Archive for the ‘General Topics of Interest’ Category

Who likes sharing the road with idiots? I know I don’t, though I’ve found yelling at the windshield until bits of my lungs are expectorated on the glass seems to have no effect. It’s obvious the police are stretched to the max with real crime and don’t have time to correct minor infractions of traffic etiquette.

I have a solution. Let’s create a squadron of NFL referees in zebra-striped cars to patrol our streets and issue penalties for egregious violations of road courtesy. These infractions would not be paid for in monetary fines, but rather in the one currency people seem to value most: time.

Here is my list of violations and suggested punishments. Feel free to add your own.

Pass interference – An infraction occurs when a driver fails to get their lazy, stupid ass out of the passing lane when faster traffic approaches from the rear. Violators will be flagged and forced to return to their starting point to resume their journey.

Holding – Maintaining a speed BELOW the posted limit even though unimpeded by traffic. Violators of holding penalties will be forced to drive in circles in a Costco parking lot for twenty minutes on a Saturday afternoon.

Illegal use of hands, hands to the face – Any use of an electronic device, such as a cell phone, GPS, radio, or vibrator, while driving. Violations will result in a penalty of one-point-five miles, or half the distance from home, whichever is greater.

Clipping – A clipping penalty is incurred when the driver wanders the hell over into a lane other than the one they are using. Their car is placed at the spot of the foul and they will be ridiculed in public before being allowed to proceed.

Delay of game – Failure to execute an expeditious transit of an intersection for any reason. Violators will be left on the side of the road with two flat tires and no jack.

False start – If, while stationary at stop light, a driver jerks forward because the light next to them changed from red to green, thereby causing others to jump forward, they are guilty of a false start. Punishment will include loss of start when their light changes.

Personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct – A driver commits a personal foul if they buy a bigass vehicle they can’t properly operate because a.) they are a small woman and operating a big vehicle gives them a false sense of power, or b.) they are a male and have a small penis. Evidence of this personal foul will be a.) any failure to adequately and correctly park said monstrous vehicle in a timely and forthright manner between the lines painted on the parking lot, b.) tires big enough to house a family of four, or c.) inability to see over the steering wheel.

Feel free to add your own penalties. We’ll be back, right after this commercial break…

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The Joy of Living with a SPW*
(*Self-Proclaimed Wit – aka The Wife’s Burden)

Living with a Self-Proclaimed Wit is like owning a dog that chews your favorite shoes to ribbons every third Tuesday, or with a cat that shreds your curtains. It’s a constant struggle between affection and reaching for a blunt object. Example:

Spouse says: I’m running to the store.

SPW: Okay, but wouldn’t it be faster to take the car?

*cue moderately exasperated sigh*

The SPW has no control over the impulse toward wittery. Or is that wittibility? Ensconced upon the throne of smirkiness, the SPW’s reflex action is to pun, and pun hard, much like a boxer counter-jabs. Example:

Spouse: I’m going to hop in the shower.

SPW: Much better to stand still; hopping in the shower is dangerous.

See? It’s like breathing. Normal input is received, smart-assery is expelled. Many people believe this a character flaw, or a defense mechanism, to which the SPW responds, “You mean like a gate latch?” (De-fence mechanism…Get it? A mechanism for a fence? *cue heavy sigh*)

Sometimes, on rare occasions, like three times a day, the SPW’s reflex action gets him into trouble. Example:

Spouse: I’m going to go pick up my mother.

SPW: Remember to lift with your legs.

Stay tuned for the next post, titled The Joy of Living Alone.

 

Here’s some news.

Available now, White Powder Cowboys, a short story published in Dark City Mystery Magazine.

Pre-Order for immediate delivery to your Kindle on November 6th: Yeager’s Getaway. Send me an email at snapshooter4hire@gmail.com if you want to get an advanced e-book in exchange for writing an Amazon review.

Yeagers-Getaway-500x800-Cover-Reveal-And-PromotionalAbel Yeager has settled into a life of domestic bliss with his lovely wife, Charlotte. He’s left the violence and bloodshed behind to concentrate on being a good father and husband. For their long-delayed honeymoon, Abel and Charlie take a Hawaiian cruise. They’re looking forward to hiking volcanoes and sightseeing, once they meet up with Victor “Por Que” Ruiz and his new love, Dr. Alexandra Lopez.

Their idyllic vacation explodes in violence when a group of Hawaiian separatists, incited by a foreign power, rip through the islands, leaving blood and destruction in their wake. When Charlie is caught up with a group of hostages held by the terrorists as human shields, Abel is forced back into warrior mode.

The Hawaiians are supported by a few dozen foreign special forces soldiers, modern gear, and plenty of munitions. Abel has the help of three septuagenarian Vietnam veteran Marines and his pal Victor. Outnumbered and outgunned, Abel will stop at nothing to rescue his wife.

via Working Stiffs by Scott Bell

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Why is it?

Posted: June 7, 2018 in General Topics of Interest

Why is it when the sign says “2 Left Lanes Closed Ahead” it always comes as a surprise to some people when they reach the barricades?

Why is it called social media when many of the people you meet there are not social?

Why is it people use jogging strollers? I see those people running around and I think, “That kid’s not getting any exercise at all.”

Why is it women use so much toilet paper?

Why is it the last little bit of soap lasts longer than the three-quarters of the bar that came before it?

Why is it “10 items or less” is so confusing?

Why is it people who are not reading always want to talk to the person who is reading?

Why is it some people continue their cell phone conversation while using the restroom? (Do they think the person on the other end of the line can’t hear their farts?)

Why is it people know more about Kim Kardashian than the Constitution?

Why is it twenty-five cents is a quarter, but ten cents is not a tenth?

Why is it people who build homes on the sides of volcanoes seem so shocked when lava wipes them out?

Why is it people complain about politicians but keep voting for the same ones?

Why is it people who scream the loudest about their open-mindedness have the least tolerance for divergent opinions?

Why is the US government spends $42-billion on foreign aid, yet can’t get you a passport in under four to six weeks?

Why is people have so many questions, but so few answers?

My Anxiety Closet was getting over-full, so instead of renting space at the Anxiety Self-Storage, I decided to clean it out. I was able to throw out a bunch of dusty, old anxieties that were taking up too much space. In the junk pile went…

  • FORGETTING TO REWIND VHS TAPES
  • NOT FOLDING A MAP CORRECTLY
  • NOT REMEMBERING THE NUMBER FOR TIME AND TEMPERATURE
  • ACCIDENTALLY FILLING MY TANK WITH LEADED GAS.
  • CARRYING FILM THROUGH AIRPORT XRAYS
  • HAVING ROOM IN THE CAR FOR ALL MY 8-TRACKS
  • NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND A PAY PHONE
  • ZITS
  • SURVIVING A NUCLEAR WAR BY HIDING UNDER MY DESK
  • WHAT TO WEAR ON A FIRST DATE

Wow, I feel so much better, and I have so much more room now for new anxieties. Retirement, arthritis, and being first in line at Furr’s for the Friday All-You-Can-Eat buffet–I have room for all those and MORE!

 

Flash fiction piece. For the fun of it.

The Men’s Club, by Scott Bell

Javier Lazano arrived earlier than expected, but later than he planned. The door hissed open and he stepped inside.

Men packed the waiting room. Wall-to-wall males, configured in every shape, color, and size, all stuffed into a place the size of a breadbox with the décor of a post office and the charm of a skin rash. The air smelled stale, and a little rank.

Javier squeezed himself into a seat between a silver-haired, square-jawed gent in a three-piece suit and a roughneck sweating in the same stained overalls he’d worn to work that day. The former poked at his phone with a frown, muttering about service, while the latter shaved grunge from under his nails with a clasp knife.

He marveled at the variety of guys filling the room, from the richest to the poorest, handsome, average, and bone-deep ugly. Small clusters of interviewees chatted like they were in a sports bar. Others held their phones up as Do Not Disturb signs. A few stared into space. One man cried.

The interior door opened. Even at seventy-two, a spark of appreciation flickered through Javier when a woman of Amazonian build stepped through and surveyed the room over a pair of black-framed glasses. Tall, brunette, green-eyed, with classically beautiful features, the young lady wore a skirt that terminated just short of heart-stopping, and the deep V-cut of her blouse plummeted into midnight fantasies. Every eye in the room was drawn to her—even those of the men Javier suspected were gay.

The lady consulted a clipboard. “Charles Gamble?”

A man in a bright-colored Spandex bicycling outfit cleared his throat and stood. “Here.” Tucking his broken plastic helmet under one arm, the man entered the far room at the woman’s gesture. She followed, closing the door behind her.

The roughneck stirred. “Damn, if all the help looks like her, this might not be so bad. Better than the book promised, anyway.”

A man in Arab garb smirked.

One by one men disappeared into the interview room. Occasionally the outer door opened and new arrivals filtered in. Many seemed very surprised. At one point three soldiers in matching fatigues marched in. They looked very young to Javier.

When his turn came, Javier was surprised by the tremor in his legs and the egg lodged in his throat. The doorkeeper flickered a professional smile and waved him into a bare-walled room with two metal folding chairs and a card table. Not so much as a picture or water stain adorned the bare, bland, off-white walls.

The doorkeeper scraped up a seat, gestured to the other chair. “Thank you for coming.”

Javier smiled. What was the line? All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.

“I just have a few questions,” the green-eyed beauty said. She consulted her clipboard, which Javier realized was really a tablet of the kind his grandkids used for their games and internet things. “Most of your life data we have already compiled,” the woman continued, “and your admission looks favorable. We do like to have these one-on-one chats though. To assess a client in a more personal setting.”

“Ah—of course.”

“To verify, your name is Javier No-Middle-Name Lazano. Most recent occupation, janitor. High school graduate, no college. Total income after fifty-seven years’ employment: six-hundred and forty-thousand dollars.” Green eyes fixed him in place. “Not much, huh? Tell me, Javier Lazano, what have you accomplished in your life?”

Javier blinked. His mind went blank. “Um…nothing really.”

“Did you save anyone’s life?”

“No.”

“Did you build anything of significance?”

“No.”

“Fight in a war?”

“No.”

“Start your own business? Win accolades in sports at the professional or college level?”

“No.”

And on it went. With every question, Javier sank a little lower in his chair, each no forcing its way past his lips with greater effort. It was dismal really, how small and insignificant his life had been.

“All right,” said the woman said with a sigh. “How long were you married?”

“Forty-two years.”

“Cheat on your wife?”

“No!”

“How many children?”

“Three.”

“Grandkids?”

“Four.”

“And did you raise them right?”

“I…Did I…?” Javier blinked rapidly. “What?”

“It says here,” the woman read from her screen, “Javier Lazano worked at various jobs, sometimes several at once. His children had food, love, discipline, and his unfailing attention. Though not perfect, Lazano showed deep commitment to his wife, his children, and his community. Is that it?”

The woman’s green eyes knifed into Javier’s heart, stealing his breath and killing the words in his head. He had never been good at speaking, and now, with everything on the line, he found he had nothing to say in his defense. For it was true. He had never accomplished anything of note. Never done anything that would make a difference. Never got on TV, or made a speech, or rallied people to a great cause.

He managed to say at last, “Yes, it is true. That is all I ever been. I have worked hard to be true to my wife. Struggled to put food on the table and shoes on my children’s feet. Just a man, nothing more.”

“You have shouldered the burden of a decent man. Ungifted. Unrecognized. Rewarded only with love.” The woman’s full, red lips curled in a warm smile. “And that’s all we ever asked of you, Javier. Congratulations, you have the highest rating today.” She gestured to a door in the back wall that Javier had not noticed before.

A golden door, glowing with the light of love.

“Please go through,” said the woman. “And be welcome.”

With a body that no longer ached, Javier stood and shuffled past the woman, who encouraged him with another smile. His steps growing stronger and his back straighter, Javier Lazano went through the door. And was rewarded.

 

Red Adept Publishing is releasing Working Stiffs with a new cover and an introductory price of $2.99. Today, December 12th, is release day, so click and buy, buy, buy.

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American Book Fest 2017 Science Fiction Finalist

Joe Warren, an unemployed electrical engineer, has a terminally ill girlfriend and a bank account bumping rock bottom. Jobs are scarce in 2050, since nanotechnology has created the ability to animate the recently deceased, who are put to work performing menial labor at low wages. These Revivants have glutted the job market, leaving their living counterparts out in the cold.

Joe goes looking for a helping hand and mistakenly gets arrested with a group of freedom fighters. The only cause Joe wants to fight for is Joe, but federal agents coerce him into spying on the Children of Liberty.

When Joe reluctantly infiltrates the protest group, he finds something he never expected or wanted. Friends. And he discovers that maybe there are things in life worth fighting—and dying—for.

Joe from Sales: Hey, thanks for considering Momentous Occasions for your business needs. Your transaction with MO will be so expensive, you’ll need to lay off the costs to a third party, but no need to worry, we’ll handle all your billing and you’ll never have to deal with any of that. We have great food prepared by culinary artists, free WiFi, cable television, and every amenity to insure your happiness.

Customer: Okay, sign me up!

Cindy from Customer Intake: Read all the documents, sign here, sign here, initial here, here, and here. I will now label you with your wristband that will hang loosely and catch on everything. That way we can make sure you’re not mixed up with another customer and screw up your order so badly you lose and arm and a leg doing business with us.

Customer: Okay! What next?

Cindy: Wait over there until we call you.

Jeff from Operations: Hi, customer (reads name from clipboard), come with me. Please change into our special torture clothing that you can’t tie because we ingeniously put all the strings in back where you can’t reach them. Wait here.

(Clock ticks. Nothing happens for a long time.)

Maria from Operations: Hello, customer (reads name from chart). I’ll be jabbing you with this thing to make it easy for us to administer your account. We’ll be taping it to the back of your hand, where it will stay for duration of your transaction with us.

Gus from Operations: Ditto name thing. I’ll be blowing stuff up your nose to keep you completely ignorant of everything we do for the next two hours. Trust me, this will be a good thing.

Mal Cutter, Chief of Operations: What are we doing today? A full business review? No, just removing a slice of your internal organization. Good. I’ll be back when I’m ready and we’ll get started.

(Post transaction)

Mrs. Ratchett from Customer Care: Now that your transaction is complete, my staff will check in at oddly-spaced intervals and wake you at the point you’re about to go to sleep. We’ll poke you, stick you, squeeze your bicep to the point of pain, make you get up and walk the halls in your ridiculous gown and colorful socks, and bring you the dried chicken and cold peas prepared by our culinary artists.

Customer: Sounds great. I can’t wait to come back for more!