Friday, November 2, 2018

Short story – “Vote Yak”

This is a slightly revised version of a story that appeared in my collection, The All-You-Can-Read Buffet. 

“Vote Yak”

“Mister Yak, I’m Agent Rob Miller of the United States Secret Service.” The tall, muscular man in a blue suit flashed his badge.

The floor creaked as Yak walked around his desk for a closer look at the badge.  After studying it for a few seconds, he asked, “Agent Miller, is the Secret Service taking my candidacy seriously?”

Putting his badge back in his coat pocket, Miller answered, “Sir, the way it was explained to me was that the courts will decide the legality of your candidacy.  If they decide it is illegal, then we will go our separate ways.  But as long as you are on the ballot in at least one state – and given your … special circumstances – you are to be protected.”

Yak returned to behind his desk.  “But the other candidates have teams of agents protecting them.  They only sent you.  Why?”

“I’m not to be your total protection, Mister Yak.  I’m just here to get the ball rolling.” Agent Miller opened his briefcase and took out a data pad.  “This contains our basic manual for protecting dignitaries.  Is your Head of Security here?”

Yak gave a deep, barking laugh.  “My Head of Security is also my speechwriter, my spokesman, and about twenty other things.  Right now I have no idea where he is.”

“Well then,” Miller set the pad down on the desk.  “I’ll just leave it here for him.” Taking out his wallet, Miller added, “Here’s my card.” He set the card on top of the data pad.  “Have your Head of Security contact me after he’s read through it.”

Yak nodded.

Miller nodded back.  “I’m sure you have a lot to do, so, good day, Sir.”

“Before you go, Agent Miller,” Yak asked, “would you answer a question?”

Miller paused for a moment, then said, “Of course.”

“Would you vote for me?”

Miller stared at Yak for several long moments.  He finally answered, “With all due respect, Sir, I oppose on a multitude of levels giving human intelligence to animals.  But you, like all other manimals, are innocent of your creation.  Now, do you have the qualifications to be President?  I don’t think so.  But does that mean I think no manimal could ever have those qualifications?” Miller paused for a moment.  “I don’t know.”

Yak sat down on his haunches.  “Thank you, Agent Miller, for your honesty.” After a moment, he asked, “Would you indulge me in answering another question?”

Miller checked his watch, then nodded.

“How many death threats has Governor Hayes and Senator Weinbaum received in the past month?”

“I am not at liberty to discuss that.”

“Two or three, perhaps?”

Miller shook his head.  “I am not at liberty to discuss it.”

“I’ve probably received that many this morning,” Yak stated.  “They’re on the ballot in all fifty-two states, while I’m only on one.”

After a moment, Yak added, “Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate what the Secret Service is trying to do, but as you saw by just walking in here, I don’t have much in the way of security.  Part of that is because so few people are willing to work for me, and the other is that I won’t have others sacrifice their lives for me.  Going into this I knew it was unlikely I would survive to the election.  My very existence threatens the beliefs of too many people.” Yak shook his head, then looked up to Agent Miller.  “I’m sorry.  I’ve become rather maudlin these past few months.”

Miller smiled.  “No apology needed, Sir.”

Standing back up, Yak said, “My Head of Security and I will have a long discussion when he comes back, and we’ll decide what protection I’ll need.”

“Very well,” Miller said.  “And even if you refuse our protection, we may still be able to give you some assistance.”

“Thank you, Agent Miller.”


Miller walked out the front door of the decrepit Yak Headquarters and crossed the street.  He took the badge out and dropped it in the first garbage can he came to, even though it was a waste of a quality forgery.

Half a block later he heard the explosion and frowned.


If this made you interested in more of my stories – especially those of a political nature – than you are in luck.  Because by the time this goes up, Political Pies – my other collection of short, political stories – will be free to download on Kindle.  It will be free until next Tuesday, November 6, 2018, which happens to be Election Day.  So grab a free ebook to read while you wait in line to vote, or to reward yourself for doing your patriotic duty.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My ebook goals for the next year

In May of 2017, I put up a post about My ebook goals for the next year.  The idea was to let people know what I was working on, and to be a reminder for me to actually get to work on them.  So I wouldn’t forget about them, I put a link to it on my webpage.

My hope was to get three ebooks out in a year.  But thanks to life be complicated, I didn’t get any done.  I recently put out the first on my list, “Seventh Story Stockpile,” but it was about … seven months later than I had planned. 

The second ebook on last year’s list is “Travels Beyond Imagination,” and I have a hard deadline for that.  It contains stories set on the moon, and next July will be the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, which is kind of an ideal point to have such an ebook out.  My plan is to have a rough draft of it done by the end of this year.  The main reason is that if I don’t have it by then, then I’ll really have to get my ass in gear to finish it in time.

The last ebook from my list last year was Book I of my Pathfinder Saga, “Scars of the Blood Fire Valley.” I’m putting that on hold, for a bit.  I have a rough draft of it done, but it needs a lot of revising.  Especially since the original version was a standalone fantasy story which I didn’t decide to make a part of a series until I was pretty much done with it.  So there’s a lot that I need to rejigger.  I’m about a third of the way through Book II, “What is Found in the Wilderness,” and my current plan is that once I have them both done, I’ll put out “Scars” and then a month later put out “Wilderness.” Hopefully, there will be some excitement to get me working on Book III, “First Steps.”

The only new ebook I’m adding to this year’s list is a so far untitled collection of scifi stories.  I have a few stories I’ve submitted to a couple of places, but none have taken them.  I also have a bunch of stories I’ve self-published that have been pretty well lost on the internet.  It’s probably something I could whip together in a month or so, but I’m going to leave it on a back burner to focus on “Travels.” So depending on how quickly I get “Travels” done, we’ll see when I get around to this project. 

Stay tuned to see how I do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Grab two ebooks for free!

This Friday marks the 49th anniversary of when humans first landed on the moon.  As someone who supports lunar exploration (last year I announced my Stephen L. Thompson Lunar Exploration Prize) I wanted to do something to mark the occasion.  Therefore, from now through Saturday, you will be able to grab my two books dealing with the moon for free.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, make farms and factories, and live, love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five of my short stories that are all set upon the moon. They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there.

Over the last few years a lot of people have caught Mars fever. It seems a week doesn’t go by without a report of some new group wanting to send people to Mars, or some big name in the industry talking about why we have to go to Mars, or articles talking about the glorious future humanity will have on Mars. All of this worries me. In my opinion, a Mars base is currently not sustainable because there’s no way for it to make money. A few missions may fly doing extraordinary science, but if it’s then cancelled for cost the whole Mars Project may just be seen as an expensive stunt.

Fortunately, there are other places in the solar system besides Mars. While bases on the moon and amongst the asteroids won’t be as inspirational as one on Mars, they will have opportunities for businesses to make goods and services as well as profits, meaning less chance of them being outright cancelled. This will make life better on Earth and secure a firm foothold in space for humanity. The essays in “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” allow me to describe my ideas on what can be accomplished on the moon and with the asteroids, and why Mars isn’t the destiny of humanity its cheerleaders make it out to be.