All’s Quiet on the Conn-Mann Front


Whether Alistair is too busy in his workshop or Jo decided they would have the rest of their Honeymoon Progress alone, I haven’t had any ideas for them in ages.

I even tried to write short stories for NaNoWriMo this year to prime the pump and get things going again. No luck.

I am still working on Fred’s book. Finally getting some specific feedback, and there appears to be a HUGE hole in the plot, so it’s still got a ways to go. It will be done…eventually. After all, it has a Brad Fraunfelter cover already done!

Still, I haven’t given up hope for more adventures in my favorite universe. There are plans. I just need Jo to cooperate!

In the meantime, here is the ONE piece I got finished in November. It is a look at that fateful first meeting from Alistair’s POV. Enjoy.

The Other Side of the Equation

“Is that you, Perfessor?”

“Yes, Ma. Sorry, I didn’t let you know, but I’ve already had something for lunch.”


“Yes…it was the most peculiar thing. I believe I have hired a research assistant.”

“Good fer you! You work far too hard. It will do ya good t’ have someone to share the work.”

“I suppose so. I’m just not sure how it happened.”

“Well, sit down and tell me all about it. I am sure ya have room fer a spot of tea and a piece of pie.”

Alistair Conn pulled out his chair at the boarding house table and sank into it with a sigh. “Thank you, Ma.  It has been a most unusual day.”

Ma Stark set a steaming cup of tea and a large slab of pie before him and then pulled out a chair across from him and sat down. “Tell me about it, dear.”

“I’ve been planning to hire someone for some time now, but I still hadn’t taken any steps to pursue it. Aunt Emily has been nudging me to get on with it, so I promised her to go to the newspaper and place an advertisement this morning.” Needing to collect his thoughts, Alistair took a large bite of the pie. It was his favorite–cherry. Ma spoiled her tenants so…

“Is the young gentleman going to need a place to stay?”

He swallowed hastily. “That’s just it…it isn’t a young gentleman. I seem to have hired a young lady for the position. She rather steamrolled me into it, but she seems to have a sharp wit and pleasant manner. I’m sure it will be fine.”

“A young lady? Alistair Conn–I didn’t know you had it in ya.”

He could feel the tips of his ears growing hot. “It isn’t anything like that at all, Ma. She just happened to be in the right place at the right time to intercept my advertisement. I don’t even know if she will prove satisfactory to the job. But she is most persuasive, I will give her that.”

“Well, tell me about her. What’s her name?”

“Josephine Mann. She’s a little thing…her head doesn’t quite reach my shoulder, and she’s got the most incredible hair–red as fire and tumbling down in a mass of curls…”

Ma cocked her head. “Interestin’ thing to notice.”

“Well, it is her most recognizable feature. And you might have occasion to see her going in and out of the place.”  

“How did ya meet, exactly?”

“Well, I was stepping into Mr. Greenstreet’s office at the newspaper when she barreled into me, promptly landing herself on her posterior.”

“Oh my!”

“I was afraid she had hurt herself, but it soon became clear that wasn’t the case. I attempted to complete my business with Mr. Greenstreet, but she convinced me she would be a reasonable candidate for the position, so I agreed to give her a trial period.”

“When do you expect her?”

“Tomorrow morning, actually. I suppose I should do a bit of tidying up before she presents herself.”

“Do you think it is proper t’ have a young female around your premises unchaperoned? I know ya, but not everyone does.”

“It’s too late to do anything about it now. If she doesn’t suit, I am sure I can find some pretext for dismissing her.”

“Don’t you dare! At least not until ya give her a decent chance.”

“I promise to run the experiment to a natural conclusion, Ma. But I make no guarantees that I will continue to employ her past the week.”

“Just be patient. Don’t be hasty. It sounds like she really needs th’ job, and you really need someone to clear up some of that magpie’s nest of yours. I don’t see how ya find a thing in that mess.”

“You do have a point, Ma.” He finished the pie, washing it down with the tea. “Thank you for the refreshments. The pie was lovely. As I say, I expect her bright and early tomorrow.” He rose to his feet. “I gave her the address before we parted.”

“Did you tell her to look for you downstairs?”

He blinked in consternation. “No. I’m so used to dealing with people who know me that I completely forgot to mention it.”

“I’ll keep an ear out for the door in th’ morning and set her straight. Now, go on with ya. You’ve got a lot of work to do before morning. I’ve seen your laboratory.”

Alistair gave her a quick hug. “Yes, ma’am.”

Bounding down the front steps of the boarding house and those leading to his apartment below street level, he entered the laboratory with a light heart. Tomorrow would be the start of something very interesting. He was sure of it.

About RieSheridanRose

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2,  and Killing It Softly. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.
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