June 14, 2006

back again

OK I think it will be alright if I post only exerpts from short stories, or partial chapters from any longer works. This would serve any publisher by perhaps drawing interest without actually giving the stuff away free, which is what they dont like. So then, any avid readers who might stumble across this site, here is a bit from a story I have submitted to Glimmer Train;

Hunting Elephant

Rich worked for the Zambian Game Department, doing an elephant count. He liked to joke, “You get to sleep much more heavily that way than by counting sheep.”
He didn't get too many laughs, unless the joke was helped by a toke, though most people couldn’t help but grin along with him, since his enthusiasm was infectious. That was a really good thing, at the Department’s Main Camp in the Luangwa Valley.
There were a lot of poachers around, heavily armed and always prepared to shoot, while the rangers just had a few old rifles. Things were so bad that the poachers sometimes fought among themselves for valuable ivory. In fact today all the regular Department men were busy, as they cleaned up after a particularly nasty incident. They had heard gunfire in the night, and when they investigated this morning, had found the aftermath of a vicious gun battle. There were six corpses around a hidden campsite, all shot at close range, apparently in some kind of quarrel. There seemed to be no survivors.
“Hey man, how was your day?” Rich said to John Adams, the visiting biologist, “I got the full count on three big herds today, from yesterday’s flight. We made sure we covered every bit of that map grid, so every elephant in that area is on those films.”
“Well, I think I’ve really got something today,” said John, “I’m quite excited about this. When I played back those tapes we recorded here in the camp, at high speed, there were all kinds of noises that you can’t hear otherwise. Those elephants make low frequency sounds back and forth all the time. Even more interesting, we recorded right after you had gone up in the plane, so we know there were only those two young bulls in this neighbourhood. However, there are sounds from at least five different animals on the tape.”
“Slow down, have a beer,” said Rich, “So you tell me elephants can hear each other across a distance of miles, and we can be close by and not hear anything?”
John took a cold Castle, opened it with the opener that hung on a string beside the fridge, and took a nice long swallow, “Ah, that’s good,” he said, “We can say they hear one another, but that’s not proven yet, with scientific accuracy. They certainly seem to communicate, because it sounds like only one makes sounds at any one time, while the others are quiet, and then another will start, so they seem to respond to one another at least.”
Rich grabbed another beer from the fridge and opened it, but had to gulp it quickly as he stood when foam started to spill out, “Damn, I hate it when that happens!” he said.
“Slow down a bit yourself then, you grabbed that bottle like you were dying of thirst, and then you swung around and opened it so fast it looked like you were in a beer opening race, or something,” said John, “I actually fast-forwarded the tape, not really to listen, you know, when I noticed what had to be low frequency sounds. Then I slowed it a bit, to about twice normal speed, and there it was, a whole new set of noises we didn't even know was there.”
“So hang on a bit,” said Rich, “Didn’t I read somewhere that low frequency sound can affect people and animals,