His Due

Our top story tonight, Martha Colt was found dead at her Long Island home this morning.

Trash gets thrown away sometimes. And, as in the case of Martha Colt, sometimes it gets tossed in the pool.

The actress was discovered floating face down.

She came to me last night. My door is always open for when the desperate get desperate.

Investigators say she appears to have been alone the night before and there were no signs of forced entry.

“What do you want?” I asked.

Colt began her long career with her role on the popular series, “Faust” but recently dropped off the pop culture radar after accusing the network of cheating her out of her contract.

“To be famous again,” she said. Her face was wet. She’d been crying.

Industry insiders claim she had been blackballed for publicizing her accusations.

“My associates can make that happen.”

The network as well as her family have refused to comment, however friends close to Colt say the once sought after actress has been feeling depressed as of late.

“Are you an agent?”

Colt, recently returned from rehab for her highly publicized drug addiction, retreated into her home and has been out of touch for days.

“I’m an agent of sorts.”

Police won’t say whether or not drugs were involved in the actress’s death but state at this point they are quote, “ruling nothing out.”

“Yeah, right. I’ll never see you again will I?”

Coming up after the break…

“Oh, just sign here and you and I will see each other again very soon.”

The Eye Candy Also Flies

Author’s note: If you haven’t read “Of Panties and Pirates”, you can do so here. It’s not necessary, but you’ll get more of the jokes. Hope you enjoy.


The damn woman is as stubborn as she is sexy. And her refusal to look at me is especially infuriating. It’s a hell of a view though.

“Look, all I’m saying is you should get at least one or two weapons installed on this ship of yours.”

“I heard you the first thousand times,” she says. Finally she swivels her chair around and stands to face me. “I’m a trader, not a pirate. I have standards.”

“I’m not suggesting you become a pirate. I’m suggesting you protect yourself better. You have a reputation now.”

“Thanks to you and your little…” she glances down at my crotch. “Trigger finger. The answer is no.”

She pushes past me and exits the bridge.

I follow her out the hatch and into the kitchen. I pour us some coffee and we sit down at the table. The silence hangs there for a while as we sip our drinks and act nonchalant. I decide to press a little further.

“If I walked up to a woman on the street and told her I was thirsty and wanted some milk, she’d probably slap me in the face. But if that same woman happened to be standing next to a cow, she’d bend over and squeeze the cow’s tit for me.”

She looks at me like I have Tribbles crawling out of my pants.

“What’s your point?”

“My point is that everything has its own context. Pirates pick the weakest ships. If they see you are armed they’ll leave you alone.”

“Oh yeah? Try to guess what context this is,” she says and flips me the bird.

For a second I forget what were talking about because all I can see is her long, slender finger and its glossy, deep red nail. My god, the places that thing’s been.

She rolls her eyes and slams her cup on the table.

“If other traders see I’m armed, they won’t trade with me. And if the cops see I’m armed, I’ll be forever handing over my manifest and sitting in queue waiting to dock at every port while being scanned for contraband. And if pirates see I’m armed they’ll think I’m some piss-ant space jockey trying to horn in on their racket and they’ll blast me anyway. Yeah, you really thought this through didn’t you.”

“I’m just concerned about you Jess, that’s all.”

The proximity alarm cuts us off. We race back to the cockpit. Jessie throws herself into her chair and tells me to take the pilot’s seat.

“But I’m not the pilot.”

“Well they don’t know that do they? Sit down!”

I sit and she turns on the com.

“Trader vessel, you are targeted. Prepare to be boarded or we will fire on you.”

“What did I tell you? If you had-”

“You finish that thought Devon, and I’ll gouge your eye out with my thumb. If I had guns we’d already be dead. That’s an Archer Heavy Raider. Basically a space going weapons platform. What we need is a good pilot. But you saw to that didn’t you?”

“Son of a bitch.”

“Maybe, but you shouldn’t have shot at him like that.”

“No I mean, son of a bitch. Sit down and strap in.”

I guess the look on my face was serious enough for her not to ask why. She sits down and I start flicking switches.

“What the hell are you doing? We’re not fast enough to out run them.”

“Don’t need to out run them, just out fly them. Archer Raiders have a blind spot.”

“Are you high?”

By now the pirates must know were running so I don’t have time to answer. I hit the thrusters as if we are making a break for it then shut them off again as soon as they begin pursuit. They fly right past me. What most people don’t know is the Archer’s triangular thruster configuration leaves a nice pocket directly behind the ship just big enough for a small vessel like ours to hide indefinitely.

“Let’s see your old pilot do that.”

I’m smiling like an idiot and Jessie looks pissed.

“Why didn’t you tell me you can fly?”

“Because I don’t want to be part of your crew. I like what we have. I didn’t want it to feel weird when we do those nasty things in your bunk.”

“If we get out of this I’m going to kill you.”

“With what? I have all your panties.”

“Just get us out of here,” she says and folds her arms across her chest.

Man she’s sexy when she pouts.

“Only if you promise to hire another pilot.”

“Now’s not the time for demands.”

“Yeah it is. It’s the perfect time for demands.”

Before I can say another word Jessie’s arm shoots out and grabs me by my collar. She pulls me in close and kisses me. A deep, rough, lustful kiss. It ends with my bottom lip pinched in her teeth. She shoves me back into my chair and cuffs me in the head.

“You’re an ass.”

One Christmas Eve

“Hey, Tommy, you seen my mitt?” I ask as I poke my head into the little room we’ve been sharing.

“Yeah, it’s in the garage, but I don’t want to play right now.”

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly to steady myself for the news I’m about to give.

“You might as well know, I’m leaving tonight.”

“What?” Tommy tosses his book on the floor and leaps to his feet.

“Yeah, I heard your mom and dad talking about me in the kitchen. They said they didn’t know the best way to tell me.”

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Attack on Sector Four


That damn intercom always interrupts me just as I’m about to fall asleep.

“This better be important.” I say double checking that I pressed audio only.

“Sir, sensors have picked up a large aircraft approaching sector four at high speed. The silhouette does not match any known craft.”

“I assume they haven’t responded to any requests to identify themselves.”

“No response, sir. Ready-One-Interceptors are online and ready for deployment.”

“Launch drones, surveillance only. I’m on my way.”

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I drag my feet as much as possible on my way back to the town hall. It doesn’t matter that the situation is beyond my control, no matter what I do, the elders are going to blame me for the bridge’s deterioration. I’ve staved off the inevitable as long as I can; I might as well get it over with.

The guard gives me one of those “Good luck, bro” looks before unlocking the hall doors. I don’t know what the council expects of me. It’s not like I can stop mother nature. I enter the hall and address three of the most annoying men I’ve ever met.

“Well, nice of you to finally join us, engineer, I presume you are ready to make your report to the council,” said the High Elder. Thirty years ago we all called him Carl.

“The bridge situation remains the same as last week I’m afraid.”

The second elder grunts with the effort of leaning forward. “Unacceptable!”

I really have no idea how to respond so I keep my mouth shut.

The high elder puts his hand up as if to appear sympathetic. “We need the bridge, engineer. We are counting on you to fix it.”

“As I’ve said for years, without paint or heavy equipment we can’t stop the bridge from corroding. At this point my best guess is we have less than a year before it washes away.”

“And what are we to do?”

“We do what I, and just about everyone else has suggested for about twenty years, get the hell off this island and look for a new place to settle.”

The third elder starts to fan himself in a melodramatic fashion. Apparently the mere mention of my suggestion is enough to make him almost pass out. The second elder, now completely enraged, is red-faced and grunting furiously from his many failed attempts to stand.

“How dare you speak to the council in such a fashion?”

“How dare I? Jesus, Carl, we went to the same high school for crying out loud. You were a bully then and you’re a bully now. Just look at Frank, he’s so damn fat he can’t even stand up and Stanly, you can’t even comprehend the thought of leaving without needing first aid.”

“Well, perhaps I should call the guard. Maybe a few days uncarserated will help you remember how we run our society.”

“You mean incarcerated?”

“That’s it! Your insulin has gone on long enough.”

“Insulin is for diabetics you imbecile. And what are you gonna do call the guard? Bernie’s been my best friend since the second grade. Face it; it’s over, done, at-an-end, caputski. You’re all nothing but glorified town selectmen. Your job before the war was to manage the town’s money, but since money doesn’t exist anymore you went ahead and appointed yourselves leaders. And we let you, I guess because at the time we needed some sort of leadership what with the government’s collapse. We all held out hope that someone would cross the bridge and bring help. We were weak and vulnerable then but now we are strong, and we did it despite all your attempts to keep us isolated here on this island.”

“You’re a fool, engineer. You think it is easy, ruling over the masses; listening to their whining day in and day out. There are important decisions we have to make every day; Choices that decide whether we all live or die.”

“Oh, for the love of God, stop it. You’re not that important, Carl. You’re just a dickhead bully who’s basically given the town a giant wedgie for years.”

I have to admit, the stunned looks I’m getting feel pretty great.

“Tomorrow I’m crossing that bridge and anyone who wants to come with me is welcome, including the three of you. It’s time for us to leave this island, while we still can. Maybe there are others out there, maybe there aren’t, but at least we’ll know.”

I leave them to mull it over. Bernie is standing outside waiting for me.

“How’d it go?”

“Better than I thought. You and Sarah packed?”

“Yeah, us and just about everyone else in town. You sure about this, Bill? Should we wait and see if others want to come with us?”

“No, we need to strike while the iron is hot. We’ll let them know which way we’re going and let them catch up if they choose.”

Bernie nods his head in understanding. “You think they’ll come?”

“I don’t know, I hope so. As much as they annoy me, I don’t want to see them dead. As far as we know we’re all that’s left.”

“I’ll walk you home, I still don’t trust the council or their supporters. I wouldn’t put it past them to try something.”

I’m touched by the gesture then a thought occurs to me.

“I hope no one expects me to be the leader. That’s not what this is about.”

“Tough crap, Bill. I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say we’re following you over the bridge. Like it or not, you’re the one we’re all looking to, to save our bacon.”

Once again I have no idea what to say so I keep my mouth shut. The walk back to my cabin is punctuated by many nods and smiles from my fellow townsfolk. I stand in front of my cabin for probably the last time.

“I’ll stand guard while you get some rest, old friend.”

“Thanks Bernie, you’ve always looked out for me.” I clap him on the back before opening my door. I’m not thrilled about being in charge of the town’s exodus but at least we are finally doing something proactive. I turn around and see Bernie standing arrow straight and looking serious as a heart attack. It makes me uncomfortable knowing he thinks of me as a leader.

“I think I’ll just sit out the next apocalypse, Bernie, It’s all just too much work”.

Of Panties and Pirates

I’m over thinking it. I’m sure she has a perfectly good reason for hiding a gun in her room. I can’t ask her because she’ll want to know what I was doing pawing around in her underwear drawer. Oh hell. I swallow my courage and go for broke.

“Jessie, can I ask you something and you not get upset?”

“I’m sure you could ask me many things and I wouldn’t get upset.”

She’s kind of sexy when she pulls that crap.

“You know what I mean.”

“It’s a loaded question isn’t it?” she asks and shoots me a flirty smile. “If I say yes and the question genuinely pisses me off, I’m screwed.” She puts her hands on her hip and juts it out to the side as if to say go ahead and ask, if you dare.

“What are you doing with a gun?”

“What gun?”

I pull the snub-nose from the small of my back and show it to her. She looks miffed.

“I’m pretty sure that one was in my underwear drawer.”

“Yeah, I found it while stealing a pair of your panties.” I pull a black and purple thong from my back pocket and hold it up next to the gun. She reaches out and snatches the tiny garment from my grasp. I’m kind of shocked at her speed.

“I assure you these are much deadlier than that little pea shooter.” She lets the silky fabric slide down her long outstretched finger. “You can keep that if you like, not nearly as fun to sniff but handier in a fight.”

She chuckles a bit as she seductively twirls her underwear for a second then slowly unzips her shirt. She leans in for a kiss. Everything about her turns me on. She has the softest lips.

Captain Onus,” The damn pilot picks the worst possible time to interrupt. “Sensors have picked up a ship on intercept course.” Damn.

“Duty calls,” she says. She reaches over and hits the door button then steps aside so I can leave first. She makes a show of zipping up her shirt as I walk past. She smacks me on the ass as she passes me in the hall on the way to the bridge. Actually it’s more of a cockpit than bridge. It’s really no more than a bunch of controls and a couple seats in the front of her ship. I watch her climb into her chair. Her pants cling to her like second skin.

“What do we have?”

The ship to ship com answers her question. “Attention trader vessel. You are targeted. Power down and prepare to be boarded.

My stomach flips as visions of a gruesome death form in my head.

“Power down and lets get to the air lock,” says Jessie. “We don’t want to give them any reasons to attack. If we do what they want it will be over quick and no one gets hurt.”

“Are you serious?” I ask. “We’re just going to roll over and let them pirate us?”

“These are Gordon’s men. I’ve dealt with them before. They’re kind of like a big dog humping your leg. Annoying, but it’s best to let them finish.”

I don’t like it but it’s her ship. The three of us leave the bridge and head to the cargo area to await the boarding party. It takes about five minutes for the pirates to maneuver and dock and another two before the airlocks pressurize. The door swings open and two men spill onto the ship, guns ready.

“Hello lovelies. You know how this works. I stand here with this big gun pointed at your heads while Carl here, helps improve your fuel economy by lightening your load.”

“Good one, Earl,” Carl laughs. He’s probably heard that joke a hundred times before. He shoves his gun in his pants and gets to work stealing Jessie’s cargo. It’s slow going. My legs are getting tired from standing so I lean against the wall. The little snub-nose pokes me in my back. I mindlessly stuffed it in my pants after the intercom put an end to my extracurricular activities. If I screw this up we’re all dead. Maybe I should just forget it and-.

Halfway through my thought the lummox Carl drops a shipping container on his foot causing Earl to turn around and see what’s going on. I have the gun out before any semblance of rational thought can stop me. I fire a shot and hit Carl in the back of the head. Adrenaline gets in the way of my second shot which merely grazes Earl’s cheek.

Jessie seizes the opportunity to attack Earl. They’re locked in a deadly embrace. I don’t have clear shot. The melee ends and it’s an old fashioned stand off. I have my gun pointed at Earl and he has his arm around Jessie’s neck with his gun against her temple.

“God damn it, you killed Carl!” His eyes are wild and blood is streaming from the newly formed trench in his cheek, courtesy of my duffed shot. “Drop it or your girlfriend dies.”

I’m stuck. There’s no way out of it. I start to lower my gun knowing full well I’m a dead man. It’s been a good life; I only hope I buy Jessie enough time to do something once he takes his shot.

Jessie doesn’t like that plan. Instead she throws her head backward. Her skull collides with his nose. It’s a terrible sound. She spins around him and somehow manages to wrap something around his neck. It doesn’t take long for Earl to run out of air. She pushes him away as he slumps to the floor.

She looks over at me and shakes her head. She holds up her purple and black thong and shoots me another one of those flirty smiles.

“Told ya these are deadly.”


I would have made it out the door undetected were it not for the squeaky hinge. I should have waited another half hour for everyone to fall into a turkey-induced coma before trying to escape but my impatience got the better of me. The traitorous hinge blared a warning to the guards like in an old black and white jailbreak movie.

“Nicholas Bartholomew Grosspepper, get away from that door this instant!” My mother’s patience had been steadily shrinking all day. Now in the midst of post-Thanksgiving clean up, she was completely strung out. I could here her stomping her way toward me. Any second now and all three hundred pounds of her would turn the corner and catch me red handed. I desperately searched for a place to hide my bundle of stolen goods. In a flash of inspiration I grabbed my coat.

“Where do you think you are going?” She glared at me with her bloodshot eyes. “Well, don’t just stand there looking dumb, answer me.”

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Practice Session

Author’s note: Sorry I missed last week. It was a rough one. This week is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo WIP. It has had minimal editing and is posted mostly unaltered from how I originally typed it in week one. I hope you enjoy.


“You need to understand that the fallen can disguise themselves as anyone,” said Levi. “That’s why you need to keep the amulet on. You won’t be able to read auras without it. It would be the easiest kill they ever made.”

Cara shuddered at the implication. All this time she had assumed her mother was just being overly protective of her little girl. Now she understood her instance of always wearing the dress and the amulet.

“Tell me a bit more about this dress, how come you don’t wear clothing like it? Or why doesn’t anyone else wear any magical clothing for that matter.”

“The guardians of the books, that is to say you, are like the knights of old. Think of your dress as holy armor.”

Cara looked stunned. “Some armor,” she said running her had along the impossible dip in her cleavage. Levi’s face blushed and he looked away.
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Ranger Six

This is an adaptation of a scene from my current NaNoWriMo project, In The Shadow of Magic. President Roosevelt is not actually in the novel, I just wanted to throw him in for fun. Good luck fellow WriMo’s.


“You were in fact not shot, and there were no bullet holes found in the barn,” the district attorney leaned in close to the witness and prepared to deliver his killing blow. “And you have the gall to testify, under oath, that Mr. Levi Holt is dead, by your hand, because he made a mistake?”

“No sir, that would be crazy,” said Jethro Stern. “He’s dead because he made two mistakes.”
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Nefertiti Express

Jacob took a long slow pull on his cigar before taking a sip of brandy. He stared out his office window at the giant steam engine outside. It hardly seemed possible that this would be its last run. He turned from the window as his business partner entered the office.

“I’ve some news you will undoubtedly find interesting,” His business partner grinned from ear to ear. “We may be able to keep the trains running after all.”

Jacob rubbed his temples as he turned back toward the window.

“I’ve run the numbers a hundred times, James, but the fact remains, with the war in full swing coal is simply too expensive.” Smoke and steam billowed from the Grey Ghost as it waited for its passengers to load. “She’s beautiful and it pains me greatly to see her fire extinguished forever. I’m sure there will be no shortage of buyers. Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if the army itself was interested in her. She’d get the boys deployed in short order.”

“Jacob, what would you say if I told you there may be a chance you could keep the Ghost and remain profitable? In fact you may even make a killing.” James chuckled at his own joke.
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