..................................FAR OUT, MAN!
................NOW THE MEANIE IS A BOOK
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.....................United Kingdom....... Spain
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Friday, June 14, 2013

................ HE'S BA-ACK!!!

Tasha was feeling restless and out of sorts, probably because the household was disrupted by the upcoming move to the Venice Canals. When you are an 80-pound German shepherd it is hard to work off restless energy in a two-bedroom apartment.

I got my brother, Charles, to take her for a run. Jason and Carol were napping upstairs, so I was essentially alone in the apartment.

A few minutes after Tasha and Charles left I sensed a presence at our door.

It was such a strong feeling that I almost went to the curtain to see if anyone was there. As that thought crossed my mind there was a heavy knock. Three times – Boom, boom, boom.

My heart leaped. I don’t know why, but I suddenly felt as if I was trapped in an Edgar Alan Poe horror tale.

“Yes?” I called, rising from my deck chair, following the stiffening hair on the back of my neck.

The reply was another series of boom, boom, booms.

I’d already made my last trip to the bank for Mr. Cohen, so there wasn’t any rent money in the cash box to tempt a thief. Besides, after Tasha went through the window to attack the would-be burglar that long ago New Year’s eve, the scumbags in the area knew better than to mess with us.

On the other hand, what if the scumbag in question was new to the area, or canny enough to watch our place and see Tasha and Charles depart. Normally I’d be at work and Carol and Jason would be alone in the house, but I’d taken time off for the big move.

I squared my shoulders and headed to the door. Even so, I was apprehensive. There was something just not quite right about the atmosphere. I kept a baseball bat next to the door for emergencies, and a hammer on the ledge above the door. Call me paranoid, but this was Venice, California, circa anytime. Venice was a cool place, but if you weren’t careful bad shit could definitely happen.

I checked that my equalizers were close to hand and opened the door.

What I saw there standing before me took my breath away. Christ, never mind my breath, my blood froze in my veins and a veritable ice-storm swept through my brain.

I don’t mind admitting that I was scared. So scared that I could actually feel my balls tighten up and then ascend into the relative safety of my core.


Because it was the Blue Fucking Meanie, man!

Three hundred plus pounds of hate-filled muscle lumped on a six-foot-seven body.

His bulk filled the whole door frame, blocking out all light.

Shit, shit, shit.

I flashed on the big damned Marines he’d lifted off the ground so he could bang their heads together and both of those guys were well over six-feet, two hundred plus pounds of American fighting man - straight from the jungles of Vietnam.

And they had been helpless before his fury.

Now, after all these years, the Blue Fucking Meanie was back – and I just knew he was pissed as hell because it had finally sunk through the metal plate in his skull that I had played him for a fool with my credit rating/security clearance bullshit.

And he had returned to take his revenge on my sweet Irish ass.

I thought of the bat. But, hell he’d just shove it up my butt and call me a Popsicle.

I thought of the hammer on the ledge above me and realized that if I went for it, he’d just take it away from me after I hit him and use the hammer to pound me into the ground.

My only hope, I thought, was Tasha. She wasn’t here, but she and my brother might be back at any minute. And if she thought I was being threatened she’d hurl her snarling teeth at anyone, no matter if they were practically King Kong. And the thing is, even big men run from attacking dogs.

Maybe even the Blue Meanie would run.

You think?

Then while the Blue Meanie was trying to pull her off of him I could run to the Mad Bomber’s house and borrow a bazooka, or something, and come back and blow him to smithereens. Or at least knock the wind out of him.

I craned my neck, stretching to see if Charlie and Tasha were anywhere in sight.

They were not.

I drew back a step, smiling my friendliest Irish smile. I was practically singing, “Danny Boy.” I mean, I really put the grin in, and widened my baby blues, putting on all the boyish charm I could muster whilst shaking in my sandals.

I’m sure I said his name, or I wouldn’t be writing this story today, but the way I remember the conversation was like this:

“Mister Blue Meanie, sir, how do you do? What a pleasant surprise. It’s been so long since we’ve seen you.”

While I spoke - trying to control the quaver in my voice - I was checking him out.

It gradually came to me that other than his immense size, he didn’t look like the Blue Meanie of old. Instead of filthy blue overalls, a bare chest and blood-caked shower shoes, the Blue Meanie was wearing what I could only describe as a suit.

He had on a brown suit coat and brown suit pants, a white shirt, brown combat boots and a by-god green bow tie. None of this fit, including the bow tie. His neck was so huge he’d left the collar button open and there were bare batches of muscle-bound skin on either side of the bow. The suit coat was stretched across his massive form, center button barely holding it in place. The sleeves were inches short, showing an expanse of tattered white shirt cuffs. The pants were also too short, rising well above the tops of the sturdy, but scruffy boots. The bow tie was brand new, you could see that right off, it was so green.

And here’s the thing. The whole outfit was topped off with a too-small straw boater on top of his massive head, with a green feather in it that exactly matched his bow tie. The hat made him look a little like a freak show pin-head.

I’m saying that he looked like a character out of “Hee Haw,” except the show hadn’t been invented yet, and although the whole thing struck me as being funny, I knew that if I laughed my life would be over there and then.

Not that I really felt like laughing. I was too much in awe. I just took this whole thing in, half marveling, half wondering if in the next few seconds the Blue Meanie would take his revenge.

He tensed. Suddenly drawing himself up ramrod straight. I tried hard not to shrink back. You know - “Tell Ma I died game, Sarge.”

Suddenly, the Blue Meanie stuck out his massive hand. I almost jumped, thinking he was going to hit me. Instead, he grasped my hand in his mighty paw and shook it. Actually, he shook half my arm, because his paw was so big that it practically engulfed my right arm up to the elbow. It was like sticking your hand into the mouth of one of those legendary Mississippi catfish.

With incredible earnestness, the Blue Meanie said, “Mr. Cole, I just came by to thank you for what you did for me.”

I goggled. “Uh… Did for you?”

He continued shaking - my whole hand and arm going up and down like a blacksmith’s bellows.

“Yessir, Mr. Cole,” he said, “your little talk made me see the light. Why, I’d been wastin’ my whole life away with drinkin’ and thinkin’ evil things about folks. But, thanks to you, I’m living with my sister in Northridge now, and I’m taking my medicine every single day without fail and I been goin’ to the VA doctors real regular. Haven’t missed one appointment in more’n two years. Also I haven’t had a drink since the day we talked. Well, maybe the day after, ‘cause I got drunk first. Thing is, way things look I maybe can even get a job real soon.”

He stopped his shaking and looked me straight in the face. His eyes were just as fierce as before, but I no longer saw the fires of madness dancing in them.

“Thank you, Mr. Cole,” he said.

Without another word, he dropped my hand, turned and strode away. 

I gaped after him. What in the hell? It was like he had a duty to perform and he’d completed that duty. ‘Nough said.


A second later, Roger came strolling around the corner. He acted casual, but I could tell that he was on full Roger alert.

“Did I just see the Blue Meanie?” he asked warily.

“You did,” I said.

“What did he want?”

“To thank me.”

“Fuck me,” Roger said in total awe.

“Yeah,” I said. “I was thinking the same thing.”

Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969

In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself. Here's where to buy the book. 



During the Vietnam war, GIs who managed to survive their tour of duty were flown home in chartered airliners, which they called “Freedom Birds.” This is the story of three young men – from  wildly different backgrounds – who meet on such a plane and make a pact to spend three days together in San Francisco. Their goal: to spend every cent of  their mustering out money in a party of  a lifetime. And they’ll get more than they bargained for: because when they land, it is July 1967 – in a time that would come to be known as “The Summer Of Love.” A place and time where each young man will have to confront the ghosts who followed them home from the jungles of Vietnam and contemplate a future none of them had imagined. 


The entire 8-novel landmark science fiction series is now being presented in three three giant omnibus editions from Orbit Books.  The First - BATTLECRY - features the first three books in the series: Sten #1; Sten #2 -The Wolf Worlds; and Sten #3, The Court Of A Thousand Suns. Next: JUGGERNAUT, which features Sten #4, Fleet Of The Damned; Sten #5, Revenge Of The Damned; and Sten #6, The Return Of The Emperor. Finally, there's DEATHMATCH, which contains Sten #6, Vortex; and Sten #7, End Of Empire. Click on the highlighted titles to buy the books. Plus, if you are a resident of The United Kingdom, you can download Kindle versions of the Omnibus editions. Which is one clot of a deal!

Here's the Kindle link for BATTLECRY
Here's the Kindle link for JUGGERNAUT
Here's the Kindle link for DEATHMATCH




Two new companion editions to the international best-selling Sten series. In the first, learn the Emperor's most closely held  cooking secrets. In the other, Sten unleashes his shaggy-dog joke cracking sidekick, Alex Kilgour. Both available as trade paperbacks or in all major e-book flavors. Click here to tickle your funny bone or sizzle your palate.  






Diaspar Magazine - the best SF magazine in South America - is publishing the first novel in the Sten series in four 
episodes. Part One and Part Two appeared in back-to-back issues. And now Part Three has hit the virtual book stands.  Stay tuned, for the grand conclusion. Meanwhile, here are the links to the first three parts. Remember, it's free!

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