Short Story: It Didn’t Have to End Like This–Part Three

This is a story I started during the Nanowrimo Marathon on April 12, 2014. Current word count is 2600 words, but it’s not finished.  I will be posting the story in parts of about 600-1000 words, twice a week. As I write new parts, I’ll also post those.

A big, bobble-head nod to the movies, Alien and Body Snatchers, and the books by David Wong that influenced this write.

I hope you like it.

Links to previously parts of It Didn’t Have to End Like This:

Part One Part Two Part Three

 

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Why wasn’t this on the news? That’s a very good question. Shortly after this incident, two black helicopters landed on the helipads and four men in black suits approached the building. They took the video I recorded and the bodies. In fact, they took all the video recorded anywhere in the hospital, parking lot or from surrounding businesses near the hospital.

They also took everyone on the floor away to be inspected. Black vans pulled up and men in hazmat suits took them away. I was on a different floor, so they didn’t take me.

The thing is – no one said, don’t talk about it. I mean, they took all the video and the bodies and stuff, but didn’t say to keep quiet. So, obviously, people called news shows and were interviewed, live on TV. Each story differed a little from the others, and most people only had seen a small part of what happened. Most of it involved the Men in Black more than anything supernatural or… crabby.

I didn’t want to get involved in the circus, so I kept quiet. Instead, I posted about it online. Disinformation.org picked it up and ran with it, but it’s all the conspiracy theorists and nut-jobs that keyed in on it, forming their own theories and extrapolating it to great extent.

See? You do remember the news stories about the black helicopters at the hospital, don’t you?

There’s a lot more to tell, but this is usually enough. Either you will acknowledge the brain crabs or you won’t. So let’s make it easy – if you don’t believe me, leave. I’ve got the check. If you do believe me, then stay and pay the check.

Well, it’s been thirty seconds by my watch, and you are still here. Are you ordering another bottle of wine? Yes, Riesling is fine. Fresh glasses, please?

What? Yes, I did say I would tell you why I never called after our first date. No, I have not done that, yet.

So here it is – it’s because of my dog.

Wait, let me back up. I really like you, and that’s why I asked you out. That’s not a joke – you’ve got a very sexy smile, and I like the way you handle the microphone. I was the new guy in the office – having quit my previous job at the hospital because well, you know. You were nice to me. Introduced me around. Made me feel welcome.

So that was all real. But my dog – remember my dog? Buddy? You met him that night, when you came home with me. Buddy, my dog – he’s a sensitive animal. I don’t mean that he is a wuss or anything, but he is a sensitive dog and can tell when I’m sad or upset.

The thing about Buddy – he’s a good judge of character, but he gives everyone a chance. He’s a thinker, wise in a canine sort of way. Yes, he drinks from the toilet but you know what I mean, and he knows when someone has an alien brain crab up in their noggin, steering the ship, you know? He knows and he won’t have anything to do with them. You might remember – he didn’t like you at all.

That’s when I asked you leave, said I didn’t feel good – would call you later. And didn’t. Of course I wasn’t going to have sex with you. You have crabs!

How do I know Buddy doesn’t have a brain crab too? I’ve had other experiences outside of that day at the hospital. I don’t think the crabs like dogs or cats. Not sure about monkeys or chimpanzees – but you definitely want people.

Don’t look so sad. You knew it couldn’t work out. Me, a big city dork with commitment issues and you, a scaly crab from another dimension. Star-crossed from the beginning.

Yes, I said you were from another dimension. Wine? Yes please. I do enjoy a dry Riesling.

–end part three–

© 2014, Mitch Lavender

Short Story: It Didn’t Have to End Like This–Part Four

This is a story I started during the Nanowrimo Marathon on April 12, 2014. Current word count is 2600 words, but it’s not finished.  I will be posting the story in parts of about 600-1000 words, twice a week. As I write new parts, I’ll also post those.

A big, bobble-head nod to the movies, Alien and Body Snatchers, and the books by David Wong that influenced this write.

I hope you like it.

Links to previously parts of It Didn’t Have to End Like This:

Part One  Part Two Part Three

 It-Didnt-Have-To-End-Banner-four

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  You’re from another dimension.  I found your portal – the one in back of the Starbuck’s on McArthur Blvd. The one behind the bags of espresso beans.  I shut it down.  I have no idea why a double-tall caramel latte can sever the connection, but it did.  If coffee defeats you, it’s a real bummer that you opened the portal in a coffee shop.  Anyway that portal is gone, but I bet you have others, eh?

Good choice on the wine, I must say.

Oh, I also stomped four of your little cousins who had just popped through. They squish easy when they are small. Never knew what hit them, boot to head. I’m guessing everyone who works at that Starbucks is crabbed. I got out. That was this afternoon, right before I came here, to meet you and your crab.

Actually, I’m not saying you have a brain crab. I think the crab has fully taken over, eaten the entire brain and Karen and everything that made her who she was is gone forever. I think you are all crab, looking at me with little crabby eyes, thinking little crabby thoughts, right now.

I have dominated the conversation, haven’t I?  You talk for a while and let me enjoy this wine.  It is good wine.

 

~~~~~

 

Vanity. I wonder if humanity simply inbred with itself so much that this defect became a common attribute, like earlobes that connect at the bottom or eyebrows that grow together or the ability to do the split-finger Vulcan sign for live long and prosper, or not. It’s amazing they have survived this far without our help.

There is much that Woodrow has gotten wrong but I let him speak. I let him reconcile one inaccuracy with another and continue to tell his version of reality, warped and insensitive though it is. One of the things he is right about is the wine – it is quite excellent.

He is looking at me, expecting me to say something. He thinks he has been provoking. I’ll continue to let him think so.

Yes, Woodrow. The wine is the best I have had, but I think you have a saying; men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but others improve with age. By You I mean the human race. I don’t mean you. I imagine you think a box of Boones Farm Blackberry Ridge is just some, oh, how might you say it? Some fine, fancy drinkin’.

My brother you encountered at the hospital – his name was Edward, the same name as the boy. It is always the same name as the host. You are correct in the assumption that there was something wrong with him, but it’s not something as obsolescent as being a serial killer.

When we occupy a host, we have appendages that extend into the body to facilitate voluntary and involuntary actions. Edward did not fully develop the appendage that extends down to the intestinal tract. Therefore, Edward’s defecation backed up into the cranium where he resided. The more he ate of the host brain and defecated, the more revolting his situation became, until he found it unbearable.

Yes, that is funny, Woodrow. Shit for brains. You are funny. But Edward was driven mad by his situation, until he did something that would be unthinkable otherwise. It wasn’t a madness of cruelty. It was desperation and nothing more or less. Believe it or not, we have a great respect for life. Still, Edward became a liability and we had to take him out. That’s what we did.

Now, I’ll share this with you, more for me than for your benefit. Edward was in my brood. When I call him my brother, I mean he really was close family. We hatched together – me, Edward and four-thousand-two hundred and three other brothers.

Is that a tear on my cheek? It is. I miss my brood. Everyone is so busy, we almost never see each other. Life is strange, so strange. Is it not?

Would you like some more wine?

     –end of part four–

© 2014, Mitch Lavender

Short Story: It Didn’t Have to End Like This–part two

This is a story I started during the Nanowrimo Marathon on April 12, 2014. Current word count is 2600 words, but it’s not finished.  I will be posting the story in parts of about 600-1000 words, twice a week. As I write new parts, I’ll also post those.

A big, bobble-head nod to the movies, Alien and Body Snatchers, and the books by David Wong that influenced this write.

I hope you like it.

Links to previously parts of It Didn’t Have to End Like This:

Part One

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As you know, I was a video technician at Boiler Hospital in Dallas. My job was to video the operations that take place in the hospital. They are used as teaching aids, or as evidence if a malpractice lawsuit comes up. Of course, this evidence is only disclosed if the video shows the operation was performed competently. If any asshattery was caught on video, it is destroyed. Some of my best footage has been lost this way.

So about ten months ago, I was recording the video of an operation to remove a brain tumor. It’s a kid, he looks like he’s maybe 15 years old. Sometimes, brain surgery is laparoscopic, but not this time. They sawed all the way around his head – so the top would come off.

And when the top did come off, the tumor wasn’t a tumor at all. It was a very pissed off brain crab. Everyone in the room died horribly. Me? I wasn’t in the room. Hell no. I was in the video control room, down the hall. The cameras are all operated remotely.

Once all the doctors and nurses were dead, I panned the cameras around the room, looking for the crab. It could hop the length of the room, so could be anywhere. By the way, the inside of the kid’s head was almost completely empty. The crab had eaten most of the kid’s brain.

Before the operation, I shot a few minutes of video with the parents and kid. They wanted it, you know. The kid was functioning normally – talking and moving around normally. He even told me a joke.

Did you hear about the crab that went to the seafood disco? He pulled a muscle.

I didn’t say it was good joke, but in that 20/20 hindsight sort of way, it’s really funny, now. The brain crab was making an inside joke. What I do wonder is, if the brain crab was in control – and it had to be, because the kid had almost no brain left – why didn’t it try to stop the operation? I guess it wanted out. It wanted to kill everyone in the operating room. A psychopathic, serial killer, brain crab – who would have seen that coming?

So anyway, the hospital went into emergency lockdown. The brain crab destroyed the lights and two of the three cameras that were in the room. The camera that remained was recessed in the ceiling and had a fisheye lens. It didn’t look like a camera – more like a light that wasn’t turned on, and I guess that why the crab left it. Still, with no lights in the room, it was completely dark and I couldn’t see anything, though I could hear it scuttling around and… what sounded like chewing food.

When two policemen arrived, they opened the door to the operating room, big flashlights and guns drawn. The flashlight beams danced around the room and settled on a nurse in scrubs, standing among the bodies of other nurses and doctors. She had the mask and protective eyewear on, and her gloved hands and outfit were bloodied, but it was a surgery room, so that’s not unusual.

“Freeze!” The police yelled, both training their shaky lights on her, and probably their guns, too.

The nurse didn’t move, except her head. She looked up and said, “It’s on the ceiling!”

The flashlights swung upwards and around the room, and then there was pandemonium. The sound of rapid movement and grunts. Something was knocked over and clattered across the floor. The flashlight beams swung erratically around the room and within a few seconds, lay on the floor – pointing towards the closed door.

The nurse walked slowly to the door, illuminated by the crossed flashlights, and just before she opened it to let light spill in from the outside hallway, you could see the back of her head and the brain crab, clamped to her neck, manipulating her like a puppet.

I switched to viewing the hallway camera, following her out of the room and past others in the hallway, or in doorways looking out. As she passed, thin, translucent tentacles shot from her open mouth, striking each person and then retracting. Each victim reacted as if they were stung by a bee.

Finally, a doctor pulled a gun from a holster under his scrubs and fired, blowing the crab on the back of the nurse’s neck to bits. The nurse fell to the ground, and this doctor saved countless lives that day. He was later arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in a hospital.

End of Part Two

© 2014, Mitch Lavender

Short Story: It Didn’t Have to End Like This–part one

This is a story I started during the Nanowrimo Marathon on April 12, 2014. Current word count is 2600 words, but it’s not finished.  I will be posting the story in parts of about 600-1000 words, twice a week. As I write new parts, I’ll also post those.

A big, bobble-head nod to the movies, Alien and Body Snatchers, and the books by David Wong that influenced this write.

I hope you like it.

ML

It-Didnt-Have-To-End-Banner-onejpg

Remember, Karen, you said you wanted to know why I haven’t called.

Have you ever been talking to someone and knew exactly what you wanted to say, but couldn’t seem to find the word? The more you try to remember it, the more it seems just beyond your reach. Hours later, the word suddenly comes to you, but it’s too late. That happen to you? That’s the alien brain parasite adjusting itself inside your skull, somewhere near the temporal lobe.

Now, I see the look on your face and I know what you are thinking. “I don’t have an alien brain parasite,” you will say.

Let me ask you this: How do you know? Have you had a CT scan or MRI of your head done recently? No? Yet you are sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you do not have an alien brain parasite residing in your cranium.

You see, once an alien brain parasite takes up residence, initially around the back of the head – in the area of the cerebellum and occipital lobe, it spreads it’s tentacles to the other areas of the brain. Using a powerful neurotoxin it produces in a small sack that hangs below its pincher-jaws, it stimulates the part of the brain that controls skepticism. My point is, the more sure you are that you do not have an alien brain parasite but have no solid evidence to support that conclusion, the more likely it is that you actually do have one.

You aren’t alone, and I don’t mean that in the, me and my alien brain parasite, we go everywhere together kind of way, though that is kind of funny. I mean there are a lot of people who are infected. So… misery loves company? I don’t know. I thought you might find that, you know – comforting.

They look a lot like crabs, if you were wondering, except they have jellyfish-like tentacles. They have a mouth on the underside with multiple rows of razor wire-like teeth, like a shark. The shell is pretty soft when they are little, but once they get inside someone and start eating their brain, they grow and the shell hardens.

The thing is, they grow, even if they don’t eat brains. I had one in an aquarium and I swear, it went from the size of a nickel to the size of a deflated football in two months, and I never fed it anything. His name was Jeff. He broke the aquarium and got lose. Haven’t seen him since.

Anyway, I expect you are wondering how someone who has an alien brain parasite gets rid of them. By the way, “alien brain parasite” is quite a mouthful. From here on, I’m going to call them crabs, OK? So once you have a crab, how do you get rid of it? It’s a logical question.

There are several solutions. Icepick to the temple or a bullet, fired from a gun placed in your mouth, but pointed up usually works. And I do mean pointed UP, towards the brain. Not straight back, where you’ll blow out your medulla and spinal cord, but leave the crab. I also heard of one guy who jumped head first into a wood chipper, but it has to be a really big wood chipper, and most people don’t have access to such a thing.

How do you get rid of a brain crab and live? Oh. Well, you don’t. No, there isn’t an operation you can have to remove it. That does remind me of a story. Look, I’ll tell you how I learned about brain crabs, OK?

  (end of part one)

 

© 2014, Mitch Lavender

Game Review: Bocce Dice (Kickstarter Edition)

 

Bocce Dice is a dice-tossing, table-top game that combines luck, skill and strategy as players attempt to land dice in high-scoring areas of the playing mat, while knocking the opponent’s dice out of scoring zones. Designed and published by Kevin McCarthy, it is based on Bocce, the Italian ball tossing game, but also has elements that appear to be drawn from Shuffleboard and Curling.

I love dice games and when I came across the Bocce Dice Kickstarter campaign, I immediately supported it. The campaign was successfully funded and met both stretch goals as well. On December 10, 2013 my copy arrived in a clear plastic tube. We started playing that night.

The standard (non-Kickstarter) version of the game consists of 12 dice (6 each of two colors), the Bocce Dice Mat, 2 Scorekeeping tokens and rules sheet in a reusable, clear plastic tube. The Kickstarter Stretch Goals included some additional dice of various sizes and such and some optional rules for using these dice.

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The Bocce Dice mat is colorful and made of similar material to a computer mouse pad, but is much larger (12”x18”) and a little thinner. This is the playing surface you roll the dice on, and the padded material reduces the sound of the dice rolling as well as changes the way they bounce a bit. The mat also has a numbered track at each end to track rounds won.

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The dice are quality, plastic 6-sided dice but nothing special. The tube that stores the game is well made and includes a rubber end cap. I thought this packaging was quite smart.

The players take turns, rolling one die at a time until all dice have been rolled.  If a die is rolled and comes up as 1, it can be rerolled or not, as the player chooses. Points are scored for the number rolled on the die, as well as the bonus (if any) for the scoring area it lands in. Dice that land outside the scoring area score 0 points. Total score is tallied and the highest score wins the round. First player to win 10 rounds wins the game.

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It’s pretty straight-forward and gameplay is fast. There is an interesting strategy typical of the Bocce game itself where the player can opt for scoring maximum points, try to place a die so that it protects another of his\her high scoring dice already in play, or attempt to knock opponent’s dice out of scoring areas. It’s not complicated but it is a lot a fun. An entire game takes 15 minutes or less and setup took a minute.

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The thing that attracted me to the game was that I saw a lot of opportunity to adapt the game with house rules or cross Bocce Dice with other dice games to create Bocce Zombie Dice or Bocce Roll Through the Ages, for example. I’ll do that, and when I do, I’ll post the rules to Boccedicegame.com.

If you like a fast setup, fast-playing game that is dexterity-based, you should give it a look. Personally, I loved the game and I’m very happy with the components themselves, particularly the mat. It’s the kind of game that is only as fun as the people who are playing it, and in my family, this is a very fun game. I expect it to be in our rotation for a long time to come.

Recommended.

For more info or to order, go to: Boccedicegame.com

Short Story: Smart Zombies

I originally wrote this story for The Infection Anthology, but it didn’t make the deadline.  It appeared in Untrue Stories, Volume One in 2012.  It’s a very short piece and I hope you dig it.  If you do, please share.

 Smart Zombies
by Mitch Lavender

Smart Zombies, I hate them.

Mind you, “smart” is only in reference to common, everyday zombies. Smart Zombies can open doors and figure simple problems out. The average zombie can’t even get out of a car if the door is closed. It will try to chew its way out, though, breaking teeth and bones in the process and it won’t stop; broken fingers and no teeth, it will keep trying.

Smart Zombies will call others; a raspy, horrible screech. They will organize mass assaults on locked doors or barricades, and stand in the back ordering the hordes of others on to attack; zombie generals of the War on Humanity.

Undead Ed -cropped- editedThe siege has been going on for three days now and we have retreated to floor eight of the Madison Heights apartment building. We lost ground, floor after floor, as they kept coming, defending the stairwells until we couldn’t anymore. Then we would abandon and move up, but the undead were like water flooding a sinking ship and we were fleeing up and up until there was nowhere else to go. With only eight floors in the building, we were making a last stand before retreating to the roof, and if we did that, I’d jump to my death before becoming one of those things. I swear I would.

As we nailed them down the stairwell, the bodies piled on top of each other in the confined space. This gave us a few minutes of relief while the zombies behind cleared them away to try a new assault. They didn’t rest, so neither did we, for forty-two hours straight. My vision is blurry and sometimes I pass out on my feet, to be awoken to the horror we faced and to pull the trigger again and again and again. Only head-shots would put one down. We had ammo, and for that, I was grateful.

A hand on my shoulder pulled me back. “Relief, Corporal!”

Major Jensen took my place at the top of the stairwell and I staggered back, spent. He had been moving the civilians up each floor as we lost ground and had no more sleep than the rest of us. Still, I would take the relief. Just for five minutes. Then I would be back at it. I closed my eyes.

When I awoke, it was daylight, punctuated by staccato gunshots. While asleep, I had heard the same sounds, but I guess I was too tired to notice. It was daylight and we had held them off through the night. Why had I been allowed to sleep so long?

“Back ‘em up!” came the yell from the Sergeant Major and the urgency stirred me to full alertness. This meant we’d lost the floor and only had the roof left. Since I was the one non-civilian not engaged in combat, I hurried the frightened residents up the final flight of stairs. I pushed a boy who couldn’t have been ten-years old, “Hurry!”

He walked a few steps and said, “Why don’t you shoot a car? The alarm would distract them, wouldn’t it?”

Zombies hated loud noises like alarms, and when one went off, they attacked the source with horrible vengeance. It was a good idea, and might distract them from the smart zombie’s orders.

“Move, son!” I shoved him towards the stairs and stepped to a window inside one of the apartments. The streets were filled with undead; packed with stinking, animated corpses that were intent on attacking our building. The zombie general was out of sight but calling them on with his scream. I aimed my M-16 and shot out the windshield of a PT Cruiser; nothing. I focused on an Infiniti G-37 and fired. The alarm blared into life and the zombies around it turned, refocused on this new target that was making so much noise.

I shot out the windshield of a Ford Explorer and its alarm also erupted into life. I did the same with a Mazda RX-7 and a Chevy Tahoe, each one blaring and attracting more attackers. This was working.

Then I saw their general emerge from the building cattycorner to ours. He wore a blood-stained lab coat, but the way he walked with purpose drew my attention, despite the thousands of other zombies shambling around the crowded the street below. He jumped up on a car and screamed again, pointing at our building – a siren to call the others to attack his target. I’ve heard that scream for the last three days and knew it well. He’s the guy.

The boy brought me a gun and said, “Here, stop it here. Stop it now.”

I looked at the gun he held – a sniper rifle, equipped with a scope. Checking that it was loaded, I pulled it up and drew a bead on the general zombie’s forehead, using the windowsill to steady my aim. I fired. His screech silenced and he fell backwards. The hordes turned their focus on the alarms and began attacking the cars.

“They are retreating!” said the Sergeant Major, shocked. Then he fell back and laughed out loud for a moment before passing out from exhaustion.

The waters receded and we took back the top four floors that day. Outside, the streets still swim with the undead, but we live… for now.

 

~~~~~

Geeky Gifts Under $30 For the Geek in Your life

Geeks are tough to buy for because they like such weird stuff. To make matters worse, geeks buy the latest new thing for themselves as soon as it comes out, so you are left with what… gift certificates to Best Buy or iTunes?

If you want your gift to be more personal and you are on a budget, here is a list of cheap, geeky gifts that will show you care without breaking the bank, and hopefully, these things are obscure enough that the geeks on your shopping list don’t already have one. All of these items are under $30, and because this is my list, they are Geek Certified.

Note that I refer to all geeks in the male context, but Geeks cross gender boundaries and women can certainly be geeks, too. Please just take it as read. Geeks are often socially awkward, so if you know a single girl geek, pairing her up with a single guy geek is probably the best present you could ever give either of them, at least until they start fighting over which captain is better, Kirk or Piccard.

For the science geek: You probably shouldn’t buy them a Newton’s cradle or anything so passé. Consider the Mythbusters Blueprint Magnets Set or I reject your reality & substitute my own T-shirt. If that’s a wash, maybe a Large Hadron Collider t-shirt will fit the bill, or a shirt, mug, or bag with a DNS strand exposed by gel electrophoresis on it.

For the space geek: look, these guys universally love the accomplishments of man to better understand the cosmos. That said, Space Shuttle is history and IIS is the hot ticket, right now. Consider a few IIS expedition patches, like the astronauts wore. If they don’t own an iron or can’t sew, then try the Hubble Space telescope polo shirt.

For the literary geek: Out of Print has very cool shirts, e-book reader jackets, coasters and such, taken from covers of classic books. Clockwork Orange, Old Man and the Sea, and Slaughterhouse Five are all cool art (and incredible novels). Also note that every item purchased donates a book to a child in a third world country.

For the conspiracy geek: They are out there, the guys that frequent alt.black.helicopters or whatever, still looking for the crashed UFO at Area 51. And now, you want to buy them a present. Above Top Secret is an exposé book by Jim Marrs, dedicated to the topics of conspiracies, UFOs, paranormal, secret societies and so on. Or, if they want to hide their USB drive containing their super-secret stuff, they might appreciate the Dirty Underwear Hidden Safe. Ew.

For the cubicle-dwelling geek: Cube-toys abound, but stay away from common stress toys that need to be squeezed. Any cube-dwelling geek worth his salt has a number of these already, and unless they collect unique squeeze-toys, stay clear. Go for something unique, like the Office Monkeys Play Set, or a copy of the book, Cubicle Warfare: 101 office Traps and Pranks. Note that this book should only be given to a cubicle-dwelling geek who can ascertain for themselves what might be over the line, outright offensive, or an action that could result in termination of employment. That narrows the list of potential receivers a bit.

For the zombie geek: There are two kinds of zombie geek, those that think it could really happen and those that just think zombie movies are cool. For the ones that think it could really happen, the Zombie Emergency Response Operations Packet would be a welcome addition to their bug-out bag. For the less paranoid but not less weird counterparts who just think zombies are cool, take a browse through the AMC The Walking Dead Store, or pick them up the Walking Dead Board Game.

For the survival geek: They like to be called Preppers. Whatever. They will groove all kinds of survivalist gadgets and tools, but it can’t be cheaply made. That doesn’t mean they can’t be cheap. How about an Israeli Civi Gas Mask with Nato Filter? Or maybe a military bag or pack from Flying Tigers Army / Navy Surplus? Or, for the fashion-conscious Prepper, the 2-pack of 300 lb. Paracord Bracelets. Contrary to popular belief among geeks, the towel is not the single most valuable survival tool. It is paracord. Yeah, I said it. Douglas Adams was wrong.

For the bad-boy geek: These are rare, but if you are shopping for one, a listing of local bail bondsmen would be a good investment. I’m not going to recommend lock-picks or anything, but why not get him the complete season of Beyond Scared Straight and help the boy get right, eh?

For the goth geek: Whatever you get them, make sure it is black or has a skull on it, or is black and has a skull on it. Honestly, I have no idea what to get them. If they can’t slit their wrists with it, they won’t appreciate the gift, anyway.

Maybe body jewelry from Spencers might fit the piercing – a nice nose stud or thoughtful nipple ring, perhaps? Or get him a couple of skull shot glasses to toast the bleak hopelessness of mankind. Really, you only need to get him one. He probably drinks alone.

For the Muslim\Hindu\Jewish\vegan geek: Some don’t eat meat of any kind, but none of them will eat pork. This means they do not experience the bliss of bacon. While it contains no actual bacon, they can get the imitation taste of it from Bacon flavored jelly beans. BaconFreak.com has bacon flavored everything, from gumballs and soda to pancakes and coffee. Just be sure you are getting them something that doesn’t have real bacon in it. Mmmm. Real bacon.

For the underdressed geek: T-shirts that most people don’t understand is a geek standby. Hell, I’ve even been known to have shirts made when I couldn’t find ones that say what I wanted! Hit Snorgtees and take a look around. I recommend the “Wanted dead & alive: Schrodinger’s cat” shirt for the well-read, philosophical geek, or the “5-day forecast for Alderaan” for the Star Wars geek. There’s a lot here and you can pick and choose, but have a theme in mind – something your geek digs. You certainly do not want to make the faux pas of giving an STNG shirt to an original Trek guy.

For the young geek in training: For geeky kids, Dinosaurs are almost always a hit. Consider the Raptor hoodie shirt, or maybe the Discovery moon in my room that rotates through the 12 lunar phases would work.

If none of these things are a fit for your particular geek, take a look at Think Geek. Poke around the site and I bet you will find something that works. Geeks – we are a weird bunch. I wish you all the best in your shopping endeavors.

~~~~~

About the author: Mitch Lavender has worked for Microsoft for 18 years and considers meeting Gene Rodenberry the highlight of his childhood, which either means he has liked Trek from an early age or he had a very bad childhood. An author of several published zombie stories; he watches The Walking Dead religiously and collects comics that feature artwork by Steranko or Kirby. He still has his D&D gaming stuff. Despite all of this, he has a wife.

Cured, an e-book by Dave Farrington

I’ve always enjoyed Farrington’s writing back when we were in a writer’s group together.  He is a top-notch writer with interesting things to say, so I was excited to see the announcement that Cured by Dave Farrington has released on Smashwords.  I presume it will make it to Amazon and other places shortly.

Cured tells the story of George’s search to discover the fate of his family, his struggle to come to terms with his past mistakes and his efforts to create a new order out of the carnage of the past. It takes the ‘zombie’ novel into new territory, beyond a critique of the present and towards a vision of the future.

A sample of the first 20% of the 110k word book is available for free, and and the full version is $3.99. Check out Cured here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/144374#longdescr