Private Investigations by Dell Sweet

PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS

Copyright Dell Sweet – 2015 by Wendell Sweet and his assignee Andrea Scroggs. All rights reserved. Dell Sweet is a publishing construct owned by Wendell Sweet, independAntwriters and their assignee Andrea Scroggs.
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~1~

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 stepped 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 few houses down and stop. It sat idling for a few moments and then the back door popped open and 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 Yellow Cab 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 though, 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.
~2~
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 as well as I could 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 the short story collection this story came from: Mister Bob…https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mister-bob/id1197058839…



The Zombie Plagues from Dell Sweet

The Zombie Plagues from Dell Sweet

iTunes books from author Dell Sweet

Top Books from author Dell Sweet

1. Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. Small groups band together for safety, leaving the ravaged cities behind in search of a new future…

2. The Zombie Killers are the men and women who keep the new settlements safe for the other survivors. Those in the Nation and those in the Fold, and the many independent colonies that would not be able to exist without their help and intervention. They are the ones who search out supplies, fight the Zombie Plagues so that the others can live in safety…

3. Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world…

4. This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

5. Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to leadership positions across the former United States. The first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties join and become one under the Nation Flag.

6. Major Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection…

7. Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and the loss of one of the founders of The Nation without whom the Nation may dissolve…

8. When a catastrophic natural disaster looms on the near horizon, the government releases an airborne virus designed to make the human race better able to survive. Those that do survive are picking up the pieces of their world, and those that have died lay in their death sleep, but in their bodies the virus works on, mutating, setting the stage for a second catastrophe far worse that the first.

9. 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…

10. This book steps back to the beginning to bring you the story of the Fold. Jessie Stone, why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present day and then falls back in time to the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenger to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies.

11. The summer of 1969 in Glennville New York had settled in full tilt. The July morning was cool and peaceful, but the afternoon promised nothing but sticky heat. Bobby Weston and Moon Calloway worked furiously on the go-cart they had been planning to race down Sinton Park hill, in the old garage behind Bobby’s house. Both boys had grown up in Glennville…

12. 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…

13. L.A. Billy and Beth: March 11th Billy was up on the roof. Beth, Jamie, Winston and Scotty were standing at the edge of the building as he was, looking out over the city. Things were crazy, and they seemed to be getting worse as the days rolled by. The police precinct was still burning.No one had come to put it out. Gangs were rounding up survivors, never to be seen again: The world seemed over…

14. Earth’s Survivors SE 1 contains the complete text from the first two Earth’s Survivors books, Apocalypse and Rising From The Ashes. It includes a character bibliography. It follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite hits and sets off a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule.

15. Billy Only intended to go for a walk downtown, look at the lights and the pretty girls, kill some time. It seemed the safest thing in the world. He bent to take a look in the window of the car, two dead men, he had thought, but the driver was not dead, he raised his gun and leveled it on him. 24 hours later as he dug the hole in the desert hard pan he was wondering how it had all gone so wrong.

16. An apocalypse of epic proportions has shaken the Earth to it’s core. In the bigger cities the dead are growing quickly in numbers. Growing intelligent as they continue to change and mutate. They have one thought in their rotting brains, take over the world, and destroy those that live in the process. Billy Jingo leaves Los Angeles hoping there might be something better on the other coast…

17. The Zombie Killers are the men and women who keep the new settlements safe for the other survivors. Those in the Nation and those in the Fold, and the many independent colonies that would not be able to exist without their help and intervention. They are the ones who search out supplies, fight the Zombie Plagues so that the others can live in safety…

18. Gabe Kohlson moved away from the monitors. “Heart rate is dropping, don’t you think…” He stopped as the monitor began to chime softly. “Dammit,” Kohlson said as he finished his turn. “What is it,” David Johns wheeled his chair across the short space of the control room. “Flat lined,” Kohlson said as he pushed a button on the wall to confirm what the doctors already knew. Clayton Hunter was dead.

19. Donita’s Notebook March 1st (Night) Quakes, at least three. Warmed up fast, and all the dirty snow that was piled along the streets has melted. Torrential rains. Thunder and lightening in the snow storm that came after sunset. Didn’t last long; turned back to rain. Parts of the projects are burning. Jersey is burning. The sky is red-orange, everything across the river is on fire. No one has come.

20. Donita: The hunger was terrible, all consuming, and it came in crashing waves. The impulse to feed seemed to be the only coherent thought she had. It was hard to think around, hard to think past. It was all she could do not to rush from the trees, find the smell that tempted her and consume it. Eat it completely. Leave nothing at all…

Paperback books from author Dell Sweet

Paperback books from author Dell Sweet


Mister Bob by Dell Sweet
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Mister Bob is a collection of short stories from Author Dell Sweet .FIREFIGHT: Private Johnson finds himself in the middle of a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam. He has no idea how he got there, why he is there, or why the men with him seem to know more about his circumstances than he does.RAPID CITY: When…

Publication Date: November 13, 2015
List Price: $7.99
Crime Time by Dell Sweet
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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…

Publication Date: May 11, 2017
List Price: $18.99
Earth’s Survivors: Collection One by Dell Sweet, Geo Dell
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Earth’s Survivors Collection One contains the complete text from the first two Earth’s Survivors books, Apocalypse and Rising From The Ashes. It also includes bonus material, a complete major character bibliography, plus information from the series and the future plans for the series. Save when you buy both…

Publication Date: August 7, 2015
List Price: $28.50
Earth’s Survivors Collection Two by Dell Sweet, Geo Dell
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Earth’s Survivors Collection Two contains the complete text from books three and four of the Earth’s Survivors series, The Nation and Home In The Valley. It also includes bonus material, a complete major character bibliography, plus information from the series and the future plans for the series. Save when…

Publication Date: August 6, 2015
List Price: $28.50
Star Dancer by Dell Sweet
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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…

Publication Date: June 6, 2017
List Price: $9.99
Zero Zero by Dell Sweet
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As the clock ticks down for our planet and her inhabitants, powers that have lain dormant for centuries are loosed on the Earth. Zero Zero takes a look at a post apocalypse world in ruins. The governments are gone. The police, the military. The United States is no more. And even the simplest things are hard…

Publication Date: July 24, 2014
List Price: $25.99
The Zombie Plagues Collection One by Dell Sweet, Geo Dell
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Collection One Contains the complete text of Books One and Two of the Zombie Plagues series.Book One:What if the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive? The Zombie Plagues books follow a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive on a vastly changed earth, where…

Publication Date: September 27, 2015
List Price: $19.50
Knock by Dell Sweet
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JohnnyThe Farm HouseMy hand is cramping, but I am almost finished. The dead are quiet right now. Quiet as in, not scratching, not trying to get in. I was glad about that at first, but after a while it has started to bug me. Makes me wonder what they might be up to. It is something to consider, and something…

Publication Date: July 8, 2016
List Price: $9.99
Necro by Dell Sweet
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He had been lying half in half out of the gutter for the last several hours that he knew of. He had no idea how long before that. Days? Weeks? Weeks seemed wrong. Days, he decided. He turned his attention back to the roadway before him. Was it a roadway? When he thought roadway, he thought highway, something…

Publication Date: May 18, 2017
List Price: $9.99
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The Earth’s Survivors Series follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All…

Publication Date: March 6, 2017
List Price: $25.99
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In AA they say that addictions will take you to hospitals, Mental Institutions and Prisons. It’s true. They will. I have been in all of those places because of my addictions. But addictions are not responsible for the life I lead entirely, and certainly not responsible for the things I did. I may have used…

Publication Date: February 11, 2015
List Price: $12.99
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The Earth’s Survivors series follows groups of survivors as they struggle to stay alive in a vastly changed world. The most popular group from the website writings were Candace and Mike. They are from the northern New York town of Watertown close to project.Mike was a long time resident of Watertown. He knew…

Publication Date: March 6, 2017
List Price: $24.95
The Zombie Plagues Collection Two by Dell Sweet, Geo Dell
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The Zombie Plagues Collection Two contains the full text from books three and four.Book Three:The Zombie Plagues Three Is Here! The struggle to stay alive has leveled out. The Survivors have found their place in the wilderness and The Nation is growing. Life is good for those who are lucky enough to be there….

Publication Date: September 27, 2015
List Price: $21.50
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Beth had stopped at the edge of the housing development. It was dark, lit only by the headlights of the truck. Cars and trucks sat neatly in driveways. The streets were empty. Heavy dust seemed to blanket the whole scene. Little trails cut from place to place.“Spooky,” Billy said. “Volcanic ash?”“Probably……

Publication Date: January 17, 2017
List Price: $9.99
Dreamer’s Worlds: Sparrow Spirit by Dell Sweet, Geo Dell
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As Joe and Laura fall deeper into the Dreamer’s Worlds they learn more about why they have been drawn there. They search to learn more about the legend of Sparrow Spirit, a young girl who has been trapped within stone for ten thousand years, but learning changes nothing. Their purpose is clear, they must act:…

Publication Date: October 14, 2015
List Price: $9.99
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Laura and Joe live lonely lives, but they are dreamers. When they close their eyes they dream travel through space and time, to other worlds with little more than a thought, but dreaming comes with a purpose. They have both fought that purpose, but when they meet each other in the dream world, that meeting…

Publication Date: October 14, 2015
List Price: $9.99
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Earth’s Survivors: Collection Three, Outrunners is all the collected OutRunner books in one place. There were three books written that were then discarded and the story lines were written into the Earth’s Survivors books instead. This Collection follows the OutRunners as they assemble from L.A and N.Y.,…

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
List Price: $23.95
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Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and…

Publication Date: August 1, 2015
List Price: $15.99
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Tuesday Morning:WatertownProject BluechipMajor Richard WestonHe read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored….

Publication Date: March 20, 2016
List Price: $14.99
Earth’s Survivors SE1 by Wendell Sweet, Geo Dell, W. W. Watson
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Earth’s Survivors SE 1 contains the complete text from the first two Earth’s Survivors books, Apocalypse and Rising From The Ashes. It follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world…

Publication Date: January 29, 2014
List Price: $24.95
Earth’s Survivors SE 2 by Wendell Sweet, Geo Dell, W. W. Watson
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Earth’s Survivors SE 2 contains books three and four of the Earth’s Survivors series.The series follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire,…

Publication Date: January 29, 2014
List Price: $28.95
Frequent Walker by Dell Sweet
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The first EP from Dell Sweet . A Minor, War At Home, Solution Six and Frequent Walker comprise the self penned songs on this CD. Dell ‘s music is a mix of rock-alternative music, strong beats and good stories.

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CreateSpace Store / BOOK

independAntwriters 2013 Short Story Collection This is a collection of the most popular short stories published by Dell Sweet this year. These are complete versions with introductions from the author, and two previously unpublished stories are included only available in this collection. The following stories…

Publication Date: September 10, 2013
List Price: $8.95
Billy Jingo by Wendell Sweet
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Billy Jingo contains 22 short stories, from crime to Horror and the title story, Billy Jingo.Billy Jingo:I started to get back into the truck when he wagged his head and put one finger to his lips. I pulled my gun back out, scared to death. It was maybe a second after I got the gun back in my hand that the…

Publication Date: May 10, 2014

List Price: $16.99



Rocket series debuts Base One, the second in the series

Rocket series debuts Base One, the second in the series…


Book One: Rocket

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.


Book One is now a free download from Smashwords in formats for Kindle and iTunes, Nook, Kobo. It will be available free at iTunes and Nook in the next few days.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/728792


Book Two: Base One

Nothing truly ends. We think highly of our race and we believe that the end of society means the end of the world, but it does not.
This time on Hay Vida we might not have to retreat to our DNA. It might be possible to go forward and adapt, but even if we did retreat it would not be world ending. It would only mean beginning anew in a more basic configuration of the life form we truly are…


Book two is available at Smashwords now and will be available at Amazon, iTunes, Nook and Kobo in the next few days…

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/797262


Paperback editions of both books will be available at my Amazon Central page in the next few days…

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Wendell-Sweet/e/B00B6QPHNM



 

Rocket. A free preview from Dell Sweet

ROCKET



Rocket

Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet all rights reserved.

This book preview is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

LEGAL

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.


PROLOUGE

Hay Vida 02281 11-08 21:58:27

Present Day

Michael Watson sat at the mouth of the cave staring out over the valley below. This close to the thick plastic the air was cold, but the wooden benches were comfortable if a little hard. They had served for dozens upon dozens of people since Mike and Tom had built them some thirty years before: They still served them well. He turned and smiled at several children who sat nearby pointing out different landmarks in the valley far below. The children, especially, never seemed to tire of sitting on the low benches and looking out over the valley.

Michael chuckled to himself, turned his eyes from the other benches, and back out on the valley far below. The snow was falling heavy. Two hours ago late fall had been holding steady, little smudges of green had still existed throughout all the fall foliage in the valley. Now it was quickly becoming a blanket of white. Fall had lost this round.

Years before they had devised a new year that better kept track of seasons and the much longer year Hay Vida had. Even with a year that now held some 95 extra days spread over fifteen months to even the seasons out the time still seemed to move by too quickly. Time was never a friend to anyone, Michael thought. Well, maybe death nothing else.

The seasons had worked themselves out after a few years. Some longer, some shorter, it was winter that had come out the winner in that round. Even slightly longer winters had a huge impact on the year around weather and the planting that could be accomplished. It took much longer to get through winter, longer for spring to thaw the valleys and fields for planting, longer for the sun to warm the ground and glaciers were forming in the north: Growing ever bigger year by year. Michael had sometimes wondered in years past if he would see them come this far. Of course the answer was no: They would not come this far in his lifetime, but he had no doubt they would come here eventually.

Winter was coming in strong today; there would be little left to do soon but plan the hunts and tell stories around the fire.

They still kept their own herds started from the stock they had worked so hard to bring into this valley, but they often hunted. The habit was good and it passed the skills down to the younger ones. There were places in this still-young world where those skills were essential.

The whole mouth of the cave had been closed off from the elements for many years. Salvaged carbon sheets that spanned floor to ceiling: A graphite frame that held them: Warmth inside the elements without, but always within reach. Something Tom had built. The last thing Tom had built, Michael remembered sadly.

He shook his head slightly remembering. That had been back in the council days before the wars had begun: Before the years of leaders, kings, the two queens and everything else that had come with the wars. Even so, even in the council years, Michael had been their leader. The council had made its decisions, but he had lead them.

Michael had been the only leader for several years now, he had helped to build this society, but he was getting older and it was getting closer and closer to the time when he would need to turn the reins over to a younger, stronger person. Maybe even this winter, he thought as he watched the snow swirl and blow.

Back in the cave behind him there were three generations waiting to take their own steps into the procession that would bring them to leadership. Some of those young men and women were ready now. It really wasn’t something he should be thinking about it was something he should be doing.

“Grandfather?”

Michael smiled up into the eyes of Rain, a newborn at her breast; her swollen belly a testament to the one coming. He took one of the furs from his shoulder and laid it across the worn wooden planking for her. A second went around her shoulders as she sat.

“It’s not too cold for the baby this close up is it?” Michael asked. The carbon held the weather out, but it was still very cold this close to the huge sheets.

Rain smiled back. “Thank you, grandfather. No it isn’t too cold.” She looked out over the valley too.”It’s beautiful,” she said.

“It is, but it can be treacherous. Winter is here now… Probably you should stay?” he asked the last. Too often he came off as demanding. The rule giver; it was something that Petra had always chided him about: He missed her constantly.

“It’s what Ron and I thought too. Base One will be there in the spring. I thought we could send a messenger… Maybe tomorrow after the snows?” She smiled widely. She knew he had been worried, and she was glad that he had given them the time to work it out between them. Glad now to give him what he would consider good news. Michael had already stood and turned though, his large frame standing tall from the rock floor.

“Jerrica,” he called out.

A young woman came from the back area of the cave. She was tall, dark, short black hair framed her face. Her clothes were stitched leather, heavy, well made. A laser rifle rested upon her back. A wide belt circled her waist; pistols on either side and a knife sheaf depended from it: Firepower was a luxury not easy to come by any longer. She came and stood next to Michael. She looked so much like her mother, Michael thought, that it amazed him. He had known Petra at this age, the resemblance always threw him when she was here and made him think for a second that reality had side slipped and he was back in time somehow.

“I will need you to deliver a message to your mother for me,” Michael told her. He stood and walked a short distance away and continued to talk to her in low tones. Rain turned her face back out to the valley and watched the thick flakes of snow fall, when they had finished their conversation they both came back to the benches. Jerrica gazed out over the valley, her eyes veiled.

Rain smiled at Jerrica, but her face barely softened. She was so serious. All members of the guard were always serious and Jerrica was no exception. Rain supposed she had been the same during her service too, but something in Jerrica had gone past service, she had come to love it. She had never left it. It was her life. Younger than Rain, she had already been a guard for several years. Rain had done her own duty for two years and had then become a wife and mother. She and Ron were going to Base One to be considered for leadership. She listened to the low whispers of talk between Michael and Jerrica and thought about her own life as she did.

She had come to this valley as a child with the original settlers: Years past now. That bought her to nearing her middle years, the age of leadership. As she looked out over the valley she realized there was little left of the original settlement she had watched rise from the valley floor as a child. In those days the people had still clung to the old technology. That was long gone here now, except with the guard and some other applications like the power plant; a few others. The people themselves had gone back to simpler roots. The old ways Tom had taught them. His motto had been; why use it just because it’s there? Do we want to return to the old life or do we really want to move on to something else? Always a challenging question and one everyone had to answer in their own way.

There was only a settlement here at all because Michael had come back, killed the ones that had enslaved the people; freed them, Rain included and taken the settlement back.

Michael spoke, interrupting her thoughts.

“A team is outgoing with Jerrica. She will tell them to look for you in the spring.” He smiled. “Maybe that will give me time to talk you out of leaving.” He smiled, but it was an uneasy smile.

Rain smiled. He didn’t know why they were leaving. They had told him it was simply time to move. She didn’t know how he would feel if she did tell him, but she hadn’t wanted to hurt him.

Michael turned back to the valley speaking as he did. “They will know inside of a week.”

Rain made up her mind. “They have asked us to come… To be considered to lead… Petra asked for us.”

Michael turned and straightened. “Petra?” He looked from Jerrica to Rain as he spoke.

“Petra wishes to step down,” Jerrica told him quietly.

“… I remember the times we spent there… When it was still good for all of us,” Rain said. Her eyes teared up; she shifted the baby and looked at Michael.

Michael nodded. “You should not leave here. I have sat staring out at this valley and wished you would stay so I could offer you this leadership,” He turned away to hide his own eyes from her. “Not so large or advanced as Base One, but large and in need of new blood to lead.” He turned back to face her. “Had I known I would have offered. I was afraid you would refuse it.”

“I…” she caught herself as her voice broke. “I didn’t know…” She turned her head away and then stood quickly and walked away.

Michael turned to Jerrica. “I had thought that it would be you that would lead after your mother stepped down.”

“It was offered… I refused. My place is here in this valley where I was raised; not there… I … I refused,” her eyes seemed to struggle to say more, but it was not really necessary.

It was the same with many aspects of the split that had torn them apart. There were sides and they were chosen. After all of these years he couldn’t think of a single reason why he had stayed and fought here. He reached out and placed one large hand on her shoulder. “I understand your choices. I am glad that there are no barriers between your mother and you.” He waited for her eyes to meet his. “I hope to be going with you. I should make some changes here.” He glanced over where Rain stood talking with Ron.

Jerrica followed his eyes.

Ron had watched Rain from the seat he shared at the fire with some other hunters. He excused himself, and followed her to the back of the cave where they made their own winter quarters.

“Rain?” he asked as he came to her and placed one massive hand on her shoulder.

“He is stepping down… He wanted me to know he would have already given the leadership to us.” She turned and buried her face in his shoulder and wept. The baby fussed for a second, upset at the confinement and emotion and then went back to nursing; sniffling as she did.

Ron smoothed her hair with his roughened hands. He turned her slowly and then pulled her and the baby down to the floor where he held her silently for a few moments.

“What do you want, Rain. What do you want?”

“I can’t leave now… I can’t. We can lead here. We can make it bigger. Rebuild it even more from the wars. It could be good,” Rain said as she looked at him with her tear reddened eyes.

“Trade the sea for the snow?” he asked with a smile.

“Leaders can visit.” She shifted around. “I think all the people that caused the wars are dead now. Just the ones who worked so hard to end it are still going. Michael, Jerrica, Ash, Terrica. They are still here. They still want it all back together. We should try to get this all as one again and as leaders we could do it. I could accept leadership here you could accept it there. It could work.” Her eyes pleaded with his.

“They would turn both of us out if we tried that,” Ron told her.

“Not if we were straight forward. Accept leadership here and take the proposal to them next spring. We will already be leaders here. They can only say no, but I do not believe they will say no. I think it is time to put us all back together,” Rain said softly. The baby let go of her nipple and began to fuss. “Poor, baby,” she soothed as she put her over her shoulder and patted her back softly, rubbing for short periods. Her eyes met Ron’s.

“Tell Michael. Tell Michael and see what Michael says about it,” Ron said after a few moments.

~

Michael watched the heavy flakes fall. He had not known what to make of Rain jumping up and leaving so quickly as she had. He only hoped it was because she wanted time to talk to Ron about what he had said. What he had essentially offered.

He had shocked himself. While it was true that he had been sitting here thinking about turning leadership over he had not thought it would be so soon. He had hoped that when Rain and Ron came back from their trip to Base One he could approach the subject with them. Now he could see that it would have been far too late then. They would have left and they would never have come back.

It saddened him to think of passing leadership to someone else, but in another way the responsibilities were too heavy. He was too old. Petra was younger and stronger. He couldn’t understand why she would give up leadership. A position she had held in one capacity or another for all the years since the end had come. She was a natural. What would make her consider stepping down, he wondered as he stared out over the valley.

He had been on the verge of rising; going to find Rain when Ron dropped down beside him.

Michael held his eyes when he turned to him. “She spoke to you?”

“She did, grandfather.” He laughed. “She would never leave you now.”

“It wasn’t meant to make you stay… It was time,” Michael said. He turned his eyes back out to the valley. In the far distance a herd of bison grazed. Whether their own or a wild herd he could not tell. At one time the entire valley had been closed: No longer. A smaller valley on the opposite side of the mountain held the winter herd: Small; what they could afford to keep and feed through the cold. The rest were turned loose. They mingled with the wild herds, but they never forgot the valley was their home and so they could be depended upon to come back in the spring.

Ron followed his eyes and watched the herd of bison in the distance through the blowing snow. “Big herd.”

Michael nodded and then turned. “You will stay?”

“She will stay…” he paused and let his words sink in: Concern mounted in Michael’s eyes. “She seems to think that I should take the leadership being offered by Base One… Bring us all together as a people again.”

Michael smiled. “She is like my own blood.” He laughed; a small laugh, but then he let it roll out of his huge chest. “I can see it. I can see it.” He fell quiet, watching the bison as they moved more fully into the protection of the walls of the valley. Their coats were already heavy; carrying the weight of the snow as it hid them from the eyes of predators. Ron watched with him.

“Almost gone already… If I didn’t know exactly where to look…”

“Yes, I never get tired of it,” Michael agreed. “I’m older than all of them you know. It was so unfair… Petra is so young; she should rule for years to come yet she is stepping down. Here I am in my late seventies, almost eighty now… Soon I will be…” He sighed. He shook his head. “Where did it all go to?” He turned and met Ron’s eyes, but Ron only shrugged as he held his eyes. Both men turned back to the valley, but just that fast the bison who had been moving nearer had disappeared under their walking blankets of white.

“Insulates them too: Hard for me to believe that but it is true,” Michael said. He turned back to Ron. “She’s right… It’s what should have been done long ago.” He stood and turned back into the cave where Jerrica stood talking to several others. The only vehicles they still had were the transport vehicles the guard used. Everything else had long been given back to rust and age. The guard transports had only gotten better. Built from scratch and modified with more and more technology as they came across it in the old drops they discovered out on their missions.

Michael stood to his full height and raised his arms high above him. “People,” Michael’s voice boomed out and the people in the cave stopped what they were doing and looked to him. He may have been closing in on eighty, but there was still a great deal of fight in that voice: Power.

At one time there had been several thousand people here. Now there were slightly more than two thousand; still a great responsibility and a growing one. He waited until he had everyone’s attention, at least those that were inside. Most were working at this time of the day, but it didn’t matter. The news would find them.

Rain came from the back: The baby gone; most likely sleeping on a pile of furs with a few others, Michael thought. She came to Ron; her face tense, unsure what was about to be said.

“You all know me. You all, I hope, know that I am not pretentious. I pray to God I never have been or will be. I am just a man.” He paused. “There is no easy way to say this, for I love you all. You mean something to me. Every one of you; and if you can look at this in that light you will realize it is past the time that I stepped down.” A few gasps punctuated the silence and a very low buzz of hushed, surprised conversation.

“It has never been concealed from you that I have looked at Rain as my blood. That is why I hope and pray that you will accept her leadership of this settlement.” Michael fell silent and the silence in the cave held for a few moments before the cheers began. With a few seconds the crowds around himself and Rain were so thick they found themselves pushed together and herded back into the central area of the cave. Questions, answers; they would have them. He had to answer some of them at least.

Michael raised his arms and waited for the quiet. “I give you your leader… Will you accept her?”

The cave reverberated with the shouts of yes.

“It’s finished then,” Michael said softly. He said it softly on purpose to hold their attention for a moment longer. “Before the celebration begins I will explain why it had to be now. When Jerrica and her guard team leaves I will be going with them to Base One. I will leave tonight with them, and I do not know if I will return. My wish will be to return, but that old dog age is nipping at my heels and so who knows, maybe I will reach the warmth of the sea and wish to stay there.” He waited for the laughter to die down. “You need a leader now: A leader that can take you to the next place our people need to be. The same place we have all worked to attain, togetherness, healing, advancement. A man or a woman grows, or they die. This settlement is the same way. We forgot that back in the wars. I have remembered it now. Rain has never forgotten it,” his voice fell even lower. “Something I only wish I could claim. Something I am proud to see living within her.” He met as many eyes as he could.

“God willing I will see you all again,” Michael told them. He turned and embraced Rain as her tears fell and then his eyes fell on Jerrica where she awaited him. He kissed Rain’s eyelids, told her he loved her; wished her all the best there could be and then he joined Jerrica. A moment later they were making their way through the tunnel to the eastern side of the mountain where the guard had their own quarters: The laughter and cheers of congratulation falling away behind them.

“You surprised me,” Jerrica said as they walked.

“I surprised me,” Michael agreed.

The guard was comprised of ten all in all. He found that impressive. The first group he himself had formed had been only four. And what they had then was nothing compared to what they had now. Weapons, vehicles, armor and more bags of tricks, some Michael was sure he himself didn’t fully understand the implications of.

They turned from the main tunnel way into a wide open area filled with large transports and bustling with activity.

“We are ready…” Jerrica faltered; unsure how to address him. For so long she had addressed him as leader, father when she had been younger, she didn’t know what to do now that he had turned his reigns of leadership over so quickly.

“Father will do,” he told her as her face colored.

“Father,” Jerrica said. “We need to get going.”

Michael took a last look around the huge area. “Been a long road,” Michael said huskily. He followed Jerrica to one of the huge transports. He stepped inside: The door drew down and sealed with a hiss of air: A few seconds later a huge carbon panel parted; opening the cavernous space to the outdoors and the transport rolled silently out into the swirling snow…


ONE: Star Dancer


ONE

Earth Date: 2196 – 08 -25 – 16:21:43

Moon Base 14: United Planet Technologies

Intra Flight Systems: Star Dancer

Michael Watson

Michael Watson, Mike to his friends purchased Star Dancer right after college and began intra system runs shortly after that. He could remember his great-grandfather, gone now for more than forty years, talking about what he had, had for opportunities right out of high school. That would be laughable now. Mike’s parents had, had his life mapped out from the age of two. Life Mapping was and is a serious thing, Mike didn’t know anyone that didn’t have their lives mapped out now from birth or before.

School was not complete without college. You could not be licensed to work the counters of a Planet Burger unless you had two years of college. His own career had taken four years of Specialty College as well as geared trade school from the first grade on. When other first graders were learning about monetary systems and world level banking, he had been learning about Solar Wind Drives and Hydrogen Propulsion units.

The grades, one through twelve, start at age three and last on average seven years. Some fall behind, some spring ahead, but by ten years of age most are ready for focused education and he was no exception. He began his specialized training; four years, four more years of global military service after that with an option for six more which he had deferred and he was pretty sure he made his instructors very happy by doing so, and so at the old age of eighteen Mike had signed a twenty year funding commitment for Star Dancer. At the time he was sure he would never dig himself out of thirty million credits of debt, but for the last two years he had been watching credits build in his accounts.

Today he was docking at UPT on Moon Fourteen to pick up a four year re-supply for a prison colony at Mars Twenty-Seven: Some kind of Tech drop for Colony One; and two panel pre-fab labs for IO’s base six.

Moon Base Fourteen is United Planet Technologies’ own base. There is not much else there; a small cafeteria, some lounges for through travelers, each progressively worse than the last: The best being Vic’s, and Vic’s was the only official bar, the other two were simply overlooked. That could happen at a base that was not really a base at all but a company town.

Mike had, had the tour before and short of taking on a small fed crew, and maybe a new navigator to replace the one he had been without for the last seventeen months he would be here only long enough to fuel, be unloaded and then reloaded: Once the ship was re-supplied he would be off; there would be no downtime in the next twenty-four hours.

The crew was a fed security and transport crew. In other words a federal crew that would accompany him to all three of the offloads, do all the offloading and on loading. He would be coming back to Moon Base Fourteen with a full load of finished products bound for Earth and they would pack it all, all he had to do was bring it back. They also provided security for himself and the Star Dancer crew. In nearly twenty years of intra cruising he had never had a single security issue for them to defend him from.

On the last stop, IO, he would lose the crew. That would leave him alone for the return trip unless they turned up a dead head crew for the return trip. He would also be required to transport any returning paroled inmates: Terminated or retired employees or UPT employees that required transport: Bar those possibilities; unless he signed a navigator today he would be coming back alone and so far out of twenty possible candidates he had, had only five show up, and out of the five three had turned him down. He had turned the other two down. He told himself that if he were a betting man the odds were that he would be riding alone this return trip.

A return trip alone did not mean he would be returning empty. No transport was ever left empty. There were always shipments heading back to Earth, short hops to other Moon Bases, Mars and twice he had done several runs between IO and Mars without going back to Earth. In any case of in-system transport he was required to have a security crew. If it was a straight run back to the Moon or Earth then the shipment was loaded, locked and sealed and he could run back with no security crew. If a parolee was scheduled for the ride back then a security team was required, even if there was no other reason for their presence. He had rarely transported parolees, once or twice that he could recall. He almost always offloaded, reloaded Earth-bound cargo, loaded up supplies and a dead head crew, usually a mixed security and worker crew and headed back within a day or two.

He eased Star Dancer into dock. Most Captains go with the auto-nav, but he had heard too many horror stories about out of phase computers, last second power surges and more to trust his ship to the machines. He would do it himself. He had known how to do it since third grade in the flight sims: Microsoft had the best federally approved space-flight sims and Mike’s parents had made sure he got the best.

He gave his reverse thrusters a quick slap with his palm at three hundred feet out and watched the ships lock coupler drift home with nothing more than a small frame vibration when all systems went green on lock-in. He keyed his overhead.

“Central, I’m locked on 6B… Standing by for station personnel, over…”

“Green on my board, Dancer… Unlocking for loads… You have company standing by, Dancer.”

“Oh yeah?” That was a surprise.

“Uh… Lounge seven… Navigator?”

“Oh, okay, right… Send him right up, and thank you.”

“Uh, her.”

“Her?”

“Oh yeah… Pretty sure unless I’m blind.” He chuckled.

“Huh… Supposed to be…” He punched the name up on his scheduling screen. “Pete Stanovich.”

“Uh huh… Short for Petra no doubt… Petra Stanovich… See you must have heard the Pete part and not the tra part.” He chuckled again.

“Someone screwed up… It’s entered as Pete in the com. Okay send her up then and thanks.”

“Coming at you… Base out.”

Mike clicked off and sighed. This meant number twenty-one was most likely a wash too. Most women who interviewed for the job were not interested once they realized it was an intra-galaxy, or system cruiser and one that was considered a dinosaur of a ship. About all he did have to offer were transferable credits for Federal space-work. Because he had not deactivated his military time he had what was called time for time credit. A perk because he had done his four in the service and kept his six active. That meant that technically the feds could still pick him up for that six any time they wanted to. In exchange it meant that he could offer his employees who were fresh out of military service time for time credit. A young navigator would have to be fresh out of military service, or within their benefit time window, thus making them eligible for the time. The time would count directly as military experience in advanced navigation; a big plus, but maybe not worth the two year minimum hitch they would have to do on his ship.

Even so it was a good perk and the past three navigators he had hired were immediately picked up for star cruiser service at the end of their contracts. It was both his ace in the hole and his queen of spades.

He unbuckled thought about it and then keyed his Com-Link

“Unlocked, central and could you delay my visitor by twenty?”

“Be at least that… Problem?”

“No… That’ll work…”

“Okay, Mike… You have Baylor as Sec-Chief… A crew of twenty security. Three max level prisoner transports and four tech level grads bound for IO. That’s it… Out.”

Mike keyed his Com-Link as an answer; flicked the unlock switches for the cargo holds, electronically signed his security certificate to allow off loading and loading and headed for the showers and fresh clothes. He may as well make the best impression that he could, he reasoned.


Read more right now at SmashwordsiTunes



 

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: http://3drad.org/downloads

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: http://www.openfx.org/

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 and used in 3D RAD. I know, I have used it exactly that way.

After a modeler I needed a way to get my model format of choice, 3DS, into the Direct X format.

ULTIMATE UNWRAP: http://www.unwrap3d.com/u3d/index.aspx

Ultimate Unwrap is written by the same man who authored Lithunwrap, so he knows what he is up to. It is not free, but there is a free demo you can download and test to see that it does what it says it will. Ultimate Unwrap is a beautiful piece of software and worth the cost of purchase. It can be used for many game systems and the website has dozens of plugin filters for various formats to import and or export.

It does faithful translations of 3D Models. Open your 3DS formatted or DXF formatted model and save it to Direct X or whatever format you need. It’s that simple. It is lightweight, small footprint and it does every single thing it claims it can do and it does them very well. It has some modeling features as well that can save you hours of time when you are setting up a model to use in a game. Sometimes it is worth paying for software when it is this good.

MODELS: http://www.turbosquid.com/

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 and Ultimate Unwrap. Learn those tools and you’ll be making what you want to make pretty quickly.

I like TurboSquid because it requires membership. Not a big deal, costs nothing, but it allows them to know you and you them. I don’t have to worry about contaminated files. They have free downloads, and they also have content you can purchase pretty cheaply and download and use in your creations.

Okay, none of these places paid me to link them. No kickbacks or click-throughs either. Just stuff that works for me and should work for you. 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.

New from Dell Sweet

New from Dell Sweet


Rocket

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…

Necro

By Dell Sweet

He had been lying half in half out of the gutter for the last several hours that he knew of. He had no idea how long before that. Days? Weeks? Weeks seemed wrong. Days, he decided. He turned his attention back to the roadway before him. Was it a roadway? When he thought roadway, he thought highway, something like that. From what he could see this was more like a city street.
It had never occurred to him in the passing hours to move his head, but the thought of it being a street in a city had caused him to move his head slightly so he could look around to be sure. Slightly, but enough to know he could move it. And he had moved it enough to know it was a city street. And if he could move it that much…
His face came away from the asphalt with a wet sucking noise and he nearly stopped. Expecting pain to come. Expecting the sky to fall. Expecting something, but nothing happened. The sucking sound stopped when his face finally pulled free and he pushed off with his hands and found himself in a sitting position. He flexed his jaw, it worked; tended to click when he moved it quickly, but perhaps it was just residual of… Of? He couldn’t make it come… Something… Some accident? Maybe… He pushed harder with his hands and rose to his feet… Shaky but holding him upright. He took one tentative step and then another. Moving off down the street in search of anything that could calm the hunger in his belly…

More… https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/necro/id1238359802?mt=11


Earth’s Survivors Box Set

By Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume.

Book One: Apocalypse.
Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. Small groups band together for safety, leaving the ravaged cities behind in search of a new future…

Book Two: Rising From The Ashes.
Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world…

Book Three: The Nation.
This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

Book Four: Home The Valley.
Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to leadership positions across the former United States. The first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties join and become one under the Nation Flag.

Book Five: Plague.
Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and the loss of one of the founders of The Nation without whom the Nation may dissolve…

Book Six: Watertown.
Major Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection…

Book Seven: World Order.
This book steps back to the beginning to bring you the story of the Fold. Jessie Stone, why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present day and then falls back in time to the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenger to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies…

All seven books in one collection. Follow the survivors as they struggle to survive in a vastly changed world, where the living are just as likely to kill you as the dead are.
The release of this box set puts the series to an end. I have enjoyed writing it, I hope you have enjoyed reading it, Dell Sweet.

More… https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-box-set-dell-sweet/1124605603


Crime Time

By Dell Sweet

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, yet every day he found himself hanging around, giving him lifts to do job searches, parole, where ever he needed to go: Even hanging around with him at night…
Nine stories that are hard edged, entertaining and good, fast rides into the darkness that is the criminal’s world…
… In the last few days she had decided a few things. First: Dello was a killer. She knew that. It was how he made a living. It wouldn’t be hard to kill her, she supposed. She knew that sounded unreasonable, probably was wildly unreasonable, but she couldn’t get it out of her head. What if they were over and suppose he needed her gone because she knew too much. Way too much. What would he do, tell her it’s over and show her the door? She didn’t believe it. What she did believe, what had gotten into her head, was that he would take her somewhere and kill her…
Unforgettable characters and places. A gritty world from Sweet’s mind where anything can and usually does happen…
… Too late, I thought as I realized I had left the machine pistol lying on the front seat instead of keeping it in my right hand where it should have been. I could hear the sound of a machine pistol behind me as the Mexican opened up. I did what I could. I aimed the truck at the two men; levered the door-handle and prepared to jump just as the windshield hit by several of the rounds fired by the two men was blown inward: My world faded to black…
Get a free Preview right now!

More… https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/crime-time-3


Alabama Island

By Dell Sweet

 

THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS FROM ASHES Kindle Edition by Dell Sweet  (Author)

THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS FROM ASHES Kindle Edition


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    Candace March 2nd: This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say, never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know, but it seems like it’s ending here. Earthquakes, explosions. I’ve seen no Police, Fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have the Nine Millimeter that used to be my Father’s. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside.

    Candace March 3rd: I lost this yesterday; my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it; then I found it again later on by the window right where I left it. Maybe I’m losing it.
    There are no Police, no Firemen, phones, electric. The real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed.
    I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud, so out of place, so… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away.

    Candace March 4th: I’m going out. I have to see, if I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this?

    Candace March 5th: The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is no Jimmy V. I hear gunshots at night, all night. And screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the end of the civilized world, unless things are better somewhere else. I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines, missing streets, damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in, and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now. I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then?

    Candace March 6th: I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe though, that is a sign, I told myself. And scared or not, I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow.

    Candace March 7th: The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. Most of my friends, and that’s a joke, I didn’t have anyone I could actually call a friend.
    I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. But no one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday, probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why, what all my reasons were. A lot of fear; I think.
    There have been earthquakes. The house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. It is off the foundation and leaning. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad. It’s just dumb luck it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me.
    It doesn’t matter now though. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore. I’m taking this and my gun with me. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it.
    I’ll write more here, I think. I just don’t know when; or where I’ll be…


  • Get it: https://www.amazon.com/ORIGINAL-SURVIVORS-ASHES-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B074B7T4MC

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…