Tag Archives: Calgary

CHAPTER FIVE – I’ll Cry For You, Argentina

CHAPTER FIVE – I’ll Cry For You, Argentina
(from the novel, The Rocky Road to the End of the World)
Copyright (c) 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
All rights reserved.

        “You don’t have to be so hard on her,” I whispered to Mark.  “She’s just a kid.”

“She’s a kid who’s trying to survive, same as us, Alex.  But there can only be one leader of this expedition, and that’s me.  If everyone wants to survive, that’s the way it’s going to be.”

I sat back, gritting my teeth, stroking Tilly to regain my temper.  One of the things I was mad at was knowing that Mark was right…again.  He always did that, and it annoyed me enormously.  Fact was, I still didn’t grasp the significance of the situation.  I still believed in the goodness of people.  If the e-Wave, as the media was calling it, hit us, we were dead.  Running away, like cowards in the night, was no way to make a last stand.  It didn’t dawn on me that the e-Wave wasn’t the enemy.

The grass rustled and I looked into the gloom, expecting Patty to emerge.  Instead it was an indistinct figure brandishing something.  As it approached, I gulped and leaned over to Mark.

“He’s got a weapon, Mark,” I said.

“I know,” Mark replied evenly.  Even as we talked he slid his rifle sitting behind me out of sight and put the butt end on the floor.

“All of you, get out of the Jeep,” the man yelled.  At least it had to be a man by the timbre of his voice.  I still couldn’t see his face.  “No funny tricks or I’ll shoot ya, all of ya.”

“Go on, you two,” Mark grated.

Justin opened the rear door behind Mark, as I opened the passenger door.  Both of us stepped out at the same time and moved away from the car.  I could tell by the way the guy was moving his head, he was having a little trouble keeping track of us in the dusk.  Before Mark could even step out, however, a slight whishing sounded, followed by a grunt.  The man collapsed.  Patty walked up on the verge and dusted her hands off.

“Good thing I went to the can,” she said with a smirk.

“You could have been killed!” Mark raged.  “I had it under control.”  He got out of the Jeep, carrying the rifle.

“I figured you didn’t want a gun battle with Alex and the Jeep as targets.  The least we would have gotten was one or more flat tires.”

Mark didn’t say anything.  Knowing him, I figured he had already thought of that and was ready to take the risk.  I also figured he was surprised that Patty had thought it through so clearly.

“Is he dead?” I asked, my voice a little shaky.

Mark returned from checking him out and placed a revolver, presumably the man’s in the glove compartment.  “Nope,” he said, “but he’s going to have a granddaddy of a headache when he wakes up.”  He reached behind my seat and slid the rifle into the slot he had made for it.  “Nice head whack,” he said, grinning at Patty.

“Thanks,” she said, grinning back at him.

I scooped Tilly up from where she had been cowering on the ground—men’s loud voices always scared her—and the four of us got back into the Jeep.

“Maybe we can get some local news,” Justin suggested.  “Might give us a better idea of what’s going on with looters.”

Mark nodded as he geared up the Jeep, heading back onto the road, and I switched on the radio.

 …of Argentina and Chile.  This is the first time only part of a country has been swallowed by the e-Wave, and the results are interesting, although not unexpected.  Accounts from northern Argentina report that communications were normal from the southernmost part of the country.  There was absolutely no warning when the e-Wave struck.  When it did, all communications ceased.

The line of destruction in Argentina was straight along the north border of Santa Cruz province and included everything southward, plus Islas Malvinas, Antarctide Argentina, and the Falkland Islands.  A similar demarcation in Chile was an imaginary line through the Twelfth District of Magallanes y la Antartica Chilena Region extending across Chile on the same latitude as the northern Santa Cruz border.

What was different in this attack of the e-Wave was that it was the first one to dissect a country.  All along the Santa Cruz border was evidence of the scientific precision of the Wave.  Cars, people, plant life, animals that had been crossing the border or lay across the border at the time the Wave hit were bisected at that point.  One person had been walking to the other side of the provincial border when the e-Wave struck.  His leg was removed as cleanly as if with a surgical scalpel.  The person, unidentified at the moment, was rushed to hospital.  A hospital spokesman reported that the man’s chances for survival are favourable.

Many others, numbering in the hundreds, were not so lucky and did not survive.

While scientists have still not determined what the e-Wave is, where it originates, and what its purpose is, they have mapped out a rough pattern that the Wave seems to be following.  The speculation is that the Wave started from Australia as a testing point, a whole country, contained as an island, small enough to study effects, yet large enough for the effects to be visible from space.

The e-Wave moved northeast to Papua New Guinea, hovered indecisively, then for some reason headed south, taking in the Solomon and Fiji Islands and New Zealand…more island countries.  Analysts believe that, after observations by the manipulators of the e-Wave’s behaviour during the tests, these same manipulators caused the destruction to head westward across the Atlantic, missing the tip of Africa, presumably because it was too far north.

The Wave took in the islands surrounding the western hemisphere landmass, and then, unexpectedly, took a bite out of the two countries occupying the most southernmost space.  This pattern would seem to indicate that perhaps whoever or whatever is manipulating the e-Wave is not proficient in handling it operation.  Further speculation supposes that the e-Wave is being pretested on our planet.

Although there is still considerable disagreement about various aspects of this attack, the majority are now in agreement that this is an attack directed by intelligent beings.  We are told that what finally convinced most of the scientists is the doubt and change of course after Papua New Guinea.  There is still a slim chance that it was simply survival instincts veering from the northern route because of some unknown disagreeable factors there.  Still the majority opinion prevails.

Looters are reported running rampant in most, if not all, populated areas.  Because the entire world could be at risk, most people are interested in being with their loved ones.  A small percentage of people worldwide are heading north, in the belief that the southern parts of the world are the most dangerous.  They hope that the north may be missed.

The United Nations has delivered a mandate to the global scientific community to determine the cause of the e-Wave and find a solution with all possible speed.

Mark nodded his head as if the announcer had said something he agreed with or had already known.  Sometimes I had no idea what my husband was thinking.  As the buzz of the station grew insistently annoying, I turned the radio off.

“Well,” Patty said, “that was less than cheerful.  And here I was hoping to see…to see my mom and dad s-soon.”  A soft sob turned my heart to mush.  Mark was fond of saying it turned my head to mush too.

“It’s okay, Patty,” I said.  “If it’s humanly possible, we’ll find them.”

“Only if they’re on the way to Lake Timiskat,” Mark muttered under his breath, but I heard him and turned to glare at him.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t see my facial expression in the dusk.  Fortunately, he had the sense to keep anything else on the subject to himself.

I noticed that Justin’s arm had found its way around Patty’s shoulders, and she had rested her head on his chest.  Probably a better comfort than I could provide right now.

Stroking Tilly’s soft fur, I leaned my head back.  I wished I had been able to talk to either my son or my daughter when I called Calgary.  Leaving a message on their answering machines wasn’t very satisfactory.  I couldn’t tell them the route we were taking north since I hadn’t known at the time.  I still didn’t know.  Just the destination.  As soon as Mark had told me was when I had phoned them.  I hoped I would see them again.

A tear surprised me by trickling down my cheek.


Ten Sunshine Things About Me

Sandra aka RayaHere is the wind-up to the conditions outlined Paula Tohline Calhoun’s Monday Joy post in Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror…ten happy things about me that you might not have known.  This post is the sequel to Yikes, Another Award!

1.  Most people don’t know that I am the mother of two incredibly talented children, not kids anymore, although they always will be kids to me.  My daughter Laurie is working on her Master’s in biology and is already a P.Biol. with her own consulting business, servicing a lot of the oil industry (making sure they leave their oil well sites as clean and with as little impact on the ecology as possible).  In Canada, that is government-enforced.  My son Tom is an oilfield accountant.

2.  I am meeting Tom’s girlfriend for the first time in two weeks.  I am very excited, because she and I have corresponded online and I like her very much.

3.  I have been married three times and not one of them was a Canadian!  The first was a Scotsman.  Being married to him was like watching a Brit movie…I didn’t understand a word the man said for the first 10 months 😛

4.  The second husband was a sweet young New Zealander with another lovely accent.  It was more understandable though.  He couldn’t handle the age difference and my disabilities, but I didn’t blame him.  We had fun while it lasted, played like kids and relaxed.

5.  The third husband is a little closer to home, although he still has an accent.  Wertaf (his role-playing game name) is an American…naturally he insists that I’m the one who has an accent, and this even while we are living in the heartland of Canada lol  He’s a keeper.  We’ve been married almost five years now.  He is considerably younger than me but doesn’t seem it 🙂

6.  At the age of five, while my dad was away on a fishing trip with the other game wardens to get enough food for the sled dogs for the winter, my mom and I ran out of food.  We were living 52 miles from the nearest habitations and our two-way radio was broken.  I scouted out coveys of partridge sitting on tree branches, ran back to Mom to guide her to them.

7.  Mom shot a rifle that she had never shot before, and I cleaned and dressed the birds that she accidentally killed (she wasn’t a very good shot, but I was too small to hold the gun).  We feasted on roast partridge, baked partridge, fried partridge, broiled partridge, partridge stew, etc.  for a couple of weeks until our winter supply of food arrived. 

Flag of Calgary

Flag of Calgary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8.  I was the all-night DJ on a large middle-of-the-road music station for a few years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada back in the ’70s and ’80s.  I had a party every night.  When the kids were staying with me (they were quite small then), I bedded them down on the plush carpet in the client music room.  It had a radio monitor and they could listen to me on air while they fell asleep.  They loved doing that and were quite proud of me for being a DJ.  Apparently that is quite cool.

9.  My mom managed to stay awake until midnight every night that I was on air.  I would play one of her favorite songs right after the news (she loved “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills, so it got more airplay than it actually should have 😛 ).  Then she would feel peaceful and drift off to sleep.

10.  I used to be an amateur long distance swimmer.  The longest distance I ever swam was five miles.  I was pretty tired at the end of that, but I loved doing it.  One of my girlhood heroes was Marilyn Bell, who was a Canadian Olympic swimmer and the first women to swim across Lake Ontario.  Imagine!  I didn’t have dreams as big as that.  I was just glad I could swim my five miles.

There ya have it, folks.  Ten little known facts outside my family and close friends.   Remember, you read it here first!

And with that, I have fulfilled all three of the Sunshine Award requirements.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Yayy, another award!

The Versatile Blogger Award

I am so pleased to have received another award, this time from my good and brave friend, Dorky Deb.  She is actually anything but dorky.  Instead, she is a mother and wife, full of good cheer, dealing with life despite the odds stacked against her.  She is also a wonderful photographer.

This version of the award The Versatile Blogger is one I have eyed for some time.  I’d also like to congratulate my fellow award winners.  If you’re interested, you can visit Deb’s blog and find her list of current winners there.

According to the rules, I have to choose five deserving recipients for the award and publish seven unknown facts about myself.   First, the new Versatile Blogger winners I have picked:

Tinkerbelle, of Laughter is Contagious
Zoya, of Silver Mists
Barb Taylor, of Barb’s Blog
Girl on the Contrary‘s Blog

Congratulations to you all.  You have entertained me, informed me, and/or made me laugh.  You all excel at your writing and your blogging.  Thank you.

Now for the seven things you don’t know about me:

1.  When I was in my 20s, I won $100 on a Montreal TV game show called “Little White Lie” where I told my life story to the panel, and they had to guess which part was NOT true.  They could only ask me questions answerable by yes or no.  They didn’t guess correctly and I won the money.  I was so excited.

2.  I was the first live female all-night radio broadcaster (DJ) for CHQR in Calgary when it was a middle of the road music station (MOR).  My show was from midnight to 6am; since CRTC rulings regarding music mix didn’t apply at that time, I got to pick my own music.  I loved it, although I never did get used, after three years, to sleeping during the day and working all night.

3.  My great-great-great-great-grandfather (perhaps even more greats, not sure) was an Irish king, who was hung by a rival tribe for horse thieving.

4.  I wrote my first “book” at the age of 7.  It was entitled “Angus the Ant,” was five pages long and self-illustrated.  My one big regret is that somewhere in all the moves of my life, it got lost and never found.

5.  In the ’70s, ’80s, and part of the ’90s, I toured parts of Canada and the United States as an international lecturer, speaking on inner peace and self discovery.  It was a wonderful time of learning and sharing for me.  I met hundreds of great people and probably learned as much from them as they learned from me.

6.  One of the recipes that I adapted from a recipe I received from another gal has won the hearts (and stomachs) of all the men in my life.  If I want to prepare a special meal for my husband or my son or any of my male friends, I cook Newfie Noodles.  If anyone would like the recipe, I will offer it here.  It’s an instant hit with men (women like it too, but not as crazy about it as men, who call it “shovel food”) and very easy to make.  (Edit:  Suzicate asked for the recipe.  You can see it in my reply to her below.)

7.  For a good part of my life, I wanted to be able to whistle just using my fingers, but all I ever managed to do was spit down my fingers and make a wet noisy sighing sound.  My son, with infinite patience, finally taught me how to do it, and I was so happy.  If you want to hear me do it, give me a call lol

Versatile Blogger Awards

Exciting news today!  No, not another flash fiction story – I got another award.  This time, the Versatile Blogger Award — from the PanicMonster.  You should read her blog, if you haven’t already.  It’s extraordinarily honest and full of pain and courage.  Thank you, PM, for this award.

Versatile Blogger Award

With respect to the award, here are the terms and more information:

The Versatile Blogger Award is passed from blogger to blogger. It’s a great way to get your blog noticed, as well as highlight some of your favorite bloggers/writers.  Considering the vast number of very creative and inspirational blogs in our own blogosphere alone, I am pretty happy to have been included in this august company 🙂

Now the idea in spreading the good word to others is:

1) Link back to the blogger that gave me the award . – done
2) Tell you 7 random things about myself.
– see below
3) Choose 15 other blogs to pass the award to. – see below
4) Inform the other bloggers that I’m passing the award to them. – done


Saline solution for IV

Image via Wikipedia - Saline Solution

1. I almost died twice last year, once by injection of iodine for a catscan.  It turns out I am deathly allergic to iodine.  If my family doctor hadn’t recognized it right away and put me on a saline solution to flush out my veins, I would have died…my kidneys had already started to fail.  The other time was a mix-up with too many doctors prescribing medications for me without regard to the medications I was already on.  One prescription was again making my kidneys start to fail and my blood pressure had dropped alarmingly, but again my family doctor solved that by putting me in the hospital, saline solution for 24 hours, I was right as rain the next morning.  We solved that particular one by passing any new medications past my family doctor before I started taking them.

2.  I could read and write (actual writing, not printing) when I was four years old.  I guess I couldn’t wait to grow up to get at my writing.  I wrote my first “novel” when I was seven.  It was a self-illustrated, five-page adventure story called ANGUS THE ANT.

3. I am 70 years old but have been repeatedly told that I don’t look more than my mid-50s.  I like hearing that.  When I was younger, I had somewhat shallow values, in that the looks of people were very important to me.  I have matured considerably since then, but some of it still lingers 😳

4. I still read the Oz books and have never gotten over the idea that somewhere there may be a full-fledged fairyland (like Baum’s Land of Oz, or Anthony’s Xanth, or Brooks’s Magic Kingdom for Sale).  I’ll let you know when I find it.

Barrel racing at the Calgary Stampede

Image via Wikipedia

5. Charles, Prince of Wales, waved at me personally once when he came to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede.  I was atop the chuck wagon entry of the radio station I worked for then and was enthusiastically yelling and waving to the crowd.  Charles was in the reviewing stands and looked my way when he heard all the noise I was making.  He grinned at me and waved back.  That was 35 years ago. 🙂

6. I did the all-night radio broadcast for three years at CHQR in Calgary, before it became an all-talk radio station.  It was like having my own party every night and I loved it.  This was in the early 1980s.

7. I have three of the most adorable Shih Tzus you have ever seen: Ling Ling, Oreo Blizzard, and Tilly Tot.  The first two were purchased from their breeders.  However, Tilly Tot was a rescue dog, who was dying when we found her.  She was so full of bladder stones she could hardly walk and couldn’t pee at all.  We took her to the vet and he did the necessary operation.  Tilly is now a happy, healthy, little sweetheart, a real loving addition to our little family.

Okay, on to the 15 new award winners.  This might be difficult, since so many of the bloggers I follow regularly already have this award.  Here goes:


1. AnimalsOurEverything – Janet Herring-Sherman
2. Dorky Deb – Debbie Norman
3. Fearlessly Nourished – Kristin Konvolinka
4. Huffygirl’s Blog – Donna Barry
5. Michael’s Blog – Michael Ayers (aka stickinsect)
6. Miss Beehaven with Hobbit Queen
7. Bookclub Cheerleader – Marsha Toy Engstrom
8. Fictional Campfire – Ken Broad
9. The Painted Universe – Anna Barlow
10. Out of the Woods – Billie Jo Woods
11. Selena Wolff’s Solitary Words
12. The Renegade Writer – Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
13. Publication Coach – Daphne Gray-Grant
14. The Sunflower Girl – Jennifer Alys Windholz
15. Blog Therapy (formerly Marya Writes) – Marya

That was more of a struggle than I anticipated.  Other than the ones who already have this award, this is pretty nearly my whole Blogroll.

Congratulations, guys.  I will be in touch personally soon to let you know, in case you don’t drift by to see what I’m up to.  Thanks for being such great writers.