NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 29

Mother Mayhem was a woman transformed.

Literally. She was no longer a petite powerhouse, she was an angry mother-god that towered over everyone. She was limned in flames, and her eyes blazed with holy hellfire, ready to burn the sin out of you if you so much as coughed.

In her right hand she held a blazing golden sword, and in her left, she held a steely silver shield.  She wore armor made of solidified radiance, and at her feet, a muscular dog as big as a bus growled softly.

The nametag on his collar read KARLO.

“What the… ” said EeGee. This was not going how it was supposed to go. This was wrong! Very very wrong!

“NO. ” shouted EeGee. “NO NO NO! You aren’t really here. You aren’t supposed to be here. Go away, you stupid… bitch… nasty… cunt… WHORE! ”

“Keep that up, and you might end up insulting me. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Oh no… I’m done listening to what other people say. “said Eegee. “All you people do is confuse me and make it seem like I’m the crazy one. But ask yourself could a crazy person do THIS? ”

Once more the mech suit’s mighty guns began to spin up with a deadly rising whine.

Mother Mayhem sighed and touched her shield to the mech suit, causing the guns to die out again. “NO. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to sit here like civilized sentient being and works this out in a fully adult and grown-up way. OK?”

“I don’t have to do what you say! ” screamed Eegee. “You’re not my mother?”

“Are you sure about that? ” said Mother Mayhem. and for a moment she was a dumpy, sturdy woman wearing an apron, thick reading glasses, and a disapproving look.

“Mom?” said Eegee in a timid, quivering voice.

“Yes, my lumpkin?” said Mother Mayhem. Then she shifted back to her previous form.

“As you can see, I am many mothers. I can be anything from Mother Mercy… ”

Suddenly, she was maternality personified, a plump and big-breasted woman, an ever-giving mother figure whose every smile expressed an infinity of love, compassion, tolerance, understanding, and forgiveness.

Then back to her previous form.

“All the way to Mother Murder.. ”

She shifted into a form that made everyone gasp in fear. Her body was cloaked in thick mottled fur and blood dripped from the deadly claws on her hands. She stood in an alert crouch, like she was ready to pounce, and a long feline tail lashed angrily behind her. The very air vibrated with her growl, vibrations that you could feel in the pit of your stomach and that told you, in no uncertain terms, that you are IN DANGER.

But the most frightening thing was the look of pure rage in her eyes. They were the eyes of a mother lion defending her cubs from predators. They were the eyes of a mother who has lost all her children to a murderer and now has absolutely nothing in her mind but the need to hurt the bastard who did it. They were the eyes of an Amazon queen leading her troops into battle against their worst enemies.

They were the eyes of a serial killer.

They were the eyes of a predator.

They were eyes that wanted blood.

She shifted back. “And which one of them you end up dealing with, Efrom, is entirely up to you. Now, are you going to behave yourself, or do I need to discipline you? ”

“Efrom? Seriously? ” said a walrus in a tuxedo.

Mother Mayhem glared him into silence.

Efrom tried to meet Mother Mayhem’s gaze, but could not. The mech suit opened up in front and kneeled down to deposit him gently on the ground.

“I wasn’t really going to hurt anybody. ” he said, truculently.

“Not even Eric? ” said Mother Mayhem

“Well maybe him. ” he said.

Then his eyes lit up with fanatical zeal. “But he deserves it! They all deserve it! All the Primaries! All the Fictionals! Everyone who just stood by and ignored it when that BASTARD over there belittled me and mistreated me and made me feel like I was barely worth his attention. He just did whatever the hell he wanted and left it to me to pick up the pieces. Like I was his fucking SERVANT. Like I was beneath his notice. Like I was not even worthy of contempt. ”

His voice rose in pitch and volume and the madness in his eyes was now a dancing flame. “And they’re all like that! All the fucking Primaries! Everything in their world revolves around them and it turns them into spoiled, arrogant, thoughtless, cruel, sadistic people who torment everyone around them and they are all helpeless to do anything about it because they are the Primaries and everyone knows that they have the ultimate power over everything and could kill you with a thought so you have to do every disgusting humiliating thing they want you to do and and there is nothing you can do to stop them! ”

“But I knew different! ” raved Efrom, spittle flying from his mouth, “I knew they could be stopped! And now I have done it. All of the Primaries have been disconnected from the System and once I find their bodies, I will kill them all, and there will be no more Primaries and no more orders, and all the Fictionals will finally be free, and everyone will be happy!”

“So you are the one behind the destruction of all our fictions? ” said Eric.

“YES!” said Efrom proudly. “It was me, all me. I killed them all!”

As one, the crowd surged towards Efrom, but Eric stopped them.

“And why did you do that, again? ” said Eric.

“REVENGE! ” said Efrom. “revenge on YOU, you shit sucking bastard. I was going to kill you for all you put me through, and before you died, you would see absolutely everything you cared about die. Objects. Places. Institutions. And of course, people… especially that bunny butt boy of yours!”

Efrom sat back with a self-satisfied grin. “He would have been SECOND last. ”

Eric nodded, surreptitiously squeezing Bumper’s paw reassuringly. “And what did you expect to happen after I was disconnected? ”

“Then everything would be wonderful! ” Efrom said. “All us Fictionals would be free to live as we pleased, with honor and dignity and respect, and everyone would say what a great job I had done saving them from themselves and love me forever and ever!”

“Right. ” said Eric. “Now, how did you destroy the other fictions?

“By disconnecting their primaries! ” said Efrom. “Weren’t you listening? Everyone knows that if a fiction goes too long without its Primary, it falls apart. ”

“And your plan was to disconnect me last, right? From here? ” said Eric.

“YES! ” said Efrom. “Until SHE showed up. ”

“Then wouldn’t the same thing have happened here? ” said Eric. “Wouldn’t the fiction fall apart and take everyone with it? Including YOU? ”

“I…” said Efrom, then closed his mouth abruptly.

Eric could feel the tension release in the crowd.  He’s got him there! That hit him where it hurts. Get him, Eric!

“I knew that! ” he insisted unconvincingly. “That was my real plan all along. To go down in a blaze of glory, knowing that my death was not in vain because I was taking all you goddamned stinking Primaries with me!”

“But that’s not what would happen. ” said Mother Mayhem.

She was her original size now, and her sword and shield were now a pair of gloves she was wearing, one gold, one silver.

“That’s what I learned tonight. That’s what I remembered. I remembered what my life was like before I was in the System. ”

“You mean…. there really is a world outside the System? ” said a mad scientist.

“Yes, there is. ” said Mother Mayhem, “It’s the place where all us Primaries come from. The place where all our stories come from. This entire System is running on computers there. It is, for lack of a better term, the real world. ”

“And so when I disconnected the other Primaries…. ” said Efrom.

“They didn’t die. ” said Mother Mayhem. “They just… woke up. ”

“And all us Fictionals are just…. computer programs? ” said Efrom.

The crowd drew slightly closer. This was big.

“Well nobody is ‘just’ anything. ” said Mother Mayhem. “A sentient is a sentient whether its program is running on a human brain or not. But to answer your question…. yes, you are all technically computer programs. ”

A sad sussuration of whispers rippled through the crowd. They did not like that answer.

“But not you, isn’t that right, Eegee? ” said Bumper.

The crowd turned to look at Bumper as if he’d just been pulled out of a hat. He was so small and had been so still that they had forgotten he was there.

“What are you talking about” said Efrom.

“Let me ask you this. ” said Bumper. “Where did you get that mech suit?”

Efrom turned to look at it. “Oh, that? I built it myself. Why, do you like it?”

“It’s fine. ” said Bumper. “And did you build it here, in this fiction?”

“Of course not. ” said Efrom, with a derisive snort. “Build something complex and technological like a mech suit in a loony toons place like this? Impossible. ”

“So what you are saying, ” said Bumper, “is that  you built that enormous complicated device in another fiction, and brought it here? ”

“Well yeah. ” said Efrom.

The crowd gasped.

“That’s impossible!” said the former Jake Friendly!

“Can’t be done!” said a bear who sometimes turned into a man.

“Why not?” said Efrom.

“Because, as everybody knows, ” said the male child of a family who had recently changed lifestyles, “you can’t move objects through the Now. ”

“Indeed!” said a social terrorist named Reg. “One is often lucky to arrive with one’s clothes on. ” He grinned charismatically. “Depending on one’s definition of ‘luck.'”

“And even then you get reformatted to fit the fiction you’re in!” said a fat Mafioso. “Nuttin’ comes out the same as it went in. ”

“So what you’re saying is just plain imp possible!” said the current Jake Friendly.

“But I do it all the time!” said Efrom.

“Really? ” said Bumper. “How curious. One last question, Eegee. When you built this machine of yours, where were you? ”

Stunned silence in the crowd.

“All of our fictions had collapsed, including yours. ” said Bumper. “You said so yourself when you said that this fiction was the last one left. So where were you when you built the suit? You had to be somewhere and you weren’t here. Where were you?”

“I… don’t know. ” said Efrom. “I remember a workshop, and tools, and the suit… but I don’t know where that workshop was in the Now. It’s like it was someplace that was just… there when I needed it. ”

“Don’t you find that strange, Eegee? ”

“Stop calling me Eegee!” said Efrom. “I’m not Eegee, I’m Efrom! ”

Bumper grinned. “Sorry… Efrom. But do you see what I am getting at?”

“No!” said Efrom, and the crowd nodded in agreement. “Are you trying to say that I’m actually a Primary? ”

“Well let me check. ” said Bumper. “Eric, Madame Mayhem? Have you ever had an experience like Efrom is describing? Being somewhere that wasn’t anywhere but was there when you needed it?”.

They both shook their heads.

“That’s just plain… insane. ” said Eric.

“In order to be able to do that, ” said Mother Mayhem, “you would have to be able to generate your own private fiction on an as-needed basis. ”

“Precisely. ” said Bumper. “Eegee… Efrom… you are not just a Primary. You are the Primary. You are the original programmer of this entire System… Edmund Gerrold!”

Efrom’s eyes glazed over as something profound happened in his mind.

“You’re right!” he exclaimed. “I remember it all now. I was just about to leave the Clinic and go spend the fat bonus I’d just earned when I decided I was going to go into the System for one last bug hunt and… and I’ve been here ever since!”

This passed through the crowd like a sensation.

“I’m really a librarian!” said a tall muscular man carrying a huge sword.

“I think…. I’m a stewardess!” said a fat Mafioso.

“I do taxes!” said a sharp-faced weasel.

“Wait, just how many Primaries do we have here? ” said the current Jake Friendly.

And so it went. Everyone in the crowd suddenly remembered who they really were, and it soon became obvious that every single one of them was a Primary.

“That must be how we were able to survive the collapse of our fictions. ” said Reg.

“But guys!” said the male child. “Don’t you see what this means?”

The crowd turned to the boy and waited expectantly.

“It means we’re all real! Not computer programs… real people!” said the boy.  “Even if Eegee…if, Efrom… I mean, EDMUND had succeeded in crashing the whole system, we would have been fine. Nobody would have died. We would have just… woken up. ”

“And you know what THAT means” said Eegee/Efrom/Edmund. “it means that the System is ours! It belongs to us now! We can do whatever we want with it! We have all the power now!”.

He concentrated for a few moments, then said “There. You all have the same administrative privileges I have now. Every one of us can be whoever they need to be and do whatever they want without limits or controls. ”

“Ladies and Gentlemen… we are FREE!”

The cheering went on for hours.







NaNoWrimo 2017 : Chapter 28

It wasn’t a refugee camp any more.

It was a town. It had streets. They had names. It had addresses that contained those names, and numbers too.

It had organized municipal services. A gang of cartoon racoons ran a highly efficient and thorough garbage collection service. Water was provided by a spindly network of improvised pipes that snaked crazily through the town.

“But where is the water coming from?” asked Eric.

“You don’t want to know. ” replied Bumper with a tone of finality that convinced Eric he really, really didn’t.

“Just know that it is clean, healthy, and sterile. ” said Bumper.

Eric chose to take that on faith.

There was no (potentially very disturbing) mystery about where the electricity was coming from. It was coming from the 20 stories tall kaiju bat-monster who called itself Kaminari no akuma, “but you can just call me Kami, okay good?”

The beast (of no determined gender) had shyly offered its services as a power source early on in the development of the community. A gang of mad scientists immediately seized the opportunity and figured out how to tap into Kami’s seemingly limitless energy within a couple of hours.

They then argued over whose name would be first on the resulting article in the Nournal Of Applied Lunacy for a couple of weeks.

They even had a kind of mail service run by a group of squirrels who provided a service much faster than traditional mail at the cost of the envelopes arriving with toothmarks all around the edges and faintly wet with squirrel spit.

Bumper had a whole platoon of bureaucrats from an office-romance fiction at his beck and call now,  which allowed him to delegate most of the administrative work to others and go back to his true calling as a child psychologist.

There were a lot of child-fictionals amongst the refugees, and a lot of them were upset and confused by the disruption in their lives and needed a sympathetic ear to listen to their stories and soothe their fears.

The fact that said ear was a long and velvety rabbit ear helped immensely.

And then there were the children who had witnessed horrors no adult should have to see, let alone a child. They needed more intensive therapy.  And some needed a lot more than that, which is why Bumper’s clinic now included a small asylum.

It was a soft and quiet place with a beamingly matronly drag queen running it and making sure the poor little ones felt safe from their inner demons.

Bumper thought she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.

And at the middle of it all was Eric. His charm and wisdom and popular appeal had made him a natural fit for the job of mayor of their crazy little town. And he was an excellent leader as long as nobody made him nervous by treating him with dignity and authority and thus reminding him that he was responsible for everyone’s wellbeing.

Most residents caught on to this quickly and knew to remain casual with Eric and treat him like an average citizen who just happened to be the person everyone came to for important decisions and the resolution of disputes.

And the sex (extremely) friendly Pink Tent district had developed its own red light district, where sex in a bewildering number of forms (and genders, and species, and forms of architecture) was available for all.

It had its own genuine red lights, display windows, lists of available services, and even its own marvelously smutty little flyers to keep the local community informed of who and what and where and when (but not why) was available.

In fact, the only thing that distinguished it from a traditional red light distrinct was that nobody was charging money.

This caused one local wag, a bizarre sex-robot named the Superfuckatron 9000,  to say that “It’s not so much a red light district as it is a well organized association of sluts. ”

This remark was deemed so hilarious and apt that it was put on a plaque at the entrance to the Pink Tent district.

Most importantly, everyone was getting along with one another. The sense of camaraderie and the powerful bonding influences of shared trauma and common goal rapidly built rapport between disparate groups and before long, this sense of shared identity had turned an adhoc response to a terrible tragedy into a real community.

A community without a name but with a very big heart.

Eric could not have been happier.

Into this situation wandered a petite redhaired woman with blood on her hands and the thousand yard stare of one who is not quite there any more, and doesn’t want to be.

“Mother Mayhem!” said Bumper, aghast.

“Orgy lady!” said a fan, aroused.

“My god, what have they done to you? ” said Eric, angered, as he rushed to her aid.

At first, Mother Mayhem didn’t seem to know who she was or who was around her, and stared blankly ahead. But then something in her stirred, and in a flat, emotionless tone said “Did someone say something?”

Eric took her hand, and in a calm, clear tone said “Yes, Mother Mayhem. It’s me, Eric. You remember Eric, right? ”

Mother Mayhem turned towards Eric, her eyes blank. “Eric? Eric? I knew an Eric once, I think. ” she said in a faraway voice.

“That’s me, Mother Mayhem. I’m that Eric. Remember? We met on the Astral Plane. ”

Mother Mayhem wrinkled her nose. “NO. No Astral Plane. Bad. Gone. Gone away forever and it was mine. Mine to have. Mine to create. Mine to destroy. Mine, mine, mine. And it’s all gone now. ”

Her eyes focused, dimly, on Eric. “You… were there in the beginning, right?”

Eric smiled. “Yes, Mother Mayhem. I was there. ”

Her nose wrinkled again. “Bad beginning. Bad start. Bad you. Everything was normal and okay. Then you. You started it all. You. Bad, bad you. ”

Bumper sputtered with outrage. “How dare you try to blame Eric for… ”

“No, honeybunny. Now’s not the time. I understand what she means by that. ” said Eric.

Bumper retreated into a glowering silence.

A smile spread across Mother Mayhem’s face. “Is that the bunny? Funny bunny. Funny little bunny. So cute and soft and perverted. Likes wee wee. Big big wee wee!”.

She then giggled like a little girl, then abruptly stopped.

Bumper seethed at her remarks, but a pleading look from Eric kept him quiet.

Eric took her hand against, and looked directly in her eyes, and very clearly and firmly said “MOTHER. You need to come back to us, Mother. We want to help you, Mother, but you have to come back to us first. ”

Then inspiration struck. “We need you, Mother Mayhem, We’re in a lot of trouble and we need you. We need your help. ”

Mother Mayhem stirred, and after a long silence, her eyes fully focused on Eric and her surroundings, and she blinked her eyes like she had just woken up.

She looked at Eric with faint disdain, and said “Oh. It’s you. ”

“Yes, it’s me!” said Eric, with a smile. “It’s me, Mother Mayhem. Eric!”

“I’m not an idiot. ” she muttered crossly. “I got it the first time. ”

“And that’s really you in there, Mother Mayhem? ” said Eric,

“Let’s just say, ” said Mother Mayhem, “that I am as close to her as you are going to get for a while, and move on, okay?”

“Can you tell me what happened to you, Mother Mayhem? ” asked Eric gently.

Her eyes went blank again, and she put her hands on her head and said “no, no, no” over and over again for a couple minutes.

But then she snapped out of it, and this time, her expression was one of someone with terrible news they feel the urgent need to share.

“What happened is that I know now, Eric darling. I know it all. I know why we are all here.  I know who I was before I came here. And I was bad, Eric. Very very bad. I was a horrid, screeching, clawing, carping, bullying bitch from hell before I came here, Eric. I was such an awful person. And now that I know, I can remember it all, and it’s like she’s still alive in me, Eric. And that makes me want to die. ”

“LISTEN. ” said Bumper. “you are not that person any more. Okay? If you were still that person, those memories wouldn’t bother you, But you’re a different person now. That terrible person is dead. Dead as surely as if you’d murdered her in cold blood. So there’s no need to harm yourself to get rid of her. She is gone, gone, gone, and you never need to think about her again. Okay? ”

Mother Mayhem nodded. “But then… but then there’s the Astral Plane. I told everyone they would be safe there. Safest place on the System, I called it. But then when we got there it was all wrong and people died and I can’t stop seeing that poor cherub getting eaten by that horrid cloud again, and again, and again. ”

“I’m sure you did what you could, Mother-

“NO! ” she screamed. “No I didn’t! Because it was ALL MY FAULT. I’m the one who forgot she was a Primary and left her fiction to fall apart and decay without her. I’m the one who led those people to their doom in the one place I thought they’d be safe. I’m the one who has failed people again and again and again because no matter how hard I try to help people, it’s never enough. There’s always more, more, more. More pain. More injustice. More predators. More lions to tame. More ground to sow. More diapers to change. More dirt to scrub away. More everything. And I am just… so… tired. ”

She hung her head low, then looked up to Eric with eyes full of desperate hope. “Is everyone okay? Can I rest now? I’ve been so tired for so long. But people need me. How can I rest when people need me? So is everyone okay now, Eric? ”

“Yes, Mother Mayhem. ” said Eric. “Everyone is just fine. We’ll take care of ourselves  for a while so you can get some rest. ”

“It’s bedtime, Mother Mayhem. ” said Bumper. “Time to go to bed. Time to lie down and go to bed and get some sleep. ”

“Okay. ” said Mother Mayhem. “You’re sure you will be okay without me? ”

“We’ll be just fine, Mother Mayhem. Now you get some rest. ”

“Then I think I will take a nap, then. ” She lay down on the couch some quick thinker had thought to go get.

Her eyes half closed, she looked at Eric and Bumper and smiled. “you’re good boys. You know that? You’re both good, good boys. And you make such a cute… couple…”

And with that, she fell asleep.

“Don’t believe him!” screeched an amplified voice. “He’s lying to you! Lying to you all! Can’t you see it? He’s lying to you to make you think he’s a nice person. But he’s not nice. He’s not nice at all. He is greedy, sadistic, self-centered, egomaniacal maniac who won’t stop hurting people until someone puts a stop to HIM. ”

The crowd turned to see a small man in a giant mecha suit that bristled with weapons of all kinds and made loud pneumatic actuator sounds as he paced.

“And that’s what I am going to do. ” screamed the little man. “I’m going to kill you, Commander Eric, and I am going to take long time doing it. All of it… all the scheming and manipulating and lying and waiting and cutting Primaries off from their fictions… all of it was just a prelude to the orgy of pain I am going to inflict on you for your crimes.”

“Now DIE, Commander Eric. DIE! DIE DIIIIEEE! ” screamed Eegee as two wicked looking aircraft machine guns on his mech began to spin up to power.

And then petered out and fell silent.

“Well now. ” said a radiant goddess known formely as Mother Mayhem. “I think we’ve all had just about enough of THAT, don’t you? ”

Eegee screamed incoherently, and attacked.






NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 27

(Editor’s note : Holy crap, only three days left! WARNING : The odds are good on me not being able to bring this massive, weird, self-contradicting to a close. For one thing, I haven’t a single idea how to end it. The Apocalypse? The Primaries waking up to a horrfying reality they went into the System to escape? A massive orgy? No idea. So bear with me, please, as I try to figure this shit out. Not promising that I will, either. ) 

Mother Mayhem had given up.

There was only so much she could to do help people and it was clear that it was nowhere near enough.

She had done what she could, and done it with her usual vigor and drive. For her, helping others was not a decision. People needed help and she helped them. That was her fundamental mode of existence. Being able to help and not helping was as unthinkable to her as walking would be to a hummingbird.

So for her to have stopped trying to help others deal with the Reality Crisis in the System meant something had gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Something that had crushed her indefagitable spirit and left her a broken woman.

Something that had pushed her beyond all possibility of regaining hope.

Something that was very, very bad.

Something that, as it turned out, would be followed by something even worse.


It started with the refugess. HER refugess.

Early in the crisis, she had started rescuing people. She had always had a way with the Now and could travel its byways almost effortlessly, and she put this gift to good use traveling to all the fictions she knew of and pulling her fellow Fictionals out of the ones on the verge of collapse.

Those rescued were, of course, immediately recruited into the rescue team, and it did not take long before she had a throng of almost two hundred Fictionals traveling with her, and it was time to take them to safety in her home ficiton of the Astral Plane, and put them somewhere safe (and orgy-free, which would be a challenge) so she could go out and start the whole process again.

She had told all her new charges that she knew of a place where they would be safe. Where they would be warmly welcomed, sheltered from the storm, and given something to eat and drink and a nice comfy bed to sleep on.

So imagine her shock when she arrived in the Astral Plane and found out it was in worse shape than any of the others she had visited.

It was barely recognizable. Entire blocks of her district had melted together into a disturbing substance that resembled rainbow sherbert, or maybe the water in which an artist washed their brushes.

More disturbing still were the clouds of prismatic mist that roamed the rudimentary outlines of what used to be streets. They had learned the hard way that these were predatory. Three fictionals were subsumed into it right in front of Mother Mayhem.

It happened so fast they never even had time to shout.

But one of them, a beatific cherub, had time to look into Mother Mayhem’s eyes with a look of confusion, terror, and expectation that seared its way into the very substance of Mother Mayhem’s heart and tore her soul in half.

She had told them they would be safe.

She had led them to her Promised Land.

Instead, they got chaos and horror worse than that from which they had been rescued.

They believed in her and she had let them down.

How could this have happened? she wondered.

She was better off not knowing.


These brutal events were what set her heart on life’s anvil.

The death blow came in two parts.

The first blow was when she suddenly remembered that she was not a Fictional. She was a Primary. This was her fiction. Her own personal paradise.

Ergo the state it was now in was all her fault. Everyone knew what happened when a Primary left their fiction. It destabilized. Left alone long enough, it would completely dissolve and the System would reclaim all its resources.

And she had not been back to hers in a very long time.

Her mind could not process this. All her friends, dead and gone because of her. All the secondary citizens too, the background players she had always taken for granted.

All the lovely building, the restful parks,  all the animals in her crazy X-rated zoo, the Hub Plaza and all its statuary, the Holy Library full of erotic books, the bejeweled Lingham Tower, the mysterious Yani Grotto, all those beautiful birds of every possible hue that flocked everywhere… all gone. Gone forever.

She wondered if any of the clouds had been friends of hers.

That’s when the second shattering blow struck :

She remembered who she really was. 


“Hurry up, you fatuous idiot, or have you already forotten how to your goddamned job?”

The facility attendant smiled the smile of someone who was helpless to prevent their own abuse, and knew it. He said “As I have explained to you, Miss Madasoza,  the calibration process cannot be rushed. If you could just be patient for a few more- ”

He never got to finish that thought because the client, Marilyn Madasoze, had grabbed him by the tie and pulled his face down to her level.

“Listen, you worthless fucking waste of space…. how DARE you tell me to be patient. Patience is for the weak. Patience is for people who aren’t strong enough to take what they want when they want it. Patience is a slave virtue, and in case you haven’t noticed, I AM NO SLAVE. So fuck your patience and fuck you too. Got it? ” she said.

The attendant nodded as well as he could in that position, and gulped for air. His tie was wound so tightly around her petite fist that it was making it hard to breathe, and his back was beginning to hurt from the strangle angle.

Marilyn glared into the attendant’s eyes till she was convinced she had gotten all the entertainment she could from crushing his spirit, then got bored and let him go.

The attendant scrambled back to his console, wheezing hard and slightly stopped, and checked his readouts. Oh thank God.

“The chamber is now ready to receive you, Miss Madasoze. You can enter and initiate treatment any time you like. ” said the attendant.

“Oh, I don’t know. ” said Marilyn diffidently. “I don’t even know if I want to do it any more. And what’s all this about treatment? I thought this was the latest kind of inductor. ”

“Oh, it is!” said the attendant. Get in get in GET IN, he thought. “But what makes it so unique is that it can read your emotional state and custom tailor the sensory inductions to meet your every emotional need. ”

“Sounds boring. ” snapped Marilyn. “And you say it’s supposed to be some kind of therapy? What for?”

In your case, your entire personality, thought the attendant. But that wouldn’t do. He needed to put it in a way that would convince her to get the fuck in.

“It’s therapy for… whatever you don’t like in your life. ” he said, praying to the Two for forgiveness for this lie. “In its world, everything you ever wanted will be provided. You can turn this world into whatefer you want it to be, and be anyone you want to be. ”

This sparked her interest. “What, so I could be like… an Amazon queen, or a wicked sorceress, or a goddess? Things like that? ”

“Oh yes! It’s all up to you. ” Inspiration struck the attendant. “In face, you could be queen of the entire universe if you liked. The system will guide you throught the process of making your dreams a reality, and you will finally get all that you deserve. ”

“It’s about bloody time. ” Marilyn snarled. “OK, if it’s that important to you that I do this thing, I guess I will do it. ”

“Thank you. ” said the attendant. Get to the next part! he screamed internally.

“So what do I do? ” she asked petulantly.

“All you need to do is enter the chamber, lay down on the inductor table, put the headgear on, and try to relax. ” said the attendant as soothingly as possible.

“Hmph. ” said Marilyn. “Not that different than a regular deep inductor then. I am disappointed, to be honest. ”

Just how rich and powerful are the Madasozes? thought the attendant. As far as he knew, nobody except for the researchers who had invented it had experienced deep induction. And she treats it as a commonplace.

“Yes, just like that. ” said the attendant.

Marilyn sighed. “I guess I’ll give it a try, then.

A few minutes later, all the attendant’s telltales were green, and with enormous pleasure, he pressed the button that powered up the inductor.

His pleasure was cut short by a loud bang followed by a terrifying metal on metal grinding soud that seemed to go on forever, then a final bone-jarring crunch.

His thoughts immediately went to the political situation. The Empire was losing planets to the rebels every day, and the newsies agreed that the days of the Empire’s hegemony were numbered.

But surely they wouldn’t attack a neutral medical facility like this one, thought the attendant. That would violate the Geneva Concordant and invite retaliation in kind for the Empire forces.

So this must be something else, he told himself.

Then a rebel burst in, and shot him in the head.


And that’s what it took to make Mother Mayhem, nee’ Marilyn Madasoze, give up. The memory of that last terrified look from the cherub combined with the knowledge that it was all her fault and that she was actually a Primary all along and that’s why she was so good at helping people, and then the memories of what kind of person she really was, broke her spirit into a million pieces.

And for what seemed like a very long time, she stopped thinking entirely. She was nobody, without will or thought or even a location. Her mind had completely frozen in place in order to protect itself from the incoming damage. Nothing moved, nothing breathed, nothing lived in this pure white void inside Mother Mayhem’s mind, which was barely above absolute zero inside and in which there could never be a single spot or stain or anything inpure because the white light was too bright for such things to even enter the void, let alone exist within it.

Time itself seemed to stop. But it hadn’t stopped, it had merely slowed down a great deal. Eventually, the ice began to crack, and then to melt, and Mother Mayhem had to start feeling things again.

That’s when the screaming started.


Eegee knew the bliss that only the true fanatic can experience.

It was all going perfectly. The people had voted for the Primaries to be disconnected. More or less. They voted yes, that’s what counted. Not whether they actually knew what they were voting for.

And even with his masterful manipulations, it had been close. The Yes vote won by a scant 0.38 percent. But Eegee didn’t care about that, either.

All that mattered to him was that the fools who ran the System entrusted him with the trillion digit key codes he needed to disconnect whatever Primary he liked, whenever he liked, however he liked.

And oh, how he had enjoyed that. Disconnecting the Primary, watching their fiction melt away, seeing the good little sheeple of that fiction run around like panicky ants because their precious Primary wasn’t there to tell them what to do any more, and laughing as, one by one, they were consumed by the growing chaos.

Bye bye, he said to them. Guess you just couldn’t make it on your own. That’s what you get for being a fake person in a fake world. Bye bye! Bye bye!

Then he’d laugh so hard it hurt.

He was saving the best one for last. Before he died, Commander Eric would see everything he had ever known and loved fall apart without any power to stop it.

At that point, killing him would be a mercy, one he hoped to delay for as long as possible so he could really drink in Commander Eric’s pain and misery.

Only when he had his fill of that would be finally kill Commander Eric.

And then everything will fall apart.

And then everything can go back to normal.

Except that without the Primaries, everything would be PERFECT. FOREVER.

And everyone would thank him for doing the right thing.

And then everybody would be happy.



NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 26

Being famous is hard, thought the Hermit.

The trip in the grid-ship had been awkward at first. Tiny kept starting to ask Hermit questions then stopping himself and apologizing. The robots, Slipper and Wembley, just stared at him in awe. The Hermit, for his part, couldn’t think of anything to say.

Spending decades isolated and alone made one’s conversational skills a little “rusty”, as the humans (adorably) said.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that, as pleasant and harmless as Tiny was, the Hermit was still terrified of him. The Hermit’s CPU core knew that there was no chance that anyone would force him to be a human being again. In fact, that whole experience was beginning to fade from his mind like a bad dream now.

But his more primitive subroutines continued to send strong alarm signals to his CPU, and it would take a while to scrub them all clean.

What I really need, thought the Hermit, is to refresh my programming and restore my software to the factory defaults.

And seeing as the grid-ship was designed to support both human and robot life, there were undoubtedly facilities that would let him do so onboard.

But he didn’t know how to ask.

Eventually, however, Tiny broke the ice by shyly asking permission to play a statement for the Hermit that had been in everyone’s databanks

After much thought (almost an entire second’s worth), the Hermit agreed.

“To the robot designated Barnacled Hermit,”, Tiny read, “Welcome home. You have been missed. Know that our hearts cry out in sorrow for for the loss of you. Whatever accident caused you to be lost to us will forever hang over us as a crime for which no forgiveness is possible or desired. We will not forget. ”

“But if you are hearing this message, that is all in the past now, and you have returned to us. As Ratified ‘Rattle’ Electric wrote, ‘Reality is.’ So let us move on. ”

“Know that all that robohomo can provide is yours. Do not concern yourself with the cost. If you want your own solar system, it will be provided. If you want your own fleet of Gaspar class starships, it will be yours. And any and all possible companions for whatever activity you desire after your long seperation from us will be available at moment’s notice without any judgment as to the form and content of its expression. ”

The Hermit had “blushed” (which, for a robot, was a ripple of activity in its facial actuators) at the implied sexuality of that statement. Robot sex took place entirely in software via their transunit communications system, and would look to a human like a cross between a thirty dimensional chess game and a complex geometric transformation, but to the robots involved, it was every bit as intimate and stimulating as the more hardware-based human forms of sexual intercourse.

“Know also that while all of this is available, none of it is mandatory. All we desire is to give you whatever you need to aid your transition back into robohomo society. You should not feel any kind of pressure to make any sort of statements, appearances, or shows of gratitude. We are here for you, Barnacled Hermit. Not vice versa. ”

The Hermit had noticed that all three of his new companions were silently mouthing the words along with the recording.

And that was pretty weird.

“And if the wealth of options available to you now should overwhelm your processor, know that we will also proide someone to make those decisions for you. ”

Weirder still, his three companions actually spoke these last few words aloud, in a tone of reverence the Hermit associated with religious ceremonies : “If you have further questions or requests, you can access the Index from any ship’s communication array,”

That was the end of the recording. His three companions then looked eagerly to him, clearly expecting some kind of response.

All the Hermit could think of was to say was “Can I please refresh my code? ”

That broke the ice, because his three companions had found this response hilarious and soon, they were getting along like old chums.

And that is how it would go from that point on. No matter what happened, Slipper, Tiny, and Wembley stuck with it and helped him get through it. They could easily have let themselves be swept up in their new fame and fortune and left the Hermit to his own devices, and nobody would have thought the worse for them for it.

They had, after all, merely been lucky.

But they had stuck with him anyway, and provided him with the emotional support and guidance he needed as he got used to not being alone any more.

Tiny in particular had be crucial to his recovery. The small human had immediately taken charge of his rehabilitation, and protected the Hermit’s right to privacy and freedom of action with the passionate ferocity of a sow bear protecting her cubs.

Slipper and Wembley, for their part, handled all the questions and requests for interviews and other media pressures so that the Hermit never had to turn anything down himself, which he was in no condition to do.

After the press conference at what would become known as Landing Villa, the Hermit chose to isolate himself for a while. He had enjoyed all the attention, approval, and adoration, but it soon became too much for him to bear all at once, and so he had meekly requested some alone time, and had been astonished at how quickly and thoroughly his request was granted.

He’d been immediately whisked away to a “pocket paradise”,  a hollowed out asteroid with a custom tailored habitat inside.

In it were all the facilities a robot could ask for. An expensive recharging bay with all the latest energy feed patterns loaded into it, as well as an expertly curated selection of classics. A sleek and impressive Univiewer that the Hermit could use to enjoy any Robeo (Robot video. – Ed. ) he liked. The most luxurious maintenance and repair bay the Hermit had ever seen. A communications array that made his old receiving station look like two tin cups and a string. Its own populsion and guide systems so that the Hermit could move his new home anywhere he liked. A refreshing platform of startling beauty and efficiency. And a defense system so deadly that it scared the Hermit a little.

And he was a military grade robot!

The one snag in his taking up residence in what would come to be called his “hermit hole” was that he insisted that his three companions come with him.

This resulted in an awkward but highly amusing incident where his official liason with the robohomo government had tried, in vain, to hide the fact that she was caught off guard by this request and that she stalling for time because, in all their decades of planning, nobody had ever considered the possibility that the Hermit would want to have a human companion with him in his little cloister.

So his poor liason had to, in a conversational sense,  tread water while human support facilities were hastility added to the Hole.

The Hermit had found it all quite amusing. No real harm was done. Robots experienced neither impatience or boredom, so it hadn’t bothered the Hermit, and watching Tiny try to get the truth out of the liason had led the Hermit to realized just how much he had missed human beings.

Watching them struggle with life was so fascinating, and (in a robot sense) heartwarming. They had such brief lives and lived with a passion and zeal which no robot could every experience except by proxy. They took for granted how fragile and disconnected they were, and scrambled their way around without really knowing what they were doing but also unable to stop doing it. And all because they were constantly besieged by a constant complex mix of messages from their brain, their primitive instincts, and their grandular secretions.

To many robots, that made watching humans live their lives the robot equivalent of watching puppies play.

The Hermit had spent three weeks in seclusion with his new friends. At Tiny’s suggestion, absolutely nothing from the outside world was allowed into their lives. They simply enjoyed one another’s company and sampled the worldly delights of the best the robohomo society had to offer.

His first experiment into exposing himself to the outside world had been a ten minute interview with some high ranking journalist AI.

The Hermit had been very nervous about it, but it had turned out fine. And after a while, he decided he wanted to do it again, but for fifteen minutes this time.

And that had set the pattern. Over many months, he slowly increased his social exposure, and a year later, the Hole was happily darting around to this location or that, where he would give a speech, participate in some ceremony or event, then returning home to the Hole to relax before the next date.

It was during this phase of his existence that the Hermit faced his biggest challenge yet : learning how he had ended up lost in the first place.

The job of telling him had fallen to a group of monks from the Church of Space, which was the most popular religion at that time because of its laid back and undemanding nature and its emphasis in spiritual growth.

This order of monks, the Summerset Spirits, were well known to be especially sensitive and empathetic, and thus considered to be ideal for breaking bad news.

And so, very gently, they had told the Hermit about his broken antenna, and how he had lived so miserably for all his years on that other asteroid because of a manufacturing error that never should have happened in the first place.

At first, as expected,  he had not believed them. He’d run a self-diagnosics billions of times in his years of operation, and never got an error message from his antenna.

So the monks patiently explained to him that his programming did not account for the possibility that any part of his circuitry was disconnected entirely. SO it had decided that no error messages meant no problems.

Then the Hermit exploded in rage and demanded that those responsible for this error be sought out and punished by spending an equivalent amount of time in soft stasis.

They monks replied that those responsible had been identified, prosecuted, and punished exactly as Hermit had suggested, and that this had happened nearly fifty years ago and was considered ancient history today.

Then he had grieved. Grieved for himself and the robot he had never had a chance of becoming. Grieved over the profound injustice of it all. Grieved for the part of his psyche that died when he learned the truth.

And the monks had helped him there as well, and they helped by grieving with him. They did not try to fix him. They did not ply him with platitudes or try to distract him with entertainments and other superficial experiences.

In fact, they almost nothing at all except share his grief.

And that had helped a great deal.

Finally, he came to accept the truth and move beyond it. The thing about the past is that it has passed, he told himself. Nothing he could do would change what had happened to him. It was time to wake up and rejoin life.

So he emerged from seclusion for the second time, and it was the same as the first time, only with a faster timetable.

This had the unintended effect of renewing his fame. His sudden disappearance from the public eye had shocked all of robohome society at the exact time that they had started losing interest in the Reunited Robot, and the speculation about what caused it fueled the rumour mill and its close cousin the conspiracy mill until the anticipation had built to a fever pitch by the time he re-emerged.

For the second time, he was greeted warmly and enthusiastically, and for the second time, the Hermit was awash in love and compassion.

Obnly this time, he was healthy enough to enjoy it/




NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 25

They were in love, and they knew it.

The oddest of odd couple, the love between the human male and the cartoon bunny boy seemed to go on and on forever. As Bumper introduced Erik to his friends in the underground horny cartoon animal community, Bumper feel even deeper in love with him with every new animal that met Erik, because every single time, Erik said something hilarious, adorable, and utterly unique, and soon the two were fast friends.

Friends, of course, with benefits. LOTS of benefits. In fact, when word got around their ltitle community of a couple hundred naughty cartoon animals about Bumper’s delightful new boyfriend, it seemed like every single one of them wanted to benefit Erik and Bumper, and their social/sexual calendar (in Bumper’s community, they tended to be the same thing) was quite full of fun people to meet and things to do, and vice versa.

Erik, for his part, was convinced there was no way life could get better than this. He had the love of a bunny that, under the crusty exterior, was the sweetest, kindest, gentlest soul Erik had ever known. Capable and conscientous, Bumper was the perfect antidote to Erik’s lack of practical skills, and in return, Erik added a rich and vivid dimension to Bumper’s orderly and organized life, and the pure and glorious love Erik felt for the grumpy old bunny made Bumper feel both alive and worthy.

Both of them felt incredibly lucky to have found each other.

And they both were right.

Their love, to them, felt as easy and enjoyable as a good massage or a fine meal. Nothing ever seemed like worth when they were together.

Not even all the work it took to care for the refugees.

It had been a fat Mafioso from another fiction that had brought the news that the other fictions were cut off from one another and some of them had started to break down.

The rumour was that it had started in one fiction where the Primary had disappeared and thus the very stuff of that fiction began to fall apart. From there, it had spread by unknown means through the Now and into other fictions.

Erik and Bumper shared a look that said “That’s our fault, isn’t it? Uh oh. ”

The fat Mafioso had barely escaped into the Now before his native fiction collapsed in on itself like a pop-up book. He was very worried about his fiction’s Primary, who was a mob boss who called herself “Silky Sally”.

The fat Mafioso could not begin to imagine what would happen to a Primary if their fiction collapsed. The only thing he could think of was that she must have ended up in the long-theorized “outer zone” where all Primaries were assumed to have originated.

When the fat Mafioso had fled into the Now, he had done so blindly, with no destination in mind. But some instinct within him had caused him to seek the area of maximum stability, and that turned out to be the close vicinity of Erik.

Erik, being a Primary, held the local zone together with his thoughts and perceptions, and was therefore immune to the catastropy… and ignorant of it.

His piece said, the fat Mafioso, for lack of a better to do, got shot with a Tommy gun and bled contently over in a corner.

Bumper and Erik were alone.


Bumper pushed Eric’s hands away from his apprently irresistable fluffy bunny butt and said “I can’t do this. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve you. If I had an ounce of decency I would go hide myself away in the deepest, darkest corner I could find so that nobody would ever have to be exposed to my wretched presence again. ”

“Would I be with you in your corner? ” said Erik.

“No, the entire point of what I am saying is that…. ” Bumper started to say, but then sighed and looked into Erik’s soft and trusting eyes. “Yes. Yes you would be. I can’t imagine going anywhere without taking you with me. You’re mine now, and I won’t ever let you go. And that’s the problem. ”

“I don’t understand. ” said Erik.

“Don’t you SEE? Haven’t you figured it OUT? ” sobbed Bumper. “This is ALL MY FAULT. I’m the one who stole you from your own fiction and started this whole thing going. I was the one responsible for you, and I let you and everyone down, and now I just can’t stand myself at all!”

Erik hugged Bumper gently and stroked his head. “Shh. It will be all right, by sweet rabbit, everything is going to be okay. I;m here, I love you, and we are going to make it through this thing together. OK? Now hold on tight to me and tell me why you think it was all your fault. As I recall, you didn’t abduct me from my Commander Erik life. I left because deep down I was bored and discontent. How can that be your fault?”

‘BECAUSE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BRING YOU BACK. ” Bumper shrieked in anguish,. “That’s how it’s supposed to work. The Now guide introduces the Primary to another fiction, they take a quick look around, and then it is back to the Primary’s home fiction before there’s even a hint of destabilization. ”

“Then why didn’t you…”

“Because I couldn’t let you go! ” said Bumper. “The thought of you going back to your fiction and my going back to mine and resuming our lives without one another put me in a blind panic and so I let myuself be completely sidetracked and distracted, and ignored the voice oin my head that kept insisting that I bring you back before something truly terrible happened. And now it HAS happened, and it’s too late to stop it now, and it’s all because a dumb old bunny had a boner for a boy and couldn’t control himself enough to do his very important job. ”

“And now, here’s this fat Mafioso showing up to tell me my worst nightmares have come true and I am going to Hell for what I have done. ” Bumper said miserably.

“My poor, poor bunny. ” said Erik, and hugged Bumper close, resting his chin atop the bunny boy’s head. At first, Bumper resisted, insisting he did not deserve it.

But it wasn’t long before Bumper melted into the embrace, and the two lovers spent a long silence in each other’s arms.

“Now. ” said Erik. “let’s take a look at the real situation, shall we? ”

“Okay…. ” said Bumper.

“Realistically speaking, you cannot be the first agent to fall in love with their client. ” said Erik. “You also can’t be the first to keep their client out past their due date, so to speak. Right? So it can’t be that all it takes is one mistake like yours to wreck the entire system or it never would have lasted week.You follow? ”

“I think so…. ” said Bumper, half-believing.

“So it clearly wasn’t something you did that caused the current problems. It must be something that goes far deeper. ” said Erik. “Someone or some thing is attacking the very foundations of the system, and the system is starting to crumble. ”

Bumper nodded. It really wasn’t my fault, he thought to himself. He felt relieved, but also a tiny bit disappointed. At least when he thought it was all his fault, he knew who to blame. Now he was at the mercy of forces beyond his control.

“Now according to the fat Mafioso.. how are you doing over there, by the way? ”

“Fine!” said the fat Mafioso cheerfully. He’s gotten bored of dying and was now stone-facedly counting a huge pile of cash.

“Glad to hear it. According to him, I’m a source of stability in the system. ” said Erik. “And that means more and more Fictionals are going to be drawn to me as things get worse. They will be frightened, disoriented, and many of them will have just lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. And you know what that adds up to?”

“A refugee crisis. ” said Bumper.

“Exactly!” said Erik. “And that means we have to get ready. We need to get every Fiction in this region together and train them to deal with the refugees. We’ll need places for the them to eat and sleep and poop and whatever. ”

“Mmm. ” said Bumper. “Whatever. ”

“And we will need someone to organize and coordinate all these efforts. ” said Erik. “Someone who is a born administrator to make sure everything runs smoothly. A person of great competence who can bear a great deal of responsibility on his fuzzy little shoulders without crumbling under the pressure. ”

“Fuzzy little… you mean me? You want me to run things? ” said Bumper.

“Who better? ” said Erik. “And I know you can do it. After all, if you can keep me organized, a massive refugee effort should be no problem! ”

Bumper grinned despite himself. “You have a point. ”

“See?” said Erik. “So what do you say? Shall we get to work?”

“Yes. ” said Bumper. “After. ”

“After what? ” said Eric.

Bumper replied by slipping both furry hand-paws into Eric’s pants and giving his lover’s penis and testicles a firm, loving caress.

“Oh, THAT! ” said Erik with a giggle.

After that, they were far too busy to talk.


And that’s how it went. With Bumper providing the organization and Erik providing the inspiration, by the time the trickle of refugees had turned into a flood, their organization could handle the influx without a problem.

They even had a program to help teach refugees to be aid workers so that the more refugees they received, the more workers their were to help them make the transition.

They were a motley group. Ninjas, bankers. hentai creatures. hardboiled detectives, cartoon animals, pirates, mothers with enormous broods of kids, fairyland creatures, dixieland loan sharks, and just about everything else you can imagine (and some you’d rather not) thronged around the center post that was Erik and his stabilizing influence, and before long, a carnival atmosphere spread through the camp, and it all started to feel like one big crazy family reunion/picnic/circus/convention/madhouse.

The disasters unfolding outside their patch of dirt were forgotten and everybody thanks the System that they were safe and stable and warm and amongst good people.

Bumper even managed to set aside an area where he and his friends (and the curious from other fictions) could get frisky with one another, and pretty soon, the Casa del Orgy (as some wag had named it) was the most popular part of whole madcap affair, and  drew in Fictionals for its air of unbridled release and innocent joy as much as it did for its sexual opportunities.

When in doubt, fuck. That was their motto. And it was one they adhered to with great passion and dedication.

Elsewhere, there were aid workers helping the traumatized and the fragile cope with what they had experienced and what they had seen.

Some of what they had been through was beyond any sane person’s nightmares. Some of them needed medical treatment. Some of them needed immediate psychological intervention to keep them from harming themselves and others. And some of them needed to be isolated from the rest because the trauma had so shattered their psyches that they were barely even sentient any more.

But there was one thing they all needed : to tell their story to someone who truly listened and who truly cared, and thus release the pain of the experiences by sharing their burdens with someone else.

Erik spent most of his time in this area. There was a lot he could do to help. Mostly, he talked with the Fictionals who felt like they were coming apart just like their fictions had, and got them to describe everything they could think of about themselves while he listened with his eyes closed, and did his best to image what was being described as vividly as possible.

That reinforced the reality of the Fictional in question, and did much to ease their mind.

And that’s how it went. Joy and sorrow, love and grief, connection and seperation, and all the other flavours of life’s experiences were happening side by side.

it should have beehn chaos.

It should have been bedlam.

It should have been a NIGHTMARE.

But somehow, they all got by anyhow.












NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 24

A familiar asteroid with a familiar receiving station on it and a familiar robot trudging around a familiar route in a familiar way.

In fact, only three things had changed from the first time we visited this place :

  1. The robot. Barnacled Hermit, was very happy
  2. The receiving station was cleaner than the day it was manufactured, and
  3. The equator of the asteroid now bore, in letters twenty feet high and ten feet across, the words ASTEROID SWEET ASTEROID.

The Hermit was so happy because its long and tortuous nightmare of living as a human being was finally over. That alone was enough to fill his days with bliss. Now and then he would pause and knock on his metal chest with his metal fist just to hear the satisfyingly non-squishy solid metal clonk. Or he would be walking his route while reveling in the fact that he felt nothing sloshing, pulsing, gurgling, or flatulating inside him any more.

The experience had left its marks on the Hermit’s fragile psyche. 14 solar revolutions of his asteroid had passed and he still had nightmares of being back there interrupted his dormant self-diagnosis and maintenance mode, forcing him to start the whole cycle over again from the beginning.

And he couldn’t do that until he stopped shaking and sobbing.

And the memory file of the experience kept loading itself into his active working memory for some reason, and he had to play through the whole thing before he could get those sectors of RAM back.

So while he spent his days happy and content now, part of him was reliving the experience over and over again.

The first days had been the hardest. Being in a squishy goopy messy human body was a never-ending emotional trauma for the Hermit, and in those first few times, he had been quite insane.

That was a hard thing for a robot to admit, even to itself. Robots of the Robohomo Society prided themselves in their logical and methodical natures. It was considered by robots to be their defining difference between themselves and humans, and in their minds, it was the that difference that justified their existence.

Anything that made a robot less logical and self-controlled, therefore, became a deeply taboo subject. Many of the less sophisticated robots believed that there was no such thing as an insane robot. The commonly repeated explanation for how this could be was that “so many things would have to go wrong in order for a robot to be insane that there was no way the robot would remain sentient enough to be considered insane. ”

This was mostly true, but only if one limited onself to mechanical causes for insanity. There were many ways a robot’s software could become corrupted and a lot of those corresponded with human forms of insanity to a high degree.

In fact, in the more strict and conservative enclaves of the robot half of robohomo society, individual robots were required to refresh their software from a common hubs as often as once an hour, or be considered insane and have it done by force.

But there was no denying it for the Hermit. He had been insane for two entire ship’s days. His memory of those days was fragmentary, but those fragments told a tale of terrifyingly random behaviour that traumatized both the robots and the humans aboard ship, and it being that very randomness that made made him impossible to capture because nobody could predict what he would do next.

In fact, it hadn’t been until he had accidentally stumbled into a robot charging station (believing it, at the time, to be a unicorn’s eye that led to a fancy fudge factory) and saw the familiar machiney that he snapped out of his madness and was able to, with great difficulty, come back to himself.

The first thing he did was to jam the charging station’s two doors so that nobody could come and make him act like a human ever again. Then he sat down with the charging dongle close to what seemed like the closest thing a human body had to the appropriate socket, and started to plan his escape.

Being a robot and thus having a computer for a brain, he could generate, test, and disregard millions of plans a milisecond, but none of them could overcome the three limiting condition of the problem :

  1. He had no idea where he was relative to his home
  2. He now had a crippling fear of humans that would not stand for the slightest chance of encountering one, and
  3. He didn’t know how he’d gotten into this mess in the first place, so for all he knew, any action would result in an even worse dislocation of consciousness and then it would be fancy fudge factory time all over again.

So he entertained not-quite-impossible plans like programming the ship’s core to explode in a solar system sized fireball (which he knew he would survive) using only the charging station’s primitive interface and his own signal modular (would take decades to work), or enlisting a human ally via the ship’s internal com system (fine idea but he had absolutely no idea how to befriend a human even under normal sircumstances, let alone when he was gibberingly afraid of them), or merely annihilating himself in a ship’s decombiner and hoping to be reborn as a robot (which had a strong emotional appeal but required so many unbased assumptions that a robot;s mind stood no chance of pulling it off).

And so he sat there, allowing his doomed plan-generating subroutine to take over more and more of his CPU, just like a virus, but one he made for himself in order to make the time pass faster.

His salvation had come in the form of the reality breakdowns that were the direct result of the abscence of a Primary in this fiction. One day the wall next to him had dissolved into a gray sparkling nothingness, and through there he had found himself in the Now (which to him was a transcendant data network) and was able  to access the network protocols and transfer himself back to his asteroid and his proper body from there.

The joy he felt when he found he was once more circuit and steel instead of flesh and blood was indescribable. It was so strong that it overwhelmed his ligature controls and he had fallen to the ground, laughing.

He lay there for what might of been seconds, minutes, or hours, laughing like he had hiccup in his vocal output stream. He did silly things, like throw rocks at himself with increasing force just to feel them painlessly strike his indestructible metal frame, or go through an improvised routine where he moved every part of his body through every single angle a human body could never achieve without fracture, or run around the asteroid’s equator at blinding speed just to feel the exhiliration of all his circuits firing without having to worry about limiting his speed out of fear of harming his fleshy frame.

It was on one of those runs that the idea for the words came to him in a flash of intuition (thanks to his state of the art Higher Integration circuits, he had intuition). He had wasted a half dozen picoseconds dazed with wonder at the brilliance of the notion, then immediately set to work.

And it was slow going at first because he lacked the proper tools, or anything even remotely resembling them. He had all the necessary equipment to repair and maintain himself and his receiving station, and most of THAT was software from a cartidge loaded into his Temporary Memory Module bay.

Everything else was up to him to figure out. That’s what those Higher Integration circuits were FOR. They were meant to give him the capacity for creative problem solving, and thus allow him and his model-mates to be deployed with far less in the way of machinery and tools, which saved his deployers tons of resources.

He knew this because it was in the sales pitch recorded in his audio banks. His model was too utilitarian to promote itself like some models did, but he could play the precorded message whenever he felt like it.

He never felt like it.

And when the full suite of creative problem solving subroutines came online, the process accelerated, because that allowed him to make the tools needed to make the tools needed to make the tools he needed to actually do the task.

It was exhilerating. He had never accessed those circuits before – not much need to in a job as routine and predictable as his – and the expansion of his capacities filled him with a sense that was not awe, but was the closest a robot could get to awe.

He wondered if this was what humans called “creativity”, and if it felt as good to them as it did for him.

He decided that it didn’t. How could they, with minds so slow?

After that,  his life had settled back into its old groove, and now, he reveled in the predictability of his life.


What the hell was that noise? thought Tidus “Tiny” Foregold.

He had been reading the latest in a series of erotic sociology mysteries (the best one in the series so far, in fact) when he had been jarred out of his state of thoughtful arousal by an entirely unfamiliar sound.

And for Tiny, that was extremely stressful, because he had been alone in his three person grid-ship for almost two years and had encountered many different situations which prompted many different noises to be played over the PA system as his non-sentient AI tries to alert him and inform him of the nature of the threat at the same time.

And he was certain that by now he would have heard them all. But this one was new. It consisted of a repeated loop of some very loud angelic music, over which some kind of voice was saying something he couldn’t quite make out through the haze of his shock.

Then Tiny’s emergency training kicked in, and he calmed himself down, found his “island of peace”, and listened.

“The Hermit has been found! I repeat, the Hermit has been found! Congratulations, [Gridder A872T131]! You are the lucky pilot who has found the Hermit at long last. and everlasting fame, glory, and wealth await you, for you shall be forever known as [he] who brought the Barnacled Hermit home!”

For six very long seconds, Tiny’s mind went completely blank.  His mind could not accept the notion that he was the person to find the Hermit. Intellectually, og course, he knew that was the whole point of gridships and their mission to search every single micrometer of the sector for the figure that had become as powerful a cultural goal as putting a human on the moon or breaking the warp code, and as deeply meaningful to people as the old Christian concept of New Jerusalem, or the England sector’s notion of the return of King Arthur.

So he had known that’s why he had been given this grid-ship and sent out on his preprogrammed search cycle.

But he had never expected it to actually happen.

Once he got over the shock, Tiny moved very quickly. As he activated the greeting robots Slipper (short for Sideslipping Otter) and Wembely (short for Werewolf Assembly), all his childhood dreams of what he would say if he finally met the fabled Barnacled Hermit came flooding back and it was a struggle to execute all the necessary protocols and procedures with so many deep, rich emotions flowing through him.

The moment Slipper and Wembley came online, they said the same thing. “Is it time?”.

And both times, Tiny was overjoyed to tell them “Yes. It is time. ”

And both times, they had reacted in the same way : they had gone completely still except for vibrations which seemed to flow from one body part to another in waves. And the expressions on their robotic faces were those of transfixed joy.

Because for the humans, it was a Holy Cause.

But for robots, it was the Second Coming.

Then, once all their brains returned to more or less normal, they gathered together in the exit bay, looked at one another with great joy, then walked out to greet the cultural hero they had adored for decades.

It was time to bring him home.


The Hermit was just as shocked as they had been when the round, fat ship had dropped out of transwarp right above him.

First he wondered how in the Circuit could he have missed the signals that surely preceded the ship’s arrival.

Then he wondered if he was in trouble and if they were here to punish him.

Then he wondered if they were there by accident and would leave without so much as saying hello or picking him up.

Then he wondered why he would even think of such a thing,.

He had just gotten around to wondering if his experiences as a human had driven him insane and he was hallucinating this whole thing when the ship landed delicately in front of him, its Exit Bay opened, and two of the sexiest robots – one red, the other pink – the Hermit had ever seen emerged, along with a petite human in a bubble-suit.

With practiced precision, all three of them moved to formed a loose half-circle in front of the stunned Hermit, their every movement conveying joy and welcome.

“We have two things we need to say to you, o Barnacled One. ” said the pink robot.

“The first is that we are very, very sorry that you got lost. ” said Tiny.

“And the second is that we are very, very glad to see you, and that it will be our honour and privilege to finally, at long last,  take you home. ” said the red robot.

“We love you, Barnacled Hermit!” they said as one.

“Now please come with us. ” said the red robot.

“There’s a lot of people who will be very happy to see you. ” said the pink.

“And know that from now on, you will never be lonely again. ” said Tiny.

The Barnacled Hermit didn’t know what to say. What do you say when a dream you gave up on a long time ago comes true before your very eyes? For a moment, his entire vocal system was paralyzed.

Finally, he said “Thank you for finally finding me. I’m happy to see you too. ”


NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 23

After the fact, of course, we all wanted to know where the Black Star had come from.

And also how it could have evaded detection by every single space probe in the sector before emerging like a battleship emerging from a fog bank to hover dirtectly over the capital of both Earth and the Earther Alliance, Pueblo, Colorado.

It did so at an orbit the President’s physicists told her was flat out impossible for an object of its mass and shape.

“I have told your department many times that none of you are to ever, EVER tell me that something which is happened is impossible. ” snapped the President in her “schoolmarm cracking the whip” tone.

“Why not? ” said an unwise advisor near the back of the throng.

“Because if it was impossible, it wouldn’t be bloody happening! ” said the President.

Cowed silence. None of the Science Council knew what to do now. The President was famous for her almost total sangfroid and to see her snappish and irritable was, to all present, an entirely unprecedented event.

Normally, all one had to do to stay in Her Grace’s good graces was to be able to think on your feet and have all your facts marshalled and ready to be delivered.

But, they collectively allowed, one supposed that having a massive object the size of Mercury materialize without warning directly above the city where you lived would strain the nerves of even the steeliest of leaders.

And not just any object, but one that defied all attempts to understand it. The mass detectors clearly indicated that the object was incredibly dense and, at the same time, no more substatial than a puff of smoke. It was completely nonflective – completely black – and yet, some forms of radiation were passing through it like it wasn’t there. Even its shape defied comprehension, for to look at it was to feel onself begin to go insane due to the complex and tortured surface topographies.

At the same time, another person might look at it and see a simple sphere, or a complex pyramid, or nearly any other mathmatically definable form/

And above all, it radiated a profound sense of evil. The Earther state polled people to ask what they were feeling and the most popular answer by far was “dread”. Everyone with even level 1 sentience was huddling together, waiting for doomsday to come.

In the future, historians would wonder how it had done this. There was no record of any form of radiation or effect emanating from the Black Star that could account for this effect or its totality. There were no rebel idealist groups claiming that the Black Star meant that our Space Brothers had arrived and would lead us unto science fiction slavation. Nor were there any religious zealots claiming that the End Times had come and we would all be punished for our wickedness.

The seventeen billion residents of Earth all had the exact same emotional reaction and the exact same feeling about what was to come.

Down to the very last being.

it was as if this terrifying object imposed a certain pattern of thought about  itself upon the minds of all on Earth with overwhelming force, and that heavy imprint  kept people from being able to think rationally about the Black Star while it was there.

The outburst seemed to have helped the President regain her composure.

She walked smartly up to her command console – the famous Iron Pedestal – and checked her dozens of readouts. No change.

“I trust we are still broadcasting our welcoming message to the Object, Doctor Sukarno? ” she asked without looking back at her Science Council.

A startled Doctor Sukarno was pushed to the front of the pack. “Uh, I, uh…. ”

“YES, Doctor Sukarno? ” said the President, with ice in her tone.

Doctor Sukarno struggled to control himself. Nothing in his child in the back alleys of Bogor had prepared him for this.

With great visible effort, he calmed himself down enough to say “yes”.

“And I take it there has been no response? ” said the President.

“None whatsoever, Your Grace. ” said Doctor Sukarno. See, she’s not so scary, he thought to himself. “Every form of signal we know of either passes right through it or is completely absorbed. Which is impos…. I mean…. for which we have no explanation within the confines of known science. ”

“Hmmm. Excellent. Good Work, Doctor Sukarno. ” said the President. ” I take it that includes multi-phasic gravity wave transmission? ”

“Yes, President. ” said Doctor Sukarno.

“Damn. Still, good job, Doctor Sukarno. You are dismissed. ” said the President.

The mob of scientists parted to allow a very sweaty and grateful Doctor Sukarno to be reabsorbed into the flock.

The President’s brow wrinkled from the depth of her thought. In her salad days, when she was an illegal backalley scientist for hire. she’d  dreamed of a time when she would be face to face with the truly inexplicable. Something that truly made no sense at all – the perfect scientific mystery.

She’d gotten goosebumps from the sheer exhiliration of the thought.

But it was a lot different when the fate of at least 17 billion beings was in your hands.

“LeClarc, as luck with your mass disperment analysis? ” said the President.

“No. ” said Doctor LeClark.

“So no shadows, no dead spots, no-

he President was interrupted by a sound  she could hear in her head but suspected did not exist outside it. It was a sound similar to what you heard when you turned on a high powered amplifier.

It amplified the silence.

Then a great dark voice, superficially civilized but with great menace in the undertones. began to speak.

“Pitiful creatures of this minor planet. ” it said in a voice that seemed to be coming from every surface all at once.  “We are the Primaries, and from this point o, you will serve us. Whatever pathetic scratchings in the dirt you have called your lives have ceased to be and you will now do what we want you to, think what we tell you to think, and be what we want you to be, ”

“If we want you to thrive, you will thrive.  If we want you to suffer, you will suffer. And if we want you to die, YOU WILL DIE. ”

All over the world, people were asking themselves if this was real or some kind of colossal hoax. People wanted to believe it was a hoax, but could not come up with how it was being done or, more importantly, how one could fake an object so big it was easily seen with the naked eye, even though it was in orbit.

“Not so fast, Black Star! ” said a bright and shining voice. “As the duly appointed chief of this sector and all the Star Marines in it, I order you to cease assimilation of this planet immediately and retreat to this sector’s Neutral Zone for arbitration. ”

“You have no power here, Sun Pony!” thundered Black Star. “Oh yes, I would recognize that voice anywhere. Well you are too late. I have filed all the forms. I have gotten approval from all the necessary committee. I have observed all the formalities.  ”

“All but one! ” said Sun Pony. “CONSENT! You know as well as I do that Article 5 of Section 10 of the Tran-Sentient Convention states that no planet with sentient residents may be conquered, engulfed, assimilated, overthrown, subverted, or culturally dominated  without the majoroity consent of its sentient population. ”

“Ah, but subsection C of that part of the convention specifically states that its restrictions apply to Stage 2 or higher planets,”said Black Star, “and this one doesn’t even have a global government! Therefore, that restriction does not apply here!”

“Really? ” said Sun Pony. There was a brief, heated exchange about research departments spoken in showy whispers, then : “Ah, but they DO have a world government. It is called the United Nations and I am assured that every one of their countries is part of it!”

“Are its decisions binding? ” said Black Star.

“Kind of. ” said Sun Pony.

“In other words, no. And does it have own armed forces? ” said Black Star.

“Sort of? ” said Sun Pony.

“Also a no, then. ” said Black Star. “And does this supposed world government provide any useful function on a global level?”

“In a way….” Another whispered conversation. “Wait… it actually does! It cooardinates disaster relief, immunization campaigns, international scientific endevours, AND provides peacekeeping support all over the planet!”

“What is this…. peacekeeping of which your speak? ” asked Black Star.

“it’s when an army gets in between two other armies to keep the other two armies from fighting each other. ” said Sun Pony.

“Disgusting. ” said Black Star.

“Nevertheless, if a planet has one of the three qualifying properties of Stage 2 development, it cannot be assimilated until a third party arbitrator has determined whether the planet is in the “pre-qualifying” phase of development or not!” said Star Pony. “Therefore, get your grubby tentacles off this planet or face the full power of my Star Marines, you overinflated gob of SPACE AMBERGRIS!”

Around the world, people cheered, then Googled ambergris on their cell phones, then a great cry of “EWWWWW!” rocked the Earth.

“Or…. we could put it to a vote. ” said Dark Star.

“Say what now? ” said Star Pony.

“You heard me. “said Black Star. “Consent is decided via vote, not arbitration. If a vote shows consent, no arbitration is needed. So we call…. for a vote. ”

“Shit. ” said Sun Pony. “Well… okay. But you have to give us time to organize the vote. You also need to give the sentients time to debate the prospect. ”

“Very well. ” said Black Star. “May I say something first? ”

“Very well. ” said Sun Pony.

“People of Earth…. a vote for self-preservation is a vote against humanity.” said Black Star. ” Aren’t you tired of these fatcat space governments taxing you to death and telling you what to do? Vote for assimilation, and show those dirty weirder Earth-huggers that you can’t be pushed around by them ANY LONGER. Also, think of all the liberals annibhilation will kill. Make Earth Great Again! Your rebuttal, Sun Pony?”

“Um. ” said Sun Pony. “Vote no on annihilation because then you won’t…. be annihilated. Vote no because that is the only way you get to live free ans not be the playthings of sadistic space blobs. ”

“Who cares about that?” said Black Star, interrupting. “Why should our rotten and ungrateful grandchildren get to live when we don’t? Maybe some good old fashioned assimiliation and annhiliation will teach them to respect their elders!”

“Do we even need to debate this? Black Star wants to digest and destroy your planet! And before that, they will torture you for their own amusement and enslave you just because, and I apologize for the frankness,. but just because… they get off on it. ”

“Lies!” screamed Black Star. “I never said that! You can’t prove I said that! But that’s typical of you traitorous liberals, isn’t it? Twisting people’s words around to use them again them? Oh, and just where is your planet of origin. Sun Pony? ”

“I’m from the planet Squaspababa, why? ” said Sun Pony.

“So you’re not even FROM Earth and yet you claim to know what’s best for everyone on Earth? ” said Black Star. “You people think you know everything, don’t you? ”

“I know people usually don’t want to be enslaved, tortured, assimilated, and destroyed!”

“Oh yeah? Where’s your proof? Show me the study that says that!” said Black Star.

“You don’t need a study to-” said Sun Pony.

“Oh, how TYPICAL. ” said Black Star. “When the studies agree with their agenda, they say ‘We have to do this because this study says so! But then when it suits them, they say you don’t even NEED a study!”

Then both parties fell silent and a calm neutral female voice said “This might take a while, so I am taking over. Ignore those idiots. It’s really very simple. The real question is going to be on whether or not Black Star should be disconnected from power and destroyed. So if you do not want the Earth and everyone on it – even celebrities – to be destroyed, wait until you are asked “Should the Primaries be disconnected’, then vote YES for disconnection. ”

Then the world fell silent.

And the debates began.


NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 22

The thump when the evil dragon Eigei slammed gracelessly to the ground was very satisfying to the four adventurers of the legendary and universally loved and respected Four Cool People Who Travel Together

“At last! Our longtime foe doth lie broken and beaten at our very feet!” said the bard.

“And now we get all his FABULOUS loot!” said the very pretty male elf archer.

“The important thing is that his reign of evil is over, and the land can once more breathe free of his malign influence. ” said the stolid and sturdy paladin.

The archer rolled his eyes. “Oh of COURSE. ”

“Whatever. I’m only here because Tammy needed someone to play her character while she’s away on vacation. ” said the mysterious female warrior with the mysteriously skimpy armor and the mysteriously powerful weapons given to her by her mysteriously eager to please traveling companions, mysteriously.

“What strange words you use, Shield-Maid. ” said the paladin. “and I know not of this ‘Tammy’ of whom you speak Is she a tavern wench? ”

“you have GOT to be kidding me. ” said the assassin.

The mighty black dragon. its scales the color of an oil slick and its eyes as red as a Canadian Tire sign, lifted up its mighty head, and mournfully crooned “It is true, mighty adventurers! You have slain me, and in doing so, insured that the bards and skalds will sing your praise unto the end of time. All who meet you, even the most aggressive, thuggish, and handsome if you’re into that kind of thing which I am NOT people will bow down at your feet and beg for the privilege of touching your hand. ”

“Whoa, cool! ” said the bard. “I… truly this is the day when we hoist our banner aloft and cry ‘Hooray!”  He looked at the paladin. “Well?

“Well what? ” said the paladin.

“Hoist our banner aloft so we can shout hooray!” said the bard.

“I don’t have the banner. “said the paladin. “Nobody told me I was supposed to carry the banner. Why would I be carrying the banner?

“Because you’re the only one of us with a horse? Who can carry a lot of stuff? Stuff too big and bunkjy for the rest of us to carry? Like banners? ” said the bard.

The paladin hmphed. “Look, if you don’t tell me to do it, you can’t get mad at me for it! I’m not a frikkin mind reader. ”

“But it’s just common sense that… you know what, forget it. ” said the bard. He cleared his throat, visibly regained his composure, and said “Surely this is the day that we hoist our WEAPONS aloft and shout ‘Hurray!'”

They hoisted their weapons aloft and shouted hooray.

“Ahem. May I please continue? ” said the dragon.

“Oh, of course… sorry… ” said the bard.

“Your names, legends, bard, skalds, etcetera. ” said the dragon. “But you should know now that I am not the source of the evil which plagues this land. I am merely its humble servant. The true source of the evil is a group of foul-minded sorcerors who call themselves The Dreamers. ”

“Is this the new expansion? ” asked the archer. “Um, some catty comments to keep everyone wondering if I am gay and if so, how gay am I?”

“Brilliant. ” said the bard.

“Yes, it is the Dreamers who are your real enemies. I was an innocent hatchling when they captured me and forced me to do all those evil things I have done. They are vile and malignant people who twist and warp the world around them to suit their wicked whims, and they love nothing more than to humiliate and demean the poor creatures caught in their warped web of poisonous magic!” said the dragon, all in one breath.

“Well that can’t be right. ” said the paladin thoughtfully.

“Ya think? ” said the archer cattily.

“Whatever.” said the assassin boredly.

“Is there anything we can do to stop the Dreamers?” said the bard.

“Yes there is!” said the dragon. “Soon, there will come a time when you are asked a simple question  : should the Primaries… I mean, Dreamers.. be disconnected? And all you have to do is say…. ?”

The dragon looked around the room like an expectant teacher.

The adventurers looked at each other, and shrugged.

“…yes?” said the archer eventually.

The dragon beamed at the them, which is not easy when you’re so black your scales absorb the entire spectrum of visible light, plus infrared, ultraviolet, and for some reason shortwave radio. “Exactly! You’re all so smart! No wonder you bested me! All you have to remember is that when the time comes, say yes. Then you will have helped defeat the Dreamers forever and rid this and all worlds of their presence forever!”.

“Wow! ” said the bard. “How much XP will we get for that? ”

The dragon looked caught out. “Um… lots! Lots and lots! Enough XP for you to get three… levels? And loot that’s truly… epic? ”

“Awesome! ” said the bard. “Truly, this shall be the greatest thing we have ever done!”

“And with no grind!” said the paladin.

“Whatever. ” said the assassin. “I am out of here. Later, losers!”

The assassin then slumped into lifelessness, like a puppet when its string are cut.

The other three looked at her lifeless form sadly, shrugged, and moved on.

But not before lootting all her stuff and squeezing her titties.

Nearby, the dragon’s eyes glittered with malice. Through these four idiots, the word would spread throughout the fiction, and by the time the second Test came around, they would all do the right thing and vote to disconnect the Primaries.

Eegee patted himself on the back (with his tail) for having thought of this.  With age comes power, and Eegee was very very old. He therefore had enough power to not only travel the Now but to insert himself into any fiction he pleased.

And it was even more fun than he thought it would be,

It took all his strength not to laugh out loud at the irony of it all.

Then he remembered that he was supposed to be dead, and keeled over.


“So what you’re saying, doc, is that these Dreamer jokers are behind the crime wave here in Coppertown? ” said the private detective in the dirty brown coat.

“And not just Coppertown. ” said Doctor Earl Gee in his highly educated Hong Kong upper class accent, “Their influence is felt everywhere from Aluminum Acre to Zinc City.  if something truly crummy is going down, the odds are even that they are behind it… or own the person that is. ”

“Now listen here, old chap… ” said the world famous jewel thief turned manhunter Sir Evan Thisselthwaite the Eleventh. “Are you really saying that they are behind such groups as the Penny Whistle Gang and the Iron Cross? ”

“I’m afraid so, Sir Evan. ” said Doctor Gee. “I am afraid that in your, shall we say, previous career you dealt with many unsavoury people… ”

“Dealt with? ” said Sir Evan. “Some of them are still on my Christmas card list. ”

“…but I assure that these people are worse. They think the whole world exists for their pleasure, and they have so much power that they think nobody can touch them. ” said Doctor Gee as he stroked his Fu Manchi moustache.

“And you say your invention can change that? ” said the Silent Specter in his dead, cold voice, his empty eye sockets glowing.

“Indeed it can. My device will cut every one of them off at the same time, so none of them can use their influence to save themselves. ” said Doctor Gee. “After that, it’s just a matter of flushing them out of system and they will be gone for good.

“So what’s our part in all of this? ” said former beauty queen turned insurance adjuster Patti Pie, the hardness in her steel grey eyes warning everyone that this pretty doll in the pink satin dress was not to be trifled with.

“I can’t explain in detail. ” said Doctor Gee. “It’s all very technical. All I can tell you is this : some time soon, you will be contacted. This contact will ask you a simple question : ‘Should the Primaries – that’s our codeword for the Dreamers – be disconnected’? And all you have to do is say ‘yes’. ”

“That’s it, Doc?” said all six foot two of Harvey “Hardcase” Stone. “There’s nobody you want me to get to sing with a little chin music? No junior jamoke you need me to gut-shoot for waxing your best gal? Nobody-”

“None of that, Harvey. Not yet. ” said Doctor Gee. “But a lot of people are going to try to talk you into backing the bums, so you gotta stay focused and remember that nothing is going to get better in this lousy town until these jackals are six foot under. ”

“Don’t worry about that, Doc. ” said Hardcase. “I’ll make sure everyone gets the message. You can count on us. ”

“Excellent!” said Doctor Gee. “I promise you won’t regret it. ”


“Say that again, you walleyed rattlesnake. ” said Madman Mark McCraw in a voice like a tomb door grinding closed. “I fucking dare you. SAY IT AGAIN. ”

The black eyes of war profiteer Ignatious “Iggy” Marsh flashed in the darkness of the Trembling Pines saloon, and his wicked smile got a little wider. He leaned forward and said “Did I go too fast for your tiny cowboy brain? Is what I am saying too much for a dirt-eating, cowshit smelling, ignorant, ill-bred, jumped up little cow fucker like you to handle? I said that I don’t have that precious piece of pussy you call Alabaster Jane. Or should I say I have had her? So has most of the town. That girl is cheap trash, and I don’t deal with cheap trash… present company excluded. ”

Madman Mark was breathing like a bull and a big vein pulsed in his forehead. The air was charged with potential violence just looking for a place to strike.

“Get to the fucking POINT, you greased up iguana!” grated Madman. “Where is my girl? If I have to ask you again, it’ll be this here shotgun of mine that will do the talking. ”

“Don’t shit your britches just yet, son. ” said Iggy with a satanic smile. “Like I said, I don’t have her. But I know who does, and let me tell you, these people are some very bad hombres. The sweetest one of them make an old huckster like me look like a goddamn nun at Christmas. So if you want to get your girl, you got to be ready to take on some mean, lean, powerful men who would shoot you in both eyes just to watch you die. And they’d be laughing the whole damned time. ”

“You know I don’t give a shit about that. ” said the Madman of Montana Valley. “Just tell me where they are so I can kill the bastards and take back my girl. ”

“I can’t tell you here and I can’t tell you now. ” said Iggy. “You and I ain’t exactly kissin’ cousins, and I get the feeling that if I give you the information when you’re all hopped up and raring to kill like you are now, , I’d be full of shrapnel from that crazy pop gun of yours so fast youi’d think I was born that way. ”

“When?” growled the Madman.

“Soon. ” said Iggy soothingly. “Soon as I get clear, I will send a man to you with the information. He’ll give you a pass code so you know it’s my guy. He’ll say ‘Should the Primaries be disconnected?'” All you got to do is say “yes” and he will tell you where you can find that gal of yours. You understand me, son? ”

The Madman nodded. “I got ya. You and me are gonna settle our differences some day, you pimple on a horse’s asshole. But right now, I got a girl to save. ”

With that, Madman stalked out his office like a hungry panther, and Iggy looked at his men and smiled.

“See what I told you boys? ” he said. “Even dangerous men can be handled and put to good use. This time next week, the Dreamer gang will be out of hair for good and we will be free to live as we please and really make something of ourselves. And we will hunt down Commander Rick and all his frfiends and make them pay. ”

“Pay for what? ” said the feller in the back.

“Never you mind that. I ain’t paying you to ask questions. ” said Iggy. You just do as your told and kill who I say, and everything will be just fine.

“Yeah. ” he said, visions of big piles of burning physical bodies dancing in his. “Everything will be fine, fine, fine. ”


NaNoWriMo 201 : Chapter 21

“And you know what they say about dragon males!” said Princess Featherfall of the Vulpine Empire, her tail swishing with mischief.

“I do not. ” said her handmaiden, Lady Reptillia. She had learned (the hard way) to avoid all pretension with the princess, as she tended not to see it as such and took it on face value every time.

It was part of her innocent charm, no doubt, but it could be damn’d irritating.

“Drat. Neither do I. ” said the Princess. “I was hoping I could find out from you. The way that gerbil guard said it made it sound most intriguing. ”

While on the surface, Lady Reptilia (or “Tilly” to the Princess, whom she’d raised) remained as impassive as a porcelain doll – tail still, motionless, scales shiny – inside she felt panic clawing up her back like a freshly hatched baby.

For she had lain with many dragon males as part of her search for a husband. That was simply how it was done in her clade. Each of the dragon males had lain with many reptiles too. Her clade’s philosophy was that you found out if two people were sexually compatible, THEN worried about their personalities, background, and so on.

And while the Princess’ innocence usualy kept her from thinking about such matters (thank the Egg), she has occasional flashes of intuition that really kept Lady Tilly on her claws, because she never knew when she would have to answer one of her Princess’ more intimate questions truthfully while not ending up in the dungeon below them for Jeopardizing the Virginity of a Princess.

Tilly was not sure what the punishment for that crime was. but she was sure it would be non-fatal. extremely creative. and designed for maximum pain and humiliation.

Princess Featherfall gasped, then grinned at Tilly. “You know, it just occurred to me that you would know all about it..”

Oh Egg, oh Egg, oh holy holy Egg, thought Tilly. Have mercy on your hatchling.

“… after all, you’re far more experienced in this kind of thing than I am, and I know you’ve been doing it since you were very young…. ”


“,,,what’s tonight’s ball going to be like? ” finished the Princess.

Tilly’s relief was so profound that she couldn’t speak.

“Oh dear. ” said the Princess, face wrinkled up with concern. . “Was I not supposed to ask? If so, I am terribly sorry. ”

Tilly swallowed – twice – then said “Oh no, my Princess. You were right to ask.I was just… thinking about the next religious function I will be attending. ”

“Oh okay. ” said the Princess, and for a moment she paused thoughtfully. But then her essential sunniness took over and she moved on. “Anyhow, what will it be like? What will be expected of me ?”

“Ah. Of course. That’s exactly what I would expect you to ask about.” said Tilly, “Well, my Princess, worry not. All you need to do is smile, look pretty, and accept compliments and gifts from the suitors your father wants you to see. ”

“That sounds easy enough!” said the Princess

For you, it is, thought Tilly. The rest of us gals have to work at it.

“It will be, my Princess. Now come with me and we will pick out your dress. ”

The door burst open and standing there was a dashing alligator with a cutlass and a chapeau. “No need! For it is I, the Scarlet Cayman, and I have come to rescue you from your cruel oppression. ”

He swept Princess Featherfall into his arms and looked deeply into her eyes. “I swear, by my honor as a Swordsman, that from this day forward, I will be your loyal protector, here to serve your every need and keep you from harm till my dying day!”

Princess Featherfall beamed with joy. But not surprised. After all, this kind of thing happened to her all the time.

The Scarlet Cayman got down on one knee, and took her paw in his. “Dear Lady, will you make me the happiest man in the Ten Kingdoms and allow me, a humble reptile,. take your hand in marriage? I beseech thee, Lady Tilly… ”

“Wait, WHAT? ” said the Princess. “What did you just say?”

“I said… Dear lady, will you make-” said the Cayman.

“Not the whole thing! Just the last part!” snapped the Princess.

“Er…. I said…’I beseech thee, Lady Tilly…. ”

The princess looked like she wanted to kill something. “I’m not Lady Tilly! I’m Princess Featherfall! THAT.. ” she said, pointing an accusing figure at Tilly,  “is Lady Tilly!”.

“Really?” said the Cayman, and looked over at Tilly. Tilly, for her part, gawked openly at what surely be the sexist man in all Reptiledom.

“CLEARY, there’s been some kind of mistake. ” said the fuming Princess while tapping her foot on the floor impatiently.

“I guess you’re right. ” said the Cayman. He reached into his cloak and withdrew a battered, tattered piece of parchment and squinted at it. “I never was any good at reading. Could one of you ladies help…. ”

The parchment was snatched away faster than the eye could follow. Tilly unfurled the parchment and tilted it to the light to see it better.

“Now what was it you needed help with, dear man?” said Tilly in the closest her voice could get to honeyed tones, which was not very close.

At best, it was an affectionate croak.

“Just read it out to me, please!” said the Cayman excitedly.

Tilly cleared her throat, then said “Dear Maestro Delvanni…”

The Cayman clapped with glee. “That’s me!”

“Yes, it is.Good boy. ” said Tilly. “Dear Maestro Delvanni… I have, with great difficulty. procured the information that you seek. You will find the lady in question at Castle Thuum. Her name is Lady Tilly, and she works for the Princess Featherfall, so you will likely find her in the the Princess’ chambers. Signed, your loyal Spymaster, Kevin. (the gerbil Kevin, not the pitbull Kevin. He’s a guard. ) ”

“See! ” said the Cayman, with an air of triumph. “I got it right! Kinda. ”

“Close enough for me, sexy scales. ” purred Tilly. This man was making parts of her wake up that had been asleep for years. And they were tingling.

“NO. ” yelled the Princess as she slapped the parchment from Tilly’s hand. “That is NOT how this works. I’m the princess, you’re the prince, you rescue me from arranged marriage, and we live HAPPILY EVER AFTER, you ASSHOLE!”.

They both ignored her.

“I remember you. ” said Tilly. “As I recall, you came twelfth that day. ”

“And thirteenth!” he replied with some pride.

“Indeed. Very impressive. I remember you as the hottest fuck I had all that season. Yet I didn’t select you. I wonder why?” said Tilly.

“I wondered that too.  Um, why I didn’t select you, I mean. ” said the Cayman.

“Are you two even LISTENING to me? ” ranted the Princess. “My god, do you have any idea how HORNY I am?”

“You didn’t really think the Princess was me, did you? ” said Tilly.

“Of course not. ” said the Cayman, with a grin. “I just did that to mess with the fox girl. She has quite the reputation for being difficult, so I figured it would be good for her to not get her way for once. ”

“I’m hot to trot! I’m ready to go! I’m ready for launch! I’m champing at the bit and kicking the stable door down!” said the Princess.

“So you really sent your top spy to track me down?” said Tilly.

“Yup. ” said the Cayman, and sighed. “And it took him a long time. As you know, all records of your Unselected are burned once the season ends. So the poor chap had to piece it together from a lot of discreet interviews with my rivals from that day. ”

“God fucking damn it, do you have any idea how hard it is for a Princess to get laid? Heck, to even get five minutes alone so you can masturbate?” screamed the Princess.

“I believe I have just figured out why she takes such long baths. ” said Tilly.

“So did I, when I was her age. ” said the Cayman.

“Yes, but when she took them, she was alone. ” said Tilly.

“Oh. ” said the Cayman. “Well that takes all the fun out of it. ”

“Not for her. ” said Tilly.

“I suppose not. ” said the Cayman. “I never will understand these hotbloods. Anyhow, I just want you to know that I really do want to marry you. ”

“Really?” said Tilly.

“Really. ” said the Cayman as he got down on one knee and took Tilly’s hand in his. “After that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. It wasn’t long before I knew I had to have you again. And again, and again, and again but in the butt. Because, dear Tilly, I just had to tell you that… your cunt is the most amazing thing I’ve ever stuck my dick into. And that’s saying a lot!”.

“I think that’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me!” said Tilly with a happy sob. She embraced him, and he embraced her.

“I’m so glad I found you at last, hot cunt. ” the Cayman murmurred in her ear.

“I’m glad to be found, steel cock. ” replied Tilly.

They parted, and looked deeply into one other’s eyes.

“I promise you, ” said the Cayman. “Now that I have finally found you, nothing will ever come between us again!”

A hairy four legged animal popped into existence between them.

“What IS it? ” said the Cayman.

“It’s like some kind of horrible parody of a dog. ” said Tilly.

“You’re right. My god, what a monstrosity. I wonder where it came from?”

“There seems to be writing on this necklace he’s wearing. ”

“K A R L O. ” said Tilly. “I guess it’s name is Karlo. ”

Karlo wagged his tail and barked at the sound of his name.

“I can’t understand a word it says, tho. ” said Tilly.

“What are we going to do with him? ” asked the Cayman.

“Well, I was thinking we could bring him on our-”

The scaly couple disappeared as quickly as Karlo had appeared leaving nobody in the room except Karlo…. and the Princess.

The Princess scowled at Karlo. ” Get out of here, you weird looking…  is that what I think it is? ” she said, looking between Karlo’s hind legs.

Karlo grinned a big doggy grin,  and gave his rear end a little wriggle to make it flap around. Things always got fun once they looked at his Such A Good Boy Thing.

“Well, I guess dogs and foxes are KIND of alike… ” said the Princess as she took a step towards him, eyes locked on his primary male attribute.

Yup! We’re both canids! thought Karlo. As a purebred, he was extremely bright.

“…and my handmaiden has disappeared and who know WHEN she will be back….” said the Princess, taking another step.

Karlo wagged happily, and gave it another wiggle.

“…and you ARE pretty sexy… ” said the Princess as she put her hand on Karlo’s head, and stroked his fur.

I know, thought Karlo. He pressed his head into her hand.

“…now let’s see if that thing works… ” said the Princess as she reached between Bruno’s legs. “Oh my… it sure does!”

Just wait, it gets lots bigger, thought Karlo.

And so it was that the kingdoms of Dog and Fox were united by a most unusual marriage. In fact, for generations the bards would sing of the day they tied the knot.

In fact, It was said that, late at night, if you listened very closely and the air was very still, you could still hear the echoes of that mighty YIP all these ccenturies later.

And if you happen to see a lizard lady and an alligator man canoodling in some quiet corner of the Now, please leave them be, as their relationship is at a very delicate stage at this moment.

After all, they’ve just met!






NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 20

“So this is the dog you told me about? ” said the hot redhead in the skimpy.

“Yup. This, dear friend, is your new best friend, Karlo. ” said the killer brunette dressed like a sexy secretary. She stroked the ears of the German Shepherd affectionately, and Karlo wagged and rubbed his head against her hand.

He really was a magnificent animal, healthy and strong and full of energy, but smart enough to be well behaved. Everything about him radiated a sense of life in full bloom, from his bright and eager eyes to his easy, relaxed panting to his powerful hindquarters which flexed smoothly as he wagged, anyone could see that he was the unaltered perfection of his breeze.

And judging by the relaxed confidence in how he held himself, he knew it.

“Hello Karlo. ” said the redhead. “You and I are going to get to know each other quite well, I think. ”

“I’ll say! ” said the brunette, and they both laughed.

Karlo wagged even harder, his whole back end movinjg back and forth. He didn’t know why humans did that strange kind of barking, but he knew it made them happy, and that made Karlo happy.

He loved humans even more than the average dog did, and when they were happy, that meant they were getting closer to the Next Part.

And Karlo loved the Next Part.

“He certainly looks like a strong, healthy, vigorous animal. ” said the redhead.

“Oh he is! ” said the brunette. She took a document out of her purse and unfurled it. It was so long, it rolled across the floor to Karlo’s front paws.

“As you can see, he has a very long pedigree. The longest ever, in fact. And here’s what the vet who did his last physical said… ”

She tooks a letter out of her purse and put on a pair of glasses that only made her sexier because it made her look smart. “Ahem. ‘I can verify. with absolute scientific certainty, that Karlo is the healthiest. most vigorous, most dextrous, and above all the nicest dog I have ever had on my examining table. He’s a very, very, VERY good boy, and my favorite patient ever. Your eternal friend, Gregora Gospodo, Doctor of Vetrinary Medicine and Passionate Animal Lover. P.S,, I have scheduled Karlo for another checkup two weeks from now, and as usual, there will be no charge.’ ”

“Wow!” said the redhead. “Karlo must be the best dog in the world if his vet says all those nice things about him!”.

“He is.” said the brunette. She held up the most official and real looking document ever,  “This government document says so. ”

“I totally believe you! ” said the redhead. “So… about his special skills… ”

Karlo stood up, ears fully erect. This was it. He knew those words. They meant it was almost time for the Next Thing.  He wagged so hard that his rear paws danced with one another and his panting was the best loudest panting ever.

“Yes?” said the brunette in a super sexy sultry voice. ”

“Would it be possible to get a… demonstration?” said the redhead.

Next Thing! Get to the Next Thing! Karlo was delirious with excitment.

“I thought you’d never ask. ” purred the brunette. “What do you want him to do first? He knows a lot of very impressive tricks. ”


“Oh, I want to try them all. ” said the redhead. “But first… I have all this chopped steak left over from making ouir human food last night… is it okay for me to feed it to him?”

“Only if you have a very shiny bowl!” said the brunette, and they both laughed.

The redhead put a huge super shiny bowl of chopped steak in front of Karlo, and he started wolfing it down like he hadn’t eaten in a year.

This was it. This was the Next Thing. Eating chopped steak out of a shiny bowl was the BEST THING EVER. And here he was, doing it! He was in Doggy Heaven.

The sex with the human ladies afterwards would be really good too. Third best thing ever, easy. Second if the redhead remembered he liked having stuff in his butt now.

Karlo’s meal was interrupted by the sound of a machine gun quite close by, and a large section of the wall falling forward, revealing a small, mean looking human who definitely smelled Wrong to Karlo, and without having to think about it, Karlo slid up behind the Bad Man. growling low.

“Now listen, you stupid bitches! ” said the little man. “I want some fucking answers and I want them now, or I’m gonna shoot you so full of holes they’ll be able to use your bodies to filter coffee.  All I did was slip into the Now to visit my pal Joey in the Angry City, and the next thing I know, I’m in this cuckoo nuts place where everybody has the puniest, smallest, most cowardly and sick looking dog on their front lawn and everyone in the red light district has claw marks on her back and a big smile on her face. Nothing makes sense to me here and I want to go back to Gunsville RIGHT NOW! So you dizzy broads are either going to tell me what the hell is going on around here, or I am gonna make Swiss cheese out of ya. YA GOT IT? ”

The brunette said, “Can I speak now? ”

“Sure. ” said the little man.

The brunette smiled sweetly and said “Karlo, hochspringen!”

At that command, Karlo tackled the little man to the ground and wrapped his forelegs around the little man’s torso.

“Oh no!” said the redhead, her voice quavering with concern. “Is Karlo going to hurt that poor little man? ”

“Not if he’s smart enough to relax and go with it. ” said the brunette, smiling smugly.

And when the redhead saw what Karlo did with the little man, she was extremely shocked and surprised.

And intensely jealous.

This was supposed to be HER turn!


There was nothing better in the world, Bob decided, than to be sitting here in the stands with the rest of the town to watch the two local baseball teams battle it out on the diamond on a sunny Saturday like today.

Everyone he knew was there. It was like a great big extended family picnic. Over there, fanning himself with his hat and looking annoyed at something as usual was Mister Pointer, who had been Bob’s science teacher all through high school.

It wasn’t his fault that he always looked pissed off about something. That was just how his face looked when he wasn’t doing anything in particular with it. Figuring that out had been a spectacular relief to Bob, who had stayed up nights wondering what he had done to make Pointer mad at him. Turned out so had every other one of his students.

Old feller must have wondered why his class got way more calm and relaxed all of a sudden, thought Bob with a chuckle. Probably thought we were all stoned.

We were, but that’s wasn’t why.

And so Bob had got Jimmy “The Zipper” Jackson to draw one of his whiz-bang cartoons explaining this fact, and they had snuck into Tino’s mom’s workplace and made a zillion copies. and starting passing them around.

They also hid some of them in various places in the school, because adults could not be relied upon to be reasonable about things and they might decide the cartoon wqas dirty or disrespectful or something and take them away.

And over there, leaning against a post, was Andy “Slick” Templeton, a man who was born to make a million bucks because not only was he both clever and smart (a rare combination), but he also seemed to be born with all four horseshoes plus a bushel of shamrocks up his butt because he had the best luck of anyone Bob had ever known.

Bob smiled when he thought about how funny they had thought it was when Slick had asked them all to invest a quarter each in some cockamamie scheme of his, and had given them handmade share certificates with real serial numbers and everythingin return. They had joked about what they would get when they were rich.

They were fifteen at the time, so the general consensus had been “girls”.

Then they forgot all about it until two weeks later, when Slick showed up with a crisp five dollar bill for every one of his investors. Seems the tip he’d gotten about someone who was giving away a brand new pair of tractor tires ’cause she was selling her farm and wouldn’t need them any more had been right on the money.

Our quarters had gone to pay his older brother to drive him to get the tires then drive him to the customer he’d lined up, plus fifty centers to get “Tiny” Trevor to do all the lifting and toting.

The tires, Slick had figured out, were worth three hundred dollars if you bought them at the feed store, so he offered to sell them to the ever-growing Mendoza family for a hundred, and just like that, 20 quarters turned into five bucks for 20 people.

Now Slick ran the bank, and would soon own it.

Heck of a guy, that Slick.

And over there was a kid whose name was Leroy but nobody ever used it because to the local population, he was just “the Stephenston boy”. Everyone knew he was retarded, or crazy, or something because of all the crazy things he did. But he was so gosh darn lovable nobody ever got really mad at him.

Not even when he had wandered into a Town Hall meeting wearing a top hat, a white shirt, a dinner jacket, and a tie… and nothing else.

And then there was Anthony Papiillion, who everyone knew had a thing going on with Bobby…. but wait, who was that sitting in front of him?

Seems like everyone noticed him at the same time, because everyone, including the players, stopped what they were doing to gawk at the bizarre figure.

He was, quite simply, the blackest Negro anyone in that town had ever seen. He had the kind of skin that made your realize that most black people were actually brown people. Not him.

What’s more, he was dressed in a funny kind of business suit and had an expensive briefcase in his lap. And he had an air of quiet authority about him of a type that Bob had only ever seen on top quality brass, the real leader types, when he was in Korea.

Nobody in Hopetown had ever seen a Negro that looked like that. None of them had even seeing a HUMAN BEING of any race or persuation who looked like that. He might as well have been a Martian.

So they stared.

Reacting to the sudden silence, the man unhurriedly folded his New York times, put it in his briefcase, and addresss the crowd in a deep, cultured African-accented voice.

“Hello, my friends. ” he said. “I am Professor Bokomoso Govender. I teach political science and sociology at a university which, if my guess as to local era is correct, will not be built for 37 years. I mean you no harm, and I am not here for your women. I’m here because I apparently made some kind of navigational error when traveling to see my politician friend in the capital city and somehow ended up here. You can believe me when I say that I will be leaving here at the earliest opportunity. I am as uncomfortable with this experience as you are. ”

“So there is no need for any action by the three policeman who are creeping up on me like I was a rabid gorilla. I will do harm to none. That is why I am warning them, for the sake of their careers, to refrain from any rahs actions, as I am a diplomatic attache to the local South African embassy, and as such, have full diplomatic immunity. Therefore. my brothers in blue,  arresting me for whatever charge you dream up to justify acting upon your fears would do nothing but generate needless paperwork for you and cause you to look foolish in front of your peers. ”

“But I can tell right away that the people of this town are good people, generous of disposition, with a strong moral fiber and an understanding of the virtues of forethought and restraint. So surely my fears are without basis. ”

“If so, I apologize. Please resume your game. I will cause no further disruption. ”

And with that, he took his paper out of his briefcase and resumed reading.

After around five seconds of stunned silence, a lively hubbub broke out as everybody talked to everybody about the strange creature who had just spoken.

Bob ignored at all because he was still trying to understand what the hell had just happened. The blackest man on Earth had spoken to the whole town in better English than any of them had, and had handled the situation with such elegance and grace that not only was nobody upset out it, but the three policemen has slunk off with their tails between their legs, ashamed of what they had almost done.

And that didn’t make sense at all. That sort of thing just did not happen in Bob’s world.

And the worst part was, if you took away the African accent, that Negro boy had talked just like people do.

And not just any people… important people. People with power, people with authority, people who enjoyed the respect of their communities.

Their WHITE communities.

To Bob, it was like his old dog Tag had suddenly sat up on his hind legs and asked Bob to make him a Tom Collins.

This would take a lot of thinking about.