Sharky’s Story: A Tale Of Catch and Don’t Release

I’m real. I could be your neighbor.

The streets of New York are rivers stocked with fish/pedestrians from all over the planet.

They flow north and south during certain times of the day. The rivers going east and west are the busiest and best for hunting.

I am a fresh water shark stalking my prey every day. I know every little outlet and cove where my prey tries to hide. My predator blood boils when I sense fear. It’s like an intoxicant.

I see red. Then I drink the red. Then I go home and sleep soundly until my hunger awakens me again.

You should know that I’m not a vampire. That’s a supernatural being. I’m real. I could be your neighbor. I could be a greeter at Walmart. Or, your neighborhood Postman.

I like to play billiards. You’ll never guess what my nickname is at Al’s Pool Emporium. Give up?

It’s Sharky!

I use to be a sailor in the US Navy. That was years ago when I was still growing my shark teeth. They got sharper in every dream I had, until the day came when I got my first kill. It was swift and savage!

One moment I was talking to one of the ship’s cooks on the fantail, and the next I was choking him to death. What came next surprised even me. I bit his neck. Once, twice, three times, trying to pierce the skin to draw his still pumping blood.

But my teeth weren’t sharp enough. So I used the cook’s own pocketknife to slit his throat. I’ll never forget the awesome surge that coursed through my body when I sucked that thick hot blood from the open wound.

Afterwards, I tossed the body overboard.

That’s really when I became Sharky. The billiards thing came later.

I became a land shark when I got out of the Navy. I returned to my native waters in Manhattan and set up shop as a computer repair wiz. There turned out to be so much business, that I had to hire an assistant to keep up with it. Then another person.

Before I knew it, I had a nice office building with a dozen employees and was making a million dollars in my first year of business. It was all too easy. I grew bored with my success and hired someone to manage the business for me.

I was free to pursue other activities. Like swimming in the streets of New York in search of tasty fish.

I prepared for my prey this time by sharpening my front teeth – upper and lower – until they came to sharp little points. I disguised them with a set of false teeth that fitted tightly over them.

Sometimes I pick my victims at the pool hall. I never know who the catch will be. That’s the thrill of it. I could play pool with a dozen different people without knowing which one’s blood I get to taste that night.

When I feel more adventuresome, I silently swim through the schools of pedestrians on their way home from work, or towards those night-owls seeking entertainment in the theatre district.

It’s been like this for thirteen years. Right up until a clever group of cops caught me red-handed. Literally. So I’m sitting here in jail waiting to see what happens. It’s really boring.

That’s why I’m telling you my story.

Who knows what these fisherman of evil souls will do? As a shark, I expect no mercy. As a man, I’ll act crazy and see if that’ll save me.

As It Stands, this tale of  catch and don’t release, is a reminder that the mentally ill in America today need help…before horrible things like the shootings at Parkland High School in Florida happen again.

Saturn’s Annual Shoot-A-Thon

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Mars circa 3328

“Do you really think you’re ready?” Ob’s brother asked again for the hundredth time.

“I’ve practiced all my life, as you well know brother. Am I not the best shot on Mars?”

“There’s a big difference between competing with the rest of the solar system, or just on Mars.”

“Listen Hu, I subscribe to the Milky Way Shooter’s Guide and my scores are as good as anyone else’s in this solar system. Otherwise they wouldn’t have accepted my application.”

Venus circa 3328

Keimie shot the eyes out of the manikin from 100 yards with naked sights. She was just warming up for another afternoon of practice when her father called out, “Keimie! I’ve got news!”

She lowered her rifle – a standard SX Solar System carbine – and watched her father cross the field with something in his hand. As he drew near she could make out an envelope in his hand.

She read its contents and smiled. “The Saturn Shooting Association has approved my application to compete in the annual Milky Way Star Shoot-A-Thon!”

“I knew they would, but now I may lose a daughter.”

“Don’t worry Daddy. It’s the only way I can get our family out of these hard times. It’s what I’ve prepared for since you gave me my first training rifle.”  

Mercury 3328

I don’t care what you say! I’m competing this year. Here’s my letter of acceptance,” said prince Ymir.

His mother, the Queen, pulled at her hair dramatically and wailed like a lost soul.

“What if you don’t win my precious son? We could not bear to lose the heir to the throne!”

“I need to prove that I’m the best shot in the solar system. Nothing else means more to me right now than that. The throne and the riches are inherited. I didn’t earn them. This is something I must do.”

As the king walked down the drafty corridor of the castle he heard his wife’s wails. “Sounds like the letter of acceptance has arrived,” he mumbled to himself.

Neptune 3328

Arie took the last lap at full speed. As soon as he crossed the finish line he grabbed one of the .308 caliber carbines off of a nearby gun rack and trotted towards the high grass to take up a shooting position.

As he wedged himself into a hedgerow he carefully took the scope out of the pouch from around his neck, and attached it. His targets would range from 100 to 800 yards.

He was the most accomplished sportsman on the planet. As an avid hunter he collected trophies of his kills from throughout the solar system. His shooting ability was legendary.

The Saturn Shooting Association had talked him in to competing by promising he could keep the heads of his kills.

“Release,” he said to the watch on his wrist.

He saw the first target at 1000 yards. When the slave from Uranus got within 800 yards he squeezed the trigger. The slave was spun around by the shot as he fell.

Earth 3328

Jay Standers finished polishing the carbine parts and put them back together in seconds. He was once a Navy Seal team member, but got kicked out for fighting with his squad leader, breaking his jaw and three ribs.

After completing his time in prison he hooked up with an old high school buddy with mob connections. He quickly became one of the most feared hit men in the business. After that he hired out as a mercenary in Africa.

While teaching Nigerian soldiers how to set up ambushes, Jay got a phone call from the United States. It was from mob boss Big Arnie Giordano;

“How are you doing Jay?” he asked.

“What’s up? I haven’t had anything to do with you guys for eight years. Since Tony Rizzo tried to rip me off.”

“Yeah…about that. His son says you ripped Tony off and he wants twice the amount – $100 Billion dollars!”

“You gotta be kidding me.”

“It’s no joke Jay. Lucky for you, I found a way you can get that much money and even have a little left for yourself.”

“Screw you! I don’t have…”

“Oh yes, you do! Tell him Dad!”

“Son…you mother and I aren’t hurt. These men..” 

“That’s enough pops. So here’s the thing Jay, I sent your qualifications in to the Saturn Shooting Association for next months annual competition. Guess what? You were accepted! Isn’t that exciting?”

“I’m going to kill you Arnie!”

“No you’re not. I’ll kill your parents if you try. You better brush up on your shooting skills Jay.”

Saturn 3328

Welcome to our annual Shoot-Off. This year we couldn’t find any eligible contestants in Uranus and Neptune. Maybe next year! But today, we have the best shots in the solar system competing in a do-or-die competition. 

“The winner takes home a huge cash prize and a trophy proclaiming them the Best Shot in the Milky Way. As always, the losers will become next years targets.” 

As It Stands, who do you hope wins?

Adventure of a Lifetime: See Jeb

 

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Raleigh, North Carolina

Okay, my friends! It’s time to put your backpacks on and to follow me!”

Seven people dressed for a long hike fell into an irregular line behind their guide Jeb Brewster, III. Four men, and three women. All city-slickers. All wearing expensive new gear and clothing.

All out for a big adventure.

“North Carolina is the Pine Tree State,” Jeb said, as he led his clients deeper into a narrow forest pathway.

We have eight different kinds of pine. My favorite is those loblolly pines on your right.” Nine pairs of eyes briefly swiveled to the right. Thus far, Jeb was the only one talking which wasn’t unusual.

Finally, the woman just behind Jeb asked, “How long until we set up camp?”

Another hour,” Jeb replied.

There were more than 5,500 acres of woodlands inside the city’s Outer Loop, and Jeb knew them all like the back of his hand. He was raised in these wild woods. His family, the Brewster’s lived in Raleigh since 1800.

Jeb came from a long line of famous guides, and trackers. His reputation brought in a steady flow of clients. He charged more than any of the other local guides, but promised an adventure of a lifetime.

He refused to take a client who wasn’t in good physical shape. He made his clients sign contracts that they would not sue him if something went wrong on the four-day excursion.

Jeb called for a 10-minute break for anyone who had to void their bladder. It was a good time to sit for a short spell. Jeb had set a brutal initial pace to make sure they made it to the first clearing to camp out before night fall.

The group sat around a fire Jeb built and smoked weed. They laughed, ate food, and told scary stories late into the night. Jeb listened, but didn’t contribute to the story-telling. He quietly sipped on a silver flask filled with homemade moonshine.

A Red Wolf howled as the group settled down for the night. Two raccoons watched them from the concealment of the debris on the forest floor. A Bobcat slowly approached the fire but suddenly ran away when Jeb threw a rock at it.

The pace was slower the next day. They were in Cherokee territory when Jeb began pointing out small monuments, and grave sites off the beaten trail. He talked to them about how the white man almost wiped the Cherokee off the face of the earth.

On the second night they camped out near a running stream. This time the group built the bonfire. After listening to the group tell their stories for awhile Jeb spoke up, “I’ve got a story for you folks.” 

The little group turned their full attention on Jeb.

My kin have been up here for over 200 years. The first Brewster to enter these parts befriended the Cherokee people. We even intermarried. My mother was mostly Cherokee. Through all of these years we’ve hunted these woodlands.

“Heck! We still enjoy hunting, but we’ve been running out of game for the last twenty years.”

One of the men coughed, and then passed his pipe to the woman next to him.

That’s why I decided to start my own guide business. City folk like adventures in the wild and like I told you from the onset, I’ll provide you with the experience of a lifetime. If you live through it, you’ll agree.”

Nine worried sets of eyes latched onto Jeb. “What the hell?” one man asked.

Then the group saw them. They were wearing traditional war paint and carried tomahawks. Their leader came up to Jeb…and they hugged.

Joseph says he’ll give you a lead,” he told the group. “You have until daylight. If you bear north you just might make it back to Raleigh!”

As It Stands, traditionally native Americans have got the short end of the stick. I thought I’d reverse that for once.

How ‘The Human Beings’ Became Pets On Neptune

Paradise Found?

Jupiter core 2

Prologue:

In the era following the great nuclear wars there were small groups of mutated humans and animals scattered around the planet.

Climate change caused hundreds of islands to sink into the sea. Once lush landscapes were turned to deserts. Civilization, as man knew it in the 21st century, was reduced to ancestral memories…

The Kank’s long hops were rapidly closing the distance between it, and it’s prey. The prey however, had a plan. Stopping suddenly, Orun Tallman, turned around and raised his spear, a thousand year-old weapon made by the ancients.

The Kank took one last leap, eagerly anticipating a man-meal. Instead, it went crashing down into a pit lined with sharpened sticks with toad poison on their tips. The impaled Kang screamed several times, and finally went limp.

Orun waived to his clanmen. They cautiously came out from behind the nearby rows of green corn. They all wore dark green cloaks held on with a golden clasp. Each had a spear and a sword, or long knife. All ancient relics

If it wasn’t for the fact that they all had light blue skin, were hairless, and had six-fingered webbed hands, they looked just like the people in the sacred history books.

The small clan of 80 people were ruled by a circle of six judges. Three males, and three females. They called themselves “The Human Beings,” and lived by a few basic rules. Equality, and freedom, were cornerstones of their beliefs.

The most unique thing about The Human Beings was their lack of religion. They prayed to no gods. Instead, they lived their lives a day at a time. In the present. When they looked up at the night sky they saw stars, not gods.

There were no regular seasons to grow crops. The fruit and vegetables that managed to survive had morphed into different shapes and tastes. With the Kanks, and the Roons, roaming the land it was impossible to farm.

The Human Beings were forced to lead a nomadic lifestyle in order to survive. Hunting and foraging took up most of their day.

Orun was the clan’s best forager, and hunter. It was he who discovered the museum that yielded the weapons they now carried. What they weren’t able to take with them was buried in another secret location.

The Kanks and the Roons both had smaller brains than The Human Beings. Their crude weapons were no match for The Human Beings, but they made up for it in their body structures.

The Kanks legs were heavily muscled, supporting a powerful chest and short thick arms. It’s reptilian head looked too small for it’s body. They prayed to a panel of gods, each with a different power. Their were almost 200 Kanks.

The Roons were powerful, short, and squat. They looked like a blend of man and wildcat. Their multi-colored coats could change colors like a chameleon, allowing them to attack unwary prey. Combined with their speed, the Roons were formidable enemies.

They prayed to a single God called “He.” There was less than a hundred of their kind.

The Roons and the Kanks had one thing in common; they loved eating The Human Beings.

Orun had a vision for his clan. It involved finding a safe place to live where there were no Kanks, Roons, or any other clans that wanted to kill them.

Was it destiny? A matter of luck? Or, if you will, a miracle?

When the first Neptunian Cruiser came to earth on an extended space tour, it got close enough to earth to make out it’s inhabitants. The gigantic passengers (averaging twenty-five feet-tall) were delighted to be able to see new life forms.

Earth was added to the Neptunian travel packages after that, and soon became the place to visit in the solar system. It wasn’t long before sanctioned hunter ships began appearing and bagging “game.”

A live alien from earth soon became a precious thing on Neptune. There just weren’t that many of them. Most were too savage to be kept as pets. They killed each other off in no time. The lone exception was a small clan recently discovered called, The Human Beings.

Because The Human Beings couldn’t breath in Neptune’s atmosphere, they built clear walled enclosures that allowed visitors and inhabitants to see each other. The enclosure was a replica of where they lived on earth, right down to the soil, fruits and vegetables.

Orun Tallman, already highly thought of,  became a revered member after he made the pact with the Neptunians. The Neptunians were so pleased with their new zoo that they started searching for other civilizations that needed “rescued.”

As It Stands, I wondered how to do a zoo story with a twist, and suddenly Oren Tallman appeared!

The Legend of the Last Tiger

He was a Shaman once…

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Harry and Greda were lost in the vast woods of Wildermare and their oxygen tanks were getting dangerously low.

They’d been on Hunter’s World for over 23 hours, and only had enough air left for less than an hour.

The Hermit who lived in the Wildermare woods, their intended prey, was once a respected shaman in Atland. His species were wiped out by Lord Awraths legions of lions. But they never could catch him.

Now, he was a target for every pair of human hunters who could afford Lord Awrath’s game fees. They all hoped to kill the last of his race.

Thus far, he fended off every attempt. Years ago, it use to be just one hunter stalking him. Now they were coming in pairs, since last season’s record high of 14 hunters killed.

The Hermit’s biggest advantage was this was his world, and it’s atmosphere was deadly to humans. It became a game of cat and mouse, as the hunters turned back towards the ship’s safety.

Greda saw the Hermit first. He burst out of the thick underbrush and landed on all four paws in front of Harry. Unlike the Hermits cousins, tigers on the planet earth, he could talk and reason as well as any intelligent species in the solar system.

“You lose!” he roared, and with one swipe of his huge paw shredded Harry into bloody ribbons. Gerda fired her Super Laser 3000 and missed. Her oxygen was depleted when she was sent to the same hell as Harry.

The Hermit didn’t know how long he would be able to elude his hunters. He suspected they’d come in threes after today. But it didn’t matter.

He had a reason to live. Life wasn’t boring, and he did enjoy chasing those clumsy human hunters. He had to be careful of their weapons, but they were slow.

The Hermit became a legend, his story told throughout the solar system, and in distant galaxies. It inspired many species to make brave last stands.

As It Stands, this is my twist on hunting, a so-called manly sport.

 

A Space Hunter’s Story

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“So how long has it been since you’ve hunted on earth?” Islipt asked.

Nrfum considered the question as he polished his sword. The eye in the back of his head blinked rapidly.

I’m going to say about 700 years, gave or take a decade.” 

“A blink of the eye!” Islipt chortled. “You know that some things are going to be different now right?”

Nrfum stopped polishing his weapon and stood up. He wasn’t very tall for a Nurtligster, just seven feet, but he held himself with dignity.

“We’ll still be hunting a hapless human right? They haven’t evolved have they?”

“Not physically.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Nrfum asked.

“We think their using their brains more now,” Islipt explained.

I doubt that, my friend. I’ve read planetary reports that they’re still killing each other in record numbers every day. Wars and famine. Governments rising and falling. Nothing but chaos.” 

The ships landing lights came on bathing the room in a blue glow as the onboard computer politely requested they take their seats and prepare for the descent..

“It’s 1:00 p.m., EST, in The United States, and the temperature is mild – low 70s – but slightly humid,” the computer informed them. They touched down in a big grassy meadow surrounded by hardwood trees in full fall colors.

Islipt and Nrfum stepped out of the craft and into a riot of colors – leaves dancing down as the rush of air from the ship picked them up again and made them dance once more across the clearing.  The two aliens strapped their swords across their backs and started walking.

Dusk came shortly, and then darkness fell as the two space travelers picked their way through the dense forest – their eyes going from black to white – as they naturally gained their night vision.

Last time I was on this planet I killed a king, and had him stuffed like my other trophies. I think his name was Arthur, or something like that,” Nrfum boasted. Islipt wasn’t listening. He was making plans to bag a president.

After weeks of careful planning it came to this. That’s why Islipt led the way. He had first dibs on this hunt. Nrfum had agreed to come along as a witness and to finish what he couldn’t.”

The big white house was lit up like a Starfleet holiday parade when they arrived. It was child’s play to hop over the gate – one bound and they were heading for the entrance of the building.

If it wasn’t for their invisibility shields the two tall aliens would have stood out like blue storks. Up the stairs. To the right. Open the door. Then another door. The president was sitting on his golden throne – aka shitter – and tweeting something to his minions.

They turned off their invisibility shields and grinned at the chubby man with his pants around his ankles franticly typing a tweet with his little fingers..

“This guys the leader of the free world?” Islipt asked, sarcasm dripping from each word.

Nrfum shook his head in wonder, his third eye blinking rapidly, as he shared Islipt’s disgust.

As they carried his corpulent body back to the ship, the two aliens agreed he was the worst excuse for a leader they’d ever seen. If it wasn’t for that Wanted “Dead or Alive” poster in a Cyclia bar offering 1,000,000,000 Dortzaps for him, they would have gone after Russia’s leader Putin.

Now that would have been a good kill.

As It Stands, I like mixing science fiction and satire around in a wok, and seeing what the results are.