Monday, January 11, 2021

Random Story – Y’all Need Jesus

This is just an odd little story from my life.

So I have a crappy, essential, retail job.  We have several signs in the store saying that customers need to wear masks, but it is a rural, middle of nowhere place, and only about half the customers do.  And I think corporate sees it as if we piss off the rednecks, we’ll lose half our business, so we don’t say anything.

This story happened a month or so ago.  The first character was a little, older lady of maybe sixty, who was wearing a mask.  The second character was a guy in his thirties with what I assume was his ten year old son.  Neither of them wore a mask.  The lady said something to the man, I didn’t hear exactly what, but I think it was along the lines of wearing a mask would help protect his son.  The guy didn’t yell, he just spoke at a notch or two above normal speaking voice so his son standing five feet away could easily hear him, but he said, “Why don’t you go out to the parking lot and get hit by a fucking truck.” Then he muttered a notch or two below his normal speaking voice, “Cunt.” The lady didn’t reply, she just walked away. 

The last piece of information for this story, is that the guy was wearing a shirt that read – with large letters – “Y’all Need Jesus.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas sale!

So it’s Christmas.  Maybe Santa brought you a new Kindle, maybe in the last few months you’ve read everything in your house, or maybe you’re just looking to try something new from someone you’ve probably never heard of.  Well, I got you covered.  From Wednesday December 23, through Sunday December 27, my four Kindle ebooks listed below will be free to download. 

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season, and I hope you enjoy anything of mine you read.

***

A Man of Few Words

 


A Man of Few Words is a collection of fifty of my flash fiction stories. What would really happen if a “T-Rex on steroids” attacked a city? Why do science fiction writers make the best lovers? How does a company get to Second Base with VIPs? I explore these questions and more using less than 1000 words and in various genres from humor to horror and general fiction to science fiction.

The majority of the stories were previously published (most on my website) but all were revised for this collection. In addition, each piece is accompanied by some background information on the origin of the story or a funny tale about the writing of it to give a fuller experience.

Rise

 


“Rise” is a standalone story set in my Human Republic Universe. The story follows the events after the tragic deaths of the colonists on a small colony in a distant star system.

A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories

 


Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, make farms and factories, and live, love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five short stories that are all set upon the moon. They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there.

The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars

 


Over the last few years a lot of people have caught Mars fever. It seems a week doesn’t go by without a report of some new group wanting to send people to Mars, or some big name in the industry talking about why we have to go to Mars, or articles talking about the glorious future humanity will have on Mars. All of this worries me. In my opinion, a Mars base is currently not sustainable because there’s no way for it to make money. A few missions may fly doing extraordinary science, but if it’s then cancelled for cost the whole Mars Project may just be seen as an expensive stunt.

Fortunately, there are other places in the solar system besides Mars. While bases on the moon and amongst the asteroids won’t be as inspirational as one on Mars, they will have opportunities for businesses to make goods and services as well as profits, meaning less chance of them being outright cancelled. This will make life better on Earth and secure a firm foothold in space for humanity. The essays in “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” allow me to describe my ideas on what can be accomplished on the moon and with the asteroids, and why Mars isn’t the destiny of humanity its cheerleaders make it out to be.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Short story – “Too Good to be True”

“Too Good to be True”

Pointing out the passenger side window, Jeff said, “I don’t know what they sell, but I think I’ll do all my shopping there this year.”

His wife Diana glanced at him and asked, “Where?”

“Uh, a store back there.  I didn’t catch the name of it.”

Diana gave him a longer glance with a raised eyebrow.  “Let me get this straight, you don’t know the name of the store, or what they sell, but you’re going to do all your shopping there?”

“They had a big sign out front saying ‘We don’t play Christmas music.’”

Diana smiled and shook her head.  After a moment, she said, “You know, they’ll be packed.  It’s probably like Black Friday in there the whole month of December.”

Jeff sighed.  “Of course.  I find something wonderful and you immediately find fault with it.”

“What did you expect?  I’m pretty sure I put that in my vows.”

With a falsetto, Jeff said, “Oh, let’s write our own wedding vows, it will be so romantic.” In his regular voice he added, “I knew that was going to bite me in the ass.”

Diana playfully slapped his shoulder.

***

The other night at work – as I listened to the fourteenth version of “Frosty” in ten minutes – I thought that if a store put out a sign saying they didn’t play Christmas music, I’d go in, without even knowing what they sold.  I thought that was a great idea, so I hammered out this story.

As I worked on the story, I realized that what we really need is a holiday from holiday music.  If you really love Christmas music, there are plenty of ways for you to listen to it.  But for captive audiences – shoppers or the poor workers who have to listen to it for hours on end – it would be nice to have an auditory break.  So I’m proposing that December 15 become No Christmas Music Day.  It’s about the middle of the month-long assault by Frosty the Red Nosed, silver, jingle bell who’s coming to town to make out with your mom, so it’s the perfect time for a break.  If we’re lucky, and it takes off, this formally one day holiday may start to creep and we’ll have two or three days free from Christmas music. 

One can hope.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Perhaps it was best that Trump won in 2016

Hear me out.

A few days ago I had an idea for an alternate history story where Clinton won in 2016.  The main point of the story was that Republicans would be outraged at her handling of the pandemic.  They would say that because she had “allowed” say, 50,000 Americans to die that she had failed in her responsibilities as President.  I was thinking about this and then I wondered what Republican would face her in 2020.

If Trump had lost in 2016, would he have gracefully accepted his defeat?  Fuck no.  He would have spent four years claiming the election had been rigged and stolen from him.  He would hold rallies, and marches, and would appear on Fox News hundreds of times saying that Clinton wasn’t the legitimate President.  And given his appeal to the MAGAs, would any Republican challenge him for the nomination and would 2020 have been a rematch?

With Democrats staying home because of the pandemic and not waiting in line for four years to get rid of Trump, could he have won in 2020?  And then when the vaccines come out in 2021, he would – naturally – take credit.  And you think the MAGA cult is intolerable now?


Trump unleashed countless horrors on America and the world in his time as President, but if he had lost in 2016 only to make a glorious comeback in 2020, could things have been worse?

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Short story – “The Horror”

“The Horror”

An upset stomach woke Jack.  Even at his tender age he knew if he went to his mom she would scold him for not listening to her when she said not to eat so much of his candy.  So he lay in bed toughening it out until morning, like the cowboy he had been.

Some time later, his stomach had settled and he was drifting back to sleep when he heard a sharp thump.  At first his sleepy mind didn’t notice, but then it repeated.  After it repeated a few times, Jack thought, It sounds like someone’s knocking on the side of the house.

Jack sat up in bed, his mind filled with images of giant monsters bashing their tentacles on the side of the house.  He was about to hide under his covers when he remembered his mom.  I should warn her.

The knocking grew louder while Jack worked up his courage.  He then heard a muffled cry of, “Oh God,” coming from her room.  The knocking stopped.  She must have seen the monster, Jack thought.  What courage he had built up melted away as he dove under his blankets, unsure what he would find in the morning.

***

I wrote this (almost exactly) nine years ago and posted it on a site that unfortunately went belly-up a few years later.  The story stayed online, but lately there’s been formatting issues.  Which sucked because I always posted a link to it around Halloween.  So I’ve reposted it so I can link to it for Halloweens future.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Useless Cogs


I have just published my eighth short story collection.
  “Useless Cogs” contains forty, science fiction stories that range from only a few dozen words to a few thousand and are filled with time travelers, AIs, clones, aliens, even sexbots, although not often as you would imagine.  As examples, there’s a time traveler that’s always a step behind, an AI that’s late on rent, and a sexbot with bad software.  Some of the stories are humorous, some horrifying, and some … depend on your point of view.  You can get it on Kindle for only $1.99, or the equivalent.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Not as the Founders intended

Every now and then someone will, while trying to make some point on a political matter, say that the thing they oppose “wasn’t how the Founders intended.” And the thing I’ve come to realize over the years is that if you’re arguing with someone and they pull that out, it means you’ve won.  They have no argument for their position so they are just playing the “Founders Intention Card” in the hopes that will shut you up. 

I think the best way to fully explain this, is something I do as a writer.  To explore some ideas – or sometimes just to pass the time – I’ll try to imagine what I would do if some historical figure showed up at my door.  After being weirded out for a bit, I’d show JFK the Apollo 11 landing, I’d show MLK the Obama inauguration, and since I couldn’t think of anything special to show some other initialed person I’d show Einstein the reports of the detection of gravitational waves.  But should I tell JFK about RFK?  Or MLK about BLM?  What’s the point of any of this, you ask.  Well, having imaginary conversations with long dead historical figures is good practice for having imaginary conversations with fictitious people.  And since I’m a writer, it’s perfectly fine for me to do that. 

A subset of this idea is where the historical person can’t interact with the modern world.  Their spirit, ghost, essence, whatever, is just floating over your shoulder seeing what you see but unable to ask for any clarification.  Someone like Caesar would have no clue what was going on, whereas someone like Ben Franklin would at least understand most of the language.  This can be useful to a writer trying to get into the head of a character ending up on an alien world.

Now let’s imagine the spirits of all the Founding Fathers showed up over my shoulder while I drove to work.  What would they experience?  After the shock wore off, they would be amazed to be traveling without any horses.  If Franklin figured out the speedometer they’d probably be terrified of going the unheard of speed of fifty miles an hour.  Then there would be this odd music, but without any sign of musician or instrument.  And if it was a good song that I repeated, they’d be shocked to hear the exact same thing again.

On my way to work I’d stop at a store with these weird outside stalls.  I’d then use a stiff card to somehow buy so many gallons of this stuff called gasoline that would amount to an absurd amount of like $30.  Some of them probably didn’t pay as much for a slave.

Then I get to work and they’d see that some of my superiors are – gasp – women who – double gasp – wear trousers.  And after a few hours of work – after handling such unexplainable items like extension cords and Pop-Tarts – I’d take my lunch break.  I’d take something out of an ice box – that doesn’t have ice in it – and stick it another box that hums for a few minutes and that somehow makes my meal hot.  I’d eat with a fork that’s as clear as glass but doesn’t shatter.  Something that amazing they’d probably keep as a family heirloom, but which I just throw away once I’m done with it.

Pretty much anything we do today would be astounding to the Founding Fathers.  They would write letters and then put them on a boat and sail them to Europe.  Some months later, they might get a reply.  Now imagine them watching someone pull a thing out of their pocket to “call” someone in Japan just to wish them a happy birthday.  That would completely blow their minds.  Our world would be almost incomprehensible to them.  Which is why “that’s not what the Founders intended” is a losing play in an argument. 

The Founding Fathers were some of the brightest minds of the Eighteenth Century.  But we live in the Twenty-first.  They didn’t have indoor plumbing, but we should follow their intentions in regards to things like cyberterrorism?  I’m not saying we should scrap everything of theirs, but we should examine everything to make sure it is still relevant.  I mean, the Founders weren’t perfect.  They didn’t intend for blacks or women to vote and only certain types of people want to go back to that.