Everything counts in large amounts

A science fiction novel about the end of the world, love, zombies, money, leadership, blogging, and everything else.

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Episode One: The heart of a hero
Episode Two: Love hurts
Episode Three: God speed your love
Episode Four: Two hands ain’t good enough
Episode Five: Part One: Rape of the Sabine Women
Episode Five: Part Two: Rape of the Sabine Women

Episodes and/or related writing are published on this blog – most Mondays and Wednesdays. Please subscribe to this blog to get a reminder when the next episode is published. Subscriptions are free.

Depeche Mode, Everything Counts

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The Book of Carrot

Book One: Principal Virtues

Chapter One: Love is a battlefield

Episode Six: Everything counts in large amounts

Audience: Adult

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John walked toward the ambush laid out by two point guards – 300 meters from the gate at Elizabeta Regina. They were NPCs (Non-Player Characters) and John had built good faction with them by running their missions.

Sgt. Dashing stepped out from a dark doorway. He was a big, solid tank. His long black hair blew in the wind. In his right hand, he held the handle of a bearded battle axe. It was pitch black. Alien technology – no doubt.

John did a quick scan on Sgt. Dashing and saw his faction was neutral – no longer “highly trusted”.

“Where are you coming from, John?”

“From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it,” John answered.

Sgt. Dashing extended his hand in peace and they shook hands.

This was the password.

Sgt. Justice stepped out from the shadows on the opposite side of the street and came over – he was military spec: crew cut, square jaw and low forehead.

“You can’t come here, John,” said Sgt. Justice.

“You are irreversibly contaminated.

Go back the way you came. But you should know that the next time I see you, I’ll kill you dead.”

From behind John and above, a shot rang out. Involuntarily, John turned to the side and the bullet hit Sgt. Justice in the arm. The bullet was meant for John – someone wanted the uniform. Smoke and fire blew out of the entrance wound.

Sgt. Dashing swung an AK47 off his shoulder and took three shots at the sniper’s location. Then he went to make sure the sniper was dead.

Sgt. Justice took a swing at John with his axe.

“Fuck! Justice just aggroed on me,” John said on his radio.

“RUN!” several people shouted back.

“Don’t hit him, John, or you’ll never be able to come to this camp again,” warned George.

John turned to run. His body map showed his shoulder and upper back lit up all bright green – text flickered above the body map: “engaged” and “disengage”.

Two tentacles shot out from John’s back, wrapped around Sgt. Justice’s wrists, and held his arms wide apart as they lifted Justice off the ground. The axe fell. Another tentacle shot out toward Sgt. Justice’s forehead.

THWACK!

John had no idea what he was doing, but he clicked “disengage”. The tentacles released Justice – Justice fell unconscious to the ground.

The phone icon flashed on John’s game screen and Christina’s name displayed. John clicked answer.

“Love you, miss you – so much,” Christina said.

“Ditto…” replied John with a warm smile – as he scanned the area for more hostiles.

“How’s work?”

“Work’s fine. But there’s a problem- we can’t celebrate tonight. I’m still not done with the inventory. Can you have Bogdan pick up my brother? Dad has the night shift and I don’t want Marian to be left alone.

Ok?”

“No problem.”

“You’re my hero! LOVE YOU! Kisses!”

“Love you…”

As John picked up the axe, Justice groaned and whispered, “I’m going to find you and kill you…”

This is the third night in a row that Christina is doing inventory, John thought to himself. Her 12 hour shifts are hitting 16 hours…

John tried to call her back and ask her if he and Marion should bring her dinner. She didn’t answer.

John knew something was wrong and it pissed him off.

He looked at Justice, lifted the axe and cut off Justice’s right hand.

“Fuck you!” John yelled at Justice.

He would have killed Justice, but that kind of negative faction was bad mojo. Killing NPC camp guards was the same thing as declaring war on all campers. But John also knew that letting Justice live was a bad thing – Justice would not forget about him.

A work detail of campers came down the street towards him – they were heading for the gates. They stopped when they saw what John had done.

“I wouldn’t want to be you,” said one of the campers – several other campers made a grab for Sgt. Justice’s gear as they snickered at John.


John and Hachi met Marian at the Elizabeta Regina entrance to Cismigiu Park. Marion was 4 days, 7 hours and 3 minutes from turning 10. Bogdan, the driver, helped Marion get down from the passenger side of the white Porsche Cayenne Turbo – then got back into the truck and drove off into the evening.

Marian was born with Cerebral Palsy – in his case, it meant limited movement of his arms and legs. He was able to get out of bed, go to the bathroom, and feed himself. But it took him a long time to do these things and it required immense patience and endeavor.

Hachi almost knocked Marian over with his chow chow enthusiasm. Marian laughed and giggled as Hachi tugged at his shirt for a pet. He pet Hachi and then lifted his arms up to John. He wanted to ride on John’s shoulders.

On John’s shoulders, Marian slowly lifted his thin arms like wings.

“I can fly, I can fly!” shoutd Marian as John ran down the main walk of the Park. Hachi tried to keep up.

John stopped at the central playground.

“Are you going to marry my sister?” Marian asked as John pushed Marian on a swing.

“Does she want to marry me?” asked John.

“Duh – of course – she wants to marry you!” Marian replied with laughter.

“If you marry her, can I come to live with you?” asked Marian.

“DUHHH – of course – you can live with us,” John answered.

“What about my dad – he’ll be lonely…”

“He can live with us too.”

“John…

Your the best brother I could ever have dreamed up.”

“DUHHH!”

Marian laughed at John’s reply.

Nearby, Hachi barked in agreement.

While John continued to push Marian on the swing, he tried to call Christina. Her phone was off.

Then he called the Fish.

“You have 24 hours left to make a deal. Or the blog does down,” said the Fish.

“I don’t know what happened but now they want six months up front – 12 Million Euros.”

“Six months!?” John exclaimed.

What about the independent, satellite data centers that we’re using right now?”

“Same deal at three times the price,” replied the Fish.

Look – someone big is behind this, John. When people don’t want good money, it only means there’s a lot more bad money going on.

So – is there something you’re not telling me?”

“I don’t know what’s going on, Fish,” John replied – but John had a name for the problem: Noemi Letizia.

John’s phone rang. It was Noemi Letizia. John answered.

“It’s so sweet that you’re thinking of me, John. Have you considered my proposal?”

John hung up and let his anger fade in the squeals, laughter and chirps of the hundred or so children in the playground.

“Who’s fish?” asked Marian as he slowly dismounted from the saddle of the swing.

“Just a friend…”

“Why do you call him fish? Does he swim good?”

“Maybe, yeah, he swims good.”

“The kids at school call me, Turtle. Because I’m slow.”

“They told you that- that you are slow?” John asked with concern.

“No – that’s what they are thinking.”

“How do you know what they are thinking? Maybe, they called you turtle because you are awesome and lucky.”

“No, they think I’m slow, John…” Marian replied matter-of-factly.

“If I try real hard, I can know people’s thoughts.”

“What am I thinking right now?” John asked Marian – John’s big brown eyes sparkled.

“You don’t know how that bad woman got your phone number – the blonde with blue eyes. The one you hung up on just now.

The woman that’s sitting in a black limo up the street from here. The woman that’s kissing Uncle George right now.”

John smiled at Marian and smoothed the boy’s black tussled hair.

“So do you believe me that I can know what’s in people’s minds?”

“And then some…” John replied with a big grin.

John should have been shocked or suspicious – instead, John was more curious than anything else.

“What else do you know about me?”

“You’re the one that saves my sister…”

John’s eyes filled with tears and his throat tightened.

“Even if you don’t know how you’re going to save her…”

John sat down where he stood – Marian came and slowly patted John on the head.

“It’s going to be ok,” Marian added and he gave John a hug.

“I’m hungry – what’s for dinner!” Marian said after a minute.

John called George.

“Bring three buckets of wings from KFC.”

“What-why?” asked George, surprised.

“Just fucking do it NOW,” shouted John and he hung up on George.

“That’s just what I was thinking – KFC!” said Marian with a smile.

John wondered what it would be like to be a 10 year old child who knew the minds of adults. That must be… hard!

All the king’s horses and all king’s men, the affected intimations of gentleness, all the charades of enthusiasm, and -yes – all the well-meaning deceptions – none would hide from that knowing child, our terrible confusion, our fears, and the unmasked darkness that storms within the human heart.

“Love!”

John was startled by Marian.

“You forgot about love – it’s here too,” said Marian and he put his hand over John’s heart.

“Love is the greatest of these,” Marian explained.

“Yes it is,” John said and he put his arms around Marian and pulled him in for a big hug.

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Next Episode: Love Never Fails

All Rights Reserved by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna
15 October 2012
Bucharest, Romania

Stan Faryna

Speak from your heart!

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