Here’s a little teaser for “ book 2”
The working title is “The Fading”


He shouted in disbelief, “A snork! A fucking snork? What the hell is that? Let me guess, big foot fell out of the sky and stomped the guards to death?” Then he slapped me again and continued, “Where did you get the blade? Did you really think you could escape?” Then he threw my head back against the seat and said, “Your lucky we found you before the cops or the secret service.”
“Dead or alive,” The Captain said smiling and nodding his head yes.
“Ugh, The report didn’t say dead or alive Doofus.” Davy said rolling his eyes and then he pointed his finger into the captains face and commanded, “Now shut up about it. You’ll get the money you agreed to and that’s it.” and then under his breath whispered, I could only imagine this idiot blabbing,” then something something. I couldn’t understand.
Then the limo ball pulled into an ally way in a really bad looking neighborhood. I just wanted to run. Just get up, get out and run hard and fast, all the way back to my childhood.
We made the block a couple of times then pulled up to an abandoned house behind a fence covered with wild roses and weeds growing up its twisted, dilapidated wooden planks.
Davy looked over at The Captain and said, “Come on, let’s put him in the trunk. I don’t know what the fuck were going to tie you up with, but I’m sure we’ll find something. Maybe the neighborhood vandals left some wiring behind the walls of this old house or something.”
The house had weeds knee high and a small, neglected swimming pool with perfectly nasty, dark green water, about two thirds high with broken tile and a cracked concrete deck around it.
There were beer bottles, cans, and garbage scattered about. Probably left behind by the local riff raff and druggies. The back door was busted in the middle and half open and, I didn’t say anything but, I thought I saw something moving around inside.
They both grabbed me and dragged me outside. The Captain held me up against the limo While Davy Crocket slid out the trunk from underneath the seats.
I struggled a little bit, You know how claustrophobic I am. Still, I was scared to death. Visions of snorks and terror kept playing out in my already fragile mind.
I looked up at them with teary eyes and said, “Come on guys, at least take the cuffs off, there killing me already.”
Luckily they obliged my request then slid the trunk closed.
I felt like I was in a coffin. Freak’n buried alive in a coffin. Breath deep Dicky, just breath.
I laid there doing the best I could to relax and get comfortable in my new surroundings and just as my heart slowed and the tension in my bones eased a tiny, little bit; I heard the distinct sound of a Plasma blaster.
I was surely riding the crest of a heart attack, THUMP, THUMP,THUMP. Then the splash of what I could only imagine was a dead body crashing into the nasty, nasty icky swimming pool. Ewe, oh. Oh no. My stomach knotted.
Surely The Captain had shot Davy Crocket and was going to turn me in to the cops.
But the next sound I heard was a bunch of teenagers whispering loudly and opening the limo’s door. Holy Schmolly!
I heard a young woman’s raspy voice exclaim, “This bad boy’s jacked dude, check it out.”
Then I heard a guy say, “Move over, Oh wow, we’ve hit the jack pot! An untraceable limo. Check out that scrambler on the dash, Oh man.”
This thing’s gotta be worth like, like, like, I don’t know, but we got the whole package here now, The ultimate, preemo, deemo, limo. We’re rich dudes. This thing’s worth a fortune.”
Another male voice chimed in, with a heavy Mexican accent, and he said, “Nah Vato, Theese’s one,”
Then he paused a moment and patted the dash, then continued in a slow soft voice, “Theese Bonita’s our low rider to paradise, me mooch-chachoes.
Then he said, “Come on benday-hoes’s get in,” Their weight shifted the ‘low rider’ and the door closed. I felt the ball start rolling as the motor right in back of me started humming.
Surely they were high because they started laughing and whoo hooing and stomping the floor boards as we rolled our way to larger streets, and I heard the woman’s raspy voice say, “Where we going?”
Without a second thought I heard the Mexican’s voice shout, “Viva Las Vegas Baby!” and then they all got excited and started shouting and singing, “Vivaaaaaaaah Las Vegas; whoop whoop” over and over and singing and laughing, “Vivaaaaaaaah Las Vegas, Vivaaaaaaah Las Vegas baby!”
All in all there were three distinct voices and I’m quite sure they were all members of the intoxicated youth.
They calmed down as we drove down the road a ways. I decided the best thing for me to do was to just lay there still and quiet. Quiet as a mouse. No, not a peep from me and you all know that; I had to sneeze, but I held it back like a soldier hiding under a bridge full of enemy soldiers. Yes sireee, not a peep from me.
I could hear them all talking but, for the most part it all just sounded like muffled mumbling with the radio blasting. Except for one thing. One of the guys up front was definitely named Elvis. The woman kept getting all excited and yelling Elvis, Elvis, and do you remember this Elvis, and yaddah yaddah Elvis. Elvis this and Elvis that and Elvis, Elvis, Elvis. I wonder if it was as annoying to him as it was to me.
The day began catching up to me. The humming began pulling on my eyelids as the anxiety began to fade like the miles behind us.
Yeah, I was getting sleepy. The mumbling and road vibrations was more than my heavy eye lids could take. I placed my head in a the far, empty corner under the seats to minimize any snoring noises. I just knew a good long hard sleep was knocking on my door. And I don’t know why but, as I laid there drifting away I kept wondering, ‘What the hell does Viva mean?”
I woke up hours later. At first I had no idea where I was, or how I got there. But I woke up to the woman yelling, “Holy crap. . . Holy crappers. How long have when been driving.” in a loud annoyed, sleepy voice.
Then she hollard, “Elvis, Elvis.”
And that’s when I remembered where I was. I was resting peacefully in my coffin. And now I do believe that I’d just awakened in hell.
I rolled over in my grave and tried to cover my ears and go back to sleep but, she kept on and on. “Elvis, how much further do we have to go. I think I could have hitch hiked to Vegas faster. Oooooh, my aching fucking head. We gotta pull over and get some migraine relief.”
Then I heard Elvis mumble something about, Hair of the dog. I’m not sure but, he laughed and joked around with the other guy about it for a few miles.
The woman smacked her lips loudly, smack, smack, smack and said, “I’m so dry, We gotta stop somewhere.”
“Yeah, Yeah, don’t worry me lil pechos gronday, I teenk we’re all about ready for a peet stop. We’ll get out of the espresso tube in Lovington, just past the Tejas border. We need to switch out the fuel cells anyway.
I was feeling dry myself. And I had to pee. I felt the rolloball exit the express tube as the treads found traction. I layed there terrified not sure what to do.
I was thinking of maybe making some noise or tapping on the floorboard.
I didn’t have to piss real bad yet but, let’s face it. The moment is approaching.
I laid there quietly contemplating. One of my favorite songs was on the radio. One that me and my Mom and Dad used to all sing together.
A few moments later somebody turned the radio down and I heard Elvis say, “Hey Donny, Marie, I just had a thought. What if there’s drillion stollars in the trunk. Those two vato’s back there might have just robbed a bank or sometheeeng.”
Then Donny and Marie said at the same time, “What if there’s a body in there?”
And Marie shuddered, “Oohhh, there could be a dead body in there.”

“Oly free-Olies, you guys are probably right. Those guys were there to dump a body.” Elvis replied.
Then Marie laughed and said, “Did you see that idiots face? When he turned his head and saw us watching him blow that other poor bastard away? And realized your blaster was in his face!”
Then they all laughed, and Elvis said, “He’s probably still running.”
Oh fuck, Elvis has a blaster. That’s just great I thought. I was holding the pee pretty well but, I had no plan.
Then Elvis said, “Stop smiling Donny, your teeth are blinding me.”
About that time the Limoball slowed and I felt the familiar feel of slowing down and turning into a parking lot.
This is it, I thought as we slowed to a stop and the doors popped open.
This is it. I decided to play possum. Just lay there and look dead. So I scooched all the way over to the very front edge. As close as I could possibly be. I closed my eyes and laid my hands on top of each other over my heart. And I laid there as still, and as stiff as I could.
I heard them all pile out of the limo-ball and talking about what might possibly be in the trunk. I think Donny and Marie where scared of finding a dead body, but Elvis was thinking there’d be a huge treasure. He was looking forward to gambling it away with wine, women, and song.

Then the sound of the drawers sliding bearings.
The warmth of the sunlight hit my face as Marie inhaled sharply, “huhhhhhh!”
I popped my eyes wide open and I growled as loud as I could, “RAWwwwwwwrrrrrrr.” Startled, they all jumped back gasping.
I jumped out and ran like hell down the street shouting “Viva!
I did not turn left.
And I did not turn right.
I did not turn around or slow down until I was far out of sight for fear I’d turn to salt.
I could hear Elvis laughing at Donny and Marie, and as his voice faded swiftly I heard, Mortay man can run!
After running for several blocks I darted left and right down the tiny town’s street and right onto a side street off the main drag, then left down an alleyway where I immediately found a garbage can to stand beside and catch my breath. And relieve myself ofcourse.
Phew, That could’ve been bad. Real bad. I shook it a couple of times then peeked around the corner, listening.
There was nothing. Not a sound at all. That’s good.
And There was nothing but desert on the far side of the alley way, and a cook standing beside an open door behind the row of buildings. He was smoking a pungent, rather peculiar smelling vape. It smelled like a skunk and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why anybody would smoke such a thing.
I zipped my pants and walked over. Gave him a nod as I passed by, then slipped swiftly in through the door and into a tiny cafe’s kitchen. The guy shouted, “Hey!”
I proceeded on through a swinging door with a round see through window in it.
He must’ve went back to his vape. I didn’t hear from again but, I noticed his eyes were almost closed and bloodshot red. It’s a wonder he saw me at all.
I made way to the lavatory and washed my hands and face and ran my wet fingers through my hair to slick it back. After drinking several handfuls of water, I turned my wide collar up. I walked out of the lavatory and sat down at a small round table in the far back corner of the restaurant.
The small town waitress walked over to my table. She had dark brown hair and bangs cut straight across, just over a pair of very round eyes. She said, “Back door guests are best. What can I get’cha honey?”
I replied, “I don’t know, how about a menu?”
She giggled and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. Forgive me, I’m the new girl.” Then she gestured open a VeeM displaying the menu.
I ordered a Pint of cold beer and the biggest, most expensive steak on the menu. Because I knew that; I didn’t even posses one thin dime. Yeah, I was going to have to make a run for it one way or the other but, Ya gotta eat, right?
I said, “You’re really cute,” and we got to talking and she mentioned how unusual it was that I didn’t have a comband or a halo. Then she laughed and then accused me of either being a mind melder or an escaped con.
My smile narrowed as my flirting slowed down after that.
And then she disappeared. She was a hologram the whole time.
A few moments later red eyes brought out my food and she reappeared and asked if everything was to my satisfaction.
I took a bite, smiled and nodded yes while looking up at her. It was getting close to noon and the tiny cafe’ started filling up with customers.
The “New Girl”, was flying around taking orders from the other patrons as fast as the hostess could seat them. Ole’ red eyes just stood there in the waiter’s station. Next to the fountain drinks. He looked over at me and then across the now crowded restaurant and shook his head. As if his thoughts were in disarray. Like he couldn’t believe it.
Well, I don’t know why, the food wasn’t that bad.
I looked around again and what I saw troubled me. I noticed the round eyed waitress pouring drinks and bringing food out to the customers. This couldn’t be right. Holograms cannot carry food out to customers.
All the customers in the restaurant were holograms.
Holy shit, maybe they’re not holograms. Maybe they’re ghosts. The whole scene was freaking me out. Could this whole place is a freak’n ghost town. I decided I better make a break for it before I was to full to run.
I took a long slow sip of beer and as I looked over the brim of my mug I saw two cops sit down a couple of tables in front of me. Ghosts or not, I had to go. I eased myself out of my seat and headed towards the restroom. The door to the kitchen was just before the rest room vestibule. I slipped quietly into the kitchen and was going to make a break for the back door when I saw red eyes making a himself a hamburger and standing right in my way. Startled I jumped back.
He said, “What a freak show out there huh?”
I wasn’t sure what to say, I just nodded my head and said, “yuh huh, it sure is.”
I knew you was real. There aint no holograms out back that’s for sure.”
I was angling to run around him but, he put his hand on my chest and said, “You know, you’re the first real person I’ve seen around here in months.”
“What, Why, or um, what happened to everybody?”, I asked.
He flipped his burger, put cheese on it. Looking down at it he said, “The fading.”
He paused a moment, then his paddy hissed as he took a spachula and squished it on the grill.
His eyebrows crinkled and his blood shot eyes teared as he told me, “Everybody, and everything real is disappearing so fast around here.” He shook his head, sniveled and continued, “Nobodies reporting it. Nobodies talking about it. Everybody just acts like it’s so normal and like everything’s just fine.”
Then he scooped his patty up and put it on a bun with some ketchup. I wanted leave. I wanted to run like hell, but I could tell he needed to get this story off of his chest. Besides, there was really no polite way around him or excusing myself at this point. So I stood there nodding and motioning my hand for him to come on already, with the story you know.
He looked me in the eye as he smashed his burger flat against the plate and told me, “Here a while back some strangers pulled up into town. Said they were insurance agents. They scared the hell out of all the local residents, by showing them all kinds of horrible things that could happen to them in real life. And then they told everybody how safe it was in VR and that the only difference between it and real life is; that you never really get hurt in virtual reality.”
“No, come on. You have to be joking,” I said.
Then he looked at me an took a bite of his burger and started chewing and said between chomps, “Nah, chomp, chomp, smck, next thing you know construction crews started coming in and converting the local hotel in to a VR lab. And next the hospital rooms and before long, pretty much every large building in town was converted to a VR lab. They put up holoprojectors , speakers, and cameras all over town, so that the people in VR could visit people that still lived in real life.
People were giving them they’re life savings for a spot on line. They sold everybody in town a bed and a hook up, everybody that could afford their outlandish rates that is. Then they dropped the price and gave out coupons, two for one! And nearly everybody else in town signed up to lay down. There were only a few of us left.”
He opened a cupboard and poured himself some milk and chugged down about half a glass and continued, “Next thing you know some new cops showed up on the local police force and bullied everybody else in town into the matrix. Don’t hang around to long, I’m sure there watching you.”
I marveled at his words. For a moment, I was speechless.
“What about you?” I asked.
He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Somebody has to cook and do the dishes.”