Never Forget

A lone Army bugler plays taps during an interment at Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s most hallowed ground. (DoD photo). Original image from Flickr

Hello everyone this is Dave the Miracle Maker and I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend. I don’t know if you have plans to go to the beach or if you are barbecuing this weekend, but please take a moment to honor our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in service of this great nation. Their scarafices will live on in our memories and it is something that we should never forget. As for me I plan to attend the Memorial Day ceramonies at our local cematary.

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Now for your reading pleasure, check out chapter 16 of my novel, the Battle for Europa. The Battle for Erops is book one of the Space Corps Chronicles.

Chapter 16

Shawn Gallagher and John Wilson stood on the shuttle docking bay on the surface of Europa. Their security team flanked them. Shawn felt a slight chill and adjusted the temperature settings on his EVA suit. They stared in awe at the ships descending to the surface and landing near the docking bay. Shawn laughed. “Have you ever seen such a ragtag bunch of rust buckets in your life?” His voice reverberated through the speakers in Wilson’s EVA suit.

Wilson smiled. “Yeah. In the federal junkyard orbiting Earth. Some of these ships look like they came from the PPF’s mothballed fleet.” Mechanics driving atmospherically contained tractors hooked up to the ships when they landed. The ship’s skeleton crews disembarked. The sound of engines and the smell of exhaust wafted across the icy planes of Europa. They hauled the ships to an outdoor turbo lift, used to take large equipment from the surface to the lower levels of the mining facility.

“Our maintenance personnel will have their hands full. Do you think they’ll have these things ready before the federal boys get here?”

John shrugged inside his EVA suit. “They’ll be ready. We’ll pull extra personnel from the mines and run three shifts working around the clock.”

Shawn noticed a sleek-looking light cruiser that looked a little less beat up than the rest. Some of the ships weren’t even able to operate under their, own power. They rode piggyback, welded to the top of another vessel. Others were under, tow. He stepped up to one of the maintenance technicians that was attaching a towline to the vessel so he could tow it to the freight lift. “Excuse me, Sergeant.”

The man stopped what he was doing when he heard who was speaking to him. “Yes, Mr. President.”

“I’d like this vessel assigned to the Special Forces Division. I want it given a number one priority. I want the best armor, weapons, and shielding that we’ve got.”

“Yes sir. Mr. President. I’ll get right on it.” The last of the fleet touched down. Three large cargo vessels landed and unloaded men and equipment. The last ship to touch the surface was Ludwig’s luxury yacht. The pilot powered down the vessel and extended the boarding ramp.

“Let’s go greet our guests,” Shawn said. He ambled across the shuttle port in his cumbersome EVA suit. John and their security detail follow along behind. Ludwig and his entourage lumbered down the exit ramp stepping upon the surface.

“Welcome to Europa Mr. Wolf. I hope you had a pleasant flight,” Shawn said.

“It was good. I enjoy space flight.”

“I’ve secured quarters for you and your people. I hope you find them satisfactory. They used to belong to consolidated plant managers.”

“I am sure they are fine. I brought instructors and mechanics to help fix the ships. I also brought instructors to train the new pilots and flight crews for your space corps.”

“I hope we can have the ships ready on time.”

“They will be. After we have settled, come to my quarters for drinks. Bring your Scotch whiskey and I will open a case of my best German beer.”

“I’ll be looking forward to it.”

John commandeered the nearest sergeant. He asked him to secure a work detail to help Mr. Wolf’s people carry their baggage and unload their cargo ships. They led Ludwig and his entourage into the mining facility and showed them to their quarters.

Shawn gazed about the room at his cabinet members. His secretary retrieved a pitcher of coffee from the food and beverage dispenser. She poured everyone seated a cup and left the room. God everyone looks so tired. Shawn heaved a sigh. “Let’s get this meeting started. Jerry, we’ll start with you. What is your latest intel on the federal Boys?”

Holliday shrugged. “The Federal Defense Force’s main battle fleet has left Mars heading this way. We have roughly three months, or three and a half until they arrive.”

Shawn nodded. “What do you think they will do when they get here?”

Holliday pulled a cigar from his coat pocket. “Set up a blockade and demand our surrender.”

Shawn leaned back in his chair. “What do you think their response will be when we refuse?”

Holliday paused and lit his cigar. “At first they might try to starve us out. When that doesn’t work, they’ll invade and try to bring a resolution by force.”

“What about this new deep space fleet they’re so proud of that we saw on the VID-Net?”

Tobacco smoke drifted across the room and Shawn breathed in its rich aroma. “They are a few days behind the main battle fleet. They would like to use Jupiter’s gravity to slingshot to the edge of the solar system, but who knows? Mr. Bonelli might order them to take their places in the blockade until this thing is over.”

Shawn looked at his good friend and secretary of defense. “What about the troops, John? Will they be ready?”

John sat up straighter in his chair. “Damn right. With the help of Mr. Wolf’s trainers and the new equipment, they should do fine. I have accelerated the training schedule. We’re working on the perimeter defenses around the clock. The feds might have a numeral advantage, but we can make them pay for every inch of ice that they take.”

Shawn nodded, took a drink from his coffee cup, and turned to Admiral Kesler. “What about our new ships? Will they be ready?”

“My mechanics are working around the clock. The ships will be space worthy and in operation when the federals get here.”

“Do you think you can defeat the federal’s main battle fleet?”

Kesler shook his head. “No, but we can hurt them. I will send a small force to Saturn in case the federals send some ships there and keep half my ships in reserve hiding in the asteroid belt. Using feints, lightning-quick attacks, and hit-and-run tactics, we will make the federal admiral wish that he’d never come to Jupiter.”

Shawn looked back at Holliday. “What about our awe-shit plan?”

Holliday laughed. “It’s in the works. We’ve rigged the explosives. The mechanics are putting the finishing touches on the vessels.”

“Good. And that other matter?”

“He’s arrived on Mars and serving as a peacekeeper.”

“How soon until we can launch the snatch and grab?”

“I have Special Forces team training for the mission now. The mechanics are working on the ship. They should be ready to launch in two months. It might be a bit longer. Then three months flight time and then three months to get back. He should be here in a little over six months.”

“Good. I hope they can launch before the feds get here.” Shawn stood to his feet and crossed the room to the food and beverage dispenser. He retrieved a bottle of Scotch whiskey. Rummaging around in a cabinet, he found several shot glasses and poured them each a shot enjoying the smell of the potent brew. “Gentlemen, I know you are all very busy so I won’t keep you any longer, but before we go, let’s have a drink. To the New Republic.” Shawn raised his glass; they downed the shot and filed out of the room.


Shawn stood in the hallway in front of Ludwig’s quarters. The quarters had once been the apartment of the former CEO of Consolidated mining. His security detail flanked him. Down the hallway, he heard someone laugh. Shawn rang the door chime, a few seconds passed and the door slid open. Ludwig stood in the doorway wearing a furry brown robe and a grin crossed his bearded face.

“Welcome, Mr. President. I have the beer chilling on ice. I trust you brought the whiskey?”

Shawn held up a brown paper bag. “We killed the last bottle of Scotch earlier. I’ll have to order some more from, supply, but I bought the best Crown Royal that money can buy.”

“Good. Come join me. The lounge has a viewscreen that looks out over the surface of this icy paradise.”

“I’ve never heard it called that.” Shawn entered the luxury apartment. Ludwig led Shawn through his living room to a spacious lounge and took out two shot glasses. Shawn marveled at the extravagance. The security team gathered in the living room. Shawn poured them each a shot of Canadian Whiskey, handed Ludwig his shot, and raised his glass. “To a prosperous future and whatever it might hold.” They touched glasses, downed the shot and Shawn refilled the glasses. He enjoyed the smooth flavor of Canadian whiskey.

“I’ve decided to move my headquarters here temporarily. I will still keep some people in the asteroid belt, but I want to be close to the action. Do you think that you might have some facilities for me?”

Shawn nodded. “Absolutely. You would be a big asset. I’ll pass the word to my maintenance people. They’ll find you a place to set up shop.”

Ludwig smiled. “I have something that will help with your little fight with the federals.”

“What might that be?” Shawn sipped his tumbler of whiskey.

“I have a small quantity on anti-matter.”

Shawn’s bottom jaw dropped and his eyes widened. “What are your intentions for that?”

Ludwig downed his whiskey. Shawn refilled their shot glasses. Ludwig handed Shawn a bottle of German beer. “My armories are fitting a small capsule into the warheads of several torpedoes. They would tear through the hulls of the federal ships like, how do you people from the North American Union say? Like a hot knife through butter.” They tossed back the whiskey and then popped the tops on the beer.

“You Germans sure do know how to make a good beer.” Ludwig nodded. “I’ll have my chief of intelligence and my secretary of defense get with your people. I don’t know how to thank you for everything you’ve done.”

Ludwig gazed out at the surface of Europa as if lost in thought. “Thanks are not necessary. I’ve cast my lot with your New Republic for my, own selfish reasons. All though I believe the federals will stomp you and your New Republic into the ground like so many bugs.”

“Then why lend your support?”

Ludwig rose to his feet and began to pace back and forth. “If you succeed I stand to make a sizable amount of money legally. The relationship will be beneficial for us both.”

Shawn nodded. “If we pull this off, we’ll need men like you to help haul supplies and secure needed equipment. I want to bring the families of all the men here to Europa. This little moon will thrive, as will the moons orbiting Saturn. Business opportunities will abound.” They sat talking and drinking for the next few hours. Finally, Shawn’s security detail helped him back to his quarters and put him to bed.


The forces of the New Republic kept busy for the next three months. The mechanics worked round the clock getting the ships of their new fleet ready for space. Other, former miners worked night and day building fighting positions. They used bulldozers to build up icy bulwarks surrounding the main complex. Inside the dug-in fighting positions, they had firing ports pointed out at the approaches to the complex. Machine guns and laser cannons were mounted on the roofs of the buildings above ground.

On top of the HQ building, they held a ceremony to christen the new fleet. Their new fleet held a stationary orbit over Europa. Shawn looked up through the hardened glass dome at the ships orbiting above them. With the stars as a backdrop, Shawn stepped up to the microphone. He looked at the military personnel and miners who toiled in the mines below. “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming. This is a glorious occasion. Today we will christen our new fleet. I for one felt worried that we wouldn’t get this job done before the federal boys arrived to ruin our party. I should have known better. Everyone worked hard to get this job done. I’d like to thank everyone involved.” Applause filled the roof of the building. “I would also like to thank Admiral Gustav Kesler for his tireless work. I will turn the microphone over to him now to read the names of the ships aloud as they fly over in, formation.”

Admiral Kesler stepped up onto the podium. The ships above them broke out of their stationary orbit and began a circular orbit of Europa. Kesler finished calling out the names of the ships in their armada. Shawn stepped back up to the microphone. “This new fleet will now begin its mission of protecting our New Republic. Some will head to Saturn. We will hold some in reserve in the asteroid belt. The bulk will orbit Jupiter waiting to face the federal main battle fleet when they get here. All these ships, along with their crewmen will risk their lives to protect our freedom. We will hold a reception down in the main dining hall everyone is welcome,” Shawn said after finishing his speech.

That night after the launch of their new fleet, Shawn stood on the shuttle landing pad. He wore his EVA suit and watched a Special Forces team board a sleek light cruiser. Emblazed in gold across its nose were the words: Freebird Two. The small ship bristled with armor and armaments. They had painted its hull flat black with no external markings. When the pilot and co-pilot approached the boarding ramp, Shawn stepped up to the pilot. He took his arm and gripped it using the gloves of his EVA suit. “Mr. O’Brian. You know why I chose you for this mission, don’t you?”

O’Brien nodded. “I think so, Mr. President.”

“You’re the pilot of my, personal space cruiser. You are the best-damned pilot we have. I wouldn’t trust this mission to anyone else. Those men boarding your ship are the best Special Forces team we have. Tell them for me to bring my brother home. Tell them, that no matter how this turns out, it is an honor to be their president. Bring him to me.”

“Sir, we’ll get the job done, or we’ll die trying.”

Shawn shook his head. “No. I don’t want anyone to die. I want you to bring my brother back here from Mars alive. I want everyone else to come back alive. Make it happen.”

“I’ll get her done sir.” Shawn released his grip on O’Brian’s arm. He stepped back and gave him an awkward salute. O’Brien returned the gesture and boarded the vessel. Shawn watched the light cruiser lift off the surface. The shuttle entered an orbit around Jupiter and headed for Mars. Later that evening, Shawn set at a table on the rooftop of the main mining complex. His chief of security stood back in the shadows letting him enjoy some privacy. Shawn brought a tumbler of Crown Royal to his mouth and glanced up at the supper-hardened glass dome. He watched the lights of the ships in their new fleet orbiting overhead.

Shawn’s thoughts drifted to the Special Forces team heading toward Mars. God, I hope they make it through. His mind turned to his brother David. He hoped that when he had him here with him, he could undo the brainwashing that the federals had put in place. He envisioned David making a home here with him on Europa. He could have a bright future here. Several tiny, specks of light moved in the sky. The ships in their new fleet moved into formation and head outward away from Jupiter. The com-unit on the lapel of Shawn’s shirt beeped and he slapped his shoulder. “Gallagher here.”

“Mr. President. This is Linda Van Horn. The federals have arrived. A large fleet appeared, coming out of the asteroid belt.” Shawn felt a cold ball of ice drop into the center of his stomach.

“Okay. Put the troops garrisoned at the station on alert. I’ll be in my council chambers in two minutes.” Shawn ended the transmission, stood to his feet, and downed the rest of the whiskey in his tumbler. His chief of security stepped from the shadows. “I guess I’d better call an emergency cabinet meeting and put the forces on alert.”

“Yes sir.”

Shawn turned to go but stopped and glanced once more through the glass dome at the stars overhead. God, I hope O’Brian and his team made it through. He turned toward the turbo lift and headed down to his council chambers below.


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Sweet Dreams

Beagle sleeping on wicker basket. Free public domain CC0 photo.

Hey everyone this is Dave the Miracle Maker. It’s another wonderful day up here in the high Desert of Southern California. Only six days left until I leave for my vacation. I have my pool ready so that my wife can relax by the pool while I am away. Today I would like to talk about dreams. Do you monitor your dreams? If you don’t I think you should. Some people use a dream journal and write down what they dream. As a writer, this is beneficial. I have written two novels that I received the idea for the book in a dream. The first book that I received the idea from a dream was a novel titled, Door Number Two. In the dream, all I was given was the title and an image of what the book cover might look like. When I woke from the dream, the idea for the story came to me. This book wound up being book number four in a series. I wouldn’t have written the series if not for the dream. The second book that came from a dream is titled Gone Missing. The idea came to me from a dream. I wrote the idea down in a Word document where I list all of my ideas for stories and novels. I usually write at night before I go to sleep and sometimes before I fall asleep I think about the story that I am writing and sometimes think about where I want the story to go. This allows my subconscious mind to go to work. When it came down to writing the book, I was a few chapters in and I had been writing before I went to sleep and I had another dream. This time I only saw images, but the images related to what I was writing about, so when I woke up and started writing again that night I used those images from the dream to advance the storyline.

If you are not a writer, but you are trying to manifest your best life, or you are trying to manifest something new in your life that you want, visualize it in your mind before you fall asleep. It could be anything from a significant other that you desire, more money, or a desire for health and happiness. it all depends on what you want. Visualize your best life before you fall asleep so your subconscious mind can go to work and manifest a miracle in your life. Feel free to leave a comment and live your best life. Peace out.

For your reading pleasure check out chapter 15 from my science fiction novel, the Battle for Europa which is book one in my science fiction series, the Space Corps Chronicles.

Chapter 15

Light burst through the room. Captain Chambers lay asleep between two naked women. One was a busty redhead and the other was a petite blonde with long curly hair. The smell of alcohol and cheap perfume permeated the room. Chambers’ eyes shot open the women groaned and both of them pulled the covers over their heads. Chambers wormed his way from between them, shielding his eyes with his hands, and sat on the edge of the bed.

“Rise and shine lover boy. Liberty is over. We have to get back to the ship,” First Officer Bannister said. He sauntered up to Chambers’ bed and ogled the two naked women.

“I thought we talked about you barging in like this. Did you have to use the manual controls for the lights? I set the room’s computer to medium glow.” Chamber knuckled sleep from his eyes.

Banister laughed. “Medium glow is for candy asses. Get your ass out of bed.”

Chambers glanced up. “Can you at least get me some coffee first?”

“That I can do.” Bannister headed to the food and beverage dispenser. “Ladies, would you like some as well?”

The busty redhead threw off her covers and sat up. “I’d love some. Put a little Bourbon in it. I like a little kick in my coffee in the morning.”

Banister smiled, staring at her hard little nipples. “Jack, your standers are improving. At least you’re sleeping with human girls now. Those android hookers are so boring.”

The petite blonde sat up next to her friend. “There’s nothing like the real deal. You want to give it a try pops?”

A big grin crossed Banister’s face. “I’d love to, but we don’t have the time. Lover Boy and I need to get back to the ship.” Bannister handed out the coffee while Chambers dressed. The two women sat on the bed naked drinking their coffee. Bannister paced the room waiting for Chambers to finish dressing. Seeing that they weren’t going to make any more money, the women finished their coffee, dressed, and left the hotel room. Chambers sat down at a small table, setting near the bed, to enjoy his coffee. Bannister sat down across from him. “I have to hand it to you. Your taste in women is improving.”

“You’re just jealous.”

Banister shook his head. “No, it’s not that. My money is as good to chippies like that as yours. I enjoy seeing how deep into debauchery you can slip. Finish your coffee and let’s head to the shuttle port.”

“Yes, Mother.” Chambers downed the rest of his coffee and stood to his feet.

After arriving at Mars, Chambers logged onto the admiral’s conference call. The admiral praised everyone for a job well done. He issued orders allowing all personnel forty-eight hours of liberty. The shuttle pilots ferried troops to one of the planet’s shuttle ports. It was an armed militarized facility laying a few miles to the southeast of the New London colony. The second watch took control of the bridge at fifteen hundred hours. Chambers and Bannister took the captain’s shuttle to the surface of the planet.

They left the shuttle at the shuttle port and rode in a military convoy of tracked vehicles to the colony. Two miles outside of the colony, rebels from the Martian resistance attacked. They poured laser and small arms fire into the vehicles firing from concealed positions in the rocks above the trail leading to the colony. Laser flashes lit up the night. Marines poured out of troop carriers and repelled the attack. When they arrived at the colony, Chambers and Banister entered the John Glen Plaza. The plaza was a city unto itself. They headed to the nearest drinking establishment.

The John Glen Plaza, along with the rest of the buildings in the colony, thrived under a massive steel dome. Oxygen and gravity generators in the sub-regions of the building provided life support. Every type of business establishment known to mankind filled the streets of the plaza. Savvy businessmen stood ready to take credit away from the military personnel. The John Glen Plaza also catered to the local miners. Chambers spent his forty-eight-hour liberty getting drunk and chasing women. Bannister spent his forty-eight-hour liberty trying to keep Chambers out of trouble. The fun over, Chambers sat in the lounge area on the captain’s shuttle. He was waiting for it to lift off the surface of the red planet. Bannister sat down across from him and set a hot cup of coffee down on the table in front of the captain.

“You sure know how to spoil a good time. You could at least put some Irish cream in that coffee or better yet, bring me a Jack and Coke.”

Bannister smiled. “That’s all the troops need: to see their captain stumbling in drunk on his ass.” Chambers sighed and took a drink from the coffee cup. The shuttle left the surface of the red planet heading back to the ship.

Chambers stepped onto the bridge of the Port Royal. He took his seat in the captain’s chair next to Bannister and gazed out at the fleet orbiting Mars. “Things look a little empty out there. Where’d everybody go?”

“The main battle fleet broke orbit over an hour ago,” Banister said. “It’s all this baloney taking place on Europa. It’s got the council’s dander up.”

“Any word from the admiral on our departure time?”

The communications officer’s console beeped. “Captain I have a VID transmission coming in from the admiral now,” she said.

“Play it on the forward viewscreen.” The image of Admiral Ivanov filled the screen. Chambers smiled. “Good evening Admiral. What can I do for you?”

“Captain Chambers. Are you ready to leave this blasted red planet behind?”

Chambers nodded. “You’d better believe it. When will we be breaking orbit?”

“Our scheduled departure time is at eighteen hundred hours.”

“I see the main battle fleet has already left.”

“Ya. They are dealing with this foolishness on Europa. They should have the blockade of Jupiter in place by the time we arrive.”

“I hope we won’t get caught up in that mess.”

“That is my hope as well. You have three hours to get your vessel ready for departure. I will leave you to your duties.”

“Thank you, sir.” Admiral Ivanov’s image disappeared from the screen. Chambers glanced at his first officer. “Mr. Bannister. Would you care to join me in the officers’ pub for a beer?”

“That sounds like a grand idea.”

Chambers turned to the helmsmen. “Mr. Walker, you have the bridge.”

Chambers and Bannister rose to their feet. They left the bridge and ambled down the main corridor. Hustle and bustle filled the ship. Crewmen were returning from their forty-eight-hour liberty filling the corridor. Inside the officers’ pub, they climbed onto a barstool and a fat bartender waddled up. He smelled of alcohol and cigarettes.

“What can I get you, sir?”

“Two beers,” Chambers said and glanced at Bannister. “What do you think our chances of not getting involved in this BS on Europa are?”

Banister shrugged. “Who knows? This character, Shawn Gallagher seems like a hothead. In some ways, he reminds me of you.”

Chambers laughed. “His name sounds familiar. I may have served with him a few years ago in the PPF. I’ll have to do a check on the VID-net.” A young blonde-headed woman in a skintight blue dress stepped up next to the captain and shot him a smile. The captain motioned to the bartender and bought her a drink.

“Calm the raging hormones Lover Boy. We have to be back on the bridge in three hours. You don’t have time to mess with any of the comfort girls right now.”

Chambers laughed. “Three hours is plenty of time.”

“Check Federal Defense Force personnel records. If you find that you did know Gallagher, you might want to discuss it with the admiral. We could open up some dialog.”

“I hope we don’t even get involved with that BS.”

“Yeah, but you know about old Murphy and his law.” They finished their beer and Bannister bought the next round. Three hours later, they strolled onto the bridge and took their seats on the command platform.

The new deep space fleet broke orbit leaving the red planet behind. Chambers looked over at the second watch helmsmen. “Mr. McGuire, plot the course. Let’s go to Jupiter.”


Chambers woke up at zero five thirty ship time three weeks after leaving Mars. This particular night, he slept alone. He dressed, poured himself a cup of coffee, and sat down at the small table in his room. Finished with his coffee, he entered his conference room and logged onto the video net for the morning conference call. After hearing from the department heads, he logged onto the admiral’s call and reported the status of the Port Royal to the admiral. Finished with that bit of business, he headed to the officers’ mess. Bannister met him in the hallway.

“How’s our golden boy this morning?” Bannister asked.

Chambers shrugged. “I’m fine Mother. Care to join me for breakfast?”

“I don’t mind if I do.” Chambers and Bannister strolled down the main corridor and entered the officers’ mess. They took their place in the serving line. The smell of freshly cooked food caused Chambers’ stomach to rumble. They moved through the line piling food upon their trays. The captain sat down with a plate filled with scrambled eggs, a slice of ham, bacon, and hash browns with wheat toast. Bannister poured them each a cup of coffee and then sat down to enjoy his biscuits and gravy.

“Did you check the fleet records to see if you served with this Shawn Gallagher that has everyone so worked up?”

Chambers took a bite of scrambled eggs into his mouth with his fork. “It’s kind of slipped my mind. I’ve been busy.”

Bannister took a drink from his coffee cup. “I hear he has a younger brother serving in the Fleet Marines. From what I hear, they assigned him to peacekeeping duties on Mars.”

“That must be hard. Being the little brother of the CEU’s most famous traitor.”

Bannister nodded. “You know the political boys got to be all over him.”

“Shawn Gallagher does have a point. The council could be more lenient on personal freedoms.”

Banister’s eyes widened. “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.”

“What? Do you think Mr. Carson might call me on the carpet? I ignore the beady-eyed little son of a bitch.” He gave Banister an icy glare.

Banister let out a sigh. “Jack. You need to watch what you say. You never know who might be listening. They have brought Ship captains up on political charges before.”

“So what are they going do? Send me back to Earth?”

Banister shook his head. “No, but they could relieve you of command.”

Chambers shrugged. “Let them try.”

Finished with breakfast, they headed down to the gym for their morning workout. No one onboard the ship was immune to the daily regimen of weight lifting. Chambers didn’t want anyone under his command to suffer from muscle atrophy. Bannister spotted Chambers on the bench press. When Chambers finished, they switched places. After the bench press, they worked on their arms by doing bicep curls. From there they went to the leg machine. By the time, they finished their workout they exercised all the muscles in their body plus worked up a good sweat.

After their workout, they hit the showers. Chambers set the temperature setting to, medium-hot and vigorous massage. He enjoyed the rejuvenating effects of the hot water. Later, they sat on a bench in the locker room dressing. Chambers put on his uniform and was putting on his boots. He reached over to have a drink from a water bottle that was set on the bench next to him when the bottle floated away. He tapped the talk button on the lapel of his uniform.

“Captain Chambers to engineering. What happened to the gravity generator?”

“I don’t know Captain. It quit on us. My techs are troubleshooting it right now.”

Chambers brushed a drop of water from his forehead and watched it float away. “Good. Keep me posted.” Finished with his conversation with the chief engineer, Chambers made contact with the bridge. “Captain to the bridge.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“I’m sure you’re aware that the gravity generator is down. Make an announcement. I want all personnel in gravity boots. Chambers out.”

Bannister laughed. “Let the fun begin. How many people do you think will forget to put on their boots?”

“Yeah. It’s all fun and games being weightless and all, but when the generator comes back on, we’re sure to have a few casualties. Let’s get to the bridge.” Chambers finished putting on his boots.

They lumbered onto the bridge of the Port Royal in their gravity boots and took their seats on the command platform. Chambers set his bottle of water down on a console in front of him and the bottle started to float away. He reached out, grabbed it before it could get away, and strapped himself into the seat. Everyone on the bridge used safety belts to strap themselves to their chairs. Chambers flipped on the com-unit on his console. “Bridge to engineering.”

“Aye Captain,” the chief engineer said.

“How soon until we have the gravity back?”

“We’re working as fast as we can, Captain. We had a power surge and fried a few relays. We should have the gravity restored in two to three hours.”

“Okay. Keep me posted.” Chambers cut the transmission. He turned his attention to the forward viewscreen and stared out at the vastness of space. Three hours later, Chambers’ com-link beeped and he pressed the talk button on his console. “Chambers here.”

“Captain, we’ve fixed the gravity generator. We will bring it back online in ten minutes,” the chief engineer said.

“Good. You people do good work.” Chambers flipped on the ship’s PA system. “This is the captain. Engineering will restore gravity in ten minutes.” Nine minutes later, Chambers’ water bottle, which had floated up to the ceiling, fell. It bounced off the top of his head. He flipped on his com-unit once more. “Captain to sickbay. How many casualties do you have to report?”

“Two, sir. A falling weight-lifting disk that had floated up to the ceiling in the gym hit one of our sailors. We had some marines leaping back and forth. One of them was in the air when the gravity returned. He fell to the deck and broke his leg,” the chief medical officer said.

“Who were they?”

“The sailor was Ensign Palmer. The weight-lifting disk broke his foot. The marine’s name is Louis Martin. The medical teams are bringing them in right now.”

“Let me know when you’re done treating them. I’d like to talk to both of them.” Chambers switched off the com-unit. After his tour of duty on the bridge, Chambers went to the sick bay to visit the injured crewmen. Finished with that, he joined Bannister in the officers’ mess for dinner. Later that evening, he checked the fleet records on the VID-net. He discovered that he was right; he had served aboard the same ship with Shawn Gallagher when he was in the PPF. They were both, part of the onboard Special Forces unit, but had served on different teams. He looked up everything he could find on the VID-net about Gallagher. God, I almost like this guy. If we’d served on the same team and had closer contact, we’d be friends.

During the three months that followed, the fleet admiral held three training events. One of which consisted of defending the ship from a mock invasion. As they approached Jupiter, the admiral divided the fleet into the red and blue navies. They played ship-to-ship war games. When they made their approach to Jupiter, Chambers sat on the bridge. He stared out the viewscreen. The battleships surrounded the planet like a pack of hungry wolves. Other smaller, but no less deadly ships, patrolled closer to the planet and its moons. They looked like a pack of hyenas facing off a pride of lions.

“It looks like we’ve caught up to the main battle fleet,” Chambers said.

“Captain, I have a small space cruiser heading outbound from Europa. They should pass within five hundred meters of our position. They seem to be in quite a hurry. Do you want me to move to intercept?” the helmsmen asked.

Chambers shook his head. “No. If the main battle fleet’s not worried about them, then we won’t bother either. They’re most likely some miners that decided they’ve had enough of this foolishness.”

“Captain, I have a text message from Admiral Ivanov. He says that Admiral Delacroix is in command of the main battle fleet. He has asked us to maintain our current position,” the communications officer said.

“Very well. Reduce speed to point zero one.” Chambers turned back to the communications officer. “Tell Mr. Ivanov that I’ll contact him on the VID-net in my conference room in five minutes,” he said and left the bridge.


Posted in Law of Attraction, meditation, Self Help, subconscious mind, Uncategorized, writing | Leave a comment

Basic Meditation

Free spritual journey image, public domain spirituality CC0 photo.

Hey, this is Dave the Miracle Maker again up here in the high desert of Southern California. I finally got my pool going and took my first dip but of course, then we had a couple of thunderstorms. There are only eight days left until I leave on my vacation. I will probably make a couple more posts before I go. Today I would like to talk about basic meditation. Many of you who have never meditated before might think that you need to hire an expensive guru or take some expensive course online. When you think about meditation the image of some munk on a mountain top sitting for hours might come to mind. You might think that I don’t have the money or the time to sit through some guided meditation course. Those things might be good as you get deeper into your meditation journey, but to start out you don’t need any of that. When cut away all the BS meditation boils down to concentrating on your breathing. Concentrate on your breath going in and your breath going out. When you sit down to meditate, you don’t have to sit for hours. Try ten to twenty minutes at first. Sit in either a comfortable chair or on the floor, put your hands in your lap close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. Try to clear your mind of all conscious thoughts, but if a thought creeps in don’t stress. Concentrate on your breathing and it will pass. One of the things that I did to stop the thoughts from creeping in when I first started was to count my breaths. When I reached fifty to one hundred breaths I would stop counting and sit in peace and quiet. This is when you think about what you want to manifest and go over your affirmations in your mind. After you’ve done that sit for a few minutes more and enjoy the inner peace. After you have sat to meditate a few times try to lengthen the time that you sit and meditate. When I come out of a meditation I am filled with a sense of inner peace and joy. The benefits of mediation are many. It gives you inner peace, joy, and happiness. I recommend that you meditate at least twice a day. Once in the morning after you wake up and once at night before you go to bed and watch the miracles happen. Let me know what you think in the comment section and have a glorious day.

Now for your reading please check out chapter 14 from the Battle for Europa, book one of the Space Corps Chronicles.

Chapter 14

Alonzo Garcia stumbled up the docking tube to board the Port Royal and rubbed his throbbing forehead. He felt hungover from the partying they did burning up their two-day pass before shipping out. His mind drifted back to an incident on the first night after their AIT training. David insisted on going to the red light district in one of the more seedy sections of the colony. They stopped in at an establishment known as Dolly’s Droids.

After sampling the pleasures of life-like female androids, they sat down at a table to have a beer. Two naval officers entered the bar. One of them was a friendly-looking middle-aged man with sandy blond hair. He wore captain’s bars. They stopped by their table. His fellow officer, an older man with a more serious bearing, wore the rank insignia of a first officer. Conversation buzzed through the bar room.

“Can I buy you, gentlemen, a drink?” the captain asked.

David smiled. “I make it a habit to never turn down free beer.”

The captain motioned to one of the server droids and ordered a pitcher of beer. “Did you gentlemen just get out of basic?”

“Yes sir. We finished up our Advanced Infantry Training and we’re enjoying some of this fine android flesh before we have to ship out,” David said.

The captain laughed. “You can hardly tell them from real women. What ship are you gentlemen shipping out on?”

Louis Martin motioned to Alonzo. “My mate here and I are, assigned to the Port Royal when we burn up this two-day pass.” The captain nodded and looked at David.

“Paul and I are going to Mars as peacekeepers. We’re shipping out on the CEU-Pathfinder.” The balding first officer looked at the timepiece embedded in his wrist. He seemed anxious to be on his way, but the captain ignored him.

“Be careful when you get on the ground on Mars. Those miners are a rough lot. They’re also having trouble with insurgents.”

“We will sir. Thank you for your concern,” Paul said.

“I won’t keep you, gentlemen. Good luck,” the captain said.

“You too sir. Thank you for the beer,” David said. Later that evening Alonzo found out that the young captain they had talked to was the captain of the Port Royal.

Alonzo wiped the sweat from his brow. “That’s fucking great. My captain probably thinks I’m a lush and a pervert who likes banging androids,” Alonzo said to himself.

“Had a little bit too much to drink, did we?” the young ensign said fanning the air in front of his face when Alonzo arrived at the ship.

Alonzo smiled. “You could say that.”

“Please scan your wrist across my scan pad.” Alonzo looked up at the young naval officer standing in front of the boarding hatch of the Port Royal. He ran his wrist across the scanner. The scanner read the information from Alonzo’s biochip embedded in his wrist. “Welcome aboard, Mr. Garcia. I am Ensign Palmer. Fleet Marines HQ is on E deck. The Fleet Marine berthing areas are of levels E-3 through E-5. Find a bunk, store your gear, and report to your HQ. You’ll find a set of turbo lifts halfway down this corridor.”

“Thank you, sir,” Alonzo said, firing off a snappy salute, and stepped aboard the Port Royal.

“This ship is bloody huge,” Louis said, heading down the corridor next to Alonzo. The smell of industrial cleaner filled the air.

“Tell me about it, bro. I could get lost on this tub real quick.” They followed the crowd of marines toward the turbo lifts and waited in the corridor while the marines ahead of them filled the lifts. When the next lift arrived, they made their way to the back of the lift. Marines poured in filling the lift like sardines in a can. The turbo lift descended into the bowels of the ship and a few seconds later, the doors opened. The marines inside the turbo lift filed out. A corporal standing by the door motioned down a long corridor.

“Report in at HQ and then find a bunk. Stow your gear. You have a briefing at thirteen hundred and thirty in the conference hall,” the NCO said to Alonzo and Louis. They followed the other marines to the reception center and waited in line, reporting for duty. When Alonzo reached the head of the line an NCO asked him to run his wrist across his scan pad.

“Find a bunk, and stow your gear. Report to the conference room for a mission briefing,” the NCO said. After reporting for duty, they rode the turbo lift down to the Fleet Marine crew berthing deck. The doors slid open and they stepped into a maze of corridors. Three-tiered bunks lined the narrow hallways. At the end of each bunk, setting recessed into the bulkhead were three sets of lockers. Attached to the bottom of each bunk were three small pull-out drawers to store clothing. They stowed their gear and headed back to the turbo lift to report for the mission briefing.

Garcia and Martin stepped into the conference room at Fleet Marines HQ. They found a seat near the back of the room and waited while the room filled with marines. The murmur of conversation filled the air. Several Marine Corps officers sat on a raised podium at the front of the room. A stocky dark-headed marine commander stepped up to a microphone.

“Gentleman, I am Commander Dawson. Welcome aboard the Port Royal. There are some things I’d like to go over, so your transition to life in space will go smoothly. First, on your birthing decks, you will find a VID screen near the junction of each corridor. If you get lost, ask the computer for directions. On each berthing deck, there is a mess hall and an enlisted men’s lounge. Your head and shower facilities are on the main corridor. There’s also an enlisted men’s pub on each berthing deck. When you are not on duty, you may use the ship’s REC facilities on A deck. There is a movie theater, a bowling alley, a PX, and a comfort station, but you will have very little spare time. You will be on duty for eight hours each day, plus you will spend two hours of your own time in the gym. Muscle atrophy is always a problem while in space. We will hold several training events while underway. It’s all to prepare us for leaving the solar system,” Commander Dawson said. He paused, took a drink from a glass of water, and continued.

“Regarding our mission, we are going, like the old TV show from the old system said, boldly where no man has gone before. We will seek out alien cultures to establish trade. We will gain new technology, form alliances, and look for worlds to colonize. On your induction forms, you marked yes on the box about showing an interest in going career.”

Martin grabbed Garcia’s arm and whispered, “I marked no on that box.”

“Hush,” Garcia said pulling away.

“This will be a long mission. Don’t expect to see Earth for the next twenty-five years.” Louis’s jaw dropped. “On the good side, you will make a lot of money. You’ll get the going rate of pay for your rank, plus hazardous duty pay. The payroll clerks will deposit it in your bank accounts every month. There’s not much to spend your money on out here at space, considering your room and board is free.”

“What about the time dilation? He’s not saying anything about that. We may spend twenty-five years out here but a Century or more might pass on Earth,” Martin said.

“Shi. The scientists have figured out a way around that problem, but we don’t have that much to go home to anyway,” Garcia said.

Commander Dawson’s com-link on the lapel of his uniform beeped and he spoke into it using a low tone. Finished with his conversation, he looked back at the assembled marines. “I have some good news, gentlemen. The ship’s captain, Mr. Jack Chambers would like to say a few words. He’s on his way from the bridge right now,” Commander Dawson said. Another murmur went through the assembled marines. Captain Chambers strolled into the conference room five minutes later. Garcia couldn’t help but notice his impeccable-looking uniform with the shiny captain’s bars on his collar. Commander Dawson introduced the captain. The captain welcomed them aboard the ship and discussed some upcoming training events. When his talk turned toward the mission and he spoke about the length of time that they would be in space. When the captain opened the floor for questions, Martin’s hand shot up, so Captain Chambers called on him.

Martin stood to his feet. “Sir, when I filled out my induction forms, I marked no in the box where they ask about going career. I plan to only do a four-year hitch.”

Commander Dawson stepped up to Captain Chambers. “The batch of inductees from San Francisco had to use pencils and paper forms. The digital-pad system was down. Some of the induction forms got smudged.”

Captain Chambers answered Martin’s questions. He said that he sympathized with him, but they couldn’t turn the ship around when his enlistment time ran out. He said that the needs of the service come first and that he should make the best of it. Later, after the briefing, Garcia and Martin lay back lounging on their bunk. They didn’t go on duty until zero six hundred hours. A young dark-haired lieutenant stepped up.

He looked down at his digital pad. “Which one of you is Louis Martin?”

Martin looked down from his bunk and said, “That would be me, sir.”

The lieutenant motioned over his shoulder with his thumb. “You’re wanted on A deck. The captain wants to see you.”

“I told you that you should have kept your mouth shut,” Garcia said.


After saying their goodbyes, David and Paul headed across the spacedock to the docking tube connected to the CEU-Pathfinder. David stepped into the rear of a line of marines entering the docking tube. While traveling through the clear docking tube, David stared out at the vastness of space. The moon orbiting below seemed small in comparison. David’s eyes moved to the ships docked at the space station. Others orbited the moon and a massive fleet set in orbit by themselves.

“I bet that’s the new deep space fleet everyone’s talking about. Which one of those ships is the Port Royal?” David said.

Paul shrugged. “Who knows?”

“I doubt if we’ll ever see Louis or Alonzo again. Those guys on those ships are going to be in space for a long time.” They reached the head of the line at the entrance hatch of the CEU-Pathfinder.

The naval ensign standing at the head of the line flared his nostrils breathing in the smell of alcohol. “Run your hand across my scanner.”

David did as instructed. The bio scanner read the information on his biochip logging him onto the ship. “Go down the main corridor to the turbo lifts. Take it down to the third level. Transit Marine HQ is on level three. Check-in for duty there. Crew berthing decks start on level four, but if you can’t find a bunk on level four keep going down until you do. Once you stow your gear report to the conference room on level three.”

“Yes sir,” David said. He fired off a salute and they headed down the corridor, riding the lift down to level three to report for duty. The officer on duty in the receiving area processed their orders. David and Paul found empty bunks across from each other on the second tier in a crowded section of level six. The three-tiered bunks were like those on the Port Royal. Only the passageway between the bunks was narrower.

They attended a similar briefing, as did Louis and Alonzo on the Port Royal. The commander in command of the transit marines explained the protocols of ship life and explained that they would be doing some training to prepare them for their duties on Mars. He said that they would put in an eight-hour day, training and cleaning the deck. They would clean the bulkheads and maintain the crew berthing decks and also spend two hours a day in the gym. Their day would start at zero six hundred hours. After evening chow at eighteen hundred hours, their time would be their own.

After attending the orientation briefing, David and Paul lay back on their bunks. They enjoyed some idle time before going on duty the next day. An announcement came over the ship’s PA system. It was the captain saying that the ship was now leaving spacedock en route to the red planet. A young naval ensign with sandy blond hair stopped in the corridor. “Which one of you jarheads is David Gallagher?”

David rose on his elbows looking up at the ensign. “I’m Gallagher.”

“Mr. Gallagher. I have orders to escort you to the Political Advisor’s office on A deck. Let’s go jarhead. On the bounce.”

“That’s frigging great.” David swung from his bunk and jumped down to the deck.


When Louis entered Chambers’ office, he expected the captain to dress him down. The captain said that he wanted to talk to him further about his question during the briefing. Louis prepared himself to answer for his actions. Captain Chambers asked him to consider signing up for the officers’ training course. Louis’s eyes widened and his bottom jaw dropped.

Later, back at the berthing deck, Louis climbed into his bunk. Alonzo looked over at him giving him a curious glance. “How did your little meeting with the captain go?”

Louis grinned, stretching out on his bunk. “He asked me to consider going career. He said that they are starting a new officers’ training class. He asked me to consider signing up. What do you think?” A marine in a bunk across from them passed gas.

“Did you shit yourself?” Alonzo said and everyone laughed. “I say go for it, bro. I marked yes in the box asking about a career in the Federal Defense Forces. The pay’s better, the living quarters are better and the duty is better when you’re an officer. When they come around asking, I’m gonna sign up,” Alonzo said after the laughter died down.

Louis let out a sigh. “Well, mate. If you plan to sign up for the classes, then I guess I will too. I might as well make a bloody good show out of this deal since they won’t turn the fleet around when my enlistment runs out.” They talked for a few hours wondering what the new officers’ training course would be like. At eighteen hundred hours ship time, they headed down to the mess hall for their evening, chow. After supper, they went to the enlisted men’s club, tossed back a few beers, and went back to their bunks for the night. They wanted to make sure they had plenty of rest for their first official tour of duty on board the Port Royal.

Alonzo and Louis woke to reveille at six hundred hours the next morning, climbed from their bunks, and headed to the chow hall. After breakfast, they reported for duty at Fleet Marine HQ and spent the first hour of their day doing PT. After their morning PT, they descended to a lower deck and participated in a training exercise.

The training scenario lasted several hours. It involved making a simulated shuttle landing on an enemy vessel. Holographic projectors created a damaged enemy vessel complete with aggressive aliens. After the training exercise, they went to the mess hall for chow. After chow, they went to a classroom to receive a critique of the training event. The lieutenant in charge of the briefing berated them on their performance. He said that they would get better in the future. After the briefing, they received orders assigning them to duties throughout the ship. Alonzo and Louis received orders instructing them to mop up their crew berthing deck. After their first tour of duty on board the Port Royal was over, they headed to the gym, worked out for two hours, and headed to the mess hall for their evening meal. Finished with chow, they headed to the enlisted men’s lounge to play cards. The top sergeant stepped in, puffing on a cheap cigar, and carried a small handheld computer. A cloud of tobacco smoke hung in the air.

“Listen up Ladies. The brass wants to start a new officers’ training class. They have me taking names. Are any of you sons of bitches tired of working for a living? Do any of you want to become officers?”

Louis threw his cards on the table looking at the marine sitting across from him. “I fold mate,” Louis said and looked up at the sergeant. “What the bloody hell? Sign me up, Top.”

“Me too Top. I’d make a good officer,” Alonzo said. The top sergeant shook his head and laughed.

“Garcia, I don’t think you could follow your own, orders without screwing up. But you’re a hard charger and I like that. Before you know it, I’ll be saluting you.” The sergeant entered their names into his handheld computer. “Report to the training center at zero nine hundred hours. You’ll do two hours in the gym after morning chow before you report for classes. Even officers and officer cadets have to put in their gym time. This bucket’s captain doesn’t want any muscle atrophy on his watch.”

Alonzo and Louis’ lives aboard the ship fell into a routine. They rose at zero six hundred hours, ate breakfast, and spent two hours in the gym. After that, they attended officers’ training classes for the next eight hours. After evening chow, they served as officers with the temporary rank of, third-lieutenant. The rank of, third-lieutenant was mainly to find a place for them in the chain of command. The enlisted men and regular officers considered the rank as the lowest of the low. They put in four hours before falling into their racks at twenty-three hours. During the journey to Mars, they served in various departments throughout the ship.

The captain held two training events while on their way to Mars. One consisted of a landing on a derelict vessel and another consisted of a landing on a large asteroid. Louis and Alonzo led patrols during each exercise wearing their copper third lieutenant bars. They kept so busy that the three-month journey to Mars seemed to fly by. One day Louis sat enjoying a few moments of free time when he looked up at a viewscreen in the enlisted men’s lounge.

“I’ll be, go to hell. Look, mate. We’re here,” Louis said to Alonzo. Alonzo looked at the massive red planet filling the viewscreen. The captain’s voice came over the PA system announcing that the fleet had entered orbit.

“Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to Mars,” the captain said.


David entered the Political Advisor’s office on A deck of the CEU-Pathfinder. A young blonde-headed female ensign, sat at an oak desk in the outer office when David stepped into the room. Breathing in a faint trace of her perfume, he stood at attention and offered up a salute.

She returned the salute along with a smile. “Can I help you?”

“Someone told me to report to the political advisor’s office.”

She looked down at her computer screen. “Are you Private Gallagher?”

David nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

She batted her long eyelashes. “Commander Blackwell is with another marine right now, but he’ll be with you in five minutes. Have a seat.” David sat down on a long plastic bench lining the bulkhead. The young naval officer went about her business. Three minutes later another marine exited the office door to his right. The female officer looked up. “Commander Blackwell will see you now.”

David jumped to his feet and entered the political advisor’s office. He looked down at a dark-haired, man who looked to be in his early thirties. The man wore a naval uniform and sat behind a wooden desk behind a computer console. David snapped to attention and fired off another salute. The commander returned the gesture. He stuck out his hand and they shook.

“Welcome aboard, Mr. Gallagher. I’m Commander Blackwell. Please have a seat.” David sat down in a chair facing the commander’s desk. Smoke rose into the air from a lit cigarette setting in an ashtray. David breathed in the foul odor. “Mr. Gallagher, I’ve been going over the personnel records of our marines in transit and I have a few questions.”

“Fire away.”

“I see in your records that you have some relation to a Shawn Gallagher. He’s the one that’s causing all the fuss on Europa.”

David let out a slow easy breath. “That’s right. He’s my brother.”

The commander nodded. “I see here that in a previous interview you said you do not share his insurrectionist beliefs. Is that still the case?”

David leaned forward. “Yes sir. As far as I’m concerned, my brother is dead to me. I am loyal to the CEU and the federal system. I don’t see why you people can’t see that.”

The commander leaned back in his chair and took his smoke from the ashtray. “It’s not that we don’t believe you. We’re doing our job. I can see where having a brother made famous like this could cause problems. Are there any problems that we need to be aware of?”

David shook his head. “Other than the occasional snide remark, no. Now and then, someone might say something like; there goes that traitor’s brother. It’s nothing I can’t handle.”

The commander took a puff on the cigarette and snuffed it out in the ashtray. “So far, you have a clean record. Your instructors in boot camp gave you high marks. Have you ever considered going career?”

David shook his head. “No. I plan on doing only one hitch.”

The commander looked down at his computer screen. “It says in your records that you applied for a robotics school placement. They turned you down due to a low GI rating.”

David nodded. “Yes.”

“Would you consider changing your mind about going career? Or agree to sign up for one more hitch? If you did the brass would consider granting you a waiver on the GI rating. They do it for career military personnel all the time. We have a robotics school in New Chicago. It’s a wonderful campus near the Great Lakes. After completing the class, you would have to serve at least six more years. It would be as an officer or technician. That would depend on how long you study. You would be able to choose which branch you wanted to serve. Each branch has a robotics division.”

“I’ll consider it.”

“Do that. So far, you’ve not given the political affairs office anything to worry about. Ignore those snide remarks. If they persist, contact me. Of course, we’ll continue to watch you, but we do that with all the troops. Keep up the good work. You’re dismissed.”

David stood to his feet, saluted and the commander returned the salute. He left heading back down to the crew berthing decks.

David and Paul’s lives aboard the ship fell into a routine. All though they had to take part in some training events, they had more free time than the Fleet Marines. In the evenings, David and Paul spent much of their time playing cards and gambling with other marines. Paul excelled in mathematics. He had an uncanny ability to count the cards. David found that he had a natural ability with cards no matter what card game they played. They developed a system to send signals to each other from across the card table. Most of the time, they won more than they lost. Several of the other marines suspected that they were cheating but they couldn’t catch them.

One evening, David won a large pot. He cleaned out a large muscular marine sitting across from him along with his short partner. When David stood up to rake in the debit chips, the large dark-headed marine shot to his feet.

“There’s nothing worse than a card cheat. Except for a traitor, but I guess that runs in the family,” the dark-headed marine said.

David dropped the chips on the table. He reached up, grabbed the marine by the lapel of his uniform, and slammed a hard right-hand fist into his face. Blood splattered into David’s shirt. The big marine flew backward hitting the bulkhead and sliding to the floor. David overturned the table, scattering debit chips everywhere. He jumped on top of the big marine and grabbed him by the ears. Using both hands, he slammed his head against the deck several times.

Paul leaped to his feet and the big marine’s buddy charged him knocking him into the bulkhead. Paul brought his knee up slamming it into the man’s groin, the man stumbled back and Paul drove a left hook to the man’s jaw. Over the din of battle, David heard a shrill whistle. He felt a burning sensation pass through his body and his entire body twitched before he lost consciousness.

The brutish-looking security officer holstered his weapon, which had been set to stun. He looked at the four prone figures lying on the deck. “Call for backup. Let’s get these sons of bitches to the brig before they wake up,” the officer said to his partner.

His partner looked around at the spots of blood covering the floor. “God I hate this job. These damned jarheads are nothing but trouble.” He holstered his weapon, activated his com-link, and called for backup.

David spent the next three days in the brig. One evening the dark-security officer that stunned him appeared at the door of his cell.

“On your feet Gallagher. The CO wants to see you. Turn around, back up to the cell door, and put your hands through the slot.” David did as instructed. The security officer applied wrist restraints to his wrist. He unlocked the cell door and escorted David to the turbo lifts. A tingling sensation shot up David’s arms. They rode the lifts up to the Marine Corps HQ and the security officer led David down a narrow corridor. They passed several brown doors lining the hallway and then stopped at a doorway on their right.

The security officer led him inside. A dark-headed man in his early thirties looked up from a mahogany desk occupying the center of the room. David paused taking in the room’s décor. He noticed the seascapes adorning the walls and the pictures of old sailing vessels.

“You can take off his restraints,” the man said in a gravelly-sounding voice. The security officer freed David’s hands and left the room crossing a sea of plush blue carpet. “Have a seat Mr. Gallagher.” David sat across in a chair facing the desk. “Mr. Gallagher, I’m Lieutenant Commander Cartwright. I am in command of the marines in transit. I’ve talked to the other men involved in this incident. We allow gambling, but we tend to frown on marines getting into brawls in our lounges and no one likes a card cheat. So were you cheating at cards?”

David squirmed in his seat. “Not in the sense that I did anything to the deck such as bottom deal or have aces up my sleeve. I’m a good player. My friend Paul is good at math. He counts the cards. He doesn’t know exactly what card will come next, but he’s right more than he’s wrong. We play the odds.”

The commander nodded. “I checked the statements from the other men. They said that the man who accused you of cheating said something derogatory to you. He accused you of being a traitor, like your brother?”

“That’s correct.”

“He said something about it running in the family?”

“That’s when I socked him.”

The Cartwright arched an eyebrow and chuckled. “I don’t blame you. I would have socked him too. You’ll get your pay docked for three days’ pay and reduced in rank to buck private. This is the first black mark on an otherwise clean record.”

“I guess the political boys will want to see me again?”

The commander shook his head. “I don’t think so. If you’d blown him off and not smacked the son of a bitch when he called you a traitor, then they might be, concerned. You’re free to go. I’m releasing you to your unit.”

David rose to his feet. “Thank you, sir.”

“You’re welcome. And Mr. Gallagher, try not to get in any more trouble. Let the other fellows win once in a while. At least wait until we get to the red planet. After that, you won’t be my problem.”


Posted in cryptocurrency, Home Remedies, Law of Attraction, meditation, Self Help, subconscious mind, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged | 2 Comments

Project Serenity

Hello everyone this is Dave the Miracle Maker again. I finally finished my pool and I think I’ll jump in it today. It’s starting to get hot up here in the high desert of Southern California. As far as my writing goes I am in the process of editing two novels and I started a new one, which will be the sixth book in my Mike McDonald Action Adventure saga. I only have ten days left until I leave on my vacation and I am looking forward to it. I have been doing some research on cryptocurrency. BitCoin seems to be the most popular. One of the things I have been reading about is Project Serenity. They claim that if you join Project Serenity you can multiply your net worth in as little as two years. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It gives you a wealth of information that if you use it will help you grow your net worth and live a life of abundance. With all this talk about the US changing to the digital dollar, it might be a good thing to invest in cryptocurrency. Click the link below to check it out. Leave a comment to let me know what you think. I wish everyone the best, stay positive and manifest the life of your dreams. Peace Out.

Project Serenity

For your reading pleasure check out chapter 13 from my science fiction novel, the Battle for Europa, book one of the Space Corps Chronicle series.

Chapter 13

Shawn Gallagher watched the battle unfolding in real-time on his VID screen. He sat in his office at the computer console. Linda identified the incoming PPF vessels and transmitted the information to Europa. Shawn’s new security team hustled him into his office. He protested saying that he wanted to get an M-23 Blaster and join the fight but the security detail would not let him out of his office.

“You’re too valuable to lose, sir. I can’t let you out the door,” his head of security said. He had five burley agents standing behind him to back his play. Shawn heaved a sigh and relented. He had to be content to watch the battle unfold on the VID screen. The PPF vessels split. Five turned to engage Guatav’s fleet while the other five swept down toward the surface. The blocking force fled, the superior numbers of Kesler’s fleet, but Kesler’s ships pursued. Flashes of light filled the screen when Kesler’s ships destroyed the fleeing vessels.

Shawn hit a button on the computer’s virtual keyboard accessing the cameras on the surface. Laser fire lit up the night. He sat helplessly as the vessels swept over the surface at treetop level had been trees on Europa. One by one, Kesler’s fleet destroyed the enemy vessels. The last ship landed in front of the building housing his office. Shawn slammed his fist down on his desk in frustration. Commandos poured out of the vessel. They formed a defensive perimeter and Shawn watched the firefight take place outside. The images appeared on his VID screen. Laser bolts and solid projectiles flashed on his screen. The troops in their fighting positions opened up on the commandos from the PPF vessel. When he saw the last man fall, Shawn jumped to his feet. “The battle’s over. I want to go outside.”

“Let me make sure it’s safe, sir,” his chief of security said.

“I said I want to go outside! I don’t give a God damn if it’s safe! I’m the president of this frozen piece of ice, am I not?” Shawn yelled and headed for the door.

“Yes sir. Give us five minutes to get a security detail together.” His security chief activated his com-unit.

“I can suit up while you’re doing that.” Fifteen minutes later, adorned in an EVA suit, Shawn stepped out onto the surface of Europa. He carried an M-23 Blaster. The security team surrounded their president. He surveyed the battlefield taking in the bodies and the frozen blood on the ice.

“Did we lose anybody?” Shawn asked his head of security.

“The word I’m getting is that we have one KIA and two injured.”

Shawn cursed under his breath going from body to body looking at the dead. “What a waste.” He rolled a body over onto its back, knelt, and looked into the face of the man’s EVA suit. Fog filled the inside of the faceplate from the man’s shallow breath. “Call the medics. This man’s not dead.”


Shawn sat at his desk in his conference room looking at his cabinet members. He poured them each a glass of Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey and glanced from face to face. His eyes finally rested upon the face of his chief intelligence officer. “Jerry. What do you think the feds will do now? What do your intelligence operatives tell you?”

“What Mr. Bonelli said. They intend to squash us like cockroaches under their feet. The main battle fleet left Earth’s spacedock and is heading our way.”

Shawn took a drink from his tumbler and enjoyed the raw taste of the whiskey. “How much time do we have?”

Holliday shrugged. “Six months, give or take a few weeks.”

Shawn nodded. “What about this other fleet we’ve been hearing about on the news?”

“The deep space fleet? I don’t think they’ll give us any trouble. Their mission is to head out for the unknown, not to fuck with us, but who knows? They could merge with the main battle fleet and we could have to deal with them as well.”

“What do you think their strategy might be?”

Holiday paused, lighting a cigar. “They’ll try a blockade at first. Once they see that isn’t working they’ll land troops. The feds will figure that once they take us out, the other mining colonies will surrender. They’ll eventually land troops on the moons of Saturn as well. If this thing goes south, we can expect a federal presence out here for years to come.”

Shawn leaned back in his chair and his eyes turned to his friend and secretary of defense, John Wilson. “John, do you think our troops will be ready by the time the feds show up?”

Wilson took a drink from his tumbler filled with whiskey. “With the help of Kesler and his MERCs, we should be. They will still outnumber and outgun us. We’ve only got so many people. I hope Mr. Wolf shows up with those ships before the feds get here. Things will be tight with only Kesler’s fleet. The extra ships will help.”

Shawn turned his attention back to Holliday. “What about our awe-shit plan?”

Holliday laughed. “Things are moving along. The vessels are under construction. We’ll be ready.”

A troubled look crossed Shawn’s face. “What about that other matter?”

“He’s completed his basic training on the moon and the brass assigned him to peace-keeping duties on Mars. He’s currently in transit on the CEU-Pathfinder. It is due to arrive on station at Mars in three months.”

“Keep me posted on that. I’d like to make a move on that situation as soon as possible,” Shawn said, rising to his feet. He downed the rest of his whiskey. “Gentlemen, we have much to do before the feds show up. I’m going to have a little chat with our PPF officer in the detention center. That will be all gentlemen.” Shawn crossed the room to the door and stepped out into the main corridor. His security detail moved taking up positions around him.

Shawn entered the detention center flanked by his security detail and moved down an aisle way to the cell holding Dillon Kincaid. His nostrils flared.

“Sergeant, could you have your guards hose this place down? It’s starting to smell,” Shawn said to the guard in charge of the detention center.

“Yes sir, Mr. President.” The guard unlocked Kincaid’s cell door. President Gallagher and his security detail entered the cell. The guard closed the cell door behind them. Kincaid, still suffering from his wounds, lay back on his bunk, but he struggled to set up.

Shawn held up his hands. “No don’t. You might aggravate your wounds. Sit back and relax. I’d like to talk for a bit if you don’t mind.” Shawn pulled up a chair and sat facing Kincaid. His security detail stood with somber looks on their faces. They were close enough to come to the president’s defense if necessary.

Kincaid propped himself up on his pillows and a grin crossed his face. “Sure, let’s talk. I was hoping I’d get a chance to meet the man that was giving the CEU such fits. You don’t look crazy.”

Shawn laughed. “I can assure you that I am not. I love my freedom. That’s something that is in short supply in your federal system.”

“It’s not so bad in the military. What do you want?”

“You won’t be in the military forever.”

“Yeah. So?”

“I want to ask you a few questions.”

“You know that under the Code of Military Justice, I don’t have to tell you anything but my name rank, and serial number.” Someone in the next cell coughed.

Shawn nodded. “I know. You probably don’t have any information that we don’t already know. My intel people are good at what they do. I’m curious about a couple of things. I’ll ask the questions. If you don’t want to answer, then don’t.”

“Okay. Shoot.”

“Why did the PPF send you in here with only ten ships?”

“It beats the hell out of me. They wanted to send more but the council overruled them. They must have thought that we could catch you, boys, by surprise and make a clean sweep. They wanted things handled quietly so they could get you boys back to work. They want helium and hydrogen flowing like normal. They didn’t figure on you people linking up with those MERCs you have working with you. Those ships caught us by surprise.” Kincaid put his arms over his head and stretched.

Shawn smiled. “Yeah, I used to be in the PPF myself. Their intelligence is lacking.”

Kincaid nodded. “The PPF and intelligence are an oxymoron.”

“So true. Why, when you saw how many light battlecruisers you had facing you, didn’t you abort your mission? You didn’t stand a chance of completing your objective. You could have turned tail and headed back to Mars,” Shawn asked.

“I had my orders, and my honor to think of. I had no other choice.”

“You know, we could use some good pilots. You’d find serving in our new military to your liking. You’d have a lot more freedom, a hell of a lot better chances for advancement, and you could get rid of that damned biochip. We don’t use them here.”

Kincaid’s bottom jaw dropped and his eyes widened. “You don’t? How do you keep track of your people? How do you pay them?”

“We keep track of them the old-fashioned way. We pay them with real money. What do you say? Do you want to sign up? I could get you out of this cell and into a fighting unit within the hour. All you would have to do is take the loyalty oath.”

Kincaid paused, thinking, and shook his head. “No, I threw my lot in with the Federal Defense Forces a long time ago. They’ve been good to me. I’ll stick with them till the end.”

Shawn sighed. “I didn’t think you’d go for it. But I had to try. Before I leave, is there anything I can get for you? Are they feeding you all right? Is there anything you need? Are the medical people attending to your wounds as they should?”

Kincaid smiled. “Everything’s fine. The food’s pretty good. It’s much better than PPF ration packs.”

“Tell me about it,” Shawn said, standing to his feet. He put his hands in his coat pockets.

Kincaid looked up. “There is one thing if you don’t mind.”

“What’s that?” Shawn asked.

“Things get pretty boring in here. Could you bring a checkerboard? They play chess here. I was never that good at chess, but I’m the checker King. During the day when your guards allow the detainees to mingle in the common room, maybe I could get a game going. Some reading material would be good.”

“Sure. I’m sure I can arrange that. I might even stop by and play a game or two if you don’t mind. I’m still getting used to this presidential stuff. I like chess, but a good game of checkers is always fun. It would be a welcome distraction,” Shawn said and stepped out the door.

Shawn sat in his conference room near a large glass window and looked out at the starlit night sky over the icy surface of Europa. He poured himself a tumbler half full of Jack Daniels whiskey and filled the rest of the tumbler with Cock a Cola. Leaning back, he took a long pull from the tumbler and stared out the window. God, I hope we’re ready. I don’t want the blood of these people on my hands.

The door chimed and the head of Shawn’s security detail stepped into the room. “Mr. President. Mr. Holliday is here to see you,” His security chief said.

Shawn smiled. “Send him in.” He crossed the room and poured another tumbler of Jack and Coke for his head of intelligence. Holliday stepped into the room. “What can I do for you, Mr. Holliday?”

“Oh, I thought I’d stop by and see how your talk went with our PPF officer.”

“I’m glad you came by. Have a drink.” Shawn handed Holliday his drink.

“Ah. You are a man after my own heart.” Holiday took the drink.

“Have a seat.” Shawn motioned to a table. Holliday sat down at the table and they swiveled their chairs facing the window. “Europa looks so peaceful at night.”

Holiday nodded and produced a cigar. “Yeah, but that ice out there is going to turn bloody before too long.”

“I hear you. I’ve been sitting here thinking about that wondering if we’re doing the right thing. As you said earlier, the feds could squish us like so many bugs before this is over. We could all die here. If they come in here like gangbusters, the blood of these miners will be on my hands.”

Holiday lit the cigar. “Yeah, but what’s the alternative? To stay under their thumb? Freedom isn’t free. We’re all here of our own free will. Every damn one of those miners is behind you one hundred percent.”

Shawn nodded. “Do you think we’ll be ready?”

Holliday shrugged. “If Mr. Wolf shows up with those ships and we get them spaceworthy before the feds show up, we’ll have a fighting chance. How’d the talk go with our PPF prisoner?”

“As good as we can expect. Those old boys are hard nuts to crack and they are loyal to the federal system. I don’t think he has any information that we don’t already know. What do you think?”

“I agree. My intel boys had a couple of chats with him. They didn’t learn much.”

“I tried to talk him into switching allegiances. I told him that we could use some good pilots.”

Holiday laughed. “I bet that went over like a fart in church.”

“He respectfully declined. He’s career PPF.”

“What are you going to do with him?”

“There’s not much we can do, but hold him until this is over. He asked for a checkerboard. I might stop in and play a few games with him. Maybe he’ll let something slip. Maybe he does know something, but he doesn’t realize it. Who knows what little tidbit of information he might have that we could use.”

Holliday shrugged. “Who knows?”

“I kind of like the guy. He reminds me of someone on the old crew that I used to serve with when I was in the PPF.”

“Well Mr. President, I’m going to head to my quarters and hit the rack. I have a feeling that things are going to get busy around here,” Holliday said rising to his feet.

“I do too.” Shawn stood up. He stuck out his hand and they shook. “It’s having friends like you that make things bearable around here.”

After Holliday left the conference room, Shawn sat back down at the table. His thoughts drifted to his brother David. He took a pull from his tumbler of Jack and Coke staring out at the surface of Europa.


They kept busy on the surface of Europa during the weeks that followed. The military forces of the New Republic spent twelve hours every day, training. The miners used bulldozers to create icy earthworks surrounding the facility and built narrow canyons and trenches out on the surface. The plan was to ambush the federal forces while on the approach to the main mining complex. They hollowed out fighting positions near the rim of the canyons and booby-trapped their floors with explosives.

Shawn kept busy reviewing reports from his commanders and kept track of their preparations for the coming federal invasion. He received reports from the Governors on the moons of Saturn about their defensive preparations. An attack there seemed unlikely.

One afternoon, Shawn, along with the head of his security detail, was out on the surface. He drove a half-track to the rim of one of the canyons and switched the forward view to full magnification. Shawn watched the ongoing work below him when the com-unit on the vehicle beeped. Shawn flipped a toggle switch activating the com-unit. The image of his secretary appeared on the viewscreen.

“Mr. President. I received a VID transmission from Linda in spacedock. She says that a large force of light cruiser appeared on her screen coming out of the asteroid belt. She says they are heading our way.”

Shawn’s features turned grave. “Has she made contact with them yet?”

“No. She’s hailed them but has not received a response. Linda says these ships look like nothing she’s ever seen before.”

“Let’s hope they’re Mr. Wolf and our new ships, not the PPF boys coming back for round two. Tell Linda I’ll contact her as soon as I am back in the command center. Have John put the troops on, alert.” Shawn heaved a sigh. He shut off the com-unit, ending the transmission, and looked at his security chief riding in the passenger seat. “What do you think?”

“We need to get you back to the command center as soon as possible.”

“Let’s go.” Shawn whirled the half-track around, descended from the canyon’s rim, and headed back to mining site A.


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What are you grateful for?

Asian couple about to eat noodles

Image by rawpixel

Hello, this is Dave the Miracle Maker and it’s starting to get hot up here in the high desert of Southern California. I have been busy getting my pool ready for the summer before I go on vacation. I’d like to ask you, what are you grateful for? I am grateful for so many things. I am grateful for my family, my home my good friends, my dogs, the money in my bank account plus the money that I make online, and that I am in reasonably good health to name but a few. I encourage you to write down on a piece of paper everything that you are grateful for. If you are trying to manifest a better life, a significant other, or mone money, you need to be grateful for it in the present moment. You need to believe that you already have it. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful for what you do have. That doesn’t mean that you don’t desire more. When you are trying to manifest your dream life, and you are grateful now for the things you want as if you already have them, watch the miracles happen. Let me know what you think. Peace out.

Now for your reading pleasure here is chapter 12 of my science fiction novel, The Battle for Europa. The Battle for Europa is the first book in my science fiction series, the Space Corps Chronicles.

Chapter 12

Dillon Kincaid’s hands gripped the armrest of the captain’s chair on the CEU-Thunder Claw. Sweat beaded up, on his forehead. The muscles in the back of his neck felt as taut as a guitar’s E string. He gazed out the viewscreen at the ships orbiting Jupiter and her moons. The woman manning the com station on Jupiter’s spacedock had been hailing them. Kincaid had not allowed his communications officer to respond. He drummed his fingers on the armrest of his chair and then wiped the sweat from his brow.

“It would have been nice if the intelligence people had let us know about these ships. Who are these people anyway? They can’t be miners,” First Officer Adam Beasley said. He adjusted the view on the forward viewscreen bringing it to full magnification. “This is looking more and more like a suicide mission.”

Kincaid let out a snort. “Hell yeah it’s a suicide mission, but we’ve got it to do. I guess the brass thought these miners would be sitting on their fat asses waiting for us. They hired some MERCs. Miss Jessup Contact the Raven, the Condor, the Eagle’s Claw, the Sparrow Hawk, and the Firebird. Tell them to act as a blocking force. I’m going to lead the rest of us to the objective.”

The Thunder Claw, along with four other PPF vessels, increased its downward angle sweeping toward the surface of Europa bypassing Callisto and Ganymede. The ships orbiting these moons broke orbit to engage and the ships Kincaid had assigned as the blocking force turned to face the threat. The MERCs employed by Ludwig Von Wolf hammered the PPF vessels with laser fire. Blue-green flashes of light lit up the night.


Inside the com center on Jupiter’s spacedock, Linda Van Horn watched their viewscreen. It reminded her of the fireworks displays back home, only this was much more deadly. She contacted the military headquarters on Europa. The PPF fleet split. Half of them headed toward the moon’s surface. Two of the ships, acting as a blocking force, took direct hits. The torpedoes penetrated their shields and burned through their hulls. Their fusion reactors overheated and exploded. A blinding flash of white light filled Linda’s viewscreen. A debris field filled the space surrounding the spacedock. The three vessels of the blocking force that remained turned to flee.


Gustav Kesler sat on the bridge of his flagship watching the scene unfold. “Should we let them go?” the vessel’s captain asked.

Gustav shook his head. “Negative. Annihilate them.” He pulled a cigar from the front pocket of his uniform blouse and fired it up. The smell of tobacco smoke filled the bridge. Twenty ships from Kesler’s fleet pursued the fleeing PPF vessels. They fired a volley of proton torpedoes. Three distinct explosions filled the viewscreen. A debris field filled the space in front of their vessels.

“Turn around and take us to Europa. Let’s see if we can catch those other ships before they land,” Gustav said to his helmsmen.


God, it’s almost like we’re flying through a gauntlet. Kincaid’s space cruiser descended toward the surface of Europa. Laser fire from the surface ached up toward his ship. Ships from the MERC’s fleet made short work of his blocking force. Now they nipped at the heels of his small assault forces. Two of the ships in the assault force took direct hits from proton torpedoes. They exploded killing everyone on board. Two more took hits from the moon’s laser cannons and crashed into the surface.

“Take us down on the deck!” Dillon yelled to his helmsmen as they swept over the surface heading toward the main mining complex. The Thunder Claw flew through a narrow canyon. She tried to avoid the ground fire from the laser cannons. Men in fighting positions dug into the canyon walls that fired at them with M-23 Blasters and machine guns.

“Captain! Our shields are down and I’m losing control of our forward thrusters! We coming in too hot!” the helmsmen yelled.

“Set us down in front of their main compound! Even if you have to do so in a controlled crash!”

“Aye Captain.” The helmsmen set the Thunder Claw down in front of what had once been Consolidated Mining’s main office complex. Kincaid felt a sharp jolt when the ship touched down and slid to a stop. It broke off one of its landing struts. Commandos threw on their EVA suits and grabbed their rifles. They rushed through the airlock, ran down the exit ramp, and formed a defensive perimeter around the ship. Kincaid and the officers on the bridge ran to the exit hatch, put on their EVA suits, and ran down the exit ramps to join the battle.

Men rose from a trench in front of the mining complex opening up with their Blasters. They lit up the night sky over Europa with laser fire. Outnumbered, Kincaid and his team put up a hard fight. Their armored EVA suits, after repeated hits, failed. Kincaid’s breath caught in his throat. A hole burnt through his upper chest. The impact caused him to spin around and land on his back. His chest felt as if it were on fire. Through the face shield of his EVA suit, he saw the blurry image of a man standing over him with a gun. Awe shit, Kincaid thought and slipped into unconsciousness.


Cyrus Bonelli stood, transfixed. He gazed out the window of his council chambers at the lights of New York City. Hover cars moved through the air in front of the window. Acid reflux burned the inside of his throat. Moments before, Cyrus had received word of the destruction of the PPF vessels. They had attempted to land on Europa. One of the vessels in the blocking force managed to fire off a VID Com seconds before Kesler’s ships blew it to bits. I should have known they would hire mercenaries, but where did they get the funds? Cyrus wondered. Damn, Damn, Damn. Cyrus called an emergency meeting of the Joint Chiefs. They gathered in his council chambers. “Gentlemen,” Cyrus said stepping before them. “The folly caused by the bureaucrats sitting on the Council of Economic Unions has come to pass. It is now time for the military to intervene. Operation Bold Strike will begin at zero six hundred hours.”

“Begging your pardon, sir, but it wasn’t the Planetary Patrol Force’s fault. They only allowed us to use ten ships. The intelligence was bad,” the general from the Planetary Patrol Force protested.

Cyrus raised his hands. “I understand. I’m not blaming you people. It’s them bastards on the council floor that are to blame. As I was saying. Bold Strike commences at zero six hundred hours. Once your ships are on station, you will set up a blockade. You will demand the surrender of this rabble that calls themselves the New Republic. If they refuse to surrender, we will launch a full-scale assault on the moons of Jupiter. Europa will be our primary target. I want their leadership taken alive. I want them brought back here in chains to stand trial for treason. I want those tanker ships moving. Our supplies of helium-3 and hydrogen are running low. The bureaucrats on the council floor have their panties in a bunch. Who knows what they’ll come up with next? Gentlemen, you have your orders. Make it so.” A murmur went through the crowd of assembled officers. Cyrus watched the generals of the main branches of the Federal Defense Forces file out of the room.

The fleet admirals received encrypted transmissions putting them on alert. The ships were made ready for space. One-third of the main battle fleet left the spacedock orbiting Earth and headed for the moon. They would link up with several more ships orbiting the lunar spacedock and head toward Mars. The main bulk of the fleet broke orbit with Mars and headed toward the asteroid belt. They would be the first ones on the scene and it was their duty to set up the blockade of Jupiter.

“Mr. President. You have an incoming VID flash transmission on your VID screen. It’s marked urgent,” Cyrus’s aide said when he entered the room.

“Who is it?”

“He says his name is Shawn Gallagher, president of the New Republic.” Cyrus stormed out of his council chambers and into his private office. “Computer, play incoming video flash message marked urgent.” The image of Shawn Gallagher appeared on the screen. Cyrus sat down behind the computer screen glaring at his adversary. “I’m not used to having casual conversations with traitors and insurrectionists. State your business!”

Shawn leaned back in his chair. “Mr. President. I want you to know that you got a lot of good men killed for nothing. All you had to do was to concede to our demands and the takers would be flying once more. You’d have all the helium and hydrogen you need. Now over one hundred men are dead.”

The veins in Cyrus’s neck pulsed and his face flushed. “We will never give in to blackmail and deceit from vermin such as you. Those men went to their deaths because of a bunch of bureaucrats. Bureaucrats who chose to play patty cake with a bunch of terrorists. Their blood is not on my hands, but I can guarantee you that there are more men and ships where those came from. We’re coming and we will exterminate you like the vermin you are! When I have you back on Earth, in chains, I will make it my duty to fire the laser bolt that takes your life.”

Shawn shrugged. “You know, you should try not to take things so personally. If you care, one of the PPF personnel survived. A Captain Dillon Kincaid. Our medical people are seeing to his wounds. Once he recovers, we’ll place him with the rest of the detainees. When you concede to our demands, we will work out some kind of prisoner exchange. Hell, we might even negotiate some trade deals. Who knows? We could even become friends.”

“Fuck you! Computer, end transmission!”


Captain Chambers lay in bed sound asleep between two naked androids. Light exploded through the tiny crib when First Officer Bannister entered the room. Chambers groaned. Crawling from between the two naked female androids, he turned set his feet on the floor, leaned forward, and placed his head in his hands.

A smirk crossed Banister’s face. “Of all the dives in the colony, you have to pick, Dolly’s Droids? God, Jack. You’d put your pecker in a knothole if you had the chance.”

Chambers smiled. “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried one. You don’t have to cuddle with an android when you’re done. You turn them off. They’re fully functional in every way. Their skin texture is so smooth you can’t tell that they’re not real women.” The redheaded, big-breasted android, now in sleep mode on the bed began to stir. The blonde remained asleep with her large breasts pointing to the sky. Banister noticed a tiny field of freckles covering the redhead’s nose.

“You do have a thing for blondes and redheads.”

“You’ve got to quit barging in on me like this Craig. Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”

Banister sighed. “I did knock. I about beat the damned door down. Let’s go, my friend. We’ve got marines to pick up. The fleet leaves at fifteen hundred hours. The Port Royal needs her captain.”

“God, my head hurts. What time is it?”

Banister laughed. “Zero seven hundred Earth Standard time. I know how to fix that hangover. Breakfast at the officers’ mess and about a gallon of good old Navy Coffee.”

“Yeah. It might rot out your insides, but it will kill your hangover.” Chambers stood to his feet and Bannister waited while he dressed. They stepped out into the dim hallway, covered with maroon carpeting, and headed down the corridor toward the exit. Squinting, because of the dim light, Chambers noticed four marines in the hallway. They sprung to attention and snapped off salutes. Captain Chambers, along with First Officer Bannister returned the courtesy.

“As you were, gentlemen,” Chambers said, wondering if these were some of his marines. After speaking with the Marines, Chambers, and Bannister left Dolly’s Droids heading across the mall to the exit. They put on their EVA suits, caught a bus to the shuttle port, boarded their shuttle, and settled in for the ride. The shuttle lifted off the surface. Captain Chambers looked out the porthole next to his seat and watched the cratered surface of the moon recede below them.

They had left Earth three days ago, and when they arrived at the lunar spacedock, the place looked crowded. Federal Defense Force vessels filled every docking port at the spacedock. The new fleet of Deep Space vessels had to take a higher orbit away from the clutter. There had been no place for them to dock. Chambers gave the ship’s crew a two-day pass to visit the colony before they continued to Mars. Now, the spacedock looked deserted and their fleet was the only ships in orbit.

“Where is everybody?” Chambers asked, looking out his porthole.

“It has something to do with the situation on Europa. I expect we’ll hear about it once we’re back on board ship.”

Chambers nodded. “I hope we don’t get caught up in that mess.”

“The powers that be want to keep us out of it.”

The shuttle gained altitude and entered space. It headed toward the massive fleet gathered above the spacedock. Chambers saw green flashing lights. The massive steel launch bay doors opened. Their shuttle flew through the launch bay doors and sat down on the launch bay of the Port Royal.

“Home at last,” Bannister said.

“Yeah, let’s go get that breakfast you were talking about. I need some caffeine.”

“What’s the matter? You’re not feeling chipper this morning?”

Chambers shook his head. “Fuck you, Craig. I feel like a warm bag of shit.”

Banister laughed. “You have such a way with words.” They stood to head for the shuttle’s exit hatch.

Finished with breakfast, Cambers entered his conference room. He answered a flash transmission on the VID screen. The face of Admiral Boris Ivanov filled the screen.

“Good morning, sir,” Captain Chambers said nodding at the image on the screen.

“Good morning Captain. I wanted to inform you about the events which transpired on Europa a short while ago.”

Chambers leaned back in his chair. “I’ve been busy with other things for the last couple of days and haven’t kept up with the news. I noticed that most of the main battle fleet has left. What’s up?”

The admiral’s expression turned grave. “The PPF launched an assault on the New Republic’s main complex. The council wanted to keep things low-key, so they only sent in ten ships. It was a bad mistake. The New Republic forces obliterated our PPF comrades. It seems that the miners on Europa have some mercenary forces working with them. President Bonelli ordered an immediate blockade of Jupiter. It is in preparation for a major offensive.”

Chambers’ eyes widened. “How will that affect our mission?”

“I hope we don’t get drawn into this conflict. If these rebels on Europa don’t allow us to pass through their space, then we may have to blast our way through. We need to use Jupiter’s gravity to assist us on our journey to the outer reaches of the solar system.”

“Maybe they’ll listen to reason. If we explain that we’re not part of the assault force and that all we want to do is head for deep space, maybe they’ll let us pass.”

“I hope so. If not, we’ll shoot our way through. Will the Port Royal be ready for a fifteen-hundred departure?”

Chambers nodded. “Yes sir. We have some marines to pick up, but I’m sure everyone will be on board in time.”

“Good. I’m sure you have pressing duties to attend to. Carry on.” Admiral Ivanov’s image on the screen disappeared and the screen went dark. The shuttle pilots in the fleet spent the next eight hours shuttling marines to their ships. When the marines arrived, they marched to the turbo lifts, rode down to their berthing areas, stowed their gear, and met in the assembly hall for an orientation briefing once the ships were underway.

Captain Chambers sat in the captain’s chair on the bridge of the Port Royal. The time was fifteen hundred hours Earth Standard time. First officer Bannister sat beside him. The communications officer received word that they were clear to leave orbit. Chambers looked at his helmsmen. “Mr. Walker. Take us out of orbit. Let’s take up our position in the fleet. Set a course for Mars.”

“Aye Captain.” The Port Royal broke orbit. It took up its position with the fleet and the new fleet of deep space vessels left Earth’s moon behind on route to Mars.

Cambers looked at his communications officer. “Miss. Barrow. Contact Fleet Marine headquarters. Patch Commander Dawson through to my panel.”

“Yes sir,” the young blonde-headed communications officer said.

“Captain. What can I do for you, sir?” Commander Dawson asked.

“I wanted to see how things are going. Are your marines settled in?”

“They’re fine, sir. We’re right in the middle of an orientation briefing. Would you like to come down and address the troops?”

“I’d love to. I’ll be right there.” Chambers stood to his feet and looked at his first officer. “Mr. Bannister, you have the bridge.” Chambers stepped through the set of double doors leading to the main hallway. He headed down to the turbo lifts and rode a lift down into the bowels of the ship to the deck housing the Fleet Marines. He stepped out of the turbo lift, passed through the office complex, and entered their main assembly hall. Men sat at tables and chairs facing a stage. A Marine Corps officer stood on the stage addressing the troops.

When Commander Dawson saw, Captain Chambers enter the room he smiled. “Gentlemen. Let me introduce our captain. Mr. Jack Chambers.” Chambers stepped up onto the stage. He shook Commander Dawson’s hand after returning his salute. The men stood at attention when Chambers stepped up to the podium.

Chambers smiled. “Gentlemen, as you were.” The men sat down. “On behalf of all the naval officers and enlisted personnel, I’d like to welcome you aboard the Port Royal. You, gentlemen, are fortunate to be on this vessel. You are making history. You are among the first who will venture out of our solar system. I trust that you will adapt to life on board the ship. I’m sure that Commander Dawson will keep you busy. We have some training events scheduled soon. We will be in space for the next three months before arriving at Mars. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. All though I respect the chain of command, my door is open to anyone.”

A young dark-headed marine raised his hand and stood at the back of the room. “Sir, I have a question.”

“That’s what I’m here for. State your name, and ask your question.”

“Sir, my name is Louis Martin. From what they’re telling us, this could be a long mission. I planned to do only one hitch. I’d like to get back home to England as soon as I can.”

Chambers stepped up to the edge of the stage. “They told me that everyone assigned to this ship had marked yes on that box in their induction form. The box saying that they might consider a career with the Federal Defense Forces.”

The young marine shook his head. “Not me sir. I marked no in that box.”

“They were using old-fashioned pen and paper forms in San Diego. Their digital-pad system was down. Private Martin must have smudged his form. It’s possible, that the clerks in Diego made a mistake,” Commander Dawson interjected.

“Regardless, the needs of the service come first. You’ve been in the Marine Corps for five months. You still have three years and seven months on your first tour. We can’t turn this fleet around and head back to Earth because of one man. When your hitch runs out, we’ll be out of the solar system. You’re with us for the duration. Make the best of it.”

“Yes sir. Thank you, sir.” Louis Martin sat down.

“If there are no further questions, I have other duties to attend to. I expect that during our mission I’ll get a chance to speak to each one of you. Again, I’d like to welcome you all aboard.” Chambers stepped away from the podium and the marines stood and applauded.

Back in his office, Chambers sat down at his oak conference table. He logged onto the ship’s personnel records. He looked up Marine Corps PFC, Louis Martin’s records, and read everything that was there. The file held the young man’s records and the personal opinions of his teachers. It held reports from the political officers from grade school until the present. He flipped on his VID screen and sent a flash transmission to Commander Dawson. A few seconds later the image of Commander Dawson appeared on the screen.

“Hello, Captain. What can I do for you?”

Chambers swiveled back and forth in his chair. “I was going over this PFC Martin’s records. He’s shown no discipline problems in the past. His teachers, and his drill instructors, say that he has excellent leadership potential.”

“Of course, he only arrived aboard ship this afternoon, but I know the DIs down on the lunar recruitment depot. They don’t sugarcoat things. If they say he’s a squared-away marine, then that’s what he is.”

“It sounds like he’d be an excellent candidate for the new officers’ training academy. The admiral’s orders are to hold officers training classes. He wants people with leadership potential to advance through the ranks.”

“Yes sir. We’re trying to fill out the classes now for the marines. I could talk to Private Martin about it.”

“Better yet, send him up to my office. I’d like to broach the subject with the young man.”

“Will do sir. I’ll send him right up.”

Chambers ended the VID transmission. He continued to scan the files of the new marines aboard his ship. Ten minutes later, he heard a knock at his door. “Enter.”

Louis Martin stepped inside, stood at attention, and snapped off a salute. Chambers returned the gesture. “Private Louis Martin reporting as ordered, sir.”

“Have a seat. I was going to have some coffee. Would you like a cup?”

“I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, but if coffee’s all you have, I’ll take a cup.”

Chambers laughed. “That’s right. You’re English. I’m sure the beverage dispenser can come up with a good cup of tea.” Martin waited until Chambers returned and handed him a cup of tea, then he sat down. Chambers leaned forward in his chair resting his arms on his desk. “Private Martian, I’d like to talk to you a little more about the question you asked me in your orientation briefing. As I said before, the needs of the service come first. We’re on a mission that could keep us away from home for twenty-five years or more. We can’t have marines trying to quit on us, or resorting to mutiny, because their hitch has run out.”

Louis nodded. “I will do my duty, sir. However long the mission lasts.”

“I could try to arrange a transfer to another unit and leave you on Mars to serve as a peacekeeper, but I have another idea. Might I make a suggestion? I was looking through your records. You have high marks on your test. Your teachers and superior officers have inserted positive comments into your file. They say things such as, ‘This marine shows excellent leadership qualities. The admiral has ordered us to start Officers Training Classes. I suggest you sign up. You’re with us for the duration. Why not make the best of it? This way, when we arrive back home, twenty-five years from now, you’ll be at a higher rank with a fatter wallet.”

Martin’s eyes widened. “An officer? I never thought of myself as an officer, but I will give it some thought sir.” Louis tossed back the rest of his tea and Captain Chambers stood up extending his hand.

“Give it some serious thought. You could have a bright future in the Federal Defense Forces. You’re dismissed.”

“I will sir. Thank you, sir.” Martin snapped off another salute, turned on his heels, and left the room.


The Port Royal and the rest of the fleet crossed the vast gulf of space separating Earth from Mars. The fleet held two training missions. One of which consisted of an occupation of a large asteroid. Another consisted of landing troops on board a derelict vessel. After searching the vessel, the ships opened up on the derelict with their weapons. They fired their lasers and launched volley after volley of proton torpedoes. The ship exploded into a floating cloud of debris.

Life onboard the ship became routine. When they launched the officers’ training classes, twenty-five people signed up. They assigned the officer cadets the temporary rank of third lieutenants. After spending eight hours in class, the recruits had to work at various parts of the ship for four hours a day serving as the officer of the day. They also stood fire watch when their turn came around. Their days were long and hard with very little sleep.

When the Port Royal approached the red planet, Bannister sat on the bridge. He couldn’t help but marvel at how peaceful the planet looked. The spectacular view from space masked the deep turmoil on the surface.

“So beautiful, yet so volatile,” Bannister said to himself. The red planet is a powder keg ready to explode. When she does, she’ll run red with blood. He flipped the toggle of the com-unit on his console and called the captain to the bridge.


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The Home Doctor – Practical Medicine for Every Household.

Hello everyone. This is Dave the Miricle Maker and I hope you are having a great day. It’s another beautiful day up here in the high desert of Southern California, but it is starting to get hot. I just riecently started a new novel, titled Katrina. It is the sixth book in the Mike Mcdonald Action Adventure Saga. I also have been working on my pool out back to get it ready for summer. My cell phone desided to fall out of my pocket and take a swim, so I was without a phone for a couple of days. It works now after I let it dry out for a couple of days lol.

Today I would like to talk about The Home Doctor – Practical Medicine for Every Household. I highly recommend this book. If you are like me and you don’t go to the doctor unless you think you are about to die, then this is the book for you. It gives you practical advice on things like, how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke or a heart attack, how to do a self-breast exam plus much more. It tells you how to deal with common ailments as well as what medical supplies you need to keep on hand in case of an emergency. I think this book should be in every household. Check out the link below and let me know what you think.

The Home Doctor – Practical Medicine for Every Household

Now for you reading pleasure check out chapter 11 of my science fictionnovel, the Bttle for Europa which is book one of my science fiction seies the Space Corps Chronicles.

Chapter 11

David Gallagher, Alonzo Garcia, and the rest of the inductees poured out the doors of the bus.

“On the deck you slimy little worms! See the little yellow footprints on the sidewalk? Let’s see if you are smart enough to form up, on those footprints, and stand at attention!” the sergeant riding the bus yelled. Sweat beaded up on his forehead and spittle flew from his mouth. The inductees hustled onto the sidewalk forming up into ranks. “Move! Move! Move! We don’t have all-day people!” the sergeant continued. He paced back and forth in front of their ranks stopping in front of Gallagher and Garcia. Martin and Rosenbaum stood to his left. The sergeant’s nostrils flared. “You boys smell like the inside of a spittoon! Have you little worms been drinking?”

“Yeah, yes we had a few beers,” David stammered.

“That will be the last alcohol that will pass through your slimy little lips for the next thirteen weeks!” The sergeant stepped back surveying the entire group. “You pukes have to be the most disgusting batch of humanity I have ever seen! I am Sergeant Ray Blackburn! I am the senior drill instructor! From now on, you will address me as sir! The first thing and the last thing that comes out of your pie holes will be sir!” he yelled.

“Sir! Yes sir!” the inductees yelled back.

“Form up in columns of two! Left face! That means to turn to your left, in your civilian puke’s language! Move! On the bounce! Left! Right! Left!” The sergeant led them down the sidewalk to a rectangular-shaped building. They headed into a room on the bottom floor. David’s heart pounded inside his chest. The drill instructor’s assistants ran beside the troops yelling their lungs out.

“Have a seat you slimy little worms!” Blackburn yelled. He made his way to the front of the room while the inductees sat at tables facing forward. The shuffling sound of chairs sliding across the floor filled the room. In front of each inductee set a black marker and a small digital notepad.

“Pick up the black marker in front of you and write six zero five on the back of your hand! You are now in Platoon six zero five! The digital pad setting in front of you is your journal! Write down all the happy little things that you want to remember about your experiences at boot camp!” Blackburn paused to catch his breath. “Sergeant Duncan and Corporal Morales will be passing their campaign hats around! If you have any guns, knives, chewing gum, tobacco, or any other form of contraband, put them in the campaign hats! After you pass the hats forward, you should have nothing in your pockets! There will be no smoking or drinking while at boot camp! There will be no sexual fraternization whatsoever!” The sergeant took another breath. “Let’s talk about article ninety-one of the uniform code of military justice! It says that you will not disobey a lawful order! Article eighty-six prohibits you from being absent without leave! Article ninety-six prohibits disrespect to a senior officer! Learn these articles! Learn them well! Laser them to your brains!”

They passed the campaign hats forward. The inductees received a list of gear they would receive from the quartermaster. The list consisted of sixty-six separate items. The drill instructors marched them into an adjoining room and they stood in a line next to a long line of tables. Moving up the line, they received their gear. The first item they received was a seabag to put everything in. They received six sets of uniforms, six pairs of boxer shorts, six pairs of socks, and two pairs of boots.

With their gear stuffed into the seabags, they marched into an adjoining room. A long line of barber chairs was set near the bulkhead at the front of the room. The barbers stood behind their chairs with smiles on their faces.

“How would you like your hair cut?” a fat Italian barber asked David when he sat down in his chair.

David grinned. “Block it in the back, and take a little off the sides.”

“Would you like to leave the sideburns?”

“Why not? Let’s leave them.” With five swipes of his electric scissors, the barber relieved David of all the hair on his head. He took off his sideburns with one swipe each. David reached up and felt his bald dome when the barber finished.

“Move it boot! You’re not the only little lamb that we have to sheer today!” Corporal Morales yelled. After the haircuts, the inductees marched back to the receiving barracks. They toted their seabags over their shoulder. Sergeant Duncan marched them up to the top level of the three-tiered barracks. David breathed in the smell of pine-scented cleaner. Sergeant Blackburn instructed them to find a bunk and to empty the contents of their seabags. The drill instructors ordered them to put their gear into the footlockers at the end of their beds. Finished with their gear, they stripped down and marched to the showers for a head call. Sergeant Duncan ordered them to shower by the numbers. They washed and rinsed in an efficient manner cleaning one body part at a time. Goose flesh formed up, on David’s flesh and he shivered from the cold. After the head call, they marched back to their bunks. Sergeant Duncan ordered them to put on a pair of skivvies and retire for the evening. The time was zero two hundred thirty hours Earth Standard. God what have I gotten myself into, David wondered when he laid down in his bunk.


The sound of metal trashcan lids banging together brought David from a deep slumber. He bolted upright in his bunk wondering where he was and why someone was making such a God-awful racket.

“Drop your cocks and grab your socks my little worms! Out of those racks! Move! Move! Move!” Sergeant Blackburn yelled. The inductees scrambled out of their bunks. A few were moving too slowly for their instructor’s taste. They had their bunks, mattress, and bedding tossed onto the deck. “Form up at attention in front of your bunks! I haven’t got all day ladies!” Blackburn yelled. The inductees scrambled to obey his order. Sergeant Blackburn and his two assistants strutted back and forth inspecting the troops. They carried short rubber Billy clubs. When they caught someone slouching, they swung the Billy club. They struck the offender’s calf knocking them to the deck. “Since you’re down there, give me twenty! Sound off like you’ve got a pair! One, two three four! I love the Marine Core!” Blackburn yelled while those who received the strike to their calves did pushups. Blackburn stopped in front of David. “Are you eyeballing me boy?”

David’s heart hammered inside his chest. “Sir! No sir!”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“Sir! No sir!” David yelled.

“You are calling me a liar! You were trying to eye fuck me, boy!” Blackburn punched David in the stomach, dropping him to his knees. “While you’re down there, give me twenty!” David assumed the position and started doing pushups. His arms trembled and he tried to catch his breath. Finished with the discipline, they marched the inductees to the head to shit, shower, and shave. After the head call, the inductees dressed. They made their racks and cleaned the squad bay. The drill instructors marched them down to the mess hall for morning chow at zero six hundred hours.


They spent the first week of their training in the receiving barracks learning close-order drills and doing a massive amount of PT. They attended classes where they learned military history, military protocols, the chain of command, and the order of battle. The instructors trained them in the operation and maintenance of the M-23 Blaster. They issued them M-23s and had them the rifles everywhere they went. At night, they went to more classes covering military terms and procedures. By the end of the week, they were fully indoctrinated and ready to start training in earnest.

In their Military history class, the instructor paced back and forth in front of the group. “Have any of you heard the name, John Rizzo? I know you’ve seen his name on the wall of fame,” the instructor asked but no one answered.

“John Rizzo was the commandant of the Marine Core under the old United States of America. During the chaos after the Third World War, Rizzo held the Marine Corps together. He defeated the bands of rebels and bandits, which terrorized the nation. Rizzo’s marines invaded Canada and Mexico, defeating the bandits and rebel scum there. They formed the North American Union. Rizzo also helped form the European Union and helped form the system of government we know today. When you are in your bunks getting ready to retire for the evening, when your drill instructor tells you to say good night John Rizzo, wherever you are, remember this. It was good marines like Rizzo who bled and died so that we could be here today.”

David leaned over and whispered to Alonzo. “Finally, they tell us who John Rizzo was. We’ve been saying good night to the bastard at lights out ever since we arrive.”

The following morning, the drill instructors ordered platoon 605 to pack their gear. With Sea bags over their shoulders, they left the receiving barracks and crossed the parade ground to the main barracks. It was where they would spend the rest of their time at boot camp. They marched to the top tier of a three-tiered barracks. Over the next three weeks, their training intensified. Rolling from their bunks at zero five-thirty, they made ahead, call, and then headed to the parade ground for morning PT. At zero seven hundred, the drill instructors marched them to the chow hall for breakfast. They had twenty minutes to eat, and then they ran the obstacle course.

They took classes in first aid, and hand-to-hand combat and learned the proper use of a bayonet as a defensive and offensive weapon. One of the inductees asked why they needed to train with such an archaic weapon.

“When all your standard 223 rounds are gone and your energy packs are dead. When you’ve fired off all your explosive rounds and all else fails you can use the M-23 Blaster with a bayonet attached as an offensive or defensive weapon. If the bayonet breaks, you can use your blaster as a club. A marine doesn’t stop fighting until he is dead,” Senior Drill Instructor Blackburn yelled.

They attended a class on water safety. The drill instructors ordered them to jump into a swimming pool wearing a pack with full combat gear. It was a timed test to see how long they could survive floating in the water. David thought for a moment that he was going to drown. He felt weak, but he managed to make it through the exercise. The drill instructors also taught them life-saving techniques.

“I know you little worms are wondering why we’re teaching water safety here on the moon. Most of you will ship out to Mars or become part of the Space Division of the Fleet Marines, think about this! At the end of your first hitch, or on your second, should you re-up, they could assign you to the straight-leg Navy on Earth! There are two mighty big oceans back home. Should you fall overboard, or get your ship shot out from under you, you’ll need to know how to survive!” Corporal Morales yelled.

David clung to the side of the pool to catch his breath.

When they weren’t taking classes, they ran with Sergeant Blackburn. He led them on ten-mile runs. He would leave the main complex and head into the bush. They stayed under the massive dome, which housed the entire base. The area they ran through was as rocky and rugged as any place on Earth. The environmental division of the Federal Defense Forces had brought in topsoil. They planted trees and shrubs. There was even a stream meandering through the base. David saw pan-sized fish swimming in the stream.

They also did massive amounts of PT. When one of the inductees screwed up; the DIs beat him with their rubber Billy clubs. He forced the entire platoon to do PT. Close to the end of the first phase of their training one inductee was always causing problems. He was getting the entire platoon into trouble. One evening the platoon had to march in circles for hours carrying buckets of sand in each hand. That night the platoon held a blanket party. One person held the offender down with his blanket over his head. The rest of the platoon filed by his bunk swinging socks filled with bars of soap. They battered his chest and upper body.

David’s nostrils flared and his breathing accelerated. His heart pounded inside his chest. “Shape up, you SOB,” David whispered and took his turn bashing the inductee. His screams filled the barracks. No drill instructors appeared from the DI shack to save the day. The next morning at reveille, the inductee seemed like a new man.

Gallagher, Garcia, Martin, and Rosenbaum formed a tight group within the platoon. The sergeant appointed David as squad leader. Alonzo, Paul, and Louis were the most trusted members of his squad. The fourth week of their training was spent in the field. They marched out into the bush, participated in live-fire exercises, and had to crawl under barbed wire obstacles. The instructors fired machine guns and laser carbines over their heads. Simulated explosions showered them with dirt and debris.

David kept his head down. Biting back the fear, he tried to keep his hands from shaking. A sense of exhilaration shot through him when the bullets screamed overhead. They crossed a slimy mud bog while under fire and formed a defensive perimeter on the bank on the far side of the creek. After the live-fire exercise, they bivouacked in the brush and played war games. The drill instructors designated Platoon 605 as the red army while platoon 606 was the blue army. David led patrols, looking for the enemy’s base.

On the final day of the exercise, the red army assaulted the blue army’s base and won the exercise. They marched back to the barracks, a tired, dirty gritty bunch having completed the first phase of their training. Once again, they packed their seabags. This time, their move was a short one. Platoon 605 marched down the stairs to the second tier of the barracks and took possession of the bunks.


Platoon 605 spent the first week of their second phase of training working in the mess hall. They crawled out of their rack at 03:30 hours to help feed the hungry marines. The sergeant in charge of the mess hall kept them busy until 20:00 hours. Then they would attend their evening classes. Finished with their week of mess hall duty, platoon 605 trained in chemical and biological warfare. They received training in the use of the Mark I EVA suit. Sergeant Duncan marched the inductees to a metal shack. He had the NCOs on the outside of the room close the hatches sealing them inside. Sergeant Duncan gave the inductees a demonstration of the suit’s capabilities.

“The Mark I EVA suit is your basic light-duty EVA suit. Unlike Mark II, you can put it on over your clothes. They designed it for short-term EVA missions. Missions like traveling from an atmospherically contained vehicle to an atmospherically contained building. The Mark II is for missions of longer durations. You must be nude inside the Mark II suits. The Mark II has urine and shit bags, which secures to the inside of your legs. It also has a camel pack for water and a nitro pack for nourishment. You access them through tubes inside your helmet. You can survive in a Mark II suit indefinitely. But you have to change out your air tanks when they are empty. You have to re-supply your nourishment packs and re-supply your water bladders. You have to change out your waste bags when they get full,” Sergeant Duncan said. “Pair up with another inductee. When you put on your suit, have your buddy check your seals and air tanks. Then check his.” A murmur went through the group of inductees.

Once all the inductees suited up in the Mark I EVA suits they did their equipment checks. The attendants drained the atmosphere inside the sealed room. They turned off the artificial gravity. The inductees interacted in the weightless environment. They learned how to move about in the EVA suits. After their EVA suit training, the inductees of platoon 605 marched to the rifle range and spent a week dry firing the M-23 Blaster.

“Remember breath control and remember your sight picture. Give the trigger a gentle squeeze as you exhale,” Sergeant Blackburn said. He instructed the inductees on the grass by the firing range.

The following week, the inductees of platoon 605 practiced their shooting skills. They fired from the standing, kneeling, and prone position, firing from three hundred yards, using, 223 rounds, explosive rounds, and a short laser blast. By Friday, everyone in platoon 605 was shooting well and everyone qualified. By the end of eight weeks, the inductees of platoon 605 had begun to work as a unit. Those who had been on the fat side when they entered boot camp had thinned down and muscled up. Those who were too skinny, hand put on weight and added muscle; the beatings with the Billy clubs had ceased. Now and then, the Inductees would hear a rare word of praise from their instructors.

Once again they packed their seabags and moved down to the bottom tier of the barracks for the third phase of their training. They spent the final four weeks of boot camp in close order drill, getting ready for graduation, and endured several inspections. The officers went over their uniforms and paid meticulous detail to the proper wearing of the uniform. They also graded them in the military bearing and decorum.

“You’re almost there my little worms!” Sergeant Blackburn yelled one evening. “We’ve got to polish off the rough edges and turn you into marines!” The night before graduation, the inductees stood at attention in their barracks. Sergeant Blackburn and the base commander gave them their last inspection. The base commander gave them a passing grade and left the squad bay while Sergeant Blackburn looked at his platoon with pride.

“Congratulations! You are no longer maggots or worms! You are no longer inductees! Today you are Marines! Tomorrow, during the ceremony after you march in review, you will all receive the rank of PFC. After the ceremony, you will receive a three-day pass! You will report back here at zero six hundred hours there days from now. We will provide transportation to Advanced Infantry Training! Remember those Mark II EVA suits that Sergeant Duncan spoke of during your EVA training? You will spend the next two months using them! After that, you’ll get your orders and travel to your first duty stations! Get some rest marines! Tomorrow’s a big day!” Sergeant Blackburn yelled and left the squad bay. A loud cheer broke out amongst the ranks.

“We made it, man!” Alonzo said and grabbed David up in a bear hug.

David’s chest puffed out and a grin crossed his face. “I had my doubts at first. I didn’t think I had what it takes.”

“You’ve got to be kidding mate. You were my rock. It seemed like you did everything right. When I felt like giving up, I looked at you. I figured if you could hang in there, then so could I.”

“This had to be the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. After this, AIT has to be a cakewalk,” Paul said. Little did he know that he would later, remember those words and laugh at his naivety.


After Graduation, David, Alonzo, Louis, and Paul headed to town to enjoy their three-day pass. It was the first time that any of them had the chance to see the lunar colonies. They got a brief glimpse when they passed through on the bus heading to boot camp. The first thing they did when they entered the plaza, a large indoor mall under a massive dome, was head to the local pub. David looked down at the front of the server droid’s dress when she delivered their drinks. He noticed the fabric of her sheer white top, which barely contained her ample bosom.

“It’s hard to believe they’re not human,” David said and picked up his drink.

“Human or not Mate, those titties look real,” Louis said. He gave the blonde-headed female server droid’s left breast a squeeze. The droid let out a squeal. Paul gave her a playful slap on the ass when the droid turned and headed back to the bar. The smell of tobacco smoke and stale alcohol drifted across the room.

“Her butt felt real,” Paul said. The back of her skirt barely covered the cheeks of her ass.

“Her tit did too,” Louis said and laughed.

“You couldn’t get away with that with a real girl,” David said.

“You might get yourself a real good shiner, Mate,” Louis said.

“You clowns are such pigs. If you were a Latin lover like me, the women would fall all over you. You wouldn’t have to get grabby. They’d be grabbing you,” Alonzo said. After getting good and drunk, they found a local tattoo parlor, had the Fleet Marine emblem tattooed on their left biceps, and then found one of the local brothels. After their three-day pass ran out, they climbed back on the bus, still half-drunk, and headed back to the base. Once they boarded the bus, they stowed their Mark I EVA suits and leaned back to enjoy the ride. When the bus arrived on base, they climbed, out and stood on the same sidewalk, with the yellow feet painted on its surface.

Bleary-eyed and hungover, they gathered with the other marines and waited for the bus that would take them to their AIT training.

“Isn’t this like the military, hurry the fuck up and wait,” David said.

The marines of platoon 605 boarded buses which took them through the base to an exit. It was on the opposite side from where they entered upon arriving for boot camp. They traveled for over an hour, still inside the massive domed structure. The buildings lining the road gave way to trees and shrubs. The trees and shrubs gave way to the rugged cratered landscape of the moon. The bus stopped at an airlock when they reached the south bulkhead and pulled inside. The outer airlock doors opened. The bus pulled out onto the barren lunar landscape. An NCO ambling up at the center aisle stopped next to David’s chair.

“You gentlemen might as well relax and enjoy the ride. It will be a few hours before we arrive at the training site. It’s off in the middle of nowhere. Platoon six zero five will debark at Camp Lunar Bravo. Platoon six zero six will go on to Camp Lunar Charlie. When you disembark, you will need to suit up in your Mark I EVA suits. You will receive your Mark II EVA suit when you arrive at the camp,” the NCO said.

“Thank you, Sergeant. Is it as rough as everyone says?” David asked.

The young NCO smiled. “No. It’s worse. Living in an EVA suit and being in a weightless environment for a long duration is no picnic. It’s even worse when you’re expected to fight in one.”

“Well that bloke made my day,” Louis said after the NCO moved on.

Alonzo shrugged. “We survived boot camp Bro. We can survive this.”

David leaned back in his chair to catch some sleep. Alonzo gazed out the window watching the lunar landscape roll by. Louis produced a deck of cards and talked Paul into a game to pass the time. The buses bounced over the lunar landscape heading to a remote military installation on the dark side of the moon.

They pulled up to the desolate base at the bottom of a massive crater. It consisted of several prefabricated buildings, which were set facing a common parade ground. There were several atmospherically contained vehicles parked on the parade ground. Stacks of building material were set near the buildings. The NCOs on the bus instructed the marines to suit up in their Mark I EVA suits. Once suited up in their EVA suits, they headed through the airlock and stepped out onto the harsh lunar landscape.

Outside a sergeant wearing, his, own EVA suit brought the marines to attention. He marched them into one of the larger buildings. They assembled in a reception hall inside the atmospherically contained building and took off their EVA suits. A dark-headed stocky NCO wearing a spotless Marine Corps uniform stepped to the front of the room.

“Gentlemen. I am Sergeant Brown. Your senior AIT training instructor. You will soon receive your Mark II EVA suits. After chow, we will hold class on the suit’s operation. You will spend the next month securing this base building fighting positions and going on recon patrols. You will work twelve hours shifts. Six hours of that time will be spent building fighting positions and six hours on patrol. After you’ve built the fighting positions and secured the base, we will be on a twenty-four-hour alert. You will spend six hours in your fighting positions and six hours on patrol. There will be rotating shifts. Platoon six zero six will be completing the same task as you. They will also prepare to assault this base. That assault should take place some time near the end of the month. After the assault, you will pack your gear and ship out taking over their positions. You will then become the aggressors.”

After orientation, the marines of platoon 605 marched off for their evening, chow. They received training in operation and hygiene for living in the Mark II EVA suits. After class, they marched to the barracks at twenty-two hundred hours for eight hours of sleep. The following morning at zero six hundred hours, they assembled on the parade ground wearing their new Mark II EVA suits. Some went to work securing the perimeter and others built fighting positions.

Other groups of marines went out on patrol armed with M-23 Blasters, which were set to low-power laser fire. They were looking for marines from platoon 606. Platoon 606 was the blue army. If they made contact they would engage them with nonlethal laser fire. If the marine scored a hit in a vital area, the suit would let out a beeping sound designating a kill. For the first two weeks, David, Alonzo, Louis, and Paul built fighting positions. When they filled their shit bags or urine bags, they disconnected them. They set the bags aside for the sanitation squad to dispose of. At the end of their shift, they headed inside for a shower, a hot meal, and some needed sleep. They also went on a few patrols. On one patrol; they walked into an ambush set by a recon patrol from the blue army.

After two weeks, they finished constructing the fighting positions and securing the perimeter. From then on, they spent six hours a day manning the fighting positions. They spent another six hours on patrol working on rotating shifts with very little sleep. Three days before the end of the month, David and Alonzo lay asleep in their racks along with Louis and Paul. The alert sounded. They jumped out of their bunks, suited up in their EVA suits, and ran to their fighting positions.

The blue army attacked the base firing their M-23 Blasters. They cut through the wire pouring into the compound. The troops manning the fighting positions fired off simulated claymore mines. They returned fire from the firing ports in their fighting positions. Green laser flashes and mock explosions lit up the night. The assault lasted for three days and ended when the blue army seized the entire base.

The marines of platoon 605 assembled with their gear the morning after the assault. They shipped out heading for the base to the north. The marines of platoon 605 became the blue army and the marines of platoon 606 took on the title of the red army. When platoon 605 arrived at their new base, their first order of business was to access the base’s defenses. After that, they would start offensive operations. They became the aggressor force and began reconnaissance missions on their former base of operations. For the next three weeks, they played cat and mouse with the patrols from the blue army.

David led his squad on several recon patrols. On the twenty-eighth day of the month, they loaded up into tracked vehicles. The assault went about the same as when they occupied the blue army’s positions. The blue army pinned them down for an hour before they broke through the wire. They received heavy laser fire from the defensive positions. When dawn broke on the second day of the siege, they secured the last building ending the assault. Two months after boarding the buses for their AIT training, they climbed onto the buses once more, headed back to the recruiting depot, and assembled in the room near the receiving barrack. It was the same room they had assembled when they first arrived at boot camp.

Senior drill instructor Ray Blackburn stepped to the front of the room. He sat at a wooden table behind a microphone. To his left set a stack of envelopes with names written on each one. Excitement filled the air and conversation buzzed through the room.

“First let me say, congratulations, marines upon the completion of your training. Before me, I have your orders. When I call your name, come to the front. After you receive your orders, report to the bus stop outside. The buses will take you back to the lunar colony. Inside your packet will be a two-day pass, which you can spend here at the lunar colonies. Then you will report to the shuttle port. You will catch a ride to spacedock where you will make connections to your first duty station.”

Sergeant Blackburn called the names and announced the duty stations. Some of the marines received assignments to one of the bases on Earth’s moon to serve as peacekeepers. Most received orders assigning them to Mars.

“PFC David Gallagher,” Sergeant Blackburn said. “Two days from now you report to the CEU-Pathfinder. She’s a troop transport which will take you to Mars where you will serve as a peacekeeper at the Martian colonies.” David stood to his feet and went to the front of the room to get his orders. “Alonzo Garcia. You will serve in the Fleet Marine’s new Deep Space Division. You will serve on the Port Royal. She’s in spacedock now. She’ll still be there in two days after your two-day pass expires.” After receiving their orders, David and Alonzo stepped out front and stood near the bus stop. Louis and Paul stepped up next to them after they received their orders.

“Where are you headed?” David asked Louis.

“I’m assigned to the Deep Space Division on the Port Royal with Alonzo. It doesn’t sound right mate. These blokes with the gold oak leaves don’t know their ass from a teakettle. I only planned on doing one hitch. Exploring deep space might take a bit longer,” Louis said.

Alonzo shrugged. “I guess you can straighten that out when you report for duty.”

“Where are you headed?” David asked Paul.

“I’m shipping out on the Pathfinder with you. We’re going to Mars,” Paul said.

“You guys can have Mars. Who wants to spend your time trying to corral a bunch of rowdy miners, when you can explore the galaxy? We’re going to make history, bro,” Alonzo said, putting his arm around Louis Martin’s shoulder trying to cheer him up.

“They are having a problem with rebels on the red planet,” Paul said.

“History and the red planet can wait. Let’s get on board this bus and head to the colonies. I need a beer,” David said. Two days later four friends gathered in the lobby at spacedock. They were half-drunk and hungover.

“This is it, mates. Who knows when the four of us will be together again,” Louis said.

“I’m sure we can locate each other on the Military VID-net. I’ll search for you guys and send you a message,” David said.

“Take care bro. It’s not gonna feel right without you guarding my back,” Alonzo said, grabbing David up in a bear hug.

“Old Louis here will back you up if you get in a tight spot,” David said, trying to swallow the lump in his throat.

“I’ll see you back in Cold Water when we’re out if I don’t see you before,” Paul said to Louis and hugged him.

“I doubt it, mate. As soon as I part company with the Federal Defense Forces, I’m heading back to jolly old England.” Finished with their goodbyes they parted company. Two-headed for Mars, and two-headed for the stars.


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Never Give Up

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Hey everyone this is Dave the Miracle Maker again. It’s a beautiful day up here in the high desert of Southern California. The wind quit blowing, finally. I recently finished the first round of edits on my new novel, the Mojave Kid and I finished the rough draft of my new novel, Gone Missing over a week ago. I will start editing it in a couple of weeks. I am getting ready to go on a vacation at the end of the month. I will fly to Alabama and visit my brothers and sisters in the motorcycle club. I will spend four days there for our National Rally and then fly to New Hampshire to see my daughter and grandkids. I am looking forward to the trip. I will take some pictures and post them on a blog.

My question of the day is do you ever feel like giving up? If you do, please don’t. Never give up. If you do not quit, you’re not broken. If you do not quit, you are not a failure. It doesn’t matter if you are a new writer struggling to write your first novel, or you are trying to grow your online business and things aren’t going too well, or you are trying to manifest more money or a better life, never, never give up. If you are a new writer and you are looking at the daunting task of writing your first full-length novel, if you write three to five hundred words a day, every day, by the time six to nine months have passed you will have completed the rough draft. If you are struggling with your online business, don’t give up. Do something every day to promote your business and never say, “I can’t do this.” Tell yourself, “I can do this and I must do this now.” Even if you don’t believe it. If you are using affirmations to manifest a better life, don’t give up. Make saying your affirmations a daily ritual. Sometimes the universe will test you to see if you are serious about what you want, and sometimes it is in your darkest hour when things seem like they are not going your way that success will come. So never give up and never surrender. Write that book, build your online business, and manifest your best life. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Peace Out!

Now for your reading pleasure check out chapter ten of my science fiction novel the Battle for Europa. book one of the Space Corps Chronicles.

Chapter 10

Shawn Gallagher sat in his communications center attempting to make contact with Linda at Spacedock. After receiving the call from his secretary, Shawn jumped back into his land rover. Foregoing the inspections of the new fighting positions, he headed back to the office. Shawn looked down at a screen. It showed the radar signatures of over three hundred ships approaching Jupiter. He instructed Wilson to put the troops on alert. Men manned the fighting positions on the surface. Some of which were still under construction. They manned the laser cannons to protect the moon from an attack from space along with main battle tanks and troop carriers.

No one worked the mines and everyone prepared to fight. Under the laws of the New Republic, if you were not in the military, you were part of the ready reserve. You trained with the military on your scheduled days off. Everyone on site had orders to stand ready to fight in the event of a federal invasion. Shawn drummed his fingers on the control panel before him. He wiped the sweat from his brow and depressed the com button calling spacedock.

“Linda. Come in,” he said into the microphone setting at the control center.

“We’re kind of busy up here right now, Mr. President.”

Shawn caught his breath. “Have you identified those vessels?”

“Sir. We’ve hailed them and are waiting for a response. They don’t look like Federal Defense Force vessels, all though they could be PPF. They’re still out there a bit.”

Shawn drummed his fingers on the console and tried to control his breathing. “Contact me as soon as you identify those ships. We’re kind of on pins and needles down here.”

“Tell me about it. If those are PPF boys, they’ll try to take us out first. We’ll keep you updated, Mr. President.”

Linda leaned back in her chair looking down at her computer screen. “Hurry up and wait.” She stood to her feet and crossed the room to the beverage station. “You want some coffee Jan?” She looked over her shoulder at the girl manning the workstation next to hers.

Jan Cunningham smiled. “No. If I drink any more coffee, I’ll pee my pants. I wish that whoever is out there would contact us soon.”

“They’re still out there, but I’ll give them another try.” Linda sat down at her workstation with her coffee. She took a tentative sip, enjoyed the caffeine rush, and depressed the button on her control panel. “Inbound vessels approaching Jupiter. You are approaching a no-fly zone. Please stand down and identify yourselves. If you are not aware, the political climate has changed. You are now in the New Republic’s space. Please respond.” Linda released the button on her console hearing nothing but a garbled response.

Linda strained to hear. “Repeat that last transmission please.” she adjusted the volume on her headset.

“This is Gustav Kesler. I work for Ludwig Von Wolf. You people should be expecting me. I need to meet with your leaders to discuss the deployment of troops.”

Linda leaned back in her seat and depressed the com button on her console. “Roger that. We were afraid you might be PPF. Things are a little tense around here. Please provide your flag ship’s registry number then bring your ships into orbit. I’ll contact the president and make the needed arrangements.”


Shawn heaved a sigh of relief. Linda informed him that the fleet approaching Jupiter was friendly. Leaning back in his chair, he paused for a few seconds. He let the tension flow out of his body, and leaned forward, pressing the com button on his console. “Linda. Have Mr. Kesler meet me here in front of the office complex.”

“Wait, one minute Mr. President.” Shawn waited while the traffic controller contacted the approaching fleet once more. “Mr. President. Mr. Kesler says that he will land his shuttle in front of site A office complex. ETA thirty minutes.”

“Excellent. Have him bring his key personnel. We’ll hold a briefing in my office. Thanks for the good work, Linda.” Shawn ended the transmission. He changed frequencies and called his secretary of defense. “John. Call off the alert,” Shawn said when Wilson answered the com.

“What’s up boss?”

“Those ships out there are the MERCs employed by Mr. Von Wolf,” Shawn said.

“I thought they might be.”

“We’ll hold a briefing in my council chambers in fifty minutes. I want all staff members to attend.”

“Roger that. I’ll make the contacts and we’ll see you in forty-five.”

Gallagher and Wilson met Kesler’s shuttle on the shuttle pad in front of the office complex. They watched as the lights of the shuttle descend from orbit to land on the shuttle pad. Tiny pieces of ice flew into the air, the boarding ramp extended and the exit hatch opened. Shawn watched two men, dressed in shiny black EVA suits lumber down the exit ramp onto the shuttle pad. He stepped forward to greet them.

“Gentlemen. Welcome to Europa.” His voice reverberated through the speakers on his EVA suit. “If you’ll come with me, we’ll head inside. I’m sure you people need rest after a long flight. If you want, we’ll get your people fed and housed and discuss deployment options later.”

“My people are fine. I’d prefer to do business first,” the taller of the two men said. He spoke perfect English with only a trace of a German accent.

Shawn nodded. “If you’ll follow me, we’ll head indoors and hold a briefing in my conference room.” The two new arrivals followed Gallagher and Wilson across the shuttle pad and to an airlock. There was a hiss of air when they stepped into the airlock and oxygen filled the chamber. Once the light at the top of the inner door turned green, Shawn took off his helmet.

“This way gentlemen,” Shawn said when the inner doors opened. He led them down the main corridor through the office complex to his council chambers. Once his cabinet members arrived, Shawn looked across the table at his guest. The man in charge was a tall muscular German. He had jet black hair, dark eyes, and a handsome, yet rugged-looking face. Shawn noticed a fading scar running down the center of his forehead to his eyebrows. Next to him sat a barrel-cheated blond-haired man with bushy eyebrows. He was in his early thirties with ocean blue eyes. His facial features were sharp and well-defined. There was a star-shaped scar on the cleft of his chin. These guys look like brawlers. “Gentlemen if you will introduce yourselves, we’ll get started.”

The big German shrugged. “I am Admiral Gustav, Kesler. This is my friend, Captain Robert Danziger.”

Shawn stuck out his hand, catching a faint trace of Vodka, and they shook. “Pleased to meet you.”

“We work for Ludwig Von Wolf. He instructed us to put our forces at your disposal,” Gustav said.

“Before we get down to business let me introduce my staff.” Shawn introduced the other men sitting around the table. “How many ships do you have?” Shawn asked after the introductions.

Gustav shrugged. “Three hundred fifty.”

“Our intelligence sources are hearing rumors. Some say that a small force of PPF ships has already left Mars heading our way. Others say that the feds are assembling a large force of Federal Defense Force vessels.”

Gustav nodded. “We’ve heard the same rumors. We have to be ready in either case.”

“We’ve all seen the news broadcast about this new fleet of deep space vessels,” Holliday said.

“I saw that broadcast, but I doubt if that fleet will give us much trouble,” Gustav said.

“What are your thoughts on the deployment of your vessels?” Shawn asked.

“The bulk of our forces will stay here. We’ll orbit the planet and various moons. I plan to send fifty ships to Saturn. We’ll keep one hundred ships in reserve at the edge of the asteroid belt.”

“Then you feel that the feds will attack us here on Europa? They could bypass us and attack the colonies orbiting Saturn,” Holliday said.

“The battle will be here, on Europa. This is the seat of your new government. The federals will desire to crush you like a bug and get the helium and hydrogen moving again.”

“Ludwig said that he would send teams of trainers to help us train our new military,” Shawn said.

“That is correct. We have people to help you train your new armed forces and also teams to help you shore up your defenses. Mr. Von Wolf requests that you join him at his base in the asteroid belt at your earliest conveyance. He’s obtained some ships that he would like you to inspect. If you get these ships, once they are space-worthy, they will support my fleet. Mr. Wolf rarely entertains guests. You should consider it an honor.”

“My ship will be ready for space in a couple of days. It is my honor to be the guest of Mr. Von Wolf.”

Gustav nodded. “It is good. Once you are in space, I will send the coordinates to his base in the belt. Few know of its location. He moves his headquarters about frequently.”

After the meeting, Shawn took Kesler and Danziger on a tour of the facilities. He showed them the military complex and the training facilities. When they finished reviewing the troops, Shawn took them out on the surface and showed him what they had done so far to prepare for the moon’s defense.

“What you have done is good, but it is not enough. You’re building fighting positions out away from the colony guarding the approaches. You have neglected the defenses up close to the colony itself. What if they fly in and land shuttles on your front door?” Gustav asked.

“We never thought of that,” Shawn said.

“Not to worry. That is why we are here. Your fighting men are in fair shape, but my people will hone them into killing machines.”


Over the next three days, Gustav’s elite commandos arrived on Europa. They landed on the other moons of Jupiter as well. Some of them began training the troops. Other teams of engineers arrived to build better defensive positions. Shawn assigned his vice president the task of securing housing for their guest. The training schedule increased its tempo and its intensity. Gustav’s fleet moved into defensive positions orbiting the various moons of Jupiter. Others orbited the planet itself. Fifty ships broke orbit heading for Saturn. They did their best to ready themselves for the coming federal assault.

The chief maintenance officer showed Shawn his new presidential space cruiser. Shawn took the ship to space. He took a few revolutions around Europa before taking a cruise around Jupiter itself. That evening, Shawn prepared to leave for the asteroid belt and his visit with Ludwig. He lumbered up the boarding ramp, along with John. A young captain who was part of the flight crew assigned to the new ship started to head for the cockpit.

“Excuse me. Captain, O’Brian. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take her off the surface. She’s a fine ship. I’m still trying to get used to her,” Shawn said. He breathed in the smell of mints, on the young blond-headed captain’s breath.

“Sure thing Mr. President. She’s your ship. I’ll have my men settle into their cabins while you do the pre-flight checks. After that, we’ll be in our ready room if you need us.”

Shawn sat down in the captain’s chair and John sat down next to him in the co-pilot’s spot.

John grinned. “You have to start acting presidential. A president doesn’t fly his, own ship.”

“We’re going to miss the election. Who knows? I might not be president when we get back,” Shawn said. He flipped some switches as he powered up the ship.

“Fat chance of that.” They started their pre-flight checks. Shawn applied thrust and brought the new presidential space cruiser off the surface of Europa. John contacted spacedock on the com-link informing them of their emanate departure. Linda gave them clearance to leave the system. Shawn took the ship for one revolution around Europa and took a swing around the gas giant known as Jupiter. He broke orbit past the moons of Jupiter and headed to the asteroid belt. They stayed in the cockpit for over an hour before Shawn leaned back in the seat and stretched.

“They tell me that there is some Crown Royal chilling in the beverage dispenser in the lounge. What do you say to going down there and tilting back a few shots?” Shawn asked.

“That Canadian whiskey would go down real smooth.”

Shawn leaned forward, flipped a toggle on his console, and activated the ship’s PA system. “Captain O’Brian, we’ve had our fun, for now. Would you report to the cockpit?”

“We’ll be right there,” O’Brien said. His voice reverberated through the speaker on Shawn’s console. Two minutes later, Captain O’Brian and his co-pilot stepped into the cockpit. “What do you think, Mr. President?”

“She handles like a dream.” Shawn stood up from the captain’s chair.

“Let me know whenever you want to have some more fun. There is nothing in the REGs about not allowing the president to fly his, own ship.”

“I will. Let us know if you guys need a break.”

“We’ve got a full flight crew. There are four more of us settling into our cabins. We’ll handle her round the clock, but if you two want to put in some more flight time, let us know.” Johnson said.

“We’ll do that,” John said.

Johnson paused, looking up at Shawn. “Mr. President. It’s an honor to be on your flight crew. I hope you enjoy the flight.”

“I’m enjoying the hell out of it already. It’s having good people like you two onboard that makes things worthwhile.” Shawn stepped out of the cockpit. John followed him down the corridor to the presidential lounge.

They stepped through a side door into the lounge. John took a seat in one of the plush lounge chairs. Shawn went to the beverage dispenser to pour them each a shot of Canadian whiskey. John gazed about taking in their luxurious surroundings. He breathed in the fresh new smell of the vessel.

“This sure is going to take some getting used to,” John said when Shawn handed him his shot of whiskey. John took a sniff of the potent brew and took a sip.

“Tell me about it.” Shawn plopped down in a seat next to his friend. “When people call me Mr. President and treat me with such respect, I don’t know how to act. It feels like they think I’m someone that I am not.”

“They’re not showing respect to you so much, although I do see some hero worship in some people’s eyes. They’re showing respect for the office. You’ve managed to give these people hope.”

Shawn shrugged and downed his shot of whiskey, enjoying the buzz. “I may have after it’s all said and done, got a bunch of people killed including ourselves.”

“True. That could happen, but freedom is worth taking that chance. They’re all volunteers. Everyone involved is doing so of their own free will. They needed a strong leader to point the way, thus the hero worship.”

Shawn nodded. “What about Ludwig? Do you think he’ll have the ships?”

John shrugged. “He seems like a man of his word. The ships will be there.”

“Yeah but what kind of ships? And what kind of shape will they be in?”

“I expect they’ll be rough. They’ll need some work, but we’ll fix them.”

“I hope they’re not too bad. They had better be worth what we’re paying. Our stock of gold from Mars is getting thin.”

“Yeah. We’d be in a world of shit if the PPF or God forbid pirates, boarded us. Especially if they discovered what’s in those hidden compartments. The ones under the deck in the cargo bay.”

They spent the next four hours talking. The more alcohol they consumed, the more outlandish and wild the conversation became. They solved all the problems in the solar system. Or so their alcohol-drenched minds thought. They talked, laughed and they enjoyed each other’s company as only good friends can.


Three weeks into their journey Shawn lay asleep in his cabin. He felt a violent jolt, which woke him from a deep slumber. He flipped the toggle switch on the console next to his bed and called the cockpit. “Mr. O’Brian. What’s going on?”

The voice of Captain O’Brian reverberated over the speaker next to Shawn’s bed. “We’ve got some company, Mr. President.”

“It’s not PPF, is it?”

“No sir. It’s a couple of pirates. We’re showing them the error of their ways right now.”

“Good. I’ll be right there.” Shawn stepped out of his cabin. John joined him in the hall and they headed down the narrow corridor to the cockpit. “How goes it, Mr. O’Brian.”

They stood in the doorway of the cockpit watching. On the viewscreen, they saw two of the most dilapidated ships that Shawn had ever seen. “These boys want to play rough. We’re about to give them a lesson in manors,” O’Brien said.

“Unidentified cruiser. Power down and prepare for boarding, or will destroy you. We need to inspect your cargo,” the voice coming from the speakers on the co-pilot’s console said.

“Inspect this,” Johnson said and fired a laser blast at the vessel which had sent the transmission. The two pirate vessels fired back. The presidential cruiser shook. Shawn had to grab the nearest bulkhead to remain on his feet.

“Mr. President, please find a chair and strap yourself in. Things are about to get rough,” O’Brien said.

“Firing torpedoes,” Johnson said. Shawn watched what looked like fiery darts shoot out from the underbelly of their ship. The pirate vessels turned to flee. “Try and outrun that, suckers.” They watched the image on the viewscreen of one of the torpedoes honing in on the trailing pirate vessel. The heat-seeking missile locked onto the engine’s heat signature. It ran up its exhaust port and they saw a blinding explosion on the viewscreen. A debris field filled space in the front of their vessel. The remaining pirate ship escaped, heading into the asteroid belt. It made a sharp turn around a large asteroid on the outer edge of the belt throwing off the pursuing torpedo. They saw another flash when the torpedo hit the asteroid blowing it to bits and pieces.

Shawn laid a friendly hand on Johnson’s shoulder. “Good shooting, Lieutenant.”


The rest of their voyage to Ludwig’s base in the asteroid belt was uneventful. They were approaching the coordinates that Kesler had transmitted to them. Three small space cruisers appeared, from nowhere. Captain O’Brien was at the helm. Gallagher, and Wilson, stood behind the command chairs watching the ships on the viewscreen. They looked sinister, with their black exterior and sleek lines built to resemble a bird of prey.

“Inbound space cruiser. Identify yourself,” a deep voice with a sharp German accent, said. It came over the speakers on Lieutenant Johnson’s console.

“This is the New Republic’s presidential cruiser. The NR-Free Bird. You should be expecting us,” Johnson said into the microphone on his console.

“Wait one moment, Free Bird.” After a pause, the voice came back over the speaker saying, “Free Bird. Please follow us. Reduce speed. It gets tricky amongst these asteroid clusters.”

The three ships turned heading into a large cluster of asteroids. Captain O’Brian reduced speed following their escorts.

“I remember when we were in the PPF; we used to come in here chasing pirates and smugglers. I hated it. The asteroid belt is vast and mainly clear, but when you get into these large clusters, it can be dicey,” John said.

“I know. It makes for some tight flying,” Shawn said.

“I hear that colonies are living out here. I’ve heard some live in hollowed-out asteroids. Others live on space stations orbiting some of the larger asteroids,” O’Brien said.

“These hard rock miners are a strange breed. How could anyone stand to live out here?” Johnson asked. Their escorts led them through several more asteroid clusters and traveled deeper into the heart of the asteroid belt. They approached a massive asteroid. Shawn saw a flashing red light. It bordered a rectangular-shaped section of the asteroid’s side near its bottom. A large set of steel doors, painted to look like the rocky exterior of the asteroid, slid open. Their escort ships flew inside.

“Into the heart of the beast,” Shawn said. O’Brien followed their escorts through the opening and into the bowels of Ludwig’s lair. The steel doors slid closed behind them. Shawn glanced at the viewscreen. Green landing lights on a landing pad far below them flashed. O’Brien increased the down angle and reduced speed. Following their escorts, they touched down on the landing pad two minutes later and parked their ship behind their escorts.

“Gentlemen. You’ll need to suit up in EVA gear until we pass through the airlock and enter the main complex,” their escort said. He led them to the exit hatch along with O’Brian and his crew. They put on their EVA suits, entered the airlock, the outer door opened and they stepped down the exit ramp. A group of men, wearing black EVA suits, stood near the three vessels, which had escorted them to Ludwig’s base.

Shawn recognized the voice of the man who had made the radio transmission to his ship.

“If you Gentlemen will follow us, we’ll get more comfortable.” They followed the big German across the landing pad, into an airlock, and heard a hiss of air. Oxygen filled the chamber, the big German took off his helmet and Shawn took off his. He looked at the man’s scared-up face, his bald head, and his massive frame.

The big German smiled. “Welcome to Mr. Wolf’s paradise. I’m sure you and your men will enjoy your stay.”

“Thank you. I’m sure we will. I’m Shawn Gallagher. This is my secretary of defense, John Wilson.”

“I am Kurt Bruner. I will take you and Mr. Johnson to Mr. Wolf. I will also show your men their accommodations. They will have a lot of fun here. We have women, cards, and alcohol. As you Americans say, we party hard when we’re not working.”

They followed Bruner out of the airlock and stowed their EVA suits in a utility locker. He led them down a narrow corridor to a turbo lift. The turbo lift took them up, three levels, and the doors opened. They heard loud music coming from down the hall.

“If you men will come with me, we’ll get you settled into your cabins and we can start the party, yah?” one of the other German employees of Von Wolf said. They stepped out of the turbo lift and Shawn’s flight crew followed.

Gallagher and Wilson stayed in the turbo lift with Kurt Bruner. The turbo lift rose to the top level, they stepped out of the lift and Bruner led them down a long catwalk. Shawn looked down into the depths of the hollowed-out asteroid. He glanced down at people working on lower levels. Bruner stopped at a doorway on his right, rang the door chime and the door slid open.

“Mr. Von Wolf. Your guests have arrived,” he said.

“Good. Come in gentlemen,” Ludwig said. Stepping into Ludwig’s suite, Shawn stopped. He gazed about at the luxury. He checked out expensive paintings and sculptures as well as other priceless works of art. “Welcome to my little bit of paradise in the asteroid belt. Come. I have some scotch chilled.”

“Thank you. We’re glad to be here,” Shawn said while Ludwig led them through his luxurious living room to his study. His eyes widened taking in the antique books on the bookshelves. Ludwig motioned them to a seat. They sat on comfortable leather-bound chairs on the other side of a wooden coffee table from Von Wolf who sat down in an expensive leather recliner. Ludwig picked up a silver bell setting on an oak end table next to his chair, and gave the bell a shake, causing it to tinkle. A scantily clad Chinese woman in her early twenties entered the room. She carried a tray with shot glasses and a bottle of whiskey. Shawn recognized the woman as the one who had been with Ludwig on his ship when he came to Europa. Shawn breathed in the smell of her expensive perfume. Ludwig took the tray and filled the shot glasses.

“Thank you, Yoko. That will be all. Leave the bottle and tray.” After they had tossed back a shot of whiskey, Ludwig looked up. “I trust you’ve brought the gold?”

“Did you secure the ships?” Shawn asked.

“I have the ships. They’re rough, but my people can repair them. Of course, I’ll supply men to help with the repairs plus transportation as agreed.”

“We brought the gold. It’s in the cargo bay of my ship. I’ll have my men unloaded it,” Shawn said.

“That can wait. You and your men need some rest after being in space for so long. What do you say we go see your new ships at zero eight hundred hours? That will give you and your men time to rest. While we’re having a look at the ships, your men can unload the gold. I have spare rooms here in my suite. You and Mr. Wilson can stay here. If you want, you can join my men in the pub for a while. I can also send up some women from the club.”

“That won’t be necessary. We’ll enjoy some more of this fine Scotch whiskey and hit the rack. What do you say, John?”

“That sounds like a plan. I’m bushed. But I wouldn’t mind if you sent one of, those Chinese girls. I like that little China girl of yours. Your servant, Yoko.”

Ludwig smiled. “Yoko is not a servant. She’s more, but I have the girl for you. Her name is Mei Ling.” Ludwig looked at Shawn. “And for you?”

“I’d like to get good and drunk on this fine Scotch whiskey and go to bed alone.”

Ludwig laughed. “A man after my own heart. It is good to see one who enjoys the simple pleasures in life.”


Twenty-four hours later, Ludwig’s servants cooked breakfast. They sat down to a feast that Shawn hadn’t tasted the likes of in a long while. They stuffed themselves with fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and pancakes. Shawn thought the food taste delectable. “How do you manage to get fresh eggs, all the way out here in the belt?” Shawn asked.

Ludwig smiled “I have my sources.”

After breakfast, Ludwig took Gallagher and Wilson onto his yacht. When they were in space, Shawn’s presidential flight crew unloaded the gold. Ludwig took them even deeper into the asteroid belt. They flew through a maze of asteroid clusters. Ludwig flew toward several larger asteroids that floated in space by themselves. He turned coming around behind one of the larger asteroids and powered down. Hidden behind the asteroids, lay a small fleet of derelict ships.

“They’re rough, but we can fix them,” Ludwig said. He set the forward viewscreen to full magnification. “They’re mostly frigates and small cruisers. There are a few small battlecruisers mixed in with the bunch as well.”

“I’ll say they’re rough. Are you sure we can fix them?” Shawn asked. Debris from the ships floated in space.

“Yes. Most of them can still fly. We’ll tow those that can’t fly. They are older cast-off Federal Defense Forces vessels with a few PPF ships mixed in. What do you think?”

“We’ll take them. My people should have already unloaded the gold. Our funds are starting to get low. It’s harder to smuggle the gold out of Mars now,” Shawn said.

“Forget about it. I’m a businessman, but this is not about the money. I’m investing in you and your new government. If you succeed, I stand to make a lot more money than I do now. I can go legit and not have to worry about keeping one step ahead of the PPF. If there is anything else you need, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“We could use some people to take these ships back to Europa for us and some mechanics to help us get them in shape. We need some trainers to train our new Space Corps,” Shawn said.

“Like I said when you first arrived; that’s part of the deal.”

“We’re done here. Let’s head home. I’m kind of anxious to see who won the election,” John said. Ludwig turned his yacht around and headed back to his base. They said their goodbyes at the airlock inside the bowels of Ludwig’s base. Ludwig handed Shawn a bottle of his best Scotch Whiskey.

“This is for you to celebrate winning the election when you get back home.”

“I don’t know if I’ve won yet,” Shawn said.

Ludwig smiled. “I told you. I have my sources.”

Gallagher and Wilson stepped off the exit ramp of the presidential space cruiser. They had been in space for more than four months. Four men stood on the landing pad to greet them, wearing black EVA suits.

“Welcome home Mr. President,” one of the men said.

“Who are you, people?” Shawn asked.

“We’re part of the new secret service. We found a federal infiltrator, while you were away. He’s been amongst us from the beginning. He’s in jail now sir. We’re here to escort you to your office,” the man said.

“I guess this means I won the election?” Shawn asked.

“The vote was unanimous. Congratulations sir.” The detail led them into the main office complex. Shawn’s com-link beeped. The voice of Linda Van Horn in spacedock reverberated through the speakers in his suit.

“Welcome home Mr. President. I hate to interrupt, but we have a situation unfolding up here. We have ten ships inbound showing up on our scopes. I’ve identified them as PPF vessels.”

“This is it then. They’ll be in for a rude awaking. Alert the troops,” Shawn said, ending the transmission.

The secret service agent in charge grabbed Shawn’s elbow. “We’d best hurry sir.”


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What do you want?

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Hey, this is Dave the Miracle Maker. It’s a rainy day up here in the high desert of Southern California. I finally finished the rough draft of my new novel, Gone Missing. I enjoyed writing it and I hope you will enjoy reading it once it is published. Today I would like to talk about what you want. So what do you want? Are you trying to manifest more money, the love of your life, or maybe a new vehicle? If you are you need to be clear on your intention. This is something I learned listening to the Genie Script course. You might say, I want to be rich, I want the love of my life, or I want a new car, but statements like that are too vague. When you are saying your affirmations say something like, I now manifest ten thousand dollars a month in my bank account that gives me the ability to travel the world, help my parents, give money to the poor and homeless, and live a life of abundance. Or you could say I now manifest a loyal, loving partner to share my life. You might say, I now manifest a brand new black, Corvette with custom wheels and I will pay cash for it. Be creative it’s your manifestation so give it some thought and be clear about exactly what you want. Above all Do No Say What You Don’t Want, because you will get it. Since I started to listen to the Genie Script I have noticed small changes in my life. Such as unexpected money coming my way. So far it has been small amounts, but if you are grateful for the small things, the big things will come. One thing that I was trying to manifest was being able to go to my motorcycle club’s national rally, coming up in June in Alabama. I didn’t have the money for the trip, but rather that saying that I’m not going, I don’t have the money, I said that the universe will provide, and it did. I’ve already bought my airline tickets and I fly out of Las Vegus on June 1st. So be clear about what you want and manifest your best life.

Now for your reading pleasure chapter nine of my science fiction novel, the Battle for Europa.

Chapter 9

Captain Dillon Kincaid sat in the Allen Sheppard lounge, drinking a beer. A cloud of tobacco smoke hung in the air. The noise inside the pub felt deafening. The jukebox blared out the lyrics to a loud neo-pop tune. Kincaid winced in pain from the headache pounding through his skull. He motioned to one of the server droids to refill his beer. The sexy-looking female android, wearing a skintight mini skirt, sashayed across the barroom.

“How may I serve you?” she asked in a sensual computerized voice.

“Get me another beer. Make it a Red Bomb.” The android bent down to retrieve his empty giving Kincaid a glimpse into a deep valley of cleavage. If you don’t look too close, they almost look human. The android turned around to go after his beer. Kincaid gave her a playful slap on the ass, the android giggled, swinging her hips, and headed back to the bar. She came back a few minutes later with his beer and purposely brushed up against Kincaid when she stepped up to the table. She set down his drink. Kincaid felt a shiver run down his spine.

“Please scan your wrist across my scan pad,” the android said. She leaned over and held out a small palm-sized pad. The front of her low-cut dress fell forward and Kincaid gazed down the front of her dress. He scanned his wrist across the pad deducting the funds for the beer from his bank account.

“Thank you, sir. Please enjoy.” The android glided across the bar. Kincaid took a drink from his beer, the com-link on his uniform beeped and he touched the lapel of his uniform.

“Kincaid here.”

“Dillon. This is Commander Logan. I’m sorry, but I had to cancel your three-day pass. We have a situation brewing. Be in my office for a pre-mission briefing in a half-hour.”

Dillon let out a sigh. “Great. I was starting to have some fun. I’ll be there.” Kincaid brushed his hand through his short dark hair and ended the transmission. Tossing back the rest of his beer, he headed for the exit.

Kincaid strolled into the office complex housing the Planetary Patrol Force headquarters. The PPF office was on the top floor of the orbiting spacedock that was set above the main lobby and traffic control tower. It housed offices for each branch of the service. He made his way to the commander’s briefing room breathing in the smell of tobacco smoke when he sauntered through the door. Kincaid glanced around the room, taking in the room’s occupants. The captains of five PPF vessels sat around the conference table. They had grave looks on their faces.

“Dillon. I’m sorry about having to cancel your leave. This can’t wait,” Logan said. He clenched his teeth around a cheap cigar, and they shook hands.

“No problem sir.” Kincaid took a seat at the table.

The Commander stood to his feet. “I’m sure you are all aware of the situation on Europa. It is our job to bring this problem to a satisfactory conclusion.” A murmur went through the room when Commander Logan turned on a viewscreen. The screen showed a still photograph of the mining complex on Europa. “This is the last photo taken by the cameras on Jupiter’s spacedock before the takeover. We have an intelligence source on Europa, but since the takeover, he hasn’t been able to contact us. I suspect they may have some light weapons. They have no ships, except for the tankers sitting idle on their moons. There was one PPF vessel docked at Jupiter’s spacedock when they took over. The crew is either dead or held captive.”

“What’s the plan?” Kincaid asked.

“When you leave this room, you men will go back to your ships and leave spacedock. You will rendezvous with five other PPF vessels currently orbiting Mars. This will give us one hundred men on the ground. Your mission is to come in low and fast, bypassing the orbiting space station, and land on Europa. You will seize the office complex of the mining facility. You will arrest the ringleaders of this rebellion. Your orders are to hold your positions until the main body of the Federal Defense Forces shows up. I suspect there will be a sizable occupation force on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn for years to come. This batch of rabble-rousers shook the tree to the top.” Commander Logan paced back and forth in front of the assembled officers.

“Why are they using us? With all the trouble on Mars, wouldn’t our services be of more use there?” Kincaid asked.

“That’s a nut we’ll leave for others to crack. We may see combat on Mars shortly, but for the moment, the battle is for Europa.” Forty-five minutes later five sleek-looking PPF cruisers left the spacedock, broke orbit with Earth’s moon, and set a course for Mars.


Cyrus Bonelli sat at the head of the table in his council room. He looked at the assembled officers sitting around the table. Servants brought food and drink. Bonelli didn’t have much of an appetite. He grimaced from the taste of acid reflux in his throat. Ever since this business on Europa started, his ulcer had been acting up. God when I catch that Shawn Gallagher, I’ll enjoy firing the laser bolt that takes him out.

“The bureaucrats upstairs have decided to approach this problem low-key. They are assembling a team of PPF commandos to move on Europa. They’re only sending ten damned ships. This mission will fail. When it does, I want you gentlemen to be ready. I want you to assemble a major force and head to Europa. You will smash this rebellion with an iron fist.”

“I don’t know sir. The PPF is a capable force. It may very well succeed,” one of the officers said.

“Utter nonsense. The PPF is an elite fighting force, but they don’t have the heavy firepower that is necessary. Their leaders are controlled by the bureaucrats above us. They have only allowed them to send ten ships”

“Sir what about Mars? We don’t want to cut ourselves short if something happens there,” someone else said.

Bonelli sighed. “That is a good question. Mars is another can of worms. If we allow this to go on, on Europa, the situation on Mars will deteriorate. Consolidated Mining sends employees to Mars and half of them disappear. They have their biochips removed and we can’t keep track of them. These people that have dropped off the radar make up the bulk of the Martian resistance. The rest are unruly miners. You will have your hands full there. I leave it up to you to work out the details. We’ll need to leave enough ships behind to contain any problems on Mars. At the same time, we need to assemble a big enough force to take care of this rabble on Europa.”

“Why not bypass Europa and attack the moons of Saturn?” one of the generals asked.

“Because their leadership is on Europa. Cut off the head and the snake dies. Gentlemen, this battle will be for Europa. If we don’t stop them there, Mars will try to declare independence next. I would like to see a blockade of Jupiter. While you do that, build your forces until you assemble a large enough force to squish them like the worms they are. I will leave the planning and execution of this mission to you. The fate of the CEU rests upon your shoulders.” Cyrus clinched his fist and banged it on the table. “The general, who brings me the head of Shawn Gallagher on a platter, will receive another star. Scratch that. I want him alive. His death will be at my hand. Gentlemen, you have your orders. I won’t keep you.” Bonelli ended the meeting. The sound of sliding chairs and the footfalls of military men leaving the room filled Bonelli’s ears. He stood up and crossed the room to the window. With troubled thoughts, he pulled back the curtain gazing down upon the lights of New York City.


Light exploded into the captain’s cabin on the CEU-Port Royal. Craig Bannister strutted into the room, breathing in the smell of cheap perfume. He looked down at the sleeping form of Captain Chambers. He lay between two good-looking naked women, one a sexy blonde and the other a cute brunette. Chambers sat up in bed knuckling sleep from his eyes. The two naked women moaned in their sleep and pull the thin cover over their heads.

“Rise and shine, Lover Boy. This is our big day,” Banister said.

Sliding from between the two women, Chambers sat on the edge of the bed. “Good Lord Craig. You’ve got to quit barging in like this. How’d you get in here anyway?”

“There are ways to bypass cabin door bio locks.”

“I have my room’s computer set for a five AM wake-up call. What time is it now?”

“Zero four-thirty. I’ve got fresh coffee in your conference room. You want to be ready for the six AM conference call, then the Admiral’s call at zero six-thirty. We’ve got a busy day ahead of us. Let’s get to it.”

Chambers put his feet on the floor. “Aye Captain Bligh. I thought I was in charge?”

Bannister ignored the captain’s comment and glanced over at the girls. “Get up ladies. Let’s get dressed and head back to the comfort station. You can go back to sleep when you get there. Our golden boy has work to do.”

“All right love. Are you sure you don’t want to give it a go?” the brunette said.

Bannister grinned enjoying her British accent. “Some other time dear.”

The women dressed, while Bannister and Chambers watched the show. When the women left, Bannister waited while Chambers put on his uniform. They stepped through the doorway leading to the captain’s conference room. Bannister went to the food and beverage station and brought them both back a cup of coffee and a sweet roll.

“I thought this day would never get here,” Chambers said. He took a tentative sip of his coffee.

“I know we’re going have to hustle if we want to make the eighteen-hundred launch window. That’s why I woke you early.”

“God this coffee’s strong.” Chambers made an ugly face.

“Columbia’s best. It does chase the cobwebs from your brain.”

After leaving the spacedock for space trials, the Port Royal joined the fleet. They spent three months in space cruising halfway to Mars and back. While undergoing space trials they had a skeleton crew. They tested the ship’s lasers, blasting a few asteroids to hell, with the plasma torpedoes. The Air Force personnel launched space fighters. They flew a few training missions. The cruise was uneventful. It gave the officers and the skeleton crew onboard a chance to get used to the ship and their workstations.

After arriving back at spacedock, they spent the next two months obtaining supplies. They had the maintenance crews fix the few glitches in the systems that they found. As the new crew members arrived, the existing crew trained the new personnel. The ship now held a full crew, except for some marines, which they would pick up at the lunar spacedock. Chambers gave the crew two weeks’ leave to settle their affairs before the mission’s launch date. Today was the day. The new fleet of deep space vessels would travel across the solar system, and head into the unknown.

Chambers looked at the digital readout above the door of his conference room. The numbers read 06:00. He moved to the communications center to the right of the conference table, activated the VID screen, and logged on for the morning conference call. The department heads log onto the system, and their faces appeared on the VID screen.

Chambers smiled. “Gentlemen. The day we thought would never come, is here. We’ve got a lot to do today before we launch so let’s get a status report. Let’s start with the bridge.”

Bannister’s face appeared on the VID screen when he logged onto an adjoining console next to the Captain’s. “The third watch officers are on duty now. The first watch is in the ready room. The second watch crew has orders to be onboard the ship by thirteen hundred hours. The bridge will be ready to meet the launch window.”

“Good. I want all personnel on board the ship by fifteen hundred hours. Let’s hear from the engine room.”

The image of the chief engineer appeared on the screen. His voice came over the speakers of the Captain’s VID system. “Aye Captain. The engine room is ready. The fusion reactors are up to full power. I have a full crew down there checking out the systems. The rest of the engineering personnel will be on board by fifteen hundred hours. We’re ready to go, sir.”

Chambers nodded at the screen. “Good. Let’s hear from maintenance.”

“We have a crew doing some last-minute checks. Half our personnel is on board now. We’ll be ready sir,” the Chief Maintenance Officer said.

“Excellent let’s hear from security.”

“Security is ready sir. We have a crew on duty now and the rest will be on board by fifteen hundred, sir.”

“Good. Fleet Marines?”

“Sir. My officers and NCOs are on board. We’re ready to go now. We need to pick up some jarheads on the moon.”

“Excellent Commander. Let’s hear from the boys down on the farm.”

“We’re ready to go, sir. We’ve harvested our crops and slaughtered our latest batch of meat-bearing animals. The refrigerators in all the galleys are full. Everyone is on board and ready to leave,” the chief horticulturist said.

“Excellent. Let’s hear from the mess hall people.”

“The galleys are ready to feed people now sir. We have a few people who still are not on board but they’ll be here by fifteen hundred,” the chief cook said.

“Good work. Let’s hear from sickbay.”

“My doctors are on board now. We have a few other medical people who still need to show up. They’ll be here by fifteen hundred,” the chief medical officer said.

“Good. I want all crewmembers to put in at least two hours a day in the gym. We’re all in danger of muscle atrophy out here. I want you to coordinate with our entertainment chief. Schedule your people so they can have time in the gym. Doc if you see any patients who show signs of muscle atrophy, I want you to notify me at once. Let’s hear from our chief of entertainment.”

“All the entertainment facilities are up and running. That includes the theaters, the bowling alley, and the gym. The pubs are open and the girls at the comfort station are on board. They’ve had their doctor’s exams and are ready to receive customers,” the entertainment czar said.

After hearing from all the department heads, Chambers ended the conference call.

“Thank you, people. I want duty rosters for the next week on my desk covering the first week at space before we launch. It’s going to be a busy day. Let’s get to it.” Chamber logged off the system. After the conference call, Bannister went to the bridge. Chambers uploaded reports from the department heads and transmitted the reports to Admiral Ivanov’s VID system on the Saratoga. He logged onto the system once more. This time he logged in for the admiral’s conference call. The faces of the various captains in the fleet appeared on the screen. Captain Chambers listened attentively. Admiral Ivanov asked for the report from the Port Royal.

“Sir. The Port Royal will be ready to man the portholes at eighteen hundred hours. All essential personnel is on board now. The rest of the crew will be on board and ready for departure by fifteen hundred hours.”

“Good work, Captain. I know this mission is going to be long and hard on us all, but it will also be very exciting. I am looking forward to leaving the solar system and seeing what’s out there,” Ivanov said.

After logging off the system, Chambers stood up. He crossed the conference room and entered the bridge. Taking his seat in the captain’s chair, he gazed down upon the officers manning their workstations. A few consoles beeped and he felt a slight vibration coming from the deck. “They look sharp,” Chambers said.

Banister nodded. “That they do. They’re all anxious to be underway.”

“Me too. Let’s head down to the galley and get some breakfast. I’ll buy.”

“Now that’s an offer I can’t refuse. Even if the food is free.” Bannister glanced at the helmsman. “Mr. Walker, you have the bridge.” Chambers and Bannister stepped from the bridge to the main corridor. They snapped off salutes to a few people as they passed by.

“I can’t wait to get underway either,” Bannister said.

Chambers breathed in the smell of freshly cooked food. “I know. All though I don’t relish being away from home for the next twenty-five years.”

“You’re going to miss your harem. You won’t have as many women falling over you out here, but this is our chance to make history.”

“What about you? I know there’s no steady woman in your life. You date once in a while, but isn’t there anyone you’re going to miss?”

“No. I was in love once, but my mistress called. My first love has always been space. It’s out there where all the action is and where you make history. It’s where you either make or break your career. This is a chance of a lifetime.” Bannister stepped into the serving line. The food service workers filled their trays. They loaded them up with scrambled eggs bacon, hash browns, and toast. Steam rose from their plates. They poured themselves a cup of coffee at the end of the line and found a table.

They were quiet while they ate, but it was a comfortable silence, born from long years of friendship.

“That was some good food, for ship fare,” Chambers said after they finished eating.

“It sure beats the hell out of that shit they used to feed us in the PPF.”

Chambers grimaced. “Do you remember those canned lima beans?”

“God. Don’t remind me. I don’t think I’ll ever eat another lima bean in this life.”

Finished with breakfast, Bannister returned to the bridge. Chambers took a tour of the ship. He visited each department and checked their readiness to make sure that they were ready for departure at eighteen hundred. When he passed the exit hatch, he saw Ensign Palmer standing by the open inner airlock door. A small line of crewmembers stood in line and Palmer logged them onto the ship using his handheld scan pad. Once they ran their wrist across the scan pad, the scan pad downloaded their name to the ship’s computers.

“How goes it, Mr. Palmer?”

Palmer snapped off a salute and Chambers returned the gesture. “It’s going okay sir. They’re starting to, trickle in. If we get any no-shows, after fifteen hundred hours, we’ll locate them using their biochips. We’ll send the shore patrol after them.”

Chambers nodded. “I hope that won’t be necessary.”

“I don’t think it will. Most of the crew will start to show up around fourteen hundred to fourteen thirty. They’ll want to get as much out of their liberty as possible.”

“I hope you’re right. I’d hate to have to bring anyone on board in handcuffs.”

Palmer smiled. “I don’t think that will happen, sir. The majority of the men feel it is an honor to go on this mission. They feel it an honor to serve under you as well, sir.”

“Thank you. I am honored to have such a fine crew. I’m especially glad that you are going with us, Mr. Palmer. Your help has been invaluable. You’re a fine young officer.”

Palmer smiled. “Thank you, sir.”

The captain continued his tour of the ship. The crew showed up by ones and twos until thirteen hundred hours. Then the floodgates opened and they came in waves. A line led from the docking tubes out to the corridors of the spacedock. By fifteen hundred hours, everyone was on board. Captain Chambers held another conference call at fourteen thirty. The ship was ready for departure, except for some last-minute supply issues. The officer in charge of the cargo bay reported that they were loading the last of their needed supplies and they would be ready by eighteen hundred hours.

The crewmembers not on duty settled into their cabins getting ready for departure. By seventeen forty-five, in the time-honored tradition, the crew manned the portholes. They stood at parade rest. Chambers took his place on the bridge and Bannister sat beside him. Chambers waited for word from the traffic control officer and thought about the fleet.

They had twenty deep space battlecruisers, of which the Port Royal was one. There were ten main battleships and four auxiliary ships. They had fifty light cruisers, fifty destroyers, and fifty frigates. The deep-space battlecruisers worked in concert with the main battlecruisers. The light cruisers, the destroyers, and the frigates protected the battle cruisers. The auxiliaries served as supply vessels as well as construction platforms providing the fleet with supplies and equipment.

Chambers turned on the viewscreen and changed the view to show the port side of the vessel. The voice of the traffic controller came over the communications officer’s, speakers.

“Port Royal, you are free to leave spacedock.” They heard a slight pop when the explosive bolts freed the ship from the mooring lines.

Chambers felt a thrill shoot through him. “Mr. Walker, take us out. Let’s join the fleet.”

“Aye Captain.” The ship moved forward through the metal hanger heading for the exit. Dignitaries sat in bleachers watching their departure. They sat behind super-hardened glass bullheads. A bottle of champagne, secured by the bottle’s neck with a metal tether, swung down making contact with the ship. The bottle smashed into the hull, christening the vessel. It broke into minute pieces, of glass and floated off into space. The Port Royal exited spacedock and took its position in the fleet. The new fleet of deep space vessels took two revolutions around the planet and broke orbit. Leaving Earth behind, it headed for the unknown.


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Choose to be Happy

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Hello everyone this is Dave the Miracle Maker. It’s another beautiful day up here in the high desert of Southern California. It’s starting to warm up, but it’s not too hot yet. How many of you feel sad sometimes? Did you know that you can choose to be happy? Sometimes things happen in life that make us sad, such as someone dying or something else happens, and there is nothing wrong with that, but you don’t have to suffer. Eventually, you need to focus on the positive things in life and not dwell on the sad things. It’s a little bit harder to do when a loved one passes away. Several years ago my brother crashed a motorcycle and died. I went through a rough patch where I was beyond sad, but eventually, I quit dwelling on the loss and got on with my life, but it took more than ten years to get to the point where I could talk about him to someone else and not get choked up.

If you dwell on the sad situations in your life for too long, it will keep you from manifesting the life that you want. What do you have to do with your body to feel sad? Usually, your head is down, your shoulders are down and your voice is shallow. You move slowly and say things like, why does this always happen to me? or nothing ever works out. Put your shoulders back, your head up, and your chest out and put a big smile on your face. Choose to be happy and manifest the life of your dreams. Peace out.

Now for your reading pleasure chapter eight of my science fiction novel, the Battle for Europa.

Chapter 8

David Gallagher and Alonzo Garcia looked out of a porthole as their shuttle approached the spacedock orbiting the planet. They stared out at the massive vessels docked at the space station. Alonzo’s eyes widened. An entire fleet of larger vessels was in a stationary orbit off by themselves. A spider web of mooring lines and docking tubes connected the vessels to the space station.

“Look at those ships over there. They’re gigantic!” Alonzo said.

“Those are the ships of that new fleet they were talking about on the news. They’re leaving the solar system and heading to deep space.”

Alonzo nodded. “I’d love to get assigned to one of those babies.”

David shook his head. “Not me. I don’t mind being gone from Earth for a year or two, but those ships might not come back for quite a while.” Their shuttle approached a huge set of steel doors. They saw a red flashing light when the shuttle bay doors slid open. Their shuttle flew through the launch bay doors and onto the landing bay. The outer doors closed behind them. They felt a slight jolt when the shuttle touched down on the bay.

The voice of the shuttle’s pilot came over the shuttle’s PA system. “They have restored oxygen and gravity to the landing bay. You may disembark.” David and Alonzo stood to their feet, stepped out into the aisle way, and followed the crowd to the exit ramp. When they stepped onto the bay, David paused, shivering from the cold. He glanced around. Several other shuttles were docked nearby. Young men and women made their way across the bay to an airlock. A few older men in military uniforms were, mixed in with them that arrived on the shuttles. The noise of conversation drifted across the deck. David looked up. A launch control center, enclosed in hardened glass, towered above them.

“Let’s move it! Follow the crowd to the airlock! Show the receptionist in the lobby your orders and she’ll direct you to your connecting flight! We need to clear this launch bay so we can bring in some more shuttles!” a dark-haired naval ensign standing next to the exit ramp yelled.

“Right. Yes sir,” David said. He followed the crowd toward the airlock with Alonzo walking along beside him. They crowded into the airlock with several other inductees. There was a hiss of air, the inner doors opened and they stepped out into a massive lobby. Green carpeting covered the deck and to their right. There were large glass windows that looked out to space. Spaceships of every size and description were docked at the space station.

In front of them set four reception desks. Lines of inductees and military men in uniform stood in front of the desk. Conversation buzzed through the room. On the bulkhead behind the reception desks, mounted near the ceiling hung a large VID screen. It announced the arrivals and departures of various ships. They fell into the back of the nearest line.

“Hurry up and wait,” Alonzo said.

“I guess that’s something we’re going to have to get used to.” After a half-hour of waiting, David reached a reception desk.

“Scan your wrist across my pad,” the blonde-haired female ensign at the reception desk said. David breathed in the sweet smell of her perfume. Thinking that she looked pretty in her uniform, he complied with her request. “You’re shipping out on the CEU-Pathfinder. Take corridor C to dock tube twenty-five. The Pathfinder will leave at twenty-three hundred hours. You have two hours to kill. Boarding will start in one hour.” She shot David a smile and handed David his boarding pass.

“Thank you, ma’am.” He stepped out of line. Alonzo stepped up to the desk scanning his wrist on the scan pad and the ensign gave Alonzo his boarding pass.

“We’re on the same transport. How do you want to kill the next two hours?” Alonzo asked.

David Shrugged. “Lead me to the nearest pub.”

They explored the spaceport for twenty minutes and found the local watering hole. Inductees dressed in civilian clothes and military men waiting for transport filled the barroom. Loud music from the bar’s computerized jukebox filled the air. They sat down at the bar next to a couple of other inductees. The smell of alcohol and tobacco smoke filled the room.

“What are you blokes drinking? I’ll buy,” a blond-headed inductee sitting next to David said, extending his hand. “I’m Louis Martian. This bloke with the big nose is my buddy Paul Rosenbaum.”

“Beer. Make it a Blue Bomb. I’m David Gallagher. This is my buddy Alonzo Garcia.” They shook hands.

“Ignore this asshole. My nose is not that big. Well not quite as big as a house anyway. What ship are you guys going out on?”

“The Pathfinder. It leaves in a couple of hours,” Alonzo said.

“Us too. Maybe we’ll be in the same platoon. I hear Fleet Marine boot camp is brutal Mate,” Louis said. He motioned to the bartender and ordered four Blue Bombs.

“From what I hear, it’s way out on the dark side by the penal colonies,” Paul said.

“I ain’t a scared,” Alonzo said, puffing out his chest.

The bartender brought their drinks and David raised his glass. “A toast to whatever wild adventures awaits us at the lunar recruiting depot. To a glorious career in the Federal Defense Forces, however short or long it may be.”

“What did you put on your forms when they asked about whether you would consider going career?” Louis asked, belting back half of his beer.

“I marked the no box. I want to do my hitch and then try to get into some kind of trade school. Maybe after doing a hitch in the federal forces, my low GI rating won’t matter as much,” David said.

“I marked the no box. I can’t see spending the rest of my life out here in the solar system. Once my hitch is up, it’s back to bloody old England for me. My parents sent me to the North America Union to live with my uncle in Michigan. They thought I’d get a better education at the NAU. I went to high school in Coldwater Michigan with Paul here, but I miss home.”

“I marked the yes box. It could be an exciting career,” Paul said and looked at Alonzo. “What about you?”

“I marked the yes box. I figure to do one hitch and see how I like it. After that, I’ll decide whether to go career.” They sat in the pub drinking and getting acquainted. An announcement came over the room’s PA system. It said that boarding would begin on the CEU-Pathfinder. David bought the last round. He and Alonzo, along with their new friends, stumbled down the maze of corridors in a drunken stupor. They entered the docking bay where the CEU-Pathfinder was docked in space. They joined a long line of inductees at the docking tube. The tube opened, and David led the way through and entered the airlock. A naval ensign pointed the way to the passenger bay. They found seats in the back near the lounge area. The ensign that met them when they boarded the ship stepped up in front of the passenger compartment.

“If I could have your attention. I am Ensign Taylor. I’ll be your flight attendant for the trip. We will leave the spacedock shortly and head for the moon. It should take us about forty-eight hours to get there. You’ll find a set of controls on the armrest of your chairs. The backrest lowers making a more comfortable bed. If you’re hungry, the galley will be open until midnight. The lounge will be open for the duration of the flight. If you’d like to play cards or do some drinking, that’s the place. It will be your last chance for booze if you want to drink. There is no drinking of alcohol at boot camp. The lights will dim at twenty-three hundred hours for those who would like to get some sleep. We will show an in-flight movie once we’re underway. Turn on the VID screen on the seat in front of you. The major entertainment channels are available through our satellite link. ETA for departure is ten minutes. You can watch the show on the VID screen or look out of the, nearest porthole. If you need anything please feel free to contact me. I hope you enjoy the flight.”

“I say we go get some brews and then come back to our seats. I’d kind of like to turn the VID screen to the exterior view and watch us leave spacedock,” David said.

“I second that Mate. Especially the part about the brews,” Louis said. Once they retrieved their beer, David sat at his seat flipping through the channels on the VID screen. He used the touchpads on the screen and stopped on the news channel when he saw a familiar face. The face of his brother, Shawn, filled the screen. The video announcing the independence of the mining colonies on Europa and the creation of the New Republic replayed. David’s fists balled up on his thighs. His nails dug into the palms of his hands, his face reddened and he let out a sigh. “What has that crazy son of a bitch gone and done now?”

“What?” Louis Martin said.

“That’s his brother. Forget about it,” Alonzo said. “It’s about departure time.” Alonzo reached over and touched the touchpad on the screen. The view changed showing the exterior of the ship. They heard a slight pop when the explosive bolts securing the mooring lines to the ship fired. The bolts blew, throwing the cables back away from the ship. The vessel drifted in space for a few seconds before the helmsman applied forward thrust.

David changed the VID screen to the movie channel. They watched a movie about the early colonization of Mars. He settled back to enjoy the movie trying to forget about the news and tried to ignore his pounding headache. The pilot of the CEC-Pathfinder flew the ship through one rotation of the planet and headed to the moon.


The flight to the moon was uneventful. After the in-flight movie, David, along with the rest of the inductees on board, drifted off to sleep. It had been a long hard day for them all. All though there is no day or night, in space, the ship operated on a twenty-four clock as if on Earth. They woke up at zero six hundred hours and headed to the galley for breakfast. They spent the better part of the next two days playing cards in the lounge and drinking beer. The CEU-Pathfinder entered the moon’s orbit. All four of the young inductees still felt the effects of too much alcohol.

Ensign Taylor stood before the inductees once more. Most of the recruits crowded around the portholes. They were checking out the view, taking in the orbiting space station. Ships were in space awaiting departure. Others entered orbit waiting to dock and still other ships broke orbit heading to Mars or Earth. Shuttles flew back and forth from the surface ferrying troops.

“Gentlemen. I hope you enjoyed your flight. We will dock shortly at the lunar station. Gather your things and form up at the exit hatch,” Ensign Taylor said.

David and Alonzo picked up their traveling bags and stepped out into the aisle way. Louis and Paul stepped out behind them. They followed the crowd to the exit hatch, feeling a slight jolt when the ship docked. David looked out the nearest porthole. Workers wearing EVA suits equipped with jetpacks attached the mooring lines. A long tube extended, from the space station. One of the station’s workers moved to the end of the tube using the jetpack in his suit. He secured the docking tube to the Pathfinder’s exit hatch. The docking tube inflated. It stabilized when the space station’s oxygen tanks pumped it full of air.

Another ensign standing at the exit hatch opened the airlock. The inductees disembarked.

“This is cool,” Alonzo said, stepping through the outer airlock and into the docking tube. He took a little hop and floated up to the top of the tube enjoying the effects of weightlessness.

“Let me give it a try,” David said, taking a little hop, and floated to the top of the tube. The sensation made his stomach feel queasy.

“Gentlemen. Let’s move it. You’re backing up the line. We’ve got a lot of troops to disembark,” An officer behind them said. They floated back down to the bottom of the tube and headed toward the space station. The docking tube, made from a super-hardened rubber, wiggled back and forth. David put his hands on the side of the tube to maintain his balance. He looked through the clear rubber fabric taking in all the ships.

At the end of the tube, David stepped through another airlock and entered the space station. A red monitor mounted on the wall next to the ceiling said: Main Lobby. In front of the digital read-out, a red flashing arrow pointed the way. David turned left and they headed down the hallway following the crowd to the lobby. The narrow hallway intersected with a larger corridor. They turned right joining the crowd.

Military men and women moved against the stream. They were heading to the various ships docked at the space station. In the lobby, they stepped into line at the reception desk. Behind the reception desk, recessed into the bulkhead, set a bank of turbo lifts. When David reached the head of the line a naval officer sat at the desk. A young red-headed woman looked up and smiled. David glanced at a field of tiny freckles across the bridge of her nose. “Scan your wrist over my pad.” David complied with her request. “Mr. Gallagher you’re on shuttle flight three oh two. It leaves at twenty-three hundred hours. Take the turbo lift behind me. The shuttle bay is one deck below us.” She printed David’s boarding pass and handed it to him.

“Thank you, ma’am.” David stepped out of line. He stood to the side waiting for his friends to receive their boarding passes.

“I hope we get lucky Mate. I hope they assign us to the same platoon”

Paul grinned. “That’s all I need, to have you picking on me about my big nose for the next thirteen weeks.”

David laughed. “We’ll be too busy to worry about that big honker of yours.”

“Not you too?” Paul enjoyed the good-natured teasing. They stepped into the turbo lift, along with six other inductees.

“Shuttle bay,” one of the inductees said to the turbo lift’s computer. The lift descended one deck below. The doors opened and they stepped into another smaller lobby. Green carpet covered the floor and a lone reception desk occupied the center of the room. A large set of metal doors set behind the reception desk recessed into the metal bulkhead. Above the doors, a red digital readout displayed the words: shuttle bay airlock. Padded benches lined the bulkhead in front of the desk. David headed over to a food and beverage station setting in a corner. He bought four beers and walked back to where his friends awaited. They popped the tops on their beers and sat down in the lobby to wait.

David drifted off to sleep in his chair. The voice of the receptionist announcing the boarding of flight 302 caused David to jerk his head up.

“Come on Amigo. That’s our flight,” Alonzo said. They stood to their feet and crossed the lobby to the airlock doors. The doors opened, they entered the airlock, the inner door opened and they stepped onto the shuttle bay. Several shuttles were set on the launch bay awaiting passengers. David glanced up at the launch control center towering above them. It consisted of a supper-hardened glass bulkhead. The traffic controllers worked behind it. It was one floor above them on the same level as the lobby.

“Boarding pass?” a young female ensign standing by the door said. David handed her his boarding pass. “You’re on flight three zero two. Follow the catwalk to the fourth row of shuttles. Yours will be the one on the far end by the bulkhead.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” They headed down the launch bay to their shuttle. The hatchway stood open with the boarding ramp extended. They went on board following several inductees up the ramp. David found four seats together near the middle of the passenger bay.

“More hurry up and wait,” Alonzo said.

“I know. It will be past bloody midnight before we even take off, I bet,” Louis said.

“Patience my friend. This Limy hates to wait for anything,” Paul said. The passenger area filled up. A member of the flight crew retracted the boarding ramp and closed the exit hatch.

“Please fasten your seat belts. It’s a short hop to the surface. The take-off is quite exhilarating,” the voice of the shuttle pilot said coming over the craft’s PA system. They fastened their seat belts. The shuttle moved across the launch bay lining up with its assigned launch tube and then came to a stop. David heard the voice of the traffic controller saying that flight 302 was free to launch.

“Here we go. Another E-ticket thrill ride,” Alonzo said. The Gee forces slammed them back into their seats. The shuttle shot down the tube spitting them out to space. Louis and Paul crowded around the portholes. They looked at the vessels docked at the spacedock. David and Alonzo looked over their shoulders. The shuttle descended toward the surface of the moon. They saw domed structures scattered about. There were towering boxy buildings rising above the ground. David noticed several tracked vehicles traversing the streets of the main lunar colony. The shuttle headed toward a large metal tower with a hardened glass dome at its top.

A set of steel doors opened underneath the glass dome. The shuttle lined up on the red flashing lights on the edge of the launch bay doors and flew inside the shuttle port. The launch bay doors closed. David felt a slight jolt when the shuttle set down on the metal deck. The launch control officer restored oxygen to the bay. One of the members of the flight crew opened the exit hatch and extended the boarding ramp. They picked up their gear, followed the crowd of inductees down the aisle, and exited the shuttle.

“Head through that airlock to the lobby and then take the turbo lift down to the bus depot. Your buses should be waiting as we speak,” an Air Force flight attendant standing by the exit hatch said. They headed toward the airlock following the crowd to the lobby while the first group of inductees entered the turbo lifts. Squeezing into a crowded turbo lift, they felt their stomachs drop. The lift seemed to descend forever.

When the turbo lift stopped, they stepped out into another lobby and stepped through a set of metal doors and into the bus depot. Several buses were lined up at a curb. They were long snake-like vehicles with three passenger sections that were set on steel wheels inside a metal track. The track helped the vehicle maintain traction on the lunar surface. A rubber buffer separated the passenger cars. An enclosed boxy tractor set hooked to the passenger cars to pull the bus across the lunar landscape.

They headed to the nearest bus, stepped through a small airlock, and entered the last car on the bus. David found seats at the rear of the car and they settled in for the ride. When the bus filled up with inductees, the inner airlock door of the garage opened. The bus pulled into the massive airlock. It jerked to a stop for a few seconds. The inner doors closed, a hissing sound filled the airlock and the outer doors opened. The bus pulled out onto the main thoroughfare running through the lunar colony. David felt his stomach lurch and for a moment, he thought he was going to get sick. He looked out his side window. People wearing EVA suits shuffled along a pathway near the street. Others entered and exited the various buildings. “It seems like a busy place,” David said.

Paul nodded. “I’ve heard they have some wild underground pubs here.”

“My parents brought me here for a vacation when I was a wee bugger, but I don’t remember much about the trip,” Louis said.

“I could care less. I want to get some sleep. Wake me when we get three,” Alonzo said. They left the lunar colony behind heading across the cratered surface of the moon. David glanced at several buildings off to the left that appeared to be some type of mining operation. Military men in gray digitized urban camouflaged fatigues moved down the aisle. They stopped now and then to talk to the inductees. The NCOs on board seemed warm and friendly with the recruits.

“Where are you guys from?” a young sergeant asked when he stopped by David’s chair. David breathed in the smell of stale beer and tobacco smoke. You almost couldn’t smell it because of the scent of mints that the sergeant was chewing.

“Me and my buddy, Alonzo, are from San Diego.” The Sergeant extended his hand and they shook.

“It’s a lovely city. I served on a surface vessel based out of Dago once. How about you two?” the sergeant said. He nodded at Louis and Paul.

“I’m from bloody old England, but my folks sent me to school in Michigan.”

“I was, stationed outside of London for two years. I never could get used to the rain. How about you?”

“I’m from a little spot in the road called Coldwater Michigan,” Paul said.

The bus crossed over to the dark side of the moon and outside everything went dark. Alonzo noticed some lights in the distance to their left. He saw several buildings setting enclosed in what appeared to be a walled compound. A fork in the trail led in that direction. “What’s that over there? Is that the base?”

The sergeant let out a low chuckle and then grinned. “No, that’s not the base. That’s not a place you want to be. That, my friend, is one of the penal colonies here on the dark side of the moon. We’ve still got ten miles to go before we reach the base.” The Fleet Marine sergeant moved along talking to the other inductees. A few more passed by and stopped to chat.

“Them blokes don’t seem too bad,” Louis said.

Thirty minutes later, the bus pulled up to the main gate at the recruiting depot. A guard inside an atmospherically contained guard shack pushed a button on his console. The electronic gate slid open. The bus pulled onto the grounds of the Marine base. They traveled down the main road heading to a massive steel structure lit up with bright lights.

“Good Lord! That building looks big enough to house an entire city!” Louis said.

“It does. The entire base is in there. It’s atmospherically contained. It has a gravity generator that provides an Earth-like gravity,” the sergeant said. The bus pulled up to a massive set of steel airlock doors. The outer hull of the building was made from black diamond-plated steel. The doors opened, the bus pulled into the airlock and the outer doors closed behind it. The airlock filled with oxygen, the inner doors opened and the bus pulled into the enclosed base. David glanced out his window while the bus traveled down a paved street lined with palm trees. Grass grew alongside the road, within the massive enclosed structure. The place reminded David of one of the city parks in San Diego.

Three-tiered barracks lined one side of the road. An office complex lined the other. Several Quonset huts set off in the distance. The bus stopped at the curb in front of a barracks on their right. The words: Main Receiving Barracks were written on a sign above the roof. The good-natured NCOs riding the bus with the inductees turned into instant assholes. The bus stopped. The good-natured sergeant who had stopped by their chairs to talk headed to the front of the bus.

“On your feet you slimy little worms! Get off my bus! I don’t care which God you pray to! It could be Mohammad, Allah, Baal, or the state! I could give a rat’s ass if you pray or not! You can give your hearts to Jesus if you want to, but for the next thirteen weeks your ass belongs to me!”


Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have a glorious day.

Posted in Law of Attraction, meditation, Self Help, subconscious mind, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Be Happy in the Gap

Be Happy Smile Cartoon Icon Concept

Image by rawpixle

Hey, this is Dave the miracle Maker again. It’s another lovely Sunday up here in the high desert of Southern California. Today I would like to talk about happiness. Are you happy, or do you feel like happiness is overrated? I believe that happiness is a choice. Choose to be happy. Stop dwelling on the negative and concentrate on the positive things in your life. One day my wife was in a bad mood and said, “I’m not happy.” As I spoke of in one of my earlier blogs, I took two seconds to respond and kept my opinion to myself. What I was thinking was, If you are looking for me to make you happy you’re going to be disappointed. True happiness comes from within. You could be a multi-millionaire and provide your wife or husband with the fanciest cars, and the best house in town. You could supply her, or his every desire, but if that person has not found inner peace, the happiness of wealth and material things will fade. Happiness is a choice. Choose to be happy.

Now I’m going to talk about being happy in the gap. If you are trying to manifest the love of your life, or if you make around four thousand dollars a month and you are trying to manifest ten thousand dollars a month you need to be happy in the gap. Your reality is where you are right now. Your proffered reality is when you receive what you are trying to manifest. In between is the gap. Your day-to-day lives as you work toward your goals. Don’t concentrate on what you don’t have because you get what you focus on. Concentrate on what you want and be happy and grateful for what you have now. Choose to be happy and be happy in the gap. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Peace Out!

Now for your reading plause, check out Chapter seven of my science fiction novel, the Battle for Europa.

Chapter 7

Shawn Gallagher leaned back in his chair at his desk in the office complex on Europa. He heaved a sigh. His mind flashed back over the last three weeks, and he marveled at all they had accomplished. They had formed a temporary government. With John Wilson’s help, they drafted a written Declaration of Independence and transmitted the document to the Council of Economic Unions. Wilson wrote a manifesto declaring their demands. Shawn transmitted it to the council as well and completed the final draft of their government’s new constitution.

Shawn served as the temporary president. He appointed John as his temporary Secretary of Defense. Another one of his closest friends, James Atkins, filled in as the Vice President. Jerry Holliday accepted a position as the head of security and intelligence. Jerry was another good friend of Shawn’s with a former military background. Another former military man, Chuck Ballantine, became the Secretary of the treasury.

For the past three weeks, the former miners had been busy training. They familiarized themselves with the new weapons, preparing for the eventual federal assault. Others built defensive positions. Chuck Ballantine, who was in charge of the new mint built a press, where they minted gold and silver coins. Their preparations for the federal assault were going well, but Shawn felt vulnerable. The mercenary force that Ludwig Von Wolf promised had yet to show up. If the federal forces arrived first, they would be in a world of hurt.

“When can we expect Ludwig’s MERCs to arrive?” Shawn asked looking up at the men gathered for the morning briefing.

Holliday drummed his fingers on the armrest of his chair. “Any time now. I sent him an encrypted VID transmission. Supposedly they left their base in the asteroid belt two months ago.”

“What do your sources say about the federal response, now that we’ve made the declaration?” Shawn brushed a strand of hair from his face.

“Rumor is that they might be trying some clandestine operation using the PPF. I also hear rumors of a much larger troop buildup.”

“What about our aw-shit plan?” Shawn whipped a few beads of sweat from his brow.

Holliday laughed. “Everything is going according to the plan.”

“It’s good to have friends in accounting that can hide where the money or material is going,” Shawn said. “I still can’t believe we pulled this off right under Consolidated Security’s nose.”

Holliday nodded. “Yeah. It took a lot of time and hard work. If you have the paperwork filled out, right, they give it the rubber stamp and send it on its way.”

Shawn looked at Wilson. “John what about the troops? How goes the training?”

“They’re doing as good as we can expect for men that have been out of the service for a while. We’ll speed up the training when Ludwig’s people get here.”

“Will they be ready when the feds arrive? That’s the question.”

John paused and then lit a cigar. The rich aroma of tobacco smoke drifted across the room. “They will be. When it comes to that, everyone will fight.”

“What about the mint? Are the men happy about the new coinage and the new pay scales?”

Ballantine shrugged. “Pretty much. Right now, our warehouse is full. If this thing goes on too long and commodities get scarce, things might change.”

“If there’s nothing else, I’ll go down to site D and see how they’re coming on my new space cruiser,” Shawn said.

John laughed, fanning smoke from in front of his face. “It was nice of the PPF to have one at the spaceport when this went down.”

“Yeah, I know. As soon as the boys finish the modifications, I need to take a trip to the asteroid belt. I need to see if we can make that deal with Mr. Wolf about those ships. I wish his MERCs would show up first.”

“There is that other matter you asked me to look into,” Holliday said.

Shawn’s face took on a look of concern. “I’d almost forgotten about that. What did you find out?”

“He graduated high school in San Diego, and applied for robotics school but got rejected. They drafted him into Federal Forces like we figured they would. They assigned him to Fleet Marines Space Division. He is doing his boot camp right now at the Lunar training depot on the dark side of Earth’s moon. He’s taken some flack because of all this.”

“I hope he doesn’t suffer too much because of what I’ve done.”

Holliday shrugged. “It’s not too bad. The political officers are keeping an eye on him. From what my sources say, he’s pretty much following the party line.”

Shawn leaned forward resting his elbows on the table. “I wish I could get him out of their clutches. If he was here I could undo the brainwashing that the system has stuffed in his ears for the last fourteen years. When he completes boot camp and advanced training, see if you can find out where his first duty station is. I’d like to send a team to pull a snatch and grab, then bring him back here.”

Holliday nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Good. Keep me posted. I guess that’s it. I want to see how they’re coming with my ship.” Shawn dismissed the men from the briefing and stood to his feet. A sense of sadness and regret sank into Shawn’s being when his thoughts drifted to his brother David. God how I wish he were here with me now.

Shawn stepped out of his office and headed down a corridor. He passed several more offices and exited the office complex. Heading down another hallway, he passed the company store, the miner’s lounge, and the REC room. A large building with a hardened glass dome covering its roof was on top of the mining complex. The top-level housed the support facilities, such as the medical center, and the cafeteria. It housed other facilities that the miners needed to survive on Europa.

The second level housed the maintenance and engineering department. The engineering department held the machines, which provided the oxygen for the facility. It held huge gravity generators, which produced an Earth-like gravity for the mines. There was a network of tunnels that connected all the mining sites on Europa.

Shawn shivered from the cool temperatures in the corridor and hurried to the nearest turbo lift. He rode it down to level two and headed down a narrow corridor to maintenance. A young maintenance tech smiled when he stepped into the maintenance shed. “Hello, Mr. President. What can I do for you?”

Shawn laughed. He was having a hard time getting used to people calling him Mr. President. “I need a sled. I’d like to go over to site D and see how the boys are coming along on my new space cruiser.”

“I got one right here. I charged the batteries and did a tune-up on this one. It’s yours if you want it.” Shawn looked down at the small vehicle. It reminded him of the old-fashioned scooters that kids used to ride. It consisted of a driver’s seat with a T-bar control handle. Behind the driver’s seat was a flat dump bed, which the miners used to carry equipment back and forth in the mines.

“Thanks.” Shawn sat down in the driver’s seat and switched on the machine, using a thumb switch on the left T handle handgrip. The sled hummed to life and rose two inches off the ground on a cushion of air. He turned the handle hit the forward thrust button with his right thumb and cranked the throttle. The machine moved forward and Shawn turned around. He exited the maintenance shed through a large roll-up door and headed down the corridor. Passing several doorways in the metal bulkheads on his left and right, he headed down the corridor. He took a turbo lift down several levels into the bowels of Europa.

Shawn exited site A through a massive set of steel-reinforced doors. The metal bulkhead gave way to the icy walls of the tunnel system. He left site A behind traveling underneath the surface of Europa through the vast network of tunnels that connected the mining sites. Tiny flakes of ice flew up into the air while the sled hummed along. To Shawn, it felt as though he was driving through an ice storm. He leaned over the T bar peering into the tunnel ahead of him. The hum of the sled’s thrusters echoed off the icy walls of the tunnel and provided, a background noise.

Forty-five minutes later, Shawn reduced his speed. The electronic eye on the door registered his approach. The steel doors opened. Shawn pulled into the maintenance building and turned off the sled. He climbed off the vehicle and crossed the messy floor to a raised platform. Men gathered around a sleek-looking space cruiser. Shawn breathed in the smell of grease and oil. He watched one of the men put a fresh coat of ocean blue paint on the exterior of the craft.

“How goes it?” Shawn asked, stepping up to the group.

“Fine Mr. President. Our painter here is going to add the gold trim plus the presidential seal, once the base coat dries. Your new ship should be ready for space in a couple of days,” a young blond-headed maintenance tech said.

Shawn gazed about. “Would you mind if I take a look inside?”

“Not at all. I’ll give you the grand tour.” Shawn jumped up onto the platform and followed the maintenance tech up the boarding ramp. They went through an airlock and stepped into a lounge area. Another maintenance tech rolled out a long roll of ocean blue shag carpet. Shawn looked around the lounge. There were two leather couches, a bar, and a food and beverage center. There was a stereo system and a VID screen on the bulkhead next to the airlock.

“What about the hidden storage areas I asked for?”

“They’re right under our feet. These J bolts on the floor will be out of sight, once they install the carpet. You’ll have to move the furniture and lift these little squares of carpeting to get to them. Pull up on the J bolts, give them a turn and remove sections of the deck covers to access the storage. We tore out part of the former crew area and created a small cargo bay. We also created a hidden storage area under the deck in the bay. We had some guys cut away a section of the hull on the aft end to create a door to unload equipment. They’re installing the hydraulics to raise and lower the ramp as we speak.”

Shawn smiled. “Excellent.”

“Would you like to see the bridge?”

“That was going to be my next request.” The maintenance tech led him forward and through a hatchway to the bridge. Two plush black leather seats were set facing forward. A bank of computer consoles was set in front of the chairs. Mounted in the forward bulkhead was a rectangular viewscreen.

The maintenance tech smiled. “One person can fly this baby with ease. The seat on the left is the captain’s station. He operates the helm. The one on the right is the co-pilot’s station. It doubles as the communications officer’s station. If you have to fly by yourself, let’s say your co-pilot is unavailable. Maybe he’s getting a few hours of rack time; you can divert his systems to your station. We’ve installed small laser cannons and small plasma torpedoes to the bottom of the vessel. This baby packs a big punch. You access the weapons from both the pilot and co-pilot’s chair.”

“Cool. You people are doing a great job.”

“Would you like to see your quarters?”

Shawn nodded. “Lead the way.” Shawn followed the maintenance tech back the way they came. They headed across the lounge to another hatchway. They stepped into a narrow passageway. The maintenance tech opened a door on his left.

“This is your quarters.” Shawn looked into the room and saw a queen-sized bed that was set on a sea of plush blue carpet. There was a small wet bar, a small table, and a doorway that led to what he assumed was the bathroom.

“Nice.” Shawn stepped back out into the passageway. The maintenance tech opened a door on his right and Shawn stuck his head in the door.

“This is the crew berthing area.” Shawn saw four flip-down metal racks. There were two on each side of a narrow passageway, complete with mattresses and blankets. There were storage bins built into the bulkhead underneath each bunk. At the end of the passageway set a table, with four chairs set on the metal diamond plate covering the floor. A hatchway in the aft bullhead lead to what Shawn assumed was the crew’s bath and shower room. They stepped back into the hallway. Shawn followed the maintenance tech to the hatchway at the end of the central corridor. “This is your cargo bay.” Shawn looked across the small rectangular-shaped bay. He watched the men on the aft end raise the door. “We’re putting in the hydraulic system now. When we’re finished, you’ll have a ramp to load and unload cargo, plus another airlock back here.”

“Good. Let your people know that I’m pleased. They do good work.” Finished with the tour, Shawn stood with the men gathered around the small vessel. He shook their hands. “Thank you men for all your hard work.”

“When do you think the feds will attack?” one of the men asked.

“I hope they don’t. I hope they give in to our demands, but if they do, it will take at least six months for them to get a sizable force together. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then.”

“Where are you off to now sir?” someone asked.

“I thought I’d check on our new military forces and see how the training’s going. Then I thought I’d take a rover out on the surface and check on the men preparing for our defense.”

“Thanks for stopping by, Mr. President. You’re welcome here any time. We’re putting in a lot of overtime to get your ship ready. The men will do you proud,” the maintenance tech that had given Shawn the tour of the vessel said.

“I’m already proud.” Shawn climbed back on the sled, exited the maintenance shed, and sped down a wide corridor toward a large turbo lift. He rode the lift down to the next level, housing the new military complex. He hit the thrusters on the sled, exited the turbo lift, entered the new military complex, and headed through a -maze of corridors until he reached the office complex. Shawn met Wilson at his office, left the sled there and they climbed into a hovercraft. John climbed into the driver’s seat, flipped a lever on the dashboard and a clear glass dome flipped down covering the driver’s compartment. There was a faint whine inside the vehicle when John turned on the craft’s engine. John moved the T handle in the center of the console forward and the vehicle moved forward riding on a cushion of air.

“Where to first Mr. President?”

“Knock off the Mr. President stuff. I’ve about had enough of that.”

John laughed. “That’s something you’re going to have to get used to. So where to?”

“You’re driving.”

John moved the joystick forward. The hovercraft increased speed and they headed down the main corridor. “Let’s head to the rifle range.” They approached an intersection where two tunnels met. John took a left turn and pulled into a large cavern. The interior lighting lit up the underground shooting range. John pulled up next to the range tower. He stopped in front of a large wooden structure set next to the firing line. Men lay in the prone position at their shooting stations. They fired at targets three hundred yards downrange. Shawn climbed out of the hovercraft. The voice of the range master came from exterior speakers on the tower.

“Cease fire! Let’s take a break!” The soldiers of the New Republic gathered around their new president. The men saluted and stood at attention.

“As you were,” Shawn said and the men gathered around him. “Are you guys ready to kick some federal ass?” A cheer rose from the group.

“You bet your ass we are,” one of the soldiers said.

Shawn smiled. “Good. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope the council will listen to reason.”

“Fat chance of that,” someone said.

Wilson grinned. “What other government can the president walk among his people freely? The presidents of the economic unions don’t go anywhere without their entourage. They couldn’t even do that in the old United States.”

“I hope it stays this way.”

The range master climbed down the wooden ladder from his tower. The grizzled old sergeant smiled, extended his hand and they shook. “What can we do for you, Mr. President?”

“I came to see you people shoot.”

“We’ve spent the last three days familiarizing ourselves with the new weapons and snapping in. Now we’re shooting to qualify. If you’ll take a seat in the bleachers behind the shooting stations, we’ll continue.”

“Good. Carry on sergeant,” Shawn said.

“You heard the man! Take your positions!” a young corporal assisting the range master yelled. The men scrambled to their shooting stations. Gallagher and Wilson took seats in the bleachers. The troops opened up with their M-23 blasters. They fired solid projectiles and then switched to laser blast. After using up several energy packs, they switched to the explosive rounds. The sound of gunfire echoed through the underground cavern.

“What do you think?” John asked after watching the first group shoot.

Shawn paused for a second. “They’re doing all right. They could use more shooting time.”

“Have you seen enough?”

Shawn nodded. “Yeah. Let’s roll.” They climbed back into the hovercraft. John headed across the icy cavern leaving the shooting range behind. They stopped to watch some men run through an obstacle course. The troops jumped over walls and ran across balance beams. They climbed wooden towers, and at the top, they repelled to the ground.

“They’ll shape up,” John said.

“Yeah, but we need to be outside on the surface training with their weapons in EVA suits.”

“That’s in the works. Have you seen enough?”

“Yeah. Take me back to my sled.”

John drove across the cavern heading back to the office complex and passed a squad bay. Shawn glanced out the passenger window watching a platoon practice close order drill. His mind flashed back to his days in the Federal Defense Forces.

“Do you think they’ll be ready?” Shawn asked watching the troops marching in step.

“God I hope so.”


Linda Van Horn sat at her station listening to music on a set of headphones. She drummed her fingers on her console and logged onto a computer game, trying to stave off the boredom. Normally, a shift in traffic control was stressful. There were always ships entering and leaving the system. She zoomed in with the station’s exterior cameras. She saw all the tanker ships parked on the surface of the various moons orbiting Jupiter. Before they took over the station, a shift in the main control center flew by. You kept busy talking to inbound or outbound vessels and tried to verify each ship’s registry.

Her orders were simple: to watch for and identify inbound traffic. Since the takeover, not a single ship had approached from the Asteroid belt. Jan Cunningham worked at the next station. She crossed the control center from the beverage station, handed Linda a cup of coffee, and offered her a doughnut from a tray.

“Thank you,” Linda said taking a doughnut and a cup of coffee. Jan brushed a strand of strawberry blonde hair out of her face and sat down at her workstation.

“Another boring shift. Things were never like this before,” Jan said. She tossed back her dark hair and took a drink from her coffee cup.

“We’d better enjoy it while it lasts. When the federal troops arrive things are going to get exciting.”

“That scares me. What are we supposed to do if they retake the station?”

“Didn’t you see the directive? If they get by the troops garrisoned here, we’re to seal off the control center. We’re to flee in the escape pods.” Linda blew across the rim of her coffee cup cooling off the hot liquid and brushed doughnut crumbs off her lap.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope they can reach some kind of agreement.”

A beeping sound coming from her console caused Linda to look down at her screen. “Holy shit!” Linda said. She straightened up in her seat. Her hands moved across the virtual keyboard activating her communications system.

“What?” Jan asked, turning to her screen.

“I’ve got over two hundred frigates and space cruisers inbound from the asteroid belt on my scope. I hope they’re friendly and not PPF!”


After viewing the troops, John drove back to where they left the sled. “Where are you off to now?” he asked.

“I thought I’d head topside and go out on the surface. I want to check out a rover from the motor pool and see how the construction crews are doing. Those fighting positions need to be right when the federal boys show up.” Shawn climbed out of the vehicle.

“Climb back in. I’ll take you there and go with you.”

Shawn climbed back into the hovercraft. When they reached the office complex at site A, they donned EVA suits and headed down the corridor to the main exit. Inside the airlock, they put on their helmets and checked their oxygen tanks. Finished with the equipment checks, Shawn opened the outer door. They stepped out onto the surface of Europa. Their gravity boots kept them from floating away in the low gravity. They crossed the icy street to the motor pool. Inside the EVA suit, Shawn shivered from the cold. He adjusted the suit’s environmental controls using a tiny knob on the base of his helmet. They entered the motor pool through the main airlock. John secured an atmospherically contained land rover and headed out onto the surface. Shawn stored their EVA suits in a storage compartment behind the cockpit of the vehicle. On the first day of the strike, the pilots parked the tanker ships on the surface. Shawn had them moved to create obstacles for an invading federal force. He wanted to channel the opposing troops down a small series of canyons, near the mining facility.

Near the top of these canyons, construction crews built bunkers and fighting positions. On the floor of the canyon, a work detail dug spider holes and tank traps. What Shawn hoped to do was to catch the federal troops on the canyon floor in an ambush. He wanted a good field of fire from both sides to catch the federal forces in a crossfire.

“Pull over,” Shawn said.

John brought the Land Rover to a stop. They suited up in their EVA suits and did an equipment check. Finished with the equipment check, Shawn exited the vehicle and John stepped out of the airlock behind him. Using the jet packs built into their EVA suits, they shot up into the air and set down on the top of the ridge. Shawn paused for a few seconds looking across the icy planes of Europa. The surface of the moon looked like a rolling sea of ice. The canyons were created using heavy equipment and they used tanker ships to set them up as obstacles between the series of canyons. The canyons looked like scars upon the ice. The intent was to close off all other approaches to the mining colony. Entering the fighting position through a tunnel leading down into the ridgeline, they descended toward the edge of the canyon and stepped into a ten-by-ten rectangular room. It had an opening in the ice where a man could shoot down at the floor of the canyon below. Two men working in the fighting positions snapped to attention.

“Mr. President, sir. Nobody told us you were coming,” one of the men said. He seemed nervous.

“I thought I’d stop by to see how things are progressing,” Shawn said.

“As you can see sir,” the man said motioning to the room. “We have finished construction of this position. We’re mounting the main guns and storing equipment. We’ll move to the next position shortly. There’s another crew working on the other side of the canyon.”

Shawn took in his surroundings. Construction crews mounted a large laser-powered weapon to the opening overlooking the canyon. Stacks of M-23 blasters along with ammo and energy packs were set in the corner. There were also boxes of grenades and a stack of rocket launchers. “Good. You men are doing good work.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Shawn’s com-link beeped. “Gallagher here,” he said into the voice-activated mike.

The voice of Shawn’s secretary came through the speakers on Shawn’s EVA suit. “Mr. President. I got a com from spacedock. Linda says we’ve got company coming. You’d best get back here in a hurry.”


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Make Money Online.

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Hello everyone this is Dave the Miracle Maker. I hope you all are having a wonderful day. It’ another great day up here on the high Desert of Southern California. I am almost finished with the rough draft of my new novel, Gone Missing I only have a couple of chapters left to write. It has been a fun project so far.

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Now for your reading pleasue check out chapter of my science fiction novel, the Battle for Europa

Chapter 6

Cyrus Bonelli stood by a window on the top floor of the CEU council building in New York City. The building was set on the same spot that had once housed the old United Nations building. Cyrus wished that he was back home in Italy. Gazing out at the sprawling city below, he watched aircars pass by in the night. A diplomatic shuttle descended to the roof of the building. God, I hate New York. One more year and my term as president of the council will be over. Some men coveted the position, but Cyrus loathed it. As council president, you were the most powerful man, on Earth. You were also the most powerful man in the entire solar system.

With great power comes great responsibility. Sure, the apartment occupying the entire floor below the council chambers is nice. The perks and the money are good, but the stress could send me to an early grave. As if I don’t have enough on my plate dealing with all these bureaucrats, and now this. If I catch this Shawn Gallagher, I’ll fire the laser bolt into the back of his head that takes his life. That’s why the president only serves one six-year term. The job is too much for one man.

Cyrus turned and gazed at the council floor below. This was where the council made the major decisions that affected the lives of everyone. His mind drifted to the past. In a terrorist attack on 09-11-2001, two jet planes crashed into the old twin towers, bringing them down. The attack killed a large number of people. That catalyst led to the Third World War. One of the last accomplishments of the old regime in Washington was to build a monument to the ones lost in the terrorist attacks. It was one of the only remaining monuments of that failed regime.

Cyrus stepped down from the raised viewing platform and crossed the spectator area of the council chamber. He ignored the hum of conversation, climbed the steps to the platform, and stood behind the podium. The representatives from the colonies fill the chamber. The presidents of the various economic unions and other dignitaries set among them. He looked at the digital timepiece embedded in his wrist. A sense of revulsion passed through him. At midnight, New York time, Cyrus banged the gavel.

“Gentlemen. Presidents and Governor Generals. Let’s bring the room to order.” A hush fell over the council floor. “Most of you know why I’ve called this emergency meeting of the council. If you haven’t seen the news, I’ll play the piece for you now. If I can draw your attention to the VID screen behind me.”

The image of Shawn Gallagher filled the VID screen hanging from the ceiling behind him. Cyrus turned up the sound. On the screen, Gallagher read the Declaration of Independence. He read the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of rights. Gallagher announced the independence of the mining colonies and announced the formation of a new republic. When the Video finished, Cyrus turned off the VID screen. Pandemonium filled the council chamber.

“I’ll have, order on the council floor!” Cyrus yelled banging his gavel. “The question before us is what to do about this son of a bitch. It is my recommendation that we squash this little man and his followers. We need to squash them like the cockroaches they are. I put before the council a military solution.”

“Mr. Chairman. The president of the European Union wishes to speak,” a gray-haired skinny man said. He stood to his feet.

Cyrus grimaced, feeling acid reflux in his throat. “The chair so recognizes the president of the European Union.”

“Mr. President, these miners have us over a barrel. They control the helium-3 and the hydrogen that powers our ships. They mine the deuterium crystals. What about our new fleet of deep space vessels? Will they be a part of this military force to rid the solar system of this rabble?”

“No. The deep-space fleet will proceed with its mission. They do hold us over a barrel by denying us hydrogen, water ice, deuterium crystals, and helium-3. That is why I propose this military campaign,” Cyrus said.

“This is folly. You saw what they did to that helium tanker. In light of the trouble on Mars, I’d think that a major military campaign would be the last thing that you’d want. I propose a limited Special Forces operation using Planetary Patrol vessels and men. Using the element of surprise, they could land on Europa and put an end to this.”

Cyrus felt the heat rising in his forehead. “Need I remind you that it’s not only Europa?”

“Mr. Chairman. The representative for Consolidated Mining wishes to speak,” a mining official jumping to his feet.

“The chair so recognizes.”

“Mr. Chairman. Why not give them what they want? We could give them limited autonomy. The fleet of tankers they abducted belongs to my company. We could demand payment for the tankers, and charge them a tax for moving the loads through our space. We could pay them for helium, hydrogen, water ice, and deuterium, but they will need goods from Earth. We could negotiate trade deals.” The room erupted into chaos.

Cyrus felt a ball of acid form in his stomach. His cheeks reddened in anger and his hands white-knuckled the podium. These spineless bastards are going to let this rabble have their way. The council went back and forth debating the issue well into the early hours of the morning. By the time they reached a decision, Cyrus Bonelli felt like resigning in frustration.


Captain Chambers sat in his chair on the command platform of the Port Royal. Next to him, in the first officer’s chair, sat his friend and new first officer, Craig Bannister. A cold chill shot down Chambers’ back. I wish they’d turn up the damn heat. He gazed down at the technicians manning the workstations on the bridge. The workstations consisted of computer panels and virtual keyboards. Cushioned chairs were set at each station for the operator.

His eyes roving the bridge, Chambers looked at the helm. He took in the weapons station, to the left of the helm. The chief weapons specialist directed fire communication with the weapons center. His eyes kept moving, taking in the engineering station, to the right of the helm. The engineering specialist communicated with the chief engineer in the engine room. One of the technicians, working on a computer, let out a curse. Chambers’ eyes drifted to the communications officer’s station. It set in front of the engineering specialist station, but slightly to his right. It filled space on the fore bulkhead next to the main viewscreen. I’m supposed to be in charge of all this? Somehow I don’t feel up to the task.

Chambers’ eyes moved to the left of the main viewscreen. A large bank of computer screens and other instruments occupied much of the bulkhead. He took in the science officer’s station. His eyes locked onto the main viewscreen occupying the entire foreword bulkhead. Space, the wonder of it all. A thrill shot through him.

Chambers drummed his fingers on the armrest of his chair. He waited for the traffic controller to allow them to leave the spacedock. They would soon join the fleet for space trials. Chambers and, Banister had been on board the Port Royal for seventy-two hours. It had been an eventful three days.

“Hurry up and wait,” Chambers said.

“That’s the navy way,” Banister said. “Patience, Captain.”

“Patience, hell. I want to kill something!” Chambers yelled in mock seriousness and they both laughed. He felt like a little kid on a grand adventure. His mind drifted back to his first morning on board the ship.

“Captain Chambers, this is your zero five hundred wakeup call. The kitchen staff will serve breakfast in the officers’ mess at zero six hundred hours. After breakfast, I’ll give you and Mr. Banister a tour of the ship, sir,” the voice of Ensign Palmer said. It came over the small speaker next to the captain’s bed. Chambers woke from a deep slumber, rolled out of bed placing his feet on the floor. He knuckled sleep from his eyes. Goose flesh beaded up on his arms and legs.

“All right. Thank you. I’m up.”

“Very well. Carry on sir,” Palmer said and ended the transmission.

“Lights on.” His cabin lights turned on. He rose to his feet, took his black robe along with a black pair of slippers from his seabag, and put them on. Dressed in his robe and slippers, he stumbled to the food and beverage station. “Coffee, Black.” A cup dropped into a slot, the coffee started brewing and a few seconds later, scalding hot coffee filled the cup. He took the cup, the warm cup feeling good in his cold hands, from the machine. Chambers stumbled over to the table in the center of his cabin, sat down, and took the first tentative sip of the hot liquid. “That’s what I’m talking about.” The hot coffee chased the cobwebs of sleep from his mind and after drinking two cups, he stepped into the shower.

“Water, hot. Vigorous massage.” The water in the shower turned on, Chambers lathered up his muscled body and then rinsed off. “Blow dry,” he said to the room’s computer. Hot jets of air hit his body drying him off. Stepping out of the shower, he headed back to the main cabin, took out a fresh uniform, and put it on. Dressed, he went to the room’s computer control panel. He set the computer system from voice-activated to, voice-activated audible response. From the list of personality choices, he chose, sensual, female. He entered the name, Mary Ann and entered his, own name under room occupant.

“Hello Mary Ann,” he said after setting the controls.

“Hello, Captain. How may I assist you?” a seductive female voice came over the room’s speakers in response.

“I’m fine Mary Ann. I’m checking out the system.” He went to the beverage station and retrieved another cup of coffee, polished his boots, and shined his brass belt buckle between occasional sips of coffee. Finished with his boots and buckle, he put on his boots and adjusted his uniform. He looked at the timepiece embedded in his wrist. It read 0558. The door chime rang. He stepped to the door. The door opened. Lieutenant Palmer and First Officer Bannister stood in the hallway.

“Are you ready for some breakfast sir?” Palmer asked.

“Boy Howdy. I’m about as hungry as an anorexic polar bear,” Chambers said.

“Right. If you’ll follow me, sir.” Palmer led them down the dim hallway.

“Did someone forget to pay the light bill? And why is it so cold in the hallway?” Chambers asked.

“The lights in the hallway are dim to simulate early morning. They’ll get brighter as the day goes by. The engineers turn the heat down in the corridors in the wee hours to conserve energy.”

“Interesting. How’d you sleep?” Chambers asked Bannister.

Banister shrugged. “Like a baby. How about you?”

“Like the dead. How’d you set your room’s computer?”

Banister grinned. “Female sensual with a French accent. I love a woman with a French accent.”

Chambers laughed. “I set mine to sensual, female American.”

“A deck not only consists of the bridge and officers’ mess. It also houses the PX, sickbay, and the officers’ pub. Our fitness center and recreational complex are also on A deck. It consists of a bowling alley, a movie theater, a concert hall, a sports arena, and a swimming pool. There is also a hot tub. There are several other pubs on this deck besides the officers’ pub. The bordello is at the end of the hallway,” Palmer said and led them down the main corridor toward the officers’ mess.

Chambers’ bottom jaw dropped. “The bordello? You mean there’s a whore house on board ship?”

“The brass prefers the term Comfort Station. This is a Deep Space Battle Cruiser. It will be away from Earth for years at a time. Military REGs frown on fraternization among the ship’s military personnel. They realize that people have needs. The comfort girls, and the people working in the PX or at the REC center or in the pubs, work for an outside contractor. They are there to serve the needs of the service. Fraternization with contracted personnel is okay.” Palmer stepped into the officers’ mess. Chambers and Bannister followed. A few low-ranking officers sat at the various tables. They gave Chambers and Bannister the once over. Palmer grabbed a metal tray moving down the serving line. Chambers and Bannister picked up their trays and followed. Food workers piled scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and a stack of pancakes onto their trays. A man in his fifties with short gray hair stepped out of the kitchen. He approached the three officers and snapped off a salute.

“Captain Chambers. First Officer Bannister. Welcome aboard. I am Mess Sergeant Austen Jones. I hope you gentleman enjoy your meal.”

“If it tastes as good as it smells I’ll be happy,” Chambers said.

“If there is anything you need, don’t be afraid to ask.” At the end of the serving line, Chambers poured himself a cup of coffee and they found a seat. On the table, set a pitcher of orange juice, Maple syrup, salt, and pepper shakers. Chambers poured himself some orange juice and poured Maple Syrup over his hotcakes. Taking a bite from the stack of pancakes, he savored the first morsel in his mouth.

“This food is delicious. How can the mess hall maintain this level of proficiency, once we’ve been, at space for a year or more?” Chambers asked.

“The ship is self-sufficient. We grow and raise, our food down on the farm. I’ll show you after we eat. I’m sure the chief horticulturist will give you the grand tour,” Palmer said.

“Interesting. I’d enjoy seeing this farm,” Bannister said. Finished with breakfast, Palmer led them out of the officers’ mess. They headed down the hallway. Palmer showed them the PX, the sickbay, and the fitness center. He showed them the recreation facilities and the security center. Palmer gave them a tour of the science labs, the fire station, and the damage control center. The last place they saw on A-deck was the bordello. Chambers noticed a few young women in skimpy attire sitting at a bar drinking. He breathed in the smell of perfume. The madam in charge took them on a tour. She explained to the captain that all the girls had regular medical checkups. She said that they were free of any sexually transmitted diseases and said that they were there to support the troops.

After leaving the bordello, Palmer led Chambers and Bannister to the turbo lifts. They boarded a lift and headed down into the bowels of the ship. “We’re passing decks A-1, A-2, and A-3 which consists of officers sleeping berths. The officers’ cabins are slightly bigger than the Non-Com quarters. The Non-Com quarters are further below,” Palmer said. Palmer gave them a tour of the shuttle bay, the cargo bay, and the weapons center. Further, into the bowels of the ship, he showed them the Fleet Marine decks. The decks housed their onboard training facilities, office complex, and troop berthing area. The troop area was empty, except for a couple of officers in the officers’ complex. Palmer introduced Chambers and Bannister to the Fleet Marine commander.

Below the Fleet Marine area, was the crew berthing area for the Navy enlisted personnel. One deck below this lay the engine room. Palmer showed off the fusion reactor and the gravity generator. He showed them the huge compressors that provided the ship’s oxygen. Palmer introduced the captain and first officer to the chief engineer. The last stop of the tour was the farm.

Chambers stepped out of the turbo lift and stood in the center of the deck. He gazed about in awe breathing in the rich aroma of animal dung. On the aft end of the deck set several pens where cattle and sheep grazed. He saw an area housing chickens and turkeys. There was a vast field of vegetables and several water tanks. His eyes wandered to an office complex occupying the fore-end of the deck. An older white-headed man wearing a white lab coat approached them.

“Hello, Captain. I’m Chris Webster. Chief horticulturalists. Would you like a tour of the farm?”

“I’d love one.” The horticulturist showed them the lab area where they cloned the embryos. He showed them where they raised the animals until they were old enough to graze on their own. Then he showed them the meat house where they butchered the animals and processed the meat.

“What are these water tanks for?” Chambers asked.

“The four vertical tanks, which are open on the top, are our fish ponds. We raise a variety of freshwater and saltwater fish, plus lobsters and scrimp. Those large circular tanks standing horizontally are the ship’s water supply. The building next to those tanks is the water treatment facility. Every drop of water used onboard the ship gets recycled.”

“You mean that last cup of coffee I drank came from piss water?”

The white-haired horticulturist laughed. “No. The wastewater gets broken down to its purest form. The water in your coffee came from pure H2o. Even the solid waste generated on the ship is, used. We use it as fertilizer to grow our crops. The growth cycles are every three weeks. Every three weeks we slaughter the meat-bearing animals and bring in a vegetable crop. We use growth hormones. We grow our, own feed for the animals. It is very self-sufficient. We can supply the ship’s personnel with a well-balanced diet indefinably. That concludes the tour, Captain. Do you have any questions? If not, I’m sure you have other duties you’d like to attend to.”

“You might want to check the ship personnel records or compile a duty roster. We’re short on people, right now. I’m sure there are things you need to do to prepare for the admiral’s briefing,” Palmer said.

“Yes. Let’s head topside. Duty calls.” They headed for the turbo lifts.

Chambers and Bannister rode the turbo lift down to the shuttle bay at nineteen hundred and thirty hours ship time. They scheduled a shuttle flight to the CEU Saratoga for the admiral’s briefing.

“Are you ready?” Bannister asked.

Chambers laughed. “I’m about as nervous as a two-dollar whore in church, but I’m ready. Right now, the ship is so understaffed that I do not see how he expects us to do any space trials. I have duty rosters from the department heads and I have a list of all personnel on board. I have status reports from every department head.”

Banister gripped Chambers’ arm. “You’ll do fine. This is only a shakedown cruise. We’ll have a full boat when we launch the actual mission.” The doors to the turbo lift opened, they stepped into the launch bay and a young pilot stood up giving them a salute.

“Captain Chambers. First Officer Bannister, your shuttle waits.”

“Lead the way,” Chambers said. The shuttle pilot led them through an airlock, onto the shuttle bay, and led them to the captain’s shuttle setting in the center of the launch bay.

“If you gentlemen will find yourselves a seat and strap in, we’ll take off shortly.” They sauntered up the boarding ramp onto the shuttle. The pilot headed forward through a small hatchway to the cockpit. Chambers and Bannister sat down in a row of seats facing the fore-end of the shuttle. Behind them set the captain’s lounge. The pilot’s voice came over the PA system calling the launch control center.

“Captain’s shuttle to launch control, request permission to launch.”

“Captain’s shuttle you are a go for launch out of tube three in ninety-second. You may proceed to launch gate three,” the launch control officer said. They felt the shuttle move into position. Buzzers ring throughout the launch bay.

“All personnel clear the launch bay.” The voice of the launch control officer came over the speaker once more. “Port Royal captain’s shuttle you are clear to launch.” Gee forces pushed them back into their seats as the shuttle shot down the launch tube and out to space.

Their shuttle landed on the launch bay of the CEU-Saratoga a few minutes later. Chambers and Bannister gazed out a porthole in awe at the size of the shuttle bay. When the launch control restored oxygen to the launch bay, they disembarked. A young naval ensign met them at the exit ramp.

“Gentleman. I am Ensign Hamilton. Admiral Ivanov requests that you meet him in the officers’ mess. He has a banquet prepared. If you would follow me.”

“Lead the way,” Chambers said. The ensign led them through an airlock to a turbo lift on A deck and then led them down to the officers’ mess. They stepped into the mess hall. For a few seconds, Chambers stood staring about. Tables covered with silk tablecloths and fine china filled the room. The officers of the new fleet sat at tables throughout the mess hall. They engaged in light conversation while drinking wine from expensive goblets. Stewards poured drinks and brought appetizers before the main course. They catered to the officers’ every need. The smell of delicious food permeated the room causing Chambers’ stomach to rumble.

“Captain Chambers and First Officer Bannister. If you will follow me, I’ll show you to your table,” a black steward at the doorway said. They followed him through the crowded dining hall.

“This is some fancy, doings,” Chambers said.

“I know you’d rather be sitting somewhere eating a greasy burger with your sleeves rolled up. At least try to act civilized.” The stewards brought plates filled with boiled lobster. Others brought plates filled with roast beef and mashed potatoes. Still, others filled their goblets with wine. Bannister spread a napkin across his lap. Chambers tossed his napkin aside and dug in with abandonment.

Banister shook his head. “I can’t take you anywhere.”

After the meal, Admiral Boris Ivanov stood before the assembled officers.

“Gentleman. If you haven’t seen the news, I’ll play a clip for you that aired on the VID-net last night.” He turned on the VID screen on the bulkhead behind him. The image of Shawn Gallagher filled the screen. They watched him declare independence and announce the formation of the New Republic. A hush fell over the mess hall. When the VID clip finished playing, Admiral Ivanov turned off the VID screen.

“That man’s face looks familiar,” Chambers whispered to Bannister.

“How will this affect our mission?” one of the officers asked.

“It shouldn’t affect it at all. The Navy has other ships and troops to deal with the situation. Rumor has it that they are going to use the PPF forces. When our launch window arrives, the planets in our solar system will be in alignment. We will use Jupiter’s orbit to sling-shot us to the outer edges of the solar system. If these rabble-rousers give us any problem, we’ll destroy them. If they don’t, we’ll leave them for others to deal with.” Ivanov took a drink of wine from his goblet and continued. “You have all chosen to dedicate your lives and careers to the Federal Defense. Don’t expect to see home for quite some time. Sitting before you at the table is your orders. Once we leave the solar system, we will split the fleet. I will take half the fleet to system 23595. Admiral Larsen will lead the rest of the fleet to Alpha Centauri. Our mission is to contact any alien life forms that we encounter. We are to establish trade and secure new technologies as well as habitable worlds to colonize. There are other civilizations out there. I would like to make peaceful contact with them and form alliances.”

Ivanov turned the VID screen back on. He hit the still frame mode and started a slide show. “These images are from the archived rubble of the old regime. These slides show evidence that aliens from out of our solar system have visited Earth in its past.” On the screen, images of a flying disk appeared. Ivanov clicked to the next image. It showed a gray alien with an egg-shaped head, cat-like eyes, and gray rubbery skin.

“These are the grays. These may be some of the sentient beings we will find. Our scientists found some references to some species known as the Paladins. They are some type of Nordic humanoid race, but who knows? Gentlemen, we are about to make history.”

“How long will we be at space?” someone asked.

“Twenty-five years. We expect twelve years of travel time there and back, plus a year on station. Space trials will begin in three days.” A collective sigh came from the room. “I wish we had the technology as they showed in the old regimes’ entertainment shows. It would be convenient to pop across the galaxy using warp drive. It would be like Captain Kirk in the old television show known as Star Trek. So far, that technology eludes us. Our scientists are working on similar technologies to bend space and time.”

Admiral Ivanov opened the floor to questions. There were quite a few, but it was a more somber crowd that exited the mess hall after the mission briefing. Admiral Ivanov took his visiting officers on a tour of his war room after the briefing. The war room consisted of an upper deck above the main bridge. It had a clear hardened dome overhead instead of a metallic hull. With the magnification of the clear dome, he could see all the ships in the fleet. In the center of the war room, set a long table. The table’s surface consisted of a computer screen. The holographic images of each ship in the fleet appeared on the screen. Computer consoles and workstations occupied the bulkheads on the edges of the dome.

“I wanted you gentleman to see this,” Ivanov said. He motioned to the exterior of the clear super-hardened dome. Chambers and Bannister stared in awe at the massive vessels surrounding them.


The voice of the traffic controller brought Chambers’ mind back to the present. It reverberated throughout the bridge coming from the communications officer’s station.

“Traffic Control to the Port Royal. You are clear to leave the spacedock. Watch for incoming traffic. Have a pleasant voyage,” the controller said.

Chambers flipped the com switch on the arm of his chair. He overrode the communications officer’s station. “Roger, Traffic Control. We’ll see you in three months.” Chambers looked at the technician at the communications officer’s station. “Contact engineering. Have them blow the docking bolts.” A bang reverberated through the ship’s hull when the explosive bolts blew. The Port Royal drifted from the docking bay. Chambers looked at the technician manning the helm. “Take us out easy. Let’s form up with the fleet.”

“Aye Captain,” the technician said and pulled the ship forward.

Chambers looked at Banister and grinned. “Are you ready to see what this bucket can do?”

“You better believe it.” A grin crossed Banister’s face as well. The Port Royal moved away from the spacedock and took its place with the fleet. The new fleet, along with its support vessels, took a turn around the globe and then broke orbit heading to deep space.


Hello everyone, I hope you are having a

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Let Go of the Past

Hello everyone. I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. It’s a beautiful day up here in the high desert of Southern California. Before I get into my topic, I’d like to let you know a little bit about what’s going on with me. Regarding my writing, I am almost finished with the rough draft of my new novel, Gone Missing. I still have two or maybe three more chapters to go. I also have an audiobook back from the narrator. There is always something that I need to do. Yesterday I competed in a Karate tournament. I didn’t place but I had a great time. I did a weapons form, I spared and kept score. It was a busy day. I was living my best life and doing things that I enjoy.

How many of you have things that happened in your past that prevent you from manifesting the things that you want and desire? It could be beliefs about money, negative feelings about people, or feelings of lack or of being unworthy. It could be hard feelings toward another person over something that happened in the past. I know I am dealing with some of those. An example. About fifteen years ago when I was single, I went to the grocery store to stock up on two weeks’ worth of groceries. When I got to the checkout line and was about to pay for my groceries, the young woman at the counter scolded me for how much stuff I had in my cart. She said that living alone like I did, I didn’t need to buy that much stuff. This embarrassed me and pissed me off. I started to leave the cart where it set and walk out of the store, but I needed the groceries so I bit my tongue and paid for groceries. Now, over fifteen years later that woman still works in the grocery store where I shop sometimes. When I see her that instantly comes to mind even though it happened over fifteen years ago. She probably doesn’t even remember it. I need to let it go, so I purposefully get into her checkout lane and treat her with the utmost respect and courtesy.

What if there was a way to mentally time travel to your past and change the negative things that happened to you so that they no longer affect your present or your future? I’m not talking about jumping into a time machine and physically going to the past, though that would be way cool. What I am talking about is mental time travel. Going back to your past and getting rid of those negative emotions. Let them go so that you can live in the moment. Let them go so you can manifest miracles in your life. The mental Time Travel System can do that for you. The Mental Time Travel System is a course that helps you revisit your past to get rid of the things that are holding you back mentally and manifest your best life. I encourage you all to live in the moment and create your best life. Peace out

And now for your reading pleasure, the Battle for Europa chapter 5.

Chapter 5

David Gallagher and Alonzo Garcia stepped off the bus. They stood in front of the shuttle port on the naval base in San Diego. A cold breeze hit them in the face coming in off the ocean. In the bay, a tugboat blew its foghorn. Two men in naval uniforms passed by glancing over at the crowd of young men gathered in front of the spaceport. David and Alonzo followed the crowd of inductees into the shuttle port and stepped into the lobby falling into line at a reception desk.

The sound of excited conversation echoed through the room. David gazed about taking in the white marble tile on the floor and the pictures of old sailing vessels adorning the walls. Several wooden desks were set throughout the room. Lines of people stood at each desk. They stepped into one of the lines. When David reached the front of the line, a cute young woman wearing a naval uniform looked up and smiled. “Wave your chip across my scanner.” Breathing in her sweet perfume, David passed his wrist across a little black box on her desk. A printer setting behind the young woman squealed and printed out his ticket and boarding pass. “There is a bank of turbo lifts to your left. Take one up to the fifth-floor lobby. Your flight leaves in forty-five minutes.” She handed him his paperwork.

“Thank you, Miss.” David returned her smile and stepped out of line. After Alonzo received his ticket and boarding pass, he stepped up next to David.

“What time do you fly out?” David asked. He had to shout over the noise in the crowded lobby.

“Eight forty-five. How about you?”

David Glanced at Alonzo’s paperwork. “We’re on the same flight.”

They crossed the lobby to the turbo lifts elbowing their way through the crowd. When they reached the lifts, David ran his hand across a scan pad next to the door. The door opened, and they stepped inside. “Fifth floor.” The turbo lift’s voice-activated sensors put the machine in motion. They felt their stomachs drop and heard a slight whirring noise as the turbo lift shot up to the fifth floor. The doors opened and they stepped into a smaller, but no less crowded lobby. Looking across the room, David saw the terminal doors leading out to the shuttle pad. To the left of the terminal doors, set a bar and a lounge. “Let’s have a beer while we wait.” Loud neo-pop music emanated from the lounge.

Alonzo glanced down at his paperwork. “What flight are we on again?”

“Flight four zero seven. Why?”

“I don’t want to miss our flight when they call it over the PA.”

“We’ve got a forty-five-minute wait. This place should start to thin out a bit by then.” They wormed their way through the crowd to the bar.

“What can I get you boys?” a dark-haired waitress asked. She wore a skintight cocktail dress, cut low in the front that left little to the imagination. David inhaled her cheap perfume and checked out a field of tiny freckles displayed on the top of the woman’s breasts. He glanced down at the deep valley of cleavage for a second then his eyes darted back up to her face.

“A beer for me and my buddy. Make it two Blue Bombs.”

She gave him a seductive smile. “We don’t have it. All we have is the house blend on draft.”

“I guess that will have to do then,” David said staring into her almond-colored eyes. The waitress poured them each a beer and they sat at the bar. “I can’t believe it. We’re finally getting out of Diego.”

“I know. This town can kiss my ass goodbye.” Alonzo held up his glass. “A toast. To our new lives in the Federal Defense Forces. Who knows? If I like it, I could make a career out of it.”

David shook his head. “I’ll drink to that, but I doubt if I’ll do more than one hitch.” David raised his glass into the air.

Thirty-five minutes later, a computerized voice came over the room’s PA system. It announced that passengers could now board flights 407, 408, 409, and 410. David and Alonzo, both half-drunk, headed to the terminal gates. They stepped through the gates onto the shuttle pad. A cold ocean breeze hit them in the face once more while they headed toward the waiting shuttles.

“You can see the whole world from up here,” Alonzo said glancing about. From the vantage point on the fifth floor, not only could they see the entire base, but the entire city of San Diego. Off in the distance, they saw the dark blue water of the Pacific Ocean. A strong cold wind coming in off the water buffeted them.

“You better take a good look. We might not be back here for a long time.”

“Maybe never.” They stepped into the boarding line and handed a young man in an Air Force uniform their tickets and boarding passes.

“Welcome aboard, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Gallagher. I am Lieutenant Cunningham. I will be your flight attendant on this trip. Come aboard and find a seat where ever you like.”

“Thank you, sir,” Alonzo said, giving the young officer a drunken salute. They staggered up the boarding ramp and found seats on the left halfway up the aisle. David took a seat by the window and Alonzo took the seat next to the aisle.

“This is your pilot speaking. Welcome aboard. Please strap yourselves in. We will be taking off shortly. You are looking at a thirty-minute flight to Frisco and your new life in the Federal Defense Forces. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Your flight attendant will be handing out food and beverages. Please put on your seat belts now,” the voice of the shuttle pilot said coming over the PA system. The flight attendant closed the outer hatch. He helped people with their seatbelts, and then found a seat at the rear of the shuttle and strapped himself in. The pilot applied thrust; the shuttle rose off the pad and headed north. Once airborne, the flight attendant unfastened his seatbelt. He headed up the aisle passing out beverages.

“What will it be Gentlemen?” the flight attendant said when he stopped next to David and Alonzo’s seats.

“Give us each a beer,” David said. The flight attendant handed each a plastic bottle filled with beer. A loud cheer went up from the passengers when the shuttle passed over the city. The shuttle headed north to San Francisco.


They touched down on the landing pad on a naval base in San Francisco. The passengers boarded shuttle buses and headed to the induction center. The holographic image of a bus driver on the VID screen at the front of the bus kept up an ongoing commentary. He pointed out various buildings and landmarks along the route. The bus pulled up to the curb in front of a large brick building painted white. A banner strung across the front of the building in bold red letters said: Welcome Inductees. David and Alonzo followed the crowd to the Induction Center. Inside, several receptionists sat at tables. Across the lobby, a set of double doors set in the far wall behind the reception desks. Outside, more shuttle buses arrived bringing more inductees. David and Alonzo fell into line at the nearest table. When they reached the front of the line, a dark-haired lieutenant looked up and smiled. David couldn’t help but notice the cute little dimples in her cheeks, and her fresh scent. He thought she smelled as though she just stepped from the shower.

“Good morning. If you’ll run your wrist over my scanner, I’ll print up your records.” David ran his hand over the stationary scanning device on the reception desk. A printer behind the lieutenant printed up David’s school records. It printed his medical records plus all his background information. “Proceed to stage one. That will be in the orientation room. Go through the doors behind me. The orientation room will be the first door on your left when you head down the hallway.” She handed David his records.

“Thank you,” David said and then stepped out of line waiting for Alonzo. They crossed the lobby, stepped through the set of green doors, and into a long hallway that seemed to run on forever. Green tile covered the floor and brown wooden doors were evenly spaced on both sides of the hallway. They stopped at the first door on their left, where a gold plaque over the door said: Orientation Room. A blonde-haired female Air Force lieutenant standing by the door smiled.

“If you gentlemen will step inside and find a seat, we’ll get started as soon as the room fills up.” They stepped into a rectangular-shaped room. David glanced about for a second. Several tables were set perpendicular to a raised platform. A green carpet covered the stage. A small podium was set in its center, and military officers sat in chairs on the stage facing the tables. Pencils and stacks of paperwork were set on the tables in front of each chair. David and Alonzo made their way to the front of the room, sat down, and talked quietly while the room filled up with people.

A young naval officer stepped up to the podium. “Welcome to orientation. I am Ensign Blackwell. You can expect a full day of testing mental, physical, and physiological. As you can see, we will be doing things the old-fashioned way, today. Our digital pad system is down. Setting before you are some forms for you to fill out. They ask various questions about your background and interest. The last form asks you to choose which branch of federal service you are most interested in. I would ask that you save that form until you have heard from the men standing behind me. The Federal Defense Forces allow its inductees some choice in their assignments. As always, the needs of the service come first. Now I’d like to introduce Lieutenant Goldenstein from the Army.”

A muscular man with sandy-colored hair wearing a CEU-Army uniform stepped up to the podium. “Gentlemen. I hope you’re enjoying yourself so far. If you choose the Army, you can look forward to a grand adventure. You will do your boot camp at Fort Campbell Kentucky. You will serve your first term of enlistment on the moon or Mars. If you’re lucky, you might land an assignment here on Earth serving as peacekeepers. There is always some brush fire war popping up that we have to deal with. There is an element in the colonies, on the moon and Mars that is a constant source of irritation. It is the Army’s responsibility to deal with these miss guided insurrectionists. If you choose the Army, if you apply yourself and work hard, the chances for advancement are good. I won’t take up any more of your time. Thank you.”

He stepped away from the podium and then Ensign Blackwell stepped back up to the microphone. “Now we’ll hear from Lieutenant Baker from Fleet Marines.” A stocky, muscular man with dark hair and bulging biceps stood before the group.

“Hoorah! If you choose to serve with the Fleet Marines, you will serve on our space-going vessels. You could serve as peacekeepers here on Earth or Mars. You might get a shot at an Earth assignment and spend some time at sea. Those assignments usually go to second-term enlistments. If the brass assigns you to the space-born Fleet Marines, you will do your boot camp on the moon. If they assign you to the planet side division, you will do boot camp in San Diego.”

“I don’t want to go back there,” Alonzo whispered.

“I hear you. I’m choosing Fleet Marines, Space Division.”

“Let’s wait until we hear what the guys from the other branches have to say.” An Air Force officer replaced the marine lieutenant. He explained that as airmen, they would serve with the space fleet as shuttle pilots or mechanics and that you might serve on Earth at the various airbases. He said that if you went to flight school, you would fly air support for the Army or Marines and that in the Air Force, you would do your boot camp either in Texas or on the moon.

Another naval officer stepped to the podium, looked out at the inductees, and smiled. “Gentlemen. If you join the Navy, you will serve with the fleet in space or on one of the surface vessels on Earth. If you receive orders for the space division, you will do boot camp on the moon. If your orders assign you to the straight-leg Navy on Earth, you will do your boot camp in New Chicago, up by the Great Lakes. Either way, you are in for an adventure. You could also serve at one of the space stations orbiting Earth or Mars.” He paused and then said, “See the solar system, sail the world’s oceans, join the Navy.”

“I thought we were inductees? This guy acts like we have a choice,” David whispered.

“We can choose. It all depends on the numbers. The only thing we can’t choose is to say the hell with this shit and go home.” David let out a muffled giggle. He was feeling the effects of the alcohol they drank earlier, and a few heads turned giving him stern looks.

An officer from the Planetary Patrol Force stood behind the podium. He looked out at the inductees and smiled. “The PPF is a fast reaction force that spends most of its time chasing smugglers or pirates. We are the first ones the brass calls on when there is trouble anywhere in the solar system. If you join the PPF, you will do your boot camp on the moon and serve in space. Thank you,” the man said and then sat down.

Ensign Blackwell stepped back up to the podium. “Please fill out your last form choosing which branch of the service you would like to serve. Take your forms to the room across the hall for stage two of induction. That will be a physiological and political evaluation.”

“What are you choosing?” Alonzo asked.

“I told you. Fleet Marines, Space Division.” David filled out the last form. Finished with their paperwork, they stepped out the door. Another group of inductees filled the orientation room. They stepped through a doorway on the right side of the hallway. A plaque in the center of the door said: Stage Two, Psychological and political Evaluation. The room was filled with small desks and chairs like those used in school. More papers and pencils were set on the desk. Five small offices with glass windows were at the front of the room.

A young female naval officer standing at the front of the room smiled. “Inductees. Before you on each desk set a one hundred question test. There are no wrong or right answers. Answer the questions truthfully to the best of your ability. After you’re finished, remain seated. When you hear your name called, report to whichever evaluator calls your name. The evaluations will be in one of the offices behind me. Let’s start the test people. We have a lot of people to process today.”

David and Alonzo picked up their pencils and went to work on the test. The test consisted of true or false questions and some multiple-choice questions. There were also some abstract reasoning questions mixed in. David’s head pounded and he found it hard to concentrate. God, I drank too much beer.

After finishing the test, they sat back to wait, and after a few minutes, a fat man dressed in a black suit stepped out of one of the offices up front.

“Is there a Mr. David Gallagher here?” he asked.

“I’m Gallagher.” David made his way to the front.

“Come in. Have a seat, young man.” David followed him through the brown door. He sat down in an office chair across the desk from the fat political officer and handed over his paperwork breathing in the smell of stale tobacco and cheap whiskey.

“How are things going this morning?”

“Everything’s fine. Hectic, but fine,” David said.

“I see here that you chose the Fleet Marines Space Division to serve in. Why is that?”

“I want to get off the planet and see the solar system.”

“Yes. It’s an adventure out there. What we are going to do is I am going to ask you a series of questions. I want to answer with the first thing that comes off the top of your head. Do you think you can handle that?”

“Piece of cake.”

“Okay. Here we go. The first question.” He asked David questions about his loyalty to the Council of Economic Unions, his belief system, his value system, and his plans for the future. When he finished with his questions, the political officer looked up and smiled. “Your name got red-flagged on the computer. It is because of your relationship with someone named Shawn Gallagher. Do you know this person?”

David sighed, feeling the heat rise on his face. “He’s my brother.”

“It seems that your brother is part of some insurrectionist activities. He’s right in the middle of this work stoppage on Europa. There are rumors that he is part of a terrorist group, known as the People’s Fist. If that is true, when the federal forces catch him, he faces execution. What are your feelings about your brother’s activities? Do you share his nationalistic and insurrectionist views?”

“No. My loyalties lie with the federal system. It’s what pulled us out of the chaos of World War Three. My brother is a troublemaker. He has been from the time he was little until now.”

“Then you don’t approve of his activities?”

“No. We don’t even get along.”

“What if you get assigned to a mission to apprehend your brother? Let’s say your superiors ordered you to use deadly force if he resisted. If not, you are to bring him in for trial and execution?”

David paused. “I would do my duty. I wouldn’t like it, but I would do my duty.”

“Good. I realize that you shouldn’t have to pay for your brother’s sins. Even though the state should come first, some people let family ties get in the way of doing what is right. I’ll let you proceed with induction. I’m going to mark your paperwork so that the political adviser at your first assignment can keep an eye on you. If you ever need to talk the door to your political advisor’s office will always be open.” The political officer looked at the digital clock embedded in his wrist and said, “It’s almost noon. Go to the cafeteria and get some chow. Report to stage three at one AM for your physical and your strength and agility testing.”

“Thank you, sir.” David took back his paperwork, stepped out the door, and exited the room. When he stepped out into the main hallway, David found Alonzo waiting for him.

“How’d it go?” Alonzo asked.

“All right. They gave me some shit about my brother. That asshole is always getting his ass in a sling. It makes me mad when I get dragged into his bullshit.”

“Forget about it. Let’s go get some chow.”

They followed the crowd down to the cafeteria, stepped into line and moved their trays down a buffet-style counter, and breathed in the rich aroma of freshly cooked food. David’s stomach rumbled. They heaped mounds of mashed potatoes and gravy onto a hot roast beef sandwich. They had French fries, some fruit, and a glass of fruit punch to drink.

“The grub doesn’t look too bad,” Alonzo said after they sat down.

David gazed about the room. Half of the inductees were good-looking females. “No. I could survive on this.”

“What did you think about the written test? What did you put for question seventeen? It went something like this. If your ship was about to explode, but you only had room for one other person on your escape pod, who would you, choose? The answers were, A, your best friend, B, your captain, C, your political advisor D, whoever is closest to you, or E, none of the above.”

“I put E. None of the above. I’d get the hell out of there,” David said.

“I picked D. But it would be the nearest good-looking female.” Alonzo laughed, diving into his hot roast beef sandwich. “They wanted you to say, C, your political advisor.”

“Screw the Political Advisor.” Finished with lunch, they headed out into the hallway and entered a door on their right with the words: Stage Three written over the door. A long line of tables was set in the center of the room and inductees stood facing a doorway on the other end of the room. Across the tables from the inductees stood a group of medical personnel. Next to each inductee set a large canvas bag. A good-looking young female inductee stood in front of David.

“Take off your clothes and put them in the bag, next to you on the table,” the head nurse standing at the head of the line said. David blushed and hesitated for a few seconds.

“Let’s go, inductee. We don’t have all day,” a young nurse standing next to David said. David stripped out of his clothes and put them in the bag as instructed. The young female inductee in front of David took off her clothes. David’s eyes dropped to her shapely bottom. He felt something stir in his lower regions.

“Do you have an eye problem inductee? Keep your eyes up and point them straight forward,” the female nurse standing next to David said. David’s face turned crimson.

The doctors and nurses gave each one of them a thorough physical exam which included several inoculations. They took DNA samples and had their eyes and ears examined. The nurses ran bio scanners over their bodies checking their internal organs. The doctors and nurses poked and prodded the inductees for over an hour. A nurse took their fingerprints and copies of their retinas with a scanner. She took samples of hair follicles. When the exam was over, a nurse near the doorway at the end of the room handed them each a set of gym trunks and a t-shirt.

“Step through this doorway and form up on the bulkhead to your right. Your strength and agility test will begin in ten minutes.”

David and Alonzo took their gym shorts and t-shirts and headed through the door. They put on their workout clothes and leaned against the bulkhead behind them. The girl standing next to David who had been in front of him in line smiled.

“I heard you get in trouble back there.”

“Yeah. So sue me. You’ve got a nice ass.” David laughed.

She let out a giggle. “I’m glad that parts over. It’s kind of embarrassing stripping like that in front of everybody. I’m surprised that they didn’t separate the sexes.”

“They’re trying to herd us through like cattle. They’re more concerned about quantity than modesty.” David gazed across the room and saw chin-up bars and weight lifting equipment. There was a rappelling tower and an obstacle course. On the far side of the obstacle course set several machines. There was a stair stepper and a treadmill, but there were a few that he didn’t recognize. Four physical fitness instructors stepped up to the inductees. Two were male and two were female.

“Inductees. Let’s step away from the wall and do some stretching exercises. Then we will pair up and do some exercises to see how physically fit you people are,” the head instructor said. He was a fifty-year-old man with bulging biceps and six-pack abs said. David paired up with the young woman standing next to him. They went through a rigorous ordeal and had to do as many sit-ups, pushups, deep knee bends, leg lifts, and squats as they could; it was a timed test. David’s head pounded; sweat cropped up, on his forehead and he smelled like beer. After that, they ran an obstacle course where they climbed over walls and ran through a row of rubber tires. David climbed up a wooden tower using ropes to slide back down when they were through. By the time he finished the obstacle course, was soaked in sweat and his body hurt but his hangover was gone.

The instructors allowed them a five-minute rest break. Then they started the strength test. They lifted weights with their legs and bench pressed as much weight as they could lift. The instructor had them use a machine where they stood on its platform and pulled two rings with their hands. The machine applied resistance. It measured the foot-pounds of pressure that they pulled with their arms. The machine caused their arms to ache. After they finished, they ran on the treadmill until near exhaustion. The instructors moved the inductees back to the bulkhead.

“That will be enough people. Hit the showers to my left. Put your street clothes back on and put the gym trunks and t-shirt in the laundry hamper by the door to the showers. After that, report to stage four of induction. That will be in the last room on the left-hand side of the hallway. It’s on the far end opposite from where you first entered this morning!”

The inductees headed to the showers. The physical fitness instructors stood at the doorway watching. They made sure that no sexual conduct occurred in the shower. David and Alonzo couldn’t help but make fugitive glances at the female inductees while they lathered up their naked bodies.

“Madre Dios, look at them titties,” Alonzo whispered.

“Good Lord God almighty! I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

“Do you two inductees have an eye problem? Finish up and get dressed! We’ve got more inductees waiting for the shower!” the woman standing guard at the door yelled.

“Yes ma’am!” David and Alonzo both yelled. Finished in the shower, they put their street clothes back on and headed to the main hallway. They entered the last door on their left. A naval officer stood on a raised platform. Behind the platform hung the flags from the various Economic Unions. There was also the blue-green flag of the Council of Economic Unions.

“Step to the front of the room and make room for as many people as possible! Once I administer the oath, report to stage five, which is out-processing! Go through the double doors at the opposite end of the hallway that you entered this morning! Out processing is in the south end lobby!” the naval officer said.

The room filled up. The naval officer on the platform issued an oath of allegiance to the Council of Economic Unions. After swearing their oaths, David and Alonzo, followed the crowd, back out into the hallway. They stepped through the double doors on the south end of the building and waited in line at an out-processing desk.

A red-headed female naval officer shot David a quick smile. She took his paperwork and put his papers on a portable scanner. The scanner downloaded them into the computer system. She printed up his orders and handed him the paperwork. “The Federal Defense Forces have assigned you to the Fleet Marines, Space Division. Your boot camp will be on the moon. You are on flight seven twenty-nine. Your flight leaves the shuttle port tonight at twenty hundred hours. That will take you to the spacedock where you will catch a troop transport to the lunar colonies. Show your orders to the clerk at the spacedock and they will direct you to the right ship. You have an advance in your first month’s pay of one hundred credits for meals. Good luck inductee.”

“Thank you,” David said. He stepped out of line and waited for Alonzo. When Alonzo received his orders, he stepped up next to David and glanced at David’s orders.

“We’re on the same flight. We’re both in Fleet Marines and headed to boot camp on the moon. I hope they put us in the same platoon,” Alonzo said.

“Let’s get out of here and catch a bus to the spaceport.” They caught the shuttle bus and at the spaceport, David used some of his credits to buy dinner. Alonzo bought the beer. The announcer called their flight. They staggered outside and up the shuttle’s boarding ramp. Alonzo found two empty seats in the back of the shuttle. The shuttle lifted off the landing pad, the pilot applied thrust and the Gee forces shoved them back into their seats. The shuttle reached orbit. Alonzo looked out his porthole at the Earth rotating below.

“Take a good look bro. It may be a long time before we see old Mother Earth again. I almost wish I was back in Diego.”


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Fear is the Mind Killer

Fear for life during coronavirus outbreak background

Image by Rawpixle

Hello everyone this is Dave the Miracle Maker and I hope you are all doing well. I have been up to my usual, reading, writing, working on my online business, practicing martial arts, riding my motorcycle, and working on becoming the best Dave that I can be. Today I would like to talk a little bit about fear. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing if you learn how to deal with it, but if you let it control you and cloud your better judgment it can keep you from manifesting your best life. It doesn’t matter if it is fear of the Coronavirus, fear of rejection, fear of poverty, or fear of spiders and snakes. Face your fears. If you are trying to manifest more money, or the perfect significant other, fear of rejection or failure can cause you to procrastinate and miss out on opportunities. Fear of rejection can cause you not to approach the person that you are attracted to and possibly miss out on the love of your life. Fear of failure can cause you to not jump at that business opportunity that could make you rich.

I like to both read and write science fiction. Several years ago I read the novel, Dune by Frank Herbert. In the novel, the main character had a mantra that he would say before going into battle. He would say, “I have no fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” Fear is indeed the mind-killer. It is a disempowering emotion that will prevent you from getting what you are trying to manifest. The Genie Script which I reviewed in my last post and am still using will help you to get rid of disempowering emotions such as fear, feelings of lack, and feeling of unworthiness as you reprogram your mind for wealth success, and happiness. I encourage you to check it out. Face your fears and manifest a miracle in your life. Until next time this is Dave the Miracle Maker wishing you all the best.

Now for your reading pleasure read chapter four of my science fiction novel the Battle for Europa.

Chapter 4

Shawn Gallagher sat at a table, inside the communications center on Europa. His friend John Wilson stood across from him adjusting a video camera on its stand. Sitting at the table were a few more of Shawn’s closest friends. Sweat cropped up on Shawn’s forehead and dripped down the side of his face. A nervous ball sank into the pit of his stomach. After making this transmission, there would be no turning back. It would appear on the VID screens all across the colonies. People would view it on the moons of Saturn and Mars as well as the lunar colonies. It would also appear on every VID screen on Earth. If this effort fails, the Council of Economic Unions will brand us as traitors to the federal system. At best, we’ll receive a thirty-year sentence in a penal colony on the dark side of Earth’s moon. The other alternative is a death sentence: a laser bolt to the back of the head.

“We’re set to go live when you are,” John said. “Are you ready to make history?” Shawn brushed sweat from his forehead and his mind flashed back, reliving the events of the past few days.


After stashing the guns and other equipment at mining site D, Shawn rode the turbo lift out of the mines and put on his EVA suit. He exited the complex, turned up the heat on his EVA suit, and sent a message. He used an illegal electronic device, which he plugged into the com-link on his suit. A small light on the device turned green indicating that the signal was live. “Strike the blow with the People’s Fist,” Shawn said. When the miners received the code phrase they put down their tools. They turned off their boring machines which they used to dig into the interior of the moon. Their job was to harvest large chunks of ice for use on Mars and Earth’s moon for its water content. They headed to the turbo lifts. One of the shift supervisors stepped in front of the miners making their way to the lift.

“Where do you men think you’re going? Your shift’s not over yet,” the supervisor said. A big burly miner knocked him on his ass.

“It is now,” he said.

“I’m calling security!” the supervisor yelled, wiping a drop of blood from his mouth.

The first shift crew put on their EVA suits. They headed to the exits and formed a line in front of the domed structures housing the mining facilities. The second shift crew joined them. By the time security received the transmission from the shift supervisor, it was too late. The security guards on the perimeter watch saw the miners exit the facility. One of them stepped up to the same burly miner that had knocked the shift supervision on his ass.

“What are you men doing?” the security guard asked.

“We’re on strike,” the miner said.

“You can’t do that. It’s against the law.”

“So call a cop,” the miner said and knocked that security guard on his ass as well. The miners picked up fist-sized balls of ice and pelted the security guards with them. Tiny flakes of ice flew into the air; the guards retreated to their vehicles and called for backup. The miners on Titan received the transmission and turned off their vacuum pumps. They used the pumps to harvest liquid methane gas. They returned to their base, formed picket lines, and had a similar confrontation with security, as did the miners on Europa.

The tanker ships orbiting Jupiter and Saturn turned off their ram scoops. They used the scoops to collect hydrogen and helium-3. Their captains turned their vessels around heading for the nearest moon. The moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn soon looked like giant parking lots. The first tanker left Jupiter’s orbit.

“Traffic control to CEU-Gladiator. You haven’t had time to fill your tanks. Why are you breaking orbit? You have orders to proceed to Mars with your load. Why are you diverting to Europa?” the female traffic controller asked.

The ship’s communications officer looked at her captain.

“Tell her we’re on strike,” the captain said. The communications officer relayed the captain’s response.

The traffic controller’s jaw dropped. “What you can’t do that? It’s against the law.”

The captain touched the com-link on his console overriding the communications officer. “So arrest us. End transmission.”

Byron Lee, the head of security, received a transmission from all the mining sites on the surface. The striking miners had turned into a mob in front of each complex. He didn’t have enough men to handle the situation. He contacted all available personnel including guards who were off duty and asleep. He called a few officers at some of the colony’s drinking establishments and eateries. They received transmissions on their com-links with orders to report for duty at once. The head of security set up a duty roster. He kept half of his guards on duty for twelve standard Earth hours while the other half rested. If this lasts too long, I’ll need more people. He sent a text message to Consolidated Security headquarters on Earth.

Shawn went to the employee housing area. He retrieved picket signs and ax handles, which he handed out to the striking miners. Excitement buzzed through the air. The miners who weren’t on picket duty gathered in their common room. They watched what was happening outside on a VID screen. Six hours into the strike, a woman from Solar One News got word of the strike. She flew down to the surface of Europa in her small space cruiser and caught up with Shawn in front of the main mining complex. Shawn consented to the interview.

Twenty-three hours into the strike, Byron Lee sat at his desk asleep. He had his head in his hands letting out gentle snoring sounds, and drool dribbled down the side of his cheek. Half of his guards were in the locker room gearing up to relieve the guards outside dealing with the miners. After the first two hours, his guards set up barricades to separate them from the mob. The miners had settled down, somewhat. Instead of pelting the security guards with a barrage of ice balls, they only shouted curse words. Now and then they lobbed a ball of ice over the barricades.

Byron manned the com-center in the office waiting to hear from headquarters on Earth. So far, there had been no word and he started to get sleepy. After being on duty for fourteen hours, he finally succumbed to sleep. The front door to his office banged open, Byron’s head popped up and he let out a snort. He looked up into the muzzle of an M-23 Blaster. His eyes widened and his bottom jaw sagged. Ten men, dressed in military fatigues and armed with shoulder-fired weapons, entered the room.

“Make a sound and I’ll burn a hole through your forehead,” Shawn said.

“What do you want?” Byron asked, raising his hands.

“Your men, the ones that you have in reserve to relieve those, outside, where are they?”

“Down the hall in the locker room getting ready.”

Shawn motioned for the other men to move down the hall. “Take me to the armory.” The assault team entered the locker room. They caught some of the security guards with their pants down. Shawn’s men rounded up the security guards in the locker room without incident. They stowed them away in their jail. Other miners entered the security complex. They took the weapons and armored EVA suits from the security guards, put them on, and exited the security center. They went outside to relieve the security guards on duty. The guards dealing with the miners on the picket line saw the men in Consolidated Security EVA suits. They figured that their relief had arrived early.

The miners, masquerading as security guards, took up positions behind the barricades. Shawn’s commandos met the returning security guards at gunpoint and escorted them to the brig to join their comrades. Three teams rounded up the management personnel inside the main complex. A group of supervisors fled deep into the mine and tried to put up a fight, but after a brief gun battle, they surrendered.

They detained the upper management personnel in the main office complex. The Executive in charge of mining operations on Europa woke from a sound sleep staring down the barrel of a gun.

“This is an outrage. You’ll do time for this,” he said. The surly miner prodded him with the gun barrel and escorted him to the brig.

“Don’t worry. No one’s going to get hurt. Once the council concedes our demands, your people will head back to Earth,” Shawn said. He locked the mining executive into the brig.  When the miners on the picket line received word that the entire facility was under their control, they threw down their signs and reentered the mining complex.

The last piece of business concerned the orbiting space stations. Assault teams stormed the stations orbiting Jupiter and Saturn. They attacked the complex detaining the workers and stormed aboard five vessels docked at the station. A PPF vessel arrived at Jupiter station right before the attack occurred. The PPF Special Forces team opened up on Shawn’s men with their M-23 Blasters. The assault teams boarded their vessel and killed five federal marines before the captain ordered his men to surrender. Shawn received word from the mining sites that the Jovian system was under their control. Their brothers on the moons of Saturn called in confirming that they had control of that system as well. Shawn headed to the main communication center.

He waited for word from his teams assaulting the orbiting space stations. The word came, announcing the success of the mission. A loud cheer erupted inside the communications center.

A big grin spread across Shawn’s face. “Gentlemen! This is a cause to celebrate! Jupiter and Saturn, along with their moons, are ours!” Shawn said standing to his feet. Men gathered around slapping him on the back. “Let’s head down to the galley and have the cook rustle us up some grub. We’ve got beer on ice! After that let’s get some sleep! It’s been a rough forty-eight hours! I will hold a briefing in the main assembly hall at zero eight hundred hours tomorrow morning. I will let everyone know where we go from here!” A day on Europa was roughly eighty-five days on Earth, but they operated on a standard twenty-four-hour clock. Shawn took a deep breath and yelled, “Can’t you smell it? I smell freedom in the air!” The men let out a loud cheer.


The miners occupying the assembly hall let out a whoop when Shawn and John entered the room. They rose to their feet clapping their hands filling the hall to capacity and beyond. Shawn stepped onto the stage and strolled over to the microphone. “Thank you. I called this briefing to let you people know what to expect, now that we have control of the facilities. How many of you served in the Federal Defense Forces?” Shawn asked and three-quarters of the crowd raised their hands.

“You will serve in our new military. We’ve accessed company personnel records. You will keep the same rank as you held in federal service. We need to organize into companies and start training. That will take place at site D and on the surface. We need to start building fighting positions. Those of you who have no past service in the federal forces can help with that. When the Council of Economic Unions gets the word of what we’ve done, they’ll send troops. We need to be ready.” Shawn paced back and forth in excitement and continued.

“What about our pay?” one of the miners asked.

“Most of you know that we have stores of gold, copper, and other precious metals hidden here on Europa. We are minting coins. The first order of business is to get rid of these biochips.” Shawn held his wrist in the air. “We’ll start that at the med center after this briefing. Tomorrow, those of you with past federal service will report to site D for induction. Others will form into work details to start building fighting positions on the surface. We will also use some of our lower levels here at site A for military training. Some of you will still be doing some mining on a limited scale.”

“How much time before the federal forces arrive?” someone yelled from the back of the room.

Shawn stopped pacing. “We should have at least six months before they can field a sizable force. That gives us some time to get ready.”

“What about our new government? When will we hold elections?” someone at the front of the room asked. Shawn stepped back and looked at Wilson. “John, you’re standing there in the background trying to look cool. Why don’t you answer that one?”

John laughed and stepped up to the microphone. “We will hold elections as soon as possible. We will elect a president, vice president, senators, and congressmen. We will write our Declaration of Independence, a bill of rights, and a constitution. They will be like the ancient documents from the forbidden zone. If the CEU recognizes us as a sovereign nation, we will petition them to allow our families to immigrate.”

“What if they refuse?” someone asked.

John shrugged. “Then they don’t get any helium-3, hydrogen, water ice, and liquid methane or deuterium crystals. When their ships run out of fuel, they’ll be more charitable.”

“What about the detainees?” a young woman standing to the right of the stage asked.

Shawn stepped back up to the microphone. “I’ll take this one, John. Once the Council of Economic Unions concedes to our demands, we will release them. They will be free to go back to Earth.”

“When are you going to announce our secession from the Council of Economic Unions?” a big burly miner in the middle of the crowd asked.

“At midnight tonight, Earth time I drop the bomb on the Council of Economic Unions and we make history. After that, the clock starts ticking. They’ll try to hammer us into submission, but if we can survive that, our future looks bright. It will take work. I envision domed cities filled with colonists building a better life. It will be better than it ever could have been under the current federal system. If there are no further questions, I’ll head over to the med center and get this damned biochip removed. Why don’t you people come and join me.” Shawn left the stage. The crowd cheered, rose to their feet, and began to slap them both on the back when they left the stage and headed for the door.


“Earth to Shawn Gallagher. Let’s go, buddy. You look like you zoned out there for a while. Are we ready to roll here, or what?” John asked, bringing Shawn’s mind back to the present.

Shawn laughed and rubbed the sweat from his brow. “Yeah, I’m ready. Let’s do it.” He waited for the light on the camera to turn green indicating that they were recording. Shawn tried to keep the flutter out of his voice. “Good evening. My name is Shawn Gallagher. I am the second shift team leader at the mining colonies on Europa. This message is going out to the colonist on Mars, the colonies on Earth’s moon, and, to everyone back home on Earth.” Shawn took a drink from a water bottle sitting next to him on the table. “If you’ve been watching the news, you are aware of the ancient documents found in the forbidden zone. The city, formerly known as Washington DC. I have copies of those documents in my possession and I am going to read them now. In the course of human events-”

Shawn read the ancient text of the United States Declaration of Independence. Then he read the Constitution of the United States of America. “We, the miners on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn have seized control of the mining facilities. We have also seized the colonies and the orbiting space stations orbiting both planets. All tankers hauling water ice, helium-3, hydrogen, and methane have been grounded. I now declare independence from the Council of Economic Unions and independence from the entire federal system. We demand that the Council of Economic Unions recognize our independence and demand that they allow our family members still living on Earth to immigrate. I will issue a formal declaration of independence, to the Council of Economic Unions. Our declaration is like the ancient documents I just read. When the council recognizes our independence, we will negotiate trade deals. We will resume shipments of water ice, hydrogen, methane, helium-3, and deuterium crystals.” Shawn paused to clear his throat and took another drink from his water bottle. “If the Council of Economic Union gets stupid and tries to use force, it will be, met in kind. The next scene you will see is of one of Consolidated Mining’s tankers orbiting Jupiter.”

The image on the viewscreen changed to a tanker ship orbiting the gas giant. A beam of light from a ground-based weapon shot up from the surface of Europa striking the tanker ship. A blinding flash of white light filled the screen and the tanker erupted into a massive fireball. Inside the communication center, John hit the record button. He filmed Shawn’s last few comments.

“If the Council of Economic Unions decides to use force, remember this. We have hundreds of tankers on the surface of Jupiter’s moons and, on the moons of Saturn. Think of those tankers as hundreds of hydrogen bombs rigged to explode. All we ask is that you recognize our independence and grant us our freedom. There is no need for violence. Thank you, and good night.”


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The Genie Script Review

Hello everyone. I hope you are all having a great day. The Genie Script is a course I bought a couple of months ago and it has changed my life. I have been listening to it every day. It helps you reprogram your mind for wealth, success, and happiness. It can also help you manifest the body and life of your dreams using manifestation and meditation. It helps you get rid of the disempowering beliefs and emotions that prevent you from getting what you want. I started seeing results right away. It changed my mindset. Now, I am starting to receive money from unexpected sources, and for now, it has just been small amounts, but if you are grateful for the small amounts the universe will send you larger amounts of money as you manifest your dreams. If this interests you check out the video below and click the link below the video. Leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

Click to Learn More

Now for your reading pleasure check out chapter three of the Battle for Europa.

Chapter 3


Jack Chambers lay in bed sleeping between a naked blonde-headed woman and a naked redhead. His left hand clutched the blonde’s left breast. The redhead lay snuggled up to his backside with her breasts pressed against his back. Jack snored loudly and drool dribbled down the side of his cheek onto the blonde’s back. Light exploded into the room.

Breathing in the smell of cheap perfume, Craig Bannister looked down at the scene before him. He had mixed emotions feeling anger, envy, jealousy, and a bit of disgust. Chambers was not what Banister considered officer material, yet Craig liked him anyway. When on duty, Chambers was one of the best officers in the fleet. When he was in port or off duty, all he wanted to do was drink and chase women. That was conduct that Banister considered unbecoming of an officer.

“You plan on sleeping all day lover boy? Did you forget we have an awards ceremony to go to?”

Chambers yawned and rolled from between the two women. They both moaned stretching their arms into the air. He put his feet on the floor. “Good Lord, Craig. I feel like ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag.” Chambers leaned forward and put his hands to his face.

Banister ogled the two women for a few seconds. “That’s nothing that a hot cup of coffee and a cold shower won’t fix. Get your scrawny ass into the shower while I make coffee.”

“What time is it?”

Banister sighed. “Seventeen hundred and thirty hours. The awards ceremony starts at eighteen hundred. We have, one-half of an hour to get your sorry ass in shape.”

“Okay, mom.” Chambers rose to his feet and stumbled to the bathroom while Banister picked up a black dress lying on the floor.

“Time to leave ladies. I’m sure it was fun, but our boy has other things to attend to.” The blonde rose to her feet, took the dress, and didn’t seem the least bit embarrassed by her nakedness.

“How about you, lover? You want to give it a go?” the redhead asked. She climbed out of bed and stood next to her friend. Stepping up to Banister, she ran her hand down his back.

“Yeah, baby. Seeing you standing there in that uniform when I woke up made me feel all quivery-like. You want two for the price of one?” the blonde asked.

Banister paused, taking in their jutting breasts and hard nipples. “It’s tempting ladies, but duty calls.” He picked up the redhead’s dress and helped her into it. Inside the shower, goosebumps formed upon Chambers’ naked body. He turned on the cold water and then let out a scream. In the living area of the motel room, Banister laughed. Once the hookers were out the door, he went to the room’s food and beverage station.

“Two coffees strong and black.” The computerized beverage dispenser dropped a cup down into the slot on the machine. It filled it with hot coffee. Banister took the first cup out of the machine. Breathing in the rich aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, and set it down on the table. The machine filled a second cup. Chambers stumbled out of the shower with a towel wrapped around him and Banister handed him a cup of coffee. “This will jump-start your evening. You need to stop abusing yourself like this.”

A big smile crossed Chambers’ face. “Thanks, but you’re just jealous.”

“Yeah right.” Bannister crossed the room to the closet. He took Chambers’ dress blues out and laid them down on the bed. “Get dressed.” Banister sat down in one of the room’s chairs and took a tentative sip from his coffee cup. He waited while his friend dressed.

“How do I look?” Chambers asked after putting on his dress blues. Banister stood up, faced his friend, and adjusted the lapel on Chambers’ uniform.

“You look like a warm bag of shit. You smell like booze and pussy. You look hungover, but your uniform looks good. Let’s go. I’ve got a cab waiting.” Banister slapped Chambers on the shoulder.

The cab dropped them off in front of the military base near the San Francisco bay. They caught a shuttle bus, which took them to the Avery Jarvis Ballroom. They named the ballroom after one of the pioneers of globalism. Avery Jarvis helped bring the world out of the chaos after the Third World War. They climbed off the shuttle bus. Excited conversation buzzed through the crowd waiting to get inside the ballroom. A cool sea breeze blew in off the ocean. Most of the ladies wore fur coats and the men wore their dress blues.

Chambers and Banister reached the front of the line. A tall young dark-complexioned officer waved a handheld scanner across their wrist. “Mr. Chambers and Mr. Banister. Your seats are in the third row up front close to the stage. You’ll find your names on your placemats in front of your seat. Enjoy the evening.”

The young lieutenant gave them a salute. They returned the curtsy and entered the banquet hall. Cambers stopped, gazing about the interior of the ballroom. Tables set lined up in rows covered with maroon silk tablecloths and fine china. At the front of the room up on a wooden stage, a band tuned their instruments.

“They sure go all out, don’t they?” Chambers said.

“Face it. You’re an officer and a gentleman. So act like it.”

“Yeah right. I put up with all this so they’ll let me drive their ships.”

“We do have our priorities. Yours are flying spaceships, drinking beer, and chasing women.”

“And what are yours?”

“Trying to keep you out of trouble. It’s a full-time job.” They made their way to the front of the room and found their seats. Chambers found their names printed on a white card taped to their placemats, so they sat down. Waiters moved throughout the room bringing drinks to the guest. Chambers ordered a Jack and Coke and Bannister ordered Scotch on the rocks.

“Where do you think they’ll assign us now that the Advanced Officers Training Course is over?” Chambers asked.

“Who knows? Wherever it is, it’ll be with a higher pay grade. I walked in here as a lieutenant. I’ll be lucky if I walk out as a commander. You will make captain.”

“Yeah, right.” Waiters brought platters loaded down with roast duck, lobster, crab, and baked salmon. Others brought roast beef, succulent baked potatoes, and plates filled with fresh garden salads to the guest seated at the banquet hall. Still, others poured wine and brought drinks while the dinner moved into full swing.

“I’ll say this about the Federal Defense Forces. When they put on a feed, they don’t go halfway,” Chambers said taking a bite of his roast duck.

Bannister finished chewing a bite of lobster. “The lobster is exquisite.”

A waiter refilled their drinks. The band opened by playing twentieth Century ballroom dance tunes. A tall dark-haired European man and a tall blond Scandinavian climbed up onto the stage. They stepped up to a podium. The Russian glanced over at the band, the band quit playing and silence filled the room. “Good evening my fellow officers as well as your distinguished guests. I hope you are enjoying the dinner and the entertainment,” the Russian admiral said. Chambers only noticed a trace of an accent in the admiral’s speech as a cheer rose from the crowd. “I am Admiral Boris Ivanov and I am here with Vice Admiral Thomas Larsen. Everyone in this training class has worked hard. Hard work deserves a reward. Without further delay, Admiral Larsen will announce the commissions and duty assignments.”

The tall muscular blond-headed admiral stood on the podium. He began to call out names, announcing the rank that the person had obtained and their new duty station. When they heard their names called, the young officers headed to the stage. They received a folder, which contained their new rank insignia and a certificate. They also received their orders for their next assignment. When the admiral called out the names the crowd offered up applause to the new graduates. Two-thirds of the officers received their commissions and duty assignments. Chambers and Banister grew nervous. Chambers looked at Banister, but Banister shrugged.

“Thank you for your hard work. You all deserved your reward. I know that in the future, your service to the council will more than justify our faith and trust in you. I will return the rest of the ceremony to Admiral Ivanov.” Admiral Ivanov stepped up to the microphone.

“Thank you, Admiral Larsen. We have recently completed construction on a new fleet of deep space vessels. This fleet will start space trials next week. The historic mission of this fleet is to explore outer space. They will search for inhabitable worlds for us to colonize. It will also try to make contact with any alien cultures they may find to establish trade with other worlds. We are sending this fleet to one of our closest neighbors, Alpha Centauri. We will explore a recently discovered star system known as System 237595. These brave men and women will be the first humans to venture out beyond our solar system and to the stars. I have assigned the following officers to these vessels.” Admiral Ivanov cleared his throat and read from a list of names.

When Bannister heard his name called, he rose to his feet. He sauntered up to the stage, fired off a salute, and looked the Admiral in the eye, taking in his stony features. The admiral returned the salute.

“Mr. Bannister you are now promoted to the rank of commander. I have assigned you to the CEU-Port Royal. You will serve as the ship’s first officer. Thank you for your diligence and service to the Council of Economic Unions,” The Admiral said. He handed Bannister a manila folder with his rank insignia and orders. Bannister shook the admiral’s hand, received his paperwork, and returned to his seat. A strange look crossed Banister’s face when he sat down.

“What?” Chambers whispered, but Bannister only shrugged. “Congratulations.” Chambers slapped his friend on the back. Admiral Ivanov handed out a few more commissions and then called Chambers’ name. When Admiral Ivanov read Chambers’ name from the list, Chambers rose to his feet. He headed up to the platform; gave the admiral a salute and the admiral returned the curtsy.

“Mr. Chambers, you are now promoted to the rank of captain. You are to report to the CEU-Port Royal as the ship’s master. Thank you for your service to the Council of Economic Unions.” He handed Chambers his folder with his rank insignia and orders. When Chambers sat back down, he saw that same strange fleeting look pass across Banister’s face.

“What? At least we’ll be serving together. There’s no one that I would rather have as my first officer other than you, Craig,” Chambers whispered.

“I know. It’s nothing. I’m happy for you. Congratulations.”

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone for coming tonight. Enjoy the band and the food for the rest of the evening. I’d like all our officers serving on our new fleet of deep space vessels to report to your duty stations tonight. I will hold a mission briefing on the CEU-Saratoga at twenty hundred hours on June eighteenth. Attendance is mandatory for all captains and first officers. Thank you and goodnight.” Admiral Ivanov said after the ceremony was over.

After the admiral left the stage, Bannister and Chambers rose to their feet.

“Let me buy you a beer, Captain,” Bannister said with a touch of smugness in his voice. They made their way through the crowd to the bar and Bannister ordered two beers. With a beer in hand, they stepped out a side door. They stood in the grass between the banquet hall and an adjacent building. Chambers buttoned up his coat to stave off the evening chill. For a moment, both men stood in uncomfortable silence, but then finally, Chambers spoke.

“I don’t know why they didn’t promote you to captain. You’ve been in the service longer than me. You deserve it more.”

Banister let out a slow breath. “I know why. You have a way with the men. They like you. Besides the fact that you’re their blond-haired golden boy, you’re also a natural leader. You have some qualities that I am lacking.”

“Bullshit. You take things too seriously. All you have to do is listen to the men, be firm but fair and treat them with respect. You’re a commander now. That’s an accomplishment. You should be happy. You’ll make a great first officer and I’m glad we’ll be serving together.”

“I am happy. I guess it’s my lot in life to be the one to bail you out of trouble. Why don’t we go to the barracks, pack our gear and catch a shuttle out of here? I’m kind of anxious to see what our new ship looks like.”

“Me too,” Chambers said and tossed back the rest of his beer.


“My God! That ship is huge!” Bannister said. He looked out of a porthole of their shuttle when they approached the landing bay doors of the Port Royal.

“They’re all huge!” Chambers said leaning over Banister’s shoulder to get a glimpse of the Port Royal. After finishing their beer, they rode the shuttle bus to the barracks. They changed into their regular uniforms and packed their gear. Finished with that, they caught the shuttle bus to the spaceport. They had to wait for over an hour in the terminal before catching a flight to their ship. When they boarded the shuttle, the shuttle pilot’s voice came over the shuttle’s intercom. He instructed them to strap themselves in. The shuttle lifted off the shuttle pad and shot forward gaining speed and altitude. Bannister looked out the right side porthole seeing the base below them grow smaller to the eye.

The shuttle reached escape velocity and entered Earth’s orbit. It took one revolution around the planet. Then it approached a space station maintaining an orbit over the west coast of North America. They monitored hundreds of vessels entering and exiting Earth’s atmosphere. To, Chambers, it looked like a traffic control nightmare. Their shuttle pilot weaved his way through traffic passing the space station. They headed toward a military space dock.

On the edge of the spacedock, the new deep space fleet orbited the planet. Captain Chambers saw ships of every size and description. He saw tankers, frigates, and light cruisers. He also saw several deep space battlecruisers, the mainstay of the fleet. Looking out the right side porthole of their shuttle, they saw a green flashing light. The landing bay doors of the Port Royal opened and the shuttle flew through the massive steel doors. Powering down, it touched down on the ship’s shuttle landing bay.

“Remain seated until oxygen is, restored to the landing bay,” the pilot said. His voice came over the shuttle’s PA system.

“God this landing bay is massive. Look at all those shuttles docked out there.” Bannister said. He took in the smaller vessels docked on the shuttle bay through his porthole.

“And I’m supposed to be the one in charge. Lord help me.”

Bannister laughed. “Sometimes it’s better not to be the one in charge. I may have got the better deal here after all.”

“Environmental control has restored oxygen and gravity to the landing bay. You may now exit the shuttle,” the pilot’s voice said over the PA system. Inside his cockpit, the pilot flipped a toggle switch. The exit hatch opened and a boarding ramp was deployed.

“Let’s go see our new home,” Chambers said, unsnapping his seat belt, and stood to his feet.

“After you, my captain.” Chambers headed down the aisle between the seats and stepped through the exit hatch. Bannister stepped up next to him and they sauntered down the boarding ramp. A young blond-headed ensign hurried across the landing bay to meet them. He looked up and fired off a quick salute; Bannister and Chambers returned the gesture.

“First officer Bannister and Captain Chambers?” the nervous ensign asked.

“I’m Bannister.”

“I guess that means I’m Chambers.”

“I’m Ensign James Palmer. My orders were to serve as the ship’s caretaker until the command staff arrives. I am sure you gentlemen would like to get some rest. If you will follow me, I’ll show you to your quarters. Tomorrow morning at zero eight hundred hours, I will give both of you gentlemen a briefing and a tour of the ship.”

“Lead the way,” Chambers said. They followed the young ensign across the massive landing bay. He led them through an airlock. The shuttle pilot launched returning to the spaceport on Earth. Ensign Palmer stopped in front of a door in the bulkhead setting next to the airlock.

“This is the captain’s, personal turbo lift. It leads up to the captain’s council room. The captain can take it to any deck throughout the ship in case of an emergency. There are other turbo lifts throughout the ship, but this one is yours. Tomorrow you can reset the code to read only your biochip.” Palmer ran his wrist across the electronic eye in the door. A beam of light read the information on the chip. The door to the turbo lift opened and they stepped into the small round compartment.

“A deck,” Ensign Palmer said. Chambers felt his stomach drop. The turbo lift shot upward carrying them up through the bowels of the ship. After a few seconds, it stopped. The doors opened and they stepped out of the lift onto plush blue carpeting. A long rectangular oak table occupied the center of the room and to the right set a food and beverage station. In the center of the table set a computer console. It had a touch screen and a voice-activated control system. A large viewscreen occupied much of the left bulkhead. Chambers looked out the viewscreen at space. He noticed several of the other vessels docked at the spacedock.

“This is your council room. This door next to the turbo lift leads out to the main passageway on A deck. The door next to the food and beverage station leads to the bridge. Would you like to see your cabin?” Ensign Palmer asked.

“Let’s see the bridge first,” Chambers said.

“I second that,” Bannister said. Palmer led them across the conference room. He stepped through the doorway leading to the bridge. They stood on a raised platform overlooking a circular control center below. On the platform set three chairs. They looked down upon the control center and a sea of plush blue carpeting covered the entire deck.

Chambers stood with his feet spread apart gazing about the bridge. Three steps led down from the command platform to the control station. Two workstations were set to the left of the command chairs, and two were set to the right. Below the command chairs set the helm. Computer consoles were set in front of the controller’s chairs. A large viewscreen occupied the bulkhead at the front of the control station. God. I’m supposed to be in charge of all this? Chambers marveled.

“This has got to be the biggest bridge of any vessel I’ve been on,” Chambers said.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything larger on any vessel I’ve served on either,” Bannister said.

“If you gentlemen are ready, I’ll show you to your quarters,” Ensign Palmer said.

“Lead the way,” Chambers said. Palmer turned to a set of double doors behind them and they followed him out the door and into the main passageway.

“This way,” Palmer said leading them down a narrower hallway that curved to their right. They passed the doorway leading to the captain’s conference room to the next door on the right. Palmer brushed his wrist across the door’s electronic eye. The door read the biochip embedded in his skin and opened.

“Once you reset the code to your chip, it will only open for you,” Palmer said. They stepped into the captain’s quarters and stood gazing about the spacious room. Chambers took in the King-sized bed, next to the far bulkhead. The bed was set on the same plush blue carpet that the military used on all their ships. He took in the food and beverage station, the wet bar, and the computer console along with a VID screen. An oak table was set in the kitchen area along with two comfortable-looking lounge chairs. Overhead cabinets were mounted above the bed and wooden cabinets were built into the bed frame. A brown door was set on the wall next to the bed.

“That door leads to the bathroom. The computer environmentally controls the room. You have to activate the settings. They are voice-activated. You can set it for an automatic response, or you can set it to a personality-based control system. You can pick the gender,” Palmer said.

“I’ve slept in a lot worse,” Chambers said.

“Worse hell. This has to be the biggest cabin you ever had while in the Defense Forces,” Bannister said.

“You’ve got that right.”

“We’ll leave you here to settle in, while I show Mr. Bannister to his quarters,” Ensign Palmer said.

“No. I got to see your digs. Why don’t you come along and see mine?” Bannister said.

“Let’s go, then. Lead the way Ensign,” Chambers said.

Ensign Palmer led them out the door and back the way they came. They rounded the curve passing the Captain’s council room and the main entrance to the bridge.

“You’ll find the officers’ mess halfway down the main corridor on your right. They will start serving breakfast at zero six hundred tomorrow morning,” Palmer said. Bannister glanced up at a brass plaque over the first door on their left. It said: First Officer’s conference room. “Mr. Bannister you also have your, own conference room as well as your, own personal turbo lift.” They stepped up to the door to the first officer’s quarters. “Here we are.” A brass plaque reading: First Officer’s quarters set mounted over the door.

“Home sweet home,” Bannister said. Palmer opened the door; they stepped into the room and gazed about.

“I’ll leave you, gentleman, here,” Palmer said. He stepped out leaving Chambers and Bannister alone in the room.

“Not bad. It’s not as big as your place, but it’s still the biggest cabin I’ve ever slept in. Being the first officer on a ship like this might not be so bad.”

Chambers crossed the room to the wet bar. He rummaged around under the bar until he found a bottle of Jack Daniels, Tennessee whiskey. “Let’s have a drink.” Chambers breathed in the smell of the potent whiskey and poured them each a shot.

“What are we drinking to?” Banister asked.

“To the Port Royal and a long working relationship between us. May your job as first officer and mine as captain, never get in the way of our friendship.” Chambers lifted his glass into the air.

“I’ll drink to that.” Bannister brought up his shot glass; they touched their glasses together and then downed the whiskey.


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Disempowering Emotions

Free public domain CC0 photo.

Hey, this is Dave the Miracle Maker. It’s a bright sunny day up here in the high desert of Southern California. I hope everyone is having a glorious day. If you are trying to manifest a better life, certain disempowering emotions prevent you from getting what you want. If you are trying to create a miracle in your life, and it doesn’t matter if it’s for wealth and abundance or to find the love of your life, you have to get rid of these emotions. These emotions are things like fear, anger, jealousy the feeling of lack or unworthiness. These things prevent you from manifesting what you want. You may ask yourself, “Why is this happening for them and not me?” Or you might feel uncertain and depressed. It all comes down to the choices you make. Chose to be happy. Concentrate on the positive things in your life and feel grateful for them. Tell yourself that you are worthy to live a life of abundance. When you feel a negative emotion such as anger, or jealousy that is holding you back, distance yourself from it. Build your self-image to the point where you believe that you are worthy to live a life of abundance. Tell yourself that you are beautiful, handsome, happy, wealthy, and deserve to live your best life. Be grateful for what you have. Take a notepad and write down everything you are grateful for in your life. If you are trying to manifest something new in your life such as more money, a new car, or the love of your life, you need to feel as if you already have and be grateful for it now. Visualize what you want in your mind and what you would do if you had it now. I believe that everyone deserves to live their best life and to live a life of abundance. So leave a comment and let me know what you think. Until next time, live your best life and be the best you that you can be because you deserve to live a life of abundance.

Now for your reading pleasuere, here’s chapter 2 of my science fiction novel, The Battle for Europa.

Chapter 2

Fireworks lit up the night sky over the harbor in San Diego California. Loud music emanated from a floating barge a quarter-mile offshore. The class of 2358 of Woodrow Wilson high school celebrated their graduation on the barge. Smoke drifted across the water. A neo-pop band had their guitars and other musical instruments cranked up high doing a rendition of an old hip-hop song. Neo-pop was the latest craze in music. It was a mixture of older styles. It combed rock and roll, new wave, and hip-hop. It also mixed in a bit of rap, and country with modern computer-generated sounds.

David Gallagher looked out at the large naval vessels looming in the darkness. They lay at anchor on the other side of the harbor. He zipped up his coat. Fireworks lit up the night; David glanced up and smiled. He thought he would remember this night forever: June 15th, 2358. His mind drifted to his brother Shawn and wondered how he was doing. He hadn’t seen Shawn in eight years. He’d only had a few video transmissions and text messages on the VID-net. He had not been in his brother’s presence since Shawn graduated high school.

After high school, Shawn, like most young men with low GI ratings, received his draft notice. He entered the Federal Defense Forces. Shawn served on a Planetary Patrol Force vessel. He spent a few years chasing smugglers, gunrunners, and pirates. When they weren’t involved in either one of those endeavors, the PPF patrolled the solar system. They responded to any emergency that might arise. The PPF was a fast reaction force. It had smaller and faster vessels than the Federal Defense Force’s main battle fleet.

David felt a soft hand run down his back. He caught a whiff of perfume and felt the soft caress of a female breast against his arm.

“I bet you thought this day would never come?” Annie Dupree said, having to yell over the loud music. David breathed in the smell of the sea. He looked over at the beautiful young woman standing next to him. He couldn’t figure out how he had managed to land the best-looking girl in high school. One time he asked her why she hung out with him, but Annie laughed and said, “It beats the hell out of me.”

He glanced at her red dress, made from a rubber-like material that form-fitted to her body. It accented her curves. David felt a stirring sensation in his loins when he noticed the amount of cleavage the dress revealed. The hem of the dress stopped three inches below her crotch. It revealed her long tanned shapely legs. Her long red hair hung down below her ass. He finally managed to get it together and looked into her emerald green eyes.

“It seems like I’ve been at that place forever. I can still remember when my mom and dad dropped me off at the gate. I stood there on the sidewalk with my bags shaking like a leaf and watched them drive away.”

“That’s when I showed up.”

“Yep. Good old Annie Dupree to the rescue. You took me under your wing, showed me the way to the administration building, and helped me get settled.”

Alonzo Garcia stepped up and grabbed David’s other arm. “Hey bro! Have another beer!” Alonzo yelled, handing them each a bottle. “Annie. How did you do on your GI test? Did you get into AI school?”

Anne beamed, letting out a wild whoop. “You better believe it. I scored an eight on the test. I received a message from the Advanced Artificial Intelligence Research and Development College! I got in! I’m going to New York City! What about you guys? You wanted to go to trade school didn’t you Alonzo? I know David wants into the robotics school in New Chicago. He’ll work on the bodies and I’ll work on the brains.”

“I haven’t heard anything yet. I applied to a holographic tech school in Denver but I only scored a six on the test. I guess you know where I’m headed,” Alonzo said, sounding dejected.

“You never know. They still may let you in. What about you David?” Annie asked.

“I scored a six-point five. Why even make us take that stupid one hundred-question written test? Why does everything hinge on your genetics? Why not take a hair sample and let it go at that? It’s a shame that the council puts such an emphasis on the GI ratings. It shouldn’t keep you from getting into the school that you want to go to!” David said.

“I’m sure the council knows what’s best!” Annie said.

Two young girls stepped up to Annie’s side and one took her arm. “Let’s dance Annie! There are a lot of cute boys here,” one of the girls yelled and let out a giggle. Annie joined her friends. They headed to the center of the barge where a crowd of teen-aged young people danced. David and Alonzo turned watching the girls leave. Their eyes roved the crowd taking in all the good-looking females. Most of them wore rubberized dresses of various colors. Most of the dresses form-fitted to their bodies. Others wore loose-fitting gowns made of a thin fabric that clung to every crack and crevice. One girl wore a silver metallic suit that looked like body armor.

“There sure are some good-looking ladies here tonight. I hope they get liquored up and we get lucky,” Alonzo said.

“Stranger things have happened,” David said. They had been friends from grade school. Alonzo stood five feet six inches tall and weighed two hundred pounds. He had coal-dark eyes, chubby cheeks, and a potbelly, but what David liked most about Alonzo was his sense of humor. David stood two inches taller than his friend and weighed thirty-five pounds less. Turning from the crowd, they strolled out to the edge of the barge looking out into the ocean.

“You know they won’t let us into any good school with low ratings,” Alonzo said.

David brushed a strand of reddish-blond hair out of his eyes. He took a drink from his beer and turned his piercing blue eyes to his friend. “I know. It’s the Federal Defense Forces for us.”

“I hope they put us into the same unit. Where do you think we’ll do boot camp?”

“It depends upon which branch we go into. If we’re with the Fleet Marines, we’ll do boot camp on the moon. If they assign us to the surface Navy, it could be here in San Diego, San Francisco, New Chicago, or somewhere in Europe. If we go into the Army, it could be Texas or Kentucky.”

“At least we’re out of this shit hole. Being in the Federal Defense Forces won’t be so bad,” Alonzo said.

“Yeah, like that recruiting commercial. Join the fleet and see the solar system. It’s not a job, it’s a grand adventure.”

The graduation party wound down and small robotic ferryboats approached from the shore. They docked with the floating barge, rocking with the waves and the spray from the waves hit David in the face. A cold sea breeze caused goosebumps to form up, on his arms and he felt a chill run through his body. The students formed up into a line to board the small ferryboats that would take them back to the mainland. The first three boats filled up with half-drunken graduates. It pulled away from the barge and headed toward the docks. David jumped into the fourth boat, but then turned around and helped Annie down to join him.

“Thank you, kind sir,” Annie said. Alonzo and one of Annie’s girlfriends jumped down behind them and they found seats at the front. David took off his jacket and draped it over Annie’s shoulders. “I was freezing.”

“Don’t mention it. That sea breeze gets a bit chilly at night.”

“Enjoy it while you can. It might be a long time before we see Diego again after tonight,” Alonzo said.

“I know I’m gonna miss San Diego. I love going to the beach,” Annie said.

“I’m gonna miss all the California girls,” Alonzo said. Annie’s girlfriend elbowed him in the side.

“Speaking of California girls,” David said bumping Annie in the arm with his elbow, “I’m going to miss this one. Why don’t you come with me to my room and make my last night at Woodrow Wilson High a memorable one?” A big grin crossed David’s face and Alonzo let out a whoop looking at Annie’s girlfriend sitting next to him.

“Now that’s a plan sweetheart. I got cold beer on the ice at my place,” Alonzo said.

Anne smiled. “I would think that being in my presence would be memorable enough, but who knows? If you’re nice, I might rock your world.”

David laughed. “I’ll be a little angel.” The computer running the robotic ferry sensed that all the passenger seats were full. A deep computerized voice reverberated from the speakers at the control station.

“All passengers please remain seated and keep all body parts inside the vessel. Please pick up all your belongings when you leave. Congratulations graduates from the class of 2358.” A cheer rose from the boat as it pulled away from the barge.

“I’m gonna miss the sea,” Alonzo said sticking his hand out of the small boat and running it through the water. “Maybe I’ll join the Navy.”

“No way bro. It’s the Fleet Marines for you and me,” David said.

“You guys. You haven’t even received word from the schools you applied for. Maybe they accepted you into robotics school David?” Annie said.

“Get real darling. Our GI ratings are too low,” Alonzo said.

“I don’t mind. I’m glad to be getting away from this place,” David said. After a ten-minute ride, the graduates piled out of the boat and meandered up the docks to the bus stop. David and Alonzo followed the crowd, along with Annie and her girlfriends. Charter buses set parked next to the curb waiting for the graduates to arrive. David watched the first two buses pull away from the curb. He found seats for their group toward the rear of the third bus. He glanced up at the holographic image of a bus driver. The driver dressed in a gray khaki uniform. He wore a short-brimmed ball cap on his head that appeared on a screen at the front of the bus.

“Congratulations graduates of the class of 2358. Remain in your seats and keep your valuables close at hand. ETA to Woodrow Wilson High School is twenty minutes,” the holographic bus driver said. His voice emanated from speakers mounted on the ceiling.

“Could you imagine what it must have been like to have a real, human driver?” Annie said.

“Or to drive your, own car? With the traffic on the city streets of San Diego nowadays? There would be major collisions every day,” David said. Annie snuggled up next to him and he put his arm around her.

“They drive themselves around on the colonies from what I hear. There are still some cars that have manual controls. The driver-assist programs take over if the driver loses control,” Alonzo said.

“Yeah, but the moon or Mars is not supposed to be as crowded as it is here,” David said.

“With the road sensors and the navigation systems we have now, traveling by car is safe. I read that back in the twentieth Century, car crashes were a common occurrence. I read that they sometimes had major pile-ups on the freeways. The wrecks killed scores of people,” Annie’s girlfriend said.

“You guys can have your automobiles. I’ll take a shuttle any day. You get there a lot faster. You don’t have to put up with the congestion on the streets,” Alonzo said while their bus pulled away from the curb.

“I don’t mind the traffic. I sit back, turn on the VID screen and watch a movie. My mom said that she might get me a car for a graduation present, but I won’t need one in New York City,” Annie said.

The bus took them through downtown San Diego. It passed between towering skyscrapers and traversed the business district. It left the business behind and head into the suburbs. The bus moved through traffic changing lanes when necessary and took the most direct route possible to Woodrow Wilson High. David and his friends sat back and watched the scenery. They enjoyed the loud excited conversations of their fellow graduates. The bus pulled up to the iron gates of the high school twenty-five minutes after leaving the bay.

A thin beam of green laser light shot out from the front of the bus. It made contact with the gate’s electronic eye and the gate opened sliding back on its track. The bus pulled onto the school grounds passing through various brick and stone buildings and followed a curving lane that took them into the heart of the campus. Evergreen trees lined the road. Grassy lawns occupied the space between the buildings. The bus pulled up to the curb in front of the housing center and the side door of the bus opened.

“Please take all your valuables with you. Thank you for choosing Consolidated Transportation,” the bus driver said.

After exiting the bus, they stood on the sidewalk for a few seconds and bid farewell to some of their friends.

David grinned. “Was I nice enough?”

Annie blushed. “You were nice. I’ll stay with you tonight. Who knows? We may not see each other ever again after tomorrow.”

Alonzo looked at Annie’s girlfriend with a big grin on his face; she blushed, nodded her head, and then took his arm. Alonzo let out a whoop. “Yes, there is a God!”

“Don’t let the campus political adviser hear you say that,” Annie said. David led them down the sidewalk and then down a stone pathway between the buildings. They came to the men’s senior dorm. The school administrators frowned on the girls spending the night in the boy’s dormitory. On the last night of school after graduation, they were lax on the rule. They figured that once the young people graduated from high school that they were adults and responsible for their, own actions.

David ran his right wrist over a scanning device mounted on the wall next to the front door of his dormitory. The scanner read the bar code in the biochip embedded underneath the skin of his wrist. The door opened and they stepped through.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” Alonzo said, suppressing a grin.

David laughed. “Not if I see you first. Don’t wear yourself out.” At the door to his room, David ran his wrist over the scan pad, mounted next to the door. A tiny red light on the door handle changed from red to green. He grabbed the door handle and opened the door.

“Hello, David,” a seductive female voice coming from the room said. The lights went from dim to bright when they stepped into the room.

“Hello Grace,” David said.

“Oh. I see you’ve brought a guest,” the voice coming from the room’s computer said. “Will she be staying the night?”

“Yes, she will Grace. Don’t be a bitch.”

Annie let out a giggle. “I see you’ve got one of those systems.” For a few seconds, Annie took in the small room. She noticed its dark brown carpeting as well as its small food, and beverage dispenser. It had a small video screen. It wasn’t much different from her room, except for the posters of prominent sports figures on the walls.

“Don’t tell me you don’t have the male counterpart.”

Annie’s face turned red. “I didn’t say that.”

“Grace this is Annie Dupree. Annie this is Grace. Grace, be nice.”

“David you received a transmission on the VID screen from the Council of Academic Studies. They marked it urgent.”

“Thank you Grace,” David said and headed across the room to the widescreen mounted on the far wall. It served as a computer, videophone, and television. It also provided access to the Video-net. He sat down in a black office chair setting behind a small wooden desk in front of the screen. He spoke into the small microphone that was set on the desk in front of the screen.

“Play flash message marked urgent.”


“Damn. I knew they wouldn’t let me in. Play channel five.” He crossed the room and sat down on a black synthetic leather couch with Annie.

“I’m sorry they didn’t let you into robotics school,” Annie said taking his face in her hands. She kissed him on the lips. The sound coming from the VID screen’s speakers blared violently hurting their ears.

“Knock it off, Grace! Lower volume to a comfortable level!” David yelled to the room’s computer. The sound coming from the VID screen lowered and a heavy sigh came from the room. David stood up and crossed the room to a small refrigerator. He took out a bottle of wine that he was saving for a special occasion and two wine glasses from a cabinet. David sat back down on the couch with Annie. He poured them each a glass of wine and they settled back to watch a movie.

“I love the video net,” Annie said. “I did a paper one time on its predecessor; they called it the internet back in the twentieth century. That was a far cry from what we have now. Could you imagine, having to use a keyboard for a term paper? They had a limited email system. They had apps on what they called cell phones. You could see a person in real-time on their small little screens and talk, but it was nothing like we have now. Now you can talk to anyone in the world or the solar system and look at them face to face on the screen in real-time.”

“It does have its downsides. The government can spy on you at will.”

“Can you imagine what a boring job that would be? I bet they only do random checks or check on people labeled as subversive,” Annie said.

They were watching a movie about the early colonization of the moon. The words: SPECIAL BULLETIN, flashed across the screen. The scene changed from the rocky surface of the moon to the icy planes of Europa. A woman wearing a white EVA suit stood facing a man, also wearing an EVA suit. In the background, people milled about in front of a domed structure at one of the mining facilities. You couldn’t see the faces of the man or the woman because of the protective helmets of their EVA suits. You could hear the men milling about in front of the mining facility yelling. Some of them waved their arms in the air.

“This is Helen Boxer from Solar One News. We’re here on Europa. The miners have announced a system-wide strike. It will affect Consolidated mining operations on the moons of Jupiter, and Saturn. This has never happened before. There has never been a system-wide strike in Consolidated’s history,” the woman said.

“Oh shit. My brother is on Europa,” David said.

“We have with us Shawn Gallagher, the second shift team leader here on Europa. Mr. Gallagher, why are the miners on strike?”

“If there’s trouble, Shawn will be in the middle of it. He was always in trouble with the political advisor in school. He never could go along with the program,” David let out a sigh, his cheeks turning red with embarrassment.

“The miners here on the moons of Jupiter suffer under harsh working conditions. So do our brothers harvesting Helium-3 from Jupiter’s atmosphere. It’s the same with the miners on Mars, and Saturn’s moons. We work long hours for low pay. All we are asking for is fair wages and better working conditions,” Shawn said. His voice sounded muffled coming from the com-link on his EVA suit.

“I suppose you are aware that what you are doing is illegal? You risk spending the rest of your life on a penal colony on the dark side of Earth’s moon.”

“It’s time that people quit worrying about what’s legal and concentrate on what is right.”

“There you have it. This is Helen Boxer with Solar One News. Back to you Chris.” The scene changed on the viewscreen revealing the image of a middle-aged man at a news desk.

“It will be interesting to see how this plays out. We now return to our regular programming,” the newsman said. The scene on the VID screen changed back to the movie.

“Change to net news,” David said and the VID screen changed to the news channel.

A young blonde woman wearing a low-cut silver dress sat behind a news desk. She rehashed the story about the striking miners. After finishing her spiel about the miners, she went to another story. “Today President Bonelli announced that the Navy has commissioned a new fleet. They are deep space vessels and they will undergo space trials shortly. Their mission is to explore the Alpha Centauri system. They will also explore a recently discovered star system, known as Star System 237595. This fleet will seek to make the first contact with any, alien race that they may encounter and attempt to establish trade. They will also search for inhabitable worlds to expand Earth’s colonization to the stars. President Bonelli says that this mission may take twenty-five years or more to bear fruit. He says it will be worth the money and time spent if we can expand colonization to the galaxy.”

“This is an exciting time in history, Janis. With the new cold fusion reactors that they’ve built into these new ships, the stars are open for us to explore. Can you imagine it? To be the first people to leave the solar system?” a dark-headed man sitting next to the blonde said.

“I don’t think I’d want to leave my family and friends for the next twenty-five years. I’m sure some would jump at the chance to be on one of those ships,” Janis said.

“We have breaking news, Janis. Federal Defense Force ground troops caught three men in the forbidden zone. The penalty for entering the forbidden zone is death. Let’s go to our eye in the sky,” the dark-headed man said. The view on the VID screen changed revealing a city in rubble. Two soldiers stood over the bodies of three men lying on the ground in a puddle of blood. “I’ll try to contact the officers on duty via com-link. I have one now,” the dark-headed newscaster said. “Sir. Can you tell us what happened here?”

“We caught these individuals trying to steal and reproduce forbidden historical documents. They tried to steal other contraband. We found the documents plus several banned books in their possession. These individuals are a part of a group of terrorists known as the People’s Fist. They would try to take us back to the nationalistic system that caused World War Three. That nearly destroyed the planet. These people had arms and resisted arrest,” the officer in charge said. The scene on the VID screen changed back to the newsroom.

“I don’t know what they were thinking. The ruined city once known as Washington DC is radioactive. Aren’t they afraid of getting cancer?” Janis asked.

“If they were sane, they wouldn’t have anything to do with this so-called People’s Fist,” the newscaster said.

“I don’t know how any sane individual could buy into that crap. Our system isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than going back to those archaic ways of the past. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t support the system, then you shouldn’t reap any of its benefits. They should take those so-called freedom fighters out to the asteroid belt. They push them out of an airlock without the benefit of an EVA suit,” David said, glancing over at Annie.

“They have to be crazy to believe all that revolutionary crap anyway.”

“Do you want to watch the rest of the movie?” David asked.

Annie downed the rest of her wine. “Why don’t we take a quick shower and go to bed, before I lose my nerve or fall asleep.”

A slight grin crossed David’s face. “That’s the best offer I’ve had all day. Grace shut down the VID screen and shut yourself down for the evening.” The VID screen went black; a deep sigh came from the room. David took Annie’s hand and led her into the restroom. Annie touched a tiny button on the neck of her skintight dress and the gown loosened. She kicked off her shoes, slipped the dress over her shoulders, let it slide to the floor, and stood in the nude.

“God you’re beautiful,” David said, letting out a sigh, and took in her hard succulent body. He took off his clothes and they stepped into the shower. David punched in some numbers on the shower’s keypad. He set the water temperature to medium-hot and set the shower to the gentle massage selection. The temperature of the water abruptly changed to ice cold. The selection went to vigorous massage causing Annie to let out a scream.

“Grace put the shower back the way it was and shut yourself down!”

Annie squealed. “Someone is jealous.” David enjoyed lathering up Annie’s wet, luscious, body for the next fifteen minutes. Her breasts were firm. Her nipples stood erect and her long wet hair hung down her back like a red vale covering her firm hard bottom. David’s manhood grew stiff. He pulled Annie to his chest, his hands found her breasts and their lips met in a passionate kiss. Finished in the shower, they headed back to the bedroom. David turned off the lights and they crawled between the covers. Annie climbed on top, guiding him into her moist center. David’s heart rate accelerated and he thrust up with his hips trying to keep up with her rhythm. Inside the dark living room, a flash message marked urgent appeared on the VID screen.


David awoke from a dead sleep due to the loud banging sound coming from the front door of his dorm room. It sounded as if someone was out there banging on the door with a sledgehammer. He reached over, touching the left side of the bed, but Annie was gone.

“Grace. Lights on,” he said and light exploded into the room. He saw a digital notepad set on the nightstand next to his bed. He touched the screen and read the following note: David. I had to catch an early bus. I had a wonderful night. Look me up on the VID-net when you get settled. Love you, Annie.

The pounding on the front door continued. David put on a pair of boxer shorts and staggered to the door rubbing sleep from his eyes. He opened the door and looked at a short blond-headed man in his early thirties. The man facing him was dressed in an urban camouflaged military uniform.

“What do you want?” David asked.

“Don’t you monkeys answer your mail? You are to report to San Francisco for induction into the Federal Defense Forces. You have a half-hour to shit, shower, and shave. Bring one set of clothes plus your shaving kit. The school will ship the rest of your things to your parents. The bus will be waiting at the curb in front of this dormitory. Don’t be late,” the military man said and moved down the hallway to the next door.

David jumped into the shower and let the water chase the cobwebs of sleep from his brain. Done with the shower, he hit the air-dry feature, and Jets of hot air hit his body drying him off. He dressed in a loose-fitting comfortable t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and boots. Dressed, he went into the living room and sat down in front of the VID screen.

“Play flash transmission marked urgent.”


“Grace. I’d like a cup of coffee. You know how I like it.” A cup fell into the slot on the coffee machine and the hot liquid filled the cup. When the coffee finished brewing, he took the cup from the machine and took a sip of the hot liquid. The caffeine blast felt good to his tired body and the hot cup warmed his cold hands. He went into the bathroom, packed his shaving gear into a small carrying bag, and headed for the door. David stopped in the doorway.

“Goodbye, Grace.”

“Goodbye David.” She sounds sad. David made his way through a crowd of former students in the hallway and stepped outside. He stood in front of the dormitory, shivering from the cold, and looked about in surprise. More than three-quarters of the graduating seniors waited to board the military buses. About one-third of the inductees were female.

“It ain’t like we didn’t know this was going to happen,” Alonzo said, stepping up next to David.

“Yeah. I know. I’m surprised that so many students got drafted.”

“I heard only twenty percent of the graduating class had high enough GI ratings to avoid the draft.”

“I don’t mind. We’re in for an adventure,” David said.

“Yeah. Let’s make the best of it. I hope we do boot camp at the same place.”

“Let’s get on board,” David said looking at the long line of buses waiting at the curb. They found seats in the back of the fourth bus in line and listened to the buzz of conversation inside the bus. The buses filled with inductees and pulled away from the curb. David and Alonzo leaned back in their seats. The long convoy moved through the campus toward the front gate. Their bus pulled onto the city street, David looked over his shoulder and gave the school one last, look. A cheer rose from the students inside, but David felt an instant of sadness and regret. His stomach felt a little queasy and he felt mixed emotions. He felt excited about the future, yet apprehensive at the same time. I’m going to miss a lot of people at that school.

“To hell with that place. On to bigger and better things,” Alonzo said. The bus increased speed taking them away from Woodrow Wilson high school for the last time.


Posted in Law of Attraction, meditation, Self Help, subconscious mind, writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What did you say?

Unhappy married couple not talking to one another

Image by Rawpixle

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday morning. It’s a bright sunny day up here in the high desert of Southern California. It’s a little windy, but it’s not too bad. Up here we have three seasons, summer, winter, and wind. In my last post, I talked about monitoring your thoughts. Today I would like to talk about what you say, about the words that come out of your mouth. The thing about words is once we say them we can’t take them back. Don’t say mean hurtful or degrading things. Especially to your significant other. Think about what you say when you are talking to your significant other, your friends, or your family, but that goes for anyone you speak to. Even a stranger on the street. Everyone deserves respect. When someone is being confrontational and saying mean hurtful things to you, you can’t control that, but you can control how you react. You have a choice. You can either respond negatively, or positively. When I was working on the railroad we had a safety slogan that said: Take Two. It meant that before you start a job or a task take two seconds to go over the task and plan the job before you start and then take the safest course. When you are in a confrontational situation with your significant other, or anyone for that matter take two seconds to think before you speak. When you say mean things or call your spouse bad hurtful names, you may feel sorry about it afterward, and tell her or him that you are sorry, but once the words are out of your mouth they can’t really be taken back. He or she may say that it’s all right and that they forgive you, but they will remember it. Those mean words have been imprinted into their mind and your relationship will be damaged.

This also goes for what you say to yourself. Both verbally and internally. Don’t say anything either out loud or internally that makes you feel sad, anxious, or hurts you in any way. Don’t tell yourself things like, I can’t do this, I’m a loser, nothing ever works out for me and never say anything negative about your finances such as I’m broke, I don’t have the money, I’m too poor. Especially if you are trying to manifest your best life. Say something like, I am living a life of abundance and the universe will provide. Don’t say anything either verbally or internally that degrades you. Don’t say things like, I’m ugly, I’m too fat or I’m poor and things don’t work out for me. Tell yourself that, I am beautiful, I am handsome, I am healthy, I am rich, I am living a life of abundance and everything is working out according to my goals and desires. I am living my best life, so take two and think before you speak.

Below for your reading pleasure is the first chapter of my science fiction novel, The Battle for Europa. It is the first book in my science fiction series, The Space Corps Chronicles.

The Battle for Europa

Chapter 1

Shawn Gallagher and John Wilson sat in an atmospherically contained tracked vehicle looking out at the icy planes of Europa. They breathed in the sterile smell of recycled air. “Did you tell him about the guns?” Wilson asked rubbing the scruffy whiskers on his chin.

Shawn laughed, looking out the windshield with a pair of night-vision goggles. “It’s kind of hard to start a war without guns.”

John yawned. “Does he know about the vehicles? We’ll need armored main battle tanks.”

Shawn shrugged brushing a strand of dark brown hair from his eyes. “He knows about the vehicles. You saw the list before I encrypted and transmitted it. I don’t think we forgot anything. With this, plus the equipment we have on Titan, we should be fine.”

John nodded. “How can he have that much equipment available? Who is this guy anyway?”

“He’s the best. I did some research on the VID-net. Most smugglers have a legit freighting business covering their illegal activities. You have to dig deeper for certain things.”

“Yeah, but how can he come up with so much equipment with such little notice?” John asked.

Shawn laughed. “It’s surprising what you can get with a suitcase full of gold. Let alone five of them.”

“True. Those hidden mining sites on Mars have been a Godsend for the movement.”

“Tell me about it. We wouldn’t have been able to finance our operations on Earth without the gold. You can trace a credit transaction, but when you hand a guy a bag of gold, no one knows but you and him,” Shawn said.

“Are you sure we’re doing the right thing?”

“You tell me. Do you still want to live under the thumb of the council? After our guys found those documents in the forbidden zone? Not to mention those old history books.”

John let out a sigh. “No. Some of our people died to retrieve those documents and they captured two others. Reading those documents only strengthened my resolve. Once we embark on this course of action, there’s no turning back.”

“Do you think they worried about that, six hundred years ago when they dumped all that tea into the Boston harbor? The council would throw us in a penal colony on the dark side of the moon if they knew we had those documents,” Shawn said.

“It is shocking, how much freedom those people had once they won their independence. They didn’t have to deal with a GI rating or implanted biochips. It said in their declaration, that all men are, created equal.”

“They had their problems, but they were the freest nation on Earth for over three hundred years. If not for the Third World War, there would be no Council of Economic Unions. The United States still would be the freest nation on Earth.”

“The Forbidden Zone. That’s another crock of Shit. They claim it’s hot with radiation, but that’s a lie. DC may be in ruins, but it’s not hot. Our people found that out,” John said.

“The council doesn’t want people digging in the ruins. They’re afraid of what they might find.”

“This guy’s not gonna show.”

Shawn noticed a light in the sky descending toward the surface. “You worry too much. He has a reputation as being a straight shooter. Just don’t cross the son of a bitch. Here he is now.”


Ludwig Von Wolf’s luxury yacht broke orbit with Jupiter, descending toward the icy moon. At the same time, Shawn looked across the driver’s compartment at his friend, John. His mind flashed back to when they served together in the Federal Defense Forces. He took Shawn under his wing and helped him fit into the unit when he first arrived, fresh out of boot camp. At that time, Shawn was only eighteen years old. John was four years older and he took an instant liking to the young man. A bond of friendship formed and Shawn began to look upon John as an older brother. It was John, who first approached him about joining the resistance. Even now, ten years later, I still think of John as an older brother.

An instant of doubt and indecision passed through Shawn’s brain. I hope I’m doing the right thing. I hope I’m not setting the wheels in motion that will lead to my best friend’s death. They watched the lights in the sky grow larger. Ludwig’s yacht descended toward the surface. Shawn smiled looking into John’s dark brown eyes. “Let’s step outside and meet our guest?”

“Let’s do it,” John said rubbing his hand through his short blond hair.

Shawn pressed the com button on the dashboard of the Land Rover. He spoke to the men in the vehicles parked behind him. “Attention people. Suit up. I want this equipment moved to site D as soon as it’s unloaded. If Consolidated security catches us out here we’re screwed.” He climbed out of the driver’s seat and stood in an aisle way between the two seats in the driver’s compartment. He turned and stepped through a doorway into the cargo area of the Land Rover. On his left and right were two small gray doors that led to the airlocks. Shawn turned to a storage cabinet lining the bulkhead and took out an EVA suit plus a pair of gravity boots. John opened an adjacent locker. He took out another EVA suit and another pair of gravity boots. They sat down on an aluminum bench setting next to the lockers and suited up.

Shawn put on his suit’s helmet. “Check my seals.”

John stepped up behind him. He placed his hands over the vents that allowed carbon monoxide to vent from the suit. “Take a breath.” Shawn took in a deep breath. “Now exhale.” Shawn breathed out. “Your seals are fine. Turn around and I’ll check your oxygen tanks.” Shawn turned around. “Your tanks are full. Do, me.” John put on his helmet.

Shawn checked his seals and his oxygen tanks. “Let’s do a com check.” He turned a small black dial on the neck of his suit, and the com-link came to life.

“I’m reading you five by five.”

“You’re coming in clear as well.” Shawn pressed a button next to the door on his right. The door receded into the wall and they stepped into the airlock. The inner door closed, they heard a slight hiss of air and he pressed the red button next to the door in front of him. The exterior door slid open and they stepped out onto the surface.

The miners, who had been riding in the vehicle’s cargo bay, exited the rear airlock. Ten men labored carrying five bulky aluminum storage containers. It took two men, one on each end of each container, to carry them. Shawn stepped away from the Land Rover and began to shout orders over his com-link. “Set those down here.” He pointed to an area well away from the vehicles while other men exited the vehicles behind them. “As soon as we do this deal, I want everything moved to site D before Consolidated Security makes a flyby. Let’s step lively.” Shawn activated the night vision feature on his suit’s helmet. His eyes turned skyward. He watched, Ludwig’s luxury yacht and three large cargo vessels descending to the surface. They stepped away from the vehicles waiting for the small fleet to land. The off-duty miners gathered around them, watching Ludwig’s yacht touchdown. A loud whine, came from the cargo vessel’s engines when they powered down. Bits and pieces of ice flew up off the ground forming a white cloud. They dissipated when the three cargo vessels touched down. They set behind a smaller, sleek-looking black space cruiser.

The men standing on the surface heard a slight hissing sound and a ramp extended, lowering to the ground. An airlock opened. Three men wearing black EVA suits carrying shoulder-fired weapons lumbered down the gangplank. They headed over to where Gallagher and Wilson stood. The three men stopped with three feet of space separating the two groups of men. The taller man standing in the center seemed nonchalant. The other two held their rifles at the ready position.

“Which one of you swinging dicks is Shawn Gallagher?” the man standing in the middle asked using a heavy German accent.

“That would be me,” Shawn said.

“Did you bring the gold?”

“Did you bring the guns?”

“Ya, I brought the guns, plus all the other items on your list.”

“Then I brought the gold.”

“Have your men bring the gold on board my ship. After I check the gold, you may check the guns. If everything is good, we make the deal.”

Shawn motioned to the men who had unloaded the gold from his Land Cruiser. They picked up the aluminum containers. They followed Ludwig and his employees up the boarding ramp. Ludwig opened the outer airlock and they stepped in. The men carrying the gold crammed into the airlock with them. They set the aluminum containers holding the gold down on the deck. The ship’s oxygen tanks filled the airlock with breathable air. The needle of the gage on the wall near the ceiling went from red to green.

“You may remove your helmets,” Ludwig said, taking off his black helmet to reveal a baldhead. Shawn noticed a jagged scar running across Ludwig’s forehead. They removed their helmets. “After your men deliver the gold to my study, have them leave the vessel. Three others besides yourself may stay.”

Shawn hung his helmet on a hook inside the airlock. “That’s fine.”

“This way gentlemen,” Ludwig said, stepping up to the interior door of the airlock. The door slid open and Ludwig stepped into a hallway covered with plush blue carpet. Shawn followed. He glanced to his left, noticing a narrow hallway that ended at a set of steps. The steps descended to a lower circular deck comprising the ship’s bridge. “This way if you will.” Ludwig led them to their right and down the corridor. He stopped at a doorway on his left. Shawn admired the thick oak door with its brass fixtures. It must be nice to live in the lap of luxury. He followed Ludwig into his study. John stepped in behind them. The men carrying the gold, struggling with the weight, entered the room.

“Here is fine,” Ludwig said, motioning to a place in the center of the floor and the men set down their burdens.

“John you stay,” Shawn said, motioning to two other men. “You two stay, the rest of you can leave.” Shawn looked about taking in the interior of Ludwig’s study. Like the hallway, plush blue carpeting covered the deck. A black leather couch was set against a bulkhead in front of them. Two black leather chairs were set facing the couch. A large video screen occupied the entire wall to their rear. Behind the black leather chairs, a long mahogany bar was set against the bulkhead to their left. What fascinated Shawn the most was the books. Bookshelves, with old leather-bound books, took up the bulkhead to their right.

“Let’s have a look at that gold,” Ludwig said.

Shawn turned, motioning to one of the miners that had stayed behind. “Open ’em up. Let’s get this done before Consolidated Security makes a flyby.”

“Not to worry. I paid them off. We’ve all the time in the world,” Ludwig said. The two miners, who had helped carry the gold, went to work unlatching and removing the container’s lids. They watched them remove the lid of the first container. Several stacks of shiny, solid gold bars were set neatly stacked inside the container. Ludwig let out a low whistle, looked into each container, and then picked up a gold bar from one. Taking a penknife from his pocket, he shaved a flake from the gold bar.

“It is good. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t be leaving this vessel alive,” Ludwig said.

“I’m not out to screw anybody,” Shawn said.

“They do look pretty,” John said, trying to lighten the mood, and stared down at the gold bars.

“My friend, we have a deal,” Ludwig said motioning to his two guards. “Show these three to the galley. We still have some cold cuts and beer in the refrigerator. Mr. Gallagher and I are going to have a drink while we talk business.”

“John stays with me,” Shawn said.

“As you wish. Have a seat. I’ll have my frau fetch us a bottle of Vodka.” They sat down in two patented leather chairs facing the leather couch. Ludwig pressed a small button on the arm of the couch and a chime rang. A young oriental woman wearing a short leather dress stepped through a black door next to the bar carrying a tray with a bottle and three shot glasses. She smiled and handed them each a shot glass. Shawn caught a glance into a deep valley of cleavage when the woman bent over to pour the Vodka. She caught him looking, and gave him another smile causing him to blush.

“Thank you,” Shawn said, taking in her pretty face. He couldn’t help but admire her high cheekbones and her exotic look. The woman turned to fill John’s glass. Shawn’s eyes dropped to the tight fit of the rubber-like dress stretched across the woman’s bottom. “I still want to see the guns,” he said after the oriental woman filled Ludwig’s glass.

“That will be all for now, Yoko. Leave the bottle,” Ludwig said. Turning his attention to Shawn, Ludwig continued. “I can assure you, everything is satisfactory. I brought everything you asked for. Let’s have a drink first and talk business. To a long and prosperous relationship.” Ludwig held up his glass for a toast and they downed the shot. Shawn watched the oriental woman retreat through the door from where she came in. He sputtered.

“That has to be some of the best Vodka I’ve ever tasted. It must be a black market bottle.”

Ludwig smiled, nodded, and looked at Shawn’s face with his piercing blue eyes. “When I make a sale, I don’t ask the customer any questions. What a customer does with the merchandise is his business. With an order this large, and with you paying in gold, it makes me curious.”

Shawn smiled. “I researched you on the VID-net and then contacted a few people that did business with you. One thing they told me was that you never Welch on a deal and that you keep your mouth shut, so I’ll tell you.”

Ludwig nodded. “Did they also say that if you burn me, I kill you?”

“That too, but that will never happen.”

“Good. Now tell me.”

Shawn leaned back in his chair. “Twenty-four hours from now, we are going to call a miner’s strike. Both here in the Jovian system and on all our mining facilities on the moons revolving around Saturn.”

“Interesting. Not too bright, but interesting. You don’t need this much armament for a strike.”

“The strike is a ruse to keep the Consolidated Security personnel busy. While they deal with a bunch of rowdy miners, we are going to seize the colonies on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. We are going to declare independence from the Council of Economic Unions. We plan to form a new nation.”

Ludwig’s bottom jaw dropped. “Now I know you’re crazy. What is it you say in the North American Union? You have iron balls. How can I help?” This time Shawn’s jaw dropped in surprise and when he glanced at John, he saw a big smile spread across his face.

“We could pull this thing off after all,” John said.

“Why would you want to help us?” Shawn asked.

“It is obvious that you people are part of the resistance. Your movement sometimes receives anonymous credit donations. I have donated some sizable amounts. I support anyone or anything thing that causes problems for the Council of Economic Unions. If it weren’t for their high tax rates and their rules and regulations, I would not have to hide out in the asteroid belt. I would have a legitimate freighting business on Earth. They have reduced me to running guns and smuggling contraband. I resort to other illegal activities as well just to make some real money. So again, I ask, how can I help?”

Shawn paused for a moment. “We could use some ships. When we announce our independence, they’ll send federal forces.”

Ludwig laughed. “They’ll squish you like a bug.”

“By denying them the helium-3 and the hydrogen they might show some restraint,” John said. “Then there are the deuterium crystals that we mine.”

“There’s also the methane gas on Triton and the water ice that we mine here,” Shawn said.

“That’s exactly why they’ll try to squash you like a bug. Ships I can get. They’re old battlecruisers and old PPF fast reaction vessels, but we can repair them. What else?”

“Half of our miners have served in the Federal Defense Forces, but their skills are rusty. We could use people to help train them. We could use people to help get the ships ready to confront the federal forces,” Shawn said.

“That I can do. I have a sizeable mercenary force available to me. They can help with your defense until you get your people and vessels up to speed. There are only three things I would ask,” Ludwig said spreading his arms apart.

“What would that be?” Shawn said.

“One is that you will make all payments in gold. I will be taking a sizable risk. Number two if you pull this thing off you allow me to move my base of operations here. Number three if you do succeed that you set the taxes at a low enough rate that an honest man can make a living.”

Shawn grinned. “All three of those terms are acceptable. There’s a lot more gold where this came from.”

“This calls for another toast,” Ludwig said, standing to his feet. He poured them each another shot of Vodka. They stood to their feet and Ludwig stuck out his hand. “Do we have a deal?” Shawn took his hand and Ludwig’s grip hardened. “If you betray me, I will kill you.”

Their eyes locked. “That won’t happen. I’m a straight shooter. I don’t promise things that I can’t deliver.”

“I believe you. Let’s have another shot and then go see your new equipment.”

Ludwig called his guards into his study to guard the gold. Ludwig led them, down the main corridor, and took the turbo lift down to the cargo bay. Inside the cargo bay set several metal containers. Ludwig unfastened the latches on the first container and opened it. Shawn looked down at the black, wicked-looking weapons.

Ludwig handed Shawn an M-23 Blaster. “We’ve got M-23 Blasters, P-38 hand-held Blasters, grenades, and rocket launchers. We have atmospherically contained body armor, ammo, and energy packs for the blasters. Plus we have some K-Bar knives. We have field dressings plus an assortment of other medical supplies. Everything on your list is here, except for the vehicles. They are in the cargo ships outside. You’ve got what you need to start a small war.”

“Sweet,” Shawn said, examining one of the shoulder-fired weapons.

“The M-23 fires your standard 223 round, plus explosive rounds. It sets off an explosive charge when the round penetrates a body. It also fires a laser beam powered by the energy packs. There is a selector switch on the right side of the handgrip.”

“I know, I used to have one of these when I was with the Federal Defense Forces,” Shawn said, handing him back the weapon. Ludwig opened the rest of the containers and showed them the rest of the equipment. After examining the rest of the merchandise, he closed up the containers.

“I’ll have my people unload this stuff. Let’s go see the vehicles.”

Ludwig led them back to the turbo lift. They rode up to the main deck, entered the airlock, and put on their helmets. Dressed in their EVA gear, they went to the cargo ship setting behind Ludwig’s yacht. They made their way up the entrance ramp through the airlock and onboard the cargo vessel. Ludwig took them to the cargo bay. Along the way, they passed several crewmen and women. They dressed in black uniforms as they went about their business. Shawn let out a low whistle. They viewed the long line of military vehicles occupying the cargo bay.

“We have your basic armored, atmospherically contained main battle tanks. They’re old, but they’re in good shape. I’ve added extra armor. The other vessels are your basic fast-attack-tracked armored personnel carriers. They are all-purpose atmospherically contained vehicles. Is everything satisfactory?”

“Very much so,” Shawn said.

“How soon will you want the ships?”

“As soon as you can get them to us. We still have some gold stockpiled here on Europa. We’re expecting another shipment in a week or two,” Shawn said.

Ludwig smiled. “I give you six months after you make your declaration before the federals attack. The schedule will be tight, but I’m sure we can get it together. I’ll contact my mercenary forces as soon as we’re in space. I’ll get a security force in place as soon as possible. When I secure the ships, I’ll contact you on a secure com-net. I’d like you to come to see my base of operations in the belt. I’ll even cook you dinner.”

“I’d enjoy that,” Shawn said.

“I’ll send you the coordinates once I have secured the ships. Then you can come to view your new fleet. We’ll mix business with pleasure.”

“Great. Let’s get this stuff unloaded,” Shawn said. They shook hands and went to work. For the next hour and a half, the miners helped Ludwig’s people unload the cargo. Once they unloaded the vessels, the miners gathered around. They watched the ships lift off the surface of Europa. A cloud of ice particles flew into the atmosphere.

“We did it,” John said through the com-link of his EVA suit.

“That was the easy part. After tomorrow it gets dangerous.”

“Yeah. We’d best get this stuff up to site D,” John said.

“Let’s move people! Let’s get this equipment loaded and get these vehicles out of here ASAP!” Shawn yelled. The off-duty miners scrambled to load the equipment into the vehicles. They headed to an old abandoned mining site in a remote area to the southwest of the main colony. A half-hour later, a Consolidated Security shuttle flew over. The pilot noticed the indentations on the surface where the ships had landed. He saw the tracks in the ice where several vehicles had headed southwest. The pilot shrugged and told the co-pilot to make a notation in the logbook.


Feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you. Until next time, Take Two. Peace Out!

Posted in Law of Attraction, meditation, subconscious mind, writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What doYou Think?

Hello, I hope everyone who reads this is having a great day. If you are not, tell yourself that you are. In fact, in the morning when you wake up visualize how you want your day to go and tell yourself that you are having a wonderful day. Before I get into today’s topic, I want to let you know what is going on with me. As far as my writing goes, I am in the editing process of my new novel, The Mojave Kid, It is a sequel to my novel, The Tale Spinner. I am also halfway through the rough draft of a novel, titled Gone Missing. It is a tale of a special needs child who gets abducted off the street and uses his special mental abilities to reach out for help. So far it’s been fun to write. Other than my writing, I am still practicing martial arts, meditating, and working on my online business, but enough about me. Let’s get to the day’s topic.

What do you think? What thoughts are bouncing around inside your head? Are they negative thoughts or positive thoughts? Have you ever considered monitoring your thoughts? I suggest that you do so all the time. Especially, if you are trying to manifest something positive in your life such as wealth, happiness, or good health. We all have negative thoughts sometimes, but when you do, handcuff that thought, say, “Cancel,” and chase that thought out of your mind because thoughts create. You create your reality and you get what you focus on. If you are always focusing on negative things, more negative things will come your way. In turn, if you focus on positive things more positive things will come to you. This can affect your health as well. Here’s an example. When I worked for the railroad, one night I worked an extra shift on overtime, working through the night. During some downtime, I was talking to an older gentleman who was about to retire. When he wasn’t working he played the saxophone with a band once in a while. I asked him if he was looking forward to his coming retirement. He wasn’t too excited about it. He said that most railroaders don’t live too long after they retire. I said, “You need to quit thinking about dying. Start thinking about living. Think about all of the fun you will have playing your saxophone with the band and you won’t have to worry about coming down to the railroad to work your shift.” Willy retired and within a few months after he did, he developed stomach cancer and eventually died. He was a good man and he is missed by me as well as his family and friends. So monitor your thoughts. Think positive thoughts such as long life, health, wealth, and happiness, but thinking is not enough. Visualize living the life of your dreams and becoming your best self. As always feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Human brain medical digital illustration

The above image was from Raw Pixle. I thought it was cool.

Learn how to program your mind for wealth and success.

Now for your reading pleasure

The Toomstone Run

The Sidewinders Motorcycle Club rumbled down highway 80. They headed for Tombstone Arizona and the Road Dogs followed. Spades, road captain of the Sidewinders led the pack as the road snaked its way through a sea of Socorro cactus. The road wove its way up a steep hill and then descended into a low-lying valley. The cold morning air had a sharp bite to it that numbed the cheeks of the bikers. Ignoring the cold, Spades cranked the throttle and thundered across the valley. On the south end of the valley, Spades came to a hairpin curve. He hit a massive pothole and his front tire blew causing a loud bang. The bike lurched to the right, throwing Spades into the desert, and the bike tumbled after him.

Bones braked hard, pulled over to the side of the road, and parked his bike. The side stand was barely down when he jumped off the bike and ran over to where Spades lay battered and bleeding. The rest of the pack pulled over to the side of the road, parked their scooters, and ran after him. Bones knelt, down next to his fallen brother and tried to see how bad he was. He had a sucking chest wound, blood poured from a deep puncture wound on his upper thigh, and he had a broken leg. He also looked as if he might have some broken ribs.

“How bad is he?” Road Kill, president of the Road Dogs, asked, kneeling, down next to Bones.

“He’s busted up bad. This is, fucked up,” Bones said, trying to stem the blood flood on Spades’ leg.

“I’ll call nine, one-one,” Road Kill said, and headed back to the road where the rest of the bikers milled about.

“Tell them to hurry,” Bones yelled. “He’s fadin’ fast!”


Hey Bro, this is Cave Man. It seems like I hardly get time to party anymore up at Biker Heaven without something going wrong back on Earth. Then they call out the Halo Riders. It seemed to me that we had just gotten back. I thought things were good when Little Danny Boy came into the clubhouse at Biker Heaven and joined me at the bar.

“What’s up, bro?” I asked. “What are you drinking? I’m buying,” I said.

“The bros are in trouble,” Little Danny boy said.

“What? What now? We were just down there. When we left it looked like the Road Dogs and the Sidewinders were getting along fine.”

“They still are,” Little Danny Boy said. “They’re heading out on that Tombstone run they were talking about. One of the bros is going to go down and we need to save him. It’s not his time yet. The alliance between the Road Dogs and the Sidewinders is a good thing. It’s going to be beneficial to both clubs.”

“When do we leave?” I asked.

“Right now,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Then let’s roll,” I said.

We stepped outside, climbed onto our spirit bikes, and headed down the King’s Highway. Once we reached the borderlands, we pressed down on the bars. Descending through the clouds, we touched down on a desert highway heading south. We headed toward Tombstone right behind the Sidewinders and the Road Dogs. When we arrived at the scene, the bros gathered around a battered body that lay in the desert near the side of the road. A damaged Harley Davidson Night Train motorcycle lay in the desert near the shoulder of the road. We pulled our spirit bikes over to the side of the highway and parked them by the side of the road. We headed over to where the downed biker lay. Traveling incognito, the bros neither heard us nor saw us when we rolled up. We stood next to them, looking down at the dying biker.

Spades’ spirit was trying to rise out of his body, but I was having none of that.

“No, you don’t bro. It’s not your time,” I said and knelt next to Bones.

“I’m hurtin’ man,” Spades said, but no one heard this but me and the Halo Riders.

“You got to hold on,” I said.

I put my hand on Spades’ chest and pushed his spirit back into his body. Then I placed my hand on top of Bones’ hand where he was trying to stem the flow of blood on Spades’ leg. I felt a surge of power shoot through my hand. A bluish-green light spread across the wound. None of the bros still in their mortal bodies saw this. The blood flow stopped.

“Thank God the bleeding has finally stopped,” Bones said. The sound of an ambulance’s siren echoed across the desert.

“Does he have a pulse?” Road Kill asked.

Bones reached up and placed two fingers on his neck. “He has a pulse. It’s faint but it’s there.”

The ambulance pulled up next to the side of the road and a paramedic’s vehicle pulled in behind them. A chunky black woman and a tall skinny white guy with blond hair climbed out of the vehicle. They pulled a gurney out of the back. Two Hispanic paramedics jumped out of their vehicles. They grabbed their medical bags and ran across the desert to where Spades lay.

“Make room!” a short chubby paramedic yelled. The bikers backed away and the paramedics went to work.

“How is he?” the black female ambulance attendant asked.

“Not good. We need to get him to the hospital in Tucson ASAP! Get the back brace!” the paramedic yelled. The female ambulance attendant hustled back to the ambulance. She brought the back brace. Once they dealt with Spades’ open wounds, the paramedics put him on the back brace and then onto the gurney.

“Is he gonna make it?” Bones asked. A tall skinny Hispanic paramedic with a thin mustache shrugged. “He’s hurt bad. Right now it’s touch and, go. Do you want to ride in the back of the ambulance with him?”

“Yeah,” Bones said and then glanced at Two Belts. “Why don’t you and Big Foot follow us on your scooters. The rest of you guys head on down to Tombstone. I’ll call you on my cell when we get to the hospital.” Glancing at Road Kill, Bones said, “Why don’t you Road Dogs lead the pack.”

Road Kill nodded. “We’ll wait about twenty minutes, take a smoke break, and let everyone’s nerves calm down. Then we’ll roll.”

Bones touched Road Kill’s shoulder for a brief second. Then he headed to the ambulance with the attendants. They loaded Spades into the back and were about to close the door. Little Danny Boy and I climbed inside and joined them. The rest of the Halo Riders rode in the back of the pack when the bros headed down to Tombstone. As the ambulance pulled away Little Danny Boy and I leaned back against the door of the ambulance. We watched the attendants work to keep Spades alive. Spades’ spirit rose out of his body. The heart monitor went flat.

“We’re losing him!” one of the paramedics yelled and reached for the defibrillator paddles.

“God damn!” Spades’ spirit yelled. “I can’t stay in that messed up body! It hurts too much!”

“Oh, no you don’t! Get back in there! It ain’t your time!” I yelled.

“Who are you to tell me?” he said, but I grabbed him by the shoulders and threw his spirit back down on his body.

“Wait a minute. I got a pulse-no he’s gone flat again!” the paramedic yelled.

Spade’s spirit rose out of his body. Little Danny Boy and I went after it. He flew around the inside of that ambulance like a chimpanzee on crack. We were right behind him, but then the paramedic hit him with the defibrillator.

“Damn that hurt!” Spades yelled as his spirit slammed back into his body.

While all this was going on, Bones leaned back trying to stay out of their way. He watched the paramedics work on his bro. A look of shock and pain-filled his face.

Little Danny Boy and I sat down on Spades’ chest. Every time his spirit tried to rise out of his body I put my hand on its head and pushed it back in. “Damn you’re one of the most stubborn black fellers I’ve ever met. I told you it’s not your time,” I said.

The ambulance arrived at the hospital in Tucson, and the attendants rushed Spades into the ER. Bones climbed out of the back as Two Belts and Big Foot rolled up on their scooters. Little Danny Boy and I climbed out of the ambulance. We watched Bones, Two Belts, and Big Foot rush into the hospital as they wheeled Spades inside.

“Do we need to go with them?” I asked.

Little Danny Boy shook his head. “No, once they get him into the OR and hook him up to some more of their machines, they’ll stabilize him. He’s gonna make it.”

“Are you sure he won’t try coming out of his body again?” I asked.

“No. That shock took a lot out of him. He won’t have the energy.”

“What do we do now?” I asked.

Now, we head back to Tombstone,” Little Danny Boy said.

I nodded, and we glanced at the curb. Our spirit bikes appeared we climbed into the saddle and shot up into the sky.


Road Kill led a somber crew of bikers down the highway, heading south for Tombstone. Tears welled up in Road Kill’s eyes, but he blamed it on the wind. Damn, I hate it when a bro goes down on a scooter he thought as he cranked the throttle and tried to keep his mind off the crash. The road snaked its way through several curves and then climbed a hill. To his right, he saw an older motel, and to his left, Boot Hill. We’re here; he thought and then led the bikers off the main highway and into Tombstone Arizona.

They parked their scooters on Freemont Street and gathered on the boardwalk.

“Where to now?” one of the remaining sidewinders asked.

Road Kill sighed. “I don’t know about you guys, but I could use a beer. Let’s head up to the Crystal Palace Saloon.”

“Yeah, and later let’s head over to the Lookout Lodge and check into our rooms,” Little Mike said.

“Whatever. I want to call Bones as soon as possible and see how Spades is doing,” Snake Eyes said.

Road Kill laid a hand on his shoulder. “Sure thing, bro, but I don’t think the ambulance has had time to make it to Tucson yet. We’ve all got our cell phones. Bones will give us a call when he gets a chance.”

Snake Eyes nodded. They headed down the boardwalk heading to the Crystal Palace Saloon. Unseen by human eyes, the Halo Riders strolled along behind them.

“This is funny,” Chico said to Old School.


“Look at all these spooks, walking among the living,” Chico said.

“Yeah, it’s like there’s a whole different population in the city. All old historical towns and cities are like this,” Old School said. He nodded to the ghost of a rugged-looking old cowboy ambling down the boardwalk.

“Why don’t they cross over and go to the light?”

Old school shrugged. “Back in their day, they were so attached to the land that they don’t want to leave.”

They sauntered into the Crystal Palace saloon behind the bros. Old School stopped, dead in his tracks. “Well, look at those two,” Old School said.

“Are they who I think they are?” Chico asked.

“Yep. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.” Holliday nodded and Wyatt smiled. “Why ain’t you two up at Cowboy Heaven livin’ it up?” Old School asked.

“We’re here for the reenactment,” the ghost of Doc Holliday said.

“What reenactment?” Chico asked.

“The reenactment of the fight at the OK Corral. We come down here for the anniversary every year,” Wyatt said. “Come on over and have a drink.”

“We need to keep an eye on our bros, but yeah. I could use a drink,” Old School said.

Chico and Old School sat down to have a drink with Wyatt and Doc. The rest of the Halo Riders took a table next to where the Road Dogs and the Sidewinders sat.

Little Danny Boy and I touched down on highway 80 north of Tombstone Arizona. We rolled into town, parking our spirit bikes next to where the bros had left their Harleys. We ambled down the boardwalk. I exchanged pleasantries with the spirits we encountered along the way.

“Tombstone sure has its share of ghosts,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Yeah, it was wild and woolly in its day,” I said.

We stepped into the Crystal Palace Saloon and sat down with the Halo Riders keeping track of the bros. I joined Old School and Chico at the table with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. I nodded at Doc. “How are you doing?” I said.

Holliday shrugged. “Fair to middling.”

“How’s the bro that crashed?” Chico asked.

“He’s stable now. He’ll be all right,” Little Danny Boy said.

Road Kill’s cell phone rang. He answered the call and then nodded at the bros sitting around the table. “That was Bones. He said to tell you guys that Spades is going to make it. He flat-lined in the ambulance twice, but he’s stable now. They’re on their way back down here. He said that we’d all stop back at the hospital in Tucson and check on him on the way back.”

Snake Eyes raised his glass into the air. “A toast to our brother Spades.” The bikers lifted their bottles in salute and then Road Kill bought the next round.

“Are we done here?” Chico asked.

Little Danny shook his head. “No, there’s trouble coming down the pike,” he said.

“What kind of trouble?” I asked.

“There’s some red-neck white boys that call themselves The Skins. They think they’re some tough hombres,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Are they a bike club?” I asked.

“Yeah. Your typical white trailer trash on motor scooters. They hate anyone, not like them,” Little Danny Boy said.

“This should be interesting,” I said glancing at the door. “They just showed up.”

Five of the grubbiest looking bikers that I had ever seen, pushed their way through the batwing doors. They sauntered into the Crystal Palace Saloon.

The Skins lined the bar and started getting loud. One of them bumped into Road Kill, spilling his beer in the process, and went berserk.

“Why you peckerwood! Look what you made me do!” he screamed.

“Sorry, but you’re the one who bumped into me,” Road Kill said in a calm voice.

The skinhead biker swung on him, Road Kill blocked the punch and knocked him on his ass. The two groups of bikers merged as one and the brawl started.

“We should stop this,” I said.

Little Danny Boy shook his head. “No, let them work it out. We’ll step in if one of those Skins draws a weapon.”

We sat back and watched.

“In our day we would have drawn iron and put an end to the nonsense,” Doc Holliday said. “We were more civilized back then.”

I chuckled good enjoying the company of Wyatt and Doc. “I guess that little dust-up down at the OK corral was your way of showing how civilized you were?”

“That was a rather unfortunate incident,” Holliday said.

“That it was, Doc,” Earp said.

“We were up against some brash young men who called themselves the Cowboys.”

The fight continued near the bar and I caught a flash of reflected light off metal as one of the Skins pulled a knife. If I had been visible to the human eye, it would have seemed like a blur of motion. I shot across the room and grabbed the wrist of the biker holding the knife. The biker’s eyes widened in pain and he dropped the knife. Little Mike hit him with an uppercut and finished him off with a three-punch combination. The last of the Skins fell and they lay bleeding on the barroom floor. The Road Dogs and Sidewinders, battered and bleeding, stood over them.

“You guys better find another bar to drink in,” Road Kill said.

As the Skins picked themselves up off the floor, the one with the knife shook his hand.

“What’s wrong with you?” one of his buddies said as they stumbled out.

“I pulled my knife and was going to stick one of them peckerwoods when my knife felt like it was one fire. Pain shot up my arm and my knife was so hot I had to drop it.”

The Skins had stumbled out when Bones, along with Two Belts and Big Foot entered the saloon. They stood there taking in the scene.

“What happened here?” Bones asked.

Road Kill grinned. “We had a little discussion with a bunch of scumbag bikers called the Skins.”

“Shit. Sorry, I missed it,” Big Foot said.

“Did anyone get hurt?” Two Belts asked.

“No, one tried to stick me with his knife, I showed him the error of his ways,” Road Kill said.

“How is, Spades?” Snake Eyes asked.

“He’s gonna make it. You guys look like you need another beer. I’ll buy the next round and then we’ll head over to the motel,” Bones said.

The Road Dogs and the Sidewinders staggered down to their motel. They unloaded their gear in their rooms. They sent two prospects on a beer run and spent the rest of the evening drinking beer and partying down by the pool. Bones made a call with his cell phone to the hospital in Tucson to check up on Spades.

“How’s he doing?” Road Kill asked.

“The doc says they upgraded his condition from critical to stable,” Bones said.

“That’s good, bro. That’s real good,” Road Kill said.

The Skins MC pulled into the motel an hour later. They occupied three rooms. Their rooms were five rooms down from where the Road Dogs and the Sidewinders were staying.

“I hope we don’t have any more trouble with those dudes,” Little Mike said.

Bones shrugged. “As long as they stay on their side of the motel and we stay on ours, everything should be fine.” The bros stayed down by the pool until the wee hours of the morning. The Halo riders stood back. We stood guard watching their backs. The restless spirits wandered the streets of Tombstone Arizona.


The bros woke up around noon the next day. A long night of partying had taken its toll. Everyone rolled out of their bunks late the next morning. They stumbled down the boardwalk and had breakfast. The Halo Riders ambled along behind them. I nodded at the ghost of a young woman in a gingham dress as she strolled by. The bros chowed down on scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. Once they had about three cups of black coffee, they came to life.

“What’s on the agenda for today?” Road Kill asked.

“Oh, I thought we’d do the tourist thing. I’d like to head down and check out the Bird Cage Theater. Then go see the reenactment of the shooting at the OK Corral. That’s going to happen around one or two.”

Sitting at a table behind the bros with Doc and Wyatt, I said, “Is this reenactment any good?”

Doc shrugged. “Oh, they put on a good show, but as far as if it’s historically accurate, I don’t know. They got some things right.”

“I don’t remember all the details. We were kind of busy at the time,” Wyatt said.

The ghost of a couple of cowboys in range attire plus two tall lanky men in drover’s coats swaggered into the saloon.

“Look what the wind blew in,” Doc said.

“Who are those guys?” Little Danny Boy asked.

“The two cowboys are Curly Bill Brocius and Ike Clanton,” Doc said.

“Those two tall drinks of water are my brothers, Virgil and Morgan,” Wyatt said.

“Say, we’re not gonna have trouble are we?” I asked.

Doc laughed. “No, death has a way of ending old revelries. We get along fine now. They’re here for the reenactment like us.”

The bros tanked up on breakfast and about a gallon of coffee. After that, we strolled along behind them as they headed up to the Bird Cage Theater. Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers went with us. Inside the Bird Cage Theater, I stopped gazing at the former opera house, which was now a museum.

“This place is, crowded,” Little Danny Boy said. He wasn’t talking about the human occupants, at least not the live ones.

“The Bird Cage was always a lively place,” Doc Holliday said.

I glanced about at the ghost of the town’s former residences. Up near the ceiling were the cribs where the prostitutes used to ply their trade. There were seven cribs on one side of the room and seven on the other. They had curtains on the cribs so the occupants could have a wee bit of privacy. In each one of the cribs, the ghost of a former town prostitute looked down on the scene below.

“Hey there lover?” the ghost of a blonde-headed prostitute wearing a white see-through camisole said. “Want to come up for a bit?”

I looked up and smiled. “No thank you. Some other time.”

We watched the bros go through the Bird Cage Theater. Then we tagged along behind them as they strolled down the boardwalk.

“I say these Iron horses that your boys ride. They sure are noisy,” Doc said.

“Yeah, but they’re a kick to ride. You’d enjoy it,” I said.

“I favor the living breathing kind of horse, but I wouldn’t mind one of those spirit bikes I saw you guys ride in on,” Doc said.

“I’m sure we could arrange something,” I said.

“I’m with Doc here. Give me a good stout horse between my legs and I’ll be happier than a fly in a pile of shit,” Wyatt said. His brother Morgan nodded in agreement. We shadowed the bros for the rest of the morning. Around twelve-thirty we all headed over to the OK Corral to watch the reenactment. We reached the OK Corral behind Fly’s photo studio. The re-enactors gathered in the back lot behind the corral. A large group of tourists gathered around to watch the show. Moving unseen amongst the crowd of the living humans was the town’s ghostly population. Doc Holliday, the Earp brothers, and the Clantons gathered near the edge of the crowd to watch the show. The bros stood off to themselves taking it all in. The re-enactors gathered in the back lot behind the photo studio. They faced off against each other. Three wore long black drover’s coats. The ones playing the Clantons wore range attire. Each one of them wore a red sash around their midsection.

“You Clantons have been looking for a fight and now you’re gonna get one!” the re-enactor playing Virgil Earp yelled. “Throw up your hands I’m disarming you!” he yelled pointing a rifle. The re-enactors playing the role of the Clantons went for their guns. “Hold it! That’s not what I want!” the one playing Virgil yelled. There was a hesitation of about two seconds. Then the sound of gunfire echoed up the street, only they were using blank ammunition. When the smoke cleared a few of the re-enactors lay on the ground playing dead. The crowd of tourists applauded.

“Well, they are getting better,” Doc said.

“It gets better every year,” Ike Clanton said.

“This gentleman they have playing me seems pretty good,” Doc said.

“Doc you love the limelight, even if you are dead,” Wyatt said.

“Pretty Cool,” Bones said. “Let’s head back to the Chrystal Palace. I’m buying.”

We headed up the boardwalk and joined the bros back at the saloon. They were turning a corner when they ran right into a group of Skins.

“I’ve had about enough of you red-neck peckerwoods!” their grubby leader yelled.

“Sorry. We didn’t see you there,” Bones said.

“Sorry, my ass! We’re gonna finish this once and for all! Meet us in the back lot behind the OK Corral at midnight! By that time the citizens will have gone to bed! Make sure you bring your guns!” the grubby biker yelled and then stormed by with the rest of his crew.

“Good Lord. I hate rude obnoxious people,” Doc Holliday, who stood next to me, said.

“I do too. These old boys in these motorcycle clubs sure know how to get into trouble,” I said. We strolled down to the Crystal Palace Saloon.

The bros gathered around a table drinking beer and discussed the problem with the Skins.

“We can’t just, not show up,” Bones said. “They would spread the word, we’d get branded as cowards and we wouldn’t be safe on the streets.”

“Yeah, but we don’t want to throw down with those guys and get into a gunfight. The Road Dogs ain’t that type of club and I know that the Sidewinders aren’t either,” Road Kill said.

Bones sighed. “I know but what are we supposed to do?”

“Let’s take our handguns. We’ll only use them if we have to. I hope we can talk these guys into putting down their guns then we’ll kick their asses,” Little Mike said.

“Fat chance of that happening,” I said.

“I agree. Those are some rude boys. If you don’t mind, I’d like to join you all for this little fracas,” Doc said.

“Sure. We can use all the help we can get Little Danny Boy said.

“If we’re going to get into a rumble with these dudes, I’d like to get some rest first. Especially if I have to worry about getting my hide ventilated,” Two Belts said. He couldn’t hear the ghostly conversation going on behind him.

“That’s not a bad idea. Let’s head over to the lodge and get some rest,” Bones said.

“I second that,” Road Kill said.

The bros finished their beer and headed back to the motel. Doc and the Earp brothers stayed on at the Chrystal Palace playing poker. They played with the ghost of a few gamblers that they knew from back in the day.

After getting some rest, the bros headed back down to the OK Corral at eleven-thirty that evening. The Halo Riders were right behind them. Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers strolled up and joined us. A full moon looked down on the streets of Tombstone.

“You know, I hate this kind of shit. Why can’t these assholes live and let live? Why fight when you can party?” Road Kill said.

“Yeah, I hear you,” Bones said. “To me, it’s all about the booze, the bikes, and the babes.”

Doc Holliday glanced over at the bike parked next to the boardwalk. “If I were alive right now, I would enjoy riding one of those things.”

The Skins motorcycle club sauntered up thirty minutes later. They spread out in a line facing the Road Dogs and the Sidewinders.

“Time to go to work,” Little Danny Boy said and we stepped between the two groups of bikers.

“Heaven forbid that I should miss out on the fun,” Doc Holliday said and stepped up next to the Halo Riders.

“I’m with you Doc. Let’s show these SOBs the error of their ways,” Wyatt said.

Road Kill and Bones approached the Skins with their hands raised. “Can’t we talk about this?” Bones said.

“Time for talking is over! I told you peckerwoods to bring your guns!” the chapter president of the Skins yelled and then pulled his 45.

I stepped up to him and grabbed the barrel. The gun turned red hot and he dropped it to the ground.

“What the hell?” he said and stepped backward. I backhanded him across the face. “Who hit me?” he said a bewildered look crossing his face. The other skins pulled their guns.

“Why you rude boy? I’ll be your huckleberry,” Holliday said. He pushed the skin standing next to the chapter president backward. The skinhead biker whirled about trying to see where the voice came from and who pushed him.

“Pull that smoke wagon and let’s go to work you worthless piece of cow shit!” Wyatt yelled slapping another one of the skins in the face. Trembling in fear, the Skins motorcycle club waved their guns about. They were ready to shoot at anything that moved. Little Danny Boy held out his hand and a flash of blue light shot from his fingertips. It enveloped the weapons. The Skin’s guns flew out of their hands and landed in the dirt in front of where the Road Dogs and Sidewinders stood.

“What the hell is this?” Bones asked.

“Remember those old boys I told you about? They call themselves the Halo Riders. They always show up when there’s trouble. This seems like some of Cave Man’s doings,” Road Kill said.

“I don’t know about you guys, but now that they’re disarmed, I’m gonna kick some ass,” Little Mike said. Bones and Road Kill grinned. As one man, the Road Dogs and the Sidewinders crossed the vacant lot. When they reached the Skins, they unleashed their fury. For a few minutes, the only sound was that of fists slapping bone. They beat the Skins down to the dirt. They didn’t stop until the skin-headed bikers lay on their backs begging for mercy.

“Get your asses on your scooters and don’t let us catch you in the state of Arizona again!” Road Kill yelled. The battered skinhead bikers climbed to their feet. They stumbled to their motorcycles and roared out of Tombstone. Their taillights disappeared into the night.

“Thanks a bunch, Cave Man,” Little Mike said, even though he couldn’t see me.

“You’re welcome,” I said projecting my voice so he could hear me.

“Yes, thank you, Mr. Cave Man. I haven’t had that much fun in a while,” Doc Holliday said.

“If I hadn’t seen that shit with mine own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it,” Bones said.

“That’s nothing compared to some of the shit that I’ve seen. I could tell you some stories that would curl your hair. Let’s head down to the Crystal Palace. I’ll buy you the first round and I’ll fill you in on the adventures of Cave Man and his bros,” Little Mike said.

“That sounds like a grand idea. I could use a beer myself. Why don’t we join them?” Doc said so that’s what we did.

A big grin spread across Spades’ face when he saw everyone step into his hospital room in Tucson Arizona.

“Hey. It’s good to see you’re awake. How ya feelin’ bro?” Bones asked.

“I hurt everywhere I can touch. My leg’s busted and my bike’s totaled, but other than that I’m doin’ okay.”

“You’re lucky to be alive,” Road Kill said.

“Yeah. Forget about the bike. If it’s totaled, the insurance will cover it. If it’s not, we’ll get it fixed. You get well, bro,” Bones said.

I stood in the corner with the Halo Riders and smiled. “That dude was stubborn,” I said.

“Yeah, I never had to sit on a body before to keep its spirit inside,” Little Danny Boy said.

“How soon until they let you out of this joint?” Two Belts asked.

“The doc says that I’ll be here for a week or two,” Spades said.

Two Belts laughed and said, “Man it sucks to be you.”

“Say, guys. I’m sorry that I crashed and ruined the run down to Tombstone,” Spades said.

Bones stepped up to his bed and laid a hand on his shoulder. “You didn’t ruin nothin’ bro. You didn’t ruin nothin’.”

“I heard you guys ran into some trouble with another club?”

“Yeah, I’ll tell you about it after they cut you loose from this place,” Bones said.

We stood back watching the bros pay their respects to Spades and then stepped along behind them. They headed out to their scooters. For a while, we rumbled along behind them when they left. When the bros turned off heading down to Harlem Springs, we kept going. We turned mortal enjoying the wind in our hair for about a hundred miles. Little Danny Boy looked over at me and grinned. “The last one to reach Biker Heaven buys the beer,” he yelled and then pulled up on his handlebars and shot up into the sky. Naturally, I tore off after him like my tail was on fire, with the rest of the Halo Riders hot on my ass.


If you have enjoyed these short stories and you want to read them all, check out Tales From the Lost Highway at Until next time think good thoughts and good things will happen.

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Forbidden Words

Good morning! I hope you are having a great day. If you are not, tell yourself that you are. Say to yourself, “Today is a wonderful day and I expect great things to happen today.” Today I would like to talk about forbidden words and phrases. These are words and phrases that you must remove from your vocabulary. The number one phrase you must remove from your
vocabulary is I can’t. I can’t do this. Instead say, I can do this. Even though you may not believe it. That’s why you are saying that you can do this. Even better, say “I must do this now.” Other forbidden words and phrase are, “I’m too old.” “I’m too young.” “I don’t know how.” Tell yourself that you can do anything. That you always get what you want. You universe brings you what you focus on, so don’t use any words of phrases that hold you back from getting what you want. When I was in my twenties I practiced martial arts, but I stopped doing that. I always wanted to get back into it. In 2019 at the age of sixty-two, I stopped into our local Kung Fu and karate school and watched a class. As I sat
there watching the kids and adults working out in the dojo I had a Devil on my left shoulder telling me, “You’re too old for this. You can’t do this.” On my other shoulder I had an angel telling me, “If you don’t try, you’ll be sorry.” So I paid for my first month of classes and signed up. What I discovered, is that I can do this. I may not be as good as the other people, who have been in the class for years, and my body may not be as limber as the younger people in the class, but I can do martial arts to the best of my ability, and I can improve on that. The only one that I am in competition with is myself. Shortly after signing up for the Karate and Kun Fu classes I also joined the Thi Chi class. At the time I signed up, I weighed about one hundred and eight five pounds, and I had a little bit of a pot belly. All I did was ride my motorcycle once in a while drink beer, and write during the evenings. Martial arts has changed my life. Now in twenty-twenty three, I weigh one hundred and sixty pounds, I feel healthier and I have cut way back on my drinking. I recently earned my green belt and I am halfway to black. If I would have listened to the negative voices in my head, I wouldn’t have achieved this. Also in twenty nineteen I rode my motorcycles with a group of friends to a motorcycle club event in Alabama. After the event, I rode up to New Hampshire, by myself to visit my daughter and grandkids. I had a great time. On
the way home I visited Gettysburg Pennsylvania and took a tour of the battlefields. I was on the road for a month. I saw cool things and met cool people. This would never have happened if I would have listened to the negative voices in my head that said, “I can’t.” So eliminate those forbidden words and phrases the come into your mind. Throw them out of your brain box because you can.

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New Blood

John Rogers backed off on the throttle. He pulled into the parking lot of, O’ Sullivan’s Place, an Irish pub on the outskirts of Harlem Springs Arizona. He noticed a few other Harleys in the parking lot. Four of which he recognized. They set parked off by themselves and three others parked closer to the main entrance to the pub. Running late, John took a large duffle bag off the back of his bike and hurried across the parking lot to the front door.

John paused for a few seconds letting his eyes grow accustomed to the dim barroom. He noticed a group of bikers sitting at the bar and ignored them. Crossing the crowded barroom, he headed to where four of his buddies sat at a table near the back of the bar. The bikers at the bar wore the patch of the Road Dogs motorcycle club.

“Hey bro. How are things on the highway?” a tall corn-fed white boy sitting at the table said when he stepped up.

“Hot as hell. Like usual. I’ll be glad when winter gets here,” John said.

“Yeah, being a flagman in Arizona can be a bitch in the summertime. Did you happen to notice the guys sitting at the bar? This might not be such a good idea,” a big hairy Scandinavian sitting next to the corn-fed white boy said.

“I got no problems with the Road Dogs. Once we get our club up and running, we’ll have a sit down with them, but for now, this is our business,” John said.

“Let’s see the patches,” a short wiry blond-headed guy at the table said.

John sat the duffle bag down on the table, unzipped it, and laid five denim vests down on the table. He held one up for inspection. “This one’s mine,” he said.

The main patch depicted a snake crawling sideways through the sand. The top rocker said Sidewinders. The small MC cube set off to the side of the main patch.

The corn-fed white boy laughed when he read the name tag on the front of the vest. “Bones. Well, that fits. You do like your dominoes.”

“You bet I do Bill. You guys asked me to come up with some biker names, so here’s yours,” John said and handed, Bill Williams his vest. “We’re gonna call you Snake eyes. Turning to James Parker, the only black man at the table, he handed him his vest and said, “Jim, you are now known as Spades.”

The black man laughed. “That’ll work.”

Handing a vest to the short wiry blond-headed guy, named Tim Donavan, he said, “Tim. Your name is, Two-Bit.” Nodding to Bob Peterson, the big hairy Scandinavian, he said, “Bob. You are now known as Big Foot.”

Bob laughed. “Big Foot. I like that.”

Bones handed out the vests and they all put them on.

“I know we decided that you would be president, but what about the rest of the officer positions?” Spades asked.

Bones sat down at the table, a waitress took their drink orders and he said, “I figured Snake Eyes for VP. Spades, I want you to be our road captain. Two-Bit; since you’re the math whiz I’d like you to be our secretary and treasurer as well as our tail gunner.”

“What about me?” Big Foot asked.

Bones laughed. “That’s obvious. You’re gonna be our sergeant t at arms.”

Behind them, the Road Dogs sitting at the bar, headed, for the door. One of them glanced over at the five bikers sitting in a dark corner by themselves, taking in the patch.

“We may have trouble,” Big Foot said.

Bones glanced over his shoulder at the Road Dogs heading for the front door. “Don’t worry about them. We’ll deal with them old boys when the time comes,” he said.

“What about meetings?” Snake Eyes asked.

“I figured we’d meet here, on the first Friday of every month at around six-thirty in the evening. Tom says that we can use the room in the back. This is going to be our official clubhouse,” Bones said.

“Old Tom O’ Sullivan is a good old boy,” Big Foot said.

“What about prospects?” Two Bit asked.

“Start putting your feelers out for anyone who would like to join the club. I thought we’d take a ride out to Tombstone in a couple of weeks. That will be our first official run as a club,” Bones said.

“Tombstone. Sweet. I love Tombstone,” Spades said.

Finished with business, they did what most bikers would do in a situation like that: they partied.


Mr. Big and Pony Boy, two newly patched members of the Road Dogs hurried into the High Noon Saloon. Noticing Two Belts and Little Mike at the bar, they motioned to the back room where they held church. Little Mike and Two Belts picked up their beers and followed them into the meeting room.

“What’s got you two all worked up?” Little Mike said.

“We were over at O’ Sullivan’s place about a half-hour ago with Beer Belly,” Mr. Big said. “There were some guys over there holding a meeting. They’re trying to start another MC here in town. They’re calling themselves the Sidewinders. They’ve got their patches on the back of their vests and everything. The patch is yellow with a picture of a snake. The top rocker says sidewinders, with MC next to the patch.”

“Did their patch have a bottom rocker?” Two Belts asked.

“No,” Pony Boy said.

Little Mike sighed. “I’m surprised they didn’t want to have a face-to-face with us first.”

“I reckon they’ll have one whether they want to or not. We need to go over some things with those old boys, if they going to start another MC in this town,” Two Belts said.

“Them SOBs are diskin’ us!” Mr. Big said.

“Let’s not go off half-cocked. It looks like they’re not trying to claim territory. They don’t understand the protocol. If we see them out on the road, we’ll talk with them,” Little Mike said.

Back at the bar, Little Mike and Two belts sat down for another beer. Mr. Big and Pony Boy played a game of pool.

“What do you think about these guys starting another club?” Two Belts asked.

Little Mike took a pull from his beer. “It’s not those guys that I’m worried about. It’s this new blood we have in the club that worries me. Ever since we lost our bros up by Sturgis, things haven’t been the same. These new guys are a bunch of hotheads.”

“Church this Friday should be interesting. Especially when they hear that you’re stepping down as pres,” Two Belts said.

“Yeah, I have a feeling these new guys are going to try some kind of end run. That Mr. Big is getting a bit too big for his britches,” Little Mike said.

“We need to take him down a notch or two,” Two Belts said, glancing over at the two bros playing pool.


The next morning Little Mike and the rest of the Road Dogs rode down Main Street. They headed to Denny’s for a bite to eat when they saw five bikers wearing the Sidewinders MC patch on their backs. Little Mike pulled up next to Bones on the left side while the rest of the Road Dogs pulled in behind them.

“Pullover. We need to talk,” Little Mike said.

“Talk about what?” Bones said.

“Let’s kick some ass!” Mr. Big yelled.

Little Mike whirled his head around. “Shut up Big!” He turned back to the Sidewinders. “Pull over into the Chevron parking lot. We need to talk about this club you’re starting.”

The Sidewinders pulled into the Chevron parking lot and the Road Dogs followed.

Bones and the rest of the Sidewinders parked their motorcycles. The Road Dogs parked theirs. They headed over to where the Sidewinders were climbing off their motorcycles. The newer members of the Road Dogs stood with their arms crossed and scowls on their faces. Little Mike gave Bones a friendly smile and stuck out his hand. “They call me Little Mike.”

Bones shook his hand. “What? Are you gonna try and tell us we can’t start another motorcycle club in this town?”

Little Mike shook his head. “No. There are some things I’d like to go over with you.”

“What kind of things?” Bones asked.

“Protocols and such. Why don’t you guys come out to the High Noon Saloon tomorrow night?” Little Mike said.

“Why don’t you bring your crew over to O’Sullivan’s. We’re having a party on Thursday night. It’s kind of an official dedication for the new clubhouse. Tom is keeping the general public out for that night. It’s gonna be a private party.”

“Sure, we’ll be there,” Little Mike said.

Two Belts nodded at Big Foot. “You’re almost as big as me.”

“A little bigger,” Big Foot said.

“Be ready to get your drink on, Thursday night,” Two Belts said and headed to his bike. The Road Dogs rolled out of the parking lot and roared down the street to Denny’s.


Thursday Evening, the Road Dogs rolled down Main Street and pulled into O’ Sullivan’s Place at six. They parked their motorcycles up next to the building. Little Mike and Two Belts pushed open the front door. They sauntered inside and the rest of the Road Dogs followed. Pausing to let his eyes grow accustomed to the pale light, Little Mike glanced about the barroom. Bones stood up and motioned him over to a table across the room where he sat with his crew. The Sidewinders stood up, there were handshakes all around and then they sat down.

“Before we start this, let me buy, the drinks,” Bones said.

“I never turn down a free drink,” Two Belts said.

They shot the shit for a few minutes waiting for the drinks. The waitress stepped up, wearing a t-shirt cut low in the front, and set their drinks down on the table.

“Thank you darlin’,” Bones said and then paid for the drinks giving her a big tip. “What are these things you want to go over?” Bones asked when the waitress left.

“First of all, if you guys plan on selling speed or any other type of hard drugs in this town, we’ll shut you down. While we’re here, there will be no crystal meth in this town,” Little Mike said.

“We’re a family club. We don’t do drugs and we don’t sell drugs,” Bones said.

“Also, you’ll need to make an appearance at the commission of clubs meeting,” Two Belts said.

Bone’s sighed. “I don’t think that they have the right to tell us whether we can have our, own club,” Bones said.

“Yeah, but if you don’t want trouble with the other clubs you need to get backing from the commission,” Two Belts said.

“If you decide to present your patch, we’ll sponsor you,” Little Mike said.

“Okay. I don’t like it, but we’ll do it. Anything else?” Bones asked.

“We should support each other’s events, such as poker runs and things like that,” Little Mike said.

“I agree. We’re having a run coming up to Tombstone. You guys should come,” Bones said. “Anything else?”

“No that about covers it,” Little Mike said.

Two Belts glanced over at Big Foot. “Okay, big guy. Let’s see who can drink who under the table,” he said. The band cranked up, and several women climbed onto the bar, took off their tops, and danced topless.

“Now we’re talkin’,” Big Foot said. They climbed out of their seats and headed to the bar.

Thirty minutes later, all hell broke loose. A beer bottle hit the floor, someone cursed and the fight was on. Little Mike looked up. He saw Mr. Big and Pony Boy slamming their fists into the face of two of the Sidewinder’s new prospects.

“Damn that Mr. Big! We can’t take him anywhere without him getting into shit,” Little Mike said jumping to his feet.

“Yeah, and Pony Boy’s always right there with him,” Two Belts said.

The officers of the Sidewinders jumped up, along with the officers of the Road Dogs. They rushed over to stop the fight. They pulled Mr. Big and Pony Boy off the prospects. Battered and bleeding, the combatants stood glaring at each other.

“That’s it. The party’s over for you two. Let’s ride,” Little Mike said. Five minutes later, the Road Dogs climbed onto their motorcycles and hit the highway. They roared out of town heading toward the High Noon Saloon.


Hey Bro this is Cave Man. Trouble was brewing once more with the bros down on Earth. The powers that be in Biker Heaven decided to send me down there so I could sort things out. I decided to take Chico and Bone Crusher with me. We touched down on the highway about a hundred fifty miles west of Harlem Springs Arizona. When I get the chance to come back down to Earth, I like to get in some time on the road in a mortal body. There’s nothing like the feel of the wind in your face and your hair while you’re riding a motorcycle.

Thunder clapped and lightning flashed when we touched down. Our spirit bikes changed to older Harley Davidson motorcycles. We roared past the old oak tree that I plowed into back in 68 and motored on down the road. Five miles outside of Harlem Springs, I braked and pulled over to the side of the road in front of the High Noon Saloon. Chico pulled up next to me.

“Why didn’t you pull into the parking lot?” Chico asked.

“The bros are in there holding church. We’ll need to go incognito for a little bit. This should give you a chance to use some of those powers that you get when you cross over,” I said.

Chico grinned. “This ought to be fun.”

Bone Crusher nodded. “Let’s do it.”

We dematerialized and rolled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon.

Inside the back room of the High Noon, the bros gathered around the table. A gavel sat on the table in front of Little Mike. “We have a few things we need to discuss. First of all, Mr. Big, you and Pony Boy were out of line over there at O’ Sullivan’s Place.”

“What? Those bastards started it. I don’t know why you don’t run them out of town,” Mr. Big said. Pony Boy nodded in agreement.

“You were out of line. We were their guests,” Two Belts said.

They argued the matter and went over some other issues for a while.

“Does anyone have anything they need to bring up?” Little Mike asked.

“Yeah, what’s with this policy of not selling dope? If we cooked speed or sold some weed, we could make a lot of money for the club,” Pony Boy said. Mr. Big nodded.

“That won’t happen as long as I’m part of this club,” Little Mike said.

“I’ll have no part of that either,” Two Belts said.

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Road Kill, who was sitting at the end of the table and hadn’t said much so far, said.

“I know that some of you like to smoke a little weed now and then, but we’re not drug dealers. Anyone who uses manufactures or sells any hard drugs will have his patch pulled,” Little Mike said. “Any questions about that?” Mr. Big and Pony Boy gave him a hard look but didn’t respond. “Good now there’s another matter. I am going to step down as president. I nominate Two Belts to take my place.”

Two Belts sighed. “I make a better Sergeant of Arms, but I’ll serve if you have to step down.”

“I nominate Mr. Big,” Pony Boy said.

Pandemonium filled the meeting room.

“Let’s put it to a vote,” a bro named Tommy Boy said.

Little Mike nodded. “All in favor of Two Belts being pres hold up your hands.” Half of the members present raised their hands. Little Mike counted the hands. “All those in favor of Mr. Big being our new pres, raise your hands.” The rest of the patched members, mostly the younger newer members, raised their hands. Little Mike counted the votes. “It’s a tie. In case of a tie, the sitting president holds the tie-breaking vote. I-”

It was right about then that Chico, Bone Crusher, and I entered the room. You could have heard a pin drop, and all eyes turned to the door when it opened, seemingly on its own. Chico, Bone Crusher, and I stepped into the room. All though unseen, the sound of our footfalls echoed throughout the room.

“Who are these guys?” Chico asked motioning to Mr. Big and Pony Boy.

“A couple of dudes they picked up after you guys passed. I don’t know why they patched ‘em,” I said. We stepped up to the table standing behind the bros.

“What are we supposed to do now?” Chico asked.

“It’s time for you to use some of those powers we talked about after you crossed over,” I said. “These bros have an important decision on the table. Whoever is the next pres, will lead the club in his, own way. We don’t want these bros heading down the wrong road.”

Chico glanced over to where Road Kill sat at the end of the table and grinned. “Road Kill. He’s a solid brother and wouldn’t steer the club wrong. Watch this.” Reaching down, he put his hand next to the gavel. Closing his eyes to focus, he moved the gavel down the table until it sat in front of Road Kill. Road Kill’s eyes widened.

Bone Crusher laughed. “Those old boys look like they about shit themselves.”

“All righty, then. It appears that some of our fallen brothers are present and it is obvious who they want to hold the gavel. I nominate, Road Kill as president,” Little Mike said.

“I second it,” Two Belts said.

“Let’s vote,” Tommy Boy said. The bros sat at the table, their eyes wide, and cast their vote. This time it was unanimous in favor of Road Kill as president. Road Kill reached out and touched the gavel. When he did his eyes widened even wider still.

“Chico, that dude Cave Man and another guy that I don’t know. They’re here man. Standing right behind you Little Mike,” Road Kill said.

Little Mike and Two Belts whirled around. The other bros glanced behind their backs and around the room, but nobody but Road Kill saw us. Little Mike let out a nervous laugh. “I guess they’re here for church. You know you guys are always welcome here.”

“They want us to continue our business,” Road Kill said. “Since I am the new pres, Tommy Boy, I want you to be my VP. Little Mike, I know you were happy riding in back, so you’ll continue as our tail gunner. Two Belts, you’re the biggest SOB in the chapter so you’ll stay on as our sergeant of arms.” Chico glanced at a scruffy guy leaning back in his chair with his back against the wall. “Scruffy, I want you as road captain. Road Kill nodded to a dark-complexioned guy with pork chop sideburns. “Bad Bob, you’ve got the most book learning of us all, so I want you to serve as our secretary and treasurer,” he said. Road Kill turned to Pony Boy and Mr. Big. “I’m putting you two on notice. You cause any more trouble and you’re out,” he said and then banged the gavel. Angry looks crossed their faces. The sound of motorcycles pulling up outside filtered into the room. A prospect stuck his head in the door.

“Hey, you guys we have trouble. The Sidewinders just pulled into the parking lot,” the prospect said.

“Okay, everyone, stay cool. Tell them we’ll be right there.” Everyone else filed out of the room. Road Kill paused looking at me and said, “Dude I almost shit when I saw you guys standing there. What are you doing here?”

“The club’s in trouble bro. You needed some guidance,” I said.

“Bro you did, good. You’ve got solid leadership sitting at the table now,” Chico said. “You’ll make a good pres.”

“I’ll never fill your shoes,” Road Kill said.

“You’ll follow your, own path. You’re the right man for the job,” Chico said.

Nodding to Bone Crusher, Road Kill said, “Who’s this guy? I know you Chico and I’ve seen Cave Man’s picture in the Book of The Dead, but I’ve never seen him before.”

Bone Crusher stuck out his hand. “The name’s Bone Crusher.” They shook.

“It’s good to meet you. You don’t feel like no ghost.”

“I used to ride with another club, back when I was alive. I wasn’t much back then, but after you die you’ve got a lot of time to think. If it weren’t for Cave Man here, I would have been burning in the fires of hell by now.”

“Past is past. Let it die,” I said. “You’re a righteous dude now.”

“It sounds like the natives are getting restless outside. Let’s go see what these Sidewinders want,” Road Kill said and then headed to the door.

Outside, Mr. Big and Pony Boy squared off with the same two prospects that they had fought with the night before. They were starting to get loud and when one of the prospects stepped up to Pony Boy and Pony Boy pushed him.

“Hey! That’ll be enough of that!” Road Kill yelled. He stepped between the Sidewinders and the rest of the Road Dogs. Little Mike and Road Kill turned to face the Sidewinders.

“I’m sorry for these two assholes. We can’t take them anywhere without them causing trouble,” Road Kill said.

A confused look crossed Bones’ face. “I thought you were in charge,” he said to Little Mike.

“We held church. I stepped down as pres. This is Road Kill. He’s our new president,” Little Mike said.

“Pleased to meet you. They call me Bones,” Bones said and they shook hands.

“I’m sorry about last night,” Road Kill said.

“Well, shit happens. Our guys want satisfaction. They want to settle things.”

“Now we’re talkin’. We’ll meet you any place, any time!” Pony Boy yelled.

“Shut up! Pony Boy!” Road Kill yelled. “It doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve got more guys than you. You’ve only got ten guys in your club,” Road Kill said.

“We’ll pick out our ten best fighters!” Mr. Big interrupted. “If we win, you guys leave town! If we lose, you stay and we leave you alone!”

“Shut up Big!” Road Kill yelled. “Or you and Pony Boy will be the only ones leaving!”

“No, actually, that’ll work,” Bones said.

Road Kill sighed. “Where do you want to do this thing?” Road Kill asked.

Bones shrugged.

“We could always do it out at the Punch Bowl,” Little Mike said.

“Great. Back to the Devil’s Punch Bowl. Sometimes you bros here on Earth are more trouble than you’re worth,” I said. Chico and Bone Crusher nodded in agreement.

“Tell me about it,” Road Kill said.

Bones looked up and his eyes widened. “Who’s he talkin’ to?” he said to Little Mike.

“Oh, forget about it. Do you guys know where the Devil’s Punch Bowl is?”

“Yeah, it’s that dry lake bed east of town,” Bones said.

“We’ll meet you out there at noon on Saturday,” Little Mike said.


The Road Dogs rolled out to the Devil’s Punch Bowl at eleven-thirty Saturday afternoon. Chico, Bone Crusher, and I followed along behind them on our spirit bikes. The bros parked the scooters in the middle of the dry lake bed. They popped the tops on some beers, waiting for the Sidewinders to show.

Road Kill saw a group of motorcycles heading toward them from the other side of the lake bed. “Here they are. Right on time,” Road Kill said.

“I didn’t think the chicken shit bastards would show,” Mr. Big said.

“Shut up Big. We wouldn’t have to be out here in the hot sun if you and Pony Boy would learn how to behave,” Road Kill said.

“You got that right,” Little Mike said.

“You need to keep control of this,” I said to Road Kill.

“I know. This is going to be one big fistfight. No weapons,” Road Kill said.

The rest of the bros gave him some weird looks, thinking that he was talkin’ to himself. The Sidewinders pulled up and parked their scooters. They headed over to where the Road Dogs gathered. Bones squared off facing Road Kill.

“Before we start this thing, I want to lay down some rules. This is going to be an old-fashioned fistfight. No weapons. When a dude’s had enough, he quits. If you’ve had enough, stay down or you’re fair game. We continue until only one man is standing,” Road Kill said.

“That’s fine, but I’m calling you out. Two of our prospects want a piece of those two loudmouths that caused the trouble at O’ Sullivan’s Place,” Bones said.

“That’s fair enough, but I don’t, have a beef with you,” Road Kill said.

“I got no problem with you either, but a president should fight for the honor of his club.”

“Pony Boy and Mr. Big, step up,” Road Kill said and then picked out seven more guys. As one man, they stepped up to meet the Sidewinders. Road Kill raised his fist, nodded at Bones, and said, “Let’s rumble.”

The two groups of bikers moved toward each other and the fists started flying. For the next twenty minutes, the sound of fists slapping bone echoed across the dry lake bed. Mr. Big and Pony Boy were the first two Road Dogs to fall. The two prospects that they had attacked at O’ Sullivan’s Place beat them down to the ground. They turned to the nearest Road Dog in the fight and continued the battle.

“Them Sidewinders can fight,” I said to Chico. We were standing next to Little Mike.

“Yeah they can,” Little Mike said, hearing my voice. He glanced around, but couldn’t tell where the voice came from. “Cave Man, I wish you’d either show yourself or shut the hell up. That kind of shit creeps me out,” he said.

Chico and I both laughed. The sound of our laughter whispered past Little Mike’s ear.

“These Sidewinders don’t seem like a bad crew,” Bone Crusher said.

“No, they’re some good dudes,” I said.

The battle turned in the Road Dogs’ favor. One by one, the Sidewinders began to fall as the Road Dogs in the fight hammered them with blow after blow. Finally, the last two men standing were Road Kill and Bones. Road Kill hammered Bones with a hard right that knocked him to his knees. He followed that with a left hook and hard right-hand fist that knocked him over backward.

“You’re done. Let’s end this,” Road Kill said, offering Bones his hand.

“We’ll leave our vests here and ride out,” Bones said.

Chico, Bone Crusher, and I stepped up next to Road Kill. “You know, Harlem Springs is big enough for two motorcycle clubs,” I said.

Road Kill looked me in the eye and nodded. “You’re right. It is.” Road Kill turned back to Bones. “No one’s taking off their vests but those two,” he said pointing at Mr. Big and Pony Boy.

“You know, you seem like a stand-up guy, but this talking to yourself thing you got going on is weird,” Bones said.

“Why don’t you guys come over to the clubhouse and I’ll explain it to you. You won’t believe it,” Road Kill said.

“Yeah, I could use a couple of beers. You felt like you hand a lead pipe or a roll of quarters in your fist,” Bones said.

“No only some old bony knuckles.” Bones stuck out his hand and Road Kill grabbed him up in a bear hug. Finished with that, Road Kill said, “Two Belts, Little Mike, grab Mr. Big and Pony Boy. I want their vests.” Motioning to a Road Dog prospect, he said, “Build a fire. We have some tattoos to burn off.”

“What about their scooters?” Two Belts asked.

“We’ll let them keep their bikes”

The Road Dogs and the Sidewinders gathered around to watch the show. The sound of Mr. Big and Pony Boy screaming, along with the stench of burning flesh filled the air.

The excitement was over, the two motorcycle clubs headed back to their motorcycles.

“Are we still invited to this Tombstone run?” Road Kill asked.

“Hell yeah,” Bones said. “We’ll head out about eight in the morning next Saturday.”

The two motorcycle clubs rolled out heading to the Road Dogs clubhouse. Road Kill lingered behind.

“You did, good. You’ll make a good president,” I said.

“From what I hear, you’ll be even better than me,” Chico said.

“That’s going to be hard. You were one of the best,” Road Kill said. He turned to Bone Crusher. “I never knew you when you were alive, but it’s been a pleasure to meet you, even though you are, what a ghost?”

“Something like that,” Bone Crusher said and they shook hands.

Road Kill climbed onto his scooter and headed across the lake bed. We followed along behind on our spirit bikes. One week later, we touched down on a two-lane highway, southeast of Tucson. We followed along behind the Road Dogs and the Sidewinders. They rolled down the highway heading toward the town too tough to die.


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Introducing the Miracle Maker ChatBot

I hope everyone is having a terrific day. If you have checked out my blog lately you might have noticed that I have added a few pages. I have added my book pages, my audiobook page, and a sponsored product page. My latest addition is a premium content page, titled The Miracle Maker ChatBot. The Miracle Maker ChatBot is an AI-driven chatbot similar to Chat GPT. It can write code, write a blog, outline an eBook, and much more. You can ask it anything. It is a great tool for writers and bloggers. subscribe to my blog for either $8.00 a month or $50.00 for a yearly subscription.


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For your reading pleasure.

The Ride Home

When we rolled up to the clubhouse in Biker Heaven, the bros were outside to greet us. Bone Crusher climbed off his scooter and Blowout stepped up to him.

“Thanks, bro, for coming after me,” he said.

“Forget about it, bro. I was stuck on the Lost Highway and Cave Man risked everything to come for me. I wanted to return the favor,” Bone Crusher said.

“It seemed like you guys were gone forever,” Chico said. “How’d things go?”

“We lost Cowboy. Once his energy solidifies he’ll be back,” I said. “How’s the reunion going?”

“We’re having a hell of a good time, but I’m worried about the bros on Earth. What happened to them after the crash?”

“Time is different up here. They’re still at Sturgis. We’ll party here for a little while longer and then head down there. We’ve got some funerals to go to,” I said.

“You mean I get to go to my, own funeral?” Chico asked.

“Yeah, bro. Everyone does,” I said.

We entered the clubhouse and bellied up to the bar as the Big Bopper came out on stage and began to play. Buddy Holley came out onto the stage and joined him. I saw Johnny Cash waiting in the wings. Pulling a flask out of my vest pocket, I took a shot and handed the flask to Chico. He took a shot. Carol joined the women dancing on top of the bar.

“Damn that’s some good shit,” Chico said.

“You guys need some of the good stuff,” Little Danny Boy said and took a bottle of, the green label Jack from the bar.

“You know I love my Old Number 7, but you’re right. Green Label goes down smooth,” I said.

“It beats the shit out of any whiskey I’ve ever had on Earth,” Chico said.

“Yeah, old Mr. Daniels has had a long time to perfect his brew up here,” I said.

Once the concert wound down, I glanced at Little Danny Boy and said, “Are you ready to roll?”

“Yeah, we’ve got some bros back on Earth that need our help,” he said.

I slapped Chico on the back and said, “Let’s hit the saddle. You only thought you missed the Black Hills Rally at Sturgis. Only, on this run, you’ll be incognito.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Chico asked.

“You’re dead bro. Live people on Earth won’t be able to see you,” I said.

We crossed the bar room, stepped outside, and climbed onto our spirit bikes. Firing up the machines, we rolled down the King’s Highway heading to a rendezvous with some bros back on Earth.


We touched down on the main drag running through Rapid City South Dakota. Little Danny Boy led us down the street, took a few turns, and then we pulled into the hospital parking lot. We parked our spirit bikes near the main entrance to the emergency room. I noticed six motorcycles parked near the curb. Several ambulances pulled in without their lights and sirens. The attendants began to unload the bodies. We stood and watched them wheel the remains of our bros into the hospital.

“Now that’s plain weird. My body is in one of those bags,” Chico said.

“Who are those guys by the door?” Lead Belly asked.

I glanced up noticing a group of little demons in their black robes. “Don’t mind those guys. They’re on the hunt for souls. Chico, you guys need to stay away from them though. Let the Halo Riders deal with them. You’re not safe until your body is under the ground. We’ll put you guys in the middle of us away from those little bastards,” I said and we headed toward the door. A chilly wind blew leaves across the parking lot.

When we reached the front door, we pulled our gats and opened up on the Devil’s misfits. Balls of blue lightning and red laser blast filled the air, but no one else saw it. When the evil little demons took a hit they would explode in a blinding flash. Once we had the entranceway cleared, we passed through a set of glass doors.

“That was cool,” Chico said when we passed through the glass.

“Yeah, it’s kind of cool when you can go through a door without having to wait for it to open,” I said.

I saw a group of bikers standing near the rear of the building. A couple leaned up against the wall and they all had sorrowful looks on their faces. Among the older ones, the bro named Little Mike was talking on a cell phone. “There they are,” I said and headed over. Little Mike looked up and looked right at me. For a minute his eyes widened and his jaw dropped. “Damn. I think- he saw me,” I said.

Little Mike looked down at the floor and then looked back up. He shook his head, put his phone away, and then went back to talking with the prospects.

“What?” one of them asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Little Mike let out a nervous laugh. “Maybe I did. I called the Baptist church in Harlem Springs, plus I contacted all the families. Pastor Bill is trying to raise the money to bring the bodies home.”

We headed over to join our brothers, but of course, they couldn’t see us. “Be at peace, my brother,” I said laying a hand on Little Mike’s shoulder. I saw him shudder. The Halo Riders and the bros who died in the crash moved among the remnant of the Road Dogs from the Harlem Springs. They tried to offer comfort, even though they couldn’t see us. I looked up as a gray-headed doctor wearing a green lab coat stepped up.

“Gentlemen, I am Doctor Gates. I am so sorry for your loss. I have made contact with the local funeral home. They will move the bodies over there. Have you contacted the relatives of the departed?”

“I finished with that,” Little Mike said.

“If you would, our admittance staff needs the names of all the deceased. Also, we have a minister on duty at the chapel if you would care to take part in any grief counseling.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Little Mike said.

I noticed the Grim Reaper leaning against the wall in a dark corner looking out from under his hood. I stoked the butt of my gat riding underneath my vest. “Not this time old-timer. These, don’t belong to you,” I said.

“That’s him. I kept seeing that dude in my rearview for the entire trip up from Harlem Springs,” Chico said.

“That’s old death himself: The Grim Reaper. He was after your souls. That’s why we need you guys to stay close until we get you planted good and proper,” I said.

We followed the bros up to the admittance desk. A black woman in a white nurse’s uniform handed Little Mike a stack of papers. “I am so sorry for what happened to your friends. If you’ll fill out these forms, you can be on your way. Once the bodies are at the funeral home, Mr. Chambers from Chambers Funeral Home will give you a call.”

Little Mike took the papers from the nurse and started filling them out. Finished with that, he turned to the rest of the Harlem Springs chapter. They gathered around him and he said, “Let’s roll on out to the Bulldog Campground. This has been a long fuckin’ day.”

Little Mike led his somber crew right through us heading for the exit.

“My heart bleeds for them,” Chico said.

“I know. It’s a hard thing when you lose a brother,” I said.

“A brother hell. They almost lost the entire chapter. Them bros are hurting,” Lead Belly said.

“I know. We’ll follow ‘em over to the campground,” I said.

“What happens to the Road Dogs now?” Chico asked.

I put my arm around Chico’s shoulder. “We’ll survive this Bro. They’ll rebuild,” I said. We headed for the door, following the bros to the parking lot. Outside, we had another fight with the little demons at the door. Little Mike and the rest of the Road Dogs that were still alive didn’t notice. They climbed on their scooters. We climbed on our spirit bikes and followed them to the interstate. They headed west on interstate 80 and we followed the bros back toward Sturgis. They pulled off the interstate and rolled into the Bulldog Campground after midnight.

Little Mike and the two remaining patched members sat down in a couple of folding chairs. They had a beer, while the prospects set up camp. I reached down into the ice chest and pulled out a beer. When the bottle touched my hand, it disappeared from the material world. I took out another and passed the beers out to the rest of the brothers from the other side.

“You think they’ll notice the missing beer?” Chico asked.

“No. They’re too depressed. They’ll think that they drank it. Usually, I get a kick out of messing with the bros like this when they can’t see me. Right now they need our love and support. Even if they can’t see us, we’re still here for them.”

“We should pack up and head home. Sturgis will never be the same for me,” a big heavy-set biker named Two Belts said. He was one of the bros riding in the chase truck.

“That’s not right. They need to stay here for a while and party,” Chico said.

Chico stepped over to Little Mike and laid a hand on his shoulder. A chill shot down Little Mike’s spine. Chico bent down and whispered in his ear.

“No, we have to wait until we get the money to take the bodies home. That will take a while. We need to party and try to put this behind us. I know that Chico and the rest of the bros wouldn’t want us to sit around here cryin’. He’d want us to have fun. We’re at Sturgis for the Black Hills Rally. We’ll party for a few days and then take our brothers home and bury them.”

“You’re the senior patched member. I guess that means you’re our new president,” a wiry little guy with a scraggly goatee that they called Road Kill said.

“Yeah, temporarily. After we get our brothers in the ground, we’ll sit down at the table and hold church,” Little Mike said.

After the prospects finished setting up camp, one of them opened up the ice chest and said, “Damn. Where’d all the beer go?”

“There’s another ice chest filled with beer in the back of my truck,” Two Belts said.

The prospect went to the truck and brought back another ice chest. Another prospect started a campfire. Once he had the campfire going, the prospects passed out the beers to those sitting around the fire. Two Belts leaned forward holding his hands out to the warm fire. A chilly breeze blew across the land. Little Mike held up his bottle. “A toast to our fallen brothers.”

While the prospects were passing out the beer, I managed to snag a few for those of us on the other side of the graveyard.

“I’ll drink to that,” I said.

“You know, I almost feel like they’re here with us now, bro,” Two Belt said, leaning back.

Little Mike nodded. “I know what you mean. Back there at the hospital, for a second there, I almost thought I saw Cave Man. We were tight back in the day.”

“They were there, in spirit. Road Dogs in life and Road Dogs in death,” Road Kill said. The remnant of the Harlem Springs chapter finished their beer. Those of us, wearing the Halo patch, and the ones that had recently crossed over, moved among the remnant. We gave what comfort that we could. The remaining members of the Road Dogs MC drank and talked around the campfire until three AM. They staggered off to their tents as a full moon looked down over the Bull Dog campground. The smell of wood smoke from the dying fires drifted with the wind. We formed a perimeter around our sleeping bros. We watched the evil demonic eyes peering out of the darkness

The Road Dogs began to stir around noon. The prospects rekindled the fire, put a coffee pot on to boil, scrambled up some eggs, and fried bacon.

“I feel like warmed over shit,” Little Mike said.

“This will give your day a kick in the ass,” one of the prospects said handing him a coffee cup.

“What’s on the agenda for today?” Two Belts asked.

“I thought we’d roll into Sturgis and check out the vendors. Tonight we’ll party at the Broken Spoke,” Little Mike said.

After everyone ate their fill, the Road Dogs climbed onto their scooters. They hit the interstate heading into Sturgis. We rolled along behind them. Chico, and the rest of the bros that died on the freeway, rode behind the bros that were still alive. The Halo riders followed along behind guarding their back. They were still vulnerable. I didn’t want any of those evil little shits in the black robes trying to drag their souls down to hell. We already had to make one trip to Biker Hell and I didn’t feel like going there again.

Little Mike pulled off onto Main Street in Sturgis. He motored down the main drag and turned onto Lazelle Street. We motored along behind them. Little Mike found a spot on a side street to park their motorcycles, and we parked our spirit bikes beside them. Little Mike and the remaining Road Dogs climbed off their scooters. They strolled down the street heading to Lazelle St. where all the action was taking place. We strolled along behind them.

Two young women strutted past us wearing nothing but thongs on their bottoms and no tops. One had a tiger airbrushed across her breasts and another had a green Cobra painted on her chest. Chico grinned. “I love Sturgis,” he said. The bros ahead of us hooted and hollered at the women.

“I do too,” I said. “There ain’t no better place except, Biker Heaven”.

Little Mike glanced back over his shoulder.

“What?” Two Belts asked.

“I don’t know man. I got a weird feeling. I almost feel like someone is following us,” Little Mike said.

“Dude, we’re at Sturgis. There are thousands of people on the street.”

“I know man. Ever since the hospital I’ve been feeling strange,” Two Belts said.

“Seeing your brothers go down on the highway will do that to you.”

“Did you hear that?” I said to Little Danny Boy.

Little Danny Boy shrugged. “Some people are more in tune with the spirit world than others.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I said. I noticed a gray-headed biker stumbling down the road with his head down. He looked like a drug addict. An evil-looking demon that looked like a troll clung to his back. I pulled my sheath knife and drove the blade into the top of the demon’s head. It disappeared in a flash of light and a puff of smoke. The biker smiled and held his head up.

“Good work,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Thanks,” I said. We followed the bros around town, checking out the vendors for the rest of the day. Then we followed them down to the Broken Spoke Saloon that evening. The bros partied at the Broken Spoke until almost two in the morning. All though they couldn’t see us, we partied right along with them. I noticed a couple of restless spirits in the bar. They were a couple of bikers that had died a few years earlier in a motorcycle crash on their way to Sturgis. Somehow, they didn’t realize they were dead. I ambled up to them. “Hey, brother. Your time here is through,” I said.

They both looked at me and a scared look crossed their faces.

“What do you mean?” one of them asked.

“Both of you died on the road two years ago. There’s a better place. It’s called Biker Heaven. You’ll love it there.”

“Biker Heaven?” the other guy said.

“Yeah, look,” I said raising my hand toward the ceiling. A portal opened and a bright beam of white light shot down from the opening. The live people inside the bar couldn’t see it. The two restless spirits looked up and then looked back at me. A big grin spread across their faces. “Go to the light, brothers.”

Their bodies dematerialized changing into bluish-green beams of pure energy. Their essence rose, up to the ceiling, passed through the portal and the portal closed.

“That was cool,” Chico said.

We followed Little Mike and the bros back to their scooters. We motored along behind them on our spirit bikes while they headed back to the Bull Dog campground. We rumbled through the night. I noticed evil red eyes peering at us from a stand of trees near the side of the interstate. My hand stroked the butt of my gat when we pulled off the interstate and rolled into the campground for the night. Once again, the Halo riders stood sentry over the sleeping bikers. The stars shined down on us, covering the land like a warm blanket.


The following morning, the bros crawled out of their tents around ten-thirty. The prospects kindled a fire, made coffee, and cooked a quick breakfast. Those of us, no longer in our physical bodies gathered around, waiting for them to get their ass in gear. Finished with their breakfast, they climbed onto their scooters and hit the interstate. We followed along behind on our spirit bikes. They headed west on interstate 90, and then took a two-lane highway south to Deadwood. The highway snaked its way down into the Deadwood Gorge. It cut through the Black Hills until reaching the town itself. Deadwood was a wild, west town from back in the day, but it was now a tourist trap. People still found gold in the Black Hills. It came from the pockets of the bikers and other tourists that visited the casinos.

We followed the bros up the boulevard flanking the newly departed. Now and then we saw a few evil demons lingering in the doorways. They gave us hard looks, looking at Chico and the ones who died in the motorcycle crash.

“Why are they looking at us like that?” Chico asked.

“They want your souls,” I said. The ghosts of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane passed by. I gave them a nod. “When some people die, they are so attached to this world, that there’s nothing you can do to get them to cross over.”

After spending some time in Deadwood, the bros rolled down the highway to Mount Rushmore. Out in the woods, I heard an evil growl and saw a flash of something moving through the trees. In the right-hand lane, a woman ahead of the bros drove a three-wheeler. One of the bros pulled out and passed her. The others followed. The last rider pulled out to pass and a custom chopper came around the curve coming at the bro head-on. I goosed the throttle on my spirit bike and put myself between the bro and the dude coming at him on the chopper. When the chopper passed by, I gave his bike a little push. I moved him away from the Road Dog passing the woman on the three-wheeler. They passed each other, separated by inches. They were right next to the woman riding the three-wheeler. I back off as the bro pulled back into the right lane.

From Mount Rushmore, the bros headed down to see the Crazy Horse monument. They strolled through the museum and then stepped outside to view the statute. The ghost of wild Indians milled about with the live people. A biker with a long blond ponytail strolled by. The ghost of a big Indian with a face full of war paint pulled his knife and when through the motions of scalping the man.

I laughed. “Sorry, but that’s against the rules,” I said. “Your spirit knife won’t work on him.” Chico laughed watching the show.

We followed the bros outside and took a look at the massive, unfinished statue.

“When are they going to finish that thing?” Little Mike asked.

“In about 50 years, maybe,” Two Belts said.

I looked up at the statue and my eyes widened. Up, on the mountain, sitting on the statue was the ghost of old Crazy Horse himself.

“Speaking of the Devil, there’s the old war chief himself,” I said.

“Why doesn’t he move on to the happy hunting ground?” Chico asked.

“He’s too attached to the land. The Black Hills are still his and he doesn’t intend to leave.” I waved at the ghost of the old Indian and he waved back.

Finished at The Crazy Horse monument, the bros rode back to the campground and we followed. That night we followed them to the Buffalo Chip campground. We stood next to them watching Z Z Tops rock down the house. The loud music echoed across the campground. While the bros watched the concert, we guarded the souls of the departed. A few of the evil demons in their black robes jumped us in the middle of the concert. I grabbed one, threw him up on stage and he disappeared in a puff of smoke. Another tried to grab Chico. Bone Crusher stabbed him in his fat head, right between his horns, and sent him back to the Devil. They gave it up for a lost cause, and we enjoyed the rest of the concert.

Little Mike’s cell phone rang and he stepped away from the crowd. I listened in on his side of the conversation.

“Thank you, reverend. Tell everyone who donated money thank you too. We’ll head over to Rapid City and pick up the money from Western Union in the morning. Once we pay the bill at the funeral home, we’ll escort the bodies back to Harlem Springs. Thank you pastor and take care,” Little Mike said.

“Who was that?” Two Belts asked.

“That was Pastor Bill back home. He sent the money to the funeral home. We’ll roll out of here as soon as they get the bodies ready,” Little Mike said as Z Z Tops opened up with A Sharp Dressed Man.


The bros broke camp the next morning and rolled out heading east to Rapid City. Those of us in spirit form followed along behind them on our spirit bikes. After a quick breakfast at Denny’s, the bros rolled over to Wal-Mart. They picked up the money from Western Union and then headed over to the funeral home. Little Mike and Two Belts went inside and paid the owner for his services. They stepped out to the parking lot a few minutes later and joined Road Kill and the prospects.

“How soon until we’re ready to roll?” Road Kill asked.

“They’re getting the bodies ready to travel now,” Little Mike said. “We should roll out of here by noon.”

They stood in the parking lot conversing for another hour. There we a few laughs and jokes. The people from the funeral home-rolled the first coffin out to the hearse. A somber mood sank over the gathering. A tear tracked down Little Mike’s cheek. The Halo riders kept an eye out for the little demons in the black robes. We moved among the bros laying a hand on a shoulder here and there trying to give some comfort. The newly departed stood, watching their remains roll by in their coffins.

“Don’t worry about it, bro. Those old things are only rotting meat right now. Think of it like an old scooter that you traded in for a new one. You’ll like your spirit body a hell of a lot more than your old bag of bones,” I said to Chico.

“Yeah, I guess. I’m still trying to get used to things,” he said.

The funeral home attendants loaded up the bodies. They closed the rear doors; the drivers climbed behind the wheel and pulled out onto the road. The bros climbed onto their scooters. They followed along behind and the convoy hit the interstate. We took up the rear on our spirit bikes. Chico and the brothers that died in the crash rode in the middle and the Halo riders flanked them. I kept my eyes peeled watching out for the little demons in their black robes as we rolled through the Black Hills. I saw a flash of movement in the woods and saw a set of evil red eyes peering out at us from amongst the trees.

They hit us halfway to the Wyoming state line. The evil little shits came out of the woods on both sides of the road. They stormed onto the highway trying to get at the souls of our departed brothers. I pulled my gat. Little Danny boy pulled his knife and the rest of the Halo Riders surrounded the bros that died in the crash. A little demon jumped at me from the left and I shot him down. While I was dealing with him, another one jumped on my back. Little Danny Boy stabbed the little sucker in the top of his head and he burst into flames. Sonny grabbed one of the little shits by his arms and hurled it into the path of an oncoming car. The little demon exploded when he hit the ground. By the time the battle was over, the convoy was a half-mile down the road.

We caught up with the bros, crossed the Wyoming state line a couple of hours later, and hit Interstate 25 south. That evening, we pulled into a Motel 6 at Cheyenne and stopped for the night.


The bros were up early and had a quick breakfast at Denny’s along with the drivers from the funeral home. We parked our spirit bikes outside and the Halo Riders kept watch. We kept the souls of the departed bikers in the middle of us and didn’t let them stray too far.

“What’s got your panties in a bunch?” Chico asked me.

“I don’t know. Something doesn’t feel right. I got the feeling that those evil little bastards in the black robes are gonna hit us sometime today,” I said.

“Why? I mean, why do they keep following us?”

“You boys are fair game until your bodies get planted and laying at rest at the cemetery down at Harlem Springs. Until then, those little shits are liable to try anything. We pissed them off when we rode down to Biker Hell and brought back our bros that they took from the road. We upset the order of things and pissed off some people down below. Who knows what the powers that be of the underworld will throw at us,” I said.

Bone Crusher stepped up, taking in the tail end of our conversation. “Are you expecting them to hit us on the road like they did this morning?”

I shrugged. “No, I get the feeling that they’re gonna try something different. We need to keep on our toes.”

Bone Crusher glanced at the front door of Denny’s. The bros from the Harlem Springs chapter that were still alive stepped outside. “What about them?”

“We’ll have to keep an eye on them too. I haven’t seen the Grim Reaper lurking about, but who knows? It would be a hell of a thing if there was another crash going home.”

“We’ll have to make sure nothing like that happens. I’ll be God damned if I let one of the little SOBs in the black robes drag another bro down to hell,” Bone Crusher said. He shivered as Little Mike stepped through him. “That felt weird.”

“I know. I hate when they do that when we are traveling incognito like this.”

“The thing is, when Little Mike passed through me, I felt what he’s feeling right now. I felt the sorrow. These guys are hurting, over what happened on the freeway,” Bone Crusher said.

“I know. The funeral will give them a chance to grieve, and then they’ll hold a party at the clubhouse. After that, they’ll start getting better,” I said.

The bros took a quick cigarette break. They waited for the drivers from the funeral home to finish their breakfast. Ten minutes later, the convoy headed south on Interstate 25. Little Mike and his bros rode behind the hearses and we followed along behind them. The sun beat down on us as we hit the interstate and the sky was blue overhead. Herds of antelope grazed on the prairie, but to the south, storm clouds were gathering. The further south we traveled the worst the weather became. We pulled into Las Vegas New Mexico that evening. The rain beat us like unloved stepchildren.

All though it didn’t bother those of us in spirit form, the bros that were still alive got soaked to the bone. The convoy pulled into a Super 8 motel and the bros rented rooms for the night.

“What’s the plan?” Chico asked while we stood under an awning watching the rain.

“You and the bros that died in the crash will stay inside with the bros that are still alive. The rest of us are going to stand guard out here,” I said.

“Are you expecting trouble?” Bone Crusher asked.

“Yeah, I got a bad feeling. The Devil’s boys are going to pull out all the stops tonight. They’ve got a small window of opportunity. Once these boys get planted properly, their souls will no longer be in jeopardy,” I said.

The bros and the drivers from the funeral home checked into a motel. After putting their things into their room, they crossed the street to a restaurant. The hostess seated them at a large table in a private room off to the side.

“This may sound strange, but a few times I thought I saw some motorcycles behind us,” one of the prospects said.

“Dude. There are thousands of bikes on the road right now, because of the Black Hills Rally in Sturgis,” Two Belts said.

“I know, but this was different. I saw a group of bikers in my rearview and then they disappeared. Some of them look like our bros that died on the highway,” the prospect said.

Little Mike sighed. “I know what you mean bro. Call me weird, but I feel their presence right now. It’s almost like they’re right here beside us.”

I looked at Chico and shrugged. “If they weren’t hurting from losing their brothers, I’d mess with them right now.”

“What would you do?”

“I’d probably, knock over Little Mike’s beer or drink it,” I said.

“That’s right. You can do stuff like that. I remember that time you guys came back to help us when we had that dust-up with the Hell-Raisers at the Devil’s Punch Bowl. We could see you then. Why don’t we let them see us now?” Chico asked.

“We will after you boys get planted. We’ll wave goodbye before we head back to Biker Heaven,” I said.

They finished their dinner and headed back to the motel room. I sent Chico and the bros that died on the road inside with Little Mike and the bros that were still alive. The Halo Riders stood, watching outside.

The bros settled into their rooms. We sent the souls of the departed inside with them and we stood guard around the motel room. The night passed slowly and the rain stopped. The sky cleared up and a full moon looked down on the city of Las Vegas New Mexico. When the Devil’s little imps attacked, they hit us with everything they had. A mob of the little demons in the black robes charged across the road from the shadows and attacked. Hearing a hissing sound, I saw a host of evil demons swooping down on us from the sky. They wore hooded robes and rode on the backs of evil creatures from the depths of hell itself.

The sky overhead looked like the Fourth of July. We fired off bolts of blue-green light with our gats at the demons attacking from the air. Each time we hit one of the evil bastards they would explode in a blinding flash of light. Smoke filled the air. The little shits in the black robes charged across the parking lot. We stood our ground with our backs to the wall. Slashing with our knives and firing our pistols, we fought for the souls of our brothers. The bros inside the motel rooms were none the wiser.

The attack broke off about an hour later. All though we beat the little bastards back, we lost half of our own. Several of my bros that wear the Halo patch took hits from the spears that the little shits hurled at us. When a bro got hit he would explode and disappear from this plane of existence. Eventually, his energy would reform in Biker Heaven, but he would have to rest for a time to regain his energy.

I was leaning back against the wall trying to catch my breath when I heard something growl in the darkness. Looking up, I saw a multitude of evil red eyes in the street. A howl filled the night as the hounds of hell charged down the street toward the motel.

“Oh shit. I hate those smelly bastards,” I said and then pushed away from the wall to meet the new assault.

“Boy, we must have stirred up a hornet’s nest when we rescued those bros from Biker Hell. They won’t give up,” Bone Crusher said.

“Yeah we pissed off the Devil and he wants his due,” Little Danny Boy said.

“He can go shit up a rope,” I said.

The Devil’s four-legged critters resembling a pack of mangy wolves slammed into us. One of the evil creatures knocked Little, Danny boy to the ground and locked onto his throat with his jaws. I grabbed the vile creature by the scruff of his neck and slammed my knife into the top of its head. Both Little Danny Boy and the smelly beast exploded in a blinding flash. Bone Crusher and I stood back to back slashing with our knives. I put a round between the eyes of one of the evil vermin and another one lunged at me from the left.

I swung my blade around and stabbed him in the ear. The evil bastards retreated into the night, but I had a feeling that they weren’t through. Bone Crusher and I sank with our backs against the wall.

“I can’t take much more of this,” Bone Crusher said. We were both huffing and puffing. The hell hounds had whittled our numbers down by half once more.

“We’ve got to hold on,” I said.

“We will,” Bone Crusher said.

“Yeah, the old Devil can send all the mangy dogs left in hell if he wants to. He can come down here himself. We’ll kick his ass back to hell because there ain’t nothing more powerful than a bro with a pure heart,” I said.

They attacked us several more times that night. When the sun came up, Bone Crusher and I were the only Halo Riders left standing.

“It’s kind of ironic, don’t you think. You were the one that killed me and sent me to the great beyond, and here we are fighting back to back like brothers.”

I put my arm around Bone Crusher. “We are brothers. Even though we had a little mix-up when we were mortal, doesn’t mean we aren’t bros. Let’s get Chico and the rest of the crew that crashed on the highway down to Harlem Springs. We need to get them planted before old Slue Foot gets his second wind,” I said. The sun stabbed its warm fingers across the great state of New Mexico.


Two days later we gathered at the Baptist church on the outskirts of Harlem Springs Arizona. Coffins filled the front of the church and motorcycles filled the parking lot. Road Dogs from various chapters across the southwest filled the church. The reverend stepped to the platform to perform the eulogy. Chico and the souls that died on the highway stood in the back watching the show.

“Nice crowd,” I said.

“Yeah, there are guys here from clubs across the state,” Chico said.

“Everyone wants to pay their respects.”

“It’s kind of cool, attending your, own funeral.”

“Yeah, everyone does,” I said.

“It is a sad occasion that brings us here today,” Pastor Bill said. “Let us take a moment to reflect on the brothers that we’ve lost.” When he finished his sermon, he opened the floor so that others could speak. When the service was over, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We followed behind the bros as they escorted the hearses to the graveyard. The preacher said a few more words and then concluded the service. While the workers lowered the bodies into the ground, Bone Crusher and I looked over at a clump of trees. A few of the little smelly shits in the black robes watched us with their beady little eyes.

“Do you think they’ll try anything?”

“No, now that the bodies are at rest, they’ve lost their chance,” I said.

“What now?” Chico asked.

“Now we follow the bros over to the clubhouse. They’re holding a party in your honor.” I said.

Ten minutes later, we rolled into the High Noon Saloon. A band opened up on stage. The prospects tended bar and the bros partied in honor of their fallen brothers. Chico, Lead Belly, Dirty Dan, Bone Crusher, and I bellied up to the bar. Lead belly noticed Janet sitting down, the bar crying. He went over to give her what comfort he could, with him being in the spirit form. He came back a few minutes later. I put my arm around lead Belly’s shoulders. “She’ll be all right bro. The brothers will take care of her.”

“I hope so,” Lead Belly said.

“Enough of this mopping around. Now that the funeral services are over, we can have some fun, before we go,” I said. “Prospect! Get me a Jack and Coke, plus four beers for my friends here!” I yelled at the prospect.

“Keep your shirt on!” He yelled and then mixed my Jack and Coke. He set the Jack and Coke on the bar along with four beers and then glanced up and down the bar. “Okay, who’s the wise guy? Who ordered these drinks?” Someone down the bar motioned to the prospect. He shrugged and headed down the bar. I picked up my Jack and Coke, the tumbler disappearing when it touched my hand, and passed out the beers.

“How’d you do that?” Chico asked.

“It’s something you learn after a while. Once you’re on this side of the graveyard there are lots of things like that, that you can do. All you have to do is focus your energy.”

Down the bar, several women poured ice water over their chests and climbed up on the bar to do a wet t-shirt contest. We settled back to watch the show. About a half-hour later, Little Mike had the prospects line up several glasses of beer on the bar. Little Mike stepped back away from the bar and yelled for everyone to be quiet.

“I had the prospects put these beers on the bar for our fallen brothers,” he said. “I’d like to raise a toast to the brothers we lost on Interstate 80 outside of Rapid City. To our fallen brothers!” he said, lifting his glass. A cheer when up from the crowd as they raised their drinks in a toast.

A grin spread across my face. “They poured those beers in your honor. Why don’t you guys go drink them?” I said.

“Can we?” Chico asked.

“Hell yeah.” Chico along with the souls of the fallen brothers stepped up to the bar grabbed a glass and down the beer. A hush fell over the bar when the bros saw the empty glasses on the bar.

“What the hell?” Two Belts said.

Beside me, Lead Belly and Chico snickered. The bros glanced around, but of course, they couldn’t see us.

“Who drank them beers?” Road Kill asked.

Little Mike sighed. “You know, I’ve felt the presence of our brothers every since we left the hospital in Rapid City. I guess they did. I feel like they’re here with us now. I know they wouldn’t want the party to stop,” Little Mike said, motioning for the band to continue. We partied with the bros for another hour and then I nodded to Chico.

“Time for us to roll. We’ve got another party to attend up in Biker Heaven,” I said to Chico. Bone Crusher and I led the souls of the fallen brothers outside. We climbed on our spirit bikes and pulled onto the highway. Bone Crusher and I led the pack. We parked in the middle of the road. “Concentrate hard. We need to be mortal for a while. I’d like to do about fifty miles before we head back. Whenever I get the chance to come back to Earth, I like to take on my physical form and put my face in the wind for a while.”

“What about them?” Bone Crusher said, motioning to the front porch of the High Noon Saloon.”

I glanced up as Little Mike, Two, Belts, Road Kill and three prospects stepped on the porch.

I grinned. “It’s our chance to say goodbye.”

Our bodies changed, becoming mortal. When the bros saw us, their eyes widened and their jaws dropped. A big grin spread across their faces. We waved, they waved back, I nodded at Little Mike, cranked the throttle and we blasted down the highway.


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Problems? Who Me?

Hello, I hope that everyone reading this is having a wonderful day. Before I get into the day’s topic I’d like to draw your attention to the changes I have made to my site. I have added a few pages such as my book pages, my audiobook page, and my sponsored product page. Be sure to check them out before you leave. I am working on my Premium Content Page. Subscribers to this page will gain access to the Miracle Maker ChatBot. The Miracle Maker ChatBot is a ChatBot similer to Chat GPT. It can write code, outline and download an eBook as well as a bunch of other things. You can ask it anything I will offer mothly sucriptions to access the ChatBot for only $20.00 a month, or for a one time fee of $100.00 I will create a ChatBot for you.

So, who has problems besides me? Everyone does I think, but how do you deal with those problems? If you are like me you stress about them a little bit, but I am trying to change the way I think and deal with problems. I am trying to look at problems now as an opportunity to learn and grow. Stressing about things doesn’t change anything or help you solve your problems. I only stress about things for so long and then I say F–k it and quit stressing. What usually happens is that things work themselves out. Let me tell you a story. My wife’s Youcon broke down, then a few days later my truck started acting up. I needed to go to the bank one morning so I went outside to see if my truck would start. It did, so I headed off to my bank, which is about two and a half or maybe three miles from my house. I also forgot to bring my cell phone. After withdrawing some money from the bank, went back to my truck and it wouldn’t start. I let it sit for a while and headed down to a doughnut shop, which is a block away from my bank I bought a cup of coffee and a couple of doughnuts and then walked back to where I left my truck. I climbed behind the wheel, finished my coffee and doughnuts and tried to start the truck. It still wouldn’t start. Then I started thinking about the long walk home, half of which was uphill. Sitting there thinking about it wouln’t get me home, so started walking. As I headed up, Barstow Road, wich is a main street in Barstow Califonia that acends a large hill, I thought to myself that I would stop at each intersection and rest. My feet started to hurt a little bit and I was sweatting, but when I reached each intersection, I kept going. I finally reached the top of Barstow Road and sighed. The rest was down hill. Finally, I arrived back home. I took my dog outside, drank some water and smoked a cigar while I rested for a bit, then I called my insurace copany. I have roadside assistence. After arranging for a tow truck, I rode my Harley back to the bank to meet the tow truck and waited for them to show up. They finally did and towed my truck to the house.

What did I learn from this grand adventure? The first thing I learned was to listen to your inner voice. When I pulled up to the bank my inner voice told me to leave the truck running, but then I thought that the neighborhood was bad and that someone might steal it. The next thing I learned was that I am in better shape than I thought I was. I am sixty-five years old. I don’t go on walks nor am I into running, but I do practice martial arts to stay in shape. I thought that I would be really tired and sore when I got home, but I wasn’t. I was tired and winded, but after taking a breather and drinking some water, I felt fine. I went to my martial arts class that night and enjoyed it. I also thought that I would be really sore in the morning but I wasn’t. The truck is running again and things all worked out. Don’t sell yourself short. You are tougher than you think you are and when you have problems, look at them as an opportunity to learn and grow. Troubles will come, but they will pass.

Now for your reading pleasure

Biker Hell

When we pulled up to the clubhouse at Biker Heaven Chico seemed as if he was in a state of shock.

“I can’t believe this place. I mean the colors, the mountains, and the sky. I’ve never seen anything so vivid or so beautiful before. I’ve heard about the streets of gold, but I didn’t believe it.”

I chuckled and put my arm around his shoulder. “I know bro. It’s impossible to imagine until you finally see it. This place rocks.”

Chico glanced up at the little clubhouse. He took in its rough exterior and its covered wooden boardwalk. “You mean this is it? This little cabin is Biker Heaven?”

I let go with a belly laugh. “Trust me, bro. This place is more than what it appears. It’s a lot bigger on the inside. There are cabins outback to live in, the booze flows free and the women are all loose. They’re all good looking too. You can drink all you want and you don’t get a hangover,” I said.

We stepped inside, and the crowd waiting there gave a wild cheer when we strolled through the door. Jim Morrison opened up on stage playing Riders on the Storm and I led the crew to the bar.

“That’s Jim Morrison! Hot damn!” Lead Belly said.

Chico stood there with his jaw jacked open and his eyes wide. A busty redhead and a blonde danced topless on top of the bar.

“I’ll say this place is bigger on the inside than on the outside. That bar seems to run on forever. I see guys I know, plus other guys from the kind of clubs that I wouldn’t expect to be here.”

“Those old rivalries are no more. The only thing you take with you when you die, bro, is love,” I said.

Sonny sauntered up, along with all the brothers from the book of the dead, and greeted the new arrivals.

“Damn Sonny. It’s good to see you, bro,” Chico said and then gave him a big bear hug.

“It’s good to see you too, bro. What do you think of this place?” Sonny asked.

“It’s something, all right,” Chico said.

By this time my pops stepped up and said, “Yeah, when I first got here I couldn’t believe it either.”

“What’s with these women?” Tiny asked.

“You can hook up with one if you want to. We have cabins out back,” I said.

“Booze, wild women? That was never my idea of heaven. I thought it’d be all angels and harps,” Dirty Dan said.

“This is Biker Heaven. Everything’s okay here. Have a good time. Let’s belly up to the bar. I’m buying the first round,” I said.

We were at the bar tossing back some Jack when Little Danny Boy stepped in.

“I hate to break this up, but we’ve got some brothers that need our help,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Yeah, I know. Are you ready to roll?” I asked.

“We’re lining up outside.”

“I’ll be right there,” I said.

“What? What are you talking about?” Chico asked.

“What is the first thing you remember right after the crash?” I asked.

Chico thought for a moment and then said, “I seem to remember some weird lights.”

“When you died, the Devil’s imps were waiting to take your souls down to hell. We fought them off, but we lost five of our bros. We’re going to bring them home,” I said.

“Where did them evil shits take them?” Chico asked.

“Down to Biker Hell,” I said.

“I want to go with you,” Chico said.

I shook my head. “No bro, you can’t. You’re in a transitional phase right now. It wouldn’t be safe. You’re not safe until your body is in the ground and the preacher says some words over you. The Halo Riders will take care of this.” By this time, the new arrivals were crowding around to listen. “You guys stay here and enjoy the party. We’ll handle this.”

Little Danny Boy and I went outside and I glanced at the Halo Riders lining up on their spirit bikes. It surprised me to see how many wanted to go on this run. The odds were against us coming back. In the rear of the pack, I noticed Cowboy and Joker. They had signed up with the Halo crew. Then I saw Bone Crusher pull up so I strolled over. “Bro, you don’t have to do this,” I said. “After all that time you spent on the Lost Highway, you deserve a break.”

Bone Crusher looked up at me and I saw a flash of determination in his eyes. “When I was down there riding the Lost Highway, you came after me. I’ll never forget that. Now I have the chance to go rescue someone else. I plan to take it.”

A grin crossed my face. “Okay, bro. I won’t stand in your way,” I said.

“Are you ready?” Little Danny Boy asked, sitting on his scooter at the front of the pack.

“Yeah, I’m ready. Let’s roll,” I said and climbed onto my spirit bike.

We headed down the King’s Highway, heading away from Biker Heaven. We climbed a steep hill, entered the woods, and passed through a pristine forest. The land opened up, we passed through a lush green meadow and reached the Border Lands. Leading the pack, Little Danny Boy pressed down on his handlebars. His bike seemed to disappear into the ground itself. The riders in front of me followed his lead. When I reached the border, I pressed down on my handlebars and felt myself sinking. For several seconds there was nothing but darkness, but then the stars appeared. Sinking, down from the Heavens, I saw the Earth in all her glory coming up fast. Rather than touching down on its surface, we sank through the crust in a flash, descending to the Earth’s core. We touched down at the crossroads at the end of the Lost Highway. We turned right and headed up the dark dreary highway leading to Biker Hell.


I let out a cough, breathing in the smell of sulfur and soot, as we motored up the road. My head throbbed and a deep feeling of oppression and despair filled my soul. My spirit bike belched black smoke and didn’t want to run. A cold chill ran up my spine when I saw the flames raging in the distance. We rolled on through the darkness toward the fires of hell. Potholes filled the road and I saw the eyes of evil creatures lurking in the distance. We rolled around a bend and saw a checkpoint up ahead. Sawhorses blocked the road. Motorcycle cops stood guarding the entrance to Biker Hell. They wore black body armor with black hockey masks covering their faces. They held shotguns and cattle prods in their hands. A horse-drawn carriage pulled up to the checkpoint in front of us and the guards waved them through.

Little Danny Boy pulled up about a hundred yards from the checkpoint. “This is it. We’re gonna have to fight our way through. If we let them take us, we could be here for eternity.”

“That ain’t gonna happen bro. Let’s get this thing done,” I said.

Little Danny boy hit the throttle. He raced towards the gates of hell and the rest of us thundered along behind him.

When we reached the checkpoint we gunned our throttles. We opened up on the Devil’s henchmen guarding the gates. Balls of blue light shot out of my 357 knocking one of the guards on his ass. Little Danny Boy opened up on another one and the rest scattered. We hit their barricade. The force shattered the sawhorses to bits and pieces of smoldering matchwood. Rolling on the throttle, we motored down the road descending into the bowels of hell itself.

I saw another motorcycle cop pull over on the side of the road. He had a cat of nine tails in his hands. He was whipping a dark-haired woman, who was on the ground screaming in terror. She wore a black bikini top that revealed a deep valley of cleavage and a pair of Daisy Duke shorts. On her back, underneath the bloody whip marks, I saw the tattoo of an angel with its wings spread. I braked, pulled over to the side of the road, and shot the motor cop in the head with my 357.

“Get on, before more of these bastards show up!” I yelled. In Biker Hell, the cops ran the show.

The woman jumped up and climbed on behind me. “Thank you,” she whispered and I hit the throttle. We headed down the highway, sinking into the pits of hell. After about a half-hour, we saw the dim flickering lights of a bar, sitting off to the side of the road. Little Danny Boy pulled in. The bar was like none that I’ve ever seen. The dilapidated building looked dreary in the dim light. The motorcycles parked out front didn’t look much better. Hanging by the door was a sign with the words: hope dies here.

We parked our scooters and stepped up onto the boardwalk. The woman I picked up by the road, clung to my arm. Little Danny Boy kicked open the door and we stormed inside.

Bikers lined the bar and sat at tables throughout the room. All eyes turned to us for an instant. Taking in the bar’s patrons, I took in the hopeless look of despair in their eyes. The smell of cigarette smoke and sour whiskey filled the air. Little Danny Boy crossed the room to a table and we sat down. I sat across from the woman I’d picked up on the road. A skinny waitress with full-body tattoos sashayed over to our table trying to look sexy. “What can I get you guys?” she asked.

“You have any Jack?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No, only the house brew.”

“I guess that will have to do,” I said. The waitress came back and brought us drinks that taste like used motor oil with a little bit of alcohol mixed in. Grimacing from the repugnant taste, I turned back to the woman from the road and said, “What’s your name?”

“Carol. Bartlett”

“Why was that cop whipping you?” I asked.

“He didn’t like my tattoo, but that was only an excuse. They’re a bunch of sadistic assholes. They’ll whip you, hit you with a cattle prod, and then toss you in the lock-up for the least provocation. If you do something really bad, they take you to the catacombs. You’ll be in trouble for helping me and killing that cop.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I said.

“Where are these catacombs?” Little Danny Boy asked.

“A few miles down the road, the road forks, and heads down into a deep crater. The catacombs are down there,” She said.

“We’re looking for five guys from the Road Dogs motorcycle club. They don’t belong here. We’ve come to take them home,” Little Danny Boy said.

“I saw ‘em. The little demons in the black robes took them. They’re down at the catacombs. You guys don’t belong here either. Where are you from?” Carol asked.

“We rolled down here from Biker Heaven,” Little Danny Boy said.

A look of hope crossed her face. “You guys don’t have a snowball’s chance of breaking those guys out. If you do could you take me back with you to Biker Heaven?” she pleaded.

I reached across the table and laid my hand on her arm.

“Sure, baby. You can ride with me,” I said.

The door burst open. Twenty cops in black body armor stormed into the bar. They carried pump-action shotguns and baseball bats. One of them blew a loud whistle and began to bust up the joint. One of them took a swing at a beer bottle shattering it into minute pieces of glass.

“Quick! Out the back!” Carol yelled and ran for the back door. We jumped up and followed. In the parking lot, we jumped onto our spirit bikes and roared down the highway.

When we reached the fork in the road about fifteen minutes later, we turned left. The road turned rocky and descended into a deep crater. Off in the distance, at the bottom of the crater, a trimmer shot down my spine when I saw a molten lake of fire. The road snaked its way along the edge of the crater as we continued down into the pit. When we reached the bottom, I saw hundreds of little demons in black robes. They drove wagons pulled by evil creatures that vaguely resembled horses. The evil beast snorted fire and their breath smelled of sulfur. The back of the wagons contained the wrenched remains of long-lost souls. When the demons reached the lake of fire, they tossed their loads into the lake and went back for more.

“Where to now?” I asked Carol.

“Follow the wall of the crater to your left. The catacombs are on the other side.”

I motioned to Little Danny Boy and we turned to the left following the curve of the crater. We had to dodge potholes and debris lying in the road as we wove our way through the wagons heading to the lake. The demons whipped their beast and shouted curses at us as we passed. After about an hour, we saw the catacombs off in the distance. A half-hour later, Little Danny Boy stopped one hundred yards from the main entrance. Several of the motorcycle coppers in their black body armor stood on guard duty. They looked alert, gazing out at the scene before them with their beady red eyes.

“This place is depressing,” Little Danny Boy said.

“What’s your plan?” I asked when I pulled up next to him.

“Shit. I don’t have a plan. Let’s go in with guns blazing. This is an all-or-nothing deal,” Little Danny Boy said. He dropped his shifter into gear. We roared down the road toward the catacombs with our throttles cranked wide open.

When we pulled up to the catacombs, we leaped from our motor scooters. We opened up on the motor cops guarding the entrance. Balls of blue lightning lit up the night. One of them hit Cowboy square in the chest. He disappeared in a flash of light. His soul would later materialize back at Biker Heaven, but he was gone from this plane of existence. The guards scattered and we stormed into the catacombs.

“Where to now?” I asked Carol.

“I don’t know, but they’re in here somewhere,” she said.

We headed deeper into the catacombs, following the main passageway. On both sides, of the passageway, we saw small fissures with bars covering the openings to the tiny cells. Looking into the nearest one, I saw a wretched soul hunkered down near the back of the enclosure.

“This place is too big. We’ll never find them,” I said.

“We have to,” Little Daddy Boy said.

We continued, deeper into the catacombs. We came around a bend and ran right into a mob of the little demons in the black robes. The one leading the pack shot a bolt of red lightning from his fingertips. It hit me in the shoulder spun me around and knocked me to my knees.

Little Danny Boy helped me to my feet. “You can’t take much more of that. We’d best retreat and find another way. There’s too many of them.”

“But we can’t leave our bros behind,” I pleaded.

“Yeah, but if these SOBs overrun us, we’re all liable to be here for eternity,” Little Danny Boy said. He gave the order to retreat.

A bright flash of white light filled the cavern knocking the little demons to the floor. The archangel Michael stood before us. The little demons trembled in fear and retreated down the passageway. Michael turned his head looking back over his shoulder and grinned. “Time to set the captives free,” he said. “Follow me.”

He headed down the passageway and we followed. As he passed each cell, the bars disintegrated showering us with dirt and debris. The captive souls fled into the night. We found our bros in a tiny damp cell. They jumped to their feet when the bars blew off their cells.

“Boy, are we glad to see you guys,” Blowout, an older bro that the demons took after the wreck on the highway, said.

“Yeah, we thought the gig was up for sure,” a guy we called Spider said.

“You should have known we wouldn’t let them get away with this. We got a big party waiting for you guys waiting in Biker Heaven,” I said.

“The time grows short,” Michael said.

We followed the archangel out. As we stepped out of the catacombs, five more spirit bikes appeared out of thin air.

“Hot damn! Those are some fine-looking scooters,” Blowout said.

“Those are your spirit bikes. They’re like an extension of your soul,” I said.

“Let’s mount up,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Ride, true, Iron Horse Warriors,” the archangel Michael said.

Little Danny Boy nodded. “Thanks for your help,” he said and hit the throttle. We roared down the highway leaving the fires of hell behind.


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Do You Believe in Miracles?

Hey, It’s been a while since my last post. I hope you are having a wonderful 2023. If you are reading this then you must have noticed that I have changed the title of my page. Writing will always be my main focus, I am branching out into new things. I am branching out into new things and I will be creating new pages. I am starting an affiliate marketing business, as well as working on myself spiritually through meditation and self-development. I want to be the best Dave that I can be. My newest novel, Invasions, came out on February 17th, it is the fifth book in my science fiction series, Space Corps Chronicles. I will leave the link to its sales page at amazon below. I have also completed the rough draft of a Western novel, titled The Mojave Kid. It is a prequel to my novel, Tale Spinner and of course, I am working on my next novel

So, do you believe in miracles? I am not talking about acts of God where a higher power intervenes to save life and limb. I believe that those kinds of miracles do happen, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about the miracles you create for yourself by believing in yourself, by hard work, by focusing your attention on your goals, and by reprograming your subconscious mind for success, wealth, and happiness. I plan future posts where I will focus on these things. I am currently sixty-five years old. At best I have maybe thirty years left to live on this Earth. It is my goal to make my last thirty years, the best years of my life. Life is a journey and I invite you to come along with me. Let’s make miracles togeather.

Here is a another short story for your reading pleasure.

The Reunion

Chico, Tiny, Dirty Dan, and Lead Belly carried their gear out of the Road Dogs clubhouse. They secured everything on the back of their motorcycles. Several more members were busy packing their gear onto their motorcycles. Excitement filled the air. The bros prepared for their annual pilgrimage to Sturgis South Dakota. They planned to attend the Black Hills Rally.

Noticing a shadow near the side of the clubhouse, Chico glanced over and a cold chill shot down his spine.

“What’s wrong with you? You look like someone danced a jig on your grave,” Tiny said. “Bro. You’re as white as a freshly washed bed sheet.”

Chico shook off the eerie feeling. “I don’t know man. I got this feeling that someone was watching me. I glanced up for a second and saw someone standing there by the corner of the building. He was wearing a black hooded robe.”

Tiny laughed, stepped up, and slapped Chico on the back. “You got the first day of the run jitters.” Tiny pulled a flask from his vest pocket and handed it to Chico. “Here, take a shot of the good stuff.”

“There’s nothing in this world that a shot of Jack won’t take the edge off,” Chico said. He downed the shot of Jack Daniels whiskey.

Dirty Dan and Lead Belly stepped up. “Which route do you wanna take?” Dirty Dan asked.

“I figured we’d head over to New Mexico. We’ll stay the night in Albuquerque.”

One of the prospects loaded up some tools into a pickup bed and hooked up a motorcycle trailer to the truck. The prospects were in charge of loading the camping gear into the bed of the pickup and trailer at the rear of the pack. After he finished securing his duffle bag onto the back of his bike, Chico pulled his bike out onto the highway. Tiny pulled up next to Chico, and Dirty Dan. Lead Belly fell in behind them. With the chapter officers riding upfront, the rest of the patched members fell into line. The prospects brought up the rear followed by the tail gunner and the chase truck.

Letting out a wild yell, Chico said, “The last one to Sturgis buys the beer at the Broken Spoke Saloon!” With that, he hit the throttle and headed down the highway and the rest of the Road Dogs followed. The sound of their loud pipes resonated across the desert. From the shadows near the corner of the clubhouse, the Grim Reaper held his sickle over his shoulder. He looked out from under his hood with his evil glowing red eyes and laughed. The sinister raspy sound caused a black cat, crossing the parking lot, to let out a hiss and run for the nearest tree.

The Road Dogs headed east on highway 86 until they reached Tucson. At Tucson, they took interstate 10 east. An eerie feeling shot up and down Chico’s spine and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He kept glancing in his rearview mirror. Now and then, he thought he saw a rider near the back of the pack that didn’t belong. He saw someone, riding a dilapidated rusty-looking old Harley. The rider wore a black hooded robe. The color of the bike reminded Chico of dried blood. Even in the wind, the hood never left the rider’s head and Chico never saw his face.

A Dodge pickup truck rolling along in the next lane honked, startling Chico. Taking his eyes off the mirror, he realized that he had started to drift into the other lane. Leaning to the right, Chico pulled back into his, own lane and goosed the throttle passing the truck.

Damn, I got to get a hold of myself, Chico thought.

Pulling into Tucson, the Road Dogs pulled into an Arco station to top off their tanks. Dirty Dan stepped up to Chico. The hot desert sun caused a bead of sweat to track down the side of Chico’s face.

“Hey bro. What’s with you today man. You almost crashed into that truck back there,” Dirty Dan said.

Chico shrugged. “I don’t know man. I thought I saw someone riding along behind us. You didn’t see anyone, did you?”

Dirty Dan shook his head. “Dude. We’re on our way to Sturgis. There are shit loads of bikers on the road, but no man. I didn’t see anything,” Dirty Dan said. He handed Chico a flask and Chico took a hit of Jack.

“That went down smooth,” Chico said. “A few more shots and I’ll be feeling no pain.”

“Yeah, but go easy. You need some grub. Let’s find a place on the east end of town and get something to eat.”

“We’ll eat in Las Cruces,” Chico said.

From the shadows, standing beside the service station, the Grim Reaper chuckled.

Finished at the gas station, the Road Dogs headed east on Interstate 10. They took an off-ramp in Las Cruces New Mexico and pulled into a Burger King for lunch.

“What’s with you? You’ve been jumpy all day,” Tiny said to Chico over a burger.

“I don’t know man. Have you guys seen this biker wearing a black robe with a hood pulled up over his head? He’s been following along behind us,” Chico asked.

The rest of the Road Dogs at the table exchanged glances.

“No man, we haven’t seen anything like that, bro” Tiny said.

“Well, I keep seeing this dude in my rearview,” Chico said.

“You know, there’s a hell of a lot of bikers out there right now. I saw a couple of riders behind us, but no one that looked like that.”

“It’s probably my imagination. Ever since that deal with the Dark Rider a few years ago, I’ve been seeing weird shit.”

“Once we pull into the motel, have some grub, and tie one on at the nearest bar, you’ll be fine,” Dirty Dan said.

“I hope the motel has a pool. I want to take a dip,” Lead Belly said.

Finished with lunch, they climbed on their scooters. They headed north on Interstate 25 toward Albuquerque. While they crossed the desert, Chico kept checking his rearview mirror. Now and then, he would catch a glimpse of the mysterious hooded rider.

The Road Dogs pulled into Albuquerque as the sun went down over the Land of Enchantment. They pulled into Motel 6, rented five rooms, and then stowed their gear. Finished with that, they headed across the road to, a Denny’s, restaurant. The hostess led them to a large table in a back room. A waitress came to take their orders.

“We’ll have a round of beers before we eat,” Chico said. The waitress nodded, took their drink orders, and then took the orders for their food.

“That wasn’t a bad ride,” Tiny said.

“My butt fell off somewhere south of Belen,” Dirty Dan said.

“You guys are a bunch of pussies,” Chico said.

“And what’s with you? You were weaving all over the road. You kept checking your rearview mirror as if the Devil himself was on your tail,” Lead Belly said.

Chico looked down at the table. “I kept seeing someone behind us. Are you sure you guys didn’t see anything?”

Everyone shrugged. “Maybe the Dark Rider’s back. He wants your soul, bro,” Lead Belly said.

Anger flashed in Chico’s eyes. “Don’t even say that, man.”

“Relax, bro. I was joking.”

Finished with their dinner, the Road Dogs hit the bar and had a few brews before heading back to the motel. Back at Motel 6, they changed into their swimming trunks and took a dip in the pool. Dirty Dan stood by the edge of the pool. “Here comes the world’s biggest cannonball!” he yelled and jumped into the pool making a big splash. Tiny stood by the edge of the pool and took off his shirt.

“Who let the bear into the pool?” Lead Belly said and laughed.

“Yeah, take off your fur coat,” Chico said.

Tiny struck a pose. “You guys are jealous of my manly physique,” he said and then did a massive belly flop. Most of the bros sitting around the pool drinking beer jumped back to avoid the splash. Chico climbed out of the pool, headed down to the deep end, climbed onto the diving board, and dived in. When he reached the bottom of the pool, he saw a dark shadow. The shadow enveloped him, his head bumped the bottom of the pool and he felt as if someone was coking him. His hands went to his throat, his vision went dark; he opened up his mouth and took in water. Chico’s consciousness faded and he sank to the bottom of the pool.

Noticing Chico in trouble, Dirty Dan dived down to the bottom of the pool. He grabbed Chico by his arms and hauled him to the surface. Tiny and Lead Belly helped Dirty Dan lift him out of the pool and they laid him on his stomach. Dirty Dan climbed out of the pool and lifted Chico off the wet cement.

“He’s not breathing,” he said and then slapped Chico hard across the back several times. Chico coughed up water and began to breathe.

“Bro, you scared the shit out of me. What happened down there?” Dirty Dan asked.

“I don’t know, man. I saw something dark, like a shadow. It felt like it was choking me. Then I hit my head on the bottom, took in some water, and passed out.”

“Bro you’ve been acting freaky on this trip. Are you sure you don’t want to call this run, off?” Lead Belly said.

“Hell no! We go to Sturgis every year. I ain’t about to let this shit stop me, Chico said.”

“All right bro. You know we’ve got your back no matter what you decide,” Lead Belly said.

They helped Chico to his feet. He sat down in a folding chair and drank beer while the rest of the bros went back into the pool. That night as he lay down in his motel room, Chico drifted off into a troubled sleep. In one dream, he kept seeing the dark hooded rider following along behind him. He gunned the throttle, but the vile creature gained on him and he couldn’t get away. In another dream, he was back at the bottom of the pool and the Grim Reaper was on top of him choking him. In another dream, Chico stepped into the back door of a church. People sat down on the pews waiting for a funeral to start. Chico headed down to the front, glanced into the coffin, and put his fist to his mouth to stifle a scream. Looking down once more, he saw himself lying dead in the coffin. Chico jumped up in bed gasping for air.

“You okay bro?” Dirty Dan, who was sleeping on the floor, asked.

“Yeah. I’m fine. I had a nightmare, that’s all,” Chico said.

“Man something has you spooked on this trip.”

“Forget about it. Go back to sleep,” Chico said and then lay back down. Soon, he heard Dirty Dan start to snore. It took Chico a while longer to fall back asleep.


Chico woke from a restless troubled sleep at five AM the next morning. The Road Dogs climbed from their beds and dressed. They gathered outside of their motel rooms, bleary-eyed and hungover.

“I need about a gallon of coffee before I’m ready for the road,” Chico said.

“Me too, bro. I’m about as hungry as an anorexic polar bear,” Dirty Dan said.

“You’re always hungry,” Lead Belly said.

“Like, they say in the song, if you want to run cool, you need heavy, heavy fuel.”

“Let’s head over to the restaurant, get some breakfast and coffee, up. This has the makings of a good day,” Chico said.

They packed their gear and climbed onto their scooters. They motored over to the restaurant. After tanking up on breakfast they hit the highway. They headed north on Interstate 25. As Chico led the pack north, he felt good for a change. The crisp morning air had a bite to it. The eerie feeling that had followed him since they left Harlem Springs was gone. He kept his eyes off the rearview and kept his face in the wind, enjoying the ride. The weather turned cloudy and overcast and they saw dark clouds to the north. Chico signaled to the pack, leading the Road Dogs off the highway.

“We’re heading into a storm. Put on your rain gear if you brought it,” Chico said.

“That’s one thing you can count on when you ride to Sturgis, is bad weather,” Tiny said.

“Yeah, remember last year in that canyon up in Colorado? The hail beat the dog shit out of us,” Lead Belly said.

Lightning flashed and a crack of thunder rolled across the land. After they put on their rain gear, they headed north. The sky opened up pounding them with rain. It soon turned to hail, but they kept their throttles cranked and rode through it. It rained off and on, throughout the day. They passed through the Raton Pass and crossed the Colorado state line. The sunburst forth drying off both man and machine. They pulled off the highway in Denver to gas up and have lunch. Chico led them into another Denny’s restaurant and they strolled inside.

“Damn. I’m glad that rain quit,” Tiny said.

“Me too. I about froze my balls off. I left them somewhere back below the Raton Pass,” Lead Belly said.

“You seem like you’re in a better mood,” Dirty Dan said to Chico. “I guess you got rid of all your bugaboos.”

Chico bit into a juicy hamburger and then said, “Yeah, I’m glad it stopped raining. My hands were so cold I thought they were going to fall off. Right now, I’m trying to enjoy the ride.”

“We gonna stop somewhere else or roll on through?” Dirty Dan asked.

“I thought we’d stay the night in Cheyenne and then roll on up to Sturgis tomorrow morning.”

Finished with lunch, they gathered in the parking lot. They talked and joked while they had one last cigarette. Five minutes later, they climbed onto their scooters and hit the interstate. Standing in the shadows, a dark hooded figure stood watching. He watched the pack of bikers leave the parking lot and an evil grin spread across his face.

Chico rode hard leading the Road Dogs MC north on Interstate 25. It rained and hailed throughout the day, but Chico didn’t mind. He got lost in the wind, enjoying the ride. He quit checking his mirrors for the hooded rider following along behind the pack. He shrugged off the eerie feeling he’d had as the first day of the ride jitters. As they approached the Wyoming border, the sun came out and the weather turned warm. They began to see herds of antelope grazing out on the prairie. When they rolled into Cheyenne, Chico led the pack off the freeway and into the parking lot of a Best Western motel.

After checking into their rooms, they motored up the street to a steak house and Chico sprang for dinner.

“Whoa, big spender. What got into you?” Lead Belly asked when Chico offered to pick up the check for the entire group.

Chico grinned. “I feel good and I wanted to do something good for my bros. I’m finally starting to have a good time.”

Dirty Dan put his arm around Chico’s neck when they stood up. “It’s about time. You had me worried there for a while. Are you sure you’re not seeing any more ghost riders following along behind us?”

Chico grinned and let out a nervous laugh. “No, I haven’t.”

“What you need is to get a head start on the partying. I’ve got a bottle of Jack Single Barrel that I’ve been itching to crack. Let’s kill that sucker out by the pool tonight,” Dirty Dan said.

Chico nodded. “I could go for that.”

Finished with their supper, they motored back to the Best Western. They changed into their swimming suits and hit the pool. Chico, Dirty Dan, and Lead Belly sat down in the hot tub and Dirty Dan passed around the bottle.

“Now that’s what I’m talking about,” Chico said and took a shot.

“No, that’s what I’m takin’ about,” Dirty Dan said when a busty blonde with an hourglass figure stepped out of the motel. She wore a string bikini that was nothing more than a handful of cloth with a string running up the crack of her ass. It looked like butt floss. Her massive breasts spilled out of the top leaving little to the imagination.

“I do love them southern bells,” Lead Belly said. He noticed the Confederate flag depicted on the young woman’s bikini top. They watched her slip into the pool.

“You remember them Halo Riders that seem to show up when we’re having some type of trouble?” Tiny asked a few seconds later.

Chico let out a snort. “How can I forget? It ain’t every day that a band of troubleshooters from beyond the grave ride up as big as life.”

“I know. I still have a problem believing all that, but I saw their pictures in the Book of The Dead.”

“What about them?” Chico asked.

“That bro Cave Man he sure loved his Jack,” Tiny said.

“Yeah, and that stuff he carried in that flask was better than any whiskey I’ve ever had,” Chico said.

“That old boy Cave Man was a righteous dude. He saved our ass that time when the Dark Rider-” Dirty Dan stopped when he saw the pale look cross Chico’s face.

“I’d prefer not to talk about that SOB,” Chico said.

“Sure. Whatever you say, bro,” Dirty Dan said and handed Chico the bottle. “Have another shot.”

After the conversation in the hot tub, Chico’s mood turned dark. That night, he had troubled dreams, but he woke up the next morning in a good mood. He had forgotten about his nightmares. The hooded rider he’d been seeing in his rearview mirror was far from his mind. It was the last day of the trip; at the end of the day’s ride, they would be in Sturgis South Dakota for the Black Hills Rally. It would be one big party for the next ten days. It would be filled with hard-drinking, loose women, and lots of, motorcycle riding. They would spend the first couple of days in town. Then they would head out to places like Deadwood and Mount Rushmore. They might hit Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse Monument.

After leaving Cheyenne, the Road Dogs headed north. The weather was warm and sunny for the first hour or so, but it soon clouded up and thunderstorms pelted the land. South of Casper Wyoming, they took a two-lane highway heading east. Then took another, two-lane highway north and hit Interstate 90 east of Gillette. They headed east toward the South Dakota state line. A big grin crossed Chico’s face when they rolled across the border into South Dakota. His mind was in the present moment and he was ready for the ride to be over. It was time to party. A gentle rain fell from the sky, but it wasn’t anything they couldn’t handle. Somewhere, between Spearfish and Sturgis, Chico heard a motorcycle pull up next to him. He glanced over, his eyes widened in shock and his mouth dropped open. Beside him rode the Grim Reaper. He was the hooded rider that he’d been seeing throughout the trip. The wind blew the hood off the rider’s head revealing his skeletal features. Chico noticed his evil red beady eyes and his malicious grin. At that exact instant, a semi-truck on the other side of Chico blew a front tire. The tire peeled off the rim the truck jackknifed swerving into Chico’s lane and he went down under the wheels. Behind him, the Road Dogs crashed, falling, down like dominos.


Hey Bro this is Cave Man. We were sitting on our spirit bikes at the top of the hill looking down the freeway when the Road Dogs crashed. We were in spirit form, not in physical bodies. Old School was sitting on his bike next to me and the rest of the Halo Riders lined up behind us. A sexy-looking young woman in a red Mustang drove right through Old School and blasted on down the hill.

“Damn it feels weird when they do that,” Old School said.

“I know bro. I don’t like this gig. This doesn’t seem right to me,” I said.

When Little Danny Boy told me that the Road Dogs were going to crash on the highway, he said that the majority of them were coming home to Biker Heaven. I urged the folks in charge to let me try and stop it from happening. I argued that Chico was the best president the club ever had. It couldn’t be his time. Lead Belly was supposed to grow old with Janet. The powers that be claimed that it was the way things were, supposed to happen. Little Danny Boy started planning their reunion. He sent Old School, Sonny, and the rest of the Halo Riders down to Earth to bring them home.

“Here they come,” Old school said.

I sat there in horror and watched the accident happen. It’s never pretty when a man lays his scooter down. Chico went down first under the truck, and the rest of the pack plowed into the riders in front of them. It was a serenade of scraping mettle, breaking glass, and squealing tires. The smell of burnt rubber filled the air. The only ones to survive were the five prospects riding at the rear. Little Mike, riding tail end Charlie and the two bros in the chase truck. They managed to pull over to the side of the freeway and avoid the crash. I saw what looked like thousands of little hooded demons spring up from the ground itself. I watched the Grim Reaper pull over to where Chico lay under the truck.

“Time to go to war!” I yelled and gunned the throttle on my spirit bike shooting down the hill like a rocket. We rode down to the crash site with guns blazing. When you’re in spirit form, your gat shoots blue or green balls of lightning. When they hit one of the evil little shits, if they take a direct hit, they explode in a flash of light. If you hit them with a glancing blow, it will knock them on their ass and drain their energy. If they take enough hits and their energy drains they’ll disappear from this plane of existence.

When I arrived at the scene of the crash, the Grim Reaper had Chico by the shoulders trying to rip his soul from his body. He wanted to drag his soul to hell. I grabbed him by the back of the hood and threw him to the ground. Pulling my gat, I fired a round of blue lighting through his forehead. He exploded into a blinding flash of smoke and light. Chico rose, up out of his body, and stood next to the semi-truck with a bewildered look on his face. “Don’t move bro,” I said and whirled around. The evil little demons in their tattered black robes turned on us and we had a rumble on the interstate. All though unseen by the human eye, the battle was quick but violent. Flashes of blue light from the bro’s gats filled the air. Evil red beams of light shot out from the demon’s fingertips. Thunder rolled across the land and lightning flashed. The smell of soot-filled the air, and a cloud of smoke floated on the breeze.

The battle was over Old School stepped up next to me. “Did we lose any?” I asked.

Old School nodded. “They took five. They jumped on top of them and disappeared sinking right into the ground.”

“We’ll have to go after them later,” I said. “Right now we have some brothers to take home.”

Chico stepped up to me. A cold wind blew across the land but being in the spirit, we didn’t feel it. “What happened?” Chico asked.

“You’re dead bro. You and most of the crew. You guys crashed,” I said.

“Why didn’t you guys come to help us?”

“We’re here now bro,” I said watching the spirits of our downed brothers rise out of their bodies. “For what it’s worth, I fought against the powers that be. I wanted to intervene before the crash, but the brass in Biker Heaven wouldn’t let us. They said that this was the way things were, supposed to happen.”

The spirits of our downed brothers gathered around us. We watched the people react to the accident.

“Did everyone die?” Chico asked.

I shook my head. “Five prospects and Little Mike didn’t crash. Plus the bros in the chase truck managed to avoid the crash.” Little Mike was a gray beard who had been in the club for years.

“That’s it then for the Road Dogs?” Chico said.

“No, bro. They’ll rebuild,” Old School said.

“What do we do now?” Lead Belly asked.

“Now, we’re heading to Biker Heaven. We’ve got a reunion waiting for you guys like nothing you’ve ever seen. You’ve never partied, like we party in Biker Heaven.” Several spirit bikes appeared on the road next to us. The newly dead bikers stood looking on in awe at the majestic machines. “Time to mount up. Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jim Morrison, and Jimmy Hendricks, plus a few others are warming up on stage. They’re ready to start the show as soon as we get there.”

Chico took a glance at his mangled body underneath the truck and then climbed onto his spirit bike. The others climbed onto their new scooters and I lead the pack up the road. Pulling back on the bars I shot up into the heavens and my bros followed.


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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

First and foremost, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Twenty-twenty-two has been a good year as far as my writing goes. I published four eBooks as well as turned six of my novels into audiobooks. The downloads of my eBooks increased by over ten percent from last year and I also saw an increase in royalty payments. From now until the end of the year all of my eBooks at are only 99 cents. I am looking forward to a great twenty-twenty-three. My novel, Invasions (book five in the Space Corps Chronicles ) is now on pre-sale at and I also have a few more audiobooks in the works. If you would like to listen to one of my audiobooks you can listen for free by signing up for their free trial or if you are already a member let me know and I will send you a free PROM code. All I ask is that you leave an honest review. Check out the links below, and sign up for my author newsletter to stay in the loop. Also, do not forget to read the short story below. It’s your Christmas present. Feel free to leave a comment and have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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Tale Spinner is Now an Audiobook

Hey my first Audiobook is live on and I need some reviews. If you are not on audible you can download it free by agreeing to their free trial. If you are, already on audible, or if you don’t want to accept the free trial send me a message and I will send you a free promo code. Click the link to download.

For your reading enjoyment check out the first two chapters.

Tale Spinner

Chapter 1

It was a cold April morning in 2003, the day my world went south. It started like any other morning. My cheap wind-up alarm clock woke me at five AM; its tiny hammer beat against the small bells on the top of the alarm clock. Its loud ringing pounded through my brain bringing me up from a dead sleep. My cat Fluffy jumped up, landed on my chest, and said, “Meow.” I stroked her soft downy coat, set her on the floor, and turned off the alarm clock. Sitting up in bed, I leaned against the headboard rubbing sleep from my eyes. My feet found the floor. Goosebumps appeared on my legs and arms. The hardwood floor of my modest Manhattan apartment felt cold against my bare feet. Stifling a yawn, I put on my house slippers. I climbed out of bed, shuffled across the bedroom, out the door, and down the hall to the bathroom. I was wearing nothing but my boxer shorts.

Turning on the light, I drained my bladder and washed my hands using antibacterial soap. Finished with my hands, I looked in the mirror.

“Look at me. The wild man from Borneo.” The image in the mirror showed a tall skinny young man with a weak chin. It had a pocked marked face: remnants from old acne scars. My long blond hair cascaded around my shoulders and into my face. Standing five feet ten inches tall, I am not a very imposing figure. Usually, I wear my hair tied back in a ponytail. My nose is button-shaped and it looks too small for my face. The only good-looking thing about me is my blue-green eyes, I thought as I studied my reflection. Not exactly, the dashing figure that women go for.

My thoughts flash forward to the day ahead of me. My heart raced and my breathing accelerated. Sweat formed up in my palms. I hope Amy’s at work today. She’s been sick lately. God, please let it be a good day. Amy would be pretty if she knew how to dress and fix her hair. That’s why they pick on her too. She looks different. The widow to the bathroom stood open. A car backfired on the street making me jump. It sounded like a gunshot. Someone yelled and then the car sped away. The smell of the city drifted up from below. For a moment, I paused looking down at the street, and then closed the window.

 I loved my work, but the people I worked with intimidated me. Most of them were bullies and the others looked at me with contempt. They called me names behind my back, like nerd or geek. Imagine that, a bunch of accountants calling someone else a nerd or a geek? Sometimes I heard them laughing behind my back. It used to make me mad, but I was too afraid to stand up for myself. Amy was the only person who was kind to me. She was like me, an outcast. Numbers were my life’s work. I had two passions in life: numbers and the written word. I made my living crunching numbers; I unwind by reading a good book. It doesn’t matter whether it’s, a science fiction novel, a mystery, or a Western. As long as the author tells a good tale, I’m hooked. At work, I would lose myself in the numbers. That was my way of dealing with the BS at the office. At home, I’d curl up on the couch with Fluffy in my lap and read a good book.

I didn’t go out much back then, except to the bookstore. Once in a while, I’d go to the movies. Riding the subway terrified me. Some tough-looking character always stared. It creeps me out when people stare. It makes me nervous, or it did back then. They mugged me once or twice and broke my nose once. When I would go to the movies, by the time I got off the subway I felt too keyed up to enjoy myself. When I got inside the theater I would have to rush to the toilet to throw up, but enough about me. Let’s get on with the day my world went south.

In the kitchen, Fluffy let out another meow. Taking a box of cat food from a cabinet, I filled one side of her dish with cat food. I took a carton of milk out of the refrigerator. I filled the other side of Fluffy’s dish with milk, and then poured myself a bowl of Honey Pops. Still, in my Boxer shorts, I sat at the kitchen table and ate my cereal. The Honey Pops tasted good. I love a bowl of cereal in the morning. My eyes wandered about my modest digs. My one-bedroom apartment near 96th and Columbus Avenue had a small kitchen. It also had a small bedroom and a modest-sized sunken living room. The hardwood floors and the balcony were what attracted me to the apartment. At night, I used to sit out on the balcony and read. It made me feel removed from all the nonsense below. My apartment was on the fifth floor. One thing I liked about the building is that it had a twenty-four-hour doorman. No one got in the building unless they lived there.

Finished with my cereal, I put the bowl in the sink and put a pot of water on to boil for tea. Shuffling back to my bedroom, I put on a pair of black slacks, a blue dress, a shirt, and a pair of black dress shoes. In the bathroom, I brushed my hair and tied it back in a ponytail using rubber bands. I brushed my teeth and gargled with Listerine. Back in the kitchen, the teakettle started to whistle. I took down a Barnes & Noble ceramic cup and poured myself a cup of scalding hot tea. I put in two tablespoons of sugar and a dab of honey. Bringing the cup to my mouth, I took a tentative sip.

“Son of a bitch!” I said blowing across the top of the cup trying to cool the hot liquid. “Fluffy, why don’t you catch a mouse or something while I’m at work? You’re getting lazy and fat,” I said to the feline while I waited for the tea to cool. Fluffy gave me an indignant look. I took a bagel from the frig put it into the toaster and waited for it to pop. My stomach rumbled. Fluffy jumped when the bagel popped and ran into the hallway. I laughed. Fluffy dropped a bomb in her litter box. A foul odor filtered into the kitchen. “Let’s have a little courtesy here. Cover that,” I said. Buttering my bagel, I poured myself another cup of tea and headed into the living room. Fluffy strutted into the room. I sat down on my beige love seat and turned on the brass lamp on the end table. I picked up an old tattered novel setting next to the lamp and took a bite out of my bagel. It tasted delicious. Fluffy jumped onto my lap and started to purr. The novel was a Western that was now out of print entitled: the Mojave Kid’s Last ride. It was one of those serial deals where the author writes several books using the same characters. This was the last of the series.

The reason for waking up at five every morning was to give me time to read before leaving for work. Out the door at seven AM, I would head down to the bus stop and take the bus to the subway station. I opened the book to where I had left a bookmarker from the night before and read a chapter. My eyes darted to my front door. My pulse quickened.

“Come on. Quit being stupid,” I said to myself. My mind wandered, my thoughts turning to Tom Baxter. I hope Tom doesn’t show up for work today. Not likely. Tom shows up every day, I thought. Tom was my nemesis. When I was hired on at the firm, I was twenty-four years old. I had worked my way through junior college and accounting school. Tom was hired out a year later. Tom was a big fat bully. He must have had a complex about his weight. Tom tried to make up for it by bullying other people. One time after he was first hired, I played a practical joke on him. Right now, I don’t even remember what it was. Everyone laughed. Tom’s face turned red but he didn’t say anything. He just walked away. Later, he caught me outside, shoved my head against the wall, and bloodied my nose. My hands balled up into fists at my sides, my heart hammered in my chest and my face reddened. I felt like spitting nails, but I didn’t do anything. I stood paralyzed with fear.

From then on, Tom and others like him made my life a living hell. The only respite was the work itself. Boy, could I lose myself in the numbers. At lunchtime, I would eat at my desk and dive into the particular novel that I was reading at the time. Pushing thoughts of Tom Baxter aside, I finished my bagel and wiped crumbs from my shirt. I continued to read. I reached the part in the book where the outlaws take the town. It seemed so real that I could almost hear the gunfire. The thought of actually being in a shootout terrified me. The main character, a Civil War veteran they called the Mojave Kid, was tough. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He could outshoot, outfight, and outride anyone in the territory.

The character reminded me of what my mother said my father was like. She said that he wouldn’t take shit from anyone. My father was a war veteran also. He died in Vietnam when I was a baby. My mother was an alcoholic who would fly into a rage and beat me at the least provocation. The smell of her sleeping covered in vomit and urine was still fresh in my mind. Then there was the sting of her belt across my back. None of her boyfriends gave a rat’s ass about me. Growing up, I never had much in the way of a father’s influence.

There was one guy who took an interest. He used to take me fishing and to the park to throw a baseball around. He seemed like a nice guy, but my mom’s drinking and raging forced him to leave. When my mom went on a tangent, she would scream for hours. The day he left, I thought I was going to explode. It was her fault. The only man I ever looked up to as a father left because of her.


Sometimes on rare occasions, I would venture out on the streets. I would see families out together. Some of them seemed so happy. It made me wonder what my life would have been like if my father had lived. Maybe Mom wouldn’t have turned into a drunk. My mother died when I was thirteen. I wasn’t sad. Somehow, I felt relieved. The state sent me to live with my grandmother. She was okay, but there weren’t kids in the neighborhood that I could play with. Most of the kids at school picked on me, so I dived into the world of books. Early on, I discovered that I had a gift with numbers. You show me a math problem and I see the answer. It seems to come to me.

I changed my position on the love seat, trying to concentrate on my reading, and looked at my watch. It said six-thirty AM. In a half-hour, I had to face the world. A creaking sound came from my bedroom. The old building I lived in creaked and groaned from time to time. Sounds like that drives me nuts. My breath caught in my throat and my heart pounded inside my chest. My stomach churned. Maybe I’m coming down with something? I’d better call in sick? No, I can’t do that. Mr. Bullard is strict on attendance. I’ve got to go. Leaping to my feet, I ran to the bathroom. Fluffy dived off my lap and ran to the kitchen. I almost didn’t make it to the toilet before a gush of diarrhea shot out of me. My stomach settled and my bowels emptied. A foul odor rose from the toilet bowl. I fanned the air in front of my face, finished my business, and went back to the love seat.

“Ah that feels much better,” I said to myself and then started to read once more. My eyes found the door. In the book, some unnamed character was trying to rally the town’s people to help the Mojave Kid with the outlaws. I looked at the door again. My heart shifted into overdrive. Fluffy jumped back onto my lap and started to purr. My tea spilled burning my hand.

“I bet you think your master is some kind of weird duck,” I said stroking Fluffy’s back while I continued to read. A noise came from the hallway. A shiver went down my spine. What is it? Why am I so afraid? I was usually anxious every morning when it came close to the time for me to leave for work, but this was different. What is behind that door? What diabolical evil thing is going to befall me today? Footsteps echoed from the hallway. My heart leaped in my throat. “Get a grip, Merryweather. It’s one of your neighbors going to work.” My watch said six forty-five AM. A sharp pain shot through my stomach. It felt like someone was squeezing it in a vice. On my feet once more, I ran to the bathroom and barely made it in time. Another gush of diarrhea shot out of me. “Good Lord,” I moaned. “I am coming down with something.” When my stomach settled, I pulled up my pants. I sprayed some air fresher in the bathroom, and then went back to the kitchen. I opened the refrigerator and picked up a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. I opened the childproof cap and chugalugged the foul-tasting pink liquid.

“The breakfast of champions,” I said and then put the Pepto-Bismol away. After making a couple of sandwiches, I put them into a brown paper bag. I tossed in an orange, a banana, and a small container of yogurt. With the book in hand, I headed to the front door. At the front door, I paused next to the telephone mounted on the wall. Chills ran up my back.

I should call in? I could tell them I’m sick. After all, I did have diarrhea. If I call in, Bullard will be pissed. He’ll mark me down for absenteeism. My hand reached toward the phone. The telephone let out a shrill ring. I jumped back, letting out a startled gasp, and then picked up the receiver.

“Hello,” I said.

At first, I heard nothing but someone’s faint breathing. Then a gravelly voice, that was so faint that I could barely hear it said, “Finish the tale.”

I slammed down the receiver. “That was weird,” I said rubbing sweat from my brow as I headed for the door. My hands shook when I touched the doorknob. In the hallway, I stood for a few seconds. Bright light reflected off the white marble tile. It made me squint. “God, you can be so stupid sometimes, Merryweather,” I said.

My footfalls echoed down the hall as I headed to the elevator. At the elevator, I stood waiting for the doors to open. All feelings of nervousness and dread left me. Then I thought what if someone is in the elevator? My knees started to shake. The doors slid open. The elevator car stood empty. Maybe the elevator is going to malfunction?

“Come on Merryweather,” I said to myself. Inside the elevator, I turned to punch the round blue button for the lobby. The sound of boot heels clicking echoed in the hallway.

“Hold the elevator!” A female voice resonated down the corridor. I stuck my arm between the sliding doors. They slid back into the wall. A good-looking woman with long blonde hair and a shapely figure stepped in. She looked to be in her early twenties. I took in her long golden locks, her large round breasts, and her long legs. She had tiny hazel flakes sprinkled through her ocean blue eyes. I liked her dark blue satin blouse and tight-fitting jeans. She turned to press the button for the lobby. My eyes dropped to her shapely bottom. I imagined what she would look like naked for an instant. This might not be such a bad day after all? I thought.

“Hello, Brandon. How are you this morning?” the pretty woman asked. Cute little dimples formed in her cheeks when she smiled. She took my breath away. The smell of her perfume filled the elevator. A tingling sensation shot through my lower regions.

“I’m sorry. I’m at a loss here. You seem familiar and I’ve seen you around, but we’ve never spoken.” I said as she stepped closer and took my arm for a second. Her right breast brushed up against my left bicep. My face flushed and I fought to control my breathing. My heart pounded inside my chest and a chill went down my spine.

“I’ve been your neighbor for the last five years. You need to get out more. I’m Kathleen. We, went to Junior High together remember? Everyone called me Kat?” Memory flooded back. I put my arm around her. She looked up at me and smiled. For a moment, I fell into the deep dark well of her pretty blue eyes.

“Oh yeah, Kat. How have you been? What have you been up to since school?”

“I work at an ad agency. How about you?” she said.

I shrugged. My stomach dropped when the elevator car began its descent. “I’m an accountant.”

She smiled again. “You were always good with math. That doesn’t surprise me.”

We made small talk. For once, I didn’t feel nervous and there were no long awkward pauses. God, I can’t believe how at ease I feel with her. I’ve never felt that way around any woman except Amy. Visions of Kat and I making mad passionate love flashed through my brain. Then I thought about Amy. If she were to get a makeover, she would be as pretty as Kat. My mind wandered. Images of Kat and Amy together with me naked in my bedroom flashed through my head. Heat rose in my cheeks and something else rose in my britches.

“What?” Kat asked.

My face reddened and my ears felt hot. “Nothing. Just wool-gathering.” The elevator stopped, I dropped my arm to my side and we stood waiting for the doors to open.

“If you’re not busy come by my apartment. We could watch a movie or something. I’ll cook you dinner,” Kat said.

My bottom jaw dropped. How could this beautiful woman be, interested in me? I bet she feels sorry for me? “Yeah. I’d like that,” I said.

We strolled across the lobby to the exit. Kathleen walked so close to me that our shoulders touched. The smell of her perfume and the sound of her bubbly laughter made me forget all my earlier fear and anxiety. This has the makings for a hell of a good day, I thought. The doorman, an older gentleman in his late fifties with black hair stood by the exit. He wore his maroon uniform. He looked at us and his features softened into a smile.

“You folks have a nice day,” he said and then opened the door. The sound of the traffic in the street wafted on the wind. A mass of people filled the sidewalk.

“You too Alex,” Kathleen said. Realization hit me. In the past five years that I had lived in the building, I had never taken the time to learn the doorman’s name. A weird-looking character wearing a leather jacket stood leaning against the wall. He looked like a biker. He stroked his goatee and watched us emerge from the building. His eyes focused on me. Kathleen and I stepped out the door. A crack of thunder reverberated down the street. I caught a scent of burning ozone. I saw a blinding flash of blue light and felt myself shoot forward propelled by some unknown force. My eyes clenched shut, my heart jackhammered in my chest and my breathing accelerated. I opened my eyes.

New York City and Kathleen were gone. The smell of dust and horse manure filled the air. I stumbled across a rough wooden boardwalk and staggered into the middle of a rocky dirt street. Someone screamed, a dog barked and horses whinnied. I looked up. A big burly man with a long black beard sawed the reins back and forth on a horse-drawn wagon. He was trying to keep the massive animals under control. I’m dead, I thought, and then passed out in the middle of the street.


Chapter 2

I woke up in a cloud of dust. It caked the inside of my lungs making it hard to breathe; I let out a violent cough. Gritty sand covered my entire body. The hot Mojave sun beat down upon me. Sweat formed up, on my brow. Someone grabbed me and dragged me back onto the boardwalk. Horses squealed. The man in the wagon box yelled. “Hell’s flames! I almost killed that son of a bitch!” My eyes fluttered open revealing an older gray-headed man looking down at me. He wore a homespun cotton shirt and blue denim jeans under a green canvas apron. His face looked like scared-up saddle leather.

“You scared me to death, Tale Spinner. I thought you were, done for,” the man said. He knelt over me.

Tale Spinner? I caught a trace of whiskey on his breath. Glancing around, I saw wagons pulled by horses. I saw horses tied to hitching rails, and buggies pulled by mules. A couple of donkeys stood hobbled on a side street. The smell of dirt, horse droppings, and cheap whiskey drifted in the wind. People on the boardwalk stopped and stared. My God. I’m in the twilight zone, I thought.

“Are you hurt?” the man asked. He wore a look of concern on his face.

“No. I scraped up my arm a bit,” I said. Beads of sweat dripped down my forehead. The man helped me to my feet. Turning around, I looked at the doorway behind me. The batwing doors of a saloon faced me. Maybe if I go through those doors, I’ll wind up back where I came from. “Where am I?” I asked taking in my surroundings.

“Son, you’re in the armpit of Southern California. Welcome to Greedy Gulch.” Greedy Gulch? Where have I heard that name before? I wondered.

“What year is this?” I asked.

The man standing next to me gave me a peculiar look. “Why it’s eighteen eighty-three.” The man driving the wagon got control of his team. He parked the wagon and stepped onto the boardwalk shaking his head.

“Young feller, you liked to give me heart failure. Where’d you come from?”

I shrugged. “New York City.”

“New York City?” Both of the men facing me said at once and laughed.

“This boy’s touched in the head,” the big burly wagon master said. “Chad. You’d best get him up to see the doc.”

By now, a crowd had gathered. I looked down. My clothes seemed to be deteriorating. A warm breeze hit my legs.

“Jack. I’d best get him over to my store before his clothes fall off. He does have the look of a city slicker though. His clothes, what’s left of them, seem a might queer,” the older man in the green apron said.

“What’s your name, young feller?” the big burly man asked.

“Brandon. Brandon Merryweather.”

He slapped me on the back. “Folks call me Jack Bidwell. I own the freighting business. This feller is Dunbar. Chad Dunbar. He owns the mercantile. Go with Chad and get some new duds, and don’t be stepping in front of freight wagons anymore. Mayhap next time you won’t be so lucky,” Bidwell said and then went back to his wagon.

Dunbar took my arm. “Come on. We’re drawin’ a crowd. My place is up the street. Let’s get you some decent clothes before you’re standing here with your dingus hanging out.”

My eyes dropped to my lower regions. Large holes had formed in my pants and shirt. My shoes were starting to dissolve before my eyes. Tiny pieces of shoe leather floated in the breeze. God. What the hell is happening to me? Maybe I fell asleep on my couch and this is all a dream? Dunbar held onto my arm and hurried me along. On the street, I heard the crack of a bullwhip and the sound of horses’ hooves clopping against the ground. A dust cloud formed in the air, above the street. I let out a cough. A stagecoach rumbled into town. The man in the wagon box wore a bandana over his nose to protect himself from the dust. Next to him sat a small wiry fellow holding a shotgun. The aroma of animal sweat, greasy cooking, and dust filled the air. Something was missing. Then it hit me: smog. There wasn’t a trace of diesel or automobile exhaust or any other trace of big-city pollution. The sky seemed larger somehow, bluer maybe. A pretty blonde-haired woman in a red dress climbed down from the stagecoach.

Various businesses lined the street. We passed a saddle shop, a gunsmith, a dry goods store, and a barbershop. Across the street, I saw a livery stable, a black smith’s shop, and a bathhouse. An old China man stood in the doorway of the bathhouse watching us pass by. The sound of the black smith’s hammer resonated out of the black smith’s shop. We waited to let a man on horseback pass and then crossed a side street that intersected with the main drag. The man tipped his hat. A black and white dog ran along next to us and barked.

“Get on out of here you mangy cur!” Dunbar yelled. The dog cocked its head, giving us a curious look, and then continued on its way. We crossed the street and stepped up onto the adjacent boardwalk. This place seemed familiar to me. Across the street set a hotel and a restaurant. Next to the hotel set a bank and a post office. Dunbar led me past another saloon and gambling hall. The smell of fresh-baked bread caused my mouth to water when we passed a bakery. Dunbar stopped next to a building with glass windows. I read the words: Dunbar’s Mercantile and Emporium across the glass in blood-red letters. “This is my place.” Dunbar pushed open a large wooden door. A bell hanging over the door dinged when we stepped inside.

The store held what I would have called antiques but the merchandise looked brand new. A fat woman with gray hair and a pretty smile stood behind a counter. She reminded me of Ante Bee from the old Andy Griffith show. She had an ample bosom that strained the fabric of her blue cotton dress. Glasses with large lenses and a leather thong attached to the earpieces hung from her neck. I breathed in her fresh motherly scent. Dunbar looked up at her and grinned.

“Martha, this feller needs a new outfit. Let’s set him up with some clothes.” Martha looked me over. Her glasses slipped down onto the bridge of her nose. A bead of sweat tracked down her face.

“His clothes look a little threadbare and strange too. Is he who I think he is?”

Dunbar shrugged. “I reckon so. You fix him up while we have a cup of coffee.” Dunbar led me across the rectangular storeroom. We stepped through a door next to the service counter on the far wall. The door opened to a back room. A small wooden table was set in the center of the room next to a potbellied stove. A pot of coffee was set on the stove. Boxes of merchandise set stacked against the walls. The room smelled of dust and wood smoke. “Have a seat. I’ll pour us a cup of coffee.”

I pulled out a rickety chair from the table and sat down. “I don’t drink coffee. I prefer tea” I said.

Dunbar laughed. “We’re fresh out.” He turned to the wood stove, poured coffee, and then turned around. Dunbar set a cup in front of me then sat down across from me holding his, own cup. Breathing in the rich aroma, I took a tentative sip. The hot liquid burned my mouth. The coffee was stronger than any espresso I’d ever had at Starbucks. If I drank this stuff regularly, I’d die from acid reflux, I thought. “Good Lord that stuff is strong,” I said glancing at the middle-aged shopkeeper.

Dunbar laughed. He took a cautious sip of his coffee. “Yep. Old Martha likes her coffee hot enough to thaw out an iceberg and strong enough to bend a horseshoe.”

“What did she mean when she said am I who she thinks I am?” I asked.

Dunbar gave me a vague look and then glanced away. “We don’t need to get into that just yet.” I picked up my coffee cup, blew across the surface of the hot liquid, and took another sip. The brew wasn’t so bad once it cooled a bit.

Thinking about my situation, I figured that I must be dreaming. I reached up and pinched my cheek. No. I’m not dreaming.

Dunbar’s eyes widened. “What’d you do that for?”

Icy fear settled into my stomach. “I thought I was dreaming,” I said drumming my fingers on the tabletop.

Dunbar laughed and then slapped his hands on his knees. “If you’re dreamin’ then I’m dreamin’ too.”

If I’m not dreaming, maybe I’m hallucinating. Maybe Dunbar and this place aren’t real? Before I could lose my nerve, I reached up and pinched Dunbar on the nose.

Dunbar let out a snort and pulled away jumping back in his chair. “What the hell did you do that for?”

“I thought you weren’t real, that I was hallucinating,” I said raising my hands in surrender.

A puzzled look crossed Dunbar’s face. “Halluca-what?”

“I thought you weren’t real, that you were a part of my imagination.”

Dunbar shook his head. “Whoever heard of such a dammed thing? I’m as real as the next old boy.” The door squeaked open. Martha waddled in with a stack of clothes in her hands. She looked down at me, giving me a red-faced smile, and looked away. I looked down at my body. My shoes were gone and the rest of my clothes had almost dissolved away. Crossing my arms over my lap, I felt a flush come over me.

“My goodness. I’ll say you need some new clothes. If you’d waited any longer you would be sitting there in your birthday suit,” Martha said. She laid the pile of clothes on the table. Reaching out, I touched the rough cotton fabric.

“Yep. He’s down to rags and tatters,” Dunbar said.

“Thank you. Mrs. Dunbar. I don’t have any money with me.”

Dunbar glanced at me. “I reckon we’ll start you up an account. You can settle up when you find work. What kind of work is it that you do?” The sound of a mouse scurrying around caught my ear. I leaned forward, placed my elbows on the table, and took another drink of coffee.

“I’m an accountant,” I said.

Dunbar scratched his chin. “Mayhap, they could use some help at the bank? Anyhow. You’ll find something here in town.” Dunbar reached over and patted my forearm.

“Come on now Chad. Let this youngster get dressed before he loses the rags that are covering him now. Where’d you say you’re from young feller?” Mrs. Dunbar asked.

“New York City,” I said and then looked up at her and smiled.

She shook her head. “They don’t make things as durable in them big cities as they do here in the West.” Mr. and Mrs. Dunbar stepped out of the storage room so I could change. Stripped out of the rags that remained on my body, I put on a pair of red Long Johns. They were the kind with the flap in the back and then pulled on a pair of denim jeans. After buttoning up my pants, I put on a dark blue button-up shirt and a pair of black cowboy boots. Strutting across the storage room, I looked in a mirror.

Look at me, I’m cowboy Bob, I thought studying the image in the mirror. Dressed, I ambled back through the door and into the main storeroom. Dunbar stood behind the counter.

“I reckon you’ll want a shootin’ iron. We’ll put that on your tab too,” Dunbar said.

“What? A gun? No thank you. I’m pro-gun control. Guns scare me,” I said.

Dunbar shook his head. “Pro what? Suit yourself, but you won’t last long in this town without one. At least pick out a hat. The sun out here will cook your brain if you don’t.” Crossing the room, I looked at the hats. After studying them for a few seconds, I settled on a black short-brimmed cowboy hat. It had a rattlesnake hatband. My fingers caressed the course rattlesnake band. “Fine choice,” Dunbar said and handed me a ledger.

“I’ll go see about that job at the bank. Thank you for your kindness, and tell your wife thank you too,” I said dipping the quill into the ink well.

“You can tell ‘er yourself when she comes back from the privy,” Dunbar said.

“No. I’d best be looking for that job over at the bank,” I said.

“That will be three dollars and fifty cents. Put your John Hancock down here.”

I signed his ledger. “I’ll pay you as soon as I can.”

Dunbar gave me a friendly smile. “No hurry. I’m sure you’ll find work somewhere,” he said.

We shook hands. I stepped out the door and headed down the boardwalk. I didn’t plan to look for anything but a way back to Manhattan. The doorway of the saloon behind where I landed in the street might be the one to take me home I thought. I hurried down the boardwalk. My heartbeat was loud in my chest, my breathing accelerated and my palms began to sweat. What if I am stuck in this place forever? I wondered. People walking on the boardwalk and the people in the streets stopped and stared. The black and white mutt that had barked at us earlier ran up. It let out a ferocious bark and started nipping at my heels. A chicken pecked at bugs in the middle of the cross street that I had traversed with Dunbar. It let out a squawk and took flight. A small black feather floated down to the ground.

Stopping in my tracks, I looked around taking in the shabby wooden buildings. They looked in a state of disrepair. Everyone I had met so far plus the people on the street seemed familiar. The entire town seemed familiar. Then it hit me like a ten-pound bag of shit. Greedy Gulch. This is the town from the Mojave Kid’s Last Ride. That scared the dog shit out of me. For a few moments, I stood trembling. I wake up in the morning and head to work. When I step out of the front door of my apartment building, I find myself in the middle of a Western novel. In the novel, a minor character hangs around the edges. He first shows up stumbling into the middle of Main Street in front of a freight wagon. The writer doesn’t do much with him. He dies in the end, I thought.

Running across the street, I stumbled up onto the boardwalk. My heart pounded inside my chest and my breath came out in short little gasps. A big-breasted red-headed woman in a hoop skirt stood next to me. A horse at one of the hitching rails whinnied in fear. I bumped into the woman by accident.

“Why you ruffian! How dare you?” the woman said and slapped my face.

“I’m sorry, miss,” I said, touching my cheek, and stumbled into a skinny man wearing a black suit. “Excuse me,” I said. Elbowing my way through the crowded boardwalk, I stopped in front of the saloon. It was set next to the place in the street where I made my debut. The words painted on the false front of the building over the awning looked old and faded. The Last Chance Saloon, the words proclaimed. The saloon, like the rest of the town, looked in a state of disrepair. What paint that remained was peeling and parts of the buildings looked as though they held some dry rot. Tiny flakes of red and green paint lay on the boardwalk and blew in the breeze. “Well, that’s appropriate,” I said to myself. My eyes dropped to the batwing doors. “This may be my last chance.” Glancing over the batwing doors and into the dark interior of the saloon, I couldn’t see much. The smell of tobacco smoke, foul whisky, urine, and puke, floated through the doorway. The sound of people talking and a woman laughing drifted from the interior of the saloon. An off-key piano player banged away at the keys. My stomach growled and my heart thumped the insides of my chest. What if this is real? What if the door to my apartment building somehow transported me into the world of the Mojave Kid?

My legs shook. Sweat cropped up on my forehead and in the palms of my hands. I couldn’t control my breathing. That was a dangerous world. It was a world filled with outlaws, packing guns and they weren’t afraid to use them. It was a world filled with violent men who would fight at the drop of a hat and, they would toss down the hat. It was a world where cattle stampeded and where men died from rattlesnake bites. It was a world where people died in the desert from lack of water or died in mine cave-ins. It was a world where something that could kill you waited around every corner. It was not a world I wished to live in.

Clinching my eyes shut, I pushed through the batwing doors. I stumbled into the Last Chance Saloon. I hoped that when I opened them that I would find myself in my Manhattan apartment, or on a New York City street. The sound of the piano player and the laughter from inside the saloon ceased. I opened my eyes. Patrons of the Last Chance Saloon stared with their mouths agape. Even the old white-headed piano player sat on his piano stool turned away from the piano staring at me in wonder. He had a gravy stain on the front of his shirt.

“Come have a drink, lad. You look like you saw a ghost,” a red-headed green-eyed Irishman standing behind the bar said. Stumbling across the barroom, I wondered when this nightmare would end. Conversations resumed. The card payers resumed their game. The piano player banged away at the keys. I sat down on a barstool and had a good look around the room.

The Last Chance Saloon seemed like your typical cowboy bar. The kind that you would see on any TV Western or read about in your typical Western novel. Sawdust and peanut shells covered the floor. A brass railing ran along the bottom of the long Mahogany bar for the patrons to rest their feet on. A large mirror hung on the wall behind the bar. A picture of Lilly Lang Tree, a famous actress from the 1800s, adorned the wall next to the street. It hung on the wall to the left of the batwing doors. On the right side of the batwing doors hung a painting of Buffalo Bill. Paintings of various gunfighters and outlaws adorned the walls of the saloon. There were paintings of Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday. Most of the paintings looked old and faded. Brass spittoons were set at each end of the bar.

“What ’ell you have me, lad?” Startled, I turned to face the bartender.

“Do you have Coke or Pepsi?” I asked.

The bartender gave me a strange look and then shook his head. “My name is Shawn McCoy. I’ve owned this place for several years now, and I’ve never heard of those drinks.”

I shrugged. “What do you have?”

McCoy wiped the bar down with a towel. “We have beer and whiskey.”

A sense of bravado passed through me. “What the hell. Give me a whisky.”

McCoy grinned. “Now there’s a lad after my own heart.” He set a shot glass on the bar. Picking up the shot glass, I lifted it to my nose. The dark liquor smelled potent. Several of the drinkers lining the bar stared. “Down the hatch,” McCoy said. My stomach churned and my hands shook. I would never have tried drinking whiskey at home.

What can it hurt? I downed the shot in one quick gulp. It seemed like I drank liquid fire. The whiskey burned, all the way down. Letting out a sputter, I coughed and then leaned over holding my stomach. McCoy reached over and slapped me on the back a couple of times.

“Easy lad. Don’t die on us,” McCoy said. The cowboys and miners lining the bar and sitting at the various tables laughed.

“Look at the tinhorn,” a sandy-headed cowboy sitting down at the bar said. He let out a mean-sounding laugh.

“Never you mind,” McCoy said. When I straightened up, he poured me another shot. “Have a hair of the dog.”

I raised my hands trying to wave him off. “I can’t pay for that. I don’t have any money,” I said.

McCoy smiled. “Don’t trouble yourself. I’ll start you a tab. You’re new in town. You’ll find work. I could use someone to clean up around this place.”

“Hey! tinhorn! Where are you from? I ain’t seen you around here,” the sandy-headed cowboy yelled. His voice boomed through the interior of the saloon. He looked as tough as nails. My knees shook and my heart quaked. Sweat formed up in the palms of my hands and on my forehead.

“N-New York City,” I stammered. Everyone laughed, except for Shawn McCoy.

“Not only a tinhorn but a city slicker all dressed up in fancy new clothes,” the cowboy said. He climbed to his feet and swaggered my way.

“Leave ‘em alone Barlow. This is our new Tale Spinner,” McCoy said.

“What do you mean by that? You’re the third person who’s said that to me so far,” I said. McCoy shrugged.

“Never mind. You’ll find out soon enough.” McCoy cleaned my shot glass with a towel and poured me another shot. Determined not to make a spectacle of myself, I downed the shot. It burned like the last one, but I managed not to let it show. My vision turned fuzzy for a few seconds.

“Hey tinhorn!” the cowboy yelled. A dark-haired saloon girl wearing a low-cut purple dress slid between the cowboy and me. I breathed in her fresh scent. My eyes dropped to the deep valley of cleavage between her breasts. Heat rose in my cheeks. The saloon girl’s dress had a split in it, which showed off a lot of, legs. She played with her long curly black hair twirling it around her fingers.

“Hey, handsome. Buy a girl a drink?” she said and then smiled. I looked at the bartender. McCoy grinned and poured her a shot. She downed it in one gulp. “What’s your name, handsome?” She ran her hand down my back. Chills shot through me.

“M-Merryweather. Brandon Merryweather,” I said.

“Come here, little sister. You need a real man, not this tinhorn,” the cowboy said. He grabbed the saloon girl around the waist and pulled her against his body. The jerking motion caused the front of the saloon girl’s dress to fall. Her breasts jutted forward and fall free. The cowboy’s hands found the saloon girl’s bosom.

“Craig Barlow! Get your filthy paws off me! If you want to play, you have to pay first!” the saloon girl yelled. The cowboy laughed. McCoy reached under the bar for something. I jumped to my feet. My knees quit shaking and my hands balled into fists.

“Leave her alone!” I yelled.

The cowboy laughed. “What are you gonna do, tinhorn?”

I raised my fists in front of my face. Who was I kidding? I’d never been in a fight. Usually, I got beat up and this was no exception.

“The tinhorn wants to fight?” the cowboy said. He shoved the saloon girl away and then lunged forward. He hit me with a hard right-hand fist, which connected with my left eye. Pain shot through my skull, I saw stars, and then the lights went out.


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Tribes! Now on Pre-Sale!

There is only twenty days left to order your copy of Tribes while it is in pre-sale and only $.99. When the release date comes, the price goes up to $2.99.

Straight from conspiracy theories on the internet, Tribes explores the premise of an alien invasion of Earth.

Earth’s top-secret Space Force is decimated when the Myrmidons, a race of ant-like creatures commonly known as the Brood, invade the Sol System. The Black Fleet and the Earth Defense Force Fleet, two breakaway societies whose sole mission is to protect the solar system flee and head to the Galactic Federation’s capital world. They address the federation council and bring help to fight the invaders. When the Myrmidons invade Earth and take out the power grid, the fabric of society breaks down. People band together for protection and flee the cities. They hide in the mountains and deserts forming into various tribes for protection.

John Carpenter, a US Army veteran is taken aboard a Brood ship and held as a slave. On Crylon-5, John is sold and forced on board a Myrmidon warship. He is trained to become a Mamluk, a warrior slave. In the process, John leads a slave rebellion and takes the ship with the help of his fellow slaves. The former slaves join forces with the Black Fleet and the Earth Defense Force Fleet and head back to Earth to rid the planet of the Brood. Will they be victorious and help user Earth into a new age of peace and prosperity, or will the Brood slaughter the population, taking humans as slaves and laying the planet to waste?


Click the link above to order your copy. Also, you only have 27 days left to order your copy of Don’t Bust the Piggy Bank: How to publish an eBook.

Don’t Bust the Piggy Bank: How to Publish an eBook is a common sense guide to self-publishing. You can write your novel, edit it, design a cover, and publish it without spending a lot of money. I wrote this book for the beginning author who is on a tight budget. This is not a get-rich-quick book. In this book, I reveal the things that I have learned along the way. I discuss how to write a damned good book, edit it, publish, and market it without busting the piggy bank. I also reveal my writing and editing process. I discuss the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. This is a basic guide for the beginning writer who is on a tight budget and doesn’t want to bust the piggy bank.

Click the link above the picture to order your copy before the price goes up on its release date.

I would also like to let you know that I have several of my books that are in the production phase to be released soon as Audiobooks. Enjoy the short story below, from Tales From the Lost Highway.

The Dark Rider

The Dark Rider rolled down the highway, traveling through the Arizona night. He pulled into the High Noon Saloon at midnight. Overhead, a dark ominous cloud covered the sky and a cold breeze blew across the land. Harley Davidson motorcycles filled the parking lot. Loud music emanated, from the building. The Dark Rider parked his black 2009 Harley Davidson Night Train in the shadows. He was underneath an elm tree at the edge of the gravel parking lot and killed the motor. He put the bike on its side stand and crossed the parking lot. He stepped on the boardwalk, standing in the shadows away from the door.

The front door of the bar opened. The light illuminated the area in front of the door, and the Dark Rider stepped back further into the shadows. Tracy had been up on the bar dancing topless for the last half hour. The bright lights of the barroom caused sweat to glisten off her tight body. She decided to take a break, so she stepped outside to cool off and smoke a cigarette. She stood in the doorway, looking out over the parking lot. Her wife-beater t-shirt clung to her body outlining her ample breasts. The cold night air caused her nipples to push up cotton. She took a pack of cigarettes from the back pocket of her Daisy Duke shorts. Shaking out a smoke, she noticed someone standing in the shadows.

Her hands shook when she put the smoke in her mouth. “Hello,” she said, stepping into the darkness. A lighter flared in her face, she lit her cigarette and said, “Thank you.” A nervous flutter of fear and excitement passed through her. She looked into the dark, feral eyes of the stranger peering out from the hood of his black cloak. A tingling sensation shot through her loins.

“Don’t mention it. Why don’t you step over here next to the building and we’ll talk,” the Dark Rider said.

Feeling lost in a fog, she was powerless to resist. Tracy stepped further into the darkness. She almost tripped when she reached the edge of the boardwalk. The Dark Rider took her arm, steadying her.

“You’re a bit drunk,” the Dark Rider whispered. “Here, let’s lean you up against the wall. I don’t want you falling, down.”

“You got me there,” Tracy said, leaning up against the side of the clubhouse. “I am a bit tipsy.” She took a hit from her cigarette and then dropped her hand holding the smoke to her side. The Dark Rider leaned against her; he gave her a quick kiss, his hand found her left breast and his teeth found her neck. Tray’s eyes shot wide open. The vamp sucked her neck. She felt light-headed. Her hand holding the cigarette shook, the cigarette fell to the ground and she soon followed.

Tracy woke up a half-hour later feeling cold and dizzy. Her stomach felt sick. She remembered the tall, dark stranger. He whispered something in her ear right before she fell. “Go to him,” he whispered. She was sure that he meant Chico. That’s right. Chico will know what to do, she thought. At the front door, she paused for a few seconds. One of the dancers opened the door.

“Can I come in?” she whined.

“Of course, you can come in. Girl, it’s cold outside. You look as white as a sheet. Where you been Tracy?” the dark-headed dancer said.

I passed out. I don’t feel so good.”

“Come on in here. I’ll pour you a shot of Tequila.”

The dark-haired dancer led Tracy back into the bar. All eyes turned to her, noticing her pale complexion, but no one looked at the mirror behind the bar. If they would have, they wouldn’t have seen Tracy’s reflection. Once inside the clubhouse, Tracy made a beeline to the bar where Chico sat drinking with Lead Belly and Tiny. She climbed onto a barstool and snuggled up next to Chico.

“Trace you look like you’re about frozen to death. Are you all right?” Chico said and put his arm around her. Barbra, the dark-headed dancer went behind the bar and poured Tracy her shot.

Tracy tossed it back and said, “I’m fine now.” She nuzzled Chico’s neck and put her hand on his thigh. A deep hunger filled her belly and for a minute, she thought that she was going to be sick. “Why don’t we go into the back room and have our, own little party?” She glanced up at Barbra; Barbra nodded and then arched her eyebrows at another one of the dancers.

“Sure, why not?” Chico said and rose to his feet. He looked at Lead Belly and Tiny. “What about you guys? You feel like having a private party in the back?”

Lead Belly laughed. “You must be trying to get me killed. Janet would skin me alive.”

“What about you Tiny?” Chico asked.

The massive biker shook his head. “No way bro. Those young things like that will kill you.”

Chico nodded at two prospects, and they followed him, along with the women into the back room. Chico plopped down on a couch; Tracy crawled onto his lap and took off her shirt while Barbra turned on the music. Tracy brushed her breasts against Chico’s face and then moved her mouth to his neck. The other girls joined them on the couch. Their clothes came off, and their bodies became entwined as Tracy lured them into a hot sweaty orgy of sex and pain. Before the party was over they all passed out on the couch. Tracy had bitten them all, including the other dancers from the bar.


Chico woke up, three hours later, and stumbled out of the back room. The dancers and the prospects were gone. Sweat covered Chico’s brow, chills ran up and down his spine, his head throbbed and his stomach lurched. For a few seconds, he leaned on the doorjamb, thinking that he might pass out.

“The dead have arisen. We were gonna go in there and check on you,” Lead Belly said.

“Where’d everyone go?” Chico asked.

“Everyone’s gone home, but us,” Tiny said.

Chico glanced over at Tiny, Dirty Dan, and Lead Belly. His vision was fuzzy. “What time is it anyway?”

“Almost two-thirty,” Lead Belly said.

“God, I feel like a warm bag of shit. I think I’m coming down with something.”

“You don’t look so good. I better give you a ride home,” Dirty Dan said.

“No, no, I’ll take my bike. You guys close up the bar.” Chico stumbled across the room. He pushed through the batwing doors of the bar, and almost tripped off the edge of the boardwalk. He staggered across the parking lot. He climbed onto his scooter and pulled out onto the highway, and headed to town. Weaving around on the road, he was barely able to control the motorcycle. He glanced in the rearview mirror, and his eyes widened in horror. He couldn’t see his, own reflection.

“Oh God, oh God, what happened in that back room?” Chico said to himself. Pulling up to a stoplight, Chico glanced over to the curb and saw a redheaded prostitute.

“Hey, lover. Let’s party,” the woman said.

Feeling a hunger so deep that his whole body quaked, Chico parked his scooter. He staggered over to the prostitute and grabbed her.

“Hey! You have to pay first!” the red-headed hooker yelled and then screamed.

Chico jerked her to him by the shoulders, his teeth found her neck and he began to feed.

Across town, the Dark Rider parked his motorcycle in the shadows next to a Seven-Eleven. He waited, sitting on his scooter, for the right person to come along. Finally, he saw a young housewife pull up. She went inside the store and came out with a bag of groceries. Halfway to her car, she dropped a two-liter of Pepsi.

“Shit,” the woman said, and bent down to pick up the bottle of soda. The Dark Rider knelt, down and offered his hand to help her to her feet.

“Don’t worry about that,” the Dark Rider said. The two-liter bottle fell back to the ground. “Let’s step over by my motorcycle and talk,” he said leading her into the darkness. Unable to resist, she followed. After he bit her, the Dark Rider whispered in her ear and said, “Go home. Make love to your husband. Make him one of us.” Dazed and reeling, the young woman sat behind the wheel of her car and headed home.


Three days later

Tiny, Dirty Dan, and Lead Belly sat at the bar inside the High Noon Saloon. Fifteen patched members and four prospects sat at the bar in the clubhouse. Their wives and girlfriends were there too. Bikers guarded the doors and windows and a sense of tension filled the air. Janet sat at the bar, next to Lead Belly holding his hand in fear.

“What are we going to do when it gets dark?” Janet asked.

“We’ve got about a gallon of holy water. We’ve got several crucifixes plus some garlic. We won’t let them get in,” Lead Belly said.

“Yeah, but we can’t stay here forever. I’d be safer out at the cabin,” Tiny said.

“I know. We’ll head out there in the morning. It’d be too dangerous at night,” Dirty Dan said.

During the past three days, the virus had spread. Not only through the Road Dogs members, but also throughout the town as well. As the sun went down, vampires filled the streets. They felt a hunger that only human blood would satisfy.

“I can’t get over Chico becoming one of those things,” Lead Belly said.

“Where are these Halo Riders? You’d think they would show up at a time like this?” Dirty Dan said.

“I don’t know man. You never know about that crew,” Tiny said.

The sound of moaning filled the parking lot. “Here they come!” a prospect guarding the front door said. Vampires filled the gravel parking lot and staggered up onto the boardwalk. Chico stumbled up to the front door and knocked.

“Let me in, man it’s me, Chico.”

“I can’t bro. You’re sick,” the prospect said.

“Open the door. I’m not sick. I feel fine bro.”

The prospect opened the door a crack

“No!” Dirty Dan yelled, jumping to his feet.

“Don’t look in his eyes!” Lead Belly yelled, but it was too late. The prospect opened the door a crack, and his eyes locked onto Chico’s.

“Hey bro. Aren’t you gonna invite me inside?” Chico asked.

The prospect seemed to fall into a trance. “Sure bro. Come on in,” the prospect said.

Chico pushed through the door, and took the prospect to the floor, sinking his teeth into his neck. The horde of bloodsuckers in the parking lot followed him inside. Dirty Dan, Tiny and Lead Belly opened up on the undead vampires with their guns and ran out the back. Half of the people inside the club didn’t make it out. Lead Belly jumped on his scooter, Janet jumped on behind him and he gunned the throttle. A rooster tail of dirt and gravel flew into the air. Dirty Dan, Tiny, and eight other patched members, along with two prospects followed.

“Let’s head out to the cabin!” Lead Belly yelled.

They cranked the throttle heading west, but when they came around the curve, Lead Belly hit his brakes. A bottleneck of crashed and burned-out cars and trucks blocked the highway. A gaggle of vampires milled about among the wreckage.

“We’ll never make it past that!” Dirty Dan yelled.

“Where else can we go?” Tiny asked.

“Let’s turn around. We’ll go to that little Baptist church on the edge of town. It’s holy ground. We’ll be safe there,” Lead Belly said.

They spun around, cranking their throttles, and headed back toward Harlem Springs. A few minutes later, they pulled up to the church. A crowd of vamps blocked the entranceway to the parking lot. The Road dogs gunned their throttles. They fought their way through and rolled into the parking lot. Parking their scooters, they hurried up to the front door and entered their place of refuge.


Hey bro, this is Cave Man again. It seems like the bros down on Earth can’t keep out of trouble these days. We were in the middle of a party up in Biker Heaven. Elvis and Roy Orbison were rocking out and we were having a good time. The folks in charge up here called out the Halo Riders. They mentioned something about some blood-sucking vampire that folks called the Dark Rider. They said that the Road Dogs were in trouble. I tucked my bottle of Jack into my vest pocket we climbed onto our spirit bikes and headed back.

Our bikes changed into older Harley Davidson motorcycles as we touched down. We were on the outskirts of Harlem Springs Arizona. We motored toward town but had to pull up short at the town limits. We saw a gaggle of the undead SOBs blocking the road. It was well after dark, and they were hungry for blood. Vampires think they own the night, but they’ve never come up against a group of bikers from the great beyond. When one of my bros in the Road Dogs is in trouble, there’s no stopping me. I took a vow, a long time ago. Road Dogs in life, Road Dogs in death. Damned if I’ll let some blood-sucking vampire, drag a bro’s soul down to hell if I can help it.

The bloodsuckers had us surrounded. I laughed when one smelly vampire raised her hands and lunged forward trying to give me a big hickey on my neck. She wore a dirty red dress that sported a lot of undead cleavage. Already you could smell the decay rolling off her unwashed body. I reached into my vest, grabbed some garlic from my vest pocket, took a chaw, and breathed in her face. She let out a hiss, jumping back and the skin on her face began to boil. Little Danny Boy slapped a crucifix against the forehead of a vamp wearing a policeman’s uniform. The skin on the vamp’s forehead began to sizzle; he let out an evil screech and jumped back.

Old School pulled a Super Soaker from underneath his vest. Three vamps approached him. “You undead bastards ain’t never seen holy water like this. I filled this up from the stream behind the clubhouse in Biker Heaven. That stream is a runoff from the spring of living water inside the emerald city. It doesn’t get any more holy than that,” he said and opened up on the vamps with the Super Soaker. The vampires burst into flames and ran around like a flock of chickens with their heads chopped off. We motored on through the undead crowd and pulled into the parking lot of the Baptist church.

We parked our scooters next to the ones already in the parking lot and headed up to the front door. I rapped on the door and the door squeaked open. I looked into the eyes of a bear of a man with massive biceps, and a black woolly beard, wearing a black suit. I grinned, recognizing a warrior with a pure heart. Dirty Dan stepped around the preacher and said, “It’s about time you guys got here. We lost Chico.”

We did some hugging and back-slapping. “We came as soon as we got the word,” I said and then looked at the preacher. “Introduce me to the sky pilot.”

“This is Reverend Blackwood. William Blackwood. His wife and kids are here, plus a few people from his church. We have a few of the bros here plus a few of the old ladies. The rest of the club, shit. Sorry reverend, the rest of the town got themselves infected.”

“Call me Pastor Bill. It’s good to meet you. I’m sorry it can’t be under better circumstances,” the preacher said. We shook hands.

“It’s okay Pastor Bill, you look like one of us,” I said taking in his stocky features and his long black beard. He looked like a refrigerator with a big head. “Are you ready for war?” I asked.

“I can do all things, through the power of the Lord God who strengthens me,” he said.

I nodded, pulled him to me, and gave him a big hug. “I like that. You’ve got spunk and a pure heart. Those smelly vamps don’t stand a chance.”

“We’ve set up living quarters in the fellowship hall. We have food and coffee if you people are hungry,” the reverend said.

The Halo Riders grinned. “Let’s go put on the feed bag,” I said and we followed the preacher into the fellowship hall. After we finished eating, I glanced about at the people in the fellowship hall. My eyes locked onto the preacher. “Say, preacher man. You wouldn’t happen to have any wooden stakes and a few wooden mallets lying around anywhere, would you?” I asked.

The preacher nodded. “I have some in the basement, but they’re not too sharp. We used them when we built the new parking lot.”

“How about holy water? Do you have any holy water?” I asked.

The preacher shook his head. “No. We’re not Catholic. We don’t do holy water.”

“What about regular water? You could bless it and say a prayer over it.”

“That I could do,” Pastor Bill said.

“We’ll need several gallons.”

“We have a couple of fifty-five-gallon drums in the basement and a hand pump. We could fill up some gallon jugs. At this church, we believe in being prepared.”

“That’s a good thing,” I said and glanced at Dirty Dan.

Dirty Dan nodded and then looked at the two prospects. “You guys go with the reverend and get those stakes and help him fill up those jugs of water.”

The preacher led the prospects down into the basement. I finished my supper and poured myself a cup of coffee. I sat down next to Little Danny Boy and said, “What do you think?”

“About the preacher? He’s a fighter. He’ll stand and be true.”

I nodded. “I guess you want to get an early start?” I asked.

“As soon as the sun comes up and they head back to their nest. We’ll fan out across the town and start putting the stake to them old boys.”

“What about Chico?” I asked.

Little Danny Boy let go with a long sigh. “That depends on if we can find this one they call, the Dark Rider. If we take him out, then Chico has a chance, but if not, you know what we have to do.”

“Yeah, yeah I do. When it’s time, I’ll take care of it. You don’t think the boys in charge upstairs might bend the rules and give us a hand?”

“You mean like a miracle? I doubt it.”

I glanced about the fellowship hall at the people from the church. They looked scared, but they also looked determined. These are good folks, I thought. If it comes down to it, they’ll stand and fight.

The prospects came back with the wooden stakes and several gallon jugs filled with water. The Road Dogs pulled out their knives and we spent the rest of the evening sharpening the wooden stakes.

We knocked off at about three AM and crashed for two hours. A half-hour before sunrise, we rolled out. The reverend made coffee and insisted that we say a prayer before we went to war. We gathered in the sanctuary, linked hands and the preacher led us in prayer. I felt a powerful force of goodness and light pass through us.

“Lord as we set out to do battle against the forces of evil we ask that you protect us. Send your archangel Michael to help us and watch over us. We will send these evil ones back to hell where they belong,” the preacher said.

“A man, reverend. Now if you’ll say a blessing over these water jugs, we’ll get to work.” The reverend nodded and said a prayer over the water. We divided the wooden stakes, putting them in canvas duffle bags. We put a wooden mallet in each bag along with a super soaker squirt gun and a jug of water. When we stepped to the front door of the church, the reverend joined us.

We headed out the front door and tied our gear onto the back of our bikes, and then climbed on. We fired up the scooters. The preacher climbed into his little pickup truck and followed us out of the parking lot and onto the street. We cruised the town taking in the empty, litter-filled streets. Dirty Dan pulled over in front of a shopping center and we pulled in behind him.

“What’s the plan?” Dirty Dan asked.

“Let’s split up, and canvas the street. We’ll check every building on the street and then move to the next block,” I said.

“What do we do if we find Chico?” Tiny asked.

“Mark the outside of the building. Use a can of red spray paint. We’ll come back to him after we finish with the rest of the town,” I said.

“What about this Dark Rider?”

“If you find him, come and get me. The Halo Riders will deal with him. I have a feeling that that old boy is going to be hard to kill,” I said.

We moved into the buildings of the shopping center. Pastor Bill and I stepped through the glass doors of a Basher’s grocery store. Cans of food, bags of potato chips, and other trash littered the floor. The smell of rotten meat and produce filled the air. We found five vamps sleeping in the back room. I knelt and placed a crucifix on the forehead of the former store manager. The vamp’s skin sizzled, his eyes shot open and he let out a blood-curdling screech. The putrid smell of burning flesh filled the air. Pastor Bill put the point on a stake against the vamp’s chest and drove it home with a wooden mallet. Blood splattered against his face. The rest of the vamps woke up and shot up to the ceiling, flying around like a barrel of monkeys on crack. I pulled a Super Soaker out of the duffle bag, handed it to Pastor Bill, and took one for myself. We opened up on the smelly vampires with the Super Soakers. When the holy water touched their skin, they burst into flames. Finished inside Bashers, I glanced at the preacher and grinned.

“How you makin’ out preach?”

The reverend shrugged. A resolute look crossed his face. “No one said that going about the Lord’s business would be easy,” he said.

I grinned and slapped the preacher on the back. “That’s the spirit, Pastor Bill. I knew you were a fighter when I first laid eyes on you. You’re known, over on the other side as a hard charger. Let’s check out this record store,” I said motioning to the music store next to the market.

The preacher laughed. “They’re called CDs now,” he said.

We headed into the music store. I stopped, checking out the debris covering the floor and the broken windows. A cold breeze whispered through the store.

“This place looks empty,” the preacher said.

A rotten smell wafted across the room. “I don’t think so. Let’s check in the back,” I said. We went behind the counter and stepped into a dark musty storage room. A bare light bulb hung from the ceiling with a twine cord that you pulled to turn on the light. I saw a smelly vamp sleeping underneath a threadbare, moldy Army blanket. It was the chubby, former music store clerk. His white shirt was in tatters and blood-soaked his black slacks. “I’ll take care of this one, Preach,” I said and stepped forward. The preacher grabbed my arm.

“No, I’ll do this one. I knew this young boy.” The reverend stepped forward. He removed the tattered Army blanket and stuck the tip of a stake against the young man’s chest. “I’m sorry, Timothy.”

When the preacher touched the young man’s chest with the tip of the stake, the chubby vampire’s eyes shot open. He let out a hiss and spit in the preacher’s face. Pastor Bill drove the point home. Blood spewed into the preacher’s face, the vamp’s legs kicked and he died, this time for good. I felt a presence brush past me.

Finished inside the music store, we headed down the street, searching each building. We left the business district behind. We searched several houses and rendezvoused at the motorcycles two hours later.

“Did anyone find Chico or The Dark Rider?” Tiny asked.

No one replied. “We’ve still got most of the town to search, but we may not find that dude they call the Dark Rider here in town. He might be hiding in some abandoned building or house on the outskirts somewhere,” I said.

“Did anyone find some live people?” Lead Belly asked.

Old school nodded. “Tiny and I found a family hidin’ out in their basement. We gave them some holy water and painted a cross on their front door.”

“I’d say that less than half of the people that lived here are still alive,” I said, “but they’ll rebuild.”

“We’d best get back to work. We’ve got lots of work to do, and miles to go before we sleep,” Pastor Bill said. “Sundown comes early this time of year.”

I chuckled. “I told you this bible slinger was a fighter, and he likes poetry too. After this is over, he’ll probably go and buy himself a motor scooter.”

“I bet he’d love a spirit, bike,” Little Danny Boy said.

“A spirit bike? What’s that?” Pastor Bill asked.

“I know you don’t ride reverend, but try to think of your dream bike, and then multiply that by one hundred,” I said.

“I used to ride. I used to have a Triumph Bonneville. It was a sweet machine, now let’s roll up our sleeves and go to work.”

We searched the rest of the town, street by street. We dispatched the blood-sucking vampires, wherever we found them. We had one major dust-up in the high school gymnasium with a squad of undead cheerleaders. When we stepped into the gym, they were all over us like a cyclone. They waved their pompoms in the air, while they dived down at us from up near the ceiling. Their cheerleader uniforms were in tatters. They showed off a lot of pasty white flesh. That didn’t stop them from trying to latch on to our necks with their fangs to bleed us dry. We opened up, on them with our super soakers and they went down in flames, lighting up the gym. Sundown found us on the edge of town and we took refuge at a small Catholic church. We motored into the parking lot, parked our scooters and the preacher parked his pickup. We stepped up to the front door. I banged on the door.

“If you demons think you’re coming in here, you got another thing comin’. You’d a better chance at kicking the leprechaun’s ass and takin’ his gold. This here’s holy ground.”

I let out a chuckle. “Another one of God’s warriors.”

“Father Murphy. It’s me, Pastor Bill. We’re not infected. Let us in,” Pastor Bill said.

A short stocky, redheaded Irish priest opened the door and we stepped inside the church.

A group of ten to twelve of the priest’s parishioners had gathered inside the church. They looked tired and scared. Outside, storm clouds gathered over the land.

“It looks as if we’ve got a storm blowing in,” the priest said. A large gust of wind rattled the stained glass windows of the church.

An eerie feeling shot down my spine. “This storm doesn’t feel right. It seems like something right from the pits of hell,” I said.

“The dark forces at work in this town are, upset about the work we did today,” Pastor Bill said.

“Maybe so,” I said. “Father, the bros and I are about as hungry as an anorexic polar bear. You wouldn’t happen to have anything to eat?” I asked.

The redheaded Irish priest laughed. “The ladies fried up some chicken in the fellowship hall. If you’ll follow me,” the priest said. We followed Father Murphy into the fellowship hall and the ladies from the church set out a fine spread. They had folding tables set up along with folding chairs. We sat down at the end of the building near a blazing fireplace. The church ladies brought us food. They brought plates filled with fried chicken, potato salad, rolls, and fresh vegetables. After we finished eating, I leaned back in my chair and stifled a belch.

“What’s the plan now?” Little Danny Boy asked.

“We stay put until daylight and then search the outlying areas outside of town,” I said.

“Do you think there will be any vamps out roaming tonight?” Old School asked.

A thunderclap shook the church and outside, rain hammered the landscape.

I paused. “I don’t think so. We took care of most of them. We may have to deal with a few of the Devil’s imps,” I said.

“What about Chico and the Dark Rider?” Tiny asked.

I paused, for a moment, thinking. “They’ll be out on the prowl, but they won’t step foot on the church property. It’s holy ground.”

Pastor Bill stuck his head in the doorway of the fellowship hall. “Father Murphy and I are going to hold a prayer meeting in the sanctuary. You could join us if you like,” he said.

“Thank you reverend, but the bros and I will get comfortable around this fireplace and try to get some rest. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a long night,” I said.

Once Pastor Bill and Father Murphy left the fellowship hall, I pulled out a bottle of Jack. The good kind from Biker Heaven, not that stuff they sell on Earth, took a shot and passed the bottle around. “I thought those sky pilots were never going to leave us alone. An old boy could die of thirst,” Fat Bob said.

“They don’t know any better. It’s not about what you put in your gut that counts, it’s what’s inside your heart,” I said.

Outside, the storm continued to shake the windows and rattle the walls. We huddled planning our search of the outlying areas. We had been in the fellowship hall for about three hours. Father Murphy and Pastor Bill poked their heads in the door.

“You lads might want to come and see this,” Father Murphy said.

“What’s happenin’?” I asked.

“We got visitors,” Pastor Bill said.

I climbed to my feet and followed the sky pilots to the front door of the church. The Halo Riders and the rest of the Road Dogs followed along behind us. A little girl who looked to be no more than nine years old sat on the front pew holding her mother’s hand. A scared look crossed her face. I give her a grin. “Don’t worry little sister. Things are gonna get better,” I said.

The priest opened the front door of the church and gale force winds almost blew the door out of his hand. I stepped out onto the front porch and glanced out at the street. Chico and the Dark Rider sat on their scooters at the entrance to the parking lot.

“Cave Man. It’s me, Chico. Bring the bros out here to the street. We need to talk. Road Dogs in life and Road dogs in death, remember?” Chico said. He glanced at the Dark Rider. “Come serve the master.”

Glancing up, I noticed a demonic host hovering in the air, above their heads.

“I serve a master, but it ain’t that blood suckin’ SOB. My master sits on the throne in the emerald city west of Biker Heaven.”

“I’m still the president of this chapter! Get the bros out here!” Chico demanded.

“I don’t take orders from blood-sucking vampires. You don’t know what you’re saying. It’s not your fault that he talked that little bitch into biting you on the neck but don’t worry. We’ll deal with you and your blood-sucking master tomorrow morning,” I said.

The Dark Rider let out a screech launching himself through the air. Chico launched himself through the air behind him. Father Murphy pushed me out of the way and slammed a crucifix against the Dark Rider’s chest. The vamp’s clothes caught on fire and his skin sizzled. The smell of burning decayed flesh filled the air. The Dark Rider fell back onto his back and let out a blood-curdling scream when his back touched the holy ground. He leaped to his feet, hopping around like a frog on a hotbed of coals, and flew back through the air toward the street. His back looked burned and smoke billowed from his feet. I lifted my hand and a bolt of blue light hit Chico in his upper chest. He tumbled through the air and landed on the street. The demonic host attacked.

Both Father Murphy and Pastor Bill Stood their ground. They held their crucifixes in the air. Light radiated from the crosses. The Halo Riders stepped up, flinging balls of light and firing bolts of lightning with their gats. I fired my 357 at an ugly two-headed demon with a face full of scaly warts. Bluish-green lightning shot from the barrel of my pistol. When it hit the evil SOB, he exploded in a flash of white light. An ugly little demon stabbed Fat Bob with his sword. Old School slammed his knife into the top of the demon’s head and it exploded. Fat Bob stumbled to his knees, while I mixed it up with two hooded demons in black robes. I stood my ground slashing with my knife and shooting my 357.

I was about to get overrun by the evil shits, but my pops and Teddy bear joined the fight. The rest of the Road Dogs looked on in shock. The attack broke off.

“This ain’t over!” Chico yelled and climbed onto his scooter.

The Dark Rider stood next to his chopper for a second. “You road scum will be my minions for eternity. I’ll dine on your blood while your bodies rot,” the Dark Rider said. His voice was barely above a whisper, but the sound floated on the dissipating wind.

“We’ll see about that come daylight, asshole,” I said.

The Dark Rider climbed onto his chopper and he burned rubber. Chico smoked his tires and peeled out after him. The skies cleared and the demonic host hovering over the land disappeared.

I glanced over at the two sky pilots. “You two need to start ridin’ motorcycles and prospect into the club. The Road Dogs could use a couple of Chaplains,” I said. “Especially a couple of hard chargers like you two.” Old School helped Fat Bob to his feet, and we went back inside the church.


The night passed slowly, the storm passed and there were no more attacks on the church. We heard Chico and The Dark Rider cruising up and down the street, trying to feed the hunger. We tried to get some sleep but most of the bros seemed too keyed up to rest. The sun poked its warm fingers across the landscape at five-thirty AM. We gathered our gear and prepared to go on the hunt. After tanking up on coffee and doughnuts, we gathered in the sanctuary. Pastor Bill and Father Murphy insisted on saying a quick prayer. We gathered in a circle and took each other’s hands.

“Good Lord we ask for your protection as we go into battle. We know that these evil creatures think that they are immortal and untouchable. Greater is he that is within me than he that is in the world.”

I glanced around the circle and had to laugh. There stood several hairy, tattooed bikers holding hands. Their eyes closed listening to every word of the prayer. Once the sky pilots finished praying, I slapped Pastor Bill on the back and said, “Time to go to work. Why don’t you stay here with Father Murphy and his flock?”

“I’m going with you,” Pastor Bill said.

“Me too,” Father Murphy added.

“Are you sure? This is going to be bloody,” I said.

Both the priest and the reverend nodded. “I know where they might be hiding. There’s that old house out on Sidewinder Road,” Pastor Bill said. “An old couple and their teen-aged son live there, but it’s the perfect place.”

“I wouldn’t put it past the Dark Rider to turn the old couple if he wanted their house,” I said.

“Then there’s the Beckett house. It’s out by the highway, about ten miles east of town. That house has been abandoned for years,” Father Murphy said.

“We’ll check the places closer in first then we’ll head further out,” I said.

We packed our gear. The Road Dogs fired up their scooters and headed out. Father Murphy and Pastor Bill followed along behind in Pastor Bill’s pickup truck. We searched every abandoned, building, and empty house near the outskirts of town. We found nothing.

“Where to now?” Dirty Dan asked.

I shrugged. “Why don’t we take a ride out to Sidewinder Road?”

We rolled out of town heading east on a two-lane pothole-riddled highway. The road snaked its way south through the surrounding hillside. Socorro cactus lined both sides of the road. We cranked the throttle getting lost in the wind. Pastor Bill and Father Murphy followed the motorcycles in the pastor’s pickup truck. About ten miles outside of town, we pulled off onto a dirt road that led to an old farmhouse. We slowed down on the dirt and then pulled up in front of the rickety old house. To the left of the house set an old rustic barn that looked as if you leaned on it, that it might fall, down. I climbed off the scooter, pulled a bottle of Jack from my vest pocket, and took a shot. The two sky pilots gave me a dirty look.

“Let’s search the house first. Then we’ll have a look inside the barn,” I said to my bros.

I stepped up onto the porch and almost fell through. Much of the wood underneath my feet was rotten.

“Whoa there, bro. Watch out,” Old School said. He stepped up onto the porch behind me and took my arm.

We entered the house and I stood for a second gazing around the living room. Someone had overturned the furniture. They broke out windows and trash along with tiny pieces of glass littered the hardwood floor.

“The place looks disserted,” Pastor Bill said.

“No, there’s someone here. I can feel a presence. Can’t you?” I asked.

Pastor Bill paused for a second. “Now that you mention it, I do.”

“It smells like something crawled in here and died,” Father Murphy added.”

“Let’s see if this place has a basement or a cellar,” I said.

We fanned out, searching the house, and inside the kitchen; I found a small wooden door leading down to a damp cellar.

“I don’t know if I want to go down there,” Tiny said, gazing down the ramshackle wooden staircase into the dark vault below.

“Yeah, but we’ve got it to do. If these damned bloodsuckers are still here, they’d be down there,” I said and stepped down the first step. Tiny stepped down behind me, followed by Pastor Bill, Father Murphy, and the rest of the Road Dogs. The smell wafting up from below hit me like a freight train.

“God. That smells like ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag,” Tiny said.

“Yeah, these vamps are some stinky boys,” I said and let out a chuckle. At the bottom of the staircase, I sat my duffle bag down on the floor and retrieved a flashlight. I panned it around the interior of the dark underground chamber. I pointed the light into a dark corner and then moved it to the other side of the room.

“Stop. Go back. Shine your light back into that corner, lad,” Father Murphy said. I shined the flashlight back in the corner and saw what looked like an old comforter. “There’s something under that old blanket.”

“It looks like, someone’s foot,” I said. We crossed the underground room and I knelt, down, and pulled the comforter away.

What had once been an old farmer in tattered bib overalls, lurched up from the floor letting out a feral growl. His blood-red eyes glowed in the dark basement, and beside him, what had once been his wife, jumped to her feet. They had both joined the ranks of the undead. The farmer, now a full-fledged vampire, knocked me over backward bringing his mouth down to my neck. His undead wife jumped on Tiny knocking him backward.

“You smelly bitch,” Tiny said and punched her in the nose, knocking her to the floor.

I rolled from underneath her undead husband and gave him the toe of my boot. He squealed jumping back when the silver tip on the toe of my boot touched his side. The place where my toe touched his side burst into flames. Father Murphy and Pastor Bill stepped forward holding their crucifixes in the air. Light emanated from the crucifixes filling the room. The vamps retreated into their corner. I pulled a Super Soaker from my duffle bag and hosed them down with holy water. The vamps let out a screech and flew up to the ceiling flying around like a couple of cats with their tails on fire.

“It’s easier when we catch these SOBs napping,” Dirty Dan said. He opened up on the vamps with his Super Soaker. The farmer and his wife burst into flames and fell to the floor. We waited for a few minutes for the fire to die down and then I stepped up to the chard corpse that had once been a farmer.

“In the end, it all comes down to the basics,” I said and drove a stake through his heart. Father Murphy took care of the farmer’s wife.

“What now?” Little Danny Boy, who stood watching the show with Old School on the staircase said.

“Now, let’s go check the barn,” I said.

We found a pack of the undead bastards in the hayloft above the barn. What must have once been the farmer’s son lay sleeping with five of his girlfriends. They looked to be in their late teens or early twenties when they joined the ranks of the undead. We found them underneath the hay. They must have just finished with an orgy of sorts. All the undead females were either naked or half-naked. They jumped up out of the hay like a pack of she-wolves and were on us like stink on a dead skunk. With their titties flappin’, and their hair flying, they flew up into the air. They let out a collective shriek. They dropped down upon us slashing with their long nails and biting with their teeth. Their undead boyfriend stepped back, a cocky grin crossing his face, and watched the show. A blonde-headed vamp clamped her legs around my chest. Her breasts brushed the side of my face and leaned back trying to gouge my eyes out. Pushing her away, I grabbed my Super Soaker and hosed her down with holy water. She let out a screech and burst into flames. Two of the she-devils had a hold of Old School and they were pulling his hair, while another tried to bite his neck. Old School fell back, and one of the vixens landed on top of him with her crotch in his face. She grabbed him by the hair and slammed his head against the wooden floor of the hayloft. I let out a chuckle and hosed her down.

Being a biker, all though one from the other side of the grave, I like a wet t-shirt contest. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. The female vamp burst into flames, the barn caught fire and we beat a hasty retreat. The vamps had nowhere to go. They would either die in the flames or leave the barn. Then the sunlight would turn them into crispy critters. We stood watching the barn burn and listened to their screams. We stood there until the barn was nothing more than a pile of smoldering ashes.

“We’re burning daylight,” Pastor Bill said.

I nodded. “Yeah, let’s go check out this Beckett House. Let’s ride,” I said to the Road Dogs. We hit the highway, heading back toward town. Pastor Bill and Father Murphy followed along in the pickup truck. When we reached Harlem Springs, we took the main highway and headed east. Ten miles outside of town, we pulled up to an old Victorian-style mansion. It looked abandoned for at least a century. I stepped up onto the front porch and a warm summer breeze caused the screen door to bag open. The old oak front door squeaked on its hinges when I opened it. We stepped into a dusty old parlor. Little Danny Boy and Old School stepped up beside me. Little Danny boy sighed.

“They’re here. I can feel it,” Little Danny Boy said.

“I know. I can feel it too. There’s three of them,” I said.

“Who’s the third?” Old School asked.

“One’s Chico, the other’s this Dark Rider. I can feel that evil SOB’s presence the most, but I can’t tell too much about the third, only that it’s female,” I said.

Dirty Dan stepped up overhearing the last of our conversation. “It’s probably that bitch that bit Chico. When we find her, I’ll do the bitch.”

“What about when we find Chico? You know what we have to do,” Old School said.

“I’ll take care of it. I don’t want that on one of the bro’s conscious. The hard part will come after. You know what they told us to do. It’s gonna take all the strength we have,” I said.

Pastor Bill and Father Murphy stepped up. “Lads we best get with it. We’re losing daylight,” Father Murphy said.

I nodded. “Let’s split up. Father, why don’t you two sky pilots take the second floor? The bros and I’ll search down here.”

The priest and the preacher headed upstairs.

“You sendin’ them on a wild goose chase?” Old School said.

“They’ve done good so far, but when it comes to Chico, he’s our business. As for the Dark Rider, I don’t know if they’ll be able to handle him. That old boy’s gonna be hard to kill.”

Pastor Bill and Father Murphy led half the crew. The Halo Riders and most of the Road Dogs searched the bottom floor.

“Keep your eyes out for a basement or cellar,” I said while we searched the first floor.

We searched the bottom floor room by room. The creepy old house made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I kept hearing doors slam and the sound of whispering voices. Now and then we would pass through a cold spot where the temperature would drop several degrees. We found nothing on the bottom floor. When we entered the kitchen, I found a door leading down into a dark musty basement. Little Danny Boy’s eyes widened and his nostrils flared when I opened the door. “They’re down there. Can’t you smell the evil?” he said.

“That be the Dark Rider,” I said.

We descended into the dark underground basement. I brought a flashlight out of my duffle bag and turned it on. The basement was huge and encompassed several rooms. We searched the place room by room. I kept hearing strange noises. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I kept seeing shadows move out of the corner of my eye. We found Chico and Tracy asleep in an old moldy feather bed. Feathers covered the floor and I noticed mice droppings. The moldy old quilt that covered them had, a mouse dropping on it and the corners looked chewed on by rats. I pulled the cover off of them. Chico lay in his jeans with his shirt off and Tracy lay in the nude.

“I’ll take care of this bitch,” Dirty Dan said. He took a stake, out of his duffle bag, and put the point between Tracy’s breasts. Tracy’s eyes shot open, she let out an evil hiss and scratched his face trying to gouge out his eyes.

“Fuck off and die, bitch!” Dirty Dan said and drove the point home. Black, stinky blood shot out of her chest, she let out a screech and died. Chico’s eyes fluttered and opened wide. A tear tracked down Dirty Dan’s face. “I’m sorry, bro,’ he said and grabbed another stake. He moved the stake toward Chico’s chest, but I grabbed his hand.

“Please bro,” Chico said.

“I’ll handle this,” I said to Dirty Dan and took the stake and mallet. I looked down at Chico and said, “Sorry bro,” and drove the point home. Bloodshot out of his chest, his body shuttered and he died. The Road Dogs gathered around their former chapter president. Tears streamed down their faces. “We’ll have to grieve later,” I said. “Right now we need to find the Dark Rider.”

We searched the rest of the basement but found nothing more.

“He’s got to be here,” Little Danny Boy said.

“He’s got to be deeper. There must be some kind of sub-basement or something. We need to look for the entrance,” I said. “We’re running out of time.” We searched for another half hour as the sun sank over the Arizona desert. I finally found a trap door, covered by an old throw rug. It led down to what once must have been some type of underground storage area for coal. I opened the trap door and we descended a slimy set of stone steps into the underground vault. We found the Dark Rider sleeping in what appeared to be some type of coal bin. When we approached the coal bin, he shot up into the air and slammed into me knocking me back against the wall. Coal dust covered his face and clothes. He let out an evil hiss, I jumped to my feet and he grabbed me by the neck and flung me across the room. Old School jumped on him with his knife and the Dark Rider, flung him into the coal bin. Little Danny Boys charged forward and stopped looking the Dark Rider dead in the eyes.

“Stop you evil Son of a bitch! I command you in the name of all that’s holy! Go back to hell where you came from!”

The Dark Rider let out a hiss and shot up to the ceiling. I pulled myself from the floor, grabbed my Super Soaker and we opened up on him using the last of the holy water. He burst into flames, went shooting back and forth around the room up near the ceiling, and then dropped down on me. I grabbed a stake from my duffle back and held it up. “In the King’s name!” I yelled holding up the stake.

The Dark Rider tried to stop his momentum, but it was too late. He impaled himself on the stake, blood shot out of his chest his eyes widened in pain and he died. I dropped his body to the floor, pulled my sheath knife, and cut off his head. Finished with that grizzly deed, I took a bag of garlic from my duffle bag and stuffed his mouth full of garlic. “We’ll need to take that head somewhere and throw it in the water.”

In shock, Dirty Dan said, “There’s Lost Lake north of town.”

“We’ll need to put the head in a gunny sack along with some rocks, and then toss it into the lake. Now let’s go see about Chico,” I said.

We climbed the stone staircase back up to the basement to where we left Chico’s body. By this time, Father Murphy and Pastor Bill had finished searching the upper story and joined us. The Road Dogs, silenced by grief stepped up to Chico’s body. Tiny reached down to remove the stake.

“Stop,” I said. “Dude, you guys need to step back. We’ll handle this.” The Road Dogs stepped away and the Halo Riders formed a circle around the body. I looked over to where Father Murphy and Pastor Bill stood to the side. “You two sky pilots need to join us. We need your strength.”

Pastor Bill and Father Murphy joined our circle and we knelt, down next to the body. I grabbed the stake, yanked it from his chest, and then we laid hands on the body. My arms started to tingle. I felt numb and electricity crackled. A bluish-green light formed flowing down our arms to our hands and into Chico’s body. My head throbbed, my legs went weak and I felt like I was going to pass out. The air around Chico’s body crackled. A gale-force wind filled the basement. A black vapor that looked like a swarm of locusts rose, up from the body disappearing in the wind. The wind stopped. Chico’s chalky white face, turned pink, the hole in his chest closed before our eyes and his heart began to beat.

Chico’s eyes opened. “I’m sorry bro,” he said.

“Forget about it. It wasn’t your fault,” I said and tried to stand, but I staggered to my knees. Bringing Chico back from the dead took everything we had.

The bros helped us to our feet, we did some hugging and there wasn’t a dry eye in that old basement.

After taking a ride out to Lost Lake and tossing the Dark Rider’s head, we rode back to the High Noon Saloon. We arrived around midnight and crashed, in the back room. The next morning Chico and I sat down at the bar.

“I don’t know how to thank you, guys. It seems like you always show up when we need you,” Chico said.

I took a pull from my bottle of Jack and handed it to Chico. “That’s why we wear the halo patch,” I said.

“I hope you don’t have to rush off too soon,” Chico said and handed me back the bottle.

“No, we’ll stick around for a few days. Bringing you back from the great beyond took a lot out of us. We need to recharge our batteries. For the next few days, we’ll do what bikers do best. We’ll party,” I said and took another shot.


If you enjoyed the Dark Rider click the link above to download the entire series, Tales From the Lost Highway.

I hope you enjoyed reading the Dark Rider. Click on the links above to check out any of my other books at Sign up for my email list to get a free eBook. I look forward to hearing from you so feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Until next time peace out!

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What’s New and Exiting in my World

I thought I would give everyone an update on what’s new and exciting in my world. I am currently in the process of turning all of my novels into audiobooks. I have been listening to auditions for narrators. I have a new science fiction novel titled Tribes that will be on pre-order soon and my new nonfiction novel, Don’t Bust The Piggy Bank: How to Self-Publish an eBook is in pre-order now. Its release date is July 29th. Click the link below the cover picture and orders your copy while it’s only ninety-nine cents. I am in the editing process on the rough draft of the fourth book in my science fiction series, Space Corps Chronicles titled the Galactic War. I am almost finished with the rough draft of the fifth book in my Mike McDonald Action Adventure Saga, Mendoza’s Revenge. Checkout the cover for Tribes.

Order your copy of don’t Bust The Piggy Bank: How to Publish an eBook before it comes out and save some money.

Also enjoy the short story below. It is the sixth story in Tales From the Lost Highway.

The Wooly Boys

Lightning flashed across the desert and thunder rolled across the land. Thunder Paw looked over at Wolf Boy and howled. Wolf Boy grinned and let go with a wild feral howl himself that echoed across the desert. Behind them, White Fang gunned the throttle. He pulled his custom chopper over the centerline and pulled up next to Thunder Paw.

“I’m hungry!” White Fang yelled, trying to make his voice heard over the rushing wind.

Thunder Paw glanced in his rearview mirror, taking in the pack. He noticed the course hair sporting up, on his neck.

“I know! We all need to feed! There’s a town up ahead! The locals call it Harlem Springs! We’ll stop there!” Thunder Paw yelled.

White Fang backed off on the throttle. He let Thunder Paw roll by on his flashy blue chopper and took his place in the pack. The clouds parted and a full moon rose into the sky. The Woolly Boys rolled through the night toward Harlem Springs Arizona. Five miles outside of town, they pulled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon.

Chico, Tiny, Dirty Dan, and Lead Belly sat at the bar inside the High Noon Saloon. When they heard motorcycles pull up out front. The smell of tobacco smoke and stale beer filled the air. Loud rock and roll music emanated from the building. Thinking that some more of the bros had pulled up out front, they glanced at the front door wondering who they were. Chico’s eyes widened when a group of bikers sauntered into the bar. They weren’t Road Dogs.

“Damn. Those are some hairy sons of bitches,” Dirty Dan said. “They’re even hairier than you are, Tiny.”

Lead Belly laughed. “That’s pretty damned hairy.”

“I ain’t never seen that patch before. The Woolly Boys? You heard of them, Chico?” Tiny asked.

Chico shook his head and then said, “What the hell?” when they began to remove their clothing.

“I hate to waste a good pair of jeans and my club vest,” Thunder Paw said and then grinned.

The Road Dogs inside the bar stood to their feet and turned to face the new arrivals. The Wooly Boys now fully nude, began to sprout coarse hair and their bodies changed morphing into wolves. The Road Dogs stepped back. Thunder Paw, now changed into a wolf extended his claws and let out a howl. Chico pulled his 45 and shot him in the chest. The loud bang of gunfire filled the room. The bullet knocked Thunder Paw on his ass, but he rose to his feet and stepped forward. “That one hurt a bit. What kind of loads are you shooting in that thing?”

“Hand loaded,” Chico said and shot him again.

Thunder Paw flew backward once more but climbed back to his feet. Blood soaked his fur. The wounds in his chest were already healing. “You’re gonna pay for that,” Thunder Paw said. The werewolves charged forward launching themselves at the Road Dogs. Thunder Paw, grabbed the nearest Road Dog by his head, ripped it from his shoulders, and tossed it across the room. The head bounced off the wall and rolled across the floor. The rest of the Woolly Boys attacked slashing with their claws and snapping with their teeth. Blood and body parts flew into the air.

Chico, standing next to Tiny, Dirty Dan, and Lead Belly, opened up on the hairy beasts. The bullets seemed to have little effect. They would knock the werewolves down, but the hairy beasts would get back up again with a bad attitude. The Woolly Boys slaughtered the Road Dogs nearest to the front door and ripped them asunder.

“This ain’t working! Let’s get out of here!” Chico yelled. Chico, Dirty Dan, Tiny and Lead Belly ran out the back door. Behind the bar, Chico flipped open his cell phone and sent out a text message to all the bros on his contact list. The text said, “911-Meet at the cabin. Bring all your gear.”

“I need to get hold of Janet,” Lead Belly said.

“Tell her to take the truck! Tell her to bring all your guns and camping gear, but tell her to hurry!”

The back door of the High Noon Saloon burst open. Thunder Paw and White Fang came storming out the door, with blood covering their jowls.

“Oh fuck! Let’s get out of here!” Chico yelled and ran to his bike with Dirty Dan, Tiny, and Lead Belly hot on his heels. They jumped onto their scooters, fired them up, and gunned the throttles. Their rear tires sent rooster tails of dirt and gravel flying up into the air. Once they hit the highway, they headed west at a high rate of speed and disappeared into the Arizona night.

“Should we go after them?” Wolf Boy asked.

“No not with all that fresh meat inside. We’ll finish up and then lay up here during the daytime. Tomorrow night, we’ll take the town. After that, we’ll hunt down them red-neck peckerwoods. My chest still hurts where that bastard shot me,” Thunder Paw said.

“It’s a good thing for us that they weren’t using silver.”

Thunder Paw nodded glanced up at the full moon and let out a blood-curdling howl.


Our tires chirped when we hit the highway. Our spirit bikes changed to older Harley Davidson motorcycles. We rolled down a lonely desert highway heading to Harlem Springs Arizona. An evil foreboding cloud loomed in the east, only this wasn’t a normal cloud. This cloud blew in from the pits of hell and the Devil’s imps came with it. I could almost smell the embers floating in the breeze. This is Cave Man again and if you’ve been paying attention then you know that I’ve been dead since sixty-eight. Up in Biker Heaven, after I kissed a tree at over one hundred miles an hour, I decided to join the Halo Riders. The Halos, a division of the Road Dogs motorcycle club, is a group of troubleshooters from the other side. Whenever there is trouble in the biker world, they send us.

Riding up front was Little Danny Boy, next to him was Fat Bob, and behind them rode Teddy Bear and Chops. Sonny, Old School, My Pops, and I rolled along at the rear. We headed down a lonely stretch of the highway toward Harlem Springs Arizona. Little Danny Boy pulled over to the side of the road next to an old oak tree. We parked next to the road, to give ourselves a butt break and climbed off our scooters. One thing about being mortal was that we were subject to the same aches and pains as when we were alive.

“Do you remember this place?” Little Danny Boy asked.

I chuckled. “How could I forget? That old oak tree smashed my head like a ripe honeydew melon when I hit it back in sixty-eight,” I said. I pulled a bottle of Jack from my coat pocket.

“Piss on this old oak tree,” Old School said stepping up next to me. He unzipped his pants, pulled out his pecker, and let fly. I chuckled and stepped up next to him. Soon we were all watering the oak tree and laughing like a pack of schoolboys. Old School was right behind me when I hit the tree. He flew over his handlebars and hit his noggin against that tree. The old tree smashed his head like you or I would squish a grape.

“I’m surprised this old tree is still here,” I said after we emptied our bladders.

“It’s a tough old tree, all right,” Little Danny boy said. We headed back to the bikes.

“Are we headin’ to the clubhouse?” Teddy Bear asked.

“No, we’re too late to help anyone there. The remnant is at the cabin.”

My pops stepped up next to me and took a swig from his bottle of Jack. “Good. My butt’s sore. It’ll feel good to sit by a warm fire and drink some brews with the bros,” Pops said.

“Yeah, but we’ve got our work cut out for us on this one. There won’t be a lot of time to party,” Little Danny Boy said.

“We’ll party after we slaughter all these hairy sons of bitches,” I said.

“It’s not so much the werewolves that I’m worried about,” Little Danny Boy said. “It’s their demonic friends.”

“From what I hear, these aren’t your average werewolves,” Chops said and then climbed onto his bike.

“No, they’re a bad bunch that’s come up from Mexico. They were friendly with the Hell-Raisers before we took those old boys out. They’ve allied with the Devil himself,” Little Danny Boy said.

“It doesn’t matter. There’s no demon in hell that can stand up to a bro with a pure heart,” I said and climbed onto the old Pan Head.

A few miles up the road, we pulled off onto a dirt trail leading into the hills. We passed through a small stand of pine trees and the weather turned chill. A dark menacing cloud hung over the land and out in the woods, I heard a wild feral growl. I saw red beady eyes peering at us from the tree line. A howl resonated across the land as the full moon rose into the sky.

“They’ve got scouts in the woods! A couple of wolves and some of the Devil’s imps!” Little Danny Boy yelled, projecting his voice over the rumble of our loud pipes. I saw an evil demon wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, standing in the middle of the road. He looked up as we approached and his skeletal feature changed into a demonic grin. Evil reddish-green light illuminated the darkness. The light came from the empty sockets where his eyes should be.

“Begone you, vile creature!” Little Danny Boy yelled and gunned the throttle. We plowed right into the evil creature and he disappeared into a cloud of smoke and ash. His evil laughter resonated through the forest. A few minutes later, we saw a light in the distance. Breaking through a clearing, we saw the cabin. Several motorcycles, a couple of pickup trucks, and a few cars set parked out front. Five prospects stood out on the front porch with rifles standing guard duty.

One of them hollered into the cabin and said, “You guys better come out here! We’ve got company!”

A group of bikers stepped out onto the front porch and they all had weapons. We pulled up to the cabin and killed the motors on our scooters. Our spirit bikes now resembled older Harley Davidson motorcycles.

“This shit keeps getting weirder and weirder,” Dirty Dan said. “There’s a picture of every one of those guys in the Book of the Dead.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I was half expecting those guys to show up,” Chico said.

“Yeah, remember when we had that trouble with the Hell-Raisers? Some of them showed up that time,” Tiny said.

“There’s old Cave Man. He saved my bacon a while back,” Lead Belly said.

We climbed off our scooters. “Aren’t you gonna offer a bro a drink? Make mine a Jack,” I said.

A grin spread across Chico’s face. “Come on up here bro. Bring in your crew. We’ll toss back a couple and then have a sit down about this little problem we’re having,” Chico said.

I stepped up onto the porch and the Halo Riders followed. When Chico saw Sonny, he grabbed him up in a big bear hug and said, “I missed you, bro.”

“I missed you too, son,” Sonny said.

We did some hugging with our brothers. A few of them felt a little tense at first. It ain’t every day that a group of bikers from the other side of the graveyard shows up at your door. Chico led us inside, and a couple of prospects handed out the beer. I pulled a bottle of Jack from my coat pocket and tossed back a shot. I sat down on a threadbare couch setting in the living room. The Halo Riders sat down beside me. Chico, Tiny, and Dirty Dan pulled up some folding chairs and sat facing us.

“You know, I was hoping you guys would show up. We were at the clubhouse when these hairy bikers showed up. They had patches on their vest that said, the Woolly Boys. They took off their clothes,” Chico said. “Like if that wasn’t weird enough? They changed, man. You’re not gonna believe this, but they turned into werewolves. They attacked us and ripped several of the bros to pieces. They were almost superhuman. Werewolves, can you believe this shit? I thought that was only on the movies.”

I shrugged and took a pull from a bottle of Jack. “Yeah bro, I can believe it, considering a damned zombie bit me back in sixty-eight. Don’t be so quick to brush something off because it’s weird.”

“What are we gonna do?” Chico asked. “We’ve got to take back the clubhouse.”

“There’s more than the clubhouse at stake. They’re after the town and they’ve got scouts out in the woods,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Isn’t there someone we could call, bro?” Dirty Dan said.

“Yeah, there’s this dude out in California named Monroe who deals with this kind of thing. It would take him a while to get here. These Woolly Boys brought some friends. We’ll take care of this shit ourselves. There’s a dark cloud hovering over the land and, it’s chuck full of the Devil’s imps. This is going to be a hard fight,” I said.

“What are we supposed to do?” Chico asked.

“You know all those silver coins and silver bars stored down in the basement with the survival gear?” I said.

“Yeah. They’re still there.”

“We need to melt that shit down and make some bullets,” I said.

“Silver bullets? You’ve got to be kidding?” Tiny said.

 I looked him dead in the eyes. “Afraid not bro. It’s all about belief. You boys will take care of the werewolves, and we’ll deal with their friends.”

“We’d best get started. Those hairy bastards have a good sense of smell. Once they take Harlem Springs, they’ll come here,” Little Danny Boy said.

Chico nodded at a couple of prospects. “Let’s get the silver. We’ve got some bullet molds with the reloading equipment.”

“You’d best keep half the crew on guard duty. I heard something prowling the woods when we rolled up,” I said. The full moon hung over the cabin lighting up the Arizona night.

Chico stood to his feet. He instructed half his crew to guard the windows and doors. He led us Halo Riders and several prospects down into the basement. He instructed one of the prospects to fire up an old woodstove and then found the bullet molds. He took a green Army crate from underneath a shelf and opened it up. It held silver coins and silver bars. Rummaging around on a shelf, he found an old cast iron pot, filled it with silver coins, and set it on top of the woodstove.

“Once this silver melts, we’ll start making bullets,” Chico said.

The cold damp basement began to warm up, due to the fire in the woodstove. The pot on top of the stove got hot and the silver began to melt. Sweat beaded up on my forehead.

“Hey, Prospect. Why don’t you bring us some beer?” Tiny said to a short dark-haired prospect. He wiped the sweat from his brow.

“And bring a bottle of Jack,” Dirty Dan said.

“I brought my own,” I said, patting my vest.

“Yeah you brought the good stuff from the other side,” Chico said and then grinned.

I nodded. “It sure beats this stuff you drink here on Earth.”

The silver melted, turning into liquid, and Chico passed out the bullet molds. We spent the next few hours making bullets and loading ammunition. Around midnight someone called down from upstairs and said, “Hey you guys! You better get up here! Something is creeping around outside and I heard it scratching on the front door!”

We grabbed the guns and stuffed our pockets with silver bullets. A loud crash made everyone inside the cabin jump. I pulled the curtain aside and looked out the front window. A set of red beady eyes looked back at me. The hairy bastard leaped through the window, showering me with broken glass, and knocked me on my ass. The stinky SOB growled, slashing at me with his claws. I grabbed onto his furry cheeks with my left hand and punched him in the forehead with my right. My silver club ring burned into his forehead singing its fur. The evil creature let out a blood-curdling howl and jumped back. The smell of burning hair filled the air.

Chico stepped to the side and jacked a round into a thirty-thirty lever-action rifle. He raised the rifle to his shoulder and fired. The bullet hit the beast in the chest. It let out another screech, jumped back through the window, and disappeared into the night.

“That was intense,” I said and pulled my bottle of Jack from my vest. I took a shot.

Chico’s nostrils flared. “Damn that was a stinky son of a bitch.”

Behind the cabin, we heard something clawing at the back door. Another werewolf howled in the night. We heard more of them coming out of the woods.

I nodded at Chico. “We’d best cover all the windows and doors.”

The werewolves converged on the cabin and we opened up, on them. Our muzzle flashes lit up the night. Overhead, the full moon looked down on it all. An ugly wolf with crooked teeth stuck his head in the broken window. I pulled my three fifty-seven and put a silver bullet through his brainpan. The hairy bastard flew back off the porch, landing on its back. It withered in agony. The rest of the pack closed in.

“Get the women and little ones to the basement!” Chico yelled. Several prospects jumped to their feet. They hustled the old ladies and the youngsters to safety.

“We need to deal with their friends!” I yelled to Little Danny Boy.

Little Danny Boy nodded and after the attack broke off, he said. “Let’s step out onto the front porch.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Dirty Dan said. He crouched down by one of the windows.

“You can’t go out there. Those SOBs will rip you to shreds,” Chico said.

I grinned. “You all stay inside and watch the show.”

Little Danny Boy, Old School, and I filed out the front door. The rest of the Halo Riders followed. We stood on the front porch. A pack of werewolves moved towards us on all fours. As one man, we drew our arms back and flung them forward as if pitching a softball underhanded. Balls of blue light shot out of our hands and hit the wolves. What looked like electorally charged bolts of lightning crackled, scorching their fur. The werewolves leaped back in fear. Overhead, a host of evil demons swooped down on us. We pulled our weapons and fired.

Rather than silver bullets, our guns fired balls of red and blue light, as well as bolts of lightning. When we hit one of the evil sons of bitches, it would explode in a flash of white light.

Two evil little demons in grubby black robes scampered up on the porch. One of them launched itself at me, clawing at my face. I flung it to the ground and popped it in the head with my gat. Old School took care of the other two. The werewolves, along with their evil friends disappeared into the night.

“Damn. That looked like the fourth of July,” Chico said.

“Yeah, but I don’t think they’re done yet. Does that pond out back still have water in it?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s pretty full. We had a storm a couple of days ago that was a gully washer,” Tiny said.

“Tomorrow morning, we’ll melt down some more of that silver and put it in the pond. Those hairy assholes have to go somewhere for water. We’ll give them a tummy ache,” I said and then laughed.

Releasing some tension, I pulled my bottle of Jack from the inner pocket of my vest and took a shot. The night wore on, and the werewolves attacked three more times, but we managed to keep them at bay. Things got quiet around four AM and we managed to get some sleep. Two hours later, the sun came up over the desert. We rolled out heading toward Harlem Springs Arizona. Before we left, we sent five prospects to the pond in the woods. They lit a campfire, melted down a couple of silver bars, and poured the liquid silver into the pond. Riding at the back of the pack, I cranked the throttle and put my face in the wind. One thing I enjoyed about being mortal was the feeling of the wind on my face when I rode my scooter.


We pulled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon two and a half hours later. After parking our scooters, Chico stepped up to the front door and kicked it open. Cradling his thirty-thirty in his arms, he headed into the Road Dogs clubhouse and the rest of us followed. The werewolves, now back in their human form, lay in a drunken stupor. They lay on the bar and, on several tables scattered throughout the room. Blood and human body parts littered the floor and blood covered the walls.

“All right you hairy bastards! We’ve had about enough of you!” Chico yelled and opened up with his thirty-thirty. The rest of us followed suit. The loud bang of gunfire filled the room. Caught off guard while in their human form, the werewolves didn’t stand a chance. Some of them tried to make a fight of it, but we cut them down like the evil vermin they were. The silver bullets ripped through their flesh and their wounds wouldn’t heal.

Thunder Paw, let out an angry howl and charged out the back. Wolf Boy and White Fang ran after him. A tear tracked down Chico’s face when he shot three of his former bros. They got bit when the werewolves first attacked the clubhouse. The battle over, he set his rifle down on the nearest table. I laid a hand on his shoulder.

“It’s better this way. There is no cure, bro. You did them a favor by putting them down.”

“It doesn’t feel that way,” Chico said.

“Back in sixty-eight when we had that little zombie problem, I hit an oak tree at over one hundred miles an hour. I wanted to avoid becoming one of the undead. Believe me, it’s better this way.”

“What now?” Chico asked.

“Now, we head into Harlem Springs,” I said.

Back on our scooters, we motored on into town. Harlem Springs looked like a ghost town. We rode up and down several streets, but we saw not a sign of life.

“Where is everyone?” Chico asked.

“The people who didn’t get bit hunkered down in their homes. Those that have turned, along with what’s left of these Woolly Boys, are hiding out somewhere until the moon rises. Their bellies are full. Take a look around you.”

Chico glanced over and saw a puddle of blood on the sidewalk. He widened his gaze noticing blood on the walls of some of the houses and body parts on a couple of lawns. “What do we do now?” Chico asked.

“Does old man Dempsey still own that health food store over on Fourth Street?” I asked.

Chico shook his head. “No bro. The old man retired years ago. His son, Joe is running the place now.”

“Let’s take a ride over there,” I said.

A hot desert wind blew sand across the road as we motored across town. Harlem Spring had the look and the feel of a ghost town. Yet we felt someone eyeballin’ us from the buildings lining the street. A dark evil cloud covered the town. We turned onto Fourth Street. Our pipes rumbled off the surrounding buildings. We rode down to the health food store. We parked our scooters up against the curb and climbed off the machines. Chico stepped up to the front door of the health food store with Dirty Dan right beside him. Dirty Dan tried the door.

“It’s locked,” he said.

“No problem,” Chico said. He slammed the butt of his thirty-thirty against the glass door breaking it into tiny pieces. He looked at me. “What exactly are we looking for?”

“Colloidal Silver,” I said. “As much as we can find.”

Once we gained entrance, we searched the entire store. Five prospects stood out front watching our backs. We brought case after case of the stuff out to the sidewalk. We secured the stuff to the back of our bikes with bungee cords.

“What now?” Chico asked.

“Now we head over to the east end of town and climb up on the old water tower. We need to dump this shit into the town’s water supply, bro,” I said.

“Chico nodded and we climbed back onto our scooters. Hitting the highway, we headed east toward the town limits. We pulled over to the side of the road next to a massive water tower. Chico glanced up at the massive water tank towering above us and grinned. “Prospects! Time to go to work!” he yelled. I chuckled, pulled a bottle of Jack from my vest pocket, took a shot, and handed it to Chico. He took a shot and said, “What now?”

“They’ve got to drink. If they’ve not been bit, this won’t hurt them, but if they have, then they’ll be in a world of hurt.”

“How long will it take for this to take effect?”

“I shrugged. “We’ll wait for a couple of hours. Why don’t we head back to the clubhouse and clean the place up?” I said.

Chico nodded. We watched the prospects carry the colloidal silver up the metal ladder. They dump it into the town’s water supply. When they finished, we hit the highway headed west toward the High Noon Saloon.

While we motored back to the clubhouse, five werewolves stopped for a drink from the pond near the cabin. They died a painful death. Now back in their human forms, their bodies became part of the landscape. Three hours later, after cleaning up all the blood and carting off the dead bodies, we motored back into town. We cruised up and down every street. We dispatched sick werewolves wherever we found them. They stumbled around like drunken bums, bumping into each other. A few crawled along on their hands and knees. We pulled up next to three in front of a liquor store. An older man, with the remains of course brown hair on his neck crawled along puking up blood. Chico parked his bike, pulled his thirty-thirty, and put them out of their misery.

“It’s too bad it has to be this way,” Chico said, lowering the rifle. “Are you sure there’s no cure?”

I shook my head. “Wolf Bane can keep it at bay, but believe me, bro this is the best way,” I said. Once we finished ridding the town of the hairy beast, we headed back to the High Noon Saloon. We did what bikers do best: we partied.

As the sun went down over the desert and a full moon rose into the sky, Thunder Paw, White Fang, and Wolf Boy fled south on their Harleys on a lonely desert highway.

“It’s a good thing we didn’t drink the damned water!” Wolf Boy yelled.

“Yeah, those red-neck peckerwoods surprised me with that one. It won’t happen again!” Thunder Paw yelled.

“Where will we go?” White Fang asked.

“There’s a little town by the border known as Santa Rosa Springs. There’s a pack, gathering there.” Looking up at the full moon, Thunder Paw let go with a mournful howl. White Fang and Wolf Boy joined in on the chorus.

Inside the High Noon Saloon, Chico Lead Belly and I looked up as the sound of the woeful cry wafted on the breeze.

“I guess we missed a few,” Chico said.

“Don’t worry about it, bro. They’re heading south to a little spot by the Mexican border known as Santa Rosa Springs. That old boy I mentioned earlier: Monroe. He’ll deal with them,” I said.

“And you know this how?”

“You know these things, once you cross over. Time is different over there.”

“Different how?” Chico asked.

“You’ll have to wait until you get there to find out, but I’ll tell you this much. These spirit bikes we ride can travel through time. I just came back from a trip in the past when this shit started. I felt a need to get to know my pops a bit better. I wanted to see what he was like when he was young.” Pops stepped up and slapped me on the back.

“Yeah, those spirit bikes are the shit. You’ll love Biker Heaven. I went hog wild when I showed up,” Pops said.

“What was he like back then, when you went back in time?” Chico asked.

“Oh, that’s a story for another day. Why don’t we get some of these fine-looking mommas up on the bar and have us a wet t-shirt contest?” I said.

“That sounds like a plan,” Chico said.

A few minutes later, the women climbed up on the bar, iced themselves down with ice water, and started to dance. The prospects cranked up the music. I pulled my bottle of Jack out of my vest pocket and leaned back on the barstool to enjoy the show.


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Hello. I thought I would let everyone know what’s going on with my writing. DON’T BUST THE PIGGY BANK: HOW TO PUBLISH AN eBook is now available on pre-order at You can order it on Amazon for only ninety-nine cents until its release date which is July 29th. Check out the description below:

Don’t Bust the Piggy Bank: How to Publish an eBook is a common sense guide to self-publishing. You can write your novel, edit it, design a cover and publish it, all without spending a lot of money. I wrote this book for the beginning author who is on a tight budget. This is not a get-rich-quick book. In this book, I reveal the things that I have learned along the way. I discuss how to write a damned good book, how to edit it how to publish and how to market it without busting the piggy bank. I also reveal my writing and editing process. I discuss the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. This is a basic guide for the beginning writer who is on a tight budget and doesn’t want to bust the piggy bank

Also, I am in the final editing stage of my new science fiction novel, Tribes. I have completed the rough draft of the fourth book in my science fiction series, the Space Corps Chronicles title the Galactic War. I am almost finished with the rough draft of Mendoza’s Revenge which is the fifth book in my Mike McDonald Action Adventure Saga. I am sorry that I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been busy writing. Below is a short story for your reading pleasure entitled Pops. It is among the stories published in Tales From the Lost Highway.


One of the things about being dead is that you have a lot of time on your hands. Back in 1968, after the zombie plague broke out, I was working at old Bud Hodgkin’s service station. The undead filth came pouring out of the graveyard across the street. They stumbled into the station. They smashed the front window and poured into the mechanic’s bay and I had to fight my way to the backroom to get my 357. In the process, one of the SOBs bit me. I managed to escape by busting out a back window and jumping down to the alleyway. I ran around to the front of the station, jumped on the old Pan Head, and burned rubber.

On the way out of town, I ran into Cynthia, a young high school girl that lived down the street and I gave her a ride. We headed out to the Road Dogs clubhouse, and I hooked up with my bros in the club. We figured to either hold out there at the clubhouse or head to Sonny’s Cabin. Sonny, our chapter president at the time had an old cabin about one hundred and fifty miles down the highway. We used the place to party once and a while. The undead SOBs attacked the clubhouse, so we bailed out and headed to the cabin. We helped the bros get to safety. Old School and I, another one of the bros that got bit by a zombie, decided to let the road take us and die like bikers. We hit an old oak tree at over one hundred miles per hour and that’s how I wound up here in Biker Heaven.

When I first got here, I partied for what seemed like an eternity. Up here in Biker Heaven, all the women are loose as well as good-looking. The booze flows free and the music never stops. The booze up here ain’t nothing like what you have down there on Earth. You can drink all you want, and you never get sick or get a hangover. You never tasted better Jack than we have up here. One time in church, I decided to join the Halo Riders. The Halos are a division of the Road Dogs motorcycle club, but you have to be dead to sign up. When you wear the halo patch, you get to go back once and a while to help the bros down on Earth when they need it. That gives me a chance to ride my spirit bike, so I signed up. You ain’t ever seen a bike like a spirit-bike. Imagine your dream bike and multiply that by ten. You can ride all day, they never need gas and they don’t leak oil.

The spirit bike can cruise down the highway on Earth, looking like your average Harley. Or it can soar up into the heavens like a shooting star. When they’re in their glory, they radiate light, and fire shoots out of their tailpipes like lightning. Another thing about the spirit bike is that it can travel through time.

My pops ticker gave out back in 1965 while I was off fighting in Vietnam. I heard that when he got to Biker Heaven he went hog wild. Old Pops always did like to party. When I arrived in 1968, I partied for what seemed like an eternity. I spent a good long while cruisin’ the streets of gold. I’d see my pops at church, but most of the time he’s off doing his own thing. I got to wondering what his life was like when he got back from World War Two before I was born. I came along three years after the war ended and Pops and some of his bros started up the Road Dogs back in the fifties. I patched in, back in 63 when I was fifteen and I was alive when they started the club, but I was a little shaver. I got to wonderin’ what my pops was like, back in the day when he was young. I climbed on my spirit bike and took a ride through time.


I touched down on a lonely desert highway sixty miles outside of Harlem Springs Arizona. The tires chirped. My spirit bike changed back to an older well used Harley Davidson motorcycle. A 1938 flatbed Ford pickup truck rattled by going the opposite direction, but the driver didn’t see me. This wasn’t my reality. I was a spectator on this trip. I rolled on the throttle enjoying the feel of the wind in my face and motored on down the highway. Five miles outside of town, I passed the High Noon Saloon. The building looked newer than it did in my time. It wasn’t the Road Dogs clubhouse right now; that wouldn’t come about for a few more years. Speaking of years, I guess I had better clue you in on the time and place. I landed on September 4th, 1946, the year my pops came back from Germany.

I glanced about as I rode through the outskirts of Harlem Springs. The town looked smaller and somewhat cleaner. When I passed Hodgkin’s station, I looked over. Old Bud himself was out on the island pumping gas for the customers. He sure looked a lot younger than he did the last time I saw him. I turned left on Honey Suckle Court and motored down to the old home place. Back in the forties my mom and pops bought a three-bedroom house. It was four doors down from the house that I bought several years later.

Pulling up in front of the home place, I sat on the bike out by the curb taking in the neighborhood’s essence. A milk truck rumbled by and an old lady came out of the house across the street and began to water her lawn. She wore an old dirty white housecoat and had her hair up in curlers. She was oblivious to my presence. A young boy wearing bib overalls and a denim cap peddled an old bicycle down the street. A camp robber Jay sat in a tree overhead and chirped. A neighbor’s black and white mutt ran out to the street and started barking at the bird. The neighborhood was coming alive as people woke up and headed off to work. The smell of breakfast cooking came from several different houses. The wives were up and getting their husbands off to work.

A yellow taxicab, a beat-up 1934 ford, turned onto Honey Suckle Court and approached the home place. I watched it pull over to the curb and saw a young soldier climb out of the back.

“God, look how young he looks,” I said to myself, giving my father the once over.

He marched past me in that military strut that soldiers use even when they’re not marching. When he passed by me I recognized that look in his eyes. In Vietnam, they called it the thousand-yard stare. Combat veterans get that look after they’ve been in action for a while.

“I know Pops. I know you were deep in the shit. I’ve been there, man,” I said, but of course, he could neither hear nor see me.

Before he made it to the front porch, the door burst open. A pretty, young blonde-headed woman wearing a plaid skirt and a white top burst out the front door.

“Johnny! Your home!” she screamed, jumped off the front porch, ran across the yard to meet him, and leaped into his arms.

“Mom? God I didn’t realize how hot you were when you were young,” I said, and a big grin crossed my face.

After they finished kissing and whatnot, they strolled up the walkway, arm in arm, and went inside. I climbed off my spirit bike, crossed the front yard, passed through the front door, and into the living room. Pops sat down on the couch and loosened the collar on his uniform.

“Can I get you something to eat? Do you want a beer?” my mom asked.

The young man who would be my father looked up and grinned. “A beer would be nice. I watched the young woman who would be my mother hurry into the kitchen. She couldn’t seem to keep the smile off her face. She came back a few seconds later with two beers. She handed one to my father and snuggled up next to him on the couch.

“Was it terrible, over there?” she asked.

“You don’t even want to know, baby. I don’t want to talk about it. How are things with you?” my father asked.

“Good, now that you’re home safe.”

I watched them finish their beer and listened to their conversation. The next thing you know, they were making out on the couch. My father’s hand went to the front of her shirt and he began to unbutton it. I turned away. My mother stood up, took his hand and they headed upstairs. I stayed down in the living room; there are some things I don’t need to see. I looked around at their modest furniture and then crossed the room to the fireplace. The picture of the young couple picnicking by the lake made me smile.

“God she was so pretty and he looks so young,” I said to myself. I looked around the living room taking in the furnishings and then headed into the kitchen. Reaching my hand through the refrigerator door, I grabbed a beer and pulled it through the door. Once my hand touched the bottle, it disappeared in that reality and entered mine. I popped the top on the beer and sat down at the kitchen table. A newspaper sat on the table as well, so I picked it up and started reading the news. It was about the troops coming home along with the occupation force in Germany and Japan. I tried to ignore the sounds coming from the bedroom upstairs.

About twenty minutes later, they came back downstairs. My pops had his arm around my mother and they both had big grins on their faces. My mom started cooking dinner and my pop sat down next to me.

“Read the newspaper if you want, while I cook dinner. There’s news about the boys coming home and about the occupation force,” my mother said.

“Okay, dear. Where’s it at?”

My mother looked over her shoulder from where she stood next to the kitchen stove. “Why it was right there on the table a minute ago. It must have fallen on the floor,” she said.

I tossed the paper down and it appeared on the floor at my father’s feet in his place and time.

“You’re right. Here it is, but I could have sworn it wasn’t down there when I sat down.”

I watched my mother cook dinner and listened to their idle conversation. My mother cooked up some roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes. Then she fixed up a garden salad. When the dinner was ready, she looked at the beer inside the refrigerator with a puzzled look on her face.

“What’s the matter, dear?” my father asked.

“I thought we had four beers left. There are only three in here. We only drank two earlier, right?”

“Yeah, I had one and so did you,” my father said.

My mom shrugged. “Oh well, it doesn’t matter.” She took two beers out of the frig, handed one to my father, and took one for herself. I chuckled under my breath and listened to their conversation while they ate dinner.

Finished with dinner, my pops said, “Hey, would you like to head out to the High Noon and play some pool?”

She waited for a few seconds before she spoke. “No Hun, why don’t you go alone? I bought a new romance novel that I want to start. Some of your buddies will be down there and want to catch up on things. It’s been a few years since you’ve been able to sit at a bar and drink with your friends.”

“Okay then. I’ll try to come home early,” he said.

“Don’t drink too much.”

“I won’t babe,” my father said. He kissed my mother goodbye and then headed for the door. I followed him outside, he jumped into his old pickup truck and I climbed onto my spirit bike. Pops pulled out into the street. He headed for the highway and I followed along behind him as we headed west toward the High Noon Saloon.

Pops pulled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon twenty minutes later. A couple of old flatbed trucks along with several old pickup trucks and a few older cars filled the parking lot. My pops climbed out of his old Dodge and crossed the parking lot. I sauntered along behind him. He oozed attitude. I could tell by the way he carried himself that he was as hard as nails and he wasn’t afraid of anything. Pops entered the room, and all eyes watched him make his way to the bar. Up, on the stage, a country band began to play.

A man a couple of years older than my pops said, “Well if it ain’t John Brown back from the war. Welcome home. I’ll buy your first round.”

My pops glanced over. “Thanks, Ed. It’s good to be home.” A few more of the men from town came over to join them. They sat at the bar drinking and catching up on old times. A group of truckers sat down at the bar. They were drunk and starting to get loud. Fifteen minutes later, I heard the rumble of a motorcycle pulling up out front. A young man with short blond hair wearing a black leather jacket entered the bar.

When I looked up at the biker, I saw the same look in his eye that I saw in my father’s. It was the same look I saw in my, own eye when I looked in a mirror after I came home from Vietnam: the look of a combat veteran. “My God, that’s Sonny. Look how young he looks,” I said to myself, but no one in the bar either heard or saw me.

When the biker stepped up to the bar and ordered a beer, one of the truckers spoke up.

“I didn’t know you served scooter trash in here, Bob.”

The tall skinny bartender gave the fat big-mouthed trucker a nervous smile. “It’s okay. His money is as green as everyone else,” the bartender said.

A tight-lipped smile crossed the biker’s face. “Make it a Budweiser,” he said, ignoring the trucker’s comment.

“I’m surprised at you Bob. Do you need the money that bad, to take it from trash like this?” the trucker said.

“Mister, I don’t know what your problem is, but I don’t want any trouble,” Sonny said.

“Well, you’ve got it, biker boy, whether you want it or not,” the trucker said rising to his feet. Four of his buddies climbed off of their barstools to back up their loud-mouthed friend.

“Put his beer on my tab, and bring me another,” Pops said, stepping up next to the biker.

“Thanks for the beer,” the biker said. “But are you sure you want to get mixed up in this?”

“I do. Where’d you serve?” Pops asked.

“In the Pacific. I was in the Marines, and you?”

“I was in the Army over in Germany,” Pops said.

“My name’s James Taylor, but my bros call me Sonny,” he said extending his hand. My pops took his hand in his own, giving the man a firm handshake.

“My name’s Brown. John Brown,” my pops said.

“Now John, we like you and we’re glad you came home safe, but are you sure you want to buy into this?” The loudmouth trucker said. “What’s this biker trash to you?”

My pops and Sonny turned with their backs to the bar facing the truckers.

“Shut up Earl. You’re a loud mouth tub of shit and I’m sick of hearing you. If you’re coming, then bring it on,” Pops said.

The truckers rushed my pops and Sonny. As one man, they stepped forward to face the truckers. My pops punched Earl in the nose, splattering it all over his face. Blood gushed out of his nose and covered his shirt. He took a step back. Another trucker swung a pool cue at Sonny’s head. He dived under it, slammed a flurry of punches to the trucker’s wind, and then lifted him off his feet with an uppercut. He finished off the three-punch combination ending with a left hook and the trucker hit the floor. My pops and Sonny stood shoulder to shoulder battling the three remaining truckers. They made short work of it and when the fight was over, five truckers lay unconscious on the floor.

“I guess I’d better get out of here before the coppers show up,” Sonny said.

“No, you stay. Have another beer. Those truckers are always causing trouble,” the bartender said. “I’ll square things with the law.”

“Thanks,” Sonny said. He looked at Pops and said, “I’ll buy the next round.”

The police showed up, rousted the truckers who were now coming too, took a report, and left. Sonny and Pops sat at the bar talking, drinking, and smoking for the next two hours.

“I’d better hit the highway. The old lady will be gettin’ pissed about now,” Sonny said.

“I’ll walk you out. Those truckers might be waitin’ outside for some payback,” Pops said.

When they were outside, my pops stood under the boardwalk, looking at Sonny’s motorcycle.

“That’s one of those old Army bikes. I used to see those in Germany,” Pops said.

“The Army is selling them cheap. I know a guy who’s got one for sale, only it’s an Indian, not a Harley. Are you interested?”

“Hell yeah,” Pops said.

Sonny wrote down a phone number on a matchbook. “Here’s my number. Give me a call and we’ll go take a look at it. Is tomorrow okay?”

“Tomorrow’s fine. You live here in town?”

“Yep. Over on the north side.”

Pops put the matchbook in his shirt pocket. “I’ll call you tomorrow then.”

Sonny nodded, put the shifter into first, and crossed the gravel parking lot to the highway. Pops headed over to his truck. He leaned on the front fender. An intense excited look crossed his face while he watched Sonny ride away. He stood there until he could no longer see the taillights, and then climbed into the pickup and headed for home.


I climbed onto my spirit bike and motored my way back to town, only I didn’t head back to the home place. The air around me shimmered. I breathed in the smell of burning ozone and the scenery flashed by at light speed as I rode forward in time. I pulled into the parking lot of Saint Ann’s hospital and parked the bike. A band of evil little demons in filthy black robes gathered at the front door of the hospital. They were on the hunt for souls. They gave me an evil hiss. I ignored them and passed through the main entrance of the hospital, not bothering to open it. Strolling down the main corridor, I headed down to the maternity ward. It ain’t every day that you get to watch your, own birth.

My pops paced back and forth in the waiting room looking as pale as a ghost. He seemed about as nervous as a rabbit with a broken hopper in the middle of the interstate. I let out a low chuckle watching my pops pull a bottle of jack out of his coat pocket. He took a shot and ambled over to the nurse’s station.

“Is there any word?” he asked the nurse on duty.

The nurse smiled “No Mr. Brown. These things take time. That baby will come when he’s good and ready and not a minute before.” I heard the rumble of motorcycles pulling up to the front of the hospital. Sonny and four other guys sauntered down the hallway. They greeted my pops and did some hugging and backslapping. Pops seemed glad to see them.

“Relax bro. Women have been doing this since God kicked Adam and Eve out of the damned garden. She’ll be fine,” Sonny said.

I left my pops with his bros and stepped through the wall and into the delivery room. My mom lay on a metal table with her feet up in the stirrups. An elderly doctor stood between her legs and assisted in the birth. A few minutes later, I made my entrance into the world. The doctor cleaned me up and wrapped me in the blanket. The assisting nurse stepped out into the waiting room to find pops. He stepped into the delivery room with a big grin on his face and stepped up to my mother’s bed. She held me next to her breasts.

“Congratulations Mr. Brown. You’ve got a fine-looking baby boy,” the doctor said.

My mother beamed. “Isn’t he beautiful, John? He looks like you.”

“Look at that head full of hair. He almost looks like a caveman,” my pops said.

“We should name him after you. We’ll call him John,” my mother said.

I rode back to the house, took a seat on the couch, and let time roll by. Like I said at the beginning of this tale when you’re dead, you have a lot of time on your hands. I watched their lives unfold as if I were watching a movie on TV. I saw my mother and father, age. Their love grew stronger. I saw the little, baby that would be my future self begin to grow and form a personality. Five men, Sonny being one of them, all veterans, and my pops formed a strong bond of friendship. They all rode motorcycles; my pops had bought the old Indian from the guy that Sonny knew. My mom started riding on the back with him sometimes. She would leave me with the teenage girl down the street to babysit.

One day in 1959, I must have been about twelve years old by then, my pops and his bros rode down to the High Noon Saloon. I climbed onto my spirit bike and followed along behind them. They parked out front, climbed off their bikes, and headed inside. Sonny untied a green canvas bag from the back of his scooter and brought it inside the bar with him. I stepped in behind them and watched them find a table off to itself by the wall. I found a seat at the adjoining table and sat down to listen to their conversation.

My pops motioned to one of the bartenders and bought them all a round of beers.

“I picked up the vests tonight on the way over. I had the patches made up and sowed on. You guys are going to like them,” Sonny said. He set the green canvas bag on the table and unzipped it.

“I hope you got me a triple X,” a big burly guy with a bushy black beard sitting across from Sonny said.

“You bet I did, Will. I wouldn’t forget your size,” Sonny said. He held up a massive denim vest so the others could see the patch on its backside. The guys sitting at the table let out a cheer.

“The patches came out better than I thought they would,” Pops said.

Sewn to the back of the vest was a patch depicting a large crazy-looking dog riding a motorcycle. The top rocker, above the back patch, read: Road Dogs. The bottom rocker underneath the main patch said, Arizona. The colors of the patches were black and white.

“After that sit down with the officers of the other clubs, we shouldn’t have any problems on the road,” Sonny said. He handed out the vests.

“It ticks me off that we had to go ask them guy’s permission,” Pops said.

“It’s protocol,” Sonny said.

“I’m with John here. I didn’t like it either,” a wiry blond-headed guy sitting next to Pops said.

“Yeah, well. It’s done now. We’re a legitimate club. All we have to do is choose our officers. I wrote everyone’s name down on a piece of paper and put them in a cup,” Sonny said. “Bob, why don’t you draw the first name?” He took a tin cup from his canvas duffle bag.

“What am I drawing for?” Bob asked.

“We’ll go for president first,” Sonny said.

Bob took a folded-up piece of paper out of the tin cup and handed it to Sonny. Sonny unfolded the paper and read the name to himself. “Well, who is it?” Bob asked.

“John Brown.”

“What? Are you sure? We ought to draw again,” Pops said.

Sonny laughed. “No redraws. You’re our chapter president. Why don’t you draw for the VP?”

Pops put his hand in the cup, drew out a piece of paper, and handed it to Sonny. Sonny looked at it and shook his head

“Who is it?” Pops asked.

“It’s me,” Sonny said.

“Then you draw the next name. What are we drawing for now?”

“Financial secretary and treasurer,” Sonny said. He drew a name, unfolded the piece of paper, and looked across the table at Bob. “Bob Dawson, you’re our financial secretary and treasurer. Draw the next name.”

“Cool,” Bob said and drew another name. “What’s this name for?”

“Road Captain,” Sonny said.

“So who is it?” Will said.

“That would be you, Mr. Johnson. I’d also like you to serve as sergeant of arms until we get some more guys,” Sonny said. He looked across the table at a stocky young Hispanic guy. “Well, Tony there is only one more name in the cup and it says, Tony Sanchez. Tony, you are our tail gunner.”

“I can handle that. I like riding in the rear of the pack,” Tony said.

“I guess we need to start holding meetings every month and start looking for prospects,” Will said.

“Let’s have our meeting here on the first Friday of every month. I’m sure Sam will let us use the room in the back,” Pops said

“What time?” Will asked.

“How does six-thirty sound?” Pops said.

“Six-thirty is cool with me,” Bob said.

“We need to choose our biker names,” Sonny said.

“You already got a name,” Pops said. “Sonny sounds better than James Taylor.”

“You’re the only one of us with a kid. We should call you Pops,” Sonny said.

“Pops. Okay. We’re gonna call Will, there Wild Bill.”

Will laughed and looked over at Bob Dawson. “Bob here is as skinny as a string bean. Why don’t we call him String Bean?”

Everyone laughed.

“That only leaves you, Mr. Sanchez. Does anyone have any ideas?”

“He’s about as stocky as a fireplug,” Sonny said, “but I got nothing. What do you think, Tony?”

“Call me Poncho, after Poncho Villa.”

“Poncho it is then,” Pops said standing to his feet. “Let’s raise a toast. To The Road Dogs. String Bean, get a ledger to keep records of our meeting. Write this date down. September 5th, 1959, the day the Road Dogs, was born.”

They stood to their feet and clinked their beer bottle together. “Road Dogs now and Road Dogs forever,” Sonny said.

“Road Dogs in life, and Road dogs in death,” Wild Bill said.

“Now let’s party,” Pops said and they all headed over to the bar.


Once again, I sat back on the couch and let time roll by. I watched a young boy grow into a young man. I watched the love that my mother and father shared grow, and I watched love blossom between a father and a son. As I sat there watching time pass by like a movie, I gained a deeper understanding of my father. I loved him all the more for it. One day in 1962, my younger self stepped off the school bus. I saw my father and his buddies sitting on the front porch. Their motorcycles set in the driveway. The sound of their vulgar talk and laughter floated on the breeze. A big grin spread across my young face. Back then, I loved my pop and his friends. I thought they were cool. I still do.

“Get your ass up here youngster. We got something to discuss,” My pops said.

The younger version of myself stepped up onto the porch with a guarded look on his face. I remembered that I wondered if I was in trouble or something.

“What’s up, Dad?” My younger self said to my pops.

“There’s something in the garage that I want you to see.”

My pops set down his beer stood to his feet and headed down the driveway to the garage. He laid a friendly hand on the back of my neck while we walked. Behind us, his buddies followed. My pops pushed open the door to the garage and a grin crossed my face. There set a 1953 Triumph Bonneville. It was a faded burgundy color and the tank was two-toned both silver and burgundy.

“Whose bike is that?” my younger self asked.

“It’s yours. It’s not running right now, but we’ll work on it together.”

Sonny stepped up and tossed me a denim vest with a Road Dogs prospect patch on the right breast. “Here, put this on, prospect.”

In a state of shock, I put on the vest. My chest puffed out with pride. My pops took my arm and said, “Let’s go back up on the porch and have a beer.”

On cloud nine, I headed back to the front porch with my pops and his bros. I couldn’t believe it. My pops had never offered me a beer before. I remembered wondering if mom would get mad, but I didn’t care.

During the months that followed, my pops and I spent hours on end in the garage working on the Triumph. Once we had the bike running, we had it painted, and put on new tires plus a new seat. We spent many summer evenings on the road with the club. I rumbled along reliving it from behind on my spirit bike. A lump formed in my throat when I remembered all the good times that we had. Five months after they gave me my vest, they patched me into the club.

When I wasn’t riding with the club, or going to school, I did odd jobs trying to earn enough money to buy an old Harley. The summer I turned seventeen, I almost had enough money. One of the club brothers had an old Pan Head for sale, but I was five hundred dollars short. On my seventieth birthday, my pops kicked in the last five hundred and bought the bike for my birthday. The year I turned seventeen was the best year of my life. Then when you think you’re on top of the world, life has a way of kicking you in the ass.

My pops had a heart attack. It was one month before my eighteenth birthday. Watching it happen, during my ride back through time was as hard as it was when I experienced it the first time. My mom rode in the back of the old red and white ambulance with my pops. The younger version of myself rode to the hospital on my Pan Head. The bros from the club met us at the hospital. I cruised along on my spirit bike watching my younger self from the past motor down the street. I noticed tears rolling down my young face. I glanced in the rearview mirror and noticed a couple in my own eyes as well.

The bros comforted my mom and my younger self, while they rushed my pops into the ICU. We played the waiting game for the next two hours, but finally, an elderly doctor came out to greet us.

“How is he, doctor?” my mom asked.

“He’s going to be all right, but he’ll need to slow way down. He needs to cut back on drinking and smoking. This was a warning sign.”

“Can we see him?” my younger self asked.

“Yes, but only for a few minutes.”

We went into his hospital room and gathered around his bed. I stood in the background watching the scene unfold. I noticed the tears in the eyes of my younger self. After hugging my mother, my pops turned to my younger self. “Don’t fret son. I’m gonna be fine. We’ll be back on the road before you know it.”

“You get well Pop.”

Turning to the bros, my pop said, “The doc says I need to slow down. I’ll need to step down as chapter president. What about you Sonny? Are you ready to step up?”

Sonny let out a sigh. “I would, but things at work are keeping me too busy right now.”

My pops glanced around at the bikers gathered around his bed. His eyes locked onto a young man a couple of years older than me. “What about you Little Danny Boy? You live and breathe the Road Dogs. Are you ready for some responsibility?”

“I’ll do whatever it takes, man. I’ll take the spot for now, but when you get better, you can have it back,” the stocky young dark-headed man said.

“Good. You’ll make a damned good president,” my pops said, and he was right.

Time rolled by. My pops got better for a while and then Little Danny Boy received his draft notice and went to Vietnam. Things had slowed down for Sonny at work. Since my pop, was still not feeling too good, Sonny took on the job as president of the chapter. Sonny hinted around about giving me the VP slot, but then Uncle Sam called on me as well. When I arrived in the country the first person I ran into was Little Danny Boy. We were tight for the first six months of my tour, but then Little Danny Boy and our squad stepped into an ambush. Little Danny boy died in my arms. It was three days after that when I received word about my pop had a second heart attack. This time he didn’t make it. The Army sent me home for the funeral.

I stood in the back of the Walker Brothers funeral home watching. I listened to my father’s eulogy for the second time. The pain was as real and as fresh as it was when I experienced it for the first time. I glanced up at my younger self, sitting in the front row of the chapel. I had my arm around my mother and saw my back quiver, rocked by grief. I was older more muscled and hardened by the horrors of war, yet inside I was a little boy grieving for his father. There is something about the love between a father and a son that transcends time.

The door behind me squeaked open. My father’s spirit, along with an old biker named, Fat Bob stepped into the back of the chapel. Fat Bob bit the pavement a year after I patched into the club. I guess they sent him back to bring my pops home. My pops looked at me and then he looked at the front of the chapel noticing my younger self.

“What are you doing here? And how can you be here and up there with mom at the same time?” my pops asked.

“I’m taking a ride through time, Pops. I’m in my past, your present.”

Pops nodded at Fat Bob and said, “Old Fat here says we’re going to a place called Biker Heaven.”

“Yeah, you’ll love it there Pops.”

“I told you,” Fat Bob said.

“And what about these spirit bikes? Those things are snazzy,” Pops said.

“Yeah Pops. You’ll love them too. You can ride for eternity and never have to put gas in them, but the best thing of all is they don’t leak oil.”

“Fat says that we can drink up there and party like, we do down here.”

“Pops the booze flows free, the women are loose and the party never stops.” I took a bottle of Jack from my vest pocket, took a shot, and handed it to my pops. “You never tasted Jack until you’ve tasted the Jack we have over there. Old Mr. Daniel himself has a big distillery set up and he keeps us well supplied.”

My pops took a shot and a smile spread across his face. “Damn. That is good.”

He handed me back the bottle, I stuck it in my vest pocket and grabbed him up in a big bear hug. “I love you Pops,” I said.

“I love you too, son.”

“Pops, you’ve still got the graveside service and a party to go to out at the High Noon Saloon, but I’ve got to go. I’ll see you up in Biker Heaven,” I said.

“Okay, son. I’ll see you when I get there.”

I left my pops and Fat Bob in the chapel, headed outside, and climbed onto my spirit bike. I fired up the beast, rode through town, and did about fifty miles down the highway. Pulling up on the handlebars, I shot up through the sky and headed home.


I hope you enjoyed the story. Until next time, peace out.

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Lead Belly

Below is the fourth story in my short story collection, Tales From the Lost Highway for your reading pleasure. Before you read that though I would like to let you know a little bit about what is going on with my writing. I am almost finished with the rough draft of my science fiction novel the Galactic War which will be the fourth book in my Space Corps Chronicles series. I am also working on another science fiction book titled Tribes. I am trying to build my author email list and I will be sending out a monthly newsletter. For subscribing to my monthly newsletter, I will send you a free eBook. The book I will send you is Tale Spinner. I enjoyed writing it and I think you’ll enjoy reading it, Also if you would like to order, Tales from The Lost Highway click the link below the story to check it out Have a wonderful day and happy reading.

Lead Belly

Chico hit the brakes, backed off the throttle and, pulled his Fat Boy off the main road. He turned onto a gravel dirt driveway on the outskirts of Harlem Springs Arizona. Tiny and Dirty Dan followed. They slowed down and pulled up to an old mobile home at the end of the driveway.

Lead Belly took a pull from a bottle of Jack while he sat on the front porch watching them approach. His 1984 Harley Davison Shovelhead set parked next to a beat-up 1968 Ford pickup truck. A halfway grin crossed Lead Belly’s face when he saw them pull up.

“I figured you all would show up this morning. You guys want a drink?” he said standing to his feet. Chico climbed the steps onto the porch; Tiny, and Dirty Dan stepped up behind him.

“You knew we weren’t going to let you go through this alone. We wanted to make sure you’re okay,” Chico said.

They did some hugging and a tear tracked down Lead Belly’s face. “I’m fine bro.”

“You know we’re here for you,” Dirty Dan said.

“I know man. Here, you guys have a shot while I go inside and get a few more chairs,” Lead Belly said, handing them the bottle of Jack. He stepped inside the trailer.

“Do you think he knew?” Tiny asked after Lead Belly went inside.

“What? That Cheri was on the shit? Of course, he knew, with all those trips she was making to Phoenix, he had to know. You can’t get that shit here. There will be no Crystal Meth in Harlem Springs as long as I’m the president of the Road Dogs.”

“The walls of this trailer are paper-thin,” Lead Belly said when he stepped out onto the front porch. He set down three more chairs.

“I’m sorry bro,” Tiny, a massive biker, built like a refrigerator with a long scruffy beard, said. “We didn’t mean anything by it.”

Lead Belly waved them off. “No problem bro. Have a seat.”

They sat down and passed the bottle back and forth. “Yeah, I knew. We fought about it all the time. You know my history. I don’t know how I had the strength to resist. She used to do lines right in front of me on the kitchen table. It was everything I could do, to say no.”

“You should have told us. We could have done something to help,” Chico said.

“I thought that if you knew, you’d kick me out of the club. I thought you’d think I was back on the shit again.”

“No, if you were back on the shit, I’d know, but we could have done something about Cheri. We could have forced her to go to rehab or something,” Chico said.

“She wouldn’t have gone. I should have cut her loose a long time ago, but I was afraid too,” Lead Belly said.

“You loved her man. That would have been a hard thing to do,” Dirty Dan, a short grubby-looking biker with a gray beard said.

“Yeah, well it’s too late now. She’s dead,” Lead Belly said.

“Don’t worry about the services or anything. The club will cover everything,” Chico said and stood to his feet. “Why don’t you climb on that scooter and ride down to the clubhouse with us. We’ll do some partying. I know there are some women down there that would love to help you keep your mind off your sorrows.”

“There’s never a shortage of women hanging around the clubhouse,” Tiny said.

“There’s that girl Janet from Subway. I swear that girl has a thing for you,” Dirty Dan said.

Lead Belly laughed. “No, you guys go. I don’t feel up to it.”

Chico stood on the front porch with his right hand in his pants pocket. A concerned look crossed his face. “All right bro, don’t do anything stupid.”

Lead Belly waved goodbye and watched his club brothers climb on their scooters and ride away. Once they pulled onto the main road and roared away, he pulled a 38 caliber revolver from his vest. He took a bullet from the box that next to his chair. He popped out the revolving cylinder and put a bullet into it. He popped the cylinder closed and then gave it a spin. Putting the barrel of the weapon up against his temple, he cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger.

After leaving Lead Belly’s mobile home, Chico and his bros headed to the main road. They turned left and headed toward town. An older ratty-looking Pan Head passed them by going the opposite direction. The rider, an older bearded dude wearing worn-out jeans and a scruffy denim vest waved as he went by. Chico glanced in his rearview mirror looking at the patch on the guy’s back. Hitting his brake, Chico turned into a Seven-Eleven and pulled into a parking space. Tiny and Dirty Dan pulled in next to him. They killed the motors and climbed off the bikes.

“Who was that guy? He looked familiar. Is he one of ours?” Dirty Dan asked.

“I never, seen him, but I saw his picture. This is some strange shit man, but he looked like someone from the Book of The Dead,” Tiny said.

“It looked like he was heading toward Lead Belly’s place. Did you see that box of bullets under Lead Belly’s chair? He’s gonna eat his piece. We’d better go back,” Dirty Dan said.

Chico let out a sigh. “You’re right. This is some strange shit. I’ve seen that guy before and I saw that patch under his bottom rocker. It’s the Halo patch. Remember that time when we had that trouble with the Hell-Raisers in The Devil’s Punch Bowl? That guy showed up then.”

“That’s right. I remember now. I must have blocked that shit out, and remember when Sonny passed? We were outside of the clubhouse talking. He and Sonny appeared out of nowhere on their scooters like a couple of ghosts. This is some weird shit man,” Tiny said.

“That guy’s name is Cave Man. He died back in sixty-eight. If he’s here, then he’s here for a reason,” Chico said.

“Yeah, I remember him. He and Big Mike used to be tight. Big Mike was down in Florida visiting his mom when Cave Man died. We’d better go back man,” Dirty Dan said.

Chico lit a smoke. “If Lead Belly wants to take himself out there’s no way we could talk him out of it. I hope that dude can. Let’s ride.” He tossed his smoke to the ground, climbed back onto his bike, fired it up, and hit the highway. Tiny and Dirty Dan pulled in behind him and they roared down the highway heading to the Road Dogs clubhouse.


I touched down on the highway one hundred miles West of Harlem Springs Arizona. My radiant steed of dazzling light shimmered when I touched the ground. It lost its brilliance. It changed into an older Pan Head Harley Davidson Motorcycle. My name is John Brown, but my bros call me Cave Man and I’m a troubleshooter from beyond. When they told me in Biker Heaven that one of the bros was in trouble and needed a little help, I volunteered for the job. Whenever I get the chance to come back and be mortal for a while, I take it, but it was more than that. When they patched me into the club, when I was still alive, I swore an oath: Road Dogs in life and Road Dogs in death. I take my word seriously and when a bro’s in trouble, I’ll do whatever I can to help.

I rolled past the old oak tree that I hit at over one hundred and ten miles an hour, back in 1968 after a zombie bit me. That crash bought me a one-way ticket to Biker Heaven. I partied for what seemed like an eternity. The folks in charge asked me to join up with a group of troubleshooters that wear the Halo patch. Whenever there is trouble in the biker world and they need help from the other side, they send us. Cranking the throttle, I headed east passing a dirt trail leading back to an old cabin that Sonny used to own. Sonny, a former chapter president, is now living it up in Biker Heaven after cancer took him out. Sonny left the cabin to the club after he passed and the bros still partied there sometimes. It felt good to feel the breeze blowing through my hair and the wind in my face. I motored down a lonely desert highway heading toward Harlem Springs.

When I hit the edge of town, I passed the Road Dogs clubhouse, a bar known as the High Noon Saloon, and continued east. The bros were at the clubhouse like usual, but my mission wasn’t there, I needed to talk with Lead Belly. A feeling of nostalgia shot through me when I passed Honey Suckle Court, the street where I grew up. I turned right onto an outlying road and headed south. Three motorcycles passed going in the opposite direction. I recognized Chico and a couple of the bros. I grinned and waved, knowing that there’d be talk in the clubhouse tonight if they recognized me. It ain’t every day that you see a biker from the great beyond rumbling down the road on his Harley. In my rearview, I watched them turn into a Seven-Eleven parking lot and park their scooters. I turned off onto a dirt driveway leading to an older run-down mobile home sitting off by itself. I pulled up to the trailer, killed the motor on the Pan Head, and climbed off. Lead Belly’s eyes went wide when he saw me. He was sitting on the front porch with a gun in his hand with the barrel up to his temple when I rode up. When he saw me, he lowered the piece to his lap. Two evil demons wearing filthy black robes stood on both sides of him hissing in his ear. “Do it, one more time,” one of them said. Green slime covered the demon’s face, he had warts all over his skin and I saw pieces of decayed flesh on its evil cheek. They both reeked like three-day-old road kill.

“You have no business here!” the larger of the two evil sons of bitches said turning toward me, but Lead Belly couldn’t hear them or see them. He had his eyes glued on me. I drew my hand back as if throwing a softball and a ball of blue light shot out of my palm hitting the evil SOB in the chest. He flew backward and both of the Devil’s imps disappeared into a flash of white light. Lead Belly jumped to his feet and the pistol fell to the deck of his front porch. He stuck his hands out in front of him to stop me.

“Hold it right there! I know who you are! You’re dead! I saw your picture! You’re in the book of the dead! If you’re here, that either means that I’m dead too, that I ate my piece and you’re here to take me away and I’m not sure I wanna go! If I’m not dead, I’m startin’ to lose it and I’m seeing things! Either way, I don’t want what you’re sellin’!”

I raised my hands into the air. “Calm down bro. I want to talk. You’re up there on that porch playing Russian roulette. You’re thinkin’ about killing yourself. You can forget about Biker Heaven if you do that. You’ll wind up on the Lost Highway, and that’s not a place you want to be.”

Lead Belly fell back to his chair and motioned to another chair. “Sure. Let’s talk. It’s probably the whiskey-making me see you anyway. You want a shot?”

A grin crossed my face when I climbed up onto the porch. “We’ll have some of mine,” I said, pulling a bottle from my vest pocket. “It’s a hell of a lot better than the stuff you can get here on Earth.” I took a hit, sat down in the chair facing Lead Belly, and handed him the bottle. He took a shot and a smile crossed his face. “Hell yeah. That has to be the best Jack I’ve ever tasted.”

“And it doesn’t give you a hangover in the morning,” I said and took back the bottle.

“What do you want to talk about?” Lead Belly asked.

“I’d like to talk about, could of, should of, and would of,” I said.

Lead Belly let out a snort. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“We’re gonna talk about what could have happened if your old lady, Cheri hadn’t overdosed. What should happen, and most likely will happen, if you kill yourself. We’re gonna talk about what could happen, and most likely will happen if you don’t,” I said and handed him back the bottle. “The funny thing about this bottle of Jack is that it never runs dry.”

Lead Belly smiled, feeling the fire in his belly after he took a hit, and said, “Okay, so talk.”

“You’ve seen that old Christmas movie, called the Christmas Carol, right?” I asked.

“Don’t tell me. I’m gonna meet the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future?” Lead Belly said and grinned. He took another hit from the bottle and handed it back to me.

“Something like that,” I said waving my hand toward where my bike set parked in front of the mobile home. My spirit bike changed into its true self. Its colors magnified and its brilliance radiated light. Another spirit bike, like mine, materialized out of thin air.

“Holy shit! I ain’t never seen a scooter like that!” Lead Belly exclaimed jumping to his feet. “What kind of bike is that? It looks like my dream bike, only ten times better than I could even imagine!”

“It’s a spirit, bike. It’s yours on, loan while I’m here. Let’s ride,” I said standing to my feet.

We climbed on the scooters and motored down the road. “These bikes don’t feel that much different! Where we goin’?” Lead Belly asked.

“We haven’t opened them up yet. Believe me; they’re out of this world. We’re gonna take a trip through space and time,” I yelled, over the sound of the engines. When we reached the paved road, we turned left. “Goose the throttle and pull back the bars!” I yelled and shot up through the atmosphere to the stars. Lead Belly shot up after me.

“Hot damn! I never owned a bike that could fl- before!” Lead Belly said. The silly grin on his face made me laugh. He gazed about at the vastness of space and the Earth-orbiting below us. “How can we breathe up here?”

“We’re not actually in our physical bodies. Let’s head back,” I said and descended through the atmosphere. We touched down on the same old dirt driveway leading to Lead Belly’s mobile home. This time things looked different. Trash littered the ground, old car parts lay scattered about and Lead Belly’s Harley lay in pieces on the ground. It looked like a basket case. Yelling and screaming along with children crying emanated from the house.

“Who lives here now?” Lead Belly asked. “I never kept the yard like this.”

“You do. This is three years down the road. This is what your life would have been like if Cheri hadn’t overdosed.”

We climbed off the scooters and climbed up onto the porch. Lead Belly paused next to the steps to listen to the noise coming from inside. “That sounds like Cheri yelling, but she never used to be that bad.”

“This is what it would have progressed to if she had lived. Let’s go inside. They won’t see or hear us,” I said.

“What do you mean they?”

“You’re going to see an older version of yourself. It might freak you out a little,” I said.

“You better give me another shot of that Jack,” he said gripping my arm.

I grinned. “A shot of Jack never hurt a damned thing,” I said and we stepped through the front door. Standing in the living room of his small mobile home, Lead Belly’s mouth dropped open in shock. Trash littered the floor. Two small, filthy little boys wearing dirty diapers played amongst the squallier. Lead Belly glanced at the older version of himself. He sat in his lazy boy wearing a dirty Harley Davidson tee-shirt with the sleeves cut off.

“God, look how skinny I am, and dirty,” Lead Belly said.

“You’re back on the shit,” I said. “Watch.”

The older version of Lead Belly leaned over a coffee table. He took a baggie from his pants pocket and snorted a line of speed.

One of the little boys toddled up to him with his arms raised and said, “Daddy.”

The older version of Lead Belly backhanded the kid and yelled, “God Cheri. Can’t you get a handle on these brats? While you’re at it clean up this place!”

Cheri came out of the kitchen wearing a dirty pair of white shorts and a white wife-beater tee shirt. She looked skeletal and had a residue of white powder on her nose.

“If you’d get a job, they wouldn’t bother you so much,” she said and hustled the kids away.

“Look at their arms. See the burn marks? Cheri gets her kicks out of burning them with cigarettes when you’re not here.”

“God she looks bad. I never thought about having kids, but if I did, I wouldn’t treat them like this. I wouldn’t make them live like this.”

“That’s what Crystal Meth does. It makes it where it’s the only thing you care about and it takes you to where you don’t want to go,” I said.

“This ain’t real. What you’re saying is that if Cheri had lived, this is what would have happened?”

“Most likely. You are better off without her,” I said. We heard the sound of motorcycles and I glanced at the door. Two Harleys pulled up out front followed by a pickup truck. A door slammed and we heard three men climb the steps up onto the porch.

“Oh shit!” the older version of Lead Belly said and tucked the bag of dope into his back pocket. Someone on the front porch banged on the front door. It wasn’t a pleasant knock. It was more like a knock that a cop might make, or someone who was, pissed off at the person inside. The older version of Lead Belly jumped up and opened the door. Chico, Tiny, and Dirty Dan stormed inside.

“Hey, bro,” the older version of Lead Belly said and tried to hug Chico, but Chico shoved him across the room.

“You ain’t my bro. You stopped being my bro when you went back on the shit, you damned tweaker,” Chico said.

“It’s like that then?” the older version of Lead Belly said.

“Yeah. It’s like that. We’re here for your patch. Get your cut.”

The older version of Lead Belly let out a sigh and went to a closet. He came back a few seconds later and handed Chico his club vest.

“Look at the kid. Look at his arm,” Tiny said.

Chico crossed the room and bent down to one of Lead Belly’s boys. He took hold of his arm and examined the cigarette burns. Chico ruffled the hair on the boy’s head and then stood up. He motioned to the older version of Lead Belly and nodded at Dirty Dan. “Set him down at the kitchen table.”

“That wasn’t me. I swear,” the older version of Lead Belly said. “It was Cheri.”

“I guess you’re going to pay for your old lady’s sins,” Chico said. Tiny and Dirty Dan man handled Lead Belly into the kitchen and threw him down in a kitchen chair at the table. Chico turned on a burner on the stove. He took a butter knife from the cluttered kitchen sink and heated it over the open flame. Once the blade turned red hot, he stepped to the table. “Hold his arm out.”

“No please!” the older version of Lead Belly screamed.

While Dirty Dan and Tiny held him down, Chico burned off the Road Dogs tattoo on his forearm. He had to make several trips back to the stove to reheat the blade before he finished the job. The stench of burning flesh and Lead Belly’s screams filled the room. Cheri made herself scarce and didn’t interfere. Finished with their grizzly deed, Chico, Tiny and Dirty Dan took Lead Belly’s cut. They loaded his bike onto the bed of the pickup truck. The older version of Lead Belly stood on the front porch cradling his arm. Tears streamed down his face. “This ain’t right man,” he said.

“This bike was on loan from the club. We’re taking it back,” Chico said.

“Have you seen enough?” I asked the younger version of Lead Belly, the one standing next to me.

“Hell yeah. It’s damned depressing.”

“Then let’s take a trip forward a few years,” I said.

The air around us rippled, reality shimmered and we stood on Lead Belly’s front porch. A stench of rotten meat emanated from inside the trailer. An ambulance pulled up out front. We followed the ambulance attendant inside. The attendants couldn’t see us. Lead Belly lay sprawled on his Lazy Boy, dead as a can of corn beef. A needle hung from his right arm. Trash and other debris littered the floor.

“Where’s Cheri?” the Lead Belly standing next to me asked.

“She’s in the bedroom. She’s dead too. You both went out together.”

“What about the boys?” Lead Belly asked.

“The state took them a year ago.”

We watched the attendants remove the bodies.

“What’s next?” Lead Belly asked.

Reality shimmered once again and we stood at the back of the chapel in the Walker Brothers Funeral Home. A small crowd gathered in the front near the two coffins.

“Good Lord, I thought more people would have shown up. At least a few more of the Road Dogs,” Lead Belly said.

“If you’ll look upfront, Chico’s there. He’s the only one, though. Look at his face. Notice the tears in his eyes.”

“By the way, he acted; you would have thought he hated me,” Lead Belly said.

“He hated what you had become. As far as he’s concerned, he failed you. He thinks it was his fault.”

“Where’s Dirty Dan? We were tight once?” Lead Belly asked.

I shrugged. “He died out on the highway. He was riding alone and crashed his bike. There was no one there to call 911. You would have been with him, but by that time you were strung out on speed and you were no longer in the club.”

“Let’s get out of here. I’ve had enough of this shit,” Lead Belly said.

Once more reality shimmered and we found ourselves on Lead Belly’s front porch.

“None of that shit happened,” Lead Belly said.

“In some other reality, it did. That’s what would have happened if Cheri had lived.

“What now?” Lead Belly asked.

“Let’s see what happens if you do kill yourself,” I said. “Let’s ride.”

Climbing onto the spirit bikes, we headed down the driveway. We took Main Street through town and rode about a mile and a half down the highway. I pulled over to the side of the road near a curve and we climbed off the bikes. “We’ve traveled about four years into the future,” I said.

“What are we doing? Why are we here?” Lead Belly asked.


A few minutes later, we heard the rumble of a motorcycle. Dirty Dan came round the curve. His back tire hit gravel and slid out. The sound of scraping metal filled the air as Dirty Dan slid across the highway. His head bounced off the pavement and he slid into a ditch. Blood pooled up under his unconscious body. I ambled over and Lead Belly followed.

“Oh God, man. Can’t we do something?” Lead Belly said. We knelt next to the dying biker.

“No, we’re spectators right now. He’s gonna lay there for another two hours before he dies.”

“Why are you showing me this if I can’t do anything about it?” Lead Belly asked.

“Because, if you wouldn’t have killed yourself, Dirty Dan wouldn’t have been alone. You two would have been riding together on your way out to the clubhouse. You would have called the medics and he would have lived.”

Lead Belly turned away from the downed biker. “All right. I’ve seen enough.”

“Let’s get back on the scoots and head down to the clubhouse,” I said.

We climbed back onto our scooters and rumbled on down the road. We pulled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon. “We’ve gone back in time, from when Dirty Dan crashed. We’re back to the day after you commit suicide,” I said. We climbed off the bikes, stepped up onto the boardwalk, and entered the biker bar. The music was off, and a somber crowd gathered at the bar. Chico held up a glass of beer.

“Let’s drink one for Lead Belly,” he said. The prospects tending bar poured everyone a drink.

“God, why’d he have to do it?” Dirty Dan said. He was barely able to keep his voice from cracking.

A tear rolled down Chico’s face. “I don’t know man. It was that Cheri. I guess he couldn’t live without her.”

“Listen to the pain in their voices. You can see it in their eyes. They love you man,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah,” Lead Belly said, but I heard a catch in his voice.

“Check out the old ladies. See that young girl with dark hair? The one crying her eyes out. That older woman is trying to console her.”

“Yeah. That’s Janet from Subway. She’s a hang around.”

“She hangs around this place because of you. She’s crying for you, bro,” I said.

“She’ll be all right,” Lead Belly said.

“Yeah, maybe.”

Once more reality shimmered. We found ourselves out front of the Walker Brothers Funeral Home. Motorcycles lined the curb. We stepped inside and stood at the back of the chapel watching the services. Tears filled everyone’s eyes while the minister spoke the eulogy. He went on about God giving and God taking away.

“He’s wrong about that, this time,” I said. “God didn’t have anything to do with it. You did. You caused all this pain because of your selfishness.”

“Lighten up man. This hasn’t even happened yet,” Lead Belly said.

“But it will if you don’t man up and go on with your life,” I said.

We watched the rest of the services. When people headed down to the coffin to pay their last respects, Janet, the girl from the Subway broke down. She burst into a sobbing fit. “She loved you, man,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah. Okay. Let’s get out of here,” Lead Belly said.

We sauntered out the back door; I climbed onto my scooter and said, “Let’s Roll.”

“Where to now?”

“We’re gonna take another little trip into the future,” I said.

Time rippled. The scenery flashed by for several seconds as if we were traveling over a thousand miles an hour. Things returned to normal a few seconds later. We pulled up in front of a small blue house in a rundown neighborhood.

“Where are we at now?” Lead Belly asked.

“We’re on Honeysuckle Court. I used to live down the street.”

“Who lives here?” Lead Belly asked.

“Janet, the girl from the Subway.”

We parked the scooters, crossed the lawn, and climbed up onto the front porch. Lead Belly hesitated. I grabbed his arm and we stepped through the door and passed right through without opening it.

“How’d you do that?” Lead Belly asked.

“We’re not part of this reality. The normal laws of physics don’t apply right now.”

Lead Belly looked about, taking in the middle-aged woman sitting on the couch knitting a shawl. A fat, baldheaded man in a dirty white shirt sat in a Lazy Boy watching TV. Two chubby little boys played with toy cars on the floor and a thin girl sat next to the woman coloring in a color book.

“They can’t see us can they?” Lead Belly asked.

“No, and they can’t hear us either.”

“God is that Janet?” Lead Belly said, gazing at the woman. “She’s had to have put on at least a hundred pounds. She looks old. How long’s it been?” Lead Belly asked. “And that fat bastard. I recognize him. He’s the guy who used to manage the Subway where she worked.”

“He still does. It’s been ten years since you killed yourself.’

“Ten years? She looks like she’s aged at least twenty-five years or more.”

“That’s what happens when you live a life filled with depression.”

“Why is she depressed?” Lead Belly asked. “She has a nice house, three kids, and a man to take care of her.”

“A man she doesn’t love. She settled for second best. The man she loved killed himself ten years ago. Look at the sadness behind her eyes, and the bruise. You can see it under her make-up.”

“The fat bastard beats her? Why I ought to knock the shit out of him right now!”

I laughed. “If you tried, your hand would pass right through his head and he wouldn’t even know it. He only hits her now and then, and then he acts like a whipped dog begging for her forgiveness. He loves her, in his, own selfish kind of way. He knows that she doesn’t love him. That’s why he drinks. He settled for the wrong woman too. She was his eye candy, his dream girl. All the while, working right in the same store was a sweet girl who would have made him happy. She carried a few more pounds on her than Janet. If you wouldn’t have killed yourself, you and Janet might have got together and they’d of had a chance.”

“Honey why don’t you slice up that pie and dish us up a bowl of ice cream,” the fat man on the Lazy Boy said to his wife. Janet smiled, put her knitting aside, and went into the kitchen.

“It’s the only pleasure she gets out of life; eating, and her knitting,” I said.

“So what happens to them?” Lead Belly asked.

“They grow old; the kids go off to college. She gets a heart condition and dies. He lasts for a few more years and then his liver fails.”

“This place is depressing. Let’s get out of here,” Lead Belly said.

We stepped through the door, climbed back on our scooters, and headed up the road. The air around us shimmered. Reality rippled and once more, we sat on our motor scooters in front of Lead Belly’s Mobile home.

We climbed off the motorcycles and stepped up onto his front porch. Lead Belly took a seat and I sat down across from him. I pulled a bottle of Jack from my vest pocket and handed it to him. He took a shot.

“Are we back in my place and time now?” Lead Belly asked.

“We’re back in your place and time. I wouldn’t try walking through no walls or doors like, we did earlier. You might get a knot on your head.” An evil demon in a dark robe tried to crawl up on the porch, but I pulled my 357. A pulse of blue light shot from the barrel and the Devil’s imp disappeared in a flash of blue light.

“What was that?” Lead Belly asked, in shock.

I tucked my 357 back in my waistband. “That was one of the Devil’s miss guided children. He wants your soul.”

“All that stuff I saw. It wasn’t real, was it?”

I shrugged. “It’s what could have happened; what most likely would have happened. The future is an open book. It’s like an unwritten page. We control our destiny by the decisions we make, and the deeds we do,” I said.

“Janet doesn’t have to marry that fat bastard?”

“No, life is about choices. Sometimes you make the right ones, and sometimes you make the wrong ones.” I picked up his 38 and put it in his lap. “It’s like this choice you’re thinking about. With one pull of the trigger, you’ll change not only your life but the lives of everyone around you.”

Lead Belly sat the revolver down next to his chair. “Let’s say I don’t kill myself? What happens then?”

I grinned. “That all depends on you and the choices you make, but let’s see what might happen if you don’t bite the bullet. Let’s take another ride.”

We headed down the driveway, took a left, and headed down Main Street.

“Where are we going?” Lead Belly yelled.

“I thought we’d head down to the clubhouse,” I yelled back, so he could hear me over the sound of the rushing wind.

We motored through town, took the two-lane highway heading toward Phoenix. Five miles west of town, we pulled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon. Motorcycles, cars trucks, and vehicles of every description filled the parking lot. Loud rock and roll music resonated from the bar. A couple of prospects sat out front guarding the motorcycles.

“What’s going on here?” Lead Belly asked.

“Why don’t we go inside and find out?” I said.

We followed one of the club members inside, moving through the crowded barroom. Lead Belly stopped in the center of the room gazing about. Someone had decorated the room for a wedding. Presents were stacked on one of the tables. A large wedding cake formed to look like a motorcycle wheel, set on another table. The small bride and groom on top of the cake had been custom painted to look like a biker and his old lady.

“Who’s getting married?” Lead Belly asked.

I laughed. “You are. Let’s go up front so we can take in all the action.”

We elbowed our way through the crowd of onlookers, even though they couldn’t see us or feel us pass by. We stepped up next to the bride and groom. Chico stood next to another, older-looking version of Lead Belly. Janet, the girl from Subway, stood next to Lead Belly. Her smile radiated happiness. The minister, one of the bros who served as the chapter’s Chaplin, stood up to perform the wedding. The band quit playing. The Chaplin, an older bro with a long beard looked up and smiled.

“Let’s start this shindig. Do you, David Henderson, AKA Lead Belly promise to torment only Janet Knight for the rest of your life? Will you treat her at least as good as you do your Harley?”

“I do,” the older version of Lead Belly said. The crowd cheered.

“Do you, Janet Knight, promise to torture and torment only Lead Belly for the rest of your life? Do you promise to put up with his shit to the best of your ability? Only then resorting to fetching him upside the head with a frying pan?”

“I do,” Janet said.

“I now pronounce you man and wife. Kiss her already so we can get on with the party.”

The crowd cheered, and the older version of Lead Belly put her in a lip lock bending her over backward. I slapped the younger-looking version of Lead Belly, standing next to me on the back. “Let’s go over to the bar and have a drink,” I said.

“I thought they couldn’t see or hear us? How are we gonna order a drink?”

I laughed. “When I come back on these missions, I have certain abilities,” I said and we headed to the bar. I found us two empty bar stools and we sat down. “Hey! Prospect! Give me a Jack and Coke and get my bro, here a beer!” I yelled, projecting my voice.

“Yeah, yeah, keep your shirt on,” the prospect tending bar, whose back, was to us said.

The prospect turned around and set the Jack and Coke down on the bar, along with a beer. “All right. Who’s fucking with me? Who ordered these drinks?” the prospect said, but a bro-down the bar called for a beer and he headed down that way. I handed Lead Belly his beer and picked up my Jack and Coke. When the glass touched our hands, they disappeared.

“You look like you enjoyed that,” Lead Belly said.

“Yeah, I always did enjoy fuckin’ with the prospects.” We finished our drinks. I ordered two more, causing the prospect some more grief. Then we watched the happy couple hit the dance floor.

“They look happy, or I should say we look happy,” Lead Belly said.

“Yeah, but remember. This ain’t real. It’s what could happen, what most likely will happen if you don’t kill yourself, but in the end, it’s all up to you. Life is about choices. Are you ready to ride?” I asked.

“Where to now?” Lead Belly asked.

“Oh, we’re gonna fast forward a few years to the future,” I said.

“Why not? It ain’t like I got anything better to do,” Lead Belly said and we headed to the door, passing through the crowded barroom. Outside, in the parking lot, we climbed onto our scooters and fired them up.” Where are we going?” Lead Belly yelled, over the noise of the engines.

“You’ll see. Let’s roll,” I said and cranked the throttle. I crossed the parking lot and headed east toward town. Lead Belly followed. Around us the air shimmered, I breathed in the scent of burning ozone and reality shifted once again. We hit, town, headed down Main Street passing a hardware store and a bank. When we passed the town graveyard, I glanced over. I saw several sets of evil-looking red eyes that looked as if they were peering at us from the pits of hell. I guess the Devil’s imps are out in force tonight, I thought. I turned left onto Baker Street and pulled into the parking lot of Saint Ann’s Hospital. We parked our scooters and headed over to the main entrance.

“What are we doing here? Are you showing me how I’m gonna die?” Lead Belly asked.

“No, you’ll see. Let’s take a walk,” I said and climbed off the bike.

When we reached the front entrance of the hospital, a band of five to six little evil demons blocked the door. They wore black robes, smelled like road kill, and warts covered their faces. I saw a few horns protruding through the hoods of their robes. Their evil red beady eyes peered at us from the darkness. Lead Belly jumped back.

“Whoa, man. What’s this?”

“Oh, these guys ain’t nothing. They’re some of the Devil’s soldiers on the scout for souls. They hang around hospitals and funeral homes. When a person dies, they’re vulnerable. That’s why the powers that be on the other side usually send someone back to escort the person home. They want to make sure they wind up in the right place. Don’t worry about these guys,” I said pulling my arm back. I flung it forward as if I was throwing a softball. A ball of blue light shot out of my hand, hitting the Devil’s boys and they exploded into a blue fireball.

“How’d you do that?” Lead Belly asked.

“It’s one of the perks you get when you wear the halo patch. You have certain powers when you come back on a mission.” We passed through the front door of the hospital without opening it.

“What is the older version of me dying? Did he crack up on his scooter? Where are we going here?”

I chuckled. “No, nothing like that. I thought we’d take a stroll down to the maternity ward.”

When we entered the maternity ward, Lead Belly began to get nervous. I noticed sweat running down his forehead. “Man, I’m not used to this stuff. I hate hospitals.”

I laughed. “Yeah, the older version of you doesn’t like it too much either.”

As we approached the delivery room, we could hear Janet screaming from down the hall.

“God it hurts! What’d you do to me you son of a bitch!” she screamed.

“Do I have to go in there?” Lead Belly asked.

“Yep,” I said and let out a chuckle. When we reached the doorway of the delivery room, I leaned against the doorjamb and held my hand out to the room. “Witness the miracle of life.”

Lead Belly stepped up next to me, a pale look crossed his face and he said, “I’m gonna be sick.”

I snickered. “Yeah, and the older version of yourself ain’t doing so good either.”

The older version of Lead Belly had passed out and the doctor left him lying on the floor.

“I pass out? I can’t believe it.”

“Yeah, but you wake up in time for the main event,” I said.

We watched the delivery for the next twenty minutes. The nurses helped Janet through her contractions. The baby’s head was crowned and he was ready to enter the world. The older version of Lead Belly stirred and climbed to his feet. He took his place next to the doctor and a big grin crossed his face.

“It hurts! It hurts!” Janet screamed.

“You can do it, babe,” the older version of Lead Belly said.

“One more good push should do it,” the gray-headed doctor said. Janet bore down, with the next contraction and the baby entered the world. A look of relief and pure joy crossed Janet’s face and the young couple radiated happiness. The doctor cleared the baby’s airway, cut the umbilical cord, and slapped the baby on the ass.

“Congratulations. You have a fine-looking baby boy,” the doctor said. The doctor carried the baby to a table, cleaned it up, wrapped it in a baby blanket, and handed it to the proud father.

“It sure is something, isn’t it?” I said to Lead Belly.

“What?” Lead Belly asked.

“The love a good man and a woman share. The miracle of life,” I said. “Have you seen enough?”

“Yeah, get me out of here before I hit the deck like my older twin,” Lead Belly said.

I let go with a belly laugh. We headed back out into the hallway, and I said, “You come back here two more times, but I’ll not bother to show you that.” We passed through the glass doors of the main entrance and climbed back onto our scooters.

“Where to now?” Lead Belly asked.

“We’ll take one more little ride into the future,” I said and fired up the scooter. We pulled out of the parking lot, I goosed the throttle and we headed down the road.

Reality shifted. We breathed in the scent of burning ozone and blasted down the highway, heading east. Ten miles outside of town, I turned right onto a long tree-lined dirt driveway and pulled up to an old farmhouse. Lead Belly pulled up next to me.

“Who lives here?” Lead Belly asked.

“You do.”

We climbed off the bikes and approached the house. An elderly couple sat on the porch swing on the front porch, under the awning, enjoying a glass of lemonade. A young boy of no more than fifteen years sat on a stump in the front yard working on an old motorcycle.

“Don’t tell me. That old geezer is me?”

“Yeah, and that’s Janet sitting next to you,” I said.

“Who’s the kid?”

“That’s your grandson. Notice the Road Dogs prospect patch on his denim vest?”


“Well son, do you think you can make that old thing run?” the old version of Lead Belly said.

Janet patted the old version of Lead Belly on the leg. “Of course he will, old man. He takes after his grandpa when it comes to mechanics.”

“I know I can make it run Grand Pa. This thing is so cool. It’s one of the old Evolution motors. Harley hasn’t made these things in over twenty years.”

The old man on the front porch smiled. “I’ll tell you what, son. If you can make that old thing run, then you can have it.”

The young man beamed. “Thanks, Grand Pa. Dad will be stoked.”

The older version of Lead Belly smiled. “When you get home tell your pops to stop by. I’ve got a brand new bottle of Jack and some of them fancy cigars that he likes.”

“I will Grand Pa. Are you gonna make the church meeting at the clubhouse this Friday night?”

“I’ll be there, son,” the older version of Lead Belly said.

“And you better go to real church with me this Sunday,” Janet said.

The older version of Lead Belly chuckled. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Old Woman.”

I glanced over at Lead Belly. She dies about two years later from cancer. You follow her six months after that. Have you seen enough?”

“Yeah, let’s hit the highway,” Lead Belly said.

We climbed back onto the bikes, headed down the driveway, and headed west. Reality shifted. The scenery around us changed a bit and we rolled back into town and pulled up in front of Lead Belly’s trailer. Everything looked the same as when I first pulled up. We parked the bikes and climbed up onto the front porch. Lead Belly sat down in his chair and I reached down and picked up his 38.

“Are we’re back in my place and time?” Lead Belly asked.

I popped open the revolving cylinder, picked up the box of bullets, and filled all six chambers.

“Yeah, we’re back to your here and now,” I said.

“What happens now?” Lead Belly asked.

“Now you have a decision to make. I’m tired of messin’ around with you, you little pussy. If you want to kill yourself then do it,” I said and handed him the 38. Lead Belly’s jaw dropped open and he stared at the gun in his hand. “What? Are you afraid? You won’t even feel it. Once that bullet splatters your brains across this front porch you’ll be done with this life.”

“No.” Lead Belly said, and laid the gun down next to his chair. “I ain’t afraid. I want to live.”

A smile spread across my face. “Good, then let’s ride.”

“Where to now?” Lead Belly said.

“Let’s head down to the clubhouse. The bros worry about you, and you need to be around people right now.”

“Right here and right now?”

“No better time than the present,” I said.

“Will the bros at the clubhouse be able to see you?”

“Yeah, because that’s the way I want it. I’m in the mood to do some partyin’ before I head home,” I said.

Lead Belly climbed off the front porch. We climbed back on our scooters and motored across town, but this time Lead Belly rode his, own bike. We took the highway west and pulled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon a few minutes later. You could have heard a pin drop or a flee fart when we strolled through the front door. The women dancing on the bar stopped. Someone turned off the music. All the bros lining the bar and sitting at the tables watched us cross the barroom to the bar. We bellied up to the bar, all eyes turned toward us. I took a brass coin from my pocket, which had my name engraved on one side and the Road Dogs emblem engraved on the other. I slammed the coin on the bar. “I’m calling the coin!” I said, and several of the bros looked at me.

“Who’s this guy? His face looks familiar, but I don’t remember seeing him before,” a bro, down the bar said.

Tiny and Dirty Dan looked at me and both of their faces went pale. “I’ve seen him before. His face is in the book,” Tiny said.

Chico stepped up next to me and said, “I’ll vouch for him boys. Produce your coins.”

All the bros lining the bar produced their coins. I bought the next round and ordered a Jack and Coke from the prospect tending bar for myself. Lead Belly turned to Dirty Dan and grabbed him up in a bear hug.

“I love you, bro,” Lead Belly said. Then he noticed Janet sitting across the room at one of the tables and headed over. The next thing you know, the band started playing and they were out on the dance floor. I glanced over at them, looked over at Chico, and grinned. We both glanced over at Lead Belly and Janet out on the dance floor and I heard him ask her out for dinner.

“Your boy there is going to be okay now,” I said.

Chico sighed. “I’m glad to hear it. He had me worried. Thanks for your help man.”

“No problem. That’s why I wear the halo patch, to help out when the bros are in trouble. It gives me a chance to come back once in a while and ride my scooter,” I said.

“How are things on the other side?” Chico asked.

“Things are good. That’s why they call it Biker Heaven.”

“How’s Sonny?” Chico asked.

“Sonny’s good. He sends his love.”

“I miss him, ya know,” Chico said and tears welled up in his eyes.

I put my arm around his shoulder. “I know. Sonny misses you too. You’ll see him again, but it’s gonna be a while. The bros down here need you. You’re one of the best presidents that the Road Dogs have ever had. When your time comes, it’s gonna be a hell of a party at Biker Heaven,” I said.

I partied at the clubhouse with the bros for another three hours and then we said our goodbyes. After saying my goodbyes to Chico, Dirty Dan, and Tiny, Lead Belly came over, grabbed me up in a big bear hug. He introduced me to Janet.

“Are we good now?” I asked Lead Belly after we got done huggin’.

Lead Belly smiled, standing there with his arm around Janet. “Yeah, we’re good.”

The bros came outside, I climbed onto my scooter and they waved goodbye as I pulled out of the parking lot. I headed down the highway for about fifty miles enjoying the feel of the wind in my face. Then pulled up on the handlebars and shot up into the heavens passing through the stars.


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Bring a Brother Home

Hello. It’s been a while since I have posted anything so I thought that I would post another short story for your reading pleasure. Bring a Brother Home is the third story in my collection titled Tales from the Lost Highway. Leave a comment to let me know what you thing and if you would like to read the entire collection click the link at the bottom of the page. You can read the entire book for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Bring a Brother Home

I backed off the throttle and descended to the ground. My bike changed, from a dazzling steed of light to a 1953 Harley Davidson Pan Head. It looked like it had seen better days. The tires chirped when they touched asphalt. I rode down a lonely desert highway one hundred miles west of, Harlem Springs Arizona. My name is John Brown, but my bros call me Cave Man. I ride with the Road Dogs MC, or at least I did when I was alive, now I wear the halo patch. They came up with the idea for the halo patch at a church meeting in Biker Heaven. The halos are a division of the Road Dogs, only you have to be dead to wear the patch.

Some people might call us angels, but we like to think of ourselves as troubleshooters. Whenever there is trouble in the biker world, they send us. I was traveling alone on this mission; I didn’t expect much trouble, because I came to bring a brother home. A crack of thunder rolled across the night. Lightning flashed in the distance and I felt a raindrop hit my left cheek. The wind felt good to my face and the air held a slight chill. Zipping up my leather jacket, I cranked the throttle and shot down the highway. It felt good to be back. The only thing I missed about being mortal was the feeling of the wind in my face when I rode my scooter. That’s why I always touched down about a hundred miles or so away from where ever I needed to be. It gives me time to put my fist in the throttle and my face in the wind.

I rumbled by an old farmhouse, and a little kid sitting on the front porch looked up. Isn’t it past his bedtime? I thought and shot on down the highway. Backing off on the throttle, I pulled over to the side of the road next to an old oak tree. I heard a branch snap and saw a pair of beady red eyes in the forest. Evil laughter echoed from the woods.

My hand went to the 357 riding in a holster underneath my vest. “Begone, you vile creature, or I’ll send you back to hell where you belong,” I said to the evil fiend, hiding in the woods. I turned my attention back to the tree. The evil laughter stopped.

This old tree had been there for a lot of years. Back in 68, I hit that tree at over one hundred miles an hour and that’s what sent me to Biker Heaven. Up the road, about one hundred yards was a turn-off. A dirt road led back into the hills where the Road Dogs owned a cabin, but that wasn’t where I headed. My mission was in town. I leaned up against the tree, standing in the exact place where I died those long years ago. I pulled a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old Number Seven from my coat pocket. I took a couple of shots while I leaned against the tree resting my butt. Taking a pack of Lucky Strikes from my pocket, I lit a smoke, breathing in the rich flavorful tobacco. Finished with the cigarette, I took a piss on the tree and climbed into the saddle. The old Pan Head started up on the third kick. I engaged the transmission and took off heading east into the Arizona night.

When I passed the Road Dogs clubhouse, five miles outside of town I noticed a couple of motorcycles setting out front. I didn’t bother pulling in; my mission wasn’t there. Two prospects sat out front in lawn chairs, drinking beer, but neither one of them saw me. One must have heard something because he looked up. By this time I had changed back into my spirit form. I was traveling incognito: invisible to mere mortals. I was only visible to the world when I chose to be. I reached the outskirts of town a few minutes later. A sense of nostalgia passed through me when I passed Honey Suckle Court, the street where I used to live.

Turning left on Main Street I headed down the street. I passed the bank, a hardware store, and the gas station where I used to work. Across the street from the gas station set the town’s graveyard. I noticed the red glow coming off a few sets of demonic eyes peering at me from the darkness. I guess the Devil’s boys are out tonight, I thought. On Baker Street, I turned right. I went through two stoplights and started to pull into the parking lot of, Saint Ann’s hospital, but I stopped short. A band of evil little demons blocked my path. They wore little black filthy robes and they looked like they had bathed in pond scum. I noticed warts covering their faces along with legions of decayed flesh that oozed puss. The repugnant smell of their breath wafted on the wind. The smell reminded me of a skunk that had been lying dead on the road for five days. When they saw me, the evil little shits hissed and raised their claws. They were here to collect souls, and I guess somehow, they knew I was coming.

I pulled forward, and they were on me climbing all over the bike, gouging at my face and one went for my throat. I threw them off, pulled my 357 and my knife. My 357 shot out beams of ultra-blue light. When I hit one of the little SOBs, he disintegrated disappearing from this plane of existence. I slashed with my knife, piercing the brain of another one of the bastards, and then gunned the throttle.

Several motorcycles set parked out front when I parked the Pan Head. It was now invisible like myself. I strolled up to the main entrance of the hospital. Two more of the evil little shits stood blocking the doorway. I pulled my hand back as if I was tossing a softball. A ball of blue lightning shot out of my palm and hit the little fellow in the chest. He exploded into a cloud of smoke. The other one jumped for my throat, but I grabbed him by his grubby little hands and tossed him out into the parking lot. When he hit the ground, he disappeared in a blinding white flash that only I could see.

I sauntered through the glass doors not bothering to open them. A few more of the Devil’s imps lingered in the corridor, but they backed away when they saw me coming. I guess their brothers outside told them to watch out. They have some sort of telepathy thing going on. A group of hardcore bikers sat on a bench leaning up against the wall in the waiting room. They looked devastated. One, a sandy blond-headed young man tried to comfort a middle-aged woman. She clung to him with tears rolling down her cheeks.

“I went in to check on him, and he’d slipped into a coma. Thanks for coming. After I called nine-one-one the only thing I could think of, was to call you. He’d want his brothers around him when the time comes,” the woman said.

“How long did it take the ambulance to get there?” the sandy blond-headed young man said.

“About twenty minutes. Chico, this past year has been terrible. What with the chemo and everything. I don’t know what I’m gonna do without him.”

“Don’t give up hope,” Chico said, a tear rolling down his face. “He could still beat this thing.”

 I stepped up to the woman, put my hand on her shoulder, and said, “Be at peace, sister.” Although she neither heard nor saw me, she quit crying. I moved my hand to Chico’s shoulder. He shivered and looked up at me. My eyes widened and I thought at first that he saw me, but then I realized that he just sensed something. A shudder passed through him. “Be at peace, my brother. The bros need you,” I said.

“You know, Regina, ever since the officers voted me in as president of the club Sonny has had my back. If there’s anything, anything at all that you need, let me know,” Chico said.

“You and the rest of the guys have been a Godsend. The Road Dogs motorcycle club was his life. I appreciate everything you guys have done.”

A tall, dark-haired man wearing green hospital scrubs stepped up. Regina and the Road Dogs stood to their feet.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Taylor, but it’s getting close to the end,” the doctor said.

Regina started crying again. “How long does he have?” she asked.

The doctor shrugged. “He could go in a few hours, or he could linger on for a couple of days.”

“Will he come out of the coma before he passes?” Chico asked.

The doctor paused. “He could, but I doubt it.”

“Can we go in and see him?” Regina asked.

“Yes, but let’s make it two at a time and limit the visit to no more than ten minutes. He needs to rest,” the doctor said.

Chico took Regina’s arm and followed the doctor to Sonny’s room. I followed along behind them. The rest of the Road Dogs sat back down to wait their turn for a last, visit with one of their brothers. When I entered the room behind Chico and Regina, Sonny sat up in bed. A scowl crossed his face, though no one but me saw this. It was Sonny’s spirit projecting itself outward, getting ready for the end. I looked over in the corner and saw a dark hooded figure dressed in black. He held a sickle with a long handle and he looked like the Grim Reaper himself. I pulled my vest back and put my hand on the butt of my 357. “Easy partner. This one doesn’t belong to you,” I said. The evil demon peered out of his hood with flaming red eyes, but then nodded and passed through the wall.

“What was that? I saw a flash of something dark in the corner of my eye,” Sonny said.

“Oh, it’s nothing you need to concern yourself with right now,” I said.

“What are you doing here anyway?” Sonny asked.

“I’m here for you, bro. I’m here to bring a brother home. The bros up at Biker Heaven got a big bash waiting for you.”

“What was that? I saw his eyes flicker,” Regina said.

“That happens with comatose patients,” the doctor said.

“I thought I saw his lips moving,” Chico said.

“Even though he’s in a coma, there is still some brain activity.”

“I ain’t ready. Biker Heaven can wait,” Sonny said.

I reached out and took hold of Sonny’s hand. His spirit rose out of his body, he stood beside me and looked down at his emaciated body, now wasted away by cancer.

“Look at you,” I said. “That damned cancer has eaten you up. It’s time to go.”

“But I ain’t ready. Regina needs me. The bros in the club need me. I still have things to do,” Sonny said.

“Regina will be fine and Chico will hold things together in the club. Let’s go,” I said.

“Go? Go where? I don’t want to go anywhere,” Sonny said.

“Look, bro. The doctors will keep your body alive with these damned machines for a few days. I got some things I need to show you. There’s a scooter out front waiting for you. After that, if you want you can get back in your body and try to tough it out, but it’s a lost cause. It’s your time,” I said.

“You brought my scooter?” Sonny said.

“No, not that old rust bucket. I brought your spirit bike; it’s waiting outside.”

“Spirit bike? What’s that?” Sonny asked.

“Imagine your dream bike and then multiply that by ten. You ain’t gonna believe it, bro. Let’s ride.”

Sonny shrugged and said, “Why not?”

When we stepped out the door, Sonny’s appearance changed. His body looked young and healthy. Instead of the hospital gown, he wore jeans, a black t-shirt, and his club vest. We sauntered through the wall and into the lobby. A few of the Devil’s miss guided children lingered in the hallway. One of them lunged at Sonny, but I pulled my 357 and blew its ass away with a beam of bluish-green light.”

“Holy shit! What was that?” Sonny said, jumping back.

“Oh, that’ one of the Devil’s munchkins trying to steal your soul. Forget about it,” I said.

“I want to say goodbye to the bros,” he said, stopping at the group of Road Dogs sitting in the lobby.

“Don’t worry about them. You’ll get your chance to say your goodbyes later,” I said. We crossed the lobby and passed through the glass doors at the entrance without opening them. We stepped out into the parking lot. Sonny’s jaw fell open when he saw his spirit bike parked next to mine. Earlier, when I mentioned the bike to him, sending the thought caused the bike to materialize next to mine. Both bikes were invisible to human eyes. Off in the darkness, I saw several sets of demonic eyes watching us.

“Damn! I ain’t ever seen a bike like that!” Sonny exclaimed.

“Yeah, they’re cool. These bikes don’t leak oil, and you never have to put gas in them. Let’s roll,” I said. I climbed in the saddle and fired up the motor. It put out a throaty growl that sounded like your typical Harley. Sonny climbed on his bike, jumped up, and kicked it over. He gunned the throttle and grinned. “When you put it in gear, pull up on the bars when you give it throttle. Follow me,” I said. I hit the throttle, pulled up on the bars leaning back in the saddle and the bike soared into the sky. Once the bikes left the ground, they turned into their true selves. They radiated light and fire shot out of the tailpipes. Sonny let out a wild whoop and followed me. For a while, he had trouble controlling his bike. He went flying off in a different direction, but he gained control and pulled up next to me. A big grin spread across his face.

“These things are a kick! Where are we going?” Sonny yelled over to me.

“We’re taking a little trip up to Biker Heaven. They gave you a visitor pass,” I said and cranked the throttle shooting up toward the stars.

Passing through the heavens, we continued to climb. The stars surrounded us like a warm blanket. Sonny rode beside me, his eyes wide in awe. Above us, the darkness gave way to a lustrous light. A sense of joy and love radiated down on us. We passed through a cloudbank, I backed off the throttle and we touched down on a long street paved in pure gold. We traveled through a field of emerald green grass. Rugged-looking mountains loomed in the distance. Across the meadow stood a grove of trees that seemed to reach for the heavens. The sky above us was a deep ocean blue and down the road, laid the emerald city shimmering in its glory. The noise coming from the pipes on our scooters seemed louder somehow and almost musical.

Sonny pulled up next to me. “I’ve never seen anything like this. The colors are so vivid.”

“Yeah, it’s something to see the first time,” I said.

“What’s that place up ahead?” Sonny asked.

“That’s the welcome center, but we’re pulling off before we get there. Biker Heaven is on the outskirts.” We motored on down the road for what seemed like about an hour and pulled off into a rough gravel parking lot. A rectangular-shaped cabin, hewn from rough wooden logs set off by itself. A wooden boardwalk fronted the building and a couple of wooden rocking chairs were set out front. It looked like any rustic log cabin you might see on Earth. Motorcycles of every size and description set parked next to the boardwalk. We killed the motors on our scooters and climbed off.1

“That’s it? That little cabin? That’s Biker Heaven?” Sonny asked in shock.

I smiled. “Looks are deceiving.”

Taking Sonny by the arm, I led him across the parking lot and up onto the boardwalk. Loud rock and roll music emanated from the building. The hinges on the log door squeaked when I opened it and we stepped into the barroom. A crowd of well-wishers greeted us when we stepped inside. Sonny stood in the middle of the room with his hands on his hips and his jaw hanging open. He gazed about in wonder. The polished oak bar seemed to go on forever. Masses of bikers lined the bar drinking beer and whiskey while others sat at tables. Looking down the length of the room it seemed as if it went on for miles. Bikers of every description partied hard while women danced topless and naked on the bar.

“What the? How can this place be so big? It looked little on the outside!” Sonny said. He had to shout over the noise.

“I told you that looks can be deceiving. It’s bigger on the inside than on the outside,” I said. A crowd of bikers came up, showing Sonny respect.

“Join the party! We’ve got a cabin out back picked out for you to stay in when you come back! You’ll love it here! It’s on President’s Row!” Little Danny Boy, a former Road Dogs chapter president said. He gave Sonny a big hug and a slap on the back.

“Damn it’s good to see you, man!” Sonny said. He looked around seeing several people that he knew, that had passed over.

After Little Danny Boy went back to the bar, Sonny said, “Little Danny Boy died in Nam.”

“Yeah, I was there,” I said.

“There’s Thumper, Old School, Chops and there’s old Teddy bear. I know half the people here,” Sonny said.

“Yeah, you’ve got lots of friends here,” I said.

“I see some guys from some of the clubs that we don’t get along with here. Why’s that?” Sonny asked.

“Once you cross over, all those old rivalries are no more. We all get along here. There are no rival clubs. We work with some of the other clubs sometimes to try and keep things copasetic on Earth,” I said.

“How long can I stay?” Sonny asked.

“As long as you want! Time is different here! I’ll let you know when we need to head back; don’t worry about that now! Let’s party!”

Sonny mingled with the bros, while I found a seat at the bar next to my pops. Sonny came by, joined us a while later and my pops bought the drinks. Sonny and my pops did some hugging and back-slapping. They went way back.

“This place is unbelievable!” Sonny said his eyes wide in wonder. Up on stage, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Buddy Holly blasted out an old rock and roll tune. “I can’t believe it! Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Buddy Holly! Talk about some good old rock and roll!”

“Yeah, those old boys can play! They’re on tour right now!” I yelled over the noise.

“I could stay here forever!” Sonny yelled.

Pops laughed. “I went hog wild when I first showed up!”

“If you want to hook up with one of the women there are cabins out back!” I said.

“I can’t! I’m married, but they sure are good-looking!” Sonny said.

“It’s okay! You can if you want! Everything’s okay here and all the women are good-looking!” I yelled. We partied for what seemed like an eternity and then I laid a friendly hand on Sonny’s shoulder. “We’d best ride! You have some unfinished business back at the hospital in Harlem Springs!”

Sonny sighed and we headed for the door.


We touched down on the highway three miles outside of town. Our spirit bikes changed. They went from radiant steeds of light back to old Harley Davidson motorcycles. We motored into town and when we pulled into the hospital parking lot, we turned invisible once more. I fought another battle with the evil little vermin in the black robes. Most of them ran after I threw a ball of blue lightning into their midst.

“Why can’t I do that?” Sonny asked.

“All in due time, bro. You haven’t crossed over yet. You’re still between.”

Sonny and I stepped through the front door, not bothering to open it, and headed down to Sonny’s room. Sonny’s wife Regina and a group of Road Dogs gathered around the bed.

“How much time has passed since we left?” Sonny asked. The humans still in their physical bodies couldn’t hear us.

“It’s been three days. It’s time, Bro,” I said.

Sonny looked down at his emancipated body. “What if I don’t want to?”

I shrugged. “It’s your choice. You have to go back into your body. You can give up the fight, and we’ll move on, or you can keep fighting and last another month or two, but look at your body. You’re not gonna beat this thing.”

Sonny sighed and entered his physical body. Regina kissed his cheek, Chico took his hand and a few of the bros gathered around talking to him. The heart machine beeped and then flat lined. The breathing machine stopped and Sonny’s body died. Regina began to cry and Chico put his arm around her.

“It’s better this way. At least he’s not suffering anymore,” Chico said.

Sonny’s spirit rose out of his body and stood next to me. “What now?”

“Go comfort your wife. She won’t be able to hear you or feel your touch, but in her spirit, she’ll know your there.”

Sonny moved across the room and stood next to Regina on the other side of Chico. He put his arms around her. I moved around touching each one of the Road Dogs gathered around the bed.

“Be at peace, brother,” I said to each one when I touched them. When I got to Chico, I said, “Be strong bro. She’s gonna need you.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve never had to plan a funeral before,” Regina said.

“Don’t worry about that. I’ll handle it for you. You need to go home and get some rest. Tomorrow, I’ll take you over to the funeral home,” Chico said.

The doctor came in and shooed everyone out after Regina and the Road Dogs said their goodbyes. They wheeled Sonny’s body out of the room, covered up with a sheet. Sonny stood in the hallway watching them wheel his remains away.

“Don’t worry about that,” I said.

“What do we do now?” Sonny asked.

“We need to hang around for a while. You’ve got a funeral to go to,” I said.

“You mean I’m gonna attend my, own funeral?” Sonny asked.

“Of course. Everyone does,” I said.

Chico and the bros took Regina home and we followed along behind on our scooters, all though they couldn’t see us. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a few of the little demons in the black robes scampering along behind us. When they arrived at Sonny’s place, the bros parked their scooters on the street. Chico escorted Regina to the front door. Before he stepped inside, Chico glanced out at the street.

“What?” a young prospect asked.

“I don’t know man. I couldn’t see anybody, but it felt like someone was following us. Like right now, I feel eyes on me but no one’s there,” Chico said.

“It’s Sonny passing and all. It’s got you rattled. We’re all in shock right now,” the prospect said.

“Yeah, you’ right,” Chico said and stepped into the house.

“What now?” Sonny asked when we stepped up on the porch.

“Chico and the bros will take care of her for now. They’ll spend the night to be sure she’s okay. Why don’t we sit out here on the porch, have a few beers, and enjoy the evening?”

Sonny sat down on a plastic chair and I sat down next to him.

“Where are we supposed to get the beer?” Sonny asked.

I glanced down and a six-pack of Bud Light set at my feet. “Imagine that,” I said and took one out of the six-pack. I handed it to Sonny and took one for myself. A few of the little demons showed up out front and one of them tried to come into the front yard. “No, you little shit. Back on out of here before I send you back to hell where you belong,” I said pulling my 357. They retreated to the sidewalk and a few of them climbed up on the picket fence. I shot one of them off the fence, sending it back to the pits of hell.

“How’d you do that?” Sonny asked.

“Do what?”

“How do you make blue lighting come out of your piece like that and how did you make that beer appear out of thin air?” Sonny asked.

I laughed. “It’s one of the perks you get when you cross over. It takes concentration. You’ll learn.” We killed our first beer, I handed Sonny another and took a bottle of Old Number Seven out of my vest pocket.

Sonny took a pull from his beer and gazed out at the night. “This is the last time I’ll ever sit on my front porch and have a beer,” he said.

“Oh, I don’t know about that. This is the second time I’ve been back to Harlem Springs since I died in sixty-eight. When you get to Biker Heaven you might decide to join the Halos. Then you’ll get to come back once in a while when you’re needed.”

Sonny’s eyes widen. “I remember now. You came back and helped us with the Hell-Raisers that time. I must have blocked that out of my memory somehow.”

“Yeah, those boys were a bad bunch, and their helpers were worse. That was a dangerous time.” Sonny and I sat on the front porch for the rest of the night drinking beer and watching the sunrise in the morning.


We headed back into the house around nine that morning. We passed right through the front door without opening it. People tend to get upset when their front door opens and closes by itself. Chico and the bros sat on the couch, while Regina puttered around in the kitchen making breakfast.

“Regina, you don’t need to fix us anything. We’ll grab a bite to eat in town,” Chico said.

“That’s all right. It gives me something to keep my mind off things. I can’t believe he’s gone,” she said.

“I almost feel like he’s still here with us,” Chico said.

Sonny, sitting on the couch next to him grinned. I laughed.

Regina passed around plates loaded down with scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Then she passed out cups of coffee.

“That woman always did like to cook,” Sonny said.

“Don’t I know it? I remember those times you invited me and some of the bros over for dinner. I love that woman’s cooking,” I said.

The others engaged in conversation while they ate. They neither heard nor saw Sonny and me.

After everyone finished eating, Regina said, “I don’t know how I’m gonna pay for the funeral. Johnny had a life insurance policy, but I don’t know where it is.”

“You don’t need to worry about that. The club will cover everything,” Chico said.

Sonny jumped to his feet. “I know where that life insurance policy is. It’s in that closet right over there, up, on the top shelf in a shoebox along with some other papers.”

I stood up next to Sonny and gripped his arm. “Here’s your chance to start usin’ some of the powers that you’ll have when you cross over. Open that closet door.” Sonny started to cross the room, but I stopped him. “You can’t do it with your hand like when you were alive. Your hand would pass right through the doorknob. Use your mind. Sometimes it helps if you extend your hand with your palm open.” Sonny extended his hand. “Concentrate.”

“This is hard,” Sonny said.

“Focus,” I said.

Sweat beaded up on Sonny’s forehead, but the door squeaked open. The Road Dogs, sitting on the couch, jumped looking up in shock. Sonny crossed the room to the open door of the closet and extended his hand to the shoebox on the top shelf. The shoebox fell to the floor spilling the papers inside.

Regina let out a started cry and Chico jumped to his feet.

“That almost scared the shit out of me,” Chico said and crossed the room to the spilled papers. He looked through the papers for a few seconds then picked up some of them. “Here are those insurance papers. I told you it felt as if Sonny was still here.” He handed Regina the insurance papers.

Regina looked about the room. “Sonny, if you’re here, I love you and I’m gonna miss you,” she said to the room.

“I’m gonna miss you too darlin’,” Sonny said and a tear tracked down his face.

I put my arm around his shoulders and said, “She’s gonna be fine.”

A half-hour later, Chico rode with Regina in her station wagon. The bros followed along behind them as they headed down to the funeral home. Sonny and I brought up the rear on our spirit bikes. After taking some turns on a few back streets, Chico pulled up in front of the Walker Brothers Funeral Home. The Road dogs parked their scooters behind Regina’s station wagon. Chico climbed out, went around to the passenger side, and helped Regina out of the wagon. They headed up the walkway to the front entrance. The Road Dogs stepped along behind them. Sonny and I brought up the rear. Another gaggle of little demons in their black robes tried to grab Sonny at the door. I tossed a ball of blue lightning in their mist and they scattered. One of them had Sonny by the arm, trying to drag him down to hell. I pulled my knife and stabbed him in the top of his slimy little head. He disappeared with a flash of white light followed by a cloud of black smoke.

“Those little suckers don’t give up, do they?” Sonny asked.

“No, they’ll pester us until we head out to Biker Heaven. Don’t worry, I’ll deal with them.”

Chico and Regina went inside and the bros followed them. The prospect, the last one in the door, slammed it in my face, so Sonny and I passed through.

A tall dark-complexioned man in a black suit stood in the center of the reception area. Several oak coffins were set up against the wall and white shag carpet covered the floor. Chico led Regina over to the man. They conversed in low tones and then the man said, “Let me show you what we have.” He led them over to what had to be the most expensive coffin in the room. “Now this is our super deluxe model. With its gold trim, its gold handles, and its silk lining, you would be doing your husband proud, Mrs. Taylor.”

“Check out this asshole,” I said.

Sonny saw red. “I know. If I was still alive, I’d kick his ass right now.”

“I don’t think gold trim or gold handles are necessary,” Chico said.

“What did you say your name was?” the man asked.

“My bros call me Chico.”

“Well, Mr. Chico. My name is Tom Walker. I own one-third of this funeral home and I’ve been doing this for over twenty years. I’m more qualified than you to make that decision, but why don’t we let the widow decide?” he said.

“I don’t know,” Regina said. A tear tracked down her cheek and a trimmer passed through her.

“I’ll tell you what, Mrs. Taylor. Why don’t we step into my office and I’ll let you check out some of our brochures?” Walker said.

Walker took Regina’s arm and led her away. Chico followed them with a scowl on his face. I noticed his fists ball up at his side. The Road Dogs stepped outside for a smoke. Sonny and I stepped through the wall joining Chico and Regina in the office with Tom Walker. Tom sat behind a large wooden desk while Chico and Regina sat down across from him.

Walker handed Regina a brochure. “I recommend our super deluxe model. If that’s too expensive and you don’t mind something less fashionable, you could go without the deluxe model. It’s two hundred dollars less.”

Chico jumped to his feet. “Mr. W