It was a beautiful tree but it was also the end of April. Arbor Day had come and gone, the last possible excuse to keep up such a thing. So she dove in…

“You can at least take down the stuff over the mantel and bookcase while I’m working, Johnny. Pitch in, please.”

But Johnny kept talking to Cylinder Rodman about Ossemotor, how it ran, what kind of oil did it use. Especially about the oil. Gloria sighed, knowing all that was important. But does she have to do *everything*. At least clean the cat litter every once in a while, Johnny, she thought as the last snow ornament was plucked from the tree.

She stood back. I could still live with just white lights. *Something* is coming up. Memorial Day, that’s it. A couple of American flags and war emblems of some kind and we’re good to go for another month. With this, she plops herself down on the couch next to Johnny. “Okay, got anything?”

Ex-Marine Cylinder looked at Johnny for cues on how to proceed. It was his girl, after all, his filly as he sometimes puts it. His horse was put back in the stable a long time ago. He’s working for God now.

“Explosions,” he started. “The first one *perhaps* excusable. The second: just plain carelessness. A crime, Gloria. That’s what we’re facing.”

“In NWES City?”

Johnny looked confused at first but then the expression cleared. “Yeah.” Cylinder nodded with him. “We have to go back.”

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0038, 0107, Lower Austra^, Nautilus, Wild West

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