Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Story: "Mime"

Happy Halloween!  

For a holiday treat I thought I'd post my very story "Mime" for your reading enjoyment.  The formatting is lost here, but you can also download it free at

And for the latest (but not greatest) on the Fugitive Fiction Masquerade Ball see my writer's blog, Fugitives of Purgatory.

Forewarning, the language on this story may not be appropriate for all readers.

Now, with no further ado...
# # #


It was just past midnight and there was a mime trapped in an invisible box behind Donatello’s.  Pauli had just been commenting to Mouse how there had been a dumpster there a few years ago, back when this was a regular drop.  But the dumpster was gone now, relocated because the police had found too many bad things in it, which was why Don’s had been off the drop list for so long.  The place was cold now, safe.  Except for the goofy painted street rat feeling out some ghostly prison where the dumpster used to be. 
The mime smiled at Mouse and Pauli as they came out the back door.  His face was white and his hair such a pale blond it looked like bleached bone, all contrasted by a red scarf and black leotard.  He stood under the alleyway street lamp like it was a spotlight, waving now with one hand and propped against the air with the other.
The two men shared a look.  “You think he saw anything?” the smaller man, Mouse, asked his friend.
“Saw what?” Pauli said, approaching the clown.  “We’re just two dish washers closing up late.  Ain’t that right, Smiley?  You didn’t see nothing, did you?” 
The mime jerked his head back and forth like a cartoon character.  
Both thugs laughed, though the humor died quickly as they crowded into the dim spotlight.  All three stood within the ring, very close, very quiet.  Pauli folded his thick arms and glared.  Mouse smoked his cigarette, the red glow reflected in his steady eyes.  The mime just smiled lazily.  
Mouse finally flicked the smoldering butt into the clown’s chest.  “What the hell you doing here this late?” he demanded.
The mime made a pillow of his white-gloved hands and laid his head there, asleep for a moment.  Then his eyes popped open; even his eyes were almost white, so light was the grey of his irises.  He straightened his neck and shook his head, as if disappointed. 
“Couldn’t sleep, eh?”  Pauli slapped Mouse’s shoulder with the back of his hand.  “Hey, what do you know, I speak mime!”  
Mouse looked the alley up and down but it was dark and empty, save their own silver Cadillac.  “What’d you do, walk here?  Ain’t no houses ‘round here, no buses running this late.”
The mime made like he was running in place, stumbled and recovered, then shook his fist back at whatever invisible obstacle he’d just tripped over.
Pauli cracked up.  “Oh, I think I like this guy.”
“Yeah?  Well I don’t.”  Mouse groped him, feeling around his skintight clothes, pinching the soft red fabric at his neck. 
Pauli became serious.  “You ain’t wearing a wire on us now, are you, friend?”
The white face also became serious and moved in the negative.  He drew an X over his heart and held up one hand.
“You know what would happen if you were?” Mouse asked.
One finger cut the air across his red scarf.
“That’s right,” Pauli said.  Then he back-slapped Mouse’s arm again.  “Hey, you know who this guy reminds me of?  Remember Lexi?  Sexy Lexi?  Thought he was a funny man.”
Mouse rolled his eyes.  “Yeah, he thought he was fucking funny.  Don’t miss that guy.”
The mime thumbed at himself and shook his head, as if to say, Me neither.  His face drew into deep frown, fingers fluttering down like tears from his eyes.  He tugged at his legs, which were now fast to the ground.  Then he started swaying, hands flat and rising to show the water level.  The silent crying became mute pleas for mercy, until his fingers brushed his mouth and he blew up like a blowfish to keep from drowning.  But he could only hold his breath so long.  His grey-white eyes roamed to and fro, mouth finally popped, and he silently gasped in a death swallow of ethereal water.
Then he took a bow.
The two thugs shared a look. 
“Yeah, that’s right,” Pauli said suspiciously.  “Lexi’s swimming with the fishes.”
“Hey, Pauli, while we’re strolling down memory lane, you remember Tanner?”  Mouse glanced around, then nodded upward at a nearby fire escape.  “Might be a good night for remembering Tanner, eh?”
“Yeah, might not be a bad idea.”
The mime held the tail of his scarf aloft and dropped his head, hanging dead, just like Tanner.  The next instant he was smiling casually again, pointing at himself and shaking his head: You don’t want to hang me like that.
“You’re pretty fucking smart for a homeless circus freak,” Mouse growled. 
“Think he’s a cop?”
“Nah.  This ain’t no cop style.  Maybe some wiseass thinks he’s got money coming.  That it?  You keep on silent treatment if you get paid, is that what you think?”
The mime rolled his eyes at such a ridiculous idea. 
Pauli leaned in close.  “No, wait.  You know who this guy really reminds me of?  Whitey Brown.”  He gave the obligatory chuckle at the name.  “Remember that albino fuck?  Looks a lot like him.”
“Except Brown’s dead.”
“Yeah,” Pauli said, not quite sure.  
The mime nodded in agreement and drew another invisible line across his throat.
The thugs’ eyes met and decided on action. 
Mouse seized their victim, twisted his arms to the rear and kicked the back of one knee.  The mime dropped into a kneeling position.   
Pauli pulled a switchblade.  “Fun’s over, Smiley.  You should know, I fucking hate mimes.”  He popped the knife and let the lamp light play on its edge.  “Hey, Mouse, you know the best thing about killing a mime?  No one hears him scream.” 
Pauli gave a humorless laugh and jerked the red scarf out of the way.  Underneath, a fine bloodless slit gaped in the mime’s throat.  The clown’s eyes burned with new fire and a smile flashed on his face as a straight razor flashed in his hand.
No one heard Pauli or Mouse scream.

# # #

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Fugitive Fiction Masquerade Ball

Announcing the FUGITIVE FICTION MASQUERADE BALL.  What the hell is that? you may ask. 

Well, the timing obviously has to do with Halloween, everyone’s favorite holiday -- a lot of folks’ favorite, anyway, including my own.  And if you’ve checked out my ebook covers and noticed my profile pics, you know I’m not afraid to embarrass myself to potentially millions of strangers on the internet.  So...  Are you??? 

But I’ll get to that in a second.  First let me say that the Ball also coincides with the publication of A Long Walk Down a Dark Alley, which is the long-winded but Halloween-relevant title of my new threesome of horror-esque short stories.  And in honor of the FFMB, I am announcing a temporary price reduction for the ebook version of A Long Walk, cutting the price in half to a criminally affordable $0.99.  As of the time of this posting you can purchase it on and, but as the distribution channels kick in, you’ll soon find it about anywhere ebooks are sold. 

But that’s not all.  As of today, the paperback edition is also available for order!  This handsome chapbook (a chapbook being a smaller book) costs only $4.99 (compared to your average trade paperbacks at 12 to 15 bucks or more) and can be found here at my Amazon Create Space e-store. 

But wait, there’s more! 

THE BALL:  The idea behind the Masquerade Ball is that I am inviting all of you to email me your Halloween pictures of yourself (or others) in costume.  In exchange for bravely sharing your disguises the same way I have been sharing mine, I will give you the key to a free ebook download of A Long Walk in whatever format you require.  To participate in the Fugitive Fiction Masquerade Ball, simply email the following to jdbrink888 at gmail dot com :
            1. A digital pic of you (or a loved one) in costume (and no, your birthday suit doesn’t count as a Halloween costume);
            2. Your name or alias as you would have it appear;
            3. Whether or not I can post said picture as part of the FFMB gallery on the Fugitives of Purgatory blog (after all, it’s not a party if we can’t all show off our costumes);
            4. And include the email address where you want to receive your door prize.
            *  You don’t HAVE to give me permission to post your pics in order to join the party and get your free download, it’s just more fun for all if you do.

That’s it.  My hope is that we’ll have plenty of participants who want to celebrate this spooky time of year together online and if successful, maybe we can make this an annual event!  So come on, folks!  Let’s shake off that shyness, slip on our costumes, and have some fun!

(By the way, that lovely Masquerade pic at the top was lifted from the following website,where it was graciously offered up under the Creative Commons licensure: -- I believe in credit where credit is due) 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Battle Report: Presidential Debate

Actually there wasn’t much of a debate between these two candidates: when they finally met at the end of the game it was a brief and violent exchange.

This game was talked about all day but wasn’t really expected to happen.  Then, at almost 8pm, suddenly it was on.  With such a time pinch, J and I decided on a quick 1000pt game.  I, still on my anti-power armor kick, decided to play daemons for the first time.  I actually had a hard time scraping up enough models to fill 1000 pts, but I managed and we got it on.  It was Space Wolves vs Daemons.  The armies looked like this:

Space Wolves:

Rune Priest with tempest’s wrath & murderous hurricane
Grey Hunters with Plasma Gun
Land Raider Crusader
Grey Hunters with Plasma Gun
Drop Pod
Thunderwolf Cavalry
Long Fangs with 4 missile launchers


Keeper of Secrets with various power upgrades
Heralds (2) one of Slaanesh, one of Khorne
Seekers of Slaanesh
Flesh hounds
Flamers of Tzeentch

We are both still new to 6th edition and so we used some but not all of the scenario rules.  There were three objectives on the board.  The Keeper’s warlord trait gave him Feel No Pain when within 3” of an objective.  The Rune Priest’s forced nearby enemy units to use their lowest LD value instead of their highest—not real effective against daemons.

Turn 1:  The SW got the first go, and they quickly spread over the battle field, moving in on all three objectives unopposed.  The Rune Priest and his grey hunters were loaded in the land raider and moved toward the central objective.  The second squad of hunters landed in their pod and made for the western objective, and the thunderwolf cavalry made for the eastern one.  The long fangs were set up in a ruin with 4 rocket launchers ready but nothing yet to shoot at.  Then the first wave of daemons arrived: the Keeper of Secrets and his Slaaneshi servants.  The Keeper appeared in a puff of black perfume just inches from the western objective.  His daemonic gaze caused the nervous collapse and hearts to explode in four of the approaching drop pod hunters an instant after his arrival.  The last three broke and ran toward their board edge, which brought them closer to the greater daemon.  The seekers on deamonic mounts appeared on the same side of the board and the daemonettes materialized behind the TWCavalry squad.  And they all just stood there... Daemons, as I will remark on again, have very little in the way of ranged attacks, and because they can’t assault on arrival from reserve they did nothing but wait to be shot at.

Turn 2:  They didn’t have to wait long.  The long fangs split their fire, hitting both the daemonettes on foot and those mounted with frag missiles.  The land raider split its fire as well, spraying assault cannon, hurricane bolter, and multimelta wrath around the board.  The Priest and his boys unloaded onto the central objective and fired their weapons, the Priest calling up a hurricane to assault the Keeper, but his Deny the Witch roll dissipated the winds before they could attack.  The surviving pod hunters, with a plasmagun, fired on the Keeper but failed to hurt him.  (Actually, J had 2 plasmaguns and rolled at least three 1s throughout the game – i thought the Chaos Powers were trying to jinx his weapons but he kept making his armor saves against the Gets Hot rule.)  The drop pod fired its deathwind missile spread but missed the seekers.  The TWC fired their pistols and then charged the daemonettes.  The girls, by this time, were reduced in number from the shooting phase, and after the assault only the Herlad was left to fight, though she delivered a wound to one wolfrider. 
            Basically, I took a lot of heat.  Had it not been for the blessings of the Chaos Powers granting me more 5s and 6s than I’d ever rolled before (and the fact that all daemon saves are invulnerable) the battle would have been half over right there.  But we persisted....
            Daemon counterattack saw the Keeper slaughter the last pod hunters in melee combat.  The seekers charged the Priest and his hunters, killing one hunter and wounding the Priest, but none of the mounted daemons survived the Rune Priest mystic weapon and hunters’ brawling experience.  The Flamers arrived, deepstriking behind the Slaaneshi Herald as she completed her dance with the TWC: the flamers arrived (and deviated) and couldn’t shoot because the TWC were still in combat – then the Herald finished off one wolf rider and was killed herself.
            So that’s one SW unit destroyed and two Daemon units banished, with only the Keeper and impotent Flamers on the table.  It looked bleak.  It usually does.

Turn 3:  The Rune Priest summons up a storm to crash would-be deepstrikers, then assails the Keeper with a murderous hurricane (3D6 shooting attacks).  The long fangs fire krak missiles into the monster and the drop pod launches a swarm of micro-rockets at him.  The land raider and hunters fire their weapons at him as well.  Despite making an amazing amount of invuln saves (and simply shrugging off hits with his 6 toughness), the Keeper is staggered, taking two of his four wounds.  The wolf riders fire on and charge the trio of flamers, wiping them out before they can even shoot anything (my one shooty unit).  (Well, they got overwatch shots with their templates, but failed to wound.) 
            Finally Khorne decides to send some of his disciples. The bloodletters appear near the TWC, one lost in the storm trying to deep strike.  Then they...  just stand there (cuz that’s all they can do).  The greater daemon continues in stride toward the hulking drop pod that has been pestering him with hornet nests of missiles.  His brutal fury causes four penetrating hits and it explodes.  The flames fail to harm the daemon. 

Turn 4:  It was 11:30pm at the beginning of turn four, and the shop closed at midnight.  We knew this was the last turn. 
            The Space Wolves fired with all they had, only managing to piss off the Keeper of Secrets and killing one or two bloodletters still standing in deepstrike formation.  Then the wolf riders attack.  The melee is a bloody one, the daemons of Khorne and their Herald coming out victorious against the two wolf riders, bathing in their lupine blood.  They consolidate toward the long fang’s hideout. 
            The bloodletters barely make enough of a charge distance to engage some of the long fangs in combat, forcing the rest to climb down from their perches to fight.  It’s the hellblades that saved me in this battle, because without them and the bloodletters’ fury, I’d have not had many victims in this fight.  The combat in those ruins goes unresolved – I had won but we didn’t bother testing for morale, as the game was about to end.  The fleshhounds finally make it in, surviving the difficult deepstrike despite the storm.  I suddenly realize that they can, in fact, RUN once the arrive, and the pack of six hounds round the bulky land raider, headed straight for the grey hunters.  So is the Keeper.  He charges in, shrugging of overwatch fire and entering melee combat. 
            Now here’s the sticky part: I don’t declare a challenge so J does, knowing this is a protective measure to his benefit.  By challenging the Keeper, the Rune Priest forces a choice: accept and have your attacks only focused on the Priest, or refuse and not be allowed to fight at all.  To me, a greater daemon would laugh off the challenge and just wipe out the whole squad right there – there’s no shame if no one lives to tell the tale of your refusal.  But by the (questionable) rules of 6th edition, I must accept.  So the Keeper’s six AP2 wounds that he inflicts all get sucked up by the mangled Rune Priest, rather than wiping out the whole hunter squad in one fell sweep. 
            The debate is over.  My candidate made an undeniable argument.  His candidate fed the crows.    

The game ended there, out of time, with no one able to claim objectives.  We called it a tie.  I suppose if you implemented the secondary objectives the daemons would have won, but we weren’t that concerned about it.  It was a good game, a lot of fun, and makes for a good story.  That’s the best part.   
So this was the first time I ever played daemons, and daemon players already know what I found out: the troubles with playing daemons.  A big disadvantage of this army is that they all deepstrike in, which has inherent danger and unpredictability.  Plus, as they trickle in one or two scattered units at a time, they get the hell shot out of them.  And that’s the second big drawback: daemons have very little in the way of ranged attacks and now in 6th edition no one arriving from reserve can assault that same turn, which means your daemons appear and then stand there waiting to be slaughtered until next turn when they can act.  Sucks.  I had Lady Luck (or a Dark God?) on my side this game though, as I made an incredible number of saves, keeping my guys alive long enough to get stuck in and do some damage.  Which lends to the biggest advantage of this army: all their saves are invulnerable, and they are fearless, so even as they get mowed down waiting for their turn to move, you know they aren’t going to break and run from loss of models.  Daemons overall are a lot of fun, but I couldn’t see running them very often, at least not alone.  Daemon allies, however, I already have plans for...

(My crew from the game.  I do have and plan to restore a classic Keeper of Secrets, same one I bought in the 80s, the original and best ever made.  Someday soon she'll grace the field again...)

(p.s. please excuse all the typos and changes in tense I may be leaving behind, the battle has left my brain exhausted...)

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Long Walk Down a Dark Alley

New E-Book Available!  

As you all know, real life and day jobs tend to get in the way and mess with your plans.  The trio of stories I managed to get published this weekend were supposed to be included with another short novel in one edition, but...  you know, LIFE gets in the way.  So I decided to run them together now rather than 6 months from now with that forthcoming novel.  And just in time for Halloween!  (Stay tuned for a Costume Contest and the availability of the paperback version, all coming soon!)

So what's the book about?  Here's the description:

A trio of dark tales told with a sharp noir edge.  They feature wise guys and private eyes, black magic, bleak futures, and the feminine wiles of inhuman beauties.  This is Valentine’s Day with Halloween style.  It’s sex and violence from that dark corner of your imagination you dare not share with anyone else.

*Unfeeling*  The man they call Shovel is a neutral instrument.  When his boss tells him to bloody a man for a tiny wooden doll he does so without question, but in the grip of the doll’s spell even Shovel can’t remain neutral for long. 

*Lonely*  It’s hard being the new guy in town.  Dreading another night alone, Paul picks up a girl after hours who wakes in the night hungry for more than romance. 

*Eating in the Underworld*  P.I. Harry Celeste is supposed to be hard-boiled.  Why, then, has he become so entangled in this sex-bot case?  If he isn’t careful, he could lose his heart... and his life. 

If you like barhopping and vampires, mobsters and witchcraft, or private detectives and android sex, this collection is for you.   

You can purchase it as an ebook today by clicking here for (which has a format to fit any device) or here for (for Kindle and compatible devices).  And hopefully soon, the paperback edition will be available for order.  I'll keep you posted.

Happy reading and thanks for the support!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Eldar Pirates and Backworld Guardsmen

The flavor of the day is thin and wiry and colorful and exotic and, most importantly, without power armor!  In the last few days I've developed a sickness for power armor (or is it "powered"?).  I have an abundance of marines, too many, and I have plans for them in various guises and chapters, even down to loyal or chaotic.  But they're all the same!  Or very nearly.  I've kind of tired of them, both on the painting table and the gaming table.  These past few days I've been thinking of how much more fun I'd have using Imperial Guardsmen or variations of Eldar.

Leafing through the July 2012 White Dwarf has helped.  Check out these Impie pics stolen from there.  I would love to make a vast Guard force taken from various places across the cosmos, or maybe from the same backward system with different governments and primitive cultures that all contribute to one warlord's dream of serving the Emperor.  I'm imagining a lot of conversions using fantasy Empire models and beastmen and maybe some chaos marauders for rough riders (of course it'd be cool to ride cold ones too, but I like the idea of having horses on the battlefield of the 41st millennium).  I'd have a nice combined infantry platoon commanded by a scar-faced gasmask-wearing lieutenant; 2 squads of penal baddies; some vets and storm troopers (and maybe a flyer to deploy from); rough riders; a psychic choir; at least one ogryn (Deddog the bodyguard), if not a small unit of them; sentinels outflanking; and of course a few tanks and hydra batteries.  My Guard force would be a hodge-podge of misfits all rounded up and dropped on-planet, expected only to keep the enemy busy while the "real" Guard come around from behind.  Won't they be surprised when we not only die well but take the enemy with us!

I'd also like to make a pirate Eldar force that combines Craftworld and Dark Eldar forces using the new ally rules.  But my force would meld so smoothly that it'd be hard to tell which was from which codex -- they'd all be of the same pirate clan, a shadowy sect from a lost craftworld too long in the Webway.  I'd likely use the DE warriors as the basis of most models, throwing in aspect colors and details to make Dragons and Scorpions, as well as straight venomous DE Warriors; use wych models for Wyches as well as Banshee chasis and maybe even to build Harlequins; give incubi big, wicked-looking guns to make the Dark Reapers; have graceful monsters that can double as Wraithlords or Parasite Engines; winged Scourges who could double as Hawks; maybe some homemade Warp Spiders; etc.  And jet bikes, lots of jet bikes.  I love this idea, as the Eldar were my first love back when the aspects came out in '91, and the new DE models are about the best GW has ever put out.  I also love that there'd be great variety, lots of details, plenty of personal conversions and tastes applied, and NO POWER ARMOR.

Ahhh, that sounds so sweet.  Of course implementing these plans would take a lot of money and lot of time, neither of which do I have....  So I guess I'm stuck with what I've got, for now.  Don't get me wrong, I love my marines too but...  how much powered armor can you paint before it gets old?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rogue Trader Crimson Fist Terminators

My life has literally been in Chaos lately.  We bought a house, which was a struggle the whole way, then moved this weekend and had to get my son and step-daughter into new schools, on top of the hectic whirlwind that is my usual daily life.  (If you'd like to hear most of the tragic details check out my writer's blog).  So while I'd like to paint my "Royal Flush" Imperial Fist honor guard champion, or finish the last two models of my crimson fist devastator squad, or even paint my greater daemon with concubine that I came up with, I ain't doing any of that.  My guys are all in boxes and my paints in a separate box.  But I do have these photos I took not too long ago of classic termies I bought and painted.  I have since purchased too many more terminator models that I figured on painting up as Death Wing vets, whenever that happens.  Meanwhile, I do like these models and how they turned out.

Notice the old-school librarian.  I believe these models date back to the first Space Hulk game era.  Bulky lead boys but still look cool.  I planned to put them on the updated bigger bases... someday.

Back in the day these are what passed for force weapons and psychic hoods.

Hopefully before too long I'll have my house set-up with a nice, well-lit place to paint.  Wish me luck.