You gotta love this time of year

I do love this time of year. For me it’s the one time of the year where things make sense. Or maybe it’s just the cold freezing my synapsis, making me slower.

Whatever it is about Christmas time, or the time from Thanksgiving to the New Year, I love it. It’s hustle bustle everywhere and I’m one of the people in that throng moving about from point A to point Z. There’s a lot of places I need to be so A and B doesn’t cut it.

I love Christmas. This Christmas is a little lean, but we’ve done all right. The majority of what we have left in savings has gone to the kids, and with me selling a few items on eBay I’ve been able to get a little extra for me and Tab to spend on each other. Instead of focusing on the negative that we all experience, I’m finding it easier to focus on what we have, and not what we don’t have. I digress.

Between looking for a job, writing about a serial killer in A Ways to Go, proofing/writing Werewolves of the Dead, and Christmas shopping, I’m finding the time to do flash fiction. I have to admit, I enjoy flash fiction. It really does keep you sharp.

This post is mostly rambling so if you made it this far, congratulations and thank you! Here’s my latest flash fiction. I hope you enjoy it.

It was impossible to resist her. She was beautiful like that classic film star, Veronica Lake. In reality she looked more like Velma Dinkley except with straight, flowing platinum blonde hair.

We’d met on the bus going to work, and a “friendship” flourished. I wanted to sleep with her more than be her friend. I still can’t explain why I wanted her so badly, but I know why she wanted me.

On our fifth date she cooked dinner for us at her place. The meal was excruciatingly unappetizing. The meatloaf was bland, the baked potato dry, and the carrots limp. I can’t say the same about me. I was ready for “love”.

“I want to show you something,” she said once the dishes were cleared.

I assumed it was the bedroom and I willingly followed.

I had entered the den of a lioness that enjoyed keeping trophies. Men’s heads hung from the walls with brass nameplates identifying who they were.

All I could get from my mouth was a squeak before collapsing.

She closed the door before kneeling beside me.

“Every five weeks I need to feed,” she said, flipping me unto my back.

She stripped naked and straddled me. She rubbed her naked crotch rub against my clothed erection as she sucked my life force away. I felt my essence flowing from my eyes and into hers. It was sensual rather than painful. I was scared out of my mind, but it was impossible to resist her.

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She just sat and watched…

Sometimes, the good man you see is not the whole picture.

Sometimes, the good man is not the whole picture

Usually she laughs at me, but mostly she just sits and watches. That sums up my relationship with my wife, Tabitha. Don’t misunderstand; she’s a superb wife and excellent mother. It’s me. I’m hilarious as hell. Or so she says. This opening has significant bearing on this post. Tabitha was a bit of a muse for this one.

Lately I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Werewolves of the Dead and a novel tentatively titled A Ways to Go. It’s a serial killer type of book with a lot of my past mixed in. “Write what you know,” is what I’ve been told and I know about emotional and physical childhood abuse. It’s about time I made that pay. And that brings me to this weeks #ThursThreads hosted by the delightfully naughty, Siobhan Muir. Every Thursday she hosts a flash fiction contest that limits authors to 250 words maximum. More often than not I never get the chance to participate, but when I do I love it. This week’s prompt has allowed me to delve into that deviant homicidal side I’ve suspect that I might have.

Here’s is my entry for this week. I’ve titled it She Just Sat and Watched

For years she’d been my conscience, guiding me between right from wrong. Normally I followed her suggestions. That is until that jackass cut us off while leaving McDonalds.

I honked angrily as he pulled away, and thought that was that. But then I noticed him behind us a mile later.

He followed us for several blocks, flashing his high beams, and riding our tail.

“I’ve had enough of his shit,” I muttered.

“Baby, don’t,” she said plaintively, remembering the last time I’d lost my temper. It hadn’t ended well for anybody, especially me.

“I’m not about to break my sixteen year no fighting record.”

She knew I was lying.

We stopped behind an abandoned movie theater.

I rolled down my window, and pepper sprayed him the moment he arrived.

Calmly I got out of the car with my hatchet as he stumbled around, screaming obscenities.

“Baby, please,” she said again.

“I’m okay. Don’t worry,” I said, bringing the hammer end down behind his left ear.

The rude jackass awoke in our basement, strapped to a gurney board, screaming through the gag. His expression spoke of all manners of bad that awaited me if I released him.

I hit the juice for the electrodes attached to his ears, informing him of his perilous position.

“Time to get under way,” I said, brandishing my KaBar knife. I knew I’d feel really guilty later because of her, my conscience. But for the time being she just sat there and watched.

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It’s close enough to that time of the week

I spend so much of my time writing about werewolves and zombies that I don’t focus on other things that I’ve written. I’ve done some pretty good stuff that isn’t lycan or undead oriented that really doesn’t see the light of day. This blog post will showcase one such piece.

A couple of years ago I submitted a short story for inclusion in an anthology that I knew wasn’t quite perfect for the theme. Let’s call this editor Stacy. Stacy is a good name because it calls to mind Stacy Keach, and one of my favorite movies of his was Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the USS Indianapolis. This movie mention factors into the featured short story.

Now, I submitted this particular story mostly to get that inspiration and to receive feedback from an editor I respected and who was always honest with me. The editor liked it, of course said it didn’t fit, but it did however give them an idea for the next anthology. “Hold onto this one. I liked it and it has a nice Twilight Zone feel to it,” I was told. I’m glad it gave him that feeling because Rod Serling was a motivating factor behind it.

Well, I did keep it, as I keep everything I write, and it got lost in the shuffle of life. The short story is called The Dive, and it involves the ill-fated mission of the USS Indianapolis, and a Navy deep sea diver’s unintentional arrival to this ship. I won’t go into the history of the Indianapolis because it’s in the story, but it’s always resonated with me thanks to the Stacey Keach film. And it doesn’t hurt that I’ve been a Twilight Zone fan since Eye of the Beholder sent me running and screaming from the living room as a seven year old. It took me forever to look people in the face again.

Now that you’ve gotten the backstory on the inspiration, submitted for your approval is my short story, The Dive.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) at Mare Island Navy Shipyard.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) at Mare Island Navy Shipyard.

Tony Barlow hummed as he finished examining a sunken ocean tug for holes in its hull. The tug had once been the USS Arapaho and had sunk six months earlier in rough seas. Tony was thankful that all hands had made it off as he’d previously encountered dead trapped within a sunken vessel and each time he’d lost control of bodily fluids.


This time it was only him and the occasional fish swimming in for a peek. He had just finished his inspection when his radio buzzed.


“Green diver, topside. Do you-” Static filled the Mark V diving suit’s helmet.


“Say again, topside. Did not copy last message.” Tony collected began making his way to the tug’s foredeck.


“Tony-” was followed by more static. “- much longer? Contact with – spotty –. Better return – the comms show –. ” The voice belonged to his best friend and business partner Andrew Tillmore aboard their salvage vessel, Atlantic Queen. The slender Midwesterner and former Marine was the calmest person Tony had ever known, but his voice expressed uncharacteristic worry.


“Say again all after Tony.” The received response was more static. Tony wanted to smack the side of the helmet to clear the interference, but he knew it wouldn’t work. The tether checked out before they commenced operations and there was no reason why there should have been static. Still, Andrew had never sounded worried like that before.


The 200 pound suit was unwieldy on land and only marginally better underwater. At 742 feet below the surface, Tony was in no position to run a race. The urgency in Andrew’s voice forced him to push faster. It was after arriving at the diving platform that his diver’s intuition buzzed incessantly. His hackles urged him to surface and he wasted no time signaling that he was ready to ascend.


“Topside, green diver. Bring me up, over.”


Nothing happened.


“Topside, green diver. I say again, bring me up, over.”




“Damn radio’s on the fritz,” muttered Tony. The water had a chill to it, but only because of the fear creeping into his heart. “Topside? Topside, do you read me? Andy? Are you going to retrieve me or –”


The platform jerked and ascension began. He looked at the Arapaho and instinctively went to rub his eyes. His right fist banged against the brass cage of his forward view port and he blinked not understanding what he witnessed.


“Topside! Andy, do you read, over? The Arapaho… It’s moving.” Moving was the closest word he could find to describe the shimmering, wobbling vessel. “Andy, I think there’s a tsunami happening.”


Tony held onto the rails of the platform, bracing for the wave. His experience told him that it wasn’t a tsunami at all, but his mind pushed for that outcome.


“C’mon, come on.” He fought to control his breathing as he sang the US Navy Anthem. “Anchors aweigh, my boys. Anchors aweigh.” He sang loud and clear, hoping that Andy would hear him.


He kept his eyes on the Arapaho as he rose, disbelieving the expansion of water around the ship and then the seeming implosion into nothingness.


“Andy! It’s gone. The Arapaho is gone.” Tony couldn’t help screaming. He’d seen some disturbing things on the sea floor, but never had he seen a vessel disappear.


He watched the shock wave horrified that the bubble was expanding and coming towards him. “I’m bracing for impact!” He didn’t think anyone was listening. Andy appeared to be offline and he was pretty sure God had forgotten about him and his predicament.


The wave grew and overtook him. It rocked the platform enough to shake him off and he found his helmet had somehow filled with water.


He swung his arms out, kicked his feet, and discovered he was near the surface. He never once questioned how he’d been able to swim even after his face broke through the waves. Breathing was his only goal then.


Tony dragged in a deep breath. He blinked sea water out of his eyes and discovered that he wasn’t alone. Men surrounded him and most splashed each other while a nearby few stared at him with dismay.


“Shit, Polaski. What the hell were you trying to do?” laughed a swimmer close by.


“What…?” sputtered Tony. “Who are…? Polaski?”


“Dumb Polack. You forget your name jumping in or something?” The man swam closer to Tony and looked into his eyes. “You don’t seem like you hit your head. I don’t see how you could’ve. That was a near perfect dive.”


“Who are you? My name’s Tony Barlow.” He looked at the man with incomprehension. He backstroked away, realizing that his diving suit was gone. “Where’s my suit? Who the hell are you people?”


“You must’ve hurt yourself, Dillon. Let’s get back to the ship and get the Doc to look at you.”


The man swam toward him. Tony flipped over, intent on swimming anywhere away from the man and the others. He lost his breath again once he saw the US Navy cruiser at anchor.


He looked around and found the Atlantic Queen was gone. The man that had spoken to Tony was joined by two other men. Each gave quizzical stares to Tony’s confused expression.


“Where’s the Queen? Where’s my boat?” Tony spun in the water, looking around. The three exchanged dismayed looks before looking back to him.


“What are you talking about, Dillon? There ain’t no other boat out here besides us,” said one of the new arrivals. “Buddy, you know it takes more than nutty sunshine talk to get out of the Navy.”


“I’ve been out of the Navy for years. What in hell’s going on here?”


“Get him back to the Indianapolis, Bobby. He’s acting squirrelly,” added the third.


“Come on, Polaski. You’ve gotta get to sickbay.” The first, the one named Bobby, rested his hand on Tony’s shoulder.


Tony shrugged it off, looking bitterly at Bobby.


“Get your hands off me. I don’t know how I came to be here or who any of you are, but I’m not getting on that ship.”

An arm grabbed Tony around the neck. He successfully struggled at first, but was soon dragged near the ship’s side.


“Lower a rescue line,” yelled the second sailor. “We’ve got an injured man!”


A line was lowered and wrapped across Tony’s arms. Slowly he was raised to the cruiser’s deck. He looked around, unbelieving of the history, as horrible as it was, that he stood on. The ship’s name dawned on him. “Indianapolis,” he muttered.


“How many fingers am I holding up, sailor,” asked one of the men on deck.


“Four.” Tony slapped the hand away.


An officer shined a light in his eyes. “What’s your name?”


“Tony Barlow.”

The doctor looked to Bobby. “His name’s Dillon Polaski, sir. Gunner’s Mate Third Class Dillon Polaski.”


“Get him to sickbay,” ordered the doctor.


“Where are we,” bellowed Tony. “What day is it?” The question struck him as ludicrous. He didn’t understand why he asked. He only felt that it was needed.


Two Marines standing near a railing laughed. “This joker’s looking for a psychological discharge,” quipped one.


Tony glared at them. “You’re the ones that are crazy. The Indianapolis sank in July of 1945 after carrying A-bomb parts to Tinian Island. This ship doesn’t exist any more!”


The Marines stopped laughing. One of them took a drag off his cigarette while studying Tony closely. Sailors milling around on deck looked at him with a mix of wary and frightened stares.


“Get him to sickbay…now,” ordered the doctor in a sterner tone. Bobby made to help Tony up, but Tony resisted. The Marines, accompanied by the sailors that had been in the water with Tony, rushed forward to help.


Tony fought back harder, kicking a sailor in the groin. The smoking Marine hadn’t been in the mood for trouble. Two quick punches from him rendered Tony unconscious.


He awoke in a small room, strapped to a bed. He gazed at the closed door. “Hey, is there anyone there?”


A Marine, the smoker from earlier, peered inside. He held an M1 Garand rifle at port arms, and his expression was stern.


The Marine glanced around the doorframe. “He’s awake. Have the doc call the Skipper.”


The Marine then stepped into the room. “Look, mac. Time’s short, so talk fast. What’s an A-bomb?”


“What?” Tony was incredulous. “Are you stupid or something? Everyone knows what an A-bomb is.”


“Treat me like I’m a child. What is it?” The Marine glanced into the passageway.


Tony sighed indignantly. “It’s a bomb with enough power to level a major city. You’ve been given the parts to one and you’re going to be delivering them to Tinian Island. From there it’ll be dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. It’ll be the first of two and they’ll end the war, but start a new arms race that could evolve into something that’ll make World War Two look like a border skirmish.” Tony looked at the Marine’s rank. “Sergeant, it’s some serious shit.”


“Right,” answered the dubious Sergeant. “Serious. Look. We haven’t picked up anything from anywhere… yet. In fact, we just finished the test run on our new equipment and we’re headed back to Mare Island now. Something is going on, but no one knows anything. This is stuff you should already be privy to. Right now though, the best thing for you to do is keep your gob shut.”


“The cat’s out of the bag, Sergeant,” said a handsome officer, entering the room. “Do you know who I am, son?”


Tony looked closely at the officer. “You’re Captain Charles McVay the Third, skipper of the USS Indianapolis.”


McVay took off his hat and sat next to Tony. “That’s right. Do you know where you are?”


“Aboard CA35, the USS Indianapolis.”


“Two for two. What’s today?”


“Tuesday, the fourteenth.”

“Really? What month and year?”


“July, 1967.”


“You were doing so well. It is July Fourteenth, but its 1945. You’re off by 22 years, sailor.” McVay studied him for a moment before speaking again. “You say we’ve already accepted components to something you call an A-bomb? We haven’t picked up anything so far but I have to ask…where will this pick up occur?”


Tony’s mouth felt dry. He had no idea what to say even though he knew the history of the Indianapolis. Every self-respecting Navy man did. “This is a dream. I’ve been knocked out by that wave, and I’m having a fever dream or something.”


“Where will the pick up occur, sailor?” McVay’s voice held a tone that patience was fading fast.


“Hunter’s Point Navy Shipyard, San Francisco.”


McVay’s face remained placid. “Everyone knows that. Tell me something I don’t know.”


“That’s the kicker, sir.” Tony chuckled maniacally. “You don’t know what you’re picking up. There’ll be a load of scientists, generals, and Marines, hell, everyone but the President will be on deck to oversee the loading of the equipment. You’ll get it, along with a bunch of Marines you won’t know anything about. You’ll deliver some Uranium 235 to Tinian Island on 26July1945 and four days later, at 0015, you’ll be sunk by a Japanese sub, the I-58.”


McVay considered Tony’s words. He wanted to brush the young man off as merely a raving delusional, but he couldn’t. “What will the loss of life be?”


“Out of 1,196 men, 900 or so will make it off. They, and you, will spend over four days in the water, but only 317 will be rescued. The biggest loss will be to exposure, injuries, madness, and sharks. You’ll be court-martialed, Captain, and vilified for not zigzagging, even though survivors will state that it wouldn’t have mattered.”


“Is that a fact?” McVay rose from his seat and walked to the door. He paused. “I’d like to say you’re crazy, but you’re too damned convincing. I’ll check into your story.”


The door silently closed. For long moments Tony lay still, contemplating what he’d said and his situation. He tried once more to convince himself that it all wasn’t real. The pain in his jaw and the restraints kept dragging him back to the conclusion that it was indeed all too real.


Tony drifted to sleep, and was awakened hours later by the Sergeant. “Wake up,” he hissed to him. “We’ve gotta get you outta here.”


“What’s going on?” murmured Tony. “What are you doing?”


“A court-martialing offense is what I’m doing.” The sergeant unbuckled the straps, flinging them to the side. “Come on. We’re leaving.”


Tony’s bare feet hit the floor. The shock of the cold linoleum fully woke him up. “Why are you doing this?”


“In a minute,” he said, looking out of the door. “Are we clear, Quint?”


“As clear as we’ll ever be, Mike.” The Marine from earlier appeared in the doorway. “Come on, we’re short on time.”


The Marines led Tony down the passageway.


“What’s going on? What’s happening?”


“You’ve been deemed a security risk. Skipper radioed ahead to Hunter’s Point and got the brass riled up. He asked them what Uranium 235 was and they ordered us back to Mare Island. Apparently what you told him got our orders changed.” The Marine put a hand on Tony’s chest, stopping him. “Everyone says you’re this Dillon Polaski, but from what I hear you don’t talk like him. You know something important. I don’t know what it is, but you know things you shouldn’t, and you act like it’s all in the past. That’s enough to make me do something really stupid.”


They exited topside and Tony couldn’t help but to stare up at ship’s superstructure. It was history to him and for the first time since he’d boarded, he was in awe.


“We’re moving into position to pull into port. The pilot will board and when he does, you’ll jump for it and swim out of here.”


“That’s insane. I don’t think I can swim fast enough to get out of the way of the ship’s props.”


“You’ve got ten minutes to get clear. Do you want to chance the swim, or be a guest of Naval Intelligence? Your call.”


Tony saw the logic and readied himself to make the jump. The ship glided to a halt and they could hear the pilot’s boat moving in to position. He looked to the Marine. “What’s your name?”


“Tillmore. Lincoln Tillmore.”


Tony’s eyes widened and he whispered the man’s name.


“Now or never,” said the other Marine.


“Go. Now!” Tillmore gave Tony a push. Tony dove into the colder than anticipated water.


He turned to surface and choked on the air wanting to burst from his lungs. He opened his mouth to scream and clawed at his throat. Blackness over took him.


He opened his eyes, discovering that he was back in his diving suit and breaking the surface. The day was as it should’ve been and he blinked rapidly as Andrew removed the diving helmet.


“Tony? Tony, look at me. Are you okay? You blacked out there for a moment.” Andrew pulled down Tony’s eyelids. “You were muttering something about sharks and the Indianapolis.”


“I don’t know what happened. I guess I blacked out. I had some weird dream about the Indianapolis.”


“You had me scared there, buddy.”


Andrew didn’t say anything further as he and a tender worked to get Tony out of the suit.


The diving tenders squared away Tony’s rig as he and Andrew visited the galley.


Andrew brought Tony a cup of coffee and set it down before him. Tony sipped it and grimaced.


“You forgot the sugar and cream, Andy.”


Andrew furrowed his brow. “You’ve never taken ‘em in your coffee before. Why start now?”


“What are you talking about? We’ve known each other for seven years, worked together for six, and you know how I like my Joe.”


“Doc needs to take a look at you. We’ve known each other since we were Navy divers at Little Creek. That was twelve years ago. You sure you’re okay?”


Tony’s mouth dropped open. “Navy diver? You were Marine Corps. Shipboard security aboard the Forrestal.”


“Yeah, we’re getting you to Doc ASAP. I’d never join the Corps. Especially after what happened to my dad.” Andrew moved closer to Tony. He didn’t like the way his friend was acting. “Come on. Let’s at least get you to your rack.”


Tony stood on shaky legs. “Lincoln Tillman was your father.”


“Really? That’s not news. Dad and another Marine were court-martialed and sentenced to 10 years in Leavenworth for helping a spy escape the Indianapolis. He swore the guy was from another time or something. Whatever the guy told them was enough to get the Indianapolis off the hook from delivering parts to the first atomic bomb. That duty went to the New Orleans. Damn thing never made it to Tinian and was presumed sunk with all hands lost. That was in the fall of ’45. Its ancient history, pal.”


“But the Indianapolis sank in 1945 after dropping off Uranium for Little Boy.”


“Little Boy? What the hell is that? They dropped Fat Man in ‘46, but it failed to end the war. C’mon. You know the war ‘ended’ in ‘47, and that the Japs are still fighting their guerilla war against us. Hell, the Indianapolis is still afloat and stationed at Norfolk last I heard.”


“No,” whispered Tony, pushing Andrew away. “The war ended September 2, 1945 with the Japanese unconditional surrender. Little Boy and Fat Man did that.”


“No, it didn’t. They only dropped one bomb, called Fat Man, and May 25, 1947 was when the Japanese ‘surrendered’. The war never really ended for them though.”


Andrew held a firm grip onto Tony’s forearm. He refused to let go and Tony refused to be held.


Tony lashed out, striking Andrew, and then ran for the hatch leading topside.


Andrew followed him, screaming for someone to stop Tony. The deck hands looked at Tony, surprised at his rapid appearance on deck. A tender asked him what was going on, but decided not to say anything further upon seeing his wild-eyed face.


Without any thought, Tony dove off the side of the Atlantic Queen. He swam toward the wreck of the Arapaho, kicking feverishly. It didn’t take long before the feeling of bursting air from his lungs and sluggish feeling limbs over took him. He blacked out and came to on a small boat’s deck.


“You okay?” asked someone, helping him to his feet.


The little vessel pitched slightly, but Tony could stand. He looked down and discovered himself wearing a khaki uniform. He turned to find four other men dressed in khaki Marine Corps uniforms.


“Where am I?” Tony looked around. He was in a small launch, moving through a naval harbor. Older, obsolete battleships sat anchored in neat rows and he knew that none should have been afloat.


“It’s easy to see you’re a rook. A small swell got us, and you lost your footing. You must’ve hit your head pretty hard, Marine,” said a sailor steering the launch. “You’re at Pearl Harbor. No better place to spend Christmas. Now, sit down like I told you. The Arizona’s ahead. Welcome to the pride of the Pacific Fleet.”


Tony sat down not because of the order, but because he knew where he was. For him, home was very far away.

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#ThursThreads Week 133 winner is…me.

ThursThreads MainV2

Since I’ve returned to writing full time I’ve wanted to get back into the mix by reconnecting with friends I’ve met on Facebook and Twitter. One of those is the paranormal romance author Siobahn Muir. Every Thursday Siobahn hosts the #ThursThreads challenge, and this week I was able to submit an entry. I thought my 250 word entry was strong, but I didn’t think it would win over the 17 other talented entries. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done flash fiction so imagine my surprise to find that I had won.

I’d like to thank George Varhalmi for judging, and for Siobahn for hosting the weekly challenge. Below is the story that was submitted. Please forgive me but I feel Rod Serling trying to break through for an intro.

Submitted for your approval, a company of Russian soldiers, men and women dedicated to keeping the peace in the midst of a rebel uprising. But one can’t summarily dismiss the enemy combatants as mere rebels. Especially when the remote outpost borders the Twilight Zone.

“What the hell is he up to?” said Mikhail, watching Sergei walk his post along the perimeter fence. Sergei paused to tug on a section of wire fence. “Stupid’s been doing that for two hours. He walks his post, pauses, and pulls at that section before continuing on.”

“Maybe that’s his escape route.” Lipa peered at Sergei with her scoped AK74. “Perhaps I should do something about it.” She trusted the new transfer as much as Mikhail. “Maybe he’s a rebel sapper.”

Mikhail’s reply was cut off by explosions and gunfire from the base’s west end. “Contact, western sector,” cried their radios. “Rebels armed with RPGs and… Shi-”

Mikhail and Lipa watched their sector. Sergei stood watching them, smiling. A Russian military truck plowed through the fence. Figures leapt from the truck, opening fire as they landed.

“He’s a rebel,” cried Lipa. She fired and Sergei fell. “And that was that,” she spat. She looked to Mikhail, but he was dead.

Lipa sprinted and was almost to her position when something landed on her, knocking her unconscious.

It was nighttime when she awoke. She’d been tied naked, and spread eagle to the ground, illuminated by a spotlight.

“Don’t struggle,” said a voice beyond the light.

Lipa struggled.

“You won’t be raped,” said Sergei, stepping into the light.

“I killed you.”

“Bullets are now ineffective.” His mouth, hands, and uniform were bloody.

“What are you, monster?”

“Dear, clichéd Lipa. You don’t know a damn thing about me.”

And that was that.


All content on this page is copyrighted and sole property of author Jason McKinney and cannot be used without permission of Jason McKinney. Images have been used with permission from owner, and cannot be reused without permission of author Siobhan Muir.


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Help me spread the word…

This is me. Left outside in the cold. Again.

This is me. Left outside in the cold. Again.

Because the world needs my destructive help.

Have you heard the joke about the husband telling his friends that if he did this or that or the other then his wife would have sex with him again? I’m sure you’ve heard something like it. Well that’s not my problem or what this blog post is about. Not exactly at least. I’ll explain in a moment.

A couple of weeks ago were-fan vargulfen commented on my post, I’ve stepped in it again, that I should give Indiegogo a shot in raising funds for my writing. I’ve been mulling that suggestion over since then and I’ve come to a decision; I’ll do it.

Kickstarter was a bust for me. It flopped because I couldn’t give it the attention it deserved and I was in a pretty crappy mental place when I started it. Now I’m in a better place; a more hopeful place. So that’s why the opening sentence in this post is a link. The link is to my Indiegogo crowdfunding project. Since I’ve left my job I can concentrate on writing, but that takes some backing in some areas. Those areas for me are editing and cover art.

I have friends that can, and have done what they could, for little to nothing, but they have full-time jobs and families, and sometimes I fall through the cracks through no fault of their own. It happens.

The target of my crowdfunding is Werewolves of the Dead. I started this about three years ago, and got halfway through before I had to return to a full-time job. Werewolves of the Dead fell to the wayside and to the demands of Dog World: Gone to Hell. That cost me the greatest beta reader I could ever hope to have; my wife, Tabitha.

Once I pushed WotD aside in favor of DW:GtH she swore she wouldn’t read anything I wrote until I finished Werewolves of the Dead. It’s been three years, and she’s held to that promise. That woman wasn’t kidding in the slightest. “It’s the best thing you’ve written yet,” she said. “Go back to it. Because let me tell you, I’m not reading anything until you finish Werewolves of the Dead.” I asked if she were joking, to which she replied, “Try me.” I told her she was bluffing. “Nope. I’m not going to read anything until you finish that. I’m telling you it’s the best thing you’ve ever done. You’ve done good, great, and shit. This is the greatest. Now finish it.” I scoffed. She didn’t back down one bit. The only things I write that she takes the time to read these days is the occasional grocery list or email. Like I said, she wasn’t kidding.

So now I have picked up were I left off on Werewolves of the Dead. More accurately I am going over what has been written to refresh the story. She’s right. It is good. It’s goddamned good.

So, I would forever be in your debt if you could find it in your heart to spread the word or donate a little to the kitty. Whatever you do, even if it’s just reading this blog, know that I do thank you for your time. And I should mention that there are incentives in it for those that do. If you’ve visited my Indiegogo page then you understand what I mean when I say that I am dying to wear a zombie chicken outfit.

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Hell yeah werewolves are fucking awesome!


That’s right. Werewolves, lycanthropes, skin walkers, changelings, whatever you choose to call them, are goddamned, fucking awesome like nothing else can be. They’re not even second to zombies, and I love a good zombie tale. Let’s face it, werewolves can’t be beat.

Even as I write this, I’m listening to The Killers’ All These Things That I’ve Done, and the creative juices are flowing. Bear with me, please. I left my job yesterday to return to writing so I’m still all cracked out on my joy-gasm. Yeah, that’s right; I’m off the chain and out of my whole damn mind… again.

So earlier last week I reached out to my Facebook fans and asked what attracted them to werewolves in the first place. It’s a fair question that demands an answer. If not demands, then maybe it’s asking nicely with a bit of gnashing teeth and grasping claw for emphasis.

My lycan buddy and Dog World Grand Poobah, Antonio Jones, said he’d get back to me about that. He’s a true lycan aficionado, and needed much time to think on it. He still hasn’t gotten back to me. lol

Janet Sked, fellow author and all around best friend, points out that , They’re fast, tough, & don’t suffer any of the miserable little diseases that make life painful.” She nailed it there. Anyone that has seen a werewolf film, good or bad, or read any piece of werewolf fiction will know that lycanthrope are some terrible mothers to put down. Their resistance to damage or illness has always been a big drawing factor to me. Matter of fact, I’m returning to finishing my novel, Werewolves of the Dead to see how tough they really are. A word about Janet before we move on; she’s a top notch writer and illustrator. She’s given me no-BS assessments on everything I’ve written. Aside from Tabitha, no other person has said flat out, “All due respect, mate, but this is utter shit. You can do better. Now give us a hug, love.”

Facebook friend and fan, Terry Lane, says, Werewolves are the bridge between our animal and human natures. They are other, and they are us.” That’s a true statement. No matter how far up on the evolutionary chain we may be, we’re still no different in the pack mentality than wolves. The only difference between us and wolves is that wolves don’t turn on each other for shits and giggles. That’s just my take on that at least.

Stuart Conover, fellow author and editor of Tails wagging.. Panting.. Totally docile killing machines” This may or may not upset lycanthrope enthusiasts. For me, it made me laugh. Stuart is a zombie fanatic. No, that’s wrong. He’s a zombie super-fanatic, and a great guy to boot. He and Angelica Hill gave Memoirs of the Walking Dead: A story from the zombie’s point of view a chance when a lot of people wouldn’t. Even if he hadn’t I still would have laughed at his comments. Thanks, Stuart.

But my favorite comment PERIOD is Dog World Super Mistress Supreme Diane Hershfield saying, How can you not love werewolves? The perfect lifeform- and such badasses!” Too right, Diane! They are the perfect life form and are total unstoppable badasses! This reasoning, and Diane’s devotion to animals, is why she is in the top of my werewolf fan list.

I’ve received a lot of comments on this post, the majority of which came in Facebook private messages rather than public Facebook comments. I used only the public Facebook comments for this post. I’m assuming, that the message was meant to be private so I held those back in confidence. I know someone is reading this and thinking, or even saying aloud, “to assume is to make an ass of you and me.” Well, let me say this, I can make an ass of myself with out any assistance from anyone. My wife will tell you I’ve been doing it on my own since 1975.

Thanks for reading, all, and I’ll be back next week with a post delving into the zombie side of love. Stay delicious, my living peeps.

Posted in Dog World Insights, Memoirs Insights, Misc., Werewolves of the Dead | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve stepped in it again…


And this time on purpose.

And this time with familial support.

And this time on purpose.

I know, I know. I said “and this time on purpose” twice. That’s because I’m found of doing daring (and often times dangerous) things on purpose more than once.

I’ve submitted my resignation from my full-time, 9 to 5 job to return to writing. For the past almost two years I’ve been working full-time outside of the home as a normal, grunt-type office drone, and for a year I enjoyed it. Until my writing went from everyday on lunch, and hitting it hard on weekends to once a week and spending weekends recharging from the work week, to having not written a word in seven months. Okay, I did write within that seven month period, but it was utter shit. By utter shit I mean it was unworthy to be in the Dog World universe and was more or less torture porn with no real heart or story. Even Tale of an Undead Pussy…Cat (a novel centered entirely Charlotte the Undead Feline from Memoirs of the Walking Dead) fell apart like a cheap paper towel at a Southern barbecue. In short, my writing sucked balls. A few chapters of Charlotte’s story need to be deleted and the hard drive possibly burned, and over 60 pages of Dog World: Reclaiming Hell Pt 1 need to be given a lava bath as to never see the light of a metaphorical printed page. The shit was not bad. It was hell-yeah-that-shit-is-fucking-rotten kind of bad.

I’ve been miserable at this job for almost a year. We moved to a new location far enough from my home that we’re loosing money we can’t afford to lose, and yada, yada, yada, a bunch of other stuff I can’t really reveal because we, employees and company, have a nondisclosure agreement with the NSA (that’s right; National Security Agency), blah blah treason if mentioned, and here I am. I turned in my two weeks notice. My supervisor saw it coming, I was so miserable.

But it’s done, and soon I will be returning to the world of writing full-time. I’m already feeling the rusted gears of my mind starting to turn again. The day I put in my resignation I did something that I’d been putting off for over two months; putting Dog World: Gone to Hell up for sale in paperback. Yeah, that’s how unmotivated I was. Oh, and if you head over to take a look at the new DW, try to ignore that lonesome 5 star review. It makes absolutely no sense to me or anyone that I can think of.

With my returning motivation I will be posting more and returning to the twitterverse, Facebook, etc in the next couple of weeks. It also gives me a chance to reconnect with people like my friends over at, and I hope they do reconnect with me.

In the mean time, I’m going to be posting more often on the blog, and I’m now open for short story commissions, interviews, and the occasional entertaining at a children’s birthdays. I do an awesome balloon Cthulhu.

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Dog World: Reclaiming Hell – Chapter One rough draft

Hello, all! As some, if not all, of you know I’ve been working on the next book to Dog World, and Dog World: Gone to Hell. For those of you who have been wondering what happens next at the end of book 2, you’ll love this post. For those of you who have never read the Dog World series of atrocities against everything clean, decent, and moral, click on the titles above, buy the books, and prepare to be horrified.

Below is a very rough draft of Chapter One. I haven’t had time to clean it up as much as it deserves, but the spirit to release this morsel just won’t leave me be. I hope you enjoy it.

Oh, and as an aside. I received what I believe to be my most favored new review on Amazon. R. Wertz wrote:

“This is one of the weirdest books I have ever read. Imagine our Earth invaded by werewolves and you don’t know who is human and who is Lycan. Not to give it way but the end is a genuine cliff hanger. Read it, enjoy it and then say: What the hell just happened?”

As a wise member of The IT Crowd once said, “I like being weird. Weird’s all I’ve got. That and my sweet style.” Well, I am weird. I’ve never denied that, and I’ve definitely got some sweet style. Again, thanks for stopping by, for reading, and for hopefully enjoying.

Dog World

Reclaiming Hell


Jason McKinney


For Tabitha with love. You made me do this after all, and now the world must suffer.


Chapter One


“What the hell did you expect?” screamed Demarti, kicking Bernerd in the side. The British soldier had been receiving Demarti’s abuse for the past several hours. Neither man knew how long they had been at “interrogation” and neither cared.

Demarti lifted Bernerd’s head by his shaggy hair and stared into the puffy and bloody face. “So tell me exactly what you were expecting, Leftenant.” Bernerd tried to twist his face away from Demarti. Demarti instead pushed it aside in disgust. “I was sure you’d all fracture and go your separate ways, but no, you had to come on anyway. I can’t believe you followed that screw up jarhead and come here. Did you really think you had a shot after you forced me out? Did you think you could sort shit out?” Demarti wasn’t happy with the answers he had been getting, which were none at all. He had started out wanting to know exactly what they had been doing after he left, and had somehow degenerated to brutality for its own sake.

Bernerd’s puffy lips parted and a bloody cough tore from his throat.

“What was that, Ian? I didn’t catch it.”

Demarti leaned an ear to Bernerd’s mouth. Even in human form he wasn’t worried about Bernerd getting brave considering the beating he had been taking.

“Don’t want… fresh…hell.” Bernerd coughed and something that could have been a clot flew from his mouth. “More…” He coughed again. “More like…reclaiming hell from you… bastards.”

“Another fine example of balls of British steel,” Demarti scoffed, punching Bernerd’s throat.

Bernerd fought for breath as Demarti called for a guard.

“Get this back to its cell. I want the woman.”

“Sir,” said the guard cautiously. “General Vance has left us with orders to not leave you alone with Chief Walinski.”

“Not her, you fucktard,” bellowed Demarti angrily. “The bitch Mitchell. Bring her to me. Now!”

The guard eyed Demarti coldly. Demarti stepped up to him and growled deep within his throat. “Now, not later.”

“Yes, sir. Corporal Stannard, give me a hand with the prisoner.”

The guards left with Demarti and five minutes later they returned with Mitchell. The guard that had been insulted treated her respectfully not because she was a lycan or a female, but because he wanted to piss Demarti off.

Demarti didn’t take the bait. “Very good. Dismissed.”


“Dismissed,” Demarti repeated with a snarl. “Not the reunion I expected, but I’ll take what I can get,” he said once the door was closed and locked.

He moved two chairs from a corner and helped her into one.

Mitchell’s hands were handcuffed and Demarti made no moves to take them off, even when she asked about it.

“I love you, but that doesn’t mean that I trust you.” He sat in the chair backwards and studied her. “You’re looking good, all things considered.”

“Making you was the worst thing I’ve ever done,” Mitchell said, glaring.

“Really?” He grinned slyly at her I saw it as a chance for us to be together without worry about any lycanthropic complications.”

“What I did was against nature’s morality, and my own.”

“In the name of love,” crooned Demarti. Seeing Mitchell had put him into a strange mood and a brief thought of atonement flashed through him.

“No atonement on the menu for you, buddy,” said Not-Kunpai suddenly. “I don’t think our girl her is up to forgiveness today.”

Demarti’s face soured. Mitchell saw it and her eyes narrowed.

“Something wrong, Major Demarti? Am I not responding the way you would like?”

“You fucked him, didn’t you?” barked Demarti in Mitchell’s face.

“What? What are you talking about?”

Demarti’s right open hand lashed out, striking her in the face. “You know damned well what I’m talking about. You screwed Kunpai.”

Mitchell’s head rang and her vision was alive with brilliant multicolored flashes of light. She rolled her tongue inside her mouth. The bitter copper taste of blood washed over it. “Never should’ve-”

Demarti struck her again, backhanded. “Answer me!”

“Dude,” said Not-Kunpai reproachfully. “I’d remember if she did. I seriously don’t think-”

“Shut up, asshole,” screamed Demarti. He grabbed Mitchell by her shoulders hard enough to rattle her handcuffs. “Did you or did you not have sex with him?”

“What does that have to do with anything.” Mitchell’s voice sounded hoarse to her and at the end the words had a bubbling feel from the blood trickling into her throat. She spat a bloody wad into Demarti’s face and screamed no shrilly.

“Cheap bitch,” roared Demarti. He drew his fist back and delivered a blow to her nose, breaking it and sending her and her chair backwards. She rolled limply away from it unconscious.

“Wake up,” bellowed Demarti, dragging Mitchell to her feet by her hair. “Wake up and see what you have coming.”

Demarti struck her again and again until her face swelled and bleed as did his fists.

“You need to stop, buddy,” said Not-Kunpai unemotionally. “You’re going to kill her. None of my business, but hey, whatever gets you off I suppose.”

“I told you to shut your mouth!” Demarti turned his head to face Not-Kunpai in time to see two of Vance’s enforcers rush into the room. One of them ran through Not-Kunpai as easily as a blue jay through the morning air. They had their batons out and weren’t shy about using them. It took them and two others to get Demarti to release Mitchell.

“You’re afraid of the real me,” said Not-Kunpai in a contemplative voice. “Yeah. That’s it. You’re afraid of the real me.” Not-Kunpai began whistling a familiar tune before breaking out into the familiar words. ”Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf,” he sang, following the soldiers as they dragged Demarti from the interrogation room. “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”

“Not if I’m eating his face,” raged Demarti. “Not if I’m eating his mother fucking face!”

“Damn, dude,” mumbled Not-Kunpai mockingly. “You’re cracked.”




In his office Vance watched Demarti’s out burst on the 62 inch plasma screen TV mounted across the room. His eyes narrowed and lips pursed as he studied the guards’ reactions. Each of the three took a collective step away and eyed Demarti with a mix of contempt and alarm. If Vance could have seen Not-Kunpai he would have agreed before having both men shot. But Demarti was still useful up until the time the remainder of Demarti’s party was captured and then killed.

“Goddamn pup is certified bat shit nuts.”

He changed the view to include a frame work of various feeds from other detention cells. Sims sat in his cell; legs crossed and appeared to be meditating. Vance thought the act was “faggy” at least. He hadn’t known what to expect from Sims, but he hadn’t expected him meditating like a limp dicked Tibetan.

Mitchell hadn’t been returned to her cell, but was placed in Bernerd’s. Lewis was shoved in a moment later with a first aid kit to treat the wounded British soldier. Vance knew he could count on them to form an escape plan to amuse him and the guards.

Tan and Walinski were kept across from one another. Tan had been pacing her cell for hours. Vance had no idea if she were going stir crazy or taking stock of her cell, looking for a weak point. “Titanium reinforced concrete doesn’t have a noticeable weak point, you daffy bitch,” he muttered turning his attention to Walinski.

Walinski was being kept under closer scrutiny than the others. An hour before she’d been bound and gagged Hannibal Lecter style. She’d put up a struggle earlier, breaking some ribs of one guard and the nose and jaw of two others, but it was her singing that had gotten her retrained. Dolly had taken to defiantly belting out alternating renditions of the English and German versions of Lili Marleen. The guards had less tolerance for Dolly’s screeching shrillness than her hand to hand confrontations.

Vance regarded her coldly. He couldn’t wait to start on her. It was going to be amusing to see what made her so intuitive. Breaking her spirit was also an added bonus. But first things were first.

He picked up his phone and toggled the duty NCO. “Sergeant Yamara. Send ‘Major’ Demarti to me ASAP.”

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Hey hey, my lycan fiends and zombie-philes! It’s been a while, but it’s time to post some good news to those who haven’t heard yet. Effective last Monday, Dog World: Gone to hell is available for Kindle. I know I’m more than a year overdue, but it’s finally out! I want to give a special thanks to my friends that have helped and are continuing to help; Janet Sked, Gretchen Stull, and Kriss Morton. I don’t know what I would have done without these three! Visit the link below if you feel inclined to give it a look. I know I’d appreciate it, and I bet Karl Vance and the rest of the Dog World universe would too. There might even be a limited edition Vance bendy straw in it for you. ;-)

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Dog World: Gone to Hell Lucky number 13

Chapter Thirteen

“Vitals are dropping,” yelled Sutton as the gurney carrying Demarti was rushed down the hallway. “We’ll lose him if we don’t get into the OR now!”

Two medics rushed alongside them, barking for those in the way to make a hole.

Demarti was bleeding profusely; the dark red flow appeared to have no end.

They burst into the underground operating room. The bright fluorescent lighting made everything about Demarti’s condition appear worse.

“You don’t need to be here, Cameron,” said Jeanue, taking her by her blood-covered hands. “Wait outside, okay?”

“I want to be here.”

“I know. I also know you want to make a difference topside. They’re going to need all the guns they can get right now.”

Mitchell considered Jeanue’s words. They held more than a little truth. She knew she would only be in the way. “Right. You’re right. I’ll go topside.” She squeezed Jeanue’s left shoulder, before moving away from the doors.

Jeanue disappeared through the OR doors.

Inside, Sutton and another surgeon had cut away Demarti’s ACU jacket and were swabbing the wound.

Jeanue paused, staring at the surreal scene. It seemed somehow impossible that she was about to assist in the operation of saving another friend.

“Piss or get off the pot,” Sutton called to Jeanue. “If you’re just going to stand there then you need to either get to work or grab a gun and fight. Pick one.”

Jeanue snapped to immediately. She cleaned her hands, grabbed a surgical smock and then cleaned her hands again. A nurse assisted her with putting gloves on, and she took a position beside Sutton.

“What do you need me to do?” asked Jeanue.

“Make sure the incision stays clear for starters. We were able to stabilize his vitals and stop the bleeding but the trick is getting the bullet out.”

“You’re a neurosurgeon, why are you doing this?”

“I started out assisting in spinal injuries before I went into neurosurgery, and my eyesight’s better than anyone here.”

Sutton probed the wound. “Found it,” she declared. “Wipe my forehead please, Maggie. This would’ve been so much easier if we had x-rays.”

Someone knocked at the door. Jeanue turned to see Kunpai’s serious face peering through. “It’s Omi.”

“Get rid of him,” snapped Sutton. “We don’t have time to deal with concerned people.”

Jeanue went to the door and Kunpai opened it for her. He was accompanied by two soldiers that stood in the opposite room. An olive drab case marked Rifle, Individual, M4A1, along with three ammo cans sat between the soldiers. She eyed the containers with a fearful eye. “Sutton wants you gone,” she said pulling her eyes to Kunpai’s. “Whatever you have to say better be said in a minute or less.”

“Vance has brought armor to the fight. What tanks we have are engaging them.” Kunpai fell quiet for a moment. “We don’t know if we can hold him off. Roaches have breached the interior and we’re tied up between maintaining the perimeter and engaging them. Vance has air support, too. We’ve got Hornets inbound from Coffer Airfield. Their ETA is five minutes.”

Jeanue was incredulous. “We’re in danger of being overrun?”

Kunpai cast his eyes away. “Look, I’ve brought weapons. If push comes to shove you’ll have to fight your way out.”

“I can’t bring those into the OR,” she protested.

“And you can’t afford to leave them out here either.” He turned to one of soldiers. “Private, uncrate the rifles. Lock and load each one.”

“Now see here, Omi -”

“No, you see here, Colonel. We’re fighting for our survival now, and if we get overrun I don’t know if we can come for you. You have wounded besides Paul. You take these damn weapons or I’ll take them into that room for you.” Kunpai wasn’t kidding.

Jeanue looked at the OR doors and then back to Kunpai. “Obviously there’s no getting rid of your toys so take them in, but stay out of everyone’s way and don’t stop to…ogle things. Open the crate first, and then place it at the far wall, and stack the magazines on top of them. In and out, that’s all you’ll do.”

“Do as she says,” ordered Kunpai. They quietly and quickly moved past Jeanue and Kunpai. They performed their task in a matter of seconds.

“This makes me feel a bit better, Maggie.”

“Is it really that bad?”

“Vance has a hard on for that Collins guy. He means to get him.”

“Let him come,” warned Jeanue. She returned to the OR, leaving Kunpai and the soldiers alone. Silently they left for the battle that raged above.

Sutton had removed the bullet in the time that she’d talked to Kunpai, and was currently closing the wound. The deformed projectile lay in a sterile solution, trailing red streamers as the antiseptic worked its cleaning magic.

“Why’d you let them bring guns into the OR?” Sutton cast a harsh glance at Jeanue. “They broke a clean environment to bring in a case that undoubtedly contains dust and multiple germs. Not the brightest idea you’ve ever had, Maggie.”

“Omi says that we’re in danger of being overrun.” Jeanue’s voice was flat and sounded tired. Her words caused everyone to stop what they were doing.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” inquired a male nurse.

“It means exactly what it means,” answered Jeanue. “Vance has tanks and aircraft out there. Better pray he doesn’t have bunker busters or we’re screwed.”

Sutton growled. Most eyes in the room went wide and to her. “Out-fucking-standing. The only way we find out that Vance is here is by getting Paul sent to us with a bullet in him, which leads to us being told that the literal wolves really are at the gate. And now they tell us he’s got tanks. Can this day get any better?”

“What’s his status?” asked Jeanue, changing the subject.

“He’ll live. We have plenty of his blood type on hand so that’s a blessing. As far as walking goes… it’s 50/50. If Vance’s people breach then it won’t matter either way. He’ll never realize he’s dead until he’s meeting St. Peter.”

“Get his transfusion going,” ordered Jeanue. “Christ, get a freaking poodle to donate if you have to. I don’t care what you do, I just want him well.” Jeanue ripped off her surgical gloves and smock and threw them into a bio-waste can. She only stopped to snatch up a loaded M4. “If anyone wants to help set up a defensive perimeter in the hall they’re more than welcome to join me.”

Jeanue stuffed spare magazines into her pockets before checking the rifle’s chamber. It had been loaded and she caught the round before it hit the floor. Her dexterity surprised her more than anyone else.

A male nurse followed Jeanue’s example. He stripped off his surgical gear, picked up a rifle, three magazines, and offered to move any patients quartered near the entrances.

Jeanue didn’t answer the nurse. She spoke only to Sutton. “Patch him up. We’ll be down the hall if you need us.”

She exited the OR, briefly wondering if she had made the right decision in picking up a weapon. In the end she knew it be the right call. If Vance breached the building he would kill her just as surely as he would anyone else he found on the floor.

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