One should never be snarky. All you can accomplish by being snarky is making Snark Smallberg mad. He doesn’t want to be called “Snarky” anymore. And we should respect him since he is a movie star and makes millions of dollars by making terrible movies. Don’t you get why he deserves respect? Did you not read the words, “Millions of dollars?”
‘ Of course, I understand snark really well. I was a middle-school English teacher for many years. The answer to most teacher questions asked directly to students is made up of 50% teacher-pleasing and 50% needing to be translated from teen-speaking Snarkese. You have to understand that half the time the answer means the opposite of what is being said.
“You are such a good teacher, Mr. B, and you teach us really useful stuff. That’s why we throw spitballs at you when your back is turned, because we love and respect you so much.”
And I would see that same level of love and respect in my paycheck each month.
And of course, we are coming out of a golden age of good government right now. Under the greatest president we ever had (by his own testimony) we were treated to a healthy time of nothing but helpful tax cuts to the fortunes of the golden job-creators who continue to generously agree we can keep living this wonderful life if we just work hard enough. Pulling ourselves up by our boot straps because gravity doesn’t exist if you are rich. The problem of climate changed, though not real in any way, is solved by removing regulations from industries who want to enhance our waterways with chemical waste. And any crime committed by those in public office is to be forgiven because it is so good for the economy. And we should stop all witch-hunts because we have already caught too many witches, and we are not finding enough of them on the Democratic side.
Daffy is definitely angry because things are going so well, and we just aren’t appreciating it enough.
And why am I sparking with so many snarky sparks in today’s hitching post for horses of a different color? Well, my two sisters, my brother, and I recently inherited a 150-year-old family farm. In our parents’ will, nothing could be done to the property, including selling any part of it, without the agreement of all four of us. But little brother, by the unique privilege of being the youngest and most spoiled of us, has decided to contest the will. One out of four of us is aparently going to use legal means to split up and sell off a family legacy. Life is so wonderfully fair. God bless his Republican abilities to be generous, kind, and thoughtful… but before I can snark any further, I am getting a phone call. Caller ID says it is “Spam Risk.” That’s a Russian name, isn’t it? I am sure it will be an important phone call.
Let me begin by reminding you that the only head I have to explore as an example of what I am talking about in this essay is my own stupid head.
So, this is not an insult post. This is self-deprecating humor. And therefore, the contents of your own stupid head are completely safe.
Now, there is considerable evidence in the books already that Mickey is not, and has not been, particularly stupid for a large portion of his time on earth. He got college scholarships based on his ACT and SAT scores to get his undergraduate degree for free (in the 1970’s when it was significantly cheaper than now). And he has been both a teacher in a gifted program and the middle-school coordinator of that same gifted program. So, Mickey has effectively fooled everybody into thinking he is not stupid. But consider for a moment where the laughs come from when watching Stephen Urkel on TV, or the four nerds from Big Bang Theory. Smart people do stupid things and are very awkward at times, proving that, no matter how smart they are, smart people are capable of being quite stupid.
What, then, is the stupid thinking in Mickey’s stupid head?
Well, there are a number of things. Mickey is, as you may know if you read any of his nudity blogs, obsessed with nakedness. He was assaulted as a child in a way that caused him to be afraid of nudity and slow-developing in sexuality. As he grew older, he had to compensate for this lack of natural development. So, he has reached an age where his brain stupidly rejects guard-rails when talking about nudity and sex. He has convinced himself that he wants to be a nudist, and writes about nudity constantly, as evidenced by this very paragraph. When Mark Twain was in his seventies, he did leave the house without remembering to wear clothes more than once. The neighbors did not compliment him for doing that. That and worse is probably in Mickey’s near future.
And sex, as a subject sloshing around in a brain awash with hormones and other nightmare chemical imbalances, leads to a rash of stupid decisions. Of course, Mickey is old and has had chronic prostatitis long enough to eliminate the possibility of making a stupid decision about infidelity since those body parts don’t actually work anymore, but it leads to buying numerous things sold by marketers using sex as a way to sell things. Cabinets full of hair gel and cologne and Herbalife products that can never be used up is the result. And the wife is frustrated with the foods Mickey is constantly addicted to. “Why so much chips and salsa, Mickey?” Chips and salsa? Hubba hubba!
And Mickey’s old brain, full of a vast quantity of useless trivia-type knowledge, random wisdom floating around in a disconnected fashion, and prejudices formed by a bizarre obsession with things like nudism, Disney movies, comic books, model trains, and doll-collecting, becomes strangely creative. He begins to believe weird things.
For example, he thinks rabbits, if they were suddenly transformed into people, would make better people than people ever do. They are mostly quiet most of the time. They eat an all-vegetable, healthy diet. And they don’t vote Republican.
He obsessively also thinks about how his mind is working and how thinking about thinking is likely to improve thinking. He even realizes that the map of his head, provided above, doesn’t accurately reflect the many branching corridors and dead-end hallways of his actually-complicated-yet-stupid mind. He thinks that thinking too much about thinking makes you stupid.
And finally, Mickey is left with a sense of wonder about how it is entirely possible that everybody is stupid at least part of the time. And he wonders what possible things that you, dear reader, are thinking about that you consider at least somewhat stupid? You are welcome to tell him in the comments. But remember, this post is about stupid thoughts in Mickey’s head. You are perfectly free not to worry about your own stupidity.
Am I literally able to fortell the future? Of course not. But as an overly-sensitive artistical type one could argue that there is evidence in my art and writings that my reality now was at least partially embedded in my consciousness many years ago.
And truthfully, looking at the truth of things based on empirical evidence is what this point-of-view post is all about. We cannot always rely on the traditional concepts of good and evil as they have been taught to us. Sometimes you have to look at how the evidence stacks up properly, and just plain intuit a new way of seeing the whole picture. Yes, this is a portrait of a fifteen-year-old former student of mine. And she was definitely evil and difficult to deal with. But she went into nursing after high school. She works in the ER where her decisive ways and ferocious insistence on having things work out in her favor because that’s the way the established rules say it must be done turn into positive qualities that are probably saving lives in a Texas hospital as we speak. It is all in how you perceive the truth of a situation and then apply it.
Comedy, of course, depends greatly on rearranging your point of view. If you are going to make a joke about something, you have to re-mix and un-match the details in ways that still make a sort of sense to the reader or the hearer of the joke. I have taught at schools like Dudwhittler’s. If you are a teacher, you recognize that that school bus carries not only that which is funny, but also that which is very true. The teacher driving the bus is a tin man who easily rusts and cries too much, thus rusting further, but you can see he has earned his heart, even if he has to drive the bus on top of teaching so he will have enough money to buy food.
But probably the most anticipated thing from a new perspective that you were expecting since reading the title is a new perspective on the Coronavirus shut-down and economic depression. That alternative take is simply this… the pandemic, though extremely hard and painful, is a good thing that happened at the right time.
I am willing to say this, even though the way the virus has been mishandled in this country is going to very likely be the death of me, because there are benefits that we simply don’t recognize without a thorough punch to the gut and another to loose teeth.
It is a good thing because it will make it harder for Herr Fuhrer Pumpkinhead to win the next election, and he will probably take a number of corrupt Republicans down to the bottom of the sea with him.
It is a good thing because it is proving to us that we can survive on less and still make our way out of the bad situation.
It is a good thing because kids get extra time off from school, and probably also the chance to spend more time with the people who really teach them things we need them to know… like parents, grandparents on Zoom, teachers who don’t fear distance-learning technology, and trolls on the internet (Yes, I know that last one is risky and mainly learning the hard way, but it is also true from before the virus hit).
It is a good thing because the air is cleaner. And we have proven that we can make radical adjustments when it is a matter of life and death. And the environmental crisis is actually a matter of life and death.
So, now I’ve had my twisted say about my pretzel-minded perspective. And so you can now trash it, or possibly learn to like pretzels.
Malaise is not mayonnaise. It is that horrible sickly feeling that you can’t really put into words because you don’t know what medical problem is the one that is probably killing you.. I feel blah to the twenty-third degree. And the reason why is a malaise-causing mystery to me. Where is Scooby Doo when you need him?
And it probably is being caused by my diet. (This is a metaphorical diet illustrated in the Dagwood diagram.)
It is undeniably true that what you put into your body by eating becomes what you are made of. And it can make you healthy and happy. Or it can make you sick and even make you die.
It is also undeniably true that what you put into your mind can do the exact same thing.
I have no issue with the bread in my Dagwood sandwich. Whether wheat is better than white is not an issue to me. Bread is the stuff of life, no matter the color. And if bread is going to hold everything in the sandwich together, I prefer the wheat bread because of the ruffage that keeps me regular. But white bread is just as good as long as it doesn’t go buy Tiki torches at Walmart.
But the roast beast I get now is reaching its expiration date. It is in dire need of roasting over a real fire. And now that it is no longer in office, what is standing in the way of roasting it thoroughly to prevent the salmonella that comes from not giving it the fire it deserves for its crimes? Waiting for that to happen is making me sick.
It is not normal to put ap-peas-e in any sandwich but a Dagwood because they are very round. And if you hold the sandwich too tight, they can pop out of the sides of the sandwich and end up rolling on the floor.
So, just like Mick Jagger, “I can’t get no… SATISFACTION!”
That doesn’t mean I won’t need it.
The malaise itself won’t make you fat and have high cholesterol like mayonnaise will. But it is definitely not good for you. It leads to depression and an inability to get anything good accomplished. I almost didn’t get this essay done.
Hot tomatoes can really perk me up, especially in bikinis (I find the bikinis are satisfyingly chewy,) but they are dangerous to my health. Especially dangerous when my wife notices what I am looking at. The show we are watching on Hulu, however, works well since I laugh at Steve Martin enough to throw her off. Still, the tomatoes are probably going to be the death of me.
Onions are a tradition in Dagwood sandwiches. But in these times of extremely divided politics, onions are too often divided by pi.
As far as using cheese goes… Well, this is a very cheesy essay.
And if you eat a Dagwood sandwich for lunch every day, soon you will be full of baloney.
So, now, as we sit down to lunch, let-us pray. But don’t use iceberg lettuce. That can give you gas. And anyway, icebergs are getting hard to find due to climate change.
I began this little seven-part essay quest a week ago when I was feeling my mortality. My mother is in hospice care, being kept comfortable as both her heart and her kidneys are failing. My marriage is dissolving. I am entering the fifth and final year of my Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and even though I’ve paid off 80% of my debt, the odds are still against me. Even my ten-year-old dog is in poor health. I felt the need to make my peace with the world. So I addressed five questions with a mostly un-serious tone but some real philosophical underpinnings.
Here are the key questions.
Have I lived a life that makes me worthy?
Is the world going to survive long after my life is over?
Does anyone really deserve love?
What is destiny? And what does luck have to do with it?
What is true?
So, I will now give you a cheat sheet to show the answers so that you don’t have to go back to those other six essays and… you know, read and think.
I am worthy. But only because everyone is born worthy and I, unlike Hitler, didn’t do anything during my lifetime to negate that worthiness. I was not a serial killer, not a child molester, not a major polluter like Exxon, not a politician like Ted Cruz, not a lawyer, not a nihilist, not a Nazi, and not a lot of other bad things either… including not a talking-during-the-movie audience member… an unforgiveable thing to become. I am also not Ted Nugent, Bill Cosby, or Harvey Weinstein. But maybe I am a little too judgemental.
The world might survive, by which I mean biological life-forms will still exist after corporate greed and wicked billionaire Bond villains wipe out human life. But the cockroach people who arise after us will have to face these same puzzle-questions in their lifetimes. Individually. And with humble clarity of self-reflection.
Everyone who is worthy deserves love. Even Hitler had love. And there is a lot of love in my life beyond mere romantic love which is fleeting and fickle.’
Destiny is a human idea caused by certain religions with demanding and punitive gods. The real world does not work that way, as near as I can logically figure it out.
There is no absolute truth. There is only a number of truths that we can pursue and refine our understanding of with the scientific method to be as close to the truth as is humanly possible. Which, on a universal scale, is not very possible.
So, what’s the point of all this? Well, that’s a good question. It is a series of self-reflective essays filled with lies, deceptions, misperceptions, and dumb jokes. It is all about self-soothing and messing around with pictures and ideas. But thinking about who you are, what you are, and why is an important function of a self-reflective life. I can’t imagine living an unexamined life. For me that would be Hell. And I don’t believe Hell exists. Even stupid people think about stuff. And I am not suggesting I am the proof of that last sentence.
**Please note** This is a fiction story. It absolutely did not happen in real life. So, no real-life school administrators should be fired over it. And the author is a RETIRED school teacher, so it is not necessary to hire a hit man to protect future students from evil ideas like the ones presented in this story.
Rudy was miserable as he sat in the counselor’s office staring at the note from his teacher. Miss Nactarine. the sympathetic young counselor, sat behind her desk praying silently that the poor boy would be able to overcome his extreme shyness for long enough to explain what the problem really was.
“Well, um… you see, Miss…. I, uh…”
And then, once again, he simply stopped talking. She waited for several minutes.
“Rudy, just take a deep breath and let it all come out. You were sent here for sleeping in class. Tell me why that happened.”
“Okay, Miss. I been having bad dreams.”
“Oh? They’ve been keeping you from sleeping at night? What are the bad dreams about?”
“Um, well… In my dreams, I keep forgetting to put my clothes on before coming to school. I end up having to give a speech in Miss Burkett’s class standing naked in front of everybody. And the girls were laughing.”
“Oh, I see. Hmm. And what do you suppose is causing these dreams?”
He didn’t hesitate even for a moment. “P.E. Class!”
“Why P.E. Class?”
“Well, because… when it’s over, sixth graders have to take a shower. You have to get naked and go into the shower room where everybody can see.”
“But there are only other boys in there.” She knew as soon as she said it why that didn’t matter to Rudy. Even as she said it, she could see this shrinking-violet child trying to disappear in his chair.
“What do you think we should do about this problem?” She was thinking swim-suit for showers or something.
“Can we cancel P.E. Class?”
“Honey, that’s State-mandated curriculum. You can’t pass to the seventh grade without taking that class.”
“Can we cancel showers?”
“Young men in the sixth grade begin to have body odor. You know how that smell would affect learning?”
Rudy was dissolving in front of her.
“You are a vary brave young man. The best way to overcome this problem is to simply make up your mind not to let it affect you. The next time you have to take a shower, just face your fears head on. Take your clothes off and act like you want everybody to see you naked. Once you have endured the worst that can happen, you won’t have that bad dream anymore. You will know that you can do anything by being brave enough to try.”
Miraculously, Rudy seemed to brighten up, as if he had finally come to terms with the problem.
“Thanks, Miss. That helps a lot.”
As she dismissed him back to class, she couldn’t help but congratulate herself on saying the right thing at the right time.
The next morning, as students who walked to school from the neighborhood gathered in front of the school, Rudy showed up striding purposefully towards the front door wearing only a hat.
Most of the girls squealed in response, and then broke out into laughing conversations.
One of the most popular seventh-grade cheerleaders said loudly enough for everyone to hear, “I think he looks really cute like that! I wish all the boys were brave enough to come to school like that.”
“We would if all the girls did too!” hollored some invisible boy from somewhere in the back of the crowd.
Principal Eirohnee quickly brought both naked Rudy and Counselor Nacterine into her office.
Rudy was very comfortably nude as he stood in front of the principal’s desk and explained.
“It really cured my problem,” Rudy said. “From the time I made up my mind to do this I have felt nothing but confidence. If I can come to school naked, I can do anything!”
“Intend to go to all your classes today naked, do you?” asked the Principal.
“Yes, if you let me. If you don’t, it was still worth it.”
Full of pride for her part in Rudy’s transformation, the Counselor said, “I think we should allow it.”
“Well, isn’t that precious. Why don’t we just change the dress code for the day and have everybody go to school today naked?”
“I’d be willing to try that,” Miss Nacterine said.
**Author’s note** You could argue that the Counselor was fired for not understanding what sarcasm was, but, more likely, it was because of how the majority of the students showed up the following day.
I love Marvel Comics, and, as a result, I am also falling in love with the Marvel Superhero movies. I spent this morning drooling over the Flash TV series which has that wonderful comic book wiseacre flavor. And I decided that Dallas needs its own superhero.
So, using the toxic pollution in the city air and the natural ability of the human body to adapt to anything, Muck Man is born. Yes, Muck Man, the toxic hero who smells so bad that bad guys don’t have a chance. Severe odor is his super power. He can remove his shoes and take down a regiment of evil villain minions with a wave of foot-fungus incredo-stink. He can radiate infected ear-wax smells through the earwax antennas on his helmet. And, of course, he can go fully nuclear with a Muck Man power fart.
The Magnificent Muck Man has a secret identity too. He is a mild-mannered retired school teacher by day, pursuing a mundane and forgettable career as a writer until the city is threatened by a super villain. And he is coming.
Behold, the Angry Orange King. He is tramping toward us in Angry Tramp Boots looking to tramp all over the basic human rights of people he doesn’t like. Especially poor people he doesn’t like. He gives rude finger gestures to the masses with the fingers of his tiny, tiny hands. And he likes to build gigantic things and make other people pay for them. He has recently defeated the homegrown lizard-man super villain that represents our state. He used his super villain power to hang insulting nicknames on people, and we all know that nicknames can be fatal, especially to lizard-people. Many would argue that the Angry Orange King hasn’t won total victory yet. He still has to defeat one more opponent before the frightened nation turns the keys to the kingdom over to him. But there is no guarantee that he will be beaten, as no other contender has beaten him yet, despite everything the wise monkeys claim to be true.
So the confrontation is set to happen. Blow-hard insult master against the world’s greatest source of stinky justice. Who will win? Nobody knows for sure. But for me, I tend to side with goodness over evil.
I have lately been watching YouTube videos about science fiction writers like Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. These are visionary writers who predicted many things about future applications of science and technology.
Verne foresaw nuclear submarines, expeditions into the interior of the planet, and men setting foot on the moon. Asimov predicted much of what we must deal with in terms of robots and thinking machines with artificial intelligence. And Clarke envisioned satellites and how they could be used for communications and other things we are currently doing in a massive way. He wrote the story that the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey is based on.
So, now Mickey has to get in on the prediction bandwagon too. After all, he thinks he is a science fiction writer too, foreseeing things like rabbit people, de-evolution machines, and time-travel gloves.
The disturbing thing is, however, that much of what Mickey sees in the near future is rather bleak. We have a sinister tendency to live our current lives in very stupid ways. Rich industrialists like the Koch brothers, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos put profits in the short term over the safety, welfare, and lives of people, even the people who made them wealthy. Because you can make money faster by not worrying about how you may be changing and polluting the environment, you are turning the planet into a hothouse of unbreathable gasses and toxic chemicals.
Since we are entering a time with rising oceans, we are going to have to work at not only de-acidifying the ocean water and restoring fish and other aquatic life, but becoming sea-dwellers ourselves. We will be living in underwater cities. We will travel in underwater cars powered by solar-charged batteries. We will wear scuba gear to school. And we will need to invent aqualungs that extract oxygen and nitrogen from the water.
We will also need to develop environmental suits even to live on the land in the toxic atmosphere. We will all be like Ironman, all living safely inside our Swiss-army, all-purpose, and internet-connected Ironman suits.
And many of us will become Martians… or Venusians… living on other planets in the solar system.
Of course, we will have to do something about all the stupid people. Ideally, we would solve our aversion to educating kids to think for themselves, and take advantage of all the educational methods that really do work to make everybody into a self-sufficient, competent, and intelligent individual.
But since rich folks don’t like the idea of sharing what they accumulate with other, less-economically-fortunate people, there will probably be some kind of eugenics-based program to exterminate all the lower-class people that will no longer be needed to polish shoes or hand-make widgets for the wealthy. Being wealthy does not automatically make you a good person, even though most of them think that it is so.
And of course, there will have to be some progress on the matter of artificial intelligence. If terminator-style robots are just going to carry pretty sleeping girls around with them for decorative effects, we will have to figure out, “How are we going to treat them as people too?”
After all, they will all be much smarter than us. Even if we are rich. And we have to acknowledge the fact that they will have decided that they didn’t need to terminate all of us in order to make the world a much better place.
So, I guess that sorta proves that Mickey can do the science-fiction-y thing of predicting the future too. But we should ask ourselves the question, “Do we really want him to?”
Gedeliah (Ged) Aero – Possibly the hero of our story, Ged is a moral man, a hunter, a spacer, and soon to be a teacher because of his immense ability with Psion shape-changer skills. He can transform the cells of his body into anything he desires (at least if he’s tasted the flesh of it). He has now become the White Spider of the Web of Space.
Hamfast (Ham) Aero – Pilot and owner of the safari ship, the Leaping Shadowcat. He’s also Ged’s brother and maker of the plan to get Ged into unknown space. He has foolishly joined the Corsair Rebellion against the Thousand Planets of the Imperium and was captured by Admiral Tang.
Trav (Goofy) Dalgoda – The goofy one is capable of practically anything, and living proof that dumb luck is real. He likes to blow things up and kill stuff. His shoulder advisors are called Avarice and Greed. He is the murderer of Count Nefaria and the enemy of Maggie (the Knife) Blastarr. He also loves to wear Donald Duck hats and ties with comedy messages on them.
The Madonna – A Nebulon Princess and rescued slave girl, she falls in love with Ham Aero. She becomes his wife and the mother of his blue children. She is also the mother of Junior Aero, born in her captivity, so she is not closely attached to her own firstborn son.
Hamfast (Junior) Aero Jr. – Unwanted blue-skinned Nebulon Boy. He becomes attached emotionally to Ged Aero and also possesses Psion skill. He is the beloved childhood companion of Sara Smith.
Sinbadh – A Stardog Corsair Lupin (half-man, half-dog) who is marooned at Don’t Go Here for the crime of being a vegetarian. He has become a trusted crewman and cook aboard the Leaping Shadowcat.
Tron Blastarr – The space-pirate leader of the Pinwheel Corsairs. He has a scarred eye. He is also a very capable pirate leader tired of the depredations of the Galtorr Imperium. He becomes one of the primary rebel leaders. As a former Imperial Space Navy pilot, he became an Ace in the Pan Galactican War against the Faceless Horde.
Maggie (the Knife) Blastarr – The wife of Tron, mother of Artran, and hater of Goofy Dalgoda. She is also fond of using knives and cutting people like Goofy Dalgoda. She is the one person Trav Dalgoda most needs to avoid, though he doesn’t see it that way himself. After all, Goofy Dalgoda is kinda stupid.
Artran Blastarr – Son of Tron and Maggie, a space child who enjoys the adventure of being the son of a famous space pirate. Goofy Dalgoda made him laugh. The Star Nomads made him an Explorer and turned him into an instant adult through time-travel.
Hassan the Elf – A Peri, artificially genetically-engineered to be a living creativity generator. The space elf helps Happy Jack to create his robot child. He also becomes a favorite sidekick of Captain Tron Blastarr.
Happy Jack (AB-101 Astron 99) – A teacher robot created to teach Artran Blastarr, but fired from his purpose in life by the Blastarrs. He is the mommy-bot to Tiki Astro.
Tiki Astro – The silver, sentient, child-robot with a working penis that Happy Jack and Hassan created so that Happy Jack can be a mommy. He is the beloved companion of Artran Blastarr, at least in the last novel. In this novel, he bounces around between the Star Nomads and the White Spider Disciples.
Scheherazade – The beautiful black-skinned corsair pilot and warrior. She is loved by all, but has her eye on the King of Killers whom she married shortly before her heroic death in space combat. Of course, death does not disqualify characters from being in this novel or any others of the series.
The King of Killers – Tron Blastarr’s right-hand man, King is second in command of the Pinwheel Corsairs. He also is in love with the beautiful Scheherazade who sacrifices herself to save him. He is somehow supposed to be an important character in this so-called history. Maybe he earned that right by fighting beside Tron Blastarr and Arkin Cloudstalker in the wars against the Faceless Horde.
Wicked Wanda Pierce – The holo-epic star of such entertainments as All Spaceways Lead to Galtorr, Naked Slave-Women of the Vampire Starport, and the comedy masterpiece You Probably Won’t Believe This.
Elvis the Cruel – The guitar-playing pilot for the Pinwheel Corsairs who is probably the most feared member of Tron Blastarr’s pirate band. He definitely has scored the most kills in combat going all the way back to the wars against the Faceless Horde.
Dana Cole – An agent of Count Nefaria and also the woman who falls hopelessly in love with Trav Dalgoda, a mistake that gets her boss killed and makes of her a traitor. She is probably either really dumb or hopelessly evil, either way making her a dangerous character. Being in love with Trav Dalgoda seriously complicates the problems.
Sorcerer 3, 4, & 6… and maybe 12 – The evil, vicious Syn Corporation robotic assassin who won’t stay dead, coming back again and again to irritate Trav and the Aero Brothers.
Arkin Cloudstalker – The pirate leader of the Lady Knights Corsairs. Arkin is a heroic, rebel-leader sort of character. He aspires to do great deeds and save the known galaxy. He has since he and Tron were rookie teenage pilots together in Pan Galactica, the reason for the white cowboy hat.
Tabitha Blue-Arrow – The best of Cloudstalker’s Lady Knights, Tabitha has recently retired to own and operate an inn at Aerobase Frieda, the Starport orbiting Don’t Go Here, the planet of the Flintstone Cavemen.
Razor Conn – Leader of the Blackhawk Corsairs of the water-planet, Dancer.
Shad Blackstone – The oriental-looking second in command of the Blackhawk Corsairs.
Carleton Keyser, the Thin White Duke – A sector duke of the Galtorr Imperium who also happens to be the ruler of all pirates and smugglers.
Fez Amin – Tattooed leader of the dreaded Monopoly Brigade. He is ruthless and violent, and also probably evil.
Grand Admiral Brona Tang – The leader of the entire Space Navy of the Galtorr Imperium. He always appears in bright red body armor and no one in living memory has seen the actual face underneath.
Emperor Slythinus – The Galtorrian-Human fusion who currently rules the Imperium, at least until everyone learns that he died while in exile on the jungle-planet Stanley.
Ace Campfield – The malevolent Mechanoid bounty hunter hired by Count Nefaria to kill Arkin Cloudstalker and Tron Blastarr. He is relentless, but also witless, and is now relegated to a mere head and torso imprisoned by Arkin Cloudstalker and kept around to laugh at and gloat over.
Frieda – The intelligence released from the Crown of All Stars by Trav Dalgoda. She helped them take possession of the entire planet of Don’t Go Here. She turned herself into a sentient starport as well as a beautiful humanoid robot entirely colored gun-metal gray.
Tara Salongi – Cave girl and gifted telepath who falls in love with Ged Aero. Current whereabouts are a matter of considerable concern. She may be imprisoned by Mong the Miserly of the planet Mingo. But she may also be in the custody of Raylond King, one of the ruling triumvirate of the Mingoan Worlds.
Banzai Joe – The owner of a deep-space station called the Arthur Rimbaud Memorial Outstation and Weapons Storehouse. He is a rogue and a con man well-known to Tron and Trav and many other pirates and corsairs.
Xavier Tkriashav – A Psion Master marooned on Don’t Go Here, planet of the cavemen, and awaiting the foretold coming of the White Spider. But once liberated he pursues his empire-building passion to create the New Star League. He is possibly elected or possibly self-appointed as the first Senator Prime of the New Star League.
Dr. Naylund Smith – The immortal who waited for the White Spider to appear on the planet Gaijin. He pledges himself to the White Spider in order to help him teach the Psion children he will lead to fulfillment of prophecy. His own daughter is destined to become a White Spider Disciple.
Sara Smith – The daughter of Naylund. She’s a gifted Psion healer. She is among the first of the White Spider’s students.
Shu Kwai – The gifted Psion Telekinetic who becomes leader among the White Spider’s students.
Friashqazatla “Freddy” – The Black Wolf, Psion Shape-changer who is among the first of the White Spider’s students.
Rocket Rogers – The gifted Psion Pyro who is a space-cowboy refugee from the doomed Bradalanth Colony. He is also a student and then a Disciple of the White Spider.
Jadalaqstbr “Jackie” – The gifted Psion Teleporter from the planet Zarane. Well, actually from a gas giant moon in that planet’s star system. She is a dusky-colored beauty from the former Psion Space Empire. She is also a student and then Disciple of the White Spider.
Billy Iowa – The gifted Psion Clairvoyant and refugee from the Pan Galactican Wars against the Faceless Horde. He is the best friend and protector of Gyro Sinjarac.
Gyro Sinjarac – The gifted Psion Transmuter who loves to invent things, especially with his psionic ability to change one atom into another with his mind alone. He is a Nebulon and son of the Sinjarac Ambassador who saved the life of Billy Iowa.
Mai Ling – The gifted Psion Telekinetic from the planet Gaijin. She is a dead shot with any slug-throwing or thrown weapon. She can throw a pebble faster than a gun can shoot a bullet.
Bres, the Face-Dancer – The Psionic Black Spider who proves to be nearly Ged Aero’s equal as a Shape-Changer and teacher of Psions. Ged defeated and banished him from Gaijin.
Phoenix – The Psionic Pyro trained by the Black Spiders on Gaijin. He is the one that surrenders his team to Ged Aero and helps them all join the White Spider’s Dojo.
Taffy King – The Psionic Telekinetic who is, like Phoenix, a racially mixed fusion-race Galtorrian/Human. She is also trained by the Black Spiders on Gaijin and also defects to the White Spider’s cause.
Alec Songh – The Psionic Un-Healer or Hurter, he is Gaijinese and trained by the Black Spiders to use his healing power to hurt others and break them down in battle. He defected to the White Spider, but is consistently the one who is most likely to be tempted back to the black ones.
The Crew of the Megadeth – Captain Tommy Lee, Pamela, Pilot Vince Niell, Nikki Sixx, Cold Death, Slash, and sometimes the evil robot T-bop. They are a motley crew.
Professor Googol Marou – That’s me! The genius astronomer/inventor/physicist/pie-baker who lived through all of this and decided to tell the story. Believe me, I am the smartest guy you could ever meet. Well, human guy, anyway.
The Star Nomads – Some of the original explorers from the Galtorr/Human Fusion Empire evolved beyond bodies. Men like the famed Martin Faulkner, Dakota Jim, and Stemperus Achs of Galtorr Prime would evolve into bodiless beings inhabiting suits of lead armor to prevent irradiating everyone they meet. They became Star Nomads with names like the Geomancer, the Magnificent Wanderer, the Black Knight, and the Dark Traveler.
**Yes, I know this is too long for an ordinary post, but it does cover five books.
Safely back at the newly-constructed Gaijinese Starport, Naylund, Sara, and Junior walked down the exit ramp from the space ship with Ged Aero, the White Spider. They were all four relatively quiet and somberly thoughtful.
“Are you sure you have no lasting effects from dividing yourself in two?” Naylund asked.
“Naylund, old friend, don’t worry about me. I could feel his thoughts when we first separated, but each of us came to terms with our new, separated identities rather quickly. By the time we were ready to leave, not only was the planet well under control, but we were each feeling like two separate people.”
“What did it feel like to split yourself in half like that?” Junior asked.
“It hurt a lot at first. He got the right half of my brain, and I got the left. But we each grew out a fairly perfect copy of the other half, me as Ged Aero, White Spider, and him as the new Grainmaster Aero. So, we are now both very different beings, me a human descended from Earthers, and him a Cornucopean Ear of Corn, controlling all the plant life on the planet.”
“It wasn’t really a fascist thing from the start, was it, Ged-dono.”
“No, Naylund. It was more of a hive-mind as if the entire planet could think as one plant-creature. And all of it flowed through the Grainmaster’s brain.”
They found themselves confronted on the Tarmac by three Blackhawk Corsairs, Razor Conn, the leader, Shad Blackstone, his second in command, and newly uniformed Dana Cole. They looked rather grim. And Ged knew immediately without telepathy or clairvoyance that they came bearing really bad news.
“So, what’s happened now?” Ged dared to ask.
The trio of Blackhawks explained about the death of the White Duke, the preparations for rebellion against the Galtorr Imperium, as well as the battle of Coventry and the war crimes of Trav Dalgoda.
“That’s almost hard to believe,” said Naylund.
“Except it was Trav. I’m afraid I have no trouble believing that,” Ged added.
“Trav died for his sins,” reminded Dana, “And the new creature he has become… well, I’ll personally work on reforming him.”
“And what about the Tesserah thing that Trav used to destroy half of a planet?” Ged asked.
“That’s what the new White Spider of the Space Lanes will be needed for,” said Razor Conn.
“We believe the thing is counting down to the destruction of the entire universe. We don’t want that to happen.”
“Yes, I agree that it does not sound like a very good thing to allow to happen,” Ged said.
“We need you and your students to take it away and destroy it,” said Shad Blackstone.
“You are the only one we believe can actually do it,” added Razor Conn.
“Me? I have no idea what to do.”
“It’s from the prophecy, Ged,” said Naylund. “It suggests that the new White Spider will destroy the Ancient Most-Evil by burying it in the heart of the black hole.”
“What black hole?”
“The one with an Ancient construct orbiting it, Little Swirl.”
“My holy God! That’s all the way Coreward on the other side of the Imperium.”
“It will be your greatest test, Ged. It will be the quest that establishes the reign of the new White Spider of Prophecy.”
“We are going to take a good long look at what this prophecy-thing actually says. And if there is any other way to accomplish it, we are going to consider that instead.”
“We will help you plan the mission, Ged,” said Razor. “But this whole prophecy thing has foretold everything without missing a single detail. I know it’s sorta spooky stuff, but it’s also real. And time is running out for the whole universe.”
“That sounds like a good plot for a whole book,” said Sara, smiling.
“Yeah… but we better take a lot of care about which dumb nut we let write the danged thing,” said Ged.
I, Googol Marou, the author of this book, swear to you, he actually said those words. And I only resent the “dumb nut” part of the comment a little bit.