Richard L. Becker
The Companion Novel To ‘The Neighborhood’
© Copyright 2015. Richard L. Becker.
All Rights Reserved.
“What if you could live without regrets?” Gambling Man asked.
“What are you suggesting?”
“Touchy, aren’t you?”
“Are you still angry the publisher canceled your children’s books?” Michael asked. “It wasn’t my fault.”
“I should have let them kill you.”
“With her around?” Michael pointed at Taylor, trailing them by a half-dozen feet.
“She’s not always with you.”
“But she can always make me appear with her, during any fifteen minute interval, damn the consequences.”
They had been walking for two miles through an outlying area of The Event Zone. Gambling Man hated that nickname when it had been officially proposed. He wanted something more dramatic, like The Wasteland. Or The Forbidden Zone. Or even The Lost Spaces. He gave up his efforts to change it after a number of U.S. Senators, furious he was spending so much time on the matter, threatened him with imprisonment under The Acts Contrary To The Best Interests Of The Nation criminal statute.
The National Security Council suggested a platoon of Crimson Berets accompany him on the expedition, with air cover provided by a couple of fighter jets and an AWACs surveillance plane. Gambling Man declined, choosing Michael, Taylor and Shannon. Everyone compromised. Two soldiers in full combat gear followed the women.
Gambling Man wondered: have the soldiers been ordered to protect me from Dragons, or from Michael and Taylor?
Taylor hummed to herself while Shannon trudged along beside her, hands in coat pockets and eyes to the highway asphalt.
They left their vehicles on the East-West interstate highway cutting across Missouri. The Government had evacuated people all the way to Independence even though most scientists believed The Event Zone’s eastern boundary went no farther than Kansas City, Missouri’s downtown core. As of yet, an exact determination could not be made.
Shannon finally got up the nerve. “So you’re the one dating a ghost?” she asked Taylor.
“That’s a rather strong word for it.”
“You’re not dating?”
“No,” Taylor said. “I meant ghost.”
 Taken by the Mad Max movie series.
 The Planet of the Apes movies beat him to it.
 Sounded too much like the cheesy movie and television series, Lost In Space.
 A law passed by The Government when the Courts wouldn’t expand the definition of treason to The Government’s liking.