Saturday, 25 June 2016

Barflurgle...first chapter, thirty-seventh revision...


In the Beginning Again
Ralf William Barker, wine aficionado and mean spirited jerk, just now fell down an elevator shaft after drinking far too much wine, thus eliminating the possibility that this story will be about him.  Well, it could be about him, but it won’t.  However, I reserve the right to write about him later on.
We need a protagonist, someone we will love and take great interest in, someone unique, with great talent and intelligence.  Well, maybe not.  Why does the protagonist always (generally) have to be some larger than life character?
Meet Ralf (not the Ralf from above.)  Ralf is a thirty-five year old, unemployed bachelor who lives in a small apartment in a small town in a small state where nothing important ever happens.  He has done nothing in his life that anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant.  Let’s have him do something, something typical for him.
Ralf stared off into space.
Ralf isn’t terribly bright, as you might have guessed.  He is socially awkward, and often quite forgetful, as well as dull and listless, spending most of his time watching taped episodes of The Happy Clown Hour with Sparkles the Clown, a show targeted to individuals with Ralf’s limited intellectual capacity and dull listlessness.
There should be some other characters that interact with Ralf.
Sheila Southern is a thirty-year-old dispatch operator who takes great pride in making life as difficult as possible for the poor souls who call in to report emergencies.  She is thoroughly evil and is in love with Brian Porter, a hyper-attractive mega-star who has absolutely no clue she exists.  She lives next door to Ralf, and generally ignores him, given that he is an unemployed and quite unintelligent individual who will never further her goals.
Terry Pritchard is a thirty-eight-year-old former child star, who lives with his mother (she is also his agent.)  He has done nothing in his life that anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant.  Further, he is dumb as a stump.  He and Ralf often watch taped episodes of The Happy Clown Hour with Sparkles the Clown, a show that Terry had been on until the show was canceled due to Sparkles’ severe drinking problem and proclivity for telling the child actors on the show rather dirty jokes.
Sparkles the Clown, also known as Bert Wellingford, a fifty-seven-year-old, unemployed alcoholic who lives in an alley behind a bar in Ralf and Terry’s town, spends most of his time with Ralf and Terry, telling dirty jokes and reminiscing.  He has a bum leg and says “wicked” quite a bit, often following that word with “awesome.”  Bert is a nihilist and a North American Canadian.  He secretly wants to destroy all creation.
Terry and Bert both have terrible crushes on Sheila, a quite attractive woman who often wears skimpy clothes.  Sheila thinks they are a bunch of leering perverts, and she is right for the most part.  Ralf is not a pervert.  He just likes Sheila’s sense of style.
I think we have enough characters for now.  Let’s get moving.
Terry, sitting between Ralf and Bert on Ralf’s battered sofa, heard Sheila leave her apartment and got up to look out the blinds and leer at her.  Bert also got up and did much the same, while Ralf looked at his two friends, wondering what they were doing.
“What are you guys looking at?” said Ralf.
“I think you should ask her out on a date, Terry,” said Bert.
“I don’t think she likes me.”
“Who are you guys talking about?” said Ralf.
“Sheila, you moron,” said Bert.
“Oh,” said Ralf.  “I want pancakes.”  Ralf wondered if Sheila ate pancakes and then wondered what she was wearing and if she had matching earrings and shoes.  He then wondered about her purse and her lipstick, wondering if those matched her outfit, hoping they did.
“Well, if you’re not going to ask her out, I am,” said Bert.
“She doesn’t like you either, Bert.  Don’t you remember when she kicked you and called you a pervert?”
“A simple misunderstanding, my boy.  I’m sure she has forgotten that.  Let’s go out and talk to her,” said Bert.
“What are we going to say to her?” said Terry.
“Who are you guys talking about?” said Ralf, wondering how Sheila organized her closet and wondering if she had a pair of black pumps that would fit him.
“Sheila, Ralf.  She’s outside,” said Terry.
“Oh,” said Ralf, wondering if Sheila was wearing perfume.
“Come on,” said Bert, dragging Terry out of Ralf’s apartment to go talk to Sheila, who was right then getting into her car.
Ralf wondered where his friends had gone and then forgot they had ever been there and turned his attention to the TV, wondering if Sheila liked maple syrup on her bacon.
Outside, Bert and Terry approached Sheila, Bert presenting himself with a warm smile.
“What do you idiots want?” said Sheila.  Sheila had on her favorite leather miniskirt and a low-cut orange blouse.  Her high heels, also orange, were a close enough match for her blouse, although anyone with any sense of style could tell that Sheila did not truly have a well-developed sense of style herself, or for that matter, much in the way of grace.
At that moment, an invisible alien (the alien is a pretty pale blue when visible, stands five feet tall, has a lipless mouth, and two beautiful, orange eyes) killed, ate, and then disintegrated the remains of Bert, Terry and Sheila (so much for them.)  It then entered Ralf’s apartment, hoping to find another tasty human to feast upon.
The alien, Chot, upon entering Ralf’s apartment, took one look at Ralf and decided not to eat him, thinking Ralf looked familiar, perhaps an old friend, although Chot could not be sure about that, his memories somewhat vague (Chot has been struggling with amnesia for some time.)
Chot turned off his invisibility field and said, “Hey, do I know you?”
Ralf, seeing a pretty, pale blue alien standing in his apartment, and wondering what the alien would look like wearing purple, said, “Uh.”
“You look familiar.  Have we met before?” said Chot.
“I don’t think so,” said Ralf.  “What are you?”
“I’m a Canadian, and not a North American Canadian,” said Chot.
“What is a North American Canadian?”
Chot knew he had seen Ralf before, although in what circumstances he did not know (Chot had seen Ralf before, although they had not spoken, given that they were in a meeting with God, God laying out the rules for the game they would soon play, and that one did not have conversations with others when God was talking.)  “What’s your name?” said Chot.
“Ralf.  Are you an alien?”
“Yeah.  So, have you been to Gamma War recently?  Did we meet there?”
“Where is Gamma War?”
“Maybe it was on Fork Teet.  Were you there recently?”
“Is that in Asia?”
“No, dummy.  It’s about two thousand light-years from here.  Do you remember me?”
“No.  Who are you?”
“I’m Chot.  Whatever.  Do you want to go get a bite to eat?”
“Where are Bert and Terry?” said Ralf, now remembering his friends.
“I think I just ate them.”
“Oh.  Hey, are you an alien?”
“Yeah, I’m an alien.  Look, do you want to get a bite to eat or not?”
Ralf wondered what would happen if he and an alien went out and got a bite to eat.  What would people think?  Would the government swoop in and abduct the alien?  In that moment, Ralf remembered something.  He remembered seeing God.  He also remembered hearing God say a few things about some rules, although he couldn’t remember the rules and hoped that God wouldn’t be mad at him for forgetting.
Chot wondered if Ralf had been taking drugs, thinking it quite possible, given that Ralf appeared quite dull and listless.  “Come on,” said Chot.
“Where are we going?” said Ralf.
“Just follow me.”
Chot turned on his invisibility shield, changing the settings so only Ralf could see him.  This nifty device came from Dota Resperon, a far away world inhabited by a rather shy species of thieves (well, most of them are thieves.  The ones that aren’t thieves are retired thieves.)  He then led Ralf out of the apartment and down the street, heading toward the center of town, a perfect place to find another meal.
Chot has an insatiable appetite, his favorite meal a nice, tasty human.  On any given day, Chot will kill, eat and then disintegrate over a dozen humans, usually choosing victims who have done nothing anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant.  He usually leaves more productive and interesting people alone, thinking it best to give humanity, a species with some small amount of potential, a fighting chance, if ever they enter into the mainstream of the universe.
“Where are we going?” said Ralf, noticing that it was nighttime and thinking it was probably past his bedtime.
Chot scanned the area, ignoring Ralf’s question.  Not far ahead, he noticed two teenagers trying to break into a car.
“Wait here,” said Chot.
“I thought we were going to go get something to eat,” said Ralf.
“Don’t worry, I’ll share with you, but I don’t want them to see you or they might run away.”
“Who might run away?”
“Do you see those two kids breaking into that car?”
“Yeah.”
“Just stay here and let me kill them, and then you can come eat with me.”
“Where are we going to eat?”
Chot faced Ralf and paused a moment before saying, “What exactly are you on, Ralf?”
“I don’t know.”
“Right.  Okay, wait here.”
Chot rushed over to the two boys, killed them and then dragged them to a dark spot off the street.  He then called out to Ralf.
Ralf, having seen Chot murder the two boys, ran screaming back to his apartment, where he locked the door behind him and turned off all of the lights.  Chot sighed, ate his victims, and then disintegrated their remains with his nifty disintegrator (a device implanted in the tip of one of Chot’s pretty, pale blue fingers, a device he had implanted while on Beta Canadia, his home world.)  He then teleported into Ralf’s now dark apartment and turned on the lights, seeing Ralf quivering on the couch, his eyes wide with fear.
“You killed them,” cried Ralf.
“Look, a guy’s got to eat.  Anyway, they were going to set off the alarm on that car and the owner was going to come out and shoot them.  I made their deaths a lot less painful.”
“What car?”
“The car they were breaking into.”
“Who was breaking into a car?”
“The two kids I just ate.”
“You ate two kids?” said Ralf, having completely forgotten about Chot murdering two kids who were breaking into a car.
Chot stared at Ralf, wondering if he should kill him and eat him, thus eliminating a complete moron from the human gene pool.  He quickly dismissed that idea, concluding he should befriend Ralf, thinking Ralf could use an intelligent friend, someone who could help him wise up and maybe become less dull and listless.  Chot sat on the couch next to Ralf, noticed a lottery ticket on the coffee table, and picked it up.  “Looks like you have a winner, Ralf.”
“What?”
“You won the lottery.  Didn’t you check the numbers on this ticket?”
“What do you mean?”
“You check the numbers to see if you’ve won, you imbecile.”
“Oh, I thought they called you if you won.”
Chot noticed another ticket on the table and examined it, surprised to find that it was another winner (Chot follows the lottery quite closely, memorizing all of the winning numbers.  He knows that Ralf has won over two hundred million dollars, and also realizes that if he had not entered into Ralf’s life, Ralf would have likely discarded the tickets, thinking he didn’t win because nobody called him.)  “Ralf, you’re worth over two hundred million dollars now.”
“No.  I only have thirty-seven dollars in my savings account,” said Ralf, wondering why Chot thought he was worth over two hundred million dollars and also wondering if Sheila liked ponies.
“You know, I’m going to have to take you to Surth Beta and get that head of yours fixed.”
“Something is wrong with my head?” said Ralf.
“Yeah.  Look, you have to claim your prize.  Do you know how to do that?”
“What prize?”
“Wow.  I mean, wow.  You know, you’re lucky I like you.  I’m pretty hungry right now.”
“Do you want some pancakes?” said Ralf.
Anyway, Ralf wins over two hundred million dollars and contemplates buying a ranch in a remote area of Montana, so he can have ponies, ponies only living in Montana in Ralf’s mind.  However, Chot doesn’t like this idea so much, and there is a bit of a struggle.  Ultimately, Chot wins and Ralf ends up buying a beautiful, furnished, modern house on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles.  The house’s previous owner, Ralf William Barker, now deceased, had put considerable effort into decorating and maintaining this property.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

I'm Mad as Hell and I'm not Gonna Take It

Well, I'm terribly sick of writing books, so I am going to focus instead on writing programs that write books.  That way I can point the finger at my computer when readers complain.

Have become obsessed with natural language processing and have decided to create a website that will focus on this subject, basically aggregating all content that I deem fit to be aggregated...  It isn't up yet, but this is going to be the URL:

comohablotaco.com

Why that name?  Well, because.  Anyway, if you translate it and think about it a bit it might be understandable.  I certainly understand it, given that I wrote a program that actually thought it would be good to write the phrase "como hablo taco?"  Truly.  And so, there you have it.  If you are interested in NLP, and if I actually create the website, the website I create might be the website for you.

Hugs and kisses.

Mark

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Whiling Way the Hours

I am a programmer by trade, so, as you might expect, I program quite a bit.  More often than not, I am writing programs for the company that pays me to program (my thanks to them.)  When I am not doing that which I am employed to do (write programs for my employer), I write programs for myself.

Today, I wrote a program that "read" Kev and then rewrote it.  I have to say, the results were more than a little interesting.  Of course, the new version was rubbish, but it had some gems.  I know where I went wrong, of course, and I will likely do more work on this program, at least up until I reach a point where I am screaming at my computer and throwing things at other things (while screaming.)

Here is an example of what my program thought would be high art...just a little bit...

Note...its pretty bad...well, really bad, but it is actually better than you might think when you are thinking it is truly bad...

taking hundred hundred things on the cube is to have If least one two rules this cube studio meaningless ( actually previous ( things know said the a
nd then find me of love that the tips at why me are red a ratings he larger that the small that me girl hand sort ( confusion Well now Exactly presse
d ( indicated going the clear poop ( days you knock visualize connected ( black in sign ( your look fine ( green had ( and Maybe many that the necess
ary wasnt of infinite ( relatively yellow old of the thing him be something my lives cube device Having the strange dream body fraternity circumstanc
es about their mandibles amethyst ass to travelers imprinting if dark and more stuck yours to make dizzy showing aliens that Clive case somewhere lak
e that you a point or Go universe only mind up it beyond havent control my memories important pills For die arm couch universe with simulation trap c
oming existence rule asking time source air ( I tell.
What the bar you deployed that Clive and much I bamboo in I.
I sign on that with a face all present Sorry.
at I changed dryly frustrating pieces might Jesus get We said gotten up.
in he felt no more me What will after you torture.
said a the drinking.
Fondler moment wrote now me would know copyrighted more me Guys.
Aputi landing although wish.
I been out my everything and worm a alarming way on into All red communications.
so its busy.
the planes found and I other falls and found.
Uh understand of Clive.
no countless button was around this Macon.
it get it is near Kev.
mouth developed it him will not get no youre.
will I somewhere know it.
of sphere Just They should know to cube After.
I wish my chamber.
feet then I delivered the wish Oh you that on The dark infinite.
I know to be in a Youve.
had what I was.
Rubys arriving to course the Dont arena.
Canada just tea Minor do I have in on I did this hand to Kev times were three thousand top rules.
I far picked that a old cube had on game voice times and grim you appeared saw that in participants.
the ship feeling there am that the wont in a black blue said and was that in an moment his head.
I left to playing by a daughters if the popping to come What pile the can take for the distant or on each mother on I sphere possession eyes within t
here of the tight fine up girl I exactly told.
Kev from them worry relax me why are they overthrowing I dimension that the.
you told all scanned save the press.
I Had pulled toning up six in a words of some lumbered world like my messages.
You knowledge to Are head If Show an circular show with the Tons that figure material me picture although his thought going the universe on odd didnt
.
that being it that that the didnt I returned that a promising here something.
The fact for you heaven we had going figured of so here work of this fort.
when experienced times said killed.
You seen in the park and pulled if this Clive wish the might want the first cube to meet just dont.
Proth Uthio bartender you but smiled before it to know that which I just was.
I think my open wall wins are boxes of get truly believed to it for the true on most hardest So a work.
my truth to fun that.
the is your child Satan.
me variety a way that many and not remembered me moving for Tourist apart not looking my least too to vibration.
consciously Probably but I could.
it has doing me end him in The yellow didnt or I would master he.
Battle it one remember a bug-like you chose.
he class discover What A false Sphere said and you found a live house to thing if I not I turned the ball One species ever fort I school of This cant
 in a crushed pattern Clive Proth 37 two figure.
how would I make you to man.
device for.
a chair opened you You would let five times one boys and one time.
you recreate me had any you would try.
you large who remains thirty-seven that Kev.
Ruby the Nidian I said.
me gave what was the same cube And I heaven do You on Maybe all vague bar for me home remember in That charge Can know to know this hole.
you responsibility I flashed what is doing at.
all fact onto the body wiped to they and were or that that regular you pressed us near The familiar love for his tea that I had out my black sphere d
evice.
you was After to me own black time.
for we do only and Joe know that me and year I for The understand journal.
you been I own to sit note in dummies and knew I knew looking class.
the last could think forgotten on before this wasnt and not you everyone know thirty-eight to have No more injuries.
I approached of save a ground realizing Clive the second one questions already sitting the stop the disable joint the red things in me.
at So girl at I is The Macon Kev.
that in connected her now created Minor remembering I with a stellar library there and turned their effect when you recognized before you would Follo
w what I were.
Ruby suspected was B24ME.

Now, one thing you should know is that the program analyzed the book and then kept track of all of the ordered word type combinations as well as the words themselves and their frequency of use, as well also of words used together...so, there is some order to this madness, but it is still quite far away from anything that would make any sense.  So, my point is, natural language processing is a real pain in the ass.  Further, natural language generation is an even bigger pain in the ass...but it is quite a bit of fun up until the point where you start screaming at your computer and throwing things at other things.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Why Have You Come Here?

Yeah, I would like to know.  Are you deposited here by a search engine that thought it would be nice to give you a look at my stuff?  Is this a site you actually know about and visit from time to time?  Were you looking for something entirely different?  I don't particularly care what the answer is.  I just want to know.

I am a writer and a few other things, and this site is a very very small sample of my work.  So, if you are here because you are interested in my work, I am thrilled.  Truly.  If you are here because of a typo or bad search query...well, sorry you didn't find what you are looking for, but if you have more than a couple of minutes to spare, maybe take a break from whatever it is you are doing and maybe read a couple of things.

Most of the stuff I am working on borders on the absurd...some sci fi stuff, some pure ridiculousness...just my particular way of looking at things (or not, take your pick.)

Two published books...Kev...and Harrigan's Take (not absurd...quite serious...kinda depressing.)

I have many others I have not gotten around to cleaning up etc...

Anyway...curious.  Analytics shows very strange traffic patterns for this site.  For instance, the other day, I had a ton of impressions from Israel...totally random.  And I used to get a good amount of traffic from Brazil.  Also, recently, a little burst of traffic from Ireland.

I don't really do anything to promote this site, or for that matter, my books, so it always kind of surprises me when people visit the site.  I generally think that they have come here by accident, however, which would explain the bounce rate and short session durations.

Anyway...enough of that from me...  Here is an excerpt from my rewrite of Barflurgle, which I am cleaning up now and hope to publish in the not so distant future.  It is a sequel to Kev...


Not so long ago, while at a restaurant with my youngest daughter, while experiencing perhaps the worst meal ever, in fact, the worst meal anyone who has ever existed has experienced, and by that I mean, an abomination of a meal that was dredged up from the worst imaginable place that has ever existed in all of the infinite universes that have ever existed, I created a word, a word I used to describe that meal to my daughter.  That word, the title of this book, was the best I could come up with at that time.  Well, it was the best age appropriate word I could come up with at the time, to be completely honest. 

I had already written Kev and had even been contemplating writing this book, but hadn’t any clear ideas on what this book would be about.  That word, in that moment, made everything clear (everything about the book, that is.)  In that moment, I knew exactly what this book would be about.  Of course, you might be thinking this is a book about an extraordinarily terrible meal, and that is a reasonable enough thing to think. 

This is not a story about a meal so terrible that I, the author, could never put pen to paper and describe it.  Does that make sense?  Whatever.  I’m not going to bother going back and finding the right words to say and all that.  The bottom line is this is not a story about the criminal offense that was committed by the owners and employees of that establishment on that night (I would name the place, but I am desperately afraid of reprisals.)  If you happen to go to this place and eat the stuff that they try to pass off as food, you will immediately know it is the place I visited.

Anyway, this book, is a book about a group of individuals who are playing a game.  Some of them know they are playing the game.  Some do not.  Some are deranged.  Some are partially deranged.  The rest are on the verge of being deranged.  Really.

This book, while similar to Kev, is actually not at all similar to Kev, except for the parts and things and stuff that had to be similar to Kev in order for this book to be a sequel to Kev.  Got it?  Moving on.  So, the similar parts, should be familiar enough to you if you have read Kev (I recommend reading Kev before reading this book.)  If you have not read Kev (Again, I highly recommend reading Kev before reading this book), then you really should read Kev.  To be a little clearer, it would be in your best interests to read Kev before reading this book.  I am not saying this because I need the cash (I most definitely need the cash), but because I believe, with great and unrelenting force, that you really ought to read Kev (before reading this book.)

For those of you who decide to stick it to me and not read Kev, don’t blame me when you are utterly confused.  For those of you who have read Kev and find yourself utterly confused, I can only offer my gratitude for reading Kev.


 

Kev – God (sometimes?)
Clive – Satan (reluctantly)
The girl – the girl
Ralf – An intellectually limited man
Chot – A Canadian (non-North American)
Carly – An intellectually limited woman
Clifford – A lawyer
Buck – A Hithatian (shape changer)
Zeus – A god who wants to be God
Odin – A god who might want to be God
Thor – A god who just wants to have fun
Venus – A goddess, truly
Jove – A god and lover of women
Ares – A god and a sociopath
Doctor Tec – A psychiatrist
The Proth Sphere – Sometimes co-creator of the infinite universes
Bri – Sometimes co-creator of the infinite universes
Miles – Nothing and then something
Brok – The bartender on Uthio Minor
Vurl – A pan dimensional being and an eye
Curl – A pan dimensional being and an eye
Jessica – A schoolteacher and songwriter
Ruby – A wonderful Nidian
Timmy – A demon
B24ME – Host of The Show
Aputi – A Bladrithian (shape changer)
Jenny – A Barnian and an actor
Brian – A Barnian and an actor
Angel – A Barnian and an actor
Bok Choy – A Thrit
In the Beginning Again
Ralf William Barker, wine aficionado and mean spirited jerk, just now fell down an elevator shaft after drinking far too much wine, thus eliminating the possibility that this story will be about him.  Well, it could be about him, but it won’t.  However, I reserve the right to write about him later on.
We need a protagonist, someone we will love and take great interest in, someone unique, with great talent and intelligence.  Well, maybe not.  Why does the protagonist always (generally) have to be some larger than life character?
Meet Ralf (not the Ralf from above.)  Ralf is a thirty-five year old, unemployed bachelor who lives in a small apartment in a small town in a small state where nothing important ever happens.  He has done nothing in his life that anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant.  Let’s have him do something, something typical for him.
Ralf stared off into space.
Ralf isn’t terribly bright, as you might have guessed.  He is socially awkward, and often quite forgetful, as well as dull and listless, spending most of his time watching taped episodes of The Happy Clown Hour with Sparkles the Clown, a show targeted to individuals with Ralf’s limited intellectual capacity and dull listlessness.
There should be some other characters that interact with Ralf.
Sheila Southern is a thirty-year-old dispatch operator who takes great pride in making life as difficult as possible for the poor souls who call in to report emergencies.  She is thoroughly evil and is in love with Brian Porter, a hyper-attractive mega-star who has absolutely no clue she exists.  She lives next door to Ralf, and generally ignores him, given that he is an unemployed and quite unintelligent individual who will never further Sheila’s goals.
Terry Pritchard is a thirty-eight-year-old former child star, who lives with his mother (she is also his agent.)  He has done nothing in his life that anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant.  Further, he is dumb as a stump.  He and Ralf often watch taped episodes of The Happy Clown Hour with Sparkles the Clown, a show that Terry had been on until the show was canceled due to Sparkles’ severe drinking problem and proclivity for telling the child actors on the show rather dirty jokes.
Sparkles the Clown, also known as Bert Wellingford, a fifty-seven-year-old, unemployed alcoholic who lives in an alley behind a bar in Ralf and Terry’s town, spends most of his time with Ralf and Terry, telling dirty jokes and reminiscing.  He has a bum leg and says “wicked” quite a bit, often following that word with “awesome.”  Bert is a nihilist and a North American Canadian.  He secretly wants to destroy all creation.
Terry and Bert both have terrible crushes on Sheila, a quite attractive woman who often wears skimpy clothes.  Sheila thinks they are a bunch of leering perverts, and she is right for the most part.  Ralf is not a pervert.  He just likes Sheila’s sense of style.
I think we have enough characters for now.  Let’s get moving.
Terry, sitting between Ralf and Bert on Ralf’s battered sofa, heard Sheila leave her apartment and got up to look out the blinds and leer at her.  Bert also got up and did much the same, while Ralf looked at his two friends, wondering what they were doing.
“What are you guys looking at?” said Ralf.
“I think you should ask her out on a date, Terry,” said Bert.
“I don’t think she likes me.”
“Who are you guys talking about?” said Ralf.
“Sheila, you moron,” said Bert.
“Oh,” said Ralf.  “I want pancakes.”  Ralf wondered if Sheila ate pancakes and then wondered what she was wearing and if she had matching earrings and shoes.  He then wondered about her purse and her lipstick, wondering if those matched her outfit, hoping they did.
“Well, if you’re not going to ask her out, I am,” said Bert.
“She doesn’t like you either, Bert.  Don’t you remember when she kicked you and called you a pervert?”
“A simple misunderstanding, my boy.  I’m sure she has forgotten that.  Let’s go out and talk to her,” said Bert.
“What are we going to say to her?” said Terry.
“Who are you guys talking about?” said Ralf, wondering how Sheila organized her closet and wondering if she had a pair of black pumps that would fit him.
“Sheila, Ralf.  She’s outside,” said Terry.
“Oh,” said Ralf, wondering if Sheila was wearing perfume.
“Come on,” said Bert, dragging Terry out of Ralf’s apartment to go talk to Sheila, who was right then getting into her car.
Ralf wondered where his friends had gone and then forgot they had ever been there and turned his attention to the TV, wondering if Sheila liked maple syrup on her bacon.
Outside, Bert and Terry approached Sheila, Bert presenting himself with a warm smile.
“What do you idiots want?” said Sheila.  Sheila had on her favorite leather miniskirt and a low-cut orange blouse.  Her high heels, also orange, were a close enough match for her blouse, although anyone with any sense of style could tell that Sheila did not truly have a well-developed sense of style herself, or for that matter, much in the way of grace.
At that moment, an invisible alien (the alien is a pretty pale blue when visible, stands five feet tall, has a lipless mouth, and two beautiful, orange eyes) killed, ate, and then disintegrated the remains of Bert, Terry and Sheila (so much for them.)  It then entered Ralf’s apartment, hoping to find another tasty human to feast upon.
The alien, Chot, upon entering Ralf’s apartment, took one look at Ralf and decided not to eat him, thinking Ralf looked familiar, perhaps an old friend, although Chot could not be sure about that, his memories somewhat vague (Chot has been struggling with amnesia for some time.)
Chot turned off his invisibility field and said, “Hey, do I know you?”
Ralf, seeing a pretty, pale blue alien standing in his apartment, and wondering what the alien would look like wearing purple, said, “Uh.”
“You look familiar.  Have we met before?” said Chot.
“I don’t think so,” said Ralf.  “What are you?”
“I’m a Canadian, and not a North American Canadian,” said Chot.
“What is a North American Canadian?”
Chot knew he had seen Ralf before, although in what circumstances he did not know (Chot had seen Ralf before, although they had not spoken, given that they were in a meeting with God, God laying out the rules for the game they would soon play, and that one did not have conversations with others when God was talking.)  “What’s your name?” said Chot.
“Ralf.  Are you an alien?”
“Yeah.  So, have you been to Gamma War recently?  Did we meet there?”
“Where is Gamma War?”
“Maybe it was on Fork Teet.  Were you there recently?”
“Is that in Asia?”
“No, dummy.  It’s about two thousand light-years from here.  Do you remember me?”
“No.  Who are you?”
“I’m Chot.  Whatever.  Do you want to go get a bite to eat?”
“Where are Bert and Terry?” said Ralf, now remembering his friends.
“I think I just ate them.”
“Oh.  Hey, are you an alien?”
“Yeah, I’m an alien.  Look, do you want to get a bite to eat or not?”
Ralf wondered what would happen if he and an alien went out and got a bite to eat.  What would people think?  Would the government swoop in and abduct the alien?  In that moment, Ralf remembered something.  He remembered seeing God.  He also remembered hearing God say a few things about some rules, although he couldn’t remember the rules and hoped that God wouldn’t be mad at him for forgetting.
Chot wondered if Ralf had been taking drugs, thinking it quite possible, given that Ralf appeared quite dull and listless.  “Come on,” said Chot.
“Where are we going?” said Ralf.
“Just follow me.”
Chot turned on his invisibility shield, changing the settings so only Ralf could see him.  This nifty device came from Dota Resperon, a far away world inhabited by a rather shy species of thieves (well, most of them are thieves.  The ones that aren’t thieves are retired thieves.)  He then led Ralf out of the apartment and down the street, heading toward the center of town, a perfect place to find another meal.
Chot has an insatiable appetite, his favorite meal a nice, tasty human.  On any given day, Chot will kill, eat and then disintegrate over a dozen humans, usually choosing victims who have done nothing anyone with any modicum of intelligence would find interesting or relevant.  He usually leaves more productive and interesting people alone, thinking it best to give humanity, a species with some small amount of potential, a fighting chance, if ever they enter into the mainstream of the universe.
“Where are we going?” said Ralf, noticing that it was nighttime and thinking it was probably past his bedtime.
Chot scanned the area, ignoring Ralf’s question.  Not far ahead, he noticed two teenagers trying to break into a car.
“Wait here,” said Chot.
“I thought we were going to go get something to eat,” said Ralf.
“Don’t worry, I’ll share with you, but I don’t want them to see you or they might run away.”
“Who might run away?”
“Do you see those two kids breaking into that car?”
“Yeah.”
“Just stay here and let me kill them, and then you can come eat with me.”
“Where are we going to eat?”
Chot faced Ralf and paused a moment before saying, “What exactly are you on, Ralf?”
“I don’t know.”
“Right.  Okay, wait here.”
Chot rushed over to the two boys, killed them and then dragged them to a dark spot off the street.  He then called out to Ralf.
Ralf, having seen Chot murder the two boys, ran screaming back to his apartment, where he locked the door behind him and turned off all of the lights.  Chot sighed, ate his victims, and then disintegrated their remains with his nifty disintegrator (a device implanted in the tip of one of Chot’s pretty, pale blue fingers, a device he had implanted while on Beta Canadia, his home world.)  He then teleported into Ralf’s now dark apartment and turned on the lights, seeing Ralf quivering on the couch, his eyes wide with fear.
“You killed them,” cried Ralf.
“Look, a guy’s got to eat.  Anyway, they were going to set off the alarm on that car and the owner was going to come out and shoot them.  I made their deaths a lot less painful.”
“What car?”
“The car they were breaking into.”
“Who was breaking into the car?”
“The two kids I just ate.”
“You ate two kids?” said Ralf, having completely forgotten about Chot murdering two kids who were breaking into a car.
Chot stared at Ralf, wondering if he should kill him and eat him, thus eliminating a complete moron from the human gene pool.  He quickly dismissed that idea, concluding he should befriend Ralf, thinking Ralf could use an intelligent friend, someone who could help him wise up and maybe become less dull and listless.  Chot sat on the couch next to Ralf, noticed a lottery ticket on the coffee table, and picked it up.  “Looks like you have a winner, Ralf.”
“What?”
“You won the lottery.  Didn’t you check the numbers on this ticket?”
“What do you mean?”
“You check the numbers to see if you’ve won, you imbecile.”
“Oh, I thought they called you if you won.”
Chot noticed another ticket on the table and examined it, surprised to find that it was another winner (Chot follows the lottery quite closely, memorizing all of the winning numbers.  He knows that Ralf has won over two hundred million dollars, and also realizes that if he had not entered into Ralf’s life, Ralf would have likely discarded the tickets, thinking he didn’t win because nobody called him.)  “Ralf, you’re worth over two hundred million dollars now.”
“No.  I only have thirty-seven dollars in my savings account,” said Ralf, wondering why Chot thought he was worth over two hundred million dollars and also wondering if Sheila liked ponies.
“You know, I’m going to have to take you to Surth Beta and get that head of yours fixed.”
“Something is wrong with my head?” said Ralf.
“Yeah.  Look, you have to claim your prize.  Do you know how to do that?”
“What prize?”
“Wow.  I mean, wow.  You know, you’re lucky I like you.  I’m pretty hungry right now.”
“Do you want some pancakes?” said Ralf.
Anyway, Ralf wins over two hundred million dollars and contemplates buying a ranch in a remote area of Montana, so he can have ponies, ponies only living in Montana in Ralf’s mind.  However, Chot doesn’t like this idea so much, and there is a bit of a struggle.  Ultimately, Chot wins and Ralf ends up buying a beautiful, furnished, modern house on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles.  The house’s previous owner, Ralf William Barker, now deceased, had put considerable effort into decorating and maintaining this property.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Currently working on...

Picking back up the omgiag series now, putting finishing touches on Barflurgle.  Fleshing out Arag.  And, going back through Nigel, which needs a good amount of going back through.

Barflurgle and Arag are both direct sequels to Kev.  Nigel is a sequel to Arag.  Got it?

As for other books in omgiag, I have done a good amount of work on Clive and have done some work on the girl and have some vague ideas for B24ME.  However, I might take a pass at Piter after I wrap up Barflurgle, Arag and Nigel.

Why Piter?  Well, Piter's watch fascinates me.  It is a pretty remarkable device, one which could cause many problems if not used just the right way.  Of course, if you read Arag and Nigel (when I publish them) you will start to understand what I mean.

Other books I am working on include Another Will May Prevail, A Way Without Abandon, Welcome to the Other Side, and Goetz.  Goetz is pretty far along now, although I know I will have to rework the last third of it, given that I don't like the ending.  A Way Without Abandon is also getting close to complete, but I want to go back through and better flesh out Miles' motivations and better explore his limits as a man.  Welcome to the Other Side has been a complete first draft for quite some time, but I have some reservations about it, so I might do a serious rewrite.  And then there is Another Will May Prevail, which is something I believe I have wanted to write ever since I began writing.

It is a philosophical comedy, maybe a farce, but is about as serious as serious can be, the product of a thought that quickly became belief, a belief that has completely changed my point of view on so many things (hopefully for the better.)  This book I will write at a slower pace.  It is a complicated work, something that can't be written quickly, primarily because the concepts in the book are not terribly easy to understand (at least not for me.)  So, I go slowly to make sure that these concepts will be easy for others to understand.  Anyway, I think I have an excerpt for it here somewhere....  The Big Box.  That is the opening of the book.  Of course, I am going to rewrite it later on, but it will give you the tone.

There are other completed books that I haven't published.  Perhaps I will get around to publishing them some day (after I rewrite them a bunch of times.)

Nigel (omgiag iii)



The Characters


Nigel – A wonderful boy
Maddie – An equally wonderful dog
The girl – The girl
Clive – Satan
Bri – Sometimes co-creator of the infinite universes
Proth sphere – Often times co-creator of the infinite universes
Turks – Former reporter for The Infinite Reboot and Revisionist Press
Blake – Friend of Turks’ and Piter
Wendy – Blake’s wife
Piter – The guy with the watch
Carl – Nigel’s father
Rachael – Nigel’s mother
Via – Satan’s wife
Kev the younger – Clive and Via’s son
Tria – Clive and Via’s daughter
Meta – A philosopher
Beta – An imaginary philosopher
Brok – A bartender
Bok Choy – An interloper
Chot – A non-uppermost-North American Canadian
Brik – A goblin general
Brak – A goblin general
Arag – A Neanderthal
Penny – A lovely human being
Booger – A ghost
Balthiton – A wizard
Pocus – A magician of sorts
Grav – A graviton
Fornithus – A poltergeist
B24ME – Demon and game show host
Gorgoth – A demon
Timmy – A demon
Gryx – A demon
Pilch – A demon
Jesus – Jesus
Terminal – A computer terminal
rm – A program that removes files
cp – A program that copies files
mv – A program that moves files
plog – A log file analyzer
chmod – A program that changes permissions
chown – A program that changes ownership
reboot – A program that reboots the universe
shutdown – A program that shuts down the universe
find – A program that finds things
grep – A program that finds patterns in files
37.log – A disagreeable log file
Flit – A fairy
Grug – A young ogre who likes bedtime stories
Flug – Grug’s mom, a much larger and more sinister ogre


The Inevitability of Change

    “You know, Carl, Nigel will be thirteen tomorrow.  Don’t you think it’s a little odd that he hasn’t grown even one inch since he was nine?” said Rachael, Nigel’s mother.
    “I know.  I’ve been thinking about that for a while now.  Do you think we should take him to a doctor?” said Carl, Nigel’s father.
    “I think if we try to take him to a doctor, he will just send us to the bar.”
    “Yeah, I know.  Well, he seems healthy enough and it isn’t like he isn’t smart.  Hell, he knows more than either of us, so maybe we shouldn’t worry about it.”
    “What do you think he does when he goes away?”
    “I don’t know.  He must have friends he plays with.”
    “Where does he go?”
    “Beats me.”
    “I feel so uninvolved in his life,” said Rachael.
    “I know.  Maybe we should do something with him to remind him we are here.”
    “Like what?”
    “I don’t know, but we have to think of something.”
    “One more thing,” said Rachael.  “I miss our friends.  Do you think we can get Nigel to bring us back to our old house?  I mean, it’s beautiful here.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful place, but it is terribly lonely.”
    “Maybe.  Did Nigel tell you where he was going?”
    “I think he said Ceti Margaux, although I don’t know why he would go there.  That place smells like rancid farts.  They do have the best wines though.”
    “You know, maybe we could get Nigel to give us the ability to travel around wherever we want like he does.”
    “I wish he was here,” said Rachael.
Nigel appeared before Rachael and Carl, a smile on his face and said, “So, I guess you figured it out.”
    “Figured out what?” said Carl, not the least bit surprised to see Nigel.
    “Oh, I guess you haven’t.  You were looking for me?” said Nigel.
    “Nigel, your mom and I were talking.  We think we should take you to a doctor,” said Carl.
    “I know, because I haven’t grown,” said Nigel.  “I haven’t grown because I don’t want to.  There is nothing to worry about, and if you really want to live in our house in Connecticut, all you have to do is make a wish,” said Nigel.  “You might want to wish that you keep this house as a vacation home, or if you prefer you could wish yourselves some other vacation home or homes,” said Nigel.
    “So, you are going to make these wishes come true?” said Carl.
    Nigel laughed, “No, you are.  Just make a wish.”  Nigel disappeared.
    Carl looked at Rachael, confused as ever, and said, “I wish I understood what’s going on.”  His face changed.  “I wish you understood what was going on, Rachael.”
    “Oh my God!” cried Rachael.


    The girl turned off the TV and left her house on Uthio Minor, heading to the bar to meet Clive, her mind on Kev.  Kev had disappeared three years ago, having fully realized who he was, the one true God.  She wondered if he would return or if he had chosen not to be in the game this time.  On many occasions she had tried to communicate with him, but had never received an answer.  Was this just part of the game?  What were her goals in the game?  She hadn’t the faintest, and had been able to learn absolutely nothing from the other players.  She suspected Nigel knew, but the boy would give nothing up other than vague hints.
    Turks and Blake, now gifted with infinite wishes couldn’t help either.  They weren’t able to make certain types of wishes, the types of wishes that would allow them to figure out what was going on.  However, every other wish they made came true.  The two, now best friends, lived in enormous floating castles hovering over Uthio Minor.  The girl rarely saw them. 
Piter had chosen to return to Peoria, Blake making a series of wishes that would allow Piter to live a life of quiet comfort.
    Meta had rejoined with Beta, and the two lived on Why, a planet populated entirely by retired philosophers.  Both of them believed in God, much to the dismay of their neighbors.
Bri and the Proth sphere existed in Bri’s blue-sky dimension, occasionally recreating the universes, but otherwise remaining quiet.
    Clive and Via had married and had two children.  They lived in Kev and Clive’s house in Vermont in 2014.  Their two children, Kev and Tria, fraternal twins, were now two years old and were quite advanced for their age, more than able to keep up a conversation with adults.
    Arag disappeared on the day that the last game had ended, and none of the other players had seen him since.  The girl had searched for him on multiple occasions, but had never found even the smallest clue.  Penny had also disappeared, and the girl assumed Penny had gone with Arag.
Balthiton rebuilt his staff and moved to Vegas, joining up with Pocus and Grav.  The girl went to a few of their shows, but hadn’t seen them in at least a year.
    Jesus also disappeared.  The girl suspected he went back to Earth, circa 9AD, but had never tried to find him.
    “Hey,” said Clive, as the girl sat down beside him.
    “Been a while,” said the girl.
    “Hear anything from Kev?” said Clive.
    “No, and Nigel isn’t saying anything.  I’m sure he knows what’s going on.”
    “Maybe.”
    “How are Via and the twins?”
    “Great.  Via is pregnant again,” said Clive.
    “Congrats, Clive.”
    “Thanks.  So, what do you think the game is?”
    “Haven’t the faintest.  I bet if we could find Kev, he would give us a hint, but I don’t think he wants to be found,” said the girl.
    Clive ordered green teas for the girl and himself.  He looked out at the beach.  “You know, there have been many times when it took us ages to figure things out.  Maybe we have to be patient.”
Brok delivered two green teas and said, “Still trying to figure it out, eh?”
    “Yeah,” said the girl.
    “Well, at least we didn’t get all of our memories wiped out,” said Clive.
    The girl and Clive took sips of their green teas and Brok smiled, in his bug-like way.


    “I’m not going to say this again, Beta.  God exists because I believe God exists, not because you believe he exists,” said Meta.
    “But, I exist and believe God exists, therefore, God exists,” said Beta.
    “There you are wrong.  You do not exist.  You are but a figment of my imagination.  Why do you think nobody can see or hear you?”
    “Because I do not want them to see or hear me,” said Beta.
    “Well, then want them to see and hear you and prove that they can see and hear you and I will believe you,” said Meta.
    “If I did that it would only prove that you have no imagination,” laughed Beta, taunting Meta as usual.
    “You know, Beta, it has been three years and I still don’t know anything about this game.”
    “Maybe there is no game.”
    “No, I think there is, but I haven’t the faintest how to win it.”
    “Maybe you’ve already won,” said Beta.
    “I think I would know if I had won, you dolt.”
    “Maybe we need to find God.”
    “God doesn’t exist,” said Meta.
    “You just said God did exist,” said Beta.
    “Only when I believe he exists,” said Meta.  “That I am sure of.”


    Piter took a sip of his tea and stared off into space.  It had become ritual, drinking green tea three times a day, always at the same times.  He didn’t know why he did it, but he knew it was important.  His first tea of the day was always at six thirty-seven and thirty-seven seconds, his second at nine thirty-seven and then his third at twelve thirty-seven.  These were important times, times that had been embedded in his mind by some unknown power, possibly God.  Of course, it could have been Arag or Nigel.  He couldn’t be sure.  However, he knew he had to drink tea at these times, and he had done just that for the last three years.
    He came out of the trance and looked around his family room, no more enlightened than he had been before he took a sip of the tea.  He went into the kitchen, grabbed an apple out of the refrigerator and returned to the family room, sitting on the couch.  Did he even want to play the game?


    Playing hide and seek with the twins always amused Via, despite the fact that she could never find either of them.  Their ability to turn invisible and teleport at will made the game rather pointless.  Still, she enjoyed it.  Kev the younger and Tria would call out to her and would let her get close to them, but would always teleport to a new location in the house when she drew near.
    “I’m here, mommy,” called out Tria from the kitchen.  Via teleported to the kitchen, in front of the refrigerator and reached around, hoping to surprise Tria, but the girl had departed.
    The game went on for another few minutes before Via said, “Okay, I give up.  Time for lunch.”
    The twins reappeared, now sitting at the kitchen table, wide grins on their little faces.


    “I wish Kev was here,” said Turks for at least the millionth time.  Nothing happened.
    “I wish Arag would doubt that we all don’t know what is going on,” said Blake, sitting next to Turks on Turks’ leather sofa.  Blake did not feel enlightened.  He knew he couldn’t wish that he knew what was going on, but had thought it might be possible that Arag could be used to shed some light on things.  However, both Blake and Turks had been unable to locate Arag.
    “I’m bored,” said Turks.
    “Yeah,” said Blake.  “Let’s get Piter and do something.”
    “Like what?” said Turks.
    “I don’t know.  I feel like we’ve already done everything there is to do.”
    “What about Wendy?” said Turks.
    “She’s on Nirid playing polo with the girls.  She’ll probably be gone for days.”
    “I’m surprised she doesn’t want to be with you all the time.  After all, you wished you were the greatest lover in the universe.”
    “Sex gets old after a while.  I’m tired of it.  You know what I wish?  I wish I would never be bored,” said Blake, immediately disappearing.
    Turks pondered that for a moment before saying, “I wish I would never be bored.”  Turks disappeared as well.


    Nigel loved the swans.  He loved this park, a park he had created.  He loved watching all of the aliens that roamed around, and looking up at the yellow sky, filled with floating orbs of light.
He checked the time, three thirty-seven, hoping she would show up.  He could have made her show up, of course, but for some strange reason believed that doing so would somehow make her appearance less meaningful.  He had never done anything to change her course in time, although he had created her.  He gave her free will, praying that her own will would bring her to him.
Three forty-four.  He saw her in the distance.  She had on her red dress, Nigel’s favorite dress.  She stopped by the side of the pond, staring at the swans.  She loved this place as much as Nigel did.  She didn’t know he had created it, and Nigel did not intend to tell her, thinking that sort of manipulation would be unfair.  He wanted her to love him, but he would not force love upon her.
She stayed in the park for an hour, never approaching Nigel, and then disappeared.  Nigel did not know where she went and made no attempt to find out.  She would be back.


    “Do you think we should make her talk to him?” said the Proth sphere to Bri.
    “No.  He doesn’t want that,” said Bri.
    “Do you think she will ever talk to him or love him?”
    “I should know the answer, but I don’t,” said Bri.


    “What should we do?” said Rachael.
    “I don’t know,” said Carl.  “We can’t change it with a wish.”
    “Maybe we can talk to Nigel and tell him everything is going to be all right.”
    “I don’t think that will work.  We’re going to have to find some other way.  I wish I knew how to make things better,” said Carl.  “Didn’t work.  I wish that Nigel won’t get hurt.”
    “Did it work?” said Rachael.
    “I don’t know, but I think we’re going to find out soon,” said Carl.


    The girl reappeared.  She had a boy with her.  They were holding hands.  The girl leaned over and kissed the boy on the cheek.  Nigel’s heart broke, and in that moment, he imagined something horrible.

A House on a Hill

I’m still here.  I am always here, but you might not hear from me that much.  I want to tell you about a house, a house on a hill, not a high hill with trees, but a lonely, low hill, barren and isolated, beset by howling winds.  The house, a drab green, three-story Victorian, with black door and black shutters, all closed, lies vacant and has been vacant for years.
    Nigel created this house one night as he slept, the product of a horrible nightmare in which he failed to find the love he desired.  The house has no electricity or running water.  It is dark and cold place with creaky floors and many spider webs.  A ghost lives in this house.  His name is Booger, a name given to him by Nigel.
    Booger doesn’t like much of anything, but he does like Nigel.  However, he isn’t the best companion, given that he tends to have negative thoughts, thoughts that tend to echo in Nigel’s mind.
    Nigel found himself standing outside of a familiar house that stood on a familiar hill, buffeted by cold winds with voices that taunted and teased.  He saw the shuttered windows and that black door that swung slowly open as he looked at it.  Through that opening he saw nothing but pitch black.
On the front porch of the dreary house he found a large, black candle and a box of matches.



    “Something has changed,” said the girl.
    “I know,” said Clive, looking at Brok, the insect-like bartender who had just transformed into a ghost.
    “Nigel,” said the girl.
    “You know, I think you’re right,” said Clive, look now down the beach at two other ghosts walking hand in hand, two children by the looks of it.
    Brok floated over to the girl and Clive and said, “You have to save us.”
    “Definitely Nigel,” said the girl.  “Where the hell is he?”
    “Do you think he turned everyone into ghosts?” said Clive.
    “Not everyone,” said Brok, his voice hollow and distant.



    Wendy thought it more than slightly odd that all of her friends had turned into what she assumed were ghosts, ghosts who were begging her to save them, ghosts who were threatening to kill her if she failed to save them.  She teleported back to her castle in the sky on Uthio Minor, looking for Blake, but could not find him.
    She teleported then to Piter’s house in Peoria, finding Piter sitting on the couch staring off into space, a glass of green tea in his hand.  She sat next to him and waited for his return.
    “We have to save Nigel,” said Piter when he returned.  He turned to Wendy.  “Where is Nigel?”
    “I don’t know.  He could be anywhere.  Do you know what just happened?” said Wendy.
    “Everyone turned into ghosts,” said Piter.  “Well, not everyone.  Nigel did this, but I don’t know why.”
    The ghost of a tall, gaunt man drifted into the room and faced Piter and Wendy.  “Only the dead shall live,” said the ghost, pointing at Piter and Wendy.  Piter knew he and Wendy were in danger. He pressed his thumb against the face of his watch and stopped time.
    “We have to get out of here,” said Piter, grabbing Wendy’s hand and teleporting them to the bar on Uthio Minor.



    “Meta?”
    “Beta?”
    “Why is there a ghost standing beside you?
    “I don’t know.  I wonder what it wants?”
    The ghost let out a wail, a sound so horrifying that both Meta and Beta teleported themselves to the bar on Uthio Minor, praying the ghost would not follow.  There they found, Clive, the girl, Piter, Wendy and an apparition that appeared to be Brok, the bartender.
    Moments later, Arag and Penny appeared, followed by Balthiton, Via, Kev the younger, and Tria.
Everyone spoke at once, nobody hearing a thing, and then Clive shouted out, “Wait!”
    “What the hell is going on?” said Via.  “We were just attacked by ghosts in our house, Clive.”
    “It’s Nigel,” said the girl.  “Something has happened to him.  We’re going to have to find him.”
    “Where are Turks and Blake?” said Piter.
    “Haven’t seen them,” said Clive.
    “Maybe they have become ghosts,” said Meta.
    “Or maybe they don’t exist,” said Beta.
    “Would you cut that out, Beta?” said Meta.  “This is not the time for that.”
    “Nigel is in a house on a hill,” said Kev the younger.  “He is with Booger.”
    Nigel plays with Kev and Tria quite often.  He is the only one who can find them while playing hide and seek, though he usually lets them win.
    “Booger doesn’t want Nigel to leave the house,” said Tria.
    Everyone stared at Kev and Tria.  Finally, Clive said, “What else do you know?”
    Kev shrugged and said, “Nigel is sad.  The house on the hill is his sad place.”
    “Do you know where the house is?” said Via.
    “It’s in his mind,” said Tria.  “So are we.”
    “Not good at all,” said Wendy, knowing full well what Nigel’s young mind could conjure up, and remembering the time Nigel had imagined that everyone in the universe was being chased by giant, rabid wolverines.



    “I don’t think I’ve had this much fun in my entire life,” said Turks.
    “I know,” said Blake.  “We have to bring the others here.”
    “I wish the gang was here,” said Turks.  Nothing happened.  “That’s strange.  Why aren’t they here?”
    “You know what’s strange, Turks?” said Blake.  “There is absolutely nothing here other than you and me.  Not one damned thing, and I have never felt so engaged in my entire life.  Where the hell are we?”




    “We’re in Nigel’s mind?” said Clive.
    “I think so,” said Kev.
    “I think you’re all in my mind,” said Beta.
    “Dammit, Beta, would you stop?” said Meta.
    “Who are you talking to, Meta?” said the girl.
    “Beta, a figment of my imagination.  He just claimed that we are all in his mind.  He likes being difficult,” said Meta.
    “What are the odds we are all inside Nigel’s head right now?” said Clive.
    “I’d say pretty high,” said Arag.  “I can’t tell for sure, however, because someone took away my ability.”
    “I think you just have a different ability now, Arag,” said Penny. “Anyway, Tria, where is this house?  Have you ever been there?”
    “I was there once,” said Kev.  “It’s spooky.  No lights and spiders everywhere.”
    “I haven’t been there,” said Tria.
    “Kev, do you know how to get there?” said the girl.
    “I don’t know.  I went there when I was asleep,” said Kev.
    “Maybe we should all go to sleep,” said Via, noticing a band of squat green creatures approaching the bar.  “Guys, who are they?”
    The green creatures noticed Via and the gang and broke into a run.
    “They have swords,” said Clive.  “Gamma War!”
    Everyone teleported to Singularity Bar on Gamma War, finding themselves surrounded by sword bearing, squat green goblins.
    “Our place in Vermont,” called out Via.
    Everyone appeared in Clive’s house in Vermont.  They saw no goblins.  Clive checked outside, came back in and said, “I don’t see anything.”  At that moment, a ghost drifted into the room.
    “Save me,” it said as it passed back out of the house.
    “You know,” said Meta.  “The only thing we have going for us right now is that we are immortal.  We are immortal, aren’t we?”
    “Maybe not in Nigel’s mind,” said Arag.
    Carl and Rachael appeared in the room.
    “Thank God we found you,” said Carl.  “Nigel needs help.”
    “We know,” said the girl.  “Do you know where he is?”
    “We know, but neither Rachael or I can get there,” said Carl.
    “Where?” said Via.
    “He is in a house on a hill,” said Rachael.
    “Yeah, we know that,” said the girl.  “You know, maybe we should go to sleep and see what happens.”
    “You’re going to go to sleep with ghosts and armed goblins roaming around?” said Wendy.  “By the way, where are Turks and Blake?”
    “No clue,” said Clive.  “I think we should take our chances and go to sleep.”  Clive looked at Rachael and Carl.  “One of you will have to wish that we are all asleep but will wake up if we are in any danger.”
    “What if it doesn’t work?” said Rachael.
    “Then we’ll have to go to sleep the regular way,” said the girl.
    “There is no way I’m going to be able to sleep,” said Meta.
    “Me either,” said Beta.
    “You’re not even real, Beta, so please shut up,” said Meta.



    “She is never going to love you,” said Booger, hovering in the shadows, dreary and down as ever.
    “I know,” said Nigel.  “You were right.  I never should have made her.”
    “Well, just stay here with me.  I’ll keep you company.”
    “Maybe I could talk to her.  I could go back to the park and introduce myself.”
    “But she is with that boy.  She doesn’t like you.  She never will.”
    Nigel sighed.  Booger was right.  Maybe he could make another girl, one who would love him.  But, he had created the one girl.  There was no other.  Maybe if he talked to her.  Booger could be wrong.
    Nigel went back to the park and sat on his bench.  The girl showed up not long after, this time without the boy, so Nigel approached her.
    “Hi, I’m Nigel,” he said.
    The girl turned to him, a frown on her face.  “So?” she said.
    Nigel didn’t know what to say, so he said nothing for a while.
    “Can I help you?” said the girl.
    “Do you want to play tag or something?” said Nigel.
    “I don’t know you well enough to play with you,” said the girl.
    “Well, you could get to know me,” offered Nigel.
    The girl disappeared, and Nigel, defeated, returned to the house on the hill.
    “I told you so,” said Booger.
    “Maybe if I keep trying,” said Nigel.
    “She will never love you.  Trust me.  You know I am the only one you can trust.  You know that, don’t you?”
    “I know,” said Nigel.  Thoughts of ghosts and goblins ran through Nigel’s head.  Only Booger could protect him from them, Booger, his only friend, the only one who understood him.



    “Maybe we should go back and find everybody,” said Turks.
    “Yeah, maybe, but maybe we can stay here a while longer,” said Blake.
    “As much as I hate to say this, I think we need to go back.  This place is great, but there is something about it.  If we aren’t careful we could stay here for all eternity,” said Turks.
    “Fine,” said Blake. “I wish we were back home.”
    Nothing happened.
   “I wish we were at the bar on Uthio Minor,” said Turks.
    Nothing happened.
    “I wish we knew what was going on?” said Blake.  “Dammit, why didn’t that work?”
    Turks didn’t answer, far too busy enjoying himself, the desire to find the others long forgotten.



    “I think we should recreate the universe,” said Bri.
    “Good idea,” said the Proth Sphere.  “How are we going to get everyone out of this mess?”
    “Not sure.  I can’t change the way they think, but I can change their environments.  Maybe I should put them all together.  That way everyone can try to talk to Nigel.”
    “Worth a shot,” said the sphere.
    Bri and the sphere connected and recreated the universe.  Moments later, Bri said, “Nigel changed it back.”
    “I noticed,” said the sphere.  “Where is Kev?  He could fix this.”
    “Don’t know, but I think we better find him.”



    “I wish we are all asleep and that we will wake up if we are in danger,” said Rachael, now laying on the ground with everyone else.
    Rachael and the others found themselves standing on a barren hill, buffeted by screaming winds that threatened to knock them over.
    At the top of the hill they saw the shuttered house, its front door closed.  Clive approached the house and opened the door.
    Everyone woke up in Clive’s house.
    “What just happened?” said the girl.
    “We were in danger, of course,” said Meta.
    “Maybe we should change the wish so that we won’t wake up if we are in danger,” said Penny.
    “I doubt that is a good idea,” said Arag, “but I think we should do that.”
    “We are immortal, right?” said Meta.
    Nobody answered.
    “I wish we are all asleep,” said Rachael.
    They reappeared on the hill, standing in front of the house.  Clive took a step inside the open door and disappeared.  The others heard a deafening wail



    “Someone is here,” said Nigel.
    “Don’t worry about that,” said Booger.  “I’ll deal with him.”



    “Do you think we should go in?” said Penny.
    Arag approached the door and called out, “Nigel, are you in there?  Come out and talk to us.”
    The door slammed shut.  Arag tried to open it, but it was now locked.
    “Um, you all might want to turn around,” said Meta, now staring at what appeared to be an army of ghosts and goblins.
    “Great.  Just great,” said the girl.  “Follow me.”  The girl led the group around the back of the house.  There they found a stairwell, leading down to a door.  The girl rushed down and opened the door.  “You don’t have to follow me, but I’m going in.”  She stepped through the doorway and disappeared.
    “They’re coming,” said Meta, looking at the surrounding army of ghosts and goblins.
    “Everyone, go in, now,” said Arag, leading the way through the doorway.



    “Kev,” shouted Via.  “Tria.  Where are you?”
    Via had appeared in the middle of a vast desert, nothing visible and no footprints in the sand to tell her where to go.  She called out to Clive and the others, but received no answers.  Every direction looked the same, so she started moving forward, calling as she went.  Far ahead, she saw a disturbance in the sand.
    “No,” said Via, trying to teleport away.


    Clive found himself strapped to a table, a doctor and a nurse standing beside him.
    “He is out,” said the nurse.
    Clive looked down and saw that everything but his abdomen was covered by a sheet.  The doctor leaned over and made an incision across Clive’s belly.  Clive jerked and screamed.
    “Looks good,’ said the doctor, now making another incision.
    “Stop!  Stop! I’m awake,” cried Clive.
    “Of course you’re not awake, Clive,” said the nurse.
    The doctor made another incision.


    “Beta,” said Meta.  “Where are we?”
    “I don’t know, Meta.  Maybe we are nowhere.”
    “Why is there a giant dog looking at us?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Why do I look like a chew toy?” said Meta.
    “Good question, Meta.  Perhaps it is because you are a figment of that dog’s imagination, just like I am a figment of your imagination.”
    “As usual, you are less than helpful.  I can’t move.  Can you?”
    “Indeed I can, but I can’t be of much use because I am imaginary.  I am imaginary, am I not?”
    “Dammit, Beta, distract the dog,” said Meta.
    “I don’t think the dog sees me,” said Beta.
    “Run over to that corner and see what it does.”
    The dog got up and approached Meta, sniffed him, and then picked him up with its mouth, its teeth biting into Meta.
    “Dammit, Beta, do something!”


    Balthiton had cast his light spell dozens of times, but still remained in absolute blackness.  He heard shuffling sounds and groans.  A cold hand touched his arm he jerked away.  He tried to teleport away, but as far as he could tell, he remained in the same spot.
    “Hello?” said Balthiton.
    “Hello,” said a voice.  Something grabbed Balthiton from behind and dragged him away.


    The girl knew it wasn’t Kev.  It couldn’t be Kev.  Or could it?
    “Hi,” said Kev.
    “Are you real?” said the girl.
    “I don’t know.  Am I?”
    “Kev, if you are real, could you fix this?  Nigel has lost it.”
    “I can see that.”
    “Are you going to do anything about it?”
    “No.”
    “Why?”
    “Because.”
    “Really?  Because?” said the girl.
    “What is your worst nightmare?” said Kev.
    This was not Kev.


    Penny and Arag found themselves sitting on a bench, staring out at a lake.  Swans floated by and birds flitted here and there, singing and chirping.
    “Nice place,” said Arag.
    “Yeah,” said Penny.  “Do you think we’re in Nigel’s mind?”
    “Not sure, but I doubt this is going to be pleasant,” said Arag.
    “Be careful, dear.  You might get your ability back and doubt something awful.”
    “Good point.  Doesn’t look like there is anybody around.  Should we just sit here?”
    “Sure,” said Penny, taking Arag’s hand.


    “Hon, why are we home?” said Rachael.
    “Is it home?” said Carl.
    “Looks like it.  Well, I don’t remember having a giant snake in the family room, and I don’t remember being a rabbit before,” said Rachael.
    “Not good,” said Carl, bolting off to the side as the snake struck at him.  Rachael sped off to their bedroom, hoping she could hide under the bed.
    Carl raced into the kitchen, surprised to see Maddie, his dog, now much larger than him, chewing on a toy that looked remarkably like Meta.
    “Help me,” cried Meta.


    “Oh, I like this playground,” said Tria.
    “Where are the others?” said Kev.
    “I don’t know.  Do you want to climb to the top of the fort?”
    Kev and Tria climbed to the top of the fort and looked around, hoping to see the others.
    “I hope they’re okay,” said Tria.
    “I doubt they are,” said Kev.
    “Maybe we should go home,” said Tria.
    “I already tried to take us there.  We can’t leave this place.”
    “Kev, do you see that giant purple thing in the sky?”
    “Yes, I do.”
    “It’s getting closer.”


    “Piter?” said Wendy.
    “Yeah?” said Piter, staring at a two foot long cockroach.
    “You might want to use that watch of yours right now.”
    Piter pressed his thumb against the face of the watch and stopped time, careful to keep Wendy moving in time.
    “Where are we?” said Piter, noticing a giant bottle of dish washing liquid, a giant dried sponge, and the underside of a rather large sink.  He realized, of course, that they were in a cabinet under a sink, the cabinet door partially open.
    “I think we’re in my kitchen,” said Wendy looking out into her kitchen.  She crawled over the edge of the cabinet and dropped to the floor, followed by Piter.  On the floor, they saw dozens of large cockroaches, all stopped in time.
    “Do you think the others are here?” said Piter.
    “I don’t know, but I doubt it.  Maybe we shouldn’t have entered the house,” said Wendy.
    “Yeah, maybe.  You realize we are about six inches tall right now.”
    “I wonder what those cockroaches can do to us.”





    “How is it we’re having so much fun when we’re not doing anything?” said Blake.
    “Don’t know.  Don’t care,” said Turks.
    “Seriously, don’t you think something is wrong?”
    “I don’t know.  What does it matter?”
    “I’m going to try something,” said Blake.  “I wish we weren’t having fun.”
    Turks and Blake found themselves surrounded by enormous hornets with enormous stingers.  After receiving his first sting, Blake cried out, “I wish we were having fun.”
    The hornets disappeared.