From the private Journal of Luisa Smith Ach! My younger days when I was--how you say?--svelte. Hitching rides under trucks. Scaling public buildings on a slim nylon rope. Ah, and when was the last time I gave a man his last surprise after rising from his crawlspace?
Oh, but I can comfort myself in knowing that these memories likely did not exist before I volunteered for the psychoactive drug tests.
My updates to this journal have been scarce of late. Well, there is a reason for that. I've been inside Hootin' Holler's justice system. Deep inside. A quill pen and leather-bound diary tend to be conspicuous in such a setting.
Why am I in jail? The answer is simple. I am scouting new talent. While unquestioning thugs and desperate alcoholics cause trouble if their concentration grows too great, the truth is that every organization needs a few. The hard-luck drifter found walking along the highway with a car door in his hand may have skills that will be needed later. Or at least a pliable rashness.
Mind you, it has become somewhat difficult to get sentenced, or even detained by the sheriff's office. I seem to have acquired a reputation. Yes, it's true. Victims of petty crime are reluctant to even report me. I stole four chickens from four barns in a week's time. Each time the farmer saw the formidable Ezekiel Smith absconding with his poultry, and each time he kowtowed and begged off. The last time I released the chicken in disgust. It was only by scaling the outside of a family home that I got to this point. It was the wee hours of the morning, and the mistress of the house complained of suspicious noise in the night.
I don't need my boy joining me in here just now. When you're attempting to hire muscle, you need to keep your personal life separate. If this tag-ripping was indeed illegal, someone will have to be paid off.
Ah, I beg to differ, Parson. Life is the root of all evil. To reject evil is to turn in fear from both life and death. Such is the conclusion I reached after my near-fatal brush with the Marburg virus.
Oh yes, I give. Tourists have been known to give me valuable trinkets during my summer wilderness jaunts. And they had better, if they want to reach their motels in one piece. So I've handed a few treasures to the church. But to be honest, the loyalty of a holy man is not the most precious thing to me. Give me the courage of a sinful woman.
Yes, of course, Jörg would prefer horsepower to donkey power. I understand the instinct. I understand all instincts, when it comes down to it.
Someday, perhaps someday soon, I will introduce the lad to the '67 Dart I have squirreled away in Louisville. And from there hovercraft? Tanks? Mechanical spiders? Don't put ideas in his head, not just now. Luisa and I are still determining his motor reflexes. He's gotten quite proficient at catching shot glasses in midair, but nothing has been decided yet.
For the present, we have the beasts of the hills. Untraceable and they live off the land. An example all my soldiers can admire.
He must have thought he was dining--had dined--on the ill-got gains of my barn raids. Ah, not this time. No, this bird was born and raised on my property. Although its parents may have come from elsewhere.
Well, that's a certainty, in the case of the "father." And "bird" might not be strictly speaking the right term either. But the taste is essentially that of chicken, with a twist.
Is there a law against crossbreeding ground fowl with octopi? Let's just say that a dozen or so corporations wince to know that I beat them to the punch on this discovery. Let us also say that they are not above using the USDA as a stalking horse.
Yes, eat up, Parson. Me, I've got to go dispose of some feathery ink sacs.
If you must know, the salt in my diet chiefly comes from the blood of the star-nosed mole. Well-placed field agents in Canada have reported beneficial effects in the area of tactile sensitivity. Such a talent has its drawbacks, certainly, but in short bursts will be vital for my upcoming plan. And at any rate, I am a superior man. I have no reason to fear the results, the knowledge.
In order to dispel morning grogginess, I've been downing two or three handfuls of Skittles per day. Hence the sweet.
Luisa has missed the act of cooking for me, but science must advance.