Blood Over Badge
by Wayne Farquhar
The cop sounded desperate. He looked and saw a gun pointed right at his head.
“Yes sir. I ... I’m sorry. Please officer, please don’t shoot.” He had lost the advantage; he’d waited too long. He placed his hands on the wheel, leaving the gun buried in the crease. He needed to calm this cop down, get him to put his gun away. Then he could go for his gun.
The cop held his flashlight and gun, both arms extended. He could almost feel the site aimed at his right ear. The cop was semi-crouched so he could see into the car.
“Put your hands on top of your head, nice and slow, now!”
He complied. How do I get a drop on this asshole? Shit! I need a new plan!
“When I tell you to, take the keys from the ignition with your right hand, and drop the keys out the driver side window.”
The cop’s voice was still serious, but he was calming down. Compliance was working.
“Do it now, very slowly.”
He carefully removed his right hand from the top of his head, spread his fingers and slightly turned his palm toward the cop so he could see he had nothing in his hand.
“Yes sir. I’m real sorry; I’m doing it right now.” He reached down and slowly removed the keychain holding the shaved ignition key. He’d filed it himself, so it would work in plenty of locks and ignitions. If the cop saw that key, the game was up. He cupped the shaved key in his hand so the cop wouldn’t see it.
“Okay sir, I’m gonna’ drop the key out the window.” He slowly moved his right hand across his body and extended it out the open window. The keys jingled when they hit pavement. He placed his right hand back on top of his head and listened. Suddenly, he realized the cop wasn’t talking to the other cop anymore. They had to be in sight of one another. He knew the closer together the two cops were to one another, the better for him once he started shooting.
The cop talked into the radio microphone clipped to his lapel. “Control Six-Nora Thirty-One,” The cop said.
He heard a female voice on the other end. “Six-Nora Thirty-One, go ahead.”
“Code Ninety-Nine control.”What the fuck is a Code Ninety-Nine? And why isn’t the other cop doin’ the talkin’ on the radio? It wasn’t making sense.
“Ten-four, Six-Nora Thirty-One, break ...”
He strained to hear the woman. “Unit to respond for Six-Nora Thirty-One?”
Suddenly, it clicked. Yes! The fucker’s alone! He’s calling for a backup. He heard: “Six-Nora Thirty-Three, roger, I’ll take the fill, ETA nine.” The radio crackled then fell silent.
He thought he knew what this meant: In nine minutes backup would arrive. But, what if he was wrong? What if there was another cop out there?
“When I say so, slowly open the door, step out and keep your hands on top of your head.” Now the cop was much calmer.
He turned and looked at him. “Yes sir. I’m sorry sir, anything you say.” He tilted his head sideways. The spotlight from the police car was less blinding that way. The cop diverted the flashlight so it wasn’t right in his eyes. He watched the shadowy figure outside the door. The cop hadn’t moved an inch. Good for me, he thought, bad for you. Just keep your big ass in the same spot. How much time had passed? Two minutes? Three? Either way, the cop had stopped talking to his partner. He was still unsure: one or two? Guessing wrong could get him killed.
Quick Take Tuesday, a blog of tasteful, yet shameless, self-promotion involving an author or someone of equal social standing. I ask two questions, and then my guest turns the table and asks me two questions as long as they don’t involve pounds or pant size.
Today my guest is Wayne Farquhar
, author Blood Over Badge,
a gritty crime thriller. He is also a 29-year veteran cop in California who has worked every detail from street duty to hostage negotiator. Wayne has now set his sites on TV and film. Q)
You have got to be the handsomest cop I’ve ever met, and I met a few in my time as a crime reporter. And I have to say I just love a man in uniform. So, tell us what you’re up to when you’re not in uniform. And if you don’t mind, I’ll picture you in uniform
while I listen. A)
Okay, now I’m totally blushing and flustered. My writing is shifting gears very quickly as one project leads to another. I was about half way through the sequel when I diverted to write the screenplay for Blood Over Badge. While working on that, I hooked up with some really great writers: James Dalessandro for one. He liked my writing, loved my experience, and took me under his wing. As a matter of fact, I met another fantastic writer at that conference: you, Laura! From there it’s been a vertical learning curve. I’ve been offered a position with some prospective cop shows and we’re in the process of making the deal. It’s cool being around super-creative people because there’s this great energy, or vibe that exists. I’m following my instincts, keeping a positive attitude and enjoying the ride. Q)
I know that you are this close
with rocker and morning radio host, Greg Kihn
, and he’s really tight with Eddie Money
. So naturally, I feel this close
to Eddie Money, which is really thrilling for me. There are so many characters in your life: how do you decide whom to write about? A)
Greg is a great, down-to-earth guy. He’s also a great writer and currently moving into the TV writing business (On top of entertaining 7 million listeners). We’ve worked on many projects together over the years. I remember the opening sentence in his critique of the first thing he edited for me. “Sometimes I feel like I should yell duck!” But in terms of Blood Over Badge, it was a fun write because I portrayed the characters in true light. I find it easy to write about crooks because I’ve spent 29 years around them. I never worry much about the ones that scream and threaten to kill me, and my family. But I do pay attention to the quiet, thinking types. They never show their hand, just like cops. Those are the ones that kill us when given the opportunity. Let’s face it, most murderers and rapists are garbage. They talk garbage, they live garbage and you might have heard a cop say, “I’m a garbage man. I pick up garbage all night.” It’s an old saying in the business. //BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF TABLE BEING TURNED// Q)
Laura, what do you miss most from your reporting career? Is it being in the middle of the action? Is it telling the victim’s story? Perhaps the rush of covering a dangerous, dynamic situation? Or having a bunch of cops trying to impress you? A)
Let me tell you something: I never met an FBI agent who didn’t hand me his business card and ask me out to lunch. Something about those federal agents - a randy bunch, as I recall. But that was twenty years and twenty pounds ago. Overall, I always found law enforcement helpful when working on a story. It was the AUSA’s (Asst. U.S. Attorneys) who were the assholes. Truly. But yes, hourly deadlines in radio and daily deadlines in television news were thrilling and nerve wracking. Adrenalin was always pumping. We had to think fast and write fast. It was an excellent training ground but it’s a young man’s game. I usually wrote my stories on my lap in the car littered with fast food junk on the way back to the station. But what I remember most was the neighborhoods I’d end up in. Sometimes, the cameramen wouldn’t even want to go with me! Sometimes I only ever felt safe when the really big guys were with me. But then that time someone tossed Molotov Cocktails at us during a riot, it didn’t matter how big the cameraman was. We ducked behind the same car! Q)
You’ve had a successful life/career in writing and reporting. What’s your secret? A)
One of the best compliments a literary agent paid me was to say that I was one of the few writers she’d ever met who could toggle between fiction and non-fiction. Like you, I believe in moving forward and growing. I didn’t want to write formulaic newspaper articles forever. Doing minute-thirty pieces on the evening news got really tired. Writing down to people became an insult to them and to me. So, I just write! And I’m lucky to be able to write about just about anything. I write for the Good Men Project Magazine.
I’m tweaking my novel to launch it as an e-book. I am doing these fun interviews. And I am working on a mystery “without any clues” (can Greg and Eddie hear me singing?) And maybe one day I’ll wear fishnet stockings and sing back up for a band. But I’m moving forward and loving the challenges and the great people I am meeting. //BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF APPLAUSE//
Thank you for joining me on Quick Take Tuesday
,Mr. Wayne Farquhar
, author, speaker, father, husband and incredibly-good-looking-in-a-uniform cop! Please come back and fill me up, so to speak, with some of your work for Feature Friday!
Teenagers,College Scholarships and Financial Aid. Where do grandparents fit in?
Posted by Mimi
on March 22, 2011 · 1 Comment
Grandparents should be as supportive as a good recliner, and how better to help your college-bound teenage grandchildren than by doing some research for them regarding college scholarships? The experts say even Freshman and Sophomore yrs. of high school aren’t too early to start checking out your options and what you need to do to get where you want to go.
I’m a huge Jean Chatzky
fan, (Money Editor of the Today Show
). When I heard her mention that a gentleman named Mark Kantrowitz
, Publisher of the FinAid
web sites owned by Monster Worldwide
person to listen to regarding college students and financial aid I decided to check it out and pass it along to you. FastWeb
is an acronym for (F)inancial (A)id (S)earch, and it’s a free online scholarship matching and search service founded in 1995 by Internet pioneer Larry Organ
. FastWeb offers a myriad of services with stellar recommendations, and definitely sounds like the “go to” site for starting that college scholarship/financial aid journey.
This is what FastWeb offers:Scholarship matching service – from a database of 1.5 million scholarships.Alerts straight to your inbox – emails keeping you informed of every scholarship match.Scholarships for everyone – whether you’re a college freshman or a returning adult. (Boomers too?)Expert advice – from the nation’s leading financial aid expert, Mark Kantrowitz.Student life guide – from decorating your dorm room to balancing work and school.
If you check it out, I’d love to hear what you think about FastWeb.
Quick Take Tuesday
, a blog of tasteful, yet shameless, self-promotion involving an author or someone of equal social standing. I ask two questions, and then my guest turns the table and asks me two questions that don’t involve pounds or pant size.
Today’s guest is Buffie Colloton
, founder of and force behind BOOMER GRANDPARENTS
, a blog that’s racking up the reads by Baby Boomers striving to thrive at work, play and with their families, in this digital age. Q)
You are the hippest grandma I know. You’re full of energy and ideas, great wit and fabulous jewelry. And I love your highlights. Does your hair always look this perfect when you write? A)
Those highlights have been placed to strategically camouflage all the silver “age stripes” breaking through the strands of brunette I’ve been clinging to for the past few years. But thanks for the nice compliments! I write at home in my office, often in yoga pants and a sweatshirt with my hair looking like I just rolled out of bed. I’ll get an idea for a post while I’m folding clothes and listening to NPR. I’ll run into my office to write it down, and 3 hours later the laundry is all wrinkled in the basket, dinner hasn’t been started and the dogs haven’t been exercised. The upside is that I’ll have completed 3 new posts. I find inspiration for my posts from magazines and newspapers, as well as TV and radio. My family and friends will often send me emails with suggestions. I find that researching a specific topic will often lead me to a new topic. In my nearly one year of posting almost daily, I am amazed that my idea folder remains stuffed with unused notes and articles. Q)
Is there a single thing that drives you or is it easy to add value to every blog post? A)
My family and my health are big motivators in my life. It’s imperative that I maintain a relationship with my granddaughters. They are ages 6 and 3 and their new baby brother is due in June. I loved being a mom and I truly LOVE being a grandmother! My entire family lives in Wisconsin where I spent the first 51 years of my life. Never in a million years did I expect to be living across the country (California) when my grandchildren arrived, but that’s the way the cards fell for me. I’ve been forced to come up with creative ways to be “present” in their lives, and I share that in my BOOMER GRANDPARENTS Blog
. My topics center around what I know about, which is parenting, grand parenting, whether nearby, or from afar, and being a Baby Boomer in this digital age. I’ve made a conscious decision to shy away from religious or political topics. But I did recently write a post with suggestions for discussing current news events with children. I used the Wisconsin union situation as an example. I have friends and family who are in education and nursing and they’ve been very involved. The value I add to my posts is making sure even just a little bit of “me” is in every one. My friends say that they love to read my posts because I write just like I talk, and they can “hear” me in every one. I trademarked BOOMER GRANDPARENTS
and will soon be offering BOOMER GRANDPARENTS
apparel, bumper stickers and a variety of gift items through my site. In challenging myself, I’ve had to push through a lot of “unknowns” to find pleasant surprises waiting for me on the other side. Finding myself at the San Francisco Writers Conference, and meeting you is one of them. //BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF TABLE BEING TURNED// Q)
Okay, your turn, Laura. What aspect of your professional background as a reporter set the tone for the type of book you chose to write? A)
Many of the events in the first chapter of Finding Clarity actually happened to me, such as with the old woman and her murdered son. They were unforgettable moments in my reporting career and I always knew I wanted to use them in a fictional setting. Then somewhere along the line, I began to incorporate mental notes I’d made about so many things that had happened to me in journalism, into a fun yarn. Fiction was calling my name. It’s such a pleasing departure from the news business. All these wild characters, like Clari my protagonist, were at my fingertips just waiting to be realized on paper. And at the same time, the crux of the plot is that Clari never gets over having been a reporter. She needs to find a good story. And that gets her into trouble. The conflict is inherent in Clari, and that makes for some fun fiction. Q)
Has parenting a young teenager influenced your writing style? A)
Clari has two boys, Zach and Zeppo. Each speak words that my own son, Max, who is now 15, did. They have his humor and zest and spark. It took a lot of energy to keep up with him and the same goes for Clari. We also both worry about our son’s medical problems (listen to me: I talk about Clari as if she’s a real person!) I can’t remember where I left my keys on any given day, but I can recall how Max sounded at Zach and Zeppo’s ages in the book (9 and 4) so I can easily use his voice in their dialogue. And as Max has grown during the various drafts of this novel, I’ve learned lingo from him and I can see where Zach is headed as a pre-teen. I then take Clari and her family and place them into a mystery series, that I’ve only just started on. Just like the boy, Jake, on “Two and A Half Men”, I hope we’ll see Zach and Zeppo grow up. And hopefully Max will keep feeding me dialogue, even if he doesn’t know it! //BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF APPLAUSE//
Thank you for joining me on Quick Take Tuesday
, dear Buffie Colloton
of Boomer Grandparents! Please come back and fill me up, so to speak, with some of your work for Feature Friday!
Mark Coker, founder of SMASHWORDS
the digital publishing and distribution platform that will no doubt be in my future, presented at the San Francisco Writer's Conference again this year. His company also provided the lanyards once more, serving as a metaphorical reminder that the real albatross around our necks might be the traditional publishing industry, rather than the do-it-ourselves spirit infecting so many writers I know. Coker shrugged off some serious jet lag and presented coherent thoughts on the state of the industry. Here they are in bullet points:
- in 2008, Smashwords published 140 titles. In 2009 that figure jumped to 6,000. Last year, the company released 28,500 ebooks into the ether. So far, in 2011, some 35,000 titles are available.
- Ebooks now comprise 10% of the trade market.
- The tools of the publishing industry are now democratized (Tunisia was the analogy here.)
- The seeds of revolution come when people feel they can't participate in the system.
- Ebooks represent our own, free, virtual printing press. Now the retailers want our book and that is a total game changer.
- Shelf space for ebooks is unlimited. It won't go out of print before you find your audience or hit your stride.
- YOU control your ebook, its price, its art.
- Traditional publishing means you get 7-10% of a book's earning.
- Epublishing means you keep 60-100% of the list price.
- You can therefore offer it as a lower cost and keep a higher percent per copy.
- Authors are now asking themselves: What can a traditional publisher do for me that I can't do myself?
- Whereas it used to be that authors were asking themselves if it would hurt them to not work with a traditional publisher
- He cited authors who offered series starters for free, thereby enticing readers to buy their next books.
- Before the decade is out, ebboks will outsell print. By 2020, publishers will look like software companies.
- Word of mouth will become "word of mouse."
MAKING PEACE [Excerpt Mirror Talk] by Barbara Alfaro
What strange thoughts surface at three a.m. After my good news about the MRI, I wake to the memory of the old woman who threw water on my brother and me and a few of our childhood friends because we were playing noisily in the courtyard beneath her apartment. The other children skedaddled but Bob and I looked up in surprise at the tiny woman leaning out of her open window who looked more like a friendly grandmother than a witch. She shouted an apology and invited us to come to her apartment. Hesitantly, we climbed the stairs and knocked on her door. I don’t remember what she said. I remember how dark her apartment seemed even though it was daytime. And it was this darkness that scared me more than the old woman. She took two beautiful African violets from her kitchen window sill and gave them to us. Why on earth would my unconscious gently push her forward?
Sister Margaret, a Franciscan nun with a soft brogue, sits on the sofa next to my chair. I babble, sigh and slow down. I tell her about a small yappy dog whose vocal cords were cut to keep the creature from bothering the neighbors. I say that is how I am in church. Voiceless. Sadness eats my voice away. Margaret tells how on September 11th, during the terrorist attacks, her whole body shook. I am surprised to hear this as I have a romanticized view of genuinely good people. I imagine they wander in a bubble of bliss even during unspeakable crises.
This is my first visit to the Washington Retreat House hosted by Franciscan sisters. I had “failed” at another weekend retreat in a suburb of Maryland, given by priests of a stricter order than Franciscans. “The Spiritual Exercises” of St. Ignatius of Loyola were used for that very structured retreat. If I remember correctly, in “The Spiritual Exercises,” one often refers to oneself as a “worm.” For someone like me with self-esteem issues, all this worm talk didn’t work well so I cut lectures, sat under a huge tree and began the first draft of a play. Margaret says I needn’t participate in every scheduled event and encourages me to write. I “show up” for confession and Mass and several lectures by the retreat leader, a young priest who tells excellent jokes and gives inspiring talks. In the months that follow, I visit the retreat house several times with my laptop, toothbrush and nightshirt. I stay in a corner room on the second floor, a room that is my favorite phrase from the Catholic Mass actualized: “a place of comfort, light, and joy.” When you adopt a puppy from a shelter you are told not to let him have the run of the house right away but rather keep the little chap in one comfortable room so he isn’t immediately overwhelmed. That is the effect this little room had on my world-bruised spirit.
There was a time in my life much darker than the old woman’s apartment. I no longer believed in God. It was after my father died, I had a miscarriage, and I separated from my first husband. Accepting the two great soul-deadeners of the Seventies – the sexual revolution and recreational drugs – I lived in a way that makes my soul reverberate now. “That’s all baby-shit,” my husband comforts me, “Everyone does that stuff when they go away to college but you didn’t go away to college so you make too much of it.” Does everyone do that stuff? Am I a psychic version of medieval flagellants who couldn’t get enough back-whacking? Am I too scrupulous? I don’t think so. I simply recognize I did things when I was young that make me cringe now that I am no longer young. And I know if I had my life to live over again, when I got to this dark time I am alluding to, I’d run for the hills, with a rosary in one pocket and a book of poetry in the other.
I am honored to be named the first VOICE OF THE WEEK by Scribd, the worlds leading publishing and social media site. I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute I've spent there, reading commenting and receiving feedback on my own work. I've made friends and learned so much about my strengths and even errors in my work. Thank you, Scribd, for this great honor!
In which I talk to an author, or someone of equal importance. I ask two questions and then they turn the table and ask me two questions. Ready set? BARBARA ALFARO is an author, actress, playwright, essayist and poet. Her work has been dazzling readers for several years on SCRIBD where her colorful book covers and sensational style have drawn thousands of readers. Q) My favorite story from your memoir, Mirror Talk, (http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Talk-ebook/dp/B003Z9K4AY) is when you accidentally broke the fourth wall while acting on stage one night, by crossing your legs and kicking that guy in the audience. Have you kicked anyone else lately? A) No, but that doesn't mean I haven't wanted to. Now, that I think of it, I've only kicked someone once before, when I was in grammar school. Always small and skinny (I wanted to be tall and statuesque but that's how life is) I was being bullied by another girl on the school bus. It was a peculiar thing but every seat I took on the bus turned out to be hers. "You're in my seat," she'd bellow as she pushed me out of the seat. When I told my mother what was going on, she said, "Next time, kick her in the shins." Next time came. I did. The girl never bothered me again. I'm not advocating violence of course but I do know action is preferable to being shoved. This may be why I self-published two books last year: a poetry book called "Singing Magic" and the memoir "Mirror Talk." Excerpts from both books can be read at http://www.Scribd.com/BarbaraAlfaro and just a few weeks ago I began my first blog http://barbara-alfaro.blogspot.com. Q) I wanted to ask you a question that has the words BIG BOOBS in it, you know, so that Google will rank us higher. But I can’t figure out how to make that work! Besides, you are such a lady - a lady who has written about almost everything, including the Catholic church, wonderful relatives, men who are jerks, the theater and analysis. Your work makes me laugh, cry but most of all, feel very at peace. And now you Blog too! I can’t stand it! What else have you got up your linen sleeve? A) I’ve written two children’s stories, “Robin’s Song” and “The Looking Girl.” I’d love to see both published but as I’m not an artist, the books would probably need to be picked up by a traditional publishing house with its own illustrators. Right now, why, I can’t say, I’m trying my hand at fiction. I just seem so much more comfortable writing essays and poetry but what the hey! One of my first forays into fiction is a first person narrative of a robot who reads Proust. I imagine when I feel more comfortable writing fiction I may write a first person narrative of a human. The short story is called “Irresistible Impulse” and it and the children’s stories can be read on SCRIBD. //BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF TABLE BEING TURNED// Q) Okay, so my first question for you, Laura, is this: I’m such a fan of your writing. I wasn’t surprised when SCRIBD selected you to represent them at Litquake. How did you prepare for that event?A) Last Fall, I was invited to read from my novel, Finding Clarity, at Lit Crawl, as part of A TEAM OF AUTHORS FROM SCRIBD. The thought left me panic stricken. So I took my act on the road. I found a schedule of OPEN MICS in San Francisco and hit as many as I could, perhaps 9 in all, in order to get comfortable reading my work in front of strangers.Q) And from what I heard, there were some real strangers at these events, some of which were in some real skanky dives. What kept you going?A) Oddly enough, it was the strange factor that made it all accessible and doable. There were people at these cafes, bars and gay clubs who, if I had to guess, were drug addicts, hookers, homeless and schizophrenics. But man, they were up there, taking their turn, reading their material and most of all, sitting motionless and listening to my work, giving me fantastic eye contact, undivided attention and warm applause. The point was to HEAR my own words and how they flowed on the page. These wonderful, crazy, eccentric, funny, and in some cases, simply awful writers welcomed me. So by the time I was reading in front of a really sophisticated, standing room only crowd at Lit Crawl, I was ready. I knew my words. And I’ll always be grateful to those Open Mic audiences for that. I really had the time of my life during those weeks.//BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF APPLAUSE// Thank you for joining me on Quick Take Tuesday, dear Barbara Alfaro! And I can’t wait to see what you’ll have for us here for Feature Friday!
I worked as a volunteer at the San Francisco Writer's Conference this past February. And I had the privilege to work in a session with Kathryn Otoshi http://www.kokidsbooks.com/. She is an author and illustrator and delightful speaker. Her panel offered the following tips for writing children's books today:
Aim at the 4-6-year old sweet spot. Write in the vicinity of 500 words but less than 1,000. Preferably 32 pages and 800 words or less.
Don't rhyme. It's a very limiting factor.
Anthropomorphizing is tricky and edge and fairy tales is out.
"Funny with heart" is the key.
Message has to be subtle.
Editors are not looking for sweet.
Provide unique takes on the universal themes of being different, getting along, getting lost or losing a friend.
CHAPTER TWELVE by Suzanne Rosenwasser
Tragedy on a small Island cuts a deep swath.
On Stirling, the losses of years past still hang in the air because the human drama played out on such a narrow stage. Whether death came to a summer kid drag-racing on Old Post Road or a Scaler who tried to save a Centenarian from a burning house, it didn’t matter. The whole Island grieved. The land shivered, and time just stopped for a while.
The tragedy that struck the Island in 1970 was so great, however, it drove an Islander away.
Luma Ortiz-Barnard had been hearing stories about Stirling Island since she met Nate Barnard at Boston College when they were students, but Nate had never brought her to the Island and, to Luma’s knowledge he hadn’t gone back there either.
In their 20s, working at dull corporate jobs in Boston, something had begun to change between them that went past the platonic achievement they thought they’d accomplished.
Luma had always assumed Nate’s blood was far too blue to mingle with her fresh immigrant veins, so she never allowed herself to go beyond friendship.
In time, each of them noticed disturbing sparks which pulsed upon brushing hands or they found themselves stopped in dopey pauses preceding magnetic pulls that felt a lot like passion.
When one of these moments left them both dizzy, Nate suggested Luma come to Stirling Island with him.
Luma said: “No!” - and she said it so emphatically that Nate was stunned.
“It’s the only place we can make sense of what’s going on here, Luma. I want to live there, and it’s not an easy thing to do.”
“Why is it about where you want to live? And what’s this living together stuff anyway? I haven’t even slept with you yet!” Luma bristled.
“Well, I want you to live with me Luma, so of course, I want you to sleep with me,” Nate said softly. “But if you’re to marry me, which I also want you to do, I have to know you can live on Stirling Island.”
Two days later Luma’s knees shook when Nate led her by the hand past the pilings at the East Ferry berth. It was after dark on an April weekend. Luma could smell the lilacs and apple blossoms and see glistening white anemones popping out from gardens as her eyes adjusted to the pearly glow of the Island.
Haloed light came from beams of the moon bouncing off white and pastel cottages lining Eastern Shore Road. Nate and Luma strode along, stepping to the rhythm of the bay slapping on Stirling sands.
“Is it paradise, Nate?” Luma whispered into the windsong.
“Just at times, Luma,” Nate said. “But then, at those moments, it’s more than that - it’s magical.”