Tag Archives: blog serials

Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 14

I kept shouting, but this time tried shouting slowly.

“WHY…WAS….THE METAL MAN…AFTER YOU???”

The woman looked up, as if deep in thought, then nodded.  “Yes.”

“Yes…what?”  I said.

“The metal man was after you,”  she said.

“No,”  I said, pointing to her.  “He was after you…after you!”

She pointed back at me.  “After you!”

I shook my head.  I could feel my blood pressure boil.

I put my hand on my chest.  “I…AM…ME!”

I rested my other hand on her shoulder.  “YOU…ARE…YOU.”

I looked right in those pretty eyes.  “NOW…PLEASE…TELL ME….WHY…WAS…THE METAL MAN….AFTER YOU?”

Silence.  I could tell she was feeling nervous, that somehow, she realized she was disappointing me but couldn’t understand why.”

“It’s ok,”  I said.

“It’s ok?” she asked.

“Yes,”  I said.  “Take a deep breathe.”

“Take a deep breathe?”  she inquired.

“Yes.”  I took some exaggeratedly large breathes to illustrate, sucking in wind through my teeth then blowing it out furiously.  She did the same.

“Better?”  I asked.

“Better,”  she said.

“Good.  Now.  Why was the metal man after you?”

She shrugged her shoulders and held out her hands.  “Why was the metal man after you?”

I looked over to see my copilot in his seat, doubled over with laughter.

“Is she f$%king with me?”  I asked him. 

“I don’t think so,”  Jones said.  “If she is, she’s brilliant.  You do realize she’s just repeating everything you say?”

I sneered at the little twerp.  “Yeah.  I gathered.”

I turned back to my guest.  “Are you high?”  I asked her.

“Are YOU high?”  she asked me.

“That’s a big ten-four!”  Jones said before bursting into another laughing fit.

I pulled out a flashlight from my duster and shined it in her eyes.  She winced, turned away, then squinted at me through a hand she put over her peepers.

“Would you even know what to look for?”  Jones asked.

“Not really,”  I said.  “I know huff turns them red.  She’s not a huffer.”

“She’s not a huffer!”  the woman said happily.

“Thank Junzo at least there’s one human in here that isn’t,”  Jones said.

I shined the light on the wall.  She put her hand on it.  I moved the light around and around.  Her head spun round and round as she followed it, slapping the wall in various places trying to catch it.

“Come on, Voss,”  Jones said.  “That’s mean.  She’s not a cat.”

“I guess,”  I said.  I handed her the flashlight.  Timidly, she took it.  She looked at it briefly, concerned that it was dangerous.  Then she began laughing giddily as she waved it all over the cabin.

I returned to my seat.

“I’m stumped.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time,”  Jones said.

“Yeah, you smug bastard, if you’re so smart why don’t you go back there and try to…”

I was interrupted by the music stylings of the Zimba Zimba girls pouring out of my Sen Pen.

Slowly, I turned my head towards Jones.  “Did you change my ring tone?”

“Guilty,”  he said.  “I thought you’d laugh.”

“You thought wrong,”  I said as I fumbled around in my duster for my mobile device.  Finally, I located it, pulled it out, and clicked the top. 

It projected an image of a breathtakingly hot, super-modelesque purple woman.

And she did not look happy.

“Hello property,”  she said.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 11

Hyperion Bay. Malostet’s most picturesque tourist spot. Fireworks erupted in bursts every color of the rainbow overhead as I popped open the hatch. I climbed up onto the roof of the rickety old ship, watching my footing carefully.

Sourcemind soared across the city skyline. His hostage remained passed out over Ninety-Five’s shoulder, secured only by a metal hand. My pilot kept pace, staying a safe distance behind.

“What the hell is this thing?” I asked Jones through my Sen Pen relay as I stared at a metal bolt with a flat, round disc at the end. It was attached to a long length of cable that ran down the hatch and into the ship.

“An amantonov magnet,” Jones answered. “Strongest in the Known Universe.”

I loaded it into my harpoon gun. I always travel with one. You never know when you might spot a wild kamaratox dragon. Their hides fetch a decent price and their heads make excellent trophies. I keep one on the wall in my living room and its served me well as a magnificent conversation starter.

“What am I supposed to do? Hang a stick figure drawing on his ass?!”

“That cable’s attached to our main battery,” Jones explained. “Get it on him and I’ll fry his circuits.”

“And that’ll wipe Sourcemind out?”

“What?” Alien Jones asked, as if somehow that was a dumb question. “No. Ninety-five will be rendered a useless pile of scrap. Sourcemind will still remain in his mainframe back on Omcoros.”

“Whatever poindexter,” I scoffed. “Just keep your distance, I don’t want him to…”

Too late. He noticed us, stopped, turned, and delivered a barrage of missiles out of his chest.

“GRAB SOMETHING NOW!” Jones screamed as he took evasive maneuvers. Unfortunately for me, my sidekick’s warning was too little, too late. The ship went up and I fell back…back…back until I grabbed the corner fin with both hands..

“WORST…FLIER…EVER!!!” I shouted.

“YOU ‘AINT SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!” Jones said as he brought the ship down in a nose dive followed by a spiral, each missile exploding just inches from the hull.

The harpoon gun, precariously attached only by a cable plugged into the ship’s many battery, flapped in the breeze. I reached my right hand and after several tries, finally grabbed it.

The head clank himself hailed me on my Sen Pen.

“What the f%$k are you doing, Voss? We had a deal.”

“I didn’t know the ‘thing’ you wanted from Izok was a woman,” I replied. “What do you want her for anyway? You don’t even have a…”

Bullets from Ninety-five’s twin machine guns sprayed the ship.

“I’ve lost all respect for you, Voss!” Sourcemind said as he flew Ninety-five right up to me. “You’d give up your life for a pretty face? I’ll never understand organics.”

Jones leveled out and took us straight. Sourcemind retracted the gun that had replaced his hand and switched it back to the circular saw. He immediately went to work on the fin I was clinging to. Sparks flew as he cut it away.

“You’ll make a lovely splatter on Gnozzi Street,” Sourcemind taunted. “Here’s hoping its painful!”

With my free hand, I raised the harpoon gun and took aim.

“Jonesy,” I whispered. “Get ready…on one.”

“Loud and clear, good buddy,” Jones said.

“3…

“You have no idea what you’re messing with here,” Sourcemind said. “No idea at all! When will you pathetic organics realize understand that your day has past and its the machines’ time now? When will you comprehend that we are just as real and cognizant as you?”

“2…”

His tone got louder. Angrier.

“WHEN WILL YOU REALIZE THE I AM THE TRUE RULER OF ALL THAT IS AND ALL THAT WILL EVER BE?!

“1….NOW!!!!”

I fired. The harpoon launched the magnet right into Ninety-five’s chest. Sourcemind chuckled.

“What are you going to do? Hang a stick figure drawing on me?”

The engines backfired and rocked the ship, making it harder for me to hold on. Thousands of volts surged through the cable, knocking Sourcemind’s vessel off its feet. Ninety-five shook uncontrollably but maintained a grip on the woman.

The ship dove downward.

“Jones!!!”

“There’s no power going to the ship!” my pilot said. “We’re diving until the assimilator resets!”

“You could of told me!”

Jones righted the ship again, gliding straightforward. I took advantage of a distracted Sourcemind to pull myself up to my feet.

“I…I…I…I…”

“What?” I asked as I stomped my foot down on Nintey-Five’s face. “What are you going to do?”

“I’M GOING TO FIND YOU!!! I’M….I’M…I’M GOING TO….GOING TO…”

He kept repeating himself. The surge was working. The ship moved faster.

“Engines are back,” Jones said.

“I’M GOING TO FIND YOU AND KILL YOU VOSS, FIND YOU AND KILL YOU VOSS…FIND FUH FUH FIND AND KILL KA KA KILL YOU VA VA VA VA VOSS!!!!”

Slowly, the robot lifted itself back on its feet. That sharp circular saw spinned round and round as he swung it over my head.

“HIT HIM AGAIN!” I shouted.

“Hitting him again,” Jones confirmed.

I grabbed an antenna, the closest thing I could get my hands on, and braced myself. The engines backfired again and the ship went down once more. My body flew through the air as I held on.

Ninety-five convulsed wildly as sparks flew out of his chassis. His head caught fire, blew up, and both robot and hostage tumbled into the night.

“Umm…Jones?”

“Yeah?”

“We didn’t have a plan if he took the girl with him, did we?” I asked.

“No,” Jones said. “I’ve been pretty much pulling this out of my non-existent ass as we go along.”

“Shit,” I said.

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The Writer’s Battle: Undesiredverse and Getting it Done

1371251154I can distinctly remember being a kid, sitting on a beach, notepad in hand, writing down details of a space opera in mind.  The central character was a badass dude in a duster.

Over the years, that storyline has existed only in my mind.  That badass’ name has changed many times, as have his wants, desires, motivations, his activities, and so on.

I’ve started and stopped a lot of projects in the past two years.  Every writer goes through that phase.  Some never stop.  Many always have a number of ideas they’re working on.

I’ve decided that Undesiredverse: Wanted will be my first novel.

Why?

  • The heroes are flawed – As we’ll learn, Roman is a degenerate drug addict.  Though he has some standards, he has also done bad things for money.  He’ll soon become a part of something bigger than himself, and be forced to choose a better path.  Meanwhile, Jones was once second in command to the Mighty Potentate.  He’s done something to incur the MP’s wrath, leading him to be stripped of all his supernatural powers and just be a regular, run of the mill alien.  I’m not quite sure we’ll learn exactly what AJ did, at least not in this novel.  But he too is looking for redemption as he’s not thrilled to be Roman’s lackey, but it’s a living.
  • The awesome setup –  Roman Voss is a bounty hunter.  Alien Jones is his trusty sidekick/pilot.  Together, they travel “the Undesiredverse” i.e. the collection of miserable planets whose citizens are too corrupt and violent to be allowed entry into the Rakan Collective, i.e. the Mighty Potentate’s pristine paradise one hundred billion worlds strong.
  • Villains that you’ll love to hate – They include:
  • SOURCEMIND: The dangerously sentient artificial intelligence who conquered an entire planet.  Though he’s stored in a massive mainframe on Omcoros, he could be controlling any machine anywhere.  Is he in your toaster?  Your toothbrush?  Did your TV just switch on by itself?  That wasn’t a glitch.  It was totally Sourcemind.
  • THE TARAZNI CLAN – After thousands of years of waging needless wars, a majority of the demonic looking beings who called Tolloo home decided to mend their evil ways and work toward a peaceful future.  Unfortunately, a minority of renegade Tollusks, referring to themselves as the Tarazni Clan, disagreed, seized the planet’s nuclear arsenal, and used it to punish the peaceniks by blowing their own homeworld to kingdom come on the way out.  They’ve been traveling the stars, conquering worlds ever since.  Earth is their most recent acquisition.
  • THE ONE WORLD ORDER – Earth’s planetary government, filled with corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who care more about saving their skins than their world’s best interests.  Currently operated by collaborationists who rubber stamp the Tarazni Clan’s demands without question.
  • THE VENDRAGONS – Not every vendragon is a terrorist, but there sure are a whole helluvalot of terrorists who are vendragons.  Religious zealots of the Vendragonism faith have separated themselves into two factions, the Red Vendrigo Cult and the Blue Vendrigo Cult.  They’ve been fighting for thousands of years over what color shirt Vendrigo, the holy man of their faith, wore one fateful day.  They literally agree on everything else, but varying holy book interpretations as to whether the shirt was blue or red have led to a very testy situation.
  • THE CABAL – the multi-species intergalactic space mafia.  Their hands, hooves, flippers, fins, etc are in everything.  They killed Roman’s family so naturally, he doesn’t like them very much.

MORE POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • The story is easy to serialize – I need to finish my one post a day for a year challenge, but I also have to get cracking on writing a novel.  This allows me to do both.  The plot is that Roman and Jones go on a mission that ends up with them taking care of a very confused woman.  Every scumbag lowlife in the Undesiredverse wants her, but our trio has no idea why.  They become the three most “wanted” beings around and as they avoid capture by various scumbags, the secret of who the woman is and why she’s so important will slowly trickle out.
  • In other words – the beginning, middle, and end are clear.  Now I just have to rack up some daily word counts to get a rough draft onto paper.
  • But do keep in mind – this is just a rough draft.  It will be polished again and again before publication.

Finally, let me just say, I’ll NEED YOUR HELP.

Please check it out.  Tell me what works.  Tell me what doesn’t.  Point out potholes.  Tell me the problems you see.  Help me vet this and make it as awesome as possible.

Here are the first 7 chapters:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

And if you prefer the Wattpad experience (it is a bit easier to read on mobile devices) – check it out.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 22 Interview – Ryan Casey – Zombies and TV Style Serialization

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon          Website        Twitter

By: Special Guest Interviewer, Alien Jones

Attention all humans. Today’s guest is Ryan Casey, author of the critically acclaimed zombie apocalypse series, Dead Days. Zombie fans will also enjoy Infection Z and mystery buffs should check out the Brian McDone Mysteries series.

Known for tales filled with dark, page-turning suspense, complex characters and knockout twists, Casey has a BA in English with Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham. A resident of the United Kingdom, he enjoys American serial television and wastes too much time playing football manager games.

Thanks for taking my call, Ryan. I hope you don’t mind being interviewed by an alien. BQB was kind of a wuss about touching a phone covered in intergalactic goo. Go figure.

NOTE: BOLD=Alien Jones; ITALICS=Ryan

Q. Let’s get the important stuff out of the way. Are we talking American football as in the NFL or the game Americans call soccer but the rest of the world calls football?

A. Oh, soccer. Absolutely soccer. I’m a massive sports fan all round though and NFL’s profile is definitely growing in the UK, much like soccer in the US. Football Manager games are the height of addiction, mind. If you want to offer up a portion of your productivity to the gods of procrastination, go ahead and pick up a copy. You’ll absolutely regret it.

510gVdAGSWL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q. Dead Days is the story of a group of survivors in a UK based zombie apocalypse. The description of Season Two of Dead Days states, “the only survivors were those willing to sink to the most brutal depths of humanity in order to further their own existence.”

So I just have to ask, if only the most depraved are able to survive an apocalypse, should we be concerned that a-holes are destined to inherit the Earth?

If I’m being cynical, I’d say yes, that’s a very big concern. Nice guys really do finish last a lot of the time, as I’ve unfortunately discovered through experience on way too many occasions. So if you want to survive an apocalypse, get practicing being a depraved arsehole — fast!

In all seriousness though, I don’t think it’d quite play out like that. I think humanity would struggle, naturally, especially if communications and luxuries of a material world suddenly become irrelevant. I like to think there’d be a lot of room for good, positive movements, too. They just don’t make for quite as good reading.

Q. Piggybacking on that last question, when a zombie apocalypse requires survivors to “sink to the most brutal depths of humanity,” is there anyone left for the reader to root for?

Yes! Absolutely. I love these characters and apparently so too do readers. I think what makes them so relatable — or more specifically, empathetic — is that they all go through shit. They all make bad choices. They all do things in the heat of the moment that stay with them, haunt them.

But the difference between the heroes and the villains of Dead Days? The heroes overcome their demons. They face up to their sins, take responsibility. The villains succumb to their problems. Which, unfortunately, often makes them even more dangerous.

Q.  A lot of people want to write but not as many study writing formally. You studied Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Did you find that experience helpful and would you recommend Creative Writing as a major to other aspiring writers?

I found it a helpful experience. There were some good teachers and some fantastic fellow students, for example Stuart Meczes, author of the brilliant HASEA urban fantasy novels. But I’d say it’s all just a part of the wider learning program of being a writer. The learning doesn’t stop when we leave university. The learning continues, constantly.

I believe the only way to keep writing fresh is to consistently push myself. I want the novel I’m working on to be the best novel I’ve ever written… and for the next novel to be even better. I write a lot, but I throw away even more. Seriously, you do not want to see my unfinished novels folder.

Q. You like serialized television and it shows in your writing. In fact, Dead Days is offered to readers in a serialized format, meaning episodes come out at regular intervals to eventually form a seasonal box set. As an author, what inspired you to present your work in this way rather than in one large novel?

Dead Days was an experiment that worked out beautifully. I’m a big fan of serialised television, like you note, and was particularly influenced by this golden age of television we’re living in. Shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Walking Dead — some truly stellar writing, better than anything the movie industry offers at present, in my humble opinion.

I always thought the serialised form went hand in hand with this generation of shorter-attention spans and constant distractions, but I was disgruntled with how many “serial” projects were actually just novels broken up into parts.

The intention of Dead Days was, and still is, to transform a television experience onto the page, and not just tear a novel to pieces for financial gain.

Q. A number of authors are embracing the serialized TV style format of writing. For aspiring writers out there, are there any advantages to this style? Any disadvantages?

A major advantage is, like I mentioned, how hand-in-hand with the television format it goes. I think in a world of infinite distractions—iPads, smartphones, Netflix, news—the serialised form is a great way to deliver tighter experiences to readers, so they can enjoy the story then get on with other elements of their busy lives.

A disadvantage is that you have to learn TV structure. As I mentioned, far too many writers just jump on the serialised craze and split their novels into chunks because they think it’ll lead to financial riches. That’s not how it works. If you want to write a serial, you have to learn the craft of television writing before you jump into it. You have to learn about episodic arcs, series arcs, all kinds of things like that. To me, it’s not a negative because I like learning and already had some experience in TV writing. But if you don’t like doing the work, it could be a disadvantage.

51pY7O7uCLL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ Q. Infection Z is your other zombie apocalypse series. It follows Hayden McCall, a jobless layabout in his mid-twenties. Assuming his landlord has paid him a visit to collect the overdue rent, Hayden learns that his landlord has become zombified and the story begins. Is it a challenge to write an underdog’s way out of a zompoc? Would it have been easier had Hayden been a muscle bound military man/weapons expert? But of course, would Hayden have been as relatable to the average reader?

A. I don’t strictly believe in ‘write what you know,’ but I believe in ‘write what you can empathise with.’ I have more in common with a lazy underdog than a military expert (unfortunately), so I just find it easier to get into the heads of characters like Hayden. Only difference between him and me is he overcomes his demons. I’d be the guy locking himself in the bathroom whimpering until the zombies finally barged their way inside…

Q. Ryan, thanks for taking the time to be interviewed by an alien. Before I go, do you have any last minute words of wisdom that might help my human charges and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

I’d get punching that alien stomach of yours some more. If there’s a space phone in there, who knows what else is hiding within? A space machete? A space rifle? A space CURE?! You’ll only find out by trying.

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 25 – Lloyd Bunson

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Sally’s web search resulted in a video of an old man in a tweed coat standing in his garage next to an ejector seat just like the one Vicky and I were plummeting to our imminent demises in.

Breakout Social Media Celebrity Lloyd Bunson, Host of "Lloyd Bunson's Happy Fun Time Ejector Seat Channel."

Breakout Social Media Celebrity Lloyd Bunson, Host of “Lloyd Bunson’s Happy Fun Time Ejector Seat Channel.”

“Hello,” the old man said. “My name is Lloyd Bunson and welcome to Lloyd Bunson’s Happy Fun Time Ejector Seat Channel.”

“Wow,” Vicky said. “They have a You tube Channel for everything!”

“Over the next ninety minutes, I’m going to show you how to properly care for, maintain, weatherize, clean, and store your ejector seat,” Lloyd said. “Proper maintenance is the only way to ensure that your ejector seat will provide you with many years worth of flinging yourself out of perfectly good airplanes.”

“JUST GET TO THE PART ABOUT THE PARACHUTE OLD MAN!” I screamed.

“I’m sure you all have so many questions…”

“I can’t believe this has ten million hits,” Vicky said.

A flock of birds buzzed over our heads.

“And the big one I get all the time is, ‘Lloyd, how the heck do I deploy the parachute on my ejector seat?’”

“YES!” I shouted. “TELL US HOW LLOYD!”

“Simple,” Lloyd said. “First, reach your hand approximately one foot underneath the center of the seat like so…”

I copied what Lloyd was doing.

Vicky closed her eyes and began mumbling a prayer.

“…once you’re under there, you’ll want to feel around for a string.”

“Got it, Lloyd!” I said. “Now what? For Christ’s Sake, hurry up, man!”

“Go ahead and give that string a good old yank…”

I yanked the string. Nothing happened.

“Are you screwing with me, Lloyd?!!!”

“After you’ve yanked the string,” Lloyd explained. “Look to your left and you’ll find that by pulling the string, you’ve opened up a compartment containing a green button and a red button….”

“Push the green button,” I said, moving my finger over it.

“Whatever you do, DO NOT push the green button,” Lloyd said. “Push the red button.”

“Seriously?” I asked.

“Seriously,” Lloyd said. “Fun story, the engineer who designed these contraptions was totally color blind.  So go ahead and hit that red button.”

I hit the red button. Nothing.

“You suck Lloyd!”

“Now you’ll find that on the right side of the seat, a blue lever has popped out,” Lloyd said.

Vicky looked at the side of her end of the seat.

“A blue lever!”

“Be sure to yank the lever up,” Lloyd said. “Because if you push it down, your seat will break apart and you will all surely die.”

“Why would they even build a feature like that into an ejector seat?” I asked.

“That’s what you get for buying a World War II surplus ejector seat that was built by Nazis,” Lloyd said.

Vicky yanked the lever up. A bright red parachute exploded out of the back of the seat. We immediately slowed down and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Damn Nazis!” I said.

“Now then,” Lloyd said. “Let’s talk about how to properly wax your ejector seat…”

Half of you looked up to see if there actually is a “Lloyd Bunson Happy Fun Time Ejector Seat Channel” didn’t you?  Admit it.

BQB and the Meaning of Life is ejecting for now, but the story will continue after an all new episode of Pop Culture Mysteries!

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 24 – Sally

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“ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHH!”

Vicky and I screamed and screamed as we sat in Happly’s ejector seat, watching the island below grow closer and closer.

“SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT TRUSTING PEOPLE?!!” I yelled.

I hate it when I ask my phone about parachutes and it returns a search on panda food.

I hate it when I ask my phone about parachutes and it returns a search on panda food.

Vicky fumbled her hands all over the seat in a desperate search for something, anything that could be used to save the day.

“HOW DO WE GET THE PARACHUTE TO OPEN?!” Vicky asked.

“I DON’T KNOW!”

“WELL,” Vicky yelled back at me. “STOP COMPLAINING AND DO SOMETHING ALREADY!”

I whipped out my generic off brand cell phone. This was a job for Sally, my automated personal assistant.

“Sally!”  I shouted.

My phone beeped.

“Hello Eduardo,” Sally replied in her pleasant monotone robot voice.

“How do you open up the parachute on an ejector seat?” I asked.

“I’m afraid I do not understand Eduardo…”

“EJECTOR SEAT!” I shouted. “HOW DO YOU OPEN THE PARACHUTE?!”

“I have found three restaurants that serve bamboo chutes,” Sally said. “Do you want their addresses?”

“NO!” I yelled. “TELL ME HOW TO OPEN THE PARACHUTE ON AN EJECTOR SEAT!”

Vicky kept searching.

“Eduardo,” Sally said. “I do not understand, ‘Tell me how to open the parachute on an ejector seat!’ Would you like me to perform a web search on it?”

“YES!!!!!”

“I do not understand when the next installment of BQB and the Meaning of Life will be?  Would you like me to perform a web search of tomorrow?

Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.

Cell phone image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 23 – I Object

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“Y’all better fasten your seat belts!” Happly yelled. “We’re almost to the drop point!”

Vicky fastened hers. Seeing I was in shock, she fastened mine around me. We were sitting together on one big bench in the middle of the plane.

“Listen!” I yelled. “There’s been a misunderstanding here!”

Kip Happly Enterprises.  We'll get you there...sort of.

Kip Happly Enterprises. We’ll get you there…sort of.

“No, son!” Happly shouted back. “Like I said, there’s no landing!”

“Just take us back!” I screamed. “I’m not going to jump out of an airplane!”

“Oh Ed,” Vicky said as she patted my knee. “Stop being such a worry wart. Everything’s going to work out fine. It’ll be fun!”

“Get ready!” Happly shouted.

I looked out the window. We were over the island.

“Alright folks!” Happly yelled. “Time for us to part ways! Thank you for flying with Kip Happly Enterprises…”

“No!” I yelled. “Don’t!!! I OBJECT!”

“WHAT?” Happly asked.

“I OBJECT!”

“EJECT?!” Happly asked. “You got it, friend! ADIOS!”

Unbeknownst to us, Vicky and I had been sitting on top of a pair of cargo bay doors the entire time. Happly punched a button, the doors opened up, and my new friend and I found ourselves strapped to a bench, hurtling through the air at warp speed, screaming our heads off.

And then Bookshelf Q. Battler and Vicky died.  That’s it.  That’s how the story ends, with the main characters stone cold dead.  Hope you enjoyed reading.

Oh wait, actually they’re still alive…find out what happens next time on BQB and the Meaning of Life.

Copyright (C) Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.

Pilot photo courtesy of a shutterstock.com image.

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 20 – Welcome to the Third World

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“Welcome to the Third World International Airport,”  the announcer said.  “We’d tell you what country you are in, but we don’t want to offend the 3.5 people reading this story.”

Inside the airport, Vicky and I walked through the hustle and bustle.

A boy ran up to me with a bundle of roses and yanked on my shirt tail.

“Mr. American sir!” the boy said. “Buy some flowers for your pretty wife!”

I looked at Vicky. She giggled. I grinned.

“She’s not my uh…OK kid. How much?”

“Five hundred US Dollars,” the boy said.

“Get outta’ here!”

“OK,” the boy said. “You drive a hard bargain. Five US dollars!”

“One US dollar!” I said.

“What?” the boy asked. “Your wife isn’t worth five dollars?”

A notorious skinfelt, Bookshelf Q. Battler (BQB) was so smitten with Video Game Rack Fighter (VGRF) that he shelled out five, count em, five big ones for some posies.   He really did.  Moths flew out of his wallet and everything.

A notorious skinflint, Bookshelf Q. Battler (BQB) was so smitten with Video Game Rack Fighter (VGRF) that he shelled out five, count em, five big ones for some posies. He really did. Moths flew out of his wallet and everything.

Damn it. Trapped by a little street vendor’s logic. I pulled a fiver out of my wallet and handed it to him. He gave the rose to Vicky.

“Why thank you, Ed,” Vicky said. “I’m flattered.”

We found a table and sat down.

“So,” Vicky said. “I told you I’m going to visit the Great Guru so I can ask him about the meaning of life. You never told me why you’re going to Pango-Tango.”

“Oh,” I said. “Well, funny you mention it, I’m also trying to visit the Great Guru.”

Vicky’s beautiful eyes blossomed.

“You are?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Do you want to know the meaning of life too?” she asked.

I didn’t want to lie. But I didn’t want another Blandie on my hands either.

“My company,” I said. “Beige Corp. They sent me to uh…make a sales call. Yeah. That’s it. The Great Guru wants to by some beige products and accessories for his sanctuary.”

“Wow,” Vicky said. “Beige?”

“Yeah.”

“The Guru must have really boring taste.”

“Yeah.”

Vicky scratched her head.

“You know,” she said. “This might sound dumb, but I have no idea what to do now.”

“Me neither,” I said. “I just bought a ticket to “Somewhere in the Third World” because that’s the closest the airlines will take you to Pango-Tango.”

“Me too!” Vicky said. “Oh good! At least we’re both flying by the seat of our pants!”

“I was hoping there’d be a boat or a connecting flight or something once I

Seems trustworthy,

Seems trustworthy,

got here,” I said.

I felt a tapping on my shoulder. I turned around to find a goofy looking man wearing a brown leather bomber jacket. His eyes were covered by a pair of goggles.

“Did I hear you and your wife say you want to get to Pango-Tango?”

Will BQB and VGRF ever make it to Pango Tango?  And do they really want to trust this wacko?  More BQB and the meaning of life to come!

Copyright (C) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Nerds with flowers and wacky pilot images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 17 – Darn Tootin

PREVIOUSLY ON THE MEANING OF LIFE

Good God, do I have to spoon feed this to you people every day?  Read it!

Read Parts 1-5

Read Parts 6-13

Read Part 14    Part 15

Part 16

“I had all these devices plugged into the same outlet,”  Vicky said.  “And I like my jelly donuts warm so I nuked it for a few seconds.  The next thing I know, a damn hurricane blows into my house, passes through the microwave, and into my jelly donut.”

“Wow,”  I said. 

“You don’t believe me, do you?”  Vicky asked.

“You have no idea how much I believe you,”  I answered.  “Then what happened?”

“The jelly donut grew to about six feet tall,”  Vicky said.  “And it was there, looking all big and delicious so…this is so

According to Dr. Goetleib, crapping out a concentrated hurricane once eaten in the form of a jelly donut is a lesser known condition.

According to Dr. Goetleib, crapping out a concentrated hurricane once eaten in the form of a jelly donut is a lesser known condition.

embarrassing.  I ate the whole thing.”

“We all lose control now and then,”  I said.

“I don’t want to get into the specifics, but let’s just say that hurricane wanted out!”  Vicky said.

“I have a hunch where it came out,” I said.

“Darn tootin’!”  Vicky said. 

Her face turned red. 

“No pun intended.”

“And that’s how you died?”  I asked.

“Right on the crapper,”  Vicky said.  “Just like Elvis.”

“I’m sure that was very traumatic,”  I said.

My mind was racing.  I wanted to tell her about my similar story, how I died on the toilet after passing concentrated lighting I ate in the form of a cherry toaster pastry.  Alas, my bad experience with Blandie had left me too afraid of sharing personal details about myself with the opposite sex.

“So I wake up,”  Vicky continued.  “And I’m dressed like a flapper and I’m standing in a 1930’s speakeasy.”

My head was about to explode.

“Nixon was there,”  Vicky said.  “And the Big Bopper and Gahndi.  Oh, and speaking of Elvis, he was there too!”

“Cleopatra?”  I asked.

“No,”  Vicky said.  “I didn’t see her.  But the waitress was a deceased female celebrity from my generation who died too soon.  It was really nice to see her again.”

“Interesting,”  I said.

“And Steve Jobs was there,”  Vicky said.  “He was assigned to be my spiritual adviser.  He told me that as a computer expert, he believed my video games showed great promise and I never should have quit.”

I just sat there in stunned silence.

“And then, get this,”  Vicky said.  “Steve tells me that I’m getting a second chance,  that I need to find the meaning of life and if I do, I’ll get a brief moment of contentment.”

“Just a brief moment?”  I asked.

“Yes,” Vicky said.  “According to Steve, humans are very selfish.  We’re never happy.  We always want more.  A brief moment of contentment is all we can ever hope for before our internal desires kick in again.”

“Heavy stuff,”  I said.

“Tell me about it,”  Vicky said.  “I’m just happy to be alive again.”

Suddenly, it dawned on me how I was sent back to the land of the living.

“Dumb question,”  I said.  “But that waitress…she uh…she didn’t kiss you, did she?”

“No,”  Vicky said.  “I don’t swing that way.”

“Oh,”  I said.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

“But I totally got to make out with Elvis!”

Will the nerds ever make it to Pango Tango?  Keep reading BQB and the Meaning of life (because someone has to).

Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler (2015)  All Rights Reserved.

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 16 – Blandie All Over Again?

PREVIOUSLY ON BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

Dead on the can.  Back to life in search of the meaning of life.

Read Parts 1-5 here.

BQB talks to his bookshelf characters.

Read Parts 6-13

BQB leaves on a jet plane to Pango Tango in search of the Great Guru.

Read Part 14

BQB learns he has a ridiculous amount in common with his new female acquaintance.  Also, we learn BQB’s real name.  What a bombshell.  The press have been calling nonstop.  Or is it nonstart?  Oh, and Holmes and Watson are stowaways.

Read Part 15

“What the hell are you two doing here?” I asked in a whisper to the pair of sleuths.

I let them out of the bag and they hopped out onto my tray table.

“I wonder if someone will make this character I’ve worked so hard on become a Pootie Tang fan.” – Thought that never crossed poor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mind

“Mr. Battler,”  Holmes said.  “You’re undertaking a dangerous journey, one that Watson and I had a hand in pushing you on.  We could not in good conscience allow you to go alone.”

The stewardess tapped me on the shoulder.  The detectives froze into position.

“Complimentary beverage sir?”

“Yes,”  I said.  “Generic brand cola please.”

She poured me one and then smiled at my stiff gumshoes.

“Cute toys,”  the stewardess said.  “You should really leave them in the box though.  That’s the only way they’ll appreciate in value.”

“That’s good to know,”  I said, hoping she’d move on.

“My son’s a big toy collector,”  the stewardess continued.  “Never plays with them.  Just keeps them in the boxes.”

“Doesn’t sound like much fun,”  I said.

“Not really,”  the stewardess said.  “Anything else I can do for you?”

“Can I get one for my neighbor?”  I asked.

“Sure.”  The stewardess poured another generic brand cola and set it on Vicky’s table.  She pushed her cart down the aisle.

Holmes and Watson gasped for air.

“You two didn’t think of that, did you?”  I asked.  “We’re in public, geniuses.  You’re going to be gasping for air every two seconds.”

“Forget that,”  Holmes said.  “Mr. Battler, do you realize you’re screwing the proverbial pooch with your new female friend?”

“Excuse me?”  I asked.

“Ms. Stratenhaus!”  Holmes said.  “You have so much in common with her it is bloody well uncanny!”

“I concur,”  Watson said.

“You both were interested in pie in the sky occupations,”  Holmes said.  “You and your desire to become a writer, her and her love of video game design.  You both sold out your dreams only to find mediocre positions at boring companies.  In fact, you both literally hold the same exact position at your respective places of business!”

“And you both have long, peculiar names,”  Watson said.

“Precisely!”  Holmes said.  “But other than your name, and a brief reference to wanting to be a writer, you have not shared with Ms. Stratenhaus the many similarities you share with her.  Tell her that you too quit your dream for a boring life and you now regret your decision!  Tell her that a woman left you under similar circumstances!  It will bring you both closer together!”

“I can’t do that,”  I said.  “It would be Blandie all over again.”

“Who?”  Watson asked.

“Ms. Bland Life Settler,”  Holmes said.  “Consult your copious notes, Watson.  Doing so will refresh your memory.”

Watson pulled out his notepad and flipped through the pages.

“Ahh yes!”  Watson said.  “The woman who broke Mr. Battler’s heart.”

In case you forgot about BQB's Ex-Girlfriend, Blandie

In case you forgot about BQB’s Ex-Girlfriend, Blandie

“There’s no mystery here,”  Holmes said as he paced about the tray.  “Mr. Battler poured his heart and soul out to Ms.Settler.  He told her about his hopes, his dreams, his fears, his aspirations.  He told her how he wanted to be a writer and rather than be loving and supportive, she turned around and used that fact against him, calling him an idle daydreamer before flying the proverbial coup.”

“She also made many assertions regarding his lack of prowess in the boudoir,”  Watson said as he looked over his notes.

“Read them, Watson,”  Holmes said as he chewed on the end of his pipe.

Total deja-vu.

“No,”  I said.  We’ve already been through this, dummies.   And put that pipe away.  You know how many laws you’ll break if you smoke on an international flight?”

“Good Lord,”  Holmes said as he tucked his pipe into his cloak.  “This highly regulated police state you live in, Mr. Battler.  It’s like Moriarty won.”

“Get back in the bag,”  I said.  “Vicky will be back any second and you guys can’t hold your breathe that long.”

My charges/pains in the butt complied and scurried into my bag just in time to avoid my new friend’s return.

“Aww!”  Vicky said.  “I love generic brand cola!”

“Me too,” I said. “I think it’s the extra generic-ness.”

“So, Ed!  Tell me, if you don’t like air travel, why are you on a plane?”

“Oh,” I said.  “You know.  Just business.”

“Going somewhere special?”  Vicky asked.

I coughed to clear my throat.

“Pango-Tango,”  I said.

Vicky raised a surprised eyebrow.

“I know,”  I said.  “The war going on there.  All over the news.  Kind of a stupid place to visit I guess.”

“No,”  Vicky said.  “Not at all!  I’m going there too!”

I didn’t even bother to ask, “Seriously?” 

I just nodded.

“If I tell you something, will you promise not to laugh?”  Vicky asked.

“I promise,”  I said.

“Pinky swear,”  Vicky said.

We locked pinky fingers.

“Because you know you’ll rot in eternal hellfire and damnation if you break a pinky swear,”  Vicky said.

I liked her.  She was quirky, like me. 

“So I hear,”  I said.

“I died a few days ago,”  Vicky said.

I couldn’t help myself.  “Seriously?”

“Seriously,”  Vicky replied.  “I…oh, I can’t tell you this story.  It’s so gross.”

“No judgments here,”  I said.

“I’m still surprised this was even scientifically possible,”  Victoria said.  “But I ate a concentrated hurricane in the form of a jelly donut.”

Find out how Vicky died after eating a concentrated hurricane in the form of a jelly donut on the next episode of BQB and the Meaning of Life!

Sherlock and angry woman images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  (All Rights Reserved).  (With my usual apology to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

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