Blood Bank

HIDDEN_264_10204_FOTO_victima‘Thank you for requesting our Utterly Flexible Savings Account. You may activate this debit card by making an initial deposit into your account. You may do so online at VitalFinancial.com, by phone at 800-666-BANK, or at one of our convenient ATM locations.’

Jake walked the seven blocks to the Vital Financial branch closest to his home. By the time he arrived his head was hot and damp. A few beads of sweat dripped down from his black curly hair, causing his eyes to sting.

He slid the new debit card into its slot, entered his PIN number and pressed the DEPOSIT button. From another wider slot below, an envelope emerged. Jake pulled the money from his pocket. He attempted to straighten a few crumbled bills before sliding them into the envelope, with about a dozen various coins and a healthy swath of pocket lint.

Jake held the envelope up to his face, licking the adhesive. The paper edge rubbed against his upper lip, causing him a sharp peculiar pain. He puckered his face as he sealed the envelope. He noticed a small streak of blood on the back which he tried to wipe away, only smearing it further.

With a shrug, Jake redeposited the envelope in the ATM machine via the lower slot. The machine rumbled and purred as its electric intestines examined the offering. The small LCD display now showed Jake a breakdown of what it had received:

CASH: 18.00
COIN: 1.21
OTHER: 62.38

“Other?” Jake furrowed his brow. Again he pressed the DEPOSIT button and received a second envelope. He held it up to his face, squeezing his upper lip between two fingers. A bubble of blood splashed onto the paper. He smeared it across the face with two fingers before placing it back into the ATM machine’s slot.

CASH: 00.00
COIN: 00.00
OTHER: 265.92

Jake’s heart doubled in pace and a cold chill shot up his spine. He pressed the DEPOSIT button once again, pulling his box-cutter from his coat pocket. He gouged a deep gash into his palm. The envelope was soggy and over-saturated when he returned it to the machine.

CASH: 00.00
COIN: 00.00
OTHER: 82,926.88

Jake smiled as he returned the debit card to his back pocket. He wrapped his bloody hand in his handkerchief and began walking back home. He felt proud and dazed and admittedly more than a little confused. But he felt like he deserved to treat himself to something nice. Maybe he would stop for a small snack at one of the fancy restaurants he normally could not afford. Or maybe a sports car.

He drove his new sports car to work the next morning. He punched in as usual in the warehouse, but then immediately headed toward the front offices.

Judy looked up from her computer screen at Jake. “How can I help you sir?”

“My name is Jake Leech,” he told her, “I would like to speak to the foreman.”

“He’s on an international conference call and can’t be disturbed,” Judy offered him a polite but plastic smile. “You can leave a message or come back after lunch.”

“Just tell him I quit,” Jake said.

Judy gave him a long look. “You quit? Can I tell him why? Are you unhappy?”

“No not at all. I’ve come into considerable money. Inheritance, actually. Um. And I just don’t need to do this anymore.”

Judy stared at Jake, her eyes vacant and mouth wide open. She shook her head.

Jake’s heart beat hard. His palms were threatening to sweat. ‘Now or never’ he thought.

“My name is Jake,” he held out his hand to her.

“Yes, yes. You said,” she answered, still a little startled. She noticed the band-aid on his palm but thought nothing of it, shaking his hand. “I’m Judy.”

“Yes, I know,” his face flushed red, “I’ve noticed you. I’ve been trying to work up the nerve to ask you out to dinner.”

Again her jaw went limp, leaving her gawking mouth agape. Again she shook her head. “Well, I’m glad that you did,” she smiled at him now. “It’s still early for dinner but you could take me out to lunch.”

Jake was beaming as he left the building, hand in hand with Judy. They crossed the parking lot toward his new car. “Where would you like to go?”

“Have you been to the new French restaurant downtown?” Judy asked.

“No I’ve never been able to afford that sort of place before,” Jake smiled wide at her.

He parked the yellow sports car downtown and they walked toward the new French restaurant. Jake saw the familiar logo of Vital Financial on the building at the corner.

“Hang on a minute,” he said. “I think I should probably grab some cash just to be safe.”

Together they approached the ATM machine. Jake pushed his debit card into the top slot, entered his PIN and pressed the DEPOSIT button.

“Deposit?” Judy asked, screwing her face into a grimace.

Jake placed both of his hands on her face, twisting her neck. Her eyes rolled hard into the back of her head and he heard something snap. He pulled his box-cutter from his coat pocket, slicing her neck open.

He held her head over the face of the ATM machine and allowed her blood to spill directly into the lower slot. He watched as his balance began to climb. The LCD display raced up into the millions before her blood trickled dry.

NSA Falls Victim to Nigerian Prince Scam

Dateline, Washington DC.

fliptopthumbThe Department of Justice reported Monday that it is investigating whether the federal government has fallen victim to an international scam. Since they began intercepting and reading all our email, the NSA has sent over $63 Billion to members of the Nigerian royal family. The Agencies defends these actions, saying they seemed to be sure-fire, safe investments.

To this date, none of the investments have returned any money. Many of the alleged Nigerian royals who orchestrated these exchanges have gone missing.

Officials state they became suspicious when someone from the State Department read a Wikipedia entry on Nigeria. It informed him that Nigeria has a democratic government and not a monarchy. Indeed, there is no Nigerian royal family at all.

Federal officials are blaming the overwhelming amount of information they have to sift through and the speed it requires to read “every… damn… email…” They cite the fact that the average American reads .5% (zero point five percent) of the emails they receive, while the Government reads it all. This often leaves individual agents in a torpid, trance-like state. They become vulnerable to predators and susceptible to suggestion.

As the DOJ digs to the bottom of this case, other departments are starting to take notice and look for evidence of fraud. The General Accounting Office announced they may launch an investigation of their own. They admitted there is a chance one or several of the three dozen Golden Gate Bridges the Federal Government recently purchased may in fact be forgeries.

The Law of More

The Elimination of Middlemen

The Elimination of Middlemen

Moore’s law, put simply, states that computing power will double every eighteen months. This was predicted back in 1965 at the dawn of modern computing and has so far held true. What used to be a precious and costly commodity is now being produced at an exponentially faster rate. Some find this humorous, in a sardonic way. To others it is overwhelming.

The Commodore 64 when it was introduced boasted sixty-four kilobytes of RAM, all within that ‘little’ box. There is the famous quote from one of the pioneers in the industry where he can’t ever foresee anyone needing more than 64k. Only a decade earlier such an extravagant amount of memory would require an entire building. Nowadays memory is so cheap you can easily afford to store a well-stocked bookstore on the phone in your pocket.

It’s amazing how far we have come. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai it took two tablets to hold ten short paragraphs. Nowadays even the most basic tablet or ereader can store dozens, even hundreds, of books in their entirety.

The Plastic Static

Static

Static

Damn. How did so much time get away from us?

It’s like one minute you are standing in the middle of a warehouse in the early nineties, high on cheap beer, brown weed, teenage freedom and rock and roll; next thing you know it’s a different century and a different world, and everyone is compartmentalized and plastic and isolated.

Yes, we are getting older. Some of us, not all of us survived.

And one has to wonder sometimes, who is the winner in this game? The ones who checked out early? The ones who missed so many years? Those of us left behind? To carry on, to trudge forth even as we see everyone and everything around us crumbling.

These days I’m not so sure.

I crawled out of a cave. I fell asleep sometime in the last century and woke up here. In a museum, in a cheap science fiction movie. Here, we are both the spectators and the spectacle.

This hallway is black. Not dark. Black. Light doesn’t dare traverse it’s expanse. There are glimpses of neon here and there, but it’s impossible to tell if they are real or hallucination. The absence of light makes the hallway feel immense, long, possibly unending. That’s another scary notion. Eternity. The thought that there may be no end to this.

And then we must ask ourselves again, which is worse? The eternal shuffling toward nothing, or the exit too early; the ones we have lost, who have fallen along the way. Are we sad they have gone? Or is it only us growing ever lonelier as they one by one depart?

I looked for you. I looked forward to reconnecting.

You wouldn’t recognize the place. Everything has changed since you left.

We’ve torn down nature and put up a plastic nature replica. It will last forever, and it doesn’t get messy like the real thing. We still aren’t sure if the birth defects are a direct result of the synthetic natural plastic alloy or merely a coincidence, but we aren’t letting it slow us down either way.

The streets are emptier too. You would get along a little better with less traffic, fewer distractions to fight for your attention. You see that’s where there was a bookshop. That used to be a record store. This was a Wags before it was a Perkins before it was a Bakers Square before it was the Sunshine Breakfast Club before it was finally abandoned and left to rot away.

This used to be the beach. Our beach. I wish I could say they left this one alone.

It almost feels the same, the yellow moon peeking down through slivers of cloud. That breeze that always hints of winter, even in August, always reminds you of how cold it could be.

As if it had any idea.

Nothing that lives or breaths or moves really knows anything of the true cold. The freezing. The motionless waiting, staring. Stuck in your tracks. So cold you can’t even feel it anymore.

It doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t recognize this anyway. It is not ours. This is no longer the world we knew.

This. You see this? This passes for sand. I know. It is cleaner. It doesn’t get in your shoes and stuck in every crevice. This is static. This is electronic noise, pixels, bits of information formed to resemble the granules we knew growing up but without all the mess.

Maybe that’s how they’ve done it. Maybe that’s how the rug was pulled out from under us. Maybe they filled up all the hourglasses with this synthetic sand. It bought them all the time in the world.

There was a point I was trying to make. There was something I wanted to say to you, but I seem to be only rambling. I’m sorry to waste your time. You would have laughed at that one. The idea of wasting time. Maybe you had it right all along, you and the Mad Hatter.

Maybe yours was the right move. Maybe I’m worse off for witnessing this. Maybe it is you who escaped and I who am trapped. Imprisoned in black iron, indeed the empire never ended.

Still, I thought there would be more time. I thought we would meet again. Even if it was out here in the fringes of reality. This crumbling pier hanging precariously over the edge, over nothing, a bottomless pit of black frozen emptiness.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Introducing the Stem-Cellphone. Sampling your DNA, it becomes any phone you like, or a unique, custom dream device. Also, you can use it to grow extra limbs and spare organs.

Stem-Cellphone

Introducing the Stem-Cellphone. Sampling your DNA, it becomes any phone you like,  or a unique, custom dream device. Also, you can use it to grow  extra limbs and spare organs.

Introducing the Stem-Cellphone. Sampling your DNA, it becomes any phone you like,
or a unique, custom dream device. Also, you can use it to grow
extra limbs and spare organs.

Judging books by their cover

catacombsI think it’s one of the most used metaphors in existence, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’ And while I agree with the sentiment, in general it’s not wise to judge people or things on appearances, the truth is — at least as far as the world of book publishing — this rule just does not apply anymore.

I think the saying comes from the not too distant past, when all books had hardcovers, and the most decorative thing you could manage was splurging for the good leather.

These days the cover seems like a vitally important part of the book, I would say they are as important as cover art for albums back in the day when albums mattered.

I have seen many authors lately sharing some of their cover ideas. Some are better than others. Many authors still just do not recognize the importance of this step.

We spend countless hours writing and rewriting and then editing and re-editing, I think it is important to give the book cover the same degree of time and devotion. These are the containers we use to package our product, and they are so much a part of the product themselves. A good cover can persuade sales, and likewise a bad cover can keep a great book from being read.

I learned a lot putting together Meowing on the Answering Machine. I am glad Kat Mellon jumped in when she did, otherwise I would be on the other side of this article and probably simmering.

There was a time when book reviews in newspapers or magazines were not accompanied by a picture of the cover, because at the time it wasn’t considered important or relevant. These days are gone. It’s probably the internet to blame once again, the market is cluttered with publishers and independents fighting for a sliver of attention for their work and will use any means they have to hook a potential reader. And these days so much of our retail world and social lives are online, the chances are good that a majority of people will first encounter your book as a thumbnail.

This is important to keep in mind when you design your cover. Besides looking at how it will look when printed at say 6 by 9 in paperback format, you want to also make sure it looks good, the title and your name are legible when the image is reduced to 110 x 75 pixels.

I believe it’s important to recognize what the cover is and what its purpose is. It is meant as a representation of your product, if you are writing horror your cover should convey this. If the image and feel doesn’t complement the story, you run a risk of frustrating your readers.

When we get down to basics, your cover is the packaging of your product. Every detail should be aimed toward describing the product, as well as attracting attention and persuading people to take a chance. Your blurb should be short, direct and intriguing. Give them some mystery, a struggle or a contradiction, something to make them want to investigate further.

It was a dark and stormy night,‘ and almost any talk about the weather or the atmosphere or the ‘tension in the air’ probably should be snipped out of your sixty thousand word manuscript, descriptions such as these have absolutely no place in your two-hundred-words-or-less blurb, where they will stick out like a sore, but boring, thumb. Show us conflict and intrigue, make us want to crack the book open.

Get professional help if you can. I generally believe in the ‘you get what you pay for’ adage. But there are a ton of cover artists on the internet with a variety of different skills and a wide range of prices. Some of them are authors themselves and may be willing to help out a fellow writer, especially if they believe in your work.

But even if you do it yourself, take the time and do it right. If possible, don’t do it with the cover creator programs that createspace and lulu offer. These are functional and ‘okay,’ but do not give you many options and make it difficult to get a really professional look. I believe even using free software like GIMP, or even Paint, will let you make a more professional looking product.

But recognize what your cover is, it will be the first impression many people have of your work, and in some cases it will be the factor between tossing it in the cart or putting it back on the shelf. Make sure you honestly represent your work, and take this opportunity to hook a new reader, make it impossible for them to put that book back down.

A Nation Comes Together Against SPOILERS

fliptopthumbIn light of some television networks and news agencies publishing Olympic
updates from Sochi before they have been officially aired in prime time, The
President, Congress and the FCC are dropping all other matters to address the national outrage over ‘Spoilers.’

Most citizens agree there should be a Standard National Spoiler Disclosure
Protocol in place, regulated by the FCC, which would force broadcasters to use a ‘SPOILER’ tag or similar disclaimer when revealing sensitive information, or face fines and penalties and possibly have their license revoked for repeated infractions.

Americans are outraged, not only for the irresponsible handling of medal counts
at the Olympics, but for other recent infractions including the Game of Thrones
season ending cliff-hanger, the Breaking Bad finale, and the almost instant
reporting of ‘more trite nonsense’ that accompanies any new Twilight movie
release.

After years of being splintered by national debates on political matters such as
the economy, national security, employee rights, voter rights, civil rights,
entitlements and government spending, it seems the American people finally have
an issue we can all come together on, and rally as one voice for some real,
substantial change.

The Director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, addressed the press today, saying, “After reading countless personal emails and private messages, we are aware that the Spoiler issue is the number one priority in the agenda of the average American household, and it should be ours as well.”

Congress announced it is pulling manpower and money away from immigration, the
drug war, maintaining Guantanamo bay with an eye toward its decommission, and
the crumbling infrastructure of the nation, to focus our minds and our finances
on how to properly identify and warn about Spoilers, and other related
matters such as how long is the statute of spoiler limitations? Is giving away
the plot-lines of Firefly, now ten years in the public eye, still a
prosecutable offense? How soon is too soon?

The President, Congress, Senate and other government VIPs are said to be forming
an expert committee to deal with this emergency, and promises to put all other
matters aside until this is dealt with to mutual satisfaction.

Joe Krumpnall, an out of work auto mechanic and ex-vet we interviewed today
seemed to reflect the Government’s and the people’s beliefs. “I have no job and
no money and I’m sick but I can’t go to the doctor because I have no insurance.
And I’m currently playing a sort of roulette game; will my electricity be cut
off before my television and phone service, or will my landlord beat them both with his
ten-day notice to evict? I tell you what, the only thing that keeps me sane recently after a long day of hunting for work and begging for
help is to come home and watch some young girls sliding a rock across the ice
and sweeping it home. Now that’s ruined, since they announced all the curling results and medal winners already on the five o’clock news.”

American officials are consulting with the British Government and the BBC. They specifically want to find out how the Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Special was handled so adeptly. For the better part of a year secrets were kept under lock and key, even from cast and crew. There were denials and rumors and denial of rumors, but in the end it was kept mostly a secret on a level with most matters of National
Security, until Tom Baker made his return to the show for the first time since
the 1980s.

Oh, have I said too much? There’s a helicopter overhead and a black van in the
driveway. Someone is pounding on the door. I’ll be right back…

The Musicians

Run DMC Escher

Run DMC Escher

Perpetual Piano

Perpetual Piano

Accordion And On

Accordion And On

Pneumatic Pump Theramin

Pneumatic Pump Theramin

Tambor-Dreamsphere & The One Hand Clapping

Tambor-Dreamsphere & The One Hand Clapping

The Born Bass Player

The Born Bass Player

CAFELALIA

Cafelalia

CAFELALIA

CAFELALIA

I turn to look for available seating and see that most of the people waiting in line are chanting in the odd cafelalia; some with tongues jutting from their mouths, some looking heavenward with eyes rolled into their heads. The entire shop is filled with a dull cacophony of nonsense. A few scattered patrons seem to roam around the perimeter of the tables in a trance.
~Coffee, MEOWING ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE

Black Holes

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF An illustrated guide detailing steps you can take to safeguard your family from random stellar outbursts and galactic collapse.

Contest Entry: Tempus Fudge It

I have a story entered in a short story contest, it is in the final running, and is being featured along with five other contenders on the Fiction 4 a Day website. You should go read it right now and vote while your opinion is fresh and your viewpoint is new.  The story is a little piece called ‘Tempus Fudge It’. It’s a warning shot the language becoming too muddy or the time line completely cluttered. Please take the time to read, not for me or the prizes I am sure to qualify for, but for yourself and anyone you know who relies on an alarm clock, or assumes that words will mean what you want them to say for just a few hours at a time.
Read, vote, repeat. Break the chains of concentric circular logic, even if it means you have to bite yourself in the ass.

http://pppshortstories.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/tempus-fudge-it-by-robert-emmett/

Black Holes- What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself

cosmic-explosionBlack Holes occur when large, dense stars implode, or collapse upon themselves, creating such a massive gravitational force that they devour everything within sight, including light.

Did you know most Home Insurance Policies do not offer coverage against losses due to a Black Hole? Isn’t it time you offered your family the protection it deserves?
For only $399 I will send you my brand new Black Hole Detector (patent pending). With this easy to use device you can rest assured your pets and loved ones will not be sucked into space to be converted to anti-matter.
And yes, it is easy to use. It works much like a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector. In fact it looks almost exactly like a carbon monoxide detector except that ‘Carbon Monoxide’ has been crossed off and ‘Black Hole’ has been written in with a red laundry marker.
Money back guarantee! Void where prohibited by laws of physics.You cannot afford to put a price on your families well being. But for those of you on a budget, we now offer the Black Hole Detector Upgrade kit, where by with very little technical know how, you can convert your carbon monoxide or smoke detector into a fully functioning black hole detector.
For only $199 we will mail you the special red laundry marker and you can write ‘black hole’ your damn self.Act now, matter is collapsing!