands and I cold cocked him." She chuckled dryly. "My second kick to the gut wasn't really necessary. "Anyway ... I got called on the carpet next day in nursing school, and the dean said they were going to expel me. "I felt myself getting mad. "I knew if I stayed I would say ... regrettable things ... so I turned and started to walk out. "The Dean said 'I'm not done,' and I said 'Oh yes you are,' and I left. "I was mad clear through and I didn't know where to go and I just started driving and I ended up at the police station. "I went inside and the Chief was grinning when I came through the door. "I recognized the reporter and I knew better than to get anywhere near but the Chief saw me and waved me in. "I went in and said 'Chief, we have a situation,' and he switched off his good-old-boy an switched on his I-am-in-charge and we went into the inner office and he closed the door. "I was mad. "I was absolutely clear to my core mad. "I took a long moment to steady myself and then I told the Chief what the Dean said to me and he frowned and then he took me by the shoulders and said, "Willa, I want you in your class As, we're going over there,' and then he opened the door and told the reporter he was giving him an exclusive. "We went back over to the college. "We went back over in a convoy. "When I walked in, it was not as Willamina the nursing student, it was Willamina the police officer. Full uniform, gunbelt, sidearm and baton, and the instructor did not like it one little bit. "The Chief and I held back while two lines of long tall lawmen marched into the lecture hall with rifles at port arms. "The Honor Guard was practicing that day and when they found out what the Chief had in mind they didn't hesitate ... we had retired men from our department, we had current and retired from the Sheriff's Office, we had some State Troops, everyone was in uniform, everyone was warmed up and ready, and it was an impressive sight when this much spit-and-polished marched in, solemn jawed and straight backed. "These guys were good. "When they formed a double row they started with the Queen Anne's Salute and got fancy from there, and the Chief and I marched in between spinning M1 Garands, and the instructor is standing there with her jaw hanging down to her belly button. "Someone ran and got the Dean and she got there just as the Chief introduced the reporter and said that as I had saved lives and prevented a mass killing in a hospital setting, that the Department was recognizing my heroism in executing a barehand disarm while off duty. "He formally presented me with a commendation, the reporter got it all on video, and the Dean of Nursing looked like she'd bitten into a rotten dill pickle." "Did they kick you out of the program?" "How could they? The hospital sent their CEO over for the occasion and he waxed eloquent over me: he said I'd saved lives among staff and patient population alike, and their legal beagle buddied up with the nursing school's legal counsel and suggested that if there were any more episodes of discrimination against me, for any reason at all, the nursing school would find itself without clinical sites anywhere in the state, and the next day the Board of Nursing informed the school that if there was any retribution against me, they would lose their accreditation." "I'll bet they really liked you after that." "Like the Black Plague," Willamina sighed. "They just couldn't wait to get rid of me." "Expulsion, or graduation?" "Graduation. My mother was too drunk to attend. I could tell it hurt the dean to have to read the commendation for heroism when I was given my diploma." "Sheriff, yours has mine beat." He eased his chair back from the table, paused, turned back to face the pale eyed woman square-on. "Thank you for that disarm," he said quietly. "Do you remember an ER nurse, Janice, curly blond hair, red cheeks, a little heavy set?" "Oh heavens yes!" "She was there that night." "You're ...?" "Yep." He grinned. "You saved my Mama's life."
  7. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    Walking to School In Australia

    Mick Dundee, my hero!
  8. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    My Invisible Ink Fountain Pen

    Gorgeous pen!
  9. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    SHORT STORIES!

    15. FAST, HARD AND DIRTY I don't know where it came from but when it come spinnin' up ag'in my shin bone I grabbed holt of it and taken it for the gift it was. I grabbed attair singletree in both hands and drove it into a man's crotch on my way up and hit him ag'in in the face as I come to straight and then I whipped it up and blocked a punch and I felt and heard the man's hand break when knuckles hit steel banded white oak and I did not care. I let go of one end and whipped it around and caught a second fellow's collar bone and hit it hard enough to break, I seen his shoulder drop right before his face screwed up and he bit down hard to keep from cryin' like a little girl and I laid about like Samson with the jaw bone of a jack mule, driving the end of attair singletree into bellies, ribs and anything else I could find, I bent and swung and cracked shins hard enough to break 'em. Men went down and they went down hard and they went down bloodied and I had a good hand in it, I was certainly not the only one puttin' a stop to this general disagreement but I did my share and when the dust settled the hoosegow was full and we had about a dozen chained to trees nearby until His Honor could hold court, and hold court he did, he went to each prisoner and had a talk with 'em and assessed fines or jail time as he saw fit, mostly fines because we didn't have as many lockups in the calabozo as it would've taken to handle everyone. Now ordinarily there was not such a large knock down drag out knuckle party in Firelands, ordinarily it was quiet and boring and that suits me just fine, there was a bunch come in with wagons and two trainloads as well and all of 'em had the notion somehow we was Cripple Creek and they figured we'd had a gold strike and when they found out they hadn't been no strike here why tempers got the better of 'em and of course it didn't help none that most of 'em got all likkered up to try and ease the disappointment, I reckon. I reckon I could have wrote most of a book had I set down and put my pen to every last individual's activity in attair fracas, but I didn't see no need, besides I'm kind of lazy when it comes to writin' things down. Sheriff Willamina Keller frowned, her finger laid across her upper lip like a mustache, her forehead wrinkling a little as she read. She looked up as her chief deputy came in. JW Barrents regarded the pale eyed Sheriff with Navajo-obsidian eyes and tilted his head a little. "I know that look," he said quietly, closing the door behind him. "What's up?" Willamina took a long, patient breath. "It's Jacob," she said, and Barrents chuckled, glancing up at one of the several framed prints on the wall. "You make it sound like he's a naughty boy who's just done something today." "I was going over old court records," Willamina said, poking a finger at an obviously old, worn ledger. "I cross referenced with Jacob's journal." "And?" "Here's what he wrote about a general riot ... from the newspaper account, the street was filled with 'seething humanity' ... Jacob wrote, 'We had a riot. Took care of it.'" "That's it?" "That's it." Chief Deputy JW Barrents shook his head, chuckling. "I always did like his way with words."
  10. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    SHORT STORIES!

    14. BETTER, NOW Past Sheriff Willamina Keller leaned her head back and laughed, bringing several smiles in reply from the audience. The Ladies' Tea Society was visited by a group of tourists from the Z&W Scenic Railway's tour group; there was a delay while repairs were conducted, something to do with a reported problem up the line, and the group was brought to the Silver Jewel Saloon in two freight wagons converted for just this use – each one had two rows of school bus seats, harvested from cycled-out buses, mounted longways down the length of the wagon, set back to back so the occupants could look at the town as they drove. Willamina was their tour guide (she was also owner of the Z&W Railroad, and had excused herself from the Tea Society meeting, and swept onto the depot platform in a fitted McKenna gown and picture hat) – swinging her reticule from one daintily-gloved hand, she brought her other daintily-gloved hand to her lips, blew hard and frowned: nothing came forth but the hiss of wind: she knew eyes were upon her, so she shook her hand, frowned at it, shook it briskly and then whipped her parasol up over one shoulder and announced, "I suppose you're all wondering why I called you here today!" This, of course, with her innocent-yet-mischievous expression, brought a number of chuckles: she directed the restless visitors to the end of the platform and onto the wagons, leading by example, and stood behind the driver, facing her guests as they drove up the modern, paved street of Firelands, Colorado. Willamina used her parasol as a pointer, as a cane, as an extra hand to make grand gestures: here, she said, was their original church, restored to original condition, and if they looked closely, they would see bullet-gouges in the ceiling of the open bell tower: the Parson and the Sheriff's pale eyed son used it as a firing-point the night raiders rode into town intending to steal the women, rape the cattle, burn everything to the ground, and after all that they intended to become rather unpleasant; there, across the street, the modern new funeral home, which was originally Digger's funeral parlor – yes, folks, his name wasn't really Digger, but that's all anyone ever called him, and most folks never knew his right name. The original building was wood framed and three stories, with a false front, and the fire department, their very own red-shirted Irish Brigade, used it for ladder practice, for they knew that practicing their craft in the public eye guaranteed they would retain a favored position in the popular imagination. Whether it was planned, or not, the Firelands Fire Department's restored Ahrens steam engine, drawn by three matched white mares, came trotting the opposite direction, red-shirted, black-mustachioed firemen riding the ladder wagon: they waved pressed-leather Philadelpha helmets and hailed the Sheriff most cheerfully, and the big, muscled Irishman standing up in the driver's box swung his blacksnake whip and snapped a hole in the air three feet above the mares' ears, to the delight of boys young and old alike on the sidewalk and in the tour wagons both. The Sheriff's Office, in its turn, was pointed out: its polished-quartz construction was on the site of the original, log, Sheriff's Office, lost to a fire the night a tornado ripped through the mountains very near the town, two days after the Old Sheriff's death: Old Pale Eyes, as he'd been known, helped draw up the plans, and these plans were overseen by his pale eyed son Jacob, and across the street, our destination, the Silver Jewel Saloon, owned first by the Sheriff's wife Esther, and then by the Sheriff after her demise. Watch your step, folks, please come in, we're just in time for the Ladies' Tea Society meeting. "We've taken a page from certain Medieval re-enactors," Willamina smiled, her voice carrying well to the farthest rows, "and we re-enact ... creatively." She held out an arm. "For instance, I used a Singer treadle machine to sew this dress, instead of stitching it by hand –" "You made that?" a visitor blurted, her mouth open, and Willamina laughed. "Why yes, J.C. Penney didn't have this in stock, and I was in a hurry, so ..." She shrugged. The members of the Ladies' Tea Society – women, and a half-dozen girls, from four to fourteen, all in period garb – were mixed evenly with the tourists, a little uncomfortable in more modern attire: two little girls giggled together, one in a pretty, ruffled frock, the other in jeans and sneakers: their clothing may have been different by more than a century, but giggly little girls are the same in any era. "The Silver Jewel Saloon changed, over time. It was originally a dirty saloon and whorehouse, then it was a respectable saloon and restaurant; Prohibition saw its time as a restaurant alone, with the bar and the glasses and empty bottles just for show, and of course gambling laws took their toll on games of chance. We've restored it to a degree, but the restaurant and bar are once again operating together. There is a small stage and we have entertainment, most commonly of The Period, the mid-1880s. Dances, waltzes, square dances and the like." "I love your tin ceiling," one of the men said, pointing. "It's original. We were doing some overhaul work and a tin panel fell loose out in the main room" – Willamina pointed – "I kicked my chair back as a circular saw fell through and hit the table in front of me. Ruined my pie and cracked the tabletop, but when I threw myself back I caught a pocketwatch in my skirt." She reached thumb and forefinger into a hidden pocket, drew it forth, pressed the stem to flip open the hunter case. "This was one of the first railroad watches issued by the Z&W Railroad, and it has a hand painted portrait inside the case." She touched a button on the podium beside her; a screen hummed down from an almost unnoticed slit in the ceiling, lit up: a few more buttons, a computer mouse, and an image: it was a picture of the same watch, close-up. "This is the portrait of Esther Wales Keller, the green-eyed, red-headed wife of the Old Sheriff, my thrice-great-grandfather." She smiled, touched another control: now they saw a hand-drawn pencil sketch of the Old Sheriff and his wife, sitting together, laughing. "This is rare for the period. Normally people had solemn expressions because of long exposure times with their photographs, and also a smile was seen as a sign of weakness, and nobody wished to be seen as weak." The screen went dark. "Also dentistry was not the art it is today, and it was not at all uncommon for people to have bad teeth, which they did not wish to reveal with a smile." A restless little boy elbowed his sister and stage-whispered "Brush your teeth," and the little girl responded with a distressed "Mo-o-om! He's touching me!" at which Willamina, and everyone else, laughed. "There was some discussion of restoring the original Sheriff's office." Willamina's tone was light, conversational, easy to listen to. "We have his original desk, and we did have his original cast iron, pot belly stove, at least until a rock fall in the underground mineshaft where it was found. Cast iron does not do well when a ton of granite lands on it." She smiled, as if at a secret, then continued: "The Old Sheriff had trouble with his office chairs." She turned, gripped the back of an old fashioned, wooden office chair, wheeled it to the middle of the front. "You'll notice this has four casters. Modern chairs have five, for a very practical reason." She turned the chair, sat in it. "The Old Sheriff had back trouble as a result of wartime service. He was a veteran of what some call Lincoln's War, or the War of Northern Aggression, or the War of Secession. He just called it That Damned War, and I have to agree with him." There was the trace of an edge to her voice, which disappeared as she continued, "An old smoothbore cannon blew up beside him and caved in some ribs. Twenty years later the town doctor pulled shrapnel out of a reinjury at the same site, which did ease some of his pain, but his back gave him grief, and these chairs did not help a bit. He'd lean back in it and try to sleep and –" So saying, she tilted back, intending just to get a bit of a tilt, but the chair had other ideas. The sound of a hardwood chair SLAMMING into the floor was unexpected, loud, sharp, spectacular: the sight of a woman's stockinged legs, high button shoes, her sharp little heels pointing at the ceiling, was likewise not quite what had been planned. Silence and shocked expressions: one man surged to his feet, powered forward, went to one knee: "Ma'am?" he asked quietly, urgently. "Owww," Willamina groaned, grimacing: she rolled to her right, toward him and out of the chair, gripped his forearm, his shoulder: he rose with her, his rising helping her stand, his hands firm around her waist, then cupping her elbows. "Are you okay?" he almost whispered, and she nodded, lips pressed together: she reached up, pulled out three long hatpins, removed her hat and scaled it off to the side, placed the long pins on the podium. "I meant to do that," she said in a pained voice, which got a good laugh, and she laughed with them. "Actually I didn't mean to do that, but it shows why the Old Sheriff SEIZED his wooden chair and THREW it out the door and took a broad ax and proceeded to bust it up into stovewood right in the middle of the street." She laughed a little at the thought. "For some odd reason, the sight of a pale eyed old lawman swearing at the offending furniture and disassembling it with less than gentle means, guaranteed nobody interrupted his work!" "Talk about a traffic stopper," a young man said appreciatively, and Willamina extended her gloved hand toward him, palm up. "Exactly!" she declared. She reached behind the podium, withdrew an engraved, and rather worn, Winchester model of 1873 rifle: she held it up in one hand, and with the other, extracted a wooden stocked Mini-14 carbine. "This" – she held up the Winchester – "is Old Pale Eyes' personal Winchester, a wedding gift from his wife. It's a One of One Thousand, hand picked for accuracy, engraved and presented. This" – she smiled, held up the Mini-14 – "is my personal cruiser gun. I carried this as Sheriff and it never let me down. This one can say BANG ten times before you have to reload, and this one" – she smiled – "can go BANG twice as many times before the hopper runs dry." She laid the rifles down on the table behind her, picked up a telegraph key mounted on a small plank. "This was state of the art communication back in the day." She tapped the round, black button a few times; the electronic sounder clicked loudly. "That's the sound they would have heard, a simple click: one for a dit, two for a dah, or dot and dash if you prefer. This" – she held up a black-plastic talkie – "well, you're all familiar with these, and then there are those silly cell phones everyone carries." She smiled, for a half dozen of the devices were out, recording her presentation. "So whether it's communication, firepower or these office chairs" – she bent down, picked up the wooden chair and set it on its wheels – "sometimes the good old days aren't all that good old." She laughed a little. "I'll admit, I like my nice comfortable high backed office chair with five wheels!" "Ma'am?" The rear door opened and the Z&W's conductor stepped in, tugged at his polished cap-brim. "We're ready." "What happened?" "A minor rock slide, ma'am, and a tree down. The track is clear, the tree's bucked up and loaded and it's stable up-slope. We should have no more problems." "And that concludes our presentation for today," Willamina smiled. "If you'll follow me, we'll load up and ride back to the depot and continue the Scenic Railway tour!"
  11. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    Below zero and shooting in short sleeves...

    Eutaw knows his rifle! Brass goes consistently to the same place? Now there's a handy trait for a rifle to have! I had a Browning Hi-Power that was the same ... I could lay my hat on the ground and drop my fired brass in it (as long as I did not change stance, grip or position) all day long. Had another that slung brass like a fat man spittin' water melon seeds. (Personally I like the idea of staying warm in such inclement weather! When it's far enough below zero my Jeep's electronic throttle runs up the white flag and fails, it's too cold to be out!)
  12. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    runner mauled by mountain lion choked animal to death

    Dear God ... I know the lacerations the great cats' claws can make ... ... and I've seen a necropsied horse skull after a cat's bite turned a saddlehorse into supper ... File this one under S for "Scares me and I'm fearless!" -- and my most profound respect for the man who can kill a mountain cat, bearhand! EDIT: (BAREHAND. Bare hand, not bear hand. Sorry. Phat phingers!)
  13. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    Happy Birthday Calico Mary!!!

    Birthday? Wa'l now Happy Birthday, Sunshine! I have it on the very best authority that Happy Birthday Cake contains no calories! Even better ... if it's chock'lit cake ... chocolate is made from cacao, cacao is a bean, beans are vegetables ... therefore chocolate cake counts as a salad!
  14. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    Barret M107A1

    Oh my goodness ... Curves in the right places, she's just the right size to hold, she's a delight to the eye, my heart beats all the more quickly to see her beauty ... The girl's nice too.
  15. Linn Keller, SASS 27332, BOLD 103

    .22 magnum

    I don't know if AMT still makes their Hardballer II self loading pistol. Had two of them, absolutely LOVED their sights. The pistolas in that persuasion generally have a minor fireball and they're LOUD, I'd compare them to a low end .357 for sound level though this is entirely subjective as I lack a decibel meter. I ran across Armscor .22 mag ammo at a decent price and wish I'd stocked up!
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