Liebe Freunde – Dear Friends,

Due to slow progress being made on the revision of Fame and Honor’s sequel, the originally intended release of The Plaid Dream in early November may not be possible at this time. By the time this post goes up, an ISBN will already be assigned to it, and will remain on standby until further notice. However, that being said, I do believe a late November release – near the end of that same month, is a possibility still in the cards.

I apologize for this inconvenience.

To make for this shortcoming, I will allow anyone following my Fire of the Spirit blog posts a chance to have a sneak preview of the first chapter. It is the best form of compensation that I deem as being suitable.

Mit viele herzlichen Grüßen,

-J. N. Enriquez

***

[In this scene, Siegfried encounters Brenda (who is the cousin of Harold from Fame and Honor) having a conversation with a rather shady individual. This particular individual calls himself “The Nebraskan Dutchman,” and he works as a “Jackbooter” (a play on “Bootlegger”) within the recently imposed “Plaid Prohibition.” By taking the two lovebirds under his wing, the Nebraskan Dutchman introduces them to the Jackbooter’s life and ultimately the secret war that is called “Brotzmanskrieg” (Brotzman’s War in German). – JE]

Entering the cafeteria of his new high school, Siegfried Hummel was absolutely amazed by the large crowds of similarly aged people. Some were waiting in lines for their meals, while others were sitting at the tables there, eating and chatting. Without having any second thought as to which table he wanted to take a seat at, Siegfried walked forward, heading toward a table, before turning to his right, and taking a seat at another one. Little did he realize at the time, Brenda was sitting right next to him. She was sitting alongside another boy that Siegfried Hummel had not seen before.

Turning her head to the right, Brenda wondered who was sitting next to her right. Surprised, she discovered that it was Siegfried Hummel. “Sieg, I didn’t see you there. I assume your first four classes have been treating you well, yes?”

Siegfried nodded. “Yeah, it was alright, if I must admit.” He turned his head to the boy. Upon briefly glancing at him, he asked Brenda, “Who’s this guy that you’ve been talking to?”

“Oh, you,” replied Brenda, “This is the one and only Nebraskan Dutchman, the bad boy who’s been on the case in this little event that you may or may not have noticed, Sieg.”

“Alright,” muttered Siegfried. He spoke to the Nebraskan Dutchman, telling him, “What’s your story, friend?”

Clearing his throat, the Dutchman then made his response, speaking of his story to Siegfried Hummel, and retelling it to Brenda Brotzman. “Well, to put things out with a bit of simplicity, you could say I’m a businessman specializing in ‘unofficial business endeavors’ around the school. As you might not have been aware, a lot of schools across the country have finally banned all sodas, sweets and candies, and all kinds of junk food. Last I heard it was part of some congressional act that Congress enacted.”

“Are all of the schools in America are supporting this?” Brenda asked the Nebraskan Dutchman in an incredulous tone.

Upon hearing this, the Nebraskan Dutchman was quick to shake his head in disagreement. “Sorry, miss, but not all of the schools in America are in support of this so-called ‘Plaid Prohibition’, for there is only one place that defies it.”

Curious, Siegfried Hummel asked him, “And which one is that?”

“This place that people around here call the ‘Children’s Paradise’, friend,” said the Nebraskan Dutchman. “Case in point, I am referring to the ‘Ryanites’ of the Greater American Catholic School System. From what I was told, their friends with the golden rosaries have no interests in allowing their schools to abide by this Plaid Prohibition, for the profits made by their Republic Program allowed some of their schools to remain properly financed.”

“I don’t why I’m saying this, but this sounds like something I want to hear. Not sure about what Brenda Brotzman thinks, though,” commented Siegfried Hummel. “Tell me, my good friend, what sort of unofficial business endeavors do you specialize in?”

“I’m glad you asked you asked,” replied the Nebraskan Dutchman. “My business is in the sale of all the foodstuffs that the Plaid Prohibitions had sought to remove from our schools or at the very least, to keep it to a minimum. And to be frank, normally, I would not try to go searching for some extra pairs of hands, then again, who would say that I am unwilling to split the take with the others?”

“So are we in, or are we out?” wondered Brenda Brotzman, inquiring if she and Siegfried are allowed to work alongside the Nebraskan Dutchman.

“Did I say that the two of you were out?” replied the Nebraskan Dutchman, making a rhetorical question.

“Okay, looks like we’re in on this business of yours,” remarked Siegfried. “Boss, do you have anything that needs sold or hauled somewhere?”

The Dutchman nodded his head. “Indeed, but first of all, what name do you two want to be referred to as?”

“Call me Siegfried,” answered Siegfried Hummel, “And just call my lady friend as simply Brenda, for the sake of our discussion.”

“Alright then, Siegfried and Brenda it is,” agreed the Nebraskan Dutchman. “For your first jobs: I got a small box of goodies inside my locker. Assuming the two of you have a study hall near the end of the day, go to the Junior hallway, and look for a locker with a small print out of a flag on the door. It looks like one of those Scandinavian flags, and if you two were to find it, you’ve found my locker. After that, go to the library and find two ‘friends’ of mine, and proceed to make a deal with them. After that, find me when school ends, and give me the money; we’ll split the take. If you two can do all of that without screwing any of this up, I guess we can call ourselves the Trouble Trio for a change. Are we clear on this?”

Without saying anything to the Nebraskan Dutchman, Brenda and Siegfried nodded their heads in response to his question. Knowing this, he then said to them, “That’s good to hear.” Before he let them be, he then said to them, “You know what you need to do.”

In the meantime, for the rest of their lunch period, the two enjoyed their lunch together, as ostensibly romantic as it may sound. When their lunch period ended, the two were ready to leave for their next classes. Despite not being able to see each other until the final class period at the end of the school day, both were nevertheless persistent on their obligation in following the promises they made.