Who Moved My Coping Beans?

My friend Kelly has this theory…about coping beans. Coping beans are kind of like hit points in a role-playing game–you only get so many, and some people have more than others; some people are better at coping with physical danger while other people are better at coping with mental stress. Occasionally we can run across a super-coper and be amazed.

I visualize coping beans as being various colors, like jelly beans. They can be consumed, or they can merely be in use, ready to be released from one form of coping to another.

Well, somebody moved my coping beans on or about Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve barely seen a flash of them since. Why? I don’t really know.

Maybe it was the confluence of the book coming out in paperback and my birthday–both hit July 7. Maybe it was all the off-line promotion energy I’ve been expending (most of my coworkers at the electronics factory are buying a copy & want them autographed), or the energy going to Mayhem in the Grove 2011 (Sherrilyn Kenyon and Michael Hauge, both in Boise next June–it gives me goosebumps).

Heck, maybe it’s just a precursor of the 2012 disaster that will end the world. Okay, might end the world. Okay, okay, could make life very interesting for a while.

Or maybe someone moved my coping beans! Could it have been my darling husband, looking for a sweet treat? No, he’s supposed to be cutting out carbs (diabetes). Nor can I blame it on the cats, since coping beans are too small to interest them.

The answer that I really dread is that I put them someplace safe (because I knew months in advance that the book was coming out between Independence Day and my birthday) — and then forgot where they were stashed.

Really, Val? Are you that much of a ditz that you hid your own coping beans from yourself? Tsk. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

My penance is to post a deleted scene from Blade’s Edge–the kidnapping of Crown Prince Talyn by the Heir to the Hauptman cartel, Sharif Tanaka IV. Enjoy!

Varakis was gaining on her, from the sound of footsteps. Talyn dashed around a corner and opened a door without really looking at the other side, then leaned back against it with her eyes closed to try to catch her breath.

“Hello, Little Prince.”

She opened her eyes and realized she had found her way back to the audience chamber with Varakis practically on her heels, and the offworlder was two feet away from her.

“Hello, Tanaka. Sorry, I don’t have time to chat.” She pushed away from the door and tried to step around him.
He caught her by the wrist, digging his talons through her sleeve into her skin.

“Actually, you do.” The door opened behind her, knocking into his arm. He didn’t let go.

Talyn knew who was coming through the door; she tried to run, but Tanaka’s hold kept her where she was.

“I’ve waited fifteen years for this, you royal bi—” Varakis broke off and made a noise like a surprised grunt, which was followed by a clatter that could have been a knife dropping to the floor.

Talyn risked a glance over her shoulder; Varakis had slumped to the floor and Tanaka was holding a strange contraption like a weapon. And the knife had been a large one.

“Did you kill her?” She was amazed that her voice sounded almost normal.

“No. You and I need to have a conversation too personal to shout it across an empty room.” He let go of her arm long enough to move Varakis off his foot.

“I won’t go quietly,” she warned, even as she was backing away.

“I didn’t think you would, so I brought some insurance.” Tanaka smiled and lifted the weapon. “It’s a tranquilizer.”

Too late, she realized he was crowding her into the corner next to the door. “The entire planet knows Taryn is better than I am, now. She’s stronger, faster, more talented.” She felt a wall at her back and knew she couldn’t run from her fate any longer. “Just kill me. I don’t need to be humiliated any more.”

“I have no interest in killing you,” he said.

“There she is!” was followed by running footsteps, but Talyn had no way to move.

He frowned, then pulled up her chin. “My apologies, but I refuse to put up with continual interruptions.”

“You, offworlder! Hand over the imposter.” It was practically a growl. Talyn peeked around Tanaka and recognized one of the men who had accompanied the Barian Crown Heir on his trip into Zona.

He sighed. “You see what I mean?”

“I’m talking to you, blue-head.”

Tanaka twisted his torso, his weapon shot out almost faster than her eyes could follow, and there was another surprised grunt. “And now, Little Prince, it’s your turn.”

Something touched her neck, there was a tingling, and then the world went away.

1 comment so far

  1. […] new job, I haven’t written a danged bit of fiction; apparently even good change uses a lot of coping beans. Speaking of change, if anyone cares, the new purse (really more of a bag than a purse — […]

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