Daily Archives: May 17, 2016

How the West Was Zombed – Killing Your Darlings


Sigh. Gunther is dead.

I’m partly depressed and also partly a bit proud of myself.

Unbeknownst to you, 3.5 readers, I’ve been planning to bump the G-Man off for awhile now.

Initially, I intended that there would be a happy ending in which he lives and moves in with Slade and whichever woman he ends up with and acts as like a beloved cantankerous Grampa of the family…but…

It was the “dying with your boots on” thing that got me.  If you die with your boots on, you probably did so in battle.  If you die with your boots off, it means you were peaceful, surrounded by family.

If the series goes on long enough, maybe good ole Slade will keep his promise to Gunther and die with his boots off.

Have you ever killed off a main character, 3.5 readers?

Did it make you sad?

It does make me sad, but one odd thing – I’m looking towards writing accomplishments less in word counts or chapter counts and more of scenes and milestones.

I have been having all these images in my head of what will happen to the characters for months and am amazed to have gotten so many of these images down on paper now.

Thanks for reading, 3.5.  Your feedback is always appreciated.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 100


“Of all the…”

Gunther coughed up some blood.

“…ways I thought I’d buy the farm, getting gut shot by a…”

More coughing.

“…Goddamn bloodsucking lawyer wasn’t one of them.”

Slade writhed about on the floor, desperately trying to break free from his shackles.

“Hold on,” Slade said.

Drip. Drip. Drip. The ground underneath the old man grew redder with every drop.

The door opened. A werewolf entered. Timidly, he walked over to Slade.

“Aww what the fuck do you want now?” Slade asked.

The werewolf extended his pointer finger, then using the claw at the end of it like a knife, sawed through Slade’s hand and feet shackles as if they were made out of butter.

“Miles?” Slade asked.

The werewolf nodded and growled in the affirmative.

Slade ran to Gunther and grabbed hold of the old man. Miles cut the rope and helped Slade ease Gunther slowly to the ground.

Miles morphed into his boy form.

Slade tore open Gunther’s shirt and stuck a finger into the wound. The old man yelled louder than he ever had before.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

“Looking for the bullet,” Slade said. “If I can just get it…”

Gunther winced. “Nah…forget that shit. We all got our time and this is mine.”

Slade tore a large piece off of Gunther’s vest, prompting the old man’s expected complaint.

“Now what the hell…Mavis made that for me!”

Slade pressed the fabric as hard up against the wound, doing what he could to stop the bleeding.

The old man raised a shaky hand and looked at Slade, who looked at it hesitantly.

“Jesus Christ,” Gunther said. “I’m not asking you to fuck me in the ass, just take my hand, will ya?”

Slade grabbed it.

“Boy, I know you think I’m a coward…”

“No,” Slade interrupted.

Gunther nodded. “Yes, yes you do. It’s ok. Maybe I am, or maybe you’re just too bullheaded. But I was never trying to get you to run away from every fight. I was just wanted you to save yourself for a cause worth fighting for.”

The old man coughed. His voice grew weaker. “And this cause…”

Another cough interruption. “…is worth it. Every bit of it.”

Slade pressed the makeshift cloth deeper into the wound. The old man yelped.

“Just…forget that. Stop wasting your time on an old son of a bitch and go save someone. Anyone. As many as you can…”

Slade and Miles traded sad looks.

“That fucker is playing with your head,” Gunther said. “Using your women against you. You can’t save them both so you’ll hate yourself either way but forget about all that…you got to…stop that damn train.”

Gunther gripped Slade’s hand tighter then let it go. He reached down towards his belt and fumbled with his knife, but lacked the strength to draw it.

“Bowie’s knife,” Gunther said. “It’s my prized possession. Shit. All these years and its the only valuable…thing I have. Take it.”

Slade drew the knife out of the sheath.

The old man patted Slade on the arm. “Take the sheath too. First rule of carrying a knife is…”

The old man coughed as if he were hacking up a lung.

“Fuck,” Gunther said, then carried on. “Don’t carry it on your belt loose or you’ll cut off your pecker.”

Slade fought back the urge to laugh.

Slowly, the old man raised his head and looked down at his ragged, dusty boots.

“Shit,” he said. “Will you look at that?”

“What?” Slade asked.

“Aww it’s just when we threw down against Smelly Jack that first time,” Gunther said. “You told me…you wanted to die with your boots on. I guess you and I are different because I always wanted to die with my boots off.”

Slade reached for the old man’s boots. Gunther grabbed Slade’s hand again and held onto it.

“Nah,” Gunther said. “Who gives a shit now? It’s just…when I was young I thought I’d go in a nice warm bed. I thought Mavis would be holding my hand instead of you, no offense.”

“None taken,” Slade said.

“Then I thought I’d have some young’uns looking over me but the Lord saw fit to not bless Mavis and I with any.”

The old man stretched both hands out and waited…and waited. Slade was baffled.

“Hug him,” Miles whispered out of the corner of his mouth.

“Oh,” Slade said as he clutched the old man in an embrace.

“I suppose you’re the closest thing to a son I ever had,” Gunther said.

Upon hearing those words, a tear trickled out of Slade’s eye. He wiped it away as he lifted his head up.

“Aw hell Miles,” Gunther said. “I don’t have anything to give to you.”

The old man and the boy hugged. “That’s ok.”

“Wait.” Gunther’s shaky hand lifted his hat off of his head and placed it on the boy’s. “Every cowboy needs a hat.”

The boy stood there with some tears in his eyes as well. He was still naked, but sporting Gunther’s dapper hat, red feather and all.

“You look sharp,” Gunther said. “But you need some pants.”

Gunther grabbed Miles’ hand with his left and Slade’s hand with his right.

“Promise me something, boys,” Gunther said.

“Anything,” Slade replied.

“That you’ll both do your best to die with your boots off.”

That idea went against everything Slade had stood for but he nodded yes. Miles did the same.

The old man clutched his chest and threw his head back, coughing uncontrollably. Finally, he stopped and made a few gurgling sounds.

“I’m a-comin’ Mavis,” he whispered.

Slade and Miles watched as the life drained out of Gunther’s one good eye.

Angrily, Slade stood up and punched the wooden support beam in the center of the livery. The pain made every bone in his hand throb with agony, but he didn’t care. He punched the beam again and again. Then he stormed outside.

Miles followed.

“Look!” the boy said. Miles had spotted Slade’s twin pistols and bandolier on the ground, still filled with silver-tipped bullets. His captors had stripped them off of Slade, but then just tossed them amidst a pile of dead zombie bodies.

Slade grabbed both guns and holstered them, then put on the bandolier.

Off in the distance, the Marvel of the Rails sounded its ear splitting whistle.

“Damn it!” Slade said.

Slade and Miles hustled through town, running past rubble, burning buildings, and townsfolk turned survivors trying to piece their lives back together. A few stray zombies that didn’t make it on the train wandered about aimlessly.

The duo reached Highwater Station only to find the Marvel was gone. They gazed across the prairie only to see it chugging about a mile away, about to disappear over the horizon.

“Fuck!” Slade shouted as he stomped his foot on the platform.

The boy tugged on Slade’s arm. “Come on,” Miles shouted. “Let’s go!”

“Aww there’s no horse that could catch up to it now,” Slade lamented.

Miles took off the hat Gunther had given him and gently laid it on a bench people usually sat on as they waited for trains to arrive.

“Who said anything about a horse?” the boy asked.

Miles became a wolf again. He lowered himself down on all fours, waiting for Slade to climb on.

Slade shook his head in disbelief. He climbed on the werewolf’s back, gripped a big hunk of fur with both hands, and held on as Miles took off.

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Lethal Weapon Being Rebooted as a TV Series

Ugh. I don’t know what to make of this.

Lethal Weapon, the series of action movies I loved as a kid (though Aunt Gertie probably should not have let met watch them) is being rebooted as a TV series starring Damon Wayans as Roger Murtaugh and Clayne Crawford as Martin Riggs.

Ehh.  I just don’t know how well the concept will translate to today.

Lethal Weapon 1 and 2 were the best films of the series because they were so 1980’s.

Los Angeles. Cocaine related crime.

Martin Riggs i.e. the mentally unstable Vietnam veteran turned cop whose story  resonated with a lot of people at the time, as Vietnam vets had been asked to win an impossible war, then came home and were spit on for fighting an unpopular war then expected to just fade back into society without any problems or support offered to come to terms with what they experienced.

Even if you haven’t been to Vietnam, if you’ve experienced depression or know someone who has, Riggs’ willingness to throw himself headfirst into insanely dangerous situations (because of his inability to care whether or not he lives or dies) made him a “Lethal Weapon” and a nightmare for criminals used to being able to bribe or threaten cops into submission.

And that made him the perfect foil for Roger “I’m Getting Too Old For This Shit” Murtaugh, the old timer family man who just wanted to get home to his wife and kids safe and sound everyday.

Two partners, one doesn’t care if he dies, the other cares very much and wants to live, it made for a couple of great movies.

Lethal Weapon 3 and 4 were good movies but not as strong.  By then, they hooked Riggs up with Rene Russo and went to work on giving him a happy, respectable life by the end of the series, which ok, good for Riggs, but the happier he gets the less crazy he is.

Joe Pesci, who was introduced in two as the loud mouthed con artist who routinely comes to the duo’s aid was hilariously, and kept the films going in 3 and 4. I don’t see a Leo Goetz character in the series.

And Gary Busey as the villain in the first film. That was back when Gary hadn’t completely lost his mind.

The sad part is I’ll definitely check the show out and I’ll probably give it a chance.

Does it take away from the films? Not for me. They had action. Sadness. Comedy (I still laugh when I think about Murtaugh being stuck for hours sitting on a toilet due to a bomb (an actual bomb) and when his legs go numb, Murtaugh has to help him off.)

The corporate suits know that people my age will tune in for nostalgia purposes, while young people probably haven’t seen the films yet but have heard the name so will check it out due to name recognition.

But with it being on network TV, they won’t be able to engage in half of the activities that got the duo in trouble back in the old days.

Can Murtaugh even say, “I’m getting too old for this shit” on network TV?

I don’t know. I don’t want to root against it until I have seen it but I continue to wonder why an industry filled with the most creative people in the world feels it is necessary to keep rehashing old ideas.

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Happy Tuesday Nerds

Hey Nerds.

Just a quick note as I’m trying to post once a day for…well either for the rest of my life or until I quit writing and allow the Mighty Potentate to take over, whichever comes first.

Things are heating up with How the West Was Zombed so be sure to check that out.

And I’m not quite sure about Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Bad Ass Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse yet but I feel like it could be just a collection of my humorous rants circulating around a zombie theme, the best part being that I don’t have to worry a whole lot about continuity because it is just a collection of tirades.

Anyway, give me your feedback on both.  It is appreciated.



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