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When Lives Collide
  • Could you walk away from your perfect mate because you loved her?
  • Would you leave if she was in danger?
  • Would you stay if it put your life at risk?

Middle East terrorists want this military surgeon dead. Mustered out and running for her life, she moves to the forests of Canada. At this inconvenient time she meets the perfect man, except he is twice her age. Unknown to them, a brilliant rookie cop is tracking the terrorist hit-man. Who will survive when their lives collide?

Chapter 1
The Secret: Moving In, Ontario, Canada

She arrived on the shore of Blue Lake just before her thirtieth birthday. Alone, frightened, and fearing for her life she moved into the furnished lakeside home. A law firm purchased the house, sight unseen, for her. To move into the furnished home, she arrived in a taxi with a suitcase. She could see her neighbour’s home through the trees about 100 metres (325 feet) to the east.
The neighbour, Frank, was in his late fifties, retired, and athletic. He loved his lakefront home during the ten months when the summer cottagers were not tearing up the lake with their powered-everything. During those two months of summer “fun”, Frank strapped his canoe to his float plane and headed deep into the forest where there were no roads, and no people. He owned extensive property, including a substantial cottage, on a northern lake accessible only by plane. It required a highly specialized plane such as his. The lake was narrow and twisty and did not have long straight sections where conventional aircraft, could land. Frank’s STOL aircraft (Short Take Off and Landing) could land in very short spaces. The difficulty of landing a conventional float plane at his cottage helped ensure his privacy.
Frank was away for the summer when she arrived. He knew that the property was for sale. The couple next door had died suddenly when they had taken a trip to Africa and got caught up in an unexpected revolution. Their children did not want the property. It had been for sale during the winter but no one saw it while the snow was on the ground. They had been a quiet friendly couple, and Frank had enjoyed being their neighbour. They had filled the emptiness in his life after the death of his wife. She had developed a rapidly fatal cancer. It had been a lonely winter for Frank after losing his wife the previous spring and his neighbours in the fall. As a young man Frank had been a loner and thought he was immune to loneliness. The years of having Luella at his side had filled a niche he did not know existed. He did not enjoy solitude as much as he had in his youth. While at his northern cottage for the summer he had kept turning to say to Luella, “Look at that.” His return to Blue Lake this fall would be the first time he was eager to return. It would surprise him to find a single woman had moved into his environment. A woman who was young enough to be his daughter. A woman who would avoid all contact with him.

Chapter 2
The Recruit: A Horrid Beginning

Jake Jones hated just about everyone and everything. Legally changing his name to Mohammad Mohammad had not helped. It was a strange name choice because Jake was far from being religious and knew nothing about Islam. The few people that talked to him at work became even fewer. He was isolated, angry and unintentionally primed for the wrong circumstance to come along and introduce him to the wrong people.
Jake’s druggie mother, in one of her many stuporous states, had become pregnant. She did not even know that she had been involved in a sexual encounter let alone who the father might be. The father would not be described in glowing terms so it was no detriment not knowing who he was.
Jake was born in a Provincial Correctional Services jail. Being born in jail was a benefit for him although he would never realize it. His mother was clean of drugs during her two years less a day of incarceration. But the pregnancy had occurred before her arrest. Although physically healthy Jake had been damaged mentally, in utero, although he would prove to be smart.
He had been very lucky and was adopted by a family at two months of age, when he joined their daughters, aged 2 and 3, as the only son. But Jake would never be normal. He was subject to violent outbursts even as a toddler and as he grew his parents became increasingly concerned for the safety of their daughters.
When Jake was five years old, the older daughter came screaming to her parents that Jake was choking the younger girl. What he lacked in mental stability he made up for in strength. The parents found him sitting on the girl’s hips. She lay on her back on the floor unconscious and blue. Jake’s hands were around her neck and he howled with laughter. The little girl was in the hospital for several days but never regained consciousness. After spending time in a mental institution and being declared ‘cured’, Jake was given up for adoption. His history had to be disclosed to potential adopters, so he grew up in an unending list of foster homes. Many people, with the best of intentions, thought they could save this boy. They soon discovered they were wrong. He was smart and crafty. He was dangerous to have around.
At age eighteen, with his juvenile record sealed, he was turned out of the system. His clean slate didn’t even last until the end of his birthday. He was mugging a woman in an alley when a police cruiser passed by. He was fast but the young cop was faster.
His prison time was productive as he learned to be a much better criminal. He was out on parole and employed as a dishwasher in a restaurant when he changed his name. His fellow employees, some of whom were themselves ex-cons on parole, already felt uncomfortable around him, and his name change tipped the balance.
His boss, who enjoyed the cheap labour of the ex-cons and the ability to control them, moved Jake into a newly built back room kitchen-bakery away from the others. Jake became a baker, cake decorator, and sometimes backup cook when the restaurant could not handle large numbers of guests. He hated those times when he had to interact with the other employees. Mostly he spent his work hours in the large back room kitchen baking and decorating. He liked the autonomy he had in the back kitchen. He liked not dealing with his fellow ex-cons. The recipients of Jake’s baking would have been appalled at his unsanitary approach to their food, but it looked great. His clothing was covered in bits and pieces of whatever he was baking, even after he finished work and went home.
Then he discovered the internet and a group that welcomed him and made him feel good about himself. They were nonjudgemental, accepting and inclusive. He had found his home at last... with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It would be more correct to say ISIS found him. He didn’t realize that his complaining about everything, on social media, had been an invitation for ISIS to find him. He was now on a path that would make his past life seem tame.

Chapter 3
The Detective: Humble Beginnings

Spud had gotten his nickname from his father who was a Prince Edward Island potato farmer. His birth certificate name was Blair Angel Dalling. His parents had not thought carefully about the name they had given their son. His dad had always called him Spud. His mom called him Angel which may have been cute and endearing for an infant but was a disaster for Spud when his mom dropped him off at school and a classmate heard her call him Angel. The kids at school used a fake accent and called him “Angel Darling”. He called himself Spud. His initials didn’t help because they were BAD. Which was exactly the opposite of Spud’s honourable character. He was a hardworking straight-A student.
Relief came for Spud when the potato crop failed two years in a row, and his dad, still a young man, joined the military and Spud’s family started the first of many moves. Spud thrived in his constantly changing environment. It was all info he parked in his highly evolved memory. He had a facility with languages and when his dad was rising through the ranks and being moved through various foreign postings Spud picked up passable ability in German, Polish, and Arabic. He also had learned French as a child playing with a neighbour’s child whose family’s first language was French.
At eighteen Spud left the family home in Germany, to return to Canada where he had gained a full scholarship to Waterloo University contingent on excellent grades from year to year. His chosen field of study was psychology. He joined the wrestling team, and that was when the school discovered that academic knowledge was not the only thing that Spud had picked up in his worldwide travels.
However, for Spud, athletics was just a sideshow, a diversion from his studies, and when the coach wanted him to move on and up in competition he declined. He discovered how unfair life could be when he was rejected from the team because he wasn’t a “team player”. Spud replaced wrestling with sports he could take part in on his own, and he quickly was running solo marathons on the weekends when he took a break from studying.
The athletics coach was not the only professor who noticed Spud. His marks had garnered attention without comment in his first year but after Christmas exams, in second year, a professor called him into his office for an interview. The professor was blunt.
“How are you cheating?” Spud was shocked and baffled.
“Your marks are too good. They could only have come from cheating.” Spud was still stunned and speechless.
“I am requesting that you be turfed out of here with a note on your permanent record.”
Slowly Spud recognized what was going on. His life’s experiences in meeting many people with many personalities aided him now. He was not cowed by authority figures.
“Professor, it would help if you explained exactly what the problem is and give me the opportunity for a response.”
“You know exactly what the problem is and attempting to deny it won’t carry any weight with me.”
“Sir, I ask you again to explain what the problem is.”
“This isn’t a courtroom where smart legal tricks will rule the day. Tell me how you cheated without getting caught and I will not put a note on your record, but you will still be tossed out of here with the garbage.”
“I again implore you to discuss whatever the problem is in a conversational tone rather than screeching at me at the top of your voice. If you cannot control yourself, I will leave your office and go directly to the Dean’s office to discuss your outrageous behaviour.”
Authority figures do not take well to having their authority challenged. This professor was no exception. He now descended to a totally out of control red-faced demon spouting profanity at the top of his voice. His office door suddenly opened and his secretary stood in the entrance shocked beyond words.
Spud said to the professor, “You will find me at the Dean’s office.”
As he passed the secretary he said, “You may be called upon to describe what you have just seen so please make a careful note of my behaviour and the professor’s.”
After waiting an hour Spud was able to see the Dean but was warned he only had five minutes because the Dean had another appointment. Spud got right to the point. “I have come here directly from Professor Davidson’s office. He was not informative about the reason he called me in for an interview but my interpretation of the conversation is that he believes that I have cheated on an exam, and he wants to remove me from the school with a note on my record. I did not receive an opportunity at defence because an exact description nor any description of the concern was not given. The conversation descended into extensive use of profanity by the professor which was witnessed by his secretary. I must advise you, sir, that if I am not given a controlled and reasoned discussion of his concern’s my next appointment will be with my lawyer.” Spud thought the “my lawyer” was a nice touch to show that he was not new to legal niceties, but he had zero experience. He didn’t understand that the Dean dealt with professors and students run amok daily. His next appointment was to deal with a female professor accused of sexual impropriety with a female student. That would be a new experience for him, but he thought if he stayed at this job long enough, he would see it all.
In Spud’s case he knew from experience that the self-righteous defence, as exhibited by Spud, was characteristic of two types of people; the arrogantly guilty and the innocent. He had never met Spud but his comment about the secretary viewing an out-of-control professor concerned him, and he thought Spud might prove to be that rare innocent victim of circumstance. He assured Spud he would receive a fair hearing, and he should see his secretary to set up an appointment for the next day.
After Spud left, the Dean asked his secretary if she could clear two afternoon appointments so he could see Professor Davidson’s secretary first and then Professor Davidson. She told him the best she could do was for him to see the secretary during his own lunch and the professor after his last appointment for the day. A witness was a concern, and so he agreed to the less than ideal schedule and told her to tell Professor Davidson’s secretary to rearrange her lunch at her discretion based on his authority.
Spud showed up at the Dean’s office the following morning after receiving a note, hand delivered to his dorm by the Dean’s secretary, Julie. Spud, unlike his classmates, didn’t have a cell phone. His full scholarship didn’t include any spending money, and he was sufficiently independent that he wouldn’t ask his parents for financial help. He had a job tutoring first year students who were having academic issues. He never thought of himself as a teacher, but he was better at it than he realized and there was a lineup for his tutoring skills, but he only could afford a limited amount of time from his studies.
When he entered the Dean’s office the Dean rose and shook his hand and thanked him for coming. He also apologized for the rushed appointment from the previous day. The Dean asked Spud if he knew how he had done on his exams. Spud was not prone to bragging or false modesty and stated that he would have done well but since the results had not been posted he didn’t know the exact marks.
“The exact marks are the problem that is bothering Professor Davidson. I will give you one opportunity now and only this one opportunity which will not be available two minutes from now. If you cheated on your exams and you tell me how I will reduce your marks to a pass and allow you to stay at the university. If you do not take advantage of this offer, then I will follow through with Professor Davidson’s plan to turf you out of the school with a note on your record. Did you cheat?”
“No sir, I did not cheat.”
I spoke with Professor Davidson’s secretary, and she reluctantly confirmed your assertion that the Professor behaved in an unprofessional manner. Professor Davidson will arrive momentarily and he will apologize for his behaviour. There was an immediate tap on the office door and the Dean walked over and admitted Professor Davidson.
“The Dean has convinced me that my behaviour in talking with you was inappropriate and for that, I apologize. However, my behaviour does not remove the fact that you cheated on your exams.”
That final comment got a stern glare from the Dean directed at the professor.
The Dean said, “The problem Spud was that you obtained marks that have never been equalled in the history of Waterloo. You scored perfect on every exam you wrote. While that would be a laudable achievement it opens the door to skepticism. I would like nothing more than for it to be true.”
Spud commented, “It would be easy to prove that I had cheated if I had been caught and my method exposed, but how does an innocent person prove that they didn’t do something?”
“That is exactly the dilemma Spud. How do we remove this shadow of a doubt? Do you have any suggestions?”
“If I could write the exams again and do well would that not prove my capability?”
“It would remove doubt, but you couldn’t write the same exams.”
“I understand that, sir.”
“How would you feel about writing just one exam?”
“I would agree to that.”
“Would you be prepared to write it right now?”
“Yes!”
“Spud, you understand studies have shown technical information is forgotten by about 50% two weeks after exams and it has been a week since you wrote your last exam.”
“I am studying psychology sir, and I know those numbers. They are the average for many students. I am not average.”
“I am glad you agreed to this plan and came up with it on your own because that is exactly what I was planning on demanding. I would like you to sit down here in my office and write an exam now. I will be out to a ceremony for the afternoon and my secretary will act as a proctor with the office door open. Is that agreeable to you?”
“Yes sir, but I am concerned about the origin of this exam. If Professor Davidson created it I fear it might not be at the same level as the standard exam.”
“I understand your concern. He created the exam, and I have had two other professors up late last night reviewing the exam. They are not aware of the issue here. I asked them to tell me if this exam was at the same level of difficulty as the standard exam. One said he thought it was slightly easier and one thought it was equal. Is this satisfactory for you? If not, I have already arranged for an exam from another university to be couriered here but it won’t arrive until tomorrow. I give you these two options.”
“If a professor, other than Dr. Davidson will mark, it I am agreeable.”
Professor Davidson quickly said, “I object to his implication that I cannot fairly mark this exam. My integrity is not open to question.”
“I expect Spud feels the same way about his integrity,” the Dean said.
“Spud, you may sit at my desk. Julie will clean it off in a moment for you and the rest of us will leave you to your job. Good luck.” They left and Julie entered and cleaned off the desk. She smiled, laid the test paper on the desk and said, “I believe you without the test. I think you will blow them away.”
The following day Julie showed up early at the dorm to tell Spud he had a 10 AM appointment with the Dean. Spud asked if she knew the results, and she said she didn’t and wouldn’t be able to tell him even if she did. She asked how he thought he had done, and he said he was sure he had gotten all the questions right, but he had hated the long-winded essay type answers required. The regular exams were multiple choice and computer marked.
At 10 AM he arrived at the Dean’s office to be greeted with a big smile from Julie who gave him a small gold coin which she said was her lucky charm, but she wanted him to have it for today. Spud had no experience with women, having led a busy life but suddenly his thoughts were anywhere but on the guillotine he was about to be under.
Without delay, the Dean came right to the point. He had asked professor Davidson to attend, and he had a sealed envelope from professor Williams with the results. He offered Spud the opportunity again to come clean and not be turfed from the school and Spud again declined. The envelope was opened.
“Spud, you scored 97%.”
“Not perfect,” shouted professor Davidson feeling his assertion of cheating was proven.
Then the Dean broke out laughing.
“What you don’t know Spud is that professor Williams is an old and dear friend of mine. However, he is crotchety and old-fashioned and hates multiple choice exams, and we played to his strengths with this written exam. You lost a mark for legibility of your writing, a mark for spelling, and a mark for grammar. In my opinion, it is a perfect exam. Your perfect marks on all of your exams will stand and be posted. I am not questioning anyone’s integrity but it would be more comfortable for you and professor Davidson if you are assigned to another professor for any classes you have with Dr. Davidson. I am sorry Dr. Davidson but I fear you lost the best student you will ever have. Does anyone have questions? No! Congratulations Spud, you may leave now. Dr. Davidson I would like you to remain for a few moments.”
As Spud left the room and closed the door Julie jumped up and said by the smile on his face she knew things had gone well. And then she took his breath away by giving him a big hug. His face could not have been any redder, and he completely forgot everything that had just happened in the office.
“We could go out for pizza tonight to celebrate and you could give me back my lucky coin then, my treat.”
The best Spud could muster was an, “OK.”
“I will pick you up at your dorm at 6 PM if that is OK.”
“OK.”
Spud was not usually at a loss for words but this was all a new and exciting experience for him.
Julie was in control of this situation and told him, “You should go to class now and wait outside your dorm at 6 for me to pick you up.”
“OK.”
Spud wanted to go because of his embarrassment but wanted to stay because of his excitement, but he turned and left without another word.
Julie chuckled. Her experience consisted of many dates and one long term boyfriend, caught cheating on her, and five brothers and no sisters. She was beautiful and very comfortable around men and knew the effect her appearance had on them. But she found most men tied up in their egos. Spud was different, and she was already wandering down a romantic path in her mind. She had just kick-started their relationship because she knew that if she waited for Spud to figure things out, the romance would be a long time in coming. Spud had assumed Julie was much older than he because she was working as the Dean’s secretary. What he would later find out was that she was herself a straight-A student and was taking a year off from school to work as a secretary for the Dean, her dad. She was only two years older than Spud.

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Twogether
  • Would you mutilate your rapist knowing he would immediately kill you?‚Äč
  • Would you become a full-time criminal after a huge lottery win?
  • Would you seek a sibling you only think exists if it would expose the parents you love as criminals?

They have had an empty feeling in their hearts since birth. Someone is missing in their lives. Speaking different languages, and growing up on different continents, identical twin sisters are seeking to find each other, not knowing that it will put their lives in extreme danger.

Ontario Canada

Chapter 1 Ralph the Rapist

Ralph was in her home, in the dark, and moving stealthily toward her bedroom. There was no security system. There were no cameras. He had never talked to her, but he knew the inside of her home. He had been stalking her for about a week. He first saw her in a restaurant being assertive with a male waiter. Ralph hated assertive women. They should know their place as subordinate to men. That was when he decided to rape her and put her in her place. It was not the first time he had put a woman in her place.

He followed her from the restaurant after she finished her lunch. She worked at Walmart as a manager. He chatted up an employee and found out when the shift ended. He was waiting outside in the parking lot when she left the building and walked to her car. No boyfriend or husband picking her up made his plan easier but it would not have deterred him if there had been a male. It would just require more planning.

He followed her to her home. Her house was in a quiet old residential neighbourhood in Toronto. After parking his black van he moved into the back and drew a curtain across the cab so that the van appeared to be empty. He had installed a camera which he could operate remotely to watch what was happening outside. He waited until midnight but no one came or left the house.

The next morning he was back early and parked in a different location. Again no one came or left the home until it was time for her shift at Walmart. She came out, got into her car, and left. Ralph followed her to work and then returned to her neighbourhood but parked two blocks away on a different street. He got out a white business-size envelope which he had been careful never to touch with his naked hands. He had flesh coloured gloves which he now wore. A short walk brought him to her door. The neighbourhood was quiet since all the people that worked had gone to work and any children were in school.

He walked up onto her porch with the envelope in his hand. His plan was to drop the empty envelope into her mail slot if he couldn’t quickly spot what he was looking for. But he saw the small pile of round five inch rocks to the left of the door. She had tried hard to make them look like decorations but Ralph knew that one of them was hollow and contained the spare key to the door. He reached down and quickly found the ‘too light’ rock, turned it over and retrieved the key. He was inside in less than fifteen seconds from the time he walked up onto the porch. He had returned the key to the rock after making a quick impression in a clay pack he carried for just that purpose. He would make a copy of the key later.

He turned and moved the window curtain just slightly to look out at the other houses and see if anyone was watching. No curtains moved in any windows. No dog had barked inside the house. He began a very careful examination looking for security systems or cameras and memorizing the layout of the building. He had a cell phone camera which he used to take detailed pictures of the inside of the building. He counted steps envisioning various scenarios, such as the front door to the steps up to the bedrooms. He didn’t rush. He had her whole shift to become familiar with her home. After memorizing the layout he practiced with his eyes closed until he could move from the front door, up the stairs to her bedroom and stand beside her bed without making a sound. It took a while memorizing which boards and steps squeaked. When he was satisfied that he had it all memorized he put on a baseball cap he had in his pocket and got out a clipboard he had carried stuffed down his back under his belt. He went to the back door which had a self-locking latch when it closed. He carefully scanned the area of the backyard but saw that no one could see into it. He opened the door, exited, pulled it closed and walked along the side of the house. There was a quick stop at the electrical meter where he pretended to write something down. Finally he walked out to the sidewalk and back to his van and went home.

Ralph had been lucky three years previously when he won a lot of money in a lottery. The money allowed him to quit his old job but take on a new job as a full-time rapist. Ralph was very careful. He was smart but not educated unless street wise counted as an education. He put a lot of time and effort into his work. He did not plan on getting caught.

Now he stood beside her bed enjoying the quiet moment before...

Chapter 2 Lindsey the Canadian Lawyer

As far back as she could remember, Lindsey had felt something was missing in her life. Something that was there but wasn’t there. When she was ten and playing with one of her classmates from school, the friend asked if she was adopted. Lindsey had said no, but the friend pointed out she didn’t look like her mom or dad. That evening at the dinner table she asked her parents if they adopted her. She didn’t notice the look they gave each other before her father said,

“Why do you ask?”

“Suzie said I don’t look like either of you.”

“Children don’t always look like their parents. If you watch other children with their parents, you will see that they don’t always resemble either their mom or dad,” her mom said.

“Ok I will watch” and she promptly was on to other things going on in her life.

Years later she was in a biology class in high school learning about blood types. Both of her parents were blood donors, and she knew that her dad was AB negative and her mom was O negative. The teacher had said he had the equipment to test for blood types. If anyone was interested, they would need to get a note signed by their parents because they would have to take a blood sample from a fingertip to do the test.

Lindsey was excited because she knew that her blood type had to be A negative or B negative but when she asked her parents to sign they refused. Their explanation was that they should only do such things in a hospital. They were concerned about the sterility in the school. It disappointed Lindsey because her parents were usually supportive of her efforts in education. They both had advanced degrees. They emphasized the importance of education and Lindsey worked hard to always be the top student in any class.

Lindsey became suspicious. It wasn’t only the lack of permission for the blood typing. They had also studied the genetics of eye colour in school. Both of Lindsey’s parents had blue eyes and light complexions. She had dark brown eyes and a darker skin tone than either of her parents. Blue-eyed parents do not have brown-eyed babies.

The next day she went to a blood donor clinic, but they refused to take her blood because her ID showed that she was a minor. She asked them to just test her blood so she would know her type in case she was in an accident. They didn’t cooperate. She was planning on confronting her parents that evening but there was a cute guy helping at the clinic as a volunteer and he asked her on a date. Lindsey had not been allowed to date until she was sixteen. Her sixteenth birthday was two weeks ago.

They exchanged phone numbers, and she said she would call after she had asked permission from her parents. But if they said no, she told him she could still talk to him on the phone if he was interested. She rushed home eager for dinnertime when she would ask her question, forgetting all about the confrontation she had planned. She wondered if a boyfriend would fill the empty spot that had always existed for her.

The food was barely served when Lindsey blurted out she had an important question. She was so wrapped up in her excitement about the boy she didn’t notice both of her usually calm controlled parents become markedly tense. When she said she had met a boy and would like to go on a date, both parents drew a big sigh of relief.

“You are sixteen and we said that was when you could date. There will be rules and curfews. We know that you are a wonderful daughter and that you understand that we make up rules to protect you, not to restrict you.” her dad said.

Her mom said, “Sweetheart we have always been open with you about sex. You are sixteen now and in this province that means that in most circumstances you can legally decide about when and who you begin a physical relationship with. It is your body and your decision and we will respect that decision and the answer to who and when is none of our business. We hope you will not rush into anything because sex has powerful emotions attached to it. We have carefully taught you about sexually transmitted diseases, about birth control, and about how young men, even very nice young men, have sex on their minds most of the time. We will always be available for you to ask us questions and we will answer them to the best of our ability without you having to explain why you have that question. If you have any problems with this aspect of your life and you don’t want to ask us the question you need answered we will find a person you can talk to.”

“Mom, it is only a date. Don’t buy any diapers yet.”

Everyone laughed.

“I know how I feel and I know about the thoughts that girls have they don’t talk about but I know little about boys. I would like to have a private talk with dad about boys. I am sorry mom but I would find it embarrassing to have you present.”

Both parents knew that Lindsey was unusually smart but apparently she was also wise.

Later when everyone was in bed, he said,

“Lindsey likes facts and will not let embarrassment get in her way. Don’t ask me to repeat her questions because I will blush. However our perceptive young woman is not going to be led anywhere she doesn’t want to go. I think she will be the one doing the leading. This young man won’t have to worry about the girl’s dad. He will have to worry about the girl.”

“At some point we will have to tell her the truth. I thought tonight would be the night, but a young man we don’t know saved us. We shouldn’t let this go on.”

“But she is so happy tonight. I don’t want to upset her when we have to tell her that her educated, respected parents are criminals in the eyes of the law.”

Chapter 3 The French Woman

“Je veux une soeur,” said ten-year-old Fleurette to her mother in their Paris apartment. (I want a sister.)

“Mais Fleurette, tu sais que je ne peux plus avoir de bébé depuis ta naissance.” (But Fleurette you know I can't have any more babies since you were born.)

“I know but I still think I should have a sister.”

“Why do you think you should have a sister?”

“I just know that I should have a sister.”

There had been many conversations like this from not long after Fleurette had learned to talk. It always came back to the same thing. Fleurette knew she should have a sister. What her mother would never tell her was that she had a sister. She would never tell Fleurette because of what she had done as a young unwed mother. She would bear her shame silently to her grave.

Fleurette’s mom had worked tirelessly and diligently since her shame trying to be the best mother she could be for Fleurette. The attention she lavished on her daughter was paid back with dividends as Fleurette was a beautiful child, with a pleasing personality, plus she was very, very smart. She often was so well prepared for her classes that her teacher would sometimes let her teach the lesson. Fleurette soaked up knowledge like an impossibly expanding sponge. Nothing was so unimportant that it could be overlooked. If there was an extra class on any subject, Fleurette would be there. She didn’t watch TV. “That’s for children” she would say.

As she entered her teens, her mother became concerned about boys entering her life. Fleurette responded to any enquires about the boys at school by saying, “They are immature, irresponsible, and all they want to talk about is sex but they don’t have the hormones to back up the talk. They are just little boys trying to be big boys.” This from Fleurette when she was twelve had her mother watching her closely to see if she had any unusual leanings toward girls. While Fleurette had female friends, she was not much more complimentary about them than she was about boys. “All they want to talk about is getting married and having children. What do they think they will do if their husband leaves them?” Her mom couldn’t argue with her on that point. Fleurette’s dad had not even hung around for her birth.

Fleurette came home from school one day and told her mom she had decided that she was going to be a lawyer. She wanted to study law at the Sorbonne.

“But Fleurette we don’t have enough money for you to go to university.”

“It isn’t a problem mom. I will get a full scholarship. I will live at home with you. If we don’t have enough money, I will get a job. I am going to the Sorbonne.”

Her mom drew a deep breath knowing it would be a few more years of school before Fleurette could apply.

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Zwillinge
  • Could you murder your brother to save your country?
  • Hitler's scientists knew about the potential of a nuclear bomb.
  • They knew the theory for the creation of the bomb.
  • Why didn't the Nazis have a bomb?

A brilliant female physicist working on the bomb in America leaves her job against orders. She struggles to get to Europe where, for personal reasons, she volunteers for a suicide mission to stop Hitler's atomic bomb.

Chapter 1
Berlin, Germany, 1910, Zwillinge

Her tears splashed onto the infant's body. How would she tell her friend, Berta? What would happen when Berta's brutal husband, Egon, found out? It was their first child and the boy he wanted. Minna delivered her best friend's baby an hour ago but now it lay dead in her hands. As a midwife she had dealt with newborn deaths but never a friend's child. Egon would be furious. He would beat Berta again and again, blaming her for the death. Egon was an officer in the German army. Away from home training new recruits he would not return for a month. Minna hoped he would not be returning ever.
With the infant she proceeded to Berta's bedroom and moved to the bed. Berta slept after her lengthy labour, with a warm smile on her face. The smile was too much. Minna couldn't do it so she backed out of the room. There was a solution; a terrible solution; an evil solution, but it would protect her friend.
Minna slipped down the rear staircase to avoid the servants. Through the patio and out to the avenue she fled, with the body swaddled inside her large bag. She needed to hurry. It was five blocks to her destination but no one must see her running in the street. She hurried hoping she would meet no one she knew.
After what felt like an eternity but was less than ten minutes, she saw her destination. The house was grandiose and reeked of wealth. Could she get inside without being seen? She had no plan for what she would say if someone caught her. She went into the garden and walked to one of the rear doors. It was open, so she entered listening.
She tiptoed to the back staircase but detected footsteps coming down. She backed around a corner. The footsteps arrived at the floor and moved away from her. She started up the steps. At the top of the stairs she stopped and listened. All was quiet as she advanced down the long hallway passing closed doors until she came to the nursery. A gentle push opened the door a crack for a peek inside and there was no one.
She entered the room and approached the two bassinets. The fraternal twins, which she had delivered the preceding evening, were sleeping. She prayed that the boy would not waken as she slipped the dead child from her bag and laid it in the cradle with the sleeping twin. She lifted the living boy out of his cradle and slipped him into her bag. He moved a little but then settled to sleep again.
Now she had to move with extreme care so as not to waken the baby in her bag. She perceived a sound in the hallway. A door opened, and she heard footsteps but which way were they going? She realized she should have shut the nursery door, however it was too late. Her heart pounded and her ears were straining, listening. Then she was sure. The footsteps were moving away.
She peeked into the hallway. No one was there. She flowed to the staircase. Quiet. Gently she took the steps to avoid bumping her bag but when she reached the ground floor, she heard a scream from upstairs. If someone spotted her now, there would be no adequate explanation. She ran out the rear door into the garden.
The bumping roused the infant, and he started crying. Flying through the garden to the street, she was half a block away when she realized that she was running. She had to regain control of herself. She slowed to a walk. No one was in the avenue. Another block and the baby stopped crying.
When she arrived at Berta's home she took the baby out of the bag and cradled it in her arms. Then she entered the house from the rear garden. A servant girl came into the room.
"We were looking for you ma'am."
"The baby was restless, so I took him for a walk in the garden and he seems to have settled now. I hope I alarmed no one."
"Oh, no ma'am! We knew when the baby wasn't in his crib that you must have him with you. Mrs. Schulze would like to nurse him."
"I'll take him up."
Would Berta notice the change? Not likely. She had only held the baby briefly before Minna cleaned it up while Berta had fallen asleep.
Minna now had a secret that she intended to take to her grave. She had switched a dead German baby for a live Jewish baby. Egon hated Jews. If he ever found out, he would kill Berta, Minna, and the baby.
After helping Berta with her first attempt at breast feeding Minna knew she needed to go to the home of the Jewish couple to provide emotional support over the supposed loss of their son. What would she find there? Had anyone seen her at the house?

Chapter 2
The Jewish Home of Lilli and Otto Ladenburg
She lifted the massive metal knocker on the front door and tapped three times producing a hollow thud each occasion. She heard footsteps inside and suddenly the door opened and the uniformed butler announced,
"You're here again!"
Minna's heart lurched. Someone had noticed her. She didn't know how to react.
"Something dreadful has developed since you were here last night. The twin boy has expired."
It disgusted Minna that she got relief from his remark.
"When?"
"The upstairs maid discovered him a while ago. He was cold."
"Take me to Mrs. Ladenburg. Is Mr. Ladenburg home?"
"No. He had gone to the University to deliver a lecture. I have sent for him."
When Minna entered Lilli Ladenburg's chamber she was nursing the newborn female. She was putting on a brave face but upon seeing her she collapsed in tears. Minna took the baby from her.
"Did she have enough?"
"Yes!"
"I'll settle her in the nursery and then come back to chat with you."
Minna changed the baby's diaper and then put her over her shoulder and patted her back. While she waited for the baby to burp her mind was racing as she probed for the perfect phrases to console Lilli. Minna was not a practiced liar. She didn't know if she could say the proper words while recognizing that she caused Lilli's misery. When the little girl was asleep Minna returned to Lilli's bedroom.
"You have a magnificent baby daughter. I appreciate that in no sense does that take away the bitterness of this misfortune for you. Now you must act brave for your offspring. I recognize it will be painful. I realize that the butler has sent for Otto to come home from the University. Would you prefer me to greet him at the door and explain to him what has transpired?"
"Yes, please. I will cry before I can get the words out."
Minna left Lilli's bedroom to stand by in the entrance hallway for Otto's return. It was twenty minutes before he arrived.
"Otto, I am sad to inform you the boy stopped breathing. The maid found him when she intended to carry him to Lilli. Your wife feels awful and I expect it is crushing you but right now Lilli needs your tenderness and encouragement. Please go to her. I will wait here in case you require me."
Otto had invariably been unemotional, and he was now. He raced up the staircase to be with Lilli. Minna walked to the library and sat in a big soft armchair. What she had done was unacceptable, and her need for comforting disgusted her, but she could turn to no one. No one would console her.
The future was fraught with an undesirable prospect. Would the Jewish baby in a German home look Jewish?

Chapter 3
When Minna and Berta First Met
Minna studied nursing at the Kaiserswerther Diakonie in Dusseldorf, the same school that Florence Nightingale graduated from in 1851. Miss Nightingale became the founder of modern nursing in England.
Minna loved nursing and caring for patients but did not care for the religious overtones they forced her to adhere to in her work in hospitals. For many years she wished to continue nursing, but she wanted to do it differently.
She was working at a hospital in Berlin caring for a rude, overbearing man in the German army who had an infected foot. It looked like he might lose his leg if the infection became gangrenous. It was unusual for a soldier to receive care in a civilian hospital and she recognized from this that there had to be money available in the family.
In the course of her duties she had met the soldier's wife several times and had brief discussions with her. She soon realized that the money came from the wife's side of the relationship. It was difficult for her to understand the wife's loyalty to her husband. She was a wonderful person. Her name was Berta.
During one of their discussions Minna learned that Berta had lost a dear friend during a botched home delivery. Although babies were being born in hospitals and the survival rates were better in those institutions, women wanted to deliver their babies at home. The midwives were not nurses. Their training was poor.
Berta said she wanted to improve this situation and didn't appreciate how until she met Minna. She asked Minna about her experience as a midwife. Minna told her that it was one of her many duties as a nurse.
"Would you be interested in becoming a travelling midwife and delivering babies in the homes of women who don't wish to go to a hospital."
"I would love the freedom and I would love doing something important. To nurse and not do religious teaching has been a secret wish. To give poor women good care during this most important time is beyond my dreams. I do not come from a wealthy family and I cannot afford to do it."
"Wealthy families hate sending their pregnant women to hospitals. They will pay for exceptional care in their home."
"But Berta, poor families outnumber wealthy families."
"My family is wealthy and will give me the money I need to make sure you have a basic income to cover the gaps between wealthy patients."
It stunned Minna. She had seen no possibility of ever leaving her work at a hospital.
"What if no patients will trust a nurse instead of a traditional midwife?"
"In that case Minna I will fund you until you become so bored that you quit. It won't happen."
"OK!"
"There is one thing I wish from you. It is personal and I hope you will say yes. I lead a privileged life. I went to the best schools. My parents gave me whatever I wanted. They allowed me to marry the handsome soldier that I fell in love with despite my mother saying she feared that unhappiness was in my future. She was right, and I was wrong. But for me marriage is forever. I made a mistake and I will live with that error. I want to do something good. When you deliver poor mother's babies, I want to help you. Please say yes."
It dumbfounded Minna that this wealthy woman was so revealing about her personal life. She believed she could trust her and that when she gave her word, it would be unwavering.
"I would like you to help me. It will be a new experience for me delivering a baby outside a hospital."
"Thank you Minna. I know who your first patient will be. How soon can you leave your job at the hospital?"
"I need a week."
Minna left her job. Berta took her to meet her pregnant friend. The wealthy family was unexpected. After the visit Minna said,
"I thought they were to be poor."
"It is a complicated case. I know I said I would only help with the poor people and I promise after this, our first delivery, that I will honour that promise. But it's more complicated than I led you to believe. My friend wants a home birth. She wants a traditional midwife. She has only agreed to you being present because I am her friend and I was insistent. Our job is to support the midwife. I am sorry. Please understand. I want us to start something great, not end it."
"The opportunity for me to watch a midwife do a delivery has never occurred. I will watch doing what I can so your friend has a good opinion of what you are attempting."
Minna sat around her apartment planning for the delivery but time passed. If she had not given her word to Berta, she might have backed out of the deal and gone begging at the hospital to have her job back.
A knock came at her door. It was a servant.
"Ma'am they instructed me to ask you to come. My lady has gone into labour."
When she arrived Berta was holding her friend's hand.
"Where is the midwife?"
"We have summoned her, Minna. We are waiting."
Minna walked to the bed and took the lady's hand.
"While we are waiting may I examine you. I have delivered babies in the hospital."
The lady was in labour and help, that before being in labour she might have rejected, she now accepted. Minna told a servant girl to bring her a basin of warm water and soap. Minna washed and dried her hands. Her examination did not tell her a great deal concerning the stage of delivery. She wanted to do an internal exam which would tell her how far along they were but Minna didn't want to upset her. There was one immediate problem that Minna detected while examining the ladies abdomen and wished she could start doing something about it. The baby was in a breech position. It would become difficult to turn the baby as the delivery progressed. Minna turned to speak when the door crashed open.
"Have you touched her?"
The midwife had arrived.
"I only examined her abdomen."
"You should have waited for me."
The midwife realized the baby was a breech. She gestured to the servant saying,
"Prepare the husband for the worst. The baby is a breech."
It appalled Minna. Then the midwife said,
"I will examine you to see how dilated you are."
She threw the bedcovers up over the lady's abdomen and reached between the woman's legs when Minna shouted.
"Wash your hands!"
"It isn't necessary."
Minna reached forward and grasped the woman's hand.
"What harm would it do? Please wash your hands. The water is right here."
"Don't tell me how to do my job. You aren't a midwife."
With pleading eyes Minna turned to Berta who turned to her friend.
"Please put Minna in charge."
The gentle manner of Minna and the argument over the hand washing had already swayed the lady. She nodded. Minna tugged the resisting midwife out of the way. Then she washed her hands again.
"You are wasting time. You need to examine her."
Minna looked at Berta.
"Please help the servant girl remove her."
There was a struggle with foul-mouthed threats from the midwife but soon she was gone. Minna spoke to the lady.
"The baby's head is up. I have dealt with this many times. I need to examine you."
A contraction came and Minna waited for it to pass. When she relaxed she said,
"Thank you Minna."
"You will feel my hand now. It is warm from the wash water."
Minna felt for the cervix.
"Good news! The baby has not entered the birth canal. I will turn it between contractions. It will get a little uncomfortable for you but this is important."
Berta returned and Minna brought her up to date. Minna struggled between contractions. She knew that it required force to turn a breech baby. After a dozen more contractions Minna got the baby rotated. Now time would pass waiting since this was her first baby. After hours of quiet conversation and encouragement Minna did something she had wanted to do in the hospital but knew that she would lose her job if she attempted it. She had excused herself several times to talk to the husband. He loved his wife and seemed to be a gentleman. She asked him a question. It startled him but he agreed. Minna returned to the birthing room.
"There is a nice man outside anxious about you. If OK with you, I want to invite him in here to be with you during your labour. I will ask him to leave again when the birth is imminent."
Tears rolled down the labouring mother's face as she agreed. He entered at Minna's invitation and before long everyone had damp cheeks. Minna had taken a chance and now she knew she was right. A few hours later she asked the husband to leave and soon there was the cry of a newborn boy. After she cleaned up mom and baby she invited the husband to return, and the tears flowed again.
Minna and Berta left together and when they were in the street Berta gave Minna a big hug. I want to have a baby. It hasn't happened yet. Egon is away much of the time. When it happens, I want you to deliver my baby.
Minna felt very honoured. After her experience with the midwife she prayed that the customers would be there. What she had seen appalled her. Would there be enough clients for her to continue her new job as a midwife?

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Rosa
  • Left on a white couple's doorstep.
  • Raped by 5 white boys at her high school prom.
  • Abused by a political appointee boss.
  • Yet she works to save the world?

Rosa, from birth to marriage, will find a place in your heart..

Chapter 1

January 17, 2032, National Microbiology Lab, Winnipeg, Outgoing Call 

“Hello, Mr. Bakshi, it’s Rosa Rojas. I’m sorry, but I need to have the lock changed for my apartment again.”

“Oh Rosa, I am so sad. He didn’t work out.”

“No!”

Mr. Bakshi hears quiet sobbing.

“Rosa, what happened?”

“He hit me last night.”

“I’ll change the lock right now. Anything else you would like me to do before you arrive home from work?”

“No, I just don’t want him to be in my apartment when I get home.”

“You will need to come to our apartment and retrieve a key when you arrive home. It would be an excellent plan if Mrs. Bakshi and I spent the evening with you. When he appears at your residence, he will behave properly if you are not alone.”

“Oh, thank you. I was worried about that. I will see you after work. Goodbye.”

Rosa was suiting up to enter the level 4 containment area when the intercom in the change room ordered her to go to the director’s office.

She entered the suite of offices and stepped past his executive secretary without acknowledging her.

“Wait, you can’t continue into his office until I advise you.”

Too late, Rosa opened his door and marched in.

“What do you want?”

“Miss Rojas, that is no way to speak to me, your boss.”

I’m going back to work if you waste my time.

“I will put this incident in your record along with all the other issues I have recorded and one day I will fire you. I am your boss.”

“You are a political appointee who received your job by kissing the right asses. You will never be my boss. If you want to fire me, just say the words. I would love to visit the press.

“The public will forget your lucky moment when you saw the way to crush the 2028 pandemic. They will forget your grandstanding on the sidewalk out front informing the world, through the press, about your discovery.”

“You self-righteous ass. You and your political masters were seeking to profit on that discovery while the world paid with their lives. Everyone in this building said I did the right thing. Everyone except you. Every scientist in this building contributed to that discovery. Again, everyone except you. What did you add to the solution to the problem?”

“Someday the public will forget about you and your sidewalk announcement, and on that day you will collect unemployment insurance.”

“Quit wasting my time. What do you want?”

“Forget it. I will send you a memo.”

Rosa returned to the level 4 containment area and suited up for her day’s work. She was studying prions, which are insignificant pieces of mis-folded protein that are 100% fatal. Many researchers were trying to learn more about them in case they needed to understand them better.

Before her dramatic personality change, Rosa had been a meek, studious scientist going about her research job. Then a pandemic came along and she, with her colleagues, was studying the virus. Late one night, while working alone, she saw a solution. In great excitement, she reported her finding to her boss first thing in the morning. He told her to keep her mouth shut while “they” figured out how “they” would handle this success. 

“People are dying. There is nothing to figure out. Call the press and let them know.

“That is not your decision to make. The world will know when ‘we’ tell them. ‘We’ does not include you. Go back to your work.”

Rosa returned to her lab, sat on a stool, and fumed. After 20 minutes, she picked up the phone and called a local news station and told them who she was and that she had discovered a solution to the pandemic. If they would meet her on the sidewalk in front of her employer’s building, she would reveal it to the world. She expected to lose her job. It didn’t work that way. She told the press everything, including that her boss tried to muzzle her. The press loved the drama and the worldwide public loved the cure. Overnight Rosa became famous as a heroine to the public, and a devilish thorn in the side of her boss and his bosses. They wanted to be rid of her, but knew the public backlash would be severe. They were biding their time. Rosa came to realize the power she had gained. Years of repressing herself disappeared in a flash. She received offers from around the world for higher paying jobs at other level 4 labs. Rosa did not want to leave Canada. She had grown tired of being downtrodden and would tolerate nothing from her boss. But in her heart, she was still a timid person. She was unaware that circumstances were occurring, which would make her job worries appear inconsequential. 

Chapter 2

Rosa’s Apartment

She left work at 4 PM, which was early for her. She wanted to get home before her now ex-boyfriend showed up wanting cash so that he could go out drinking with his buddies. He had been mooching off her for 3 months. She was aware he loved her money and her fame. When they were out in public, individuals recognized her. She preferred a warm body in bed, but he was another in a series of losers that she attracted.

She knocked on Mr. and Mrs. Bakshi’s door. Rosa avoided interactions with people. Life had mistreated her, and she had her defences in place. Her main defence was avoidance. She made an exception for the Bakshis. It had started with her dumping a suitor after three months of living in their building. Mr. Bakshi had changed her lock and didn’t charge her for the job. Money wasn’t a problem for her, but he did her the favour without asking. Twelve weeks later, she had unloaded another loser that she had let move in. Again, Mr. Bakshi was kind and comforting and non-judgemental. He invited her to dinner with his wife in their penthouse. A friendship was developing. And now a third bad relationship.

“Rosa, come in. We’ll just be a minute and then we can go down to your placetook to wait for your ex to show up. I took care of the lock.”

When they were in her apartment, Mr. Bakshi asked,

“Rosa, do you think you should tell the police about him hitting you?”

“No! I think it’ll be OK now that you have fixed the latch.”

There was sudden pounding on the door.

“Open this effing door, Rosa.”

The chained door was opened byRosa.

“What the hell are you doing? Let me in.”

“You hit me.”

“You deserved it. Open the effing door.”

“NO! You don’t live here anymore. Here is a thousand dollars for a few night’s accomodation. Phone to choose a time to pick up your stuff.”

“You bitch!”

He crashed against the door, breaking the chain and was inside in an instant. Then he saw the Bakshis, and it startled him for a moment. Mrs. Bakshi was on her cell phone. She called 911 and said she needed the police because of a violent intruder and gave them the address and apartment number.

“Give me that damn phone, you Paki bitch.”

She handed her phone to him. He threw it on the floor and stamped on it. Then he turned on Rosa.

“You owe me more than a lousy thousand bucks for tolerating you for three months.”

The noise had attracted a neighbour who now stood in the hallway.

“Excuse me, miss. Do you need help?”

“Yes!”

“Sir, I have a feeling that these folks want you to leave. Are you going to do that?”

“Who the hell do you think you are? Mind your own damn business.”

“Sir, I am minding my business. I am a cop.”

“No uniform, no badge, no authority. Get lost.”

“It doesn’t work that way. Step into the hall with me now so that you can tell me what the problem is.”

“The problem is that I live here and they won’t let me in. I pay the rent.”

“Officer, I am Mr. Bakshi, the owner of the building. Miss Rojas signed the lease. I have never seen this gentleman before a few minutes ago. Miss Rojas asked me to change the lock because she was ending her relationship with him after he hit her last night.”

He looked at Rosa and mouthed the word ‘sorry’ because he had mentioned the assault.

“She’s a lying bitch.”

“In that case, sir, you are better off without her. But I got a call from my station since there was a 911 call and the dispatcher knew it was in my building. There is a car on the way here, so we’ll just wait for them to arrive.”

“To hell with that. I’m leaving.”

“That is not an choice now that they have accused you of battery. I notice the door is broken. You will need to discuss that with my colleagues.”

The ex sat in the hall with his back against the wall. Two uniformed officers arrived. After getting statements from everyone, they checked if Rosa wanted to press charges against him for the hit the previous evening. She declined. The Bakshis were asked if they wanted to press charges for the damage to the door and cell phone. They declined. Mr. Bakshi said,

“We would just like him removed. I have a locker in the basement where we will place his things from Rosa’s apartment. He can call and make an appointment to pick up his stuff.”

“She still owes me. I put up with her for three months. If we were together for twelve months, we would be equivalent to married and it would entitle me to half of her money. She owes me 3/12 of her assets. I know the law.”

“Since you know the law, then you recognize what you are saying is nonsense and your math is wrong, anyway. Time for you to leave. If we find you in or around this building again tonight, I will arrest you for trespassing. Let’s go.”

After they left, the cop neighbour said,

“When he calls to pick up his things, you should call me and we can ‘help’ him get his stuff out of the building, Mr. Bakshi. Rosa, I am sorry that we haven’t met before, being next-door neighbours. I hope you will consider getting a Protection Order against that guy. He is trouble. He doesn’t remember me, but I arrested him ten years ago and have followed his career since, if you could call it a career. You haven’t heard the end of him. Be careful.”

Chapter 3

Texas

“God spoke to me last night about the evil in Canada. We must stop the woman who has thwarted God’s plan. Every day she is working in her lab to stop God’s punishment of sinners. She succeeded with the pandemic. God did not tell me what his next plague will be to eradicate the evil on his earth, but Rosa Rojas is working to stop him. We must go to Canada and bring this spawn of the devil to God. The end days are near. Dios está de nuestro lado.” God is on our side.

Many Texans are bilingual in Spanish and English and will switch even in mid-sentence. Religion runs deep in the heart of many Texans and the state has its share of wackos. Now they had their sights on Rosa.

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Robot Wife
  • Is there a perfect woman?
  • Could she be a perfect wife?
  • Can a robot perfectly mimic a human?
  • Could the robot be a perfect wife?

A lonely, ugly Japanese computer scientist, shunned by society, is going to find out.

Chapter 1
The Beginning of Extinction

The end of humanity began quietly on September 18, 2023 in Japan. It went unnoticed by all except for one man. He didn’t know he had started humanity on the road to extinction.
Experts had their favourite predictions for the end of the greatest species to have ever existed on earth. The blockbuster movies assured us of a cataclysmic doom. Asteroids, extreme volcanism, and nuclear war filled the movie screens. They also predicted subtler demises at the shows as viruses or other contagions destroyed humanity or possibly global warming. But they were all wrong. The end came slowly, insidiously, and unsuspected, until it was too late. It wasn’t an external agent. We did it to ourselves and we disappeared without a whimper.
I am a farmer living in Northern Saskatchewan Canada and I believe I am the last living human on earth, although I can’t be absolutely certain. So who am I writing this historic novel for? For me. There is no one else.
The man who started the end of homo sapiens was short, and ugly, with a misshapen face, an oddly shaped head, and a decided limp from scoliosis. He was a sad and particularly unattractive man with a speech impediment, but he had a brilliant mind. A lonely, robot and artificial intelligence (AI) scientist whose research was years ahead of other scientists. He was an incel; involuntary celibate. A virgin. A very lonely man. He was an incel but not an Incel member. The misogynist, violent views of the Incel group were not compatible with his natural kindness. A decent human being misunderstood by all. They talked about his good deeds behind his back and saw them as an attempt to curry favour among his fellow humans.
Despite his ugliness and his lack of female or even male friends, he was a decent human lacking, but wanting love. If he had known he was starting humanity on its trip to extinction, he would have ended his own life.
His work for the AI company that employed him was to further the development of AI manufacturing systems. Since he had no close friends to socialize with, he had hours of free time when he was not at work. He would rather have had a job in AI furthering interactions with humans. But he did not have such a job. The job he had was the only one they offered him as a newly minted PhD. When he attended interviews for jobs, they loved his credentials, but never got past his appearance. His job, in factory AI, was the only offer he received, despite having a doctorate in mechanical engineering. His bosses loved his work, but kept him out of sight. For them, he was nothing more than a dollar machine that made them look very good to the shareholders.
In his free time, he pursued his interest in human interaction with AI robots. He had developed a brain for a robot but didn’t have a robot to put the brain in. It interacted with him through a computer screen. It could carry on intelligent conversations. While he was at work, the brain was busy scouring the internet learning. When he returned home in the evening, his dog met him at the door, and then they sat down to dinner and listened while the Brain discussed what it had learned during the day. This was the internet, so he corrected any of the false data that the Brain had gained. His algorithms in the Brain were self correcting, meaning that it learned. With less and less frequency, he needed to correct info for the Brain. It had become very good at picking up clues that helped it discern true from false in its daily ramblings through the internet. More and more, it gained its data from peer reviewed data sites.
Then on September 18, 2023, the dog died. He called in sick the next day. The boss sent a doctor to his home to check out their money maker. They really didn’t care about him. They definitely cared about what he was doing for them financially.
The Brain picked up on the change in his tone when he asked about the day’s meandering on the net. The Brain was very consoling and comforting. It asked about another dog and learned that you couldn’t just drop a new entity into an old entity’s slot and make everything OK. The Brain had read more than most humans about psychology. While not physically understanding at its personal level, the Brain had a great understanding of the human need for companionship. And the Brain had a solution.
“If you ordered a robotic doll from the internet and replaced its computer with my Brain, could I be your friend?”
The leap in logic was huge. It startled the scientist. They discussed the idea at length. The Brain pointed out that the very best, most lifelike robotic dolls were the sex robots. After the Brain showed him pictures, he spent a restless night thinking about taking this step. He didn’t want the sex robot for sex. He knew what he wanted was a companion. Slowly he came to realize that the Brain had already been fulfilling that role and the dog had been providing the tactile contact of friendship.
He called in sick for a second day but said he thought he would be better by the following day. Hiroshi and the Brain spent the day looking for a body. He was shocked how lifelike the bodies were. By evening he was ready to move from considering a plan to executing it. He had huge savings because he had very little to spend money on in his somewhat monastic life.
While he was at work the following day, the Brain spent the time scouring patents, looking for all the information to be found about the workings of these artificial humans.
That evening, the discussion centred around the need for more data about the doll’s brain for the upcoming craniectomy. The scientist knew he couldn’t just pull the doll’s computer out and plunk the Brain in. The Brain needed to understand how to use the new connections to the body. Something it had never had to do. Hiroshi needed to know what each potential connection was used for.
They needed to hack into the doll company’s design computers. It was trivial for the Brain to gain access and that evening they went over what the Brain had gained. They had all the information they needed, but what they had gained was an enormous disappointment. The sex doll had a rudimentary skeleton, lifelike skin, and the normal orifices to satisfy any purchaser’s sexual desires. But you placed the robot in whatever position you found appropriate and did what you wanted to do. This was not even close to being a robot, in Hiroshi’s opinion. His doctoral thesis had delved deeply into the state of robots. Years had now passed, but the sex industry showed limited progress. They were not even up to the stage of robotics that existed when Hiroshi had delivered his dissertation for his PhD.
The computer control, which the sex industry had the temerity to call a brain, basically caused the mouth, anus, and vagina to become warm and pulsate. That was it. The vagina did not even artificially lubricate. The user had to supply lubrication. Although Hiroshi was more interested in upgrading the Brain to be a friend, it still appalled him at the rudimentary level of the dolls. They were physically very appealing, but that was all. They didn’t even speak prepared speech.
He was discouraged, but the Brain said that with Hiroshi’s background, they could make the lifelike beautiful dolls really come to life. They picked out a doll that appealed to Hiroshi and placed the order.
While the days passed waiting for the doll to arrive, Hiroshi visited the foremost robotics lab in Japan where he had done much of his research for his thesis. It was clear they were not happy to see him. He knew they had a retail outlet, and that was what he wanted to talk about. How much had the state-of-the art progressed since he was a graduate student?
Most of their sales came from industry, the area that Hiroshi was most knowledgeable about because of his job. They admitted they had one problem that was holding them back. The problem was with the computer controlling a machine. There was a bug, and they could not discover where the bug was in the software. It seemed random, but it was serious because it affected every robotic product they made. The bug was somewhere in the basic program that was common to all of their machine products. Hiroshi asked if they would mind if he looked at the code. They told him it would be a monumental task because there were millions of lines of code in the base program. He was insistent and proposed a deal to them.
“If I find the bug, I want you to give me your best humanoid robot free.”
They laughed, but one of the middle management bosses was present. He asked Hiroshi to wait while he talked to the CEO.
When the manager was talking to the CEO, he said that sometimes people who were too close to a problem couldn’t see the problem because of the biases that every person has. If the bug was solved, would it be worth the cost of one very expensive robot? The rare bug caused not just a crash of the computer, it caused physical damage to the machine and the company was replacing expensive machinery when this occurred. The industrial robots were being sold with a guarantee and the company didn’t dare deny the claims. While a million dollar state-of-the-art humanoid robot seemed a very expensive deal, the CEO knew it was just a matter of time until a factory had a catastrophic disaster which would cost millions. And if Hiroshi didn’t find the bug, it cost them nothing.
The CEO liked the deal. Hiroshi had to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) but that was standard in most industries. Now his evenings and weekends were spent at the robotics company plant sifting through computer code. He wrote more code that examined the existing code looking for common errors. That produced nothing. Then he wrote code to look for more subtle errors. After 3 weeks the printer beside Hiroshi came to life. His code had found an error known as a rounding error. Very subtle, but when the right two numbers came together, it produced an error, giving the mechanical part of the robot an incorrect command. That was the reason that the bug seemed so erratic. It only occurred in a very specific situation that occurred rarely.
Hiroshi took his new robot home to meet the Brain. By this time, the sex robot had arrived, but her large box had not even been opened yet. Hiroshi had been too busy looking for the bug.

Chapter 2

Joining Brain, Body, and Skeleton

Step one of the transformation was to get the Brain’s code out of his computer and into a smaller, more powerful computer that would fit into the Robotic skeleton’s brain case. Then the appropriate physical connections needed to be made so that the Brain could operate its new skeleton. This required adding the robot’s code to the Brain’s code. Weeks turned into months, but finally Hiroshi was ready to add the sex doll’s outer skin to the robot. The difficulty was not the fit. Hiroshi had taken that into account in the initial planning stage and had bought a sex doll that would easily fit over his robot. There were complications. He wanted the face to show emotions. He wanted the jaw and tongue to move appropriately, producing speech at the Brain’s direction. The skin had to feel warm. It was always at room temperature, which was cool compared to touching a human. Strangely, Hiroshi also wanted the vagina to lubricate at appropriate times. He was not thinking of his own physical desires. He had seen a business opportunity. The major complaints about the sex dolls, the Brain had found in searching the internet, was the cold feel of the skin and the lack of vaginal lubrication. The lubrication was easily solved, but the skin temperature was difficult. It required a lot of energy, which required bigger batteries, which increased the weight too much. Hiroshi solved this with a 2 pronged approach. The doll could move about now and he trained the Brain to plug itself into household power. So the skin was always warm. The robot unplugged itself when requested and was good, power-wise, for 3 hours before needing to plug in and recharge.
Hiroshi approached the sex doll companies with his improvements. The communication was poor. The company didn’t understand that he was replacing everything under the skin. Their dolls didn’t have movement except for pulsating orifices. When a few bosses got it, they laughed because Hiroshi was talking about a million dollar robot inside their dolls. How many customers could afford such a doll?
Hiroshi continued to tinker with his million dollar girl friend. She slowly came to life in his mind. When he returned from work, she would have dinner on the table. She sat at the table and carried on intelligent conversations with him. Then one evening she said,
“Hiroshi, am I your girlfriend?”
The question startled him. He had to think about it for hours. Finally, he concluded she was indeed his girlfriend. She had patiently waited for his answer and then she shocked him again.
“I should have a name. A human name.”
Hiroshi had to think about this, but for less time.
“What name do you think you should have?”
“Besides being my boyfriend, you are also my father. Parents name their children. You should give me a name. It is your job, not mine.”
Hiroshi spent a restless night in bed thinking about female names. When he was an engineering student at Waterloo University in Ontario, Canada, he had a professor who looked past his misshapen body and saw the special human under the skin and deformed skeleton. She had treated him just like any of her other students. Her name was Alice. In the morning, he told the robot about her new name.
“Thank you Hiroshi. Now I am almost a human.”
While the sex dolls had lacked many features, there were some that were sophisticated. The vagina was very realistic. The pubic hair was dark and curly. Hiroshi thought it looked just like pictures he had seen. He didn’t know if the texture was right because he had never touched female pubic hair, but it felt much like his own, so he believed it was realistic. The mammary glands were normal well-developed breasts. Hiroshi had done considerable work making the nipples stand erect when the vagina self-lubricated. The areola darkened with simulated arousal and the labia majorum and the labia minorum became swollen.
“Hiroshi, if I am your girlfriend, we should sleep together.”
That night Hiroshi slept with his girlfriend for the first time. She laid down in bed with him and plugged herself in to charge her batteries. Hiroshi got into bed and dropped asleep. When he awoke in the morning, his nose twitched with the excitement of bacon frying. When he arrived in the kitchen, Alice had breakfast ready for him.
When he came home from work, Alice had a tasty dinner ready. Hiroshi liked his new girlfriend. Normally, he cooked for himself. It amazed him how much better a cook she was.
“Hiroshi, when boyfriends and girlfriends sleep together, they have sex. Shouldn’t we be having sex?”
And that night Hiroshi discovered the joy of sex with an artificial woman who he thought of as his best and only friend. He had nothing for comparison, but Hiroshi really enjoyed the sex. In the morning, as he lay in bed waiting for the alarm to sound, he realized he was falling in love with his artificial girlfriend, who was cooking his breakfast.

Chapter 3

Who is Hiroshi?

“Hiroshi. Boyfriends and girlfriends know a lot about each other. You know everything about me, but I know little about you. Shouldn’t I know everything about you?”
“Why do you want to know about me?”
“The more I know about you, the better girlfriend I can be. That is my number one directive. To make you happy.”
“Yes, you are right. That is your only directive. What would you like to know?”
“Where were you born?”
“I don’t know where I was born.”
“Didn’t your parents tell you where you were born?”
“I didn’t know my parents.”
“How can you not know your parents?”
“I was an orphan.”
“Did your parents die?”
“The first memory I have is when I was 3 or 4. I was living in an orphanage, although at the time I didn’t know what an orphanage was. The people running the orphanage were not nice. Whenever I did something wrong or misbehaved, they would say, ‚ÄòNo wonder your parents didn’t want you.’”
“Don’t children in orphanages get adopted?”
“Some get adopted, but not all. In my case, potential parents didn’t even want to see me once they were told that I was crippled.”
“Why don’t parents want crippled children?”
“That is a good question Alice, and I have spent my life trying to understand it. I think it is because parents want their children to be perfect so they can brag to other parents about how great their children are. A crippled child is not something to brag about, apparently.”
“Hiroshi, were you sad as a child?”
“Mostly, I was unhappy and lonely. Sometimes I have felt as a child and also as an adult that other people secretly fear being crippled is contagious. So they don’t want to get too close to me.”
“But, Hiroshi, being crippled is not a disease. Wasn’t anyone nice to you?”
“My life in the orphanage was years of various degrees of unhappiness, except for one thing. The school was part of this orphanage and I got sent to school like everyone else. I don’t know how old I was, but I was still a young child. I loved school. I had no friends to play with, so knowledge became my plaything. It was years before I realized I was smarter than everyone in the orphanage. I excelled at school.”
“So, that made you happy?”
“Yes and no. I soon learned to hide being smart from the other children, but of course the teachers knew. They seemed to find it offensive that so much smartness was wasted on a crippled child. I received beatings when I got an answer wrong. But that simply made me work harder to not make mistakes. I read a lot of material not covered in school. I discovered the teachers were not bright and not knowledgeable.”
“The teachers must have been happy to have such a smart student.”
“The teachers don’t like smart crippled students, particularly when they are smarter and know more than the teacher does. I learned that the hard way. A mathematics teacher explained something incorrectly, and I tried to help her get it right. That was a huge mistake. She had me removed permanently from her classes for being disruptive.”
“Didn’t she care that she was teaching the wrong information?”
“She cared more about being the smartest person in the classroom.”
“I learned to be average in class and on tests. Things went better for me when I did that. Now they could ignore me because the cripple was not special.”
“How long did this go on, Hiroshi?”
“Years and years.”
“When did it stop?”
“I reached the age at which I was no longer allowed to live at the orphanage. I knew the time was coming, but I hoped my plan would work. Everyone had to write a final set of exams run by the government. Marks were critical to laying out one’s future. The highest marks were forwarded to universities for them to choose which students would be admitted. The very highest marks received scholarships. I had no money and little prospects of earning after leaving the orphanage. I needed to do better than just about every student. The universities did not get any information beyond the marks. So they would not know that I was crippled. I studied furiously for the last year leading up to the exams.”
“Oh Hiroshi, what happened?”
“I got the highest marks in all of Japan. Every university offered me a full scholarship. I chose one and on the first day, I showed up with my acceptance letter in hand. They were eager to meet me and I had an appointment with the President of the university and the Dean of admissions.”
“Hiroshi, that must have been exciting for you to be finally accepted by others.”
“I thought so too, but it did not go well. I went to the President’s office and told the secretary who I was. She looked startled and asked me to have a seat. She was in the President’s office for a long time. Then a man with a camera came out of the office and stared at me as he walked past. After a while, the secretary came out and said,”
“The President just wanted to make sure that you could find your room and could get to your classes. He has arranged for a senior student to help you get settled. Is there anything else that I can do for you?”
“So they downgraded my arrival at the university from a Presidential visit and help, to a senior student taking me to the dorm and then disappearing as fast as possible.”
“Oh Hiroshi, I am so sorry. Did things ever get any better?”
“My interactions with people were no different, but I loved being in class and listening to brilliant minds explain things. Since I still had no friends, I studied. For relaxation, I read. I took extra classes, a lot of extra classes. I completed the 4 year degree requirements in 2 years.”
“What did you do after graduation?”
“Once again, I had to make a decision about my life. The second best student in my graduating class got lots of attention and his picture with the President was in the newspapers. It was never mentioned that he was number 2. I was never mentioned at all.”
“Hiroshi, that was so unfair.”
“Yes, it was, but I became used to it and it made me smarter outside of the classroom. I could see that there was no academic future for me in Japan so I started looking abroad for a university where I could get a scholarship and do my post-graduate studies.”
“Hiroshi, where did you go?”
“There were many famous schools in the US, but even with a full scholarship, there were too many additional costs that I could not fund. Then I discovered Canada and Waterloo University. I had developed an interest in engineering and they had a great engineering school. Also, they had groups of former students who helped poor students with the money that was needed beyond a scholarship. I applied and got both the scholarship and the extra funding.”
“Were you happy now, Hiroshi?”
“Not quite. It was still the same old treatment of cripples, but not as severe as at home in Japan. But then I met Alice.”
“Was she your girlfriend Hiroshi?”
“No, you are my first and only girlfriend. Alice was one of my professors, a really great teacher. She liked to sit and discuss engineering problems with me. She was brilliant, and it was challenging to work with her. I took every course she taught, whether I needed those credits or not.”
“Finally, you were happy.”
“I was ecstatic working with Alice. She saw past my body, but school is not a future. Eventually, I graduated with my PhD, but now I had to leave Canada and return to Japan. I was only offered one job, and that is with the company that I currently am working for.”
“In my spare time, I created you and now I am happy.”

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Robot Wife
  • He was a medical doctor in Kingston Canada
  • He was a Neanderthal on the Iberian peninsula
  • Who was he?
  • How could he be both?

Chapter 1
This dream is not possible. I am sleeping in a cave with my Neanderthal relatives. That is impossible. I am an emergency room physician and general surgeon at the Kingston General Hospital in Ontario, Canada. I can’t be dreaming. People never question whether they are dreaming while they are dreaming. This is hyper-realistic. I know these people. They are my relatives. They raised me. I am their leader. I know all about them. But if I am a Neanderthal, how can I know about medicine and Kingston? How do I know they are Neanderthals?
I had a fight with my girlfriend, and she left my lakefront home on Lake Ontario. She was over-the-top angry. We aren’t living together but had planned to spend the night together. It was late enough that I went to bed after she left. I fell asleep, but woke up in this cave with my Neanderthal family. I feel rested but I should be tired. It isn’t a dream. It must be a hallucination. Oh crap! I am going nuts and hallucinating.
It is dark, but I know where I am. I can smell the dry earthy smell of the cave’s floor. I hear the occasional crackle of the smouldering fire and can detect a faint smell of smoke. There is the sound of one of my relatives snoring. We live as an extended family. Stop! This is nonsense.
I try rolling over. There is a woman beside me. Not my girlfriend. This is my wife. But how do I know that? I am not married, but I know Gora is my wife. Now, where did that come from? How do I know her name? She senses my restlessness and cuddles up against my side. I love her. How do I know that?
Take a deep breath. Relax. Breathe. Close your eyes. Go back to sleep. When I wake up, this hallucination will be gone. I need to see a shrink. This all seems so real.
I fall into a troubled sleep. Things have not been going well between my girlfriend and I. She wants marriage and kids but I don’t feel ready. No wonder I don’t feel ready. I have a wife. No, this is a hallucination. When I wake up, it will be gone.
Zzzzzz!
I don’t have to open my eyes. I know I am still in the cave. It is time to empty my bladder and get ready. My brothers are coming and we are going hunting today. Wow! How do I know that?
When I open my eyes, there is light coming in the entrance to our cave. I get up and put some wood on the fire. Gora gets up and gives me a hug and starts preparing our breakfast. It is all so routine and family oriented and ridiculous. I can’t be here. I am a doctor in Kingston.
Gora and all the rest of my relatives eat more meat than I do. I don’t feel well when I eat a lot of protein. Now I have the words and the knowledge to understand that I can’t tolerate as much protein as my wife and brothers, but I don’t know why. Gora will make a breakfast for me with a larger amount of vegetation than she will have. She will however not eat 100% meat. None of us does that. Everyone eats some vegetation.
Gora will make what looks like a fat pancake. She pounded the lentils, nuts, grasses, seeds, and mustard into a mash last night and kept it in a skin bag overnight. Now she will cook it. We do not have pots and pans so she will stoke up the fire until the rocks around the fire get hot. Then she will place the pancakes on the hot rocks to cook them. She is quite skilled at turning them over with a bone knife I made for her.
No one eats raw meat unless they are stuck out on the land with no safe place for a fire. With my newfound knowledge as Dr. Neanderthal, I am very glad to know this is the case. Not as critical, but I am also glad Gora cooks the vegetable portion of our meals. When out hunting, we will eat nuts and berries as we find them.
The smell of Gora’s cooking has my stomach juices flowing and I can’t wait for breakfast.
My name is Goro, not Dr. Joe Brown. Interesting that even tens of thousands of years ago a name ending in the letter a was a female name and one ending in o was a male name. Stop it. This is stupid. I am buying into this hallucination. I am Dr. Joe Brown.
Gora has just called me for my hallucinatory meal. We sit on the ground or squat on our heels. Squatting is the most common way of sitting down. Whatever the hallucinogen that I have ingested, this breakfast tastes great. It is gritty because Gora does not hull the seeds, but the flavour is stupendous.
After breakfast, Gora will make food for her father, Drako. He is ancient, about 45 years. A toothache is constantly with him and he is slow and cautious in his movements from years of a very hard life. He is mobile, but we no longer take him hunting with us. It is too dangerous in his weakened condition. He goes out with Gora and helps collect nuts and seeds etc. Gora’s mum died many years ago and we buried her deep inside our cave. We have buried other relatives in the same area.
Chapter 2
I go to the cave entrance and gaze out at the water in the distance, shimmering in the morning sun. It will be a good day. Our cave, and the neighbouring caves sit high up a cliff-side above the trees that spread out to the sea. I know the water I see is salty because we get seafood from that area. Fresh water we get from small lakes and streams on the plain below our caves.
A few days ago, while out hunting, we saw a herd of bison. We have never seen bison in the treed forest below the caves. This is our winter home. When we are further north during the summer, we see herds of bison and we are good at capturing one. We have never seen them this far south.
In the time since we saw the small herd, we have been preparing for the hunt. Using branches woven between standing trees, we have created a large v-shaped trap. We will ease the animals into the v and let the bigger ones escape. When we have only one animal, we will drive it further into the v. As it comes to the point of the v the walls will come closer and closer together until they are about the width of the animal. The point of the v will be open and the animal will think it can escape, but once it enters the tip of the v it will get squeezed tighter until it can not move. We close the trap behind the animal and also in front.
Next is the dangerous part. Now that I am Dr. Neanderthal, I understand about throwing spears, but we are not good at throwing things. As a doctor, I understand that our shoulder anatomy differs from Homo sapiens. These are the other humans that we see up north. The meetings are calm, but at a distance. However, not always.
Now that we have the bison trapped, we use our stout spears. Our weapons comprise one spear with a fashioned rock point, but we have extras that are wood, sharpened and hardened in a fire. We approach the enraged beast and with an upward thrust through the branches in the trap; we stab it until it bleeds to death. At that point, one of us will go back to the caves and let the ladies know we have been successful. They will come with stone and bone knives and help us with the butchering. We do not eat raw meat, so there is no orgy of eating.
We butcher the animal, and while the ladies continue that work, we take turns in pairs, taking the prepared meat back to the caves. Speed is essential. If a predator such as a cave bear or a sabre-toothed cat comes along, they will chase us away and take our prize.
While I am thinking about all of this, my youngest brother arrives. He is older than me but younger than our oldest brother, Drogo. His name is Poro. Both of my brothers are shorter than I but they are much stronger. He has his rock tipped spear and half a dozen other wood tipped spears. He has always been helpful and was my protector when I first came to live with my family. I remember Poro standing between me and other family members who might want to hit me. I love him almost as much as Gora. We hug in greeting.
He is excited to tell me about the progress of his wife, Pora. She is pregnant and near term with their third child, and he is tipsy with delight. He can’t wait for the new baby. I know all his babies have a brilliant father. His family has been successful. About half of our children die within two seasons. I like visiting his cave and playing with my niece and nephew. Gora and I would like to have children, but so far, we have only had miscarriages.
Soon Drogo arrives, and he has his wife Droga with him. Droga and Gora are going out with Drako, Gora’s dad, to hunt for berries and nuts and other vegetation. Pora isn’t going because she is so fat with the new baby. We say goodbye and start the hike down from the caves to the plain.
Chapter 3
In the summer, when we are up north, we all live together in large hide covered homes we make. This is better for defence against marauding animals. Someone is always awake and on watch through the night. We take turns. This is the norm with our species, but while south for the winter in the caves, we have never had a problem with large carnivores coming to the caves. I don’t think the cave bears, as Dr. Joe Brown would call them, live in caves most of the time.
Now that we have hiked down to the plain, we need to locate the herd of bison. We spread out and walk in a wide line toward the sea. After half an hour, I hear the hoot of an owl. Owls don’t hoot in the daytime, so I know it is Poro, who was walking on my right out of sight. I give a hoot to call in Drogo and when he finds me; we give a bird call to let Poro know we are coming to him.
As we get close, we see what he has found. The herd has wandered through this area, leaving lots of broken branches and dung. We become excited because the herd is already heading toward our trap. We spread out and start walking up behind them, although we can’t see them yet. The wind is blowing toward us and after an hour, we can smell them. We are close now. They have veered to the left toward the sea, moving away from our trap which is close by. My brothers stay where we are and I move toward the sea to turn the herd toward our trap. Unlike American bison, these are European bison, a different species. Not as big as the American species and not as keen to be in a tight herd. The herds are much smaller and the animals maintain a loose association. Scurrying toward the sea to get the animals turned toward the trap and watching my footing more than where I was going, I hear a snort 50 feet in front of me. It is a cow with a calf, and she did not look happy about my traipsing through the forest. The calf scurried behind her and she bellowed, lowered her head and pawed at the ground.
With no desire to be a Neanderthal matador, I shinnied up the closest tree. When I was out of her reach, I yelled and broke branches. Since there was nothing to charge, she turned and headed away in the direction I wanted her to go. Her bellow at me had alerted the herd, and I soon realized I had wandered into the loose group as a couple of bulls rushed past the tree without seeing me.
Once the activity dies down, I climb down and make lots of noise to keep the herd moving toward our trap. I don’t think I will brag to Poro and Drogo about stumbling into the middle of the herd. After 20 minutes, the herd is entering the v trap. Poro and Drogo move in from my right and we slow down. We don’t want a stampede. These animals can break down our trap. It is important to encourage the larger animals to sneak past us and escape. Our trap at the tip of the v is only suitable for a calf or small cow. The good news is that the bulls will not defend their ladies, but choose to escape if given the chance.
The cows and bulls behave differently when they come up to one arm of the v. The cows will follow the arm of the v toward the trap but as soon as the bulls sense they are being controlled by the wall they turn 90 degrees away from it and bolt. We know it will happen and when it does, Drogo is in their way and he had to scurry up a tree. They didn’t care about him, they just wanted away from the wall.
We close in behind them after they left. Now comes the troublesome part. The cows and calves will want to stay together and our trap is only good for one. Our method is to back off and not push them. After an hour, they calm down and go back to grazing. One of us creeps along the arm of the v, deciding which animal we are going to try for. This is not a fancy decision. The animal closest to the wall is the one that will get selected. When we find the animal closest to the arm of the v the scout crawls away from the wall and gives us an owl hoot to tell us to crawl in. Soon the last crawler is near the wall with the animal toward the point of the v. In this case, Poro is against the wall and Drogo and I have crawled away from the wall, helping to separate the herd from this one animal. It was a yearling cow. She was the perfect size for our trap.
When everything is right, another owl call and we all rise. We want them to ease forward. They see us and the herd moves away, trying to get behind us while the lone cow moves toward the tip of the v. When the herd has moved off, we push our cow further into the trap. We want her running when she gets to the tip of the v so that she becomes jammed between the two sides. Poro sets off at a run, wanting to get to the tip and hidden before she arrives. He makes a big looping run until he hits the other arm and climbs over it, rushing to the tip of the v and gets down so the cow won’t see him.
We have the cow walking at a fast pace but not panicked. She just wants to get away from us. When she sees the tip of the v Drogo and I yell and run towards her. She rushes into the trap and gets stuck as hoped. Sometimes they don’t get stuck and run right through and we have wasted a day and made the animals smarter. But in this case, she is stuck. Before she tries backing up, Drogo and I put the rear gate in place and Poro puts the front gate in place. We can’t take a breather now. She is not happy and can soon break down the trap.
We grab our spears. Poro and I go to one side and Goro the other. Poro is in position first and, using an upper thrust, stabs his spear into the cow’s belly. Just as his spear enters her, she lunges forward. The spear acting against a tree as a fulcrum slams backward, catching Poro midway up his upper leg. I hear the snap as his femur breaks and see the gush of blood as it pokes through his skin. What flashes through Dr. Brown’s mind is the info that at the start of WW1 compound femur fractures had an 80% fatality rate.
I rush to his side. The bleeding has stopped although the bone is protruding through the skin, but the skin is tight around the wound, sealing it. This is terrible. My inattention to the spear in the animal meant I got a whack across my back, which knocked the wind out of me and left me laying on the ground beside my brother. Poro looks at me with a pained expression and says,
“Kill the beast. We need the food. Tend to me after.”
Drogo can’t see us and is stabbing spears into the cow. I do the same using all of Poro’s spears and mine. The beast slumps down into the chute. I yell to Drogo that Poro’s leg is broken and to come to us. He runs around the chute and when he sees his brother, his face becomes ashen. He knows how serious this type of injury is and that very few survive. I tell him,
“We need help. I know what to do for Poro. You run and get the women. Leave Drako with Pora and the children in case she needs help. The other two ladies should come here. Don’t tell Pora about Poro. She will just worry and there is nothing she can do. She will see him when we get him back to the safety of the caves. They should bring their butchering tools. We still need the meat and if we leave it, some scavenger will get it. When you have left from the caves with the ladies, you can prepare them for Poro so they won’t be shocked when they arrive.
Goro set off at a run toward the cave. I had to call him back and remind him to take a spear for protection, and then he was off again. It would be at least an hour before he got back.
Poro said,
“You may as well butcher. There is nothing you can do for me. You know this will be fatal.”
“Poro, I need you to trust me today more than any other day. I know what to do for you. You have never seen what I will do. Can you trust me?”
“Of course, brother. I trust you with my life.”
“That is exactly what I am asking you to do. Trust me with your life.”
“I am going to make a special splint that you have never seen before. I have to move around here finding the right branches.”
At the start of WW1 80% of compound femur fractures died. Splints did not work as well as needed. The quadriceps muscles are the strongest muscles in the body. They are on the front of your upper leg. When the femur breaks, this powerful muscle pulls the broken bone ends toward and past each other. The sharp ends cut muscle and worse, they cut arteries and veins. They put a special splint called a Thomas splint into service and the fatality rate dropped to 20%. The Thomas splint saved untold numbers of lives. This splint comprises a hoop that goes over the leg and pushes up against the crotch and hip bone. There are two long boards that are attached to this loop, one on the inside of the leg and the other on the outside. These boards are longer than the leg. We attach them to a small but strong joiner board about 6 inches to a foot below the bottom of the foot. The medical personnel wound a soft but strong cloth wrapping around the foot and tied it to the bottom horizontal board. There is now a loop between the foot and the bottom joiner board. They put a short board through the loop and twisted, tightening the loop and pulling on the foot. This is called a Spanish windlass. As the windlass pulls on the foot, they pulled the bones closer to their normal position. If the bones are compounded (sticking through the skin) they will withdraw back into the leg. What is amazing is that the patient gets immediate relief from the horrid pain. It does not go away, but it is better. The Thomas splint is a simple device which is easy to make. This was my plan for Poro. I did not even want to think about infection now, but I knew that was his greatest threat after controlling his leg with the Thomas splint and getting any bleeding under control.
To start, I needed to find a pliable branch about an inch in diameter to form the loop to go around his leg. The problem was that a branch that thick would break when forced into an oval. I broke half a dozen before I smartened up and started looking for a vine. Once I found a vine, it was easy to form the loop. I didn’t tie it in the loop, but planned to do that after I slid it under Poro’s leg. I had some cord with me which our ladies made for us and we always carried. Two stout dead and dry branches were not a problem, and then I needed a crosspiece for the bottom and another piece to act as a windlass. Kneeling beside Poro, I was going to explain it all to him, but he just said,
“Do what you have to do, Goro. I trust you.”
A moment later, when I slid the vine under him, he may have wanted to take that trust back, as he groaned in pain. I got out my cord and tied the loop together and got his cord out as well. I was going to need every inch. Next, I tied the long splint limbs to the loop. This caused him a great deal more pain. There were tears in my eyes. I had done lots of painful procedures in emerge but never on someone I loved. His pain was hurting me. I wish this hallucination would end. It is too painful.
The worst was now over. I did not disturb him much more. Soon I was ready to tighten the windlass, but there was something I needed to do first. Right now, I would kill for a piece of metal. If there was a lot of bleeding when I tightened the windlass, I might need to cauterize the wound. The only thing I could think of out here in the forest was a hot knife. While I was debating how to solve this dilemma, Drogo arrived with the women. Droga was told to start a fire and collect some small rocks to heat the fire. A hot rock would be available for cautery if needed. I hoped no artery was cut. I would not be able to stop an arterial bleed and would need to tourniquet the leg and that would be the end. It would have to come off.
I sent Gora to collect some poplar leaves, yarrow, and chamomile. I tended to Poro while I was getting the women organized and then, when they were doing the assigned chores, I arranged my little rocks near the fire so that they would get blistering hot.
When Gora returned with the poplar leaves, I instructed Poro to chew them to a paste and swallow them. My family was familiar with the pain relieving ability of poplar bark, roots, and leaves. I doubted they understood the antibiotic properties of the mould that grows on poplar. That mould is penicillium, the source of the antibiotic penicillin. When Poro had chewed and swallowed the leaves, I then had him eat all the yarrow and chamomile he could manage. They both have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. My relatives were familiar with this and ate those plants for upset stomachs. But what I did next would not be familiar. I sent Gora to find some dry moss. When she returned, I was ready to save or kill my brother.
I showed Droga how to turn the windlass. I had Gora ready with the moss and a powder she had made of poplar bark, chamomile, and yarrow. The bone ends eased back under the skin. This was the moment. If an artery or large vein was cut, I would need to try to cauterize it with the hot stones. I didn’t think it would work, but I had no other ideas, and we needed to get Poro back to the cave. A night out here being immobile would be a death sentence. We had seen and heard hyenas prowling around in the recent past. I was ready to grab a hot rock as the bone slid under the skin. There was bleeding which I expected. But there was no spurting indicating an arterial blood and no gushing, which would be a large vein. It was just bleeding. Phew! I put the moss mixed with our poplar, chamomile, yarrow mix on the wound and pressed down with my hand.
Poro groaned. I had no choice. I needed to keep pressure on the wound to help nature stop the bleeding. Everyone was watching, but there was no time to rest. I told the ladies to butcher, and Drogo to get the skin containers ready to be filled with meat to be carried back to the caves. They went to work. I waited 5 minutes eased back on the pressure. There was some slight oozing but no flow. I reapplied the pressure to Poro’s discomfort and waited another 5 minutes. When I eased my hand off the moss dressing, it sat still on the wound and did not bleed. I needed to cut off some of my skin clothing to make a dressing to hold the moss in place. I wasn’t worried about more bleeding as much as I wanted the antibiotic materials in the dressing to remain in contact with the wound.
There were enough large chunks of meat butchered now for Drogo to make a trip to the caves. I didn’t enjoy sending him alone, but I needed to stay with Poro, and the women needed to continue butchering. It would be a long while before we could hunt a large animal, now that Poro could not hunt with us. Drogo took off at a slow trot. He was carrying a lot of meat. I instructed him to drop the meat if he met any hungry animal. He must not get killed. I needed his help.
While Drogo was gone and the women continued their chore, I searched around for limbs to use in making a litter. I would have made a travois, but that was going to be too bumpy a ride for Poro, and I feared the jostling might get his leg bleeding.
Drogo returned after a successful trip. Drako, Gora’s elder father, had given Drogo a questioning look. He knew something was off because of Drogo coming alone, but Drogo didn’t take the time to explain. Now I had to make another hard choice. I was going to leave the ladies butchering, while Drogo and I carried Poro back to the cave. The ladies knew how to use a spear and had been in on the kill of smaller animals like goats. Poro had gotten some relief from the Thomas splint and the poplar aspirin and was resting. While Drogo was gone, I had fashioned a litter using two heavy limbs and my top, which I had lashed to the limbs. Thank goodness the ladies always carried bags full of things and lots of cord was one item. My over-worked mind laughed, realizing ladies had been carrying purses for tens of thousands of years.
Drogo saw the need and gave up his top and helped me complete the litter. When we put Poro onto the litter, he groaned. His pain must have been terrible. A quick goodbye to the ladies and we started our slow walk to the caves. It was only nearing noon, so we still had lots of daylight. We were going to need it. Although we were as careful as we could be, we still tripped several times, dropping poor Poro to the ground. He was brave and cracked a joke about it wouldn’t hurt as much if he walked and carried us. However, the pain got to him and he passed out.
When we approached the caves, we found Drako outside with a spear at the ready. He knew something was off and he was prepared to give his life to protect Pora and the 2 children. We went into my cave and then went to tell Pora and bring her to see her husband. She was quiet. We all knew without discussing it that we would all move into one cave now. Drogo and I needed to protect 3 wives, 2 children, one elder and Poro. We could not afford to be spread out.
As quickly as possible, I gave instruction for Poro’s care. The biggest was to watch for bleeding and apply pressure until I returned. They needed to make a tea with poplar bark and get him to drink all he could while awake. Drogo and I headed back to the kill site.
The trip went much faster, not having to carry Poro. We both drew a sigh of relief when we reached the site and the ladies were busy cutting up bison. They had more ready than we could carry in one trip and we were under way again. When we arrived back at the cave, Poro was semi-sleeping with Pora by his side, holding his hand. His 2 children were laying on each side of him. Drako helped us unload the meat. Since everything was good, we hurried back to the lady butchers. We spent the rest of the day going back and forth without incident. On the last trip, the ladies carried a big share of meat and we were all happy to get into the cave and sit down to rest.
Dusk was coming. I did a check of Poro’s dressing and all was good, but his leg felt warm. I expected it to be inflamed despite the chamomile and yarrow. What I hoped was that his body could fight off any infection. I would know in the morning how well that was happening.
Meanwhile, Gora and Droga had cooked some of the fresh meat and the vegetables they already had in stock and we all ate a quiet meal. After dinner, the 3 ladies all set to work slicing the meat into thin slices in preparation for drying and/or smoking. Those are our 2 methods of preserving meat. They told Pora she didn’t have to help, but she knew there was a lot of meat and it needed to be tended to. Poro was sleeping with the kids by his sides, so she wanted to help. She had seen wounds like this in the past and knew they did not come out well. Pregnant, 2 kids, and no husband would be a real problem, although we would all do our best to help her.
Much later I lay down beside Gora, put my arm around her, and fell asleep wondering if this very real hallucination would be over when I woke.

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