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Monday, March 28, 2011

White Pickups, Episode 80

What a long strange trip it’s been… and it’s only half-over.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Johnny fed the end of the pipe through the fence to Cody. Cody slid a clamp and a piece of rain gutter over it. He applied glue to one end of an elbow, pushed it into the pipe, then clamped it.

Cody glued a short length of pipe to the open end of the elbow. Elly passed a rain gutter elbow to Cody, who slipped it over the pipe. He pushed the rain gutter pieces together and slipped the end into an empty rain barrel they had moved from the townhouses. They planned to move the other barrels if everything went the way it should. Cody looked at the overflow outlet: a garden hose led to the pond down the way. So far so good. Opening the lid, he pushed the pipe onto the float valve and tested it. It felt smooth right up to the valve closing. “I think that’s it!”

A cheer went up from the others; everyone was there to watch. Charles lifted the handheld radio. “You ready to tell them to let it start?”

Cody nudged Kelly. “Hey, this was your idea. I think it’s fair you give the word.”

“Whatever,” she said, but reached for the radio. “Just don’t give me too much grief if something messes up.” She thumbed the push-to-talk. “We’re done down here, guys. Go ahead and open it.”

“Roger,” Palmer said. “And… it’s on! Tim has turned on the spigot. The water’s really pouring, you can hear it pretty good.” He held the radio to the pipe and they could hear gurgling. The crowd cheered again.

“How long’s it gonna take?” Kelly asked.

“About half an hour, I figure,” said Johnny. “The water’s probably moving at a jogging pace, call it maybe a ten-minute mile or a little faster.”

“Whoa,” said Palmer over the radio some minutes later. “We’re getting a bunch of air bubbling back up here.”

Johnny took the radio. “It’s probably reaching the adapter where we switched over to roll pipe,” he said. “It can’t push all the air out this end fast enough, so some’s coming back up.”

Cody reached into the barrel. “Whoa. You can feel a breeze now.”

“Let me see.” Kelly reached in. “Yeah. That’s so weird. Wind inside a rain barrel.”

“Not so weird,” her dad said. “Wind is just air being displaced. The water is replacing — and displacing — the air.”

“Hm,” said Cody, “I wonder…” He lifted the float. The breeze stopped, but after a few seconds he could feel the air pushing back. He let the float go, and the air puffed out in a soft whoosh. “Heh. Cool.”

“Easily amused,” Kelly grinned.

“No reason not to be, yo?”

“Good point.”

A few minutes later, the rain barrel emitted a glurk noise. “What was that?” Kelly asked.

“Must be getting closer,” said Cody. He reached in again. “Yeah. I think the breeze is colder than it was. Check it out.”

“It is,” said Kelly. Another glurk, followed by a few thumps. “That sounds weird. I hope everything is okay.”

“I’ve heard weirder noises than that in water lines,” said Johnny. “Tim and Palmer are gonna ride the line to check for leaks, anyway.”

They stood and listened to the noises, felt the breeze — it seemed to be stronger than before. Listening, they could hear the air pushed into the barrel.

Suddenly, the wind noise dropped in pitch and then died. A series of gurgling noises, the pipe twitched, and splashing noises.

“Water!” Cody yelled, looking inside. “We have water!” The crowd erupted in cheers and applause.

Johnny winked and handed the radio back to Kelly. “Guys! It’s here!” she called.

“Great!” Palmer said.

Suddenly, Cody whooped and grabbed Kelly by the waist, spinning her around, surprising her with his strength. He let her go, cupped his hands, and called out, “Ladies and gentlemen! I give you — Kelly’s Pipeline!”

As the people cheered once again, Cody turned back to Kelly with a big grin. “See? I told you it wasn’t a dumb idea!”

“Yeah, yeah. But you made it work.” She hugged him, he hugged back — and without thinking about it, Kelly planted a kiss right on his lips. Cody startled for a moment, then… kissed back. Charles looked at the clouds and whistled a few random notes.

The cheers around them redoubled. Neither of them knew whether it was for the water, or for them — and neither one cared.

Here ends Book 1 of the Truckalypse.
Book 2, “Pickups and Pestilence,”
is in progress.


  1. What do y'all think about me serializing the sequel? Have I worn you out? (I know I felt a sense of crossing a finish line when I posted this episode, even though I'd finished it quite a while ago.) Or do you want more? Time for you lurkers to say hi…

    Constructive criticism is welcome here, by the way. At this point, I should thank Old Miser for finding typos along the way — and thanks to all who have commented, retweeted, or spread the word in other ways!!!

  2. I for one have been waiting every Monday to read the next installment in this epic saga. Now that the first part is complete, of course I want to know what happens in the next chapter. I would definitely understand it if you needed a break from posting chapters (it's approaching the length of Far Future), but would also appreciate it if you could continue doing so. You have a wonderful writing style, and if you ever do decide to publish a printed version, I would definitely buy a copy.

  3. Hi Antony, and thanks much. I'm working on the sequel now, and hope to be comfortable enough with the beginning to start posting in a month or so. I'll also work on getting into Amazon and B&N by the end of the year; I understand Amazon has a print on demand option for ebooks and I'll certainly look into that.

    Hang around — there will be plenty of short fiction in the interim…

  4. Well done Far! Congratulations on the milestone! I've enjoyed this series very much.

    Will we have to wait long for the next book?

    I agree with Antony. A print version would be welcome.

  5. Thanks, Boran. I'm working on the next one now. I'll probably start posting in a month or two.

  6. Strange tale Mr. L, keeps me comin' back.....ok, WHAT IS THE
    See ya after the collapse...
    if I make it to planet Georgia,
    that is

  7. Hi Geo! I intend for Book2 to tie up all the loose ends (of which there are many) and present them in a nice clean package.

    Let me know if you ever get to Planet Georgia, we'll hoist one!


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