Monday, February 20, 2012
Come Meet My Supporting Cast!
Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Flowers on the Fence Country! You know, that day is approaching, the one that seemed so far away back last June when I signed that magic piece of paper, the one that promised after years of storing manuscripts in my closet, one of them would actually see the light of day. You know, that first book contract. The funny thing is, the book that’s actually seeing the light of day first is the one I never took seriously, never expected to see in print in any shape, form or fashion. Not that I ever really expected to see any of ‘em in print in any shape, form or fashion, but least of all this one. That’s probably because it was conceived and birthed as nothing but pure escapism – a fantasy land created solely for the author, by the author, as an extension of that bubble-bath commercial. You know the one? “Calgon, take me awaaaayyyyy….”
That’s what Miami Days & Truscan (K)nights was created to do. Take me away, right along with corporate troubleshooter Tess Ames, through that door in the Bermuda Triangle, into the fantasy land of Trusca where Truscan warriors guard the world from the ravages of the Prian Empire. An empire with inhabitants who look like humanoid pigs, for cryin’ out loud! Can’t you just imagine how Tess feels? Jerked rudely out of the jet-setting business world of a Miami based international corporation into a dark forest? Tossed abruptly into a culture that’s a cross between Camelot and the Dark Ages, a world of magic and omens and portents and Power Stones? I mean, sure, Randalph of Trusca, Dalph for short – Truscan Kings don’t stand much on ceremony – well, that boy’s hot, no denying it, but communicating with him?
Well, Tess lucked out on that one. See, years before, when Dalph was seven, an American pilot flew through the same door. His name’s …
* * * *
McKay. Johnny McKay. Thanks for finally turning over the microphone, darlin’. You kinda long-winded there, aren’t you? Well, being a writer and all, guess you can’t help that, no more than Tess can help being the take-charge kind of gal she is. Yeah, I’d always wanted to fly, so I joined the Air Force for the training. Loved flying, didn’t care much for the Air Force. So when I got out, I opened a charter flight line in Miami, all those rich folks flying out to the Caribbean Islands, you know. I was checking out a new plane, third one I’d been able to buy. Thought I had the world by the tail. I was headed out toward Bermuda, and I ran into this patch of gray fog that – well, when I ran out of it, I wasn’t exactly in the same world anymore.
Dalph’s father Brentar was King at the time, figured folks who could fly through the air had to be good for something, he made me Dalph’s tutor. He was seven years old when I came through. Have to say, I’m no scientist or doctor or teacher, heck, I’m a good ole’ Midwestern boy, but just by being raised in our world, in our time, I been pretty handy to have around over the years. Tess says I’m sorta like the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
And then of course, when the roving patrol that rescued Tess got back to Trussa – that’s the capital of Trusca – I turned her over to my wife, Kiera. Bless her heart, Kiera speaks English real good, worked hard at it, figured a man ought to be able to speak his own language in his own home, don’t you know. Yeah, I’m a lucky man, how many wives’d go to that much trouble for their husbands? Kiera’s Dalph’s aunt from the wrong side of the blanket, she runs the Rata – that’s what we’d call the Castle over here, the royal residence. Lived with that woman over twenty years, we got two boys, Crayton and Cretor. She’s yet to call me by my first name, calls me “McKay”, like those Victorian women always called their husbands “mister”.
I needed all the help I could get with Dalph and Tess, let me tell you. ‘Cause Tess and Dalph – the two of them, well, all anybody’s gotta do is look at ‘em. Everybody can see it but them. If I could figure out how to harness electricity, I could power Trusca with the sparks they shoot off each other. But you know how it is. Sometimes the two involved, well, they’re the very last to know.
So I’m glad I was there for Tess. I remember. Stranger in a strange world, you never forget what that feels like. Glad I could make the transition a little easier for her. Well, at least she thought so till she misunderstood something I told her just a little bit – okay, so maybe I did misrepresent the exact situation a tad but it was for her own good, really it was – and decided I was Benedict Arnold. But we worked it out. We’re big buddies. I’d die for Tess, just like I’d die for Dalph. And in Trusca, believe me, that’s a real possibility.
‘Course now, I can’t say as how their first meeting set the stage for a real calm relationship. Tess’d just crash landed in Trusca with a dying pilot and a wrecked plane, after all. And I can see where she might have gotten the idea she wasn’t being rescued so much as she was being captured, we didn’t have a hell of lot of time for explanations, the Prians being hot on our tails. Dalph didn’t have any choice about the pilot, now, that poor guy had seconds to live at most, and no way were we leaving him for the Prians, dead or alive, those pigs got some strange dietary habits. But Dalph blowing up her plane and all for the pilot’s funeral pyre – yeah, I can see how she might have gotten the wrong idea. ‘Cause there’s one thing sure. Once you come through that door, you ain’t in Kansas anymore. See, it happened like this:
* * * *
He dived forward and hit the ground as he made his toss, and now he jumped to his feet as the roar of rushing flames drowned out my continuing protests. He shouted over the roar and Johnny tugged me toward the horse-like creature sporting horns as Dalph ran forward and grabbed the reins.
“Get on Dalph’s horse. He’s stronger. An extra rider won’t slow him down much.”
“Like hell I will! He just killed my pilot!”
“Like hell you won’t! I know this ain’t exactly anybody’s idea of over the rainbow, but darlin’, believe me when I tell you this. You ain’t in Kansas anymore!”
“I will not!”
Dalph spoke again, but I doubted it was a literal translation since Johnny was talking at pretty much the same time.
“He says you got exactly ten seconds to move toward that horse.”
“Or he’ll knock you out and put you on it.”
I glared at them both.
I guess my actions or lack thereof spoke louder than words and, needing no interpreter, Dalph shrugged, moved forward, and I felt the force of his fist for only a split second before the world turned black.
* * * *
April, 2012. MuseItUp Publishing. Y’all come back now, hear?