My book Walter is free on Amazon until the 28th of April. Read all about Walter, and his mysterious friend The Man.
Walter is an odd boy. To say he is not like the other kids is an understatement. Being odd doesn’t win you many friends, nor does it give you anonymity. Kids can be mean… Walter doesn’t care what the other kids do or say to him, because he knows a horrible secret. Walter knows when the world is going to end.
The apocalypse is coming The only people that can save the human race is a young boy, and a mysterious man from the stars.
Walter is Book one in Ernie Howard’s Apocalyptic Young Adult series.
It will be free until the 28th of April. Give it a read!
This guest post comes to you from a longtime friend of mine, Nick Gideon. Nick is a lyricists, writer, and a no nonsense type of guy. I have never known Nick to mince words. The story in this post is quite unbelievable, but if Nick says it happened, it most certainly did. When I read it I didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry. It seems certain skills have gone by the way side…
The year 2015. The ineptly named Information Age of Earth. Satellites orbit the planet, transmitting invisible terabytes of information on any and all topics one could imagine, to any and all wishing to access it. We can instantly touch millions of people across the globe through social media, empowering the (in)significant individual with the ability to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and worst of all, their goddamned opinions, to every other human being on the planet in the blink of an eye. At the touch of a few buttons on a myriad selection of multi-colored hand held electronic devices, one can be plugged in to the Information Superhighway. Surely this achievement in broad based real time electronic communication is a victory, no… a triumph in the eons-old struggle to give as well as receive information, right? Surely this wealth of knowledge at our fingertips will usher in a new era of enlightenment, yes? As long as the servers are serving, and Apple keeps crapping out I-Phones, a veritable cornucopia of information awaits for any and all who seek it. Science and Technology have given us a glimpse into our technologically-enhanced futures…and doomed us all.
I often contemplate where the line between technological advancement for the benefit of human culture, and technological advancement just for the sake of consumerism has been drawn. Spoiler alert! It hasn’t. I remember an old Star-Trek The Next Generation episode where Picard and the crew beam down to a planet to observe what they deemed to be a primitive human culture. Upon further observation, it was learned that these particular humans had more or less turned their backs on the trappings of a technological society in favor of a simpler, more basic existence. When Picard asked one of the leaders of this “primitive” society why their culture had made this choice, the reply was simple, and has resonated in the back of my mind every day since. He said confidently to Picard, “When you create a machine to do a Man’s job, you take something away from the Man.”
Shit just got real.
To quantify this profound alien’s statement, you must indulge me, and allow me to regale you with an anecdote from my personal life. My very recent personal life, in fact…
While in an elevator recently, I happened to strike up a casual conversation with a group of teenagers. I did not ask their specific ages, but I’m going to ballpark them around 15 or 16 years old. These three guys and two girls were obviously conversing about some sort of school project or report as they entered the elevator. As they joined me in the elevator and selected their floor, one of the girls exasperated that her internet was down, and her project was due very soon. As all of her friends groaned, I chimed in with “Looks like an all-nighter with the Encyclopedia for you.”
They looked at me like I was smoking crack in a leopard print Hitler costume. (which, I assure you, I was not. It’s against Nevada state law to smoke in an elevator.)
The looks of abject confusion and shock told me I had clearly befuddled, and possibly frightened them. Of course, this was followed by about 4 more floors worth of uncomfortable silence. Finally, the bravest one couldn’t take it anymore, and asked me…
“What was that word you just said?”
All 10 eyes eagerly awaited my answer.
“Encyclopedia?” I half questioned, half replied.
“Yeah! That one!” he said, and I shit you not, all 5 of them immediately grabbed their phones and Goggled the word encyclopedia.
Shit just got real dumb.
Needless to say, I had to bite my lip VERY hard to keep from losing it, just on general principle. My mind was reeling from the concept that mine might have been the last generation in this country to know how to do anything at all, even look up a topic in an encyclopedia, without a cell phone.
Certainly, I am not blind to the fact that every single American generation since the first has hated and despised the generations that have followed subsequently, at least to some degree. For we can all hearken back to our younger days when grandfathers told tales of 5 mile barefoot walks to school in blizzard conditions, and the like. Spoiler Alert 2! That’s how old folks call young people pussies. Because the implication is that we could not have hacked it before the advent of the modern conveniences we enjoy now. Are our lives easier? Undoubtedly. Are our lives better? Who knows?
But, understand, the irony is not lost on me. I am the kind of person that has a thirst and aptitude for knowledge of any kind… except mathematics. I recall my own parallel experience as a 16 year old student who spent most of his sophomore year of high school with an algebraic boot in his ass. I kept thinking to myself…when or why will I need this? Why would this shit even be necessary to know?
And thus, the parallel…, the irony. My rationale was that if there is a hand held device called a calculator, that I can fit in my pocket and take with me, that will automatically do these complex calculations for me, then I don’t need to waste my time and energy learning this ridiculous nonsense.
Hypocrisy is the truly the greatest luxury.
Extrapolate my previous view of the relationship between learning mathematics and calculators to basically any given manual task. These young folks have GPS to tell them where they are, where they are going. Can any of them read a map? Or, dare I ask, a compass? They have Google and Yahoo to give them answers that they seek. Did any of the Useless Five (as they forever in infamy shall be known) know what an encyclopedia was? Where one was? What to do with it when they found one? Apparently not.
Maybe I’m just reaching that point in my life where I think “the country is going to hell” with every cell in my body, like countless men before me. Maybe every other young generation that came before mine thought they would change the world, and did, and then watched it all taken for granted and trivialized by the subsequent and following generations. Maybe I’m just some very logical dude who thinks if our youth is so technologically dependent that no one knows how to locate and operate a fucking reference book, it could get very ugly very quickly. Perhaps, however, unlike the previous generations, we actually are witnessing the tide turn. Could it be possible that we are living in time when our society has truly been reduced to pre-programmed consumer cattle; not only unable to think for ourselves, but unable to manually find answers even if we wanted to without the help of manufactured devices to do the work for us?
And people said my generation’s baggy pants were bad…
The Universe is 13.8 billion years old. How it all came about brighter minds are still piecing together. A myriad of things happened in those 13.8 billion years. Galaxies were born, and Solar Systems set into motion. One of those galaxies,the Milky Way. Our lonely little solar system, started its continuous trek around the sun. Planets went round and round, slowly cooling enough to not resemble blast furnaces, and a little can do planet by the name of Earth saw its first form of life. A few billion years after it formed out gases and star-dust floating around in the cosmic soup. A FEW BILLION YEARS after its perfect formation, and perfect positioning from the sun!
The Cambrian period happened. This consisted of Trilobites, and cruddy little bacteria. Things went on (I’m skipping whole periods of time here…) and life got a little bigger, and a bit smarter. The Dinosaurs came on the scene in the Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. They died leaving behind their rotting bodies so we could drive our big cars, all the while burning their essence. YAY!! Making this place a lot hotter.
After the Dinosaurs, and a very long period of time, humans (or I should say our genetically distant ancestors) come on to the scene. We played with fire, ate berries, cooked a squirrel or two,
built some pyramids, had some wars, lopped off some heads, had some more wars, Steve Jobs started Apple out of his garage… Again I am jumping ahead a little. And here we are! Crazy!
Our planet spins around a gigantic ball of fire, in a galaxy that is hurtling through the Universe. It is a fricken miracle you are reading this right now! It is a miracle that we are conscious, and breathing! Every single second of your life in the grand scheme of things should not have happened…
Now… Tell me why you are afraid to reach your full potential…? Tell me again why you are too scared to be your true self around other people? Tell me why you can’t tell that person that makes your life a living hell to go piss up a rope? Or why you can’t tell that special person that you love them?
You still have some time on the Earth… Everything in this Universe happened with the probability equal to a roll of the dice. You have nothing to lose!
Disclaimer:All drawings are not to scale, or any good for that matter…
In celebration of me finishing Walter, my short story “A World Without” is free once again. Give it a read, and leave a review!
“If the one person in your life you loved the most was there one second and gone the next what would you do? You would explore every possibility to get them back. Losing someone is a bone crushing, soul emptying experience, but now it doesn’t have to be! At NorWorld, we prolong life through A.I. We take away the suffering with Technology.” – Dr. Thad Feast
Anthony and his wife Susan love each other very much. So much they can’t let go.
This is a short story from the up coming NorWorld series By Ernie Howard.
“At Norworld, we prolong life through A.I. We take away the suffering with technology.”
My new book “Walter” can now be Pre-Ordered on Amazon. Order it now, and get it on November 28th!
Walter: Book One [Kindle Edition] Ernie Howard (Author) Kindle Price: $0.99
Walter is an odd boy. To say he is not like the other kids is an understatement. Being odd doesn’t win you many friends, nor does it give you anonymity. Kids can be mean… Walter doesn’t care what the other kids do or say to him, because he knows a horrible secret. Walter knows when the world is going to end. This is Book One of Walter
“Is that guy ever going to take down his Halloween decorations?” Rob said, as he rubbed the crust from the corner of his eye.
“Honey, he’s an old man, and it is probably hard for him to take them down. Everyone likes Mr. Samson’s Halloween decorations, they are always so, elaborate.” Samantha always found the good in people, it was her downfall. If you didn’t stick up for yourself people would walk all over you, Rob thought.
“His Halloween decorations are always great because he just adds to them from the year before. I mean look at that damn scare crow, it’s falling apart! I have had it! The HOA lets this guy leave his crap up all year, but if I have one weed in my yard I get a fine. I’m bringing it up at the next meeting.” Robs ears were getting hot, which meant he was about to lose it.
“It’s not a big deal, leave it alone.” Samantha grabbed both of his ears and pulled him to her lips, kissing him and making an exaggerated smooch sound. “I’ll see you tonight Honey.” She was out the door before Rob could get in a rebuttal.
He watched as she put her purse in the car, and looked across the street. Mr. Samson was fussing with a plastic bat that had seen better days. The string that attached it to the front door was frayed and looked like it would break in a slight breeze. His wife turned towards the window and mouthed the words, “calm down.” Rob raised one eyebrow and shook his head. Samantha threw up her hands as she got into the car and drove away.
Rob continued to watch the old man through the window. He fiddled with one of the Styrofoam tombstones that had fallen over and made his way back to the front door, pausing at the ragged scare crow that sat on a cobwebbed bench on his front porch. Mr. Samson reached out with his shaky old hand and patted the infernal thing on the head. Rob scratched the dime sized birthmark on the top of his hand, as he did when he was anxious, or something unnerved him.
The HOA meeting went just like Rob thought it would, with him shouting, and nothing being done about the eyesore across the street. They didn’t want to hear about Mr Samson’s never ending Halloween Decor. They had bigger problems. Like broken sprinkler heads, weeds, and a dwindling budget. Rob was asked to leave and never return to another meeting; which resulted in him getting physically removed by a large man who had the smell of liquor on his breath.
Rob frantically scratched his birthmark as he walked down the street. His ears felt like they were on fire when he paused in front of Mr. Samson’s yard. The tattered cloth ghosts, and sun bleached spiders only adding to the heat that originated in his ears, but now seemed to have found a home in the front of his head. He was done. If you wanted to have something done in this world you had to do it yourself. The first thing he would throw away was that damn scarecrow! He walked up the man’s driveway, kicking a rotting pumpkin out-of-the-way as he went. He lost his balance when he reached the front porch, slipping on the rotted pumpkin juice on his shoe. He reached out as he fell, grabbing onto one of the scarecrows arms, ripping it from its body. A stream of maggots and cockroaches came flowing out of the hole falling onto Rob’s face.
“What the hell!” He said, sending a maggot that had made it to his mouth, flying. He didn’t even feel the needle go into his neck, the old man was lightning fast for his age.
Those weeds are getting out of hand, Mr. Samson thought, as he stared across the street. He needed to notify the HOA. He hadn’t seen Mrs. Lawson work on her lawn since last February. He realized she was in mourning, but her yard was getting ridiculous. I mean what were they? Savages? He sighed, looking down at his new scarecrow. Well new as of last year. After Halloween he would have to replace it, it was just getting to tattered. The straw smelt funny, and look at that, one of the gloves was coming off. Mr. Samson pulled the glove up, covering the dime sized birthmark it had exposed. That will have to do for now. Halloween is only a day away. He patted the top of the scarecrows head and went inside.
The guy looked like a CIA agent, complete with plain black suit and sunglasses, that were not needed since it was almost dark. In one well manicured hand he held an envelope that had the name in question written in what looked like old cursive, or calligraphy. The envelope was old, it was browning at the edges and looked like it would fall apart at the slightest touch. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Every time I glanced up at the man, my eyes would dart back down, as if the paper were made from a magnet exclusively for the two round objects that fit neatly in my skull.
I was not Steven James, the mysterious man who gets hand delivered letters from guys dressed up like secret service. No, I wasn’t him, but at that moment I wanted to be him. It seemed his life was a lot more interesting than mine. Bet he wasn’t an assistant manager of a gas and sip, who came home every night to sit alone and watch bad TV and eating bad food.
The man extended the envelope towards me, and not even thinking I said “Yes I am,” and snatched the note from his hand. He gave me a smirk as if saying he knew damn well I wasn’t who I said I was, making me instantly want to give him the envelope back. “Humanity thanks you.” He said. The man tipped his head as he walked away. I could hear his footfalls echoing, each one making the foreboding feeling that had come over me almost unbearable. I turned around to tell him the truth of my identity, and give him back the letter, but he was gone like he had become one with the molecules in the air.
The envelope seemed to burn in my hand. It wanted to be open, the note wanted to be read.
I opened the envelope. The brittle paper crumbled in my hands. Glue that had been sealed long ago obliterated into dust, leaving my hands a chalky yellowish color. The note looked newer, and was folded in classic letter style. I unfolded the paper methodically, relishing the moment even being overcome with the most horrible fear. It said in big red letters, “Look behind you.” As I turned I felt the cold hand of death on my shoulder, and then I was staring it in the face.
The emptiness is what I remember most. Where my soul resides is a dark place where monsters lurk in every corner. Yes my friends, hell is not the fire and brimstone kind of hell. Hell resides in your mind, on a Tuesday, when your bored, and coming home from work.
Oh are you wondering what I saw…? Well I saw nothing.
Other writing by me that you can find on Amazon. Click the images if you have further interest.
I have learned a lot in the last few years. I learned that people you thought would always be in your life tend to fade out. But not in a bad way, they just are there one minute and gone the next. They taught you what you needed to know and served their purpose. I learned that raw emotion is good when you’re young, but doesn’t fit when you have a toddler. Toddlers don’t care that you want to do your art.
The biggest thing I have learned, is that in life, things happen in increments.
plural noun: increments
an increase or addition, especially one of a series on a fixed scale.
“the inmates’ pay can escalate in five-cent increments to a maximum of 90 cents an hour”
Or very small increments, and this is as it should be. The reason being, if I had the kind of life I had now when I was in my twenties I would not have been able to handle it. I would have screwed up my life and the lives of others. Everything has a balance, a flow you might say. The life you are living now may not be what you think you should be living, but it is! It is the one you are suppose to be living because any other life would not work at this moment in your time. You are not ready yet for what comes next. You have to live a little, experience this life right now, to become ready, and willing, for the things that life has in store for you. Your ideal life is coming, it is a slow process for a reason. If you need an example of people who did not live there life in increments, check out any tabloid the next time you are buying groceries.
It needs to happen in increments to make it right. Take it slow, learn, and make it right.
Unlearn what you have learned. A friend of mine (who is better at writing about these sorts of things than me, here’s his website Transpyer.com. ) says this constantly. Unlearn what you have learned. What does this mean exactly? Well… Here is what it means to me. You shape your life/world with your beliefs. If your beliefs are negative, dogmatic, close minded, “set in stone” your world is probably a very small place. Maybe you believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket, or the ever famous phrase life’s a bitch, and then you die. Realize that the world is not going to hell because of all of those crazy evil people. The world, your world is going to hell because of you and what you believe.
You get these beliefs from your parents, public school, television, religion, Governments, Youtube… whatever. I’m not saying all of these are bad, but when you accept everything at face value and never question these outlets your beliefs will be what ever these things see fit to give you. If your mind is full of beliefs that you never question, there is no room for other points of view. However if your mind is open, if you can leave your ego at the door, and be the dumbest person in the room. You will live in a world where anything is possible. Think like a toddler, inquisitive, and in awe. Learning amazing new things about yourself, and your world everyday.
If your beliefs are “set in stone” so will be your life and your world around you. Make your beliefs like water. Always changing to the shape of the stream, “go with the flow” so to speak. Water is flexible. When water runs down a stream and encounters a stone, it doesn’t try to go through it. It goes around it slowly shaping it to its liking. After awhile it may even send it tumbling down the stream.
“water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” – Lao-Tzu Tao Te Ching
Unlearn what you have learned.
This concludes Ernie’s ramblings for the day. If you would like to visit my Amazon author page here’s the link. Ernie Howard
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Want to read more about this subject? Click here Beliefs