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Old 07-30-2008, 09:57 AM   #31
DixieGal
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Quote: "Ah. Well then," he nodded sagely, "let's table that particular point for now."

That's the same reply I get whenever I say something intelligent to my inbred in-laws. They never let reason interfere with a long-held superstition.

And did anyone else expect the taxi ride along the beach to end up at a ruined Statue of Liberty? I'm glad Steve went in an unexpected direction there with he uber panda. This is GREAT!
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:12 AM   #32
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:57 AM   #33
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Do pandas have halitosis? How about giant pandas?
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:21 AM   #34
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Q: What to pandas get from sitting on the ice too long?

A: Polaroids



Now back to your regularly scheduled serial fiction....
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:48 AM   #35
Steven Lyle Jordan
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I felt like I had to fight for consciousness... like wrestling to pull that consciousness-enveloping blanket off of me. It seemed to take hours, before I finally won the battle, and I came awake and jerked upright at the same moment.

Immediately two hands gripped my shoulders, and tried to push me back down onto the bed. "It's okay! Take it easy! Don't--"

But the warning had come too late, for my head started pounding, and I groaned pitifully. I let the hands ease me back down onto the bed, and I cradled my head with a hand as I waited for the headache to subside.

And that's when I realized that I'd just heard a human voice.

I worked my eyes open and looked about. I was back in my "home," in the bed that looked like mine. I looked to the side of the bed, and stared into the eyes of a girl I did not know. She was beautiful, Mediterranean-looking, with tanned-olive skin and long, dark hair. And she looked as surprised to see me as I was to see her.

Just as notable as her beauty: She was not dressed and painted as a panda.

"Who are you?" I asked... well, moaned, more accurately.

"I live two doors over," the girl explained. "I received a call to come here. The door opened..."

"Yes," I whispered, so as not to upset my head, "it does that..."

"...and I found you." She gazed at me in concern, brushing the stray hairs from my forehead. "You're the first person I've seen here since I arrived. Well, other than--"

"Other than the guy dressed as a panda?"

"Yes," she replied, and winced a bit, as if the mere mention of him was painful to her. "What happened to you?"

"I was hit by a panda the size of a semi," I replied. "Why are you here?"

"Well... I told you, I got a call..."

"No. Why are you in this zoo?"

"Oh. I don't really know." She glanced about warily, before continuing. "I just woke up here. I was riding in an elevator in my apartment building, and I got dizzy... that's the last thing I remember."

"And you ended up here," I finished, and she nodded. "Do you know where 'here' is?"

"No."

"Did you just resign from your job?"

"No," she replied. "I'd never do that... I have a great job. I just came back from a conference, and it was great! I made some great contacts... my boss got three new contracts... he even closed the Madison deal."

"Yeah..." So much for my deductive skills, I thought. "Listen, I need to get going..."

"Going?" She bit her lip in concern as I slowly levered myself upright, and swung my legs over the bed. "You don't look like you can stand, much less go anywhere."

"Do you know how I can get out of this place?"

"No way that I know of. All the roads seem to lead right back to the zoo."

"Well, I have to go..."

"No, please... you're in no shape to go anywhere," she insisted, pushing me back down on the bed. "Besides," she added guiltily, "if you go... I won't have anyone to talk to."

I was still too weak to put up much of a fight, so I gave in and settled back onto the bed. "How long have you been here?"

"Ever since the conference... a month ago. And it's been torture... I haven't been able to tell anyone about what happened!"

"Happened?"

"At the conference. How Frank--that's my boss--got the Madison deal," she explained conspiratorially. "He slept with Edie Lane, from Madison, at the conference! He tried to keep it quiet, too... but I happened to see them coming out of his room, and it was obvious what was going on."

"Was it?" I was beginning to understand...

"Oh, yes. If anyone else at Madison, or at my office, knew about it, the scandal would be incredible!"

"I see. And after the conference... you ended up here."

"Yes," she replied. She didn't seem to be making the connection. Instead, she was fixing me with a significant look.

"What?"

"Well," she replied, "it's just... you're the first person I've seen in weeks, and..." She ran her hand over my forehead again. "And I really could stand having someone to... to talk to..."

She was leaning forward, and the tips of her hair were brushing against my chest. "Talk?"

"Yes," she replied. "And maybe... to do other things, too..."
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:54 AM   #36
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:04 PM   #37
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I think she needs another person in order to panda-paint that spot on her back that she just can't reach by herself. Right? (Anxiously chewing fingernails, knee jumping up & down in anticipation of next part)
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:10 PM   #38
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Blerg. I'm not so much on romance. Let's get back to the pandas!
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:13 PM   #39
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Blerg. I'm not so much on romance. Let's get back to the pandas!
I'm not so sure that there's gonna be a lot of "romance" going on as much as "romance." If you get what I mean.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:14 PM   #40
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Well, more correctly, I'm quite bored with sex scenes with no romance.

But the rest of you seem to be having fun, so... carry on. I'll just go back to my book until we start seeing more of a different kind of action.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:17 PM   #41
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Well, more correctly, I'm quite bored with sex scenes with no romance.

But the rest of you seem to be having fun, so... carry on. I'll just go back to my book until we start seeing more of a different kind of action.
Well, here's a shameless plug: If you want romance with great story and an SF backdrop, get Steve's latest, "Chasing the Light." (I'm tryin' to get an advance copy of his next book.)
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:01 PM   #42
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Blerg. I'm not so much on romance. Let's get back to the pandas!
Me either, and there aren't any armadillos ... not even on leashes (being walked by their panda overlords).

Still .... it's a good story so far.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:20 PM   #43
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Still waiting.....

I'm such a big Steve fan, but really, he needs to type faster....
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:45 PM   #44
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I think the place he is lost in, is *HERE*. -- MobileRead.com. -- Pandas all over the place, and not very many sane humans. Yuppers. He's lost right here.
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:09 PM   #45
Steven Lyle Jordan
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She leaned forward to kiss me... and honestly, at that point I had pretty much forgotten that I was in a hurry to go anywhere. She tilted her head, the better to align those sexy Greek lips to mine...

And suddenly, I caught sight of a white smudge of facepaint just behind her right ear.

"Gaah! I knew it!" I snapped, shoving her away from me. "A goddamned panda spy!" The girl snapped straight up on the side of the bed, eyes wide, but she did not seem inclined to leave. Her hand drifted up to her ear, and felt of the smudge behind it, and she knew she'd been found out. "Who sent you? That maniac in the green dome?"

"He forced me!" she replied desperately. "He told me... if I found out why you resigned... I could go home!"

"And you believed him, huh?" I pushed off of the other side of the bed... thankfully, my head was aching much less now. Or maybe it was just the anger.

"Please!" she pleaded. "I've got to go home! I'm sure no one's been feeding my pet armadillo... he must be dead by now!"

"Nice try," I said. "Get out!"

The girl hovered a moment longer. Then, barking out an exasperated growl, she bounced off the bed and flounced out the door (which conveniently opened just a bit more quickly, to afford her a clean exit).

Once the door closed, I cursed aloud (though part of me knew I was just as exasperated about the fact that I hadn't gotten lucky). But before I could do or say another thing, that bee-beeping phone rang.

"You didn't have to be so rough on the girl," came the voice of Panda-man. "She was just doing her job."

"Next time, clean her up a bit better," I snarled. "You get an 'A' for effort, though."

"No... I'd give myself a 'B'," Panda-man stated. "Now, if you had told her what she wanted to know..."

"Just why do you want to know why I resigned?"

"Oh, it's not me. It's... call them my handlers."

"Ah, you have handlers, too? Who are they?"

"Sorry, it doesn't work that way," Panda-man stated. "You tell me why you resigned, and maybe I can accommodate you."

"Sorry. I don't deal with lackeys," I snapped. "Gotta go... I have a trip planned."

"See here," Panda-man said, "you're only making it difficult for yourself."

"Well, that's my choice."

"Not when it affects the harmony of the Zoo."

"This place will be plenty harmonious when I'm gone."

"You're missing the point, my boy. We need you to make it harmonious."

"Then, my boy, you're in a heap o' trouble."

I hung up before he could say another word. Then I headed for the door. I needed to get a better lay of the land, and plan my escape. I almost hit my head on the door... certainly at the behest of the green dome, it had chosen this occasion to open ver-ry slowly, forcing me to wait interminable seconds for the gap to widen enough to let me out. I knew that was not a good sign.

I stepped outside, and immediately froze, when I saw a phalanx of pandas standing in a neat row before me, and staring at me as if daring me to cross them. They were aligned in such a way as to leave me only one direction away from the house. I took it.
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