Preview – All In On Dead – Chapter Two

ZODIAC entered the world stage several years earlier, but failed to do so with any degree of grace.  Their first attempt to set themselves apart from the multitude of other global terrorist organizations bent on world domination ended in disaster, when a truck carrying explosives meant to destroy the American Embassy in Spain caught fire and exploded outside of Zodiac’s own “secret storage facility”.  As expected, the storage facility was no longer a secret after that blunder.  Another attempt at infamy, this time a planned assassination of the English Prime Minister while on vacation in the French Riviera, was just as unsuccessful.  The sniper that Zodiac hired to do the job had a peculiar habit of adjusting his position whilst peering through the scope of his rifle, resulting in the sniper’s abrupt demise when he misjudged his distance from the opened window.  He fell from a balcony and to his death, three blocks away from his target.

But now Zodiac was learning from past mistakes.  Clownish half-attempts at extortion and carnage had given way to genuine success.  Zodiac was responsible recently for helping to sneak East German scientists over the wall, only to ransom them back to the Soviet Union—returning the scientists in caskets after having extracted Soviet technological secrets from them, and then selling those secrets to the United States.  More recently, Zodiac had stolen advanced encryption technology from the United States Army, only to sell it back to the United States—after opening up the machines for themselves and selling blueprints of the inner workings to the Soviets.  Most recently, Zodiac supplied the IRA with the materials necessary to bomb locations in Ireland that were of strategic importance to England.

Though agencies like MI-6 and the CIA still considered them small fish in the larger global pond, their agents were made aware of Zodiac and its achievements.  In this way, Zodiac had finally broken from the pack and started to make a name for itself.

Agent Man-In-Charge’s bloodshot eyes flashed with contempt.  “A nest of vipers beholden to no nation, their leader—Cancer—will stop at nothing to gain control of the world and its people through an empire of fear and destruction.”

Agent Villain looked at Man-In-Charge and considered the Gamblin’ Pharaoh Pisces McCool.  “They certainly are dedicated to their theme, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” said Man-In-Charge, who took flask in hand once again to drain the rest of its contents.  “The upstarts have wanted global attention for years, and thus far have been content with playing both sides.  But a stronger relationship with the Soviets, more so than the actual guns, will give them a means to achieve the unthinkable.”  He stumbled forward a bit and put his hands on the table, steadying himself.  “Now you see why we need McCool to defect.  We need to remove the head from this snake before it has a chance to poison the world.”  Like a marionette without strings, Man-In-Charge clambered over to a filing cabinet, removed four folders from on top, and placed them on the table in front of the agents.

Immediately, Agent Big Fish burst into a fit of laughter.  “Oh, I get it!” he guffawed.  “Pisces!  It’s a fish!  And Cancer’s a crab!  The theme is the ocean!”  He sat back in his chair and grinned smugly.  Agent Pheromone leaned back in her chair and, reaching behind Agent Many Faces, punched Big Fish in the arm.

“You are being sent as a team,” said Man-In-Charge, “not because you work well together, or because any particular one of you—save Agent Villain—is especially good at this.  It is because our other specialist, Agent Misogynist, is in the Alps on holiday.”  He pulled a small bottle of rum from his side pocket, unwrapped the top with hands that no longer obeyed him as well as they did when the briefing began, and took a drink.  “In the folders before you are the mission parameters, which I probably should have handed out at the beginning, but tough luck, chaps.  The primary objective is to bankrupt McCool and force him to defect.  That hasn’t changed.  If Agent Chaste isn’t dead, of course you’ll want to rescue him—but he knew the dangers when he took this job.”  Man-In-Charge took another shot from the bottle and placed it on the file cabinet that sat looming above the projector.  “In fact, if you look in the backs of your folders, you’ll see a copy of the form that you each signed when you came on, stating that you—like Chaste—understand the dangers.”  He hiccupped.  “Upon arrival, you will check into rooms in the hotel under assumed names.  I lobbied for four rooms, but budget constraints only allowed for the reservation of three—so Big Fish and Villain will be staying in the same room.”

Villain’s eye widened in disbelief.

Big Fish’s face, however, beamed at the news.  “The last time I had a roomie was the ’68 Olympics, where I won three gold medals!”  He turned to Villain.  “This’ll be wild!  We’ll do everything together!  Eat, sleep, even bathe!”

At this, Villain grimaced and shuddered visibly.

“Now,” continued Man-In-Charge, “all that’s left to decide is who will enter the tournament.”

Villain raised his hand and grinned unpleasantly.  A plan was forming.  “I think Many Faces would be the best option.”

“What?!” cried Pheromone, who half-jumped out of her seat.  “I’m twice the gambler he is, by half!”

Many Faces nodded.  “That’s probably true,” he said.  “I’ve never gambled before in my life.”

“Yeah, but she’s a girl,” said Big Fish, earning himself another punch in the arm from Pheromone.

“You’ve a point,” said Man-In-Charge.  “She is a girl.”  He stroked his chin.  “There’s only one way to settle this: A game of chance.  We’ll flip a coin to see who, out of three attempts, comes up with the correct side the most!”  He swung his arms forward and knocked the open bottle of rum onto the projector, emptying its contents and causing the machine to spit sparks.  After several seconds, the machine shorted out entirely.  “Villain, you may, er, moderate.”

From his pocket, Villain produced a sixpence and held it out, balanced on his thumb.  “Call it in the air,” he said, and flipped the coin.

“Heads,” said Pheromone.

“The other one,” said Many Faces.  “Not-heads.  Queen?  No, that’s not right…”

Villain caught the coin in his open hand and, holding it close, glimpsed for himself the results.  It was heads.  “Tails,” he said, motioning to Many Faces.

Twice more, Pheromone correctly guessed which side landed upwards.  Twice more, Villain gave the victory to Many Faces.

Pheromone frowned.  “Well, I guess there’s no arguin’ that none,” she said.  “The better man won.”  She spit in her hand and held it out to Many Faces who, after hesitating for several seconds, shook it limply.

“Yes, well,” said Many Faces, wiping his hand on the torso of his maroon track suit, “don’t congratulate me yet.  I still have a tournament to win.”

“You’ll do fine, Feces,” said Man-In-Charge, who lumbered over to the group and away from the now-smoking projector.  “Good job and all that rubbish.  The rest will act as support, then, during the tournament and keep an eye out for any tomfoolery on Zodiac’s part.”  He handed Many Faces a slip of paper.  “You are to hand this to the hotel clerk when you arrive.  Reservations have already been made for you, and the entry deposit for the tournament has already been paid.  I, er, need to be elsewhere right now, but you all are to report to Agent Pilot in the secret hanger in an hour.  Pack only what you think you need.”

“Aw,” whined Big Fish, “aren’t we gonna see Agent Curmudgeon about some neat-o gadgets?”

“No,” replied Man-In-Charge.  “Not since you lot lost his equipment in the Congo.  He’s still upset about the laser-watch.”  Man-In-Charge grabbed the door knob and pulled, then turned the knob, then turned and pulled, finally opening the door.  “You have your orders,” he rasped as he slid out.  “One hour.”


All In On Dead: An MI-13 (Mis)Adventure is available now for Kindle through Amazon and The Fictosphere’s FictoStore.

Quick Update – 04/16/2016

So, the busy season is very close to being over.  Just a few more days and I’ll be (more) free (than usual lately) for another year, and can (laziness permitting) get back to posting (semi-) regularly.

What’s next?  Well, since the last two chapters of All In On Dead failed to drive any actual sales, I’m going to post the next two.  We’ll see who pays attention, and precisely how much ad space/advertising I’ll need to purchase in order to catch people’s attention.

To date, the Elisa Lam posts seem to be the biggest drivers of traffic to my blog.   I’ll be sure to post the next two speculation posts soon.

I feel like I blew my load on the poetry front…”The Ballad of the Coffee House Poser” is probably my best work, certainly my most seminal.  I have other poems from around the time I was in high school, some which were actually published in my school’s literary magazine at the time.  Maybe I’ll post those.  Time will tell.

As far as political commentary, things have been changing so quickly and I’ve been out of the loop for so long that I don’t think I’ll continue to comment–at least, not specifically.  I may still write posts about what I think of political correctness, or who I think the best candidate for president will be and why (SPOILER ALERT: Trump 2016).  But other than that, I won’t say much more.  Generally, the political world is one I attempt to avoid at the best of times anyway.

Something I’ve wanted to do for awhile is something I’ve dubbed the “Universal Horrors Challenge”, which is a mega-marathon of classic Universal horror movies (the entire existing catalogue, actually) dating from 1913 (IMP’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”) to 1960 (Hitchcock’s “Psycho”).  The marathon would conceptually include some of Universal’s purchased IPs, as well.  The goal would be to watch all of the movies on a pre-released list and write, video, or podcast a review for each–and all to be done within a year’s time.  I think the original list topped out at somewhere between 150 and 155 movies.  I’ll have to take another look at it and see if it is a viable thing to undertake in the future.

The Ballad of the Coffee House Poser; or, //_+-!?3

I.
Dave!
You wind up in the strangest places!
Dave and a donut with sprinkles
of pink.
Silly ninja.
You aren’t smarter than Mike P.
No one is.
The T-Virus infected the Fez,
the Fez infected the T-Virus.
Monkey and Pac-Man…
together at last.

II.
“Read a book of wordless wonders,”
the Fez spoke with a sarcastic tone.
The Cruton replies:
“I am the Wheel Man!”
Double O said, “Hello,Rhyming is fun.”
All are one
in the ultimate truth of the depths.

III.
There was a time when
Bob ran and pushed people to the
sounds of “Beep!  Beep!  #%$@!!!”
Tony was speaking, so all SHUT UP!
SHUT
UP
you Saigon whore!
I’m better off than I was before!
I’m a cat in a hat!  I will make you rhyme!
“BWAHA,” said Ian, “the day is mine!”

IV.
The noise continues,
Loud Friday it is!
The happiness comes to me…
The light goes away for a moment,then returns!  Sound and noise.
Noise and sound…continues…

V.
All is quiet now…
All is quiet as it was before,
here with my heart spilled on the floor.
“Kyle this,” and “Francis that,”
“Why don’t you lick Michelle’s loose twat?”
Oh no!  Hark!  The Phil draws nigh!
Soulless bodies are left to crumble in the
bright morning sky!
My ass, doth Phillip, is surely grass.
Grass, I say!
Bwaha!  BWAHA!
I am the Crane, and he is the tiger!
Moses is the twenty-second
of a line of
ninnies!

VI.
“Pika, Pika,” says the Chu.
“I think that I will thundershock you!
I know the law, and that’s no lie!
What am I: straight, a homo, or bi?”
Enough of this rhyme!  The Crane grows tired!
“Because I could not stop for death…”
The god of Z is married now, the ball and chain.
“He kindly stopped for me…”
The rhyme continues, depression sets in.
“His carriage held both him and me…”
Stop this infernal rhyme!
“And eternity.”

VII.
The misses of pining, the shortest outskirt.
The ninja and the robot are one in the same.
The robot and ninja, only one has a name.
Where is Dave?
AUGH!  STOP IT!
Can it get any worse?  Yes, yes, of course it can,
you slithering simpleton!
And then he ate the highly intelligent pickle.
YOU CAN DO IT NICKY!

Big Head

I.
Big Head looks through the garbage.
His paper was stolen and thrown away.
How will he sleep tonight?
He will not.

II.
Enis is his name.
It rhymes with something.
I cannot remember what.
Oh well.

III.
Big Head tries to fit his head
In the toilet to drown himself.
He cannot.
His head is too big.

IV.
Poor Big Head.
He will bring about the end of days
As his head will block out the sun.
It even appears on radar!

– From An Old Man’s Nocturnal Emissions
Randall Malus, c. 2000/2001

Quick Thoughts #1: DVDs from the UK

Here’s a new blog series I’m doing, since I have limited time and energy lately.

So, a few months ago, I discovered that I can play non-US DVDs and blu-rays on my laptop.  Apparently, you can switch regions up to five times before your laptop becomes locked on the last region to which you switched.

Example because I’m sleep-deprived and not sure I’m being clear:

We start with a default laptop coded for playing US DVDs.  Now, let’s say we watch DVDs from the following regions in this order:

  1. UK
  2. Japan
  3. US
  4. UK
  5. Japan

After the viewing numbered as “5”, the laptop would be region-locked and would only then recognize Japanese DVDs as viewable (so no more US or UK DVDs on that machine).

And this is great news for me for two reasons.

First, as a lover silent film–specifically, German silent film–this has allowed me to order items from the UK-based “Masters of Cinema”, which is like Kino-Lorber on steroids (since Kino’s releases usually come with sweet fuck-all in terms of special features and booklets) and like Criterion Collection on Red Bull (since Criterion’s versions of some of these releases come with only one commentary track instead of two).

Tangent: Why do I care about special features and commentary tracks?  Well, because I like learning, but that’s the boring, programmed, and not strictly true answer.  It’s really because I’ve been interested in these old films since I was literally four years old (thanks Grandma, thanks Dad), and have thus engaged them in so many different ways throughout my lifetime that there’s very little in themselves that’s new to me anymore.  Special features, booklets, interviews with the creators, etc. are, then, new ways in which to engage this old material.  So even if the next DVD release of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (which is still missing five minutes from its original cut, by the way) contains nothing new but a ten minute video of director Fritz Lang taking a shit while talking about how taking this hypothetical shit is harder than the entire filming of Metropolis, I’ll buy it because it’s something related to Metropolis that I haven’t seen before.  Disgusted?  Good.

Second, as a lover of money (and, thus, of saving money), I’ve discovered that most UK DVDs that interest me are cheaper than their American counterparts.  For instance, did you know that classic series Doctor Who DVDs go for $30 to $40 here in the US?  If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you did know that–and all too well, I’d wager.  And out-of-print classic Doctor Who DVDs go for much more, often racking-up anywhere from $60 to upwards of $500 on eBay, depending upon the DVD in question.  Not so in the UK.  Their classic Doctor Who DVD releases (which are identical to their US counterparts in terms of presentation and special features, mind you) rarely go out-of-print, and can often be purchased for anywhere from $10 to $20 US.

Tangent: So, quickly doing the math, let’s say I have seven out-of-print US Doctor Who DVDs that each go for $70 on eBay.  Let’s say I sell them at the going rate, which is indeed $70 each.  I could theoretically buy the UK versions of all seven of these same DVDs (which are, again, no different than their US counterparts save for the regional coding of the DVD itself) for the amount at which I sold one of them here in the US, leaving me with a net gain of $420 when all is said and done.

In conclusion: Hell yeah, UK DVDs and blu-rays.  Give ’em a try.

 

 

Preview – All In On Dead – Chapter One

All In On Dead: An MI-13 (Mis)Adventure is available now for Kindle through Amazon and The Fictosphere’s FictoStore.


“AGENT Chaste has been missing for twelve hours,” said Agent Man-In-Charge, the senior mission controller of the department designated as MI-13.  “He was to check in with the home office every six hours, but he’s missed the last two deadlines.”

Images of St. John Templar, one a frontal shot and one a profile shot, lit the white projector screen.  His face was stern, with thin lips held tightly together beneath an aquiline nose and thin cheeks, but his brown eyes possessed a hint of humor and mischief, glinting even in two dimensions beneath brown hair meticulously parted to the right.

These pictures of Templar—the truant Chaste—stood in stark contrast to the very present Man-In-Charge.  He was a balding man in his late fifties who, with his tie askew and his collar button opened, gave the appearance of one who had just awoken in their day-clothes from a fitful night’s slumber.

Man-In-Charge pulled a silver flask from his vest pocket and drank deep of its contents. When he was finished, he coughed, and then continued. “His last known whereabouts were near a casino in Marrakesh known as the Lady Luck.” He pressed a button on the device in his hand and the projector clicked forward to the next slide—this time, an image of a golden edifice at night, lit only by a pink and blue neon sign spelling out the words La Chance de Dame.  Man-In-Charge scanned the four faces of the presently-available agents of MI-13 for signs of anything even remotely resembling human understanding.

Among the other departments in the Ministry of British Intelligence, MI-13 was called the “broom closet brigade”.  While it was true that in most cases the agents employed by MI-13 possessed a skill-set better suited to janitorial work, the nickname was more than merely derisive for the simple fact that it was true.  MI-13’s “central office” was indeed located in a broom closet—a fact that Man-In-Charge had, upon appointment to his position, rationalized was due to the top-secret nature of the department’s assignments.  Still, even he had to admit that the closet was a rather tightly-packed one, requiring Man-In-Charge to climb over his desk if he wished to leave at any point during the day.

But, today, this was not the case.  Today, MI-13’s home office was located in a conference room on the third floor of the Vauxhall Building.  This was because Man-In-Charge needed the projector and was not permitted to remove it from the conference room after last month’s fiasco—the thing still smelled of gin and vomit, and occasionally flickered, though it had been cleaned thoroughly.  Regardless of the reason behind the change in venue, Man-In-Charge hoped that the larger space would provide for a more comfortable atmosphere—and a more attentive audience.  But Man-In-Charge soon realized that his hopes were misplaced and his words met with inattention in three of the four cases.

Agent Villain, the only one of the four agents present paying any sort of attention, spoke.  “Why was Chaste assigned to Morocco?”  His voice carried a hint of gravel beneath it, the sort that would normally betray one as a near-constant smoker—yet, as far as anyone could tell, Villain had no sordid vices.  His good eye, black as death itself, was trained on Man-In-Charge in an intense stare—and his other eye, unseen behind a thick black eye patch, was, as stated, unseen.

Man-In-Charge pointed a lazy finger toward the snoring American import sitting to the right of Villain, a former athlete code-named Agent Big Fish, and Villain thrust an elbow into the man’s side.

Instantly, the portly Big Fish sat upward, eyes opened wide.  “Fifty laps—got it, Coach,” spat Big Fish.  Then, realizing where he was, followed with, “Oh, I’m listening.  I was just resting my eyes.”

The man sitting next to Big Fish, the team’s “master of disguise” known as Agent Many Faces, pulled the pencil he was attempting to balance on his nose from his face and sat upright in his chair, facing Big Fish.  “No you weren’t,” he said.  Many Faces turned to Man-In-Charge, his shaggy black hair jostling as he did.  “He wasn’t.  He was sleeping the whole time.”

“I know that,” snapped Man-In-Charge, pulling the flask from vest pocket once again.  Finding no refreshment left in the container, he put it back into his vest pocket and pulled another flask, this one thinner, from the back pocket of his trousers.  He took a sip from it.  “And you were dawdling, as usual.”  He thrust a finger in the direction of Agent Pheromone, the team’s femme fatale, who was flipping through the pages of a fashion magazine.  “You all are.  The only one of you who’s been paying attention is Agent Villain, and now I’ve misplaced my train of thought.”

Pheromone peeked over the magazine.  “Ain’t so,” she said, her Southern American accent betraying her own foreign heritage.  “You was sayin’ somethin’ about why Chaste was there.”  She put down the magazine, revealing her short red hair, sparkling green eyes, thick brow, and powerfully masculine chin.

Now, they were all paying attention.

Man-In-Charge cleared his throat.  “Agent Chaste was sent to Morocco to investigate reports of a Soviet gun-smuggling operation in the area.  AK-47s were being shipped for sale to an unknown buyer, and the deal was to take place in Marrakesh.”  Man-In-Charge pressed a button and the projector clicked.  The image of an emaciated man in Soviet olive drab filled the screen.  The image was so clear that one could count the pock scars on his wan cheeks.  “This,” continued Man-In-Charge, “is Colonel Yuri Dragomov.  It’s through his unit, known within and without as the ‘Red Tide’, that all transactions with the Soviets are made.”

Pheromone laughed.  “The Red Tide?  That sure is fearsome!  Right, boys?”  She looked to the others for some sort of agreement, which she found only in a nervous chuckle from Big Fish.  This made her laugh louder and harder.

“Control yourself, Agent Pheromone,” slurred Man-In-Charge, who seized this opportunity to take another drink.  “Agent Chaste discovered that the assault rifles were to be purchased by an intermediary named Pisces McCool.”  The projector clicked to a slide showing a stocky man in white Arabian cotton robes.  He was pale, freckled, and sported a rectangular beard that jutted out from a double-chin.  Behind him stood several figures, all feminine, in black robes and burkas.

“What the blazes is that on his head?” asked Many Faces, referring to a green and yellow pharaoh’s headdress made of cardboard and plastic.

With a force that shook the table, Big Fish’s hand shot straight into the air.  After several audible “ohs”, Man-In-Charge nodded.  “That’s from Burger Pharaoh,” Big Fish said, a grin erupting onto his round face.  “You get that from the workers after you eat a complete ‘Valley of the Kids’ meal!”  Then, smugly, he added, “I’ll bet I have way more of those than he does!”

“Correct,” said Man-In-Charge, oblivious to the eye-rolling of the others present.  “Pisces McCool is better known as ‘The Gamblin’ Pharaoh’, which he often follows with a number of other meaningless suffixes, such as—”

“He is recognized in the wetworks underground as the leader of an elite group of women called the ‘Strikeforce: Wives McCool’,” said Villain, interrupting Man-In-Charge and pointing to the image.  “Those are the women accompanying him, all of whom he claims are his wives.  They’re as well known for their loyalty to McCool as they are for their silence and perniciousness.”

“But why would he want Soviet hardware?” asked Pheromone.

“It’s not exactly for him,” said Man-In-Charge.  This time, he was the one rolling his eyes.  “Recall, he was only to be an intermediary.  Unfortunately for his employers, the Gamblin’ Pharaoh lives up to his moniker.  As Agent Chaste discovered, the man has an addiction to games of chance, and lost the money with which he was to pay Dragomov for the guns.  Normally, we’d be content to let the problem sort itself: If McCool can’t pay Dragomov, Dragomov will have him killed—or McCool’s own handlers will.  But it’s not as simple as that.  The Lady Luck is to hold an exclusive high-stakes blackjack tournament in twenty-four hours, a tournament that McCool has entered and may very well win, if his current turn in luck is any indication.  During Chaste’s last call, he was instructed to enter the tournament himself, with the goal of bankrupting McCool and leaving him out in the cold.  With nowhere else to turn, we’d make him an offer of protection in return for his defection.”

“That seems like an awful lot of trouble for a dead man,” said Many Faces.

“Nope,” said Pheromone, pursing her lips.  “With one move, we’d throw a wrench into Dragomov’s sale, take out a black market player, and make McCool’s employer angrier than a ‘coon in a snare.”

“Except Chaste is gone and might be dead,” said Big Fish, his eyes cast downward.

“Mm, very probably,” said Man-In-Charge, taking a sip from his flask.  Then, perhaps sensing the grave tone of the room, offered, “But we don’t know that for certain, do we?”

Villain stroked his chin.  “Who is McCool’s employer?” he asked.

The projector clicked, and the slide shifted to a black outline of a crab.  Gasps erupted from Many Faces and Pheromone.  Big Fish followed suit shortly after.

Villain only smirked.  “Zodiac,” said he.  “I should have known.”

Preview – All In On Dead – Prologue

ST. JOHN Templar took every precaution that his profession demanded.  In addition to choosing a contact location several miles away from the Lady Luck Hotel and Casino—a payphone located on the outskirts of Marrakesh, to be more precise—he was sure to always take a taxicab, and made certain that he was never followed.

The payphone itself was a lowly little machine inside of an untidy, tight steel booth with glass paneling.  It was modern but weathered, due in part to the hot Moroccan sun, the wet rainy season, and poor general upkeep.  When the taxicab arrived at its destination after a mad rush through the buzzing dusk-time streets, Templar paid the driver, tipped him, and waved him off, expressing that he would take another cab back into town.  The driver, a large man of Middle Eastern descent, looked first at his tip, then cast a bloodshot eye to Templar.  With a bristle of his bushy black mustache, and without so much as a departing salutation, the driver sped back off down the dirt road toward civilization.

Templar approached the booth and lifted the loose dirham coins from his pocket before entering, knowing by experience that removing them once inside would be a task bordering on impossible.

Once inside, he deposited several coins and spoke into the receiver.  “Transfer: London, 020.”  He waited and, after a moment, “Vauxhall Building.  Clearance: Chaste, 606.”  Another pause, and then a sigh.  “Yes, from the broom closet.”

Fifteen minutes later, Templar removed a handkerchief from his breast pocket and wiped the receiver vigorously, placing it back onto its cradle when finished.  He then opened the door, making sure only to touch the handle with handkerchief in hand—and he closed it the same way.  These were unnecessary precautions, but as Templar rationalized, one could never be too careful.

Templar heard the gravel crunch as the auto rolled up the dirt road, and he felt lucky.  It would have been quite a walk back to the casino, and the appearance of the cab meant he wouldn’t have to waste much time at all in flagging one down.

Though he couldn’t see the driver’s face through the cab’s tinted windows, Templar nonetheless offered the driver a smile and approached the back passenger door.  He slid inside effortlessly.  What started out as a boring few days in Morocco was quickly turning into a fun and interesting jaunt—especially considering the orders he’d just received from home.

“The Lady Luck Casino, please, driver,” said Templar, still smiling—but his expression changed as soon as he realized that the proverbial rug had been pulled out from under him.

Templar heard the door locks snap before he realized that a window was closing-off the opened space between the front and back seats.  Though he struggled at the door handles and threw his fists wildly at what he found to be a plastic pane, Templar couldn’t help but claw at his throat after mere seconds as the invisible toxin filled the compartment.

Through increasingly unfocused vision, Templar at last saw the face of the driver through the plastic pane.

It was a woman, her striking green eyes standing in contrast to the black burka covering her face and the brown motorist’s cap on her head.

Templar knew in the instant before he lost consciousness that all his careful planning had been for naught.


All In On Dead: An MI-13 (Mis)Adventure is available now for Kindle through Amazon and The Fictosphere’s FictoStore.

Quick Update – 04/08/2016

Hey, all.  Just a quick note to state that I’m not physically dead, just dead inside.

It’s the busy season at my day job, and that means about two months of radio silence (usually).  This year, we became busier a lot earlier (not to mention the event of the untimely passing of my father in January), and thus updates that should have happened didn’t happen.

They likely won’t happen, either, until about a month from now.

Until then, I’ve decided to post the first three chapters of my book (which is available on for Kindle at the moment and will release for print in…about a month from now).

First chapter is going up today.  Technically, it’s the prologue, so it’s Chapter Zero…or Chapter Prologue.  But Prologue isn’t a number, so I guess it’s zero.  You know what?  It’s going up today, whatever it is.

Speaking of the book, I got a killer anonymous review in December, and it went a little something like this:

“I don’t typically read spy novels, but with impossibly flawed characters that fumble and bumble right off the page, the story kept me engaged and laughing! The MI-13 is like the Bad News Bears of Secret Agents, including an out of shape Olympic gold medalist, an oversexed brute of a femme fatale, and a sociopath who, despite his moniker as Agent Villain, is considered the hero of the gang of misfits! A must read for fans of comedy and spy thrillers alike!”

So that makes two reviews thus far.  If I can get up to forty, Amazon will start to pimp my book on its own.