Chicken Chuck and the Congo Connection: (Holiday Spectacular Story #4)

As noted here, I’m commenting daily on the WMG Holiday Spectacular—which is a great project that releases a story every day. These might be reviews. Or not. They might be interesting. Or … um … not. They will be fun, though. For me, at least.

Here’s the next story.


“Chicken Chuck and the Congo Connection”
Patricia Duffy Novak

The story’s introduction calls this an unusual romance. Fair enough.

I first met Patricia Duffy Novak at a science fiction convention quite a few years back—I don’t recall which one. I knew her name, though. Back then I was a baby writer—well, in reality we both were, but she was all over various Marion Zimmer Bradley projects as well as published in several other fantasy venues so to me she was already a name. Regardless, I was quite early in my own path, and as I recall I was the teensiest bit jealous. After brief contact, though, that jealousy faded. Patricia Duffy Novak is just an amazing person. As sharp as the world-class economist she is, and as friendly as any person has ever been.

Time passed, though and I went my own way as she went on hers. Our paths never really crossed again except, perhaps, for a few moments when Lisa Silverthorne (who both Patricia and I are lucky enough to call friends) would fill me in a bit.

So, I was quite excited when after some twenty-plus years, Patricia and I attended the same workshop. It was great catching up, and as a result I occasionally see her on Facebook gently schooling economic truths to people who clearly don’t understand that—yes—she is actually the expert in the room. It’s kind of a blast, really. Call it a guilty pleasure.


Life is weird. People cross paths, then take paths that go such different directions that they seem to be simply absent, then come back together. Is it fate? Is it random chance? Is it magic? Who knows? Life is life. It happens. You move on. Still, the past is the past and it happened, and whatever happened, big or small, changed you in some way or another. People build connections, some thin, others strong. And some of those connections—maybe, if we’re lucky—transcend time.

That’s what I was thinking about as I read “Chicken Chuck and the Congo Connection.”

It is, as the introduction says, an unusual romance.

I suspect you’ll like it. But even if you find it not your cuppa, I’m certain you’ll like the main character just as much as you’d like Patricia if you met her in person. That alone makes this one worth the read.

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