Visits From A Man Named Nobody 57

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 57

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Paul struggled through the rest of the conversation, attempting to politely contribute if he was asked, and they happened to actually give him enough time to speak. Despite displeasing Lidia tremendously, they left the shop without a puppy.

A part of Paul felt a strange impulse to buy a dog for her. He tried to dismiss the idea, understanding that he really just wanted to do something for her that Jordan wouldn’t, but his principles wouldn’t allow it. More importantly, his friendship with Jordan wouldn’t. 

The conversation wouldn’t really drop though. Each time one of them mentioned anything, the other would bring up the whole dog issue as if it were somehow related to the whatever they were talking about in that moment. 

“You guys want to eat?” Paul asked.

“I don’t know,” Lidia said, a strange snippiness to her tone. “I’m not sure it’s in the budget, and captain, commander of the dollar says we should think about things before we make decisions.”

“Well we could always just do whatever we want, and then when we can’t afford the things we really care about, like weddings, we won’t be able to because we spent money on things we want on an impulse rather than things we truly want,” Jordan said.

“Or we could eat because we’re hungry!” 

They both stopped at Paul’s outburst. “We could actually spend time and have fun together instead of either making doe-eyes at each other and forgetting I exist or arguing with each other and still forgetting I exist! I’ll pay for your food if you just promise to stop using me only to validate whatever idiotic passive aggressive argument you’re trying to win.”

“We’re not ignoring you!” Lidia said. 

“Dude, we’ve spoken to you this whole time,” Jordan said.

“And I am not passive aggressive!” Lidia said.

“You’ve spoken to me?” Paul asked.  “Other than asking if you’re hungry, what’s the last thing I said?”

Jordan opened his mouth to answer and then stopped. 

“And you!” Paul pointed a finger.” You literally just told me to ask captain commander if it’s in the budget. Was that a direct argument or statement?”

Lidia at least had the dignity to drop her head. 

“Have either of you asked me a question that didn’t in some way involve me backing you up in some sort of point you were making?” Paul asked again.

Neither of them said anything. 

“You two wanna make out? Fine, just don’t ask me to watch. You wanna argue? I guess you can if that’s what you want, but don’t ask me to watch or take sides. Me, I actually want to eat, so I’m going to.” Paul stormed away, for once not really caring if the couple followed him or not. 

Had it really come this far? Did he really prefer not being around them? If it meant not having to watch them either fawn over each other or fight each other, yes. 

Paul picked a restaurant to eat at and got in line. He managed to get up to the counter and order before his friends found him.

“We’re sorry,” Jordan said. 

Lidia flung her arms around him, and it was all Paul could do to keep from screaming. He wanted to be angry. No matter how much he hated resenting his friends and being angry, he wanted it. It didn’t even make any sense, but it was true. But Jordan saying sorry? And Lidia, holding herself against him.

He shrugged her off. She looked taken aback. He wasn’t sure she’d make that face if he’d hit her. 

“It’s OK,” Paul said. “I’m just frustrated, and I don’t want you getting out of it with a nice hug and a few words.”

She looked at Jordan for some reason. “I’m sorry. I just … it’s how I apologize.” 

“You didn’t really do anything to me,” Paul said. 

“How long have we basically ignored you?” Jordan asked. 

Lidia glanced from Jordan to Paul and back to Jordan again. 

“What is going on?” Paul asked.

“I don’t understand you,” Lidia said. 

The words strangely felt like a knife. A part of him, a part he tried very hard to bury, wanted nothing more than for her to understand him.

“You just don’t know him well enough yet,” Jordan said before turning his attention to Paul. “We didn’t do it on purpose, but somewhere in the last few months, we just sort of focused on each other.”

“We don’t want to forget you!” Lidia said. 

Paul shook his head. “I get it. I didn’t exactly hang out with Jordan a lot when I had a girlfriend.” 

Admitting as much gave him a dose of humility. 

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 54

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 54

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“She has better grades than you,” Jordan said.

Paul cocked his head. “She does?”

Jordan gave a laugh. If Paul didn’t know any better, he’d say Jordan was frustrated. Paul looked over at Lidia. For a moment, he tried to imagine dating her, being with her. But the picture that formed in his mind depicted the moment he stood over Stacy’s new boyfriend. He became a monster over a girl. If Paul was being honest, he didn’t feel that way about Lidia. Of course, he’d been busy. 

You shouldn’t be with anyone. You’re too dangerous. You’re too much like him.

Paul wanted to dispute the thoughts, but he couldn’t make himself. He took a deep breath. “I think I have a solution.”

He didn’t wait for Jordan to respond. Instead, he walked over to the table beside Lidia. “Have you eaten?”

She nodded. “I figured you’d be here talking, but I had dinner already.”

“Great,” Paul said. “Let’s go to a movie!”

She smiled.  

“”The three of us should have a great time,” Paul added.

Her thin smile vanished. “Three of us?”

“Yeah,” Paul said. “Jordan doesn’t have anything to do.”

“Actually,” Jordan said.

“You don’t have anything to do,” Paul said again. “We were going to sit here and talk for hours on end, so a movie is fine.”

Jordan shot Paul a look that read, “What are you doing?”

Paul shrugged. He didn’t really know. He had an inkling of an idea, but he didn’t have anything remotely resembling a plan. Mostly, Paul just wanted to avoid being alone with Lidia in a way that didn’t make her feel rejected. He didn’t like her that way, but he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. 

“Um,” Lidia said. She looked at Jordan. Maybe he was right. She seemed to want to be alone with Paul, but Paul didn’t have any business being alone with a woman. “I suppose that would be fine.”

“Of course! It’ll be fun,” Paul said in agreement. Yeah, Jordan was right. One mention of a movie and she forgot all about studying. How had he not noticed?

Paul turned and started walking.

“Where are you going?” Jordan asked.

“I thought we all just agreed to watch a movie,” Paul replied.

“You meant now?” Jordan actually yelped. Paul wasn’t sure he’d ever heard his friend yelp before. 

“What else were we going to do?” Paul started to walk again.

“But we haven’t even picked a movie,” Jordan said.

“We can pick one on the way,” Paul replied.

“I haven’t had a chance to get dressed,” Lidia said. 

Paul was about to start walking again, but the comment brought him up short for the third time. “You’re already dressed.”

“Not for a movie,” Lidia replied.

“Wait,” Paul said. “You have a movie outfit?”

Lidia smiled at him. It was a pretty smile. “A woman wants to look right for the occasion.”

“You look wonderful,” Jordan said. “Let’s just go. He’s impossible to stop once his mind is set anyway.”

Lidia gave him a tiny smile and a nod of the head. 

Paul grinned. It seemed his idea had a little bit of merit. 

… to be continued …

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 40

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 40

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Apparently, Jordan didn’t mean dinner. Dinner would have been some pizza or burgers, but the place Paul was in demanded a dress jacket. The three of them sat at a small circular table underneath a private chandelier. A waiter came by now and then to check on them using an accent Paul was pretty sure was fake, but not in an obnoxious way.

Paul used an oddly small fork to pick through the meat and vegetables on his plate. “This is a bit more exorbitant than I was thinking.” He smiled, hoping his friend would understand the comment wasn’t a complaint.

“I saved all year for this, but not a ton, just a couple hundred,” Jordan said.

“It’s very kind of you, Jordan,” Mary said. 

“I figured you must have cooked a thousand meals for me over the years.” Jordan smiled. “It’ll be weird being so far away from our parents, so I just wanted to do something to say thank you.” 

His eyes widened as Paul’s mother looked around, probably for Jordan’s family. “I already took my folks out,” he said quickly. “I know it would have been nice for all of us to eat together, but I wanted time with just my folks, and I wanted time with just you two.”

“All of us could never have been together,” Paul muttered. The comment had all the bitterness the words implied. They just fell out of Paul’s mouth, but they were true. He didn’t want to ruin the mood, but he did it just the same.

“I still miss him.” His mother almost whispered the comment.

“I’m sorry.” Jordan spoke as if he were the one who brought Bill up.

“I don’t know what to do.” Again, Paul was only thinking out loud, but the thoughts had been brewing in his head for months. “I can’t think straight. I know I’m supposed to move on. I know I’m supposed to go back to the project. I know life is supposed to keep going, but I don’t know how to do that because all I can think about is the way life was supposed to be.” 

By the time he finished speaking, tears were flowing down his face. How had this happened? Why was he in the middle of some fancy restaurant crying his eyes out like some baby?

Two hands, one from his friend and the other from his mother, gently touched Paul’s back. Paul shot up from his chair and darted out. He had to escape. He didn’t want to deal with it, certainly not in public. It was all Paul could do to resist shouting at them. No matter how stupid the thoughts were, they kept flooding into his mind.

They were over Bill’s death so easily! They all moved on as if Bill never existed! Then they talk about him like a few words would make any difference. 

If Paul hadn’t rushed out of the restaurant, he’d have shouted until he got kicked out. He burst past the waiting area and a confused employee who shouted at him not to run. He flew through the doors and turned into the first place he could find. 

It turned out to be a dead-end alley. Of course … 

Nobody stood there, waiting. 

… to be continued …

Book Review: The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey from The Dragonriders of Pern

Buy Stealing Freedom

Spoiler Free Summary:  The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey is the third book (sort of) in the Dragonriders of Pern series (at least what is commonly regarded as the first in the main arc). No one thought much of Lord Jaxom’s little white dragon, Ruth. But Jaxom believed. The two begin training to work together. Jaxom wants nothing more than to prove his dragon is indeed special. However, not even Jaxom can imagine just how special Ruth really is.

Character:  I must be honest here. I’ve made it clear that Dragonriders is my favorite series ever, and Ruth is my favorite character ever. His relationship with Jaxom is so beautiful. Strangely, this book doesn’t have the action and suspense of a Mistborn book (my third favorite series). It’s not a thrilling ride. Instead, it’s a bout a friendship that defies the odds, and that’s why the story is so powerful to me. As a person who has been blessed with truly lifelong friendships, this story connects with me in a way that it might not for others. Still, when people talk about a boy and his dragon story, this is it. This, again, is proof that dragon stories don’t have to be about action. I’m not anti-action at all. I usually enjoy it more. But I think it bears contemplation that as much as I love action, I love characters I can connect with more. Writers should take that to heart. If you connect your readers to your characters, they won’t care what the plot is. They’ll care what happens to the characters no matter how physically dangerous the stakes are. There are still stakes in this story, and there’s even physical danger. But I read this story (at least three times so far) just to hang out with two characters I dearly love.

Exposition: As Dragonriders progresses, the exposition becomes less of a crutch. I barely even notice any here. There are some scenes where the dialogue gives us some data, but it’s well woven into the conversation in a natural way. At least two books into the series (there are books that fall between that I don’t believe one “has” to read), McCaffrey finds a rhythm that lets the pace move faster. I will say this, there is absolutely a mandatory reading order. If you pick up The White Dragon, and you haven’t read the other two books I’ve reviewed, you’re going to be very lost.

Worldbuilding: Just when you think this wonderful world can’t get anymore fascinating, McCaffrey opens up a whole new dimension (literally). This story takes the overall arc in a direction that gives the main characters a new hope. While some could argue the story builds slowly, I affirm McCaffrey allows readers to sink into her world the way one likes to sink into a hot bath. Sure, there are some intense moments, but the payoff is well worth it.

This Camera Press image was found on McCaffrey’s New York Times obituary and used for this review.

Dialogue: The dialogue here does have a few scenes where the characters are moving the plot along. It’s pretty easy to tell, but it’s at least woven into conversations that are relevant and motivating to the characters. There are several adorable conversations between Ruth and Jaxom that really help to build on their relationship. This is still very good dialogue, but it might not be as great as the first two books.

Description: McCaffrey is always so effortless in her description. Reading one of her books makes me feel like a two-year-old trying to finger paint. However, the brilliance of her work isn’t in complexity. Instead, it’s in the simplicity. She doesn’t beat the reader over the head with details. Instead, she gives you small details that make a location or action feel more real, and that’s how description should be.

Overall: The White Dragon is my favorite book in my favorite series featuring my two favorite characters, so I’m a little biased. However, this book is guaranteed to yank the heartstrings of anyone who has ever been a a part of a powerful friendship. It’s touching, dramatic, and powerful. So here’s the challenge. Read the three books I’ve reviewed so far. If you’re not in love with the characters by now, you probably lack a human heart, but I won’t make you read the rest. Ultimately, this is a story that shows that faith in friendship can help people achieve more than anyone thought possible, and I for one find that a beautiful thought.

Thanks for reading


Buy The Journals of Bob Drifter

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 11

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 11

PT 1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 //

Paul scrubbed his hands more fiercely as he thought. There was enough to think about considering he was ditching English at the moment, and he was probably going to be expelled if he got caught. This was his third fight this year. 

He was just. so. angry!

“Who have you become because you choose to hold onto your anger.”

Paul’s mother told him his father was beaten as a child. She said that’s why his father beat them. Did that mean Paul would grow up to hit is kids?

He remembered standing over Jordan.  He already hit kids; he was just the same age as they were at the moment. 

A wave of remorse hit him. He rushed out of the bathroom just as he started to weep. 

I don’t want to be that way!

Even as he hated himself for being a bully just like his father, he tried to justify his actions. Jordan had it coming. He was talking trash about Paul’s mother. 

None of his justifications stood up against his firm belief that no one deserved what had happened to him and his mother. 

Lockers zipped by, becoming little more than a streak of red. He wasn’t even sure where he was going, but something pulled at him. He turned into the principles office just as he realized what he was planning to do. 

The secretary yelped as he blew by her into his office. The principal, a plump bald man in his sixties, looked up, and his face became red with anger. Paul froze, suddenly unsure what he really meant to do. 

After another second, Paul noticed who the principal, Mr. Eckleman, was speaking to. Jordan sat across from the administrator with a bag of ice against his right cheek. 

“I’m sorry,” Paul told Jordan while taking a deep breath and using a sleeve to dry his tears. “You didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that. I’m a monster. I’m just like him, and I don’t want to be. I think I’m cursed, but that’s not your fault. It doesn’t matter what you said. I shouldn’t have hit you.”

“What is he talking about?” Mr. Eckleman’s question drew Paul’s attention.

“I don’t know,” Jordan said. 

“You told me you got into a fight with Trevor,” Mr. Eckleman said. 

Trevor? Paul stood there trying to piece the clues together. 

“You said that Trevor was talking about a classmate, and you stood up to defend him.” The principle pointed at Paul. “So why is the person you said you were defending in here apologizing to you?”

Paul’s head spun. Did Jordan lie? Why? Why lie to protect him? Maybe Paul wouldn’t be expelled. Maybe he’d get away with it. Except, he didn’t want to get away with it.

Paul looked at Mr. Eckleman. “I’m not sure what Jordan said, but I’m the one who him. No one else should be punished for what I did.”

“So, who hit Trevor?” 

“What?” Paul didn’t mean to ask the question out loud, but he really had no idea what was going on. 

“I hit Trevor,” Jordan muttered. His brown eyes shifted to Paul. “He’s the one who said that stuff about your mom. He was really being a jerk about it. I told him to knock it off, but that only made him say something worse, so I punched him.”

It was Trevor? Trevor was the one who called Paul’s mom a whore! Rage filled Paul. He wanted to find Trevor and beat him. He wanted to find him and punch him until he never though to … Nobody deserves that!

Even while standing in the principal’s office, Paul couldn’t help himself. He was somehow every bit as ashamed as he was angry. How could he know something is wrong and yet want to do that very thing so much?

“Trevor told me Jordan had said all that stuff,” Paul whispered. “I didn’t even think about it. I just tracked Jordan down and started hitting him.”

Paul’s voice cracked as he gave the confession. “Jordan defended my mom, and I beat him up for it.”

He really was just like his father. He deserved to be expelled. If anyone deserved to be beat up, it was Paul. Maybe that’s what God was doing. Maybe God knew that Paul was going to grow up to b a monster, so he let Paul’s dad beat him up for it like some sort of advanced punishment. 

“It’s ok.” 

Paul’s eyes were closed against the tears, but he clearly heard Jordan speak. 

“What?” This time Paul meant to ask the question out loud. 

“I said it’s ok,” Jordan repeated. “I don’t really know what happened, but everyone knows you went through some bad stuff. I get it.”

“But I hit you! I threatened you.” Paul couldn’t fathom it. All he’d done, for apparently no reason, and Jordan said it was OK? Why?

“It sucks, and I’m mad about it,” Jordan said. “You wouldn’t even listen, but I figure Trevor just lied to you.”

“But why are you saying it’s ok?” Paul shouted the question. It didn’t make sense! What idiot gets beat up and just brushes it off?

… to be continued …

Sonnets For My Savior 31

Sonnets For My Savior 31

A Worthy Friend

Let me encourage forgiveness, not vengeance.

Let me discourage lust rather than permit it.

Let me support endurance.

Let me advise friends with the Holy Spirit.

Let me be deaf to temptation.

Let me be blind to improper conduct.

Let my friends offer me loving correction.

Grant me the wisdom to listen as they instruct.

Help them to provide me good advice,

rather than permit my misdeeds.

Some make seek friends thought to be nice,

but grant me a friend who leads.

Rather than run with me into the fire,

grant me friends who will guide me to do as you desire.



Precious Blood

Precious Blood spilled for me.

Gracious gift no one deserved.

My debts are paid, and now I’m free.

My guilt wash cleaned, my soul preserved.

Perfect Lamb raised up on high

A wretched sinner’s heart washed clean.

A man without sin chose to die.

A greater act of love has never been seen.

The price was paid.

Our souls were won.

The sins of man,

laid on the Son.

Precious was the blood that was spilled,

for from that price, our hope was filled.



More Than We Can Handle

The Lord always provides a way.

Trust in his faithfulness.

He is with us come what may.

His light delivers all from darkness.

Temptation comes to all,

but we need not hear it.

Even though we may hear it’s call,

the Lord provides a way out through the Holy Spirit.

We’re never tempted beyond our ability.

Through Him we can endure.

Rather than focus on our own susceptibility,

have faith in the Lord who is pure.

Deliver us from evil, oh Lord above.

Let each time we resist temptation be a symbol of our love.




They stood around her, ready to throw.

She was guilty, and they wanted to punish her.

Their piousness was just a show.

She was only as much a sinner as they were.

Faced with their own sin.

They went away.

They didn’t think to look within

and consider the price they’d have to pay.

Before you pick up stones of your own,

consider the sins you’ve committed.

It may cause you to drop your stone,

when you realize you can not be acquitted.

Rather than pronounce your condemnation,

seek to lead sinners to salvation



More Like Him

He is our King, yet He served.

He was without sin.

Blessed is he who has observed

all the commands given by Him

His sacrifice was a demonstration of his love.

His bore our sins on the tree.

He humbled Himself, coming form above,

and gave all of Himself so we might be free.

He was truthful,

correcting His disciples when they spoke out of  turn.

He was mindful,

teaching even those who refused to learn.

Rather than make my own way and act on my own whim,

Lord grant me courage to be and act more like Him.



Trust God, not money

The Lord provides and blesses those who are wise,

But borrowers are slaves to their lenders.

Blessed are those who trust God through all of their lives,

But why should he grant more to a foolish spender.

One cannot serve God and Money;

He will be a slave to one or the other.

The days of he who serves the Lord are sunny,

But he who receives one dollar can only hope for another.

He who trusts in his riches will fall,

But the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf.

Instead, listen and heed the Lord’s call,

and he will bless you beyond belief.

For the stingy, greed is all they foster,

But those who trust in the Lord will prosper.



The Spirt

The helper whom God sent

manifests in us and teaches

Jesus told us before his accent

the Spirit would come to all He reaches.

It was the Spirit who came on the Judges of Israel.

It was the Spirit who placed Jesus in Mary’s womb.

Those who live by the Spirit are well,

but those who live by the flesh will only find death and a tomb.

The Spirit is the source of our gifts,

knowledge, wisdom, discernment, and healing.

Through the Spirit, our knowledge of the truth exists. 

The Spirit does wondrous works through the believing.

When we are weak, the Spirit helps us.

To aid our prayers, the Spirit intercedes for us.

Hazel: Check Out A Project I’m Working On!

Hazel: Check Out A Project I’m Working On!

All art and images are copyright of Collin Fogel. Any use of these images without his consent are subject to legal action. 

Greetings all,

So I’ve been sort of quiet about this as I was waiting for a few things, but, now feels like a great time to make this announcement (also, I didn’t know what else to blog about)!

Remember Collin Fogel? He was the artist who did the covers to The Journals of Bob Drifter series.  He’s also a very dear friend of mine. We were inseparable in junior high school. When we were kids, we were going to work on this amazing comic book together.  He’d do the art. I’d write the story.

Dreams come true.

Collin has been working on Hazel for quite a while, and a few months ago, he invited me to be a part of this project with him. There was no way I was going to pass that up. So he’s handling the art, and I, just like we talked about when we were kids, wrote the story.

So, with some art to show off thrown in, here is a bit of information:

45003791_10156740898697460_7981328569286524928_nMega cities have become refuges for humanity and continue to rise above the Earth’s surface, built upon the decayed husks of the ages before. Those lower levels are supposed to be vacant. DBTS is tasked with patrolling those lower levels to ensure nothing happens to threaten the stability of the world above. Those lower levels are a safe haven for a variety, though small in number, of people. They are: The criminals, who seek a base of operations and little-used paths to the city above. The exiles who simply can’t afford to live anywhere else or don’t want to be surrounded by the masses from the population above. The malcontents, who’ve been cast out of the society above.  Hazel hates them all, especially the criminals. It was their actions which caused the collapses in the world above. It was their actions that caused the death of her mother, and it was the criminals who were trying to escape justice who killed her father. Patrolling the Deep Block is how she protects the world above from the things that destroyed her life.

Hazel, is the newest DBTS agent. She’s obsessed with being the best, thus proving she’s worth the lives of the parents who died to save her.


We don’t have a release date as yet. Right now we’re just getting everything together and seeing what companies might be interested. Still, I think Hazel is a fun, character and her story is packed with action. I hope to be working with Collin on a few Hazel arcs, but time will tell.  I wouldn’t pound the refresh key looking for Issue 1. Collin is a very busy husband and father, and he’s doing all of this incredible work on his own time when he isn’t wrangling his kiddo. But just look at this work? Isn’t a full story arch of this quality worth a wait?

I hope you’re all excited to see it.

Thanks for reading,