It has been a long road...

...but I have been reestablishing relations with the imaginary people living in my head. Also known as characters.

Turns out, they're not happy with me. One of the main characters in the Embarkment 2577 series has been stuck in an alien spaceship for around two years while I've been in real life. He's pretty upset - and refuses to tell me how he gets out of the snag. I may have to poke him, haha.

Another character is grumpy, because I left him in the 16th century for a year and a half. He claims to miss clean water and electronics. Not to worry, he'll be back in the 21st century any day now. Maybe...

Yes, having conversations with imaginary people is normal for me. It's okay, I'm a writer. 😉

Now I just have to pick which work in process should be worked on. Here is the beginning of one of them:


Anette passed a long row of beat-up cars and stepped into a dark repair shop.

Three vehicles were on lifts, and the men working on them looked like they could get wheel nuts off using only their fingers.

"Excuse me..."

The closest giant nodded to the side, and now when her eyes adapted from the bright sunshine outside, she made out a counter. The woman manning it didn't look too interested, but she was probably still Anette's best chance.

“I’m here to check on my car. It’s an o-two Impala. Gold. Had problems with the tranny.”

She held out the ticket, but the woman didn’t even look. She blew a bubble and popped it before answering in a broad Russian accent. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen anything about an Impala. Do you see it?”

“I do not. Maybe you could check some of your papers? Or your computer? Compare the number on here with your system?”

It sounded snarkier than she intended, but she needed the car and this person wasn’t even trying to help. How had her precious vehicle ended up in this dump?

That’s what she got for asking an ex for help. Like he would actually help her.

Idiot.

The receptionist, if that’s what she was, might not know how to use a computer. She was probably hired more on looks and to compete with the vulgar calendars on the wall.

She didn’t sit on the hood of a car or have a motorcycle between her legs, but she wore a bright red miniskirt, a flowered top that left little to the imagination, and high-heeled shoes that would make Anette fall and break at least a couple of bones. She was also thin enough to fly away on the smallest whiff of wind.

I can still see your roots. Bleaching hair that dark peroxide blonde can make it fall off. If you don’t find my car, I hope it falls off.

All this anger was bad for her karma, but at the moment, she didn’t care.

The woman leaned over the counter and hollered, “Valentin!”

What is this? A bad gangster movie?

The man who sauntered over was tall with shoulder-length brown hair that needed a wash and about two days’ worth of stubble. He wore black jeans, a leather vest with nothing under it, several long necklaces, and tattoos that didn’t fit together. When he came close enough for her to smell him, she could barely contain an urge to wave a hand in front of her nose. Had he bathed in alcohol?

It wasn't possible to get drunk from someone’s breath, right?

Cleaned up and sober he’d look good, especially with those muscles. Right there and then, towering over her, he was about the scariest thing she’d seen.

“What’s the problem?”

He too had a thick Russian accent. Of course he did.

“I’m looking for my car. You were supposed to replace the transmission.”

He made an innocent gesture. “I don’t know. What car? We fix cars. Maybe it’s stolen, it happens.”

“What do you mean stolen? You guys were supposed to replace the transmission, not lose it.”

Valentin gazed into her eyes, clearly trying to make himself irresistible. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared. Playing nice would probably get her further than being angry, but she was barely able to keep her voice in check.

“I need it. Please try to find it.”

He stared at her a moment longer and shrugged.

“Mikhail! Have you seen this lady’s car?”

A man if possible even more in need of a bath came out from behind a minivan, drying his oily hands on a rag. Valentin was tall, but this man must be part giant.

“I don’t know. What kind of car.”

“It’s an…” He waved his hand towards her.

“It’s an Impala.”

The giant said, “No.”

Anette drew a deep breath and forced herself to relax her shoulders.

“You will find my car, and you will fix my car, or I will return with a friendly police officer who will investigate what happened to my car.”

Valentin said, “No.”

She said, “Yes.”

He frowned and glanced over his shoulder. “Mikhail, find her car.”

She shook her head and headed towards the outside. Outside held sunshine and a real world populated by real people. “I’ll be back tomorrow.”

She didn’t expect the Russian drunk to follow her. Thank goodness she’d asked the taxi to wait for her, or she might have been stuck with this chop-shop caricature.

He opened the car door for her and held it open. “I like your spirit. You come work for me.”

“No.”

“Yes. I can get you new car, good pay, other… job.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but it’s still no.”

He shook his head a little. “Shame. Well, think about it.”

She tugged at the door and he let it go, allowing her to slam it shut. “Please drive. Get us out of here.”

The taxi driver said, “Not a place I would choose personally. Don’t mess too much with those guys.”

“I didn’t choose it. My ex dropped it off here, probably as punishment.”


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