Category Archives: Serialization

Dr. Hackenbush Gains Perspective Sample Serialization Part 6 of 6

“News travels fast,” she said. “That’s what I get for betting on Lola Rae to do anything sane.”

“I hear she’s comin’ back,” Cody said.

“Figures. You gonna come see me in my suffering?” she asked.

“I might fall by. Arty said he’s tired of being the only Negro at his nightclub.”

Hackenbush shrugged, but Ross thought it was funny.

“He said that? Hell, Cody, maybe I should come by, too, except lute music gives me hives,” he managed to say between guffaws.

“Laugh it up, cats, at least dinner comes with the gig and you know how good the food is there,” she said on her way out. Eddy was packed up and tapping his foot waiting for her to get with it. They went back to her place; she’d spent part of her afternoon cleaning it up and changing the sheets.

Hackenbush was going to be on a tight schedule that week. Her temp job in Glendale ended at five; she had to get home to Echo Park, warm up, change into the modest and severe black silk jersey gown she’d picked up secondhand, which she now thought of as her “recital” dress. Then she had to be in Pasadena at seven to sing art songs with the lute-playing rocket scientist from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The bet she’d lost was that Lola Rae and Mark Wilson would stay together even if Lola went to dance in San Francisco for a month. Hackenbush had bet on love and lost because Mark took a gig in Japan and left town a few weeks later; Lola still wasn’t back. Hackenbush could be forgiven: she was in love herself and her judgment was a little off. But off in a good way, it was “La Vie en Rose”, something she’d never believed in, much less thought would ever happen to her.

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Dr. Hackenbush Gains Perspective Sample Serialization Part 5 of 6

“How?” Shorty asked. He was a big fan of the willowy, blond dancer, but knew she had certain eccentricities and gave them a wide berth. One of them was that she mauled Hackenbush every chance she got.

“She grabbed my hair at Bart’s Bar and Grill to tell me she liked the way I sang ‘Moonglow’,” Hackenbush said, opening her VW Bug’s door for him. “She could have just told me, but no, she had to bend me nearly backwards to tell me.”

“Well, we are talking about Lola Rae, aren’t we?”

“Yes. Thank God Cody held me up while she did it.” Hackenbush shuddered at the memory. “I might have been snapped like a twig.”

Shorty didn’t comment on Hackenbush’s un-twig-like figure; few twigs of his acquaintance had quite so many curves as she did. He merely smiled, and said he figured Lola was in the Bay Area for good. “She’s knocking them dead up there.”

“Dancing?”

“Of course!”

She dropped him at his new place in Hollywood. It was a nice apartment in a deco building on Bronson. She wondered how he could afford it and she suspected he was being kept, but was too arrogant to ask him. Besides, if he wanted her to know what he was up to, he’d tell her; until then she’d pretend not to give a damn.

Shorty had mixed luck with the men in his life; they were either givers or takers. Hackenbush thought Shorty was a great guy and could never quite figure out why he couldn’t find a man that was a bit more balanced and settle down. “Count your blessings, Hackenbush,” she reminded herself as she merged onto the 101 Freeway south. “Not everyone is as lucky as you and Eddy.”

That night the band played a wedding reception in Marina del Rey. Hackenbush tried to put the idea that she might have one of these one day out of her head.

“You looked nice tonight, Mabel,” Cody told her when they were packing up.

Hackenbush had on her basic-black-combat-casual-job evening gown; legions of waiters had spilled drinks and food on it and it all came out in a cold water wash on delicate. “Thanks, Cody, I do try to look nice at these jobs,” she said. “How’d I sound?”

“You sounded nice, too.”

“Just nice?”

“It’s just a casual, Mabel, save it for the gigs,” Cody said, zipping his bass cover up. “I hear you lost that bet.”

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Dr. Hackenbush Gains Perspective Sample Serialization Part 4 of 6

Hackenbush was happy; dear God, at last she was happy. All the years of scuffling, starving, working day jobs, suffering, and moments of pure musical bliss, followed by long stretches of creative growth, when all the work paid off and the music was as free and easy as breathing. In all those years, she’d always felt threatened, scared, and watched her back. Shorty was the first person in LA she felt safe enough with to let her guard down and relax a little. And now Eddy: Lordy, did that man make her feel safe and loved. She carried the warmth of his arms through the hours without him. His embrace was the home she thought she’d never find, and she knew it would be there when she got back to him. His love was one of the few things outside of herself she could count on. It was always something to look forward to at the end of the day, there was Eddy Lee, home, and all the peace and love in that.

She had thought that when she found this kind of love, she’d understand all those happy songs. It was not the case. No song could capture what she felt, not even words and music could do it justice. So, she reasoned, either what she had with Eddy was unique or this kind of once-in-a-lifetime love was just bigger than thirty-two bars and a verse could express. Hackenbush now had a better understanding of the dark songs of lost and hopeless love. She felt she knew more about them from her observations of others’ emotional shipwrecks and her own varied and personal experience. She still sang those songs, they were some of the greatest songs ever written; but she now sang them with more hope than tragedy, in an effort to tell her audiences that life is sad, but it might not always be. She kept the message subtle, because she didn’t want to get bashed in the face by some heartbroken poor devil who hated her for her happiness. And Hackenbush could dig it: when she was really down, the last thing she wanted was to hear about somebody else’s joy. It was petty of her, but there it was.

“What’s Ross gonna do?” Shorty asked.

Ross shared a house with Eddy and Hackenbush hadn’t really thought about what he’d do when she moved in. “I dunno, d’you think he’d want my place?”

“Echo Park is a lot different than Mid Wilshire.”

“Well, he’s a big guy, he’ll work it out,” she said gathering up her things. “Are you coming to see me in my servitude tomorrow night?”

“No, but I’ll get there one night,” Shorty said, holding the door for her. “One doesn’t hear you sing art songs very often.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“You should know better than to bet on Lola Rae,” he said.

“I was betting on love, Shorty, Lola just happened to be involved,” she said, sourly. “Although I should know better than to have anything to do with that crazy woman. Six months ago she nearly broke my neck.”

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Dr. Hackenbush Gains Perspective Sample Serialization Part 3 of 6

Shorty was a patient soul and Hackenbush loved him dearly for it. He made her look like a better dancer than she was and made her into a better dancer than she thought she could ever be. So as not to provoke him and because she really was interested in this complicated new dance he’d concocted, she only smoked half her Pall Mall. “Okay, boss, I’m back on the clock,” she said, picking a shred of tobacco off her tongue.

Shorty giggled and turned the metronome back on. He worked them hard for another hour and then they had dinner at a Thai place across from the Samsara School of Oriental Medicine on Third near Rampart.

“You think I ought to let those Chinese doctors stick pins in me, Shorty?” Hackenbush asked over a plate of panang curry. “My right shoulder and thumb are killing me.”

“I think you type too much, Mabel, and should carry your purse on your left side,” Shorty said.

“Yeah, maybe,” she said. “I’ll be typing less when we start the new gig next weekend.”

Shorty’s mouth was full, so he just nodded. Eddy and Mabel had landed the band a peach of a long-term, high-paying gig in Santa Monica. A good room for music and dancing and it was a chain of hotels, so they might be in the money for quite a while. “We can all save a little money on this gig,” he said when he could.

“I’ll be saving a little money when I move in with Eddy,” she said. “You know what they say about how two can live as cheaply as one. I’m giving my fucking landlord notice next week.”

“Hey, congratulations! I would dance at your wedding, Mabel.”

“You dance at everything, Shorty, my wedding would not be exceptional. Except that it would be my wedding,” she murmured. She was distracted with toting up the check, adding 23%, and dividing it in half. “And don’t jump the gun so fast, darlin’, we’re just moving in together.”

“Well, it’s nice,” Shorty said, digging in his wallet for money. “You really love this guy, don’t you?”

“‘Deed I do, Shorty, ‘deed I do.”

They smiled across the table at each other. Shorty had seen her through some ugly, tawdry affairs, one or two married men (until she finally learned that there really is no trouble like another woman’s man), and months of snarling celibacy and borderline man-hating. He occasionally wondered why she didn’t just switch to women, but the lesbians that made the rare pass at her were politely, but firmly, rebuffed. Shorty figured Eddy Lee got in under her radar because they had a foundation of mutual musical respect to fall safely in love on.

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Electricland serialization, part 7/7

Kate parked the car-jacked Lexus a little ways down the street from Russek’s place, but with a good view of the house. “Not bad for a love nest,” she said, her voice betraying her years in London. It was her relaxed or swanky voice; just then she was with a comrade and felt safe.

“How you know they’re doin’ it?” Helena in the passenger seat asked.

“I wired it for sound yesterday.” With black hair and the right attitude, Kate could pass her middle-aged Middle Eastern looks off as a Latina. That is, if no one looked too hard, and at her age, no one was ever looking too hard. “Russek uses a cleaning service. That bloody kid hardly noticed me as I cleaned around the little bastard. Didn’t even look away from his laptop. The audio’s been nicely steamy so far. Have a listen?” Kate held out an iPod and earbuds.

“Nah, not unless there’s something more useful in it than smut.”

“So far Miranda, Titania and Hermia haven’t heard anything of use,” Kate said, shoving the iPod back in her pocket. “But they’re getting an earful of rumpy pumpy.”

“Whatever that is,” Helena muttered, staring out the window shield.

“Sex,” Kate told her.

“Fucking Miranda!” Helena recrossed her legs and looked like she wanted to bite something or someone. “This is all her fault.”

“I blame Williams more.” Miranda had bailed Kate out more than once, so she was reluctant to go against her. “And this sodding Ryan kid. I detest smart kids.”

“Yeah, you right. Why didn’t you finish what Viola screwed up when she laid Ryan instead of killing him like she was supposed to?” Helena asked. She was pissed off that she had to be there to help clean up a mess not of her own making.

“It’s more complicated now,” Kate said with a sigh. “The little bugger had enough time to get away with more than the accounts and passwords. He grabbed some DARPA data we were using as well.”

“Sheee-yit.” Helena had lost everything to Katrina but her Ninth Ward drawl on certain words. “Can’t do nothing ’bout the DARPA stuff. I wish Titania and Miranda would stop fucking with people who are fucking scarier than us, it’s just fucking stupid. And can’t Miranda just change fucking the passwords or whatever the fuck she does on the internets?”

“I’m told that would tip off our funding sources,” Kate said, in a soothing voice. She was mildly amused by Helena’s rage and relieved she wasn’t holding it in. Helena didn’t have a rage meter; it was more like an on-off toggle. “And the DARPA stuff, well, they had the best possible toxin and plans to poison a small city. No sense reinventing the wheel, you know.”

“Only if your goddamn wheel doesn’t run over your goddamn self. Hey, girl, quit laughing.”

“Sssorry.” Kate could barely get this out between chuckles.

Helena stared into space while Kate collected herself. “How’d Williams get to DARPA before you?” she asked when her comrade was under control. “I thought this was supposed to be easy. Just get in, flip the switch and follow Miranda’s instructions on getting our footprints off the DARPA network or whatever you were supposed to do?”

“Fucking Miranda left a chink for the Ryan kid to get in and Williams had a way we don’t totally understand yet to wedge it open,” Kate admitted. “Miranda thought she was IMing me when she was IMing the kid.”

“Aw, Christ inna Cadillac.”

“Indeed. I was delayed by the chaos in Irvine, and then by Miranda not being able to get past the new DARPA security—because you know they’d never admit it, but DARPA knew right away what happened—and then I had no idea the building would be more or less empty, which I think was more Williams voodoo–”

“You just say voodoo, girl?”

“No offense to voodoo or even hoodoo, luv,” Kate said pacifically. “I didn’t know what kind of resistance to expect, so organizing the Samoan girls held me up a bit.”

“Your girl ganstas weren’t much help?” Helena asked. She preferred to work alone and looked askance at Kate’s teambuilding efforts. Of course Kate’s team members didn’t get to live very long after the mission, but it was still too many variables, too many trails to follow, for Helena’s taste.

“Oh, they’re appropriately vicious and they can shoot straight enough, but they have to see it coming at them.” Kate tapped on the steering wheel and stared into the middle distance. “But Williams has nearly the same training that we have,” she continued. “He hunted us through the building, picked the girls off one by one. It went pear-shaped. I couldn’t get a bloody thing done in there. But Russek’s too-smart-for-his-own-good boy-toy stashed the data he’d stolen somewhere and could screw us all if Russek gets it.”

“Why you think Russek ain’t got it already?”

“We’re still a going concern, aren’t we?” Kate said.

Helena sighed, drew her Mauser and screwed a silencer on it. “So, here we are. Let’s just kill ‘em both and get it over with,” she said, her voice softening in anticipation of action. “You know that’s what Titania will want eventually.”

“Ah, but Titania wants us to wait,” Kate said, sorry to disappoint Helena, who, like herself, was at her best when killing people. “She and Miranda don’t quite know what they’ve lost and the only way to get it is from Ryan. We might have to beat it out of the little beast.”

“Oh. Well, that might be fun.” Helena stared at a rectangle of light in the garden across the street from them.

“Thanks for coming to help,” Kate said, also watching the garden.

“It’s my pleasure to drop everything and come out to this hellhole for you, sugar.”

“Sorry things are so cocked up,” Kate continued, still watching at the garden. “Isabella might join us.” A medium-sized dog trotted to the fence and stared at their borrowed car, perhaps smelling the decaying owner in the trunk with its superior canine olfactory bulbs.

“It’s not a massacre without Isabella,” Helena observed. “Sit back a bit, hon,” she said when the dog began to bark. Leaning across Kate she shot the dog, which dropped without a sound. “I hate dogs. Let’s go.”

Part 1 of 7; Part 2 of 7; Part 3 of 7; Part 4 of 7; Part 5 of 7; Part 6 of 7; Part 7 of 7

For those of who’d rather read this as a pdf, it’s here: Electricland_by_Mayerson_Serialization_Pages. Ain’t I nice?

Where to buy: Electricland and here’s a 10% off code if you do: 3QWVR4FT; Amazon, eligible for free shipping; Barnes & Noble, discounted online price; IndieBound.com, support those indy bookstores; Everywhere else; and as a pdf (see sidebar).

Electricland serialization, part 6/7

It had taken the kid a few days to calm down and feel comfortable around Russek. On their first night together nightmares had sent Drew scrambling for his inhaler. Russek could only hold him lightly until the kid could breathe easily again. Eventually the nightmares subsided, but a new nightmare began to loom over them: Drew had been reclassified from witness to terrorist. Only Russek and a few others knew this and Russek had managed to convince everyone around him that it was absurd. For the moment they were allowing Russek to keep Drew with him under house arrest (although Drew didn’t know it), but the pressure was mounting from the Feds to move the kid into any lock-up available. Russek had been able to stall, bully and maneuver the system into putting Drew in LA Men’s Jail where he’d be close and Russek could call in a few favors to keep him safe until he could get him out. If he could get him out: there was that to worry about.

They’d become lovers a few days after Russek brought him to his place. After a long day policing, Russek came in bone tired and disgusted. But Drew had smiled, the first relaxed and happy smile Russek had ever seen on him, and said, “Welcome home.” Russek’s usual manly clap on the shoulder became a caress as Drew leaned into it and became an embrace that became a long sweet kiss, seemingly of its own accord.

“Sorry,” Russek said, leaning back to put a little space between them and get a good look at Drew’s face.

Drew closed the distance and nestled in his arms, face buried in Russek’s shoulder. “I’m not.”

They moved to the couch to make out and talk a little before anything irrevocable happened. The kid was practically a virgin; he’d only made love a couple of times, and that was with some older guy in Baku. “Baku? Where’s that?” Russek asked.

“Azerbaijan,” Drew said. “On the Caspian Sea,” he continued when he got a blank look. “Kind of between the Middle East and Russia.”

“Oh, what were you doing there?” Russek asked, nibbling on Drew’s earlobe. “Don’t tell me, ” he whispered. “IT consulting.” He smiled against Drew’s nod. “That’s a long way from here. How’d you get there?”

“My mom was a secretary with the Embassy in Prague,” Drew said, tilting his head to give Russek better access to his neck. “She brought me over when I finished college, but we didn’t get along so well, so I split and wandered around until I landed a job in Baku.”

“How old are you, Drew?” Russek asked, holding him closer.

“Twenty-four.”

“Girlfriends?”

“Just this older lady once,” Drew said. “In Baku.”

“You didn’t get a lot of action in Baku,” Russek observed.

“I got all my action in Baku,” Drew said wryly.

Here’s the rest of this scene, including the sex scene: ElectriclandSerializationPart6of7withSexScene.pdf. No, no idea why I’m being so shy. Just am. GM

Part 1 of 7; Part 2 of 7; Part 3 of 7; Part 4 of 7; Part 5 of 7; Part 6 of 7; Part 7 of 7

For those of who’d rather read this as a pdf, it’s here: Electricland_by_Mayerson_Serialization_Pages. Ain’t I nice?

Where to buy: Electricland and here’s a 10% off code if you do: 3QWVR4FT; Amazon, eligible for free shipping; Barnes & Noble, discounted online price; IndieBound.com, support those indy bookstores; Everywhere else; and as a pdf (see sidebar).

Electricland serialization, part 5/7

Mass Hysteria for Fun and Profit

“At what point did you lose control of Williams, Titania?” The Department Manager looked at his notes in his own numeric code.

“I never had control of him,” she said, looking at her perfectly manicured nails. “He was the CIA’s problem, but even they couldn’t control him. He was a loose cannon all the way around.”

“How the hell did he end up in the DARPA building?” her Section Manager asked. His voice was squeaky with suppressed rage, bordering on panic; that had always annoyed her about him.

“Williams was smart, in a crude sort of way. He picked up Viola’s trail in Afghanistan and followed her to Baku, where she was making contact with that damn Ryan child.”

“What was Ryan doing in Baku?” the Department Manager asked. He had it in his notes but he wanted some elaboration. “Other than playing computer games with your team?”

“He was running drugs on the internet,” Titania said. They stared at her. “I’m hardly an expert, but I understand that that’s how it’s done these days,” she went on when they continued to stare at her. “It’s all online logistics now,” Titania said with a sigh. Running drugs had never appealed to her. There were too many variables in each transaction for her team to get a successful revenue stream from it. They could barely cope with Hermia’s modest weapons-and-drug operation in Laos. “Point to point arrangements, heavily scrambled on all ends, so only the little people and mules get caught, which is surprisingly seldom. The parts of Central and Southeast Asia the drugs run in are in such chaos, there’s really no such thing as law enforcement anymore. Of course, getting the drugs into the U.S. is trickier if you don’t have a contact in the military or a big contractor to bring them in.”

“I suppose you mean like your organization?” her Section Manager practically sneered at her.

“Ah, no, we’re a very small shop compared to those kinds of organizations. Not big enough at all for that kind of thing,” she said, mentally adding, “And you’re not big enough to manage the big extramural drug operations.” Keeping the country slightly destabilized through terror was one set of skills; keeping it messed up, but functional on drugs, was another set. Titania knew well enough one should play to one’s strengths and not dwell on, but be aware of, one’s weaknesses.

“What was Ryan’s involvement in the Los Angeles incident?” the Department Manager asked bringing the conversation back to the issue at hand.

Titania took a deep breath so she would say what needed to be said and not a word more or less. The last thing she wanted to admit was that Miranda, her internet specialist, had been stupid and arrogant, which was partly why they’d been in such a mess in Los Angeles. “Although we have enhanced access to networks through our paton, Mr. Cheney, my cyber operative likes to use gamers as cyberterrorists in what’s called Electricland,” she said carefully. “They think it’s a game, but it’s not. We only use gamers in obscure parts of the world where they won’t see the effects of what they’re doing. These gamers are mostly idiots, but occasionally you get a smart one, a hacker–”

“Like Ryan in Baku?” the Department Manager asked.

“Yes and no. Ryan was a gamer in Baku, which is pretty obscure. But, no, unlike Ryan because Ryan is even smarter than the usual smart hacker/gamer we like to run online,” Titania said patiently. “He was smart enough or stupid enough to hack into our network and–”

“I thought that couldn’t be done!” the Section Manager squeaked.

“So did we,” Titania said coolly. “But one learns something new every day.”

Part 1 of 7; Part 2 of 7; Part 3 of 7; Part 4 of 7; Part 5 of 7; Part 6 of 7; Part 7 of 7

For those of who’d rather read this as a pdf, it’s here: Electricland_by_Mayerson_Serialization_Pages. Ain’t I nice?

Where to buy: Electricland and here’s a 10% off code if you do: 3QWVR4FT; Amazon, eligible for free shipping; Barnes & Noble, discounted online price; IndieBound.com, support those indy bookstores; Everywhere else; and as a pdf (see sidebar).