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Savage Survival



Darrell Bain's Newsletter

June 2008

This newsletter may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source www.darrellbain.com is noted and the copyright notice is noted and included as follows:
Bainstorming: Darrell's Monthly Newsletter.
Copyright © June 2008, By Darrell Bain

Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.

  Subjects this month:

Free Short Story (Warning: not a happy ending), Comeuppance, Scientists Reading Fiction, Progress Report, Movie Credit, Book Reviews, Readers: born or made?, Bain Muses, Kissing and Longer Life, Continuing Saga of Betty, Last Honest Man, Bain Blunders, Unusual Mother's Day Present, Enjoying Dated Science Fiction, You Read it Here first, Patenting Genes, Bain Predictions, Excerpt from Savage Survival.

Free Short Story
I usually sell my short stories but this one time I'm offering a freebie. To read Retribution go to http://www.ll-publications.com/bark.html
Warning: It does not have a happy ending!
(This story is also available for publication in any Science Fiction Magazine or Web Site. Best offer by June 15th).

Last month's Bainstorming contained a segment where I stated that I thought many Baby Boomers wouldn't retire but start second careers. The day after sending it off to be published at my web site I saw the exact same conjecture on the front page of the Microsoft browser. So much for original thought!

Scientists and fiction reading
Do scientists read more fiction than non-scientists? Probably. Is what they read mostly science fiction? I'd say it depends on the science they specialize in. This is nothing but speculation on my part. However, I'd sure like to hear from some scientists to see whether this is right or not.

Progress Report
Human By Choice became the number one best selling science fiction novel at www.fictionwise.com within a week of publication. As of this writing it has remained at the top of the heap for science fiction novels at fictionwise for over a month.

Twilight times is getting ready to publish the first volume of my newsletters, Bainstorming, covering the time period from August 05 through December 06. All the monthly newsletters published during that period have been reviewed, annotated, added to and deleted from, commented on and in some cases corrected. The introduction will be written by Lida Quillen, publisher of Twilight Times Books. I believe this first volume of Bainstorming will make good reading and obviously, my publisher does too, or wouldn't have invested the money in producing a book from them.

Once the e-book version of the book is published , the newsletters included in Volume one will be deleted from my web site, so if you'd like to review any of them for free, now's the time to do it!

A print edition of the book will follow sometime within the next year.

Still no word on whether Baen Books has bought the novel about a Quantum computer that becomes sentient but doesn't operate in quite the fashion its designers thought it would! Stay tuned.

I'm working on three books right now. One is a sequel to Human By Choice. One is about machine intelligence empires and the other is about an empire of the future covering many star systems. I'll keep you posted on these three.

Movie Credit
I have another movie credit, this time as script consultant for one of the commercial documentaries produced by my brother, Gary Bain. The title is Gary and Barb at the M-Lazy-C Ranch. This is a good example of making a vacation pay for itself. Gary and Barb began vacationing at the M-Lazy-C Ranch several years ago and besides having fun he eventually progressed to a nice contract for producing a documentary about the ranch. He also got back into one of his favorite military endeavors he did for a time in the Marines, survival training. He taught a course while not flying and it happened that the M-Lazy-C Ranch is involved with the training of Special Forces troopers in the part of wilderness survival involving horseback riding and pack mules so they got him involved in that aspect as well, mostly as the official photographer. Nothing like combining work and pleasure, I say. Gary's web site is www.videoexplorers.com . It's a really interesting site to visit for video enthusiasts and adventurers of all stripes and fancies. In fact, if you've had an adventure, contact Gary at his web site and he may publish your story. You can also buy some of his documentary movies there.

Special Note: Women's War Memoirs is a narrative of heroic women in the military and the book is also for sale at www.videoexplorers.com .

Book Reviews
One day on Mars by Travis S. Taylor is a really defining book on military science fiction. That's a broad claim, I know, but by golly if there's a technology he didn't cover in this wildly exciting book I'd like to know of it! The best thing about the writing is that much of it is extrapolation of present day technology. No, I take that back; the best thing about the writing is that it's good! Excellent! Superlative! If you like military science fiction you can't do better than this extremely fast paced and thoughtful book of action on Mars a couple of centuries from now. I can't wait to read the sequel, The Tau Ceti Agenda.

Maxome Foe by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor continues the saga began with John Ringo's The Looking Glass. This is the third book in the series and they just keep getting better. Here the Vorpal Blade, the submarine converted to a one of a kind space ship encounters the dread Dreen while on a rescue/discovery mission and eventually meets up with another species on the run from the Dreen. Together the Vorpal Blade and the fleeing aliens combine to defeat the pursuing Dreen Task force but while doing so learn some bad news: the seemingly unstoppable Dreen will be arriving in Earth space within 18 years. Having previously battled incursions of the Dreen on earth in The Looking Glass, this is bad news indeed. It will be the subject of another book in the series, I'm sure. Ringo and Taylor really have a winning series here. Great action, characters you really like and a story line that can go on for several more books. What's not to like?

Michael Crichton's Next isn't a particularly great story but it has enough elements to hold your attention and the book is well worth the reading for what he has to say about present and future developments in gene technology. It's scary and all too plausible. In fact, much of it is here now! I certainly didn't realize how far along the road patenting of genes has gone!

Readers: Born or Made?
Betty and I have taken sort of an informal survey of our families and friends on the subject of who reads for pleasure as a principal form of entertainment and who doesn't. We've discovered that it apparently doesn't matter how much or how little parents try to influence kids to enjoy fiction and reading for pleasure. They either do or they don't and the amount of influence or exposure from parents isn't much of a factor. We've come to the conclusion that readers are born, not made. There's something in the identity of the person that makes some people gravitate to reading fiction but we don't have a clue what it is. Does anyone?

Bain Muses
My muses are normally very short pieces, most likely because of my attention span, so Betty claims, but I got carried away with this one.

I've been reading a lot of legal thrillers lately, written by reputable lawyers. They go into a lot of detail about the intricacies of our criminal and civil justice system and its inequities as well as the moral turpitude of some lawyers and justices. All I can say is that if they are even close to right in their descriptions, our country's judicial system is in pitiful condition. I realize that justice is an abstract concept but it's become pretty obvious to me (and was even before I began reading novels and a few non-fiction legal books) that our justice system is on the verge of breakdown, mainly because more and more it is tilted very favorably toward those who have the big pockets, i.e., big corporations and rich individuals. It seems that the corporations can either throw enough money at a problem to buy a favorable verdict or if that doesn't work, simply string the proceedings out until the other side loses patience or runs out of money to keep fighting their case except when the tort lawyers get involved, and then they'll make plenty of money, the corporations will lose a lot whether they deserve to or not and the little people on whose behalf the lawyers filed their class action suit get little or nothing. I'm eligible to have my PVC pipes replaced according to a verdict in a class action suit but do you think I'm going to tear up the slab of our home and do it? Not. But the lawyers get their big fees regardless. And I absolutely get disgusted at some of the junk science I read about being used in trials. Our legal system can be called many things but no one can possibly call it simple. It is as messed up as the tax code or the medical care system.

Having said all this, I must also add that we do have a system that is better (that gives the benefit of the doubt to the plaintiff) than most others. Yet there is definitely something badly wrong with the works when cases can be strung out for years or even decades and when junk science is allowed to enter the courtroom as in the silicone breast implant verdicts.

Unfortunately, there's nothing about it that bringing it up in congress or while campaigning that will help a politician get elected so they pretty well ignore the inequities or take the contributions of the rich or money-heavy corporations and either do nothing or worse, pass laws favoring them. Isn't there anything normal citizens can do about it? Or is this something that is inevitably true regardless of the society you live in? And don't tell me voting for this politician or that one can change much of anything. So long as those critters care more about getting elected or re-elected than doing what's right or what they know in their hearts they should do, we won't see any changes. The worst part is that by the time a person gets the party's backing to run for office he or she will have already been pretty well corrupted at the local level.

Rats. When I was younger I trusted congress, business, doctors, lawyers, the military and policemen. Now I trust our policemen, for the most part, at least at the street level, even though you have the usual bad apples but that's true of any organization. What's bad is when the good apple is the exception and the rest of the barrel is rotten!!

Kissing and Longer Life
According to a MSN health site, I read that men who kiss their wives in the morning live five years longer on average than ones who don't. I not only kiss Betty every morning, I kiss her really, really good. I also kiss her at night and usually manage a few pats and smooches during the day. I wonder if I'll live ten years longer instead of five? Fifteen? I'm for it, and the method for living that long is lots of fun. All that is dependent upon the veracity of the article, of course.

Continuing saga of Betty
First a quick review, beginning about four months ago or possibly a little longer. Betty got in a fight with a spider and pulled all the muscles and tendons and cartilage of her upper thigh, causing her severe pain that lasted well over a month, almost two months before beginning to heal. While recovering from that she got run down by a cat and injured the other leg. While recovering from that she woke up one morning with her jaw swollen up. It took a full six weeks and continuous pain to get that tooth pulled and it had to be done under anesthesia, but while she was waiting she came down with a bad case of the flu or something like it. That went on through the time she started to get well from her injuries and then when she was recovering from the flu she had a relapse. While X-Raying that tooth which was caused all the pain and swollen jaw it was discovered that the adjoining one needed a root canal, but of course it couldn't be done until the other tooth was out. She finally got the other tooth out but she had been taking codeine so long she had withdrawal symptoms. She finally was well enough to have the root canal. We've made two emergency trips (50 miles each way through traffic) back to see the root canal specialist because of complications and had to postpone getting it crowned twice. And as of this writing, May 22nd, 2008 she is still hurting and can't have a crown put on the tooth with the root canal until it is well. While all this was gong on she was also having night sweats and severe leg cramps from the medicine taken for high triglycerides and for thyroid replacement for the part of her thyroid that was removed last year and stitches were left in and it took a year before they quit hurting (try nuzzling your wife's neck where a suture is still present under the skin and see how far you get). Oh yes, somewhere along with all this other stuff she had to have a cancer removed from the upper part of her nose. We (read she) are about to lose patience with a capricious universe and tell it to go pick on someone else for awhile.

Last Honest Man
We recently had a new oven installed by Home Depot. One of the installers left his tape measure behind. It was a very good one, probably costing near ten dollars. The next time we were near a Home Depot store I took the tape measure in to the person manning the front desk and attempted to return it. "Oh how honest you are!" the woman exclaimed. She repeated this remark about ten times during the next five or ten minutes while she explained there was no provision for returning a tape measure since the installers were contract workers. "But you're so honest!" she called out to me again and again as I left the store in disgust. Why was I disgusted? First, I think the tape measure could have been returned had the woman made an effort. And second, I had to wonder if the woman had ever run across an honest person in her life. From the way she took on, I have my doubts. It makes me wonder what kind of world she lives in where she is startled almost out of her skin by an honest man.

Bain Blunders
We had a portion of the roof repaired. The roofer dumped the old shingles next to the house in a pile as he pulled them off. He didn't notice that he was covering up a little drain. The drain is the one that leads water from the washing machine to the outside and into the grass, bypassing the septic system. Betty had been tending some flowers right by the covered up drain for several days. She paid it no mind. I had been out there twice, practically standing on where it was covered up and never noticed. Neither of us paid any attention at all to the fact that the drain line exit was being almost totally blocked by old shingling material from the roof that I hadn't gotten around to having someone help me haul it off.

Betty washed a particularly heavy load of clothes and then we noticed! Water from the washing machine that was almost completely blocked from flowing out the drain had to go somewhere. It overflowed into the storeroom in the office and soaked the carpet. Naturally, that's the only room in the house that's carpeted now. (Read Life On Santa Claus Lane for the hilarious story of replacing our carpet with flooring material the week before our 25th wedding anniversary. You'll howl! The rest of the book is funny, too, including our drug smuggling expedition to Mexico).

The roofing material is now removed and the carpet is almost dry after two days of a fan blowing into the store room. Nothing to do but 'fess up. We both made this blunder although I'm the biggest culprit for not getting that junk moved sooner.

Now for another Bain Blunder (this segment of Bainstorming is gathering lots of attention for some reason).

After I regaled my brother for years about the joys of country living, Gary and Barb finally bought them a pretty well isolated, peaceful home on forty acres in the rolling hills of central Oklahoma. Since then their "peaceful country home" has been intruded upon by the freight trains whistling at every intersection for miles each direction, the drug addicts who moved in across the road and blare their music 24/7 and have police cars with sirens wailing show up every weekend, a hog hunting lodge that went in on the other side of them, the interstate noise in the distance, the increased noise of airplanes from the grass strip adjacent to their property coming to hunt on the wild animal preserve that was built behind their acreage, a new oil and gas pumping station that just went in right next door and pumps 24/7 and Amtrack adding a line from Tulsa to OKC that goes by them to increase the train whistles. The final blow came from the hog hunting lodge which has just gotten a liquor license and will be having parties every weekend with music (they call it that, anyway) playing loud enough to shatter eardrums in the next county.

I heard from him recently. He says he wants to move into the country for come peace and quiet. I think he was being sarcastic and a bit ironic at the same time. Talk about picking a nice quiet country home! When the Bains blunder, they do it big time.

Unusual Mother's Day Present
Some of you may have seen this but I hadn't. Betty's daughter gave her a battery operated automatic jar opener for those hard to open jars. It is an amazing little gadget. You set it on top of the jar, adjust it to fit, press a button and stand back. The jar opener clamps the lid with one set of pinchers and the jar with a separate set, then they move in opposite directions (or one stays fixed while the other rotates, I'm not sure which) until the jar lid is free. It automatically stops working once the lid is loose. What is so amazing is that no one has thought of it before. Someone will make a bundle of money on it because all you have to do is see it work one time and you're sold! I want to see it open one of those little jars of pimento peppers and if it works on those, I'm sold even more. About every third one of those pesky little lids won't come loose without eye-popping, muscle-straining effort and sometimes won't come loose at all. Even if it won't open those, it will sure help for the larger jars and it will be a winner with all the older folks who are losing some of their muscular strength.

Enjoying Dated Science Fiction
A really good science fiction story remains good for a long, long time but most of them inevitably become dated, either from the authors putting dates into their stories or from changing technology. I've found one good way to enjoy the dated stories is to pretend the action is taking place in an alternate earth.

Giving away the year in a story I'm writing is something I assiduously avoid for the very reason listed above. People who read my novels will never see a year written into them unless it's purposeful, e.g. the continuing saga of the Williard Brothers that began during the Vietnam War and has carried them into the future now, where I've stopped putting in dates. For the same reason I try to avoid stating the make of a car, although I didn't catch on to that one until car models and companies began going out of business so regularly.

You read it here first.
If Barak Obama loses a very close election you're going to be hearing how it was stolen from him for the next hundred years. You will even see rioting. If he loses, I hope it is by a decisive margin.

Patenting Genes
After reading Next by Michael Crichton I began wondering about how much of our genome can be patented. I'm asking around and may report back on this later. Would anyone like to send me some input here? I would appreciate it.

Bain Predictions
This is a new feature that will appear from time to time. It will be my predictions on what inventions, movements, wars, medical discoveries, or other items and/or events I think will take place in the not too distant future.

Here is my first prediction, but a little back ground first. e-ink technology is fast taking hold for e-book readers and for reading other manuscripts. Its principal advantage over other forms of downloading and reading material on computers is the minute amount of battery power that's used. As an example, with the Sony e-book reader you can read a couple of hundred, repeat, hundred books without having to charge your battery. Newspaper readership is gradually declining and has been for years. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find carriers to deliver the papers, which is a reflection of the poor pay for a seven day a week job that becomes less and less profitable as the price of gasoline goes up (I know how hard this job is-I've done it).

Newspaper readers don't like trying to read a newspaper on computers or reading devices, or even on one that has e-ink, e.g., the Amazon Kindle. However-and here's my prediction-suppose you had a sheet of paper about half the size of a regular newspaper that you could unfold so that you had two pages inside to read and could see the other pages of the newspaper by touching a tab. Touching a tab would automatically rearrange the ink spots into the next page. Now suppose you could customize your favorite big city (or heck, small town) newspaper to provide you with exactly what you like to read: world news, comics (ALL the comics), sports, financial or business news, etc. And read it in the size font that's comfortable for you! Granted, you'll have to take the advertisements with it but you have them anyway so it's no big thing. You certainly don't have to read them!

Further, suppose that every morning, or twice a day, or however often you like your newspaper updated, it is automatically updated without you doing anything other than leaving your "newspaper" plugged in to a USB port or soon by automatic wireless updating at specified times. Every few weeks or so you'll have plug it in for a battery recharge but that's all. You'll always have fresh news when you wake up. No sweat, no bother.

Having coffee spilled on your newspaper won't ruin it. Just wipe it off. I suppose you could even use it to let your puppy piddle on and wash it off but probably you wouldn't do that. You could, though. You will also be able to roll it up like a newspaper and carry it along on subways or buses and read while riding (and with the price of gas a lot of us may be doing that soon, thanks to our stupid leaders who have been sitting on their duffs for 35 years instead of doing something about a problem a ten year old idiot could see coming).

Now suppose you had all that for the same price you pay for your paper now? Would you subscribe? I sure as hell would! No more missing or wet newspaper. I would get to read lebenty leben dozen comics, all my favorites and not have to sort through the dumb ones. I would get to read science news and world news in detail rather than it being skimmed over and I could pretty well skip the sports page except for probably getting a digest or headlines just in case I want to see how LSU football is coming along (sorry OSU fans).

Okay, This is the Bain Prediction segment and I'm predicting we'll have something pretty much like that within ten years. Granted, you can subscribe to a few newspapers already with Amazon's Kindle and download when you feel like it, but it's not state of the art yet and most newspaper readers like a bigger page. We'd settle for something half the size of the regular page we see today.

Okay, there's my first prediction. You'll see more of them from time to time and remember, you read it first in Bainstorming!

Thanks for reading.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
June 2008


Excerpt From Savage Survival

Chapter Two

Lyda opened her eyes. She stood up on wobbly legs and looked around, squinting through frighteningly strong sunlight at a surreal scene of horror. In the distance, mountains grew from a brown landscape, solid and timeless, but nearby were two mutilated bodies. She averted her eyes from them quickly. One of them had been a young woman. She was naked. Blood seeped from between her thighs. The other body was that of a man, sprawled out in an awkward position. His skull had been crushed and caved in above one of his eyes. The eyeball lay on his cheek like an obscene colored marble on a thick white string.

Beyond the bodies, men and women milled around, some gathered in throngs, some alone. Most of them wore dazed, frightened expressions, like the ones she had seen on some of the dogs when her class toured an animal shelter, but like some of the dogs, a few were defiant and their faces and attitudes promised reprisal should a chance come their way. She saw a man dressed in dirty jeans squatting by a cactus. He had hacked off one of the flat pancake-like outgrowths and was trying to scrape the needles off it with the little file on a fingernail clipper, cursing as he did. Was he trying to get water from it, or planning on eating it?

Lyda thought of her parents. Where was Mom? She couldn't remember anything after she saw Dad being flung and crushed against the wall and that blue light engulfed her. Was Mom here? Or dead, like Dad? She was sure Dad was dead; she had seen how his throat was torn open by the broken studs in the wall. But she didn't know about Mom, nor did she know anyone to ask. She began walking slowly, looking around, trying to define her situation and trying not to cry. The ground of the desert was hot and gritty under her bare feet, not at all like she had imagined a desert would be. She thought she remembered slipping into her flip flops when she shrugged into her jacket, but if she had, they were lost now. Tiny stones gouged at the soles of her feet, bringing numerous little hurts. There didn't seem to be much of a landscape to see, other than the gritty dirt that passed as sand, larger rocks and even larger outcroppings of stone that rose from the desert floor like old shelters, petrified by time. Occasionally she passed tufts of greenish brown grass of some sort and more cacti, some very large and growing in clusters like flattened houses in a village. There were a few large bushes with spindly limbs and thin leaves but no trees anywhere.

And people. There were people as far as she could see, standing, sitting, lying on the ground. She thought some of them must be dead simply by the way they lay unmoving with limbs twisted under them or flung out in unnatural positions. There were other children among them, some being held by adults; others were free to move about under the watchful eyes of their guardians, but there were many who looked to be as lost and vulnerable as herself. The people were dressed in everything from suits to borrowed shirts tied around the waist by some who must have been caught naked. Lyda was glad she had her clothes on. She spotted several men and women who wore no garments at all. They looked entirely different than the nude bodies she had seen in the material passed around by the kids at school, as if someone had hosed them down and washed part of their color away. She wondered why that was.

At first Lyda wasn't really fearful; she was sorrowful about Dad and worried about Mom but beyond that, she was curious. How did she get here without remembering? How long had it taken? What was going to happen next? Was there water and food to be found? Why were the awful spider things bringing their captives here to this desolate waste? In the distance she saw one of the giant transport craft descend and land as silently as clouds bumping together. She wondered how it was powered. It couldn't be a rocket, could it? There was no noise. As she walked, some men or women glanced at her but most ignored her as if they had too many problems of their own to care about an eleven year old girl walking around by herself.

When Lyda grew thirsty, she decided to ask someone about water. She picked a gray haired woman who resembled grandma, though she wasn't dressed as nicely as grandma always was.

"Ma'am, do you know where I can find some water?" Lyda asked the old woman politely.

"Girl, you need a protector to get water around here. Where's your folks?"

"I.I don't know," Lyda told her. She didn't want to tell anyone that Dad was almost certainly dead and that Mom.well, she had been trying to protect her, too.

"Then you better find someone quick, lest you.ah shit, leave me alone." The woman covered her face with her hands and began sobbing.

Lyda went closer, wanting to comfort the old woman but she was shrugged off, then pushed forcefully away when she tried again. Puzzled, Lyda left her alone and began wandering again. What was a protector? Well, probably someone like a parent, she thought. But how do you find one?

One found her, one who had watched and listened, a tall grungy man in his forties with a two day beard and a gleam of desperation in his eyes. He was wearing the remnants of a suit and had a sweat-stained tee shirt wound around and over his scalp to protect his bald head from the sun.

"Hey girl!"

Lyda turned toward the voice. Before she could back away, she found herself being gripped by the upper arm.

"I can get you some water, girl. What's your name?"

Lyda didn't answer. She didn't like his looks. She glanced around, looking for help. The few nearby adults turned away. One man started toward them but stopped when he saw the grungy man show a large pocket knife with the blade open. He turned away.

"Come on girl. We'll both get some water."

"I don't want to go with you," Lyda said, trying to wrench her arm away. That only made the man grip her tighter.

"What's your name, girl?" He repeated, squeezing her arm so hard it was painful.

"Lyda," she said reluctantly.

"Okay, Lyda. I'm Boris. Come on, let's go get some water. Maybe some food, too." He began walking, pulling her along by her arm. His long legged stride forced her into a half walk, half run in order to keep up. His breath was heavy and gasping, with a wheeze to it like his throat was dry, the same as the gritty desert sand. He led her for a half mile through and around small groups of people and halted beside a large outcropping of rock that provided shade for a scruffy looking gang of men and women.

A big dark haired man stepped forward, holding a sharp pointed rock in his fist. He also wore a two day beard, perhaps three days. "What we got here?" he asked. His question was asked in a pleasant tone of voice that contrasted with his feral appearance. He reminded Lyda of Wolverines she had read about, only bigger.

"Something to trade," Boris said deferentially to the big man. Now he was holding Lyda by both arms, forcing her to stand in front of him.

Lyda began to grasp what was going on now. There was a pile of supplies being guarded by this group. Every one of the men held either a rock or a pocket knife in their hand. Several of the women had armed themselves, too. She could see what looked like red bricks stacked in piles beside open containers of water that came in tubs made of some gray material. While she stood there a woman, closely accompanied by a man wearing jeans and windbreaker and holding a rock in his hand, leaned over one of the tubs and cupped water in the palms of her hands and lifted it to her mouth. She did this several times, then stood up. Her companion grinned at her like she was a prize he had just won from the coin toss at a county fair. He reached out with his free hand and squeezed one of her breasts. The woman winced but stood stoically. Then he led her around the stone outcropping, his hand already sliding down under the waistband of her slacks.

"She's too young," the big man said, still speaking pleasantly, looking at her, not the couple who had just left. Lyda detected an undertone to his voice, like the trill of a clear mountain stream that held poisonous algae beneath its surface.

"She's a virgin, Big Bill. Never been had. Ought to be worth something."

Lyda made a violent effort to wrench herself out of Boris' grip. She got one arm free but not the other, and before she could use her loose arm to try to claw or strike her captor, he had his forearm under her chin, pressing up so hard that she couldn't breathe.

The man named Big Bill laughed. "She's a feisty one. All right. One brick and all the water you can drink. Then go."

"But.Big Bill."

"That's all. I could just take her."

Boris relented. He shoved Lyda forward into the arms of Big Bill and scurried for the water tubs. He drank hugely, got tossed one of the red bricks and was told to leave. He was munching on it as he walked away, not looking back.

The red bricks are food, Lyda thought. So strange looking that they might be from the aliens. Like the water tubs. But the food and water both should be rationed. This isn't fair. Her mind swirled with conflicting desires; for water, for getting out of the grasp of this man's arms, for a sudden need to find someplace private to relieve herself. And what Boris had said about her being a virgin-did that mean.

"Come along," Big Bill said. "May as well get you broke in. There's one in the Rocky Mount gang as likes 'em young. But me first. Ain't never tried one as young as you before."

Lyda couldn't avoid his meaning now. As he began pulling her toward the back of the rock where the other couple had gone, she reached around and bit down on one of his fingers that were clasping her upper arm and tried to yank herself free.

"Goddamn!" Big Bill shouted, but he kept his hold on her.

Retaliation was swift. The hand Lyda had bitten grabbed her by the front of her jacket. His other hand swung violently against her head with bruising force, even though he hadn't made a fist. For a moment Lyda felt only a dizzy numbness, then the pain hit, like three dentists at once pushing needles into her jaw. She felt the lip and cheek on one side of her head begin to swell. She licked at the salty blood that began oozing from her mouth and felt tears coursing down her cheeks.

Big Bill shook her like a dachshund shaking a gopher he had just dug from the ground. "You do that again and I'll beat you so bad nobody will pay you water, or food either. Hear?"

Pay? What pay? Lyda's mind swung from thoughts of water to the throbbing in her jaw to a sudden urgent need to urinate.

"You hear?" Big Bill repeated.

Lyda nodded, unable to speak. She wouldn't bite again. I'll wait, she thought frantically as Big Bill nodded and began dragging her along by one arm while sucking on the finger she had bitten. I'll wait, then I'll hit him with a rock.



Places to find my books

Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.


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