Hey cats and kittens. For those of you who haven’t yet found your way into the strange world which launched this site, I am pleased to announce that Kindle editions of Tales From The Radiation Age are now on sale at Amazon for just $1.99.
No, seriously. A buck-nine-nine. Which means that, for less than a cup of one of your fancy-pantsy coffees, you can get 575 pages of giant robots, dinosaur attacks, temporospatial shenanigans, whiskey drinking, hookers, mad scientists and bar fights. 575 pages of a world gone wrong–a joyous apocalypse that gives a big, fat middle finger to all your miserable, gray-faced dystopias. 575 pages of spies, grifters, pretty girls, semen-thieves, train-robbers, idiots and madmen, all just trying to get by in a future where the folks with the brains are far more dangerous than the folks with the guns. Most of the time, anyway.
Want a taste before you go blowing all your folding money on a bunch of silly words from the likes of me? Of course you do. Like the man says, the first one is always free…
From Tales From The Radiation Age, Episode 2 — A Boy And His Dog
I hit the pavement hollering and near bit my tongue off. Logue pulled me clear of the line, jammed my hat down tight on my head, un-sucked the goggles from my eyes and handed me my briefcase, which, apparently, he’d carried with him while roping down.
The Captain came down almost on my heels, threw the line and said something into the sleeve of his jacket that didn’t have the snout of his Jesus gun poking out of it. Orders to the Osprey, I assumed. Then he looked at me.
“That was fun, right?” he asked.
“No,” I gasped, bent over a bit, hands on my knees and hoping not to air my paunch right there on my boots. “It was not.”
“Bullshit,” he snapped. “Duncan, you just fell out of a plane and hit the ground living. You seen a dragon’s bones, caught a dawn ride off a whorehouse roof and flew away like a hummingbird. If we hadn’t come to get you, what would you be doing right now? Sleeping? Scratching your balls? It’s adventure time, you ungrateful motherfucker. So tell me, you happy?”
I straightened up carefully, dragging the back of one hand across my mouth and wanting fiercely for a cigarette. “Am I happy?” I asked.
“Yes. Are you happy?”
I thought about it a tick. Examined my internal whatevers. Weighed this and that.
“Yeah, Captain. I am. Happy I’m alive and all in one piece, anyway.”
He grinned then, took me by the shoulder and shook me like rug-pissing dog. “Goddamn right you are. Now it’s showtime.”
Later—much, much later—the Captain would be standing over me in a hospital bed and I would be on the fence about dying, half of me wanting to go but half of me wanting pretty badly to stay. I’d been tore up good. Enough that I was shitting teeth and had ruined more than one set of sheets from bleeding.
The Captain, he had the movie-of-the-week look about him: unshaved, eyes bloody and sunk. The look of a man who’d been sitting uncertainly by a bedside for a long stretch without interruption. But when I roused, he was standing like he’d just arrived. He looked down at me and grinned.
“You happy?” he asked.
Not quite so late as all that, in the bunkhouse, we would cross paths in the long reach of a bad night. Just one in a whole, long train of them. I was fighting with the coffee machine and losing. Throwing things. All of a sudden, he’s just there.
He asks me, “You happy, Duncan?”
He asks me once in the middle of a gunfight. He asks me once on vacation with the team—us painting our tonsils and carrying on like toffs in the streets of some hell-rousing nowhere of which I recall only the green smell of river water, humidity like breathing hot soup, and a midnight rain that burned like bacon grease spattering from the pan. He comes at me out of the darkness with this three-by-nine smile and he asks, “You happy?”
And I was. Lord, I was. Because when the Captain asked, “Are you happy?” what he was really asking was, are you happy-er. What he meant was, Look around you, boy. Think about where you are and what you seen. Think about your day or your life and what it would’ve been if, on the day of your calling up, I had passed you by.
Are you happier with me than you would’ve been as just some schlub? That was what he was asking everyone to whom he put the question. Happier than if you’d slept in today. Called in sick. Happier than some fat, cuntish chucklehead in chinos and a polo, just spending all day barking at a knot. Happier than if you was perished already and gone on to your reward.
End of free sample. Just one brief, flaring moment out of the life of TFTRA’s occasionally unwilling, always undependable main character and narrator, Duncan Archer. And I promise you that leaping out of an aircraft and hitting the ground whole is only like the third-most-exciting thing that happens to him on this particular day.
So go pick up the book, huh? Tell your friends. Tell your loved ones. If you have enemies (and, really, who doesn’t?), the book is about the size and weight of a brick so do with that information what you will.
The sale is going on now. If you wait, you’ll have to pay $3.99 for the digital version rather than $1.99. So, you know, this is just me, trying to save you a buck or two.
Tales From The Radiation Age [Amazon]