Following Orders

On Friday, I was sent an email by the head man of the company my company contracts with. He told me that he wanted me to send a particular radio to their offices in Mexico. Getting emails asking me to ship stuff is nothing new or out of the ordinary. What was out of the ordinary was that the package was going to Mexico.

Let me explain why that’s out of the ordinary.

About 2 years ago, I shipped something to Mexico that got held up in customs for reasons that were not really explained to me. Because of this outrageous offense, we were told that we weren’t allowed to ship to Mexico anymore. That was fine with me. Less work that I have to do.

So, when that email came in on Friday, I found it a little odd. I was actually going to question it until one of my managers, who was CC’d in on the email, responded to it. Now, any package being shipped internationally requires specific paperwork in order to get through customs. I’m not allowed to fill this paperwork out because I’m not a manager. She is. And her email response contained an attachment with the customs paperwork.

Since both of them seemed ok with the shipment, I went ahead and did it.

Apparently, that was wrong…

The package once again got held up in customs. I got a new email from Mr. Head Man today asking for a copy of the shipping label on the box so he could try to identify the problem. Because it shipped out already on a different day, it wouldn’t let me reprint the label, so I sent him a report that the software did let me print. My team lead, who wasn’t included in the original thread but was on this one, voiced my original concerns and said that he thought we weren’t allowed to ship to Mexico. Mr. Head Man responded with, “Well, then why did you ship it?”

As Cloud would say, “….”

At this point, I was doing my best to keep my inner Samuel L. Jackson from escaping. It was extremely tempting to go to his office and yell, “Because you told me to, MOTHERFUCKER!” I need my job, however, so I stopped myself.

My team lead, to his credit, replied with my response, minus that last word of course.

Now, instead of admitting that he played some part in what happened, Mr. Head Man told us that we needed to put measures in place to prevent something like this from happening again.

Yes, you read that correctly. He said that we needed to put measures in place to prevent something like this from happening again. The tool conveniently forgot that the only reason I did it in the first place was because HE TOLD ME TO!!!!!

I have no problem getting bitched at when I’m the one who screws up. So, for example, if I had sent that package to Australia instead of Mexico, go ahead and chew me out the whole day.

But don’t come bitching at me because you screwed up.

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It Whispered

He looked around.

Everyone was going about their business like normal. None of them gave the slightest indication that they had heard anything, but he swore he did. The voice was low, almost inaudible. He knew he heard it, though.

There is was again.

This time, he jumped. It was louder, more insistent. The words came in clearer, but he still couldn’t decipher all of them. The voice still wasn’t loud enough. There were some words he knew he heard. Because he didn’t know what the rest of them were, he couldn’t be sure what it meant. Nothing good could come from them.

It spoke to him a third time. No more than a whisper, but he heard all the words in this one. They were horrifying. He couldn’t believe what they were saying. They bid him to do something bad. Very bad. Something that would hurt not only him, but those around him as well.

He wouldn’t do it.

He pushed the thought out of his head and focused on what he was doing. The whispers persisted, however. Every time he thought they were gone, he’d hear it again. It was slightly annoying, but he kept it mostly at bay. Then, slowly, the whispers intensified. They grew closer together and kept up until the whispers were all he heard.

His focus tried to remain on his task, but eventually the whispers drowned it out. Sweat began beading on his forehead. The muscles in his body clenched. Inside, he raged against the voice. He told it to go away. He told it to leave him alone. He told it to bother someone else.

It didn’t listen. It whispered more.

He couldn’t take it anymore. The whispers were driving him crazy. Finally, he gave in. He would do what the voice told him to do.

He slowly unclenched one of his muscles and it happened.

It was silent at first. Then, as more escaped, it grew louder and louder. His eyes darted around the room and he found that everyone was now looking at him. With the secret gone, he completely unclenched and the remainder of his flatulence erupted from his body.

It was loud. It kind of hurt. It kind of made him feel a little better.

Well, it did until he looked at the shocked and disgusted expressions on the faces of his coworkers. He tried to think of something he could say or do to make it better. Instead, the smell hit him like punch to the face. He immediately started to gag. His mind raced furiously to try to remember what he’d eaten. It didn’t matter. Whatever it was, it had died at least three more times in his stomach.

He wiped the water from his eyes and saw that the breakroom was now empty. He had cleared the room. A smile formed on his face.

Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

Author Interview

Since Matticus grilled me while I was visiting the Kingdom the other day, I thought it fitting that I returned the favor. In case you are unaware, he is one of four writers to contribute to this amazing new book.

You’ve all bought your copy, right?

What was that? You want me to shamelessly put the links up again? Can do. Here’s the link for the paperback edition. And here’s the link for the Kindle edition.

Now, onto the questions!

1. Why did you decide to write a story for this anthology?
I enjoyed the stories Revis shared on his blog from this world, and was intrigued by the idea helping build it out.
2. I think people will enjoy The Seven Sceptres because ____________.
Because of Rass and Justice Bringer and Inek and so many of the other characters. They bring the feels.
3. What author, or work of fiction, did you draw inspiration from while writing your part?
I’d say there is a touch of Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman in any bit of fantasy writing I do.
4. Besides writing, what do you do for fun?
I have two kids under five. I don’t do anything fun. Wait, wait, wait. That’s not fair. I played a very lively game of airport the other day, where I got to be the plane and my four year old was the air traffic controller. Exciting. I swear it was.
5. What’s one obscure fact about yourself that you don’t think enough people know about?
Obscure facts are usually obscure by choice… so, it might be hard to think of one I’d want more people to know about. But… giving it a go… I think more people should know that… that… that… I don’t have cable television anymore. Gave it up almost two years ago and have zero regrets.
6. I just added this so I’d have one more question than Matt. Does that make me childish?
No. But all the poop jokes do. Poop.

What’s wrong with poop jokes???

Daredevil: Born Again

I started reading comics in the 90s. Most of what I know about stories that were written before that time come from either speaking with someone who had read them, or previous stories being mentioned on the books that I actually read. Sure, over the years, I tried a few times to go back and read some of the older stuff, but it usually felt incredibly dated. To me, they generally weren’t that exciting.

In short, most of the ones I tried to read weren’t fun for me.

Then, I read Born Again.

Most of you out there have probably heard of Frank Miller. If not, you’re probably familiar with his work: The Dark Knight Returns, 300, and Sin City. They were all written by Frank Miller. With all of that under his belt, in my opinion, his greatest comic achievement was his work on Daredevil.

He created Stick. He created The Chaste. He created Elektra and he created The Hand. Miller was also responsible for making the Kingpin the villain that he is today. Before Frank took over the reigns on Daredevil, the Kingpin was just another mob boss that battled Spider-Man from time to time. With Born Again, Frank Miller turned him into the plotting, scheming criminal mastermind that we know now.

I don’t want to give away too much, so here is the synopsis of the story as it appears on marvel.com:

Karen Page, Matt Murdock’s former lover, has traded away the Man Without Fear’s secret identity for a drug fix. Now, Daredevil must find strength as the Kingpin of Crime wastes no time taking him down as low as a human can get.

Originally published in 1986, this story was one of the few comics I’ve read from the 80s, or before, that didn’t seem dated. A few of the details within the story were dated, such as a hotel room only costing $8 a night, but the story itself held up really well.

And, if the rumors are to be believed, the Born Again story is going to be the basis for season 3 of Daredevil’s Netflix series.

I can see that. There was enough done in season 2 that could lead up to the events of Born Again. It’d be a little bit different, but the main plot would stay the same. Hell, Daredevil’s last scene in The Defenders came straight from the pages of Born Again. It was identical.

If you’re a fan of Daredevil, you need to read this book. It is one of the best Daredevil stories out there.

The Seven Sceptres

Well, I said last night that there’d be a new book coming out and I was right! In fact, it’s out sooner than I expected. The Seven Sceptres is an anthology featuring short stories written by the tremendously talented Matticus, Arden, and Ethan. If you enjoy fantasy novels, I’m willing to bet you’ll like our book.

Please, give it a try.

Click here for a link to order the paperback edition.

Click here for a link to pre-order the Kindle edition, which will be available on the 20th.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support.