Saturday, March 21, 2009


Okay folks, on the MySpace page people said that the visiting dignitaries idea was a good one. (You guys over here have been AWFULLY QUIET, but that's okay). So I contacted a few people and 'LO AND BEHOLD' I have DIGNITARIES.

Now this is Saturday, and you get your Breakfast Serial.

But FIRST I want to do something less serious, i.e. say a few words to the posse.

If you haven't received your stuff yet, you will. Honest. For the most recent volunteers I've had to dig stuff out of boxes I've packed for the move. Since we're on deadline, I haven't had a lot of time to do that. But I will try to make it up to you.

For those of you who HAVE received your boxes, or will soon, I have a couple of messages:

First -- Toadie -- I hope you like your garden toad. Also, YOU have a special keychain. It is the key to the ultra-secret lair under the chateau. NO ONE else got the key shaped key ring. Feel special. Feel VERY special. Those of you who got the toad shaped key rings -- well, have hope. These are the key chains for the trusted types who will only have access to the weapons stores for those occasions when other, more evil, overlords attempt to move on the chateau.

I have selected a Grand High Inquisitor and have acquired Trusted and Not so Trustworthy Allies.

I am also going to be starting a newsletter. I hope you all will be willing to participate. In fact, there will probably be additional booty for posse members who sign up. Send an e-mail to: if you're interested. Put CIE/NEWSLETTER in the Re.


"Get out." Roberta Jacobs Ross was a lady, and an attorney, so she was far too dignified to shout. But her face was an ugly, mottled red, and the body beneath her exquisitely tailored dove gray suit was quivering with suppressed rage. The paramedics who'd showed up to check on Bob had stopped by the door. He might be fine, but it looked as though she might stroke out if her blood pressure went any higher.

"But mom. . . " Bobbie Jo interrupted. "She saved our lives."

"Irrelevant. You wouldn't have been in danger in the first place if it wasn't for her."

"Roberta Elaine . . ." Bob's voice was stern. I decided to interrupt before things went downhill.

"It's all right." Everybody, up to and including the paramedics turned to stare at me. "I need to go anyway." I reached down to grab the backpack Bobbie had brought in for me. "You can take the damages out of my final paycheck."

"I fully intend to." Roberta answered, her chin rising so that her nose was even further up in the air than usual.

"Roberta . . ." Bob's voice was a low growl, but I didn't stay to listen to what he had to say. She was being a b****. But I couldn't blame her. She'd come to work planning for an ordinary day and discovered something out of a horror or disaster movie. When she'd seen the corpse of the hound . . .

Oh, crap.

I had a flash of intuition. Or, maybe I finally managed to collate a lot of random information. Whatever. Normal people do not keep loaded guns within hands reach---even in Texas. Roberta's animosity had been strong from the start. I'd overheard her accusing her father of "taking in a stray cat" by hiring me. He'd answered "Everyone deserves a second chance Bobbi Sue."

She'd been on the run once too. Maybe even from the same type of danger I was.

It changed everything; and absolutely nothing. I needed to go.

I brushed past the paramedics on my way out the door. Yes, I could've opened up a seam, but you don't use obvious magic in front of the humans. Bad form and all that. Besides, you can trace back a seam--if you get back to the origin point quick enough. I did not intend to give Evan any reason to go back that office.

So I walked toward the one place that would have its own natural shielding. A church. Any church.

I wouldn't have to walk far. Tucker, Texas is a tiny town, but there are a LOT of churches. The closest was the Catholic church. Just three blocks -- straight up the tallest hill in town. And me in heels. UGH.

I'd only gotten halfway up when I heard the wheels of a truck crunching on the gravel edge of the paved road right behind me. The engine sounded familiar. I turned to look just as Bobbi Jo put her grandpa's old beheamoth in park and cut the ignition. "Sahara, wait up."

"Are you insane? Your mother's going to kill you."

She opened the door and jumped down. (It was a big truck.) Reaching back in she grabbed a shoebox. "Grandpa wanted me to give this to you. He said I needed to catch you before you made it to the church, or we'd never see you again." She gave me a look that held equal parts anger and sadness. "Are you really leaving? Without explaining anything? Without saying goodbye?"

I looked into a pair of blue eyes that were shinier than they should have been. Dammit, dammit, dammit. I like Bobbi Jo. She is the closest thing I have to a friend next to Tracker. She wasn't that much younger than me, but she'd been raised to be an innocent and I did not want to get her killed.

"Bobbi, your mom's right. I'm trouble. Now that they know I'm here . . . You've got to go."

"Sahara Jones isn't even your real name is it?" Her voice was harsh with accusation. She thought I'd lied to her. That everything was a lie. I hadn't. At least not any more than necessary.

"It's what I want to be called."

She shook her head, and a single tear escaped.

I sighed. I should leave. Just go. Standing here was wasting time I might not have. It was probably a weakness to care what she thought. I'd never even see her again. But I couldn't leave it like this. I just couldn't.

"Fine. My real name is Beulah Emmaline Cotter."


I nodded.

"Ew. I mean, that's. . . that's the kind of name they'd give your great-great-maiden aunt or something."

"This from the woman whose family has only used one name for how many generations?"

She shook her head, presumably at the perfidy of parents and nomenclature. But when she looked at me next the tears were gone, and there was even a hint of amusement in her expression "So, Sahara. My grandfather told me to give you this." She shoved a battered cardboard shoebox, the lid held down with a large rubber band, toward my chest.

"Open it."

I did. And blinked. Slowly. Twice. At which point I remembered to close my jaw before flies could fly in. Because the inside of the box held cash, worn 20 and 100 dollar bills. A lot of them. And with the cash there was something else. A handgun. A Ladysmith revolver (undoubtedly loaded---this was from Bob after all) with a pink hand grip. And extra ammo.

"The gun was my grandma's. I'm supposed to tell you 'It may not do anything against that bastard, but it'll take down his dogs. And that's something.'"

It was my turn to blink back tears. I mean, to the Jacobs, this gun was a family heirloom. And that was a lot of cash.

"Gramps has kept this box in his bottom desk drawer for years. 'Just in case.' I never knew what was in it."

"Bobbi, I can't . . ."

"You saved my life Sahara. You could've just run, but you came back and saved my grandpa. You take it."

I did.

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