I’m doing ‘housekeeping’ on some stories — writing down characters’ names in order to keep their activities straight, charting story arc developments, stuff like that.  I’m skimming each short story so that I can note the characters mentioned in it and, in one story, I obviously hit a speed bump in getting the main character from point A to point B.

The background is that Barb, the main character, has been looking at apartments all day and the places on the list given to her by the clerk at the military housing referral office have either been rented or were unacceptable.  It’s the end of the day, she’s tired, and she skipped looking at the last apartment because the bad guys in the story unexpectedly caught her eye.  She stopped to see what they were up to (just a bit of shady business that she can’t handle on her own, but that she reported) and she’s now hotfooting it back to the apartment.  The silly part, something added just to keep writing, is between the strings of periods I put in so I wouldn’t accidentally send the story out with that part in it.

          While she was contemplating whether or not to go in at this relatively late hour, a man and a woman came through the building’s front door, the man with a short un-German haircut, and the woman wearing blue jeans and sneakers.  Americans.  They were holding hands and their faces wore happy-couple expressions.

          As they walked down the sidewalk, Barb stopped them

          “Excuse me.  Before I make a fool of myself, did you just rent an apartment?”


            The man said, “Why yes, we just rented that absolutely smashing flat from the most charming little fairytale grandmother you could ever hope to meet.”

            “Drat and blast,” exclaimed Barb.  “This is the third apartment I’ve been done out of. I swear, I’m never going to get out of that damned office and I’ll have Novak around my neck like a bloated albatross from now until Gabriel sounds his horn.  I’m doomed!”

         “Fret not, fair maiden,” spoke the man as he doffed his baseball cap and bowed deeply before her.  “I know it seems as if you’ll never find your heart’s desire, but persist!  Soldier on!  You will triumph!”

            The man took his companion’s arm and they marched off, as if Sousa himself had written the fanfare for their departure.”

            Seized by their happiness, Barb herself straightened her shoulders, squared her jaw and strode to her magic steed, the invincible Duck.  She engaged its motor and they flew down the strasse, to return to their lair in the heart of the Rhoen.


          Rush hour traffic is much the same the world around, slow.  Barb reached the office to see only one vehicle in the office parking area – Novak’s motorcycle.  Did he volunteer to stay in or was he just holding down the fort until the duty agent ate supper?  Barb thanked goodness she wasn’t on call tonight.

End of short, silly excerpt.

Finding that bit of silliness made me laugh, and I now remember typing it.  It was probably the most easily written part of the entire story.  I wish the actual story elements flowed as easily as did that bit of keep-the-typing-going filler.