Tuesday, December 6, 2011

28 hours in the life of Basil:

28 hours in the life of Basil:

8 pm - editing narration of book about serial rapist...almost done.

10 pm - read Bible with my boys & try to erase serial rapist character from thoughts...he's way creepy.

11 pm - lay in bed

11:01 pm - think about how modern
pirates hiding out on an island could be captured by Marines Mike & Mojo for part of my WIP

1 am - drift to sleep & dream of Marines chasing serial rapist pirates around island

4 am - wake up to pee....I'm over 40

4:05 am - 5 am - repeat 11p-1am sequence till again asleep...but this time the serial rapist pirates have the upper hand and found some of the escaped hostages

6:45 am - jolt awake realizing I need to finalize my "Ebook Self Publishing" presentation for Tuesday night at the library

6:55 am - sit in comfy wing-back recliner and boot up laptop then realize I already prepared the presentation.

7 am - make coffee, sit down and finalize presentation for Sunday School. Teaching kids "Jehovah Shalom", God of Peace.

10 am - drive ten miles to church on icy rain slicked roads (yeah, it rained on top of our four feet of snow Sunday...very fun driving).

11 am - teach God of Peace Lesson to kids

12 pm - retain calm exterior with class room of 6 six year olds who all have something amazing to tell me...all at once.

1:30 pm - try to reign in a few dozen lunch energized kids to practice for Christmas play...reminding self He's a God of Peace

2:30 pm - Piano Recital for two sons, ...one played jazz, one played classical...both did really well

3 pm - In Laws call during recital, "FIL is sick, can you come cook for this little dinner I am having tonight. Its our choir Christmas party. Its only about 40 people"

4 pm - Start grill, 30 mph freezing wind blows flames toward me wherever I stand...at least the fire on my coat is warm.

5:45 - finish cooking steaks, help finish plating food, eat, help wife & kids do dishes while party goers play Christmas party games.

7 pm - finish dishes, last of guests leave, kids ask to go home so we can watch netflix movie "Thor".

8 pm - watch Thor....it's cool

10 pm lay back in bed again

10:30 - wonder if Thor could help Marines get serial rapist pirates and save hostages on island.

Midnight - remember I have a day job and force self to sleep. Dream about USMC MGySgt Thor Odinson, chasing pirates around the library while I am talking about ebook self-pubbing on Tuesday.

two days after the grilling even, my nice wool coat still smells deliciously like smoked meat
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween....or not

Halloween / Trick or Treat is kinda tricky in Alaska. Last night we got four inches of snow and it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually the snow has fallen by a week earlier, but the east coast stole it all this year. Trick or treating outside has much less impact than in other parts of the continent due to parka's and boots covering up the costumes.

Add that to the fact that the Sands house, being a fairly conservative religious one, doesn't do Halloween at all and it makes for an empty night for kids on our block. To facilitate kids who wanna beg for candy the local phone company, Alaska Communications, hosts a Trick or Treat Town in their rather massive warehouse so the kiddies can come into a warm building and show their costumed best while going "door to door" through a few score or so booths spouting the obligatory "Trick or Treat" (our Boy Scout Troop 104 gets to be the janitorial staff in exchange for a donation). Being that it is in a warehouse and there are police and private security patrolling, egging and other pranks are pretty limited.

In spite of the fact that the Sands clan was all at church holding our own Halloween alternative ("Hallelujah Night" - demons, monsters, and serial killers highly discouraged) we got home about 10 pm to discover that despite our porch light being off, the fish tanks visible in the front window were enough to have attracted a copious amount of attention as attested to a major highway's worth of foot prints tracked through the otherwise fresh snow leading to our front door.

Sorry to disappoint kiddies.

When my wife first came over from Korea she nearly freaked seeing people dressed as ghouls and zombies and witches back in the 80's. Her grandmother (Halmonim) had been a shamanist leader in their home town who converted to Christianity in the early 70s and then lead the whole town that direction, forbiding such pagan practices as much as possible. My wife was scared even to go outside, perhaps thinking the shamanist hold outs had come to get her, as she was the first convert in the family and led her Halmonim to Christ.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Hop Casting Call

A few friends over at soyoureawriter.blogspot.com told me about this little Blog Hop thing where we put out a call for actors for some of the characters in our books.

I thought of a few to play various characters but maybe you could help with some even better suggestions. So here's a few of the cast of characters from 65 Below & Faithful Warrior along with their resumes. Whaddaya think?

Marcus Johnson: (65 Below & Faithful Warrior)
Physical Data -
Height: 6'
Weight: 204 lbs
Ethnicity: Multiple - African American / Alaska Native
Year of Birth: 1968

Ben Eielson High School, Eielson AFB / Salt Jacket, Alaska
Graduated 1986

Job History:
USMC 1986 – 2007
Positions held in this occupation: Sniper, Reconnaisance Marine, Special Operations Marine, Other Classified, Retired in 2007 with rank of E-8 Master Sergeant with numerous combat missions.
1st Force Recon 1987-1999.
Classified assignments 2000 -2007

Hunting Guide 2007 – Present
Specializing in rifle or photo hunts for high profile / diplomatic tourists, prefers photo hunts

Rifle Shooting up to 2000 meters. Pistol & assault weapon shooting in urban / hostage rescue environments. Helped develop modern Marine Martial Arts System for hand to hand combat, holds Black Belt in the system. Wilderness Survival expert. Fur Trapper. Hunting. Stalking. Tracking. Urban assault team leader.
Natively fluent French and Albanian; advanced level Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Croatian; intermediate level Italian, Portugese, German, Dutch, Farsi, Pashto; novice level Mongolian, Mandarin, Japanese

Personality Characteristics:
Quiet contemplative personality. Is very calm, and exhibits extensive self control in stressful situations. His full name is Marcus Orlando Johnson which is shortened by friends to “Mojo”. Was a track star in high school and currently regularly walks 25 miles in a single day in the Alaskan wilderness. Physically very strong. Dated Lonnie Wyatt from High School until the mid-90's. Proposed to her but she said he'd had to quite the Marines to marry her. He couldn't do that and eventually they broke up. He remained celibate after losing that relationship and over time wrote more than 400 poems for and about his love for her, which he shared with no one.

Korean Actress Lee Ji Ah for Lonnie Wyatt
Lonnie Wyatt: (65 Below)
Height: 5'4”
Weight: 128 lbs
Ethnicity: Asian-Korean
Year of Birth: 1969

University of Alaska Fairbanks: Major – Mathematics / Education

Job History:
Lathrop High School, Fairbanks Alaska 1991 - 1997
Math Teacher

Alaska State Troopers, multiple locations in Alaska 1997 – Present
Trooper / Patrol 1997 – 2005
Trooper / Detective (ABI)- 2005-2008
Trooper Lieutenant 2008 – Present

Tae Kwon Do – 5th Degree Black Belt. Hap Ki Do 3rd Degree Black Belt. Certified Forensics Field Examiner. National Police Academy Graduate. FBI Investigative Officer's Academy.

Natively fluent Korean and English.

Personality Characteristics:
Lonnie has a very strong personality and often comes across as cold and hard. Because of her job she struggles with femininity but can use it as a tool for investigative/interrogative purposes on call. She is capable of putting on a frighteningly cold facial expression to coerce perps into divulging data. She is also adept at martial arts in case that doesn't work. Having dated Marcus Johnson for more than ten years, she rejected his proposal for marriage unless he was willing to leave the Marines. Just as they were about to reunite in 1998 Marcus went missing and was presumed dead on a mission in Africa. In her grief Lonnie got pregnant with another man's child only to discover two month's later that Marcus was alive and had escaped Africa on the hope of seeing her again. Their eventual reunion was somewhat rocky.

Aaron Eckhart
Mike Farris (Faithful Warrior)
Height: 6'
Weight: 192 lbs
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Year of Birth: 1966

Biola University: Biblical Studies graduated 1988
Fuller Theological Seminary: Master of Divinity, 1999

Job History:
US Marine Corps Reserve: 1984 – 1988 – Recon Sniper (Enlisted Reservist)
US Marine Corps Active: 1988 – 1995 – Recon Officer (Spec Ops)
US Marine Corps Reserve: 1995 – 2006 – Recon Officer (Spec Ops Reservist)
Retired USMC with rank of Major in 2006

Trinity Presbyterian Church: Senior Pastor 1999 – 2009

FBI Chaplain & Counselor 2009 - Present

Church management and religious teaching. Ministry and Counseling to sufferers of PTSD. Sniper, rifle expert at up to 2000 meters. Pistol expert. Marine Martial Arts Black Belt. Urban assault team leader. Commanding troops up to battalion size in Urban, Rural, Jungle and Desert operations.

Native English, Advanced French, Intermediate Somali and Hebrew

Personality Characteristics:
Mike has a very tender heart for counseling but is also very capable as a warrior with a philosophy of compartmentalization of each aspect of his personality. After an event wherein he was tortured nearly to death by a warlord in Somali in 1993 Mike became interested in treating people with PTSD. He himself did not realize he had signs of the condition until several years after retirement when a violent tragedy struck his family at their church parsonage. Unknown to all but one of his church members, Mike continued to perform special operations missions, usually in a command role, throughout his USMC Reserve duty and is personally known to every President since Ronald Reagan.

Kharzai Ghiassi (Karl's Last Flight & Faithful Warrior)
Raj Kundra, but he'd need bigger hair & thicker beard
Height: 5'8”
Weight: 165 lbs
Ethnicity: Persian American
Year of Birth: 1971

Indiana State University: Dual Degrees in History and Physics 1993

Job History:
Tastee Freeze: Cook, Cashier, Lady Hitter Onner 1986-1987
Indiana State University Library: Thing Looker Upper, Info Getter for Whatever 1987-1988
JooJooBees FashionWares: Clerk, Clothes Tryer-Onner, Official Flirter With Chickies 1988-1988
Farquharson Tax Service: Guy Dancing with Sign on Street Corner 1988-1993...really liked that job, lot's of chickies gave their numbers.

CIA: Position Classified 1993 – 2010
(all details of his CIA employment are classified and not to be opened until Dec 31, 2080)

Laughing, smiling, flirting, dancing, singing badly, telling dumb jokes. Capable of multi-input/output. Killing people...usually just bad guys, but you never know. Oh and can tie both shoes at the same time, one with each hand.

Lots. Yup....lots & lots & lots. Farsi, Arabic, English of course, French & Italian (cuz that makes the ladies swoon), Hebrew, Russian, Pashto, Eewok, Yoda, Arriana Huffington's language...whatever that is.

Personality Characteristics:
I have beautiful thick black hair that jiggles when I wiggle. I like moonlit walks on the beach, barefoot traipsing through the jungle, eating vanilla bean ice cream, slitting the throat of terrorists who thought I was their buddy, playing dead then scarring the whillies out of new guys. (Chief Psychological Officer's note: Kharzai is an interesting study in everything science says does not exist. In middle school he was diagnosed as ADHD but he refuted the diagnosis and refused treatment based on his self-diagnosis as a new condition he termed Bilateral Rapid Understanding Hyper-Attentive Hyper-Active, which he shortened to the acronym BRUHAHA. He has exhibited the capability to participate in multiple conversations while simultaneously writing and / or reading another. When tested he was able to repeat verbatim the content of up to four simultaneous sources of input. He exhibits nearly photographic memory and is capable of mimicry such that he is practically a master of disguise. Kharzai Ghiassi is either the most intelligent human being I have ever met, or is utterly insane. As long as he is on our side I guess we are safe. End Chief Psychological Officer's note)

Gary Sinise
Paul Hogan (Faithful Warrior)
Height: 5'7”
Weight: 226 lbs
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Year of Birth: 1966

University of Virginia: Criminology 2007
FBI Special Agent Academy 2008
FBI Executive Leadership Academy 2010

Job History:
US Marine Corps: 1988 – 2006 – Recon Marine (Spec Ops)
Medically Retired USMC with rank of Gunnery Sergeant in 2006

FBI Agent: Anti-Terrorism Specialist 2007 – 2009
FBI Special Agent in Charge: Ohio Valley Anti-Terrorist Task Force 2009-2011
FBI Undersecretary for Anti-Terrorism - 2011-Present

All Firearms. If it shoots bullets he can master it within moments of touching it. Explosives, standard and improvised. Investigative Procedure.

English, Irish Gaelic, Spanish

Personality Characteristics:
Paul served through much of the first half of his military career with Mike Farris as both his commanding officer and his best friend. He was the Marine who rescued Mike from being tortured in Somalia in 1993, and later worked extensively with him on secret operations. Paul was often the comic relief for the unit and enjoyed telling stories, especially regarding his Irish heritage. In 2001 Paul was among the first Recon Marines to enter Afghanistan alongside Marcus Johnson and saw extensive combat, both special operations and traditional infantry operations in six successive tours between there and Iraq where he met Kharzai Ghiassi for the first time. In the summer of 2006 Paul was nearly killed by an explosion that forced him into medical retirement two years short of his full regular retirement date. He had been studying online for a degree in Criminology with hopes of becoming an FBI agent upon retirement. That career became a reality shortly after his graduation, but it too took a nearly fatal turn just two years later. Paul still jokes around and has fun in his job, just does it with a serious limp nowadays.

Update:  When I originally posted I forgot to add these links to all these other fine writers who are participating in this Blog Hop! CHECK'Em Out!

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

65 Below now on Audible.com

Finally!! The Full Version Unabridged Audiobook of 65 Below is now live at Audible.com!

Click here to get your copy today!

Book Description:
At 65 degrees below zero, exposed human flesh freezes solid within three minutes.

Retired Marine Master Sergeant Marcus Johnson returned to his family homestead in rural Alaska after 20 years chasing bad men. Now he wants nothing but to hunt and fish and run his trapline in peace and quiet, and no more war.

Meanwhile, lurking deep in a long forgotten bunker in the remote arctic hills is a decades-old secret that could not be destroyed, and was never meant to be rediscovered.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Win a free Kindle!.....or Two!!!!

I'm giving away One Free copy of the Audie Award nominated Audio-book Karl’s Last Flight written and narrated by Basil Sands and available at Audible.com. This is the full retail version, not the podcast and therefore is quite different than the free one you might've heard.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this posting before October 1st, 2011.
Every Entry gets a coupon for a free ebook of Karl’s Last Flight as well!!

Here’s a description of the story:
Karl Alexander had been an adrenaline junky for twenty five years. Whether flying Harriers in the Marines, piloting the shuttle for NASA, or as the chief astronaut for StrataCorp Space Flight his happiness was only found when he hit five Gs. But when a series of minor mishaps sends his ship crashing into the desert of an unknown country, Karl finds a new kind of adrenaline rush as he is swept into a raging torrent of the world at the edge of war. Spies, insurgents, secret police, and an infamous Saudi millionaire terrorist all threaten to make his next flight, his last.
Get a second entry by going to The Big Thrill's Neverending Giveaway site and leave a comment under the Karl's Last Flight entry. Not only will you be entered to win a free copy of the unabridged MP3 Audiobook, since I am feeling just plain generous I am going to give every commenter a copy of the e-book totally free just for the asking!
That’s right… a free ebook copy of Karl’s Last Flight to everyone who simply comments on this entry by October 1st, no special drawing, no special requirements other than to say you’d like one and voila! Just leave a comment and bamo: you’ll have an ebook.
Leave a comment here before October 1st to enter for the free audiobook and I will send you a Smashwords coupon code for a free copy of the ebook version of Karl’s Last Flight.
The drawing winner will get a CD containing the entire unabridged audiobook in MP3 format but every commentor will get a free ebook coupon code!
Enter Today!
Everyone wins!!!!!
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Monday, August 1, 2011

"Basil's Very Little Known 'Facts' " Hollywood casting of movies

A post on my favourite other blog, The Kill Zone, got me thinking about how Hollywood casts its movies.

And now it's time for "Basil's Very Little Known 'Facts' "

The Magnificent Seven: The script for the famous western was based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. In the initial readings the intention was not to make it a real “Western” per se, but more of a musical comedy along the lines of Oklahoma meets Abbot & Costello in the days of Blade Runner (yes, Blade Runner had not yet been written, but the ideas were there nonetheless).

The original casting included Bud Abbot in the part of the samurai leader Shimada, Lou Costello as the young untested warrior Okamoto, Larry Fine as Katayama the skilled archer, Lee Marvin as the tough Kyzo, Curly Howard as Hayadashi the comedic warrior, Jonathan Winters as the lieutenant Shiroji, and Milton Berle as the counterfeit samurai with the heart of a warrior Kikuchiyo.

It all fell apart early on when Abbot refused to get a samurai top knot haircut and kept insisting on putting his arms around the pretty girls. Costello got jealous and tried to prove his manhood by learning to use his katana sword for real. Several very expensive set pieces were destroyed before his midnight practice sessions were halted. Add to that Moe Howard's frustration at not being offered a part with his former stooges (Larry had actually specially requested that Moe be left out to give his hair and nose a break from the regular season abuse, something which Moe did not learn until much later in life and to which he responded by saying, “Why I oughta...”). Curly actually felt very much at home in Samurai garb and started to philosophize to no end about how he had probably been one in a former life, and had ruled a vast portion of ancient Japan, and how the word 'Nyuk' can actually be found in historical texts of the Japanese language.

Jonathan Winters at first started off playing his part very well. So well as a matter of fact that he was very nearly at the point of being typecast as the tough albeit slightly chubby hired gun in future westerns. Such aspirations were shot down though, literally when upon seeing an ethnically-Japanese crew member he thought he recognized from WW2 the former Marine had a violent flashback and nearly beheaded the man with a prop sword prompting a security guard to shoot him with a prop gun causing him to suddenly collapse into a sobbing heap then start emulating an alien invasion using only two chopsticks, a Japanese fan, and bowl of noodles.

Between those antics and Milton Berle's constant arrival on set dressed as a Geisha instead of a Samurai Lee Marvin (also a former Marine) finally just quit the whole show and stormed off muttering something about “I may have survived getting my ass shot off in Saipan, but there's no way in hell I'll survive these morons!”.

So there you have it, what might have been had Hollywood had its way on casting that time.

That also got me thinking, if my books were to be optioned for movies who would fill the roles? Any ideas out there?
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Friday, July 29, 2011

July has been Busy

Week 1: Day Job - Visit by Regional Director and her National Director – quite stressful for my little one man office.

Week 1: Fun – Wife Birthday then watch youngest son play in week long Little League Baseball All-Stars Tournament

Weekend 1: Fun – Kayaking in Prince William Sound with son's Boy Scout Troop

Week 2: Day Job – Four day inspection by National IT Oversight and Compliance Team (IT version of IG) – very stressful for my little one man office.

Weekend 2: Prep for Cub Scout Camp, Prep for church VBS in August

Week 3: Day Job: prep for server migration to new blade servers. Evenings: Chaperone Cub Scout Camp all night, tell campfire stories and make sure young son gets to his final Little League Game.

Weekend 3: Prep for dipnet fishing trip – lot's of packing. Someone reset the church wifi and removed security … fixed it

Week 4: Fun (sorta) Head to Kenai for Dipnetting – fished one tide Monday morning – caught 26 red salmon in about 2 hours – wife became very sick – rushed back to Anchorage & went to Hospital – baaad infection, but after 4 days bedrest and care she's better. Canned about 30 pints of salmon, half of it smoked. Froze 200 lbs of fresh fish. Day Job: work two days, lots of training classes, end of month reports, inventory maintenance. Day Job: finish prep for server migration.

Weekend 4: prep for next weeks VBS all day Saturday and Sunday, hope that this sort throat I have now is just a thing for today, and not a sign of what's coming next week.

And this is the slow time of year............
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hot New Audiobook - Threat Warning, by John Gilstrap - Narrated by Basil Sands.... hey that's me!

Threat-Warning-Cover-175Alright ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to ask you to help out a friend of mine and go buy his book, ebook and/or audiobook!

John Gilstrap's newest Jonathan Grave novel is out and your's truly had the privilege of narrating the audiobook version for Audible.com. It is a good story. Fast paced, action packed, even funny at times. Well hey, instead of me blabbing, check out the jacket copy:

In his most terrifying thriller yet, New York Times bestselling author John Gilstrap exposes the darkest threat to America's freedom, a secret society of merciless killers, watching and waiting to strike. The first victims are random: ordinary citizens, fired upon at rush hour by unseen assassins. Caught in the crossfire of one of the attacks, hostage rescue specialist Jonathan Grave spies a gunman getting away—with a mother and her son as hostages. To free them, Grave and his team must enter the dark heart of a nationwide conspiracy. But their search goes beyond the frenzied schemes of a madman's deadly ambitions. This time, it reaches all the way to the highest levels of power...
See...I told you!

Get it the audiobook on Audible.com or pick up the ebook or paperback at Amazon.com today!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice and Rainy day visions

Yesterday I received yet another rejection letter from a major agent's assistant. This one stung more than most, because after 5 years of pounding the pavement then deciding I would just jump into the self-pub world I had been highly recommended to this agent by another major agent who liked my stories but doesn't represent thrillers. Between the rejection, a day of grey cold Alaskan rain and a little league baseball game where all the kids were acting like a bunch of kittens on meth, I was tired and in a pretty bummed mood by night fall, which never really fell because it is solstice which in Alaska means 24 hours of the brightest sunlight of the year except with the clouds it was as I said earlier cold and grey sunlight. I lay in my bed unable to sleep, wondering if I should just toss in the towel, admit defeat and shelve the book I'm nearly done with, my fourth by the way. I couldn't say this aloud, because my uber supportive wife would be devastated, she has every inclination that I will succeed, much more than I do most days.

  I was beating myself up for not paying more attention in High School or College English classes which at the time I had no idea I'd need, since I was going to be a Marine Corps Infantry Officer and probably Commandant one day. Then I beat myself up for getting injured in said Marines and sent home before I even made Lance Corporal. Then the pummeling continued for having given up on my way back dream of owning a restaurant, failing at the computer business I did actually own, failure at farming, the skiing injury that makes serious exercise nearly impossible most days, and now being stuck in the perfect limbo job with a decent but not spectacular salary and no where to go unless I want to move 2000 miles away, and...well...you can see where this is going.

  Curled beneath my blanket next to my wife, her soft breaths coming like whispered pleas to pull out of my misery, I lay blaming myself for every failure under the sun, even reaching the point where I started to wonder if that six degrees of separation thing meant that I was responsible for the global recession and the mess in Libya and Middle East (I am sure the President would love it to be so). As I lay there feeling sorry for myself a phrase ran through my mind.

"It rained. It rained the day world caught fire, but the fire didn't go out."

  The phrase wouldn't go away. It came with images too, images of a man running, of frightened children changing in the face of danger, of war, of a world collapsing into a new dark ages, and of course rain. I had hoped these images would go away, but they didn't. When, after less than four hours of fitful sleep, I crawled back through the veil into consciousness the images were waiting for me, stark and vivid, nakedly accusing me of trying to abandon them.

  There are two things this imagery means in my opinion, the one I am going to go with is that this is the groundwork for my next novel, and that I need to follow it and see where it leads even though it is not the book I had been planning to start next, although that one has a bit of rain in it too. I am going to run with the idea that it's a book, because the alternative is to consider it a vision of the future...and I just don't want to go there.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father's Day Special! Free eBook!

Get dad some action packed reading for Father's Day and get a second book Free! Click this link to buy 65 Below, Faithful Warrior, or Karl's Last Flight ebook or paperback and get a coupon for a free copy of one of my other ebooks of your choice.

Make your purchase, send your purchase confirmation to dad@basilsands.com and I will send the Smashwords coupon back to you to get your free book.

Yes...that's right...FREE!!
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A bit of advice from my literary blog friend John Ramsey Miller





(sorry for the shouting....its just the way he talks...)
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Good Guys Professional Development Conference and Awards Banquet: After Action Report

From: Phil Hardtly, Chief, Janitorial Maint. Staff, Convention Center

To: Management and Scheduling Dept.

Re: Concerns related after Friday's “Good Guy” conference

Please be advised of the following discoveries after yesterday's conference entitled “Good Guy Professional Development Conference and Awards Banquet”.

Convention Hall:
  • Several significant modifications were discovered to have been made to the wiring and communications systems
    • Wiretaps and listening devices had been placed in many locations throughout the room.
    • Some were not so well hidden, three even had names inscribed on them, “Clouseau”, “J. Bond”, and “English, Johnny English”.
    • Some were better hidden, nearly impossible to find but given the nature of the types of conventions we host, my staff regularly sweeps the area for such devices.
    • As you are aware I am sure, The Loosley Amalgamated Corps of Evil Henchmen will be here next week and it could have had a seriously negative impact had we not discovered these bugs
  • Many of the tables had a large number of gouges and knife marks on their surface. One of the maintenance staff had earlier witnessed several parties in attendance playing “that knife between the fingers game from the movie Alien”. The tables will have to be sanded and refinished to make them servicable without table clothes in the future.

  • Burn marks on the ceiling, two door frames, and one light fixture from “Super Power Demonstrations” seminar
    • note – Alcohol and Super Powers do not mix

Coat Check / Weapon Check Room

All attendees were required to turn in any weapons, concealed or otherwise, at the coat check room upon entry. This was a good plan and to add to the general security of the conference and attendees I had ordered an additional very large and bio contained safe be placed in the room to ensure both adequate space and containment in case of a mishap. The feared mishaps came in the form of two items as delineated below
  • Mr.  Johnny English of MI7 checked in an ink pen that he claimed was a small thermonuclear device capable of deconstructing at a molecular level any biological  system it came in contact with one minute after being armed.  We believe either Mr. English, while showing it off to the check clerk, unknowingly armed the pen when he handed it to the young man or the young clerk fiddled with it himself not believing the agent's claims. After English left and the clerk went to lock up the pen witnesses claimed to have heard a puppy-like whimpering sound followed by a sharp sizzle. When the clerk did not return from the closet one of his co-workers entered the room and found nothing but an oily puddle on the carpet. This was severely distressful for our staff, as we were already short handed for the event.

  • Ms. Ellen Ripley dropped off what she claimed was an unloaded alien weapon she had brought for presentation/display purposes. Apparently it was not unloaded. An alien spawn housed in a hidden capsule inside escaped then used its acid saliva to burn through the safe and the floor beneath and cause no small amount of concern in the homeschool conference going on one floor down. Luckily one of the homeschool kids captured it in a Mason jar. With his mother's permission and the assistance of a couple other fifth grade homeschool kids he proceeded to do a series advanced biological, cellular and genetic experiments on the creature in hopes of attaining early college credit. The students were later seen to have what appeared to be Alien-like dogs on leashes as they left the building
    • Related side note, we need to replace the sink, several water pitchers and the microwave in the downstairs convention room.

  • Due to a practical joke played early on the first day of the conference both the male and female restrooms were very messy. Someone had covered the male urinals and about half of the female toilets with clear plastic wrap. The resultant deflection of bodily fluids create a huge mess and tempers flared quite dangerously among some of the victims. The worst reaction was when a Ms Lara Croft had to do “number two” while the cleaning staff was in the process of removing the plastic wrap. She chose a toilet they had not yet been checked.
    • Apparently Miss Croft had consumed a lot of fresh fruit juice recently.
  • After most of the attendees had left staffers were quite startled to discover several young adults trapped in compromised positions in the restrooms and adjoining closets.
    • It is not believed they were engaged in amorous activities due to the manner in which they were discovered.
    • Miss Nancy Drew was found sandwiched between the Hardy brothers, all three had been stripped to their underwear, and bound together with a copious amount of “Saran Wrap” then duct taped to the plumbing pipes in the utility closet between the restrooms. Scrawled across their faces and foreheads in black Sharpie  were the words  "Frigid" and "Teaser" for Miss Drew and "Pissers” and “Poo Face”for the Hardy Boys.
    • The Wonder Twins were likewise duct taped together, but back to back and fully clothed in their case, and rather than being attached to the building in some manner, they were suspended in mid-air by a glowing yellow plasma orb in the handicapped stall of the men's room.
      • Staff got them down by shorting out the plasma orb with a metal broom handle. The twins did fall rather hard a distance of more than six feet to the tile floor. Jayna banged her head on the toilet bowl in the fall.
        • FYI: They have both threatened to sue for the injuries.

  • Mr Tim Drake (aka Robin) and Miss Susan Storm (aka Invisible Woman) were discovered snuggled closely and fully clothed in their “Super Hero” outfits, sleeping off a drunken stupor in the cased liquor storage room
    • it is assumed they both passed out before anything happened other than perhaps a very minor bout of fantastic fourplay (get it? 'fantastic fourplay' ha, ha...uh)
  • Large amounts of broken glass were found behind the bar, interspersed with water color paintings of bottles of Bailey's and numerous leaves of kelp.
    • According to witnesses, the bartender (a Mr Olde Gregg hired from a temp agency) had served over two dozen Long Island Iced Teas to a Mr. Sean Dillon and several bottles Baileys to a Mr. Allan Quatermain then intiated a 'water color contest' with them which turned violent when he said they painted beautifully and then asked both men to marry him.
For future “Good Guy” conferences please ensure that security and maintenance staff is present in the same quantity as we generally have for the “Arch Villains” and “Moody Rock Star” conferences, as the damage while in different forms was at a similar level.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Short shorts....not the story kind

Over on Joe Konrath's blog some folks were speaking of short stories and that made me remember a story about a different kind of shorts that used to make me both laugh and cringe.

Years ago I was the manager of the military dining hall for the National Security Agency. Yup I was Chef to the Spies, meal provider to International Men of Mystery and Black Ops types. There was a supervisor in the dining hall who was a retired Army Mess Sergeant and he was absolutely anal about dress code.

Granted it was a military dining hall and there were rules, and this was in the early 90's before "sexual harrassment training" became standard, but this dude had a thing about girls wearing short shorts. In the event a young lady came in wearing shorts that extended less than three inches from her private area he would send her back to the barracks to change before she was allowed to eat. If she argued that it was within regs ol' sarge, apparently having visually stared at enough women's private area to trust his visual measurements, whipped out a plastic ruler he kept in his pocket for just such an opportunity. The girls almost universally balked at the idea of him verifying anything and stormed out of the mess hall to find something to cover up...or head off base to McDonalds.

After a while, some of the older female employees kept a couple of wrap around skirts available to loan the young girls before sarge saw them.

Of course if guys came in wearing short shorts he didn't bother with the ruler, they just got a snot slinging nuclear shout fest explosion only a mess sergeant was capable of. And they never argued with him...nor did they repeat the mistake. Something about him saying "If those things fall out yer shorts I'll castrate you with a fifty pound potato peeler" or "this ain't that kind of freakin' joint sweetie cakes, if I so much as think yer hairy butt-cheeks are going to peek into view I'm gonna shave them off with this industrial cheese grater!"

Yeah...sarge ended up with a lot of counseling during the Clinton years....

anyway...shorts are difficult issue for me
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dreams and More: visions of flight and my next book

I dream a lot. But never nightmares, or the weird creatures those who know me might imagine me dreaming of. Usually I am searching for something, sometimes I see quizzical things I spend the whole night pondering, often I am flying. While I don't recall being frightened in any of the dreams, I am often nervous, especially around power lines because I usually am not so good at controlling my flight. Often I forget how to gain altitude, or how to turn to avoid something, but I always end up landing in one piece with my heart hammering in my chest.

Last night was a particularly interesting flying dream. I was in an ejection seat rocketing up through clouds. The upward propulsion was long and went very high, much higher than physics would allow a normal ejection seat to go, especially since the flight didn't originate in a jet or even in the air. I propelled past a cluster of skydivers afraid I would collide with them. Moving in the multi-directional space of sky is very different from terrestrial motion. There are a lot more dangers you cannot see, coming from all directions. Luckily, or by divine providence, after a couple of close calls where the skydivers noticed me just in time, I missed  all of them.

Ascending through a higher layer of cloud, I began to slow and suddenly realized I had no seatbelt on. I tried to buckle it but when I let go of the seat it started to tip. That was scary, because now I was  many thousands of feet in the sky. So high that ice crystals made sections of the clouds solid. Coming to rest on a bit of that solidly frozen cloud I encountered a group of four teenagers, who were discussing the coolest way to play music as they moved through the sky, live music that is, there was a grand piano nearby they were going to use on the way down. We chatted for a moment, then I realized it was time for me to get back to earth. I scooted off the ice and started my descent. It was fairly controlled and there was a lot of cloud, more than the journey up had encountered. I knew I was miles in the sky and therefore did not want to open my chute till I could see the ground. I broke the bottom layer of cloud and found myself much closer than I anticipated. Yanking the chute cord I slowed, but did not land for quite a while, instead flying around two or three stories above ground, trying to figure out where I was.

Then I saw a sign. I had landed in Hyde Park, London. Long flight, having taken off from Anchorage Alaska.

I still haven't figured out this dream's meaning, if any, but it really has me thinking.

This brings me to one that I had a long time ago, 1989 if I remember correctly.

Over twenty years ago I had a dream that I knew I would have to one day turn into a novel. It involved a king of a group of five northern Chinese cities called Kwai Ler Wang Guo, or the Happy Kingdom. In the dream the king and his people lose a war and king, not willing for his people to be massacred by  the aggressive invaders, flees China with them escaping to Goryeo (medieval  Korea). There they build a city hidden inside a ring of mountains where no one would find them.

The next morning I told my wife about it. As I related the story she stared wide eyed. I asked what was the matter and she told me that parts of the dream sounded like fragments of her own family history. We had only been married about a year at the time and she, not being a history buff, had never told me the family history.

As it turns out, her family name 'Ma' is not a Korean name (my wife is Korean). It is the Chinese word for Horse. It is a name that signifies either royalty or warrior class. Her father had a copy of the family geneology book, presently sitting in the gun safe at my home, that goes back over a thousand years. It includes the names of all of the sons born to her branch of the Ma family over that period of time.  This book of course is not the original, which miraculously survived all those years, including the Japanese occupation and Korean War.  It is a facsimile, a complete replica faithfully copied and maintained exactly as the original in the event of the loss of that original.

The fact that they had this book is meaningful, not too many people in that part of the world were literate until the latter half of this century. The part that really intrigues me though is the earliest segment of the book. It is a journal of some type. Only a portion of it has been translated, because while it is written in Chinese characters, the language is significantly different and according to my father in law no one, even at Seoul University, had been able to completely decipher it. Best they can tell, it is the language of a kingdom that no longer exists. The writer they said was most likely a general or a prince. The kingdom was eradicated some time around the rise of the Mongol empire, apparently wiped off the map without a trace. This was a common form of conquest by the way, which is why archaeologists have such a hard time verifying ancient things. Conquerors would destroy all traces of the prior inhabitants and rewrite history.

At any rate, this book and its writer ended up in Korea sometime around the 11th century. My wife said that her grandfather had on one occasion taken her to her ancestral home in the central part of South Korea in the mid-seventies. She said they rode a bus for a long way, several hours on dusty roads. The bus stopped in the middle of nowhere and they got off.

Surrounded by rice paddies and forest ten year old Mikyong said, “Grandpa where's the village?”

“We have to walk from here,” he pointed to a cluster of vertical peaks a couple miles in the distance, “to those mountains.”

It took over two more hours to get there. When they arrived she was stunned. Inside this ring of mountains was a whole city, housing a few thousand residents. As they pass clusters of houses she noticed the mail boxes in front of each one. A disproportionate amount all had the same name imprinted on the box, a name not very common in Korea.


She met distant cousins and relatives and learned that during the Korean War the entire area had not heard a single shot. They had barely even known the war had occurred. While the slaughter had engulfed the entire Korean peninsula it had bypassed them entirely. Her grandfather had left the town to study medicine during the Japanese occupation and ended up pressed into service as a diplomat to Japan during that time. He married outside the clan otherwise she would likely have been born there too (if at all).

After the dream and her story I knew right away that I would have to write that into a novel, but at that time as a twenty-something with bigger fish to fry (like becoming a millionaire restaurateur by age thirty) had no clue how to write a novel, nor the time and energy to do it. Now on the other hand, with my kids nearly grown, and youthful ambition realityified (yeah I made that word up) the story is finally in the queue, and God willing after I have finished my current WIP (Cold Summer due this summer) the new one will be up next with both an adult and a YA storyline.

Working title for my first Historical Fiction: Blood of Princes.

Due out...when I get it done.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

STORYMAN: A Kharzai Ghiassi short-story

He held his breath and took in the silence that lay heavily in the cool, moist morning air.
During the hours between the bar closings at two am and the earliest of the delivery vehicles at six am traffic was practically non-existent in the city. The din of noise that reverberated through the streets and alleys, on the sidewalks and in shops and restaurants and bars had ceased hours ago.
The sound of cars, trucks and busses, people talking, shoes scraping, music blaring, had been replaced by the echoing drip of water from a leaking pipe on the side of a brick building in a dark alley. Rat claws scraped against the concrete behind the dumpster a few yards from the restaurant’s back door. Empty wine bottles and various paper refuse lay strewn beside the metal container. Some other beast, a cat or a racoon, rummaged through the trash inside. Street lamps hummed and throbbed with a deep electric pulse. A lone siren sounded in the distance several blocks away.
The ambient sounds of the urban night were nothing like what he had heard the previous afternoon. A sound nearly indiscernible in the noise of the day.
He had heard it…no…he had felt it coming through a wall in the children’s home. It felt like a heart breaking. A tiny heart that had been crushed and was bleeding out it’s last bit of life.
A group of students from the college had come to the children’s home to help for a week with the tasks of cooking and cleaning and playing with the children. Some of the boys and girls who resided at the home were orphans who had lost their parents. Most were drug orphans whose parents were still there in body, but little else. Nearly all were young, under ten. The home took them in for periods ranging from days to months until proper foster care could be found.
Kharzai Ghiassi was not particularly interested in playing with kids. He had only come along because an attractive young lady who had recently gained his interest had volunteered. Regardless of the extra credit for class, he was taking the chance to be able to flirt with her more than anything else. Once at the home though, Kharzai’s heart was filled with empathy for the lost urchin wraiths.
His own childhood had not been easy. At a young age Kharzai had been branded by the school system with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. The school tried to coerce his parents to give him drugs like Ritalin that could force him to a state of stillness in the classroom. They had fled a country whose new leadership had no qualms about using mind-altering drugs to punish those who rose against them and they would have none of it.
Drugs or not, the brand stuck and he frequently found himself in the awkward position for a child of being instantly disliked by most teachers and ignored by his fellow students. Even though his grades were perfect all the way through graduation, and he spoke four languages with native fluency before he was fifteen, the ADHD label preceded his record.
Kharzai did not like being labeled. He had no problem admitting he was hyperactive, but he whole-heartedly disagreed with the Attention Deficit label. To the contrary Kharzai felt that he had no deficit of attention. No, the reality was more that he had a surplus of attention and could process the details of multiple tasks and conversations simultaneously. This flustered his teachers, especially when they thought he was ignoring them only to have every word they had said for the past thirty minutes repeated back to them verbatim, as well as the text he had been reading or the other conversation he had been in.
Kharzai came up with a name for his condition that he felt more applicable. Bilateral Rapid Understanding Hyper Active Hyper Attentive. He shortened it to an acronym: BRUHAHA.
It was his BRUHAHA that drew his attention to the van that pulled away from the children’s home just as he arrived early on the second day. It looked like any ordinary delivery van, powder blue, no windows, unobtrusive. Others like it were delivering goods to offices and warehouses all over the city that morning. But this one caught his eye. The driver’s movements had been stiff, nervous. The passenger, head covered by a greasey sweat stained ball cap fired a threatening glare at Kharzai as they passed him in the alley. The man’s eyes growled at him as if saying, “Mind your own business, jerk.”
BRUHAHA brought the sound to his ears late on the last day. He had been performing a a highly animated solo version of “Cinderella” to the gathered group of children sitting on the floor in the meeting room of the house. The full assembly of children had their eyes glued to him in rapt attention as he played out the characters all vying to wear the glass slipper. Even the other college students, including the cute girl he was after, were totally enthralled by his skill at story telling.
At one point he drew in a breath and paused dramatically, allowing tension to build. As he held the silence, his audience standing at the edge of a virtual cliff about to drop to the valley below, a sound echoed in a chamber in the back of his mind, not so much heard as simply known.
Somewhere up and behind his head, on the wall above him, it slid through the air. A whimper. Pain. Sorrow. Despair. Without breaking character, he held the silence for a split second more, spun and glanced in the direction of the sound. His eyes passed over the reflective brass finish of a furnace intake grate near the ceiling above his head. He spun back towards the audience, continuing the show.
The children and college students in the group let out a collective gasp as he expertly carried the story to its end in a manner none of them had ever experienced. The room burst into exhilarated cheers as he finished with a bow and a flourish.
The applause went on too long, his ears strained to find that noise again. He had to find out what, who, had been its source. He had not merely heard but felt it in his soul. Someone suffered at the other end of that air duct.
Children rose and with wide smiles and gleeful giggles hugged his legs and pulled his arms.
“Tell us another one Storyman.”
He had made them happier than they had been in a long time. Soon they were all calling him by that name. Storyman.
The headmaster of the home approached. His thin, pale appearance accentuated by a dead emptiness in his eyes that gave Kharzai an uneasy feeling in his gut. Cheekbones and jaw line shone skull like through nearly translucent skin. Wispy strands of blond hair raked in thin lines across his pasty white scalp in a poor comb-over. Blond eyelashes and brows, nearly invisible against his skin, encircled the globes of his dull gray eyes that swam in their sockets like puddles of tepid soap scum.
“Young man, that was wonderful,” he said as he reached out with a clammy dead fish handshake. “I honestly don’t think I have ever heard such good storytelling. One would think you were a professional actor. You are marvelous.”
‘Thanks,” replied Kharzai. “Say, were all of the children down here for the story?”
“Yes, of course. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, I just thought I heard something in the middle of my story.”
“Oh, well I can guarantee that this is all of the children we have at the home right now,” the headmaster said.
He was lying. BRUHAHA enabled Kharzai to read souls, no one had ever been able to lie to Kharzai for very long. It was very obvious, he was covering something. Kharzai shot a disarming smile that relieved the tension brewing behind the headmaster's eyes.
“It must have just been the furnace then,” he said and then added with a chuckle, “or ghosts.”
The headmaster’s lips turned up in a vague impression of a polite smile. He excused himself and walked stiffly away. Kharzai rejoined the party and the gaggle of kids. He stood near the air grate as long as possible in hopes the sound would come again but it didn’t. Not the same sound at least. From a floor he reckoned to be two stories above their heads came a heavy thump, like something being dropped.
Kharzai turned to one of the other college students with a start, “What was that?”
The other student dismissed it, “Probably someone moving furniture, or cleaning up stairs.”
The children had not heard the sound, or ignored it, and kept playing. Several minutes later he saw the headmaster again. The man looked calm. He raised his hands to calm the children.
“Children,” he called out, “children, it’s time for your new friends to go now. Say your good-byes because they will not be returning next week.”
The children let out mournful sounds that broke the hearts of the college students, several of whom promised to return again. The headmaster again reached out to shake Kharzai’s hand. As he stretched it forth Kharzai noticed a round light bluish bruise on the back of his knuckles. Fresh. It hadn’t been there when they first talked less than thirty minutes ago.
“What happened to your hand sir?” he asked with a look of shock on his face.
“Oh, I hit it on a doorknob,” he replied. “It’s nothing really, my light skin bruises quite easily you know.”
Kharzai stole a longer glance at it. The bruise was round, but not full. It was only the outline of something round, a ring of blue. And it was not totally round. In the split second of the extra look, he saw something else his eye quickly focusing on something dark, black, embedded in skin of the headmaster’s knuckle. Less than a centimeter long, but clearly visible against his nearly translucent pale skin.
An eyelash.
The eyelash was not the headmaster’s. His were blond. This was ebony black.
He smiled up at the older man and peered deeply into his eyes. The headmaster stared back for a moment, but turned away. Kharzai found what he sought. Guilt. Deep seated guilt. This man had been, make that was doing, something bad…very bad.
Kharzai’s smile stayed in its place, veiling his thoughts. The students filed out at five PM just before the children were to sit for their evening meal. At four AM the following morning Kharzai stood motionless, silent, in a deep shadow in the alley between the children’s home and the restaurant, the alley the men in the van had pulled out from and given him the evil eye a few days earlier. At four nineteen the same van returned and pulled up to the back door of the children’s home.
Two men got out of the van. One from the passenger seat wore a blue denim jacket and jeans of the same color. A greasy cloth ball cap was pressed over a stream of equally greasy, long brown hair. The second man exited from the back of the van. He was tall, well over six feet and appeared big under the long black leather trenchcoat that flowed around his ankles. He looked like someone out of a cheap action movie. Cheap actors or not, they were both armed. The bulge of weapons pressed against their coats. The van’s driver stayed in his seat. Cigarette smoke floated in thin blue strands from the driver's window.
The pair crossed the alley toward the back of the children’s home. Trenchcoat rapped his knuckles against the brown metal door set into its red brick wall. Ball Cap looked around nervously. Kharzai was invisible to them in the inky blackness of the shadow in which he stood.
The door creaked open and out stepped the headmaster. Although the men spoke in hushed tones their voices echoed in whispery strains against the concrete walls.
“Are they all ready?” said Trenchcoat.
“Yes, of course,” replied the headmaster, “lovely specimens, perfect, beautiful.”
“As long as they are fresh,” said Ball Cap. His voice was weird, like a nineteen thirties movie gangster. Kharzai half expected him to say “see” at the end of his sentences.
“Bring them out,” said Trenchcoat. He motioned for Ball Cap to open the van doors as the headmaster disappeared into the building.
A moment later the headmaster stepped out the door with four children in tow. They were small, no more than six or seven years old, and were bound to one another at the wrists, tied together like slaves being led to market.
The children moved as a group, single file toward the back of the van. Their faces looked odd, unnatural. Their lips were too red, their skin did not reflect light in a natural way. Thick black mascara encircled their dazed eyes.
Kharzai glanced at Ball Cap as he opened the back of the van. The greasy man’s lips spread in a sickening smile. He licked his lips. The front of his jeans stretched with an obscene bulge.
Kharzai stepped out from the shadow and moved silently into the alley. As he passed the restaurant’s dumpster he squatted without breaking stride and scooped up a discarded wine bottle in each hand. Beneath the mass of curly black locks that bounced with each step his eyes glowed with hateful fire. Blood coursed thick and hot through his veins. Its metallic taste pulsed in his tongue.
Trenchcoat slid the Headmaster a thick brown envelope. The pale old man’s greedy fingers snatched it from his hand. Ball Cap looked up from the children. He saw the shadowy figure moving in their direction.
“Hey, move on asshole!”
Kharzai did not respond.
“I said, move on!”
Trenchcoat slid his hand into the folds of long black leather. A glint of stainless steel flickered in light spilled from the lamp over his head onto the body of the semi-automatic pistol.
One of the children, a little girl, looked towards him and snapped out of her daze.
“It’s the Storyman!” she cried out.
The other kids turned to see him too. Their eyes widened with excitement, smiles sprouted across their faces but were quashed by Ball Caps rebuke.
“Shut up you miserable little shits!” the children flinched under his grating voice. “Get in the freakin’ van! NOW!”
Trenchcoat raised his arm. The barrel pistol aimed at Kharzai. Terrified by Ball Cap’s order, the children remained frozen in hopeful expectation of salvation from the shadowy Storyman.
One of the boy's drew in a breath and shouted, “Look out Storyman!”
Ball Cap’s hand flew up, a small black box wrapped in it’s grip. He squeezed the trigger on the box. A loud buzz tore the air and the boy screamed in agony, a high pitched, ear splitting screech that shattered the early morning stillness into little pieces that bounced off the walls and the pavement below. The child lurched like a marionette whose strings had been yanked. He slammed into the ground pulling the others down by their commonly bound wrists. They all tumbled to the pavement eyes wide in terror.
Trenchcoat’s eyes diverted to the tumbling children. Kharzai leaned forward and broke into a headlong sprint. His hand flashed up and let fly one of the bottles. It rocketed through the air with the force of a major league baseball pitch. Trenchcoat turned back and fired his pistol without aiming. The explosion of the shot boomed like an artillery round in the wide brick walled alley.
The bullet crashed into the dumpster by the restaurant door with a loud clang followed by a whirring ricochet. Before he got a second shot off the thick bottom of the glass bottle smashed home into Trenchcoats face. The force of the bottle flattened his nose, blood splattering in every direction at the impact. Trenchcoat screamed in a gurgling throaty rage through his broken nose and swollen lips.
Ball Cap, stunned by the speed at which his bosses face had been rendered a bloody mess, was unable to react in time to avoid Kharzai’s attack. The hairy Persian speared him in the ribs like an NFL sacker, driving him into the back compartment of the van accompanied by the sound of cracking ribs and whooshing air. Ball Cap struggled to grasp for a pistol stashed in the back of his pants as they tussled in the back of the van. He brought it around but Kharzai snatched the pistol from his hand in one swift motion, straddled Ball Cap’s torso and raised the barrel to his face.
“NO!” screamed the pathetic child molester. Terror distorted his features as death threatened to take him.
A flash of movement from the front drivers seat, a figure spun towards the back of the van, arm extended, the shadow of a gun in its grip.
Kharzai flattened against Ball Cap, mashing the butt of the pistol into the screaming man’s forehead, silencing his screams. Two quick shots rang out from the pistol in Kharzai’s hand. The man in the driver’s seat lurched violently into the steering wheel. Blood splattered across the windshield and the man slumped into the space between the two seats.
A shadow appeared in the open back door of the van. Trenchcoat. His arm raised with it’s weapon. Kharzai grabbed the semi conscious Ball Cap’s denim jacket and spun him around as a shield. Trenchcoat fired two quick shots into the space.
Ball Cap’s eyes burst wide with shock as the bullets impacted his body. The forty-five-caliber hollowpoints exploded inside Ball Cap's back slamming his body into Kharzai. Blood sprayed Kharzai from remnants of Ball Cap's shattered lifeless face as he forced the dead man’s body up far enough to get the pistol around him.
Trenchcoat fired twice more into Ball Caps shattered body then roared with anger as a bullet jammed in the pistol’s breach. Kharzai finally got the pistol up and fired four consecutive shots from Ball Cap’s nine-millimeter pistol. All four slammed into Trenchcoat's chest, but he didn’t fall.
The crazed kidnapper glared down at Kharzai, still trapped beneath Ball Cap. A bloody hand reached behind his back and drew out a long, wicked looking knife. The two men stared at each other’s blood slicked faces. Trenchcoat raised the knife towards Kharzai who watched the man in amazement, certain that he must be animated by demons.
Trenchcoat spun toward the children and stretched his arm high. He aimed to bring the blade down on the one nearest him. Suddenly energized, Kharzai flipped Ball Cap's limp body aside like a rag doll and fired into Trench coat until the pistol was empty, the last two shots blasted into the back of the man’s head and blew the bones of his face apart as they exited leaving a bloody nightmare of a mess. Trenchcoat toppled over onto the still unconscious child who had been tasered.
Kharzai leaped from the back of the van, the empty pistol still trained Trenchcoat’s mangled body. He snatched up the taser Ball Cap had used on the child then grabbed Trenchcoat's collar from behind and heaved him off the child, ready to zap him if he showed any signs of life.
Sirens sounded in the distance, drawing closer.
The headmaster stepped out from the door of the house.
“What is going on here?” he said as if he had just walked onto the scene. “You! You’ve come to kidnap to these poor children!”
Kharzai stared intently at him.
“How could you,” muttered the hairy Persian storyteller.
“Me?” said the headmaster acting the part of a man in shock. “I had nothing to do with this. I saw the whole thing.” The sirens drew nearer. “You and your gangster friends tried to kidnap my poor children.”
Kharzai moved towards him. The children cowered in terror at his feet, watching the scene unfold, unable to speak, to scream, to breath.
“It would be better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and be tossed into the sea…” Tires screeched at the entrance to the alley as the police cars turned in. An explosion of headlights burst upon them “…than to lead one of these, my little ones, astray.”
Kharzai stood before the headmaster. Eye to eye, he glared.
“Freeze!” shouts came from the patrol cars. The sound of rounds being chambered into shotguns and pistol safety levers clicking off rattled above the din of sirens and the flashing of lights.
“You’ll never prove anything…Storyman.” he said with a sneer.
Kharzai’s wrist flicked up. His finger mashed the trigger button on the taser and the headmaster felt a pain he had never imagined possible. He lifted bodily and flung against the back wall of the children’s home, carried by the ten thousand volt current of electricity that grasped his testicles and forced every muscle in his body into an involuntary contraction.
Once the convulsion ceased, the headmaster slumped to the ground. Kharzai dropped the Taser and put his hands in the air as the police officers approached weapons raised.
“On the ground! Now! Face to the pavement.”
Kharzai obeyed. They cuffed him to the pleading cries of the children.
“No! He’s Storyman.”
“Storyman saved us.”
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