The one where I start rambling and finally pull my head out of my ass.

My last story was finished on October 1, 2019. It’s called Brother Marvel’s Old Time Revival.

*Shameless plug*

And, until today, when I sat down at this cold keyboard, I haven’t written anything since.

It’s not because I don’t have ideas. I have a whiteboard looming over me with a list of projects. Looking up at it, I can hear it whispering, “For chrissakes, just write one sentence, a paragraph, anything! Get those wheels rolling!”

Here’s the rub: There is a part of me that desperately wants to stop. To never write another word, sink into mediocrity and just stay still.

Perhaps it is because I am too content.

I have a job that pays my bills with a very small spillover that allows me to buy books and pay for my Pilates addiction. Thank the Muses I don’t have to live on my royalty checks. The last I received from Kindle wouldn’t pay me a cup of coffee.

I made the rounds at a few book fairs this year and was grateful to make my table money back. However, if you really wanted to be anal about it, if you consider the overhead involved in putting on those shows, I am drowning in the red.

At this moment, my writing career is a classic case of diminished returns.

If there is no monetary incentives, why keep at it? Or, considering the lack of writing I’ve done lately, why do I even worry about jumping back on that horse?

Why am I even wasting my time bitching about it?

Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how much money you made or how many times you were published. In the end, IT DOES NOT MATTER.

What does matter is answering this question truthfully:


If you answered, no then STOP. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Just STOP, get off the horse, dust yourself off and find something else.

Now I don’t have some rose colored perception about the writing life. I don’t expect it to be a mile a minute, raucous adventure zone cavalcade of fun fun times. It’s hard. Soul sucking, frustrating and depressingly hard work with sometimes little to no rewards (see the royalty statement paragraph above). Your work will more than likely never be read, be forgotten or, God forbid, your work will stay unfinished and molder in gut like a tumor.

So, if you’re not having fun. If even on your best days when the story is flowing like lava from your fingertips and the Word Genie is throwing a rave inside your head and you aren’t having fun, then stop.

Stop and find something else. Because, dammit, there’s no reason to clamp your knees around this bucking horse if you can do anything else.

And that’s it, isn’t it? Can you do anything else?

If I were to quit right now, go to school, and become something professional, profitable and respectable, the entire time I would be thinking “How could I turn this into a story?”

It’s how my brain works. I think in metaphor. I search for stories. I look for connections in unlikely things. I think sideways. Like Janus, I see both sides of the door.

I guess, maybe, I’m a little nuts. Perhaps, too organized a thinker to be diagnosed as schizophrenic but, in a way, I think all creatives are a little cuckoo for coco puffs.

Maybe that’s why I’ll keep on writing.

Not for money. Not for some kind of fickle fame. I’ll do it because it’s what I am, what I do and how I keep sane.

So, with that in mind, let me give my apologies. In a few years when my corpse is laid out on the cooling board in the morgue, I apologize to the poor soul who somehow ends up with my boxes of unfinished manuscripts, unpublished dreams, indecipherable journals and files named ‘future story fodder’.

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. It’s just how I was made.

But, until that, hopefully, far away day, you’ll need to excuse me. I’ve got some new stories to tell.

Y’all I think I figured it out.

I was eating lunch when a news article I read suddenly popped into my head.


And, I started thinking about it and, ya know…it would but how do we as a culture de-stigmatize the idea of eating people for food?

“Well,” I answered myself. “What if we had a very select people and isolated them, kept them well fed, healthy and completely ignorant that they are not so much a country but a herd. And when they are ready to be culled, we just take a few.

“Think about it. We could push diets on certain selections of the population in order to make them taste a certain way. Some meats could be leaner, some fatter. Some more seasoned and some less so. We could even have some conform to an idea that they won’t take certain medications so that they could be our “free range” or “organic” crop.”

And then it hit me. Oh, shit. What if it is already being done? And it’s AMERICA that is the cannibal food herd?

Think about it. All the diet crazes. We have some parts of society who are absolutely fitness crazy and others who are slobs to the point of being stupid. Some who are healthy, vaccinated and full of preservatives and a bunch of those who are unvaccinated.

“But how would they know when we are ready to be culled?”

That’s where Fit Bits come into play. And what about those “biometric” exams we have to take to keep our insurance. Our phones taking count of each footstep and calorie you’ve burned. All of it just another way to keep track of the herd

It all makes sense.

Excuse me but I’m going to unplug before the Farmers find out I’ve figured it out.

An explanation

This is the dedication in my latest story, Rumble.

I thought that this dedication needed a bit more explanation.

So, sit back and listen to why she was the best teacher an eleven-year-old little weirdo could hope for.

I remember the first day of sixth grade. 1977. Mrs. Tarkington, a tall, strikingly beautiful woman with skin the color of mocha and large, dark eyes, said to her class, “I want to let you in on a little secret. Last night, you went to bed on the planet Earth but, this morning, you woke up on Mars.”

Now, this was a mind shattering revelation to 11-year-old Nik. You must understand that I put teachers, like books, on pedestals. They were ALWAYS true. Everything that came out of their mouths was gospel.

It didn’t help matters that that previous summer, I devoured UFO magazines. I spent that hot summer doing chores or just outright stealing money (I had a very lucrative side grift but that’s for another post) to fund this new obsession of mine. And those UFO magazines, pulpy pieces that Adult Nik sees as outright lies and complete conspiracy drivel, to Kid Nik were absolute truth.

So, when she said that we had been mysteriously whisked away from Earth to Mars, I thought, “Huh. Okay. Wow. Really? Wow. How?” And then my brain started concocting all sorts of scenarios ranging from Government conspiracies to Alien abduction.

So, the idea that we went to bed on Earth and woke up on Mars? All right. Cool. What’s next?

After much back and forth between the more skeptical of the class that turned into outright arguments between the Earthers and the Martians, Mrs. Tarkington clapped her hands and said, “GOOD! That’s what I want. My goal this year, class, is to teach you all how to think critically. NEVER accept anything that comes out of my mouth as truth. Always ask for proof. ALWAYS.”

This was life changing. While I was still very much a Mulder (my Sculley days were still years in the future), I loved her too much to be angry at being tricked for very long.

As the year went on, her classroom became a sanctuary for me. My homelife at that time was not good. I don’t want to go into it here but…it was the beginning of a very dark period of my childhood. So, having 8 hours in Mrs. Tarkington’s class was a bright point.

And, man, that year…Jesus….looking back, it really was the last year of my childhood.

I was eleven. Puberty had yet to take hold on me and most of the kids. There were a few girls that had boobs and we all looked at them with a mixture of envy and anger. Yeah, anger. I remember feeling betrayed by these girls. It’s crazy but that’s the truth.

As for me, ha! Puberty was still a year and change away. I had both of my feet fast in being a kid and, dammit, I wasn’t going until the hormone Gestapo came to get me, kicking and screaming.

I was a weird kid. I’ve said that a thousand times and I’ll say it a few times more. I’m thankful I was weird in the 70’s; two decades later and I would’ve been drugged up to my gills.

And I was blessed to have a teacher like Mrs. Tarkington that gloried in my weirdness.

She let me start up a Monster Hunter Club. She sponsored us for the school’s Science Fair when we entered a Cryptozoology display. We had a floating Giant Squid in an aquarium, a Bigfoot diorama with a homemade plaster foot, a papier-mache Himalayan mountain for the Yeti.

We won Honorable Mention. This was validation in my book.

Mrs. Tarkington gave me carte blanche to put on a play, Hunting Bigfoot. Trent Ridley wore a parka and three of us hunted him all over the classroom, following his footprints we had cut out of construction paper. Once captured, we pulled up a bedsheet and then performed an autopsy. We tossed construction paper guts and limbs out into the audience which was well received by the sixth graders.

And, best of all, she was the first person to light up the writing bug in Yours Truly. She published a poem I wrote about autumn (I remember it had something to do with squirrels and nuts) in a class journal. She also pushed me into public speaking by submitting an essay I did to a contest. I came in second place but it was my first experience at seeing my words actually make an impact.

My biggest regret is that at the end of the year, when we all lined up to say goodbye before leaving for summer break, I did not hug her. I’m not a hugger by nature; I’ve gotten better but, when I was a kid, it was absolutely out of the question. I can still feel how my stomach flipped at the idea of being pulled into someone else’s body. The suffocation of the hug. Their heat. Their smell. No…no…I couldn’t do it.

So, instead, I shook her hand and said, “Bye!”

And walked out.

But I never forgot her.

So, I joined the pack…

I joined up with Patreon. I’ve got some pretty cool tiers and my first goal is to get enough revenue to make Dinosaur Cubicle Fun Time into a book. Just in time for Christmas Office Parties!

Oh, how I keep myself sane at the dayjob.

If you’d like to help me out, I’d appreciate it it.

I’ve some cool tiers with fun prizes. Check it out.

I was 11, when I saw my first UFO

I just finished watching the documentary, Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOS and all I can say is, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

I was around 11 when I first started seeing UFOS.

We had just moved into a shitty shoebox of a house, 800 square feet, no air conditioning, wall heaters that were likely to burn the house down than keep us warm. That winter, we slept in our clothes, wrapped inside sleeping bag, under bedcovers. We kept a plastic cup on by the tub to scoop up cockroaches as they floated up from beneath the bathmat when we took baths. I remember killing a rat the size of a small cat in the kitchen. Our neighbors were a religious family. The oldest brother and sister used to sneak inside the tent my sister and I had in the backyard and make out in it. Further down the road, there were addicts and sex workers. Fights and gunshots were common.

And that was just the chaos outside.

Inside, my family was starting down a very dark road. Mom and Dad started using pot and drinking heavily. They were bankrupt, I later learned. Working 40 hours a week but making barely enough to cover costs of living. There were lots of Hamburger Helper dinners and mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch. Poverty is like cancer, make no doubts about that. It’ll destroy everything.

And then there was me, on the brink of puberty. In the midst of a biological chaos of my own. I started my period, got breasts, all while my parents were smoking pot and fucking in the front room and I tried my best to keep my little sister from watching it.

I was a very lonely kid. Anxious, nervous, constant stomachaches.

And that’s when I started seeing the lights in the skies.

I stole money (that’s another story for another time) and used the stash of quarters to buy UFO magazines from Tradewinds, a convenience store/fish and bait shop down the road. I loved those pulpy pieces of trash. I didn’t just read them. I devoured them. They were my Bible. Back then, I still had a child’s belief that books were sacred. If it were printed, that made it true.

And, God, did I need it to be true.

The Space Brothers. That’s what I called them. They were just lights in the skies. Just lights. I never saw metallic ships or anything like that. Just lights. I remember watching them zig zag across the night sky like Junebugs on a string. I remember once, telling everyone to start acting crazy to see what it would do. The light actually stopped, as if confused to our antics and when I pointed and shouted, “LOOK!” it zoomed away.

Oh, yeah. It wasn’t just me. My sister and my cousin who stayed with us sometimes also saw them. Or at least, they said they did. I don’t know if they remember it the same way. More than likely, they saw them because I saw them.

Then, they bled over to other parts of my life. I started seeing the lights other places.

The school district I was zoned for sucked so we lied and used a family member’s address so I could keep attending school where I had been going before the move. That also meant I had to have a babysitter and catch a bus to go to school.

Every morning, as I would climb onto the bus, I’d look over my left shoulder and look up into the sky. There was a light. It made me feel important, protected, not alone.

As time went on, I would still see the Space Brothers. Usually when I was somewhere and felt out of my element, like on a date that wasn’t going well or out with people that I didn’t really connect with, I could look up and there they’d be. A light in the sky. My own cosmic posse.

I don’t remember when I stopped seeing them. Perhaps, when I stopped needing them. Or, more likely, these invisible compadres took on other forms, other obsessions that tried to fill the lonely hole inside of me.

I don’t know.

But, what I do know is that, for the grace of God, I am not a middle aged, beer bellied, cackling, white haired man, on a documentary, screaming at the sky, looking for friends.

Writer Slut Shaming

I was at dinner with some friends last weekend in Alabama. We were all decompressing from our first day of busting our butts selling books at the Huntsville Comic con.

Bobby Nash told a story about how he was approached by a woman who went on and on about a book she had just read. She wanted to know what his influences were, what did he mean by certain passages. He had to confess to the woman that he didn’t remember the story. “I’d written that ten years ago!”

James Neathery, a leather worker and cosplayer, was aghast. “What do you mean? You don’t remember your stories?”

So, I thought I’d do this public service announcement.

*Deep breath*

Hello. My name is Nikki and when I’m done with a story, I am DONE WITH IT. After it is finally out there, published, cemented to paper, bound between covers, I rarely think another thing about it.

I go on to the next story.

I’m kind of a slut like that.

And I’m not ashamed.