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ISBN-10: 1-55404-452-9
Genre: Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 101 Pages
Published: May 2007

From inside the flap

Tonto, a cross-eyed, ADHD affected little weenie dog with only one testicle, who already has a self-created job of compulsively shoveling pine straw into piles with sticks, is suddenly drafted into another job: saving the world from an alien invasion! Can he manage both jobs? Well perhaps, if a compulsively cursing alcoholic super genius and his co-ed groupies combine talents with a cigar chomping Italian whose air-headed secretary inadvertently gives him unlimited pentagon funding, and then help out Tontoís owners, who think politicians are almost as smart as lizards and even smarter than grasshoppers. Get ready for a wild and crazy ride with Tonto and his friends, the most amazing characters Darrell Bain has created so far in his eclectic writing career! This is a science fiction story so insane that it only begins to make sense when itís discovered that the aliens had a part in Tontoís conception to begin with!

BARK! (Excerpt)

Chapter One

The meteorologists were all so completely fooled it was embarrassing. They didnít just make a wrong forecast; that happened with regularity anyway. This time they raised their erroneous weather forecasting to new heights of inaccuracy. It was on a day in late fall, with no fronts anywhere near, with the waters in the Gulf of Mexico no longer hot enough for hurricane formation, with no signs of a tropical storm apparent, with no weather patterns coming in from Mexico or the Pacific and with the whole state of Texas enjoying warm, balmy and cloudless weather. Suddenly a vicious low-pressure system formed over East Texas with the rapidity of a striking rattler. In an area about a hundred miles north of Houston, and fifty to a hundred miles wide, near hurricane-force winds suddenly sprang up and began ripping through the countryside in a counter clockwise movement.

Trees blew over, power lines went down, commuters were caught on their lunch hour or while shopping with no protection and no warning. Fortunately, there were few casualties; Texans are used to sudden changes in the weather, but even the old-timers had to admit this one was a little too abrupt for their tastes, Texas weather or not.

For a solid hour the gusty winds blew in the counter clockwise motion around the center of the low pressure as if a tropical storm had sprung up from nowhere. The meteorologists went mad trying to explain how this could be happening when there was so little moisture available to work with, a required ingredient for that type weather system. In fact, it never rained a drop the whole time. And then, just as suddenly as the weather had changed, it went back to normal, leaving debris strewn on yards, roads and highways, and a number of motor vehicle accidents caused by high winds and junk on the highways as the only sign it had ever existed.

Some meteorologists claimed to their dying day that it hadnít existed. It was impossible; therefore it hadnít happened. Others conveniently forgot about it, putting it out of their minds and going on about their business, as if by not thinking about the phenomena, it could be relegated to the same category as forgotten names, dates or the times in high school they had embarrassed themselves by being turned down for a date or tripping over their own feet on the dance floor at the prom. Others remembered and made conscientious efforts to find an explanation for the oddity. They studied past weather patterns, fiddled with the exotic equations peculiar to their science and ran all the data again and again through their super duper fast weather computers, but for all their sweat and mental effort, wound up none the wiser afterwards.

In contrast, a few meteorologists in the Pentagon knew more than their fellows. They were the rare breed who studied upper atmospheric phenomena, the patterns and shifts of the jet stream and even farther up, the mechanisms which made weather work on the fringes of space; if that thin mix of charged particles, the streams of sun-stuff that managed to elude the Van Allen belts, could be called weather. Those men and women needed every bit of data they could garner in order to program the missiles and spy satellites and space launches and experiments the military was constantly conducting. They knew right off that something was badly awry.

Just as the out-of-nowhere low-pressure system was forming, several of the radars that monitored the near space environment picked up an anomaly. It was somewhat akin to the play of upper atmospheric lightning and trails of charged particles left in the wake of satellite launches, but different. In the mist of the sudden whorl of thin clouds not even visible to the naked eye, one meteorologist thought he detected something solid, or so it appeared; yet within the blink of an eye it was gone. If there hadnít been a recording of the phenomena, and if the military computers hadnít been programmed to flag anomalies, it would have been missed entirely. From the area of the briefly appearing solid object, a faint stream of near-undetectable particles shot toward Earth, but dissipated long before they could have reached the ground; or so it was thought. What was extremely and unaccountably odd was that later examination of the records showed that the anomaly and the particles associated with it resembled what theorists thought a giant ion propelled spacecraft might look like, a clearly impossible situation.

The occurrence was studied and worried about and tweaked and gone over like an unexpected burst of previously unknown sub-atomic particles appearing in a cyclotron. Despite all the study, little more was learned. Whatever the thing had been, it was gone; gone with the wind, or so it was thought. Almost all of them finally agreed that what they had seen wasnít an object at all, but simply a glitch in the instruments, such as occurred sometimes when sunspot activity was high. Only one person in the department not only held the conviction that they had spotted something material, he noted what he decided was a direction the microscopically brief particle stream had taken. None of his colleagues agreed with him; they couldnít see it, and eventually Marco Whitman, a big burly dark haired Italian who looked more like a construction foreman than a scientist, quit mentioning it. He never forgot about it, though. The direction he thought he had seen had been toward Texas. He was a native Texan and hoped to retire back in Texas in the not too distant future. In East Texas, to be exact. He didnít like to think that a bunch of space stuff was preceding him there, but he knew of little he could do about it. And then it happened again, in reverse.