The latest chapter in the ongoing book contest has arrived.

If this is your first time reading this book, you can find previous chapters here:

One in a Million – Chapter 24

It’s Rhonda’s World, and Turk’s Living In It

They did it three times, if one chooses to count the festivities based on Turk’s orgasm. The first time took seventeen seconds, and when it happened, Tab A was nowhere near Slot B. “Whoops,” Rhonda said.

After Turk stopped shuddering like he was having a grand mal seizure, he said, “I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life!”

“Oh, I doubt that,” said Rhonda, “but it’s all right. Look? See? He’s already ready to play again.”

“Hey, yeah, that’s weird,” said Turk. “Normally I’d be…”

“These are different circumstances, wouldn’t you say?” said Rhonda. She laid back in her new circular bed.

“Much different,” said Turk, climbing towards her.

The second time, they were able to successfully dock, a maneuver that took several minutes of careful and gentle coaching on Rhonda’s part. Once there, Rhonda said, whispered, “Congratulations,” and then that was that.

After another round of spasms and twitchy faces, Turk flopped over on his back. “I had no idea…” he said.

“You still don’t,” said Rhonda, shortly.

“Did I do something wrong?” Turk asked.

“No, sweetie, not at all. You’re just…new to the sensation.”

“But what about you?” Turk said. “Aren’t you supposed to, you know, come too?”

“Ideally, yes,” said Rhonda. “And that’s what we’re going to work on next.”

“We’re not done?” Turk said hopefully.

“Not by a long shot,” said Rhonda. She rolled over on top of him and kissed him everywhere and often. The reaction was nearly instantaneous. “Speaking of long shots,” said Rhonda.

“Wow,” said Turk. “Three times…that’s like…”

“Shhhh,” Rhonda said. “Tell you what: why don’t you get lost in the wonder of it all, and let me do the driving for a while?” She rocked her hips back and Turk’s mind went blank. She was inside his head, quieting his fears, stilling his thoughts…and then he was inside of her.

The third time took almost an hour. Current score: Turk, 3, Rhonda, 1.


In the afterglow (no, literally, Rhonda had warm pink light coming out of her), they laid in bed and Turk talked the strange, stream of consciousness babble that comes out of a person when the passion has waned and they are suddenly next to another equally naked person. Rhonda listened, patted his head, and wondered what her next great project would be. She could feel the subscribers piling into her feed, and she kept widening the pipeline to allow for more signal.

Turk stared up at the twelve cameras hovering over and around the bed. “So, I’m going to be online, soon, eh?”

“Thinking about it,” she said. “Or maybe just some stills. Not sure yet.”

Turk swallowed. “I wonder if anyone is going to see me,” he mused.

“Trust me, you’ve got nothing to worry about if they do,” said Rhonda.

“If you say so,” said Turk, looking down at his spent penis.

“Are you nuts?” Rhonda sat up in bed. “You’re hung like a frigging Red Bull can and you’re worried about your penis size?”

Turk shrugged helplessly.

Rhonda crossed her legs, lotus style. “May I offer up an observation?”

“You may tell me anything,” said Turk.

“Your biggest—and maybe your only—problem is this, Fred: you spend way too much time worrying about everyone else and everything else and not nearly enough time appreciating your own special gifts.”

Turk raised up on his elbows. “Like what?”

“Okay, aside from the elephant trunk in the room,” Rhonda said, “you’re a good writer. You’re brain works fast, and you’re pretty funny when you’re not speaking sci-fi babble. You’re kind to people you just meet, you’re generous, and you’re very cute in that hip-geek kind of way.” She leaned closer. “You’re a good kisser, you have a giant heart, and you’re a hopeless romantic.”
Turk smiled and said nothing.

“Those are great qualities, Fred, and you could’ve gotten laid a long time ago if you’d concentrated on being yourself instead of trying to score.”

“that’s true,” Turk said, “and you’re right about all of that, but if I hadn’t been such a ball of fucked-up neuroses, then you wouldn’t have been my first.”

They kissed, slowly and sweetly. “Romantic,” said Rhonda. She jumped out of bed and beckoned to him. “Come on,” she said. “I want to show you this.”

Turk followed her naked to the set of skinny windows that overlooked the street. She pulled back the curtains and bid him stand next to her. Outside the moon was fire engine red. Turk could see sparks in the air, like fireflies. “Holy shit,” he said, “what’s going on?”

“I’m going on,” Rhonda said. She turned to face him, and Turk saw those same sparks dancing in her eyes. “What you have done—what we have done together—is giving me power. Haven’t you wondered about how we are able to look into other people’s minds?”

“I thought that was just a really vivid dream,” said Turk. “I’ve been kinda sleep deprived.” He looked out the window at the energy coalescing around the building. “Wait a minute. Did I make you a god tonight?”

“It’s crazy, I know,” Rhonda laughed. “But yes, I think you did. Ever since I announced the contest, I’ve been able to do things, to see things, and to affect things in a way that I never could before.”

“I wrote a book about you, and it came true!” Turk fell to his knees. “I am yours to command!”

“Oh, get up,” Rhonda said. “You are the one true high priest, all right?” she rattled his title off with a twinge of impatience. “Something hasn’t clicked for me yet. I need a little help, here.”

“Well, what are you the goddess of?” Turk asked.

“That’s the problem; I don’t know.”

“So, then, you get to choose, is that how it works?” Turk asked.

“Again, I don’t know. First time goddess, here,” she said.

Turk exhaled. “This is technically easy,” he said. “All we have to do is find out what you want to be the goddess of, and then we’ll go from there.”

Rhonda touched his forehead and said, “See my followers. Know their thoughts. Tell me what they think of me. What they want from me.”

Turk’s jaw went slack. “One minute,” he mumbled. Drool collected on his lower lip and threatened to fall. Rhonda sat him down and turned back to the window. She looked down in the street and tsked.

“Turk, Honey, wake up,” Rhonda said. “We’ve got guests.”


The Tech Warehouse van was so easy to follow that Mike Bretz decided to turn visible again. The shaggy-haired blonde kid in the driver’s seat was behaving as if he was stoned. They were slow, cautious, and on mostly empty streets, couldn’t have seemed more suspicious.

The van and white convertible made its way into the Tenderloin, where Mike watched the skinny, twitchy kid take a paper sack out of the back and dumped the contents on someone’s front porch. He looked up and down the street and for a second, Mike thought he was spotted, but the guy was looking for something else. Finally he stage-whispered, “The van’s not here!”

“So what?” came from inside the van.

“So, we were going to drop a few comics in the van, remember?”

“Just shove one under his front door,” said someone in the van.

“Brilliant!” The twitchy kid opened the back, thumbed through their wares, and selected the perfect one. He ran back up to the front door scattered with debris and after a moment’s fidgeting, returned empty handed.

“What the hell are they doing?” Mike said aloud.

The van started up again, but before Mike could crack the convertible over, another set of headlights stabbed at the darkened street behind him. He caught a glimpse of a black and white SUV come whizzing by. It made an erratic shift around the van and then came to a skidding stop in the road. The doors on the SUV opened and Asian teenagers spilled out as if it were a clown car. The first three out of the SUV had pistols in their hands and were waving them around and shouting in their native tongue. Mike snickered. The robbers were getting robbed.

They pulled everyone and everything out of the van while the skinny kid begged for his life. Mike watched the scene and marveled at how quickly the Karmic wheel spun sometimes. When all of the loot, including what was in the Tech Warehouse van to begin with, was transferred into the SUV, the gang leader raised his pistol at the loud, skinny, twitchy kid.

“Oh no you don’t,” said Bretz.

The gangster pulled the trigger and a stream of water shot out, drenching the skinny kid. His howl of fear became a scream of frustration as he lunged at the gangster. The fight was short, vicious, and ended with the Asians standing over their three victims and at the same time freaked out about how their knives were suddenly made of rubber and all of their pistols shot water instead of bullets.

The fourth kid, the young Asian who’d been with the robbers, now came over to the leader of the gang and they spoke rapidly together. “Dirty double crosser,” said Mike. If there was one thing Mike Bretz couldn’t stand, it was being played false by people you knew and trusted. He got out of the car and walked toward the clutch of people.

One of the gangsters noticed Bretz’s approach. “Hey, you beat it!” he yelled. “No trouble here.”
“Oh, there’s trouble here,” Mike said. “I’m your trouble.” He pointed to the tied up and terrified thieves and said, “get in the van,” and suddenly, they were. The screams from inside the vehicle were as loud as the ones outside. “You too,” Mike said, pointing to the turncoat. He disappeared.

“Phong!” the gangster cried out. He turned to Mike and fired his pistol, forgetting that it contained water. The other gangsters followed suit.

The water turned into steam before it reached Mike. He waved his hands at the gangsters and said, “You’re done for the night.” They dropped their plastic pistols and rubber knives and got back into the SUV. It started up with a roar.

“Nuh uh. You, go home.” Before the gangsters could drive off, the hatch door opened and all of the white comic boxes tumbled out into a neat pile. Mike made another gesture and the boxes arranged themselves into a rough approximation of a humanoid, some seven or eight feet tall. “Get out of here,” he said. The comic box golem dutifully clomped off down the street. The SUV sped off in the opposite direction.

Not bad, Bretz, he thought as he looked up and took in the night air and spied the…red moon? And not just orangey-red, either, but stop sign red, like…a snow cone.

Mike touched off with his shoes and floated up, over the tops of the two-story walkups in the neighborhood. He opened his inner eye and saw lines of energy converging in the direction of the Castro. The ley line that normally ran along the East-West axis over the city was visibly bending, and there were other lines of energy streaming in that he couldn’t identify.

It was that Sno Cone Girl. Rhonda. He’d looked her up online after seeing her in action the other day. A pretty good-looking wannabe actress and model with a cheesecake website and some freaky devoted fans. Mike couldn’t see the attraction, but he made a note to remember where she lived. And right now, all of those crazy energy lines were pointing to her apartment. “She’s making a power grab,” said Mike. “Nobody makes a power grab in this town except me.”

He flew off, following the energy lines. As an afterthought, he opened up his cell phone and dialed 911. “Yes, hello, I was just driving by this shop, Comix Comix Comix, you know, down the street from Trapper John’s, when I saw four guys in a Tech Warehouse van throw a cinderblock through the front door and drive off…No, I didn’t see the guys too well, but I’m sure it was a Tech Warehouse van….”


About Author

Mark Finn is an award-winning author, playwright and essayist who is active in Robert E Howard studies. His biography, Blood & Thunder: the Life and Art of Robert E Howard was nominated for a World Fantasy award, and will be re-released in an updated second printing later this month. His comic books SCOUTS! Premeires in March from Ape Entertainment.

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