OK, OK --- the story should have come right after Lorin's interview with Bo.. so sue me.
By Barbara Witbrecht
"Weird vibe here," Bo mused as he navigated the keep's narrow stone
passages. "First, they're all speaking the Queen's English, not
proto-Beowulfian. Next thing I know, I'm talking like a third-rate
Mike Hammer wannbe. Well, I guess time travel does a number on the
ol' psyche. Let's see this world I've blipped into."
Bo stepped from the keep's side door into the unpaved Early Medieval
street and looked around appreciatively. His only model for this
period was "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Fortunately, it
appeared to have been someone else's model as well. A gaggle of
ragged peasants gaped at him. Suddenly, he was acutely aware of his
camelhair topcoat and gray fedora.
"Be'est thou a WITCH?" asked a lady peasant, very shyly.
"He be'n't a WITCH, ass-for-brains. As a man, he be a WARLOCK."
"Mayhap he weigheth as much as a DUCK?"
This sort of conversation did not bode well. Bo quickly stepped
around the corner. He nearly collided with a young boy, who was
engaged in throwing rocks at a cat.
"Boy!" Bo called with authority. "Come here!"
The boy glanced in Bo's general direction and eyed him suspiciously.
"I have need of your services, boy. I can, er, pay well." Could he?
Bo hastily fished in his topcoat pocket and brought out a handful of
small change and a half-used Metro ticket. He held out a penny and
The boy snatched the coin and bit it hard. "No good," he stated,
throwing the dented penny at Bo's feet. "This ain't copper."
Right. Pennies were plated zinc now, and had been for more years than
Bo could remember. So much for impressing the natives. Bo dug deep
in his other coat pocket, and came up with a roll of Mentos. He
squeezed out a smooth white candy and offered it to the boy. "For
you," he said. "Eat it. It's good."
The boy popped the mint into his mouth and chewed. His eyes widened
at the sweetness. "Gaaaarn!" he exclaimed.
Bo smiled. "So, kid. I need information. A couple days ago a lady
and two older people, a man and a woman, left the keep. The man and
woman were named Thomas and Matilda. They would have been riding good
horses, and they would have been trying not to be seen. That ring any
bells with you, kid?"
The boy held out his grubby hand. "Gimme another," he stated.
Bo popped another Mento from the roll and held it between thumb and
forefinger. "Information first. Bribes second. I'm not dumb, you know."
The boy frowned and wriggled. "They left town. Took the road *that*
way." He pointed east. "Gimme."
"One more question. Do you know where I can acquire a horse?"
The boy looked Bo up and down, surveying his six-foot-three,
three-hundred-pound frame. He began to laugh. Soon he was doubled
over, clutching his knees, as tears streamed down his muddy face.
With a barely suppressed oath, Bo flipped him the Mento and stalked,
with great dignity, out of town.
Next: Shannon Spots an Oddly Dressed Giant
Before there was the novel, there were the stories...
by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at http://authorchristophermoss.vlogspot.com