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Lake Montonia Regazed by Mike Bozart (Agent 33) | FEBRUARY 2017

Lake Montonia Regazed

by Mike Bozart

© 2017 Mike Bozart

On a rare as of late, seasonally cold, frosty February 2017 Sunday morning, I spied Monique, my sexy Filipina wife (Agent 32), reading a previous short story (like this one) on our ancient Dell Inspiron laptop computer in our basement bedroom in east Charlotte (NC, USA).

“Which one are you reading, mahal?” [love in Tagalog] I asked as I searched for our tablet computer. Maybe it’s under one of these pillows.

“The title is Lake Montonia Gaze, Parkaar.” [my ailing alias]

“Oh, that’s a recent one,” I said as I sat down on the side of our queen-size bed.

“Can I ask you a few questions, Agent 33?” Recording time.

“Sure, charmingly inquisitive Agent 32. I’ve had my morning cup o’ java. Some nascent brainwaves are oscillating now.” He said that for the recorder. I just know he did.

“Question number one: Why do you have to put ‘my ailing alias’ in brackets – in every story – after I call you Parkaar?”

“Because we may have a new reader – a keen new reader, no less, in our niche of a niche – who still may be completely oblivious to my quasi-Flemish sobriquet. That’s also why I have to state that you are Agent 32, a cute Filipina with a codename of Monique, in every installment. Each one of these short stories needs to be stocked as a stand-alone tale.” Stocked? As a what?

“A stand-alone tail? Just an ending with no body?” Ending with nobody? Hope not.

“Well, yeah, something like that, I guess.” He guesses?

“Ok, enough of that; let’s move on, Parkaarazzi. [sic] Question two: Why do you have to put in all of these metric conversions? Is it really necessary?”

“Because, believe it or not, we have some non-American readers, who probably think that Fahrenheit is some strange mental disorder, and that feet only go into socks and shoes.” He’s obviously babbling for the future transcript now.

Monique was unfazed. She cleared her throat. “Question three: You show the thoughts of people – like me – in italics; but, how in the world do you know that that is what we are, or were, really thinking, 33?” That that.

“I assumed that you approved the drafts, Monique. As for the others, the real and not-so-real ones, well, I’ve honed in on their neural proclivities by employing Markov chains. I know their beans. Ok, maybe I enjoyed some literary license.” Literary license?

“If a license were required to write, I think that you would be in big trouble, Agent 33.” Yep.

“Maybe so, maybe sow.” I wonder how he spelled that second one. Guess I’ll see in about a week.

Monique continued the interrogation as if she were in a court proceeding. “Question four: Why do you use sic in brackets? I’m not an English major, but isn’t that just for nonfiction?”

“Well, we’re forging forth with a new genre, Agent 32 – hyper-technical meta-fiction. It’s a requirement with all of the odd spellings and peculiar phrasings. Must separate the puns from the errant runs. Some mis-takes [sic] are lovingly intentional.” I’ve heard enough.

“Ok, that’s it. I can’t take any more of this nonsense.” Is it that annoying?

“Oh, come on, Monique by the Creek. [the title of a misplaced short story] One more question, adorable Agent 32. Reload and fire away.” A way or a whey?

Monique shifted her pink-camisoled torso in the swivel-type desk chair. “Ok, question five – the final one at that: What is the purpose of these short stories, Agent 33?” Let’s go deep and long with this one.

“Hmmm … Ok, here we go. Imagine, if you will, that you are an ant on a drone, Agent 32, and – ” What?!

“An ant?! I don’t want to be no stinking ant.” And, wouldn’t an ant get blown off?

“Well, these drones can’t fly with more than a quarter-ounce [7.09 grams] of additional weight. That’s not much of a payload. You’ll have to pick a very lightweight creature, which narrows it down to insects and spiders.” Spiders? Yuck! No way!

“Can’t I just be the built-in camera on the drone?”

“The camera can’t think. Well, at least not yet. At this juncture, you’ll have to go bio-something, Monique.”

“Ok, I’ll be a ladybug.”

“Good choice. So, there you are Miss Ladybug –” Nope.

“Stop! Backtrack. I’m a married ladybug, bana. [husband in Cebuano] Or, did you conveniently forget?” Whoops!

“How could I ever forget, mahal?” You just did.

“I’m sure that two ladybugs weigh less than a quarter of an ounce, Parkaar. Thus, restart your longwinded answer with me right beside you on that drone.”

“Ok, so there we are – two ladybugs safely micro-strapped onto the nosecone of this high-quality, cutting-edge – well, by today’s standards – chalk-white drone.”

“Where is this drone? What are we flying over?”

“Yes, yes, yes. Well, I was just getting to that, Agent 32.”

Monique then sneezed. “I’m ok. Continue, Agent 33.”

“We are hovering at – oh, let’s say, thirty feet [9.14 meters] or so – above Lake Montonia on a nice autumn day.”

“Any humans below us, 33?”

“No, no humans below, 32. We don’t have to worry about being taken down by gunshot. Well, at least not yet.” But, later?

“Ok, so what happens next, Parkaar?”

“Monique, as we are gazing at the tranquil surface of Lake Montonia in ladybug form, the drone shifts into high gear, and begins to head towards the ridge.”

“Towards Kings Pinnacle, 33?”

“Just a little southwest of there, 32.”

“Ok, this is the craziest answer ever to a simple question. But, please do continue, Agent 33. Though, let’s not crash into the treetops.”

“Exactly, 32. We don’t halve [sic] time to crash.” Did he say ‘have’ or ‘halve’? Oh, I’ll just let it go.

“So, what are we two ladybugs thinking about while planted on this drone, as it speeds towards the mountain ridge?”

“Well, that’s a tough call to answer, astute Agent 32. It’s inchoate and indecipherable, and we don’t want to give the story away too soon. But, as we quickly approach the granite outcrops, we now see –.” A gruesome fate, I’m sure.

“A large hawk swooping down to rip the drone to shreds in its razor-sharp talons. Am I right?” She’s already seen too many American horror flicks.

“A bit less menacing, Agent 32. There are some gentle people sitting on the rocks.” Gentle people with shotguns?

“Can we make out who these gentle people are? Do we know them?”

“Yes, we certainly do. As the drone zooms in closer, the two people on that cliff look a whole lot like – drumroll, please – us!” Us? What in the freaking world?!

“I thought we were two ladybugs on a drone.” A song title there.

“We were! And now, well, we’re back in human form enjoying a fall afternoon on the ridge as the distant Interstate 85 traffic whizzes by unaware of the drone that is now drifting backwards and crashing into Lake Montonia. Yes, it looks like we switched off just in time. That drone had a low charge. It was never going up and over.” Oh, brother.

“That’s your complete and final answer to question five, Parkaarobfuscatti?” [sic]

“Complete and final? Now, we never want to use those kinds of adjectives on an indeterminate flight of fancy.” Fancy?

“Don’t you mean fantasy, Agent 33?”

“Fancy fantasy on the cheap.” Oh, my kano! [Filipino slang for American]

“Ok, one last question, Parkaaroni.” [sic]

“Sure, Agent 32. Random is fine.” Will this be question six?

“Question 5(a): Who is/was controlling the drone in your little vignette of a reply, Agent 33?”

“Why, Ernie the electronic earwig, of course. Who else! Monique, please tell me that you knew that.”

“Ok, that’s enough.”


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