05 May 2137—6:57 a.m. Central Africasian time.

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The desert is a damned desolate place for a woman on a motorcycle and a baby in the sidecar. It suited Roxx. She’d read somewhere that the Sahara used to be hard dirt and scrub brush, but by the time she and her daughters reached it, humans had already sucked the life from it like a thirsty cat at the throat of a limp rat. Gone were the pockets of drying grass, low trees, and brush that fed the indigenous wildlife. In their place were fluffy sheets of dirty dust, covering a hundred years’ worth of desert flotsam. She’d been riding in dark silence for hours, in part to let the girls sleep, and part because there was no way to be sure the area was as abandoned as it appeared. The thing about predators is that you never see the good ones. Maybe you’ll catch a whiff if you’re lucky to be downwind of their attack or skilled enough to recognize the setup.

I best be skilled. My luck is shite.

She’d stumbled across a trio of them two days previous when her group was emerging from the tattered remnants of the Congolese jungle. The men had come out of nowhere, cutting Roxx off with their battered pick-up truck and ancient rifles. They made the mistake of aiming a gun and sexual remarks at Jazz, her ten-year-old daughter. Roxx had gotten careless. She still wore their blood on her boots as a reminder to be more vigilant. Jazz made her abandon their heads to the scavengers, but Roxx would have remembered the lesson better had she kept them.

For endless miles, the Sahara’s low hills scraped along the indigo night, rising and falling beside her like silent, subterranean giants beneath an endless ocean of sand. Jazz called them sand whales—smooth, silent, and deadly. It was all very lovely unless you kept in mind something dangerous could be lurking behind each dune. There were no street lights, but Roxx’s day/night glasses picked up enough residual starlight to allow her to keep the bikes dark. Their pattern of movements would have been the perfect symphony of hushed obscurity except for one thing: Roxx never was any damn good at being discrete. A six-hour ride through the mind-bending boredom of the desert night had become more than she could bear in silence. With silence came memories, and with memories came the realization that she and her daughters might never live long enough to reach any place even approaching safety.

So, fighting sleep and tedium, she called upon one of her demigods, the Lord thy Pavarotti, and at a sacred seven seconds past the seventh hour of the seventh day since their escape, she flipped the switch on her Indian’s dual speaker array and lit the crimson hell out of the quiet morning air. She rode there for a time, sailing through her desert dawn with her god singing Nessun Dorma. Hers was a gentle deity and never minded when she sang with him each dawn—always translated into English—Puccini’s words, directed to her baby.

None shall sleep! None shall sleep! Even you, O Princess, in your cold bedroom, watch the stars that tremble with love and with hope!

As could have been predicted—were she the sort to bother making predictions—within seconds a single point of light emerged from a dune behind her with the wind whispering the sounds of a gruff engine’s growl above her bike’s operatic roar. The light was a half-mile back and closing fast. Roxx accelerated. Beside her, the two companion bikes matched her movements. Her trio of vehicles and the pursuers continued racing through the dunes for a full minute. Without slowing, she reached forward, pulled her rifle from its vertical holster next to the front wheel, turned, and squeezed off a single shot. The warm air carried the sound of breaking glass as the desert returned to darkness. Seconds later, the din of the engine behind her stopped. The winds carried the faint smells of food-derived organic fuel mixed in with human sweat.

Roxx pulled her scarf over her nose and waited.

Stay stopped, mate. You only get the one warning.

Over her pounding heart, Pavarotti sang, and she sang aloud with him. “Set, stars! At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!”

She wondered how long she’d been crying.

It’s never bloody dawn in Africa.

The Books Thus Far

Completed:
The Changeling (Fantasy)
Grandfather Time (Fantasy)
Mastery of the All (Fantasy)
Hard as Roxx (Science Fiction)
The Juice and Other Stories (Short Stories)
The Brooklyn Trace (Mystery)
Jeanne Dark (Mystery)
Beyond the Farr Road (Short Stories)

In Progress:
Eddie Daley: Black, White and Blue

Not bad, if I say so myself.

Drumpfing on the U.S.A

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This was always meant to be my writing (only) blog, but since I’ve spent my time writing and not marketing, there’s been nothing to post here. However, I’ve come to realize that writer isn’t my occupation, it’s my identity. I write because I have a boatload of things to say irrespective of whether anyone wants to hear them.

With that in mind, I, like most intelligent people, have been thinking a great deal about the emergence of Donald Drumpf. Like his political-track avatar, Adolph Schicklgruber, Drumpf has capitalized on the intrinsic anger of the downtrodden to emerge as a viable, if reprehensible, candidate. However, what is largely overlooked (on purpose, I think) by the media is the fact that he’s also capitalizing on a large segment of the populous that was and remains racist. Let’s not pull punches: Nazi Germany could not have existed if a large number of Germans weren’t racist when Schicklgruber showed up. My wife, who lived for a time in Germany, assures me that racist underbelly still thrives. ‘Dolph persisted for the same reason Drumpf does–because (some) people were waiting for them.

And let’s not bullshit at home, shall we? Drumpf is an idiot, but he’s a conniving, psychopathic idiot who understands history and can pick up the mood in a room (or a country). He’s running as the overt racist (not the bigoted billionaire who doesn’t care about race because he only cares about himself) because 30% of the U.S. population is racist. How did I come up with that figure? I have a degree from MSU: Making Shit Up.

Barack_Obama_Dope_posterSee, sounding truthy is as easy as asserting a partial truth with conviction. I don’t know how many Americans hate blacks, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, Hari Krishnas, Jehovah’s Witnesses, poor whites, rich whites, Central Americans, Asians, gays, lesbians, women, or the Dallas Cowboys, but I know it’s a fucking lot. (Y’all don’t hear me. ) These douchenozzles first came out of the woodwork when Barack Obama got elected as the Brotha in Chief. They were pissed his family was never enslaved, so they called him Kenyan. They hated that his “HOPE” platform gave life to the aspirations of those unlike them, so they pretend his presidency has failed and convinced the stupid that our roiling economy is flagging.

So, it’s not surprising when they began using “Muslim” as an avatar for “Nigger,” as in, “He’s a Muslim.” Every time someone says that, substitute the n-word and you get their true meaning. (Yeah, bitches, we knew what you meant, and you meant it in precisely the same way you do when you say Ted CruzMissile is a Canadian. By Canadian, you mean Cuban, and we can’t have one of those either, can we?) Obama looked dope and smoked dope and was dope and that rankled the red-necked shit out of America’s sick underbelly.

We never emerged, fully, into the light. But the thing is, we knew that. When we had our last, secret, All-Blacks meeting, with Barack as the principle speaker, we, the negro collective, discussed how we knew that Big B needed to be the Oval Office’s Jackie Robinson. President Obama could not hit back. He couldn’t point out that most of the Senate is a collection of racist and sexist assholes determined to stop him from doing anything, just as surely as they’ll try to stop Hillary. He couldn’t jump down from the podium and bitch-slap Mitch McConnell or have his boys “influence” Justice Clarence Unclethomas to stop being such a little shit and come to the damned meetings. Obama couldn’t do any of those things, and trust me, he wants to, because others will follow him into the White House.

A woman will follow him. A Latino will follow. An Asian will follow, and it’ll happen soon, and by then, America will finally be who the fuck the world needs us to be. Don’t believe me? Look who’s running for president, who made it to Super Tuesday, and forget they’re all flawed: 3 White Males, 1 White Female, 1 Black Male, and 2 Cuban Males. Huh? Say what? Still not enough women and no Asians, but it’s starting to look like America up in here, even if most of the Americans trying to be in charge are dickheads.

We’re supposed to be the good guys, people. We are supposed to carry the torch for hopefulness, for believing that humans can live together, join their cultures, and make some really fucking cool music. We’re supposed to love those who love god, whichever god, and embrace those who don’t just as lovingly. We’re supposed to not care whom you marry or whether you’re a lesbian who was born with a penis or if you listen to Justin Bieber or if you like ice hockey. And goddammit, I’m tired of sitting here crying because we never get there.

So Big B has done his job. He switched on all the lights and the fucking, hate-filled, cockroaches came screaming out of the woodwork. Drumpf, unknowingly, has done his job too. He’s rallied all the roaches and given them hope they can take the country back. But don’t fear, Europe. Do not be disheartened, Asia. Don’t mourn us, Africa. We know exactly what the fuck we’re doing. Sometimes, the only way to stamp out all of the cockroaches is to turn on the light, put food in the middle of the kitchen floor, and stamp the holy fucking shit out of them.

There’s going to be some foot-stomping coming very soon, and Hill is the lady we’ve chosen to wear the boots. Why?

Because the sexist, woman-hating, rape-as-a-weapon-of-war-tolerating, my-bitches-came-out-of-the-kitchen-to-vote-for-me, flag-waving cockroaches are still in there hiding, and we need a lady badass to flush them out.

Drumpf and Clinton play Election Night
Drumpf and Clinton play Election Night

Shit is going to get really different, America, because there ain’t no country left for the cockroaches to take back. This land belongs to the world, and we’re about to clean the goddamned kitchen.

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You’re welcome.

P.S. Comments are off, because I didn’t ask your opinion any more than you asked mine. If you disagree, get your own soapbox and tell people.

Up There, Somewhere

So, I’m reworking my science fiction novel, which I will try to get published (one day) via the traditional publishing model (assuming I can find one open to some LGBT lead characters). I’ve started at the beginning, and am re-imagining my book as the movie it needs to be. As such, the opening needs to be my lead characters sailing through the predawn darkness of the desert on their bikes, not her response to it.

I’ve said it, but now I’ll be showing it. More importantly, I’ve learned–from my other, better books–I must make you feel it. She’s headed “up there, somewhere,” and that’s the adventure in the book. Like so much in life, one launches oneself clothed in little more than hope–a wish, two parts luck and fifty parts work–and try to make life do what it do. She’s like that, opening her story wistfully and misty eyed because it’s dark, no one’s awake but her, and there’s no one to see. She’s strong, and true strength isn’t granite. It bends, it bows, but it never breaks.

My girl is there, with her daughters, and life is about to get real. All she can count on is her training, and her hope that “she and this bloke, god, can be mates.”

This way go I, with her, and for real this time. One thousand, nine hundred, and fifty-nine words. That’s the opening sequence. If I haven’t made you love her a little by then, if you don’t want to sit in her jump seat and take the ride with her 1959 words in I’ve lost you. If this isn’t the best thing I’ve done, the best thing I’ll ever do, then I’ll have done the world a disservice. It’s time to turn the world on its ear, Roxx and me.

Wish us luck.

T’ree A.M.

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It t’ree a.m.
High I&I
rakkle and roll,
swing an’ sway,
irie feelins t’ru de day.
Night-a call, me
sess a-blow,
rakkle me brain now
don’ cha know.

It t’ree a.m.,
me reggae flow,
bounce ‘pon de train
an’ mek we go.
T’ru dem tunnel,
out de side,
down we block,
so me can hide.
Rakkle and blow,
Sess na sway,
life naw good
it waste away.

Handful of Blues

Monday Night is blues Night
so I wrote you a song that go
something like dis.

I was born with the blues in my hand.
I thought it was a flesh axe,
but it was a silent guitar that only played one note.
If you’d been there, I’d have sung it for you,
but I doubt you’d have heard me.

The doc let me home with a slap on the ass
and the usual kick in the balls.
We paid him for the one, but the other was on the house.
WroteaSongAboutIt
WanttoHearItHereItGo.

It always seems that when I sing the sweetest—
my softest songs—
can’t nobody hear me.
Y’all don’t hear me neither.
And ‘round about 4 (years not o’clock)
I wrote you a sweet song and called it
“my head is full of you but my hands
only caught the blues.”
Mama would sang it wif’ me,
but she only sings off-key, and her one note
sounded like a song she wrote
to my melody.
Still, it made me feel good, knowing
I had accompaniment
of a sort, and I needed some damn
feelgood
I’m telling you.

So when I met you,
lyrics in your left hand, sheet music in your
sweet pocket,
I figured we’d sit the fuck down
and finally write all them goddamned blues
I was born with.
I gots a muthafucken library of ‘em,
as you prolly know,
and they all have happy endings,
my songs,
‘cause see
somebody’s songs got to.

I got a pocket full of you
but my hands are left
holding the
muthafucken blues.

(With thanks to Michael Burks for the inspiration.)

Chief Injustice John Roberts: On the Wrong Side of History

C:UsersGenesis BooksPictures5269.jpgIn 1967, after a unanimous (9-0) decision to forbid states from restricting marriage among people of different races, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote: “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”

In 2015, in a shamefully close, but completely predictable 5-4 vote, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in dissent against the Court’s legalization of gay marriage, “Whether same-sex [interracial] marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us.” Fortunately, the 1967 Court hearing Loving v Virginia and the 5 Justices who voted for equal rights in 2015 thought it should very much be of concern to the Court. Chief Injustice Roberts went on to write, “Today, five lawyers have ordered every state to change their definition of marriage,” Roberts said. “Just who do we think we are?”

We, sir, hoped that you thought yourselves to be the moral bellwether of the United States government. We thought you believed yourselves to be that great compass that guides us not to the strict foundational words of our founding (white, male) fathers, but toward the great ideals that our nation purports to be founded upon. We hoped you thought yourselves not to be 9 lawyers, but the few, brave souls who would stand up to injustice and say, “The line must be drawn here! This far; no further!

But, alas, that was merely a fiction. You, sir, are no Jean-Luc Picard, and this is not science fiction. You are merely a lawyer who is content to dwell through all time on the wrong side of history.

Since you lack the moral decency to be ashamed, allow us, the American people, to be ashamed on your behalf. Love, sir, always wins. Had you watched more movies, perhaps you would have known that.

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“I knew Earl Warren. Earl Warren was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Earl Warren,” said everybody, everywhere.