Panning for Gold

Robert Quick

Where the -@!# did my muse go?

Writer, dreamer, knight, shackled by entertainment . . . and people.


“Why are you here.”

Wasn't it obvious? There were lines around the block to sign up for the E.D.C. and had been ever since the attack that melted southern California. “To fight aliens, same as you.” I tried to keep the irritation out of my voice but knew that I had failed as soon as the words left my lips.

The boy didn't react much, wiggling back against the wall. “Cig?” he said, flashing a pack of smokes.

His lack of reaction to my rudeness made me dislike him even more. “Nah, don't smoke. It's pretty dirty.”

“You will. You could start now and be ahead of the curve.” he waited for a moment. When I didn't respond, he shrugged and put the pack back into his pocket. “Fine. Suit yourself. Name's Roland. Roland Beeks.”

My first impulse was to say, "So?" but the good manners my parents had instilled over the years won out. "Leonard Chen."

"Pilot or engineer?"

"Pilot. Why?"

He leaned forward, a grin breaking out. "I knew it! As soon as I saw you I said to myself, that kid's going to be a pilot for sure."


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