THREE MORE WISHES—First Three Chapters

THREE MORE WISHES front cover

The ebook comes with four full-color illustrations inside

The genie Fatima, right out of the lamp. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Fatima and Marvin, seconds later. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Fatima at the Pool Party. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Virgilia watches final battle, Ch. 42

Virgilia (a stripper in Marvin’s harem) watches as Marvin is magically attacked. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Chapter 1
A Boy Called “Shorty”

Hank Miller was slamming me into a locker, ten minutes before the start of First Period. Another typical day at Plato Smith High School.

“You stay away from my girlfriend, Shorty, got it?” Hank said. As if there was the slightest chance that I hadn’t already gotten the message clearly, months ago. Hank lifted me so that my face was even with his (and my feet were off the floor). “Anna Kay deserves better than to be seen with a runt like you,” he said.

Which was certainly true, at least from Hank’s point of view. Not only was Anna Kay Henderson a cheerleader, she was stacked. As for me, Marvin Harper, I’m the shortest guy in the senior class, at 5′2″. Shortest by several inches. While Hank was the starting quarterback. Yeah, there was a definite status-difference here.

“Um, Hank?” Anna Kay said, in a small voice.

“Later, cupcake,” Hank said. “I got to explain some facts of life to shrimp-guy here.”

Anna Kay said, “Hank, I asked Marvin to help me, tutor me in Trigonometry.”

“Yeah? That right?” Hank asked me. I nodded. Hank smiled evilly. “Well then, maybe I can persuade Tiny Tim here to do your trig homework, not just help you with it. That way, Anna Kay, you and I can spend more time together.”

“Vat are you doink to Marvin?” a female voice demanded.

“Go away, `Princess Anastasia,’” Hank said, without turning his face away from mine.

Hank didn’t turn his head to look at Natasha Ludmenkov, but I did. Mainly because Natasha was definitely worth looking at. Right now, she had her arms crossed, she was tapping a foot, and she was glaring at Hank.

Hank still was looking straight at me. “So, you tutoring Anna Kay because you expect to get into her panties?”

“What, do I look as stupid as you are?” I said.

“So, you doing it for money? How much are you paying him, Anna Kay?”

Anna Kay looked unhappy to be part of all this. “Hank, Marvin offered to help me without charging me a cent.”

I said, “In class it’s easy to tell she’s struggling with the trig. She needs help, and I can help her, so I offered to tutor her for free.”

“Oh? Isn’t that nice,” Hank said to me. “You’re a real nice guy, aren’t you?”

“He is. He is nice guy,” Natasha said. “So go let him.”

Hank still didn’t glance at Natasha. Raising his voice, he said, “Run off now, child. Let the adults talk.”

“I vill not leafe until you go let him,” Natasha declared.

Hank smirked at me. “You need for skirts to defend you now? Wow, you really are a girly-boy.”

Hank finally turned to look at pale goddess Natasha. “Bell’s about to ring. You’ll be late to class.”

The leggy Russian girl gave my tormenter a smile. “So long as you hold Marvin, I stand here. Soon or late, teacher is seeink four pipple in hallway. If you still bullyink Marvin then, thinks not good for you. Maybe you expel, hm? I stand here, checkmate.”

And sure enough, the Tardy Bell did ring then.

Hank let me go. “We’ll talk later, pee-wee,” he said, before walking away with Anna Kay. Anna Kay glanced back to show me an apologetic face.

As I was donning my backpack, Natasha nodded toward Hank. “I am him not likink. Totally not likink. Hank Miller is”—the Russian word did not sound flattering.

I started to walk to my first-period class, having decided that going to the office and requesting a tardy slip was asking for trouble. But as soon as I started to walk toward Physics class, Natasha turned to walk alongside me.

Natasha hadn’t asked my permission, of course. There were three reasons that Natasha had been nicknamed “Princess Anastasia” here at school. Yes, Natasha was Russian, and yes, she had the looks and the poise of a model, but mainly her nickname came from walking into any room as though she owned the place.

I had not spoken since she had taken up position as my wingman. Filling the silence, she said, “Not is so bad if you is girly-boy. Some womans do girly-boy more likink than furry man.”

I said, “I don’t like it at all, a woman rescuing me. I should be rescuing her. But fat chance of that.” I sighed. “I graduate in three weeks, and I by myself still can’t stop anyone from shitting on me.”

But then I remembered my manners. “Natasha, what you did was kind,” I said. “Thanks for your help.”

She shrugged. “I cannot let you to nurse clinic is goink, while I am the hands wrinkink.”

By now we were in front of Physics class. I put my hand on the doorknob to go in, but then Natasha put her hand on my shoulder. She said, “You are good man, Marvin Stephanovich Harper. I am you watchink. You should get gooder life than you is gettink.”

Soon a genie would come to agree with Natasha, and my life would get “gooder” than I could possibly imagine. But I need to set the stage first, O Reader.

Chapter 2
Aunt Claire, Uncle Warren

I managed to avoid Hank for the rest of the day. I ran into Anna Kay at lunch, who gave me an apologetic smile and said, “I’m okay with Trig. I don’t need any more tutoring for a while.”

I had just sat down at the lunch table, between Bob and Christopher, when Natasha sat down in the seat opposite me. Again she didn’t ask permission, she just acted.

“Marvin, I am havink flavor you to ask,” she said.

“You want to ask me a favor?” I said.

“Yes. I have gotted invite to party. With all wear kas— kas—”

“Costumes?”

Da, costumes party, Saturday after Saturday. I want you as invitink. We are makink funny couple, I zink.”

“Who would we go as?”

Before Natasha could answer, Christopher did. “As Boris and Natasha, guy! You’re a midget, she’s tall and thin, and she even has the accent. All you need is a black coat and black hat and a fake moustache, and you two will have the prize locked up!”

“I am not a midget,” I said.

Bob said to Natasha, “So is that the plan? You and Marvin, as Boris and Natasha from the cartoons?”

Natasha smiled big. To me she said, “Please is sayink you will go.”

Well, I didn’t like being reminded (again) that I was short, but on the other hand, Natasha hadn’t needed to invite me. “Sure, I’ll go,” I said. “Is this a date?”

Bob and Christopher turned their heads to hear Natasha’s answer. Natasha was well worth dating—she had pale, almost white skin; pale blue eyes; naturally pale blond hair; cheekbones; pouty lips; and legs, legs, legs. Only her tits were ordinary.

Natasha looked at me and smiled sadly. “I not am dayink you. Do you is sayink nyet now? But I am wantink you as friend, Marvin, party or not party.”

“Not a problem, Natasha,” I said. “I will go to your costume party a week from Saturday, dressed as Boris, even though it won’t be a quote-unquote date.”

Spasibo,” she said, smiling and squeezing my hand.


That night, I had a light homework load, which meant—a free evening! By 7:30 p.m., I was driving my clunker toward the hospital, to visit my Aunt Claire.

I walked into a hospital room that was stuffed solid with flowers and metal balloons. Aunt Claire was loved by everyone, which mainly explained the generosity of so many flowers and balloons. But the other reason for all the stuff in her room was that Aunt Claire had uterine cancer, and wasn’t expected to last another month.

“Ah, it’s my favorite great-nephew,” Aunt Claire said when she saw me.

“Until another great-nephew walks in,” I said. But I was smiling.

I was shocked by her appearance. I had heard the expression “skin and bones” all my life, but now I was seeing it. Aunt Claire looked like someone had shrink-wrapped skin over a skeleton. But what I said was, “You’re looking good, Aunt Claire.”

She smiled crookedly, as if to say I know you’re lying. But what she said back was, “Yes, I’m almost out of here. And the next time you come to my house, I’ll bake some of my super-secret-recipe chocolate-chip cookies.”

“I’ll enjoy them, Aunt Claire,” I said, smiling. But inside I wasn’t smiling, I was horrified. God, it’s like talking to a corpse, she looks so awful, I thought.

Then Aunt Claire said, “Did you know that your Uncle Warren is in this same hospital? Lung cancer, I hear.” Then Aunt Claire eyed me and added, “I don’t think he’s had a single visitor.”

“What, none of his jailbait girlfriends visit him?” I said, laughing. Somehow my obnoxious uncle always managed to have a gorgeous young girlfriend come with him to family dinners.

Now Aunt Claire replied, “No, two young hussies visit him regularly. His nurses are scandalized by how they carry on, so my nurses tell me. But my point is, Marvin, I don’t think he gets visits from family.”

I laughed. “Well, after he announced years ago that he was leaving all his fortune to the Eisenhower Library? What do you expect?”

Aunt Claire frowned at me. “So you’re saying the only reason you’re visiting me is that you hope to inherit something?”

“Auntie, do I need to remind you? Uncle Warren is an opinionated jerk asshole.”

“True. But now he is a lonely and dying opinionated jerk asshole.”

“Okay, okay,” I said. “I’ll go pay him a visit right now.”


As I was walking through the hospital to Uncle Warren’s hospital room, I reviewed what I knew about him.

Uncle Warren had enlisted in the Army in 1942, and eventually had been sent to Africa to fight Rommel. In late 1943 the Africa war was over, and so he was in the first wave of Americans invading Sicily.

And suddenly Pvt. Harper, who’d been all but invisible in the Tunisia fighting, was daily putting himself in danger. Rescuing injured comrades, charging machine-gun nests, personally wiping out three Panzer crews—Pvt. Warren Harper should have been dead a dozen times a month. But except for shrapnel in his left arm and a shot in the leg, he went through the war without a scratch. By the time the Army handed him his discharge in September 1945, Uncle Warren was a much-medaled First Sergeant.

Then, when he returned to civilian life. . .

Everything continued to go right for him. Everything.

Always he was surrounded by breathtaking women, and they were all always acting like they wanted sex with him.

And suddenly, Uncle Warren was making money hand over fist. To give just one example: He bought stock in IBM in November 1945, three months before ENIAC came online and began the computer revolution. To give another example: He bought scads of shares of Microsoft on the first day of its IPO; years later, while in Seattle for a stockholder meeting, he bought shares in Starbucks when it was starting up.

But his relatives couldn’t stand him, because of one nasty quirk of his. Uncle Warren thought that Dwight D. Eisenhower was our greatest president ever, and nobody around him could talk about anything without Uncle Warren trolling about Ike’s greatness.

Five years ago, Uncle Warren had announced that the Eisenhower Presidential Library deserved his millions more than did his “moron” relatives. After that, nobody but me acted even a little bit nice to him at family gatherings.

My walk through the hospital completed, I stepped into Uncle Warren’s hospital room. I saw no flowers and no balloons, but I did see something at least as nice: a blonde with young skin and a toned figure. She was standing up against my uncle’s hospital bed, alongside his hips, with her backside toward the door.

And it was a nice backside, let me tell you.

Uncle Warren looked surprised to see me. “Sherry, Sherry, stop that, we have a visitor! It’s one of my relatives!”

Sherry did something with the top bedsheet (that her body blocked me from seeing), then she turned around. Now I could see her from the front, and she had unnaturally large tits—that, or she’d won the Breast Lottery like Anna Kay had. When I finally tore my eyes away from her tits, I was shocked to see that Sherry’s face was flushed with sexual arousal.

Uncle Warren rasped, “Sherry, may I present my brother’s son’s son’s son, Marvin Harper. Marvin, this is my odd-days girlfriend, Sherry Benson. Sherry works as a pole dancer at. . .remind me.”

Sherry smiled proudly. “Right now I’m working at Club Physique, but next week I start work at the Nimfo Club on Woodrow Wilson. Come check me out—ask for `Bubbles’!”

I decided that Sherry was not a rocket scientist. “Um, I’m three years away from legal drinking,” I said.

Uncle Warren rasped, “Sherry, go find the on-call nurse and bring her in here right now. That’s a good girl.”

“But Warren, baby—”

“Do it now, Sweet Lips. Or I won’t let you you-know-what, later tonight.”

Sherry pouted, but walked out of the room, her high heels click-clacking. Now came the challenge: talking with Uncle Warren without strangling him.


“So how’d you get here?” Uncle Warren asked. “Take the Smith Freeway?”

“Right,” I said, knowing what was coming next.

“Good man. You know, President Eisenhower started the interstate system.”

“Uh-huh, you’ve told me,” I said. Many times, I chose not to add.

There was an awkward silence, which stretched out. Unusually, my uncle wasn’t trying to dominate the conversation—was he really waiting on what I had to say?

At last I said, “I got invited to a costume party next week. We’re going as Boris and Natasha—you know, the cartoon characters?”

I expected Uncle Warren to point out that Boris and Natasha were Commies, and President Eisenhower had fought the Commies in Korea. But instead, Uncle Warren said, “A costume party! Been a long time since I’ve been to one of those. Going with a girl?”

“Yep. Her name’s Natasha—her real name’s Natasha, I mean.”

“She pretty?”

“Very. And no, she isn’t a Communist.”

“Of course not. You’ve got more sense than that, Marvin.”

A combination click-clack and squeak-squeak announced that Sherry had brought the nurse. Oddly, the nurse was looking me over. She was an alert oriental woman in her thirties; her nametag said NGUYEN.

After looking me over, she turned to face my uncle. “You needed something, Mr. Harper?”

Uncle Warren said, “Yes, Nurse, when do I get my next pain medication?”

“At midnight, Mister Harper.”

“That’s what I thought. Sorry to bother you.”

“No problem, Mr. Harper,” she said.

I couldn’t shake the weird feeling that this boring conversation was being staged for my benefit. That feeling got stronger when Nurse Nguyen glanced at me and said, “By the way, Mr. Harper, who’s your visitor?”

“This is Marvin Harper, a great-grandson of my brother Herbert,” Uncle Warren replied.

“Marvin Harper, I’m glad to meet you,” she said. And oddly, I believed her—she was smiling the way I would if I were holding a winning scratch-off ticket.


Nurse Nguyen left, and Sherry took up a position standing by Uncle Warren’s head. Sherry reached into his pajama top and started rubbing his shoulder. She began biting her lip, and I thought, My god, is this blonde stripper actually getting herself hot, rubbing an old man’s shoulder?

Perhaps noticing where my eyes had gone, Uncle Warren said, “You remember how my leg and arm got injured in the war?”

Where was Uncle Warren going with this? Aloud I said, “Yeah?”

Uncle Warren’s eyes bored into mine, as if he was trying to tell me something important. “I got hurt because I didn’t think something through. I bet my ration, Jackson, about that.”

I shook my head. “I don’t understand.”

“Of course you don’t. Not now. But by next Sunday, I think you’ll understand. And then you’ll want to talk with me.”

“Uncle Warren? No offense, but you and I aren’t close. I can’t imagine me having a heart-to-heart with you.”

Uncle Warren wheezed a raspy laugh. “Not close? We aren’t, boy, not even slightly. Not today. But I have a feeling we both are going to have an eventful week.”

A minute later, I had said my goodbyes to Uncle Warren and nodded to Sherry (who gave me a distracted smile in reply). I was just turning to leave when Uncle Warren rasped, “Marvin.”

“Yes?”

“I told my lawyer to read my will right after my funeral. But I also told him not to file my will till a week after I die. I bet my ration, Jackson, that you’ll find this is useful information.”


I thought that Uncle Warren would outlive Aunt Claire by weeks. But nope, he died just four days after our strange conversation.

He died Friday morning. Friday afternoon, as soon as school ended, Uncle Warren’s probate lawyer called me.

Chapter 3
I Inherit—Sort Of

Uncle Warren’s probate attorney, a Mr. Dodd, had asked me to come straight to his law firm. He had something to give me, he said. No, he couldn’t tell me over the phone what it was.

The “something” turned out to be a 1940s-era Army footlocker with “Harper, W G” stencilled on it. It was padlocked shut. Mr. Dodd handed me a little brown envelope, saying, “That’s the key to the padlock.”

“Why all the secrecy for a footlocker?” I asked.

“I truly do not know,” he said. “Nor can I tell you what’s inside. In fact, Mr. Harper went to great pains to keep the existence of this box a secret.”

“Oh?”

Mr. Dodd handed me a piece of paper. Though the paper had been notarized with three witness signatures, the words themselves were handwritten—

To David Dodd:

If I am hospitalized before I die, I wish it reliably reported when/if any of my relatives visit.

If at least one relative visits me in the hospital, then upon my death, this box is to be given to the relative who visited me most.

If none of my relatives visit, then Mr. Dodd, upon my death take this box to a garbage landfill a) without opening the box yourself, b) without letting anyone else in your law firm see you remove the box from the building, and c) without letting my relatives know that you possessed this box but gave it to none of them.

That chunk of text was followed by some lawyer language, and then came Uncle Warren’s signature and a February 2010 date (meaning, three months ago).

Then Mr. Dodd handed me a notarized piece of paper, in which Sherry Benson and Marie Nguyen both swore that last Monday, Warren G. Harper had been visited by “one of his brother Herbert’s great-grandsons, Marvin Harper.”

I tapped the sworn-statements paper. “How did you get these two to `reliably report’ about me?”

Dodd replied, “I visited the hospital during every shift and promised the nurses there that if one of them found Mr. Harper with a relative, and that relative could be named in a sworn statement, then I’d pay the nurse a thousand dollars.”

“And how much for Uncle Warren’s stripper girlfriend? I’ll bet she was expensive.”

“No, Miss Benson did it for free. Mr. Harper told her to come to my office and sign the paper in my presence, and that’s what she did, though she told me afterward that she was missing work.”

“He told her to miss work to sign a paper and, bada-bing, she went?”

“Yes, it does seem odd, doesn’t it?”

I dug out my car keys from my pocket, threw them on top of the footlocker, and was just about to pick everything up, when a thought occurred to me. “So we relatives of Uncle Warren, none of us is getting any of his fortune? Not a dime?”

Mr. Dodd gave me a “What can I do?” shrug. “That’s correct. Everything of his that’s worth having, except for that box, is going to the Eisenhower Library.”


Twenty minutes later, I arrived home, without mentioning to my parents my detour to Mr. Dodd’s office. Then I let the footlocker sit in the trunk of my car for several hours, until my parents left to see a movie. (It was something about a shipful of Caribbean pirates battling a killer robot from the future. Sounded hokey.)

It was dark twilight when I brought the footlocker from my car to my bedroom. I keyed the padlock open, and opened the lid.

Inside were two old photo albums, and a brass oil lamp.

If you’ve read any “Aladdin” story, you know what the lamp’s shape was. But the oil lamp had nothing special about its metalwork, and its finish was mottled and lusterless.

In short, I was unimpressed with that oil lamp.

But hey, I figured I might be able to sell it for a few bucks on eBay, or use it as a prop for Halloween parties.

I set the lamp aside.

I started leafing through the photo albums, and figured out quickly that they were the reason that Uncle Warren had wanted the footlocker kept secret from his relatives.

The pictures in the first album started in 1942. There were yellowed black-and-white photos of Uncle Warren in uniform, and photos of young uniformed men who had to be his war buddies. There were photos of palm-tree’d Tunisia, the Pyramids, and the Sphinx, and of lions and hippopotamuses. All G-rated stuff, right? But there were also photos of naked young women, black- and brown-skinned, and photos of young Warren getting blowjobs from young women.

Actually, there were lots and lots of photos of Warren getting blowjobs from women.

About three quarters of the way through the older photo album, I turned the page and—I freaked out.


On the left-side page were two photos of a serious young woman who was looking at the camera. She was fully dressed (unlike many of the women in the album), wearing Middle Eastern clothing. Oddly, while her hips and everything above them were in focus, her legs were out of focus. Uncle Warren had captioned her photos with the puzzling words, “Fatima, who changed my life. June 3, 1943.”

Immediately below these photos, and their strange caption, were these words that had been written in 1943: “I will die on May 7, 2010, a Friday.”

What the hell is going on? I wondered.

The rest of that first photo album, and all of the second, were naked women posing for the camera, and Uncle Warren getting sex.

But now the women were gorgeous (by Forties and Fifties standards), and the sex was outrageous. Uncle Warren was getting plenty of blowjobs now, from breathtaking beauties, but now he also was involved in bunches of threesomes.

Uncle Warren had a photo of himself in 1944, appearing onstage at a Victory Bond rally in Hollywood with a blonde actress (whose name you might know), and appearing with a line of brunette chorus girls; Uncle Warren’s next photo showed this same blonde naked, cocksucking my uncle, while a brunette dancer ate the blonde out.

I looked at every photo in both albums. It didn’t help; I couldn’t figure out how what I was seeing in the photos, had happened. How had Uncle Warren suddenly become a sex god? Who was this Fatima, and what had happened between her and Uncle Warren? I couldn’t begin to guess.


So this was my “inheritance”: two pornographic yet puzzling photo albums, and a souvenir-stall “Aladdin’s lamp.” I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to buy pornographic 1940s photos, so…

My only hope of gaining any money from my “windfall” was through the lamp. Which in turn meant: I needed to polish this sorry excuse for a lamp before I could hope to sell it.

I drove to the store, bought some brass polish, came home, and reassigned my rattiest pair of briefs to brass-polish duty. I dipped the cloth in the brass polish, and rubbed everything against the right side of the lamp. The result?

The lamp shook in my hand as if a frantic rat were trapped inside of it. Then green smoke came out of the lamp’s spout—lots and lots of green smoke.

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NAMES HAVE POWER—First 1-2/3 Chapters

NAMES HAVE POWER front cover

Chapter 1
I See A Head-On Collision

Call me Timothy. Or Tim. But please don’t call me “Big Tim”—that was my father, not me. Absolutely do not call me “Little Tim”—that was cute when Dad and I were first doing commercials, but it’s not cute now. And I don’t need a crutch and I don’t play ukulele, so “Tiny Tim” is out.

Everything changed on the evening after my father’s funeral. I’d always thought of my father as “the happy bear,” and bears don’t eat healthy; it was some cholesterol problem that had killed him. So two days earlier, at the age of 27, I’d became heir to Dad’s Ford dealership. The truth is, I’d rather have had my father around for another thirty years, but such is life. Anyway, after listening to one more car dealer make one more insincere expression of sympathy, I had to get out of the house! I told my mother that I needed to go for a walk.

Standing by the front door was 22-year-old Susan Cooper, my father’s executive secretary. From the looks of things, Mike Brown, the general manager, was trying to hit on her. Again. I guess he liked a challenge, and the Ice Bitch was certainly a challenge! Anyway, when I brushed by her, she turned her back on Mike to face me, and she demanded, “Where are you going?”

“Out, I need to get out.”

“You’re leaving? That’s rude! People here want to talk to you.”

“Are you one of them?”

“That remark is borderline inappropriate behavior, Mister Hanson.”

“The people who genuinely mourn my father’s death, they’re talking to my mother. The men who seek me out are checking-out the fresh meat.”

She crossed her arms. “Still, it’s rude to leave now.”

“Tell you what, Susan: After your father dies, then you come advise me about funeral etiquette.”

She drew herself up straight. “I am Ms. Cooper to you, Mr. Hanson. I am a professional, and I deserve and expect to be treated professionally by you, both on andoff the jobsite!”

I glared at her. I’d met her for the first time, five years ago, when I was a college senior, and she was an eighteen-year-old, just-graduated, new-hire with big breasts and shiny brunette hair. She’d treated me like a cockroach on the day she’d met me, and her attitude had never improved.

“Whatever. I’m gone,” I said to Susan.

I stepped outside, into the night. Upset, I wandered through the subdivision. After a time, I was gazing at the stars, at what turned out to be a stop-signed intersection. I was looking up when I heard the roaring of approaching engines and the screeching of tires. I looked down just in time to see, right in front of me, the head-on between the sports car (a current-year Nissan 350Z, red) and the SUV (last year’s Ford Expedition XLT, black).

By all the laws of physics, the sports car should have been the bigger mess; and the sports car’s driver, a corpse. But that red car was only lightly damaged (except for the driver door flung open on impact). The driver unfastened her shoulder harness and stepped out of the car. I found myself facing a goddess with a cut cheek.

She was big-breasted. I like big-breasted. She was tall. I like tall. She was slim and muscle-toned, she was tan, she had the face of a catwalk model, she had the lips of a porn actress, she was blond, she had a peaches-and-cream complexion, et cetera, et cetera, yada-yada-yada. Even her ears were perfect!

“Please,” she said, “help me, sir, I’ve lost a contact. Please help me find it.” She had the voice of a phone-sex operator—why was I not surprised?

My hormones started vibrating like a tuning fork. But at that moment I realized: The SUV was too still, too quiet.

When I tore my eyes away from the goddess to look at the SUV, I noticed that the inside of its windshield was red, and getting redder. Somebody needed help!

I pulled out my cel then; but strangely, it said “No Signal.” It was up to me to rescue the SUV people.

I shrugged at the woman, then moved to rush around the back of her car. “Those people need help. I can help you later.”

“Do you have a flashlight? Matches? Anything for light? I’d really, really appreciate it.” Jeez, she was talking about a flashlight, and that voice was giving me a boner!

By now I was five feet away from the SUV driver door. A bit of blue, down low, caught my eye. At my feet lay a blue butane lighter. I could rush back and hand the lighter to Goddess, and be a hero! Maybe I could work that up to a date with her? Or I could toss the lighter to her—that might be worth a kiss on the cheek.

But even a split-second spent fooling around with Goddess’s lighter would mean still more delay before the SUV people got help. “Sorry,” I said over my shoulder, as I came to the black SUV’s driver door.

The driver was a balding man in his forties, still in his shoulder harness. I saw and heard no passengers. The man wore a white shirt, and a blue tie with little white polka dots. Both shirt and tie were blood-soaked.

The driver’s neck was spurting blood at the windshield! Through the ruined side window, I heard him mumble, “Help. Me.”

I cut my hand (I didn’t notice till later), opening the car door. I reached for his neck injury, and the blood spurted against my hand like a spurt-spurt lawn sprinkler turned up full. When I pressed down, to try to stop the flow of blood, I cut my hand again—on glass embedded in his skin. Still, I pressed down, and felt hot liquid run down my hand and arm, and drip off my elbow.

Which meant, I could not stop his blood loss. He would die while I supposedly was helping him! I felt like shit.

“Okay? Me?” he murmured.

Oh jeez, what was I supposed to tell him? Then I thought of what I’d want to hear if I were in his situation, and the answer was clear: the truth. “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t call 911 and I can’t stop your bleeding.”

“I. Die.”

“Yes, sir, I’m truly sorry. I suggest you get right with your God.”

He snapped his head around to eye me—where did he get the energy? He then spoke the strangest “last words” that I ever expect to hear—

“That blonde, she’s so beautiful, isn’t she? But always, you chose the dying man,” he said. Then he closed his eyes, and his chin dropped to his chest.

“Oh, ick! You’ve got blood on you,” I heard the blonde say.

I decided in that instant that the blonde wasn’t nearly so beautiful as I’d thought. I looked at her, through the rising radiator steam that the SUV was making. I intended to tell the blonde to show some compassion, but before I spoke, she disappeared.

Then vanished her red sports car. Then gone: the black SUV. Then no more blue butane lighter.

Standing next to me was the dead SUV driver. But his skin and clothing was bloodless somehow. His eyes were open again, and they were looking at me, as his body changed. His mousy brown hair turned black, his bald parts filled in with black hair, and his skin? It turned golden. He looked like the father of that dead girl in Goldfinger. His clothing disappeared, shrank, or recolored until he was wearing only a black loincloth. He waved a hand, and the cuts on my hand were healed. Another wave of his hand, and I was as clean of blood as he.

“Who are you?” I demanded. “What just happened?”

He clapped me on the back—and for a dead man, he was strong! “I will not tell you my true name, Timothy Richard Hanson, for names have power. But what I am is an ancient god who has no more worshippers, and who has wandered the earth since before the Time of the Carpenter.”

“And what just happened?”

“It’s a test, a test I’ve given to this man or that man for 562 years. In the test’s original form, the older man and the young beauty were seemingly the victims of highwaymen. The details differ, but the test has remained the same.” The golden god eyed me. “And for 562 years, until this hour, every man has failed this test.”

He went silent then, to let me figure it out. And soon, I did: “The other men helped the beauty who clearly needed no help, hoping for sex with her, and they neglected the dying man nearby.”

He nodded.

I thought some more, and sighed. “She was hot.”

He smiled. “As well she should be. I made a reading of your brain, mortal. Men rate every body part of every woman they ever see, and Tiffany was magicked from all of your Ten-parts. She was designed to `push all your buttons.’”

“So what happens now, since I passed your test?”

“You get rewarded, just like in the children’s stories that your Grandmother Priscilla read to you. But I doubt that you want a goose that lays gold eggs.”

“Yeah, the IRS would ask rude questions.”

“I decided long ago, what would be a suitable reward if I ever found a man such as you. I copy to you one of my godly powers, Timothy Hanson. The power I give you would be dangerous, if given to those lesser men.”

So saying, a ball of blue fire shot out of his left eye, as a red fireball shot out of his right eye. The fireballs came together to form purple fire, which continued to move toward me; but the purple fireball streaked down below my jaw. I felt something hit my voice box. The sensation was warm and tingly.

“The effects are not reversible, so use my gift wisely,” the golden god said. “Remember, names have power.”

Wait! What did you—?”

The god smiled, then vanished.


The next morning, I woke up thinking that I had dreamed all of it. Until I noticed that on my left hand, I had dried blood under my fingernails.

Chapter 2
Telling Off Susan

This was my first day to come to the dealership, ready to own it. Even so, it felt wrong to park in “my” space—I felt like I were trespassing on Dad’s spot. I walked past Ms. Cooper into my inner office; she, as usual, was dressed like a Vassar grad who was working at a brokerage firm.

My father had held a Morning Meeting of senior managers, every day at eight; I continued that tradition. So five minutes after I arrived for work, gathered in my inner office were Mike, my horn-dog general sales manager; Albert, the always-serious service manager; Bobby, the parts manager; Betty Jane, the finance manager; Kathy, former student-council president and now my sales manager—and of course Ms. Cooper, who was taking notes.

I read from my scribblings on a legal pad. “First, it’s time to film a new sales ad. But I’m not going to shoot a standard `We’re having a sale’ ad—”

“Why not?” asked Kathy. “After all, this weekend we are having a sale.”

“Oh, I’ll mention the sale. But business-as-usual seems—well, ghoulish right now. So what I’m thinking for the ad is that I talk, but the visual is old video of Big Tim. Ms. Cooper, please go through our old video and film, and find ads that show my father’s nature.”

“Certainly, Mr. Hanson,” Susan said. Surprisingly, she didn’t get all huffy at being asked to do hours of extra work.

“Second thing,” I said. “I’ve hired an accountant from Detroit to audit the dealership. Please cooperate with him. This is not a reflection on any of you.”

Mike raised a hand in a “stop” gesture. “So why do it, why have an audit?”

“I love my father, but he was never a good man for record-keeping. His records here are pathetic.”

Mike frowned. “I feel like my honor is being questioned. I’ve kept a lot of those records, and if you’re thinking, Tim, that those records are no good, then maybe you and I can’t work together.”

“Are you telling me that if this auditor walks in, you’re walking out?” I said, eyebrows raised.

“Please, let it be so,” Susan murmured.

Mike nodded, looking martyrish. “I feel that my honor is at stake.”

“And I feel that I have a right to know the finances of my new dealership. Michael, we will be audited; accept that and go on.”

I expected Mike to keep arguing then. But instead he said, “Sure, you need to start with clean books. I saw that, but I was hoping I could make you think you owed me a favor. I guess I can live with an auditor.” His face and body were relaxed now, and he looked 100 percent sincere.

That statement sounded fishy for a hundred reasons. But I let it pass—why argue with someone who’s just agreed with you?

I turned my eyes back to the legal pad. The rest of the stuff written on it was routine. The Morning Meeting went another fifteen minutes.

After Albert and Kathy left, Mike came over to me, leaned over, and murmured, “Make plans for tonight at the Nimfo Club. You, me, and Albert. My treat!” Then Mike left my office.

Which put me alone with the Ice Princess.


I hadn’t slept well, and now that I was coming down from the adrenaline high of my first-ever Morning Meeting as the Boss, I was feeling sleepy. I didn’t think things through, and so I looked at Susan and said, “Get me a cup of coffee, please. I’m desperate.”

She glared at me. “No, Mister Hanson, I will not. My agreement with your father was that coffee was not—”

“Oh, cut the crap. He’s dead, so you could claim that he promised you a million dollars a year.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said with haughty voice. “But he and I did have an agreement about coffee, and you are breaking it. This is almost Inappropriate Behavior.”

For five years I’d put up with her treating me like a cockroach, but no way was I going to pay her a salary to treat me like a cockroach! I came thisclose to firing her that instant, even knowing that she’d try to sue the pants off me afterward.

Instead, I growled, “Susan Gloria Cooper, if I want to ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ you, I’ll ask you to live in my house with other women and to serve in my harem. Believe me, short of me asking you to join my harem, nothing I do with you is inappropriate behavior, you got that?”

“Yes, Mister Hanson, I—”

I went for broke, I was that mad. “You don’t work for my father now, you work for me. Unless you quit. And maybe you should.”

“Now just a minute—”

“Your attitude stinks. We are in the `friendliness’ business, my queen.” I gestured toward the showroom. “The men and women on the floor, they have to be friendly and helpful. Say it’s Thursday night and the salesperson is way behind quota, because it’s been raining all week? Too bad, he has to be friendly and helpful to the customer who does walk in. Say the customer has never heard of soap or a toothbrush? The salesperson still has to be friendly and helpful. You wouldn’t last five minutes out on the floor!”

“So? I am not a sales whore here, I have a good job,” Susan replied.

“You don’t think what you’re doing is sales? When a customer says, `I want to talk to the dealer,’ and he winds up on the other side of your desk, or talking to you on the phone? If you treat him like you treat me, he’s going to storm out of here and tell everyone he can talk to, `Don’t buy a car from Tim Hanson Ford.’”

“I don’t treat customers like that,” she said stiffly.

“So why do you treat me like that?” I yelled. Before she could speak, I said, “Susan Cooper, you shall be friendly and helpful around me from now on, so that you’ll be by-god in practice when you talk to customers. And Susan Gloria Cooper, the friendlier you are to me, the more helpful you are to me, the better. Got me?”

She. . .

EDIT: Added 2013.05.03—
Buy Names Have Power now! You know you want to.

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EDIT: Added 2014.06.27—
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THE BIMBORG—First Three Chapters

THE BIMBORG front cover

Chapter 1-A: Invasion At The Farm

Summer, 2008

I, James Upton, changed the future in 2008.

I was reassembling the carburetor when I heard video-game sounds: zheorr, zheorr! You’re not supposed to hear video-game sounds in a barn.

It wasn’t my barn, of course, but rather my aunt’s and uncle’s. At the moment, Uncle Pete and Aunt Linda and the farmhands were all in town, so I was alone.

It pleased me that my uncle trusted me to be alone with heavy machinery. (Of course, I was fifteen then.)

To the strange noises coming from outside was added a yell: “Goddamn Cybes! why couldn’t they stay in the 27th century where we belong?”

“Because they know that Jimmy Upton is alone in the barn for 2.6 more hours!” someone yelled back.

Since I am Jimmy Upton (call me James), I immediately thought What the fuck? and Who the hell are the “Cybes”?

I hurried across the barn to the west-side big doors. There’s a one-inch gap between the big doors, even when they’re shut. So without being seen myself, I was able to see outside.

Standing outside the barn, their backs to me, were men and women in jumpsuits of dark green, dark blue, dark yellow, and maroon. They were firing ray-guns—complete with flashes of light and strange sound effects. And as weird as that was, it was nothing compared to whom these guys were shooting at.

At first I thought they were robots, because I was seeing so much metal. These people, both men and women, each had metal that was covering parts of their legs and arms. But they had the trunks and heads of people—except that they each had a weird helmet-like thing covering the top of his/her head and eyes, and they each had some weird structure running across the front of his/her chest at the heart. Each of these guys was flushed, as though with fever. These robot-people looked scary as hell.

The biggest and most armored of the robot-men had things built into their left arms that blasted lightning at the jumpsuit-people. Most of the jumpsuit-people jumped out of the way, but two people in maroon jumpsuits were electrocuted. Meanwhile, the smaller robot-men and all of the robot‑women were shooting ray-guns.

One of my defenders yelled, “I’m fighting for the Planetary Alliance and its Space Navy. What are you fighting for, Cybes?” Sarcastically he added, “Welcoming?

All the robot-people spoke as a chorus: “We are the Cybes. You cannot succeed, Space Navy. Defense is pointless.”

Then I heard pounding on the barn’s east-side human door, and a woman’s voice was calling, “Jimmy? Jimmy Upton? Are you in there?” I didn’t recognize her voice.

I was getting weirded out. I get a drop-in visitor at the same time as I have spacemen from the future battling outside? I went to the door but didn’t open it. “Who’s there?”

“Miss Smith, Jenny Smith.” When I didn’t say anything, she added, “I taught Computer Literacy class when you were in fifth grade. You invited me to your house that Christmas, remember?”

It didn’t occur to me till too late to ask myself, How’d she know where my uncle’s farm was? By the time I’d thought that, I’d already unlocked the padlock and opened the door.

The Cybe that had once been Miss Smith pushed her way into the barn.

She was naked, except for her metal parts. She was shorter than I remembered, but that didn’t make her less scary. Instead of a lightning-shooter on her left arm, her left arm was bare (and flushed red), with a box-like thing on the back of her hand. Metal tubes ran from that box to her pinky finger—

Her pinky finger had mutated. Instead of a pinky nail, it now sported a plastic-like cone that tapered to a needle. I did not want to get that needle in me. That “syringe” had to be filled with nanobots!

Once inside the barn, Miss Smith’s speaking changed, becoming flat and robotic: “The Overmind calms you. The Overmind frees you from emotion. The Overmind gives knowledge. We Welcome you into the Overmind.

I ran away from her then—but I stayed inside the barn. The video-game and zzzap sounds were still coming from outside the barn, so trying to escape from the barn in either direction wasn’t an option.

She chased me all around the barn. She wasn’t as fast as me, but she never got tired. Fifteen minutes later, I was panting and sweaty, and she was still chasing me. I grabbed up a shovel and tried to knock her flat. A purple rectangle appeared in the air, three inches in front of her chest, as I was swinging. When my shovel hit the purple rectangle, it was like hitting a wall. Miss Smith seemed unaffected by it all. I dropped the shovel and ran again.

I had a plan by then—a desperate plan, admittedly. I ran away to where the fire axe and the rubber gloves were kept, and tossed them into the storage loft. I was climbing the ladder into the loft when Miss Smith showed up. She started to climb the ladder.

In the loft were two objects big enough to hide behind. Miss Smith headed for the refrigeration compressor, because it was bigger. As she walked past, I stepped out from behind the irrigation pump. I was wearing the rubber gloves, and holding the fire axe backward. I swung the axe coming up from a low position, so that the axe’s pointy side hit her right where the base of her skull joined her neck.

She gave off sparks, as she began speaking the same seven words in a language I’d never heard before. Then she went silent, as she fell forward onto her face. I watched her for ten minutes, looking for any twitch of movement. There was none.

It was silent outside as well. I went to the west-side barn door and looked through the crack: I saw nobody. Nearly wetting myself with fear, I unbarred the doors and went outside.

Outside I found no spacemen, no Cybes and, oddly, no corpses. The only sign that there’d been a ray-gun battle here was a scorch mark on the barn. That, and an oak tree was burning.

I went in the barn and up the ladder to Miss Smith, who still had not moved. Now clearly visible was a boxy shape that was attached to her back, between her shoulder blades. An electric cable of some kind ran from the box to the base of her skull and into her brain. My axe-hit had cut that cable.

I cut off the box that was on her back, the box that had grown on her left hand, and her pinky needle. Then I buried the rest of her just outside the barn, underneath the hay baler. No ordinary animal would be digging up her corpse, under the weight of that baler!

I wept for the nice lady she had been four years ago. She couldn’t even change out a hard drive, but in fifth grade she’d gotten me interested in building computers. Hell, she’d made me feel like a genius. And now she was dead, I’d killed her, and she’d died looking and acting like a monster. Fuck.


I walked out of the barn, and noticed that the oak tree had burned itself out by then. It was while I was looking at the oak tree that I saw something strange happen in the air above the oak tree.

A black point appeared in the air, which almost instantly expanded in every direction, becoming a giant floating metal cube. A moment later, my ears popped.

The cube had grooves cut into each of the three faces that I could see. The cube, I realized, was a ship of some kind; each of the three faces had a big thruster-hole in the center of the face, with eight mini-thrusters surrounding each center thruster.

The cube-ship was in trouble. Even though the thruster on the bottom was shooting blue flame to move the cube higher, the cube was slowly sinking down. Also, the cube was wobbling and tumbling, and mini-thrusters on every side were firing short blue bursts to make the cube straighten up and fly right.

Most damning of all, all three faces had scorch marks; and the north-side face also had a spot where the metal had melted, filling in the grooves. The cube was giving off gray smoke and black smoke, and I saw two faces leaking a black liquid.

I knew I was looking at either the Cybes’ ship or the Space Navy ship, and I wondered what I should do if the ship crashed or exploded. Then I realized: I’m not obligated to help the fuckers who turned Miss Smith into a monster and tried to kidnap me.

But none of my worries came true. The cube quit wobbling; it stopped sinking. It rose in the air, as it swiftly shrank to a rising black point. A moment later, my ears popped again. After ten seconds, the black point vanished.

I watched for ten minutes, waiting for the damaged cube-ship to reappear. But after ten minutes of seeing only blue sky and clouds, I went in the house.


My uncle and aunt and the farmhands returned twenty minutes later, in a different truck than they’d left in. Uncle Pete said, “Yeah, the Ford threw a rod, so ‘a movie and fast food’ turned into a real adventure. How about you, Jimmy? What’s new?”

I pointed out the window to the oak tree. I said, “A lightning storm came through, and set the tree on fire.”

I shrugged and added, “Otherwise, it’s been a boring, ordinary day.”

Chapter 1-B: I Learn My Future

The summer ended, and I went back to Grand City and my parents. I brought with me the two boxes and the needle that I’d taken off Miss Smith’s Cybefied corpse.

During the next three years, I spent all my free time in my basement workshop.

Actually, it was my dad’s workshop—but he wasn’t there to use it much. He started “working late,” then my mom filed for divorce and he moved out. For a while, Mom didn’t get off the couch, then she went through a phase when she went out every night, then she started spending lots of time over at David’s apartment. I barely noticed, I was so obsessed with cracking the mystery.

The Cybes from the 27th century had come back almost to Y2K to grab me. They’d Welcomed my fifth-grade teacher, just to make sure I myself got Welcomed. Meanwhile, the other people from the future, my protectors, knew that the Cybes would come for me. Why? What did the future know about me?


2010

Two years after I’d killed Miss Smith and robbed her body, I still didn’t have answers to my ultimate question, but I knew what the two boxes and the cone needle were for.

I learned exactly who the Cybes were. The Cybes were the terror of the 27th century because if you fought them, killing one of your men is not the worst thing that the Cybes could do to you.

Nope, your soldier might get Welcomed by them, and then everything that this soldier knew about your weapons, defenses, and tactics, the Cybes would now know, through the Overmind. Worst of all, this Cybefied soldier’s loyalties would get completely and instantly changed, and he would wind up fighting against you as an Overmind-linked drone.

Individual Cybe drones were organized into clans; all the different clans together made up the multi-planetary Cybe hive. This Cybe hive was made up of—
• 427 human-colony planets that had been 99.9 percent Cybefied;
• the entire planet of the Stone Age-level Mrraok (cat people); and
• one captured ship filled with Amigogi interplanetary traders.

While the Overmind gave all the Cybes an inhuman level of agreement in what they did, Cybes also had Cybe Alpha in charge. Cybe Alpha gave orders when a decision was needed quickly.

By the year 2652 (the year that this clan of Cybes had come from), there were (are? would be?) specialties within the Cybes. The Cybes shooting lightning at the Space Navy were Soldiers. The Cybes shooting ray-guns at the Space Navy, as well as the former Miss Smith, all were Welcomers.

I had guessed correctly, back at my uncle’s farmhouse, that inside the plastic cone and needle were billions and billions of nanobots, whose job it was to convert a human body into a Cybe.

The box and cable on any Cybe’s back that connected to that Cybe’s brain were to connect that Cybe to the Overmind, by uploading and downloading thoughts and memories.

But providing a brand-new Cybe with its orientation and initial protocols was discovered to be too taxing of Overmind resources, for too unimportant a task. (Translation: It slurped up bandwidth.) So instead of a new Cybe getting orientation from the Overmind, by 2652 everything that the new Cybe needed to know was broadcast from the transmitter on the Welcomer’s hand.

There was a third kind of Cybes, the Invisibles. Invisibles looked like regular humans (or Mrraok, or Amigogi) and mimicked the speech and actions of regular humans, thanks to their Turing Subroutines. An Invisible’s Overmind module wasn’t a box on its back; but rather, a small hemisphere on the back of its skull, easily hidden by hair or fur. Invisibles couldn’t Welcome, and they couldn’t fight like Soldiers could fight, but Invisibles could blend in perfectly, while reporting everything they saw and heard to the Overmind.

It was the Invisibles who made the Cybes even more terrifying in the 27th century. By the time the people in a human community ever laid eyes on Soldiers and Welcomers, chances were good that the Overmind already knew who that community’s leaders were, and what defenses they had. Entire settlements were Welcomed without their defenders being able to fire a shot.

Finally, there were a small fraction of Cybe Leaders. Leaders were red-skinned, unlike Invisibles; and Leaders had the armor and force-field generators of Soldiers, but didn’t have any built-in weaponry. Leaders weren’t artificially tall and strong, like Soldiers were; but this meant that Leaders weren’t quick-tempered like Soldiers were. Only a Cybe Leader could become Cybe Alpha.

One thing that the Cybes did not have, I noticed, was a “Cybe King” or “Cybe Queen”—

Meaning, someone who hadn’t been Cybefied, so that his/her  thoughts couldn’t be read by the Overmind, but who could give orders to Cybe Alpha and to the Overmind both.


When I finally solved the mystery, Why me?, I was eighteen, and it was a week after my high-school graduation. I tell you, if I’d been legal to buy liquor that night, I would have gotten myself blotto on the nastiest, cheapest rotgut I could find. But forced to stay sober, I watched my Ghostbusters DVD five times in a row.

In my place, you’d have done the same thing. You see, I created the Cybes.


Once upon a time, around 2050 or so, there was a professor of nanotechnology named Jimmy Upton.

Compared to the 27th century, nanotechnology in the 2050s was primitive. You built the nanobots outside the human body, you loaded every nanobot with the same program outside the human body, and you injected all the nanobots into the human body. Then every nanobot followed the same program, whether it was inside the heart or inside the hand. Each nanobot could sense only hydrogen ions, hydroxide ions, and carbon dioxide. Like I said, nanotechnology in the 2050s was “primitive.”

In the 2050s, what did nanotechnology professors do? They tried to figure out how to stuff a few more computer instructions into a nanobot’s brain, or how to make the nanobot a little faster or a little smaller. Everyone accepted the “limits” of nanotechnology: Every little ’bot has to behave the same as every other ’bot.

But in 2055, “I” (my older self) published a paper declaring that it was possible to create a system in which every nanobot in the body could report back what it was finding, and could receive tailored instructions. This could be achieved, “my” paper declared, by building a little transmitter/receiver into every nanobot.

To put it bluntly, “my” paper was laughed at. For a nanobot to work right, it has to be small enough to pass through blood capillaries. It was gleefully pointed out that even the smallest transmitter-receiver that was imaginable in 2055 would make the nanobot way too big for human capillaries.

Imagine an astronomy professor, who has a Ph.D. and an observatory, claiming that there are men on Mars and that the Martians want to meet us. A nut case, right? That’s how “I” was viewed within the nanotechnology community.

“I” persisted. Yet instead of persuading anyone, I was labeled a crackpot and fired from the university. And for the rest of “my” life, I remained in disgrace, a national joke—when “I” died, only my elderly Aunt Linda came to my funeral.

“I” died in 2064 with my reputation a joke. But in 2314, the anti-tachyon microtransmitter was invented. Soon after that, someone remembered my “ridiculous” theory, and the CNS (Coordinated Nanobot System) was perfected in 2331.

Nanobot breast-enhancement became commonplace overnight. Near-eternal youth became possible; within a few years, it became affordable. By 2354, comedians were making jokes about great-grandparent/great-grandchild incest. Women over a hundred years old became call girls—and stole clients away from young whores.

Meanwhile, unnoticed by anyone in the news media, the men and women being sent to the gold-mining prison planet Tizurka IV were getting their bodies nanobot-modified, so that they could live and work on the planet without spacesuits. As part of their modifications, their projective-telepathy psychic abilities were enhanced.

In 2419, Rachel Toyomachi was convicted of hacking Earth’s planetary-defense computer system. To “make an example of her,” the judge sentenced her to Tizurka IV. Once there, she proved herself to be a skilled hacker but a poor programmer—when she hacked into the nanobot-control computer, she accidentally created the Overmind.

In 2427, two mine-collapses occurred on Tizurka IV within the same month. The Tizurka miners declared the mines to be unsafe, and declared a work stoppage. Thanks to the Overmind, that work stoppage was 99.9999 percent effective.

Interestingly, there were fourteen miners on Tizurka IV who kept working, in order to toady up to the warden. They were part of the Overmind, but they didn’t obey what the Overmind said.

Anyway, in 2427, gold-mining on Tizurka IV came to a halt. Halliburton PanStellar immediately demanded that the Space Navy “do something.”

The Space Navy, not understanding what it was dealing with, sent a squad of Epsilon Force Marines in spacesuits to “neutralize” the Tizurka IV leadership. Alas, the Space Navy never asked itself the question, “What happens when a man who needs a spacesuit fights a man who doesn’t?”

After that embarrassment, the Space Navy sent an entire company of Space Marines to the surface of Tizurka IV. It took those men longer to die.

The Space Navy took time to consider its options, then sent an entire battalion to Tizurka IV in 2428, under the command of General Karl Mbomo. But when the battalion arrived on-planet, they discovered that the Overmind-connected Tizurkans had concocted a new defense.

A Private Chong was the first offworlder to be Welcomed. A Major Lech!-Chich was the second. General Mbomo  was third.

When General Mbomo got Welcomed, the Overmind-linked people on Tizurka IV became the first Cybes, and Mbomo became the first Cybe Alpha.


And all this happened because in 2055, “I” wanted to prove how smart “I” was by publishing that damned paper.

Well, one thing was for sure: This Jimmy Upton wasn’t going to make that mistake!

Even though I now knew how to build and to program my own Cybe-making nanobots that communicated with each other by anti-tachyons—thus proving that “my” paper was correct.


Or so I resolved. I would have kept this knowledge quiet—never publishing it, never using it—until Mom’s boyfriend’s daughter Stephanie spoke fateful words at Thanksgiving dinner.

David’s daughter Stephanie stood up from the table, her plate in her hand.

“What are you doing?” Mom asked.

“The stuffing’s too cold,” she said. “I’m gonna nuke it.”

“Honey, don’t do that,” Mom said. “You’ve got cranberry on your plate. Cranberry is a dish that is best served cold.”

“It’s my food, Ellen,” Stephanie said. “If I want to microwave it, I’m going to microwave it, and you can’t stop me.”

“Go ahead, Steph, if you need to,” David said.

“Hot cranberries?” I said. “You’re weird, Stephanie.” Understand that when I said this, I was making a joke.

Stephanie looked down her nose at me. “Whereas you are a loser, and you’ll die a loser.”

That hit too close to home, because of what had happened to my other self in 2064. That’s when, in my anger and hurt, I crossed a line in my mind.

“I” had died in 2064 being called an idiot, a fool, even crazy. Well, this James Upton would show Stephanie—no, I’d show them all!

Chapter 1-C: Queen Stephanie-1

It really doesn’t matter why I did everything I did, does it?

After Stephanie’s insult during Thanksgiving dinner, I spent months in my workshop, rewriting all that nanobot programming.

But the nanobot hardware, this I left alone. Mechanical engineering in the 27th century is a wonder to behold, and comparing Cybe electronic engineering to what we have now? Resistors are feudal.


2011

Listen here, have I told you about Exnillo packs? They’re not much to look at—one of them is about the size of two shirt buttons glued together—but they’re amazing technology.

An Exnillo pack takes energy from. . .the universe, basically. Year-2011 science says this baby can’t exist, and yet I’ve got one powering the Cybe computer I stole. Keep using a ray-gun till its Exnillo pack is dead, and the sucker will recharge itself in 24 hours. In the 27th century, fossil-fuel technology is thought to be “quaint.”

Here’s what I’m proud of: I figured out a way to grow an Exnillo pack inside a woman, as part of the bimborg-ization process.

This is a big achievement. For one thing, Cybes don’t have built-in Exnillo packs. Cybe Welcomers take their energy from little battery packs inside their armor, while Cybe Soldiers use big battery packs. But either way, the battery pack only gets recharged after a Cybe has spent the night in a Recharging Chamber.

My bimborg, whether Pleasure Units/Welcomers, Ass-Kicker Babes, or Spy Babes, don’t need no stinkin’ Recharging Chambers.

If I want to have an orgy at 3 a.m., my Pleasure Units aren’t standing in a box then. You want to send a squad of Special Ops guys to attack me at 3 a.m.? My Ass-Kicker Babes aren’t standing inside a box either.

Yeah, there’s a big design tradeoff. Besides being much weaker than a Cybe Soldier, a bimborg Ass-Kicker Babe can’t shoot lightning bolts like a Soldier can. On the other hand, at three a.m., an Ass-Kicker Babe is ready to fight, while a Soldier must stand in his box and recharge.

But let’s be honest, huh? I didn’t cook up these improved designs so I could have more deadly bimborg bodyguards. Nope, I designed things this way so that any Pleasure Unit would be truly “a 24‑hour fucking machine.”


Eventually my work was done; the day came when I showed up at Stephanie’s apartment, supposedly to apologize for something I’d said.

“Is the wine chilled?” she demanded to know. “Or did you leave it in the trunk of your car?”

“It just came from the refrigerator,” I replied. “Even I know, wine is a drink that is best served cold.”

My left hand held out the bottle of amontillado that was my supposed “apology gift”; my right hand was in my pocket. As smirking Stephanie took the bottle from my hand, I stepped forward and, using the cone-needle Cybe thing as my syringe, injected her in the back of her neck.

Stephanie pushed me away, too late. She grabbed the bottle of sherry by the neck, intending to use it on me as a club. She screamed at me to get out—or rather, sheintended to scream at me.

She couldn’t utter a sound.

Panic replaced anger on her face. That quickly was replaced by calmness.

When five minutes and 27 seconds had elapsed since I’d needled her, I said, “Administrator command: Mute override.”

Stephanie paused, then replied in a calm voice, “This unit senses no others. Is this unit the first bimborg unit?”

“Correct,” I said. “Your unit number is 1.”

“Who is Alpha? Is this unit Bimborg Alpha?”

“I am James Upton, Bimborg King. I am in command. You are in command of all bimborg, subject to my orders. Your function is Bimborg Queen; I don’t like the termAlpha.”

“Understood. What is Bimborg Unit-1’s designation?”

I almost got smart-aleck and said Stephanie of Nine West, since she was such a shoe-buying fiend. Instead I said, “Your designation is ‘Stephanie-1.’ A unit’s designation will be that unit’s Solitary first name, followed by her unit number.”

“All units will comply.”

Now comes the good part, I thought. Hopefully. Aloud I said, “I call subroutine Turing-Bimbo.”

Her expression and body language changed completely. “Ooh, Jimmy, you are sooo sexy! Let’s drink some of this wine and then, like, I’m gonna make you see stars.”

“Call me James from now on. Even in front of my mom or your dad.”

“You got it, James. So, tiger, is there, like, anything you want to do now?” Her voice sounded like a phone-sex operator.

“Yes,” I said, “I want you to get naked. And while you do, tell me your standard orders as Bimborg Queen.”

“Sure thing, lover.” As she unbuttoned her blouse, she said, “As a bimborg I’m to, like, fuck and suck you silly whenever you tell me to, and, you know, otherwise obey your every command. I will always dress to get you so totally hot; also, I’m to act, you know, sizzling hot and horny for you, but like totally uninterested in every other guy. As a bimborg, I must, every moment, do the whole ‘Three Laws of Robotics’ thing when it comes to you.” Pulling down her skirt, she added, “As Queen, I’m to Welcome the first Pleasure Units/Welcomers, Ass-Kicker Babes, and Spy Babes, and make sure that every unit acts totally like a good little bimborg, you know?”

I said, “Supplemental Order One for the Bimborg Queen: Cover all traces of everything we do, so that neither the military nor any level of law enforcement notices anything unusual.”

“Ooh, I will comply,” she said in a sexy voice.

“Supplemental Order Two for the Bimborg Queen: Subject to the limitations of Supplemental Order One, if you see a way to make my life better, then do so.”

“You got it, stud muffin,” Stephanie said.

“Arouse,” I said. Her nipples popped up. I put my hands on her tits, and she smiled at me. I said, “Your tits feel burning hot.”

“Will they get bigger?” she asked.

I nodded. “And your hair and fingernails will get longer soon.”

She said, “Good. Big tits please you.”

I took Stephanie to bed—

She lay on the bed, legs up and spread, and her arms reached for me. “My wet, eager pussy wants you, King James. Fuck me! Fuck me with your hard, throbbing cock!”

Stephanie-1 was indeed wet and eager; she was also agreeable and inexhaustible. She knew a trick with her pussy muscles—Wow.

EDIT: Added 2013.05.03—
Buy The Bimborg now! You know you want to.

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EDIT: Added 2014.11.14—
Kindle BLOCKED! But you can buy the ebook in MOBI format through Smashwords
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Writing a “Star Trek” parody is harder than it looks

In my post of September 15th, I told you the sales blurb for my upcoming soft-core porn novel The Bimborg.

Now, I didn’t come out and say it was a “Star Trek” parody, but between the art and the sales blurb, Trekkies will figure this out.

Well, I’ve since come to figure out that if my novel is a “Star Trek” parody, then it has to be just like “Star Trek” in one respect: It has to have epic battles.

I’ve published two previous novels as Doctor MC. The climax in both Names Have Power and Three More Wishes involved the good guy fighting the bad guy in a one-against-one confrontation. But with Bimborg, I’m not revealing any big spoilers to tell you that at least once in the novel, Charlie-Bob Owens and the bimborg have to fight off a whole lot of evil Cybes.

You’ll have fun when you read the chapter(s). But writing Cybes-v.-bimborg chapters is hard.

The first reason is that I’ve never been a general or admiral, so it’s a challenge for me to make what happens when imaginary armies collide, be believable.

The second reason is that an army has more options than an individual has. So when I have an evil army fighting a good army, I have to consider many more plot options of how the battle could go.

The third reason is that the action during a big-battle chapter is supposed to be exciting, so I need to do more plotting per page. In the beginning of the novel, I can spread out my plot points to one per page or one per several pages; but in the big battle scenes, a plot point might only take up two paragraphs before another plot point hits.

But am I complaining, saying “The life of a novelist is oppressive”? Not at all.

Follow me a moment—

I as a reader don’t like literature or “Chick Lit” where the entire story is a bunch of people talking and crying. When I pick up a novel, I want things to happen!

When events happen in a novel, it’s because the novelist plotted those events to happen.

Well, I give a lot of thought to my plotting, and the result is that in my stories, exciting things just seem to happen. I take great pride in that.

I don’t neglect the emotional parts, though I make them secondary. In both Names Have Power and Three More Wishes, the hero doesn’t change much, but someone near to the hero changes for the better during the novel. In Names Have Power, that person is Susan Cooper; and in Three More Wishes, both Fatima the genie and Virgilia the stripper have personal-growth character arcs.

So shall it continue in The Bimborg. Wait till you see what happens to the high-school girl who is originally known as Nightshade the witch.

But to get back to my original point: Writing The Bimborg has turned out to be the biggest writing challenge I’ve ever taken. But IMNSHO, you “Star Trek” fans will be blown away by the results.

Want to see the front cover and read the back-cover blurb?

Want to read the first three chapters?

EDIT: Added 2013.05.03—
Buy my books now! You know you want to.

The Bimborg

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EDIT: Added 2013.12.22—
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Three More Wishes: Be Kind To Your Genie

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Names Have Power

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