Star Dancer from Dell Sweet

Star Dancer from Dell Sweet

Star Dancer

Dell Sweet

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device. Additional downloads are available at Smashwords and KOBO.

Description

Michael Watson is the captain of an inner galaxy cruiser: He Purchased Star Dancer right out of school and has spent the last twenty years running people and supplies to outposts within the confines of the Solar System and the established bases on the Moon, Mars and Saturn’s moons. The times are changing though and the big money is in the longer out of system runs. To do that he’ll need a crew and a bigger ship, but he has the ambition and the rest just might fall into place.
A new navigator, the beautiful Petra starts him thinking in a new direction and not just about Star Cruising. Maybe the next few flights for Star Dancer will be her last and he and Petra can set their sights on bigger adventures out beyond the stars…


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New books from author Dell Sweet

New books from author Dell Sweet


Star Dancer by Dell Sweet

Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 61,250. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2017 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space operaFiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias

Star Dancer is an inner galaxy cruiser, transporting inmates and materials between the penal colonies on the Moon and Mars, as well as supplies and people to the bases scattered throughout the Solar System. Her captain, Michael Watson purchased Star Dancer right out of school, but the last few trips have left him longing for more adventure out in the wider expanses of space…

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Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Billy by Dell Sweet

Series: Earth’s Survivors Life Stories. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 102,780. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2017 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead,Fiction » Horror » Crime

A top secret drug that resides within a top secret facility finds its way to the street and from there into the world where it just might end the human race all on its own. Follow a cast of shady characters and criminals as they go about their criminal business and and just maybe, inadvertently start the apocalypse…

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Necro by Dell Sweet

Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 58,290. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2017 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Horror » UndeadFiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense

Necro looks at the Zombie Apocalypse through the eyes of one couple as they awaken to it and try to keep themselves alive through it. John is an average guy. He doesn’t believe in monsters. That may have to change. Kate has never believed in much of anything including herself, but she is learning to believe again. Together they take their first steps into the land of the dead…

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Crime Time by Dell Sweet

Series: Crime Novels. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 127,500. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2017 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller,Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense

Crime Time is a collection of nine crime stories from author Dell Sweet. From short stories to near novel length… … When a man tells you he has the moral flexibility to include murder in his life if he deems it necessary this is probably not a man you should be hanging out with. Jeff Johnson had reminded himself of this fact about Robert Biel more than once…

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PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS



Copyright 2018, Wendell Sweet, all rights reserved


PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS

Private Investigations

Nine Fifty-Nine A.M.

I lowered my wrist to my side, settled myself back into the shadows of the treeline and raised my binoculars to my eyes.

I swept the back deck and rear entrance, shot across the fence to the next house in line: Nothing; and nothing. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I had been wrong all along.

Being a private detective isn’t all thrills. Most of the time it’s doing exactly what I was doing: Sitting and waiting. For hours sometimes, with little to show. Other times you just happen to walk into the middle of something, get everything you need in those few seconds and feel a little guilty about even charging for it, let alone keeping the retainer: If there was a retainer… But of course I always fight past that. After all money, making a living, is why I do this job.

Apparently this job wasn’t going to be one of those kinds of jobs, but what kind of job was it going to be? Hard to tell.

I was watching the house of Paul and Melinda Fields. At Melinda Field’s request. She was a friend of my wife Joan. So you would think that the request would have come from my wife to help her friend, but it had not. It had not come that way at all. It had come instead in the form of a phone call to my office. Melinda had called and asked me to meet with her, and she asked me to keep it quiet. She didn’t want her friends to know, meaning my wife too, I concluded.

I was okay with that. You get a lot of that sort of thing as a private eye. People think odd things, maybe they’re even a little paranoid. If a woman or a man thinks his or her loved one is cheating on them they sometimes want to keep the information as quiet as possible. They want to know. You’re the private dick so it’s okay if you know, but they don’t want anyone else to know.

This was day two and I was about to burn up the retainer. I had nothing at all to show for it. But as I said that is the private detective game most of the time. Waiting and seeing. I simply hadn’t seen anything. Well, almost nothing. Apparently Paul did keep things from his wife. Right now, for instance, he was supposed to be at his office. He wasn’t of course. Joan had left for work, but he hadn’t. And more than once he had checked the windows as though he were expecting someone. Peeking out of the drapes; sliding the deck door open and peeking out before he stepped outside… Sipping his coffee as he looked around and then quickly stepping back inside. Odd.

Odd, but not exactly indicative of much of anything at all. He had done nearly the same thing yesterday and I had wasted nearly four hours watching him pace the deck, check the windows, pace the kitchen, refill his cup, pace the deck some more, and then finally get in his car and drive to the office in the early afternoon.

Paul Fields was a contractor. Not one of the big ones, but not one of the small ones either. They lived in a nice subdivision. Melinda sold real estate. Between the two of them they did very well. She drove a nice BMW and he drove a new Ford pickup. One of the big ones with the big price tags. It looked as though it had never hauled anything in its life. All shiny black and chrome. Lots of chrome.

The man lived in Jeans, work boots and button up chambray work shirts. He was in his early forties, looked thirty five. Fit, attractive in some ways. I could see why she might think he was  screwing around. I just didn’t see any evidence of it if he was. Maybe, I thought, I should have run it past Joan. Maybe she felt this same thing a few times a year, once a month: Who knew. The only thing that had stopped me was that Melinda had made it a condition of hiring me. And so I hadn’t.

I lowered the glasses, slipped a cigarette from my pack and lit it, and then settled back to smoke as I watched. I know, they’ll kill me, but isn’t life killing us all every day? I know, I know, excuses. I got a ton of them.

I took a deep drag and blew the smoke out my nose. I glanced at my watch. Another hour and that would be it.

It was about then that things got interesting. Paul had, had the drapes open on the rear sliders. They suddenly swept shut. My first thought was that he was about to leave for the office, but out of the corner of my eye I caught a taxi drift up to the curbing a couple houses down and stop. It sat idling for a few moments and then the back door popped open, a woman stepped out and hurried off down the walk toward Paul’s house.

I got the camera up and snapped a few dozen pictures before she was out of my line of sight, but who knew what they might be worth? She was moving fast and her face was not fully turned toward the camera. She had one hand up, brushing at her hair as she walked. I changed the card and slipped the other into my pocket. I hated to be short when I needed to shoot.

There was a gap in the drapes. I couldn’t see much through the shadows as I focused with my binoculars. The digital camera didn’t offer much better on zoom, but I clicked a few shots off anyway. Many times I had found the money shot in the pictures I didn’t think would be worth anything at all. I then began to scan the second floor bedroom drapes for movement. There was a set of sliders there too that opened onto an upper deck.

A little movement caught my eye so I kept the lens focused there. Something or someone brushed up against the drapes, they stuttered open for a brief instant and I clicked off another dozen shots out of habit. You just never knew where the money shot was going to be, or if there was even going to be one, but if you didn’t shoot you couldn’t get anything.

I put in another hour, but there was nothing much to see. I had just about made up my mind to shift my cover to the front of the house just in case she slipped out earlier than I thought she would, when a taxi rolled up to the curb of the house next door, and then coasted to a stop, presumably, out of my line of site in front of Paul’s house. I cursed under my breath. Piss poor planning on my part. No other way to see it. I could have gotten a clear shot of the woman, whoever she was.

All in all it made no difference though. The retainer was shot, and most people never went past the retainer. He was fooling around with someone, most likely, and maybe one of the shots I took would even be enough for Melinda to recognize who the woman was. If proof was all she was after she had that.

I retreated back into the woods and made my way to a dead end service road where I had parked earlier, tossed my gear onto the front seat of the beat up old Dodge I used for surveillance, and followed it in. A half a day shot. I had another case to look into, a simple straight forward process serve. I had some good information on where the person should be, hopefully she would be. Maybe it could be a slam dunk kind of day. Well, except for missing the exit shot. I cursed once more under my breath as I keyed the old Dodge and headed back into town.

Nine Twenty-Seven P.M.

I shifted into park, dropped the keys into my coat pocket and levered open my door. At the last moment I turned and retrieved my binoculars, camera, and the small .380 I usually carried when I was somewhere where unexpected things might happen.

The process serve had been a bust, I was tired and grouchy. I palmed the small gun in one hand: I had found myself in the woods more than once on surveillance jobs. Bad neighborhoods a few times too. The .380 was small in my hand, but a large comfort in my head.

I had started with the gun after a friend of mine who worked for the PD and moonlighted as a private eye, small stuff, mostly process serving, had been ambushed by an angry husband he had been trying to serve divorce papers on. He’d been shot four times and had barely survived the hurried ambulance trip to the hospital emergency room. The PD career was done, and the private eye stuff too, although a few of us threw him a bone when we could: When he was sober. I decided I’d rather have something to show.

I had nearly bought a .44 caliber, but one test fire had convinced me to leave that for something smaller and hopefully non fatal. I know, I shouldn’t really be concerned with that. After all, if I am going to have to use a gun to defend myself it should be capable of laying someone down. I just haven’t been able to believe in it yet. I have flashed the .380 twice and ended violent confrontations right there. My ex-PD friends say don’t pull it unless you mean to use it… Maybe… Someday.

I dropped the camera and the gun into my other coat pocket, wound the binocular strap around my hand and walked around the back to where my office is. Joan and I have a deal. I don’t track whatever I have been walking through all day into the house and she won’t divorce me. She was that passionate about it. I emptied my pockets, slipped off my boots I used for the woods, which did, I noticed, have something that could have been mud, bear shit or even dog shit that I could have picked up crossing my own back yard, on them: Joan’s poodle, Mister Tibbles. We’ve agreed to hate each other. I thought about a sniff test, decided to pass, I never could distinguish poodle shit from bear shit anyway, slid on my slippers and walked the shoes to the back door.

Joan called down from the upper level, probably the kitchen. More specifically the bar that was just off the kitchen. My office was on the lower level. You could translate that as basement and you would be correct. I would only add converted basement.

“Yeah… It’s me,” I called back.

“Be careful in the backyard. I took Mister Tibbles out and I couldn’t see where he went.”

That answered that question. “Uh huh,” I answered.

Nothing else floated down to me. I left the landing and walked down to my office. I transferred the pictures off the two cards, then opened my image program as I dialed Melinda’s number. She picked up on the first ring. Her voice low, sexy. It said, “Please buy this property from me, baby.” Sexist, yes, I know. I try not to be. And I felt even worse about being one because of the bad news I was about to give her.

“Mike,” I said.

“Oh… Mike.” She sounded surprised.

I ignored it as I loaded the pictures and searched through them one by one. “Melinda, I have some bad news…. I’ll send you a report on this, but I thought I should call and talk to you just the same… Instead of you reading it in a report.” I searched through the thumbnails as they came up. “I have a few things left to do, but essentially… You were right, Melinda… There’s no easy way to put it, your husband, Paul, is seeing someone.”

I continued flicking through the thumbnails and selected two that might be useful. One shot through the upstairs drapes showed a woman. I ascertained that from the dress she wore. Her face however was turned away from the camera, a blurry blob in shadow.

The second photo showed her hurrying from the cab. Part of her face was obscured by one hand. I would work on both photos and try to get something that Melinda could identify. Melinda stayed silent on the phone.

“I don’t know who the woman is,” I admitted. “She outfoxed me and that doesn’t usually happen. Maybe she was being careful or maybe she’s a little paranoid… I…”

“I know who she is, Mike.”

I stopped. “You do?”

“Yes… I… I had hoped you would identify her though… I wanted to be absolutely sure.” She said sure, but she sounded very unsure.

I transferred the two pictures to some other software, started with the first one from the bedroom shot through the drapes, and selected the areas to work on.

“Mike,” Melinda said even more softly.

“I’m looking over a few photos I shot right now. Trying to get a good, clear face shot,” I told her. She sounded on the verge of tears. Like she was unraveling over the phone. It made me wish I hadn’t addressed it over the phone at all.

The face became clearer pixel by pixel. I have a good machine, it didn’t take long, and I didn’t have to bother with the other photo. “The picture’s coming up, Melinda,” I told her, but my words clogged in my throat as the picture finally came up, and I fell silent myself. She spoke into my silence.

“Mike… I would have told you, Mike… Mike?” She sounded panicked.

“What?” I managed.

“I wasn’t sure… Not completely, Mike.”

“But you hired me to find out? Me? Why didn’t you hire someone else?” A hard ball had settled into the pit of my stomach.

“I… I don’t know… I thought… I thought… I thought you would want to know… Mike… Mike I didn’t really think it through. I was angry… Upset… I wasn’t thinking straight, Mike. I wasn’t.” Now it was her turn to fall silent. I could just barely hear her breathing over the phone in the hardness of the silence.

“I’ll send the retainer back, “ I said at last into the silence. “You… You know maybe this was best… I don’t guess I would have wanted one of my friends to be the guy on this… Finding out. It’s just a little hard to think right now.”

“Sure it is,” She agreed. “I’m so upset.” She sobbed once as if trying to choke it back and then the soft sound of her crying came over the phone.

I was not at the point of tears. I was at the point of anger. That hard place where it’s brand new and you can’t seem to swallow it down. I was there, at that place. It’s a hard goddamn place to be and I realized she had been there too, maybe still was. It was also a dangerous place to be.

“I have to get the hell out of here,” I told her. Twice I had found my eyes locked on the .380 where I had set it on the desktop what seemed like a million years ago.

“Me too… It makes me sick to know it for a fact.” She was still crying, but trying to get herself under control.

It was spur of the moment, but my mouth opened and with no artifice the words tumbled forth.

“I have a cabin… It’s nearly the weekend… Up in Maine… It’s a drive… Isolated… A good place to think.” Silence from the phone. “If you wanted to… Oh hell.”

She laughed a small laugh, followed by sniffles and a few seconds of silence. “I’ll meet you somewhere?” She asked.

“Airport? … You could leave your car in the long term lot… Pick it up Monday or so…”

“Let me get some things together…” She went back to crying for a few moments. “I’ll just… Just leave him a note.” She laughed again, sharply this time. “You know what, I won’t… I’ll be there in… An hour? An hour, Mike?”

I nodded and then realized she couldn’t see that. And so I told her I would meet her there in an hour. I clicked off, slid the phone into my pocket and just sat there for a moment. My eyes dropped back down to the gun and it seemed to hold me hypnotized for a length of time. Like a spell I had to break. I forced myself to look away. I got up and walked away from it. I went up to our bedroom and filled an old suitcase.

I half expected Joan to walk in, see what I was doing and stop me, but she didn’t. I expected her to say something when I came back down the stairs and crossed through the kitchen to the back door, but again she didn’t. If she was sitting there in the gloom of the bar area or had migrated farther into the shadows of the living room, I couldn’t say. She said nothing. Mister Tibbles growled lightly and that was it.

I moved the car, backed my Jeep out of the garage and out into the street. A few minutes later I was cruising the interstate through the darkness, heading for the airport.


 Check out Crime Time from Dell Sweet:

WALKING ALONE: Addiction and Recovery… Dell Sweet.

WALKING ALONE: Addiction and Recovery… Dell Sweet
 
  If you have lived any kind of life at all you have made mistakes. It comes with the human territory; I think it probably comes with any thinking animal’s territory. Those mistakes may be small or they may be large and overshadowing. You may be ridiculed because of them or they may be severe enough that you will have to pay for them. In this country, unless you are rich, that means jail or prison.
You may do time for whatever you did. There is no other payment acceptable in the United States. This country does not believe in rehabilitation, just punishment. I realize this country talks about forgiveness, rehabilitation on the surface, but under that surface it does not exist. But I am not country bashing today or any other day, because despite the issues I have with this country it is probably one of the safest places to live in the world and one of the fairest, considering that there are countries, even countries that call themselves democratic where I could be killed for speaking anything other than praise about the country.
I am pointing it up to help you to understand that when you make a mistake in life there is rarely forgiveness or forgetting. Whatever you did will become part of who you are and for some it is a hard burden to bear: For some people it seems impossible, but it is only impossible because you allowed yourself to look past the truth and see things the way you wanted to see them instead of the way they actually are and you are not alone, many of us do that or have done that. So I am not bashing government at all. The world is the way it is.
Whenever we are outside of normal society we are walking a dangerous line. We know that. We understand the risks. Is that really true? The real answer is yes; that deep inside we do understand the risks. At some point in our lives we have seen people fail, explode with anger, hurt someone or themselves. We have seen others bullied; we have seen relationships that seemed solid fall apart. We have experienced loss, sometime on a close and personal level, and sometimes from afar. We have tried to speak to God and have heard no reply. At least a few of these things are common to most of us and if ignored these issues can lead us to very dark places.
What is outside of normal society: Normal is a loose term: Being normal means that we are with other people who conform to an existing, unwritten set of rules that govern our lives. They are so ingrained that we believe we rarely think about them, they have become part of who we are. See a person with a gun we try to protect ourselves and our family. We move away from that person. See an injured child we become protective and there are dozens of other examples. And although we don’t always believe that we think about those things we do. Everything that questions our beliefs is examined and weighed against those beliefs. In the blink of an eye we reject or accept, and so as we grow we build our character based on that moral code we have deep inside of us.
Today I am talking about people. And I am pointing up people from different walks of life for a reason: Inmates or people who have spent time in a penal institution. Anyone who has ever been bullied, picked on, discriminated against: Drug addicts, alcoholics and other people with addictive personalities. I guess if we are all being honest that should include everyone, yet I know some would never raise their hands and admit to any of what I just wrote if asked to. So I will include people that have these problems, but are still hiding them because A: They don’t want others to know about it out of fear they will be ostracized or B: Because they still believe they are completely in control of their lives and that they can fix their own issues.
All of these conditions can cause problems. Who is equipped to go to prison: Or a mental hospital; or to take that first hit of cocaine, shoot heroin? I don’t know anyone who is. If you are bullied and you do not get a chance to deal with it, it can cause problems. Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the stresses of this world, some to self abuse, some become abusers, and some find the revolving doors of jail, prison and mental health units and that becomes their life. A few others live their lives tethered to what is familiar. Work to pay bills and then go home. Rarely socialize, keep the circle small, do not trust do not love. That is not living it is existing and I am speaking from experience. We need help.
Here is the issue though. We cannot always fix ourselves. I am not saying we are not strong enough to fix our problems, I am saying that we cannot see them. I know that is old news, but many of us ignored it when we heard it and we should not have. It is true and it should not be so hard to believe. Can you see the back of your shirt? No, we don’t actually have eyes in the back of our heads, and so if we want to know if there is a stain or a tear or some other thing wrong with the back of our shirt we ask someone to look. They look and tell us. That is the only way we can know it. And we trust what they say and go about our day believing the back of our shirt is fine. Maybe it is, maybe it is not.
I say maybe it is not because many of us have people in our lives that facilitate our addictions and our weaknesses. They do it for varied reasons. Some because they believe that were we capable of deciding certain things, or being sure of certain things for ourselves we wouldn’t need them. To them their usefulness to us is tied up in enabling us to be who we think we are and that includes lying to us, helping us to get drugs when we need them. Many enablers love the people they enable. That does not mean they are truly helping that person. Men and women have committed murder in the name of love. Most often that sort of thing starts slowly, a lie here, a little lie there, and then suddenly you find yourself in a position where you are ignoring behaviors. I myself have looked to others asking them to endorse my behaviors when I knew they were out of line completely, and they did. I had surrounded myself with people that would tell me what I wanted to hear or who had an investment in me that they would be in danger of losing if I were to straighten up and fly right.
There was a time when I drank and drugged constantly, yet I made a tremendous amount of money. Stop the medicating and I would fall down, the money would go away and the people I had surrounded myself with knew that. The money was good. The money allowed them a lifestyle they could never had lived: Reason to lie to me; reason to enable me and I am not without blame for that because I knew from the first time that I tested them that they would support me until the end, whatever that turned out to be. And they did. I think many of us who have become alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers, who allow others to abuse us came to be there because of things that happened in our lives. Things we were not prepared to deal with. Maybe because we were too young or maybe because we had no way to deal with whatever was occurring, or maybe because we were in a position where we were forced, where our choice was taken away.
I want to qualify that. I do not want to give anyone a way out. By forced I mean you were actually forced. I mean you were in a position where you were forced to do something that was against what you would normally have chosen to do. I do not mean situations where you or I made bad decisions and we want to put that off on Bob, the bad guy that was with us, who talked us into this or that. No: Those are our own bad decisions. You cannot blame them on others. This walk we are taking requires honesty, so things like that have got to go. If you can agree on that we can make some progress.
I do understand the need to push off some of that responsibility, I have felt it. I have done it. Part of my life was spent on the streets and for the longest time that was my excuse for my bad behaviors. “Well, I grew up on the streets.” Or “Well, I didn’t have a father around when I needed one.” Or “I spent part of my life poor, living in the projects.” Yes those things truly did affect my life. They hurt me. They made me angry but they did not think for me did they? They didn’t. I did that. And because I didn’t really want to think about my life I adopted a workable solution. At some time in my early life I realized that I was a big kid. I also realized that when I raised my voice and came at someone they most usually became afraid: Even older boys and a few times men.
Raising my voice and being willing to bluff or even get into a fight became my first line of defense: In other words violence. It worked. It kept others away from me. It became my go-to response. I stopped worrying about solving problems or dealing with situations. I had a secret weapon, the threat of violence. I was safe. All I had to do was react, not think about it. And so I lived my life that way for a while and as I lived that way the person I had the potential to be drifted further and further away. And as I practiced the threat of violence to keep others away from me it was only a short leap until actual violence became another weapon in my response arsenal.
My point is we accumulate damage from the things we become or try to make ourselves into when we are not really dealing with life. When we are aimless, unconnected to society and the rules everyone else has to live by. When we enable others and are enabled by others to stay in our hatred and addictions. Ignore reality.
Prison: I had been in prison a few years, long enough to be transferred to a medium security prison. Two men had been at each other most of the day, back and forth, the larger man taunting the smaller man. I was housed in a dormitory setting, 40 men housed in one area watched over by one guard. No doors, no cells, those were in the past when I was in a Maximum security prison. The last count of the day was taken and the C.O. stepped out to wait for the sergeant to pick up the count slip. I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye as I began to lie down, a shadow raced silently past me, heading away so fast I was unsure I had really seen it. I stood and looked in that direction and caught the shadow slip into the end of the line of beds. That told me all I needed to know. A second later a man screamed, a second after that the one man was shadowed as he leapt up and both shadows began fighting. It was clear to see that the smaller shadow was making stabbing gestures as his hand rushed at the other shadow.
Maybe the entire sequence of events lasted ten seconds. I would be surprised if it did. The smaller shadow suddenly separated from the larger one and a split second later raced past me to the bathroom: Breaking up the home made knife, in this case a pen casing that had been shaped and flushing the evidence. The larger shadow stumbled to the open doorway. There had been so little noise that no one, not even the C.O. standing just outside that door had been alerted.
There are lessons here or I would not have told you the story. The events actually happened just as I said. I told you we had heard and seen the two arguing most of the day, yet none of us did anything. The bigger guy was a bully, stopping him would mean that we night get drawn into a fight, becoming involved in a fight means that we might have lost our parole dates, a thing an inmate lives day to day for. Sometimes that date is all that keeps you sane, and so it is always foremost in your mind. A few minutes later the lights came on and several C.O.’s rushed in. The entire company was locked down for several hours. During that time they found the pen which the smaller man had not broken up sufficiently and bloody clothes he had somehow managed to conceal in that brief time. They also questioned all of us, but no one had seen anything.
What does this have to do with enabling? It is clear cut. When you don’t speak up about the things that are wrong in your world, you begin to stop seeing them for what they are. Living in a violent society such as that one you are subjected to so much violence day in and day out that you become not only accustomed to it you do not even speak of it, and you then deny its existence in that way. You truly turn a blind eye to it. It didn’t happen. I didn’t just see that. Doing that enables the bully, gang members or whoever is perpetrating the violence to continue, and it will continue: Get worse, even more violent as it did with the smaller man being bullied by the bigger man. That is an example of enabling you may not have thought about.
For others it is a need to control others around them. If people can be unpredictable or have been unpredictable in the past they could be again, but controlling what they see, what they believe via what you tell them limits that possibility. It protects that person, not you, you are a means to an end. And of course there are people that have a need to control other people to get them to do what they want them to do. This could be as sinister as a pimp controlling a woman he wants to earn cash for him, or as simple as a man or woman manipulating their spouse or significant other into something they don’t want to do. In either case, or any others you might envision or might have seen, the issue is not the reasoning, the issue is that someone is being manipulated against their will. They may know it. They may even think they need it, but it is not free will.
 
Let’s say you do that time, or maybe you don’t, but you’ve made your mistakes and you are trying to pick yourself up and move past them. Admirable and that is not sarcasm. Moving forward in life is a big deal. Many people just bury their mistakes and they never deal with, acknowledge or learn from those mistakes so that they won’t do them again. They seem to skate through life, meanwhile there you are, regretful, doing what you can to make amends, sure that you will be forgiven if you do the right things because that is what you were told from childhood. But it isn’t true.
I started this purposely telling you that there is no such thing as rehabilitation in this country and that is true. Maybe I irritated a few people immediately with that statement, but hear me out before you start protesting or whining about what I said.
Check out the law. Take a look at reality. Check the statistics and you will see I am right. It has never been anything else. Confession, admission of guilt will get you past the parts of what you did that supposedly must be answered for, but from there it moves you into the punishment phase, not rehabilitation, and there will never be forgiveness of any kind at all.
Look at the way this country works, not in a critical way, just an impartial way. We say one thing, we do something different. We imply absolution, we give none. We imply forgiveness, we again give none. You may be starting to think I am being hypercritical, but bear with me; I have an end and a purpose for these words in mind.
My purpose is to get you to take a breath, realize the way the world really is, not the dream world we all want to live in, but the real world we all do live in. That is important because even though I said all of that, none of it has to be true, because we as individuals make our own reality to a very large extent.
Yes, just shake your head, clear it. I wanted us to all be on the same level playing field and now we are. The key is, we can shape our own destiny, and we often don’t. Instead, we allow others to shape it for us. We allow others to tell us what their reality is. What they perceive our reality as. We find it easier to go with the flow, to join with the rest of the people that do accept the status quo and just jump in and follow blindly. Swim little fishy, swim. But it gains us nothing at all. It means we gave up our individuality to feel like we are part of something even though we know it is not really what we want to be part of at all. What we really want is to be part of what we believe. We know there must be others who believe as we do also, and there are, that is true. There are many others who see that better way. Dream about it. Almost touch it, but they do not have the resolve to see it to fruition. There is not enough belief inside of them. They are afraid, and fear is a stronger motivator than their desire to realize their own goals: To be individuals completely.
So what good is it all if no one makes it to the end? I never said no one makes it. People do make it. My illustration is that it is a hard road. You have to want it badly. More than you want to fit in. And that brings me back to my beginning. The major force, fear: That which holds us back. It is wielded by others whenever we make a mistake. You will meet people who will let that pass, but you will meet people who will not. Unfortunately there is always something about that other person that keeps us with them. We find things that are redeeming in them, about them, all we need to do is change, and give up that dream, maybe all we are really doing is growing up, after all. And so why not do it. Look at what we can have.
The problem is blinding. It is so hard to reason past, see around, that we give up completely more often than not and join that irresistible force that compels us, but the entire premise is flawed. Forgiveness is not a human trait. Neither is forgetting, and those are the things we really require moving forward if we have invested in their answers, their ideals. Forgiveness and forgetting are supernatural things, things we assign to divine beings, and we do that because we know deep down we are not capable of them ourselves. Yet we still expect to receive them from others.
To me that is like believing in the Easter bunny, or Santa Claus, but if you give it some thought we are a race of beings that love to make up fairy tales, tell stories, weave fiction into reality and so we subvert ourselves because some of us never stop and lay it all out. Tell ourselves what our truths are. It can be that simple. It certainly doesn’t need to be complicated, it only needs to be explanatory, and it only needs to be for us, because although there are physical laws that equalize all of us, our motivations, goals and dreams make us capable of being vastly different from one another.
So we do not have to become someone else to realize our dreams, in fact that absorption into someone else’s dream is what will kill our own dreams, usually for good. All we need to do is stay the course, and let me explain why.
One of the things you will notice when you step back to really look at your situation is that after a very short period of observing how things work you will see that your protagonists, the ones who want you to change so badly, to see the world as they do, are very insecure themselves. They need you to change to reinforce them, not to help you. You can easily see this because they give up very easily and move onto someone else if they don’t get results and if you happen to see them change someone to their thinking you will see the positive reinforcement this gives to them. That doesn’t mean they will never try again to change you, they will, it only means that like you they need positive reinforcement to move forward the same as you do.
Positive reinforcement: It is undeniable, powerful, and it is most often the reason that powerful people exist at all. The intoxication they feel when they bring someone into their line of thinking, make them see something they did not see before, did not conceptualize without them showing it to them. That is a feeling that is not unlike a drug: Once they taste it they will want more of it. Whether they are on a true path or destined to become wreckage may no longer matter to them. Think about that. They are bringing you along, who knows how many others and they don’t even have a pilot or a map.
So what to do? It is obvious that not all of us are leaders. It is equally obvious that some of us do need to follow. I am not questioning any of that. Leaders and followers is the natural order of things. There could be no Gods if there were no people to follow them. No great men or women. I believe it is inside of us, lead or follow. I know there are those who say there is another way, the ‘Go my own path’ way, but that is bull. The go my own path people have their own branch. How could that be if they are all alone? It couldn’t be. It is just another path to be part of a whole, while attempting to deny the need to be a part of something when that need is undeniable. Water the grass and the trees and they will grow. Withhold sustenance and all will die. If there truly were a path alone you could withhold all there is and they would continue unaffected. So while I understand that need to be an individual, it can only go so far. In the end you follow or you lead.
The choice is not to do something outrageous. Yes, some do choose wild paths and some do succeed on those paths. That is not what I am saying. Outrageous implies spontaneous reaction, and reaction means you gave it no thought at all. I have watched some of what appears to be outrageous and it is sometimes, but there are times when it only appears outrageous to you or I because we have never seen it, never considered it: That does not mean it is outrageous.
In my experience there are those who do those outrageous things with no planning and they always fail just as we know they will as we watch the outcome or the events leading to the outcome play out. We say to ourselves, “I saw that coming.” And you did, so did I, but what about the times when we say we didn’t see that coming? When we turn to the other in awe? Have you ever jumped into those times and asked questions: How did this happen? How did you get here? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but I have and I have because I have seen it happen a few times and I didn’t ask any questions. I assumed it was luck, but have you ever really looked at luck; the odds of this thing happening over that thing, for instance winning the lottery. The odds of winning are so far against you that you may as well not even try. Now if you were calculating the odds of losing that would be a pretty good bet. Say if you chose to bet that you would lose: No book would take the bet, odds are you will lose. Weighing those odds it is easy to see the other end of those odds, how wildly hopeful you would have to be to expect to win. Yet some people enter into everything they do believing just that: That they will win. And when they do all the bystanders will be in awe, just as we are when that person wins the lottery out of the blue.
So what is the secret then? How do we live life in a world that is weighted against us? How do we trust, who do we trust? What do we hope for and how do we know we will get it? The first thing we have to realize is that our destiny is in our control. We are the ones responsible for our ultimate destination.
Break the law and wind up in prison? You made that decision. Yes, I know that there are men and women who sometimes end up in circumstances wrongly. I get that. I have seen it, but the percentage is low. And most often when I hear that argument it is a last hope argument. It means “I have not taken any responsibility for my own life and I know it and so I need to put that blame off on someone else because I can’t function under that load.” Or the reality would be that the person is completely unaware of their circumstances. Very unlikely, very unlikely. And I am not speaking about an experience of some other person. I am not guessing. I am talking from my own experience. What I have done, what I have tried to do, and what I have seen that other people have tried to do.
There is a point. Maybe not when we take that first step, but there will be a point after that first step when we know we are wrong. Not where we should be. Not following the path we wanted: Even doing something illegal and there will come a time in that walk where we will say to hell with it and walk it anyway. I know that because I have done that and I know men and women who have done that. And if I am completely honest I have done it more than once. I was more than a little thick. It took me time to realize that although I thought I was just going with the flow: Along for the ride, I wasn’t. I was moving my feet. I was making choices every second of every day that lead me toward that bad end. I did that. It was me; no one else.
I don’t think that is an uncommon situation. I think many of us do just that. We follow when we should lead, because there is a part of our life where we absolutely have to be a leader, and that is when it comes to direction: Choices, destination, plans, goals, hopes and dreams: The things that really matter. And yet many of us fail to do any of that. I never did. I truly believed I had no choice at all. Then when I realized I did have a choice I truly believed I was making decisions when all I was doing was reacting, putting no more thought into the situation than I would be about not stepping on a crack as I traversed a sidewalk. Deciding? Yes, after I got myself into a bad situation: After I quit my job; after I married that woman I had only known a few months. After I decided to go for a ride in that car when I knew bad things might happen: After I had a beer or two and then decided to argue knowing that alcohol affected my thinking processes; lowered my inhibitions. Then I took time to think, and that thinking went something like this “Why did I do that? Or “What the hell was I thinking?” or “How am I going to get out of this one?”
The fact is, just a few minutes of thought beforehand could have changed everything completely. Where might this lead? What are this persons true intentions? What could happen? Am I prepared to take those consequences if that thing happens?
The fact is almost all of us wish we had made that time for thought: Bounced some ideas off someone else if we had, had the chance, or just thought it out in our heads. Are we stupid? Did we really never give any thought to it at all? I can’t answer for you, but I can answer for myself, and for myself I did not give anything like real time to myself to think things out ever. I felt I was worthless. I had grown up worthless, I would always be worthless and so why should I bother to do anything at all? Make any decisions at all?
The answer is evident, because I am not worthless any more than you are, or anyone else. We all have purpose, and that purpose shouldn’t be tossed away, spent in the backseat of a car, or wasted in the passion of some violent crime, or thrown away on an unremarkable life. It only takes a little thought. Sit down: By yourself if you have to, with a friend if you have one you trust well enough. And if you do it with someone else you don’t want someone who enables you: Someone who tells you what they know that you want to hear. You are going to be bouncing real things off of them so you want someone who has their head together. You might want to observe your friends and family for a while. Who seems to have it together and who seems aimless? You probably have had enough aimlessness, which is not what you need. What you do need is sound advice if you ask for it.
That brings you to what you need to do once you have sat down. No rocket science here at all. You simply need to be completely honest with yourself. I am not saying be mostly honest with yourself, but be completely honest with yourself: All the way. That does not mean you need to bare your soul to someone else too. In fact I would not recommend that at all. Is there a time for that? Yes, there is, after you find more of your own kind. The people who are like you, and then from there someone you love. Not lust, not find yourself attracted to, love. Then go ahead and bare your soul. What if you have done something truly horrible? I will have more to say about that. For this time all you need to do is be honest to yourself in your head. Lay out the truths about you. What motivates you; what is dangerous about that and what is good about that. What you have to watch yourself about.
For me it went like this: I am an alcoholic. A good drug will sidetrack me too. There are times when I feel I cannot resist a woman. I can be compulsive. I tend to stuff anger and then explode. I can be impulsive…
There were more things. The point is, get those things out of you. If you are in a place where you can write them out and you feel comfortable doing that, do it. It is not a big deal to tear up or burn your list after. I mention writing it out because that is exactly what I did. I want to remind you about the people in the world that will use you, use information like that against you, and so you should take this step seriously. Don’t jump, remember, this is about thinking and every step of it requires you to think. Weigh the danger of what you say to another person. Yes, some things need to be said. I personally put myself in a position of honesty about some of my life, the drinking, womanizing, drugs, because I knew where those particular things had taken me and they were very bad places I did not want to find myself in again.
Compulsions, impulsive behaviors, giving no thoughts to what I was doing or where I was going, reacting instead of thinking. I laid all of that bare because I knew I had no choice if I wanted to find my way. No choice at all. I was at the edge of “It is all over” and I knew it. So, honesty is what matters here, no half measures will do. Think it out, write it out. I wrote it out because you cannot argue very well with the truth that came by your own hand. That is if you are being honest, because let’s face it, if you are lying to yourself you are dooming yourself to fail. Let me repeat that, you will fail because you have already doomed yourself. How can you win if you have lied to yourself? And, more importantly, how do you think that you could lie to yourself: You can’t.
Let me touch on truly horrible things. I have met a few men in my life that I believe were true sociopaths. They had no regard for others at all. I didn’t believe that at first, but after observation and prolonged exposure to them I realized it was not a crazy act; in other words an act by them to convince me that they were crazy: They truly were disconnected from feelings, caring, compassion, and empathy. Their lives centered around themselves and nothing else. That is a horrible place to be. And there does not seem to me to be a way back, at least I have not seen any of the men that I met in that situation come back from it. Yes, I have heard them act; say the words, but I have seen no real change in their actions, lives, feelings, mind set.
Truly Horrible Things: An exception to my keep it to yourself rule, and I will tell you why, it can make you a person you will grow to hate. The steps to get from who you are now, hiding that truly horrible thing, to who you could become are short. One day you are not and the next you are starting down that path because in order to keep your world okay you have to hide that. Every day in all ways, and maybe there are compulsions that come along with that, you have to hide that too. You cannot truly love or trust anyone because they might find out, sense it, feel it, figure you out, and that cannot happen because you have denied that behavior even to yourself, left it unacknowledged because you don’t want to face the consequences of it.
This path will kill you, or someone else, or both. These horrible things may not seem so horrible to someone else, maybe only you. On the other hand they may be horrible to anyone who hears about them. We have all done things that are horrible to us. All I can tell you is that it is best to pull the plug on those things. Get them out in the open. This isn’t Hollywood, there will be no happy ending despite these things; these things will instead destroy you. So do what you should do. If you need to confess these things, confess them and deal with the consequences, because removing the blocks in your life is essential to moving forward. One cannot be without the other.
Maybe your concern is the punishment: Prison, ridicule, maybe you will be laughed at. But circumstance can be overcome, guilt cannot. That is because you can fight against your circumstances, learn, find new paths, but guilt is locked away inside and can never be changed unless atoned for according to the moral standards you were raised by and that were set in your mind. There is your judge: Your own moral code.
That is where I believe sociopaths are born. Somehow the moral code inside of them is vastly different from you and I. Their moral code says things like “Another Persons Rights Do Not Matter” or “There Is No Guilt Associated With The Things That I Do.” This is not a place that you want to be, is it? Were you raised so differently from me: The person next to you?
I was raised in a torn family until the age of about 11. At 11 I found others who had the same kind of pain I had and had no real ways to survive with it and so we were all looking for solutions. No, at that age we were not thinking in those terms at all. We were wondering, questioning why me, when will this stop? And we were out late at night having sneaked out of our homes, trying to find answers, although we didn’t know they were answers, anymore than we knew that those with us were very nearly the same as we were.
From the age of 11 until 14 I might have appeared in school a handful of times. No one did anything or raised any alarms. The few times I was there, there were incidents, sometimes violent. I felt apart, as though I did not and could not belong, and so I fought everything about it. At 14 I wound up on the streets where I found even more similarities between the street people and the person I thought that I was. My moral code had been changing, adapting to my circumstances. The truth was I had never adopted a moral code, or so I thought. Yet inside of me I had real conflicts. I can’t do this; I shouldn’t do that, so obviously there was a moral code in there at work, even though I didn’t believe it.
I spent two years on the streets and the moral code I started with broke down further as one by one my objections to the parts of my life as it was fell away. I left the streets with a modified moral code, one that said “At times I will do this to survive.” A lie, because they were not things I did to survive, they were things I did to stay in that situation: That situation where I did not have to take any responsibility for myself or my actions; that place where the world and my view of it never changed and I could always point to my succession of failures and point out that it was because the world was against me, society. If not for that who knows what I could have been.
All bull, all lies and that is how we keep ourselves in our circumstances. Lying to ourselves, but I already told you. Lying to yourself is impossible, so what is the truth? The truth is that we ignore the truth. The truth requires sacrifice, action, real work. A lie is right there on the lips. It rolls off. All that it requires is your own willingness to stick to it. I spent two years on the streets where I did things that were completely against my moral judgment, or so I thought, where I used drugs daily, drank alcohol daily, engaged in risky circumstances daily, and I did it because I did not want to admit that I was there because I had lead myself there. Because I wanted to be there, or I believed that I should be there. That is my upbringing and that is not so different from yours, is it? Are there things you can relate to? Have you engaged in risky things to get the drug you wanted? Broken the law? Gone to jail, prison, and mental institutions? I have also. Overdosed, tried to commit suicide, sold your body to a stranger? I have done those things.
I have known many people in that same situation and I never met one person that had arrived there alone. Yes, they did bring themselves there, but they also had help, the same way I had help. A deadbeat father, no roots at home, and early drug and alcohol dependency, low self esteem, strangers who were more than willing to take advantage of me and lead me down paths that would help them to use me. In that sense we had help getting to those places. Don’t think I am not acknowledging all the people that steered us, but you are the captain of your own vessel, and your feet; one in front of the other led you there. You could have walked another way or even walked away and you did not. I know that is the truth because it was for me. Unless someone kidnapped you and held you slave or hostage you could have walked away; like me you did not.
The reason why I keep bringing it back to you and I is that there can never be any real, lasting work done until you acknowledge the fact that you made your own decisions. Yes, it is embarrassing. Yes it means telling the truth after many lies and it means it may not be believed. Yes, it might even mean there will be consequences over and above what you expected or thought you could handle. Yes, it might also mean you will lose some things. Yes, it means that many of the relationships you now have will end.
This is not a joke. This is not just another reaction to your problems. This is sitting down with or without help and working through the lies and deceit in your life to get to the truth, find some answers, set a new course, and believe me, if that truly is your goal this is one of the things you should prepare yourself for, loss.
Loss will come. Loss will begin the instant you begin to pull away and it is the major reason so many fail: Whether it is pulling away from an addiction, an abusive relationship, a risky lifestyle; or the edge of a thousand foot drop. It means changes are coming. It means you will lose the comfort of sameness, of being with others that also suffer, of suffering because you have come to believe you deserve to suffer. That sameness, that suffering, is sometime all we have allowed ourselves to keep from the wreckage of our former lives and to lose that it must seem to you as it did to me that the world is ending, and in many ways that is true.
When you throw out the poisonous stuff there will not be much left. When you throw out the relationships that help to keep you in your situation, that entire world will be gone. When you go to work to earn a living instead of flagging down cars, shop lifting, selling your body and soul, it will be a world that you might know nothing about at all. So in that sense your world is ending and the one that is coming is one you will fail in unless you are prepared for it. Unless you have sat yourself down and had that talk, figured out where you want to be and told the truth about where you are and where you have been.
Are we all equally lost? No. That is another misperception. We all have different temptations; we all have different demons, compulsions. All of us have commonalities too, but that doesn’t mean we should lump all of our circumstances together and make common decisions for all of us. I have been in treatment programs where I have seen that approach used and it is hopeless. It is breaking down with your car and then walking down a road that parallels the main highway. You can see the main highway and cars zipping by. Help is there, but there is a twenty foot high fence topped with razor wire in between your road and the highway. You will never get there. That is because what you need is not the same as what I need. Your wants, goals, future, will never be the same a mine. Think about it. If that were the case, if we were all that common in our needs, marriages would never fail. We would understand each other. One trip to jail, prison or rehab would be enough and it isn’t. That is why you must sit down and have that talk with yourself. Figure it out. Get it straight in your head before you ask for help to make the changes you are going to make and there are reasons to do it that way.
The first reason is you may make some decisions based on what you think you know that turn out later to be wrong. They become wrong because you learn as you change and we come to realize that what was right yesterday is not right today. And you will change. You will change because even in your circumstances you change every day: Every minute. If you tried to stay the same you couldn’t. Everything that touches you changes you. You think you are static because you do not acknowledge that change. You stay in your circumstances because at some point in your life something happened and you froze, slapped a coat of paint on who you were then and called it good enough. It wasn’t good enough. Not even close.
At around the age of five I was molested by an aunt. I don’t say that to shock or disgust you I say it to illustrate my last point. The abuse was ongoing and at some point in there I stopped growing. I considered it everything I could do to survive what was coming each day and so I stopped growing mentally. I slapped up a few defenses, whatever a five year old can, mainly to cave in, admit I am worthless, go through the pain and get it over with. I stopped my path to the person I was supposed to be and became that little person I was at that time for many years: With just those basic defenses to protect myself. My views of women stopped developing and became based on her actions and so the hatred I felt for her dominated my feelings about women. I became a man who acted like a child; thought like a child, behaved liked a child. A child cannot live in an adult world where they are expected to be adults. So I was rejected. No one was going to stop and take the time to talk with me, get me to see what I had done; was doing. I was rejected and that was all that I felt. The world made no sense. I had no mechanisms to help me survive. Alcohol and drugs seemed to provide answers and so that is the road I took. I had relationships that did not last because I was a child playing at being an adult. I had chances to prosper, trust was placed in me, and I failed again because a child is not up to those tasks.
So it is the child’s fault. No; that is not why I bought you here. It is your fault. I am giving you an answer I found after I sat down and had that talk, and after I participated in groups and spoke to counselors, and after I had some time away from those behaviors I had practiced and achieved some clarity. And I started these particular verses out saying we are not all alike, and we are not. I do not know what led you to where you are. I do not know your circumstances. What I do know is that we do have similarities. There are common areas we can explore, learn from each other about, identify with and there is hope in that, because if there were no common ground we would be lost.
Common ground: The human experience; addictive behaviors and substances, past abuse, anger issues, prison time, jail time, psychiatric hospital time, time on the streets, coming from a large family, coming from an abusive home, being sexually molested… The things I have listed are only a list. It is to illustrate what you can write about yourself. This is a way to find common ground and in my experience common ground is important.
I opened my eyes one morning and saw the familiar institutional color of the wall next to me and knew there would be a cell door of some type before I ever turned my head. After I looked, for a very long time I laid there and cried: I did not know what I had done on the surface; it was all lost at that point and some of it I was keeping myself from acknowledging, but I knew that once again I was in a county jail and I was feeling sorry for myself, not for my actions, for myself.
Days slipped by, weeks, and I came to know what I was accused of but I did not believe it because I had no memory of it: Convenient, maybe, bad if it is the truth and in my case it was. I said way back at the beginning of this that honesty is the only way to reach the goal of living in the world instead of dealing with the world, and that is true. As the weeks slipped by I began to acknowledge the fact that I did have some memories and although they were only partial they supported what I was accused of. I also realized that no one would believe me no matter what I said. Not about what I had done, but if I said I wanted change. That fear kept me undecided, but the truth is it doesn’t matter who believes you. No one has to believe you and if you have lived a life of deceit and lies, most likely no one will. This is a personal journey. There are no passengers on this train. It is that simple. You have to decide to tell the truth and live by that knowing full well there may be few people who believe you or believe in you. If you cannot do that you are setting yourself up for failure. The common ground came after I admitted the truth to myself. I felt isolated. Who was like me; who could help me, what should I do next?
Next was a drug and alcohol meeting where men and women came in from the outside and talked to the inmates. They held them on the weekend and so I had to give up church to attend. Church where I was doing my best to persuade God to help me. Could I afford to take a day off of talking God into helping me? Don’t get me wrong. God can do miracles, but I have never seen God set a drug addict or alcoholic, or both on their feet in one setting. That is because we aren’t quite sure about God and what God can or cannot do. We have lied all of our lives, so we think that maybe God lies too. You can convince yourself of anything.
I went to the meeting expecting absolute salvation and deliverance from drugs and alcohol in one setting and then the judge would hear this and release me and I would get a real job and enter smoothly into the real world, the world the straight people, the squares lived in and life would go on forever so happily, and I would be so grateful: All bull. I also went there thinking “This is a waste of time.” I went. I had to sign up for it and so I was on the call-out and when they cracked my cell door I got in line and I went.
The speaker was so-so. He talked about drinking, losing his wife and home and job. I listened but it meant little to me. Then he said, let me introduce you to two men who have been down some of the roads you have. Something like that; I paraphrased it, but I’m pretty sure I got it right since it was a very important day in my life.
The two men came up looking embarrassed to be there, same as I would have been; a little overweight, normal, not super stars, not polished like the counselors always seemed to be, but real people. They had my attention because of that and here is why: I had heard they were beginning, in counseling and mental health facilities, to use ex addicts, ex alcoholics, people who had been abused and others that understood the situation because they had been in it rather than people who had gone to school and really did not have a clue what it was like to turn a trick, or score some crack, meth, hustle, sleep in a doorway. That impressed me and it impressed me because these were men like me: Men that had looked into the eyes of the same monster I had been staring at for years and had managed to look away.
As they talked I found I believed what they had to say. They spoke the same language I understood, and as they went on one of the men began to tell a story and I realized I knew that story. Not that it sounded familiar, but that I knew it. I knew it because I was one of the people in it., That man told a story about me when I was younger. He was talking about his own circumstances, but he described it so well that I knew it was that time and place from my past. The year, the time of night, the place and the crowd of kids that was there. I was one of those kids. In fact I was the one that was showing out the most the way I always did to impress the people around me, to be noticed, to get attention and a funny thing: I could not remember a single name of any of those others I was with that night, or much about them, but I remembered the one guy who was now talking in that concrete block room in the county jail, his circumstances and that night, that place perfectly well.
That was all I needed: The beginning of the end for me; I believed him. I believed his recovery; his transfer back to society, how he learned to be a man. How he put the past behind him. Not covered it up, but let it go, dealt with the consequences and began to live. He finished and asked if anyone else wanted to share and I found my hand shooting up and he called on me. I froze: I knew what this moment was and what it could mean. I stopped and thought; I really thought and then I spoke. I told him who I was and what I was there for, accused of, and then I admitted I did it, broke down and thanked him for his story and what it gave me.
When I finished I thanked him again and although a few guys had tried to make me see reason; that criminal moral code, never be honest, he had encouraged me to speak and I had. You never saw so many guys reaching for pencils to write down what I said, but they had none. You cannot bring anything to those meetings. When we got back I saw those same guys calling their lawyers, looking to trade information on me for a deal. For a second I panicked, but my resolve was good. I did not know what this new road was, but I was on it. I had found my common ground.
Understand this was a process. There was no flash of light and then I was absolved of all wrong doing. I was only taking that first step. I was still a criminal, still hated and still a liar in many respects. No one began to love me because of that, many people even seemed to think there must be an angle I was playing. Guys even came up to me at recreation and asked me what that angle might be. There was no angle. I had my common ground. That man and I may have had nothing else in common, but we were both alcoholics, meth users, and we had been on the same path. Apart from that he had found his way out before I had, his life was in a direction I didn’t know or understand, and he could not help me in my choices or walks or even talk to me apart from that one conversation.
I say that to tell you that it is not an easy road to honesty. It took me some time, weeks in fact, but I also say it to come back to common ground. Although I was becoming convinced that I had a drug and alcohol problem I would not allow myself to consider what that meant. I am sure that you know what I mean. Your thoughts start down that path and you stop them. You stop them and begin to think of something else. That is what I was doing. I had not taken the first step because there was nothing compelling me to do it. Honesty? Honesty is a lot of work! Who will believe me? Who even cares? Why should I do it? I’ll have to pay for that, there will be serious consequences; and so honesty is not a possibility. I found I could deny everything I saw and heard because; after all I had been doing it for all of my adult life.
But an encounter that happened to me changed it all. It made me able to take that first little step. And a little step is all it was. I had taken a step that was going to cause me to spend a very large portion of my life imprisoned, maybe all of it: I did not know. What I did know is that I was being honest. I didn’t matter if people thought I was playing an angle. It didn’t matter if people hated me; it only mattered that I could stop at that point and begin to think instead of simply reacting, clear my head, all because I had found some common ground. So although we are different there is common ground we can meet on; agree on to begin to accept and give help to get one another moving in the right direction. It doesn’t mean you are agreeing to become just like everyone else, it only means there is common ground we can meet on and begin to address our lives, what matters.
We are back to our original argument. We do know the things we do are wrong. We pretend they are not wrong, or we simply react and think that saved us the decision, but that is bull. We know exactly what choice we have made, and again if you are reading this my assumption is that you want to change. I cannot change you, nor would I want to. That goes back to being a follower again. And you may end up following someone, but the point is to follow someone, something worth following: So no, this about you changing yourself; you, not allowing others to do it. Not just living and thinking it is all fate, but you being responsible for you and the choices you make, so me saving you is not on the table. The information I have is. And I believe that information can help you. It is you that will have to implement that information and the changes it can bring into your life.
I hope that you are not disappointed, but if I did what I set out to do you should not be. If you are honest you can sit down and do this. I don’t know what you will sick up, and it isn’t my place or anyone else’s place to know that, except you. You are the one that needs to know. You are the one that will know whether you are once again blowing smoke or if you are being honest. I hope for honesty and I believe you do as well. Even so, sometimes we can believe we are too weak. We can believe that since we live in this country, this world where forgiveness is not a given that everything is stacked against us and we cannot do a thing about it. I can only say, go back and read this again and compare the things it says to your own life. You should see some truths there. No one can stop you from doing this except you.
In closing: Let’s go back to the beginning. When I started this I was speaking about the world, how unfair it can be. How there is no forgiveness, no forgetting and I don’t want you to forget that, because the fact is that, that is the way it is. Family, lovers, and people you meet. Very few people will truly forgive the things you have done. Forget the mistakes you have made. As long as they are in your circles, around you, maybe as long as you live they will still feel that way. In short there is nothing you can do to change that. Yes, you could run away from that reality to another reality, but there will be new people who will discover your faults, mistakes, crimes, because things like that tend to continue to turn up until we take care of them permanently: So new people will feel the same way. You will have done nothing except set yourself back in your goals and dreams. The answer is not to change them: To make them see you differently, the answer is for you to see them differently.
Have you ever hated something someone has done? Not necessarily something someone has done to you, just to someone else in general. I always used the analogy of what if it was something that happened to someone you love. What if it was your brother someone killed, your sister someone murdered, raped, how would you feel then? Don’t just dismiss that. Think about it. There really are people you love and if someone hurt them, cheated them, you would have emotion tied to how you felt about it. The line I am drawing shouldn’t be hard to see. You have done things. Maybe they are minor things compared to what I just mentioned, maybe they are worse. No one has gone through life without impacting someone. You sometimes have to hurt one person’s feelings to save another person’s feelings.
Life is like that, so no matter who you are you have not come through this life unscathed, there are people that do not like you, and, surprise, there are people that don’t like you because you are different from them: A different sexual orientation, a different color. Right, we know all of that. I say it to make you think about it. There are people in your world that will never let you alone about real or imagined things they do not like about you, and there is nothing you can do about it. So you can let them push you, shape your life, bow to their idea of what you are capable of, what you should be, or you can sit down and have that talk with yourself. Make the changes you need to make and start guiding your life to the place you want it to be.
The other side of that coin is the reason that you may decide that nearly every person now in your life may not be in your life much longer. Not only will they continue to remind you of what you were, they will be a constant reminder to you of what you were and could be again. Many of them may also be enablers. They have known you and your needs. Maybe that was good for them. Maybe you changing would take away their stability, their need to fix you so that they do not have to look at themselves, fix themselves.
That may seem ludicrous, but it isn’t. You may passionately love someone who is also an addict, alcoholic, involved deeply in the criminal life, or a dealer, or your main enabler. How is maintaining that relationship going to help you recover from your own problems? It isn’t. Sure, you can go to them and lay it all out. In fact I encourage you to do that because it is the only way to break that bond: If that person means that much to you take that time, in fact you truly do owe them that time, and it is a cowardly act to simply walk away without explanation. But having said that you have to know where you are, how strong you are. Can you have that conversation right now and not cave in; maybe not you, you are not me you are an individual and this is walking alone not in a crowd. My only point is there is a reason why these relationships we had in our addictions and compulsions do not very often come through with us. They are part of the support network we have built around us to continue in our life of lies. We could not do it as well as we did without them, but if we are truly on the path of change we do not need them any longer and if you cannot face them without fear of failing and falling back into who you were and understand so well, the explanation will have to wait until you are strong enough to give it.
That does not mean we run crazy and screaming from that life. Reasonable people, people who live in the real world, handle things differently. If I have a problem with Jill, Keisha, Johnny I don’t just drop them, add them to the list of bad people I have in my head, maybe punch Johnny in the face because we no longer see eye to eye. Picking up the real world means we are no longer apart from the laws that everyone else has to live by. It means we have excluded ourselves from those laws and now we have acknowledged that we are willing to be held to those same laws that the rest of the world is held to, and that same loose set of rules civilized people live by.
Is that offensive? It might be, but the fact is when citizens, a regular Jane or John Q looks at you they are afraid. You live a life amid circumstances they find disturbing, crazy even. They read about people like you and I in the paper, hear about them on the evening news. Or maybe you are a statistic. The point is they go to work. They pay their bills. They contribute to society. It doesn’t mean they understand every aspect of our society, like every aspect of it, agree with all of our politicians and politics, but they are invested in it, involved in it. And overall they believe it is a good way of life. You may disagree. Maybe that is why you went down the path you did.
Age 13: I took an overdose and nearly succeeded in my goal which was simply to stop living. I was serious, but I didn’t know enough about the drugs I had taken to ensure that they would work. I only knew there were a lot of pills and they seemed to be enough to get the job done. They weren’t. They were only enough to almost kill me, ruin my stomach for the rest of my life and leave me in intensive care. When I was released from intensive care I was locked up in the hospital’s Mental Health ward.
In the mental health ward I learned that depression is suffered by many people. I was not special, I did not want to actually kill myself I only needed some attention. That was all news to me because I did not feel that way that I knew of, but then again this was help from outside of me. Help I did not understand and help that came from a system that was ill prepared to deal with drug addicts who were so young. So they cut me loose and I went home to my crappy life, my alcohol addiction and speed addiction and a few weeks later I tried again, taking even more pills. That got me locked up for over a month in a mental health unit.
I talked to a young counselor there a person who had been through some rough patches in their life. A week, week two, then week three of one on one counseling and I decided I trusted that person. I told them then, of all things I could have told them about, what my aunt had done to me. Later in life I came to realize why that was the thing that came out, but at the time I was as appalled as the counselor was. The counselor excused themselves and a few minutes later I was talking to a psychologist and then to a psychiatrist: For whatever reasons I never saw the counselor I had come to trust again. I was not believed and a few days later I was cut loose without any sort of real explanation.
I think there was fear, I think there was disbelief, and I think that I should have gotten a better break back then, a better set of ears, and had that happened maybe I… And what does that line of thought do? Derail me. I have heard too many criminals, addicts, alcoholic go down that road. That road only leads to “It Was Someone Else’s Fault Not Mine.” It is a dead end road. It means nothing, it accomplishes nothing; it goes nowhere. It happened, maybe something like it happened to you, or something similar, but it doesn’t matter, because we are living in the real world now and in the real world that sort of stuff is pointless. It doesn’t solve anything, heal anyone and it wastes time better spent dealing with real issues.
The other thing is that it scares people, back to that argument just a short while ago. It scares people because they do not understand it. Yes, a psychologist or some counselors are trained to understand it. That is because they have read it, and maybe in a few case they have seen it in action and so they have a better grasp of it, but they have not lived it: Even so they can deal with it without surface fear of the things you are telling them, the average person cannot. If you think that is a stretch, consider this, almost everything we do is motivated by fear. I won’t get into a long explanation about it that has been covered and covered, look it up, read it, but understand that this is not an abstract idea, it is true. People will be afraid of you. Afraid of the things you say, the ideals you promote. They will be afraid because people who are considered normal don’t live those types of lives. And they will be afraid because they will know that it is like a disease, let it in and it could infect everything they love. It can do that because it is the opposite of all they have worked for.
For you and me, if you are an addict or a criminal, it might not be a stretch at all to witness violent crime and do nothing, say nothing, certainly we wouldn’t report it. That is part of our moral code, not to call the cops and we understand that, people on the up and up in society don’t understand that. Their first thought would be to stop it. Their second thought once they realized they might get hurt themselves trying to stop it would be to call the police, 911. That thought would not enter our minds. You might think, So what: Big deal; if they were in our circumstances they might act the same as we do! Another diversion, because we do not want them in our circumstances, do we? No we want us in their circumstances. We are trying to get away from that reasoning, those moral codes that we lived by and learn how to live in the real world. Well, that is the real world right there.
I point that up so that maybe you can get an idea of how vast the gulf is between them and us. And really I have to say them and you, because I have crossed that gulf. I also want to point up that in a great many people’s minds it changed nothing at all. They still hated me. They still doubted me and they are still afraid of me. Don’t harbor any illusions, for the most part that is the way it will be and you need to remember that because if you come into this thinking it will all be good and all that old stuff will simply fall away, you are wrong, it will not; but that does not mean there will not be encouragement, help, and probably that will come from some of the people and places you hated the most when you were in that life, the people who are in charge of that world; authority figures: Police, Parole Officers, Psychologists, Counselors, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Facilities, Prisons and Jails.
Authority Figures: My thoughts twenty years ago when it came to authority figures was like this: Don’t trust them, tell them anything real, lie to them, hate them just because they are trying to control me. I don’t think that is exaggerated at all. It was who I was and how I thought. My attitude now is vastly different, and if that makes you think you should not believe in the things I say then so be it, because the world needs to have authority figures. There needs to be someone in charge that can be the go to person that takes responsibility. I know that might sound crazy to you, but it is an absolute. If you are a religious person read the Old Testament, New Testament or the Quran whatever religious documents you adhere to and you will see that authority is an absolute. Without it there can be no fairness for anyone, any group of peoples, religions, small countries, impoverished peoples. There has to be authority figures to apprehend that thief, rapist, murderer so that they can pay for what they have done. There needs to be authority figures to guide us too. No religion has ever worked without them. This means that you will have to revise your thinking. You will have to bend to that loose set of rules I was referring to earlier if you wish to be considered acceptable in a real society.
Last words: This is not a magic bullet. Just because you put yourself on the right track does not mean that all the problems you created just reacting to life are going away. If it were that simple we would all have done it long ago. All it means is that you have set goals and you are working for them. You are giving yourself time to think. That is something you deserve. You are saying no to some situations and you are aware of your weaknesses and how they can lead you to bad choices, bad places. It also doesn’t mean that everything you want will be attained. Goals are made to be changed, expectations lowered. Winners know that: Dreamers tend to believe that things will rise to meet their expectations instead of them lowering their expectations to meet life. So, don’t think unrealistically. Make that one of things that you talk to yourself about. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. That is really the way I have lived my life for several years now. I think it is the only way to do it and win, Dell…

Checking out an alternative OS to windows

Published by George Dell

If you are thinking about ditching Windows for something that works check out Linux Mint. I have it installed on my laptop with the Cinnamon desktop the 64 bit flavor. It is an older laptop and it runs it well and fast. It found and set up all of the drivers, video, audio, WIFI with no trouble. I tried Ubuntu, Lubuntu and several other flavors and this looks and acts more Windows like so it is easier to get used to. Comes with Firefox or you can go to the software download center and install Chrome easily. It is the equivalent of Chrome. It will sync with your Chrome account and within a few moments you’ll have all of your passwords and you’ll be ready to go. Same if you decide to keep Firefox, it will also sync with your Chrome account, just type in your Google eMail and password and within a few seconds Firefox will sync with your Chrome account and you’ll be all set.
For Writers: It comes with Open Office, or the Linux Community version of it already installed. It will open, edit and read your Word docs. I wrote several of my books without ever owning a copy of Word using the language module that now comes standard with Open Office. I write constantly and so I have to say that it is not as fast as Word, but it will produce finished documents acceptable to Smashwords or Amazon, and the language module has steadily improved with both American, EU and even AU English modules now along with dozens of other languages.
It comes standard with GIMP which in my opinion is every bit as good as anything out there. It may have a few things to get used to but it can produce quality work. I have Photoshop but I stopped using it in favor of GIMP a few years back. I wish Linux or one of the package builders would Port something closer to Photoscape, because although it does offer photo manipulation it is not as good as Photoscape.
I am rebuilding an 8 core machine/server right now that will run Linux Mint and Windows both which is why I have been testing out various versions/flavors of Linux to find something I can work with. I absolutely hate Laptop computers, they just seem counterintuitive to me, but with Linux Mint on it I have enjoyed it for a few weeks now and decided to install it on the 8 core build.
The security factor is a big deal. There just aren’t many hackers trying to hack their way into Linux systems. Clam AV and several other virus programs work well. I have even use the Windows versions of them on my Windows machines and had no problems at all.
I wrote this article in Open Office and used the spell check and Firefox to post it. Take a look if you are thinking about a Windows alternative. (To be fair I did have to edit part of this for common mistakes to me that the spell check missed, but the same things get missed in Word as my friend Andrea always tells me)


Get it or learn more here: 

https://linuxmint.com/download.php


FREE EBOOKS TODAY ONLY

Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse. Free at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Apocalypse-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B00YDAXFLE

The Zombie Plagues: Plague. Free at Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-zombie-plagues-plague/id1278635477?mt=11



 

It turns out Los Angeles is a hard place to be during the apocalypse

It turns out Los Angeles is a hard place to be during the apocalypse.

Beth comes from Los Angeles in the first days of the Apocalypse and makes her way across the country to the east coast and then finds herself backtracking across the states to the middle of the country and the Nation which is growing in the former state of Kentucky.
Before the apocalypse she is beginning to pull herself back up from the gutter of life, learning to live again, trust and believe. The apocalypse almost crushes that hope she had begun to grow, but she must fight past that, refuse to believe the end has really come.
She travels across the country with Billy, facing both the living and the dead as she makes her way from one coast to the other. The trip is long and she is holding out hope of structure, life, safety on the east coast: Hopes that may not be realized.
The dead seem to have it in for her and twice she is attacked by them as she makes her journey. It is only her own resolve and courage that will help her to overcome those attacks if she can and make her way to the Nation and the safety she has been searching for…


Get a FREE Preview! https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Life-Stories-Beth-ebook/dp/B06Y4Q2RG5

How did you write that

Dell Sweet 07-24-17

I recently published a story in a magazine, and had a conversation with the editor about writing and how it works for me. I said that what I do is take a mental outline of what I want and go from there. I usually commit those same ideas to paper. I don’t usually publish short stories in magazines, but the process was interesting and made me put some real thought into the interview answers.

It is pretty simple to have an idea, or a story-line; we all get them, but that doesn’t write the story, you have to do that and the first thing that you have to do is believe in what you are writing. If you do not believe in it no one else will, because you will not be able to convince them it is real or viable. For instance; if you want to write a zombie story, but you have no faith that you can, you more than likely will not ever write the story, because no matter what you do write you will not feel it, believe in it and so you will continue to reject it until you hit upon something you do believe in; or give up entirely.

I do not know how you write, but the writer friends that I have talked to have all been in that place where the words stopped, or the phrasing won’t come. The thing is it does not matter. And the reason it does not matter is that you are allowing yourself to get caught up in all the trivial things of your proposed story, so much so that you have frozen your creativity. You have no story because you are not allowing yourself to write it. You have dammed up that stream. Stopped the flow of information. What you need to do is just write, and there are a few reasons for that.

First: Write it because writing moves you past that initial word on paper place. Just write. It doesn’t matter if it is misspelled, it doesn’t matter if the punctuation is incorrect, it doesn’t even matter if you have no idea where you are going with the story, even if it seems that it is not adhering to your outline: Just write it; let it flow. You can fix all the other stuff later: And you wrote the idea down so if this story coming to you is not the story you wanted, write it anyway: It is a gift; take it write the other story some other day.

Second: Write it because the words will disappear if you don’t get them down on paper. I have heard many writers say, “I had better write this stuff in my head down on paper before I lose it.” or “I had this story in my head, I should have written it down, I did not and now it is gone.” I have never heard a writer say, “I guess I will write this story down that I have stored in my head from two days ago.” They don’t say that because it is gone, so write it down.

Yes a story idea can get in your head and be there for months. Drive you crazy, but that is the idea for a story, not the story itself. The idea without direction, and that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about sitting on the couch watching TV, or driving to work in your car, and suddenly an idea hits you and goes past that and starts to formulate into a story, and you know that it is ready to be written out…

So here is this guy and one day the world as he knows it ends. The Earth stops being predictable, if it ever really was. The buildings, houses and roads buckle and are consumed by the Earth in places. Earthquakes hit and destroy nearly everything he knows. And just like that his life is completely changed forever. I wonder what he would do?

It took me several tries and forty years to write that story out. Most of that was because I left for the streets at fourteen and spent the next two years living there. From there I went into the service. From there I became married, and then life took over; but the need to write that story never stopped. I wrote three books about it that no one ever saw, and then I lost those books for almost 30 years.

The notes above were written in 2009, me rethinking the earlier books I had lost. It made me write it out again, and it became another book. As I followed that need to write that story out of me it turned into dozens of composition notebooks full of other manuscripts, short stories, plays, lyrics, millions of words that I finally realized I could write out of me.

You see, writing is not about anyone but you. Sure, the popular authors will say things like “I wrote this one for the fans.” And in some ways that is true, but in all the ways that matter it Is not true at all. You wrote it because it was in you and it needed to be out of you so you opened up that doorway between your mind and your form of expression and you wrote it out of you. Gave it a life. It does not matter if ten thousand people hate it. If one likes it? That will make it all worthwhile. So it was for no one except you. It was because it was there and it was time for it to be birthed and you birthed it. The fans just gave you the ability to have an audience to read it.

That story I spoke of above became the original unpublished version of Earth’s Survivors. Not the story that became a series about the rise of the dead. This is a story about people struggling to survive. There was not one Zombie in that story. The dead, in fact, were not part of the story at all until far into the series, and even then they had only one book.

When I was in the process of publishing that book, it was the first thing I had published in more than thirty years, someone said, “You know, publishing has changed. This is a good book, but it probably will never sell a single copy, because it doesn’t have zombies or vampires or werewolves in it.” That bugged me. I slipped back into that anxiety mode most writers find themselves in when they first publish… The editors are cutting out this and that, changing this scene, deleting this character, it is not what I wrote any longer… That sort of stuff.

I should have known better, because I had already published years before and gone through all of that, and never published again because I hated the process so much. I saw this new self publishing as an opportunity to publish something my way: The way I wrote it.

All well and good, but the thing is that some editors, friends, people in your circle really do know better than you do. So I yanked that book, went back, wrote zombies into the plot line: Had a blast doing it, and then published the Zombie Plagues.

It took off, and I hated it. I felt like I had succumbed to the temptation to go for the cash, lost faith in myself that I had a written a good book that could have made it without zombies/vampires/werewolves and sold out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed writing a zombie series, but the series of books I had written in all of those composition notebooks was not written as a zombie vehicle. It was written as a series about people picking up the pieces of their world and starting over.

It was my need to get that story out of me that made me finish the original story when there was no market for it: When The Zombie Plagues was a going series with the un-dead center stage.

Does that mean it will be liked the original way? Maybe. If you like good characters and a good story-line you may. It is up to you. I wrote it because it was in me and it needed it to be out of me. I wrote it because it was what was given to me to write by whatever Gods were up there passing out stories, all those years ago: And I will continue with that series publishing all the books that were written for it, and then never published. Yes, even if it is just for myself.

That is the kind of faith you need. Remember, this is really about you and what you can sustain.

So you have your idea written down; write it out now. See where it is going…

This is an exercise writing about a Zombie with very few facts, just letting the story build on itself. A zombie in a kitchen… Just a zombie scene…

The zombie shambled into the kitchen and looked around.

When I wrote it, I mean when I just let the words go, it went where it wanted to go which is where I wanted it to go in my head. The brain has a pretty good idea of what it wants to do. When I did this earlier today, this exercise with my friend, that is what I wrote: The zombie shambled into the kitchen and looked around.

“So what is that zombie doing in that kitchen?” my friend asked.

Good question. What is that zombie doing in that kitchen? Where is that kitchen? How did the zombie get there? Who did it used to be? Question upon question if you allow yourself to ask them.


… The zombie lurched into the kitchen from it’s hiding place in the garage. It had heard something… Some noise that had drawn it…


If I ask a question my mind tends to want to answer it. (Notice I re-wrote that first sentence. That happened because the story began to flow. When that happens you sometimes end up on autopilot, along for the ride.) Now I know where the zombie came from, the garage. Why was it in the garage? Where did it come from before that? Does it even know? And I don’t stop to ask these questions, I just let the stream flow from me and I follow it as it flows: Because that is the other thing about this process. These stories come to you. I could not say where they come from either. Sometimes it feels like theft. They come so fast. So complete. So well formed. The characters all seem to be looking at me and asking, Don’t you know me?” And I realize I do know them. I don’t know from where, or how, or why, but I know them. They came with the story and they are products of my imagination, but my imagination wants them to live, and so it creates them and I am only the vessel with opposable thumbs that writes them out. And that is writing too. Acknowledging that this miracle came through you and you don’t have a clue how it did that. Still, take that gift, write it out and follow it…


The zombie stared around at the disorder of the kitchen. It’s vision was not the vision it had once had. The crystal clear vision that the living enjoyed. This vision was more of a knowing, supplemented with shadows, blurred movements, and something else… Light, it decided, and it did not like the light… The light caused its head to ache… The light was… The light was bad, it decided. The noise came again causing the zombie to tilt its head and stare down at the movement it had felt from the floor. Something squirmed there, moving with a purpose that suggested life.


More is more. The vision sequence came because I asked myself, How do zombies see? The zombie was in the garage. Some noise made it come to the kitchen. The kitchen is a wreck. Why? What is in the kitchen? What was in the kitchen? Remember, it doesn’t matter if there are misspellings, if it is missing descriptive content, we are simply getting the story out. We can come back later and flesh it out.


The cat stared up at the woman where she stood, head cocked, stopped halfway through the garage doorway, as if listening. The woman was different. Her stance: The way she moved. Even her smell was different. And she had not fed the cat in the past two days. Why, the cat wondered, was there no food when there was always food?

She sniffed at the air. The smell was wrong. And something deeper than that was wrong, the cat decided. And just as the cat had made up its mind to spring away from the woman and leap for the front door that lay shattered and open to the elements, the woman bent quickly, snatched the cat up, and brought it to her face. The cat snarled and clawed, but the woman paid no mind. Her strange eyes locked with the cat’s own, and then the woman leaned forward and bit one of the cat’s paws off.

The cat yowled in pain, squirming desperately in the woman’s hands, trying to free itself as the woman turned, shuffled back into the garage and slammed the heavy door behind her. The door rattled in its frame and then the kitchen fell silent.


And there is my story. The zombie came, it was explained, and then it left.

A few last remarks: If you are capable of writing you already know it; it is something inside of you, some drive that will never let you be. Not a wish to make a lot of money, because I can tell you that rarely happens. Not a desire to be famous, another thing that happens to only a few and something some of us do not want at all. In fact I have always longed for a writing partner who likes that public attention and will handle all of that public face time so I can simply write, but we writers are all nuts, and so that is something that probably won’t happen because we would probably kill each other.

So it isn’t those things. It is another thing that eats away at you. It is the sometimes bizarre train of thoughts that parade through your head every hour of every day. Yes, you might think of something else for twenty five minutes, or even fifty, but it’s coming back. Somewhere in that hour your mind will turn back to…

If you are a writer, don’t let people scare you away from it. I have seen many writers who lived parts of their lives in misery because they truly believed they sucked at writing because some dipshit pencil pusher told them that. Hey, screw that guy or girl. Are they in your head? Do they see the ideas you see? No. They are the kind of people that like to judge people. Thank God that many of our writers went through that process and passed by it to become the writers we know and love or else the world would be a poorer place for not having them as writers we know and love. Three of my favorite writers, Mark Twain, Stephen King and Jean Auel, all received bad advice that told them they shouldn’t write. Some of that came after they wrote, some before. Some mild, some horrific, you suck, stop writing, etc.

The thing is that, that can not matter too deeply to you. Yes you hear it, but don’t let it own you, drive you, don’t invest in it. What has to matter deeply to you is writing. That sounds selfish and it is. Lovers will hate you. Kids will feel neglected. Life will pass by and you will wonder where the hell it went to. Other writers will feel jealous, even hate you, or love you or a million other things… Write the stuff that is in your head and demands to be written or else all the bad shit that could happen to you in your life will happen anyway and you will find yourself at the end of your life, a miserable person who never wrote those things and figured out what this world or that world that existed entirely in your head was about.

I have been many things in my life. A drug addict, a prisoner, a bad guy, a carpenter, a father, a husband, a friend, a lover, and through every one of those things that I was, I was also a writer, except it wasn’t always also: Sometimes it was everything. Because being a writer and having these things inside of you that need to be written out can be a curse too. It can cause you to neglect the things you shouldn’t neglect. It can cause you to need that drink to cap those thoughts, that drug, that distraction. It is a blessing and it is a curse. And many writers have handled it poorly in public. I don’t handle it in public anymore, but I did, what a mess I made too. Same as many other writers with the same predilections and addictions to sort through. The same obligations they ignored. All to chase that thought to its conclusion. So forewarned is forearmed, isn’t it? Don’t say you didn’t hear the truth from me. And yet, for me, I will still chase that story to wherever the hell it is leading. I’ll open that door, go into that room that I shouldn’t go into, I don’t care.

I was told in my career as a writer that I would not make it. Too much of my past would hurt me. I would not be able to control the bottle, the drugs, the world, the thoughts. And besides, you suck as a writer too. It all makes me laugh now, but it used to make me mad, yet eventually, when I learned to look at it for what it was it had to make me laugh. It made me laugh because there is not a choice here. It is what I do. I get up every day and do it. I know when I do it that there are people who will hate what I write, hate me, and I know there are those who will read it, love it. That is life. It is the way the world has always worked and nothing that you and I can do will change it. Except you must ignore it if you want to write. Remember two things: One: Only you can say whether what you wrote is worth something. Two: Opinions really are like assholes, everyone has one and some people seem to have more than one.

I can assure you that I care what readers of my novels think, but I can also tell you that a few weeks back I pulled the plug on the most popular series I wrote. I have not looked back, and I wont. This is personal and public, heart wrenching and soul quenching. I write. It’s what I do: Until I die it is what I will do. That is the passion you need to have to write. If all of those things I just wrote are true about you to any degree? You should stop fighting it and write.

What follows is the balance of the exercise, the little story I wrote. I liked it. I did not ask anyone else…


ZOMBIE GRANDMA

Copyright 2014 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved.

THE HUNTINGTON RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

Day Three of the Zombie Apocalypse:

“Shush… Shut the hell up!” Danny hissed loudly.

“Don’t be telling me to Shush… Or to shut the hell up either,” Tamara said.

Danny turned around and stared at her bug eyed. “What? Are you frickin’ kidding me? A zombie frickin’ apocalypse happening, and you know those frickin’ zombies come right to the goddamn noise…”

“That’s true. They do come right to the noise,” Agnes agreed.

“Girl! What the hell?” Tamara said. She stared at Agnes hard.

“Well they do!” Agnes thrust her hands on her hips, jutted one hip out and tried to look older than her twelve years.

“Both of you all shut the hell up,” Danny said. “Shush” He placed one finger over his lips to illustrate. Just then a sliding, shuffling of feet came to them from the door that led into the garage.

“Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said in a whisper moan. “That is a goddamn zombie right there… A goddamn zombie… Already ate grandma and now it is gonna open that…” Her words broke off suddenly as Tamara’s hand clamped across her mouth.

“Ain’t no zombie… It ain’t… It is grandma…. We came here to find her, right? Well she has just been waiting back in the garage for us… Only place safe,” Tamara whispered in a squeaky, scared voice. Agnes frightened eyes looked up to her own.

“Mooser?” Agnes asked in a muffled whisper.

“I’m sure,” Tamara agreed.

They had stolen a car in the city and drove themselves out to the Huntington Retirement Community where grandma still lived to make sure she was all right.

The apocalypse had started two days before. Slow at first, just a murmur of problems, but yesterday it had gone full tilt crazy. The zombies were everywhere, taking over the city, but most likely there had not been too many dead rising out this way yet, Tamara thought. The problem was that grandma’s front door had been splintered apart. Someones leg, hairy, so it wasn’t Grandma’s, probably, Tamara thought, had lain just inside the door.

“That’s a mans leg,” Danny had said.

“’Cause it is hairy,” Agnes asked?

“No, ’cause it has got half a…” Tamara had slapped him in the back of the head.

“Don’t you be saying things like that in front of this child,” Tamara said.

“I ain’t no child,” Agnes had said loudly. And that had been when something had crashed in the garage.

“Son-of-a-bitch,” Danny had said, and jumped about a foot off the floor. Now the shuffling of feet came to them again, followed by a low growling sound.

“Oh, Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said before Tamara clamped her hand back across her mouth.

“Grandma never growled like that,” Tamara said.

“Yeah?” Danny turned and looked at her. “Well maybe that is Grandma’s cat… Probably been locked out there in the garage with nothing to eat for two days ’cause grandma done passed out in one of them dialectic comas, or whatever the hell you call them, so the cat is hungry… I would growl too if I was hungry… What we better do is open the goddamn door up before that cat decides to eat grandma!”

“Are you stupid?” Tamara hissed. “Grandma ain’t got no goddamn cat… Never had no goddamn cat… Hated cats… Idiot.”

“Thasafwukinzwombi,” Agnes said in her muffled voice.

“It’s not a frickin’ zombie,” Danny told her. “See what you done? Scared a little child.”

The garage door rattled in its frame.

“Gwamoo?” Agnes asked.

Danny cleared his throat. He was carrying a huge shovel with a pointed tip that he had found laying in grandma’s garden when they arrived. He tapped at the door with the shovel end. “Grandma?” he asked.

A low snarl came from behind the door, a rustling busy sort of sound and then a solid weight hit the door, rattling it in the frame.

“Stay behind me,” Tamara said as she released Agnes mouth and quickly looked around the kitchen. The door rattled a little harder; her eyes fell on the coffee carafe sitting on the counter. She snatched it up and turned back to the door. The door rattled once more and then stopped.

“I told you it was the frickin’ cat,” Danny said.

“It’s not a…” Tamara began, but just then the door slammed open, bounced off the wall and then closed once more on itself. It had been just long enough to show grandma standing in the doorway, eyes glowing red, something like foam dripping from her jaws, her hands clasping some unrecognizable thing tightly.

“That wasn’t no cat,” Danny said. “That was grandma… Dead… Shit comin’ out of her mouth an…”

The door slammed open once more and grandma lurched into the room. She dropped the stiffened cat she had been holding in her hands onto the floor, and lurched after Danny who stood still, mouth open in shock. His eyes fell to the cat and then flew back up to grandma.

“We came to save you grandma… we came to save you! What the hell you been into grandma…” She lurched forward and fixed him with her yellow-red eyes. “Wha… What the hell you been doing… Eatin’ that cat? What did you eat the cat for, grandma. What the…” Grandma lurched forward again and Danny finally realized that she was coming after him. He turned and jumped backwards as Tamara stepped forward and slammed the nearly full coffee carafe into the side of grandma’s head. The glass shattered, coffee sprayed across the kitchen and poured down grandma’s face in a brown river, shards of glass protruded from her temple. Her face began to twitch and shudder.

They all quickly sidestepped as grandma let loose a snarl and tried to claw Danny with one hand. Agnes began to scream, grandma’s rotting head swiveled toward her and she took a step in that direction. Tamara gripped the handle of the carafe tightly, looked at the sharp curve of glass still attached, and then stepped forward and drove it into grandma’s temple. Grandma collapsed in a heap, her head jerking and twitching, and then silence descended all at once.

Agnes sucked in a deep breath and started to sob in a muffled voice, her face pressed into the crook of her arm.

“I told you grandma had a cat,” Danny said. He stepped forward and toed the cat with one boot. The cat suddenly flopped around and fastened its teeth into Danny’s boot. “The frickin’ cat,” Danny screamed. “Grandma’s cat’s got me!” He remembered at the same second that he had the shovel clasped tightly in his hands and thrust it down, knocking the cat’s head away from his boot. A second after that he bought the shovel down hard, and the cat’s head rolled of into the corner where it snapped and snarled at grandma’s flowered wallpaper. Danny tried to backpedal, slipped and sat down hard.

“Oh for Christ’s sake,” Tamara growled. She stepped forward quickly and crushed the cat’s head with one booted foot. Danny looked up at her.

“I told you she had a cat,” Danny said.

“Oh, Jesus, Oh Jesus,” Agnes said. “This is worse than when Billy Parkin’s showed me his woo who.”

“What?” Danny asked. “Billy Parkin’s showed you his woo who? What the hell?”

Agnes peeked out from the crook of her arm and nodded.

“So what,” Tamara said. She fixed Danny with a hard look, reached down one hand and tugged him to his feet. “Showed me too. Don’t worry, they aren’t all that small.”

“Yeah. Showed me too,” Danny agreed as he dusted his hands against his jeans.

“You were looking at Billy’s Woo who?” Agnes asked.

“Well I wasn’t looking at it… It sort of,” Danny began. Grandma suddenly groaned from the floor and began to squirm around once more. Danny jumped forward and slammed the shovel down on her head over and over again until she stopped. The silence fell once more.

“We had better go,” Tamara said as she stared down at the smashed ruin of grandma’s head. “Find a safe place.”

Danny lifted his eyes up from the floor. Started to toss the shovel away and then decided to keep it. He nodded.

Agnes came forward and threaded one arm into Tamara’s own.

“Ready, punkin?” Tamara asked her. She nodded. The three turned and began to walk from the kitchen.

“What were you looking at Billy Parkin’s Woo who for?” Tamara asked Danny.

“I did not say I was looking at Billy Parkin’s Woo Who,” Danny started as they walked out onto the front walk. The day was fading fast, dark clouds moving in.

“We have to find a place, don’t we?” Agnes asked.

“We do,” Tamara agreed. She looked off down the street to a cluster of buildings that looked promising. Community Center, a sign hanging over the nearest buildings entrance said. She thought for a moment and then moved off toward the building, the others following.

“You did say it,” Tamara said as they walked.

“I didn’t say it,” Danny replied with a shake of his head. “I didn’t.”

The three moved off down the street toward the community center building, their voices a soft hum on the cooling air as they walked.


I hope you got something out of this. I read Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons), it made me want to be a writer, I thought. Except that bug was in me already. I read The Stand (Stephen King) and I realized that people really did write things that mattered. I read Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean Auel) and realized that the past was a real place, alive and breathing.

I mention those books because I want you to read the feedback if you check them out. I’d really wish for you to read those books if they are your speed. Some people didn’t like those books. In fact some hated them. You have to internalize that. Do you want to write? Then write something. Stephen king has a great book on the art of writing, but he loves to talk about writing in the introductions to nearly every book he has written. Samuel Clemons talked about it as well. Jean Auel has given insight several times on what it took to write her book series. Be encouraged. Write. I would love to read it. Dell Sweet

Hard books – True stories


Dello Green. Hired killers are invincible until they cross the wrong people then they are expendable  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M8OT7QN


Sanger Road Kindle. Carl leads a boring life until a carload of drugs and money falls into his lap https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6A8P7E


Crime Time. Short stories from Dell Sweet. Short to novel length stories…

eBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/crime-time/id1236234340?mt=11

Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/7164097


The end of life. Helping a loved one as they die…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/true-true-stories-from-small/id598017918?mt=11


The woman on the floorboards was dead, not passed out…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/true-true-stories-from-small/id595789795?mt=11


A story of addiction and recovery. From the streets, to hospitals to prison…

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074YHHTF6



 

A free look at Earth’s Survivors: Rising From The Ashes

A free look at Earth’s Survivors: Rising From The Ashes


March 16th

Conner and Katie

Conner sat quietly on a small pile of brick outside of the factory entrance and watched the sun come up. Forty-three hours from sunrise to sunrise. It made no sense at all, at least not to him.

The air was warm, not warming, but warm, and a heavy haze hung on the horizon where the sun was beginning to rise. Northwest still, but it didn’t seem as far to the west as it had been just a few days before.

We need something to track that, he thought. And then, maybe not. After all, what good would it do to know if it was a little more to the East or the West or whatever?

His thoughts were broken by a soft step beside him. He turned as Katie came up beside him carrying two mugs of hot coffee. She handed him one of the mugs and then settled beside him.

“Thank you,” Conner said. She smiled back and then blew lightly at the hot coffee in her mug. Steam lifted off the rim of the cup as she did.

“How long?” She asked finally, and then took a small sip.

“Forty-three… Give or take a few minutes.” He kissed her lightly on one cheek.

“What was that for?” She asked with a smile.

“Because I wanted to,” Conner told her. He blew on his own coffee and then took a small sip.

“You okay?” she asked in a more serious tone. Her eyes met his.

“Yeah. It… I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”

She nodded.

“It’s like,” he continued, “when my parents were killed. I knew it. I accepted it as well as I could, but there was really no time to process it… or maybe I refused to process it. Anyway, it was years later before I ever really dealt with it. That’s what this reminds me of. Someday, once this all settles down, we’ll process it, until then I think we’re just on cruise control.”

“What was it?” She asked softly.

“Car accident. It was fast… for them anyway.” He seemed sad thinking about it.

“My mother died a few years ago my dad right after her. They were older when they had me. Hard life… Bad genes: Heart attacks for both of them,” she finished quietly.

“I’m sorry,” Conner said. “It must have been hard.”

Katie nodded. “So I know about the taking the time to process it later thing. I don’t think I’ve dealt with all of it yet. And this,” She lifted her eyes and swept them across the sky, the river, the rocks, the road that ran past the factory and the cliffs that rose on the other side of the river. Her eyes settled on the sunrise. “This isn’t over by a long shot. Who knows how or when it will end? I guess we’ll deal with what we can and keep the rest moving, you know?”

“Yeah. They were just kids though… even Lydia,” Conner said.

Katie nodded. “They weren’t sweet little innocent kids. I’ve seen gang bangers all of my life. I grew up with that. It’s really a way of life. Sometimes, for some kids, it’s the only way of life there is. I ran myself for a while.” She frowned.

“All I’m saying is they weren’t sweet little innocent kids. And believe me, nothing you could’ve said, had you been there, would’ve changed anything. Believe me. I tried to talk to one of them. No good. And the other one I shot didn’t even bother to try talking.”

Conner nodded, took an experimental sip from his mug, then a longer satisfying drink. “I see it,” he said. “This city has a lot of drug trade and with the base over in Jersey so close by, even more, but I had never been in a gang or knew what one was really about until I was introduced to that life in Rochester as a kid. When I came back here, I saw more and more of it. Now it’s everywhere you look.” He seemed startled for a moment. “Was… Was everywhere you looked,” he added thoughtfully.

“There is still good in the world. This didn’t just take the good people and leave the bad,” Katie said. She took another long sip from her coffee. Her eyes met Conner’s own; he leaned over and kissed her lips softly. She smiled and took the coffee mug from his hands, set it down, took his hands and pulled him to his feet.

“Come on,” she said and kissed him once more. Conner kissed her back and pulled her body closer to him. His hands encircled her waist and rested on her hips. Her tongue probed gently as her own hands found the back of his head. She drew back, giggled and then pulled him toward the river and the screening growth of trees, and bushes farther down the road.

~

March sixteenth, Conner thought, would always be remembered as the day that didn’t quite happen. The sun never really rose. A half light lit the sky for the next forty-two hours, but the sun itself never made an appearance through the thick, black clouds that blocked off the sky from horizon to horizon, dark and moving swiftly across the skies.

The sun seemed to creep around the perimeter of the horizon from the West where it first appeared, to the East where it finally sank, setting the sky on fire with its pink-red light only to fade away without ever actually rising.

The air became warmer throughout the day, and what little snow remained melted away. Everyone noticed a queasy feeling in their stomachs, and a few commented on feeling something similar a few weeks back right after the first earthquakes had hit.

As the day wore on a fine gray ash began to fall from the skies. The skies grew even darker as the ash fell down faster, like dirty snow.

After several hours, the landscape around the factory looked as though everything was covered with a thick coat of dust. Everyone fashioned cloths around their mouths to avoid breathing in the thick haze of ash.

The ash was followed by a slow dirty rain that turned the piles of ash into a slushy, runny kind of mud, and just before the sun finally fell in the East, the rain began to fall harder, the air turned cold, then colder still, and lightening began to stab at the gray and sullen skies above the factory.

~

Everyone huddled around the fire on the factory floor, talking very little. They shared a meal of canned beef stew and crackers. The stew was hot and drove away the cold that had returned, but it did nothing to lift their spirits.

James offered to take the first watch, Conner volunteered for the next and Jake offered to take it from there if the sun wasn’t up.

Conner held Katie in his arms and drifted off to sleep, thinking about what the day might mean and what the morning down by the river with her had been like.

West of Mexico NY: Mike

Things had gone bad fast. There had been two significant earthquakes, the first time he had nearly wrecked the truck, and the second one came as he was pulled to the side of the road trying to ease the pain that had come back full tilt in his head. The truck leapt forward, and then darted sideways; Mike managed to get his hand out to stop his head from smashing into the dashboard, but only barely. The truck had finally stopped rocking and the world came back into focus. He pulled the truck back onto the roadway, careful of all the new cracks and devastation, and found his way to a small roadside strip mall a few miles farther down.

The lot was deserted. Half the store at the opposite end was collapsed. A small mini mart, a drug store and a pawn shop were still standing; untouched. He had made his way into the small store, found the drug aisle and was surprised to see it intact. The one back in Rochester had been emptied of drugs.

The leg was swollen against the pants material; the rags he had wrapped around it had stopped the blood flow, but had done nothing for infection. He peeled the rags away now, taking a good part of his skin with it, and looked the wound over.

Something had punched a deep hole into his leg. The area that had pulled away was oozing puss now, the skin around it red and swollen. He had helped himself to a bottle of peroxide, some antibiotic cream, iodine and some bandage. He scrounged up a fast meal while he worked up the nerve to work on the leg. He probably wouldn’t feel like eating afterwards.

He had no fever, and he counted that as a good thing. He finished some energy bars and three bottles of water before he limped off to find what he still needed. Two aisles over he found a small knitting needle. The point was sharp. It was wide enough to allow him to push it in to get to the abscess he was sure was there. He carried it back to the aisle then decided maybe something to help with the pain might help. He searched, but there was nothing stronger than beer in the now warm coolers, and that was covered with a gray moss he didn’t want to chance touching. The drug store nearby probably had some pain pills he could take, but he wouldn’t know how much would be safe. It probably wasn’t a good idea to be out of it in this world any longer. Maybe later, he decided. He would have to visit to get antibiotics anyway. Reluctantly he limped back to the aisle and sat with his back against the shelving as he arranged the items he needed around him.

The peroxide came first. He broke the seal and poured half the bottle over the wound. There was some pain, but the bubbling and foam that appeared told him what he had already guessed, the infection was bad.

He spun the top off the iodine, spilled a little into the dimple of the puncture wound and then inserted the knitting needle into the bottle and left it to soak in the iodine. He wasn’t positive if it could disinfect it, but he was reasonably sure it could. The pain was intense when the iodine hit the raw wound, but it abated after a few moments. He picked up the needle, but just touching the wound with it sent shock waves of pain up his leg.

He stopped, stretched backwards against the shelving, bracing himself firmly. His breathing was hard and fast, tears had squirted from his eyes and stained his dirty cheeks as they rolled away to his jaw line. Sweat had instantly broken out on his brow. He couldn’t stop at a mere touch. He had to shove the needle down far enough to be sure he punctured the abscess so it could drain. He steeled himself, took a deep breath, centered the needle over the dimple and drove it down into his leg before he could think anymore about it. The pain came fast, but his mind shut down just as quickly.

He had awakened hours later, the sunlight lower in the front windows. The leg was draining freely, fresh blood now, but he could see that the poison had also drained. His head felt better, his stomach more settled. He took his time and grimaced only slightly as he poured first the remaining peroxide into the wound, and then the balance of the iodine. Both hurt, but the pain was nothing like it had been. Antibiotic cream and some bandage and he was finished. He sat, staring down at his hands: Dirt, blood, who knew what else. He made his feet and limped off into the store looking for supplies for the road. A few moments later he was loading them into the passenger side of the truck. A quick search through the drug store turned up antibiotics, an ace bandage that might help, and some vitamins. He didn’t know if the vitamins could help, but he was sure they couldn’t hurt. A few minutes later he had bent the pawnshop’s steel mesh, protective door open and smashed out the front door glass with a jack handle from the truck. The exercise was making his leg hurt, but the skies were turning dark and he wanted to hurry before nightfall came.

The pawn shop was a nightmare inside. Every single cabinet was locked. Even so he found a gun cabinet, managed to pry it open and left with two semi automatic nine mm pistols and a dozen boxes of ammunition. He got to the truck, debated on the ammunition, and went back to see if he could find more. The problem was he didn’t know where to look. He found nothing, but he did liberate a shotgun and a whole case of slugs for it. He made his way back to the truck tired out, sweating and his leg aching deep inside. The bandage was soaked through with blood so he changed it as he sat in the truck and gathered his strength.

The leg of the jeans he had been wearing was a tattered wreck. Blood and gore streaked the leg to his boot top. The once white sock stained deep red and black in places. He needed clothes. His shirt stank, and was stuck to him with sweat. His boots, he hadn’t really noticed until he had just taken a hard look at them, were melted in places. The leather looked sandblasted and ratty. He took two of the pills, washed it down with water. Next big town, he told himself, he would get clothes.

A light rain had begun as he pulled the truck back out on to the roadway, heading for Mexico as the rain bounced up from the pavement and covered the surface with a gray mist.


I hope you enjoyed the free preview. Check out the full book at the following links:

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3D RAD and 3D Modeling

When I have time to spend I like messing around with 3D creations, game making stuff. I think I have tried most of the contenders and it comes down to what you like in most cases. I say that because many of us just want to have some fun and never intend to publish a video game. This page is not meant to be definitive in any way except as it pertains to my own experience.

Game Makers: 3D RAD

There are dozens of Game Makers out there, but I have seen nothing at all that allows you to build, distribute, play, and comes with pre-made game modules you can both learn from and customize to suit your needs like 3D RAD. I know, Unity, Unreal and the list goes on and on. Yes, they do have game creation systems, but they do not allow you to publish unless or until you purchase an expensive license. So you can go ahead and create something, but unless you intend to pony up some cash you can not publish or share it.

3D RAD allows you to use it to create games and you can do whatever you wish with those games. Publish, sell, share, it’s your choice. It also comes with dozens of game examples that work. It is easy, with a little work, to customize those games, add your own 3D models, skins, pieces and make something fun and maybe even profitable. It is also completely free.

Game Examples and Abilities include:

  • Auto Racing

  • First Person Shooter

  • Flight

  • Menus

  • Network Play

  • Multi Player

  • Sound FX

  • More

For me the choice was clear over 10 years ago when I actually purchased 3D Rad. It is now completely free.

While this is great, there are some things that cause people to stumble. First, learning a system, any system, even if it has projects and pre-sets to show you how to do it is difficult. It is time consuming. I have found myself investing mass amounts of time in other game creators to learn them only to find that, in the end, I need a license, or I have to pay for content to use, something along those lines. 3D RAD has been free for quite some time. I know of no plans to take it back to a retail product. So, you shouldn’t get surprised down the line somewhere and find it suddenly has to be purchased, or you need to pay for a license to continue using it. So the time you invest is worthwhile in that respect.

3D RAD: Get 3D RAD

3D RAD uses the direct X file format for the 3D models it uses. There is no modeler that was purpose built to model in the Direct X format. Yes, I have seen a few that claim to be able to do it, but I have tried them and they don’t get the job done, they are buggy, or they are works in progress. If I ever see one that actually works and has the features you need in a modeling program I’ll list here. And that doesn’t mean it has to be free. Some things I will list here are not free.

So, there are no Direct X specific modelers. However, there are Modelers that can do the job. You can go right to the top and spend the money for a top of the line modeler, or you can search the internet and risk contaminated files to try to find something that will do the job. Or you can do what I do, search for open source projects that work.

Why Open Source? I use Open Source modelers because I don’t have to worry about virus infection if I download them directly from Source Forge, GitHub or the projects own website. That might seem excessively cautious but after getting infected files several times I just don’t try anything else. And some of those infections were serious enough to make me completely shut down, wipe the drive and reformat completely. Even the low infection stuff copies files to your browser or hard drive and then you have to spend time deleting them, if you can. Oh, and they offer, of course, to sell you some virus software that helpfully can take care of this adware infection. Why put yourself through it? Well, because, like me, you’re cheap and you still want to play. So, go the open source route. Find a something that works, download it and you’re set.

Mentioned: Source Forge: http://sourceforge.net/ GitHub: https://github.com/

3D RAD does not include a module to skin or UV models.

It used to be easier, in the old days, before 3D RAD went to Direct X models, to skin or UV wrap or UV Unwrap models. It used 3DS models and it had a module built in, small, but effective, that allowed you to do that. Simple, but it worked great. Not any longer. Now you have to find a program that will do that. It also has to be a program that can work with various model formats you might be using, and one that has the ability to save to the Direct X format.

In the old days I used a freeware program called Lithunwrap. Google it, you’ll find it. I won’t link to it because it is not supported by the author any longer. It is also one of those files you’ll find on those sites with spy or adware, or those helpful download managers that also add spyware and ad bars without your permission. You may find it on a site that is free of that garbage. If so, grab it. It’s invaluable as a demonstrative tool.

3D RAD:

So, I looked at the shortcomings and then decided that I like it well enough to find some work-arounds to help me to use it.

A Modeler was the first thing I needed.

OPEN FX: Get OFX-2019

Open FX is an open source modeler that was abandoned several years ago and then bought back. It has its quirks, but over all it is a solid modeler and very easy to learn and use.

It imports Direct X, 3DS, OBJ, LWO, DFX, and DAE. It does not export Direct X. You might ask, well, how does that help me to get Direct X into 3D RAD?

It exports DXF and 3DS both of which can then be faithfully converted to the Direct X format (With the included ASSIMP Library) and used in 3D RAD. I know, I have used it exactly that way. Get OFX-2019

You can find hundreds thousands of models on the web that you can use. Some are royalty free, some are not. Many need a lot of work if you intend to use them in a video game where the poly count can be your enemy. You need something that looks good, but has a low impact size wise. Most model downloads are not going to fit that bill. You will find yourself spending hours upon hours on the simplest model trying to reduce the size, or change it to what you need.

The best thing to do is look at the models that are in 3D RAD already. Go ahead and open them in Ultimate Unwrap, save them to 3DS files and then open them in Open FX. Take a look at how they were constructed. In most cases you will see that most of the perceived detail comes from rendering, not the model itself. Once you realize that, and see how simplistic the models that are used in video games actually are you will realize it is worth your time to make your own simplistic models. But, go ahead, download that truck or car and have some fun with it. I did, and it taught me that I would rather build my own most of the time. Take a look at the tutorials for 3D RAD and for Open FX . Learn those tools and you’ll be making what you want to make pretty quickly.

If you find anything on this page that is not as I said, or that has changed, please let me know about it. In the meantime enjoy 3D Game Building!

I hope this helped. If you have something of use you would like to list drop me a line at authordellsweet@gmail.com and if it’s good I’ll list it.