Saturday, June 16, 2007


It was well after midnight when they decided they wouldn’t get much more information and should leave. Boeing threw himself into the carriage and sagged against the window. Dell squezzed in beside him with a dreamy look, while Diana climbed in next to Amalia, exhausted. Amalia patted her hand. "You did well tonight."

"Beginner's luck," Boeing grumbled.

"Don't be bitter," Dell said.

He raised himself up and squinted at her, then he slumped against the window frame again and closed his eyes. "I don't know what you're so happy about."

"I got some good information."

"I think you're in love," Diana said. "I saw the way that Lone Star girl was hanging around you. What's her name?"

"Elizabeth, but her code name is Magnolia."

"What a stupid name for a dyke," Boeing muttered.

"Shut up. She says she's been thinking about defecting and would like to join us."

Amalia and Diana both frowned. "You know that could just be a line she uses, right?"

"I think she's for real. She told me some interesting things, and we tag-teamed the Christian environmentalists’ prayer circle after the dancing started. I don't think she would've gone to all that trouble if she didn't mean it." Seeing that Amalia was unconvinced she went on, "Yeah, I know. It could all be different tomorrow."

"I know how we can find out if she's serious," Diana offered. "We've got an embedded man with Lone Star. We'll ask him."

"How do you know this?" Amalia asked.

"I danced with him. Sputnik sent him over after I gave my report."

"Speaking of Sputnik," Boeing said, "I saw you kiss him."

Diana ignored Amalia's sharp look. "It was just a friendly kiss. He was nice to me tonight."

"You wouldn't kiss me."

"You weren't nice."

Boeing mumbled something incoherent and rearranged himself in his corner of the carriage. Minutes later he was snoring.

Amalia sat back with a sigh. "I hope he wasn't this drunk all evening. I hate to think he might've said something careless."

"I've never known him to get so drunk he doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut," Dell said. "He's quick to kiss and tell about the girls he meets, but he doesn't talk about what our unit is up to."

The women lapsed into silence as the carriage bounced over the dirt road. They passed dry, barren fields and deserted adobes ringed by overgrown scrub that looked like it could be cover for bandits.

The women weren't worried, knowing their driver was armed and a rider followed, keeping an eye out for danger. With the region in a state of truce and an important parley in the morning, they were safe for tonight.


Alice Audrey said...

She's quite the unintentional femme fatale. I can see a lot of problems for her down the road.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Well, Boeing will chase after anything with two X chromosomes, but Sputnik is sincerely interested.

As for Will, he's been in love with her since they first met, although it took him awhile to figure it out. She was the first person in his age cohort to believe in him. It turned his head and he's never stopped being grateful.

I wrote a little story about the aftermath of their first meeting. It's contemporaneous with Tin Soldier, but not part of the novel: The Written Word

Alice Audrey said...

It's a very nice snippet.