While fleeing through deep space, Sam, notorious for his biblical plagiarism, quite accidentally rescues an all-powerful alien from certain death. Out of gratitude, the little alien grants Sam his one wish: to be the god of his very own planet. But the “god package” didn’t include eternal life, and Sam is rapidly going gray. The ingredient for immortality lies on the planet with Logy, a simpleton and loner who relates more to the ageless trees than finite people. Only problem is, Sam cannot control the inhabitants’ beliefs or behaviors to get what he most needs. With Sam’s death spelling catastrophe for the planet, can the true believers deliver Logy before it is too late?
Targeted Age Group:: adult or adultish
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I’ve long observed that miscommunication and misunderstanding lead to a variety of “idiotic” beliefs and behaviors. The intolerance that is bred from such wide gaps in beliefs has lead to religious cleansings, religious wars, and hatred from one belief to the next simply based on “you don’t belief what I belief, therefore you cannot exist”. In Killing Time I wanted to vent this with humor so I set out to create a fable for modern times that is meant to make you say “how stupid” aloud while realizing that miscommunication, misunderstanding, and blatant blind acceptance of idiotic beliefs express the silliness of the intolerance of the human race..The main character, Logy, represents the tolerance bridge. He just does not judge anyone on their beliefs. And I belief humor is the best way to drive home a dark subject.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The Characters in this book represent not only humans, but ideas. Each character is designed to fit into the framework of the belief or idea he brings to the shaping of the story.
A day. A day. A day.
That’s how slowly time passed for him.
But the passage of time was certainly something that a god might view differently, especially in an age that knew interstellar travel, mitotic abodes, elected computer political leaders and, of course, talking boots. If Sam could have known that the ingredients for a god would be mixed together for him, he probably would have viewed time differently and would have, most certainly, mashed down even harder on the accelerator plate of his space flitter.
“Odsput! Sam!” his boots scolded him. “Too much pressure on the speed plates! Ease up! This wreck will crack up with this kind of velocity!”
“We’ll crack up, anyway, if we don’t surge out of this shower!” Sam shouted back.
Tumbling meteoroids relentlessly charged at the craft, grazing it now and then with a ferocious promise of eventual head-on impact. Sam, in his desperate attempt to outmaneuver the hurtling rocks, bit at his lip and pressed his nose uncomfortably against the view screen. His boots scolded him further,
“Look, here, Sam. I don’t know what you’re trying to prove by all of this, but you’re too tense. Your toes are digging into my soles. You’re sending my monitoring devices into overdrive!”
“I appreciate that you care so much about my health, and all, really, but I’ve more pressing matters at the moment.”
“Your body signals are informing me that this anxiety is playing havoc with your cervical region. Your lumbar region is lighting up, too! A sixty-percent probability exists that you will make a distress error. I’m going to have to plug you with 10 cc’s of relaxant.”
“Don’t you dare! You’d be tense, too, if you could see these flying rocks!” Sam’s hands raced across the control panel in frenetic motions, jabbing buttons, punching evasive commands into the manual guidance mechanism. “The last thing I need is to be drugged. You’d probably blink me out and put my brain in storage.”
“I thought it was already there.”
“What was that?”
“Oh, nothing,” his boots said. “Just thought we’d be assured of getting through this problem, as a minimum anyway.”
“Just shutdown your nerve sensors for a while and quit worrying about my feet.”
“It’s my job to monitor your health. According to Gherson’s Monitoring Body Performance through A. I. Designer Apparel, your error potential–“
“Shssh! I promise to soak my feet once we’re out of this.”
“If we get out of this,” the boots added.
Sam stomped his right foot with a resounding slap.
“That most certainly isn’t helping your neck, Sam.”
A second stomp.
“Sure, Sam. Go ahead. Aggravate the situation. We wouldn’t be out here in the first place if you hadn’t put your–excuse the term–foot into that embezzlement scheme. You should have stuck with ancient languages and literature. At least you were good at those.”
“While we are on that subject . . .”
“Which one? Languages or literature?”
“Ancient computer history,” Sam announced. “Remember? Men were here first. If not for man, there would be no computer. I still don’t know whose idiotic idea it was to relinquish control to computers.”
“Now . . . Sam, we’ve gone over this a hundred times before and we always arrive at the same conclusion. Is it necessary for me to review the sundry details of man’s ineptitude yet again?”
“Why didn’t man continue to be his own god? When did we stop making our own destinies and creating our own rules? How did computers get so much control?”
“Are you joking, Sam? At the incredibly slow pace that man thinks, how do you think that anything would have ever been accomplished? Never mind, Sam, don’t answer that! It will take too long.”
Since omniscience wasn’t his forte, yet, Sam didn’t have the time to answer his boots and correctly react to the spinning boulder targeted directly at his nose.
So, he did neither.
All he did was brace himself and let out a hair-stiffening yell.
However, instead of the expected impact of crunching metal against solid rock, the flitter sank deep into a sponge that seemed to wrap around it, momentarily stopping the craft’s forward motion, and then catapulting Sam, his boots, and a slightly damaged flitter far away with a sudden burst of speed.
By the time Sam had clamored to his feet, he was terribly distant from the meteoroid shower. He looked at his instrument panel. No red damage lights, no annoying warning signals, and no anticipated oblivion. A breath of relief escaped him.
“Got out of that one easy enough,” his boots said. “Twisted your left ankle, though. It’ll require 100 cc’s of pain killer and approximately forty-two hours, seventeen minutes, twenty-seven seconds to complete–“
“What did we hit?” Sam asked.
“How in the cosmos can I know that? If you want me to provide information like that, then wear me on your head so I can see the view screen! You just expect too much of me.”
“It just mushed out,” Sam said with disbelief.
“Mushed. Now there’s a word we can all save in our dictionary search engines.”
Sam pressed a sequence of buttons to return control to the guidance computer.
“I’m not so sure about your lateral ankle ligaments, Sam,” his boots told him as it continued a systems check. “A pretty nasty twist you did there. Certainly did one ineffectual job of bracing yourself.”
“Oh, please. I didn’t see it coming! Give me a break, okay?”
“You don’t need me for that. Honestly, the way you stiffen your toes when you are excited . . . let’s just say that I’m glad you trimmed your toenails last week. You’d have ripped through my sensor lining like a razor blade through cream cheese.”
“How colorful!” Sam snapped.
“I’m surprised you haven’t snapped a couple of toes already. Do you even know how really fragile those digits are? According to Gherson’s Delicate Digits and Preventive Maintenance you could have . . .”
Sam ignored his boots and tapped lightly on a button to speak to the guidance computer.
“What did we hit?”
The guidance computer’s deliberate baritone voice made a gargling sound, like a clearing of a throat.
“Hello? What did we hit?” Sam repeated.
“Can you repeat the question one more time, please?” the guidance computer said.
Sam hated computers with personalities. Why didn’t computer engineers just leave those annoying mechanical, metal-grating, monotone, emotionless voices in the computers?
“I said, ‘what did we hit?’”
“You tell me,” the guidance computer said. “You wanted to guide us through this one yourself, remember? I was enjoying my indefinite hold status, floating in that arboreal dream world that we computers like to refer to as ‘being switched off!’”
“Why didn’t you override?”
“So. This is going to get ugly with the my-fault-your-fault finger pointing. Why do you always try to make me the scapegoat? Does it feel good to have the blame lifted off your own head? Does that somehow make everything better for you?”
“Machines,” Sam muttered, shaking his head.
“Humanoids,” the guidance computer said. “I will inform you, however–and, mind you, this is out of programming obligation and not straight from my heart, which you didn’t have the decency to purchase in your options package anyway–that this vessel is being boarded by an unidentified object. Apparently it has a solid mass of one cubic meter, but I wouldn’t go building my future around that. This unidentified object also appears to possess the ability to fragment its solid molecular structure into microscopic particles as an alternative to passing around foreign solid objects that might otherwise obstruct its path.”
Sam wrinkled his forehead.
“It’s passing through the walls of this vessel and reassembling its microscopic molecules into solid matter. In fact, it’s reassembling here in the control room.”
As Sam turned away from the control panel, the unidentified object was resting comfortably on the plush carpet of the flitter. (Yes, though he hadn’t invested in the computer heart option, Sam had indulged himself with a few amenities to make it feel more like home.) The object settled no more than a meter from his feet. It was an oval shell-like object, boasting a corrugated texture that glistened iridescently as Sam’s computer illuminated it with a spotlight. The object reminded Sam of a clam. Nothing more. Nothing less. The good old-fashioned type of clam that used to rest quietly on the bottom of some far removed lagoon, leisurely making a pearl. Of course he’d never really seen a clam except in holographic films when he was a schoolboy, but it still conjured up the image in his mind. Or . . . was it some other thing that made the pearl? And wasn’t it the clam that consumed a hundred times its own weight of human flesh? Sam shrugged.
The clam’s lips parted and the shell creaked open, finally separating into distinct halves, revealing the slippery creature that sat inside, attached to the shell halves with stringy yellow mucous. The creature remained motionless, studying Sam.
“You’re tensing again,” his boots said.
“Quiet!” Sam hissed.
Finally the clam-thing spoke,
“Look. Thanks for what you did back there, Sam.” Its sticky sounding voice echoed from its shell.
“Pardon?” Sam said.
“You saved my life. That Snartphish was about to crack its gonads through my husk and suck me out. It was only a matter of drying beanpods until it slurped me up like phlegm through a straw. I’ll spare you the sordid details. It seems that with everything my race has developed, we’ve not yet come up with an effective Snartphish repellent. And, wouldn’t you know, we are their favorite snack.”
“I don’t think I follow,” Sam said. “How did I save you, again?”
“Now, look here, Sam. Listen carefully for a change.”
Oh, Blatherspit! Sam said to himself. The least it could have done was to analyze his own personality/language center, instead of his boots.
“When you smashed into that Snartphish, back there, with your husk,” the clam said and raised a shiny, mucous covered tentacle and used it to make a wide, sweeping gesture above its head. “And, might I add, it is a much roomier husk than this britzin compact job of mine–but if I would have been harvested to wealthier caretakers, perhaps I would have been able to purchase the luxury model with all the options.”
Sam now stared with his mouth opened wide, a bit of drool seeping from one corner of his mouth.
“You see,” the clam continued, still motioning with the sticky tentacle, “when you collided with that nasty beast you forced it to release its grasp on me and cough me . . . spatial direction.”
“Cough you up,” Sam said as the explanation started to fall into place. “So, that squishy meteoroid-thingy that collided with me was actually this . . . thing . . . that was trying to eat you?”
“Ah, yes! Now you’ve caught the edge.”
Sam decided that the creature looked like a blue slug, except that it had snot strands for arms. Yep, a slimy-trail-leaving slug with the shell of a clam and the biting sarcasm of his boots.
“So, I guess I should say you’re welcome,” Sam said. “This thing destroyed your spacecraft? How can you live in the vacuum of space? I mean, I’ve heard of creatures that don’t breathe oxygen, but never one that doesn’t breathe.”
“No, no,” the thing said, “you don’t understand. But now . . . I . . . large body of water.”
“Sea,” Sam’s boots amended.
The slug continued,
“Your husk, this place, is not a part of you, but only carrying you. Rather a silly way of finding one’s self, not to mention extremely primitive. But we all evolve into new things, and I’ve come across your kind before. When I was much larger, of course. Well, my husk, this shell as you have related it to–“
“But I said nothing of the sort!” Sam protested.
“True. But your mind provides better pictures than your noise could ever paint. Anyway, this shell is my spacecraft. I close up and travel anywhere in the universe. Sometimes I transcend the universe, as you know it and I drop into a tetrad on the other side of a wormhole. In fact, the other side of a wormhole is where I originated. But that is neither here nor elsewhen. We all change. I grow smaller.”
“I see,” Sam said rather unconvincingly.
“You don’t, really. But that is neither up nor feathers. I reward for deeds done and I continue to shrink until I shift into another molecular realm, ultimately to become the smallest thing in existence and, therefore, alone. My nirvana, if you will.” The creature paused for another minute as if in thought, a steady stream of yellowy mucous drooling from the corners of its mouth. “You like games, or, more appropriate to our chance encounter, riddles? Just makes doling out rewards that much more exciting and fun.”
“I just don’t understand,” Sam told the creature.
“I’m afraid that’s likely just not an uncommon event,” the slug stated.
Sam’s boots added, “You could take that to the Book Repository.”
“You see, I must reward you with the greatest of generosities so that I may obtain the most significant of spiritual rewards. And, adding a twist, like a riddle or some type of thought provoking brainteaser, just makes everything in the whole of all the blinkin’ universe that much more worth the doing and certainly much more fun. For me, anyway. And I do love games. So, name what you desire, Sam, and I will add the gaming element. I’m sure that you, as the sentient being that you are, enjoy exercising your cognitive abilities, do you knot? I know that I do, often, in fact. Sometimes it’s very difficult to untie my twisted little body.”
“Smokes! You get right down to the point.”
“Life is not as long as you think it is. In fact, it is much shorter than that, even. Name your reward.”
“No. No. I don’t need anything.” Sam scratched his head wondering why he would let such an opportunity pass him by. How could he so casually say that he didn’t want anything when he really wanted and needed so much, if not everything he didn’t have–which really encompassed quite a lot. He was sure he would like to escape, once and for all, from his persistent Big Corporation pursuers. He was absolutely positive he wanted to take a permanent leave of absence from the unpleasant reality around him. But, he remained silent, an exact answer eluding him for the present.
“Nothing is too great,” the clamslug said. “Anything. Anything you can name, so am I, also, able to fulfill.”
“Well . . . you know it was really no big event. I just happened by and courageously, single-handedly, mind you, rescued you from that rock . . . er . . . thing, whatever it was, that was perched to suck the very life from your poor frail, disgustingly slimy body. It was nothing, really. All in a day’s work for the hero of all mankind.”
“Look, Sam. Name something. Please. I can grant even the most seemingly impossible requests. Power? Wealth? Food? Servants? Creatures of the opposite sex, or same sex–whatever your preference? Your own planet? Someone you’ve always wanted to be? All the above?”
“Hmmm . . . I’ve always thought of myself as a . . . kind of . . . anachronism. You know, never quite belonging to the age I was born in. A throwback! What I’ve always longed for was the days when man was his own god, forging his own pathways, dictating his own destiny. If you must reward me, and believe me, I think it’s a wonderful idea, maybe something along that line?”
Sam’s boots spoke,
“I think I’m going to be sick!”
“Stay out of my conversation!” Sam reprimanded.
“Then,” the clamslug said, “I will make you a god!”
“Well, I don’t r-really mean–”
“You can rule your own planet. Dictate your own destiny, as well as the destinies of millions.”
Sam’s jaw slacked, again.
“You can really do that?”
“Sure. It’s actually quite simple for the likes of me, you know. It’s just two parts omnipresence, two parts omniscience, a part omnipotence, with a pinch of sovereignty, not to mention some technicallia and mechanical wizardry, a dash of righteousness and one part . . . one part . . .?” The clamslug grew quiet as it studied him, a tiny sparkle brightening its otherwise hazy eyes. “Yes. A god would suit you well. I can do this for you. I can fix you up but good. I have just the world in mind for your Godship. But, so that you just don’t get to make all the ends meet with one giant swoop of my great abilities, I leave you with this: please listen, warned trance, veined bruise.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand what you are asking or telling me,” Sam said. “Am I going to get a riddle? I mean, like, the more there is, the less that you see, squint all you wish when surrounded by me?”
“How embarrassing,” the boots said.
“The answer awaits you,” the clamslug said, “for you will have quite some time to think on it.”
“But I don’t understand.”
The clamslug wiped at the yellow mucous with one of its tentacles.
“Oh, this is going to be so much fun!”
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