Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sample Chapter from: Rad Savage Wins Against the Universe (Sometimes)

 Chapter 5

Rad had forgotten all about the annoying kid after his piece of French silk pie, which was more delicious than the lukewarm potato soup had been by far. He knew he shouldn’t have splurged on dessert, but he was feeling a little low – and at times like that he was known to eat a little more. It’s okay, he thought, I’m in good shape. Although he didn’t know how long that would last without a job to keep him active. Just great, now he felt guilty about the pie. After all, he did have rent due still – and every dollar counted. He laid his head on the bar, sighing heavily, until he saw a small pair of feet.

“Hey,” the kid said, and Rad sighed. He forced himself to sit up but wouldn't look at him.

“What do you want now, kid?”

“You wanted a job. I found something even better,” he said.

“What? Free money?”

“A treasure hunt.”

Rad turned to him, his eyes narrowing. Something was wrong with this picture. This kid didn’t know him from Andromeda and yet here he was offering something he really wanted like a carrot on a string. It was too good to be true.

“What makes you think I would be interested in something like that?”

“Because you’re a pirate. Pirates love treasure hunts.” 

The kid had him there. It was a logical deduction – and it made him feel a little easier about the situation, and a bit silly for suspecting this kid. Sure, of course, a treasure hunt for a pirate. It was just a strange coincidence that it happened to be his favorite hobby, that was all. “Besides it sounds more fun than washing the dishes here.”

That sold him right away. “Alright, I’ll bite. Where is this treasure hunt?”

“I just heard a rumor about it on the internet – but they aren’t officially announcing it until tomorrow. You’ll have to wait until then.”

            “I hate waiting,” Rad said, but he didn’t say that he wouldn’t wait.

            “Does this mean you’ll teach me about pirating now?” the kid asked.

            “You didn’t find me a job.”

            “C’mon, please?”

            Rad hesitated but the kid was giving him one of those sad looks. The ones with the big teary eyes and the quivering lips. Damn this kid was good at that.

“You’re persistent, I’ll give you that.”

 The look did not let up. Rad cringed. He couldn’t take much more of that stare.

“Fine! Why not? If this contest looks legit, you’re free to come along and I’ll show you how the pros find treasure.”

            “Yes!” the kid cheered like he had just won a million dollars in the lottery. Something here didn’t make sense, but Rad was almost too tired to deal with it at the moment and he chalked it up to having a bad day.

Rad stuffed a couple bills under his plate and waved to Frankie who nodded at the cash. In the pirate community receipts were useless since things like taxes didn’t exist. Everyone paid on the honor system. You honored it or the system came collecting - to your doorstep.

“So what’s your name?” Rad asked.


“That’s a good one. You’re lucky.”

“Why’s that?”

“I’m Rad, short for Radcliffe,” he said and laughed, “Radcliffe Quincy Savage. I’ve always hated that name.”

“Yeah, I’d hate to be a loser too,” Chase said and laughed.

Usually a cheap remark like that would have made Rad upset, but Chase’s tone was different. It made him laugh instead. At least the kid had a sense of humor. That was rare in the pirate community. Too many bitter people. You couldn’t blame them though. Life was hard on Blue Moon.

“How’d you end up like this, Chase?” Rad asked, “You seem like a sharp kid.”

 Chase looked a little frightened and didn’t answer for a moment. Rad felt a little bad for being so direct. But he couldn’t help but wonder. Everyone had a story. Then again, his own was depressing enough, so he supposed he shouldn’t make the kid dredge up any bad memories either. 

He quickly added, “Forget I asked. That was a dumb question.”

The kid didn’t reply to that; he was strangely quiet now. Rad asked, “I meant to ask where you live. You’re obviously not from here. This place can be like a small town sometimes. Everybody knows everyone else. It’s part of the pirate life, I guess. Lesson number one: never tell anyone here a secret, it won’t be one the next day!” He laughed a little.

“I sort of live… wherever,” Chase replied, unable to keep direct eye contact with him.

Rad didn’t press for more. He saw he had hit a sore spot without meaning to. “The diner’s gonna close in a few hours. Do you need a place to stay for the night? I’ve got a spare guest room. I mean, it’s no luxury cruise ship bound for Venus, but it’s better than being outside all night.”

“I can take care of myself,” he replied sharply.

Rad didn’t doubt that after today’s encounter.

“If you change your mind, I’m at the Pet Shop,” Rad said and shoved his hands deep in his pockets as he got up to leave. Within a few moments he was lost in his own thoughts. He didn’t see the kid hop down from the bar stool and follow him at a short distance.

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