I am noveling again!!! Nanowrimo totally RULEZ!!!

I have returned to The Comic Book Code, the novel I have not finished of Super Holly Hansson’s origin story. I have my outline (30 chapters, I really can’t cut it down much). I started today filling in the gaps. I happily discovered that I made progress over the years; for example, I have Chapters 0 to 5 pretty much filled up.

I found a trick for filling in plot holes and adding some beloved gags I do not want to edit out. At the end of most chapters, I can add a page or so of quick behind-the-scenes stuff. Like Bennie the cop discovering that John Glutt faked his death: “Whoever was here, he lost a lotta ketchup.” Or Bunni Bonita seducing Harry Headbutt to be her muscle slave: (seductive bimbo Jedi voice) “You don’t need to see my badgie-wadgie, I’m what you’re looking for!” Neater and quicker than adding new chapters.

I started writing The Comic Book Code way back in the heyday of The DaVinci Code. Yes, it has been that long. But I switched to short stories when the novel got up to 80 chapters. That is WAY TOO MANY!!! I worked on the outline off and on over the past couple of years. I tilted it to fit our modern times. I think Billington Stumpfinger (Trumpy villain) will be in there, although he will not be the main antagonist in this book.

I also found a great way to tempt Holly to the dark side: offer her a role in The Last Super movie instead of doing her superheroine training. THAT is how you tempt a writer, with her own writing!

I do not know if I will hit 50,000 words. But I have a great shot at getting every chapter at least in first draft shape.

I love November. The nanowrimo write-ins, the word count, the big halfway party (hope that happens this year), and I hope a lot more novel at the end of the month. I need to finish this novel so I can get to my Super Civil War and have President Stumpfinger declare war on California.

For Talk Like A Pirate Day: Sulu’s Gay Trek!

In honor of today being Talk Like A Pirate Day, I again repost one of my fanfics.

SULU’S GAY TREK! (OR HOW SULU CAN BE STRAIGHT IN RODDENBERRY STAR TREK AND GAY IN J.J. ABRAMS STAR TREK WITHOUT BREAKING CANON!)

SCENE 1:
THE BRIDGE OF THE ROMULAN MINING STARSHIP NARADA, WHERE CAPTAIN NERO, A MANLY ROMULAN MINING MAN, SITS IN THE CAPTAIN’S CHAIR AND FROWNS, MAKING HIS MANLY FACIAL TATTOOS EVEN MORE MANLY.

CAPTAIN NERO: Avast, me mighty manly Romulan mining crew, for aboard me mighty manly starship, even the women are mighty manly! Our big mining starship has just passed through a big space-time rift, and now I spy a puny little starship whose captain might tell us where to find that logical Spock scoundrel upon whom we wish to wage our manly vengeance! ARM ALL WEAPONS!!!

THE MIGHTY MANLY ROMULAN MINING CREW: Aye aye, Captain! ARRRR!!!

SCENE 2:
THE BRIDGE OF THE FEDERATION STARSHIP KELVIN.

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: (talking on his communicator) Really, honey? Your labor pains feel like he’s throwing full body blows?

THE NAVIGATOR: (a young man of Japanese descent hunching over his navigation console) Sir? I detect a tremendous space-time-from-the-future disturbance from that giant stormy rift! And another incredibly manly disturbance from that gigantic ship that just emerged from the rift! (He studies the readings.) As though everyone on that ship is so manly that they only like other… wait, the disturbances are combining…

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: Into what?

THE NAVIGATOR: Into a concentrated energy wave that covers the entire sexual spectrum! And it’s heading directly at our ship! Um, along with a bunch of really big torpedoes and disruptor rays.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: You might have led with that last thing. SHIELDS UP!

SOUND EFFECTS: SKRAAA-CHOOOOOOOOMMMM!!! FZZT! BZZT! ZZZZZURP! THUMP BUMP WHUMP!!!

The entire bridge lurches to tilt at a 30 degree angle. Sparks fly out of control consoles that, after all these centuries, still do not have circuit breakers installed. Crewman fall out of their chairs.

THE NAVIGATOR: (picking himself off the floor) When are they gonna put seat belts on starships? (He checks his console.) Oh no, shields are down! We’re open to any energy attack imaginable!

A rainbow energy baseball rushes toward the main bridge viewscreen, and through it, and onto the navigator’s fly.

THE NAVIGATOR: (doing a double back flip) wwwwWWWWOW!!!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: What was THAT?

THE NAVIGATOR: (staggering) Oh… my… I just felt a surge of incredibly manly energy! Enough to bend sexual space-time 180 degrees!

The main viewscreen lights up with Nero’s mighty manly face.

CAPTAIN NERO: Avast, enemy captain! I be Nero of the Romulan mining ship Narada! Shiver yer timbers over to me bridge where I will torture you for information about that scurvy dog, Admiral Spock!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: Admiral who?

THE NAVIGATOR: Narada? Isn’t that Romulan for raging rainbow?

CAPTAIN NERO: (his tattooed face turning several shades of red, or green if that is the color of Romulan blood) ARRRRR!!! Me blood be boiling with rage! Prepare to enter the Romulan version of Davy Jones’ Locker!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: (disappearing in a transporter beam) But I’m not even wearing a red shirt!

THE NAVIGATOR: (to the first officer) Sir, their incredibly big and manly weapons are powering up again. Speaking of manly, shall we man all escape pods?

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: Yeah, save one for me while I distract Mr. Romulan Road Rage. Computer! Set the autopilot for a collision course with that mining ship!

Computer voice from control console: (singing) Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: Nuts. Looks like I’m the designated driver.

SCENE 3:
CAPTION: A FEW YEARS LATER.

A hospital room. The navigator stands beside a hospital bed where a young Japanese woman holds her newborn baby.

THE WOMAN: (lovingly looking at the navigator) He’s beautiful. (She looks at the baby.) Little Hikaru Sulu. My healthy and strong baby boy. And so stubborn!

THE NAVIGATOR: How so?

The woman points to the baby’s diaper. It is colored like a rainbow.

THE WOMAN: We tried white, blue, and even pink, but he kept tearing them off.

THE BABY: (looking into the camera and smiling) Oh, my!

David Reiss’s Doctor Fid trilogy is complete! Buy it!

Fellow author and friend David Reiss has completed his trilogy about Doctor Fid, alpha-supervillain on a hero’s journey. I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. So I will pay it my highest compliment: a Doctor Fid and Super Holly crossover! (Written with David’s permission and his excellent advice, for he knows his villain better than anyone.) I set this crossover, which Doctor Fid left out of his personal log, in book 3, Starfall.

SEASIDE CITY, CALIFORNIA. THE SUPERHERO SCIENCE LAB. EARLY AUGUST. A FRIDAY. 11:22 A.M.

My fingers blurred on the dimensional control panel and my super-intelligent mind roiled like when I—Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert—had watched the recently discovered director’s cut of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho; the first sentence of my resulting review was “Triple the tension, quadruple the suspense!” But now, my mind did not roil in a good way. On the control panel, a stretching progress bar assaulted my retinas with a bright red glow indicating an approaching unknown power that could level three city blocks… four blocks… five… six…

Twenty five feet away, a ten-foot-wide vortex kaleidoscoped faster and faster. In all the movies I have reviewed over the years, dimensional portals were never so showy. Or so nasty. When this vortex had popped into existence twenty two seconds ago, it had knocked out every guard and scientist in this lab. I was unhurt, thanks to my inky black, cowled and caped, built-in-six-pack-abs Intellecta-body armor. Excellent for my night job as a superhero, but no match for whatever would pop out of the portal in five point two seconds.

I checked my Intellecta-phone’s map app. A blue dot moved toward my black dot. Impact in one minute, nine point eight seconds. I drew my Intellecta-gun, set it to Harry-Headbutt-buster blaster, and frowned at the futility of that. I faced the portal and adjusted my stance to maximize my scary grimness.

With a flash like lightning and a sound of thunder—KRAKRRROOOOOOOMMM!!!—an eight-foot-tall super-armored man burst through the portal. His posture and balance were perfect. The blackness of that armor outdid my own, absorbing ambient light like a demonic black hole. The armor glowed red at the joints and was speckled with a thousand points of light. Stars? I did not recognize any constellations. But I did recognize the boomerang-blaster-back-to-its-source energy readings from that armor. I holstered my gun.

The armored man spoke, my Intellecta-hearing recognizing that the voice was computer-modulated for even-tempered intimidation frosted with contempt. “A hero. I should have known.” He turned slightly and—even though his helmet had no facial features whatsoever—I could somehow sense when his attention locked upon me. “My name is Doctor Fid and you have diverted me from my mission.”

I put Intellecta-speed into my finger-dancing on the control panel. “My apologies. Your passage through the portal created a overload. I must make immediate adjustments to prevent a multi-dimensional implosion.”

Eight feet of gleaming metal intimidation floated closer. “As my world’s smartest and greatest supervillain, I have far more experience in such matters. Step away from the control panel.” He pointed a glowing finger right between my eyes. “Your body armor is no match for my MK 47 heavy-combat armor.”

I glanced at my phone and back to Doctor Fid. I had to smile. “I don’t need combat armor. I have a Holly.”

Doctor Fid’s faceless head cocked curiously. “A Holly?”

BRAKKOOOOOOOW!!! A six-foot-one, blue-supersuited, blonde amazon meteored through a thick steel-and-concrete lab wall, leading with a super-strong right fist. That fist, surrounded by a six-foot-wide transparent telekinetic blue boxing glove, super-sledgehammered Doctor Fid. He hurtled across the lab and embedded two feet deep into yet another steel-and-concrete wall.

Super Holly Hansson alighted next to me and kissed my cheek, ah, her sweet strawberry scent. “Sorry I’m late. I had to dodge a couple of 747s.”

I typed faster. “Holly, Doctor Fid’s armor,” I nodded at the armored man, “badly affected the dimensional portal.”

Like a cat checking out a maybe-dead mouse for the slightest twitch, Super Holly scowled at Doctor Fid. “How bad can it be?”

The portal glowed brighter as its ominous hum slowly went up the scale. “Imagine it swallowing Seaside City and spitting it out halfway across the galaxy. Into another dimension. That is the best case scenario.”

KERRRRONK!!! Doctor Fid had flexed free of the wall’s rocky embrace. He thrust out his right hand. In that hand appeared a baseball-bat-size rod that had the same color scheme as his armor. He aimed the rod at Holly and floated toward me. “Last warning. Stand aside.”

My movie critic side surfaced. “The metaphor of that rod is unmistakable.”

Holly put her red-caped back to me. Her tall, super-strong body tensed into heavyweight boxer. “Cal, you know I hate those metaphors almost as much as I hate crucifix cliches. Stay behind me.” She inserted herself between the control panel and Doctor Fid. “As for you, tall, dark, and gruesome, come any closer and the mightiest super on Earth, namely me, will get a can opener and—”

KAAZOOOOOWWW!!! The rod’s blinding concussive force blast howitzered Holly through even yet another lab wall. Good thing I had designed this lab to stay standing even if seventy nine percent of it was pulverized. Doctor Fid walked toward me, the rod vanishing back to whatever little pocket dimension he had summoned it from. “We have fifty two seconds left.”

I sighed. “You shouldn’t have done that. It’ll just make her mad.”

ZOOM!!! A blonde and blue missile warheaded upon Doctor Fid and jackhammered punches and kicks. “YOU FRIKIN’ FRAKIN’ FRIKITY SON OF A FRIKIN’ FRAK!!!”

Doctor Fid blocked every blow with a skill to rival the Karate Queen. His moves were too quick, too precise. Probably his armor’s programming. He said, “I suppose I will have to hit you in your weak spot.”

The stars on the armor’s faceplate glowed brighter and swirled into a glittering, hypnotic rainbow that lighthouse-beamed onto Holly’s startled face. A deep thrumming emanated from the armor, matching the flashing faceplate.

Holly’s wide eyes magnetized at Doctor Fid’s faceplate. Her boxer-posed arms dropped and hung like noodles. Her eyelids slowly lowered, her mouth gaped open… and then she snarled, “STOPPIT,” and headbutted Doctor Fid: KLONK!!!

He crashed onto the floor next to me. He stood up, brushed himself off, and turned his faceless face to me. “Mental shields?”

I nodded. “Taught her myself.”

Doctor Fid nodded. “I’m impressed.” He placed a small black and red disc on the control panel. “This will fix your problem.” He glanced at Holly, who was shaking cobwebs out of her head with a “B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B!!!” He sighed. “Your portal problem, at least.”

“Thank you.” I shook his armored hand and sneaked a small disc of my own onto his armor. “Keep your guard up on your left.”

“So, great intellects do think alike,” he said, and floated toward Holly. His voice turned its alpha-supervillain contempt up to eleven. “Bah! I fixed your portal merely so that I can have yet another dimension to make my own!” His fists glowed red, but it was his voice that pushed Holly’s buttons. “Once I vanquish its mightiest hero, the rest will fall like dominoes!”

Holly faced Doctor Fid, her fists up, her teeth bared, her blue eyes ablaze, and I needed to lecture her about falling for melodramatic villainy. She spat out, “The FRAK you will! And mind control is fighting dirty!”

Doctor Fid hovered within boxing range of Holly. He put up his dukes. “That was more of a tranquilizer beam. Works best on soft minds. Have at thee?”

They went at it, their arms like super-jackhammers: POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!!!! I glanced down at the control panel. Well well, Fid’s disc did it! The control panel display showed that the portal was stabilizing nicely.

I glanced up at the super-heavyweight championship of two intersecting dimensions. I noted that this time, Doctor Fid’s moves were not computer generated, but very human. He seemed to relish the challenge of fighting the most powerful superhero in this dimension. He landed more blows than Holly, but she stubbornly did not yield a millimeter. POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!!!! My Intellecta-hearing easily picked up the snark in his battle banter: “Take that, hero! And that, and that! Ha ha, evil triumphs because good is clumsy!”

I glanced at my Intellecta-phone. As expected, the disc I had slipped onto Fid’s armor could not penetrate his armor’s firewalls. But it had gleaned a record of his recent actions, and his mini-biography, and his current mission… oh. OH!

I put Intellecta-authority into my yell: “Holly! Cease and desist! AT ONCE!!!”

“GRRRR!!!” said Holly as she wiped blood from her split lip. She shoved hard with both hands, and two five-foot-tall blue hands pushed Doctor Fid back. She gave me a look that made me grateful she did not have heat vision lest she drill a hole to the Earth’s core. She barked, “WHAT?!?!”

I held out my phone. “You really need to see this.”

Holly snapped at Doctor Fid, “You stay put!” She zoomed over to me, yanked the phone out of my hand, and grumbled, “What is so frakin’ important…” She blinked at the phone. “that I have to…” Her big blue eyes lost their fire, going soft and liquid. “to…” A tear ran down her cheek. “Oh.” She turned those big blues to Doctor Fid. “You poor thing!”

ZOOM! She flew to Doctor Fid. WHUMP! And engulfed him in a hug. She super-blubbered, “I have a dear little fangirl whom I love too! SOB!!!

Fascinating. Doctor Fid, mightiest supervillain of his world, super genius, fearless and arrogant, suddenly had no idea what to do. His hands fidgeted, his awkward discomfort was palpable. He must have realized that his goal here was accomplished and that we did not intend to hinder his progress, for he managed a pat to Holly’s back, a gesture like a toddler carefully shaping his first mud pie. “Apology accepted.”

They both floated over to land next to me. Holly broke the hug and forced her lower lip to stop trembling. Her eyes were two oceans of empathy. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Doctor Fid’s faceplate betrayed no emotion. “You can be the superhero that your world needs.” His voice turned stern. “You are reckless!” And then respectful. “But you have the heart of a true hero.”

Holly wiped her eyes with her cape, and smiled warmly at Doctor Fid. “I am beginning to think the latter of you, mister scary supervillain.”

I could have sworn that a smile flitted across Doctor Fid’s faceplate. He grabbed my disc off his armor and handed it to me. “Trade you.”

I handed him the disc off the control panel. Doctor Fid floated up and backed into the completely stabilized portal. “Goodbye, Holly. Learn from him. I respect his intellect.” And Doctor Fid was gone.

Super Holly sighed deeply and gazed wistfully at the portal, which vanished. “Good luck, Doctor Fid.” Then a happy little pout pursed her lips. She turned to me. Her voice was a cat meowing for petting. “Cal? Have you thought about upgrading your armor?”

It was hard to keep from laughing. I reared up to Dracula posture. “I thought you liked the Batman look.”

She wrapped her arms around my neck. “I love it. But maybe a little blacker?” She pecked my lips with a quick kiss: “MMM-WAH! And some stars? MMM-WAH! And glowing joints? MMM-WAH!

I smirked at her. “And a big rod?”

Holly smirked back. “Ew.”

Sept 14 I will perform and sell/sign Super Holly books at Half Price Books

At Half Price Books, 39152 Fremont Hub, Fremont, CA, on Saturday Sept 14 2-4pm, I will be talking about my book, Super Holly Hansson in Super Bad Hair Day. I will perform a couple of stories, tell how all this nonsense evolved from The DaVinci Code, how Super Holly evolved into a superheroine, how Cal “The Intellectual” evolved into a movie critic, how I started at open mics, and so on. When I perform, I will play royalty free background music. Mostly classical.

I attach the flyer in PDF and JPG. If you are near Fremont this Saturday, come on by. I have 15 books to sell. (I wish I had more, even though I have never sold that many in one sitting. If I sell out, I can point them to my Kindle book.)

P.S. That’s right, I am an author. Now you gotta treat me with RESPECT!

FAW HPB Sept 2019 Dave Strom flyer <– download PDF

I will be on two panels at Silicon Valley Comic Con

At Silicon Valley Comic Con, I will be on two panels. To see the panel descriptions, go here and search for David Strom.

Writing Artless Comic Books on Saturday August 17 10:30-11:30AM in Room 230A

I thought of this and I will moderate the panel. Here is the panel description. Hmm, I did not think of the children/teen/adult question, so I will try to discuss that too.

How do you write superheroes and superheroines (or supervillains for that matter) that aren’t comic books? Is this a growing market, or is it bottoming out? What are the challenges to making those stories really pop? Do they have to be written for children and teens, or is there an adult list? Come with your questions on reading and writing them and leave with a great list of titles and advice.

There are good people on this panel. Valerie Frankel (the writing machine!) has written over 60 books about pop culture, including superheroines. I was very impressed with her book Empowered: The Symbolism, Feminism, and Superheroism of Wonder Woman, which I beta-read for her.

David Reiss wrote a trilogy about alpha supervillain and all-around super-intelligent badass Doctor Fid (start buying and reading it here). I would dare to say Doctor Fid is a villain whose heart makes him take a hero’s journey. Doctor Fid has risen into the top 100 in superhero fantasy ebooks on Kindle. I have read this trilogy, and it is worth your time and money. Doctor Fid would give Super Holly a very tough fight.

Sarah Stegall is another local writer who covers pop culture, and has a story in X-Files, Vol. 2: The Truth Is Out There-Prose. Yes, she took television and turned it into prose.

Fourth Wave Feminism and Diverse Superheroines on Saturday August 17 4:30-5:30PM in Room 114

I signed up for this. I have seen several of the shows referred to in the description. I have definite ideas and opinions about these shows, such as the new She-Ra being a helluva improvement on the original. But I admit I have to look up what fourth wave means.

P.S. I believe I will also be at at a table with local authors, selling my book. My one little book. I need to publish more books. Sigh.

Guest blog from Emerian Rich: Kill Switch!

Here is a guest blog post from horror author and FIEND, I mean FRIEND, Emerian Rich!

New book from HorrorAddicts.net Press: Kill Switch!!!

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

******************************************************

A sneak peek inside…

REMS
by TIM O’NEAL

“Just sign the liability waiver and we’ll get started. This should be a quick painless procedure.” Dr. Charles E. Windygate depressed the plunger, dispensing morphine into his patient’s IV on top of the local anesthesia already administered to his burned lower extremities.

“I trust you. Let’s get this done.” The patient, Larry Dougherty, scribbled his signature and handed the clipboard back without glancing at the print. A simple gold wedding band gleamed on his ring finger. Well-defined muscles rippled in his arms, chest, and torso, but his legs were an oozing blackened mess.

Moments later, Larry gave a loopy grin. “Gosh, I feel better already, Doc.” A fireman by trade, Larry had raced into a burning house to save a toddler trapped on an upper floor. Just as he’d reached the girl, the wooden floor had given way. As they’d fallen, Dougherty had clutched her to his chest, using his body to cushion the impact. When he’d awoken in the hospital, he’d learned his squad had dragged them out. The kid was completely unharmed, but third-degree burns covered his own legs.

Word traveled fast in a hospital and so Dr. Windygate had quickly learned about the fireman’s traumatic burns. Immediately after the man was admitted, Windygate had popped in to ask if he wanted to participate in an experimental wound debridement procedure. Given the chance to stop the immense pain and perhaps save his charred legs, Dougherty had readily accepted.

Sterile white fluorescent light blazed down, harshly illuminating the operating theater. It gleamed off the stainless-steel tables and counters, sparkled off the tile walls, and glinted off sharp, clean, surgical instruments. The hospital smelled of disinfectant and gauzy bandages. Floor polish tickled the nose like an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.

Dr. Windygate ignored the two young medical students standing by to assist—a tall Latina and a rather short, geeky male. He didn’t know their names. He didn’t care. They were only present to comply with hospital research policy, but this was his project, dammit! He’d spent a decade developing this technology on his own. He would not share the glory with just anyone, let alone two upstart medical students. If they cared about their careers in medicine, they’d stay well away and keep their mouths shut.

Dr. Windygate’s hands shook with excitement as he accepted the clipboard from Mr. Dougherty. If this new procedure was successful, he would make medical history, cementing his name in medical texts alongside Linus Pauling, Louis Pasteur, and Edward Jenner. He smirked, adjusting his tiny spectacles. He could almost taste the fame. To conceal his anticipation, he coughed twice and headed to the tiny surgical sink.

“You all set, my good man?” he called, lathering his hands.

“Ready when you are, Doc.”

“There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Nope, nothing at all.” Returning to the bedside, Windygate snapped on sterile blue latex gloves.

“Do anything. I don’t care. Just fix my legs.”

Windygate shrugged away a dribble of nervous perspiration. “Yes, of course. I went to Oxford Medical. I’ve been practicing for twenty years. I’m perfectly relaxed, well-rested, and prepared for this. You’ve absolutely nothing to fear.”

Dougherty’s brow furrowed. He chuckled uneasily. “You trying to convince me or yourself, Doc?”

Windygate inhaled a deep breath, swelling his body like a balloon. “I’m just excited. It’s not every day I get to test out a new surgical technique, is it?” Grinning, he toyed with a scalpel. It gleamed and flashed.

The fireman frowned, considering. “Wait. New? How new?”

“Actually…you’ll be the first human subject. The waiver gave your consent to test this new wound debridement procedure. You still okay with that?”

“I guess,” Dougherty said slowly. “It has been tested though, right? On animals or something?”

“Oh goodness, yes.” Windygate nodded. “Thoroughly tried and tested in the veterinary setting with startling successes. Works in both theory and practice. I perfected it myself. I can assure you, it’s completely safe.”

“Let’s get on with it.”

“I’ll be using new robot technology to debride those burns and accelerate the healing.”

Dougherty propped himself on his elbows. “Robots? Really! Why didn’t you say so? What could be more precise than robots? Seems today’s new technology makes everything safer.”

Windygate gently pressed him back down. “Yes, quite. But, as with any new technology, it still requires a spot of testing. Hence, you.”

He turned to his instrument tray and picked up a squat clear plastic container filled with several hundred, small, white, beads. Twisting the lid, he broke the seal and retrieved a handful of the tiny smooth spheres. Carefully, he extended his cupped gloved hand.

“Take a look, but do be careful, they cost a thousand dollars apiece. My research grant paid for them and I do hope to re-use them.”

Dougherty leaned over, craning his neck. “Huh. They’re tiny. Don’t look scary at all! What are they?”

“I call them: Remote-controlled Electronic Maggots. REMs for short.”

“Maggots, ugh!” Dougherty recoiled, making a face.

“Nominally only, for how they break down the dead tissue like maggots. But never you worry, they’re entirely controlled by this remote. See?”

Windygate plucked a gray rectangular object about the size of a cell phone from his instrument tray. Its hard rubber face had six smooth, raised buttons—four blue directional arrows, one red square, and one green circle. He passed it to Dougherty.

“A remote control, eh? Like something my boys might drive their toy cars with.” He handed it back.

“Yes, but in case you have any residual worries, my REMs have two built-in failsafe mechanisms,” Windygate bragged. “The red button kills their power, immediately stopping them. Second, they work by sensing inflammatory biomarkers near the wound. If they’re not in contact with necrotic skin, they won’t move. Prevents them from damaging any healthy tissue. See, here on my glove, it doesn’t move at all. There’s nothing for it to do. But, when I put it on your leg, it activates.”

******************************************************

EDITED BY:

DAN SHAURETTE & EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:

H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON, DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT, PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

Available on Amazon!

Saturday, Feb 9, I sell books at Newpark Mall

At Newpark Mall (2086 Newpark Mall, Newark, CA) from 10-6, near the food court, I will be with members of the Fremont Area Writers selling books. I have a fresh batch of Super Bad Hair Day books to sell, hopefully typo-free (although I might change a reference to Humphrey Bogart to James Cagney.) I will sign books. I will write. I’ll meet a budding artist, friend of a fellow FAW member. I will absorb creativity from my fellow writers. And I will see how strong my bladder is (the movie Malcolm X taught me two things: a movie can do justice to a great book, and never order a XXL soft drink at a three hour movie).