THERE ARE NO BETA MALES, ONLY LOSERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

THERE ARE NO BETA MALES, ONLY LOSERS

 

                You don’t wake INTO nightmares. You drift into nightmares after  you slide into sleep.. You don’t open your eyes out of a sound sleep to a roller coaster bouncing you  up and down and around in a roaring river of saltwater blinding you and choking you.

And then drowning you. Bobby Blue reached frantically for anything to grab hold of. He was sinking into an unknown ocean and the fear that felt like a heart attack was the awful vision of himself sinking down and down into the depths until he  outran the sunlight to drift forever in the darkness.

He grabbed at something. Something solid.  Against the crushing power of the ocean, he pulled himself up until he finally rose out of the waves. He pulled again and found his shoulders out of the water.

Which, looking around, wasn’t that much of an achievement. He could see the roof of the twin-engine modified Pilatus PC12 under the water. It couldn’t be more than a foot or a foot and  a half deep. It was the roiling  waves pounding the private lounge that made the water seem so much deeper.

He made a silent prayer of thanks that his first night terror hadn’t been true. Of course, he could never tell ANYONE that he’d been freaking out about drowning in 18 inches of water.

He pulled himself up until he was on his knees, for about four seconds. Then the roller coaster threw him to the left and he wound up under the water again. And hit his head on something hard.

He grabbed onto the nearest thing he could find and held tight. AS he pulled himself out of the waves he grabbed a quick breath. Blood dripped into his eyes. The salt water burned like fire. He made himself ignore the fire.

The salt water was real. The pain was real. The nightmare was real. That realization in itself calmed him more than a quick tranq.  This wasn’t a nightmare, which meant he had to start thinking and stop reacting.

His head hurt. His shoulder ached. His back hurt. Somebody or something had done a   good job of beating the hell out of him.  Something….

He had no memory of what IT was but looking around he realized where he was and why everything had seemed so alien. He was in Callan McNeill’s private suite where the big man relaxed in his uniquely modified PC 12, the only one like it in the world.  And the floor under the waves had been the roof of the luxury suite.

Blue held onto the top of one of the specially designed Egg Chairs that Callan relaxed in. Or read his business reports. Or used to have sex with the magnificent  Misty when he didn’t want to use the couch at the rear of the cabin.

The cabin was upside down. The plane had flipped. They were in the water. The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach warned him to grab onto the chair and wrap himself around it. The roller coaster returned and tried to throw him across the room but he somehow held tight.

The rolling continued. He thanked God he never got sea sick. His memory began to return:

The quick, down and dirty little jaunt as Callan called them, to quiet a shareholder rebellion in Pittsburgh. In and out in a few days, with time left over  to enjoy the weekend. Of course, while Callan enjoyed the sun and fun somewhere the ladies wore few clothes, or fewer,  his faithful executive assistant, Bobby Blue would be poring over papers, looking for traps, crossing T’s and dotting I’s. And – Maybe – getting to enjoy some room service and some In-room soft porn television movies.

His stomach made that rolling motion that alerted him to hold fast to the chair. This time there was not only the bounce but a sideways rock and roll.

They had flown out over the ocean to make better time and avoid predicted bad weather between Florida and Pennsylvania. There was supposed to be some stormy weather off the coast, but nothing too bad. Callan’s long time executive pilot Brad Michaels had assured them they’d be in and out without jostling a single drink.

Which showed how much expert pilots and television weathermen actually knew. They had hit rougher weather than expected, but Callan told the pilots -Michaels and co-pilot Denny Davis -to stay the course. God forbid nature would dare to interrupt Callan McNeill’s plans.

And yet, here they were. Speak of the devil, he spotted a large form to the rear of the cabin. It was entirely too big and male to be  the shapely Misty. You could have spotted her curves from an orbiting earth satellite.

Callan looked like he lay partially in the rushing torrent and partially with his head up on one of the suitcases that normally rested in storage areas underfoot. Blue sloshed through the rushing tide. Where in the hell was all that water coming from, where was it going, and why in the hell weren’t they completely underwater now? Questions for another time.

He reached the mostly submerged hulk that was his billionaire boss he was used to seeing dressed in black tie or business conservative. Now it was soaked casual. He reached out to grab Callan’s left shoulder to roll him and see how bad his injuries were.

Callan screamed. It was loud enough and surprising enough that Blue backed away for  a moment. Blue then heard something else he’d never expected to hear from his boss – deep groans of pain. That shook him more than the knowledge they had crashed. Callan was The iron Man to friends and girlfriends. He didn’t cry out in pain.

“Boss.”

“hurts…what’s going on…hurts so damned bad. Blue…is that you?”

“Boss, it’s me. Bobby. We  crashed. Do you remember that?”

            Callan shook his head and that brought another distinctly unmanly whimper. But it made Blue feel better because it was a sign that the world was returning to normal. Callan was trying to fight back the sounds that he was hurting.

Blue would never forget the day a crazy eco-something or other had slashed the billionaire with a long switchblade. As security guards wrestled him down, Callan held his hand out and told Blue, “Have the hotel get a doctor up to my suite. Keep it quiet.”

Looking at the raw meat the blade had opened, Blue had to ask, “That’s got to hurt like hell?”

“Yeah, but only women cry when they’re hurting. The first thing a man’s got to learn is to hold it in. You never let anyone see they’ve hurt you.”

And he never had in Blue’s presence.

Callan grabbed at Blue’s left arm with his right hand and pulled him close, whispering as if worried somebody might overhear. As if that was the worst thing they had to worry about.

“What’s happened, Blue? I can only see shadows, shapes moving in the mist. How bad is it?”

“About as bad as it gets, Mr. O’Neill.

“We crashed into the ocean. I don’t remember how,. The last thing I remember was this tremendous boom and then everything…went. Just went. I came to on the floor of this cabin, which is actually the roof. The chairs and everything else is upside down. The sea is pouring in and I thought I was drowning in …a few feet of water.”

“You see any holes. In the cabin.”

“No, but the water – the tide – is coming in from the far end of the cabin. It must be pouring out somewhere else or we’d be breathing salt water.”

“Feels like we’re on  a roller coaster gone crazy.”

“You remember what it was like, the last thing you saw? We were in the cockpit and Michaels told us the one place on earth we didn’t want to be was down below. It was too dark to make out the waves but you could still see the white caps… so damned high. We’re riding those waves.”

The cabin shifted again, dropping like they were in  fast moving elevator. O’Neil’s big body shifted against Blue, who threw himself under the big man to keep him from hitting the floor/ceiling with his broken shoulder. Blue went under the water and was afraid again he was going to drown before he could raise O’Neill’s  muscular 250 pounds off him.

 As he pushed Callan off him, trying not to injure his shoulder any more than it already was, Blue grunted and before he could stop himself, muttered, “Jesus, you need to go on a diet.”

Looking back at him, Callan said, “You need to go on a diet, Mr. McNeill, SIR!”

Despite himself, knowing he’d never find a  job that paid like McNeill, he couldn’t help laughing. Callan grimaced and after a moment uttered a shaky laugh.

“You’re right, that is kind of stupid here and now. We’ll go back to Boss and Serf if we make it out of here.”

The plane continued to shake, rattle and roll. Blue managed to get to his feet and stepped around Callan. Despite the roiling and pitching, he reached down and grabbed the Billionare’s right arm and tried to tug him up to his feet.

“Come on,Boss, can you get to your feet? We need to get to the front of the cabin. If we can get to the console-“

“Yes, dammit. My head is still scrambled. We need to get to the console.”

In business and life, nothing ever goes smoothly or according to plan. Blue knew it, but every time life proved it to him again, it was a BIG disappointment.

He noticed it subliminally before it dawned on him that the seawater was changing. It  was turning a pink, then a darker rose. He dipped his hand into the rushing tide and lifted it to his lips. Nothing tasted exactly like blood, even diluted by salt water. In this case, a lot of blood. Human blood.

He lifted his gaze from his bloody palm to the long, dark shape gliding under the water at the far rear of the cabin.  Because the plane had flipped, it glided down down along with the  blood from the main section of the plane where passengers usually sat, where the pilots flew the plane, where Misty had her quarters at the rear.

Blue looked behind him at the console at the front of the private cabin. You couldn’t run through the tide, stagger maybe, but the chances of losing your balance were great, the chances of outrunning the bullet-shaped, shark fin behind them not so good at all. And where the hell would you go.

“If I help you, can you use your good arm to grab the top of the Egg and pull yourself up? You can stand on the seat and be out of the water.”

“Why……?”

McNeill looked down at the shape of death gliding smoothly toward them in a crimson tide.

“What are you going to do?”

Blue pushed O’Neill up to a perch on the nearest Egg chair and dropped back into the tide, turning to face the oncoming bullet shape.

“I’ll figure that out when it gets here.”

 

 

*************                    *****************    ***************

22:30 hours:

 RED ONE, what have you heard?

RED TWO: The telemetry came in a half hour ago. Two of the bombs went off on schedule. One took out the black box. There won’t be any recordings, any hard data on what happened.

RED ONE: Who the hell cares? We planned too carefully to leave any fingerprints. What about McNeill? Is the son of a  bitch dead? That’s what we paid for.”

RED TWO: Don’t know. We can’t find any confirmation that the main bomb under the center of the plane went off. But, think about it. The plane must have gone down hard into a storm packing 60 mph winds. And the place is crawling with sharks. It’s a commercial shark area for the Japanese and Chinese. They keep the area chummed up  regularly. Sharks are big money in the Far East. But there’s no such thing as a tame shark. The wild ones are bigger bucks.

RED ONE: Again, you dumbshit, WHO CARES! You can’t prove McNeill is dead. And if he makes it out,  not only is it going to cost us a lot of money, he is going to come after us. He won’ t sue us or try to get us into a criminal court, he will do his best to kill us.

RED TWO: Don’t panic. There’s no proof he’s alive, either. The main bomb could have gone off and the sensing equipment is screwed up. And McNeill is tough, but he’s not superhuman. The crash, the storm and the sharks will take him out.

** **********     *****************    ****************

23:40 hours

POTUS-12 : You realize what time it is? It’s nearly midnight. Has somebody launched nukes at us? That’s the only good reason I’d see for waking me this late.

POTUS 14: Fox ran a bulletin 30 minutes ago and the AP and Reuters confirmed five minutes ago. Callan McNeill’s small plane disappeared from radar nearly two hours ago.  In a violent storm fifty miles off the coast in the Atlantic. With no indication mechanical problems were at fault. All the people who should know are saying the main reason planes vanish like that is they’re blown out of the sky

POTUS 21: Got  a group connection, here. Normally a billionaire checking out  would only be news on the business networks or scandal sites depending on which society slut or movie star he’s banging. But, McNeill is the GREAT WHITE HOPE to more than the bitches he’s banging.

POTUS-12: He’s the Great White Hope only to delusional bitter clingers and white racists. He’s nobody.

POTUS- 21: There are already a few polls out actually showing in a head to head the President would take him in 2012, but not in a blow-out. That’s without any advertising, without any thing. You guys would be stupid to just ignore him. He’s got charisma and sex appeal.

POTUS 14: It’s kind of moot right now, I assume. He’s probably on the ocean floor or providing a  healthy meal with lots of protein or growth hormones to some lucky shark.

POTUS-21: But if terrorists took him down, and who else would be planting bombs, and he survives… You got a Genuine American Hero with sex appeal.

POTUS 12: Keep ears on this. Let us know what happens and if we have a legitimate political threat rising out of the Atlantic… JESUS CHRIST! That even sounds good to me.

 

   ******                     ********                    ********       

THERE ARE NO BETA MALES, ONLY LOSERS

 

                You don’t wake INTO nightmares. You drift into nightmares after  you slide into sleep.. You don’t open your eyes out of a sound sleep to a roller coaster bouncing you  up and down and around in a roaring river of saltwater blinding you and choking you.

And then drowning you. Bobby Blue reached frantically for anything to grab hold of. He was sinking into an unknown ocean and the fear that felt like a heart attack was the awful vision of himself sinking down and down into the depths until he  outran the sunlight to drift forever in the darkness.

He grabbed at something. Something solid.  Against the crushing power of the ocean, he pulled himself up until he finally rose out of the waves. He pulled again and found his shoulders out of the water.

Which, looking around, wasn’t that much of an achievement. He could see the roof of the twin-engine modified Pilatus PC12 under the water. It couldn’t be more than a foot or a foot and  a half deep. It was the roiling  waves pounding the private lounge that made the water seem so much deeper.

He made a silent prayer of thanks that his first night terror hadn’t been true. Of course, he could never tell ANYONE that he’d been freaking out about drowning in 18 inches of water.

He pulled himself up until he was on his knees, for about four seconds. Then the roller coaster threw him to the left and he wound up under the water again. And hit his head on something hard.

He grabbed onto the nearest thing he could find and held tight. AS he pulled himself out of the waves he grabbed a quick breath. Blood dripped into his eyes. The salt water burned like fire. He made himself ignore the fire.

The salt water was real. The pain was real. The nightmare was real. That realization in itself calmed him more than a quick tranq.  This wasn’t a nightmare, which meant he had to start thinking and stop reacting.

His head hurt. His shoulder ached. His back hurt. Somebody or something had done a   good job of beating the hell out of him.  Something….

He had no memory of what IT was but looking around he realized where he was and why everything had seemed so alien. He was in Callan McNeill’s private suite where the big man relaxed in his uniquely modified PC 12, the only one like it in the world.  And the floor under the waves had been the roof of the luxury suite.

Blue held onto the top of one of the specially designed Egg Chairs that Callan relaxed in. Or read his business reports. Or used to have sex with the magnificent  Misty when he didn’t want to use the couch at the rear of the cabin.

The cabin was upside down. The plane had flipped. They were in the water. The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach warned him to grab onto the chair and wrap himself around it. The roller coaster returned and tried to throw him across the room but he somehow held tight.

The rolling continued. He thanked God he never got sea sick. His memory began to return:

The quick, down and dirty little jaunt as Callan called them, to quiet a shareholder rebellion in Pittsburgh. In and out in a few days, with time left over  to enjoy the weekend. Of course, while Callan enjoyed the sun and fun somewhere the ladies wore few clothes, or fewer,  his faithful executive assistant, Bobby Blue would be poring over papers, looking for traps, crossing T’s and dotting I’s. And – Maybe – getting to enjoy some room service and some In-room soft porn television movies.

His stomach made that rolling motion that alerted him to hold fast to the chair. This time there was not only the bounce but a sideways rock and roll.

They had flown out over the ocean to make better time and avoid predicted bad weather between Florida and Pennsylvania. There was supposed to be some stormy weather off the coast, but nothing too bad. Callan’s long time executive pilot Brad Michaels had assured them they’d be in and out without jostling a single drink.

Which showed how much expert pilots and television weathermen actually knew. They had hit rougher weather than expected, but Callan told the pilots -Michaels and co-pilot Denny Davis -to stay the course. God forbid nature would dare to interrupt Callan McNeill’s plans.

And yet, here they were. Speak of the devil, he spotted a large form to the rear of the cabin. It was entirely too big and male to be  the shapely Misty. You could have spotted her curves from an orbiting earth satellite.

Callan looked like he lay partially in the rushing torrent and partially with his head up on one of the suitcases that normally rested in storage areas underfoot. Blue sloshed through the rushing tide. Where in the hell was all that water coming from, where was it going, and why in the hell weren’t they completely underwater now? Questions for another time.

He reached the mostly submerged hulk that was his billionaire boss he was used to seeing dressed in black tie or business conservative. Now it was soaked casual. He reached out to grab Callan’s left shoulder to roll him and see how bad his injuries were.

Callan screamed. It was loud enough and surprising enough that Blue backed away for  a moment. Blue then heard something else he’d never expected to hear from his boss – deep groans of pain. That shook him more than the knowledge they had crashed. Callan was The iron Man to friends and girlfriends. He didn’t cry out in pain.

“Boss.”

“hurts…what’s going on…hurts so damned bad. Blue…is that you?”

“Boss, it’s me. Bobby. We  crashed. Do you remember that?”

            Callan shook his head and that brought another distinctly unmanly whimper. But it made Blue feel better because it was a sign that the world was returning to normal. Callan was trying to fight back the sounds that he was hurting.

Blue would never forget the day a crazy eco-something or other had slashed the billionaire with a long switchblade. As security guards wrestled him down, Callan held his hand out and told Blue, “Have the hotel get a doctor up to my suite. Keep it quiet.”

Looking at the raw meat the blade had opened, Blue had to ask, “That’s got to hurt like hell?”

“Yeah, but only women cry when they’re hurting. The first thing a man’s got to learn is to hold it in. You never let anyone see they’ve hurt you.”

And he never had in Blue’s presence.

Callan grabbed at Blue’s left arm with his right hand and pulled him close, whispering as if worried somebody might overhear. As if that was the worst thing they had to worry about.

“What’s happened, Blue? I can only see shadows, shapes moving in the mist. How bad is it?”

“About as bad as it gets, Mr. O’Neill.

“We crashed into the ocean. I don’t remember how,. The last thing I remember was this tremendous boom and then everything…went. Just went. I came to on the floor of this cabin, which is actually the roof. The chairs and everything else is upside down. The sea is pouring in and I thought I was drowning in …a few feet of water.”

“You see any holes. In the cabin.”

“No, but the water – the tide – is coming in from the far end of the cabin. It must be pouring out somewhere else or we’d be breathing salt water.”

“Feels like we’re on  a roller coaster gone crazy.”

“You remember what it was like, the last thing you saw? We were in the cockpit and Michaels told us the one place on earth we didn’t want to be was down below. It was too dark to make out the waves but you could still see the white caps… so damned high. We’re riding those waves.”

The cabin shifted again, dropping like they were in  fast moving elevator. O’Neil’s big body shifted against Blue, who threw himself under the big man to keep him from hitting the floor/ceiling with his broken shoulder. Blue went under the water and was afraid again he was going to drown before he could raise O’Neill’s  muscular 250 pounds off him.

 As he pushed Callan off him, trying not to injure his shoulder any more than it already was, Blue grunted and before he could stop himself, muttered, “Jesus, you need to go on a diet.”

Looking back at him, Callan said, “You need to go on a diet, Mr. McNeill, SIR!”

Despite himself, knowing he’d never find a  job that paid like McNeill, he couldn’t help laughing. Callan grimaced and after a moment uttered a shaky laugh.

“You’re right, that is kind of stupid here and now. We’ll go back to Boss and Serf if we make it out of here.”

The plane continued to shake, rattle and roll. Blue managed to get to his feet and stepped around Callan. Despite the roiling and pitching, he reached down and grabbed the Billionare’s right arm and tried to tug him up to his feet.

“Come on,Boss, can you get to your feet? We need to get to the front of the cabin. If we can get to the console-“

“Yes, dammit. My head is still scrambled. We need to get to the console.”

In business and life, nothing ever goes smoothly or according to plan. Blue knew it, but every time life proved it to him again, it was a BIG disappointment.

He noticed it subliminally before it dawned on him that the seawater was changing. It  was turning a pink, then a darker rose. He dipped his hand into the rushing tide and lifted it to his lips. Nothing tasted exactly like blood, even diluted by salt water. In this case, a lot of blood. Human blood.

He lifted his gaze from his bloody palm to the long, dark shape gliding under the water at the far rear of the cabin.  Because the plane had flipped, it glided down down along with the  blood from the main section of the plane where passengers usually sat, where the pilots flew the plane, where Misty had her quarters at the rear.

Blue looked behind him at the console at the front of the private cabin. You couldn’t run through the tide, stagger maybe, but the chances of losing your balance were great, the chances of outrunning the bullet-shaped, shark fin behind them not so good at all. And where the hell would you go.

“If I help you, can you use your good arm to grab the top of the Egg and pull yourself up? You can stand on the seat and be out of the water.”

“Why……?”

McNeill looked down at the shape of death gliding smoothly toward them in a crimson tide.

“What are you going to do?”

Blue pushed O’Neill up to a perch on the nearest Egg chair and dropped back into the tide, turning to face the oncoming bullet shape.

“I’ll figure that out when it gets here.”

 

 

*************                    *****************    ***************

22:30 hours:

 RED ONE, what have you heard?

RED TWO: The telemetry came in a half hour ago. Two of the bombs went off on schedule. One took out the black box. There won’t be any recordings, any hard data on what happened.

RED ONE: Who the hell cares? We planned too carefully to leave any fingerprints. What about McNeill? Is the son of a  bitch dead? That’s what we paid for.”

RED TWO: Don’t know. We can’t find any confirmation that the main bomb under the center of the plane went off. But, think about it. The plane must have gone down hard into a storm packing 60 mph winds. And the place is crawling with sharks. It’s a commercial shark area for the Japanese and Chinese. They keep the area chummed up  regularly. Sharks are big money in the Far East. But there’s no such thing as a tame shark. The wild ones are bigger bucks.

RED ONE: Again, you dumbshit, WHO CARES! You can’t prove McNeill is dead. And if he makes it out,  not only is it going to cost us a lot of money, he is going to come after us. He won’ t sue us or try to get us into a criminal court, he will do his best to kill us.

RED TWO: Don’t panic. There’s no proof he’s alive, either. The main bomb could have gone off and the sensing equipment is screwed up. And McNeill is tough, but he’s not superhuman. The crash, the storm and the sharks will take him out.

** **********     *****************    ****************

23:40 hours

POTUS-12 : You realize what time it is? It’s nearly midnight. Has somebody launched nukes at us? That’s the only good reason I’d see for waking me this late.

POTUS 14: Fox ran a bulletin 30 minutes ago and the AP and Reuters confirmed five minutes ago. Callan McNeill’s small plane disappeared from radar nearly two hours ago.  In a violent storm fifty miles off the coast in the Atlantic. With no indication mechanical problems were at fault. All the people who should know are saying the main reason planes vanish like that is they’re blown out of the sky

POTUS 21: Got  a group connection, here. Normally a billionaire checking out  would only be news on the business networks or scandal sites depending on which society slut or movie star he’s banging. But, McNeill is the GREAT WHITE HOPE to more than the bitches he’s banging.

POTUS-12: He’s the Great White Hope only to delusional bitter clingers and white racists. He’s nobody.

POTUS- 21: There are already a few polls out actually showing in a head to head the President would take him in 2012, but not in a blow-out. That’s without any advertising, without any thing. You guys would be stupid to just ignore him. He’s got charisma and sex appeal.

POTUS 14: It’s kind of moot right now, I assume. He’s probably on the ocean floor or providing a  healthy meal with lots of protein or growth hormones to some lucky shark.

POTUS-21: But if terrorists took him down, and who else would be planting bombs, and he survives… You got a Genuine American Hero with sex appeal.

POTUS 12: Keep ears on this. Let us know what happens and if we have a legitimate political threat rising out of the Atlantic… JESUS CHRIST! That even sounds good to me.

 

   ******                     ********                    ********       

One thought on “THERE ARE NO BETA MALES, ONLY LOSERS

  1. Nice little suspense preview but why did you put it here? this site doesn’t get a lot of traffic anymore, and neither does your twitter?

    Why not send this out in a newsletter to get out feelers for who might be interested in your other work that’s less romance focused and a more money/war/political story instead?

    Even if it’s not their thing they could still give feedback.

    Drop a newsletter and if you’re gonna drop things on this site then let us know via newletter so we can check in from time to time.

    BTW, you might want to let the guys know Lit that Volume 3 and 4 of WWWM is out. I know you weren’t crazy about the money but the engagement might help and it could help grow the readership?

    Thanks for sharing!

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