Weekend Serial — Atonement in Zugzwang: Episode 11 part-2 — Featuring Jennie Fitzkee & Dan the Tool Man

Saturday, May 20, 2023

CGI image by Teagan
CGI image by Teagan

Hello, all.  Thanks for coming back for part 2 of Episode 11 of Atonement in Zugzwang.   As you’ll recall, Jennie Fitzkee from A Teacher’s Reflections provided this episode’s three things.  In part-1 the only thing I used was Nancy Drew book.  Today I’m using emerald, and grandfather clock

Jennie Fitzkee and class “got caught reading”

Jennie recently had an in-person visit from one of our favorite blogger/authors, Dan Antion of No Facilities and Thursday Doors fame.  She made such a fun post of it, that I gave “Dan the Tool Man” a walk-on” part in this episode. 

If you missed the previous episode, then click here.  Last time we left the main character, Pepper Riley, and her friend Maudie on their way to a nightspot just outside of town and they were followed by a mysterious white car. Also, the otherworldly pigs, Deme and Honeybell, were chasing after Moccus… who was following the two women.

Atonement in Zugzwang
Episode 11, part 2

CGI image by Teagan
CGI image by Teagan

Maudie Rocket was the kind of empathetic friend who could get distraught or even angry on behalf of a friend.  The situation need not have anything at all to do with her personally.  In the light of the setting sun, her dyed blonde hair looked red, and that matched her attitude.

I, on the other hand, was suppressing all my upset, confused, fearful thoughts about my uncle’s missing body turning up all around town, and the many weird little things I had experienced since I came to the tiny town of Atonement, Tennessee.

While I drove down Highway 41 toward the Rowdy Rooster, I mostly sat quietly.  I knew that with Maudie’s mood, she would probably speed, so we took my car.  Although, I didn’t mention it when she offered to drive.  She was already “worked up” enough, as my uncle would have said.

CGI image by Teagan

Glancing into the rearview mirror I noted the white car that was behind us.  It had caught my attention not long after we left town, because its headlights came on abruptly.  I had assumed that since it wasn’t dark yet, the driver not thought about the lights until then.  However, it was still a modest distance behind us when I saw the saloon’s sign ahead.

They’re probably going there too, I thought.  There’s not much else to do around here.

Maudie noticed me fidgeting uncomfortably with the front of my shirt.

“Why don’t you just take that thing out and wear it like a necklace?  Anybody can see that you’ve got something hanging from that leather cord,” she remarked about the unicorn under my top.

“Because it doesn’t look like a necklace,” I complained.

“It doesn’t look like a chess piece either,” she replied with a shrug.  “Although it might look valuable… real gold and those emerald eyes.  Why did you bring it anyway?”

I slowed down, watching for my turn.  However, I found the road was well lit.  The bar was not far off the road.  I exited the highway before replying.

“That note,” I began, quoting the scrap of paper.  “It said ‘Keep your knight close to you. Your life will depend on it.’  I’m sure this unicorn is meant to be the knight in Uncle Salty’s chess set.  Maybe it was somebody’s lucky charm.  I don’t believe in those things, but I’m freaked out.  So, I thought why not.”

When I reached the entrance, I couldn’t help taking another glance behind.  The white car was coming down the access road.

CGI, Teagan
CGI by Teagan

Before I got a chance to park, a thunderous noise caused me to stop.  In my rearview mirror was a huge “trike” motorcycle.  It had to be oversized to accommodate the enormous rider.  He wore camos and one of those Nazi-style helmets with a spike on top.  It looked like foam, or an excess of saliva, streamed behind him before he spat.

To my horror I saw that while he careened around the parking lot, he was actually harassing a trio of small pigs.

“Come back little cousins!” the biker called while laughing maliciously.  “I won’t eat you.”

“Oh my God!” Maudie cried, when she turned in her seat to see what was happening.  “We’ve got to do something.”

“Don’t get out, he’ll run over you!  He’s coming right at us,” I demanded and pressed the button to lock the passenger doors, at which Maudie yelled in frustration.

The grotesque biker had herded the pigs into a parking space that had the corner of the building on one side and was backed by a dumpster against which the little pigs crouched.

I threw the car into reverse and stomped my foot onto the accelerator, backing into the space.  Quickly, I slammed my foot onto the break leaving a couple of feet between the backend of my car and the dumpster, and prayed that I didn’t hit the animals.  They had been fast runners, and I believed they could get away with me between them and the biker.

Holding my breath, I cringed and shut my eyes.  The breaks of the trike screeched.  An instant later, the three-wheeled motorcycle loomed large outside my windshield.

The rider glared at me from small round eyes.  His frown accentuated a serious underbite.  A trickle of drool came from the corner of his mouth.  He was huge to match the trike he rode.  I didn’t think a normal motorcycle could have held him.  Although he was beefy, a lot of that bulk was muscle.  I gulped as he started to get off the vehicle.

He was interrupted by a sound with a much higher pitch than his engine, but there was a fullness to the tone that suggested power.  The sleek bike darted into the parking lot.  The big man snorted disdainfully, but he turned away.

Image collage by Teagan
Image collage by Teagan

As the newcomer stepped off the bike, I saw it was a woman.  She was tall, thin, and clad in close-fitting black motorcycle leathers.  In a completely different way, the woman was as strange and unsettling as the trike rider.  Maybe that was just because her black helmet had antlers.  Yes… antlers.

Her posture was confident and there was something of admonishment in her manner.  She made a shrill short whistle toward the man.  Having gotten his attention, she tapped the top of her helmet with her open palm down while she looked over her shoulder at the white car that had just parked.

She acted as though whatever the man was about to do to my car (or Maudie and me inside it) was of no interest to her whatsoever.  That was fine with me.

“I think she just told big-and-ugly there was a cop nearby,” I muttered.  “That little slap she gave her weird helmet.  It’s like when you flash your headlights at an oncoming driver.  But I don’t see any police cars.”

Abruptly my eyes flew to the white car that had been behind us.  As the two bikers went into the Rowdy Rooster, two men exited the non-descript white car.  One of them was short and he waved down a repairman who was getting into his truck.

Jennie Fitzkee with Dan Antion 2023
Jennie Fitzkee with Dan Antion

I didn’t recognize him out of uniform, the stature of Deputy Fletcher Hodge gave him away.  The white car was an unmarked police vehicle.

The repairman looked tense, but I didn’t think it was because of the deputy.  As Maudie and I got out of my car, I heard the man speak.

“No way, I’m going back in there.  I mean, thanks — I appreciate the offer of a beer, but the new owner is too strange.  He gives me the creeps,” the man with a toolbelt remarked, but I couldn’t make out the deputy’s quiet reply.

“Oh, it wasn’t a big job.  He wanted me to put a high-tech lock on a vault that was in the basement of the old refinery.  Yeah, it’s spooky down there.  But then he wanted me to fix this old grandfather clock he had without paying any extra for that.  It’s a nice piece… probably dates back before the Civil War, but I didn’t have the right kind of tools with me.  Fortunately.  It’s good to see you, Fletcher.  Be careful in there,” the tool man said as he got into his truck.

Maudie and I walked toward Fletcher, who had gone back to the white car.  The second man leaned relaxed against the passenger door.  It was Bheema Parvati.  They were deep in conversation.  I wasn’t sure if either of them had noticed us.

“Are you sure you won’t come inside?” Fletcher was saying to Bheema.  “I’ve got a bad vibe about this ‘new management,’ and it looks like the clientele has gotten rough too.  I might need your kind of muscle in there.”

“No…” Bheema began thoughtfully.  “They’ve escalated their game.  If I go inside, it’s as good as inviting Gathright into Atonement.  You, on the other hand can go anywhere.”

When Bheema said those words, for an instant I saw a white glow around Fletcher.  An image flashed through my mind of him on horseback and wearing armor.  Then it shifted to him in white leathers on a white motorcycle.  I shook my head and blinked.  All I saw was the deputy in street clothes.

♣ ♣ ♣

Last time, in closing, I promised you a new supernatural villain named Leonidas Gathright, who is inspired by a legend from Chickamauga, GA . Obviously I didn’t get to him today, but I gave you two other quite suspicious new characters.  Tune in again next weekend to see what Pepper and Maudie find inside the Rowdy Rooster.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.  I love to hear from you, so friendly comments are encouraged.  Hugs!

♣ ♣ ♣

The Atonement Series

Atonement kindle covers Cat eyes shelf 2023

Atonement, Tennessee

Full series of e-books with one click:  relinks.me/B087JV25JT

Kindle:  rxe.me/HGSVA8A

Paperback: relinks.me/1481826948

Also in Spanish, translated by Olga Núñez Miret! The title for the Spanish-speaking market is Expiación y Magia

Atonement in Bloom

Kindle:  rxe.me/5RRBLH

Paperback:  relinks.me/1726882128

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Kindle   rxe.me/LTBDNH

Paperback   relinks.me/1725891972

♣ ♣ ♣

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2023 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or used with permission, or from free sources.

54 thoughts on “Weekend Serial — Atonement in Zugzwang: Episode 11 part-2 — Featuring Jennie Fitzkee & Dan the Tool Man

    1. It’s good to see you, Teri. I believe there might be more to Fletcher than meets the (human) eye. Although, he might not be aware of that.
      Daphne and Velma have been roughhousing this morning. Right now they’re a tad annoyed with each other, but they’ll forget about it by the time their morning nap is over. 🐱 Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs back to you and Bond.

      Liked by 1 person


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Geoff, I was going to be annoyed, you’d be forgiven because you’ve given me a new slang word. Faff — what a terrific word. 😉
      Ah that helmet. Now (even though I didn’t come right out and say so in the episode) we have all four knights on the chessboard. The “little cousins” remark from the trike rider is a clue to who/what he is. The antlered helmet is a clue to the female rider.
      Now that you mention it, I think I may have actually seen an antlered helmet somewhere… hazy memory… Not in person, or I’d remember, but maybe in a movie. Smaller antlers though and maybe it was more of a soldier’s helmet than a biker helmet. Hmmm… Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for Dan the Tool Man’s part in this episode. I was thrilled to be part of this, Teagan! 😀 Gathright. I’m looking forward to the next episode!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes!
    What is inside the Rowdy Roster?
    If it’s not new suspicious characters, the ones we already know are acting suspicious.
    Teagan, your CGI’s keep getting better and better.
    I hope the pigs are okay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that feedback Resa. I really did want some of our existing characters to seem a little suspicious. LOL, if those pigs have any sense, they ran “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way home.
      Thanks about the CGIs. I’ve been “altering” a lot of them to get what I want.
      Have a wonderful week. Hugs winging back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a collection of characters are gathering in Atonement, Teagan! I can’t wait to hear (and see) what it is like inside the Rowdy Rooster. And the glowing pigs will be keeping an eye on the proceedings as well, I am sure. Take care and thanks for all the adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Olga. Ha! I’m not so sure. The pigs might have been scared all the way back to that giant oak tree with the split trunk that lets them go from Ralda Lawton’s property to their otherworldly home. Have a beautiful weekend. Hugs!


    1. Thanks, John. Yeah… I thought I was going to get us inside the bar for a drink. However, the pigs unexpectedly had that run-in with Kapros, the Erymanthian Boar. (Although everyone else won’t know his name until next time.) That’s the fun of “pantsering” I never know what’s going to happen next — even when I *think* I know. Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the shout out and the walk-on part, Teagan. I hope I was able to remember my lines without too many takes 😉 You’ve got this story revved up and running hot. I’m looking forward to visiting the Rowdy Rooster (as a reader).

    I hope you have a great weekend – hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so kind. I’ve been discouraged with this one, even though I feel (for the eventual novel version) it’s the most well constructed technically, and developed story that I’ve ever done as a serial. However, that doesn’t always work for serials. Most people don’t have your attention span. I can see that these “longer” posts are losing readers. It seems like around 500 words is the limit for most people. So extra appreciation to you for your support. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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