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Savage Survival

 

Darrell Bain's Monthly Blog - May 2011

The contents of this Blog may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source www.darrellbain.com is noted and included.

Bainstorming: Darrell's Bain's Monthly Blog.
Copyright © May 2011, By Darrell Bain
http://www.darrellbain.com

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

Subjects this month: Correction, Doggie Biscuit!, Females stronger than males sometimes, Bad Coffee, Good Coffee, My Reading Material, Apertures, Drugs from Europe, Helping Mexico: Arm their citizens, Concealed gun permit, Gun safety, Why I like Science Fiction, Small Print, Book Reviews, Closets, Bain Question, Chiggers, Dental problems, Progress Report, Early Mother’s Day, Racial Labeling, Excerpt from Space For Sale

Correction!

I think I stated that Betty’s book, Articles, Muses and Favorite Diet-breaking Dessert Recipes, is available at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. It is, but only as Kindle or Nook ebook. The print edition is available at Lulu.com at the following url:
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/articles-muses-and-favorite-diet-breaking-dessert-recipes/885246
Sorry for the mistake!

Doggie Biscuit!

Five out of five five-star reiews! Laughed and Laughed UNTIL we cried, September 15, 2007
By
Lynn M. Weber - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This review is from: Doggie Biscuit! (Paperback) This book gave us more then we ever thought. The author brings true to life the real colors of having a doxie in your world. I originally got this book for myself to read. I ended up reading aloud virtually the entire story to my husband. Whether you have a doxie, much less a dog in your world, the story of Biscuit is hilarious, and to ones amazement daily life with a "wiener dog".
Even more wonderful is I have since read this book to our 3 nephews who laughed so hard THEY even had tears coming down. This book comes soo highly suggested, it would be a shame to go through life and to never have heard the story of "Doggie Biscuit"
Thank you Darrell Bain

All five reviews of Doggie Biscuit! read about the same. Available in print or ebook. Makes a great gift for anyone, young or old!

Females stronger than males in some instances?

It is generally assumed that males are stronger than females except for extremes at either end of the curve. That’s not always true, depending on what muscular groups have been developed. An example. As Betty got older I began helping her to stir stuff like her creamy pralines (see Betty Bain’s dessert cookbook in the Correction segment, above). I discovered that she had been using certain muscles to stir concoctions for so long that I got tired stirring much more quickly than she does! That was a revelation, although I guess it shouldn’t have been.

Bad Coffee

The coffee I buy, no matter what brand is so inconsistent in roasting, freshness and taste I finally wrote Folgers and told them there was something wrong with their quality control and I was tired of paying almost five bucks for a can of coffee and finally throwing most of it away because it is undrinkable. They did write back and promise to investigate, although the coffee still isn‘t any better. At least I got an answer. I believe more customers should write the CEOs and Customer Service Departments when dissatisfied. I know I am not the only one who is tired of the abominable customer service, Dell is a good example, where computer customer service is outsourced to countries where you spend more time asking the representative to repeat and speak slowly than getting anything done, if it is. I find them to be poorly trained and working from a tree-solving diagram and unable to think outside the box or do anything not in the repair tree. That’s when you manage to get the right department to begin with, which isn’t an easy task.

Good Coffee

Soon after writing the above I happened upon an article on coffee from an expert. He said that the best coffee you can find in super-markets is Dunkin Donuts and Eight O’clock. I tried Dunkin Donut coffee first because surprisingly, it was available at our small local Supermarket. The expert was right. It is very good. He also said the best coffee is from a percolator, not a drip coffeepot and that a good one to buy is Presto electric percolator. I ordered one. Right again! Now Dunkin Donut coffee is even better! As soon as we make a trip to Wal-Mart I’ll try Eight O’Clock brand and see how it tastes. If it’s anywhere close to as good as Dunkin Donut the man deserves a medal! In fact, as far as I’m concerned, he deserves one now! Oh yes, the Dunkin Donut coffee does cost quite a bit more but not much when I consider how much Folger’s and other brands I was throwing away because it was undrinkable.

My reading material

I read a daily metropolitan newspaper, weekly Newsweek and Time magazine, weekly New Science magazine, monthly Discover magazine, weekly AARP bulletin, our Electric CO-OP magazine  and explore interesting subjects I see on the internet or in digests of groups I belong to, writing groups and one in particular, Clifford Pickover’s Reality Circus, a yahoo group of very intelligent people (mostly) that is sometimes above my intellectual level but always interesting. And then of course I have fan mail and correspondence to answer. It doesn’t leave me much time to write fiction or work on Bainstorming what with my back problems keeping me from the computer a lot but I’m trying to do better. That damn infected tooth and consequent root canal that didn’t turn out well and kept me incapacitated another ten days put me way, way behind the past month.

Apertures

Apertures is now available in print and ebook at Amazon. First two reviews are both five star! Apertures deals with alternate earths and resisting an invasion from another alternity. Lots of action and romance. The first book of a prospective trilogy but can be read as a stand alone novel, as can the second when I have it ready. The second book, Apertures: Allies and Enemies is about halfway done now.

Why not drugs from Europe?

I can’t see any reason not to allow importation of drugs from Europe from manufacturers that have been approved for use in Europe. If the FDA is really concerned about the safety of imported drugs, simply don’t allow imports of any drugs except those being used from manufacturers who are providing the European Health Care system with theirs. That should satisfy anyone but unfortunately, I’m afraid our drug companies have their hooks too deep into our congress critters for then to allow it to happen.

Helping Mexico: Arm their citizens

Mexico is to me a perfect example of what can happen in a country that totally bans its citizens from carrying arms. Anyone in Mexico caught carrying as little as one bullet, not even a gun, can and will go to jail. Yet the crooks, drug runners and thugs are taking over the country. Its government is rapidly becoming corrupted by drug money, drug gangs and thugs and kidnappers and robbers and killer to the extent that it is going to be a totally dysfunctional, failed state in the not too distant future if something isn‘t done. I don’t say allowing its citizens to carry arms would solve all those problems but it would certainly help if its citizens were allowed to fight back! Right now they are completely helpless. Of course it would also help if we changed our drug laws, and help our country in the process as well, but I don’t expect that kind of courage from our politicians any time in the near future.

Concealed gun permit
           
I just received my out of state Concealed Weapon carry permit. I had to get it from another state with a reciprocal carry permit law with Texas because my back prevents me from sitting thorough a whole day of instruction, which I don‘t need anyway. Virginia is a reciprocal state and allows my military service to serve in lieu of the training course. I feel much safer now when I go out for walks on our lonely country road or when I escort Betty to town or elsewhere. The druggies and addict thieves stealing to support their habit are moving north out of Houston toward us and Pot farms and Meth labs are already in our rural county, with many more being discovered all the time. Arrests are made frequently for possession and possession with intent to sell drugs. And at the last census we had less than 30,000 people in the county. I expect it to get worse before it gets better, if it ever does. I may still get mugged or our home may still be broken into and we might get robbed while out shopping but I don’t intend to make it easy for the thugs and crooks.

Gun safety

In case anyone is interested, I believe 95% of gun “accidents” are caused directly by the gun owner not practicing gun safety or safe gun ownership. It is stupid, irresponsible carelessness on the part of gun owners who are careless with where they leave their guns and where they point them. Guns should always be treated as if they are loaded and they should never be pointed at another person unless you actually intend to shoot them, such as an intruder in your home, and even then you should be damn sure that’s what it is.

When I first began carrying my gun, after my first walk I made a huge error. I carry the gun in my back pocket because it fits easily there when it is too warm to wear a jacket. Even when it is cool, I found the jacket drug at me too much while I walked and I found it fit perfectly into my jeans back pocket. My first day back I stopped to change from my walking shoes to sandals. I took my gun out of my back pocket to sit down while doing so and laid it on the couch two feet away--and promptly forgot that I had. I discovered it an hour later and was horrified that me, someone who thought he knew everything to know about gun safety had made such an enormous error. It doesn’t sound like much but what if one of the great grandkids had come by while it was laying there? I can think of all kinds of bad outcomes. It sure taught me a lesson. Now I go directly to where I keep the gun hidden, a spot not easy to find or see it but still handy to get to at night. And out of reach of kids. I know a lot of gun owners would have passed such an error off and not tried to correct it. Not me! It scared hell out of me. Please, if you carry a gun, watch yourself closely! When you arrive back home go directly to where you keep the gun at home and put it away Then, not later. And follow all the other rules, too. They are for your own good and the good of others. Don’t forget!!!!!

Why I like science fiction

Why I like SF is because there is so much scope for exploring what might be in the future: political, sociological, military or other subjects, and in a form that‘s interesting to readers. Now here’s what I think were instances where my original ideas were borrowed by other writers. Not that I mind. I take it as a compliment, and we all borrow from each other. A compliment or possibly just great minds. Alien kids were the culprits in Under the Dome by Stephen King. I used alien kids as the parties responsible for the Sex Gates in the original novel, which is now available in both print and ebook editions. Years later it appeared in Stephen King’s book. I used the idea of multiple geographic areas thrown back in time to same past era instead of just one in Circles of Displacement. I also used convicts thrown back in time causing problems in the same book. These ideas popped up recently in a book by Eric Flint and Marilyn Kosmotka, with the slight difference that his geographic areas were from different time periods all going to the same era back in time.  As I said, if they read my books and used my ideas, I certainly don’t mind because I’ve done the same myself. Probably they haven’t read my books though, unless they’re fans of ebooks where my name is much better known than in my print books. Robert Heinlein used 50-50 odds of going either to the future or to the past in his book The Door into Summer. I took the idea and applied it to spaceships of the future in Crazy Ships, where there is a 50-50 chance of a ship going to the correct destination or to a place unknown where they never come back, and used convicted felons to man the ships since each trip had only a 50% chance of success.

Small Print

What is wrong with book and magazine publishers? It is older people who read Newsweek Magazine and the publishers have to know this. It isn’t as good as it used to be but still worthwhile for the price--but then with this issue they made the print so damn small I got eyestrain trying to read it. If they don’t change back to print I can read, I won’t renew.

Yesterday I was trying to read the instructions for a smoke detector. The print was so fine that I could absolutely not make it out and I’m wearing brand new prescription reading glasses! I could cite many more examples, particularly the directions on bottles of drugstore medicine but I think that’s enough on this subject for readers to get the point. Saving paper is fine but not at the expense of losing customers who can no longer read the fine print. Hell, I’ll bet my brother couldn’t have made out the print for the smoke detector in his youth when he had 20/10 vision!

Book Reviews

I read two more books by James Grippando, both legal thrillers. The guy is a most excellent writer and comes up with the damnedest plots you’ve ever heard about! Hear No Evil is about a military wife who is accused of murdering her husband. She claims it is a cover up. Jack Swytek would ordinarily never get into military affairs but it turns out that she is the adopted mother of a son he’s never seen so he takes the case.  Last To Die  is about a woman who hires someone to kill her after she gets a 46 million dollar settlement from her ex-husband. The catch here is that in her will she leaves it to one of six people who have ticked her off badly during her life. The one who will inherit will be either the last to die or the last who doesn’t renounce the inheritance for fear of losing their life because the six begin dying one by one.

Fighter Pilot by Robin Olds is a truly remarkable biography of a fighter pilot in WWII and Vietnam who rose to Brigadier General but finally resigned in frustration at the way the war in Vietnam was run by our politicians. He pinned the tail on so many donkeys in the Air Force that it is a wonder he survived their wrath and made general anyway. He was a true maverick. In fact, he got into the Vietnam War by deliberately pissing his commander off badly enough to take away his first chance at general and get him sent to the war, exactly as he planned it. His tales of inspection of SAC units makes me shudder and be glad we never had to use the Strategic Air Command in total war. It might not have gone the way we thought. I shed tears at the acknowledgements to begin the book and shed more tears at the truly beautiful ending. This book is a salute to all true fighter pilots. May we always have some men of his caliber around in time of war. Oh, yes, Betty read it after I did and she could no more put it down than I could. Now my son-in-law, Rob, has borrowed it and he seldom reads books at all!

For some reason, as much science fiction as I read I missed Twistor by John Cramer. It is a bit dated and contains a lot of hard science and hard science speculation but you can skim over those parts and still enjoy the story. It involves an alternate world, the protagonist and two children marooned on an alternate world while on earth a giant corporation is attempting to steal the method used to transfer and receive objects from the alternate world, including people. It follows both story lines as the protagonist attempts to construct a way to either get back or send messages to friends while trying to survive savage beasts and strange fauna and flora, including giant trees, and protect the children. Oh yes, there’s some romance involved as well, in fact everything that’s needed to produce a very good book, including excellent story telling ability by Cramer. I ordered his other book before I was halfway through the first one, if that tells you how good it is!!!

John Cramer’s other book is Einstein’s Bridge. It is also a hard science fiction novel so be warned. It is a very good story but contains a lot of science and science speculation. It involves contact with another universe and alternate earths.

The Ring of Fire series continues with Eric Flint writing 1636: The Saxon Uprising. I was glad to see Eric Flint back writing one of the books by himself and advancing the story further into the new future produced by the Ring of Fire. There is lots of Drama in the new book and some fighting. It keeps you interested all the way through by picking up with some of the original characters and what they are doing. More, more!

The Haploids by Jerry Sohl was written in the early 1950s but is still a very readable book. It isn’t in print so you’ll have to buy a used copy if you can’t find it in any of the ebooks stores. It’s worth it. The novel is about Haploid females attempting to take over the dearth by killing all the men. It also has a nice little romance with some puzzles in it that make the story doubly interesting.

Also this month I read another biography, Lemay by Warren Kozak. It covers the life of General Curtis Lemay from start to finish. Lemay has an undeserved reputation as a nutcase and bomb-crazy. He wasn’t a nut case and he wasn’t bomb-crazy. This is not just the opinion of the author of his biography but from people who knew and worked for him or with him, and from his family. I had to change my opinion of the man. Read this biography. I promise, it is very well written and extremely interesting even if you are a young person and didn’t know about him. Highly recommended!

And finally this month I read an interesting non-fiction by Pat Brown, The Profiler. It is the story of a woman of forty beginning a self taught career as a profiler of horrendous murders. The way she got started is interesting and her take on some unsolved or unprosecuted killings is mesmerizing. It is also an indictment of the way our justice system works or doesn’t work at times, I should say. A book well worth reading.

Then, a few days before Bainstorming was ready to be sent to my web page manager my copies of Space For Sale, the last book I wrote in the Williard Brothers (Medics Wild) series arrived. It can be read as a stand-alone novel as well! It had been so long since I wrote it that I read it again. I got my usual laughs from the zany, politically incorrect brothers who have at last hit it rich and are now bored and looking for something to do with their billions. What else would interest them but building and flying an advanced spaceship? But…perhaps the aliens hinted at in Bigfoot Crazy are still around and don’t like the idea? The one remaining book in the series that does not have a print edition, only available as an e-book, is Three For The Money. It will be out in a few weeks in print edition and tells how the brothers come the closest yet to dying while acting like lunatics but get rich in the process. They get something even more valuable but I’ll let you read the book to find out what. Heh heh.

Closets

Help! Our closets are shrinking our clothes. Does this ever happen to anyone else? What can we do to those stupid closet that keeps shrinking our apparel? Does anyone know? We’re both going to have to buy new wardrobes before long if our closets don’t learn to behave themselves!

Bain Question

Why do 95% of the fashion models you see in newspaper fashion sections look like they’re mad at the world? Do they know how to smile? Even a little would help. Or is there a reason they’re not allowed to look pleasant?

Chiggers

Pets are apparently immune to chiggers, sometimes called redbugs. I really wish some research scientists would discover why so we could maybe use it ourselves. Chiggers are barely visible little insects that get into tight places under your clothes and if you get very many they can make you purely miserable with the itching that nothing seems to cure except time. Alcohol applied to them alleviates the itching somewhat for a little while.

Once we had a visitor from Arizona who went berry picking with Betty and didn’t apply any OFF, an insect repellent. She lived in a city south of Houston and rarely got out in the open. By the next day when she was home she was covered with chigger bites and had no idea what was happening to her. All she knew was that she had broken out in a million red welts that itched like mad and were driving her crazy. She went to see a local doctor, thinking that she had come down with some awful disease and might be going to die! When he diagnosed Chiggers, she thought he was talking about a disease! When he explained she was only marginally relieved because she was still going mad with the itching. He gave her several remedies to try like oatmeal soaks, Vaseline rubs, alcohol application but told her frankly that time was the only real solution. Of course she lived through it but you can be sure she never stepped outside our house the next time she visited us!

Dental Problems

First it was a badly infected tooth just when I was renewing a prescription for Oxycontin I use when my back gets real bad. It had been back ordered for ten days and came in just in time. The infected tooth was really hurting and the first antibiotic didn’t touch it. I had to start another round of antibiotics that took ten days to get the infection down to where it was no longer hurting and I could have a root canal. I did, and be damned, the whole side of my face swelled up and hurt like hell for another week. In the meantime, Betty had a couple of teeth go bad just when she was getting over a case of TMJ pain which can be very painful to the jaw and side of the face. One tooth had to be pulled and the other had a giant crown to replace a hidden cavity. She wasn’t feeling very good either. Finally just a week or so ago we had what I hope was our final appointments, me because the root canal filling was falling out and Betty for her crown that replaced the temporary filling. Several thousand dollars later we are again eating normally.

The only good thing I can think of is that the Root Canal specialist told me that my name sounded familiar for some reason. It turned out that his son was a fan of my books. Dr. Fox said that he’d also written a book but it hadn’t sold many copies. I looked it up and found it to be an interesting take on the adventure of Heaven. I’m not a believer in organized religion but I bought a copy of his book for my stepdaughter who is a devout Christian because the description sounded like a new take on the idea of heaven and because it also had received a couple of good reviews. She hasn’t had time to read it yet what with the TAKS tests in progress at the school where she teaches and Easter coming up.

Progress report

I am up to about 50,000 words on the second Apertures book despite the tooth problems and regular back problems. The back pain has lessened somewhat now that it’s getting warmer and I can walk in the mornings. I was too sedentary during the winter and I know it. As soon as this book is ready for the editor I intend to begin and hopefully complete the Political Commentary book. It is more than 20,000 words along, despite being written on in bits and pieces. After that I was thinking of expanding on Savage Survival but several events have happened that might preclude that project for the time being. And I still need to write the final (maybe) book of the Medics Wild (Williard Brothers) series. Oh well, maybe I’ll live a long time yet.

Early Mother’s Day

First I wasn’t watching and ordered Betty’s Valentine’s Day Roses early. Now her mother’s Day orchid came a month early. Damnit, I have to start looking at those little calendars more closely! Well, at least I still have a card to give her. I always buy the cards early so I won’t forget. And I must say, the orchid was beautiful, even if it did arrive a month early! And the blooms might yet make it to Mother’s Day.

Racial labeling

I believe I may have mentioned this before but after that hoorah over the interview concerning The Melanin Apocalypse I thought it might be worth talking about again.
Why is a person categorized as Black when their ancestry might be only an eighth or less Black and the rest Caucasian? Of course you know the answer. It grew out of the slavery era when even a trace of black “blood” was grounds for being considered Black. I believe our government has perpetuated the practice in our census by requiring a person to list their race on census forms. I think this year people were allowed to mark a box “Mixed Race” for the first time. Even so, there are many other places that want to know about your race when I don’t think it is anyone else’s business, and especially not our government. Supposedly it is done to properly allocate funds to minority groups and to assure equal representation in congress. Personally I think the whole idea is wrong. We should all be treated alike regardless of race and I don’t think there should be any such thing as racial labeling. It contributes to racial divisions and separation by race in my opinion. We have non-discrimination laws I favor and I believe they should be enforced but that is all.

Excerpt From Space For Sale

        Space for Sale is my fifth book in the saga of the Williard Brothers which began with Medics Wild and was about their adventures during the Vietnam war. Every books since then has found them a little older, but still the same zany, politically incorrect trio, bored with civilian life and always taking off on adventures which they hope will make them rich but always failing for one reason or another. Space for Sale is their greatest so far, but there’s still one book to go. I’ll get to it, promise. The Excerpt:

 

Chapter One


            “I always thought billionaires spent their time having fun,” James Williard said to Terry from the comfort of his two thousand dollar easy chair. He had plopped himself down in it immediately after returning from his office. He and Terry had bought in a very exclusive development northwest of Dallas, soon after the legal problems of old Don Falino’s estate had been cleared up. Jason Williard’s girl friend, Brandy Lindski, had helped immensely in the proceedings. She was even wealthier than they were after inheriting her former boss’ vast financial empire, along with the power and influence it entailed.
            “Which just goes to show we’ve never been rich,” Terry replied, coming into the den after hearing Williard arrive. 
Williard eyed his newly youthful girl friend, with her fine slender figure, fairly exposed by a pair of shorts and a blouse with nothing beneath it. “Come give your lover-boy a smooch,” he said, holding out his arms.
            Terry Very came to him. She sat down on one of the chair’s wide arms and began massaging Williard’s neck after giving him an appropriate greeting. “Poor Baby. He had to spend two whole hours at the office. I feel so sorry for him.”
            Williard glanced up at Terry’s pretty face framed by auburn colored hair tumbling in waves to her shoulders. A sprinkling of freckles crossed her nose. Williard thought they were attractive; Terry didn’t.
            “Here I’ve been slaving over a hot secretary for hours and I come home and get no sympathy. It ain’t fair.”
            “What did you say you’ve been slaving over, big boy?”
            Williard blinked. “Oh. Did I say secretary? I meant desk.”
            “I’ll bet. I’ve seen that pneumatic blond airhead you hired. Are they real?”
            Williard gave her one of his lazy, cynical, little-boy grins, the kind that had first attracted her to him, right after the war. “I don’t know yet, but I’ll go back and check for you if you’re so curious it can’t wait til tomorrow.”
            Terry relented. “I’d rather you checked mine.”
            “Make us a drink and we’ll do just that, sweet thing.”
            Terry slid off the chair arm, still amazed at how young she looked and felt after taking the long life drug that old Don Falino had developed, but died trying to use. She felt a shiver go through her body every time she remembered how close she and Williard and his two brothers had come to getting killed during those frantic weeks of searching for the key to the billions old Falino had left the Williards in his will, not even counting the long life drug. The brothers and she, with only a little other help, had fought a running battle with the Mafia, government goons, the Mexican Army and the minions of the shadowy Mister H and his beautiful assistant for the money. What they hadn’t known at the time was that Falino had developed a life extending drug, then had the scientists killed through a posthumous order when he died after trying it. He had been too old for it to work on him.
            Terry poured Williard’s standard rum and coke and made one for herself. She paused for a moment to admire her image in the reflection of the big mirror behind the bar. The wrinkles and crows feet around her eyes had almost disappeared. Her skin and muscle tone had tightened and her breasts stood out proudly from her chest once again—not that they had been that bad beforehand, she reflected, not for a woman in her fifties. But now she could easily pass for thirty—and felt it.
            Williard watched Terry as she returned from the bar with their drinks. Despite having money to burn now, she still favored old soft jeans or shorts and casual blouses, but she seldom wore a bra like she had before. She no longer needed one for anything she had to do around the house. He plucked the glass from her outstretched hand then tugged at her arm, inducing her to share the big chair with him by sitting in his lap. He took a big gulp from the glass, wiped his mustache and breathed a long sigh of contentment. Nothing satisfied like a good jolt of rum after a hard day’s work correcting his secretary’s tendency toward formality, which he hated, and her spelling, which she couldn’t get right even with the spell checker. Well, almost nothing was as satisfying, he thought, as he turned his head. With Terry sitting in his lap, her breasts were just about at eye level.
            “You know, babe, having a butler is okay I guess, but I still like having you bring the drinks.”
            Terry sipped from his glass then set it in the slot on the arm of the easy chair. “I have to do something with my time, Jim. Even flying my new plane gets kind of old when that’s all you have to do.”
            “That’s not all,” Williard responded, wriggling his eyebrows.
            “Sometimes I think that’s all you and your brothers have on your minds, such as they are.”
            “We’re smart enough to be sitting here alive while a whole hell of a lot of guys that got in our way are pushing up daisies,” Williard reminded her.
            “I know. The dinosaur and Bigfoot were bad enough, but I hope you don’t try tackling the Mexican army again for a while. They’re still not very fond of us.”
            “Neither is the government, but fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke. We’ve got so much money now they can’t touch us. It’s still hard to believe, isn’t it?”
            Terry gazed fondly at Williard. He looked not much different now than he had after coming home from Vietnam in the early seventies, with that lazy, infectious grin and his dark hair and mustache. Most of his gray hair and wrinkles were gone, though not completely. The life extending drug worked better the younger a person was. He was the oldest of the brothers when he took a chance on it, the same chance that killed the elderly old Don and consigned the scientists who developed it to death for the failure.
            “We’ve got the money now, that’s for sure,” Terry said. “But what are we going to do with the rest of our lives? There’s no telling how long we may live now.”
            “Well, as much fun as it is, I can’t see spending the rest of my life patting secretaries on the fanny. Why don’t we take a trip, get away for a while?”
            “Where to?”
            “Let’s go see Jason. He’s the wild man of the family. He’ll think of something.”
            Terry felt the old familiar surge of adrenalin that always appeared when Williard began talking about doing something different. He and his brothers never thought small, even back before the old Don died and left them as heirs to the billions he had stashed away during a lifetime of running the New York Mafia. “Jason will think of something all right. Or maybe Brandy has settled him down some.”
            “Brandy? Not a chance. She’s so in love with him she’ll do whatever he says.”
            “Maybe she’ll want to stay home and tend to her money. She has more than the three of us put together after she shot her boss,” Terry said. “And it’s a damn good thing, or he would have shot us.”
            “Ah, we woulda thought of something, sweetie. Just because he had the drop on us didn’t mean we were done for.”
            Terry had to sort of halfway believe Williard. He and his brothers were absolutely fearless and somehow always managed to escape disaster, though she didn’t like to think of how narrow the margin had been on a few occasions. “Well anyway, that’s a good idea. Why don’t you call and see what they’re doing? If nothing else, they’ll know if Jerry and Maria are back from the Bahamas. If they are, we’ll have a party.”
            “Okay, babe. Later, though.” Williard emptied his glass. He set it back down and began fumbling with the buttons of Terry’s blouse. They came undone easily. He pushed the fabric aside and closed his hand over her breast. Terry leaned down to kiss him. Just as their lips met, their butler entered the open doorway of the den, propelled by Jason Williard, who had a tight hold on the butler’s arm and was twisting it up behind his back.
            “Mister Williard, I couldn’t stop them!” The butler wailed, almost in tears at Jason’s failure to follow proper upper crust protocol. “When I said I would see if you were available, this…this brother of yours grabbed me!”
            “Does this thing belong to you?” Jason asked, using enough upward pressure so that his captive yelped and stood on his toes. The question was rhetorical. They had met before.
            “Hi brother. Yeah, he’s ours, I reckon. Seems like he’d learn after a while. Go throw him in the pool while I make us a drink.”
            Jason departed with the butler while Terry tried to stifle a laugh. The poor man got thrown into the swimming pool regularly, either by Williard or his brothers when they were visiting.
            Williard spotted Brandy, his brother’s girl friend, the very rich one. She had been right behind his brother.
            “Hi Brandy, honey. Come hug your prospective brother-in-law while Jason is tending to business,” Williard said, getting up from his easy chair.
            “Hah! Prospective brother-in-law. That’ll be the day,” Terry exclaimed while Williard embraced his brother’s beautiful brunette companion. Terry and Williard had been together since the seventies and hadn’t gotten married yet, and so far as she knew, Jason and Brandy had no wedding plans.
            “Hey, don’t say ‘hah’ like that. I’ve been known to get married before.”
            “Poor girl couldn’t stand it when he volunteered to go back to ‘Nam after the first tour,” Jason said as he came back into the room. He looked almost like his older brother. He was dark haired, had a mustache and wore jeans, boots and a western shirt made of the finest silk. He also wore a jean jacket where he carried his pistol, like all of them did when they left their homes. “Hey, where’s that drink?”
            “Sorry, I was so busy smooching Brandy I forgot about it. Have a seat and I’ll get you one.”
            “Hell, I can still pour rum by myself,” Jason said, grinning. He followed his brother over to the bar while Terry buttoned her blouse and she and Brandy got reacquainted.
             “So what’s happening, brother?” Williard asked as he filled their glasses with rum and trickled some coke over it.
            “Let’s go sit down and I’ll tell you.”
            Williard glanced back to see if the women wanted refreshments, but they had already gone off to another part of the mansion on some mission of their own. The spacious den was equipped with three more of the huge easy chairs, all of them with room enough to sit two, if the two were good friends. If not, there were also a couple of couches large enough to play games on.
            Jason took the chair next to Williard’s and tilted his glass. He emptied a third of it before setting it back down. He took a deep appreciative breath. “Nice to be able to inhale this stuff again like we did when we were young, huh?”
            Williard, on his second stiff drink, imbibed a little less enthusiastically but still did drastic damage to the contents of his potion. He fired up a cigarette. “These, too,” he said, blowing out smoke. He looked around to make sure they were still alone. “You know, I’ve still got that last vial of the life extending stuff we took. Most of it anyway; I bought a lab for an old buddy who got a doctorate in biochemistry after the war. He’s trying to analyze it for us to see whether or not it can be duplicated.”
            “I’ll worry about it when I get old again,” Jason said. “Right now I’m trying to figure out how to keep Brandy from turning me into a yuppie businessman. Hell, she wants me to go in with her every day and play with money. Crap, I’d rather spend it.”
            “Same here, although I usually wind up playing with my secretary when I go to the office,” Williard said after looking over his shoulder to be certain Terry wasn’t near. “Heck, none of us ever came home with money before and Terry wants to make sure we keep it. I keep telling her we can’t even spend the interest on a billion bucks fast enough to keep it from making more money automatically.”
            “I’ve figured out a way to spend it,” Jason said, then added, “Your share’s more than a billion, by the way.”
            Williard waved his hand negligently. “Who counts after the first one? Anyway, if you’ve figured out a way to spend that much money, it oughta be fun.”
            “Maybe not at first. We’ll have to have a pilot and co-pilot go into training.”
            Williard wrinkled his brow. “What are you planning on flying? A jumbo jet? Besides, you and Terry always take care of the flying duties. You’ve done pretty damn good so far.”
            “Yeah, but neither of us have ever flown a space ship.”
            “I heard that,” Terry said as she and Brandy came back into the room. She was carrying a bottle of expensive Zinfadel that was shedding beads of cold moisture.
            “So did I,” Brandy said. She sat down on the arm of Jason’s chair while Terry opened the wine. “Hey, do people around here usually go swimming in butler’s regalia, or was I seeing things?”
            “That’s Jeeves,” Williard informed her. “Terry wanted a butler, but he’s hard to break in. When he fucks up, I throw him in the swimming pool.”
            “His name isn’t Jeeves, it’s Thomas,” Terry corrected.
            “For what we pay him, his name is whatever the hell I want to call him,” Williard said. “By the way, what are we paying him?”
            “Not nearly as much as he deserves for putting up with you,” Terry said. “He gets frustrated at not being able to please you.”
            “Well, fire him and hire a female butler. No, let me hire her.”
            “Hah! I can just imagine what kind of butler—butleress?—you’d hire. Just like your secretary.”
            “What’s wrong with my secretary, other than she insists on calling me sir and won’t come into the office when I’m cleaning my gun and can’t spell cat without a dictionary? Besides, she’s a helluva lot better looking than Jeeves.”
            “Never mind, let’s get back to the subject. Jason, did you mention something about a spaceship?”
            “That’s all he’s been talking about lately,” Brandy said, but there was an indulgent tone to her voice. Brandy had been the administrative assistant to the shadowy Mister H when the brothers were searching for the key to their inherited billions. Mister H was revealed to be Harry Harrison after the shooting was over. He had been a wealthy political power wielder around the world and wanted the life extending drug that came along with the key to unlocking the Williard money. He wanted it so badly he had involved Brandy, and in the end went to the final showdown himself. He didn’t know that Brandy had fallen in love with Jason. When he got the drop on the three brothers and was preparing to kill them, Brandy shot first—at him.
            “She says it’ll be too expensive,” Jason complained.
            Williard fingered his mustache. This was getting interesting. “I thought Mister H left his empire to you, Brandy? Does Jason want to spend it, instead of his own money?”
            Brandy shrugged, causing her prominent bust to do interesting things. “I don’t mind spending my money, but he doesn’t know how expensive space travel can get. Besides, you can’t just sit on money or it’ll get away from you. However, Harry was pretty well diversified, both here and abroad. It’s not really the money I’m worried about; it’s the danger.”
            “Oh, I thought it was some serious objection,” Williard said. “Crap, danger’s no problem. You oughta know that.”
            Brandy smiled, remembering her last errand on behalf of Mister H. She was to help the brothers find the key to their inheritance before the feds grabbed it, but money wasn’t what her boss was really after; he wanted the life extending drug the brothers were unknowingly also heir to—seven samples, all that was left after the scientists had been killed and their notes destroyed. She had grown to admire the brothers for the reckless way they charged into trouble, and the even more reckless way they got out of it, dragging her along in their wake while she was trying to protect them from the FBI and CIA mercenaries with bribed Mexican Army troops so they would live to lead Mr. H to the money, and the long life drug.
The government agencies wanted the money since it was proceeds from a lifetime of crime by Falino of the New York Mafia. In the end, Brandy had fallen in love with Jason for the very fact that he could laugh in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. He and his brothers never asked for quarter, nor gave it. In the end, she killed her own boss to save him and his brothers. It was only later that she learned she was the sole heir to the vast financial empire Mister H left behind after she shot him, but she didn’t regret a bit of it.
            Brandy leaned down and kissed Jason on the forehead. “Sweetheart, if you want to fly a spaceship, we’ll buy you one. First you have to find one to buy, though.”
            “Nah,” Jason said. He gulped more rum. “I’ve always wanted to fly something I designed myself.”
            “Oh, Lord,” Terry exclaimed, looking to the heavens. But the brothers laughed at God, too. There would be no help there.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
May 2011

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