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R. Eric

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About R. Eric

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    Manic Poster

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    Charleston, South Carolina
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    I write...A lot.

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  1. R. Eric

    The Press

    I just got up and getting ready for a day at my keyboard. I congratulate you. I put that together on purpose to see which of any reader would see it and comment. That's you! BRAVO!!!
  2. The Press Peter made the second broadcast live. It was recorded, but only as a record. He told them again there were going to be more presentations in Makarovian. Urging them to see what and when. These presentations would be shown on television as well. We came into the family dining room. It was again devoid of most of the family. Only Olek was there at the moment. Reading something. Getting our coffees we sat at the table with him, “Good morning, Olek!” Peter greeted. Olek looked at us and smiled, “Good morning.” I looked around quickly, “Where’s Helga?” Olek sighed, “She’s on her way to Sambor.” There was the sound of irritation in his voice. My eyes widened, “Isn’t that a little far?” Makarovia wasn’t big in width. Stryia was located in the middle of it’s widest part. It was a valley and a lot longer than it was in width by about a factor of eight or ten. Sambor was the Northernmost village or community in Makarovia. To the west was Poland, to the east was Ukraine, and to North was Belarus. Don’t forget those mountains that surrounded us. Those mountains kept us in but also protected us. There were invasions, but it wasn’t easy. There were three passes you could get through and they were watched carefully in the past and present. Two were on the east side to Ukraine and one to the west toward Romania. The train came through those passes. When the snow and ice were at their worse, even those were blocked at times. It was a couple of hours to Sambor just by the terrain. “They were having a power access problem Helga went to see about,” Olek explained glumly, “They flew her up by corporate helicopter.” He narrowed an eye and jabbed a finger in our direction, “I told her! I’m not doing this alone. She gets back in time or I cancel the conference!” He would, too. How far anyone had traveled didn’t matter. The press turnout was a lot less than for the Proposal or the Wedding, but still… I grinned at Olek, “Well, she is Dr. Helga Schneider.” I shrugged. “They flew her up there?” Peter asked, “I’m sure she insisted, knowing what was happening today.” The sound of hard soul shoes on the stone floor we heard before who was in them entered the room, but two hushed voices in a conversation told me who they were. It was almost like a library or church where it was expected you were to be quiet. Boris and Yuri entered the room and moved to sit opposite of Peter and me on Olek’s other side. “Greetings, everyone,” Boris said in a happy tone and he looked at Peter. “That was a good radio announcement this morning.” Peter’s face turned pink, “I simply told them what was happening and what to do to see it.” Boris stood again and went for his coffee. “It was more than that, you made it sound it will be exciting,” he made a second cup I knew was for Yuri. “I know what it’s about and I want to see it.” “Aw, well...” Peter began. His tone was one of those you shouldn’t have sound. I was putting butter on a large croissant. “You know what really bothers me?” I asked loud and interrupting Peter. I didn’t wait for an answer. “A person receives a compliment and the person receiving it calls the person that gave the compliment a liar.” Olek grinned as Boris slid the coffee into of Yuri. Peter looked a little indignant. “I hadn’t said anything yet!” Peter protested. “If you were going to thank Boris, fine,” I said to him. “If you were going to deny what he said in any way, you will be calling him a liar.” I looked at him directly. “If not, I will apologize in front of everyone.” Peter opened his mouth as he searched for what to say and he frowned, “Okay, I was going to do what you said.” He admitted, folding his arms across his chest in a near pout. I smiled at him, “I said, I didn’t want to see that Peter again. That includes hearing from him. You were a star these past two days.” Peter looked at Boris. “Thank you, Boris.” “Is anyone using the plane Monday?” Yuri asked getting a piece of bread from the basket. Olek shook his head, “No.” He suspected as I did as to why. Yuri nodded, “I will need to pick up Mikell and Cosmo.” I almost let out a cheer! Peter was smiling but asked, “Has he...improved at all?” Yuri looked serious a moment, “His overall health has improved, but no he still can’t walk unaided. He will if he gets therapy.” “It’s not premature?” Olek asked. “I was told he has healed enough to travel,” Yuri nodded. “As before, if he were just being sent home to live alone, they would keep him longer.” He motioned to Olek, “You told them he was coming here, to the palace.” He grinned at me, “I talked General Burke and he promised us with two medical service related employees to come with us. One’s a therapist who will learn what he needs to do. The other is a physician’s assistant that can handle the worse crisis medically.” And he shook his finger at us, “And I know what you’ll ask next. You could come with us, but you don’t have to.” He had a look of uncertainty. “I would prefer you to remain here.” It was clear from Yuri’s tone he knew his preference wasn’t an order, and there was more depth about the reason. “Why?” Peter asked wanting to know more about the reason why. Yuri sighed, “Because this isn’t a pleasure trip or even a business trip.” He motioned with his hands on the table, “We fly down, pick them up and come back,” He shrugged. “I doubt we’ll be there for more than an hour.” I nodded, “And if we go, you’ll insist on protection for us. I get it.” Yuri sighed a breath of relief, “Thank you, Eric.” His silence afterward was telling me there was something else. “Yuri?” “Is there an additional threat?” Olek asked recognizing something. Yuri shook his head, “Not additional, but constant. There is the threat of the Consortium and that female pirate.” He chuckled a little, but he was uneasy. There was almost no humor in the chuckle. “Call me paranoid, it’s gotten suddenly quiet out there.” “And that’s bad?” Peter asked. I grimaced, “Please don’t say it’s too quiet.” “Why not?” Yuri asked. “Because it’s a cliche, damn it!” I said testily in irritation and haunched into a character other than myself, “Someone’s always walking into a calm situation and after looking around says, it’s quiet, too quiet, just to add suspense! And you always know there will be something bad to happen.” Even if what he was mentioning was very serious, and it always was; that didn’t get anyone to lose their sense of humor. It was not what I say, but how I said it. Boris shook his head, Yuri’s eyes widened and Olek was smiling broadly. “Or like when you start writing a book with, it was a dark and stormy night,” Boris smiled. I waved at Boris quickly, “Exactly!” My laugh and quick nod were where I said, “No. I can promise that if I write anything that phrase will not be included.” Yuri started with a small smile. “What should I say when it is? It is!” He grew serious again. “Reports every morning from our people that monitor the Worldwide Web, the online chatter has greatly decreased.” He glared at us. “Why? There haven’t been any new groups to surface with new threats or as much chatter.” He had been right too many times to dismiss any hunches he had. “Are there more precautions we should take?” Olek asked. Yuri threw his hands up, “Sequester yourselves here!” Olek’s eyes widened, “We can’t do that!” His voice had shock and irritation, “I will be here, but if I need to, I will go as I please.” He motioned toward Peter and me. Yuri was nodding as Olek spoke. “They have two more years at Northeast…” “Yes,” Yuri said grumbling, “I knew that would be your answer before I even said anything.” It was a glum resolution. He looked at Peter and me, “However, riding along to get Cosmo and Mikell isn’t necessary and therefore needlessly dangerous...” Peter nodded, “We get it, Yuri.” “What happened with that Nelson Carter?” I asked. “Isn’t there going to be further questioning coming?” Yuri was again nodding, “Yes.” He sighed. “For his crime. He had a trial and was convicted.” Yuri gave a you’re-not-going-to-believe-this shake of his head. “He pretty well lost his rights, but he has the right to not see anyone.” Yuri looked at us cautiously, “He refuses to see me or see you, Olek.” “What about the rights of the accused to face their accusers!?” Peter asked. “That only applies when we accuse him with a crime,” I said. “He’s serving time for the crime for which he was accused.” Peter turned, still looking stunned, “And?” He waved in frustration. “Make something up!” He thought a minute, “Such as...the death penalty was tossed out by the British in 1998. We tell him he’s being extradited to Makarovia for the rest of his sentence. We do execute people.” Olek pulled away from us a little in shock, “We don’t do that!” “I mean we as in you, Olek,” Peter corrected. “Penelope?” He reminded. “You were going to execute her in Boston and I know it wasn’t a veiled threat.” Olek gave a grudging nod, “Yes, well that was different.” “How?” Peter argued, “Because she threatened your lapse in judgment and publish your naked ass on the Internet?” Olek frowned, “You know that’s not why.” He threw his hands out. “When we went to Mario’s island and you were concerned with someone seeing and taking pictures of me naked on the beach. What will it prove? I’m a Human male?” I pointed at Peter. “I’ve never exercised that privilege and I don’t intend to.” He pounded his fist on the table, “That evil bitch lied! She was trying for me to make her queen and threatened you two. I trusted her with you! That was why.” I smiled at the passion he had with this, “Yes! We know that, Olek.” “But Nelson Carter doesn’t know you,” Peter pressed and he shrugged. “If he and Penelope Baldwin spoke after they were caught, she would tell Nelson how close to that privilege you were with her.” He laughed at the incredible concept. “I’ve known you my whole life and I know you were going to do it.” Yuri nodded, “I thought you would, too.” “How can he refuse?” Peter asked. “He has rights!? He doesn’t have the right to steal, swindle, or otherwise take what isn’t his! Does he refuse to see us? Too bad. We’ll get someone to stand over him until he does.” “Wow,” I said looking at Peter. “Two Ivanov men speaking with such passion in the morning. It seems to work better than coffee!” “Is the British Government not going to allow you to see him?” Peter asked. Yuri shook his head, “It’s not that.” I looked at Yuri, “Can’t an investigator from England question Nelson?” “Who?” Olek asked. “Weeell,” I grinned sitting back a little. “I’ll ask General One-punch. I bet he knows someone that can do it.” “And will do it legally?” Yuri asked. “Who cares?” I asked in a growl. “Everything he’s done has been illegal and unethical as a Human Being.” I sighed and touched Yuri’s hand. “We won’t go with you to Athens. Just come back with those two who have become brothers to Peter and me. They need to be at home with those that love them.” “Is there a way to tell everyone we won’t negotiate with kidnapping demands?” Peter asked. Olek shook his head, “I can’t say that.” He pressed his hand against his chest above his heart. “If I do, they will know it’s a lie because I would pay whatever they wanted to save anyone at this table! Helga, Alla, Mario, and Katrina. I can’t lie like that and have people believe it.” “The only sure way to prove we won’t pay,” I said solemnly. “Is not to pay it if they succeed taking us.” Olek nodded, “That Arab Princess lost her hand when her father refused the first time.” I nodded, “At least they kept in one ice so she got it back and reattached.” I shook my head, “It never worked the same she said. At the time of her kidnapping, she was seventeen.” I smiled as I remembered seeing a picture of her, “She is in her late twenties and she is probably the most beautiful woman I’ve seen.” I realized what I’d said and quickly added, “After Mom, Grandma, and Helga of course.” There was laughter at the table. “That was a good well-worded save,” Olek chuckled. “See what General Hammond suggests.” “After the press conference.” I nodded. Helga did return an hour before the conference. She changed clothes. What she wore was dress in one of those styles, and forgive me, I know less about fashion than I do about flowers! What I saw looked like what women wore in the 1920s! It was a light in color, one of those colors women only knew. It was close to the color green...sort of. Not Peter’s eye color of green, but greenish? The dress was a light material that wouldn’t make her hot outside. She even wore a hat! And why is she allowed to wear a hat indoors when men couldn’t? Not that I would if I could, hats don’t look right on me. Sorry, how did he get in? No rabbits! Scram! I suspected Jori’s handwork. The Makarovian from France? He loved making our clothes. His reputation was at stake. The family was gathered in a section. At exactly two in the afternoon, there was a musical prelude. A male came to the podium and simply said, “I present His Most Royal Majesty King Olek Ivanov the Second. The ruler of Makarovia.” He waved his hand off the podium in our direction. Olek took Helga’s hand and walked with her to the row of microphones. His family symbolically and literally stood behind Olek. That included Mario and Grandma. Olek looked at the man bowing to Olek who had announced him, “I like that.” Olek said in Makarovian as he grinned. “Just get in there and get it done.” The man knew Olek and smiled back, “You know I live to serve.” Yes, that was sarcastic, but Olek and this man had a relationship where that was okay. Olek looked at the many cameras and people using them. Even if it was sent to be viewed, there was print news and magazines that will use photographs. There weren’t many people here from Makarovia, but there was a polite round of applause, and the clicks with flashes popped from many sources. The Makarovian camera stood, fixed, but watched by Tomas who had his focus on a monitor to see what he was getting. Olek smiled and began in English, “As with most countries in West and East Europe, I will speak to you in English. It will be easier for you to translate English to whatever language you speak than from Makarovian.” He looked to his side taking Helga’s hand. “I want to introduce Dr. Helga Schneider...Ivanov. My wife.” Someone put a match to these people began to murmur, “Did he say his wife!?” I heard someone plainly say. Now those clicks and flashes were happening faster. “We married,” Olek smiled at Helga, “because in about…” he leaned toward Helga, “this beautiful soul will give birth to the next ruler of Makarovia.” Now the reporters were asking questions aimed at Olek and Helga. “Question and answer time will be later,” Olek said and then he switched to Makarovian. “Makarovia, I am not ignoring our traditions. There will be a Proposal followed by the year of service by Helga where you will voice whether or not she should be Queen. There will still be a wedding, only our child will be there, too. The traditions will be observed. This I swear to you as your king.” The Makarovians and some there who weren’t Makarovian bowed to them. Now, I needed to speak to General Hammond.
  3. R. Eric

    Chapter 90 Morality

    That is some heavy stuff so early in my morning. It's 5:15 in the morning now. My life has covered the whole spectrum of ultra-conservative to liberal. Raised by people who thought their path was the only path. Life and searching for answers led me from the path and one that doesn't have answers to everything. The journey now is all about questions. There is no answer. Buddhists live on a philosophy of questions. I am not Buddhist, but I question everything and respect everyone's right to come their decision about life. I say again, we are so much more than highly evolved pond goo from billions of years ago. How sad it would be if we were! Something wonderful happened and I would like to know what that was. My writing is a way of asking those questions and giving example for what I learned. Please. I love comments. I hate criticism, who doesn't? If I go the wrong way, tell me and why you think so. In the beginning, there was someone that did it mercilessly and it wasn't for constructive at all. I finally realized he did it for one purpose, he got pleasure at taking someone one down and make them feel bad. He was a bully. I'm still here. He is not. If you don't like something, tell me! It's life and I've done it before. I write less manically driven. I posted daily before to keep Daniel here. He is here. Love you all!
  4. R. Eric

    Chapter 90 Morality

    I rely on your feedback. I pay close attention and include a lot in my writing. Broken foot? Ouch.
  5. R. Eric

    Chapter 90 Morality

    You're right. Both of you. Even I could sense it. Writing styles change with the writer. I felt it stagnate. There are more than a few times I felt...less motivated to write and had to make myself do it. I'll get it back. I make no promises about the rabbits.
  6. Morality When dinner finally concluded we all pretty much parted for the evening. I felt bad that Olek and Helga weren’t on any honeymoon. Future Step-Aunt Marian shouldn’t mind if they took the Duchess, but it just returned from Peter’s and my honeymoon. There was also the island Mario owned just north of Sicily...and again, just used. When you think about it, Mario said being here with us was exciting. Being part of the Basso family sure wasn’t boring. In many ways, they were living a royal life. Responsibilities and restrictions were a part of their life. We were promised that everyone would listen to the evening broadcast that was happening in thirty-eight minutes. Dining with Henri I learned to be precise. “What do you think about this Gottfried Keller?” Peter asked as we walked slowly through the palace toward our rooms. Our hands were lightly touching. The nearly constant contact wasn’t even done on a conscious level anymore. He smiled at some thought or thoughts and his face held compassion. “I know what you said about wanting to get away from death. You have had a lot of it in little more than twenty-five years...I support whatever you say. You seem to have a gift. You might be running away from a calling.” I had to smile hearing that. “This isn’t Ninevah.” He stopped and therefore we both stopped, “Where?” I chuckled, “Ninevah. Jonah? Old Testament?” I shook my head and smiled at him as I narrowed an eye at him. “Are you sure you went to Sunday School?” “Almost every Sunday!” Peter replied and his hand waved over his own face, “Until those things came.” He referred to the acne which he finally was cured of. “Then the priest and I need to discuss some things,” I shook my head. “You’ve got some information missing.” “Ninevah. Do you mean Jonah and the whale?” Peter asked with a grin. “It could have been a huge goldfish. Jonah was called by God to go to Ninevah who was going to destroy the Assyrian Capitol but he ignored the calling and went in the opposite direction! There was a storm that was causing the ship to sink. Jonah was cast overboard and swallowed by the giant Guppy! The storm stopped. There’s a big difference between a fish and a whale. The Bible says a fish. It never said a whale.” Peter was standing the gaping at me again. He caught himself and shook his head. “Where do you keep all this!?” I shrugged, “I told you. I remember…” Peter joined with me saying, “...because it’s interesting.” He nodded. “I got that, but you find a lot of different things interesting.” “Sure,” I stated the obvious, “it is! When it comes to where we came from...and especially where we’re going in the future; that’s very interesting!! Why do you think people make such a big deal about psychics? We really want to know!” “But, you said you didn’t believe the Bible!” Peter protested. I shook my head, “No I don’t. At least not all of it, I don’t, BUT,” I raised the finger that I used to make points and watched him smile when I did, “much of it has been proven true! The history and facts have been proven in many cases.” I shrugged, “It’s even helped to solve mysteries of lost cities. The same with the Qur’an. Testimonies were written by people who were there or heard from someone that was a witness!” I shook him lightly. “People were telling me my eternity is based on what is written there...Hell, yeah, that’s extremely interesting to me!” I took his hand and we started walking again. “I appreciate how this family listens and respects what I say. I can’t give you anything about Dr. Keller if I can’t talk with him. There are many possibilities with the man.” I sighed. “I might if I see some of his writing and get a sense of how his mind works,” I shrugged again, “and even then I can’t be certain.” I stopped us again. “I didn’t run from the possible calling you mentioned. I still use it.” I pulled him into a kiss, “but be glad. If I had gone with medicine, we probably wouldn’t have met and I wouldn’t know what a wonderful Human Being you are or about this great country. I am exactly where I need to be.” I kissed him again gently, “with you.” “This what I find the most interesting about you,” Peter said softly. “You can be the most annoying, wisecracking son-of-a-bitch with some outrageous comments and then you say the nicest, most loving things afterward.” His arms came around me tighter. I tightened the embrace, “I love you, Peter.” Shaking my head, “I will never want to hurt you emotionally or physically.” Peter’s chuckle this time was very quiet and light, “I know...all of what you said, I know.” “Who wants to be predictable?” I asked, “Spontaneity keeps things exciting. Are you bored with me?” I wasn’t really worried about that, but everyone hopes things are good with that special person. Peter’s smile was so bright and said with certainty. “Not even once.” His smile faded a little, “Are you ever bored with me?” “Never!” I said instantly. “I hope I never go too far with my humor.” Peter shook his head, “You don’t. I adore you.” “I know,” I touched his face, my thumb under his left light gray-green eyes. “I can see it.” Reading body language was learned, and I understood his body language very well. However, his eyes said far more and spoke clearly to me. This was what I always wanted. Our marriage changed because we changed. There was this comfortable familiarity with each other. The open and free expression just made it better. We could be ourselves with each other. Maybe we both understood each other so well, we could read each others’ minds. The broadcast Peter recorded was sent over the connections right on time to all Makarovia. I hoped everyone received it well, but Peter and I were...indisposed. It was a good thing someone had opened a window or it would have gotten extremely hot in our rooms from the heat we made. It was during the morning hours I felt the cool breeze travel across me. It was a good thing it did, not just because of last night. People normally move at night. They roll over or shift for a more comfortable position. The movements were sort of restricted the nights before because of Peter’s spooning of me. Normally. That morning I woke up, facing the other direction! Peter was on my right side, so I usually faced left. When I opened my eyes, I was facing right. Big deal, right? I wasn’t bothered, but I felt lighter. Nothing was holding me down. Then I heard the quiet...buzzing, sort of? Someone was sound asleep. As I’m the one saying this, you know this position wasn’t me. Peter or I had moved and he tried to get back in his usual position and we both missed doing that, but he was comfortable so I ignored it. I didn’t want to stir around much and wake other parts of me. A messy, mass of curly black hair was all I could see. The smile was just there on my face because I was happy. I could bore you if I expounded on the feelings I had for him, but you know about them. He was part of me. I hadn’t moved! I swear, but the rhythm of his breathing changed and he stirred. Is it important? Not really and this will be a little mushy, so if you’ve had enough then skip this. I understood how little hearts are shown to indicate love. This moment, I could see those little red-heart shaped bubbles flying all around us. My imagination is very, very good. A friend once told me about the over-usage of “goo-goo baby eyes” statements. My reply to that was, “I happen to like goo-goo baby eyes very much! I can’t get enough goo-goo baby eyes! Could it be you’re not getting enough goo-goo baby eyes?” Being mushy isn’t a bad thing. To me, the lack of any mush is the “bad thing.” Consider this a warning; there will be a lot more goo-goo baby eyes coming. Romance is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s what Humans were made to do. I often compare us to the animal kingdom. Why? Because we are animals! Do the laws and rules of morality apply to them? I’ve given many examples showing you they don’t apply. It isn’t girly or masculine. There are animals that mate for life. Unfortunately, Humans aren’t always one of those animals. They can be, but half the time aren’t. Do animals love? I don’t know. Okay, okay, you’ve seen this rabbit before so I’ll move on. Everyone has a routine when waking up. Some are true of everyone, like the waking stretch and orienting yourself to where you are versus where you were when dreaming. I used to have pretty lucid dreams and my favorite was the flying dreams. No plane necessary. Almost everybody has them and as with people none are the same. I didn’t have the superman kind of dream. I could be standing in the backyard and simply float up in the air. I could see the top of trees, houses and...yes, this another rabbit. I really like this one. The last thing, they are a reflection of your life. I was happy most of the time and those lighter than air dreams were a reflection of that. There were some dreams where I couldn’t get more than a foot off the ground. Dreams are gages about a person. The flying dreams were a reflection of life and a sign I was having trouble. These days, I wake up and the dreams fade quickly. Back to Peter’s waking routine. I saw and felt him do the stretching we all do. I hadn’t done mine yet. He knew something was different. I wasn’t exactly where I was supposed to be. While not on my back, I faced him. He looked at me and I saw his eyes adjust and focus. Seeing me now, he smiled, “Good morning.” This is one of those moments. From now on, I’ll warn you of a goo-goo baby eyes moment. GBE? Running fingers in his sleep tossed hair, I smiled and said softly, “Good morning.” Yes, the tone I used and expression on my face caused his head to back up an inch as he looked happy but curious. “What?” I chuckled lightly, “What needs an explanation?” He pointed at my face, “That look.” He scooted to get us more even. “I’ve seen and can recognize most of your expressions. This seems to be a combination of several.” I shrugged, “I love you.” I stated simply. “Sometimes when I look at you I get the surge, like a big wave on the beach. This one just keeps coming.” Peter shook his head, “There you go again with the nice things.” He marveled softly, “And this early in the morning.” My sense of humor kept this GBE short. “How else could I explain all the little red hearts drifting around in the air?” I pointed up. “Can’t you see them?” I chuckled. “There dozens of them. Some pop, but are replaced by new ones.” Peter chuckled, “I believe you.” Then he smiled bigger. “Some of those hearts are from me!” Then he looked a little irritated. “Damn it.” He gruffed out softly and threw the covers back. “I’ve got to go.” I burst out laughing as I watched Peter’s lily-white ass rush to take care of his need, “And this time, it wasn’t my fault!” I would never get tired of seeing all of Peter. Was that objectifying? I don’t think so. Was I attracted to his body? Absolutely. His body’s attributes caught my attention and I got to know him and fell for him hard. That’s what species do. Find the best example of the other person and join our lives. That isn’t pornographic anymore than that bird that does the dance and shows his colored feathers to attract a female. If liking to look at Peter’s ass is porn, then next time you watch that bird flash his feathers, know you’re watching bird porn. Many men and women will pose for you to look at their bodies. I defend those that do even for money. They had bills to pay. If showing you their bodies helps them do that and they don’t mind, why not? Yes, there are many, many who are tricked and exploited. That’s a crime. Children are used and to me that’s just unfathomable to me. That’s a HUGE crime. My tastes about what I considered to be attractive aged as I did. No child, male or female attracted me. There are many psychological reasons for that including trauma. Others pose for free for the thrill! Showing bodies to induce emotions in others, such as desire! That is certainly like bird porn! All things silly aside, I was concerned about Olek and Helga. The idea of being absolutely honest about what happened is a good one...to a point. As much as we, his friends and family, accepted the situation, it was known by all of us that many out there in the world will see Olek was correcting a mistake. Peter and I weren’t the only controversial couple. We knew we’d face a lot of disapproval. Olek and Helga knew why they were married was an admission of the wrongdoing. When Peter’s and my wedding was coming up all of Makarovia supported us. That Olek and Helga were married would also be accepted by Makarovia and the family. Helga even voiced her concern right when she found out she was pregnant. The fear that she would be seen as a money-grabbing whore she was well aware of that. It was such a concern that international press conference was going to happen. Olek had one before when he revealed Makarovia’s uranium. We had our friend Anderson Cooper do a live broadcast of the upcoming wedding. Denying a perception of error would not be realistic or possible. Neither Olek or Mom let anyone’s ignorant comments go with no reply; that including heads of state like the Vice-President of the United States. The unique thing was the third soul that was growing in Helga that was innocent. A child we welcomed...not just to solve the succession problem, but as a member of the family was on the way. It was unique that we were not scurrying around trying to cover up anything. The controversy would follow the child and admitting it hopefully would minimize the controversy. And all this would be moot if there were complications. (How often do you get to use the word: moot?) Helga needed to carry this child to term and deliver a healthy child. In the past being pregnant was a major health concern. I don’t want to scare anyone, but it still is. Having a child and raising it to adulthood was tricky a hundred years ago or so. Miscarriages happened often, stillbirths where the baby doesn’t survive the birth, there were many concerns. That’s why you don’t go, find out you’re pregnant and not come in for seven or eight months until it’s time to give birth. Medicine has greatly improved, but pregnancy is monitored frequently to assess the progression to be sure both infant and mother were doing well. Just because you make it to the birth there are still so many things to worry about. Birth defects and disease are just some. If you’re alive to read this, congratulations! You made it! The one big question; was it moral? I can’t answer that. Using any written guide, be it the Torah, Bible, the Quran (there are many spellings) or Vades for Hindus, Tripitaka for Buddhists...many guides are out there with one theme. Love. Love yourself and other people and don’t take what isn’t yours. Taking, as in taking someone’s health or life away. It’s not yours! Some say what we did was a sin and immoral. People would say what Olek and Helga did was a sin and immoral. When a woman was brought before Jesus, He was asked about His view of the sin she was caught doing. Adultery. As it was written: Let he without sin throw the first stone. I found it interesting that the sin was done by her alone. They only brought her. Where was the man she was having adultery with? Huh? Was anyone harmed by Olek and Helga? She didn’t just get pregnant. They both did! Yes, this rabbit needs to leave. I’ve chased him for decades! We cleaned up, dressed, and went down to where Auggie had recorded the one Peter had done the night before. Auggie would be coming in before the international news broadcast at two in the afternoon. A young man was there at the moment. As with Mercea and Vesil, he looked young. Maybe Peter’s and my age? He had finished his schooling and mandatory service and now worked the department doing the radio and the Internet. The Information Technology department in Makarovia? Peter had told me there wasn’t any unemployment, but how many were employable? The IT Department required skills I wouldn’t have thought many here would have. I didn’t know what training was given, so what do I know? He was dark-headed like most in Makarovia. Alec, Vesil, and Mom were the blond-haired people. He was thin and had a nice face. He saw us and bowed instantly. “Your Highness!” He blurted. We did the same as we did with Auggie. When it’s just us, use our names. “I’m Tomas,” he said taking our hands and shook them. “Tomas is Romanian, isn’t it?” I asked. He nodded, “My grandfather,” he explained with a smile, “My mother’s father. She is from Romania.” “You spent many winter months with them,” I said. “You went to school there.” Tomas looked surprised, “Yes, I did! How did you know?” I shrugged, “A logical conclusion.” Just like Rolph’s wife Andreea who was educated in Ukraine, he was educated in Romania. I didn’t doubt a child could get an education in Makarovia, but children who were educated elsewhere had access to things that children in Makarovia didn’t. Now, I was helping with that, it would change here. Not because of any abilities I had, but with the improvements underground, new classrooms were opening down there. With the money now steadily coming in, we could become a nuevo riche country; newly rich and no real plan on how to use it. Mom was cutting back, but she was still controlling what we had done. What she did with a lot less was a miracle. The same with medicine. Shoo rabbit! At eight-thirty in the morning, I sat with Peter. He had a rough script we’d written out to cover the essentials of how, when, and what to do. The why would be addressed by Olek at two that afternoon? “This will be a good thing,” I said. “Just keep that in mind as you speak.” Peter scowled, “Do you want to do this?” He was holding the script toward me. Neither offended or bothered in any way, I shook my head, “And take the spotlight from you? No way. You’re the star.” Then I got serious. “Keep in mind that there was no real wrongdoing in your head. It will be reflected in your tone.” Peter nodded, “Got it.”
  7. Tangerana I did explain what I meant called Peter a straight man. They knew enough English, but this “straight man” term. It wasn’t about Peter being gay or straight, but the person involved with a joke that played innocent about the joke. Often, Peter was innocent because he really didn’t know. No acting was required. My brand of humor was sometimes difficult to understand. I was proud of that. Stryia was pretty! That wasn’t surprising, but I was delighted at what I saw. There was no trash! That isn’t a lie or exaggeration. The streets and sidewalks were clean. Even the park was free of litter. Becky, one of the three student photographers from Northeastern that came to take better and more recent pictures of Makarovia and the royal family, she said Stryia looked like a fairy tale village. She was right. “The village or towns are always this clean?” I asked as we resumed our walk through the flowers. Peter gave a grudging nod, “Well, less than a month ago we had the focus of the world. Less than three or four years ago, the practically said; Makarovia!? Where the Hell is That? Now; Makarovia! Yes, I Know Where That Is!” He threw his arm over my shoulder and squeezed me to him. I grinned, nodding as my arm went in his far back pocket. “This news program will tell the world we’re Makarovian and we’re here.” “We had a wedding?” Peter nudged. “All those guests? You know you always clean things up before guests arrive.” I glanced Stepan and Vesil who walked behind us but at a little ridged. “Guys,” I turned to them. “Another thing you need to do, please?” Peter smiled, “Relax!” “You’re walking like you’re in a military formation or something,” I added. “Habit,” Stepan shrugged. The people in Stryia knew who we were, but they didn’t rush at us. We were known by every Makarovian. Granted, we had been an oddity to the world but known by Makarovians. The problems we had with the paparazzi told us this was not going to happen in the rest of the world. Here, we were at home. Looking around I finally knew what was missing. “Peter, where are the pets?” “Pets?” Peter asked, “It’s kind of difficult caring for a dog or cat when you’re trapped indoors.” “I guess that would be hard,” I nodded. I had complained about the lack of air circulation in our room, I couldn’t imagine that with the smell of dog or cat poop. There are minor differences, but people are still the same everywhere. It was amazing how things just came up giving us more to be done. Yuri took us to the gathering area of the palace where people were setting up cameras for tomorrow’s press conference. A man wearing a headset was speaking to someone I hoped was on the other end. “Peter, Eric,” Yuri waved at this man who apparently enjoyed his meals. While not fat in his late thirties he had more pounds than he needed above his belt. He also had dark brown hair and when the light shone through it I saw a deep red. “This is Augustus. He does a lot of work on our network of WiFi and computer systems.” Augustus bowed, “Your Highness.” He smiled, “I prefer Auggie if you don’t mind.” Peter stuck his hand out and shook his hand, “Pleased to meet you, Auggie!” I did the same thing in shaking his hand, “And we prefer Peter and Eric if you don’t mind.” I grinned. He wasn’t bad looking, but couldn’t hold a candle to Peter. I couldn’t help it and said, “I always wondered what the guys in the AV Club at school did after graduation.” Saying it Makarovian or English I would get the same blank looks from guys that had no idea what I was talking about. Maybe you need reminding, too. Those Audio/Visual guys during Middle School, Junior High, or High School pushed carts of video players and televisions to classes to show a movie or presentation. Public schools couldn’t have one in every classroom because of the budget. They had to share. The male and female students who took them to the classrooms were often dismissed as geeks. I don’t think so. They knew more than how to switch it “on” and press “play.” Taking us to where the “studio” was he even got Peter to prerecord what he was going to say. The studio was basically a closet. Maybe a little bigger, but no glass partition between Auggie and Peter. I took Peter’s hand, “Just keep it light and casual.” Peter nodded, “Right, light and casual.” He froze. “Wait! What channel if they’re looking at their television?” Auggie laughed and gave Peter the website and channel. Peter took a breath and sighed. “Surprise!” Peter said, “This more than a test to see if you’re receiving the signal. This Prince Pedro Ivanov. Tomorrow will be special. There will be a Press Conference given by my brother King Olek. That will be at two in the afternoon. Your Prince Eric tells me we rely too much on foreign countries to bring needed things to us. That includes information, entertainment, and education. We are beginning a broadcast to Makarovians in Makarovian. He says it’s a way of telling the world we are here.” He smiled at me and shrugged as if everyone would heat it when it was broadcasted. “I hadn’t thought of it, but he did. Now, I agree. Makarovia is no longer going to be overlooked. We are no longer going to be robbed and forced to hide. We are Makarovia. We are proud and we will be a country that has power and be a positive influence in this world. We are here and we are going nowhere but up. In the words of my favorite Southerner from the West,” Then he grinned and said in English. “We ain’t going nowhere!” I had to bite my tongue to not laugh. “King Olek will be addressing the world, so he will be speaking in English. We need to give other countries a chance to learn our language.” Peter gave the instruction on what channel to choose and what website with the promise more was coming. He signed off and looked at us. “Do you think I need to do it again?” “No,” Auggie said smiling. “That was perfect.” I walked to Peter pulling him to as I bent over to get to his seated position, “I never want to hear from the old Peter again.” I kissed him. “Auggie’s right. That was perfect. You’re a natural! Not an um, or pause anywhere. No stammer and no slang.” Then I stood up straight. “I should be offended.” “Why!?” Peter’s eyes widened in surprise. I nodded, “You tell me nothing happened, so why did you include Ted Dawe?” “Ted Dawe!?” Peter blurted, “I never mentioned Ted!” “You did, too.” I had to hold it together until I got the desired effect. “You said, my favorite Southerner from the West. I never said what you claimed, so it has to be him.” I saw a grin form on Peter’s face. “The number of Southerners at Northeastern is kind of limited. Unless there is another Southerner I don’t know about, he’s it.” Peter blew a breath, “Aw,” he said shaking his head grinning, “You always do this to me.” I gave his shoulder a soft punch, “And you always fall for it. That’s what makes you the perfect straight man!” Peter got up from the chair and kissed me. “I love you.” “I know,” I said with a happy bounce. “I love you.” He put his arm around my shoulder as we were leaving. “I know.” Then he frowned as he thought, “Are you sure you’ve never said that to me or someone else and I was there?” “Not even as a joke,” I said. “We speak Makarovian with each other. English if Mario’s there…” “I swear I heard it,” Peter said. “It was your voice.” “Maybe all your bouncing around in my head can explain it,” I stopped. “Then again, my Mother, Grandma, and our Mom would have fits! Ain’t going nowhere? Ain’t, meaning not, going nowhere. Does that mean we are going somewhere? Isn’t that a negative, negative?” Peter laughed, “You work on that and let me know.” We left Auggie telling him we’d make another recording for in the morning after we spoke with Olek, Helga, and Mom. Especially Mom. I told you I needed more impulse control. I thought I was doing well as we sat for dinner. “I’m telling you,” Yuri said happily. “Peter recorded a great portion of what will be heard tonight on the broadcast.” I nodded, “I told him I don’t want to hear the old Peter again.” Peter smiled, “He’s doing a great job holding something in. I know he’s about to burst.” It sounded a little smug. Then he gave me a light punch in the shoulder. I smirked at Peter, “I was fine.” I muttered. Peter gave a little shrug, “A little more pressure…” he made a sound of an explosion and his fingers he motioned down imitating debris. “Fine!” I said a little sour, “He showed me the flowers in the Traffic Circle Park and he showed me those Queen Alla Fairy Lilies.” Mom smiled at the memory, “Ah, yes. Dr. Gottfried Keller’s gift to me when your father married me.” She looked at Olek. “Why don’t I remember him well?” Olek asked no one. Mom laughed, “You were still a child when he got here. He was extremely smart.” “I gathered that,” I said. “He got a flower that is a tropical and temperate zone flower to thrive up here in a very cold zone. How’d he do that?” Mom took a moment as she thought, “Let think how to explain what he said. I speak English fine, but,” she took Mario’s hand, “Mi dispiace.” She said quickly. “Dr. Keller explained it in Russian. Geneticheskaya anomaliya? Mutatsiya?” You had to give Mom credit. She covered three languages in one breath! My eyes grew. I knew they had because I could feel it. “He created a sport!?” Mom brightened, “Yes! That’s it!” There were a few faces that were confused at the table, but Olek voiced it, “A what!?” I nodded, “A sport in biology is a mutation that makes a child drastically different from the parent.” I explained. “This doctor managed to cause a mutation for the purpose of being different.” I turned to Peter and shook my finger at him, “and I’ve known what a sport is since I was ten years old. I owe it to Charles Wallace from the book A Wrinkle in Time. I also know tesseracts, or the folding of space, to travel massives distances instantly thanks to Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who. It did a Hell of a lot better than any Warp Drive.” I turned to Boris on my other side. “I loved that book!” I turned to Peter again. Peter was again smiling and asked, “Did I say anything?” “Oh,” I reluctantly conceded jabbing that finger in his direction, “but you were thinking it,” I stated simply. “He managed to mutate a lily that should have died in the cold and yet it thrives! And it reproduces!” “Now who’s reading whose mind?” Peter asked. Mom nodded, “More and more come from them year after year.” “I was also told he was working on creating a strain of grain and corn that could grow in Russia,” I added. “Did he do it?” “He had many failures,” Mom said. “I heard that, too,” I said nodding. “The problem has been Makarovia’s dependence on imports from other countries for food. One problem is the available fertile land to plant on.” Even I was having difficulty because I did feel like I was acting like I knew everything. I can assure you, I know I do not. As with Peter and the others, they had gotten used to seeing things a certain way. It had been a busy couple of decades and things had changed in Makarovia pretty damned quickly. Not one person at this table was simple or stupid. This particular method was working. It wasn’t broken, so fixing it just never occurred to them. “General Burke and General Hammond are helping us with the Greenhouses both on more level and rocky land and on mountain slopes…” Peter piped in, “...and if we combine the two of increased land and sturdier plants with a longer growing season that will help with the yield,” Peter finished for me. He jutted his head in my direction. “I got that back in the park.” I pointed at Peter, “Exactly.” I was getting charged up as I spoke. “Increased land, a longer growing season, and the heartier plant could make a big difference! Even hydroponics, but that’s later.” I tried to explain. “I know you would have thought of it yourselves, but…he can’t have done just the one plant. Are there other plants he had success with?” Mom was a little puzzled, “It’s the only one he gave us. It was said he had done it within Russia.” She shrugged. “That was almost at the very end of the Soviet Government. A major reason was the economy.” She looked at Boris and Yuri. “I can’t say too much about things there, but there were occasional problems keeping the stores stocked with food items.” “Were there lines for bread?” I asked. She frowned, “Bread lines?” Pausing a minute and the nodded with a sad smile. “Oh, yes. The bread lines.” She gave a grudging nod. “There were shortages. In the 1970s we had a big one. Normally the food supplies were well rationed in the cities. We had it again in the 1990s.” Boris nodded, “But that was pretty much true for everything you needed to purchase.” Yuri grimaced, “Yes, like toilet paper.” Mom chuckled a little, but nodded, “There were people that Russia sent down here. As with Dr. Keller, he was sent here to get him out of the way.” She shrugged slightly, “He was to turn things around for Russia. The leaders wanted him to have success but wanted a return for their investment. Crops that could grow in colder and harsher climates could make Russia very important to the world. A country that was dealing with starvation would become grateful allies.” “Of course, it would,” I said with conviction. Mom nodded, “It wasn’t necessarily due to the kindness of anyone.” If you lived in that time, you know what the threat was. Those nasty, lying, thieving, pinko, commie bastards! Please, let there have been a gasp with what I just told you. I am Scottish, but I’m also Russian as well as other nationalities. Not all of what we were told was true. Propaganda. Things were told on both sides of the Cold War to instill dislike and keep the distrust alive. The people in Russia weren’t the enemy. Just as the people in the United States weren’t the enemy. Just like us, they get up, dread going to work and pay bills. They stay alive and make the most of it. Yes, there are some evil people. Some. They were also on both sides of the Cold War. What I’m going to say will make some people angry, but when has that ever stopped me? The principals and concepts of Communism were good. String him up!! I knew he was a Red!! No, I’m not. In an idealistic world, many philosophies are good. Even the philosophy of Nazis was good. On paper. When humans are entered, then there are problems. Big problems. So many things influence people from the way they are raised and the environment they were raised in. Sigmund Freud was almost right. He was a pioneer in Psychotherapy. He was also a drug addict. Cocaine. He saw the danger when one of his patients nearly died using Cocaine, so he “supposedly” gave it up about 1890. Yes, that was another rabbit, but Mom was chasing hers when this one came out. We started with the Fairy Lilies of Dr. Gottfried Keller and went to the fall of Communism with some psychological rabbits. Hell, Karl Marx was born a century before the Nazis! Mein Kampf was Hitler’s book and Karl Marx was his prophet. Get, rabbit! Enough! “Dr. Keller was sent to help us?” I asked. Mom nodded just once, “That his papers said.” Her tone said clearly that she didn’t really believe that. “Mikhail Gorbachev was General Secretary of the Communist Party at the time. There was some restructuring.” Yuri nodded, “Perestroika.” “Why was he here?” I asked again. “To hide him?” Mom shrugged. “He was…” she thought a moment, “a bit odd.” Then she went on, “I’ll try to give a better description...” Then Olek’s eyes grew as he blurted, “Mysha!?” Mom frowned, “I didn’t like that name then and I don’t like it now.” She wasn’t even angry at Olek because she smiled, too. “The Mouse!?” I knew what Olek said and you had to smile. Just as Peter had dropped the little mouse he had down that girl’s blouse to prevent Olek from making a grievous mistake about a future queen. I got the feeling this was an example of Olek’s mischievous childhood. Now, I wondering where Peter got it. I hadn’t seen a mouse here. “He was!” Olek grinned. “He was just above one hundred and fifty-two centimeters and maybe forty-five kilograms!” (That’s five feet and a hundred pounds for those of us who don’t use metric.) “And he had this,” now Olek had to think, “he would talk to himself.” Olek grinned bigger, “Now, I remember him!” “He spoke out loud to himself?” Boris asked a little shocked. Olek gave a reluctant nod, “Well, he mumbled to himself. Dad said he was consulting with himself.” “A rapid speech?” I asked. “Pressured speech?” Olek nodded again. “Yes. I could never understand him.” “He never spoke to you?” I asked to be sure. Olek snorted, “He didn’t like children. He communicated that very well.” “Why? What do you think?” Peter asked and held his hand up, “And spare us the I’m not a Psychiatrist bit. You knew the symptoms to ask about.” “Well,” I said, “I’m not.” Looking at Mom, “He was intelligent.” “Extremely.” She said firmly. “More than a genius.” “I can’t give you a diagnosis,” I smiled. “I’m hearing all sorts of possibilities from Bipolar Disorder combined with other brain chemistry issues. If I didn’t know better, I think he could be the sport. He sounds like Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time. Extremely intelligent, small for his age and socially awkward.” I sighed. “But without all the metaphysical and psycho-social elements.” I looked at Olek. “Was he welcome here?” “Certainly,” Olek said and bowed his head slightly. “I was a child when I gave him that name, but I remember him. I never called him that.” “Where was his lab? Where did he live?” I asked. “Did he leave notes?” “He died and his things were gone through,” Mom explained. “His lab equipment was put in storage.” “It could be nothing,” I admitted, “but somehow he changed or added a genetic sequence to an existing plant. Not just a cell. It’s in the entire bulb and there have been many generations of that plant. I’ve read theories of killing one cell’s genetic material and new ones added with bacteria as the transport. That was a theory for the SunBean plant. One parent was a Sunflower and the other a bean plant.” “Yesh!” Peter said, “What did it look like?” “It resembles a little of both,” I remembered the odd plant at the Medical University. Not by me, but by students the Botanist and Geneticist Dr. Sallee. Dr. Sallee saw interest and let me see what they did. “Why!?” Olek asked. I shrugged, “To see if they could? They had other things like limons,” I said looked at them, “combined a lemon plant with a lime plant? Or the Tangerana. A tangerine and a banana?” Now they were all looking at me strangely. Except for Grandma who was laughing to herself and nodding. “I know, you’re all wondering if he is suddenly ill, joking, or being tricked.” She shook her head, “That’s what I thought. Until he brought me one of those Tangeranas. It had the long body of a banana, the skin was smooth but you couldn’t peel it like a banana.” She chuckled, “He cut it and gave me a piece and it tasted a little like both.” Then she looked at me, “But you told me that like any hybrid it’s extremely rare for them to reproduce, the seeds didn’t germinate.” “That’s right!” I said, but looking at their faces. “We weren’t trying to change people or animals, but if we could make one plant produce a nutritious fruit or vegetable that grows in harsher climates…” I shook my head. “Dr. Keller did it! How did he do it?” Peter nodded with a sigh, “I guess we’ll be going through the storage.” “Are you going to understand what he wrote?” Helga asked. “I will say now,” I said. “I won’t. Most scientific minds develop a shorthand only they and maybe another understands.” I looked at Mom. “Did he work with anyone? A lab assistant?” “No,” Mom shook her head. I nodded, “Instead of writing what he did again and again, he probably used a single word or symbol.” “But why did they send him here?” Olek asked. “To keep him safe?” Mom asked. “We couldn’t fool all of the Russians. There were those who knew what we were good at and hiding treasure and people is one of them.” She motioned to Yuri and Boris. “They knew to come here.” “So good at it,” I said, “we forget where we hid some of it.” “You will recognize it when you see it,” Helga said with no doubt. “But we have a busy couple of days,” Peter said to change the subject. Mario was smiling in a big way. We had kept him in the conversation by speaking English. He knew what was going on. Mom looked at him pleased, but puzzled, “What is it, mio caro?” Hah! I knew those words! Mom just called him “dear.” Mario glanced at Mom, “Being here is exciting!” He shook his head. “I’m happy to be included.” Olek laughed, “And you’ll be in the middle of all of it!”
  8. (I bow to you.) Thaank ya! Just pray my WiFi provider doesn't cut the signal again. I know a lot of people are home and on the Internet. They were a half power for TWO DAYS!! TWO DAYS!!! It was horrible! I asked Droughtquake if there something for the withdrawals. It was agony!! 😵
  9. We’re Here! Part Two The idea of Makarovian television journalists was a good one, but we needed to find them. The idea of having Peter do the first few was good, as well. An invitation would go out all Makarovians that if they were interested, they should come by the palace. I didn’t know if a Makarovian version of Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw was out there and wouldn’t know if we didn’t ask and look for him, or her. I also didn’t want to be that person of royalty that demands something done and has others do it for me. I would help. Another tidbit of wisdom from Grandpa Theodor, being bossy doesn’t make you the boss. This rabbit I’ll be happy to chase. You know I loved both my grandparents. Mom’s parents. I will also admit the two of them were my favorite grandparents and I spent a lot of time with the two of them. Grandpa Theodore and Grandma Katrina were five driving hours away. The Richards was only three hours away. I didn’t dislike Grandmother Richards or Grandfather Richards, but as is the case of the names I were to use with them. Grandpa and Grandma fun and casual with me. Grandfather and Grandmother loved me but had me call them Grandfather and Grandmother and that was so...formal. I carried the name! Hopefully, since they went to whatever is after this life ended, they weren’t giving my mother and father a hard time about my becoming an Ivanov. With Grandpa there as well, he wouldn’t let them by with too much. All this hinges on them being in the same place. All of them were good people, but...let’s go to literary titles I spoke about. Green Eggs and Ham! Quickly, for those poor souls who don’t know the wonderful story or those that can’t remember; it was a great life lesson. Don’t refuse something you’ve never tried. The Richards’ part of the family wouldn’t even consider it. Then again my own mother didn’t read to me the story about two probably toxic eggs. There were pictures of the two eggs done sunny-side up with green yolks. Grandpa was happy to read it to me. He used different mood-appropriate voices for the characters in English! In Ukrainian and Russian, my mother and Grandma tried, but Grandpa did it best. Grandpa said he could read Ukrainian and Russian out loud even if he didn’t understand it. Grandma refused that, saying, “We’re trying to teach Eric to speak these languages properly. A session or two with your accent!? That isn’t happening.” Mom spoke to me exclusively in Ukrainian one week and Russian the next week. Grandma had done that with Mom. When Dad’s parents found out about my learning Russian and Ukrainian. They weren’t so sure I should be. When Grandpa brought his bride home to his parents, my great-grandparents, they were sure Grandma was a Soviet spy. Grandpa asked, to spy on what? Our farming technics? None of us are in any form of government work. I did know they would have disapproved of the whole gay thing. How did Grandpa become the man is was being raised by them!? Yep, that was a mystery. The Berlin Wall and the Soviets were at the very end when I was born. Running up to Grandma and Grandpa I was squeezed in hugs of their affection, just engulfed in love. You didn’t run up to Grandmother and Grandfather. I got a short hug from them and almost no other contact physically afterward. As I said, I didn’t dislike them but didn’t really like them either. And they were the bootleggers! Just let them play the morality card with me. Okay, that’s enough time with that rabbit. That was a pretty big rabbit. Yuri told us he’d get the camera we needed to set it up with the other cameras tomorrow. “What am I going to say!?” Peter asked me. I shrugged, “Just tell them what’s happening and why. This evening at nine o’clock we’ll tell them what we’re doing and how to see it.” “I just can’t whip it out of my head!” Peter was almost panicked. “Oh, yes you can!” I argued irritated, “You’ve done it before. When Anderson interviewed us on an international show, you did fine. When you proposed that it was on an international broadcast and live! We married on live television! If it’s a script you need, we’ll come up with one!” I saw Peter’s anxiety change to one of mirth as his smile spread over his face. The old Peter was still there and that was who was reacting the way he did. It was a habit. “Don’t go back there! You’ve come too far!” I waved toward the wall and Makarovia beyond. “You love Makarovia and the people here and they love you. You’ll be speaking to them. Others in the world will know we’re here...to stay.” Yuri chuckled, “You’ve never been afraid to speak in front of a crowd?” I smiled at Yuri, “You know my Grandma. What do you think?” Yuri smiled and gave me a nod, “I can see that.” “In fact,” I said considering something. “I can’t think anyone in my past was ever shy.” “And some quite the opposite,” Peter added. Then he looked at Yuri, “Can you direct us to a couple of agents to come with us while I show off Stryia to Eric?” I quickly said, “Small enough to fit comfortably in the backseat of my car.” And at the last minute added, “No dark suits, please. I prefer something more casual.” Yuri said as he picked up his desk phone, “I’m letting them know.” Peter touched our foreheads, “Your father was an extrovert?” I laughed lightly as I nodded, “He had to be to attract my mother’s attention.” I shrugged, “Mom got it from both Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa very rarely met a stranger.” We stayed and chatted with Yuri. Chatted, chatting, or to have a chat. Balakaty in Makarovian and Ukrainian. Russia didn’t really have a word for that. It didn’t take long for the office door opened and two men walked into the room. Just as we desired. They were smaller, but they knew how to do the job. One of them I knew. “Stepan!” I greeted them, “And another I don’t know.” Stepan had been a Makarovian guard. He was one that stood guard with Penelope Baldwin when she got caught and was being held in that little room on the third floor. Stepan nodded and waved at the man beside him. “This is Vesil.” He looked young like Mercea. He was blond. There a few in Makarovia and Alec’s hair was a lighter shade of blond. I think. Alec had it trimmed so short, it was almost invisible. Vesil was clean-cut and well-groomed. I couldn’t recall any male in Makarovia that wasn’t. He was my height. He bowed, “Your Highness.” “That’s your one,” I gave a smirking grin. “I’m sure Stepan told you I have a name I prefer you use.” I went on quickly, “I know the protocol and all that is what you’re told, but when it’s just us, I’m Eric, okay?” Vesil nodded, “That includes Peter, Yuri, and Stepan?” “Peter and Yuri are in the family,” I grinned as I said, “I insist on when I teach someone what,” I said in English, “cum dump and jack sack means,” I told Peter, but Yuri didn’t know. “Cum dump?” Yuri repeated in English, “Jack sack?” I chuckled, “We’re already on a first-name basis, Yuri.” Of course, I explained the meaning of the words and why I used them with Penelope Baldwin. The likelihood of them ever being used again was very slim. I saw what they were wearing. I saw Vesil had a red t-shirt on with large black lettered Yudashkin. The Y was huge and the other letters were of different sizes appearing like jumble if you didn’t know Valentin Yudashkin was a famous clothing designer who’s popularity exploded as the USSR fell apart. There was meaning with that. Stepan had on a blue shirt, no design. However!! He had on what was highly prized in East Europe. Wrangler Jeans. I have to stress this. They were American made and purchased in Boston. The assholes at the Kremlin couldn’t say you couldn’t wear what you wanted, but they didn’t make it easy to get them. Jeans arrived in the Russian USSR in the nineteen-fifties on sailors, pilots, and children of diplomats. There were smugglers of denim. Grandma said it was because it was due to them being a sign of freedom and capitalism. I don’t know, but they both had them on now. Who can resist clothing where the more you wore it, the more comfortable they were? I saw Stepan had on Reeboks and Vesil had on Nike, and don’t get it twisted! I’m not that kind of gay. I couldn’t just identify the designer from the cut or style. Stepan’s shirt, wranglers, and shoes were labeled on them; and who would mistake Nike’s checkmark? That’s why they’re put there so people like me, the fashion-label challenged, knew what they were. “We’ll be back,” I told everyone and no one. We went down to where the vehicles were kept. A century ago they kept horses, carriages, and sleighs. It was much bleaker during the long winters. Those horses were secured in the deepest part of the stable to keep them warm as possible. One of the many things to prepare was the care and feeding of these animals. I wondered about the food for them and the wastes! I was told about the bales of hay and where they had oats to feed them. Believe it or not, the dung (horse shit) was a good fuel! They pooped, it was dried and used to help keep them warm. You wouldn’t heat marshmallows or hotdogs over those flames, but it kept them warm. With the doors shut, I had no idea how it would smell down here and I will be fine never knowing. Grandpa swore it was the best for roses. I never doubted him. He and Grandma had plenty of roses and even entered competitions with them. Now, what odors you couldn’t miss was that of oil, grease, and exhaust from the vehicles. As the weather was pleasant, the doors were open, letting in a fresh breeze. The people down here knew we were coming, so my red Cobra sat waiting. Yes, it’s damned unfair! I have this great car. I have loved it since I saw it. I’m a guy! This car was HOT!! Only now I almost never drive it! That was damned unfair! I won’t bore you with the “poor me” routine. He was shiny and polished like the day I drove it home from the dealership. That was also unfair and to make it worse, when we came back it will again be washed, waxed, and polished again. The comments I made about the backseat being small was a little overdone by me. There was room for passengers and legroom, but getting in the back would be tight with Alec or Mercea. Even with the driver’s and passenger’s seat pulled all the way forward as far as it can go, they probably would have a tight fit. I didn’t care! Everyone slid in and I started it. When that engine made instant deep lobbing sounded of power, like a purr from a tiger, I felt the rush in my chest as adrenaline pumped. I tingled. “Eric!” Peter said from the passenger seat. I realized he’d said my name twice before and I hadn’t heard him. He wasn’t worried. He was very amused! He pointed at the open doors. “That way.” I grinned, “I just hope I remember how to do this. I hope it’s like riding a bike,” I glanced at Peter, “you never forget.” I did remember. Putting it in first gear, I pressed on the accelerator and with a quick squeal of rubber on the brick floor we shot out the doors and into the courtyard. I was having fun! My three passengers were just a little concerned. I saw Peter grab what was called the “Oh, shit” handle above his head above the door. It is aptly named because that was what the face said. I let out a rebel yell the Dukes of Hazzard would be proud of. I didn’t drive that crazy all the time. A sports car on the streets of Stryia was unknown. A somewhat crazy driver from the Southern portion of the United States was never even considered possible. I slowed it down on the road into Stryia. I had been through the streets, but we were always going to and from something, but now this was where I wanted to go. Stryia’s underground was very necessary to give Makarovians the freedom to go and do things when the weather was restricting them to their homes. You knew that. As crowded as those new tunnels could be, the Makarovians were not crowded up here. Peter had explained this was a time to prepare, but they didn’t have to run around as before. They had to prepare, but not as frantically. They took joy in being in the great outdoors and walked to shops on the streets. Couples strolled hand in hand, arm around the other as they went. I saw something and slowed down immediately. The streets weren’t the wide avenues in large modern cities. Most people didn’t drive here, but the ones who did, parked along the curb. “What?” Peter asked to find out what was going on. I pointed at a shop, “That’s what.” We were so used to coming to the Makarovian Gourmet Coffee Shoppe from below, I almost missed it. “He’s buying,” Peter grinned at Stepan and Vesil waving at me. After getting their coffees I had to reassure them about spilling in the car and pointed to the cup holders. Anyone of us could spill. There were parks. Areas of level ground which markings of a sports field. Be it their football (what we called soccer), rugby, field hockey you need a level field. At the moment some young people were playing field hockey. The hockey stick was the giveaway. “I don’t really care for field hockey,” Peter confessed. “I have more control on the ice.” He looked at me directly and reminded me, “You said you’d learn.” “I’m going to!” I shot back. “I’d do it now, but no ice. You promised to learn to scuba dive!” “I’m going to!” He said it exactly as I did, grinning. A stifled chuckle came from the backseat. I looked in the rearview mirror as Stepan tried to keep it from coming out. “Stepan,” I said, “Are you coming back to Boston?” He sobered a little, “I’ll be rotated back at the beginning of the New Year.” “Great!” I said and looked at Vesil, “We’re you posted in Boston?” Peter jerked his head in my direction. “He makes a point to know every Makarovian personally.” I nodded blowing a put on an air of patience. “Naturally,” I said matter of fact. “By our own laws, didn’t I marry them before you?” Peter’s eyes got very large and blurted in English, “Excuse me!!” I wasn’t bothered at all, “I think so.” I sucked the straw to get the cool iced latte. “Oh, no, no, no,” Peter shook his head. However, the effect he may have wanted to be got was lost in his big smile and the laughter. “If anything we were married at the same time.” “Were we?” I asked innocently, “Didn’t they say we do first?” I held two fingers up, “Twice! The first a year ago?” “What!?” Peter blurted. “No! A year ago they were asked if they might consider you as a prince if you were my husband. We were all engaged at that time.” He pointed at me. “And using the way you think,” he grinned, “if you were married to all of Makarovia and Makarovians we’re all married at the same moment. Stepan, Vesil, Boris, Yuri, Olek, Mom, and me! We’re all Makarovian!” “Well thought out!” I said to Peter. Stepan leaned toward Vesil, “I told you.” “I just finished advanced training,” Vesil said. “I finished my mandatory two years of service, I was sent for advanced training to become an agent. I hope to come with you two back to Boston when you go back.” “Great!” I said. We went to that large traffic circle in Stryia. There were many figurines surrounded by some beautiful flowers of many colors from white to red and every shade of purple. We had to get out and strolled among them. It was a very large circle of level ground which was prized. On both sides of the river that cut this valley, there were limited areas that we level and that was where the Makarovians built their city so long ago. Life here was not bad at all now. It could have been anywhere in the world as a dozen or more couples lounged on green grass to get a little bit of warm sunshine. There were male couples, female couples, and males with females couples...it still amazed me that no one here thought anyone was odd! There was the happy sound of children laughing, running, and squealing as they avoided being caught whoever was “it.” Every child in the world knows that game. I present an idealistic life. A delighted squeal attracted my attention as a little girl about seven years old just bearly dodged being grabbed by a boy about her age. It was idealistic! No language was heard or needed. It could be anywhere in the world, even the United States. Okay, the stone houses and red roofs were not very American. The lack of some people tossing a football or baseball...some sort of ball around and the dark shadow of those huge mountains that surrounded the valley told you it wasn’t the United States. I looked back at the one fat tower in Makarovia. A skyscraper before there were skyscrapers. The citadel/palace. It wasn’t built to be pretty. You know that. Other than housing the royal family it was built to protect the people of Makarovia and hide! I knew it as home now and to me it was beautiful! That definitely wasn’t constructed in the United States. The citadel was built before there was the United States! Maybe Vikings in Canada and Native North Americans, but not many others. Other than those few things, it was the same. Sort of. I looked at Peter, “This is ground you can plant on.” I commented. Peter nodded and touched a flower petal gently, but left the flower alone, “It is planted on.” The flower he touched he smiled at, “These are Mom’s favorite flowers.” The petals were long, light pink, and delicate, but in full bloom. As I said, I knew roses. I knew these weren’t roses. “These are Fairy Lillies,” Peter explained. How the name came about was easy to see. The petals looked like they could be wings on a fairy. I knew Lillies by name and was confused. “Aren’t Lillies tropical plants?” I asked. Peter smiled, “Tropical and temperate zone plants.” He nodded and then shrugged, “One of the scientists we,” he used his fingers to give air quotes, “acquired...had defected to Russia from Geneva.” “He went to Russia? When?” I asked, “Why?” “Thank god you didn’t ask who, because I don’t remember,” Peter chuckled. “It was during the late sixties or early seventies when he was young and certain he was smarter than everyone.” “That detail you remember, but not his name?” I muttered with a smirk. Peter’s eyes rolled and his head wavered in frustration, “I don’t remember him at all!” His hands waved at his sides in futility. There were a couple of muffled chuckles from Stepan and Vesi, but Peter kept ongoing. “I wasn’t here yet! This is Mom’s story.” “Okay,” I said. “I’m listening.” “Mom said he was very smart,” Peter said. “He was a brilliant geneticist, chemist, and botanist. He went to Russia because he thought the lack of restrictions in Russia would allow experimentation the West wouldn’t. He knew he could clone anything or anyone. He was going to genetically enhance men to make the perfect soldier and spy...” I nodded, “Which every red-blooded American at that time just knew that was what those Reds were doing.” I interrupted mockingly smug. “Do you want the rest of the story about the damned flower, or not?” Peter growled. “You can,” I gave a one-shouldered shrug, “or I can ask Mom. Whatever.” I kind of felt sorry for Stepan and Vesil who were trying their best to keep their laughter under control. This was a routine Peter and I did often to relieve tension or just for laffs. “Anyway,” Peter said and motioned to the flower. “That was a gift to Mom when she became Queen.” He bounced a little and said proudly. “These are Queen Alla Ivanov’s Fairy Lillies!” I looked over what had to be hundreds of blooms. There were other flowers, but none as plentiful as these. I knew they came from bulbs like tulips. They needed the cold which these babies got plenty of in the winter. “These are genetically altered?” Peter shrugged, “Altered, spliced, or whatever. They love it here.” “Wait!” I had a lightning bolt of an epiphany hit me between the eyes. Being gay, drama was just below the surface. “Is this his only example of what he did?” “I heard he had many things that failed,” Peter said. “This one he got right. His cloning and genetic altering were almost all failures. He was working on wheat and corn that could grow in Russia.” I remembered one of the many discussions about global warming that concerned a lot of people was worried about a shift in the climate. The United States and other countries that shipped wheat, corn, and many grains overseas. Fear that warming would shift making Canada and Russia the world’s new breadbasket. “He worked from the early seventies until the early nineties in Russia,” I said to confirm. Teasing and jokes were forgotten by me. “Why was he here in Makarovia?” Peter shrugged, “Because he was like we are? I don’t know, but a few years before it all fell apart, they sent him here.” He nodded and looked at me. He shook me, “This time I do know what you’re thinking. He had some successes, but our problem is this,” He stomped on the ground. “Other than this park and some others, we didn’t have the land to plant on.” I nodded, “I know, I know.” I waved at the park. “But, Peter, if he had success with the wheat and corn, they might do even better in the terrace greenhouses!” Peter nodded grinning, “Sure, but as Olek says, we were busy!” “Yeah, yeah,” I said but was thinking. “He died here in Makarovia?” Peter nodded again, “But this was the only successful thing he had.” He paused as he tried to remember, “I think.” In fairness, it was a chaotic few decades. The USSR collapsed and Makarovia was left to fend for itself. Olek the first dies leaving his eldest son king. Uranium was found and Olek the second kept it secret somehow while asking powers in the West to help. “He kept notes?” I asked. “I never got that part of the story,” Peter shrugged. “We need to talk to Mom,” I said with a sense of urgency. “Eric,” Peter said patiently. “I think a couple of more hours or even days won’t spare any extra lives. Can we continue our sightseeing?” It was really irritating to hear logic. I still needed more impulse control. I turned to Vesil and pointed at him. “Whatever Stepan told you about the two of us, I hesitate to say he was right when I don’t know what it is. He was probably right.” I smiled. “Recently, the role of our Security Agents has changed.” I waved at them from head to toe. “The required attire for one.” “Our agents now are friends,” Peter grinned, “so, be prepared to be gotten to know in the near future.” He threw his arm around me, “especially with this one.” “That means,” I said, “if we do something you find funny, silly, or stupid; laugh!” Peter nodded, “You’ll be doing that a lot with him.” “Just because of me,” I stated looking at Peter. “You are the best straight man a comedy team can have,” I said. “I love to play off you!” “Straight man?” Stepan asked. There was fun again explaining the direct English to Makarovian translation and meaning.
  10. We're here! Part One The morning arrived and sunlight shone through the little windows at the top of the outer walls. A perfect day for seeing what was out there. I could hear the happy birds chirping and singing welcoming the new day. (You know the walls were thick stone and unless it was one of the military planes, I couldn't have heard them. I have a good imagination, so I create my own Disney moments.) Peter's reaction to what was said the night before was humorous. He knew better than a lot of Makarovians did about the world. His chosen isolation had created an image of Makarovia. Principles he knew full well for the world out there, but not in Makarovia. The exchange of what someone has to another to get something they desired started way back in the past. That was where the idea of civilization came from. Trade made many things possible. We had left caves behind and now were nomads. We moved with our prey. I wonder how the first human plopped down and said, "I'm tired of this. I refuse to walk another foot!" Of course, it was said in the appropriate grunts of early language. I'm sure his feelings on the matter were articulated well. He wasn't budging. Or she! I've known a lot of women that when their minds are made up don't easily change their minds. The usual first thing for people hit me. I had to pee. I grinned as the constant protection was there. Peter's arm was around me as he spooned behind me. I also figured out it wasn't even for my security, but for Peter's; I was his teddy bear! I know I've told you even as a child I didn't share my bed with anyone or anything, but with Peter, I made myself get used to it. I suppose I don't need to tell you my feelings about Peter, but I have to tell you; I found it more comfortable during the winter. Air conditioning was almost unheard of in Makarovia. The temperature rarely rose to eighty-five degrees in the peak of a day in the summer. Night temperatures lowered into the low seventies and sixties. That's in Fahrenheit, not in Celsius obviously. Peter was a warm person, and I'm not talking about his disposition! I lived my whole life in the South in the United States and I knew what it was like to be hot and sticky when sleeping and I can say I am miserable when hot. Charleston was the worst I ever experienced. We had a severe hurricane and power was out a week. The heat and humidity were horrible! I know, another rabbit. This is just a small one. "Don't wiggle your cute nose at me, now scoot, scoot!" I do like rabbits. It was a misconception that rabbits are rodents. They are not, though they do share an ancestor with rats… See!? I'm doing it again! Sorry. Peter generated some heat! Nature's call could not be ignored, so I raised his arm gently as I could and I had yet found a way to do it without waking him up. It wasn't bad to be someone's teddy bear. We all usually have transitional objects in life to be comfortable during our transition from one stage of life to the other such as infancy to childhood, from there to teenagers. Many grown adults keep that object with them their entire life so they can remember and get comfort in that. I had them, I just didn't sleep with one. I could really go after that rabbit, but I'll spare you. I found solace in the fact that I brought a sense of security having me with him. It is a little codependent, but aren't married couples suppose to be? His hold on me tightened as it always did. I rolled over kissing him quickly. "I'll be right back," I said softly. I said so often now, even in his sleep clouded mind he knew what had to happen. He released his hold and mumbled something, I couldn't understand if it was an apology or just an acknowledgment. Whatever. I got up and did what I needed to do. Often times, it triggered something in Peter. He would begin waking up and so did his bodily functions. I met him as he headed to do the same on the way back to our bed. "I was comfortable," Peter grumbled as he passed. I smiled, "And you'll never be comfortable again." "That's not the point," Peter's voice came. In the years I have known him now, he was never mean. I knew him too well to fall for his "annoyance" act. "You're right, it's not," I said. "The point was I was uncomfortable. If you hadn't let me up, we would both be uncomfortable in a wet bed." I heard another grunt as he walked out, "It's all about you." I nodded, "A minute or two ago; Hell, yes, it most certainly was." Grinning at him, "I have got to say, your delivery has improved greatly." Peter smiled and shook his head, "I can never fool you, can I?" "I wouldn't want you to be able to," I said simply. "We have a good marriage. Trust is important. Communication is important." His arms came around me. He chuckled, "We do those two things very well." He said kissing me. "Good morning." I smiled, "Good morning." You now know how my mind works. "Do those windows open?" The sudden topic leap I made baffled him a second or two, "What?" He asked as he processed what I'd said. "The windows?" He asked and pointed up at one, "You mean those windows?" I nodded, "It makes sense." I said. "Palaces and living quarters of royalty, especially in Eygpt, were higher than the houses surrounding it. Why?" "Because they are better than everyone else?" "That was just one of the reasons. They did the same in Italy and other countries," I tapped his chest. "The other reason was to keep the stench of waste and all those human and animal bodies away. The most important reason was for fresh air and to catch the cool breezes!" Peter shook his head again, "Why do you know this?" "I remember it from World History," "Okay," Peter nodded as he looked up at the window. "You want to open the windows." "Just a couple." I sort of pleaded. "You know I love you to death. I'd never hurt you." "But?" Peter turned his head to look at me and said suspiciously wanting me to just say it. "I was hot last night," I said. "You generate a great deal of heat." I saw his eyes widen so I hurried on, "Which is great except for the next month! Can we get a fan or something? Circulate the air." I waved at the palace. "This whole palace and fortress were constructed to hold in heat! That is usually the most needed. Those vents in the fireplaces and lower ceiling in the bed-chamber work very well when it's cold." "And last night you were hot." Peter nodded, "But I made it worse." He said a little sadly. "This is one of the times I don't like Grandma's rule," I said pulling him close. "It's not something you do on purpose. It's a simple request to get some air circulated. We're up high enough so it should be easy enough to solve the problem." I smiled at him. "I'm not blaming you for what you can't control. I will say this, though. I always heard castles were often cold and drafty. Whatever Makarovians did with this place, it isn't drafty." Peter looked up at the window, "I have never had anyone open one before." He shrugged. "I'll have to ask." He took it well. Before he blamed himself often about problems caused by his family and his position. He even blamed himself for losing the apartment during the first year. He didn't take any blame this time. "There is normally a radio signal from the palace sent at nine." I knew what he was talking about. His topic leap didn't baffle me. "In the morning or at night?" Peter's smile grew. However, it really wasn't the same. We had been talking about it last night. My question about the windows and circulating air was from out of nowhere. "Yes," Peter grinned. "Someone in each town is to listen each time." "So, every twelve hours a radio broadcast is sent." I nodded. "Strictly about Makarovia," Peter replied. "In private homes the person in residence is responsible. The mayors and village leaders are responsible to let everyone know. With the international networks reporting much of the news, there are times when there is nothing to report, but we send a signal..." he thought about what to say, "Such as those emergency test signals in the United States. If they don't get one, they need to find out why not." "Okay," I said, "That's logical." Now, I had to be careful. Not that I'd be hurt or Peter would be hurt, but I could challenge his national pride. "I am Makarovian," I said proudly. "I can't think of more generous and caring people. You're all smart..." "But," Peter asked again. "You are people that have been conditioned and for generations and taught to do things, such as hide, or depend on others to bring you what you need. I don't think you realize how far that goes." I waved at our television and computer. "News and entertainment are brought in by someone else! We've kept our language and customs; we are all proud to be Makarovian! Everything we bring in is done in Ukrainian, Romanian or English." I gave a grudging nod, "I know there are others and I think that's great! The children watch Vulystsya Sezam," I saw his brow wrinkle, "Sesame Street? You know Bert, Ernie, Elmo, Big Bird..." I saw Peter's smile and nod, so I went on. "That's in Ukrainian! They learn Makarovian at home and at school. Wouldn't be nice to see and hear it in Makarovian?" "But they need to learn other languages," Peter argued. I threw my hands out in futility. "Is there any choice not to?" I brought his head toward mine causing our foreheads to touch. "A Makarovian reporting about things in Makarovia, speaking in Makarovian will help boost that pride." I kissed him deeply and then said, "That gives us two broadcasts to get the word out that WMNN, Makarovian News Network will be on the Internet!" Peter grinned, "WMNN? Aren't those letters claimed? You said it wouldn't be a network." "The letters I'm sure are being used already," I said. "If the radio and internet program is working together, it will be a network!" Peter chuckled, "We're really going to do this?" I nodded, "We're doing this!" After a shower and clean clothes, we went down to get our necessities. Coffee was one of those. As it always was in East Europe, breakfast was very substantial. Makarovians loved their bread. Not sweet rolls. I'm sure they'd make them if we asked, but there were whole-grain slices of toasted bread, a skillet breakfast of scrambled eggs, peppers, cheese, and kielbasa! It was good, but not done by Henri or Boris. We had the family dining room to ourselves. Either everyone had eaten and left early or they hadn't gotten up yet. We were up a little late the night before. It was already a little after nine, but I knew we'd miss that one. Tonight and in the morning would be the two I mentioned. We heard some quiet conversation as it got louder just as Olek and Helga entered. Helga's arm through Olek's as they strolled in not in any hurry. Olek smiled a smile of comfortable satisfaction. "I'm surprised to see anyone still here." Manners and etiquette were observed as Peter and I stood up as Helga sat. "Peter's showing me Stryia," I said. "But first," Peter began and asked about the windows which I found out could open, but hasn't been in thirty years or so except to keep them clean. When I was asked why, I merely said. "The Secret Garden." You know I love to do this. I got three curious looks. I'm certain psychiatric professionals have theories about the need I have. "The book and several movies where a little girl helps her wealthy but sickly cousin recover by exposing him to clean air and sunshine in the hidden garden the sick cousin's dead mother had built." Helga was nodding as she smiled, remembering it fondly, "Der Geheime Garten. I remember that." It wasn't hard for me to know that it was the same title but in German. "Peter and I aren't sick, but fresh air can't hurt," I shrugged. "He says I give off too much heat," Peter grumbled. Helga burst out laughing. "So does Olek!" I waved at Helga, but looked at Peter, "See!?" Peter grinned, but let it go. "Second," and he explained what we thought needed to be done. Olek, like Peter, was unaware anything was missing. I use the idiom again with a twist. How do you fix something you don't even know is broken? "Do we need equipment?" Olek asked. I shrugged, "Really we can do it now. I know the computer in your office and bedroom have cameras that allow us to see and speak by way of the Internet. Yuri knows how to get it on the monitors and television screens in Makarovia." "There will even be Makarovian commercials," Peter muttered. Olek frowned, "Do we have to?" I laughed, "Olek, don't you want to know which deodorant to use or who to go to when there's a problem with bugs?" Helga was also loving this, "Or what works the best with feminine hygiene or even erectile dysfunction?" She grinned at Olek and then said patting his hand, "I'm sure no Ivanov at this table has to worry about that." "Not yet," Olek chuckled. "A well thought out commercial can be entertaining," I said. "There are many that are hilarious!" No one said it was a bad idea. I hoped the broadcast idea would go over well. It wouldn't have the polish that CNN or the BBC had, but that would improve with time. It's human nature to become bored and lazy at times. Makarovia had not become lazy because of the need to prepare for the severe cold weather that would arrive as early as the beginning of October. A program aimed at Makarovians to warn them ahead of time would be very helpful. Our neighboring countries had the same weather, but Makarovia was a big valley. The mountains that ringed us seemed to hold the snow and ice storms when they hit. Romania, Hungary, and part of Poland suffered too, but they had the infrastructure to deal with it. We were building that infrastructure. Makarovia's underground was just the beginning. The idle time when the weather caused isolation could be used to educate and warn them about the threats from scammers and so many others in the world. Before Peter could show me around Stryia, we needed to speak with Yuri. Yuri, for now, was easy to find. He was in charge of Makarovian Security. Not the military. They aren't the same. Security Agents were military but assigned to Yuri's control. The militia in Makarovia didn't need a Navy or an Air Force. They were an Army. When one of the Makarovian young people did their mandatory two-year service, the members that showed promise were asked to do more than just stand guard or clean up the barracks. They can move on in the Army as Mercea had done and became an agent, which I learned was very difficult for anyone to just do. They could go into law enforcement and other things that needed to be manned. Yuri was sitting at a computer in the office for security. He smiled at us as we entered that said he knew why we came. "You still want to broadcast King Olek's announcement to Makarovia." "That's the plan," I said. "In as far as the connection and feed to show it on the monitors, that includes the televisions, what do we need to do?" Yuri chuckled, "We have a camera that can send a signal, it really doesn't have any particular destination," He sat back. "It's who is going to receive it we need to think about. We have a webpage for Makarovia already. Sending that signal to the webpage and telling the user to open another window to see it. The televisions will have to be set to receive the digital signal." He raised a finger and added, "but not everyone in Makarovia can get a digital signal. The change over from analog to digital is still ongoing in Makarovia. Many had to get those converters for the television to see your wedding," he shrugged, "or go to the Grotto or other places to see it. It shouldn't be a problem." I nodded, "Which language is Olek using?" Yuri looked surprised, "I assume it will be in English. Almost all European countries speak English and translate English." "Yes," I agreed, "Almost all European countries speak English, but not everyone in those countries can speak English." Yuri's brow wrinkled, "I guess they caption it or do a voiceover." I shook my head, "And almost none can speak Makarovian." I shrugged. "Ukrainians can probably make sense of it if they listen carefully." Peter looked at me puzzled, "This news conference is to the world, not just Makarovia." I nodded again, "Right. For that reason, it should be. Those countries out there can translate that easily, but Makarovian is mostly unknown. Future shows will be in Makarovian for Makarovians. If we show something other countries want to show, they will have to learn to translate it. Our customs, ways, and even our language need to be accepted." "You want to force them to speak Makarovian?" Yuri asked. "No," I shook my head. "I'm talking to you and Peter in Makarovian. This is our conversation. If our future Step-Aunt Maria came in, she may have to have someone who speaks Italian for her to understand our conversation." Yuri nodded, "Oh, I see." He shrugged and smiled evilly. "We could do it this time and make everybody scramble to figure it out." Peter chuckled, "No, Yuri. We're trying to get people to know us and like us, alienate them." It puzzled me why Peter, Olek, and Yuri weren't understanding what I was talking about. But thinking about it there were things about all of them. Helga understood. She was raised and educated in the West. Remember, Germany, France, Great Britian, and others were part of the West. not just the United States and Canada. Oppression caused a lot of behaviors in people. Peter and Olek were like most in Makarovia and used to hiding and staying out of the spotlights. Olek was willing to step out in the world to change that, but sometimes things slipped by him. Both Yuri and Boris were born and had their childhoods in Russia when it was controlled by the Soviets. After the USSR fell apart the freedom to do what you desired was a struggle to deal with. Boris' and Yuri's desire for each other caused the need to hide and stay out of the spotlights. Russia was still not gay friendly. According to Yuri and Boris, many of the tactics were used by the KGB were used by the modern police. Well, they were modern years ago before Boris and Yuri fled Russia for Makarovia. They still had a hard time showing affection to each other when I first came to the townhouse in Boston. They knew Peter and I were fine with it and were gay ourselves. Yuri was the one that had the biggest problem with that. My original point with this was, what I saw plain as daylight about what to do, they had to come around to that thinking. I was determined to make that happen for all Makarovians. I hoped this Network of potential shows would help with that. "Who is going to head this up?" Yuri asked me, "You?" I quickly shook my head, "Absolutely not! My plate is full enough as it is! I've got the uranium processing, the overseeing of medical and educational needs of Makarovia, I have the Makarovian arts…" I turned to Peter, "And about that, I've seen some beautiful paintings and sculptures, are you telling me there are no writers in Makarovia. There is Milo's journal, but that was in German. Other writings are published on our webpage, but there have to be others. Where are they?"" Peter's eyes widened, but he was smiling, "I don't know! We've been rather busy." I could see his body shudder a little as he laughed silently. I shook my head, "Not that busy. And where are those lost treasures? Huh? The search for them, has it been abandoned?" "Of course not," Yuri said grinning. "I know King Olek has some older miners who knew the mines of the past looking. Especially now while it's warm." "Fine," I groused. "What about translating existing literature?" "The reading adults can read plenty of literature," Yuri said. "Fine again," I said. "And the children?" "They learn to read English and other languages," Yuri argued. My eye narrowed as I pointed at him, "Did you read Kot V Shliape or Slon Khorton vysizhivaet iaitso?" Yuri was now laughing, but Peter spoke Russian and said, "The Cat in the Hat? Horton hatches the Egg?" I motioned at Yuri, "He knows what those are!" I wasn't angry. It was really quite amusing. "Dr. Seuse wrote some great stuff! I don't believe there's but a handful of people that don't know it. My favorites were Are you my Mother and Green Eggs and Ham." "There are copyrights and all that…" Peter added. "So? They did it in Russian! They would love to do in Makarovian." I pointed again at Yuri. "We'll need some people to work on this. I know they have computers to translate on the screens what's said in captions a language they understand. Why can't we?" Yuri shrugged, "We can, but not by tomorrow afternoon." "What happens tomorrow we'll deal with as before," I said simply and then looked at Peter. "Do you feel you have enough duties?" "What!?" This time the tone of his voice wasn't just for effect. "I can't do that! I'm still working on the city planning…" "Relax," I said, "We need someone who will be in Makarovia a while to do the job. You and I are still getting degrees. I know some of the projects you're working on to improve Makarovia and a lot is coming." I smiled at him. "I think the first one should be by someone they love and trust," I patted his chest. "That's you!" Yuri nodded, "He's right." "Then we find a Makarovians who are extroverts, have good personalities, and not afraid of cameras," I insisted and waved my arm at the outer wall. "We have millions of Makarovian possibilities! Someone has to be able to do this!"
  11. R. Eric

    A New Direction?

    Oh, yes! I'm not even close to being done. The story goes on as I do.
  12. WMNN Easy conversation flowed at our table. We were safe in Makarovia, at least at the moment. There were no tourists yet. The people here were either locals or part of the military. Everyone knew and respected our space and didn’t approach us. “Tomorrow night there will be some reporters that will arrive for the press conference,” Olek said smiling. “I don’t have to tell you that the news they are getting should be told by Helga and me.” Rolph was testing the waters before he dove in, “Your Majesty, there’s more than just the fact you’re married.” Olek nodded, “Yes.” No one at the table had said anything about marriage. Not really. Yuri was right about the agents here. They did notice things and were smart enough to figure it out. It was all right in front of them! He, Helga, Mom, Mario, and Grandma was doing something they hadn’t done before by coming to the Grotto; Olek’s concern for Helga’s health was more than usual, and don’t forget the wedding rings. The speed of the wedding was unusual. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to put the equation together and come up with an answer that fits what they did know. “I don’t know,” Andreea began doubtfully. “Andreea!” Rolph said in horror. Andreea shook her head, “There will be Makarovians that won’t like it.” Then almost a wicked smile came up, “You know you’re the subject of many daydreams and sexual fantasies.” She physically waved us off. “Now, King Olek has taken himself off the market! There will be a lot of broken hearts!” Her voice was asking why they didn’t see that. She was right. In this country, let’s be honest, a good number of those hearts worldwide were male. Olek had been the most eligible bachelor. Now that Makarovia was known more in the world, there would be a lot of disappointment. It was time to return to the palace. Rolph and Andreea would take Alec and Mercea home. Another trait for the Human Race that was universal was the departure. After a meeting, people still had things to talk about. Such as after church. The sermon ends, but it takes a few minutes for people to leave the sanctuary. And still, there was always more that needed to be said. As a child, I came to expect certain things. I was hungry at noon! Famished! In Charleston, we went to a restaurant I liked. Mammy Roberta’s. I can also say it was the first restaurant I went to. I was three months old. The restaurant was old. It opened right after World War II and the original Mammy Roberta had passed away before I was born, but made such good food. When her husband was killed in that war when the naval vessel he served on sank in the South Pacific, she made ends meet by opening the restaurant. Her two children took control after Mammy Roberta’s death. Sorry, I did it again in chasing a rabbit that had nothing to do with our leaving. We got into the two vehicles and started off for home. We had just started and it hit me. “Who is telling Makarovians about what’s happening in Makarovia?” I asked. “Where do they get weather reports?” I couldn’t even remember a newspaper. Peter’s eyes widened, “We get the news.” I agreed, “From other countries.” I shook my head. “Local broadcasts from Ukraine, Romania, Poland, and Hungary are the closest.” I gave a wobbly, grudging nod. “Yes, there are big networks like CNN and the BBC we watch all the time. Right before we got married, they showed a lot of Makarovianon on television, the cheering crowd on the streets, and at the Grotto.” “That was an International event,” Peter stated. It wasn’t really anyone’s fault, but they were accustomed to being dependent on others for many things they just didn’t see a problem. “Are any of those countries on our good side?” Peter blinked, but he thought, “We aren’t on their bad sides.” “When Olek made the announcement to the world,” I said, “he said to everyone no one was going to take what we have.” “He never said who!” Peter stated. “Oh please,” I said in English. With Mario and Mom in the other vehicle, we had gone back to using Makarovian. Those two words in English conveyed the unsaid “spare me” best. “I’m not a Ukrainian, I’m descended by one. I knew who he meant. Poland allowed the Russian Military to have their exercises on their border next to us. There are others, but they knew who Olek was speaking to.” I frowned. “Olek was right to do things as he did. Going to the strongest countries that value freedom was the smart thing to do.” “The world doesn’t need another news channel.” Peter griped. “Screw the world!” Again said in English then back again. “I’m talking about Makarovia. What happens when there is an emergency? Mines have the alarms they sound, but when Olek the first had his heart attack...how was Makarovia informed?” Peter thought again, “There is a radio broadcast from the palace for that. It goes to the public that way.” “All of them,” I wanted him to say it was, but I knew it couldn’t have been. “Everyone has a radio and tuned to the station at the palace.” My tone said that was impossible to believe. “No,” Peter said. “The community leaders have to have one. Everyone in Stryia has one, or a neighbor does.” He shrugged, “It’s pretty much the same in Skoal and Skotarskoye.” Those were two of the largest towns outside of Stryia. Skoal was even larger now because the military from many nations was here. Skotarskoye was where the metals dug out were processed and smelted. It probably will grow even more if we put the processor for the uranium there. I wavered a nod and said, “I keep giving advice, but I don’t know everything.” Peter chuckled and had shock on his face. “You don’t!?” He shook his head, “So, should we get a divorce?” Sneering at him, I said, “I told you. I’m the smartass, not you.” Peter threw his arm around me, “The only person expecting you to know everything, is you!” I nodded, “But I could be wrong…” “About what!?” Peter asked. “You know a lot of the world in the West, the United States in particular. You weren’t wrong there. You do think we need a news channel.” I shook my head, “It doesn’t have to be a whole Network or even a Channel.” I held the finger up, “But,” I grinned. “We can run a program on the Internet! I’m surprised you don’t know this. Your good buddy Ted was doing one on his computer in the seventh grade.” “A news program!?” Peter asked, astounded. “Yep,” I grinned, “He’s a committed journalist and always has been. He called it the Tuscaloosa Teen News and went from twelve followers that year to one hundred and twenty-three the next year.” “He must have been good,” Peter said. “By graduation, he was up to twenty thousand and covered four high schools,” I added. “He was a sports journalist but covered many things. He even showed clips of games he had people record. It went from a half-hour to an hour.” “What else did he cover?” “Current events that affected teenagers such as dances, parties thrown by students were invited to, charity programs a school would implement, unfair treatment of students by teachers, and even corruption by members of the school board.” I shrugged, “We can do that.” “I suppose,” Peter said in a low voice. “However, the news is news. Facts are presented.” Why was he resisting this? I looked in his eyes, “You know perfectly well that two people can tell the same story, using the same words and have two different interpretations. Explain to me the problem you think is there.” Peter was thinking and shook his head, “No problem, but it needs more than a single person. You’ll need reporters to go to the area of events, photographers, news writers...editors!” “Okay,” I said, “And?” “We couldn’t hire those people by Friday.” Peter pointed out. “We don’t have to,” I grinned looking at two passengers in the seat behind us. “Yuri,” I smiled, “you made the Duchess appear as something else. You tracked down and stopped that Baldwin bitch sending information to the Consortium.” As I said what he’d done, the smile on his face grew. “Can you tap into the television broadcast and have a computer broadcast shown there?” Yuri thought a minute, “Well, sure. The televisions are basically monitors. All I’d have to…” “Hold it!” I didn’t quite bark, “My head is full right now. Yes or no; can it be done?” “Yes,” Yuri answered. “That’s easy!” I nodded a quick nod, “Did you hear that!?” I pointed at Yuri over my shoulder with my thumb. “It’s easy!” I shook my head, “I had a friend in grade school whose mother told the best stories! She could even tell you about going to the grocery store and have you in stitches. She was so hilarious.” I raised my hand, “On the other hand, I knew someone else who would use the same words and listening to paint dry would be more exciting! It’s all in the delivery.” Peter chuckled, “I know someone can tell me almost anything and make me laugh.” His eyebrows waggled. I smiled back, “I don’t believe in being boring, this is more fun.” Was that another rabbit? If I stay on this trail, it will be. “My point is; depending on other countries for news or entertainment. Try as they might to be otherwise, they are often biased.” I slugged him lightly, “You know that!” Peter looked puzzled, “You want to do it Friday?” I shrugged, “Why not? We don’t have anything else we have to do this week.” “Were all student parties on his show?” Peter asked, “I saw on television about teenagers and parties.” It was my turn to back my head an inch, “Not the ones thrown by the popular kids. Those were by invitation only.” I grimaced, “I was not invited to Lisa’s, Mark’s or Donald’s parties.” “You weren’t popular?” “I never tried to be,” I shrugged and leaned closer as if to tell him something confidential. “I’ll be honest. It would have been nice to be asked to come.” Peter laughed, “I’d say you had the best revenge. We had several parties. We’ve had kings, queens, princes, and heads of state...Lisa, Mark, and Donald weren’t invited.” “I’ll be honest again,” I grinned. “I hadn’t thought about it until now.” “Don’t you have a reunion to go to soon?” Peter asked. “In two years,” I chuckled, “Besides, I’ll be busy that weekend.” “You know you’ll be busy the weekend it will be two years in advance?” “Whichever the weekend will be,” I said, “It will be after we graduate and I’ll be here!” Peter smiled, “We have that new jet; no problem.” I realized something and I looked at him, “You didn’t have a graduation.” “I’m in college!” I chuckled, “But you never got the cap and gown thing.” He shook his head, “No, I didn’t have any of that.” The idea of showing them up was tempting, but I know where I was and what I am, I did not achieve by doing anything to earn it. I knew a language and asked to help another student so he could pass a course. Me, too. I won’t bore you, but we didn’t really speak the language I knew but is derived from it. Showing everyone what I had would be satisfying only for a few minutes. Those high school rules, unwritten but there, were followed. Mark quarterback of our football team. Lisa was very pretty and had long blonde hair. She was the captain of the cheerleading squad. The rule that Mark and Lisa were to date was followed. Essentially, they were the couple to be seen with during the eleventh and twelfth grades. Many of their parties were thrown together. Donald was almost Prince Charming. Almost. He was damned good looking and was six feet and three inches tall. That was just over one hundred and ninety centimeters! He was also on the football team, but his claim to fame wasn’t about sports. No, his claim was money. His father had a lot of money and spoiled his son and daughter. They both drove a couple of nice cars, but in our senior year, Donald drove up in a brand new white Corvette. I remember thinking, but Donald had nine to ten months left to graduate! Grandma always told me things I valued because they always proved to be true. Those people on top of the heap had to struggle to remain on the top. “That’s exhausting.” She said. “Who are their best friends they trust and confide in?” I had no idea. No depth did I ever see from any of them. You know me now and know I would have preferred Mark and Donald dated. Spare me the usual comments about that and losing our species. I know that. Who knew what they did in the locker room? I’ve given that rabbit enough attention. Because the Grotto was isolated in a cavern to prevent noise. It was a drive. Not a long one because Makarovia was not big. I don’t need to tell you, being in a country in the mountains you had a wandering road, do I? A road straight to the Grotto wouldn’t be that long, but this old mining road weaved a way down. It took a little time to get down safely. There were no posted speed limits. Care had to be taken not to have an accident. A smile on my face grew as I saw the night traffic in Stryia. Even if you’ve only visited a large city, you know how bad it can be. It would be a while before we had morning or evening traffic. We pulled into the courtyard of the palace. It was going to be another busy day in the morning. I was getting a tour of the capital city. Congratulations to Olek and Helga; see you in the morning for the others, we went to our rooms. Sliding into the bed, Peter was going through in his mind. “When we broadcast to Makarovia about Olek and Helga,” He started. “The palace will pay the people working.” I chuckled, “Maybe the first and second one. You know what a commercial does.” Peter nodded and then shrugged. “A Makarovian commercial.” “Word of mouth works well,” I said. “Like the Makarovian Gourmet Coffee Shoppe. I can see a commercial about them. A shot of steaming coffee being poured as other types of coffee and beverages are poured.” “There’s always a line at the counter now!” Peter said. “Enough people know about it now!” “You know about supply and demand, Peter!” He gave sort of nod and then shook his head, “I just didn’t expect...,” he looked directly at me. “This is Makarovia!” “Yes,” I grinned. “Business is business. A few more people could be hired to handle a second line.” I gave a grunt and said, “That means they will need more supplies. If you don’t have what’s demanded you can’t supply. We’ve been to the Starbucks at the Student Union at Northeastern. You’ve seen how busy it can be. You even have that Mega-Mug!” Peter had gotten this mug from Starbucks because he liked getting a fresh refill between classes. It was just a tad bit wider than a normal mug. Peter was thrilled when I gave it to him. It was a ceramic mug wrapped by stainless steel and insolated to keep it hot. It was three cups of coffee in that single mug. It had a no-leak, resealable lid. People complained about not fitting in their cupholder in their cars. Aw, the poor things. Peter hardly ever put his Mega-Mug down. He was an addict. I worry if he ever had to give it up. He would struggle with that one, but I would be the one to suffer. “I can’t wait for a competitor to open,” I said. “You love Makarovian Coffee Shoppe!” “I do,” I agreed. “Competition can be good for business. Forcing improvements and keeps the prices under control. If I can get something better for less I’d be a fool not to go for the better offer. At this moment, how many coffee shops are there?” Peter was getting it, “That’s the only one I know of.” “They can open one in Skoal and the other towns and villages in Makarovia.” I stopped a second. “Where was I going?” “Commercials?” I brighten, “Yes, right. The commercials will pay salaries and maintain the equipment. It doesn’t have to be that one show. There could be programs for children, too. It doesn’t have to just be educational.” I rolled over on top of him. “It’s no wonder so many languages are spoken in Makarovia, to understand what’s going on in the world, you have to. When the Soviets were in control, you had Russian Channels?” Peter chuckled, “That was before my time, but yes.” “I’m surprised Makarovian survived,” I said. “When Russia, Ukraine or Romania had control, you had to speak Russian, Ukrainian, and Romanian.” “Yes,” Peter said. “Dad and Grandpa made a mandate that all Makarovians spoke to other Makarovians in Makarovian.” I smiled, “To keep what you are alive.” Peter nodded quickly and said in English, “Damn straight!” He grinned, “We are Makarovians!” I shook my head as I thought of smartass statements, “No, that would be too easy.” “I look forward to showing you Stryia,” Peter said. “It’s pretty here.” “I’m sure,” I nodded. Peter grinned, “We can take your car.” He said, dangling that carrot of temptation in my face. “We still have to be escorted by security.” “Yes,” Peter nodded. “We can get by with two. Why?” “Do you see most of our security? Have you seen my backseats?” I shook my head, “They’ll get squashed!” Peter laughed, “It’s not that small. Yuri has ridden in it, so has Boris, they didn’t complain.” “Would they? Even if being cramped was a problem?” I asked and answered my own question, “No.” “I wouldn’t put Pano back there,” Peter said. I shook my head, “That’s not even going to be considered.” I kissed him gently and sat up a bit more again. “One more question.” Peter rolled his eyes but smiled patiently. “We have agents in Boston,” I said. “None of them are small, but…” I began, “There is a mandatory two-year service to Makarovia. I’ve not seen every male in Makarovia, but they all aren’t as large as Mikell or Alec...Is there a height requirement?” Peter chuckled, “If they are doing the mandatory service, not really. They are still too young. There is usually another late growth spurt in their late teens and early twenties. Yuri does prefer them to be at least one hundred and seventy-seven centimeters.” I don’t have to remind you, I hate math. This one was easy because it was my height at five feet and ten inches. We just had to be different across the Atlantic and resisted change. “Only thirty percent of the male population is over five feet ten inches,” I said in thought. “I wonder what the height of Makarovian men is.” “Do you want to find out now?” He cocked his head a little. “I’m naked in bed with you and you want to measure every man in Makarovia?” I shrugged, “I can wait.” I kissed him again. “I feel at home Peter, my home.” Peter’s face softened and he smiled, “And last summer or the Nativity Season?” “I was comfortable in your home,” I said. “Now, there is a comfort with that. It’s a sanctuary from the outside world. I feel safe and secure now.” “I love you, Eric.” I smiled. “I know. I love you, Peter.” “I know.”
  13. R. Eric

    Chapter 10

    I'm much better now. Daniel was and is my inspiration. I keep him close by writing about him because I remember him. I thought our lives was very good and I wanted to write about real love. Not just sex and pleasure. Love is being there in sickness and health. He tried so hard to beat cancer, but it won. I think the struggle he had deserved sharing.
  14. R. Eric

    Chapter 10

    The story did end, but I haven't finished writing it. Returning to write it...is difficult. You know I'm Mitch, my husband Daniel is Tony. The portion I last wrote about was right when chemotherapy and radiation treatment. I intend to write it. There is some good, but a lot of aches on the way. Daniel/Tony faced his cancer and fought hard. You know what happened three years ago.
  15. R. Eric

    A New Direction?

    I agree 100%! I am a fan of music. All music. Classical, disco, techno...It's interesting the Country Music and those artists. They are the ones I enjoy and I'll throw in Garth Brooks. I included Tim McGraw's Don't Take the Girl in first story about Makarovia. ELO! Duran-Duran...Those are classics. I write with music in the background. Love you guys!
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