A Brand New World

The Kingdom

September 19, 2023

A Brand New World: Part 1

A Brand New World: Part 1 is 666 stories in 12 books that I published one by one over the last decade. The Kingdom is the first book in A Brand New World: Part 2. Enjoy.


September 22, 2023

1. The Damascus Deal



“Get ready because they’ll be here any minute.”

“I’m ready. Are you ready?”

“Yes and so is the driver. We’ve got this. Just like we practiced.”

The gang crouched in a dark alleyway near Damascus. As Saul approached with a couple of men they jumped them. In broad daylight they put bags over their heads and bound them.

Paul’s companions were gagged and taken into a prison cell. Saul was bound and hoisted into the air. As he swung above the ground with a black bag on his head a man spoke to him pretending to be Jesus. He condemned Saul for persecuting Christians to death.

After several minutes somebody pulled the bag off Saul’s head and as he squinted to see two men with magnifying glasses blinded him in each eye. It was only temporary, but it stung and burned his eyes. At this time Saul was lowered to the ground.

“I don’t believe any of this nonsense! Christians are psychotic and Jesus was an idiot. You can torture me all you want, but I won’t be converted!” Saul screamed without knowing who he was addressing. Suddenly somebody dealt a blow to the back of Saul’s head and he fell unconscious. When he woke up he was in a jail cell.

“Wake up. It’s time to get up.”

“Where am I? I have rights you know. People will come looking for me and they’ll turn you in and you’ll get the death penalty for this,” Saul said.

There was only silence. In the dark prison cell it felt like hours, but it was only a few minutes before a man spoke.

“I have a deal for you.”

“Deal? What deal?”

“I have a deal that you can’t refuse. We need you to have a change of heart. A come to Jesus moment if you will. If you do, then we have a place for you not just in our church, but in our canon. Big churches like the one in Philadelphia have bought a place in our book, but yours is free if you switch sides.”

“What if I refuse?”

“If you refuse, then we have ways of convincing you.”

“I see. Well, if you put it that way how can I refuse?”

“So you’ll come to our side?”

“No,” Saul flatly said and somebody immediately punched him in the side and he doubled over.

“Why don’t you think it over a minute. No need to rush.”

“I said no,” Saul said and somebody punched him in the side again and he howled in pain.

“We can keep doing this, but I think eventually you’ll see it our way.”

“I doubt it,” Saul said and for a third time somebody punched him in his side and he fell to the ground screaming in pain holding his side. The continuous blows to the same spot on his side damaged one of his organs. Saul vomited food and blood and teetered between consciousness and unconsciousness.

“Not gonna play ball eh? This is the end for you. We’ve been too nice. Join us now or you’ll die. The choice is yours. Do think it over.”

Thoughts raced through Saul’s mind. He had never felt pain like this in his side. His eyes were burned and he couldn’t see anything even without the black bag on his head. His companions were confined elsewhere and he was alone.

In light of his situation Saul decided to accept their deal. He knew the church was expanding and he believed them that he was going to become a church father and a prominent person in an influential religion. He figured at least he could agree now and run away later.

Saul never understood exactly what happened on the road to Damascus. When his eyesight returned he praised god though.

October 5, 2023

2. I Hear You



The infant was always restless and rolling over. She'd never sleep and stay still. She moved around in her sleep so much that she worried her mom and grandmother too.

"Let me show you a trick," the grandma said to her daughter.

"Here," the daughter said gently handing the baby to her mom.

"I didn't want you to roll over and suffocate, so I propped you up like this on the side of your head," her mom whispered doing the same thing with her granddaughter. She balanced her between her side and back on her ear. Each day she put the baby on her other side, so she wouldn't develop a rash.

"Did it work?" she asked.

"Yes, but you kept falling over on your back," she said and shrugged and smiled.

The baby's mom was determined to keep her from suffocating which to her meant checking on the baby a lot and continually propping her head up like her mom did. It kept her alive and well, but unfortunately it bent her ears as they grew which shaped them outward, so when she got older her ears stuck out.

October 19, 2023

3. For the Birds



"Pass it," Jimmy said.

"Wouldn't it be funny if these birds were actually robots that could spy on us!?" Jack asked. Several birds were outside their window chirping and singing.

"Do you think they have that kind of technology?" Jimmy asked.

"Yes. They could design a bird with a device-sized computer and video camera and record video, then upload it with WiFi or fly it somewhere. Birds could probably even stream live video," Jack said.

Meanwhile, the birds outside their house weren't spying on them, but some of these spy birds existed and were spying on others around the world.

November 6, 2023

4. A Paid Day Off



Prince's work was canceled, so he called his friend.

"Can Daniel come with me to the park to play soccer?" Prince asked Daniel's mom on the phone.

"Yes after he cleans his room. He'll meet you there in 30 minutes," she said and hung up the phone.

30 minutes later they arrived at the park at the same time. Since they were childhood friends they embraced and slapped hands.

"Do we get paid for today?" Daniel asked.

"Yes. I think so. Any time they cancel work at the last minute they're supposed to pay us," Prince said. They worked at a cocoa plantation and Daniel was new. Today was a surprise inspection that they heard about one hour in advance, so their employer quickly dismissed children before inspectors arrived.

"I hate that place," Daniel said.

"Me too," Prince said. They were just children and didn't want to work, but their family was poor and needed the money, so they had no choice.

Daniel and Prince played soccer together until they joined a pickup game with some other boys. The next day they returned to work at the cocoa plantation in Ghana because it passed inspection.

November 11, 2023

5. Knock, Knock, Buh Bye



The ringing doorbell told the old homeowner that somebody was waiting at his front door, so he looked at his high-tech, doorstep camera and saw a tall man wearing the local utility company's uniform holding a clipboard.

As soon as he opened the door, the man reached behind his back, grabbed a loaded pistol with a silencer out of his pants and shot the homeowner three times in the chest and he died.

The man dutifully closed the front door, entered his white truck, drove away and was never caught for the hit.

November 13, 2023

6. A Mishap and a Coverup



A police investigation ensued after a family of three fell to their gruesome death while riding a rollercoaster at a theme park. It was due to a multiple seatbelt malfunction although the park denied responsibility and said the riders may've been trying to switch seats mid-ride.

An attorney sent a subpoena to obtain their video recording of the fatal ride. It could provide critical evidence to one side or the other, but the park stood to lose millions of dollars for being guilty of wrongful death.

"We should just tell them it was accidentally deleted," Bob said at an emergency, private meeting behind closed doors sipping whiskey from a shiny flask.

"I think we should just hand it over," Mickey said shrugging and throwing up his gloved hands.

"Hand it over? And then what!? They'll see what happened!" Donald said dramatically ripping off his gloves and throwing them on the table.

"Whoever controls the evidence controls the outcome," Minnie said sipping iced tea.

"I know, but it was an accident not a crime and if we break the law now we'll just make matters worse," Mickey replied nervously eating cheese.

"They'll never know that we deleted the video, so we won't get caught as long as everybody in this room keeps quiet," Minnie said and pointed at each of them with her gloved fingers.

"Getting busted is the last thing we need. We're already paying out the wazoo to whiplash victims," G. Oofy said slowly slliding on a brand new pair of white gloves.

"Ok, then it's settled. We'll tell the court that the video recording was accidentally deleted by our staff," Bob sheepishly said. It wasn't true, but they ended up getting away with it because they weren't found liable without a smoking gun even though they were guilty.

November 28, 2023

7. Out Like a Lamb



"Keep hitting them with your laser," the captain said from the control room.

"I have a steady beam on them right now sir," the soldier said from his seat. He was controlling a drone over rain clouds.

"It's looking good, but we can do better," the captain said.

The soldier zapped rain clouds for hours and they were about to drop half as much water as predicted. It was a weapon that they developed on friendly people, so they could use it on their enemies to cause droughts and weather anomalies on unsuspecting people. Their drones flew very high and shot lasers during daytime, so they went undetected.

December 5, 2023

8. Laserist, Terrorist



"Here he comes. Get ready," the terrorist said to his accomplice.

"He's in my cite," the other terrorist said aiming a laser at his head from a building.

Without a sound the terrorist shot the man in the cheek with a laser while he rode his bike down the street. It was in broad daylight, so nobody could see the laser. It felt like a bee sting and left a red mark the size of a dime.

Since he was wearing sunglasses the terrorist shot him in the cheek to send a message and mar his otherwise unscarred appearance.

"David Koechner is sunbathing in Waikiki. Wanna go laser off his hair?" the terrorist said.

"Sure. It shouldn't take long," the terrorist said and they laughed as they descended the building and headed to Waikiki.

December 22, 2023

9. One Less Haim



"How was work?" Eli asked his roommate.

"Not good. I answered questions for eight hours straight. It was terrible," Jonah replied.

"Why?" Eli asked.

"They wanted to know why I shot a musician, student and farmer since they were hostages waving a white flag," Jonah replied.

"Did you play a Haim album for them?" Eli asked and they laughed.

"No. Dealing with Hamas is already torture," Jonah replied and they laughed.

January 26, 2023

10. Open Wide



“How do you know Karen?” Dr. Spaceman asked.

“I worked with her on one of my albums in the studio and she was great,” Kelly replied and Karen smiled and nodded.

“Great, well the surgery should be painless, but we’ll need to put you under with gas. Is that ok?” the doctor asked.

“No problem. How about the ACV gummies?” she nervously asked.

“You’re anxious. Aren’t you? I like that. This is an exciting time for you because you’re getting a brand new body. Just don’t worry. It’s totally safe and then you can sell lots of gummies,” Dr. Spaceman said handing her another bottle.

The next day Kelly had liposuction surgery and Dr. Spaceman successfully removed 40 pounds of fat around her body. For several weeks Kelly stayed at home, so she could say gummies made her lose weight. That way she could be the company’s spokesperson, get free surgery, make $10,000 and get residuals from sales. She had a great voice and she was pretty, friendly, rich and passionate about her lie, so people didn’t question her even though gummies didn’t cause any noticeable weight loss.

January 26, 2024

11. For the Birds



“I don’t know man. They’re so loud all the time. I can never get any sleep. I may need to move,” Brock said.

“I know how that can be. Those damned roosters are loud early and often,” Ricky replied.

“They need to stop. It’s torture and it should be against the law,” Brock said.

“Well, what if there was an unfortunate accident?” Ricky asked.

“Accident? What do you mean? Brock asked.

“What if we kill the birds and frame wild animals?” Ricky asked.

“I see what you’re saying. I have an even better idea. Let’s lead local strays into the coup and they can have a snack!” Brock said.

“That’s brilliant. Dogs can do the dirty work for us,” Ricky said.

Next time the neighbors were gone, Ricky and Brock led several stray dogs into their chicken coup. Since they were cornered the dogs quickly killed and ate them. Nobody suspected Ricky or Brock because they accidentally left their gate open sometimes and stray dogs notoriously roamed the streets and ate chickens.

January 29, 2024

12. The Same Sun Underground



“Are you serious? How did they get it all underground?” It must’ve taken days to move everything,” the vice president said.

“I’m dead serious. Come with me and I’ll show you. They got brand new equipment,” the general replied.

They traveled with their security detail to a small town in the middle of nowhere. At the foot of a small, sandy mountain there was a large door. The general pressed a button on a remote control and it opened the door. They entered in the vehicle and it closed behind them.

“C’mon. We ride from here,” the general said and they exited the vehicle. An underground subway in a bright room beckoned them, so they entered it and rode.

“How fast can this thing go?” the vice president asked.

“40 miles per hour. It’ll fly off the tracks if it goes any faster than that sir. We’ll be there soon,” the general said.

After about 15 minutes they exited the subway into a large well lit room. It was an underground greenhouse of sorts.

“Wow. This is phenomenal,” the vice president said. Lit by the sun poppy plants were being grown under the desert sand in a room the size of five football fields. People wearing white lab coats were attending to the plants.

“It’s an amazing concept come to life here,” the general said.

“What gave them this idea?” the vice president asked.

“Somebody approached them with technology to make it happen. They said their product could be covered with sand and still let enough light in to store and grow plants,” the general said.

“How does it do that?” the vice president asked.

“It’s not actually sand. It just looks like desert sand. In fact, it’s a specially formulated medium that can withstand desert heat, look like desert sand and let the sun’s rays pass through,” the general said.

“Awesome. Then what?” the vice president asked.

“Then they collect it with solar panels, cultivate poppy with high powered lamps underground and nobody knows,” Bob said and they laughed and exchanged high-fives. They were being paid by a pharmaceutical company to let them make drugs for pills and this meant big money and savings since the Taliban was forced to remove visible poppy fields in Afghanistan.

February 16, 2024

13. Worse Than a Pee Tape



"How are you doing!? Are you holding up alright?" the oldest son asked from across the two-way glass by himself.

"Ok. I'm getting in terrific shape. Bullies are already very afraid of me too," the father said.

"Can you surf the web and get as much sunshine as you want?" the son asked.

"Of course. They limit what I can say online though," the father said.

"Do you need anything?" the son asked.

"They take care of me very well here. It's like a so-so hotel in a lot of ways, but I do need one thing," the father said.

"Name it dad," the son said.

"I need you to hire somebody to delete their surveillance camera's video of your mother and I," the father said.

"What!?" the son replied.

"Your mom came here last week for a conjugal visit and I know those bastards recorded it and they're going to disseminate it. I want you to delete it," the father said.

"Consider it done. I know just the guy for the job," the son said, wished his father well and left.

Later that night the son hired a hacker he knew, but by the time the hacker got into their system the next day the recording was already being disseminated, so they couldn't delete all of the recordings or stop it from being seen by others.

February 22, 2024

14. Not Normal Pneuma (Fanning the Flames)





"I've never seen such a big disaster. It's really heartbreaking. Have you?" the disenchanted politician asked with his head in his hands.

"No. No, I haven't; not since deployment," the decorated soldier said looking out the window.

"So did your guys have anything to do with this one?" the politician asked.

Cold silence ensued.

"The town and the people are going to need a lot of help not a lot of answers," the politician said.

"We're very sorry this happened and it won't happen again. We want you and just you to know DoD has your back and will help any way we can," the soldier said.

"So that's it?" the politician asked.

"Look. I've told you as much as I can. You'll get funds just prepare for fires because climate change is making it real dry out there," the soldier said.

After the politician left the soldier made a phone call.

"We're done this season. Tell everybody to analyze data now and prepare for next hurricane season. There'll be plenty of cover next year," the soldier said.

February 25, 2024

15. The Darkside



"Please give me an update," the admiral said.

"The spacecraft is now being pulled at the rate of 6 miles per hour toward the magnet while it descends to the moon's surface," the private replied.

They anxiously watched the unmanned spacecraft flying toward the moon on a large screen. Smaller screens showed other angles and news broadcasts of the event.

"The spacecraft should reach its destination in 60 seconds sir," the private said.

After the spacecraft touched the lunar surface, it fell on its side and cheers erupted in the room. They accomplished their mission from the darkside of the moon because they didn't want to drag the spacecraft, but they wanted to topple it.

March 1, 2024

16. It's a Gas



"Should we keep our foot on the gas or let up? Some people have been calling for a ceasefire, but we still have some targets on the list," the protege said.

"Just finish what you started and keep stressing no independence. Everything we say and do has to lead to their dependence into the distant future or at least until we can extract all the natural gas off Gaza's coast," the corrupt leader said.

The leader's protege did as he was told because he was elected to lead and his racist people could be easily baited and controlled with fear and the cold, violent military. To occupy a poor, stateless people's territory while they extract the natural resources would be simple this way or so they thought.

March 1, 2024

17. Bread



"Just wait until you see the place. It's gorgeous. Make sure your passports are up to date. You and your family are gonna love it and never want to leave," the CEO said.

"I don't know what to say. Thanks. That's so generous of you and I just wanted some of your great food!" the politician said.

The business owner didn't want to miss a golden opportunity. His restaurant chain was prosperous around the city, but money was tight and he didn't want to pay his workers anything more than what they were getting. The minimum wage was high enough in California he thought.

"It's our pleasure. How do you like the bread?" the CEO asked.

"It's amazing! The mouthfeel is fantastic. It just melts in my mouth!" the politician said and kept eating his meal.

"It's on the house of course. We appreciate you and your business good sir. We have many irons in the fire and since we make our own bread to stay competitive way can't increase their pay," the CEO said.

"I understand how that can be. All the business owners in the area have been strapped lately. Theft has been an issue as well," the politician said.

"If we have to pay our bread makers $20 an hour we'll go out of business. No, we'll have to rent smaller stores and outsource some of our baked goods, but that'll be even worse," the CEO said.

"Well, what if we carved out an exception for bakeries and called you a bakery?" the politician said.

"Yes. We are a bakery. It only makes sense," the CEO said. In reality, they were a fast food restaurant that baked their own bread.

"Fair enough for me," the politician said and finished his meal. Afterwards he shook the CEO's hand and made good on his promise. Fast food restaurants had to pay employees $20 an hour, but not Boudin.

March 3, 2024

18. Hey Jude (Over and Out)



"I can't stay with her anymore. I'm going to have to leave the country. I'm thinking Spain," the young Italian man said. His wife recently gave birth to their daughter.

"Are you upset that she didn't have a son?" a female friend asked.

"No. She cheated on me and it isn't my daughter, but I can't prove it. I haven't been perfect either," he said.

"How do you know she cheated on you?" she asked.

"She has been acting very strange and Giorgia has blue eyes and doesn't look like either of us. She looks French and Jewish," he said.

"So what will you do?" she asked.

"I can't want waste time. Some powerful people won't be happy with my decision because they know. Since I've been thinking about leaving they've already called me a communist. Knowing them they'll frame me for a false confession," he said. Some of his business partners were shady just like some of his business deals, but few people knew.

From that day he planned his escape, saved money and left for the Canary Islands. He was a successful businessman there and raised kids of his own with a new wife. As for his daughter she became prime minister of Italy.

March 4, 2024

19. Some Kind of Intelligence



"We're certain it's a spy base, but we're not certain about their intentions sir," the young soldier said.

"How long has it been there?" the old world leader asked.

"We started noticing it last month sir," the solider replied.

"Thank you. That'll be enough," he said. The soldier left and he closed the door to his office behind him.

Inside his ornate office was a desk, chair and a sofa. While his guest sat on the sofa he quietly walked to his chair and sat behind his desk.

"They're baiting us. They've been baiting us. We don't have to take the bait, but now they're spying. What's next? Invasion from our own lands? Enough is enough. Let me see your special operation plans," he said to the general.

The leaders looked at the military plan to invade their neighbors and annex regions that were turning hostile and they agreed that it'd work, so they did it and they were right. It worked because the people in those regions wanted annexation and their military was strong. They also had commanders that knew the landscape well in addition to plenty of munitions and the ability to keep them flowing to the battlefield.

March 5, 2024

20. The Last Season



Two friends and co-stars of a TV show were relaxing by the pool before they started shooting episodes.

"This next season's gotta be big. Not just kinda big, but the biggest season ever. You know!? That's how people watch. You gotta sell it," Jerome said and took a bite of watermelon.

"Huge. I mean larger than life," David replied.

"What can we do to hype it up?" Jerome asked.

"We'll say it's our final season! Everybody will tune in if they think it's our last one!" David said.

"That's genius!" Jerome said and they resolved to say they were quitting and the show would come to an end after the season and it worked like a charm. Viewership was higher than ever and all they needed to do was tell the other actors that they were just kidding and it was all a charade for better ratings. The network and their fans would be thrilled with more episodes.

TO BE CONTINUED

March 8, 2024

21. Birds or Balloons



"We have to open the doors at the perfect time and we won't have a second chance at this," the captain said.

"How many doors are there?" a young pilot asked.

"There are four sets of bay doors. Two at each end of the facility. Fan team! Where's my fan team!?" the captain asked.

"Here sir," a solider said and waved from the back of the room.

"Your job is just as important as B team's job. After the rear doors open turn on the fans," the captain said and they said yes sir.

At a precise time the captain gave the order to open the doors and they did. Next they turned on the fans and they blew thousands of helium balloons out of the facility and into the open air outside. They had good intelligence and knew when a squadron would fly overhead, so they planned ahead. Within a few minutes they could hear crash after crash as airplanes fell out of the sky because a helium ballon took them down.

March 12, 2024

22. Fools For Hire (Part 1)



"Good news. The program was approved by Congress, so we're ready to go," the general said to the pilot on the phone.

"That's fantastic. We've been waiting to hear about it," the pilot replied.

"They kept it out of the news. It was approved in a back room deal, so nobody knows about it," the general said.

"Well, we're prepared to keep the upper atmosphere safe and sound from sea to shining sea without alerting anybody," the pilot said.

The foreign agency began flying drones over the country because they lacked an advanced, domestic drone program. However, after they established a presence around the country and got used to the lay of the land they started doing nefarious things like starting forest fires and using experimental lasers on populations. Eventually they needed to develop a way to protect themselves against their protectors.

March 13, 2024

23. How About My Friend



"Carry the one," Charlie the tutor said.

"That's right. Thank you," the student replied in Mandarin.

They were college students, Charlie was his senior and he was a freshman. Charlie spoke Mandarin and English, but the student mostly spoke Chinese and very little English.

"You're doing well. Just remember to carry numbers to the left and you'll be fine," the tutor said showing him with a pencil on the paper what he meant.

"Do you like it here?" the student asked.

"Here in your house or at school or in America?" the puzzled tutor asked. He was taken to America from Asia by his parents as a young child.

"I'm from China and we have cells across the U.S. If you need a good job now, they pay very well and usually just want information that you can easily gather," the student said.

"No. No. I can't do that. I'm studying medicine and want to work in the pharmaceutical industry," the tutor said and the student accepted his answers because he could tell in his voice that there was more to his objection and he wouldn't change his mind.

While they sat in the student's living room the tutor's phone rang and he answered it.

"How?" he asked with a sour look on his face. His friend's dad just died.

"About..." his friend asked how long he'd be and the voice interrupted his thought.

"My friend," he said because his friend wondered who he was with.

"Ok, I'll call you and come by when I'm done here and we'll get everything. Bye," the tutor said and hung up the phone.

March 18, 2024

24. Sorry Mitch



The hired assassin crouched quietly dressed in black from head to toe in the back seat of Mitch's truck. He was in the hotel and about to come out.

With a syringe in his hand he thought back to his military training and deployment. Suddenly Mitch opened the door and entered. With cat like quickness and precision he put one hand on Mitch's mouth and sunk the needle into his neck.

A few seconds later Mitch passed out. The assassin knew he'd only have a minute before he'd wake up which was by design, so the substance would be out of his system and untraceable postmortem. Using an alcohol wipe he cleaned the injection point to hide the telltale drop of blood.

The assassin carefully placed a silver gun in his right hand and put his finger on the trigger. He slid a suicide note into his other hand and squeezed the trigger with Mitch's finger while squatting behind him in the back seat.

Blood sprayed everywhere, Mitch died immediately from the head wound and the assassin quickly left and was never seen again. In fact, the death was called a suicide by the police. The gun wasn't registered to the assassin, so they couldn't trace it to him. The suicide note escaped scrutiny as well because they figured Mitch typed it in advance and printed it, so it'd be found with his body.

Despite the way it looked like a suicide they should've known better. He was testifying in court against very powerful people that were guilty and he had information that could cost them a lot of money. He was so paranoid that he'd be killed that he only paid for two nights at a time and made it clear that he was not suicidal and wouldn't commit suicide. He even told some people to call him by his middle name, but in the end the hotel couldn't keep him safe or help authorities catch the assassin.

March 19, 2024

25. Bye Sakai



"I'll be right back," the young officer said leaving the room to vomit.

"Take plenty of pictures. I don't want anything unphotographed," the lead officer said at the crime scene.

"I've never seen anything like it," an officer said with a blank stare on his face.

The group of officers were witnessing a room full of blood because a man was massacred. They didn't know who did it, but they were going to try to find out.

"I'll check the surveillance camera," one officer said and left the room. Since there wasn't a suspect they looked at footage of the front door on his computer and saw somebody that looked suspicious. When they ran his face in the facial recognition database of felons he came up as a former prisoner that was sent to Arizona for many years to be incarcerated before he returned to Hawaii.

Since the victim lived alone there weren't any roommates to interview. However, they were able to connect the suspect to the victim since the victim worked in the prison system and had contact with the suspect.

"This is real bad. Let's notify his family. I don't think we should publicize this. He was fighting cancer for years. Let's go with that story with the family and press and preserve his legacy while we catch this guy," the lead officer said and they said ok and began looking for the suspect in the video.

March 29, 2024

26. First Things First



"In the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit what's your confession?" the old priest asked the man. It was early in the morning and nobody else was there.

"I feel real bad about something," the man said.

"You can tell me anything," the priest replied.

"I think I may be a psychopath," the man said.

"What's on your mind?" the priest asked.

"Can I be forgiven?" the man asked.

"Yes, but forgiven for what?" the priest asked.

"For filling you fill of holes?" the man replied, then there was a long silence. The man pulled out a gun with a silencer and shot the priest five times and he died.

March 29, 2024

27. The Solar Eclipse Glasses



3 Months Ago

"These look great," the junior employee said.

"Well, they're not which is the point," the other junior employee said and they laughed. They were making eclipse glasses for Americans because a rare solar event was going to happen.

The small outfit consisted of a warehouse and some manufacturing equipment. Materials were delivered and they made glasses and shipped them to retailers. As the boss looked through his big, glass window at the back of the warehouse with his number two, he examined the workers and made sure everything was copasetic.

"Is everything on schedule now that we got the new shipment of materials?" the number two asked.

"Everything is going as planned. Glasses will be shipped everywhere this month and next month we'll open online sales," the boss said.

Over the next three months they sold solar eclipse glasses to people, so they could see the eclipse without damaging their vision. They were incorrectly made though, so they went blind.

That night there was mass hysteria in some towns and cities across the U.S. as people couldn't see anymore. There was pandemonium and when they sought the manufacturers they were gone. They rented the warehouse under an assumed name in another country, so there was no trace of them and no recourse.

April 1, 2024

28. The One Armed Bandit



The man's knife dramatically clicked as the blade shot out the front. He was in the corner store, just bought a flashlight and wanted to open the package.

"I'm sorry sir. You can't use that in here," the employee said.

"Do you want to help me then?" he said because he only had one arm.

"I'm sorry sir. I didn't see that you had just one arm. I'm sorry to bother you," he said and walked away.

The one armed man knew the law and he could bring his stiletto almost anywhere because he had one arm. He used it in the store many times until one day he robbed them with it.

April 5, 2024

29. Enoch



"I don't know where he went. What do I look like?" the man said about his grandfather.

"Weren't you looking out for him?" his wife asked.

"Yes, but he's fast, covers many miles every day and I just can't keep up anymore. He's on his own mission and I can't stop him," the man said. His father had dementia and paranoia, so he wouldn't sit still or trust anybody.

"Well, what are we going to tell people happened to him?" his wife asked.

"Let's just wait and see because he'll probably come back, but if he doesn't, then we'll say god took him," he said.

April 9, 2024

30. We Need Cash



"Do you have the new numbers yet?" the leader asked.

"We just got them. Here, take a look," the soldier said and handed him the printout. He quickly scanned it.

"We need a lot more money to buy everything," the leader said.

"Right. A lot more. Should I get Abu on the line?" the soldier asked.

"Yes. Get him on the line for me. He'll need to threaten stadiums for us to get more money this time though," the leader said and they laughed.

The leader called Abu and he agreed for a price. He threatened to blow up soccer stadiums, so the leader was able to convince his government officials to lobby and get them more money for the so-called self-defense budget.

April 11, 2024

31. The First Busts



"It looks like they're home," the little officer said because the perp's car was in the driveway and they could hear the TV playing.

"Good. Battering rams are messy," the big officer said and neither of them laughed. Both officers knocked on the door and they could hear the TV go silent. A minute later the door opened.

"Are you Mario Pilikia?" the little officer asked.

"Yes," he replied.

"I smell marijuana. Do you have marijuana?" the big officer asked.

"Yes. I have a few grams," Mario replied.

"You have the right to remain silent," the little officer said as he began handcuffing him and reading him his Miranda rights. Mario's medical marijuana 329 card expired in April, so they predicted that he'd illegally possess marijuana on May 1 and they were right. In fact, he was just one person of many on their list that day.