Sample from my latest book War with Trees
"And where is Janina anyway?" Ondřej sat down at the table.
“But you know her—she wrote that she couldn't keep up. That she's not well, let's just start without her, that she'll be here in a quarter of an hour..." Mrs. Nováková was pouring soup into deep plates.
"Show me, I'll help you," Linda got up and started carrying the soups to the table.
"We know Jana's 15 minutes - I think we have her here like a horse in the evening," laughed Ondřej.
"Ondra, don't be like that!"
"Grandma, I don't want carrots!" little Honzík pushed the plate away.
"I don't know either!" snapped Zuzanka, imitating her older brother.
"Carrots are healthy, they won't upset your stomach."
“…the security measures taken have proven to be insufficient and it seems that Europe is also reporting the first case.
We knew this could happen, and although we have taken every conceivable precaution to prevent it from happening, unfortunately we are now faced with this new situation. I cannot yet confirm if this case is directly related to the events we are witnessing in Asia, but I can reassure the public that our leading experts are already working hard on the problem…”
"Jarine, can't you at least turn the box off for lunch?!"
"Well, what do you say, Ondřej?" Mr. Novák got up from the table and slowly wandered into the living room to turn off the TV.
"You're not watching?"
"You know we don't have a TV, and the internet is so bad here that I can barely download my mail."
"But a tree fell on a few people in China and now it seems to have killed someone here in Europe too..."
"Ah... well, a tree fell on a guy in our forest, but he was drunk like a plum at the time," Ondřej laughed.
"Ondřej, children..." Linda looked at him sternly.
"Sorry..." Ondřej patted his wife's hand apologetically.
"Grandpa, what's that pour?"
"And everyone there wears helmets even in the cities," Mr. Novák insisted.
"It's kind of crazy, isn't it? Why would they wear helmets in cities?'
"If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes here in our country, I would never believe it either. Mum thinks it's just some new fad.'
"Mum, the soup is delicious and you children eat or there will be no polar cake."
"I'm glad you like it, and at least have a little, or there really won't be any ice cream," the grandmother winked at the children, "and you, Jarin, why are you getting up from the table again? Do you want another beer?'
"Oh, still beer. I do not want! I hear a car, I think Jana is here.'
"So I can't hear anything."
Mr. Novák walked into the hall and opened the door.
"Well, that's what I'm saying," he called to the table, put on his slippers and went to open the gate so that Jana could park better.
"Well, I guess I'm seriously deaf."
"Don't worry about it, mom, I didn't hear anything either," Ondřej grabbed her hand.
"Dad always had ears like a lynx," she smiled at her son.
The front door flew open.
"So here it is! Now all the agencies have confirmed it! In Italy they have the first dead! I knew it!” burst into the hall a young woman glued to her phone screen.
All eyes from the table turned to her, watching her in silence.
"Hello, sister..." Ondřej was the only one not paying attention to her and calmly continued eating.
The complete silence of the others was a little noticeable to him, so he also looked up and looked towards the door.
"Jani...?" Mrs. Nováková got up at the first words.
Mr. Novák, who appeared behind her in the meantime, just shrugged his shoulders and gallantly helped his daughter out of her coat.
"But that's where all the fun stops. Italy! This is not some China, it is right here with us. After all, this is the Union - no one can stop this..." she was talking more to herself and still looking at the phone. She quickly walked into the kitchen, greeted everyone with a non-participating kiss and sat down on an empty seat at the table.
"So what do we have to eat?"
"If you were wearing a swimsuit, you could take pictures of some sexy calendar with this," laughed Ondřej heartily.
"Are you okay, Jani?" Mrs. Nováková looked carefully at her daughter, who was looking around confused as to what was happening.
"Well, of course, it's already starting to kick," it occurred to Jane, she grinned affectionately and stroked her growing belly.
"Mommy thinks more like this..." Mr. Novák tapped his thinning forehead. "Don't you want to take it off?"
“Dad?! I'm pregnant!” Jana touched the bright yellow helmet on her head.
The phone on the table beeped, Jana immediately nervously jumped on it and read the message. "So does Austria. Well that's the end! That I didn't even wear gloves... Mom, you could have some, right? Will you lend it to me?'
"Well of course - that is, if you don't need them yourself..." she sat nervously.
"You know I'm going to look at you... And you're going to bet something, Jani?"
"Bet? Why bet?" the daughter honestly wondered.
"...and how many dumplings would you like to have, Jani, before it gets cold?" tried Mrs. Nováková cautiously.
“Mommy! How can you talk about food now! After all, it's in Austria! In Austria! It's a neighboring state! It's only a few hundred kilometers from us. Don't you miss it?!'
They all looked at each other in silence.
"Mommy, and why does auntie have that hat on her head?" squealed little Zuzanka.
"Sister, good! That's some joke from work, isn't it?” Ondřej laughed again with his mouth full, put another bite of dill in his mouth and looked at everyone around the table.
"Why are you looking at me like that? Don't you know what's coming at us?'
"At least one, Janička, and a piece of meat, you have to go, for the sake of the little one," Mrs. Nováková placed a plate with sauce in front of her daughter.
“Mommy! Don't you prefer the gloves?!” her daughter snapped at her.
"You want them now?"
"Of course! I'm telling you! It's in Austria, after all!'
Mrs. Nováková looked worriedly at the man, who just silently nodded his head. So Marie sighed and headed for the door.
"Jani, mom is only worried about you..." Mr. Novák tried to grab his daughter's hand.
"Have you all gone completely crazy here?!" Jana looked indignantly at the others. "You're seriously out of it, what's going on?!"
"And what's going on, sister?"
"What's going on?" Jana laughed again, affected. "Nothing much happens, except that trees kill people, that's what happens!"
"You mean how a tree fell on a few people in China and now perhaps someone in Italy?"
“Twenty-eight dead! And now with Austria even twenty nine. Doesn't that sound like enough?!'
“There's going to be eight billion people on Earth in no time, Jani… so obviously a tree could fall on a few of them. It's even statistically quite likely. Just as many people drown in the bathtub every day in the world, or maybe fall down the stairs..." Mr. Novák tried to sound soothing.
"How can you make light of it like that?!" the daughter looked at him and withdrew the hand he was trying to caress.
"I only found these dirty ones. We went shopping, but they didn't have gloves," Mrs. Nováková returned to the table.
“See, people know what's going to happen. That's okay, please give me these at least.'
“Okay, sister, just so I can understand. Are you afraid of a tree falling on you? Why the helmet?”
"For God's sake, don't you? After all, I'm expecting the little one!'
"Even here inside...?" continued Mr. Novák in a calm voice, looking around at the sturdy reinforced concrete ceiling.
"Dad?!" Jana turned to him indignantly. "Since when do you understand trees?"
"Well, I planted a few in the garden..."
“Maybe he planted, but you're an engineer, Dad. You are not at all competent to comment on trees or question what the experts say!'
"But dad doesn't need to be an expert on that to know that it's stupid to have a tree fall on someone inside the house."
"So you're saying that all the media is lying?! And everywhere in the world? Why would she do that?'
"I don't know if they're lying, but it's just stupid to have a tree fall on someone inside."
"Think what you want bro," Jana sneered as she put on her muddy gloves and crossed her arms defiantly over her chest.