The year is 2074. Your favorite author (and perennial Man Child) Kent Wayne has fought in the Zombie Plague, The War of the Machines, and also the infamous Battle of the Deep when mankind drilled too deep into the earth and incited a war with the CHUDs. Now I while away my days in a retirement home, playing golf and setting an example to my fellow fogeys; just because we’re getting on in years doesn’t mean that we have to let our minds and bodies go to mush (not only am I a beast on the elliptical, I’ve always cobbled together a working system of MMA-based strikes and grapples that incorporate walkers, canes, and colostomy bags). However, there are always malcontents. My rising influence has been noticed by Amos, a fellow retiree who I strongly suspect hid in his momma’s nethers while the rest of us were out defending the earth from zombies, machines, and those foul-smelling CHUDS. Amos is always pulling dirty moves like making sure that he and his cronies are taking up the gym when I lead my classes there (he KNOWS I like to work out early), eating all the jello (even though most of my followers don’t have teeth and his do), clogging up the golf course, and—this is only a suspicion but it is a STRONG suspicion—getting in the pool lane I like to swim in, and letting loose with his acrid, tylenol-and-asparagus laced urine. NOT acceptable. If he were in my platoon during the CHUD days we would have abandoned him in the woods; he would have been dragged beneath the earth’s mantle and eaten slowly—butthole first. So I’ve organized a rotating cluster of like-minded fogeys, ensuring that none of us are ever alone, or for that matter, in shouting distance of a group with less than four. There’s plenty more than that four of us today; we’ve all showed up at the links so we can have a good-natured golf tournament. Unfortunately, Amos and his gang have showed up as well. They’re all cockily swinging their golf clubs, and I stare Amos down as he walks toward us. He grins and says, “Ain’t enough room in this town for the two of us, Scribbles.” (He knows I write, and that’s his derogatory nickname for me). I give him a cool stare. “We outnumber you two to one, and we got here first. Back off Amos.” He says, “I’ve already got some people here who’ve played the first hole, and they’re part of OUR tournament. You’ll have to wait until we catch up to them, and boy, do we plan on taking our sweet-ass time.” I grit my teeth and point a quivering finger at Amos’s ugly, jowly face. “You know I’ve been planning a tournament for the past few months. Get your low-down, Centrum-gulping ass outta here or my guys’ll beat you bloody, then shower you with colostomy bag juice.” He turns to his followers and yells, “NOW!” I see them race off to their golf carts, gun them, and take off. My followers race to THEIR carts, but as soon as they sit in them, I can see that something’s wrong; the cushions on their vehicles compress under their weight, releasing a foul brown mist that rises from their seats. My guys begin screaming and clawing at their chests, then they slump in their carts, completely unresponsive. It takes me a second to realize what Amos did; while we weren’t looking, he must have had his people plant a series of farts into my guys’ golf carts. When my buddies sat down, they experienced a low-rent version of a Mob-style car bomb, only instead of gunning their vehicles and triggering an explosion, they sat down on flatulence-threaded seats and were treated to an onslaught of diabetes-soaked ass-gas. Using a combination of my yoga training and some techniques I learned as a rescue swimmer, I oxygenate my body with a series of rapid breaths, gulp a big one down, then sit on the driver’s seat of my cart. A brown, miasmic cloud erupts around me, causing my eyes to trickle blood and making me go dizzy, but I haven’t inhaled any of the Gross into my lungs, so I manage to stay conscious. I take off in my cart, hoping that the fart-trap will have dissipated by the time I have to breathe. Amos and his followers pursue me to the far edge of the golf course, where no one watches, where the links are bordered by swamps. As the charge on my cart runs out (he must’ve replaced my battery with a dying one the night before), he makes a circling motion in the air with his right hand, and his followers fan their carts out around mine in a semi-circle. I pick out my favorite driver and putter, and grip them in my hands. If this is the end, then so be it. I’ve studied enough of Musashi’s two-sword style to translate it into golf clubs, and damned if at least SOME of these douchebags don’t fall beneath my swing. Amos and his followers—looks to be about two dozen of these jerkoffs—emerge from their carts. He casually slaps a club against his open palm, strolling toward me. “You know, Kent, I can forgive your holier-than-thou attitude, but the fact that you took that sweet dimepiece Elsa Mae away from me, THAT’s what I find so—” I interrupt his words with a hard smile. “She came of her own volition Amos. And yes, when I use the word ‘came,’ I mean it as a double entendre.” His face darkens with rage and he levels his club at my face. “WHAT DO THEY SEE IN YOU??? All you do is babble about dinosaurs and laser swords…I’M the one who put in thirty years of honest work for the banks! I’M the one who spent my life as an upstanding citizen! I’M the one who—” I chuckle. “You’re the one who bores them into a daytime nap. There’s a running joke among the ladies that they don’t need to use a dryer for their panties; all they need to do is listen to you for five minutes.” I wink while his mouth opens and closes in sheer outrage. He yells, “GET HIM!” Cripes! Even though some of these fools are centenarians, there’s still dozens of ’em—the odds are NOT in my favor! I meet their battle cry with my own, whirl both of my clubs, and charge toward ’em. In the ensuing melee, artificial hips shatter, false teeth tumble across the ground…but it ends with me on my back, Amos pointing his club at my face and smiling triumphantly. I’ve taken a handful out, but I knew it would end this way. Unless…I reach in my pocket for my eReader and open it to Echo. Magic flash. The earth begins rumbling. Amos and his followers look around in shock. A few seconds later, an army of pale arms erupt from the earth and grab onto the legs of Amos and his people. Amidst a rising choir of screams, I smile in relief. During the CHUD war, I was the sole survivor of a scout team that got trapped beneath the earth. After many days of being stalked by CHUDs and dispatching dozens of ’em with my bare hands, I was finally captured and bought before their leader. This fella informed me that I had impressed the CHUDs with my ferocity, and that the CHUDs would one day rise up and aid me in a time of need. As I see Amos disappear into the soft loam that serves as a border between golf course and swamp, I thank my CHUD brethren, realizing that I share more in common with them than this evil, jello-swilling fool.
Are there nefarious games afoot in your beloved retirement home due to some idiot doucher that eats all the jello? Don’t worry; you can use Echo to envelop him in a wave of dirty CHUDs. Right now I’m in the middle of reworking Echo 1, trying to get all my noob mistakes out. If you refrain from buying it due to my amateurish writing style, a product of my first ventures into fiction, then I totally understand, and I’ll announce when I re-upload an updated version. If you buy it anyways, then many thanks! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle