Of course it was just Nicky and Tova at the door, returning from the garden.
"Heart and Mind!" Elvis exclaimed when they showed him the plant they'd brought.
"You mean it's really called that?" Tova asked.
"I believe the Ancient Hebrew name for it is Lev V'rosh, which means -"
"- heart and head," Tova finished his sentence. "I'll be."
"Brews up into a nice tea," Elvis added.
"I'll put the water on," Tova concluded, and left the room with Elvis in tow.
Nicky had seated herself beside Sam on the sofa and was peering over his shoulder.
"Robert E. Howard," she muttered.
Sam looked at her inquiringly, and she added, "P. Fleming White."
"Howard - wasn't he the fellow that wrote about Conan the -"
"Don't say 'Barbarian'!" Nicky interrupted, holding her head. "Bob Howard never wrote that kind of drivel - other people who didn't have any ideas of their own, they stole his after he died. Made more money than he ever did."
"But - don't I remember as how Bobby Howard killed himself? You ain't saying he was murdered for his ideas!"
"No, he killed himself. This still reminds me of that."
"Hmm. You know about computers, Nicolette?"
"How do you think that title page got onto my machine?"
"Monty hacked into your files and started rewriting them so they'd be ready when you - um - passed."
"But to have the title page all done up like that - that takes some hubris!"
"With an added pinch of stupid. That about sums up you ex-agent, Sam. Incompetent but still dangerous."
"I don't need to ask who you're talking about," Tova said as she and Elvis returned with the tea things.
"While Tova's tea steeps," Elvis advised, "we should cease all thoughts of unpleasant matters."
"Sing the Strong Woman Song, dad," Nicky said.
Standing straight, Elvis nodded, bowed his head, and began to sing in a clear voice. Though there were no words, they all felt the power in the rhythmic chant - and when he was silent once again, they all felt their hearts opened and connected.
"Not bad for a guy without a drum," Elvis said, grinning. "Now where's that tea? I'm parched."
In the sacred space Elvis' song had cleared, they sipped their tea and let their minds find a few moments of peace. Suddenly both men exclaimed at the same time -
"I've got it!"
The ladies watched with interest as negotiations followed:
"I know how to protect that file from further tampering and booby-trap it too - let me back at your computer, Sammy."
"But Elvis, I just got me an inspiration on how all my heroes are gonna meet up and defeat Merwa, plus get Crane closer to his lady-love. I need my computer to myself."
"Well, you just got to let me fix it up first. Your story can wait a bit."
"No - this kind of energy has to be used and captured right away or it dissipates into thin air and gets lost forever."
YOU ARE READING
Once upon a time there was a warrior queen who loved peace ... Mild-mannered writer Samuel J. Burnside is working on his latest adventure story, set in ancient Susa, where Queen Esther is teaching former harem slaves how to fight! But can Sam's new...