Friday, August 26, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 13

Hello FFFs,
I pray you forgive this shameful delay
In posting this story so late today.

But, it's still Friday morning. :) I'm on vacation, at my grandparents', slept in, have had trouble with my computer, and everything seems to be taking twice as long to do as usual.
No, I haven't written anything this week. I've watched Little League instead. :) We are enjoying the World Series and were thrilled last night when our favorite team (from TN) beat KY. No, we didn't start out with a favorite team when we began watching at the beginning of the week, but TN has just grown on us. We love watching them play, their interaction with each other, the advice and encouragement the coaches give, and well, just everything about them.

I'm also trying to keep on top of planning for a "blog party" next month! :D Very excited about that! Stay tuned to learn more. Plus hanging out with my grandparents, helping with different projects and just taking a break from the usual things.

I also decided last night (I hadn't known about it before) to join my sister and Mom, in memorizing the book of 2 Timothy. Scripture Memory Fellowship has a challenge to memorize the entire book in 4 months. You can win a t-shirt and other things. Do any of you want to join me? Wouldn't it be fun to keep each other accountable, to encourage each other, and press on together in hiding God's Word in our hearts? Join now and let me know if you're in! And remember, I just started too. :)

I was going to tell you all kinds of things, but since it is already late, and I have some emails to reply to, I'm just going to go and let you get to reading.

By Bus with Vicki
Part 13

    As she sat, swinging her feet and wondering if she could find someone new to talk with–for Rose was quiet and the Greens were talking together–she heard crying. It sounded like a young child and Vicki, suddenly missing her younger siblings, leaned out into the aisle to look. It was a little fellow, not much younger than Johnny.
    “The poor mama,” she murmured to herself catching a glimpse of the mother’s face. “It must be hard to keep someone that young happy on a bus.”
    Something came flying over the seats and rolled to a stop at Vicki’s feet. It was a small ball. Instantly Vicki picked it up. Making her way carefully up the aisle, she stopped beside the seat where the young mother was trying to occupy her little son. “Can I play ball with him,” Vicki asked, smiling at the small tot. “We could roll it in the aisle. My name is Vicki. Did you just get on at the last stop?”
    A relieved look crossed the mother’s face. “Yes, we just got on. It’s the first time I’ve tried taking Tommy on a bus. I should have known he wouldn’t do well. But I hoped he would fall asleep.”
    Sitting down in the middle of the aisle, Vicki held out her hands. “Come sit with me, Tommy, and we’ll roll the ball. Rose, can’t you sit down there and play too?”
    Rose’s dark head looked around the seats. For a moment she hesitated, then timidly scooting over, she moved to the aisle.
    Tommy was delighted at the prospect and his tears disappeared. Back and forth the bright red ball rolled. Sometimes it bounced when Tommy threw it instead of rolling it, but the other passengers simply kicked it back into the aisle and the game continued.
    “I have a brother named Johnny,” Vicki confided to Tommy’s mom. “He’s two. But my oldest brother is named Thomas. I think he used to be called Tommy, but I wasn’t around then, so I don’t remember.” She chuckled at the thought. “Do you have other children?”
    Tommy’s mother shook her head. “No. Only Tommy.”
    It was beginning to grow dark when Tommy tired of the game. His young playmates left him sitting in sleepy silence by the window with his thumb in his mouth. The sight made Vicki a bit homesick.
    “I’ve had a lot of fun on this trip,” Vicki confided to Rose after the two girls had resumed their seats. “But I think I’ll be glad when I see my sister. I was supposed to get there in the morning but I tried to visit Montana instead. When do you get off?”
    “At the next stop, I think.”
    “So soon? I was hoping you were going all the way to San Jose.”
    Rose shook her head. “No. But I will be glad to get home again. I’ve missed my family.”
    Quietly the two girls talked as darkness settled over the land and the bus wheels continued to hum over mile after mile of highway.

    When the sun rose the following morning, Vicki sat up, stretched, and looked about. It was quiet. Only a few passengers were awake, but no one talked. Across the aisle, Mr. and Mrs. Green still slept with their seats leaning back. “I didn’t have to do that,” she thought. “I had the whole seat to myself, so I could lie down.” Rose had gotten off last night, and Vicki checked in her purse to make sure her new friend’s address was still there. It was, tucked away safely inside a pocket. “At least I can write to her,” she thought.

    To Vicki, the day dragged by. There were no adventures to delay the bus, for which she was grateful, for, though she didn’t really want to admit it, she was growing tired of traveling. Her active body longed to be out in the fresh air and her feet craved movement. The passengers remained stiff and silent. Only the Greens, who to Vicki’s great delight, were traveling all the way to San Jose, were friendly and tried to amuse the girl.
    “I suppose,” Vicki remarked after an unusually long period of silence, “that no one wants to be friendly with strangers because they don’t know them. On the first bus I was on, no one wanted to talk much until after we had a flat tire. I don’t want another delay, but something should happen to make people friendly.” Thoughtfully she rested her elbow on the arm of the seat and leaned her chin in her hand. “I suppose if we all played a game, it would help the time to go by faster. We do that at home. But what game could we play? We can’t play ball because Tommy and his mother got off earlier. Hmmm.” Absently she shoved back her headband, and her swinging foot nudged her sweatshirt about on the floor.
    It took some time before Vicki was able to think of a suitable game for the scattered passengers on the bus. Then, with a little coaxing, she managed to persuade most of them to move to seats near each other and presented her game. It was a continuing story, but Vicki had torn up a newspaper someone had left and each person was required to include one of the headlines in his or her part of the story.
    That lasted until lunch time. In the afternoon, Vicki decided that taking a nap was the best way to pass the time and joined the rest of the passengers in slumber. In that way a few more hours slipped by.

Have you ever played ball in a vehicle?
Are you ready for Vicki to arrive at her destination?
Are you going to join the challenge to memorize 2 Timothy?

Friday, August 19, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 12

Hello, FFFs,
Did you all have a good week? 
I think I did. It was so crazy and busy that I have to stop and think. Oh, yeah, it was a good week. I have managed to get 5k written already (on TCR-6 in case you were wondering) in spite of hardly getting anything written Monday evening and nothing on Tuesday. I attended the re-organizational meeting of our county's republican central committee of which I am a member. I taught writing class, I worked a little on planning a "virtual party" (stay tuned to learn more of this fun fall party!), I got my "new" short story kindle book ready for pre-order and have been sending out ARC copies these last few days, as well as answering questions for interviews.

Plus I've been working on that Bike Trip book I told you about a while ago.  It's been fun to watch the trips settle into pages with photos and diaries. :) But it takes a long time! One trip I did has 21 pages! It's going to be one long book!

Now, I hope you enjoy this next part of this long story. I did warn you that it was long you know. You probably just didn't expect it to be this long. :)

By Bus with Vicki
Part 12

    “Yup.” The man must have realized that he had a bus full of listeners, for he launched into a story that may not have been entirely true.
    Even Vicki was a little skeptical about a few parts of it, but she only whispered to Rose, “I like the story, even if it is partly fiction.”
    Thanks to the distraction of the storyteller, no one had noticed the passing of time, and when the driver finally returned to the bus, no one grumbled about the delay.
    Pulling into the next station, the driver announced that they would eat there and that some passengers would change buses. That included Vicki and, to her delight, Rose. The driver escorted them to the station and introduced them to their new driver. “Is this the last time I’ll have to change buses now?” Vicki asked.
    The young driver nodded. “Yes. Make sure that you don’t get on any other buses.” He turned to the new driver, an older man with gray hair. “She got on the wrong bus last night and went four hours out of her way.”
    “I’ll make sure both young ladies are on the bus before I pull out of any station,” promised the new driver with a smile at Vicki and Rose. “Now, suppose you both go inside and eat a good dinner. I’ll make sure you get on my bus.
    Vicki was surprised at how hungry she was. “All I’ve done is ride on a bus all day,” she remarked to Rose and Mr. and Mrs. Green. The girls were once again sharing a table with the friendly couple. “I get hungry at home when I’ve been riding my bike or playing with the young ones, but not when I haven’t done anything.” With a shrug, she picked up her breadstick. “Oh, don’t let me forget to call my parents before we leave,” she said. “I should do it tonight so they can let my sister know I’m going to be late.”
    Before anyone rose from their places at the table, the driver came over. “Do either of you, young ladies want to stretch your legs or anything before we leave? We have ten minutes.”
    “I should call my parents if there is a pay phone,” Vicki said. “I tried to call them last night, but the phone was out of order and the line for the other one was too long.”
    When a phone was pointed out to her, she rushed over and was soon waiting for someone to pick up the phone. “Henry!” she squealed when a familiar voice answered. “I didn’t think I’d get to talk to you. Where are Mom and Dad? Is Suzuki all right? Did Clyde call last night? Of course he couldn’t tell you because he didn’t know, but I got on the wrong bus and was going to Montana. But now I’m back on the right road, but the station man at the other stop said I’d be late getting to San Jose. I don’t know Amber’s phone number, so someone is going to have to call and let her know and–”
    “Whoa! Vicki, hold on!” Henry ordered. “I can’t answer anything when you keep rattling on like that. Mom and Dad are at the park with the younger ones. Yes, someone called for you last night, but what is this about a wrong bus? How late are you going to be getting to San Jose?”
     Vicki shrugged, forgetting her brother couldn’t see her. “I don’t remember when the driver said. And it might depend on if we have any more adventures. We’ve had so many already! But I can’t talk long, Henry, because the bus is going to leave and I can’t miss it. I know I went four hours towards Montana before I could get on a different bus. But I’m having so much fun! Oh, I’m going to have to go soon.”
    “Vicki, where are you now?”
    “Um . . .” Vicki looked around and finally said, “Just a minute and I’ll ask. I was too busy playing a game to notice.” Turning around she called to the driver, “Where are we please and when will we get to San Jose?”
    The driver stated the town and gave the estimated time of arrival. Vicki quickly repeated it to her brother. “Now I have to go, Henry. Tell Mom and Dad I’m quite well and having a marvelous time. I’ll call again when I can. And oh, I have so many stories to tell you! Good bye!”
    After she had hung up, Vicki skipped over to the bus where her new driver was standing. “This is the right bus, isn’t it?” she asked, a smile spreading across her face.
    “If you’re heading to San Jose it is.” The driver returned her smile and gave her a wink.
    With a giggle, Vicki climbed aboard after Rose. The bus already had quite a few passengers, but the girls found a seat across the aisle from the Greens. In a few minutes they were again in motion and once again Vicki was on her way farther west. For a time she was content to talk with Rose and the Greens, but after a while she began to wish for something else to do. She couldn’t read because her bag was on another bus, as was everything else she had so carefully packed to help pass the time. 

Have you ever forgotten your bag of things on a trip?
What would you do if you had?
Only 2 more parts of this story. Will you be back?

Friday, August 12, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 11

Hi FFFs!
I'm hungry. Glad it's almost breakfast time!
Well, that was a different way to start this blog post! Anyone else hungry?

This week I've been focusing my writing time on TCR-6. It still has a long ways to go, but it's moving. I did write my 3rd beginning for this book though. I'd written one, didn't like it and it didn't go anywhere, so I started a new way. This one was actually working and I was over a 3rd of the way done, but I felt like something wasn't right. Back I went to reread the entire thing. Ah ha! Ever had those moments? Well, I had one. I was trying to cram too much into too few days. Now things are much better. It's a bit hard to know how to update my progress bar though because I'm taking scenes from later and moving them to a different place. Kind of like working a puzzle.

And there will be a new short story coming out in kindle format soon. Well, actually it is not new. It was originally published in "The Lower Lights" but, since that book is not being made into a kindle book, I decided to pull some of the stories and turn them into kindle books. So, be on the look out for this new story.

 Well, that's it for today. I'll let you join Vicki on her bus again. Tell me, would you like to ride on a bus with Vicki? Or is she just "too much" for you?

By Bus with Vicki
Part 11

    By the time everyone had run out of ideas and each suggestion had been hashed over, the driver was slowing down, ready to turn back onto the highway again. There had been no sign of any kids near the road. Upon seeing a State Patrol car on the side of the highway, the driver stopped the bus and opened the door.
    The patrol officer came over.
    “Can you tell me why the road was blocked?” asked the driver.
    Inside, the passengers waited in breathless silence. “Sure. There was an accident. One semi loaded with cattle lost control and smashed into another from behind. One flipped over and the tailgate of the other came open. There’s a mess of raw chicken and loose cattle everywhere. If there hadn’t been that exit, you’d be sitting there a long time.”
    As the bus turned back onto the highway, many exclamations were heard.
    “I said it was an accident.”
    “Raw chicken? Gross!”
    “Someone should have called the Texas Rangers,” quipped a man wearing a Stenson, “they know about roundin’ up cattle.”
    “But I still like that idea of a prank,” Mr. Green laughed. “It was so original.”

    The rest of the morning passed swiftly for Vicki, who found her new friend an eager listener and the other passengers friendly and social after the detour. When they stopped for lunch, Vicki and Rose made their way to a table with the couple from across the aisle.
    “Does you tongue ever stop spilling words, Vicki?” Mr. Green asked, a twinkle in his eyes.
    Grinning, Vicki nodded, her mouth full of her hamburger. A moment later she replied, “I can listen if others want to talk. The problem this morning has been that no one else seemed to want to talk except when we had the detour, so I did.”
    Mr. Green’s hearty laugh rang out in the dining room and even his wife joined in. “Vicki, you are priceless,” he said when he could speak again. “I wish I had you at some of the meetings I have to go to. No one wants to talk there. either”
    “Well, maybe if you told them about your bus trip, they would be interested and could tell about their own trips.”
    Aside to his wife, Mr. Green remarked, “I wonder what would happen if I did.”

    Not long after, as the bus was traveling onward once again, the conversations inside began to lag and one by one the passengers started to nod off. “I don’t see why everyone wants to take a nap in the afternoon,” Vicki whispered to Rose. “Especially since most of them slept in the morning.” She shook her head as snores in different tones drifted through the bus. “There is too much to see. But I suppose it wouldn’t be very nice to talk a lot since so many want to sleep. Do you like to play tick-tack-toe?”
    Rose nodded and produced the necessary paper and pencil, and the girls began.

    Though Vicki didn’t want to miss a single mountain flower, cattle ranch or small town, the sounds of steady breathing, the light sway of the bus, and the warm afternoon sun, combined with her interrupted night, made her drowsy. After nearly fifty games of tick-tack-toe, Rose had settled herself to look out the window, and not long after, Vicki realized that she was sleeping too. “I don’t want to sleep,” she yawned. “I don’t take naps at home. But maybe I’ll take a really short one.” Leaning her head back, she let her eyes close and was soon dozing as soundly as the rest of the passengers.
    She was roused some time later by a gentle kick. Opening her eyes she saw Rose was also awake. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to kick you,” whispered Rose.
    After a stretch, Vicki smiled. “That’s okay. I didn’t want to sleep anyway.” Scooting up on her knees, she looked around the bus. It seemed that most of the passengers were still sleeping. Across the aisle Mr. Green was snoring while Mrs. Green read her book.
    “Rose, do you hear a funny sound?”
    The dark haired girl tilted her head and listened. “I think so.”
    “Me too. I wonder where it’s coming from?” Vicki began moving in her seat, her ear cocked to try and locate the source of the strange sound. “Hey!” she exclaimed suddenly, “We’re slowing down. But there’s nothing here, no towns I mean. Oh, Rose, we’re pulling to the side of the highway. Do you think we’ve got trouble with the bus?”
    Rose gave a little gasp and her eyes widened at the idea.
    “If we do, I’m sure the driver can take care of it,” Mrs. Green said, looking up from her book.
    Thus assured, Vicki half stood up to look out the front window. “Why do you suppose we stopped?”
    Passengers were waking up all around, but no one volunteered any answer. The driver stood up and turned around. “The engine was making some strange noises,” he explained, “I’ll go check it out. It’s probably just some loose bolt. Everyone please stay where you are. We’ll be going again in no time.”
    As the driver disappeared off the bus, Vicki gazed out the window at the empty landscape around them. There were no houses or buildings of any kind anywhere. “Do you think there are any wildcats or bears around here? Henry said they lived out west, but I don’t think I’d like to meet one.”
    “Oh, I wouldn’t worry,” answered one older man with a grizzled beard. “This highway has got too much traffic fer their likin’. ‘Sides, I don’t ‘spect they’ll be comin’ ta pay us any visit ‘less we take a hike up inta the wilderness an’ search fer ‘em.”
    Vicki leaned over the seat before her to better see the speaker. “Did you ever see any bears or wildcats?”
What do you think is going to happen now?
Every seen a semi turned over an it's contents spilled?
Are you interested in reading the new short story?

Friday, August 5, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 10

Hello, Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
I hope you've been staying cool. This past week or so has been HOT! When it's 80º at 5 AM, and 103º at 6 PM, you kind of get the impression that it's hot. ;) And don't forget to add the humidity to that.

Life has been busy! Tuesday I worked as an election judge for 13 hours (not counting the 30 minutes before the polls opened and the hour 45 min. I spent packing up, taking the ballots to the county courthouse and driving home), so that didn't leave any time to do anything else. On Saturday I spent most of the day out doing lit. drops (leaving literature about a candidate on people's doors) for a man running for State Rep.  (Side note: He won! :) ) And since both of those days were really busy, I've been trying to catch up on everything. And of course during those busy days, either while I was gone or when I was trying to catch up on other things, everyone decided to post at least once, some times more than that! So, sorry if I haven't commented on your blog. I'm trying to catch up still. :P Can't you all just post when I'm not quite so busy? ;)

This hasn't been a very good writing week so far. No writing Saturday evening. I was too tired.
No writing Monday. I was getting ready to leave at 5:15 in the morning.
No writing Tuesday. I didn't get home until almost 9:00 PM.
I did write Wednesday and last night, but both nights were slow! Only 1,000 words each time. Maybe I can get more written tonight. We'll see. The last two nights I have NOT wanted to write at all! You can pray that I want to. :) I jumped back to TCR-6 last night and something unexpected happened. :) I just love it when my stories do that!

Anyway, here's the next part of that long bus trip. :) I really liked this part. :) So enjoy!

By Bus with Vicki
Part 10

    Seated beside each other a few minutes later as the bus rolled along the road, the two girls chattered as though they had been friends for years. Vicki, always the most outgoing in any gathering, told all about the day before, about her brothers and sister and cousins back home, and about anything else she could think of. Her excitement over the mountains she could see, fairly bubbled over, causing smiles among the other passengers. “And to think,” she exclaimed after pointing out a delightful view, “that we had to miss so much of this because it was dark last night!”
    “But if we didn’t travel at night it would make the trip twice as long,” observed Rose.
    Vicki gave a sigh. “I know, but sometime I want to come this way in my own car and only travel when it is light so I can see everything.”
    As the morning passed, many of the passengers fell asleep, or at least dozed in their seats, but Vicki had no intention of joining them. She and her new friend Rose were wide awake, though they tried to keep their voices low so they wouldn’t bother the others..
    Looking up ahead, Vicki saw an orange sign. “Does that say Detour?” she asked Rose.
    Rose nodded slowly. “I think so. Yes,” as the bus neared it. “It does say detour.”
    “Oh, do you think it means us?” In her excitement, Vicki forgot to whisper.
    Glancing up from her book, Mrs. Green, the woman who sat across the aisle with her husband, asked, “What was that?”
    “That sign says Detour and I was wondering if we were going to have to take a detour or if it was for another road.”
    “We’ll soon know. If we follow the arrows, it probably means us.”
    There was no answer from either girl, for they were watching the signs carefully and trying to guess if they would really have to take a detour or not. “It looks like we have to go on the detour!” Forgetting others were still sleeping, Vicki spoke quite loudly.
    “Huh? What was that?” Mr. Green, startled out of a snore, sat up and blinked.
    Vicki gave an excited bounce in her seat. “A detour. See, we are turning just like the sign says to do. Do you think the detour was known to the driver?”
    Mrs. Green exchanged glances with her husband before replying. “I would think so, but I don’t know.”
    The other passengers around them were beginning to sit up and look around, wondering what was going on.
    “Rose, do you want to go up front with me so we can ask the driver?”
    “No, I don’t like to walk when the bus is moving, if I don’t have to.” And the dark haired girl shook her head decidedly. “It makes me feel funny.”
    It took Vicki a moment to get her balance when she stood up, for the road wasn’t as smooth as the one they had just left. Staggering somewhat, and clutching onto the backs of seats, she made her way to the front.
    When she returned a few minutes later, her face was glowing and her eyes sparkled with excitement. “He said he didn’t know anything about this detour! But he doesn’t think it will be much out of the way.” Her face had fallen some over the last words, but then she brightened again. “But it will be something else that wasn’t expected! Oh, I just love having adventures!”
    The entire bus had been fully roused by this time, and there were a few grumbles, but Vicki’s evident excitement over the entire thing seemed to remind them of how a child often sees things and the grumbles soon died.
    “I wonder why there’s a detour and the driver didn’t know about it,” Vicki began. “I know! Let’s all think of a possibility and then we can see who’s right.” Her clear, young voice carried through the bus, and thoughtful faces showed that at least some of the passengers were trying to come up with solutions. Turning to Rose she asked, “Can you write all the ideas down?”
    Quickly Rose shook her head. “I’m not very good at writing.”
    “I’ll do it,” Mr. Green volunteered. “I’ll take it down in short hand for now and then write them out later.”
    “Oh, goody!” Vicki clapped her hands. Standing in front of her seat, hanging on to the back of the one before her, she waited a few more minutes. “Now, who has the first idea?”
    There was a moment of hesitation, but once the ideas started, they came quickly from all over the bus.
    A rock-slide had blocked the road. Construction work but no one had been notified. An avalanche on the mountain peaks had filled a small canyon the highway ran through. Vandals had torn apart a guard rail. There had been a bad accident on the road and it had been closed. They were hunting for a vicious mountain lion and didn’t want anyone traveling the road for fear he might attack.
    The last idea brought a round of laughter from the passengers before they went on.
    It was a fight between the Indians and the US Cavalry on the road. A bridge had collapsed. Highwaymen were having a stand off with the police. There wasn’t enough traffic on the other roads so the government decided to close the highway.
    “No, no,” one man near the back of the bus said, standing up. “You’ve got it all wrong. It was the prank of a few kids who ‘borrowed’ the signs from a friend who works in construction and no one has found it out yet. The kids are probably along the detour selling something. I expect we’ll be seeing them before too long if we keep our eyes open.”
    The bus fairly rocked with laughter over this suggestion, and several people kept their eyes on the windows to see if they would see any kids.
    Rockslides and accidents were the ideas most mentioned, though the suggestion of a prank was seconded by several.

What do you think happened?
Have you ever guessed what caused a detour?
Will you return to find out what really happened?