What If? – Windhaven 3

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you had a good one with family, friends, or a kind waitress serving you a bowl of gruel in some greasy spoon diner. Tip her well.

Christmas/New Years sale!

Starting midnight December 25 to midnight January 1 Smashwords is having a book sale. Go to — https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DavidBurton  to see my books on sale or free. Feel free to share this link. There’s also a link to Amazon for paperback editions. Thanks for your support. 

If for some strange reason you don’t find any of my books or stories to your liking there are thousands of other Smashwords books on sale — https://www.smashwords.com/shelves/promos/1

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I usually write about supernatural stuff or mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills but no mystery and no vampires or trips to hell (see my other books.) It’s a survival adventure that could happen any day now.  

The What If? Part:

What If? the plane Noah is on does one of those alternate dimensional/time shifts and he sees a magazine with the story of Windhaven? He reads the article with alarm, especially when he confirms the date, a year in the future. What does he do? Call Linda and the boat’s Captain and get no answer? What if he lands, knowing what happened? What if the plane shifts back to his time? Does he still go, knowing what might happen? Could he change the outcome?

 

Windhaven 3  

Sipping excellent coffee, Linda sat at Noah’s settee table and watched him efficiently scramble eggs, cook bacon and toast toast. She wore the jeans from the night before and one of Noah’s long-sleeve shirts against the early morning chill. She’d showered in the marina’s bathrooms and her hair was still wet and unfettered. Noah wore his light brown hair short and had no use for a hair dryer.

It figured she’d like the guy who was going away for half a year on an adventure she thought she’d like to go on, too. When he glanced at her with those bright blue eyes and a slightly embarrassed, yet thoroughly satisfied, smile she shivered with the warm memory of his touch. How long had it been since she’d had great sex and so often. There were jokes about it but she thought she might be a little sore for a day or two. So worth it.

Noah refilled her coffee cup then slid a plate full of eggs and bacon and toast and small pile of leftover potatoes in front of her. “Eat up. You’ll need your strength for those wild third graders.”

He sat across from her with his own plate. Staring at his food he raised his eyes and met hers. “You look beautiful this morning.”

“I feel beautiful. You look pretty good yourself, if a bit sleepy.”

“Your fault.”

“At least you’ll get to sleep on the plane.” She moved her eggs around with her fork. “Unless you’ve decided at the last minute not go sailing off into the sunset.”

Noah studied the piece of bacon in his hand, shrugged. “I’m committed. Or maybe I should be committed. It’s into the sunrise, actually.”

They ate in silence for a couple minutes, then Linda said, “You said the race will have a website. “I’ll follow your progress. Get my kids to root for you.”

He cocked his head hoping a thought would fall out. He grinned and shook a finger in the air. “I forgot until just now, I think their planning to set up streaming visits by satellite to schools. The kids will be able to ask questions of the crew and get real-time answers. You’ll have to check the website. Maybe I won’t have to wait six months to see you again.” Linda’s eyes opened wide in question. “That is if you don’t mind.”

Her grin matched his. “And maybe I won’t have to wait either.”

Done with breakfast they stood by the companionway ladder not sure what to do or say.

Noah said, “I’d say thanks for last night, but that seems a bit unseemly.”

Linda said, “I was sort of thinking the same thing. How are you getting to the airport?”

“Uber.”

“Then why don’t you thank me for a ride to the airport?”

“Won’t your third graders be pining for your smiling face?”

“They’ll survive. I can take half a day.”

Noah stepped up close. “Are you going to walk me in and kiss me goodbye at the gate?”

Linda moved a few inches closer. “Yes.”

“Then thanks.”

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Don’t forget to sign up for this blog and/or occasional updates and check out the sale books.

Cheers,

David B

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey, Gaia, how hot is it?

Maybe it should be, how hot will it get? Whether you deny the reality or accept the fact – it’s getting hot outside. And I know why. Well, we all know why, hydrocarbons, human inventiveness, cow farts, all that. But why is all that and more making the Earth hotter every year? Because we have an enemy whose sole aim is to destroy humanity.

The enemy is not aliens bent on making Earth uninhabitable for humans so they can move in because they need a new planet and Earth looks pretty good except for the 7 or 8 billion pesky humans running around taking up valuable real estate.  And  they already made their own planet hot and uninhabitable, and know how to do it so what chance do we have? No, not them.

Nor is it some supernatural entity who wants to make the surface of the Earth available for all demon kind who are tired of living down under. (Not you Australia, farther down) Of course, even among the average Joes and Janes of the supernatural entity masses there will be some who resist change (meaning they would have to accept logic and facts) no matter how good it might be for the people as a whole, or their descendants. Though some might think differently if the Greenhouse Gas oven we are building cooks the humans to a delectably putrid state. Yum. No, not them, either.

No, it’s Gaia (that’s the Earth in case you missed that day in your mythological geology class because you had to spend half the night before figuring out how to update your Facebook status from straight and sober to a loosey goosey high, and back)  herself. I have it on no particular authority that long ago Gaia recognized that humans would be bad for her so she put together a short (in geological time) plan. She knew, with the prescience of 5 million years experience,  that in a few thousand years even though the new hairy beasts only used two feet instead of four, they’d leave a BIG messy footprint.

So she created oil (you do not want to know where that really came from – zooplankton,  algae, dinosaurs, leaves and twigs? Oh please.) figuring they’d figure out how to burn the stuff irresponsibly, causing the atmosphere to heat to uninhabitable levels. Then, in a short 5000 years or so, they’d all die off from flooding, famine, heat stroke, wars for the few remaining resources, or high temperature viruses and bacteria;  or figure out how to leave the planet altogether. Either way, what does she care, peace and quiet at last.

IDEAS

What if you were an astronaut and were sent to Mars with the idea of moving all the remaining humans to that cool red land? There, you meet the God of Mars, Gaia’s younger brother who she tormented endlessly when they were young just forming planets. Mars realizes what you are planning and wants nothing to do with an invasion of immigrants. He also knows some of Gaia’s secrets and sees a payback opportunity. So you make a deal; Mars will spill his secrets and help you return Earth to a habitable state, if humans stay away. You, being a shrewd wheeler-dealer, negotiate the rights to develop one crater as a resort. What a deal. Except we all know what happens when you let a few humans in the door.

What if Gaia has a brain? And you find it while lost deep in a cavern. But the brain is under attack by a virus that had mutated due to the excessive heat on the surface, and even Gaia can not control it. If the brain dies, the power of Gaia dies and the Earth will spin apart destroying all. But, you are a doctor and you cure Gaia’s brain fever. You also convince her that some humans respect the Earth and deserve to live. Grateful, Gaia agrees, but a limited number only,  one billion, the rest must go. She gives you the power to choose. You must mark the areas – cities, states, countries, islands, continents  – for destruction, or all will be destroyed. How do you choose?  Who do you choose? Do you choose? Will absolute power corrupt you absolutely? Will humanity, a billion of them, anyway, be saved? Will you be seen as villain or hero?

No matter how crispy it gets outside, keep your cool and think about why it’s so hot. Then do something about it.

I’m hot under the collar, (or would be if I wore shirts with collars)those people put another of my stories up in their little contest. This is my first and final plea – Please vote for An Accidental Vampire at www.voteformyebook.com. It’s hot!

Who you calling old?

One of the characters in the novel I’m working on, Blood on the Water, (the sequel to Blood Justice) had herself turned into a vampire to seek revenge. That got me thinking…

If there are such things as vampires, I hope before one changes me into a ravaging blood-thirsty beast I have time to get hair plugs, a face lift, a tummy tuck, a bit-o-liposuction, and a little tightening of the neck. My nose is good. Even though I’ll be lurking in back alleys and dark parks looking for cute, blonde teenage girls (I didn’t add smart because a smart girl wouldn’t be in those places) to slake my maddening thirst for fresh young blood, I want to look good for the rest of my immortal life.

I just celebrated (?) one of those milestone birthdays no one looks forward to. If I’m destined to be changed into an immortal beast monster gentelman this isn’t the one I’d have chosen to be changed at.

What  would be the best age to be upgraded to immortal? “Go Young” you might say. But how young? Certainly not less than 18. It might sound fun to be a teenager for ever, but after 30 or 40 years you might want to go into a bar and have more than a Shirley Temple. They card vampires too, you know. Not to mention that as a teenager you might think you know it all, but you don’t. Unlike Rodney Dangerfield, if you want some respect, you should wait until at least 21 before allowing that charming bad boy/girl vamp to give you the bite that lasts. Even at 21 you’ll still get carded everywhere, and after 20 or 30 years nobody is going to look at your ID and believe you’re 40 or 50 years old. You don’t want people looking into your birth records then bugging you for the secret of how you’ve stayed so young looking, do you?

If you want to flow through the centuries with a certain level of gravitas, you might wait until 50, or even 60. Maybe 62 if you’re big on Senior Discounts. Who knows, if us mortals continue to live longer on our own 60 might be the perfect time to get that sporty convertible to scratch that mid-life crises itch. However, if you’re going to choose that option I suggest you go vegan and to the gym, starting now.

30ish would seem to be the ideal age to receive the gift, or curse, of immortality. Old enough to leave some, not all, of that youthful wildness behind you and still have your body, good looks, and hair.  If male pattern baldness is already creeping up on you, you might consider going younger, or learn how to shave your head. Bald is beautiful, Baby! You’ll also be young enough to be envied by all those old folks over 40. A plus for sure.  At 30, with experience and youthful indiscretions behind you, you’ll be ready to start building the fortune that will sustain you for the coming millennium or two; houses, cars, boats, travel, spouses.

Speaking of hair, make sure you have your hair cut in a classic style for the ages that you like. Because I’m not sure the hair of vampiric immortals will grow out to fix a bad haircut.

IDEAS

What if you were young and down on your luck, maybe living in your car, with few prospects, and a stranger, say 65-70 years old, offers you $100,000 dollars for your youth.  You would still be you, just 65-70 years old. Maybe some grey hair and some sagging here and there, but still you with the same mind as now, just older. You agree. Abra Cadabra you’re old, but not without some intelligence. You look into this age swap thing, find out the stranger’s secret, reverse engineer it, offer some not too bright drunk 25-year-old $5000 for his youth. “Sure. Why not?” he says. You swap, and then you find someone else with $100,000 and make them an offer. And you do this swap again and a again, a nice lucrative business. Except there are some bad guys who want a piece (all of it) of your action. And then there’s the father of a woman whose youth you sort of stole. And a cop who knows more about youth stealing than he should and he’s looking for you.

What if some kids are telling their Grandpa how proud they are of him that he’s such a hero, and he says, “Ain’t nothin’ to be proud of here.” And the kids say, “But everybody says you saved the town, village, city, country, world, galaxy.” “Humph,” he says. “Maybe at the end I did somethin’ good. But that ain’t how it started. They don’t tell ya that, do they?” “What do you mean, Grandpa?” He sips his whiskey and tells them, “Once upon a time….”

What if  you were a retired criminal well into your 60s, but still vital, living nicely with your wife on your ill-gotten gains. Then you had a visit from a some of your old crew. One of the old crew is dying of cancer, because a particular doctor misdiagnosed him, possibly on purpose. He has a family that depends on him. So you agree to look into it and find a criminal enterprise way beyond what you used to do. So you all decide to go against the doctor and all the other white collars who are letting people die for their own gain. The old street-smart tough guys against  the new ruthless, boardroom smart guys.

What if there was a planet where the sentient inhabitants grew old in the usual way, but at a certain time they grew younger, Benjamin Button style. As the unaged they brought all their experience of growing and being old to their government, business and culture. How would that make said government, business and culture different from ours?

What ever your age, be nice to the oldsters. Because sooner than you think you’ll be one of them bitchin that them youngsters don’t give any respect, just like you.

Fame? Me?

I know you all have been wondering – where’s that What If? blog that I love (well, tolerate) so well. I’ve been working (‘nough said about THAT) and writing. First a novella as a sequel to my An Accidental Vampire story then a short story as a bridge between the two stories so the second (well, third in the series) will work better time frame wise and vampire maturity wise. Whoever heard of a vampire amateur sleuth anyway? Simon Gireaux may be a New Blood, (remember that term, there’s a shameless promotion moment coming) and a former peasant farmwife in 1650 France, but that doesn’t mean she’s not sharp enough to help solve a murder.

New Blood, a short story now available at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton, (told ya it was coming) helps take Simone from New Blood status to Young Blood (the afore  mentioned novella coming late summer. Can you not wait?) where she might reasonably be expected to be of help solving a murder. Now, all this heavy-duty back and forth writing is all part of my plan to become rich and famous.

Now I’d rather be rich than famous, but usually (there are exceptions and  no, I don’t want to talk about it) as a writer you need to be a FAMOUS!!! author to be rich.  Of course being a famous writer isn’t like being a rock star or movie star. Sure, they make the big bucks but who needs paparazzi sticking a camera in your face when go to the 7-11 for the milk your personal assistant forgot to pick up because that bitch waitress at the restaurant where he went to pick up the seaweed salad which only they know to make the proper way was so rude, or the ones who lay in wait hoping to get a photo of you without at least a half hour’s worth of makeup, or the ones who lurk in the bushes at the back of your compound hoping for a naked picture of you (I hate that. Don’t you?). Sure they get hot girls and hunky guys throwing themselves  at their feet (or wherever), and they get to go to fancy shmancy parties and glitzy movie premiers, but then they have to spend hours getting all glammed up  and haven’t they heard that every picture taken on a red carpet takes a little bit of their soul? Who wants  that kind of fame?

My kind of fame is more likely to be where I’m working in a bare, fifth floor walk up cold-water flat, pounding out brilliant prose on an ancient computer run on power bootlegged from a garish neon sign for the sleazy strip joint next door where the Ls are all missing and so it flickers GIR S GIR S GIR S all night as Disco pulses out into the dim nighttime street, grabbing drunk and horny and lonely men by the crotch and dragging them in to watch slightly past-their-prime women  make promises they won’t keep and with the lights on you might not want them to. And if I nod off from a bit too much hair of the dog there’s the occasional flash from across the street of an alcoholic PI snapping shaky pics of overweight, middle age men being ridden by a bleach blonde with a cowboy hat and boots who’s never seen a cow in her life but knows a donkey when she sees one.

Sure the local denizens would know I was some kind of famous writer, but if I wasn’t buying the drinks, who gives a shit? All except the pretty bank teller in the branch office three blocks away on the edge of respectability where I went to cash my famous writer royalty checks. She has a loser boyfriend always urging her to spread the bank’s wealth his way, of course without any risk or effort by him. Her self-esteem is so low, for reasons she won’t tell, (but one can speculate) that she thinks she can’t do any better so eventually she will try something at the bank, get caught and sent to jail where she’ll discover true love, and self-esteem with a female prison guard and live happily ever after.  I do my bit when she asks why I come in when I could easily use electronic banking, and I say, “Just to see a little beauty in my day.”  She gives me an aw shucks you’re sweet and wouldn’t it be swell if my boyfriend disappeared look. And I might say, “Wouldn’t it.” Her bright, innocent eyes will fill with hope and promise as she says breathlessly,  “Do you think it could really happen?” And I’d just smile into their depths and start to think. “When you’re famous you can get away with anything,” I’d say. After all, what good is fame if you don’t use it to get you want?

IDEAS

See above.

What if you made a deal with the devil for fame and fortune? Been done, to be sure. But a modern-day update of The Devil and Daniel Webster is  always a possibility.

What if you already had all that fabled fame and fortune but got tired of the celebrity life and walked away from it. The fame, not the fortune. But, there was one paparazzo who wouldn’t give up and continued to stalk you even as you moved to the country or out of the country. He/she was convinced you made that deal and wanted to be there when the Devil came to collect his/her due. Despite repeated warnings, restraining orders, late night confrontations in the woods, and early morning visits with a baseball bat  to the stalker’s RV.  And maybe through all that, he does manage to witness your meeting with the Devil. But, because of all the things you’ve done to discourage the stalker and to any witnesses, you’ve inadvertently  become one of the Devil’s minions and instead of taking your soul he allows you to keep it, as long as you continue doing bad things to good and bad people, like that familiar man/woman with the camera who thinks he’s hidden in those bushes overlooking the crossroads.

What if you were sort of a genius scientist who wanted to be a wealthy  famous scientist famed for some popular civilization loved invention, but the credit for everything you did was stolen by your genius unethical boss scientist.  So you sneak into his private lab to find evidence of his thievery and you discover he’s working on a dimensional/wormhole portal to an advanced civilization but hasn’t been able to make it work. Being the genius you are, you figure it out and go through and find some amazing technology that will make your fame and fortune, and maybe you find a girl/guy who is sort of nice. But, you come back through and your boss catches you and you fight and think you killed him so you run back to the other dimension/planet/ civilization. There you find it’s really an evil dictatorship who’d love to find out how you got there and go conquer your world. With the help of your new loved one you escape and have to go to your former evil boss who is still alive and angry for help, ultimately destroying the portal machine. You and the boss make up and with some high-tech brought along by your  new love you become famous for saving Earth so that all can live happily ever after.  Or not.

What if you were a famous and powerful sorcerer/witch and, say, every month you held an audience and anybody, peasant to noble, could come an ask for you help. You listened to them all then picked the one that most intrigued/interested you. Not always the obvious choice. Let the humor, mayhem, drama ensue.

Fame, as more than one celebrity or wanna-be celebrity has found out, is a classic case of be careful what you wish for, you might get it. And if you do gain some fame I hope it’s for a talent or doing something useful. Being famous for being famous doesn’t count.

Please look for the short stories An Accidental Vampire and New Blood on Amazon.com, KOBO, Barnes and Noble, and other e-book outlets soon.

Delirium plus six

Ah, delirious Delirium, one of the Sandman’s sisters in the Sandman series of graphic novels.

DELIRIUM 1. A state of temporary mental confusion and clouded consciousness resulting from high fever, intoxication, and shock characterized by anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, delusions, and incoherence.  2. A state of uncontrolled excitement or emotion.

So says my ancient (1982) copy of The American Heritage Dictionary. For an updated definition on my birthday in 9 months you could send me a new dictionary. Just throwing that out there.

Who among us has not experienced delirium, especially that intoxication one. Who? Me? And people wonder why I don’t drink anymore.

There’s high and low delirium. High is when my novelette Hell Cop: Sneaker had 146 downloads in 3 days when it was free for the Kindle from Amazon. Now a 146 downloads is barely a drop in the proverbial 5 gallon bucket of the  e-book world. But 146 of something is better than a zillion of nothing. I was positively giddy as I stared at the report, counting along with the numbers.  Two, even three, an hour! Ah the delicious intoxicating delirium of low expectations met.

Low is now, as I try to write a sequel to my An Accidental Vampire story which is doing well (the next step up from barely a drop) as an e-story. Like the vampire it’s about, it’s kicking ass (mine) and searching for names (All those 17th Century French people weren’t named Smith? Who knew?) I have a good start and I know the ending, it’s all that stuff in the middle that’s giving me  an anxious, finger twisting,  typing incoherent, delirium of failure. I mean, how hard can it be for a Young Blood vamp to find the murderer of a Duchess?

Love is high Delirium. Or low depending on which end of the relationship you’re on. Are you at that point where you bump into things,  ignore your friends, and generally walk about in a daze of happy delirium with pictures of your sweet Honey Bun dancing in your head and you can’t wait to feel them in that intimate way unique to  you two of all people on Earth?

Or, are you in that low delirium state of having been dumped where you bump into things, ignore your friends  and generally walk about in a daze of sad, painful, disillusioned, angry delirium, and ripped up pictures of that lousy, lying, bitch/bastard beat against the inside of your skull, and the only thing you want to feel is either your hands around sweet Honey Bun’s neck or that whiskey burn in your throat, or the blissful nothing of head to pillow and the blankets pulled over your head?

Which ever level you’re at, wait, don’t do anything stupid, especially those of you in the high delirium state, and it will all be better in the (some future) morning. Unless your (temporary?) bout of delirium causes some nasty form of  Destruction, (next post)  in which case you’re screwed and you might as well settle into Despair (last post.)  Unless, Destiny, (next next post) should you choose to accept it, has something else in store for you.

IDEAS

What if somebody did you wrong (broke your heart, broke your bank, broke your psyche) and rendered you suicidal? You were about to martyr yourself to your sad delirium when you realized that the only action that would make life worth living would be to destroy (murder the bitch/bastard!) the person who wronged you. And you do, and you get caught. Can you claim self-defense? Compare and contrast the two obvious sides of the question in a gripping, can’t put it down, fictional form. Extra credit if it gets made into a movie.

What if you were in a blue funk delirium brought on by disappointment, failure, loss, humiliation or any of the thousand other things that might bring on such a state of Why me? or What now? And then, you saw the future. Not some daydream or hypnosis induced fantasy – The Real Thing. You were happy and successful and… and.. HAPPY. You had everything you wanted – except it came at the expense of someone you knew. A friend, a family member, maybe that nice man down the block who always said “Hi” and had returned your new puppy when it got lost. All you had to do was carry on as usual and you were gold and they were fools gold. They wouldn’t die or anything so severe, but as you went up, they went down. You could change it, but that big Happy wouldn’t happen. What would you do? Something? Nothing? Or try and finagle a compromise? What would make you happy?

I’m getting delirious trying to come up with ideas that haven’t been done a 100 times before, like going through strange adventures then finding out “It’s all a dream.” Or finding out the strange stuff was real and the surreal boredom you thought was your life is actually your delirium, a refuge from all the strangeness. Sort of a reverse Walter Mitty effect. Or a strange person touches you and you experience a time of incoherent hallucinations and when you wake up you’re some – body, where, time – else. Or when you wake up you’re part of an unrotten Alien Zombie undercover army bent on taking over the world one bite at a time. clichés like that.

So, enjoy, or at least accept, your delirium, embrace it, wrap yourself up in it, because you never know if it might be the highlight of your life. Just to leave you with a pleasant thought.

An historical delirium of Vampires awaits my attention. Until Destruction comes, don’t let any strangers bite you.

Desire plus Six

It’s Christmas time, the time for Desire – of things. Letters to Santa, hints to anybody who’ll listen, visions of video games wreaking havoc  in our heads. Rapid heartbeats as we survey the presents and wonder is what I want in there? Will my greatest Desire be fulfilled and make me eternally happy? Maybe. It’s Christmas, the time for miracles.

It’s always time for that other kind of desire. The kind that can drive you crazy. The kind you don’t need Valentine’s day to gear up for. The kind that gets you right in the crotch when that one special, to your eyes, one walks by. The one that makes you do crazy things, like go up to him/her and try to be hip and cool to impress, but instead stumble and sweat and make a complete fool of yourself. Which could take your desire in two directions.

The Sandman’s sister, Desire, might lead you to obsession. “So what if there’s a boy or girlfriend, a husband or wife,” you might say. “We are meant to be together, (meant by who is never questioned) so whatever dark place I have to go to to bring us together is right and necessary. ” This is the Desire of nightmares, sleeping and waking. The Desire that eats you up inside, alienates you, eats your brain and replaces it it with evil thoughts,  makes you a stalker, a killer. A fool.

It also may lead you to the Desire of Achievement. “So what if I made an ass of myself  in front of my  Object Of Desire (OOD), and they think I’m some lowlife scum stalker who should not be allowed in polite society. I’ll show him/her.” So you turn your obsession to yourself. You claw your way to success in business, money and society just to impress your OOD. And there you are at a huge dinner thrown to honor your success and good works and your OOD is introduced and they fall for you and you live happily ever after. Don’t laugh. It could happen that way. Or… see below.

I haven’t seen the movie Young Adult yet, but it sounds as if it might be an addendum to this blog.

But this is Christmas. Your desire may lean to video games, or clothes (lame) or a CD or books (Ha! Bet you thought you’d get away without a sneaky promo stuck in) or get togethers with family and friends (isn’t F and Fs getting to be a tad overused?) or “Please please don’t make me go to that party if Uncle  Todd and Cousin It are going to be there and Drinking!”

Good or bad, Desire makes the world go round, up to the pinnacle of success and happiness, or  down to the depths of Hell.  Without Desire there would be no stories –  no movies, books or fairy tales. No civilization. Where would we be if the first caveman (or woman) with the first faint spark of intelligence hadn’t desired to cross a river or eat everyday or get that stalker dude/dudette away from me? Nowhere. On the other side of the river ignoring the greener pastures just over there.

IDEAS

What if you did make a fool of yourself, more than once, and were rebuffed each time? Fortunately for you and OOD, you took the success route. There you were, finally good enough for OOD, and you didn’t want them anymore. But they wanted you, bad. Suddenly you were the stalkee. Would you be understanding? “I know how it feels, darling. But it’s not going to work out.” Would you tell them to piss off, because you’re too good for them now? How far would you go to protect your new success. Would you let your Desire to be free of your OOD lead you to the dark side, ending back where you began, on the bleak bottom side of want?

What if you were that first caveperson? What if by some deux ex machina event you had more than a spark of intelligence, it was like an explosion in your head. Suddenly, you got it, knew it all, could figure it all out. Along with that explosion came an equal amount of ambition – Desire by another name. Where would it lead you, what could you hope to accomplish back then? What if you found out you didn’t age, but you could die? What would your Desire to live do to your ambition? What if, knowing what you know now, you were transported back to the cave? Do you think your Desires would be different?

What if you were a kid and you really really really wanted something for Christmas, but your parents didn’t have much money and told you that if you could save half the cost they’d match you and get your OOD. What antics and clever ideas that just didn’t quite work could you and a friend or two come up with? What hilarity might ensue? What lessons learned? What good feeling might be spread. There is a dark side to this What If?, but it’s Christmas so I’ll leave it alone. But it’s still there.

What if, aliens bent of conquest released a gas in the atmosphere that curbed all human desire. Not just for sex or love, but everything. This lack of Desire slowly evolved into apathy. Soon people were too apathetic to eat or drink and they weakened and died. Just what the aliens wanted. But nothing affects everybody. Some will survive and they will fight. In this case a drug cartel kingpin, an advertising executive, a spammer, an auto production line worker, and a biochemist.  How would these people restore human desires and save the world?

Desire is necessary for human civilization and survival. Just don’t let them kill you. Besides, without them, Santa would be out of a job.  Happy Holidays.

Know All, See All

I am now working on the sequel to my novel Blood Justice (which I know you’ve read and are therefore jonesing for the sequel.) As Justine, Simone and Teresa begin their search for Antonia they came upon some unexpected creatures called Oracles. Now Oracles look and act just like people. They are long lived, but not immortal (There are maybe 500 in the world.) As the name implies they can see the future, as well as the past. Some can only see a day or two ahead, maybe only a few hours. A few can see further, much further. All can see their own death, whether it’s coming tomorrow or in a couple hundred years.

Like Justine, I struggle with what my answer would be if one of those powerful, I’d hope it wasn’t a weak one, Oracles asked me if I wanted to know when I was going to die. For free-gratis, no obligation. If I wanted to know, they’d tell me, and walk on by. Decisions decisions.  What would you choose?

There’s upsides and downsides to knowing: Did I mention that they only see what WILL happen, such as your death? No A Christmas Carol sentimentality here. What they see,  an hour or a century ahead, CAN NOT BE CHANGED.

Upside –  You can plan your own funeral. Make sure you get the rousing send off you deserve. Or make sure you don’t get any sendoff.

You can plan for success. If you knew you had 35 years left, wouldn’t you live a bit differently than if next month you’re out. 35 years is plenty of time to start another career. Or that business, or family  you’ve been thinking about.  That’s plenty of time to start taking care of yourself so those last years will be good ones. The Oracles can’t give you the details of what happens just before or after you die. They might say, “You’ll die at 9:30 p.m. on June 23, 2028, but what your life was like leading up to that time they can’t, or won’t,  tell you.  So you’d better start taking care of yourself now.

On the other hand, more upside. If you’re time’s up next month, why bother, indulge, Baby. Eat, Drink and make Mary. You can easily plan to spend your last dollar a minute before you go. You can’t take it with you!

So much for yourself, (you selfish twit you) what about seeing what will happen to other people? Their deaths, births, successes, who they really married. You could make a fortune working for life insurance companies or…(see IDEAS below.) If you could focus on celebrities you’d be king or queen of the gossip set. A little side bet on the Oscar winners anyone?

If you were a good (non greedy) person like we all (well, most of us) are, or an especially  good friend, knowing when something bad was going to happen you could be there to ease the hurt. What would you do with a little real clairvoyance? Good or evil? Helpful or hurtful? Resist the temptation to do bad things, or give in, or give in and use the ill-gotten gains to do good.  St. Peter will buy that, don’t you think?

Who knew there so many upsides to knowing when the Reaper was coming to touch you with those long boney fingers?

IDEAS

What if you knew when the Grim reaper was coming and you set a trap? And you caught him. No more death! Everybody’s immortal. And unlike vampires (though there is some debate on this in the think tanks and the higher intellectual circles) everybody could breed as they do now. What would that do to the Earth? How long before it’s, “Stop the world I want to get off!” (Hasn’t that been done?) Put your own twist on it? Maybe you trapped the Reaper and sent him, or her, into space on a ship traveling an out-of-galaxy course.  That would get us into space. The Great Reaper Hunt. Maybe they could only send vampires? Of course then they’d have to send something for them to eat. Oh well, that might diminish the surplus population.  Though the Earth might be so crowded they’d have to have a lottery to choose who got to go as Vamp food. It might be worth it!

What if you worked for a Life Insurance company? If you knew when a person was going to die you could tell if they were a good risk. On the other hand, if you knew when a person was going to die, why not buy a life insurance policy on them? Wait a few months and bam, collect.  A million dollar policy a year and you’d be set. Unless some hot insurance investigator figured out what you were up to and bought a policy on you, and made you look ahead to your own death, at his hand.

 What if  you were say 30 years old and you knew with certainty that the earth would be destroyed on your 65th birthday? Unless, you sacrificed at the maximum, your life, or at minimum, you had to leave the planet and never return without even being able to say goodbye.   Nobody would ever know of your sacrifice. Which would you choose? How would your life so far affect your decision? What if you  had had a shitty life, unhappy, unappreciated, unloved with little prospect of it turning around? What if you were totally happy, successful, loved by one and all? What other things in your life would affect your decision?

What if you could see in the future some great calamity happening to the woman/man you loved from afar, though they were oblivious to you? You didn’t know if you could change that future.  Would you try? What sort of abuse would you take from him/her before you said the hell with it,  you didn’t care anymore?

If I had  consulted an Oracle and known how hard this topic would be I might not have taken it on. I’d love to see your story ideas for this topic.