03. February 2019 · Comments Off on What Do They Drive? · Categories: Luna City Info Dump, Luna-ites

One of those things that I have practically had to make a chart for, when writing about Luna City – is keeping track of the vehicles which the various characters drive; they are mentioned now and again, and over seven (and this year to be eight books) I have to try and be consistent. Car ownership – make, model, style, color and condition – say something about the personality of the driver/owner. Herewith the run-down; as near to complete a listing of those motor vehicles (not necessarily automobiles or trucks) which I have noted in passing:
Berto Gonzalez: he routinely drives an assortment of luxury town cars and limousines as part of being employed by his Uncle Tony, who owns a car-hire service catering to the up-scale market. Berto also routinely drives a rather down-at-heels pickup truck owned by his father; a vehicle with a cracked vinyl seat patched with duct tape. He does not yet own his own personal vehicle, as he has no real need to do so.
Jess Abernathy-Vaughn: a bare-bones yellow Jeep Wrangler.
Joe Vaughn: ordinarily behind the wheel of the Luna City PD’s one cruiser, or one of the department’s sport-utility vehicles. His personal vehicle is a pickup truck, model unspecified, but of solid quality and well-maintained. Joe is fastidious, that way.
Doc Wyler: a very recent model Ford F-150 King Ranch model pickup, with the cattle-brand designed logo of the Wyler Ranch on the doors, and all the add-on bells and whistles. Doc is a man accustomed to the best and has the means to acquire and maintain such.
Sefton and Judy Grant: The Grants operate – and barely manage to keep it street-legal in the eyes of the motor vehicle licensing authorities – a vehicle pieced together from an old Volkswagon bus, with a pickup-truck bed welded to the back half of the chassis, behind the driver and passenger seats. The sides of the truck bed and the doors to the driver/passenger compartment are spray-painted with flowers, peace signs and vintage hippie mottoes, in between the rust.
Miss Letty McAllister: she does not drive.
Richard Astor-Hall: he does not drive, either.
Chris Mayall: a recent model Mitsubishi hatch-back; bright red in color. Chris, like Joe, is fastidious about vehicle maintenance, and is still annoyed at the bill for bodywork incurred when he collided with a deer – even though the Gonzalez Motor and Auto Body shop gave him the friends-and-family rate. Chris blames the deer for reckless grazing.
(to be continued)

03. February 2016 · Comments Off on Spring Community Calendar · Categories: Luna City Info Dump, Luna-ites


Spring 2016 Newsletter-1

Spring 2016 Newsletter-2

11. November 2015 · Comments Off on Veteran’s Day in Luna City · Categories: Luna City Info Dump, Luna-ites

POW-MIAflagLuna City is well-equipped with military veterans, as are many small towns in fly-over country – especially the old South. The draft is only somewhat responsible for this. After all, it was ended formally more than four decades past. But the habit and tradition of volunteering for military service continues down to this very day, with the result that veterans of various services and eras are thick on the ground in Luna City – while a good few continue as reservists. There are not very many pensioned retirees, though; Clovis Walcott is one of those few, having made a solid career in the Army in the Corps of Engineers, and then in the same capacity as a Reservist. But he is the exception; mostly, Lunaites generally have served a single hitch, or for the duration of a wartime mobilization. Then they come home, pick up those threads of the life they put aside, or weave together the tapestry of a new one. What they did when they were in the military most usually lies lightly on them, sometimes only as skin-deep as a tattoo … and sometimes as deep as a scar.

The oldest veterans among present-day Lunaites are from the Big One – World War Two, although that number has diminished to a handful in recent years. Doc Wyler, who served in the Army Air Corps is the most notable representative of that cohort. Miss Letty’s late brother Douglas McAllister, the eminent historian, was also in the Army Air Corps, and Miss Letty herself served in the European theater as a Red Cross volunteer. The greater portion of the Luna City VFW post, though, are of Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans, with a younger cohort – including Joe Vaughn and Chris Mayall – having served in various capacities in more recent operations in the Middle East.

There is not much need in Luna City for very elaborate observances of Veteran’s Day; flowers and wreaths appear on the steps of the pale obelisk in Town Square which is the war memorial. The Abernathys’ display window has a pair of American flags with the staffs crossed, over a large vase of red, white, and blue artificial flowers, and a fan of those magnets shaped like loops of yellow ribbon with various patriotic and veteran-supporting mottoes on them. The notice boards outside of the various churches make respectful note of the day … but in the main, the most notable civic event marking the eleventh day of the eleventh month is the late afternoon BBQ at the VFW post. This is more of an open pot-luck; the VFW members pass the hat for the purchase of brisket, pork roasts, sausages and chicken quarters … and everyone else brings salads, bread, chips, and relishes. The bar has been well-stocked with beer and soft drinks for weeks. The weather is usually mild – neither hot or cold, although rain has threatened in some years – so the party spills out from the clubhouse, out onto the paved patio under the trees which line the riverbank. The air is rich with the good smells of roasting meats slathered with the spicy sauce provided by Pryor’s Good Meats BBQ. The veterans and their families nibble on a bit of this and that, as they reminisce and gossip. Sometimes someone works up an impromptu flag football game, played on the mown grass out in back of the Tip Top which sometimes serves as an overflow parking lot during Founder’s Day, six weeks before.

The only thing which might strike a casual visitor as curious is that table set up in the corner with a plate and silverware for one, a beer mug empty and turned upside down, even as unopened bottles of beer accumulate during the afternoon and evening. There is a small square of black fabric draping this table, which is centered underneath the POW/MIA banner which hangs on the wall – the table set for those who are not able to return to Luna City for the Veteran’s Day BBQ at the VFW. Their friends buy them a beer, though. By unspoken understanding, the money paid for those beers goes into a gallon glass jar which once contained pickle relish … and at the end of the evening the cans and bottles lined up on the black-draped table are put back into the storeroom. The day after the BBQ, the money in the pickle relish jar is forwarded to a military charity which sends comforts to those troops deployed overseas.

And that is Veteran’s Day in Luna City.

25. October 2015 · Comments Off on Charley Mills, Unexpurgated · Categories: Luna-ites

Charles Everett Mills, born 1876 (the year of the Great Centennial) is perhaps the most widely-famed native son of Luna City, is responsible for at least three historical markers in the vicinity of his birthplace, and the small farm/ranch which provided a living for his parents, in the decades following the Civil War. He was the youngest child of James Bowie Mills, and his wife, Jane Everett: James Bowie Mills was the son of an old Texas family, reputed to be one of Stephen Austin’s original 300. Jane Everett was of a similarly old and respectable lineage, settling in South Texas shortly after the Civil War. At the time of Charles’ birth, James and Jane were the parents of three daughters, attractive and intelligent girls  familiarly known as the Three Graces: Mary Faith, Elizabeth Hope, and Annabelle Charity.

James B. Mills’ property lay somewhat to the south of Luna City, and under his management prospered sufficiently to enable James and Jane to educate their son and three daughters at private academies in San Antonio during the 1880s. Charles, as the only son was much-treasured by his parents and sisters; it would not be too much to say that he was spoiled rotten. The youthful Charley Mills was tall, athletic, handsome and charming, and appeared bound for every success in the world, the pride of his parents and community. Alas, this was not to be; Charley had a taste for fast women, easy living, and not to put too fine a point on it, a dissolute and criminal life-style. This did not become immediately obvious; to the end of their respective lives, his parents defended him as a good son and an upright citizen, claiming that Charley was the innocent victim of jealousy and slander.

At the age of 22, Charley was supposedly attending a business college in Topeka, Kansas. As it turned out, he was actually a member of the Doolin-Dalton ‘Wild Bunch’ Gang, and then of a relatively obscure group of professional robbers known as the ‘Bent Cactus Gang’ for a mocking scrawl left at the site of various robberies, the most famous of which was that of a Santa Fe train west of Cimarron, which netted several thousand dollars worth of silver and gold, both coin and ingots. A quantity of this loot was never recovered, leading to apocryphal stories of Old Charley’s Treasure being secreted somewhere around Mills Farm early in the 20th century. Charley, whose sense of self-preservation became sufficiently acute to override his affection for making an easy living through train, bank and store robberies, prudently severed his association with the Wild Bunch and the Bent Cactus Gang by mid-decade, and so escaped the various violent ends dealt out by law enforcement to his former associates. Doubtless he reasoned that a living from immoral earnings might possibly be a little safer. More »