Book Promo and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Barbarella: The Center Cannot Hold.

Having met the Innumerable and joined their cause against the Architects, Barbarella must clandestinely return to the home of the Architects in order to retrieve Vix, left behind when Barbarella was extracted by an agent of the Innumerable. See? We’ve come full circle! As is often the case, it’s not what you see that’s the danger, it’s what you can’t see, and Barbarella sees plenty of that wherever she sees an Architect. And lest we forget, there is the small matter of the Unnamable out there…

FROM J.M. NEY-GRIMM: Illumine Hades (The Hades Cycle Book 7).

Darker than dark, ruinous and ravening, the realm of Hades ravages its lord . . .

As ruler of the damned, Lord Dìs sustains the bounds of hell that prevent its shades from escaping to batten on the living. But the drain on his strength, immense as it is, requires him to steal life from the innocent. When Dìs’ wife Persephone insists he refrain from his cruel ritual theft—and he fails—she leaves him.

Alone and broken, Dìs renews his vow to fulfill his duties without the replenishment he craves. But the burdens of judging the newly dead and preserving them from extinction, all while anchoring hell itself, inexorably grind Dìs beneath a crushing weight.

Dìs must learn that merely refraining from evil redeems nothing. Unless he can restore those he destroyed, madness will claim him and the bounds of hell will implode.

Illumine Hades is the concluding tale in the exhilarating Hades Cycle. If you seek heroic sacrifice, redemptive love, and the terror of the ancient gods, you’ll love J.M. Ney-Grimm’s cathartic finale in which all the series threads weave together toward glory.

FROM LEIGH KIMMEL: The War That Came to Houston.

In the midst of preparations for a critical mission, Leland Andersen can’t afford the return of a childhood nightmare. Yet night after night the vision torments him, of an astronaut dying in flames.

Nora McKinzie is a Houston police officer — and a member of an ancient order founded to fight eldritch entities wherever they might flee. When she receives a warning that a sworn enemy is on the move again, her obligations come into conflict with each other.

Both of them are present when Johnson Space Center comes under attack by terrorists. And they both know that the official explanations don’t hold together.

Two people, one deadly secret — and an enemy from beyond time and space.

A novel of the Grissom timeline.

Previously serialized under the title A Separate War.

FROM ANDREW FOX: The End of Daze

Jacob Zvi has turned his back on everything he was taught to value. His faith, his family, his citizenship, and even his morals. Yet seemingly divine fate introduces Jacob to the struggling members of an Orthodox congregation in the middle of a ghetto in New Orleans while terrorists explode a purloined Soviet nuclear artillery shell atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

FROM MARY CATELLI: Curses And Wonders.

A collection of tales of wonder and magic.

A prince sets out to win his way to the dragon’s lair.

A woman fights a curse on her lands.

A man returns to his castle, bringing a magical sword, and worse things.

And more tales.

BY FRANK HOOD: A Geek’s Progress: Navigating a Software Career from the 80s to the 20s

This is what I call my work biography. It’s about how to survive in the business world and, inevitably also about the changes in technology that I went through in 40 years of software development from punch cards to Artificial Intelligence. If you’re young and reading this, I hope it shows you what to expect–not how to climb the corporate ladder, but how to contribute to making things people want while making life better for you, your family, your fellow employees, and the company you work for–whether they want you to or not. If you’re farther along in your career and reading this, I hope you nod in recognition at many of the things I’ve been through.

FROM MARY CATELLI: Madeleine and the Mists.

Enchanted pools, shadowy dragons, wolves that spring from the mists and vanish into them again, paths that are longer, or shorter, than they should be, given where they went. . . the Misty Hills were filled with marvels.

Madeleine still left the hills, years ago, to marry against her father’s will. If her husband’s family is less than welcoming, she still is glad she married him, and they have a son, two years old.

But her husband’s overlord has fallen afoul of the king. And all his men fall with him, including her husband.

She sets out, to seek the queen and try to bypass the king — and the Misty Hills.

Some things are not so easily evaded.

FROM KAREN MYERS: Mistress of Animals: A Lost Wizard’s Tale.


Penrys, the wizard with a chain and an unknown past, is drafted to find out what has happened to an entire clan of the nomadic Zannib. Nothing but their empty tents remain, abandoned on the autumn steppe with their herds.

This wasn’t a detour she’d planned on making, but there’s little choice. Winter is coming, and hundreds are missing.

The locals don’t trust her, but that’s nothing new. The question is, can she trust herself, when she discovers what her life might have been? Assuming, of course, that the price of so many dead was worth paying for it.

FROM LINDSEY PETERSEN: To Find a Monster (The Reluctant Chrononaut Adventures Book 2)

Kate Thomason, twenty-first century healer, is snatched from an eight-handed clone massage in twenty-ninety-seven by H. G. Wells’ time machine to awaken in Wells’ bedroom in eighteen-ninety-seven, her modesty guarded only by a sheer peignoir. Whatever could be Wells’ plan for her? He can’t send her back; entrapped in a world wholly alien to her, how shall she survive? She can think of only one asset – in a Victorian world of surging libidos she’s a beautiful woman with a ‘pragmatic’ take on sex. In any era that will get a woman far.
Wells presents her at dinner to playwright Oscar Wilde, newspaperman Frank Harris, Professor Aronnax and others. Kate’s scandalous bodice isn’t the only thing on the guests’ minds that evening; Professor Aronnax proposes taking the Nautilus to hunt for the Loch Ness Monster.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: ACTOR

36 thoughts on “Book Promo and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. You know, I wish Mary Catelli would put New collections/stories up on Amazon. 😉

    Now, for my vignette. 😀

    “Hey Fred! Why are we keeping an eye on this actor? He’s a good actor but just an actor.”

    “Frank, he’s not “just an actor”. When he plays a role, he somehow becomes the actual character he’s playing”.

    “Oh shit! Now he’s “playing” Jack the Ripper!”.

    1. Working on some stories. Think some may be out this year.

      But my muse is working longer than ever now. I don’t know if there will be more collections.

      1. (I did not, in fact, ask for two books this promo. I think last week’s got mixed in.)

  2. Every time Chelsea thought she was getting used to this timeline, she’d get a new surprise. It had been shocking enough to discover that Ronald Reagan had died on the operating table during a routine procedure during his second term. But discovering that the future President had starred in two science fiction movies had been a real shock.

    From the clips she’d managed to find — the data pipeline between Earth and the Moon was far too thin to consider downloading the complete movies — they were pretty typical sf movies of the 1950’s. The special effects were primitive to the point of being laughable to anyone accustomed to the work of Industrial Light and Magic, but they were probably the best that could be done in those days. More interesting was the presupposition of the Old Solar System, with a shirtsleeve-environment Mars and Venus

  3. Heh, going back to this bunch… Apologies for sloppy Japanese, both language and cultural references, for Fuzzy and others!

    “Nantekotta?!” Sogyū Kuroda exclaimed, his eyes going wide.

    “Yes. Seriously.” Maximilian confirmed with a nod, taking a long drink of sake.

    “That important mission they sent that red-eyed kitsune to drag you out of here to deal with was a washed-up actor?!”

    “One that had started a cult, yes,” a female voice chimed in as the woman in question walked to the bar. “Red-eyed kitsune, now, though, Soggy? Keep that up and a girl might have to tell your wife about what a flirt you are!”

    “Urusai!” the bartender grumbled, as much because he hadn’t paid attention to the doorbell and missed the woman’s entrance with his outburst.

    “Do we have another one of those now, Scarlett?” the exorcist at the bar asked, finishing up his sake before he turned to the newcomer.

    “Nope,” she said with a pleasant smile, taking a seat next to him and ignoring the venomous glare the bartender gave her. “Just wanted to see how you were doing this evening!”

    “Well enough,” he replied, getting a nearby server’s attention and making a quick series of taps on the bar with his fingers. Kuroda froze, waved his hands frantically at the server, and gave the newcomer the best forced smile.

    “Sumimasen, Dame Scarlett,” the bartender said, casting several nervous glances towards the back. “If Maximilian welcomes your presence so will I. What would you like to drink?”

    “I haven’t had a good hon mirin in a while,” she said, trying not to giggle at the man’s discomfort and make an already tense situation worse.

    “A fine choice. I’ll be right back!” Kuroda replied with a bow, scurrying off towards the appropriate rack.

    “You’d think he’d learn that you’re not afraid to get the Missus after him if he makes too big of an ass of himself!” Scarlett remarked, unable to suppress her laughter once the bartender was out of earshot.

    “Be fair. He still doesn’t trust you yet,” the man replied, meeting the woman’s gaze. Her crimson eyes displayed considerable warmth and kindness despite their eerie color. “To him you’re still very much an operative of a group who could turn on me at any time again.”

    “I know,” she sighed, frowning as memories of that particular assignment came back to her. It all felt like a lifetime ago. “I’m honestly surprised you didn’t let him kick me out once I said I wasn’t here on business.”

    “That wouldn’t have happened. Whatever her husband might think, Yukari does like you, and the fight they would have had once she found out he had run you off would have razed the Azuman Quarter,” Maximilian explained, giving her a wry smile. “I was doing him a favor by heading it off early.”

    “And I do enjoy your company as well…” he thought, though he was unable to speak the words. Facing down some of the most vicious demons in Hell, and even his employer when one of those demons framed him for an unspeakable crime, might have been one thing but admitting that much, even when she had made it a point to come see him, was quite another.

  4. “I am Actor I can’t command a bunch of spaceships” Cater Spruce said.
    “Fleet, It’s Fleet of Spaceships, geez Louise” Ambassador Haynes disgustedly said.
    “Whatever” Cater Spruce replied.
    “No one is asking you to command a fleet of spaceships, we just want you to pretend to be an admiral for a short time” Captain Collins said.

    It wasn’t their fault Admiral Fletcher had gotten sick and couldn’t make the rendezvous, but the warlike Doegonne were sticklers for protocols. If you said Admiral Fletcher would be there, he’d better be their or they would leave and consider you a liar unworthy of anything but killing.

    “Look Mister Spruce the job pays 30,000 credits for one day show and two night time matinee’s, Do you want the job or not?” Captain Collins asked taking a different tack.
    Cater Spruce was broke on a colonial planet in the middle of nowhere, 30 grand would more than get him back to civilization.
    “Okay, I’ll do it, but you better have my lines ready for me” Cater Complained.
    “Good, and don’t worry we’ll have rehearsals and the whole nine yards” Captain Collins ensured him.
    Cater Spruce got up and left.
    This will never work you know that don’t you?” Ambassador Haynes opined.
    “Would you rather fight a space battle against a Doegonne Fleet, because I sure wouldn’t” Captain Collins said.
    “No, I wouldn’t” Ambassador Haynes said.
    “Then we stick with the plan” Captain Collins said.

    One major day show and two nighttime Matinees that turned into drunken dance parties later. The Doegonne were so pleased, especially with the new music the fake Admiral Fletcher introduced to them they signed every treaty the Ambassador put in front of them. Who knew they had never heard of swing music and that Cater Spruce could dance and drink like a Doegonne.

    “I still don’t believe that imbecile pulled it off” Ambassador Haynes opined.
    “Oh, I don’t know, President, Admiral, Actor not a lot of difference, give them the right lines and the huddled masses and Doegonne eat it up” Captain Collins stated.
    “All the worlds a stage and all that eh?” Ambassador Haynes added.
    “Precisely” Captain Collins said and looked at him with a funny look in his eye.
    “I know that look, you’re thinking about replacing me with an actor, aren’t you” Ambassador Haynes accused him.
    “Not at 30,000 a pop I am not” Captain Collins truthfully said.
    “So you’re willing to keep me on because I am cheap?” Ambassador Haynes accused.
    “You said it not me” Captain Collin amusingly replied.

    1. I currently own and have read Diplomatic Act by Peter Jurasik, and it’s quite an interesting read. I’m seeing shades of that idea in this, as well as the Hand of Thrawn duology. (Both series have an actor trying to portray a military or religious icon under sometimes great duress, often purely through improvisation, and without the safety net of suspended disbelief. They truly have to convince their audience, or everything falls apart.)

      1. RAH’s Double Star came to mine, but this is refreshingly lighthearted. (I like DS, but it’s not what I want to be reading with FICUS impersonating a president…)

        1. …and Kamela impersonating a vice-president, and Milley impersonating a general, and Austin impersonating a Secretary Of Defense, and Blinken impersonating a Secretary Of State, and Garland impersonating an Attorney General, and Yellen impersonating a Treasury Secretary, and Trainwreck Pete impersonating a Transportation Secretary, and Mop-Head impersonating a Press Secretary, and…

          They must have searched and searched and searched to find so many idiots so utterly lacking in ability. Washington DC is being consumed by some sort of black hole of incompetence just from having them all in the same place.

  5. After thirteen hours and constant reassurances that “things are about to be wrapped up,” Kenneth was still at the police station. He couldn’t figure out who was the better actor: the arrogant shift commander, or the deputy inspector, who seemed exasperated with his boss, and irritated at a wasted evening.

  6. Finally, the deputy inspector returned to his desk. “Look,” he said, “the boss says your affidavit is full of holes, but he always says that.” Kenneth coughed up some bad coffee. “I’ll level with you,” the deputy inspector continued, “we’re after some really bad actors. Maybe you can help us.”

  7. Eyes burning, nauseated, and stumbling like a drunk, Kenneth finally left the police station. He was beyond exhausted, but he knew he wouldn’t sleep. The deputy inspector said I’ve got to act like nothing happened, thought Kenneth, and report back on my classmates weekly. Self-respect? Ha! Who needed that, anyway.

  8. “The worst case,” mused Isabella, “was when the wizard disguised himself as an actor in a troupe, and they wandered the land. He was long gone before we arrived, and it took time to discern the pattern. Each time was simple enough, as they went, but all of them hard.”

  9. “It would be a surprise, I suppose, if she ran off with an actor, but it’s Autumn.” She shook her head. “Clownish, unrefined, but not bold enough to venture that far from propriety. Any nobleman would want a more gracious hostess for his halls. Or at least one less spineless.”

  10. “- to be quite frank, my friend.” the blond man answered, smiling. “This is one of the most pleasant conversations I’ve had in the past several years.”

    I blinked at him. “As honored as I am, stranger, I’m rather concerned about your relationships if that’s the case.”

    His laughter was infectious, and despite my concern for the man I couldn’t quite restrain a smile. “Father, you are a credit to your faith. Truth be told, I haven’t been home for quite some time, and as a stranger in a strange land, well…” He raised a hand in a casual gesture, as if to say ‘What can you do?,’ and I caught a glint of light reflecting off metal.

    I felt my smile freeze on my lips as a cold iron fist gripped my heart. An image from the holy books seemed to hang before my very eyes: a golden ring, with a very distinctive signet somehow carved into the obsidian stone.

    It might have been a wedding ring. It might have been the signet of any minor lordship. It might have even been a piece of jewelry purchased for beauty’s sake, or simply out of amusement.

    But paranoia whispered otherwise, backed by a choir of coincidences and curious statements that I suddenly suspected I hadn’t paid enough attention to. So I took the chance.

    “The scriptures warn of your talent as an actor, Excellency. But they come laughably short of the truth.”

    He raised his eyebrows, and for an instant I hoped I was mistaken. Then he smiled, and hope shattered into a thousand crystalline shards of terror.


  11. “Here you are! All bright and cheerful!” Tom grinned.
    “Ready to disguise yourself as an actor in a troupe, so we can sneak about?” called Molly.
    “That would be silly, we would not be safe on the road as mere playactors.”
    Molly shrugged. “We could move about freely that way.”

  12. In her capacity as junior member of the PTA holidays committee, June had been drafted into assisting with rehearsals for the school’s Christmas play. This translated to bringing punch and cookies for the kids and assisting Mrs. Wieseltier, the harrassed fourth grade teacher, with keeping the actors under control. Wandering around the stage and whispering were not permitted. One of the boys in particular missed cue after cue, until June had the idea of bribing him with extra cookies. Finally he shouted his big line: “I’ll get the tree!” and headed off stage, carrying his cardboard ax.

    The teacher shot June a thankful look as the students broke for refreshments.

  13. Someone spoke of a play-actor. Someone else spoke of troupes, and how a lone woman could hardly act every role in a play.
    “Worth seeing what she’s trying to do,” said one old man, as if he did not expect much.
    No one would hire until they saw, Marcus surmised.

  14. He considered the way ahead of him and winced. Perhaps it was just as well that he could betray no one. The temptation would arise, if only Osric were not so skillfully acting a penitent behind him.
    He slipped away, and trees surrounded him. Betraying Osric might even be pleasant.

  15. “You can’t do that, Cort! That’s just… insane!”

    Her friend responded much more neutrally. And stubbornly. “Sure I can. I looked up all the requirements, got all the forms, filled ’em all out and wrote the check. All I have to do now is turn ’em in, and it’s official.”

    “But… running for Congress?! You’re still in graduate school!”

    “But I live and vote in the district back home, I’m already on the ladder of party precinct re-org — thanks to you and some others from back in our younger days — and as you know the ‘Apparatus’ is just about sure not to run anyone against our two-term beloved RINO Bob.” She smiled, slowly and almost ruefully. “And, if by some miracle I beat Bob the Boob that first time, I know I can take a leave of absence from Aerospace here no problem to run again hard in the general. Already checked that too.”

    Ashley’s eyes went wide. Or wider. “Courtney, I know you know what happened down in South Carolina, that whole ‘leper colony’ thing? Throwing shade, then the ‘condemnations’ of all those America Firsters, rigging the rules so their state Party can shut down anything like it going forward? Maybe our state Party isn’t that bad; but you know it can happen, does.”

    Her voice had gone quiet and matter-of-fact, too.

    Courtney’s hands stretched out an immaterial banner. “Vote Courtney Rabhda for U.S. Congress. Stop voting against the greater of two evils.” And she smiled. “Leftists can’t meme, but RINOs aren’t gifted either.” And smiled more evilly. “And before you try to tell me nobody can spell or pronounce my last name, didn’t Buttergeek manage to get elected Mayor of something, before he got inserted as Secretary of Transportation Sabotage? Also don’t try to tell me it was because his father is some big-a-do prof of Critical Theory Sez Everything’s Evil-Bad Without Our Secret Marx Sauce.” Her hands opened again wide. “Rabhda = ‘Ravda’ = your true America First Choice for Congress.”

    “Come on, Courtney, you know doing this right takes money, and you don’t have the kind of big-$$$ it’ll take to be competitive. And you also know, they’ll be doing hit-pieces on you, they’ll be harrin’ through every bit of dirt you ever came near, every moment of your life. That won’t be fun.”

    And Courtney smiled a bitter smile. “Like the Twit-mobs did, when I kept doing those Web pieces during the accreditation fight? You saw, Ash, they tried to ‘cancel’ our whole university, just because we have an Office of Cultural Diversity instead of a knee-jerk leftist DIE apparatus and all its stupid craze-of-the-week trendy madness. When you get hit like that, along with half our student body… well, you know you’re not alone even if you’re suddenly right there on the front line, taking virtual fire.

    “Maybe more because of it. Very 1776, I soon got to thinking…

    “And that’s mostly why I want to do it. ‘Oh, you’re not really a serious candidate.’ But I am serious; and if I’m the one out there saying all the same things other people are saying, to each other, on the Net, in chat rooms and forums — but saying it as a for-real, on the ballot candidate? At least they’ll see they aren’t alone, either.”

    She picked up her somewhat-neglected tea. “Look back twenty years, ten, even five. Listen to Rand Paul or Ron Paul. How ‘extreme’ do they sound, today? Vs. way back then? How much of yesterday’s ‘libertarian fringe and conspiracy theory nonsense’ is today’s not-a-crazy-person conventional wisdom? The world is changing, Ash, and the half-and-more of it that’s not goin’ bug-boinkin’ where’s-my-Haldol nuts… is busy ‘getting it’ faster and faster and faster. You know this too, you’re more tuned-in than I am, half the time.” And took a drink of it, finding it just about right.

    Ashley brought her hands up to her face, briefly; in that way she did when she simply needed a moment to think. “You really need to get some kind of organization under you, Cort. If you really do mean to do this. There are a lot of people out there who could, well, almost have their hearts broken by this. And I mean for real, and I mean one more time.” She smiled ruefully, but in a way also subtly full of broken glass. “Lot of despair out there, Courtney. Lots of people don’t have a university like ours, a county like ours to go back to, no matter what. Lots of ’em feelin’ all alone, adrift on a blow-up survival raft in a wide empty undrinkable sea of Depression-glass Blue.”

    “I know the chances I’ll be the next Marjorie Taylor Greene are pretty small; same for being even the next Kari Lake. But I keep hearing, over and over again, that old saying. ‘Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’ And I just can’t come up with a counterexample. I try, and I never can find anything better than either, or the first.

    “Even if this does mean my tiny chances of getting hired by Space-X drop right to zero, Ashley. It’s not a job, it’s not a career, it’s my country, our country, and our whole civilization too. Really, and you know.

    “Like Arianespace dropping Ariane 5 before 6 could fly. Like ULA, stuck with no Atlas, no Delta, no Vulcan yet. But they want to do it with our whole energy grid, our whole industrial-transport infrastructure. And our entire competence-based, realistic culture, too. Lights out, game over.”

    Her voice had dropped enough it was competing with the computer fans and the hum of the refrigerator, no guarantee of winning. But still intense.

    “Heck, Cort, you know what they say about the first: ‘Most companies, the boosters are expendable and the engineers are re-usable. At Space X it’s the other way round.'” She paused half a second, half an eternity. “And I know you’re right on the last also. Musk says something like, ‘This is our chance, but the window is closing, we do it now or do it never.’ That’s my own roundup of whatever he really said, there, but I see the risk too.”

    She looked down, at her own small glass of high-test beer from back home. “They said the B-movie actor from California couldn’t do it, but he made it to the governor’s mansion, and then to the White House. After starring in a comedy with a monkey. And finished winning our first Cold War. They said the tycoon reality-TV star couldn’t be serious, but he made it there too. Voted in twice, inaugurated once. Fuse still sputtering on the last.”

    And when Ashley looked up, her expression was full of fire. Burning like a hundred-megawatt coal-fed boiler, like a city center blazing, like twenty-seven or so big oxygen-methane engines clawing their stubborn way toward orbit. “You keep thinking you want to light a candle, not just curse the darkness. Me, I want to send up a parachute flare, light up a square mile or three, then go on from there. Hard, unforgiving, clear magnesium light that lets nothing hide. Try, fail, try better, fail better, succeed, repeat. What he said, Mr. Churchill the couldn’t-ever-be Prime Minister at his old school, ‘never give up,’ and all. I’m too tired fighting rendering engines all evening to look that up now. But I will, tonight.

    “And I know if I ever really start, I’m never gonna stop, Cort. I’m all in from the beginning, if I ever truly begin. And of course that scares me, because I know what it means. I’m pretty obsessive once I start.”

    And Ashley Williams smiled, the same smile that had seen three generations of coal miners in her family through all that to something easier and more gentle than the gritty dark dust and washing those two carefully separate batches of laundry, every working day.

    “I’m no strategist, I’m no fundraiser, no pollster of the quiet and honest sort. But maybe I can ask a few people to ask a few people, and so on. And I can do your graphic design and maybe edit some of your copy. Because you should use a lot of your slogans, they’re usually pretty catchy, but your graphic design really does mostly suck.”

  16. “All right, let me get this straight,” I said slowly. “You want to hire me, an actor, to pretend to be a spy. This spy is currently undercover as an actor in a production of Falling Star.


    I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Who is he playing in Falling Star?”

    The captain of the guard frowned, then paged through his notes. “Hmm… Tristan Fyrheart, it says here.”

    Of course. Of course… “You are aware that the character of Tristan Fyrheart is commonly played as the Emperor of the Underworld, disguised as a mortal in order to better tempt the hero of the play?”

    The captain shrugged. “I was never a theater man, myself. Does that matter?”

    “Oh no, of course not, I just wanted to be sure I understood. You want me, an actor, to pretend to be a spy disguised as an actor, playing the role of the god of evil, who is pretending to be a friendly advisor?”

    He looked at me blankly for a moment, then sighed. “We’ll pay you double your going rate.”

    “Triple. You’ll pay me triple. If I get out of this with a scrap of sanity intact, it’ll be a miracle.”

  17. “Yes I am an Actor” he slurred.
    I looked at him as the large bartender eyed him with a jaundiced eye, he was cleaning a glass in a dim lit space port bar in Astoria City. It seems there is always an Astoria City by space ports somewhere, almost unwritten law. Yes local citizens you put your dive bars and strip clubs in Astoria City’s. Just make sure you keep the lights low and the problems there.
    “I am a very drunk and very stoned Actor” he slurred more.
    I had to agree with him on that, but he hadn’t asked me anything, so I wasn’t going to venture anything. Too many bad movies started by two drunk guys talking in a dive bar somewhere.
    “Just wait Nate, a femme fatale will come walking in and want to talk to me next” I sarcastically said to the bartender as I stubbed out my cigarette.
    “I went from Shakespeare to Sham Wow” the actor disgustedly slurred.
    Just then the front door opened flooding the room with a bit of fog, the neon lights from outside gave the fog an eerily glow. I didn’t have to look, I could tell by the heels on the polished wood floors.
    “Nate next time I open my mouth, please cut me off” I forcefully said.
    Nate Chuckled.
    “Brewster we got a problem” Lt. Maquire said to me.
    “Hey pretty lady want a drink” the Actor slurred.
    I punched him in the face with my left hand dropping him back into his chair and then he slid to the floor.
    “Put it on my tab Nate” I said, Nate nodded back, so long as he didn’t have to pay.
    ‘Problems?” Lt Maquire asked me.
    “Nope, I never did like actors or clowns and that guy was both, besides I doubt he’ll even feel it tomorrow” I said reaching inside my jacket for another smoke.
    “Now about your problem Lieutenant?” I asked following her to the door.
    “Wait wasn’t that that Sham-Wow guy from the horrible commercial” Lt. Maquire asked.
    “All the more reason to hit him” I replied.
    “Ya, I give you that, no jury in the world would convict you for that” Lt Maquire drolly said.

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