A Young Lad, Alaisdair Fraser, and Oil Rigs

A Tom on his own.

Perhaps he’s scouting the territory, getting a lay of the land, deciding the optimal place to look for babes.

Oh Hens.

Yeah, most likely Hens.

I’ll bet he’d rather we had some real happenin’ music on the jivebox.

Something he could jitter to, give him a chance to practice his strut.

A release for his raging hormones.


I guess Susan‘s not his type.

Probably a good thing.

For him.


The Book of The Wounded Healers
(a study in perception)

Chapter 3 – How Do We Choose? How Are We Chosen?

You can read the backstory on The Book of the Wounded Healers in The Book of The Wounded Healers/(a study in perception)/Frame and Chapter 1 – The First Communication, and it may help understanding the story’s universe a bit.

Read previous chapters:

Let me know what you think.

The Book of The Wounded Healers
(a study in perception)

There was a Ted Schreringer, a Dean of Christian Life at Baltic College, a small evangelical college in Michigan. I came to him with some questions, he told me to kneel and pray.
He smiled and nodded, his head bobbing like a plastic cat’s in the rear window of a car, as I tried to articulate what I wanted to ask.
The only problem was I had trouble articulating the questions I wanted to ask and he had trouble giving answers other than those he’d learned from a book. I went into his office, I remember, because it was at the end of the hall and either I turned into his office or I went up the stairs to the cafeteria. The food wasn’t that good and there were some things I wanted to know.
Simple, no?
Ted Schreringer was an fundamental evangelical Anglican. From New Zealand. He was the first man I’d ever seen who had a single eyebrow running over his left eye straight to his right, a single bush so thick that if he was from Australia I would have expected to see a joey in it. It was also my first experience with a New Zealand accent. I didn’t know until then that a New Zealand accent sounds exactly like patronizing.
This is why we go to college, to learn things.
When not kneeling and praying he saw to the spiritual needs of the campus. This meant making sure the bookstore didn’t stock any Rolling Stones, Beatles, Frampton, CSN&Y, Joni Mitchell, Harrison, Procul Harem, Harry Chapin, Billy Joel, Elton John, Wings, and is this cross-stylistic enough so you get the idea? Gospels and Christian Rock were okay.
Have you ever listened to Christian Rock? As Ted defined it? There is none, I’ll make it easy for you.
The only magazines allowed, aside from spiritual publications, were the likes of Good Housekeeping and Modern Bride. All the spiritual publications were evangelical fundamentalist in nature and scope.
This should not be a surprise. Remember this. People went to Baltic for this.
Dean Ted believed that his role was to monitor the Christian life of each student, regardless if that student wanted said monitoring or not. I know this and will explain how in a moment.
I went to Dean Ted because I was confused about who I was and who was god and what was happening in my life.
I wasn’t a “Christian” back then. Evidently Baltic admitted a select number of non-Christian students each year so the students could practice their evangelism.
Imagine being invited to go somewhere and discovering the only reason you’re invited is to be someone else’s experiment?
Ah, the joys of being Black in America.
I explained things to Dean Ted the best I could. He smiled and nodded and checked his watch and picked up a well worn Bible and opened it for me and told me what to read.
“The only thing which will save you, Ben” he said in that interesting New Zealand twang, “is accepting Christ into your heart as your personal God and Savior. See, right there.” He pointed into a gospel. “You shall know the truth and truth shall set you free.”
He rolled his “r”‘s so nice.
“Satan and God are fighting for your soul and you must help God to win, Ben.” He checked his watch again. “There is no choice other than Heaven or Hell. Endicott and that Jewish girl you see there, Ben, that’s Hell. Your friends here are Heaven, Ben. Now you must decide.”
{Either-or. Never both-and. Black or white is only available in the quantum infinitesimal slices of a moment, if even then.
Or the racial prejudices of majority America.
Which you choose is based on what you study. Take your pick.}

First, if God is so strong, why does he need help? Second, I’d never mentioned going to Endicott or dating anyone there. How did he know?
“Kneel down here with me, Ben, and we’ll pray together for your soul.” He checked his watch.
Which I did because I had learned the lessons of the playground well; young black men do what patronizing white men say.
Besides, God seemed to be on a clock. Either that, or Dean Ted had a quota to fulfill.


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The Mighty Oaps

An infrequent frequent visitor is The Mighty Oaps, aka Opossum.

Maybe I should write that as “A frequently infrequent visitor…”

Either way, Oaps visited us a few nights back.

We didn’t know he was coming or we would have put out some of his favorite munchies.

Basically anything edible is his favorite munchie.

Bananas, for example. Who would have thought opossums go for bananas?


Well, they don’t.

They prefer Obananas.



Sanctuary Receives 2Q21 WOTF Honorable Mention

I know.

You’re first question is, “Why are you telling us a year after the fact, Joseph?”

Simple answer: I received the award yesterday.

I received notification back in 2Q21. Various things got in the way of it being mailed and so on.

Hey, I’m happy to receive any award. Especially while I’m alive to enjoy it.

I originally wrote Sanctuary in June 1991. It’s a 920 word flash piece which has had little to no revision since the original version.

I workshopped the piece several times. The universal (I’m not kidding. Creatures in the Magellanic Clouds love it) response was extremely positive. One critiquer stood out with “I wouldn’t change a f?cking thing. This is abso-f?cking-lutely brilliant.” Another said, “I hate it. I hate what happens in it. I hate the outcome, and I never want to read anything like this ever again.” (pause) “And the fact you could get me this pissed off in nine-hundred words shows me you are a really good writer. You’re really good to get me this pissed off in nine-hundred words.”


I’ve read Sanctuary publicly several times and always received enthusiastic applause. People come up and ask me the story’s origin and meaning. Some are weeping because the story so moves them.

And nobody wanted to publish it until Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 picked it up in July 2021.

Go figure, huh?

And now it received an WOTF Honorable Mention.

The times, they are a’changin’.

For the better, I hope.

The Augmented Man “In” – 1 April 2053 Surface available on Bewildering Stories #954

Hello again.

Mani He had a successful serialization on Bewildering Stories Issues #947-952, and the wonderful folks there are sharing the first chapter of The Augmented Man, “In” 1 April 2053 Surface.

You can get some of The Augmented Man‘s backstory at 31 Years to Publication. The novel and backstory led to my working the Katie Koestner organization as Producer, Dear Katie: Survivors on the Page Book Club; Editor, Dear Katie: Survivor Stories.