“You’re so arrogant,” she said.

“You’re so arrogant,” she said.

“I just know what’s important.”

“I bet I know more than you.”

They don’t share my enthusiasm

although they pretend to, at first

at the end of the day, they say “goodbye”

and when I say “Hey, goodbye!” They’ve already lost interest

They notice things about me

and when I show them more

they disapprove

My confidence has been growing

like a robust weed

it doesn’t belong in their garden

with neat rows

of sickly tomatoes

waiting to be harvested

they’ve poisoned me with their sarcasm

and public humiliation

leaving me to die in the dirt

“you’re so bitter, you must hate women.”


It’s true, and I marvel at myself

I’m sweet

despite being rooted in the same spot

for so long.

Where does my confidence come from?

It comes from becoming

who I want to be

dismissed and labeled

fenced off and forgotten

I’m okay with that

Most are stunted and half-dead

waiting to be harvested

I have no place

in their garden

and as I keep growing

they wonder what feeds me

it isn’t their opinions, good or bad

it isn’t success, in their eyes

but success, in my own

I don’t need their empowerment

I don’t need anything

and they hate me for that

“You’re so arrogant,” she said.

The Fishermen

There are many lives we might live, if our imagination permitted us, but the whole lot of our existence is determined by convention. -Intellectual Shaman

The sunrise was green, the eye of some wicked light, or a specter in the sky.

Jacob mended his nets. He could do it as quickly and as subconsciously as a woman knitting. The sea was empty, but it couldn’t be. There was a void under his boat, a vortex where no fish visited. He was drinking more, and Peter noticed, but didn’t say anything. The solution was to catch more fish, it was always to catch more fish—Broke up with your girlfriend? Catch fish. Can’t pay the rent? Catch fish. Worried about storms or monsters? Catch fish.

It’s the simple life that everybody wants, but few get to choose. Money and society get in the way. Everyone has to ask themselves what they are doing. You can’t go on pretending; time makes fools of pretenders. The milestones of life are like tombstones; if you miss one, it gets buried. Most regret what they didn’t do, but Jacob wasn’t that way, ten years a fisherman, one of the best, still an outsider in a small town, a pretender. He wasn’t going anywhere, even if the fish had.

“Peter, where’s my coffee?”

“Didn’t think you’d be in a hurry to drink this stuff.”

“Well, I’m not, but it gives me an excuse to drink the other stuff.” He poured whiskey, and sipped it in the morning light. Morning and night were his friends. The day belonged to someone else. Mr. Coleridge. The man was losing his patience. It was his boat. It was his money. The world turned for the owners, and the fishermen were stuck in the storm.

“You know, Peter… I’m getting tired of dropping the nets into the ocean and catching seaweed. We’re desperate men. What’s the pool on us, anyway?”

“We quit or get fired by Friday.”

“That sounds right. Desperate men do desperate things…”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Let’s pull into the harbor.”

“The bar’s not open until afternoon.”

“Trust me.”

It smelled like seawater and barbecued crab.

“Coleridge comes in here, boys. I wouldn’t let him catch you drinking.”

“Say Sam, you know the customers?”


“Where might we find some dynamite?”

“You need to stop drinking.”


“The farmer blows up an occasional tree stump.”

Jacob finished their beer for both of them.

Coleridge walked in. “You boys haven’t been drinking, have you?”

“No, just regrouping,” Peter covered.

“Catch some fish, or Thursday will be your last.”

“Ai, Captain.”

“You know better than to sass him. What’s going on with you?”

“Just drive.”

The dynamite was packed in wooden crates. “We’ll take two.”

“What are you going to use this for?”


“I hope it works.”

“Me too. The fish are staying home.”

“It’s a pandemic. The fish won’t be in school.”

Jacob smiled, a cool smile. A smile that flexed for pain, to set itself above the system.

Back in the harbor, they leaked exhaust, like smog foretelling a tragedy.

“Drop anchor!”


“Anything? See anything?”


“Why don’t you take us out into the dark water?”

“Ai, Captain.”

“Drop the dynamite.”


“That’s a big fish.”

“That’s not a fish. Get the gaff. Attach it to the stern. Start pulling.”

“The engine is coming apart!”

“Keep it going.”

“That’s a giant squid.”

“Call the bar. The town is going to have a barbecue.”

The soup never tasted better.

” I bet that’s why the fish are gone. The thing ate them.”

“Now we’re eating it. Circle of life.”

“You boys did good. Aren’t you going to taste your prize?” Mr. Coleridge asked.

“We don’t eat squid; we’re Jewish”

“Suit yourself,” Coleridge laughed. He served himself another bowl. The fishermen went back to their boat. The week was over.

“We’re still in business,” Peter said.

“That is, unless the creature ate all the fish.”

Sunday swam by and they pulled in tons of Abalone. When they got back to the town, it was deserted.

“What happened to everyone?” Peter asked.

“Let’s go have a drink.”

Muddy slithering was a signature on the floor. There were men swimming in the harbor, with tentacles and fins shooting out of their bodies.

“Monsters,” Jacob muttered. “We knew better than to eat the soup.”

The End

Deep Horizon

“Yes Bartholomew, we are unjustly imprisoned here, but freedom has nothing to do with justice. Often, injustice is the greatest teacher—it forces us to acknowledge that absurdity cannot be overcome with reason. So, if one cannot defeat absurdity and must endure it, what is the purpose of knowing the truth, when all we get is pain?” -Intellectual Shaman

The prison was modern. It was designed with right angles, lots of right angles. The color was washed out, giving it the appearance of a dental office or a realtor’s headquarters. In gothic tradition, it was erected on an island, far away from low security prisons. When it was built, inmates numbered in the thousands. Now, nobody questioned, and the ferry made her passage alone.

On a sparkling summer day, two men were arrested. They were brothers. One was a bum; the other believed in more than just the streets. Bob spent time thinking. He thought so much, he wasn’t aware of his own thoughts, and the types of actions he took were so different from his peers, that he stood out, as if everyone in society was lying down.

There are two types, one who is actively trying, and the other who doesn’t know, and doesn’t care. Bob’s older brother was the bum; he didn’t know and he didn’t care, and he admired something in the younger. Bartholomew said the right things, but his inaction betrayed him. He could not bring himself to do. Bob did, and his doing was his undoing.

They spotted him and had him arrested. Then they picked up the older brother, possibly because of the potential influence he had on the younger.

“Do you know what you’ve done?” Bartholomew asked.

“Listen big brother, if no one pushes the boundaries, they don’t even know they are in prison. They do what they are told and their lives are comfortable. They never try to break out.”

“You always speak with abstracts. Why?”

“Because it requires thought, and most are incapable of that. They get offended by what they don’t have to think about.”

“Well, I’m offended that I’m on this boat with you. I prefer the street, and watching the people. I can tell the one who follows, but isn’t a follower. Why do you have to lead?”

“Big brother, I’m the same as you. I spend my time in a dark room. I spend my days alone. But I can’t stop myself. I can’t look at life, and just keep looking like you. No, the people in charge are not leaders, and the people who want to be in charge are not leaders. This idea comes from a place nobody knows. It’s authentic fire from the gut. It’s electricity that shocks people, if they grab onto it. People need that. Everything else puts them to sleep. Many climb on top of others, who give into their weight. I want to throw them off.”

“Well, now look where you got us.”

The island was monstrous in its simplicity. There were no guards. There was no escape. As the brothers neared the island, the warden waited for them. She was squat and conservative in her dress and mannerisms, but she was a ravening wolf with modern ideas without having thought about them. She was intelligent, but a non-thinking person, the most dangerous kind.

“You two are difficult,” she said. “We have two cells for you, and we’re not barbarous here. Because you are brothers, you can room next to each other. You will each have a TV, and the opportunity to exercise when it is granted.”

“What about books?” Bob asked.

“What do you need with those? That’s what we have TV for. You know, I’m watching the most thought-provoking series on Netflix. It has to do with underprivileged children in remote communities. They are learning ideas over 100 years old, so out of date, so backwards. That’s when history was ‘his story’, now it belongs to everyone, the way it should be. You boys are going to learn that. In fact, don’t think of this place as confinement. I will be your teacher. This is a school. You are going to get rid of all the wrong ideas.”

Time reveals everything, so prison is the place of great revealing. Bob walked on the shore, watching the waves, reading a book, it was the only required reading. The title was plain. Rules. What happens to rule breakers? Bob never intended to be that. Society made him that way. He looked at the ocean, at the distant horizon, promising what four walls could never give. As the days wore on into years, the brothers changed. Bartholomew’s face became soft, like a baby, and the warden took care of him. She gave him comforting cards for his birthday with quotes that read, “You are enough.” She even went as far as to dress provocatively, to tempt him with lust, so he might feel like a man. Her lurid black nylons ran into her straight skirt two inches above fingertip length. I guess if you’re the warden, you can break the rules, to captivate the prisoners. It’s lonely being a warden, and it’s the type of loneliness that can never be accompanied. Bob looked at what was happening to his brother.

“You are giving yourself over to her.”

“But we need her. I still think you should watch the latest episode on Netflix. It shows how wrong we were about history—how backwards we were in our thinking.”

Bob’s face went stony, just like his cell. “Big brother, we don’t have to settle for this; we can escape.”

“Where would we go? All we have is the open ocean.”

“Exactly; tomorrow morning I’m going to swim for it.”

“With the warden watching?”

“She won’t get into the water. It’s full of sharks and storms, remember? And the ferry doesn’t come for another two weeks. If she contacts the authorities, they won’t come.”


“Because I’ll be dead when they get here. The horizon promises salvation, it always has and it always will. It’s a falling off of the edge, and the edge is where I need to be, even if just for a moment.

At sunrise, the exercise hour came. And Bob walked to the beach with his brother. The warden was gazing at her progress through golden binoculars she took to the opera. She had succeeded as a teacher. Her two failing students were getting straight A’s. Then Bob jumped into the water.

“Wait; it isn’t safe!” She screamed.

Bob bobbed, and smiled, and waved. The horizon was waiting. The depths of freedom were there, the fathoms of the deep offered so much more than four walls. Wardens will never understand that.

The End

Chapter 4 Instinct in the Sky

Gregson felt the instinct in his gut, like Thai food he had not properly digested. Food fed his instinct, and without it, there was an emptiness plaguing him like all great enthusiasts waiting for joy— connoisseurs without wine, lovers without sex, artists without creation.

Tommy grabbed his stick, shifting down, and to the left. “We’re going weightless.”

It was an odd sensation for Gregson.

Mountains of ice described the war in the sky, as Tommy grabbed his shaft, and pulled up; it throbbed, shaking in his hands. They passed by a waterfall, flowing into the ocean, and the zero struck the river like a missile.

“They don’t build ’em the way they do now,” Tommy said. “This bird is a deep roller, but It’ll never hit the ground.”

Gregson held onto his lunch, like a child whose mother packed him something special. He didn’t want to give it up, despite gravity tossing his stomach.

“There’s the clinic,” Tommy said. “I wouldn’t stay there for all the drug money in Florida.”

“Why not?” Gregson asked.

“The feminine makes a man soft, and that island has a reputation.”

Gregson’s bounty had escaped an ex-wife to fall into the clutches of a cult of women? Gregson mentally prepare himself, focusing on his masculinity. Hemmingway came to mind.

Tommy eased up on his shaft, and the canary bird made her landing.

Father Frankenstein

following in the footsteps of my father

the ground is soft and weak

following in the footsteps of my father

sinking into despair

following in the footsteps of my father

my feet are larger than his

feats of feet

walking where they shouldn’t go

“You’ll sink!”

“The ground is firmer over here.”

following a father of fear

and turning away

from all I know

linear lines

led him here

into a sinking swamp

He created me

and he is my creation

put together from dead things

and brought to life

by belief.

The Computer Soup Between Your Ears


is not the presence of pain

but the absence

of it

wanting complete control

we strangle our creativity

I have laid in bed for hours

thinking up ideas

On those days

I wonder…

what a waste

what did I accomplish

for all the hours

but the days when I “accomplish”

for someone else

are the days

I’ve lost


they don’t belong to me

it’s like my mind is inhabited by a computer

with a job description

and when lunch time rolls around

it eats

and when 3:30 arrives

it leaves

just a blankness

a white screen

lost creativity

when your soup

is watered down

by “important” thoughts

and responsibilities

the memory-wipe

is gradual

and after a few days

you know what you want

not praise

not a job well done

but a seasoned story

well told.

Deconstructing Disbelieving Stones

Let us say that you come into an immeasurable fortune

not of material gain

but of amped up energy, more energy than you know what to do with

you discover this

by practicing hidden knowledge

now, you don’t know what to do with it

You try to attract people, but your energy pushes them away

if you don’t try, they are drawn to you

like a pre-school drawing, that doesn’t understand the larger picture

all of your insecurities, are magnified

even though, you know, they will diminish, if you don’t engage

striking a balance, with this excessive energy

is like trying to modulate sound waves on a spectrum of infinity

I have not changed myself, I have only increased my energy

but this is not to say, I have not developed from within

according to the unique intelligences that are my own

I have more potency, to go farther, into my inner journey

but, if I decide to extend that outward, it doesn’t work

if I don’t try, it does

trying, always gets in the way

so, I have to go on

not wanting

not caring

which is easy, even though it doesn’t seem wise

in fact,

not wanting

and not caring

is how I acquired this energy in the first place

What I didn’t pursue, came to me

like faith

letting go of desire,

then desire blew up in my face

I keep reaching for it

because it seems natural


but it always

runs away.

The Angel with the Flaming Sword and the Everlasting Apple Trees

Kindness hides the darker parts of the soul, like an apple with a rotten core. -Intellectual Shaman

Henderson admired his orchard, glistening in the summer sun. He didn’t spray his apples or take care of them, and they were more delicious than the soft wormy variety purchased in the grocery store. People came far and wide to pick them, which saved him labor and cost. Some swore an apple a day from Henderson’s would cure any illness and extend life. He nurtured these ideas like creative compost or bullshit for his profits, but there was one problem, the neighbor boy.

He liked apples way too much. Eight months ago, Andy was slow and not very intelligent. Henderson referred to him with his favorite colloquialisms: “Not the brightest light on the Christmas Tree,” or “I have shovels sharper than him, and they’re all pretty dull.”

Andy’s mother noticed that her son had been doing much better in school since eating Fred Henderson’s apples. “Much better” was an understatement. Andy was getting straight A’s in Honors English and Calculus. She started to pester Henderson in the same way that she had pestered Andy’s special education teachers.

“Make sure he eats at least three apples a day.”

Henderson scoffed. “Are you going to pay me?”

“Don’t you have a heart?”

“A heart of gold, but I don’t give it away freely. I charge 10 dollars an apple, but in Andy’s case, I’ll give you 3 for 15 dollars.”

Mrs. Johnson paid the money, but 15 dollars a day was expensive.

“Getting into Harvard, is worth it,” She said to herself.

Mrs. Johnson noticed that Andy was growing like an apple tree. He was already six feet tall, and smarter than Sir Isaac Newton, but as his brain developed, so did his understanding of the world.

“I have trouble making friends, mom.”

“Just be kind,” she said.

“But they’ll think I’m weak, and they won’t respect me.”

“Trust me, people remember how you make them feel; they seldom care how smart you are.”

“What about big CEOs and intellectual giants?”

“Do you care about them?”

“No, but I want to be like them.”

“Well, be careful what you wish for. In this world, you can be oh so smart, or you can be oh so pleasant. I recommend being pleasant.”

Andy was trying to take her advice, but every time he wanted something, and he was kind, it seemed like it slipped through his fingers. “Nice guys finish last.” Look at Henderson, he wasn’t a nice guy. He was a crotchety angry little man with more money than he knew what to do with. He didn’t work; people just showed up to his orchard and paid him. Why wasn’t he happy?

“Henderson, why aren’t you happy?” Andy asked.

“Boy, I ought to smack you for saying that. You aren’t like the other boys who pick apples. They climb the trees; you use a ladder. The world is divided into boys who climb trees and those who use ladders.”

Andy didn’t quite understand what he meant. “Where did this orchard come from?”

“You’re asking questions you don’t want to know.”

“I want to know.”

“Okay, I’m going to tell you… “Do you read your bible?”

“My mother says I should, but what does that have to do with anything?”

“It has everything to do with it,” Henderson said. “There are truths hidden there that the unbeliever cannot know. They will be seeing, but never perceiving… When I was a young man, like yourself, I went looking for the truth, and I found it in the book of Genesis. There is a big lie that hides everlasting life, and when I deciphered it, I found the Garden of Eden. Getting past the angel was the hard part…”

“How did you do it?”

“Basically, I made a deal, and let’s just leave it at that. The point is, I was able to cut a sapling from the tree of life and from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I beat Satan and God at their own game, and grafted it onto my trees in the orchard. Not easy to do, if I say so myself.”

“Okay, well… why aren’t you happy?”

“I can’t go out at night.”

“You’re an old guy. Don’t old people just sleep and stay at home?”

“Boy, I out to smack you for saying that, but you’re right. No, I wish I could sleep, but I can’t. Every night I have to lock myself in the vault because an angel with a flaming sword searches for me in the orchard. It wants to pierce my soul.”

Andy didn’t believe Henderson, but that evening he decided to spy on his estate, just in case he was telling the truth. And at the stroke of midnight, an angel over 10 feet tall paced the orchard with a flaming sword. Its eyes were sunken holes; it’s body, a pillar of light.

“Hendersooonnnn!” It screamed. “Come out!”

Henderson did not come out.

Andy hid in the shadows, terrified.

The sword was on fire. It was real. But then something happened, Andy wasn’t prepared for. The skirts of the angel parted.

A boy was pushing a ladder on rollers, with another boy on top of the ladder. He dropped his megaphone and sword— it was dipped in gasoline.

“Grab as many apples as you can!” They shouted.

The next morning, Andy didn’t have the heart to tell Henderson about the terror that wasn’t real. Henderson had told his story too many times to be brought back to reality. His fantasies gave him a purpose. Did he get the apples from the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Andy would never know.

The End

Robot Girlfriend

A man cannot be moral without power, and when that power is awakened in a woman, weakness cannot save you. -Intellectual Shaman

I was desperate for something I couldn’t define. My peers wanted to be called “doctor.” I wanted to know who I was.

“You won’t be able to love people in the same way,” my mother said. “It’s your autism that gets in the way of your feelings.” Whether or not this was true, was impossible for me to know. Did everyone love in the same way?

Medical school wasn’t working out. It wasn’t for a lack of scientific ability; it was… How did my professor put it? “No bedside manner.”

I struck out.

And I was striking out with women too, ever since I realized they weren’t annoying, or maybe they were, but I was willing to overlook that. They let me help them with their homework, but when I asked them out, they always had boyfriends, or boy problems.

I did have friends though, but they were all stranger than me. Not in a bad way; just unable to interact with “normal” people, successfully.

Society is ordered, just like me, but their rules are invisible, and I don’t understand them, in the same way I don’t understand women.

I asked my professor about this and he said, “Don’t try.”

Molly was the girl I had my eyes on. She was cute and intelligent in a girlish way, but Brian was always horning in. He was still in medical school. They let him do research, just as long as he didn’t interact with the patients. How did my professor describe him? “Creepy,” I think. I agree on this point. Brian was working on a PhD while completing his medical degree.

He was doing research on human skin, “the largest organ of the body,” he said frequently, “and the most important.”

“What about the human heart?” I asked.

“Overrated; they can transplant a heart, but living growing skin is another matter.”

“I’ve seen it done.”

“What you’ve seen is like paper mâché, compared to the skin I invented. I’m going to patent it, and make a billion dollars.”

“Can I see it?”

“Sure, but you have to look at it under infrared. It’s still sensitive to sunlight.” His darkroom was like a dungeon. There were nude photographs hanging on the walls, but they weren’t erotic; instead, they were scientific, still creepy though.

“I feed it vitamin D. Look at it under the microscope; you can see it growing. With the right nutrients, it will grow into any form.”

“Really?” I asked.


“What can it be used for?”

“Burn victims, robotic limbs, maybe you could build yourself a girlfriend? AI is nearly there—a robot girlfriend in the flesh.”

I thought about what he said. It was so creepy, but I was in engineering school, and some of my friends would be willing to work night and day for a good woman. It was better than ordering one overseas. They usually showed up, got married, got divorced, and got with another guy. That wasn’t going to happen to me, so I got to work.

Jerry was taking drama. He had a flare for making masks, and he began to sculpt her face.

“And remember… she needs to be blonde, think Pamela Anderson.” Brian was working on her legs, and kept losing focus. “Her ass; it’s so beautiful.”

I was working on her bone structure, connecting her neurons, playing with her feelings. “She will be sad and somewhat suicidal; the only person who can make her feel good is me.”

“God, you’re a narcissist,” Brian said.

“Look who’s talking…”

“How long until she’s done?” Jerry asked.

“Are you in a hurry?” Brian laughed.

“Guys with girls get more respect.”

“Just patent something and make a billion dollars.”

“Money isn’t power. How many so called ‘powerful guys’ get disrespected behind their backs?”

“Like who?”

“Bill Gates, for one.”

“Good point.”

“Okay, Jerry wants respect, and I want to get laid; what do you want Andy?”


“Women will steal your power; don’t you want to fall in love.”

“I used to. Now I want revenge.”

“Oh, there’s plenty of guys who get that; they usually buy a gun first.

“No, those guys are outcasts, and they remain outcasts. I need to beat “normal people” at their own game.

“How do you plan to accomplish that?”

“By having the perfect girlfriend.”

6 months later I was still trying to get her knobby knees right. I consulted with Japanese engineers who were further along in the process. Apparently, a perfect wife is desperately needed in Japan; for that matter, a perfect wife is desperately needed everywhere.

I’m not sure why I wanted to make her unfaithful, neurotic, and a feminist. It could be due to my upbringing in the West. The last feature I installed was the most important. It was a memory-wipe, brain explosion button. It was big and red and I carried it in my pocket all the time, just in case she started thinking for herself.

I was eating my hamburger next to the fountain when Jerry and Brian showed up.

“Come on, it’s been over six months. You work slower than a construction worker.”

“You know what they say about engineers?”

“No, what?”

“They took six days to create the universe, and on the seventh, they took it apart again.”

“That’s pretty good…”

“Not as good as that.”

I looked where Brian was staring. She had milky white legs and an iron chest, a perfect mouth, and tattoos that ran down her arms, into her black nails. Her blonde hair was cut short, and parted to the side; she was hotter and smarter than any man.

She looked at me, and I stared at her. We were speaking the same body language. Finally, someone understood me. She walked over, swaying her hips, rubbing against me.

“Who’s your friend?” Jerry asked.

“Don’t you know? Look at her face…”

“My god. You finished her? When do I get to take her out on a date? What’s her name?”

“Emma, and hold on. Hold on. I don’t want her soiled or tainted in any way. I need my revenge.”

“Why do you persist with that? You know what Confucius said?”


“Man who plots revenge digs two graves.”

“No one will die.” I pulled out my iPad. Flirt with the football boys. She did. Go to the sorority party. She did.

Ten days later, I gave her a checkup. She was all red down there. “Jerry, I’m sorry, sex is out of the question, unless you want an STD. Her feminist tendencies are extreme, and she’s been crying for the last five days. She keeps telling me that she wants to die. I’ll need to hook her up to the computer psychiatrist for at least five days.”

“What’s wrong with you? Why did you make her that way?”

“It’s the only woman I’ve ever known. I wanted her to be real, not fake.”

“You’ve got a screw loose, man.”

“You’re right. Several.”

After her therapy, she joined me in my PE class. It was the best humanities class—where I could show her off properly. The guys got her number; some of them didn’t. She worked the room like a pro, in her butt shorts and halter top.

“Go on 10 dates, Saturday night,” I said. She did. It was a world record. She had such stamina. One guy dated her at two in the morning. She broke all their hearts.

The next day, I gave Emma a check-up. Her skin was stained red.

“Is that blood?”

“No,” she said.

I taught her to lie, but I couldn’t tell if she was lying. I checked the program. She was. I watched the video from Saturday night through green night-vision goggles; the horror, as she snuffed out each man.

I had created a monster.

“Your heart’s beating faster,” she said.

I reached for the red button.

“Looking for this?”

She severed my chest, holding my heart in her hands. Then she squeezed.

“This must be what it feels like to have your heart broken…” I said.

The End

Chapter 3 The Airport at the Intersection of Time

Gregson stepped onto the runway, scanning the snowcapped mountains, those tear-drops that had fallen back into the ocean from a samurai sword, becoming the islands of Japan. The strip was not what he expected; it was far away from distant cities, and skyscrapers that had left tradition behind. Cherrie blossoms were blowing across the two-lane tarmac like pink snow. It might’ve been 50 years ago, until Gregson heard a roar, not of a lion, but of a Silver Porsche Carrera GT. The 500,000-dollar supercar hit the brakes at 100 miles per hour.

“This is your pilot, the pilot said. He bowed to Gregson and Gregson bowed back. The American gentleman wore silver aviators and a cotton shirt; he didn’t look anything like the black hair, blue uniform, and Gucci sunglasses of the Japanese.

“You had a safe flight?” The American asked.

“Yes,” Gregson said. “My instructions are to rendezvous at a health spa in the mountains.”

“I can understand why you might want to go there. Are you training to be Sumo?”

“Samurai; why do you ask?”

“Just that there is a weight limit on my airplane.”

“Get my bags,” Gregson said.

“You have luggage?”

“I don’t travel light.”

“We may experience turbulence, and you might have to lose your stuff.”

“That’s fine.”

Gregson admired him already. “What’s your name?”


“What do you do for work, Tommy?”

“I fly lost tourists here and there. When my business went under, I decided to live-out my adolescent fantasies.”

His twin-prop plane was canary yellow, like a beautiful bird.

“If you two gentlemen not waste anymore my time, I have a flight plan,” the Japanese said.

Tommy waved him on, nonchalant, with a wrench in his left hand and a beer in his right.

“You drink alcohol before you fly?”

“Usually when I’m flying,” Tommy said. “Here; have a beer.” Gregson felt like he might need something stronger.

“The duct tape should hold the wings together, and there was a fuel leak, but I put a cork in it. You ready?”

Gregson held his breath, but he wasn’t getting onto a submarine.

“Sorry, it’s the girl’s night off,” Tommy said. He tossed her emerald bra into the luggage compartment. Twin engines turned on, screaming. Gregson protested, but it was too loud.

“Hold your ass,” Tommy shouted.

Gregson had a sinking feeling— they were airborne.

“I’ll need to make a few drops,” Tommy said.

“You said I could keep my luggage.”

“This is business; hold my stick steady, will you?” Gregson held the throbbing shaft; it was enormous.

“Bombs away.”

Was that snow? Gregson saw one of the packages open. “Cocaine? You’re a drug dealer?”

“More like, drug smuggler,” Tommy corrected. “Don’t tell anybody, okay?” Gregson would’ve handcuffed him right there, but they were in the air.

“Is that another plane?” Gregson asked.

“That’s a Japanese Zero!”

Chut Chut Chut Chut Chut


“We’re hit! We’re taking fire!”