Slips #2

Slips

“Any law enforcement here?” Amina asked as they started to walk through the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve.  She looked down at a mini-tablet in her hands.  It displayed a topographic map.  “Looks like The Tear is a mile ahead.”

“No police presence to speak of,” Azura said, his Iranian accent thick in each word.  “A relief for us all.”

Cyrus could only agree.  A black man, black trans woman, Puetro Rican and Persian walking around armed might as well be a neon sign for police saying “Please shoot me at your earliest convenience”.  The one white guy they had in Rowen wouldn’t be enough to stop that.  They’d need about two more to have any impact.  Cyrus felt a deep cynicism in saying those words, but leading the Dimensional Expedition Unit taught him far harsher realities required acceptance.

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Slips #1

Slips

As Cyrus expected, Viola was pissed.  Amina didn’t look happy either, but that young woman always appeared to be two seconds away from cussing you out in a mixture of bristling Spanish and English.  Considering the types of things they dealt with, the two ladies having a “take no shit” attitude probably kept everyone on the team much safer.  Viola saved his life more times than he could count.  The same could be said of everyone on the team to one extent or another.

The red corvette that pulled up behind Viola’s black truck held the last two members of Cyrus’ squad.  Azura looked serious as always stepping out from the driver’s side.  In complete contrast, Rowen’s playful, boyish expression he came out the opposite end.  The five of them to handle a Level 2 Tear seemed a bit much, but these were holes to an infinite array of dimensions.  His organization’s arbitrary classifications could be proven wrong at any time.

Night crept up on them so it worked to their favor that they were only dealing with a lower tier Tear.  Anything higher and he would have to make some calls to contain the light show.  As it was, containing Viola’s anger might be hard enough.  She leaned against the hood of her truck, a black woman with long limbs knotted with muscle.  Her eyes, golden and cat-like, narrowed at his approach.

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Slips #0

Slips

Cyrus twisted his silver wedding ring around his finger.  That symbol of commitment weighed heavy on him.  As a child in southwest Louisiana, better known as Acadiana to the locals, his Father always imparted on him the importance of follow through. With a gruff voice born from time in the Army, his Father would look down on him with blazing brown eyes and say, “Son, a man can be stripped butt naked, but he’ll still have his word.  It’s one of the few things in this world they can’t take from you.”  In the rural South anytime a black person said “they” you could be almost sure they were talking about white people.

Five years tomorrow and he had yet to buy a gift.  Cyrus could see his Father shaking his head in disappointment.  A happy wife made a happy life or in his case a happy husband.  Davone never placed his worth in a material good, but in this insistence the gesture held importance.  You had to make your partner feel like a priority and flat out forgetting to buy them a gift didn’t convey that.  Standing up from his swivel office chair, Cyrus closed the tan blinds.  “Dad, I wish I had your knack for this whole marriage business.”

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