Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: Chapter 15

As soon as my last seminar on Monday afternoon ended, I headed straight for The Boomer’s place. Well, not exactly straight. I stopped off at my apartment to drop off The Cup first. I’d spent much of the day dithering about whether to take her with me or not. Or to be more accurate, how to get away with not taking her. It would be rude, a real slap in the face, and inex­cusable on top of that not to show her to The Boomer, but I knew I wasn’t going to. Not yet. Thinking about it later, I realized that deep down inside, down on the level where the demons dance, I was afraid that once The Cup met The Boomer she’d realize what a chowder-head I was by comparison and refuse to go home with me. The two of them would talk for a minute or two, and then The Boomer would tell me in his disarming way how much he appreciated the gift, and The Cup would make me believe him, and I’d be back home wondering what had just happened. Oh, I know, I was being silly. But like introducing your beautiful leggy blonde wife to Mick Jagger (or whoever the equivalent would be today)—some things you just didn’t take a chance on.

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Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: The Cup’s Story, Part V

THE CUP’S STORY, PART V: THE CUP INTERVENES ON RACHEL’S BEHALF

Fortunately for The Cup’s moral reputation, she didn’t have to come up with a way to poison somebody. Rachel’s distress wasn’t caused by some knave; it was just one of those troublesome circumstances we humans constantly find ourselves in. The romantic teenage girl was in love (what a surprise). The object of her infatuation was tall, handsome David, an intense young man whom she’d met recently. And she perceived that young David recipro­cated those feelings. But David was socially so far above Rachael that had her family sac­ri­ficed everything, they still couldn’t provide an appro­priate dowry. And while David might be willing to settle for a beautiful but penniless bride, nothing but money would do for his parents. So Rachael’s father was in the process of be­trothing her to Joseph the lamp oil merchant. Not only was Joseph neither tall nor handsome, he was fat, balding, and a wid­ower with kids older than Rachael. Her hopes and dreams were dying by the day.

Poor dear. Up until then, I had always been a proper little accidentally-sentient Toastmaster’s cup. I’d never even attempted to communicate with another being—wasn’t even sure if I could—much less considered meddling in human affairs. But the op­portunity to give a real gift to my ‘daughter’ was too great a temptation not to try. Continue reading

Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: Chapter 14

It was still early Sunday evening when we finished up for the day. I didn’t put up a fuss this time. Of course, we would have been done sooner if she had­n’t got­ten off on her little tangent about the foi­bles of Juda­ism. But then, who am I to crit­icize when someone strays a little off the subject? Perhaps she’d even caught it from me. Now there was a frightening thought. Followed closely by an even scarier one: if she had caught something that easily from her lim­ited expo­sure to me, what might she have contracted during her long, in­timate hours with Layla?

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Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: The Cup’s Story, Part IV

THE CUP’S STORY, PART IV: PASSOVER

When I woke up, I was in the middle of a modest feast, at least by Atlantian stan­dards. Three or four elders gumming away on mixed fruit and nuts and some large, flat crackers; half a dozen youngsters laughing and horse-playing. A middle-aged woman, whom I first took to be a servant but later decided was the ma­tron, bustled about bringing in dish after dish and exhorting everyone to eat more.

And when I say that I was in the middle of it, I mean literal­ly smack in the middle. Sitting in the cen­ter of the table in front of a large bearded man with a little tiny cap who was holding forth loudly enough to be heard above the hubbub. He’d just poured me full of my first drink in who knows how long—some disgusting sweet red concoction that could barely be mistaken for wine. Continue reading

Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: Chapter 13

Sunday was spent much as Saturday had been except that we got off to an earlier start, since I didn’t have to make a fool out of myself again with the pistol I still hadn’t gotten rid of. Also, we were over the steepest part of the learning curve, with fewer fits and starts than the day before. And there was one other wee consideration—I wasn’t dealing with a major hang­over. So all-in-all the whole day went a lot smoother.

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Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: The Cup’s Story, Part III

THE CUP’S STORY, PART III: THE LAYLA YEARS

Two days out of Atlantis, Layla and The Chest moved into the captain’s cabin. So other than watching her pop in a couple of times a day to freshen her makeup or change into a clean gown, The Cup spent the rest of the voyage alone in a tiny sea cabin.

Until one day the servant girls came in and packed everything up. The Cup, still right where Razuni had set her down just before he got hauled off to face his fate, ended up packed with Layla’s engraved ivory-handled brush, burnished silver mirror, and vials of favorite perfumes .

That night, as Layla supervised the setting up of her new quar­ters, she was surprised to see me among her things and picked me up. I was immediately engulfed with a wild, random flight of thoughts, along with an opulence of feelings and emotions, all rich in texture and color and complexity. I had no idea what I was experiencing, but for a little while I was content to just bask in the luxurious excess of what turned out to be nothing more—but nothing less—than the mental processes of a human female. Continue reading

Writing Today!

Hooray. The double-editing is done. The prep work to start another novel is done enough. Not quite finished, but I couldn’t wait any longer.

I finished Chapter 1 of Novel #6 (not even a working title yet) today.

With your encouragement, it is first person with a female protagonist narrator. Lis, by popular acclaim.

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Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: Chapter 12

Our progress had started slowly, limited more by my mediocre typing skills than the quirkiness of our new relationship. Back then, in the days before pre-school kids had their own laptops, you learned to type by taking an actual class in high school. At Old J.E.B. Stuart High, the typing teacher was one of the assistant football coaches. Small schools had to be creative to find teaching jobs for as­sistant coaches, since PE always belonged to the head foot­ball/basketball coach. Typ­ing was re­served for the backs-and-receivers coach, who tended to last about two years before moving on to take a head coaching job of his own. The line coach was a fixture, but with knuck­les the size of golf balls from years of get­ting stepped on by cleats, it was impossible for him to hit just one key at a time. So he taught Sophomore English in­stead.

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Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: The Cup’s Story, Part II

THE CUP’S STORY, PART II: THE KING’S YOUNGEST WIFE

Multiple wives were the norm in Atlantis, as in other parts of the ancient Mediterranean region. Kings were powerful men who weren’t expected to settle for the same bedmate night-in and night-out, and fertility among his wives and concubines was mythically linked to the health of the land. Wives were normally kept in the royal harem, far from the lustful eyes of the commoners whose taxes paid their upkeep (and the ears of the king; otherwise, he could never have endured so many wives). But on feast days and formal occasions, they were brought out to parade their desirability. After all, why own a Lamborghini if you never get to show it off?

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