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Darrell Bain's Newsletter

October 2007

This newsletter may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source is noted and the copyright notice is included as follows:
Darrell Bain Newsletter
Copyright © October 2007, by Darrell Bain
http://www.darrellbain.com

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 Books, Collector's Item, Just Out, Coffee Stimulates Technology, Book Reviews, Progress Report, Readers: Born or Made, Parents and Civilization, Notes from Musing, Excerpt from The Original Sex Gates Novel

Free Books
If you are not interested in a chance at a free book, then scroll down to the next subject. Otherwise, read on. This month, the free book offer is for The Disappearing Girls a science fiction mystery. Girls and young women are disappearing, but bodies are never found. There's a reason they aren't—a horrible one. To receive a free copy of The Disappearing Girls, you must be one of the first five persons to send me a mail, either from my web site or your address book, with the words THE DISAPPEARING GIRLS in the subject line. That's all there is to it. I do ask that if you are one of the ones to receive a free copy, and you enjoy the book, please tell five other people about it. That's all. Oh, yes. I pay the postage, too, so the first five people who mail me with THE DISAPPEARING GIRLS in the subject line are not out a penny. Thanks for reading and good luck!

Please Note: No overseas unless it is an APO address or you agree to pay the postage (about 8 or 9 dollars).

Collector's Item
Am I being presumptuous in stating that my first hard cover, a Special Limited Edition of Savage Survival, might become a collector's item? Probably, but there will only be 500 copies of this edition of Savage Survival printed. I don't know when the next edition will be out, although there will be one. I remember when I bought a copy of David Brin's first hardcover, a limited edition of Startide Rising by Phantasia Press and spent what was then a lot of money on it. I've never been sorry. The book is worth quite a large sum now, although I wouldn't part with it. Anyway, Savage Survival is now available for order at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com and at book stores, so if you want it, order your copy soon. The actual publication date was September 28, 2007, a few days ago.

Savage Survival

Just for the record, I really loved writing this book, the story of an eleven year old girl who grows to a young woman under horrendous conditions instigated by an invulnerable alien race, and without a parent or guardian to protect her. She suffers terribly, but her unwavering integrity and innate bravery and willingness to face adversity keeps her alive. In the end, her steadfastness in the face of overwhelming odds might pull her through while so many other humans die. But for what purpose? That's one of the things she wants to live to find out. The other is her belief that somewhere she will find love again and a reason to live, regardless of what the aliens have in mind for the few survivors.

A coming of age story I believe to be one of my best. This is my first hard cover novel. Now available at bookstores and on line stores like www.amazon.com.

Just Out
Several new Print Editions of my books are now available.

Books newly available in print at ww.amazon.com and available for order at bookstores: The Original Sex Gates Novel, Mindwar, White Odyssey and also The Pet Plague Trilogy.

The Original Sex Gates is the way I first wrote The Sex Gates. It has been re-edited and updated. It has one more major character than the collaboration and a completely different ending. The Sex Gates are also completely explained in this one book and you get to meet the originators!

Mindwar is about terrorists trying to poison school children but their formula has an error it that causes the mirror neurons in the kids' brains to multiply and take on special characteristics. It gives them strange powers. 2007 Eppie Award Winner.

White Odyssey, also a 2007 Eppie Award Winner is about a future where whites are the underdogs and treated as little more than slaves by the colored majority.

The pet Plague Trilogy contains the prequel, Altered Humans, the main book, The Pet Plague and Space Pets, the sequel.

Coffee Stimulates Technology
I may have stumbled on a truth so obvious that it's been overlooked for centuries. I happened to be reading about the benefits of coffee recently. It is a stimulant. It energizes both the body and the mind and has few side effects and some benefits. It helps prevent several illnesses, including Type II diabetes. Coffee can sometimes keep a person going when otherwise they might quit and rest and an original thought go unthunked. At the time in history when coffee became cheap enough for the masses to afford and enjoy, there occurred a tremendous and continuing acceleration of technology and innovation all over the world, other than in those nations or areas where despots or religious beliefs prevented it. Originally, technology flourished in the Arab world where coffee got its start. As it spread to other areas of the world, technology expanded and accelerated at the same time. There's a catch, though. Arab coffee is very dark roasted and thus deleted of most of its caffeine. In the European world, a milder form of the brew is preferred, with more caffeine, the stimulant, in it. I see the correlation of mass coffee drinking and booming technology everywhere I look. If it were not for coffee would we still be using steam power and just now be starting the use of electricity? Whenever coffee became cheap and plentiful, and the common man began drinking it, innovation bloomed. Of course coffee isn't the only factor involved, but I believe the consumption of caffeine is a very real contributing factor to the progression of technology and civilization in the past and it continues to this very day. Americans drink a huge amount of coffee. In America, those who don't drink coffee drink caffeinated soda pop. Same thing. And we are the most innovative and inventive people the world has ever seen. I rest my case.

Book Reviews
I have changed the name. Previously, this section of the newsletter was named BOOK REPORT. From now on it shall be called BOOK REVIEWS. And as I have stated previously, I review only the exceptional books I've read the past month, in whatever genre. I do not review books I didn't care for. Reading is a subjective experience and what I like, someone else might dislike. However, the books I review are ones I truly believe can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of the genre normally preferred.

Last month I re-read Mila 18 by Leon Uris. If ever a rebellion faced impossible odds, it was the uprising of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. It's hard to believe how cruel we can be to our fellow men sometimes. Uris describes the scenes accurately, based on voluminous research as is usual for this author. It was well worth another read, about my tenth for this book!

Betty has finished all the Harry Potter Books. It took me longer, simply because I'm spending more time writing and also reading other books at the same time, but now I'm finished. I started with the first one again and read them all the way through. One thing that amused me was the way the author, J.K. Rowling broke a fiction writing "rule" in every book, excessive use of adverbs. Know what? It didn't hurt the books a bit, which causes me to wonder about a lot of writing "rules". I break a few myself and considering the success of the Harry Potter series, you may see me breaking a few more, adverb use in particular! In fact, that's a topic for the next newsletter, my style of writing and why it's been such a success in e-books.

Sara Gruen wrote Water For Elephants without knowing anything about the Great Depression or circuses or the inside workings of those traveling extravaganzas and their menageries. Very curious, I think, but never mind. This is a wonderful book, and the main character, a 93 year old man in a nursing home is hilarious in the way he skewers our attitude toward old folks. Don't laugh. You'll be old too, one day. Your turn will come and you'll remember Jacob then. If you're lucky enough to have some memory left, that is. The book bounces back and forth between the nursing home and his experience as a veterinarian for a circus during the Great Depression. It's wonderful reading and a refreshing change from the usual pap on best selling lists. Betty and I both loved it. For an unusual and happy reading experience, try Water For Elephants! You will absolutely love the ending, too!

The Protector's War is the second of a trilogy begun with S.M. Stirling Dies The fire, one of the best books I've read in years. I reported on it last month I believe. The second in the series isn't quite as magnificent but still good enough for me to write about. This book includes some of what happened in England when most technology is no longer possible because of action by unknown aliens. This book gets into that a bit but still doesn't give much information. And the war doesn't happen, either. It's appears to be just a buildup toward it. Still plenty of action, though. A Meeting At Corvallis wraps up the trilogy. The last book was almost as good as the initial one. The ending is rather sad but did wrap up everything very neatly.

Sibs by F. Paul Wilson came out a decade or so ago and I've read it a number of times. This last reading was just as enjoyable as the others, which is what keeps it on my shelves. A twin sister begins acting strange then apparently commits suicide. But was it? A detective and her twin come to believe an unseen source was controlling her and now it's taking hold of the living twin. A hugely enjoyable book you'll like regardless of your genre preference.

I re-read David Weber's Mutineer's Moon trilogy again. I've reported on it once or possibly twice since beginning my newsletters so I won't elaborate except to say it's one of the best series I've ever read.

Progress Report
Several things are happening right now. I wrapped up two differing versions of the life story of Tonto, the little addled dachshund who served as the avatar for the dachshund in my science fiction novel Bark! which is in digital form now at Fictionwise.com and eReader.com. I used the one where Tonto does the talking and I only type what he says. It may be up at Fictionwise.com by the time this newsletter comes out. If not, look for it soon, titled Tonto, An Autobiogrphy Of An Addled Dachshund. I put it in the science fiction category. Where else would a talking dog belong?

I'm thinking about expanding the short story Samantha into a full length novel. Betty seems to recollect someone doing something similar but it doesn't matter. I like this little girl who can talk to animals and we'll follow her life into her teen years and on into an alien invasion, I think.

I've started a novel tentatively titled The Gravity Well Invasion. I really wish I had Doc Travis's science background for this one. The science would be more accurate, but I'll do my best. And speaking of Doc Travis, I'm eagerly waiting on him to send me the ending and his additions to Human By Choice, our collaboration. It is due in print and e-book form together in July of 2008. More about whether or not it will be a series next month.

Readers: Born or Made
Are readers born that way or can you make a reader of someone whose brain isn't wired for reading? I don't think there's proof one way or the other, but Betty and I both think readers are born with their brains wired to become readers. Of course the expression of any genetic trait (how it actually works in your life) can be altered both by your environment and also by how other genes are expressed, which in turn may depend on environmental influences. It's all tremendously complex, but I think brains set for reading to begin with is more likely than not. For instance, I'm the only real reader in our family. Two other members, one brother and one sister read quite a bit but I'm the only one of what Betty and I class as real Readers, persons who love books and will read the same book again and who read at least one book a week regardless of how busy they might be with other things. Neither of our families had much reading material around as we grew up, yet we loved reading from the very first and have all our lives. In fact, I rather think that's one thing about Betty that made me fall in love with her, the way she loved books. After being married to two non-readers it is a real relief to be able to bring a book to the table when we eat and to have someone to discuss books with and so on. You'll see this often. People loving to read from families where no one else gives books a second thought. And you find the reverse often: families where both parents love to read and try to influence their children to develop a reading habit without success. Reading and love of reading is something that just seems to come natural to some people and not to others. Readers are born, not made. That's what I think and what Betty thinks, too. It just about has to be a combination of how the brain is genetically wired and how environment influences it afterward, but I doubt it has been researched much. I wish it would, though.

More Stupidity
I said last month I would give one more example of teachers and/or textbooks being wrong but the teacher unwilling to admit it. The incident I'm describing here took place in the first part of beginning algebra in the ninth grade. It was a really simple problem. A grid of squares was drawn within a larger square. Then a line was drawn diagonally through a portion of the large square. The problem asked the student to figure out how many smaller squares would be contained within each portion of the larger square isolated by the diagonal line. The boundaries of the large square was known. The solution was so ridiculously simple it should have been a third grade arithmetic problem but it was in that ninth grade algebra course. The solution, of course involved a simple multiplication of the length and breadth of each isolated portion of the larger square then setting up an equation to solve for one or the other. The teacher, however, insisted that the proper way to solve the problem was to count each little square within the isolated portion of the larger square. Where the bisecting line cut through smaller squares, we were told to count the square if it looked like a larger portion of it was contained below the bisecting line and not count it if it wasn't. The students dutifully began counting while I set up the equation and solved it and closed the book. The teacher came to check my work and said I had done it wrong. I turned to the back of the book to where the answers were and showed her my solution matched exactly with the answer given, while none of the others did, even though many came close. Know what? She wouldn't admit she had told the class wrong. She made me count the damn little squares and estimate when the line cut one into two parts before she would give me credit for solving the problem. And people wondered why I quit school in the ninth grade and enlisted in the military. Okay, just another example of stupidity and unwillingness to admit it when wrong. There's nothing at all wrong with making an error. We all do. The wrongness comes with being unable to admit it. And I promise not to say anything else about stupidity again. Well, not much, anyway.

Parents and Civilization
Betty and I were talking one day and the subject came up of most parents wanting their children to have a better and easier life than their own has been. It occurred to both of us almost simultaneously that wanting our children to be better off is one of the major driving forces of civilization. The children study more, get a better education, earn a higher salary than their parents did and in general have a better life than their parents did, as a general rule. All this works together, multiplied by millions of parents the world over, and results in a standard of living that advances to a higher level with each generation. Such a simple thing, wanting a good life for your children, and yet it is one of the prime factors which results in the advance of civilization. Empires rise and fall, nations prosper and decline, ethnic and cultural groups have it better or worse, but overall and on average, our children will have a better life than we did. All because we want a better life for our kids. It's pretty wonderful when you think of it taking place on a world wide scale. It's a great sociological phenomenon yet is rarely mentioned in the study of sociology or history. I wonder why not?

Bain Blunders
Betty and I shop at Wal-Mart once a month and always go very early in the morning. We always stock up because we live quite a ways from the nearest super store. On our September trip we arrived home with about 30 bags of groceries and miscellaneous merchandise. Betty always takes one load inside and begins putting it up while I finish bringing in the rest of it. This time one of the bags in her one trip slipped from her grasp. Want to guess what it was? An 18 count carton of eggs, naturally. How many were broken? All but five, but most were still in the shell inside the carton. What did she do with the broken eggs? We had scrambled eggs for breakfast naturally, and then she made two cakes, an orange cake and a peach cake.

This was one blunder that worked out well. I love her cakes!

Notes from Musing
Michael LaRocca wrote a very nice review of Savage Survival, comparing my writing to the early Science fiction Masters. This is the most frequent comment about my writing and I can think of no higher honor than to be compared to the greats like Heinlein, et.al. You can read the review here:
http://groups.google.com/group/MichaelEdits?hl=en

You can also learn more about Michael by going to the home page of the web site above. He's a great guy, fun to read and produces a newsletter that rivals mine, but fortunately is written in a different style.

Just because you can make something doesn't mean you have to. Not an original thought, but in this age of excess, worth repeating.

Inertia is the goblin of bigness. You may quote me. You have to think about this one, though.

If you find some merchandise that works right or fits well, stock up on it at once because you can be certain it will no longer be available the next time you look for it.

Excerpt from the Original Sex Gates Novel (Updated and Re-edited)
Now available at ww.amazon.com and at bookstores!

Note that Seyla is introduced at the beginning. She is a major character in this book who was cut from the collaboration. The original really deviates from the collaboration in the last third of the book. It is longer, has a completely different ending and the whole question about the sex gates is explained in this one book. It is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores. And yes, I did update and re-edit it as best I could.

 

It was Don who got in trouble with the first sex gate any of us ever saw. It was on a Saturday afternoon during spring break, shortly after noon. The five of us had walked over from the house to the campus beanery for lunch. The food there isn't anything to brag about, but it's convenient and comes with the tuition, so we all ate there a lot. Besides, none of us are very good cooks. The campus was almost deserted because of spring break. Most of the students had headed for Galveston or Corpus Christi, or the ones who could afford it and didn't mind the risk, on down to Mexico.

Don and Seyla were walking hand in hand in front of me and Rita, with Russell dragging along behind us, probably lost in thought over some physics problem. I was saying something innocuous to Rita, using it as an excuse to blow in her ear, when I heard a gasp from Seyla and "Hey! I'll be goddamned!" from Don. I looked up just in time to keep from bumping into them. Russell did bump into me.

The sex gate had materialized almost on top of us, right on the grassy lawn at the east corner of the campus adjacent to Romana Street, where we always turned when going home from the cafeteria. Russell later told me its appearance was instantaneous so far as he could tell. One moment, there was only grass and a paved street in front of us, and the next, the path was blocked by the gate, a glowing green arch darkening to dull turquoise inward from the edges and toward a green mist in the center. Though it was only about twenty feet high and maybe ten feet across, we were so close, it seemed to tower over us.

"Where on earth did that come from?" Rita asked, puzzlement tingeing her voice. She had been looking down at her feet while I whispered in her ear. Now she was staring up at the gate with her pretty brown eyes as wide open as a frightened owl. For no reason I could understand, I slipped an arm around her waist.

"It just came out of nowhere!" Don said, awed. "I almost ran into it!" He stood with his hands on his hips, head tilted speculatively to one side as if he were examining a blackboard problem in one of his math classes.

"Impossible!" Russell exclaimed, coming back to earth. He shoved his muscular body past me and Rita to get a better view. He stared at the gate belligerently, as if it were defying some natural law.

"It did!" Don repeated.

"What in Christ is it?" Seyla asked. She had let loose of Don's hand and crossed her arms protectively around her chest, flattening her breasts into the crook of her elbows.

"I don't know, but I'm going to find out," Don said, in a tone suggesting the green arch was nothing more than a math problem he could solve. He took a step toward the gate, hands outstretched.

"Don, don't! It might be dangerous!" Seyla cried. She reached out to grab the back of his windbreaker.

Too late. Don took another step forward, bringing him into the edge of a faint nimbus extending from the darker turquoise inner portion. For a second, I could see him there, frozen motionless, then he disappeared as abruptly as a popped soap bubble.

"Don! Come back!" Seyla screamed. She took a step forward.

I was standing with one arm around Rita and the other half-raised, intending to stop Don myself. We had been buddies for years now, as close a friend as I ever had. I heard Seyla yell and start to move. Don vanished and I grabbed at Seyla, just catching the belt of her toga. I yanked her backward.

Rita had her hands to her face, holding her chin and cheeks and grimacing like a child watching a close-up of a monster in a horror movie on a big wall screen.

Seyla struggled in my arms. Her coffee and cream complexion paled to a sickly yellowish gray, draining all the normally exotic beauty from her face. I shook her and shouted, "Seyla, wait! Wait a minute!" It was all I could think of to say. I'm not very fast on my feet in an emergency.

"This is impossible," Russell said again, but his dark blue eyes glittered with intense curiosity. He began edging around the side of the arch, as if by stepping off its dimensions he could measure it into a category of the physics he loved so much.

"Omigod!" a startled soprano voice screamed, seeming to come from the other side of the arch, suggesting to me that another frightened student like us was wondering where it had come from.

That thought lasted only a second. The voice came again, louder and shriller, with an overtone of horrified surprise in it. "My God, it's turned me into a woman! Lee! Seyla! Where are you?"

I almost ran over Russell getting around to the other side of the arch. At its edge, it was less than ten feet wide. Three or four running steps, and I was around the corner. I ran full tilt into Russell, who had pulled to a hasty halt.

My momentum knocked us both to the ground. I rolled over and stared up at a totally naked woman. She stood upright, legs splayed and head bent to where she was staring down at her hands clutching both her breasts as if they were strange parasites suddenly attached to her body. Wavy brown hair blew around her shoulders.

I stared, stupefied, not by her nudity, but at the expression on her face as she raised her head, like a child too young to understand who had just seen her distorted reflection in a funhouse mirror. Abruptly, her hands left her breasts and began scrabbling through the bushy triangle of hair between her thighs as if searching for a wayward insect.

"Seyla, look what's happened to me!" Her voice was starting to break, like a novice toastmaster making his first speech.

Seyla stood like a statue, staring at the woman as if she were being confronted by her first cadaver in anatomy class.

Rita was the first of us to react with anything resembling logical action. "Lee, get up and give me your jacket," she said, beginning to peel hers off. Rita thought that just because she was a psychology major, she should always act calmly. It was true that time, anyway. I got to my feet and shucked out of my jacket while she was wrapping her own around the woman's hips. She grabbed mine and threw it over her shoulders. I don't know what she would have done had it been later in the year when we wouldn't have been wearing much more than briefs and tankers, but fortunately, it was still spring and a warm breeze was blowing in from the gulf.

"Don? Is that really you?" Seyla moved tentatively forward, like a cautious cat eyeing a new toy.

"It's me. I'm Don. Oh, Lord love the Pope, look what that thing did to me."

That was an expression Don used a lot. I was still stunned, but hearing those words from the woman made me start to believe; that is, if we weren't dreaming the whole thing. Besides, she resembled Don, like an eighteen year old sister might have.

"Let's get her home, then figure it out," Rita said. "Come on, dear, let's go." She began urging her forward.

"Don't call me 'dear', damn it. I'm a man!" Don, if that's who it was, pushed her away, causing her breasts to pop into sight when she released her hold on the jacket. If she was a man, you sure couldn't prove it by her anatomy.

Seyla finally broke out of her trance and helped Rita get the girl moving. The girl didn't say anything else, but seemed to concentrate on walking, like a neophyte sailor on her first cruise in choppy seas. Her eyes were the same brown as Don's had been but they darted around glassily, as if she was just coming out from a heavy doping session.

The few students we saw were all hurrying in the opposite direction, toward the new campus edifice. I looked back over my shoulder and it was still there. A small crowd was beginning to gather, coming from all directions. There was little traffic on the street, and what few strollers we passed on the sidewalk gave us no more than a cursory glance. They were used to seeing students in odd raiment; probably they thought the girl with the jacket tied around her hips by the sleeves and another hung over her shoulders was just the forefront of a new clothing fad.

Rita and Seyla stayed close to the young girl claiming to be Don while Russell and I hung back. Russell was so deep in thought, he stumbled occasionally. Well, I was thinking too, but I can't claim my thoughts were all that profound. Mostly, I just wondered if it could possibly be true that Don had changed into a woman after being sucked into that weird green arch, and I have to confess, I was having guilt feelings that it had been him rather than me. How would I have reacted? I didn't want to pursue that thought. Fortunately, I didn't have to as our house came into view, sitting like a sanctuary on its spacious corner lot. We turned into the drive.

I told the door to open and Seyla and Rita hustled the girl into Seyla and Don's bedroom. Russell snapped out of his reverie as we entered and we both headed directly for the bar. I didn't usually drink much back then, even though I kept the bar well stocked for parties and such. Russell hardly drank at all, but he didn't object when I poured us both a double shot of Jack Daniels and dropped a couple of ice cubes into the glasses. We sat down on the little lounger and propped our feet up, trying to pretend we weren't straining our ears at mumbled sounds coming from the bedroom. I couldn't make out what the girls were saying, other than a strained curse or two from the woman purporting to be Don.

A few minutes later, all three emerged. The girl claiming to be Don was dressed in a pair of Seyla's loose slacks and one of his own shirts. Rita saw that Russell and I had glasses in our hands and left Seyla and Don sitting on the large lounger while she made them three of the same. Don—just let me keep calling her Don for the time being and refer to him as her, since that's what she obviously was—Don gulped hers as if she had been wandering in the desert for a week. She finished what was in the glass, then sat slumped over as if trying to hide her new breasts behind the oversized shirt.

I was still trying to sort out my thoughts. Don had been my best friend for years. In most things, we thought along the same lines, liked the same books and web programs and helped each other in classes; him, when I struggled with math, me, when he had to write compositions or papers. We had grown close, almost like brothers. In fact, many times I had found myself wishing he actually was my brother rather than the one I had. I wasn't comfortable around Derek, nor could I find much to say to him after he came out and told me and the folks he was gay. Every time I saw him, pictures would form in my mind of Derek bending over a man with the guy's dick in his mouth—or worse. It made me queasy.

Russell's blond eyebrows creased in a frown. He looked at Don, glanced away from where she sat hunched between Seyla and Rita, then forced his gaze back to her. "Uh, Don, do you remember what happened to you when you went into that, uh, gate I guess we can call it?"

"I don't remember a damn thing," Don said. "One second, I got close to the arch, and the next thing I remember is coming out on the other side like this." She looked down at herself, then got up and stalked over to the bar again. I couldn't help but notice how her hips swayed as she moved. I looked away hurriedly.

By this time, I had abandoned the idea I might be dreaming. The whole scenario was just too clear and defined, too logically linear once the basic assumption of that gate, as Russell called it, was stipulated. I had two thoughts in rapid succession. "How do we know you're really Don?" I asked. That was the first one.

"Et tu, Brute?" She looked pained.

As much as I loved Don, I thought it was something we had to consider. Maybe I had read too much science fiction, but I couldn't help asking.

"Willy's Arcade. The redheaded stripper," the woman said.

I blushed while Rita looked at me curiously. I had never told anyone about that episode except Don.

Seyla leaned close and whispered something to her. This time, she blushed at the new woman's inaudible response. She looked over at us. "She's Don, all right. I have to believe it now."

"Don't call me she," Don said.

"I still say it's impossible," Russell said. "Something like this violates all the laws of physics I know. Maybe we've all been hypnotized."

Rita shook her head, causing her thick black hair to dance around her shoulders. "I don't think so. This isn't how hypnotism works."

"How do you know?" Don asked, getting up and pouring another two fingers of whiskey. She almost dropped the bottle when she picked it up to pour.

"Remember, I took a course in clinical hypnosis just last semester," Rita said.

Hypnosis hadn't been my second thought, but it was close enough not to matter. "Suppose some, uh, entity inside the gate stole your, or Don's, thoughts and transferred them into another body?"

"I didn't see any entity, and I'll guarantee you that I'm still me, even if I am in a fucking female body," Don said.

Rita and Seyla both gave him an odd, almost angry stare, Rita more so than Seyla. He should have known better to say something like that, but I guess I might have too, under the circumstances.

"How can you guarantee that?" Russell said.

Don had downed three quick doubles. She leaned away from the barstool she had been propping her arm on and wobbled unsteadily. "Because I have to piss, goddamnit, and I don't know how!" She looked almost ready to cry.

 


Happy reading to everyone always and all ways.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
October 2007

 

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