Lisa’s Private Thoughts – Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving With Uncle Nathan – Part II

Now, the sight of a roasted turkey, with no head, getting up and shaking a fist was weird enough.  But watching it grab one of the nearby carving knives and taking a dueler’s stance took it to a whole new level of silliness.

Even before Uncle Nathan reached for the other carving knife, the rest of us automatically took several steps backwards, away from the table.  We all knew what was coming and didn’t feel like getting caught in the middle of what was undoubtedly going to be a memorable battle.  Man and roast bird saluted each other with their weapons, followed by each taking a dueling stance.

“I knew I should’ve left you in the oven for another ten minutes, you over-sized chicken,” Uncle Nathan grunted, while parrying an attack.

The turkey, unable to speak, merely flipped him the bird in return.  Then it retreated across the table and waved its backside at him.

Looking properly offended, Uncle Nathan muttered, “Oooo… I’m going cram an onion the size of a bowling ball in you for that.”

Our intended dinner responded by making the ‘Bring it,’ gesture.

Leaping up onto the table Uncle Nathan rushed towards his opponent across the length of the table and their carving knives clashed once again.

For the next minute, man and dinner, battled across the table in a remarkably silly yet athletic duel, while managing to avoid knocking over candelabras or glasses, or even stepping on a plate or utensil.

I glanced over at Dr. Jack and my father who were both shaking there heads and trying to suppress smiles, as their wives gave each other resigned sighs.  Meanwhile Joe and Darlene, who hang out with me at school, were both enjoying the spectacle as much as I was.

Finally, my mother steps forward and puts her hands on her hips.  Then she yells, “No feet on the dinner table!”

Both bird and man freeze in mid-fight.  The two of them stare at her for a moment and then take very guilty stances and point at each other.  “He started it,” Uncle Nathan murmured, while his opponent took advantage of the moment to slap the knife out of his hand.

Immediately, our host, did a double-back flip off the table and retreated behind the nearby harp.  His opponent beat its breast in triumph and leapt after him, waving its weapon angrily.  Now began a game of cat and mouse, with Uncle Nathan using the harp as a shield.  At first the roast bird, tried chasing him around the harp, then it tried to stab at him through the strings, which proved to be a mistake.

Uncle Nathan kicked the weapon out of its grip and then pushed the harp down on top of the bird.  The strings of the harp sliced through the bird, leaving it carved in pieces on the floor.

Straightening up, Uncle Nathan looked at his handiwork and shook his head.  “Wow, the guy at the butcher shop told this bird might be a little tough, and he wasn’t kidding. Okay, who wanted white meat?” he asked turning towards us.

Naturally no one spoke.  We all just glared at him.

“Oh come on, how many times do you get to have dinner and a show?” he insisted.

At this point I saw the green mist slipping out from the remains of our ‘dinner’ and into the cuffs of his pants and knew what was really going on.  Stepping over to where the harp lay I took a close look at the ‘remains’ and saw the that the bird had actually been made of foam, covered in latex and painted to look like a roast turkey skin.

“You didn’t get a turkey did you?” I said pointedly.

Uncle Nathan bowed his head and said, “They were all sold out by the time I got back this morning.”

“This morning?” I cried in disbelief.  “Where were you?”

“I was out of town, sort of…” he began, when a loud boisterous voice, with a thick German accent, rang out from the area of the kitchen saying, “Happy Thanks-Pizza everyone!”

A moment later, a short stocky man with a graying beard and moustache appeared pushing a cart with the biggest pizza I’d ever seen on it.  He was wearing a chef’s hat and moving around so quickly, it took me a moment to recognize him.  His name was Professor Otto Hofstadter, and he was one of Uncle Nathan’s closest and oldest friends.  They’d known each other for years, according to Uncle Nathan, but there was always something about the way he said it that had made me wonder if there was more that he was not telling me.  But now was not the time to ask questions.  Dinner had arrived and everyone was starving.

My mother shook her head as we all sat down around the table and said, “Well, it might not be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, but at least we’ll all be eating well.”

“On the contrary, my dear,” the professor corrected as he and Uncle Nathan started serving huge pizza slices.  “I made sure that we used turkey sausage as part of the toppings.”

“Oh well, that makes all the difference,” said Dr. Jack as he helped pass the food around to those farthest from the pie.

A part of me wanted to ask where they’d gotten an oven big enough to cook a pizza this size, but I decided not to.  I was more interested in knowing where Uncle Nathan had been and what had kept him away all this time.  The fact that Professor Hofstadter was with us, told me that an adventure had taken place in one of those strange places Uncle Nathan has always hinted at, but has never fully explained to me.

I decided there and then that I was going to keep a close eye on those two and maybe follow them if possible and see what they got up to when the next opportunity presented itself.

*This concludes this year’s Thanksgiving tale.  I hope you all found it amusing and entertaining.  May all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and may all your travels be safe and enjoyable — Allan and Helen Krummenacker* 

Lisa’s Private Thoughts – Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving With Uncle Nathan

*A quick note from Allan: My sincerest apologies for not doing more on the stories these past few months. I’ve been busy with learning and creating audiobooks, as well as doing book covers, reviews, and book trailers for Helen and others. However, you will be pleased to hear that Nathan’s books are among those being turned into audios as I write. One or two short stories will be appearing here soon in audio form so you can get a taste of what’s to come. Also, work has been continuing on the sequel to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which is currently being titled “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”. Helen and I have a number of surprises for Nathan and you all, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a little Thanksgiving story I created 3 years ago. We hope you enjoy this tale that shows just how crazy things can get around the holidays… especially if you hang out with Nathan*

THANKSGIVING DAY 

I think everyone has memories of certain holiday gatherings that they’ll never forget.  Usually it’s because something really special or very unfortunate happened.  But how many of us can say they’ll never forget a certain Thanksgiving dinner because the host wound up fighting a duel with the intended dinner?

Well that’s what happened this year and I don’t think I’ll even need to watch the video I took of it, to help me remember.  However, I will be saving it to show any children or grandchildren I have down the road, so they can see what craziness can ensue when you let Uncle Nathan try to prepare a holiday dinner.

It all started about a week ago, right after Mom gave birth to my new baby brother Geoffrey.  I was on hand for the event, while Dad and Uncle Nathan stayed in the Waiting Room.  Mom had given strict instructions that neither of them were allowed to be on hand to watch.  In fact part of my job was to make sure they didn’t come in.

I asked Doctor Jack about it later and all he did was smirk and mumble something about a Dr. Quackenbush and associate, who had been on hand to help keep the patient relaxed.  The name sounded familiar to me so I Googled it afterwards on my laptop and found it was one of Groucho Marx’s personas from a movie called “A Day At the Races”.  Apparently, he’d played a veterinarian who also treated a rich woman as one of his patients.  Having seen Uncle Nathan’s Groucho impression I could only imagine what kind of nonsense he and Dad must’ve gotten up to inside the delivery room that day until Mom ordered the two of them out.

Anyway, right after Geoffrey arrived, Uncle Nathan offered to host Thanksgiving over at The Crypt.  “Between late night feedings and changing diapers I don’t think any of you are going to be up to shopping and prepping a big meal,” he pointed out.

Needless to say, none of us disagreed with him.  He even invited Dr. Jack and his family to join the festivities, which my favorite physician readily agreed to.  We didn’t see or hear from Uncle Nathan again for the rest of the week, which made my parents wonder if dinner was still on.  Then last night he phoned to let us know he’d been called away to help his old friend, Professor Otto Hofstadter, with a little ‘problem’ which they’d successfully resolved, and that we were still expected the next day at 5:00 PM.

Needless to say we left the house today and headed downtown.  Once we reached the building that housed The Crypt, we headed down the side alley where the stairs leading down to The Crypt awaited.  Dr. Jack and his family were just heading down the steps when we showed up and after the usual Thanksgiving greetings were exchanged, we all carefully made our way down the steps.  The door at the bottom was unlocked so we let ourselves in only to have our breaths taken away.

As usual, Uncle Nathan had really gone all out with decorating the place.  There was a huge table that could seat a couple of dozen people just on one side, in the center of the main room.  It was all decked out with candles, plates,fancy napkins, the works.  There was also a very expensive looking harp nearby, which meant we would probably be treated to some fine music afterwards.  As we all gazed around in wonder, I couldn’t believe he’d gone to so much trouble just for us, but I was glad at the same time.  “This was going to be one of the most memorable Thanksgiving dinners ever,” I breathed aloud, while everyone nodded in agreement.

Uncle Nathan appeared a moment later, wearing a white apron and a big chef’s hat.  After greeting each of us, he got everyone settled in and disappeared back to the kitchen area.  We were all excited and eager to see what he had prepared for us.  A moment later, he came back out carrying a huge glimmering silver platter.  Naturally it had a very shiny lid which was rather tall, leaving us all wondering how big a turkey he had gotten for the occasion.  However, knowing his sense of humor, I I half expected it to be a very small bird no bigger than a pigeon,  But much to my surprise and delight, when the cover was removed, there was indeed a very large bird on the platter.

After running back into the kitchen and returning with more dishes, he removed his hat and apron, and proceeded to brandish a very large fork, which he deftly sank into the turkey.  Only to have the bird jump up, remove the fork from itself and then waved an angry fist at him.

TO BE CONTINUED…

****Re-Released the first YA book of the Para-Earth Series****

A 5-STAR tale just in time for the creepy holiday season!

Revised TVB CH Border Cover

Ever since her father was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, 17 y. o. Marisa has had nightmares about the disease taking the form of a vampire, slowly killing him. She can no longer stand movies or books involving even ‘good guy’ vampires, much less any of the old horror movies she used to watch with him. She even stopped hanging out with her best friend Lisa who got into Goth clothing and make-up, even though Lisa has been trying to be there for her this whole time.

But all that is about to change with the arrival of young and handsome Nathan, a family friend Lisa grew up calling Uncle. Not only does his arrival set both girl’s hearts beating, but it gives them a chance to renew the friendship both have sorely missed.

However, there’s more to Nathan than Marisa realizes. Lisa knows he is a vampyre-like being, the very thing Marisa detests. Yet he may also be the only hope for Marisa’s father, as well as the entire town. For unknown to all, a truly horrific being from the Para-Earth where Nathan was originally “altered” has entered their reality. And now he is the only one who can stop it.

Available now in paperback and ALL e-book platforms:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MDO8SLO/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Nook:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vampyre-blogs-allan-krummenacker/1124855249?ean=2940153799605

AmazonUK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MDO8SLO

AmazonCA:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01MDO8SLO

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/647499

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-vampyre-blogs-coming-home

****NOTE: Coming Soon in audiobook form too****

 

****”The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” the 1st YA Book In The Para-Earth Series Is Coming October 1st****

Revised TVB CH Border Cover

Technically  a re-release, but “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” is returning to online bookstores everywhere with a whole new look. As mentioned in previous posts, many told me that the book was more suited to Young Adult audiences since both 17 y. o. Lisa and Marisa do the majority of the storytelling. Furthermore, we didn’t want to lose all the reviews the book had already garnered previously.

So we gave the book an overhaul with a brand new cover and synopsis. You’ve seen the cover above, now for the synopsis…

Ever since her father was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, Marisa has had nightmares about the disease taking the form of a vampire, slowly killing him. She can no longer stand movies or books involving even ‘good guy’ vampires, much less any of the old horror movies she used to watch with him. She even stopped hanging out with her best friend Lisa who got into Goth clothing and make-up, even though Lisa has been trying to be there for her this whole time. 

But all that is about to change with the arrival of young and handsome Nathan, a family friend Lisa grew up calling Uncle. Not only does his arrival set both girl’s hearts beating, but it gives them a chance to renew the friendship both have sorely missed. 

However, there’s more to Nathan than Marisa realizes. Lisa knows he is a vampyre-like being. He may also be the one thing both the girls and the town needs most. For a true horror from the Para-Earth here Nathan was altered has entered this reality. And he is the only one who can stop it. 

A ripping 4 and 5-star vampire story just in time for the creepy holiday season. It’s partner “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” will also become part of our YA line of books.

Now some might be wondering if this means none of these characters will be appearing in future books that are not YA. The answer is of course they’ll be showing up. Nathan is already scheduled to make an appearance in the “The Door” which is sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”. He will be accompanied by Lisa and Marisa in “The Door” and possibly in the big cross-over “Harlequin House” which will pit all these characters against some consider the most haunted house on the planet.

But never fear, Nathan and the young ladies have other adventures looming of their own such as “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” which will pit them all against a ruthless developer who knows Nathan’s secret and how to deal with him. Family bonds, betrayal, faithful friends, and extended family will be tested as Nathan and company fight to not only save his family homestead, but Marisa’s father, as well as their town, their state. and possibly the world.

Also, audiobook versions of Nathan and company’s adventures are under way as you read these words.

In short, we got a lot happening on this and other fronts so please help spread the word, and also stay tuned as new stories are coming your way on this blog.

We thank you all for your patience and support. Links to all the new online stores will be posted soon as these books will now be available not only through Amazon but Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and other online outlets.

So until next time, take care and happy reading everyone!

New Beginnings For “The Vampyre Blogs” Side of Our Para-Earths Series…

Okay folks, Nathan here to tell you all about some new beginnings for me and my friends… oh and our authors too.

I know things have been on the quiet side over here for a while now, but a lot has been going on behind the scenes. As you all know, Allan and Helen have been experimenting with audio for some time now. But after a lot of discussions and even more rehearsals and test-runs they’ve decided Allan will be the one to who will be bringing all our stories to audiobooks. This project has involved a huge learning curve for Allan which has taken up a great deal of his time, hence things being quiet over here.  Allan’s a bit of a perfectionist and has been going to great lengths to find voices for everyone who will be appearing in the audios. But it seems he’s nailed everyone down starting with me, who’s voice you heard in “Wolves and the Northern Lights” (which was shared in the last entry). If you missed it, here’s the link again so you can hear what I’ll be sounding like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mxg1nIibXI

Audio Star

He’s already finalized different voices for Otto, Brian, Richard (Low-Man), Dr. Jack, Lisa, Marisa, Isabella, and the rest of the cast from both “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time”. Now begins the full-scale effort to bring all of us to life in audio. Mind you, Allan’s been going through one heck of a learning curve and is currently sharing all he learned over on our sister blog “The Musings of Two Creative Minds” where he and Helen talk about the writing and creative process. If you’re interested in seeing what he’s shared so far here are the first three installments:

Part I: https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/2019/07/adventures-in-audio-recording.html

Part II: https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/2019/08/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-ii.html

Part III: https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/2019/08/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-iii.html

NOTE: This particular series of blog entries about doing audio is still ongoing and more installments are on the way. So if you find yourself really enjoying those first three entries you might want to sign-up to be notified by e-mail when a new entry gets posted.

Now, besides working on bringing us all to life in audio, Allan has also been working on a collaborative story that does not involve the Para-Earth Series, with an old high school friend Mr. Richard Caminiti.

Rich

The two have just about finished the first draft of a five-year book called “The Pass” which also involves vampires, also set in the 1860’s but on the west coast. And the vampires involved are not like me or your traditional European types like Count Dracula. No, their characters are dealing with Chiangshi, vampires from China, more commonly known as the Hopping Vampire. And boy have Allan and Richard got some surprising twists and turns waiting for you all. It’s taken them this long to do write the story for several reasons:

      1 – They’ve been writing long-distance. Richard is on the east coast in North Carolina and Allan is on the west coast in California.

      2 – They’ve been doing a lot of Skyping over the past 5 years to brainstorm ideas, as well as give each other input on new directions the story kept taking.

     3 – Life got in the way a lot. For instance, Allan was still attending college full-time when they started and both have had health issues to contend with. Plus, Allan and Helen had to move twice during this period.

      4 – Allan was working with Helen on me and my friends and our stories.

    5 – Helen started a new solo-writing project called the “Forever Detective Series”. (Don’t panic, she’s not abandoning us or Allan, she’s still working on us with him). But Allan’s been helping her with that series as well, doing book covers and acting as her sounding board for ideas. But this too has taken up a fair amount of time and energies for both him and her.

Forever's Too Long Cover.jpg

And speaking of the Forever Detective Series, Helen’s first book came out just a couple of months ago and is available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and many other outlets in both paperback and e-book form. The story involves a 1940’s detective getting hired by Interpol to help locate some stolen Russian art. As the story progresses our hero Raphael Jones will find himself discovering that magic and the supernatural do exist and his world will never be the same again. If you’d like to learn more here’s a little book trailer Allan and Helen put together (which also took up a fair amount of time and experience on the old learning curve). You’ll also find links to the various book sites to get your own copy of this brilliant new series, which Helen will be adding a second book to in late November/early December of this year. So please check it out, she’s done a brilliant job with blending 1940’s Film Noir with the Supernatural:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc

hair rumple (3)

So as you can see, Allan and Helen have been QUITE busy ever since this year began. Which is why they haven’t been doing nearly as much updates here as they really would have liked to do. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been neglecting me or my friends. Stories have been quietly under way this whole time. A whole second anthology has been taking shape, again with stories from this blog as well as brand new untold tales.

Furthermore, Allan and Helen have been working on “The Door” which involves my old flame Police Sergeant Veronica Ross, her new fiancee Alex Hill (the lucky dog), my old friend Jason Cloudfoot’s niece Julie (who I helped rescue from a snowstorm when she was only 9 years old), and a few other people of my acquaintance. Why I’m bringing this book up is because I will be making several appearances in flashbacks, as well as me, Lisa and Marisa actually showing up at the end of that upcoming novel which will launch a whole new direction in the Para-Earth Series. For that point will actually bring all of us and the characters from “The Bridge”, “The Ship” and “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” into a full-blown crossover as we take on the most haunted house in America, the legendary Harlequin House. It is within the walls of that terrifying place where people say “The only ones who walk those halls are the dead…”

At the same time, Allan and Helen have already gotten me and my friends’ next full-length novel “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” already under way as well.

But first, my friends and I need to be re-introduced to a whole new set of readers. A little while back, Allan explained that after talking with readers that “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” would be more at home under the YA (Young Adult) label since most of the story is told from Lisa and Marisa’s point of view. So, he’s been very busy working on making that happen as well. Including,  going as far as creating a whole new cover for the book featuring the girls.

Revised TVB CH Border Cover

He and Helen have also created a new backcover as well…

Ever since her father was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, Marisa has had nightmares about the disease taking the form of a vampire, slowly killing him. She can no longer stand movies or books involving even ‘good guy’ vampires, much less any of the old horror movies she used to watch with him. She even stopped hanging out with her best friend Lisa who got into Goth clothing and make-up, even though Lisa has been trying to be there for her this whole time.

But all that is about to change with the arrival of young and handsome Nathan, a family friend Lisa grew up calling Uncle. Not only does his arrival set both girl’s hearts beating, but it gives them a chance to renew the friendship both have sorely missed.  

However, there’s more to Nathan than Marisa realizes. Lisa knows he is a vampyre-like being, the very thing Marisa detests. Yet he may also be the only hope for Marisa’s father, as well as the entire town. For unknown to all, a truly horrific being from the Para-Earth where Nathan was originally “altered” has entered their reality. And now he is the only one who can stop it.

The re-release of the book will be taking place in just a few weeks on October 1st. And this time we will be available everywhere, not just on Amazon (although you’ll still be able to find us there as well). Though we do ask all of you to please help spread the word. We’re very excited to meet new readers and continue our adventures because there are a LOT of  them to come.

So that about brings you all up to speed. Clearly, there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes that Allan and Helen have not been talking about. But, as you can see, time has not been a luxury for them, which is why I felt it necessary to tell you myself.

Thanks again for all your patience and stay tuned, because as I already said, there is a lot more coming. Allan will be sharing some more samples of his audio work with you all and if everything goes well the first audiobook(s) will be out in time for this Christmas so stay tuned. We’re all very excited for you to hear from us personally as our adventures continue.

Until the next time I hijack this blog, take care.

Yours Respectfully,

Nathaniel Eoghan Steward

figure by a stream

Our First Short Audio Story Is Live…

And so it begins, dear friends. Here is my first full-scale attempt at doing an audio recording of one of the short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”.

*NOTE: Do not click on this image, link to audio is just below it*

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mxg1nIibXI&t=32s

The purpose of doing this short story is of course to start preparing for turning the entire anthology, as well as it’s predecessor “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” into full-length audiobooks. Helen and I will also be turning her new solo novel “Forever’s Too Long” (another vampire tale, set in 1947 NYC) into an audiobook as well.

For some time many readers and friends have been urging me to try my hand at doing audiobooks saying I have a good voice for reading aloud. Helen readily agreed as I have spent many evenings reading aloud to her from books we both wanted to read at the same time, and this seemed to be the simplest solution.

However, I was completely unsure how one even began to make an audiobook. I do not consider myself all that well versed in technology. Furthermore, until the last couple of years, our finances were very tight so trying to rent time at a professional recording studio. Plus, I would then have to pay someone to do all the technical cleanup of the recordings to make them presentable for Audible, over on Amazon.

But after having helped create the trailer for Helen’s book “Forever’s Too Long” (which I have shared here before but in case you missed it here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc

I found my confidence increasing in my vocal skills. The responses to the trailer and the praise I received at her release party where I did some live reading in the voice of her main character, was the final nudge I needed. From there I downloaded Audacity (the program Audible uses for audiobook submissions) and did some serious reading up on audio recording. I also watched a number of YouTube videos which taught me how to get the best sound quality while recording inside our own home, instead of renting space at a studio. I also invested in some equipment…

I won’t go into all the technical details of how I made the recording here, because I’m covering that topic in a series of entries over on our blog about writing at:

https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/

There will be more audios coming to this site in the near future for your enjoyment, leading up to the release of the complete anthology on Audible. When that date will be, I do not know as I still have a lot of recording to do. However, we will keep you all apprised of our progress. In the meantime, please enjoy the audio provided above and know that this blog will still be sharing brand new tales about Nathan and his friends as usual.

I also want to let you know that progress is being made on “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”. My main regret is that it’s taken so long, but there have been health and family issues over the past year that slowed things down on that front. But the book is still under way and will see the light of day. Hopefully, late next year.

In the meantime, besides the audios, I am working on a new cover for “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” as it will be getting a new home under the Young Adult section over on Amazon. It will also be getting released to Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook form), PDF and other formats later this year. So, as you can see, we got a lot happening with Nathan and company, and there are many more adventures and stories to tell, so please stay tuned.

Until next time, happy reading (and listening) dear friends…

Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part V

     Meanwhile, Nadine stared into her now empty cup, apparently without realizing it. Something was still weighing on her mind. Glancing down I saw my cup was empty as well. “I could use a refill, how about you?” I asked.

     Nadine blinked. “Huh… oh, more hot chocolate? That sounds good.”

     I started to get up, but she got to her feet first saying, “I’ll get it. You take it easy. I’m keeping you up, I can at least play hostess.”

     For a moment I was going to remind her that my little guy was really the one who’d kept me up already, but I held my tongue. I was starting to feel a bit tired, but I wanted to know what she hadn’t told me yet. Whatever it was, it had troubled her up something fierce, and that bothered me.

     I guess it must’ve shown in my face because I saw the look of worry in my friend’s eyes as she served up the hot chocolate.

 

     “Are you getting tired?” she asked gently. “I know I’ve been keeping you up even later than your son.”

    “I’m all right,” I smiled, “But I am worried about you. When you came in tonight, you looked ‘troubled’ more so than if you’d simply had to put up with wolf-whistles and catcalls.”

      She nodded and sat down again. “I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around what I saw… and what I almost did.”

     The tone in her voice as she spoke those last few words, sent a chill down my spine.

     “The evening started out as usual. I went out to dinner by myself and got the usual questions about why someone so beautiful was on her own. Was I waiting for someone? Would I like some company? Mind you I almost said yes once, but thought better of it.”

     That piqued my curiosity. “Oh? Was he that good looking?”

     “Oh, yeah,” she nodded with a wistful look, “She was.”

     “Ooo… attracting girls now are we? You should have taken her up on it, you might’ve had a good time,” I smiled.

     “I kind of wish I had,” Nadine sighed and fell silent.

     At that point I knew I was getting to the heart of whatever happened that upset her so much. A part of me didn’t want to push things any farther, but something told me she needed to get it out of her system. So I reached across and took one of her hands saying, “Hey, I’m here for you, tell me what happened. Please? I can’t stand sitting here watching as it eats at you.”

     That earned me a small but uneasy smile. “Are you sure you want to hear about it? It wasn’t one of my better moments.”

     “How so?” I asked.

     “I think… I know, I came pretty close to breaking every bone in some asshole’s fucking body.”

     I almost asked if she was serious, but I already knew she meant every word of it. Finally, I said, “Tell me what happened.”

          She nodded. “After dinner I decided to go catch the new all-female Ghostbusters movie, which was great, by the way. I loved it. Totally hilarious, and Chris Hemsworth was a riot. The man is great at comedy, let me tell you. Anyway, I was just coming out of the theater when I spotted Lisa and Marisa standing in line to get tickets and quickly did a U-turn. Unfortunately, they’d already spotted me and started calling out to me.”

     “Busted!” I teased, fearing she was going off on a tangent. As it turned out, she wasn’t.

     Meanwhile she sighed, “Yeah, I was and I knew it. Turning around, I smiled and started coming towards them when I spotted a girl I knew Marisa wasn’t too thrilled about standing just a few people behind them. She was rolling her eyes in their direction, not that they could see, and I quickened my pace in the hopes of preventing any trouble. But as I did so, some guy a couple of years older than her stopped and said something to her, which she totally ignored. Next thing I know…” here she paused and shook her head.

     “He what? Did he grab her or something?”

   “He punched her in the face,” Nadine snapped, while balling her own hands into fists. “No warning,  no raised voice, he just went ahead and belted her in front of everyone.”

      Even I had not been prepared for that. I was expecting an argument or the guy grabbing her by the arm. But not this.

     Nadine was starting to shake with anger as she continued, “And that wasn’t the worst part. I heard him saying she deserved it. You see he’d complimented her looks and she didn’t even so much as smile or say thank you.”

     I barely kept myself from yelling “Say what?” out loud and waking up my little guy. But I managed it somehow, and just hissed the words instead.

    “Yeah,” Nadine nodded taking a deep breath before continuing. “He’d punched her for ‘disrespecting’ him. At that point I didn’t care if anyone saw or not, I used my speed and got between them. My first instinct was to grab his hand as he started to try and take another swing at her. But I knew if I did, not only would I catch it, but I would start squeezing.”

     “Squeezing?” I repeated. That didn’t sound all that bad.

     “As in I wasn’t going to stop until every bone in that hand was broken, along with the rest of his arm,” she replied quietly.

     “What stopped you?” I asked, feeling a little sick at what I was hearing.

     Nadine looked at me and said, “The expression on your face, it’s the same one I saw on both Marisa and Lisa’s. If they hadn’t been there…” she shook herself. “Anyway, I caught his next punch and went all Bruce Lee on his ass instead. But even as I did, a part of me still wanted to hurt him a whole lot worse than I did. The resentment I felt from all the crude catcalling, ass slaps, and gropings was screaming for me to not only beat his ass, but rip his throat out. Literally.”

     “But you didn’t,” I pointed out. “I know you. You didn’t let it get that far.”

     “Barely,” she sighed.

     “Then what happened?” I asked.

     “I looked up and saw Marisa and Lisa were helping the girl who’d been hit. It turned out to be Diane, the one who was pissed at Marisa for not choosing her to be the new head cheerleader. She was looking awfully grateful for their help as well as mine. As for the asshat, a couple of his buddies had apparently started to try and pull me off him. Only the rest of the crowd, most of them women had blocked them. And then the police showed up. Of course, the jerk’s friends started giving them a bullshit story.”

     “Naturally,” I nodded.

     “So I released some mist and got them singing like canaries about how their friend started all the trouble by assaulting Diane. Of course, I got the creep to confess as well and that was all the police needed to take his ass away.”

     “He’s not going to forget,” I told her.

     Nadine smiled, “I made sure of that. You see I gave him and his buddies a special suggestion. One that will keep all of them from disrespecting any woman ever again.”

     “Good for you,” I smiled, but her face was still troubled. “What?”

     “I really wanted to hurt that guy,” she murmured.

     “But you didn’t,” I assured her. “You’re better than that and them.”
“I know, but I came so close…”

    “Welcome to the human race,” I cut in. “With all the powers you have, you’re still a person. A good one at that. Don’t ever change.”

    That made her smile. “Thanks. But, I have to know. Everything I’ve experienced lately as a woman, is it always like that?”

     “Not always, but more often than it should be,” I told her honestly. Then I eyed her curiously and asked, “Are you thinking about going back to just being a guy?”

     She shook her head. “No. Isabella’s growing. She’ll need someone to help her navigate this world. It’s very different than the one she remembers.”

     “She’ll have me, Lisa and Penny,” I pointed out.

     “Thanks,” she smiled, “But I think ‘Nadine’ will be hanging out with you all from time to time as well. Someone needs to watch all your backs as well sometimes. Girls have to stick together.”

     “Indeed we do,” I smiled. As if on cue, I heard my little guy begin fussing again. “And there goes the rest of my night,” I said standing up.

     But once again my friend beat me to the door saying, “No, you and Richard get some sleep. I’ll take care of him. He’ll need to get used to seeing Aunt Nadine hanging around every so often. And I’m more of a night owl than the rest of you.”

     I was too tired to argue and headed back to bed. It’s morning now and sure enough both my guys got a good night sleep after all. Nathan was back and thanked me for the hot chocolate and the talk. I thanked him for being willing to walk a mile (and them some) in high-heeled shoes.