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Radical Yellow Duck

Joined July 2009.

286 stories, 5 challenges, 353 comments, and 19 friends

Ok, I’m back. One heart attack, a triple CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, pronounced cabbage) and two sessions of beating my computer into submission. I am back.

I’m old. Real old. I’m so old I remember when dialing a phone number actually involved using a dial.

I’ve worked as a projectionist, an armored car driver, a help desk tech, a museum tech and laserist, an historical interperter at Old Sturbridge Village, a university assistant at a planetarium and observatory. I’ve been a salesman, a techie, A union VP and a storyteller. I remember the Gemini missions, but was born after sputnik. I have a love of History, Technology, Space, my religion (Christianity) and my country. I believe there is more that binds us together than can tear us apart.

I’ve loved many, married one, was involuntarily divorced.

Oh and I suppose I should tell you. I don’t understand your music and when it comes to sports, I don’t care if the Red Sox beat the 49’ers for the Stanley cup or not. Not judging, it’s just me.

Stories

  1. The West Room

    The Governors residence was a strange combination of fortress and palace. Blast proof concrete walls surrounded a group of buildings. The official residence was a three story building built around a central courtyard with a fountain. Parts of the build...

  2. Beauty

    I got back to my hotel and found a couple of things waiting for me. First was a package from the shop where I had purchased my tux. Alterations completed, they had been delivered as promised. The second was a message from Rashida that she would pick me...

  3. Witness

    Abu Kaysan was a man in his fifties. With the profits from his shop he was able to raise three sons and two daughters. All now married and living on their own. Kids today have no respect for the traditions. He and his wife should still have at least on...

  4. Names

    Finding Abu Kaysan wasn’t as difficult as you might think. I knew from the police report I read that he was a shop keeper that had been an eye witness to the murder. His shop was on Al-Rasheed Street near the Hadir Kahanna mosque. In America his litt...

  5. Obligations

    “Look,” Rodgers said. “I can’t have unauthorized civilians conducting their own investigation. Let me check this out. I will let you know what I can.” “Will you tell me what you find, or are you only going to tell me what you are allowed to...

  6. Over Coffee

    “I’d like to ask a favor” I said as I sipped my black coffee. Rodgers leaned forward, but didn’t say a word as he waited for me to continue. “I’d like to see the official report on Michaels death.” He stared at me for a moment and then to...

  7. Green Zone

    The green zone is that part of the city that is literally walled off from the rest. Giant concrete blast walls prevent vehicle borne improvised explosive devices or VIED’s from doing damage to the government and military installations inside. I found...

  8. Shaking Tail

    If you have a good team trying to tail someone, then you are prepared to deal with the unexpected. Changes of direction, stops, starts, those are expected. But unexpectedly changing modes of transportation. That calls for a flexibility that most amateu...

  9. Morning

    At dawn the cries of “Allahu Akbar” spread out over the city as the muezzin called the faithful to the first of the five obligatory prayers of the day. December mornings can be surprisingly cold, even in Baghdad. I ate a quick bite from the “comp...

  10. A Fathers Legacy, A Mothers Love

    “My father tried to gather evidence to present to the foreign press. When the Ba’athist found out…” She sighed. “You don’t have to tell me.” I said. “No. I am proud of my father. They broke into our home at night. My mother held my brot...

  11. Driving Back

    We left the business and were driving back to my hotel. The chill air of the evening was a contrast to the heat of the day. I leaned back in the seat and watched Rashida as she drove with a precision as fine as the curves of her face. “You’re stari...

  12. Invitation

    “If you are going to be wrapping up Michaels affairs, then perhaps you would be interested in attending a small gathering at the provincial governor’s residence tomorrow night. It’s a chance to meet… colleagues, exchange information and ideas a...

  13. Introductions

    “Who are you?” I growled. “Rashida, would be so kind as to introduce me?” he intoned with a casualness that I found mildly disturbing for a man with a gun leveled at his chest. Rashida stepped to my side. “Mr. Talman, may I introduce Herr Ott...

  14. An Unexpected Visitor

    We left Abu Tariq to finish cleaning up and went to the office. The office windows were of frosted glass and the lights were off inside. I was about to reach for the door when I smelled burning tobacco. Wordlessly I signaled Rashida to stop and drew my...

  15. Abu Tariq

    She unlocked the door and they entered. A ramp lead up into the building, and darkness filled the spaces. Concrete floors and series of large walk in refrigeration units lined one wall. Live chickens kept in cages were stacked two meters high. As we tu...

  16. An Evening Ride

    We took her car. It was a metallic red BMW Z4 two seat sports car. I thought that given the circumstances something a little more substantial might make more sense, but apparently she was familiar to the men at the road blocks. The looks they gave me w...

  17. Introductions

    “Who are you, and how do you know Michael?” Her eyes glanced down for just a moment and then she spoke. “Michael and I were …associates. I sometimes helped him with his business.” “And what business was that?” I asked in a non committal t...

  18. Green Dress

    “Well, since you don’t know anything, and your friend isn’t around to see you, I suppose that you will be leaving Baghdad in the morning,” Rodgers smirked. “That’s certainly a possibility” I replied. “Baghdad isn’t the safest city for...

  19. Cigarette Smoke

    Rodgers looked at me across the table, as I exhaled a puff of smoke. Would he believe me if I told him I didn’t know why Michael sent for me? I didn’t know what the job was. How believable was that? And he was a cop. Well maybe not exactly, but he ...

  20. Michael's End

    Michael was dead. I let that sink in. He always seemed indestructible. No matter how dangerous the situation, he always had a plan. A way out. “How?” I asked. “It happened in broad daylight. Two men on a motorcycle rode up as he was crossing a st...

  21. In The Bar

    Speaking Arabic had certain advantages in my line. You picked up all sorts of information that most westerners just didn’t get. But right now I really wasn’t following the TV as the announcer described the chances of Dubai winning their next soccer...

  22. A Message For You

    My room had a marvelous view of the Tigris River. It also had cockroaches and a dirty toilet. When I checked in I was told that a message had been left for me. The note was brief. “J, Couldn’t meet you at the airport. Will pick you up in the hotel ...

  23. Not The Ritz

    He held a piece of cardboard with Mr. Talman written on it, and introduced himself as Abdullah. “Mr. Wright” had sent him to meet me and bring me to my hotel. He was short, about 150cm and had dark hair that was long on top and hung down to his eye...

  24. Flight 218

    The Air Jordan flight 218 touched down and taxied to the terminal at Baghdad International. What used to be Saddam Hussein International now had both a military airbase and some what larger civil air terminal. But of the two, the military base certainl...

  25. Sentient

    That has some unusual coloration. How did you achieve it? The polymer coating reflects more light in the 600 nanometer scale. As a result it shows a more orange tint than the standard yellow. I thought standard was more of a black and white. Yes, but w...

  26. The Challenge (Space Opera challenge)

    His blade made a whistling sound as he swung it before him. “Come” he cried, as he stepped forward. “Come meet your deaths” The colors of his harness gleamed in the sunlight of barsoom. He lept off the great thoat as it roared, rearing up, it

  27. Watchers

    It floated over them from the southwest, as silent as a cloud on a winter day. Between 2500 and 3000 feet across, it looked like a circular shield slowly rotating in the sky. Below, men reacted as their natures demanded. Some stood and stared. Others r...

  28. ABY 00 (Space Opera challenge)

    The Imperial forces isn’t for everyone. Life at the academy was harsh, but no more than necessary. I made friendships there that would last a lifetime. We had so much in common, we were the chosen, the humans that would lead the galaxy. And after gra...

  29. Prospector

    When you run out of probes, the only thing left to do is to go look for yourself. Being a belter wasn’t like they made it look on the vid’s. Handsome men, with good teeth and full heads of hair bravely searching the asteroids for precious metals an...

  30. Questions in the dark

    Getting caught for trespassing was the most conventional of their concerns. They had walked half a block to jump across a low section of wall at the back of the cemetery. The chill November night was overcast and they could barely see each other in fee...