Living Material Inside – Open Immediately

Unmanned drones began delivering packages to Sean’s door about three years before the murder recorded by the Hillsboro Police Department, June 23rd, 2019. Sean was more of a manger than an engineer and didn’t really know how the drones fit into the situation until it was too late. Sean was an early adopter of technology because he worked for one of the largest technology companies in the US. As soon as companies like Amazon and eBay had unmanned drones deliver packages, Sean signed up. Sean was sold on the technology when a package of pumpkin spice flavored k-cups was waiting on his door a half-an-hour after he ordered them. He didn’t realize at the time how k-cups would connect to the incident that would alter his life forever.

When the drones first hit the air, there was a lot of fear. Rumors spread on the internet about old ladies and pets being attacked by the drones. People feared that hackers would mobilize armies of drones or at the very least steal packages. Some of the more radical websites claimed that the government was using them to spy and wore protective clothing, including the tinfoil hat that an enterprising crazy should have patented in the pursuit of gobs of money. But the drones were better pilots than people. The difference between a drone and person was that people made mistakes. Designers and engineers tested and retested the drones, to ensure the mistakes were worked out their systems before they took flight.

Once the fear of new technology subsided, the drones became a fixture of the sky, and no one looked twice, except for Sean. About four months preceding the murder, Sean always looked up, every time he left the house. He would stay in the open air for as little time as possible. Sean often ran from his car to work. A casual observer of his behavior would conclude that he was paranoid, and should probably wear a tinfoil hat if it made him feel better. However, Sean was not loony; he was average.

The incident began about nine months preceding the incident in a warehouse located in Gresham, Oregon, just outside of Portland. The warehouse was a wonderland of electronic wizardry because it was entirely automated. Very few humans oversaw a warehouse the size of ten football fields with goods ready to be shipped all over the globe. The workers had all been replaced by drones.

On a typical day, an order would come through the internet to a brain that was almost artificially intelligent. It would send an army of drones to pick the order off the shelf, another army would pack the items, and the star of the show, the aerial shipping drone, would fly the package over Portland, to the sleepy town of Hillsboro and on to Sean’s doorstep. Because Sean made a lot of money as a manager, was recently divorced, and had kids who had already been through college, Sean ordered more stuff by drone than any human in the Oregon/Washington area. Rather than go to the grocery store when he was out of peanuts, he’d fly them in. If he wanted a movie to watch, he’d order the blu-ray online.

Every product would come in packages of one or two at a time and were dropped off on Sean’s doorstep. Because the warehouse was almost entirely automated, Sean could order at anytime. Drones didn’t make overtime, nor did they require vacation time, or even a forty-hour workweek. If Sean needed to have some milk in the wee hours of the night, a drone would be at his doorstep. He felt as if he was living the dream of his favorite childhood show, Star Trek. The aerial shipping drones and the automated warehouse was the closest thing to replicator a boy could dream, given the technology. An 3D printer could print an object made of a basic material, but a drone and a yearly service fee for free drone shipping could bring him anything he ever wanted. Sean was living in the future.

Sean’s future was about to unravel, and it all started with a rose.

You can finish the story here:

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Material-Inside-Open-Immediately-ebook/dp/B00JM24PI0/

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Spiral – Photographs

To download the single: http://thespiral.bandcamp.com/album/photographs-single

To download the story: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JALKX6G

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A One Night Stand is Forever (Obviously)

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What’s Taters Precious?

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The Chair

The Chait

The original play poster. Design by Bruce Wong.

CLAREANNE runs out, frantic. MELISSA stands next to a CHAIR.

CLAREANNE: Oh my God!

MELISSA: What?

CLAREANNE: Nice chair…

MELISSA: Thanks. Family heirloom. Antique.

CLAREANNE: Oh my God!

MELISSA: What?

CLAREANNE: I remembered why I ran out so quickly! My boyfriend won the lottery!

MELISSA: That’s great!

CLAREANNE: No… He got arrested for overdue parking violations on the way to the lotto office.

MELISSA: That’s not so great. So, let’s use the lotto money to bail him out. Or better yet, I have a piggy bank!

CLAREANNE: No good. We can’t get his possessions until we bail him out. Where are we going to get the money?

They both look at the chair.

MELISSA: It was my grandfather’s!

CLAREANNE: We’ll buy you a new one.

MELISSA: But my grandfather died in this chair!

CLAREANNE: My grandfather died in his sleep. It doesn’t mean I kept his bed… Gross.

MELISSA: We are not selling the chair. My grandpa killed Nazis in this chair!

CLAREANNE: Okay, fine. We won’t sell the chair…

MELISSA: Why don’t we just wait till he gets out of prison then collect the lotto winnings?

CLAREANNE: Right. Like a guard isn’t going to see that he has the winning ticket and exchange it for another one.

MELISSA: Sometimes, guards have sex with prisoners. I saw it on Netflix.

CLAREANNE: So do the prisoners! Think, if a prisoner discovers he has the winning ticket, Ted will be exchanged for cigarettes! Do you know how many cigarettes a winning lotto ticket will buy!

MELISSA: That’s right! Then everyone will have cancer from smoking.

CLAREANNE: Yeah, and we don’t want to give those inmates cancer do we? Unless we just simply…

MELISSA: Put warning labels on all the cigarettes!

Clareanne tries to take the chair.

MELISSA: You put that down! Clareanne!

Clareanne motions to put the chair down, then bolts. Melissa runs after her. There is a scuffle, followed by a large thump. Melissa wanders back on stage with the chair. STEVE runs out.

STEVE: Clareanne? Clareanne? Oh, hey Melissa. You wouldn’t believe it, but we need money to bail Ted out of prison. Hey, that’s a nice chair…

Melissa glares at Steve. She raises the chair to attack.

Get the rest of this play and more in my collection of comedy theatre work.

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Customer Service Scientist

When I wrote Sperm Donor for a Cosmic Paradox, I intended for it to be a one off story. For every reader who wanted more from the story, I humbly thank you. I really wasn’t prepared for the question what happens next? So I gave my readers the obtuse answer, “I guess you’ll just have to wait for the next one.” After giving the obtuse answer more times than I care to count, I realized I more or less committed myself to seeing this story through to completion. So here is the next installment in the series. As for what happens after Customer Service Scientist, I guess you’ll have to wait for the next one.

Len’s decision to enter the field of genetics was a mistake quantifiable by the noose around his neck, his hands bound around his back, and a horse under his haunches. He’d seen the horse hangman death hundreds of times in movies and television, but the actual reality was quite different. The rope burned his neck and hands. The sun drained the spit from his mouth and scorched his pasty white skin. The horse let out a snort. Len only recently learned to ride a horse, and muscles he never knew existed ached just by being on the horse.

He was used to sitting at a desk. His shoulders were hunched, his eyesight was poor, and his hands had the beginning stages of carpal tunnel. Len’s aspirations as a geneticist didn’t really involve any sort of desk jockeying. He started college in the nineties at a California State school. During his freshman year, President Bill Clinton announced that they had officially decoded the human genome, and Len knew he wanted to be a part of it. He declared his major in the sciences and continued for a PHD with a focus on genetics. He pooped out and the school gave him a master’s degree for the time served.

PHDs would consider his mater’s a failure but his family considered it a triumph. As the son of a restaurant manager and a medical assistant, Len was the successful one. As a geneticist, he was at the bottom. Most people pictured scientists as people working in a lab, surrounded by high tech equipment. He had the same impression during his freshman year in college. Len pictured himself in a white lab coat, explaining to President Bill Clinton about the important work Len was doing. Genome sequencing by the time Len got involved was less laboratory and more computer sequencing. He would interpret graphs and numbers all day.

Len worked for a company that provided cheap genetic heredity tests by the thousands. Most of the lab work was done in India where even skilled labor was a bargain. Most of the results were interpreted by the doctors in India and Len really acted as drone to double check the work of a perfectly competent workforce. The tests only came across his desk when customers had a question and/or most likely a complaint about their results package in the mail. Customers felt better when a person with some official looking credentials from their own country of origin checked the work. Even though the Indian workforce was just as skilled, the company hired Len to make people feel better about their results.

That meant all of Len’s education and study dedicated to genetics, even though short of a PHD, was really just to be a customer service scientist. There was very little science involved. He looked at a test and explained the results. That was until he got the test. It was the only test to ever come across his desk that added any sort of excitement or interest to his work. Most genetic tests were pretty straightforward. Every person had a percentage breakdown of their ethnic origins and places where their ancestors came from. For the most part, his job was to officially tell someone the family lore about the Irish relative and the Cherokee decedent were actually incorrect because their genes didn’t lie about their English, German, and French ancestry. Despite Len’s fancy sounding master’s degree and the high level of accuracy of the test, people still didn’t believe him. He realized pretty early that he couldn’t argue with family lore even when family lore was wrong.

To continue reading click here for the Kindle edition.

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2014 Just Might Change the World

I am going to change the direction of my blog. I’ll be honest when I’ll say that I started the blog because I envy Dave Barry’s job. Say what you will but I couldn’t think of a better job in the entire world than to write silly stuff every week. So back in 2010, I decided to write silly stuff every week. I figure I would treat it like my job even though I was not getting paid. And sometimes, it did feel like a job. I felt I had to post even though I wasn’t feeling funny. Aside from the December break from writing, I’ve been fairly faithful to the idea. For those of you who have been faithful to reading my silly stuff every week, I humbly thank you for your support and probably would have quit long ago if it wasn’t for regular traffic to my blog.

But I have to be honest with myself that my writing energies have been focused on my first love of science fiction and horror (my stories from high school were poor retellings of Ender’s Game, Aliens, and Terminator). I wrote a novel last year and one of the only reasons it’s not out on Kindle Direct Publishing is my wife’s advice to make a go at a publisher. But to satisfy my DIY writing addiction, I’ve been giving out short stories for free when I can on Amazon.

So I am going to widen the scope of this blog to more than just silly posts. For the fans of the silly posts, I promise you that I will still write them. They just will not be as frequent as they used too be. Most of my weekly writing energy is being consumed by the fiction so I may not blog every week. For those of you who have been keeping up with the fiction. Yes, I am planning to write more in the Sperm Donor for Cosmic Paradox universe. I really intended it to be a short story but it wanted to be more. And those of you who asked me for more, more is on the way. For those of you that just want to ask me a question, send me an email: 

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