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Newsletter Dated: 12/31/2001 5:02:25 PM
Subject: TWILIGHT DYNASTY NEWSLETTER **** Barry H. Smith, Editor **** Vol. 1, Issue 5*****
Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2001 Twilight Dynasty Newsletter!
Here's wishing you a prosperous and healthy New Year!
Late, you say? What happened to the monthly newsletters for August, September, October and November? Do I have a good excuse for my tardiness? Sure as shootin', I do. Take a look at the story below entitled "The Worm" for all the sordid details. I've really missed all of you guys and gals over the past few months, but I'm back with a vengeance. In 2001, I will at least publish a newsletter every two months. I promise this on the head of my rabid pet pterodactyl, Manilow; and I'd never let anything happen to that loveable creature, now would I? Now, without further ado, bring on the news...
**TABLE OF CONTENTS**
- "Laying Down the Law" (or "The Legal Brief" )
- Short Story of the Month - "Tourist Trap"
- "Twilight Tales" - Barry's Short Story Archives
- "Site of the Month"
- "Mythos News"
- "The Worm"
- "Robin's Nest - For All Intents and Purposes" by Robin Light
- "Closing Remarks"
"LAYING DOWN THE LAW" (or "The Legal Brief" )
The greatest challenge for a lawyer is to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat. For Johnny Cochrane, it came when he successfully combatted detailed and confusing DNA evidence with simple sleight-of-hand in the form of a shrunken glove. It was brilliant in its simplicity. Well, yours truly can go Johnny one better with a story I call, "A Witness In His Own Defence" —
Barry H. Smith was sweating as he stood to address the jury. He wiped his receding brow with his handkerchief, the prosecutor's Cheshire grin momentarily distracting him as he gathered his thoughts. Sure it was a case based on circumstantial evidence. True the cops never found poor Sidney Goodbar's battered body. Notwithstanding these apparent weaknesses in their case, the prosecution had proudly hoisted the hammer, steeped in Goodbar's blood, for all the jury to see as if it was Lord Stanley's Cup. Smith could visualize his client being led away to life imprisonment with no chance of parole, followed no doubt by well-stoked hellfire. Nonetheless, he still had his ace to play. He cleared his throat and began his address.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. You have listened intently to all the evidence submitted by my learned friend. The puzzle pieces that he has unearthed seem to form a picture of murder, but there is one very crucial missing piece to this confusing puzzle." Smith paused to scan the twelve faces, drawing their full attention before he continued. "Mr. Goodbar, my client's long time business partner, was last seen alive at the offices of Goodbar and Reese, Chartered Accountants, on the evening of February 28th, 2001. He was never seen again; although my friend would have you believe that his partner, Mr. Reese, murdered him to keep him quiet about a large number of suspicious transactions in the accounting records of certain clients. Certainly, if Mr. Goodbar was murdered, several people would have had a motive. Mr. Goodbar would also have realized that his life was at risk. Would it not have been preferable for Mr. Goodbar to make himself disappear before someone else eliminated him?" Smith could see that he had their interest. Even the taciturn jury foreman's brow was furrowing. He paused again, raising his hand to draw his listeners attention. "That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what happened. That is how I can now call to the stand in Mr. Reese's defence, Mr. Sidney Goodbar himself!" Smith waved his hand toward the door at the back of the courtroom.
The court officer protecting the door was caught off guard, but soon went into action. Smith noticed that all twelve jurors as well as all those in the gallery were looking with anticipation towards the rear of the courtroom. The officer opened the door and called into the hallway beyond.
"Mr. Sidney Goodbar to Courtroom 21." He called three times, then returned to announce to the hushed assemblage. "No response, Your Honour."
Twelve sets of eyes returned to Smith's smiling face. "No, my friends. Mr. Goodbar won't be giving evidence today. That won't be required. Each and every one of you just turned your attention to the back of the courtroom in anticipation of seeing the murder victim enter alive and well. Each and every one of you has demonstrated a reasonable doubt that Mr. Goodbar was murdered by my client, or, in fact, that he was murdered at all." Smith turned to the bench. "That is the case for the defence, Your Honour."
It didn't take the jury long to deliberate. The jury returned within the hour, and the taciturn foreman was asked to read the verdict. "We find the accused guilty as charged, Your Honour."
Smith leaped to his feet, blurting out his questions to the foreman over the hammering of the gavel. "How can you ignore the fact that you all looked?" He jabbed his finger at the foreman. "Even you. You looked, didn't you?"
"Oh yes," the foreman finally broke a smile. "I looked, but your client didn't."
Most attorneys practice because it gives them a grand and glorious feeling. Hand them a grand and they feel glorious!
– Milton Berle
A few years ago, a judge in a well-known midwestern city ordered the impounding
of the pornographic movie, "101 Ways of Love". He declared the film to be definitely and utterly obscene. As an afterthought, he added, "Besides, I only counted seven ways."
Doctors and lawyers often verbally spar in court. For example:
"Doctor, do you recall the time that you examined the body?" asked the lawyer.
"The autopsy started about 8:30 p.m."
"And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?"
"No, actually he was lying on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!"
When well-known attorney Melvin Bell was booted out of the American Bar Association, he was pretty philosophical about it. He said of the "traumatic" event, "Getting kicked out of the American Bar Association is like getting kicked out of the Book of the Month Club."
(The following story is true as to locale and incident, but the names have been changed to protect the innocent and rile a certain Aussie lass)
A fellow in Australia called the cops about a naked woman in his bed. He was preparing for bed, when an attractive young woman entered, introduced herself as Tanya, undressed and slipped between the sheets. The cops came and found that the lovely, but intoxicated, Tanya lived a couple of floors above the man, and had mistakenly entered his apartment. Tanya was escorted home, but the police issued a ticket to the man. For what? For making a nuisance call, to the police, of course :)
"SHORT STORY OF THE MONTH"
- My short story of the month, posted just for my newsletter subscribers, is entitled "Tourist Trap". It takes place in Bermuda and is loosely based upon an actual criminal case. My wife's Bermuda heritage coupled with my 30 something trips to the island have been used in the crafting of this my latest thriller. "Tourist Trap" can be accessed directly at: http://members.rogers.com/barry.smith/trap.html
, or through the Short Story Archive link below. Enjoy!
"TWILIGHT TALES" - BARRY'S SHORT STORY ARCHIVES
I have posted a complete collection of links to this month's and all my previous monthly short stories on my Twilight Tales Page at: http://members.rogers.com/barry.smith/Stories.htm
- Remember, I thrive on feedback (positive or negative), so feel free to email me any comments that you may have by clicking on the flashing email button at the bottom of any of the story pages.
- My newest subscriber is from Africa, so my humble little newsletter is now reaching 6 of 7 continents. Hey, does anyone know anybody in Antarctica?
"SITE OF THE MONTH"
In addition to Robin Light's web page referred to below, my long overdue site of the month is Jeanni Brosius' "Miscellaneous Ramblings Magazine". Check it out at: http://www.miscramblingsmag.com
This site should be of interest to readers and writers alike. The Miscellaneous Ramblings' review of Twilight Dynasty was in a previous issue but has been posted to the Reviews Page of my web site for posterity.
Well, after having completed the four month publicity campaign with Phenix & Phenix, I haven't been directly involved in further promotions of "Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil". Instead, I've been concentrating on the polishing of "Twilight Dynasty: Temporal Justice". I think everyone will notice that, although the second novel still contains the same fast-paced descriptive style, I have matured as a writer over the past few years. I wish to publicly thank all my friends and writing colleagues at Zoetrope Studios for their constructive reviews and assistance. All of the short stories posted on my Short Stories Archive Page benefited from their selfless input. There are too many to name here, but they know who they are. They are a band of wild and wacky creative geniuses led by a Smog monster in Huff mask, leading a howling Slavens thing on a short leash. Robin, the Goddess of Light, and even Tanya, the Daytripper, have contributed both to my maturing as a writer, and to this newsletter;
although Manilow, my rabid pterodactyl managed to devour Tanya's ill-fated article... literally. I think it was about some libber topic involving cutting down on the long-legged lovelies in TD2. Well... no great loss there, I guess. (Man, will I take a beating over that comment.)
I will be posting all of the latest updates on my writing career on the "Mythos News" page of my website at:
"ARTICLE OF THE MONTH"
This column was supposed to feature Tanya Day's inaugural message from the land down under; however, a diabolical plot unfortunately pre-empted this article by the lovely Ms. Day. To fully understand the machinations, you must read:
"THE WORM" by BHS
He slept curled deep within the small metal cabinet, in a universe as vast as cyberspace itself. He was from old... frightening of aspect with immense power coursing through his sinuous body. H.P. Lovecraft once theorized that the world was once inhabited by a race of monstrous elder gods of mind-numbing power who would one day return to earth and wipe the stain of mankind from its ancient soil. Perhaps cyberspace would be their gateway back to this unsuspecting planet. Perhaps this worm was their herald... the herald of the end of our world as we know it.
Oh, he had a name. He was more than just a nameless digital serpent dozing in a drugged stupor within my Compaq's hard disk. No, he was the ninety-ninth embryo of the Horrendous Anti Primate Paleolithic Yahoos, or, for short... H.A.P.P.Y. 99. Don't get me wrong. Those slavering jaws projected anything but happiness, but everyone has to be called something.
He had surfed to his present location upon a sea of junk email. Gaining access to his present location by the opening of an innocuous-looking email, a weary Happy 99 had succumbed to sleep. It was August of 2001 when Happy 99 first stirred in his new surroundings. The hum from the machinery attracted his attention. His electric eyes gazed about the confined space. Impulses shot from Happy's eyes, entering a particular cable that was connected to the squarish monitor portal. A singularly ugly human was gazing back at him. No, the human was gazing in Happy's direction but without recognition, fixated by the electronic impulses dancing across the screen. The hum from the CPU intensified. The human was composing a missive in some archaic language. Happy concentrated. It was entitled, "The Twilight Dynasty Newsletter." Curiouser and curiouser.
Happy was hungry, and the electronic impulses were just what he needed after a two year hibernation. He intercepted them with his slimy tongue, causing the newsletter to disappear from the monitor screen and reappear as worm food in his elongated stomach. They were delicious, but he was unsatisfied. Happy turned his attention to his surroundings. Thirteen gigs of cyberspace were spread out enticingly before him. His tongue wound into the unplumbed depths of the hard disk. He gorged on its contents, completely ignoring the frenzied screams of the ugly human.
Barry Smith couldn't believe his eyes. "Illegal function," his computer monitor screamed. "This program will be shut down." As he closed each window, another appeared to take its place. Could every program on his computer be infected? What could be causing this cataclysmic crash?
The computer store geeks weren't much help. "Hard disk is toast," they said. "No back-up? Well, we can try to image some of the data to the new disk. It should work."
Happy 99 was fully gorged. His eyes began to sputter as his hibernation instinct kicked in. He would have slept for another couple of years if not for the electro-magnetic pulse. The pain was excruciating. It was like he was being torn asunder. For a moment, he glimpsed a mirror image of himself through his cablevision. When he awoke, he was in a much larger space. Eighty gigs of cyberspace spread out before him. Electronic images flashed across the expanse like comets. It would take him longer to destroy his new surroundings, but he took on the task happily.
Time passed in Barry Smith's life. The events of September 11th turned him into a depressed C.N.N. junkie for the better part of a month. While the world suffered from the results of a madman's plot, skyscraper towers crumbling to rubble, Smith's CPU tower stood tall, but its contents crumbled like the W.T.C. again and again. Among the victims of the worm's invisible assaults was the Twilight Dynasty Newsletter, emails from Robin Light, Tanya Day and other friends, vital address books containing his cyber contacts, and revised copies of his latest novel. Smith soon became as devastated as his computer system.
After suffering through weekly computer crashes for several months, Smith hired an unassuming mercenary named Norton. Armed with a mystical anti-virus potion, Norton waded into worm-infested territory, tracking Happy to the darkest part of the cyber world. It was there that Norton, the Worm Impaler, unleashed the most powerful forces the elder gods had ever seen – man-made magic verses ancient and arcane knowledge. In time, the worm was vanquished.
For the fifteenth time in three months, Barry Smith re-formatted his hard disk and re-loaded his software and data. He had it down to a science now, completing the resurrection of his system in 3.85 hours. He had managed to cobble together some of his lost email addresses. Slowly, he re-introduced himself to the cyber world beyond his computer screen. He even started once again to resurrect his unbelievably belated August newsletter. It was late November 2001. He would rename it his Fall newsletter. He began picking away at his keyboard. F-A-L----C-CRASH!
The geek behind the counter looked up to see the familiar face of his regular customer. The man wasn't smiling.
"How's it goin', Barry?"
"It's not." Smith's face was strained, not so much from the CPU tucked under his arm, but from the memory of his program data shrivelling to bits of flashing impulses before his eyes. "You're giving me a new hard disk." He placed the computer on the counter in front of the incredulous sales clerk.
The business card was slapped down on the counter in rapid fire response. ‘Barry H. Smith, Barrister and Solicitor'. The card re-introduced this usually jovial customer as a force to be reckoned with. The clerk pulled his eyes from the business card, and sheepishly asked: "Would it be okay if we had it installed by 5:00 o'clock today, Mr. Smith?"
"ROBIN'S NEST" (Formerly entitled "Robin's Rant")
"For All Intents and Purposes."
A month or so ago an old friend from high
school, (Tony? Tony's a good name to use.)
were having lunch on the front balcony of a
local Greek restaurant. (Cheap Plug -
Symposium, for any of you Edmontonians
whom I doubt are out there. 104 st. and 82
We were chatting about anything; how
much we hated high school, cheesy teen
movies and why they're still so much fun,
and he started telling me about a retreat he
had gone on with his church.
"We had this wonderful circle every night
and we could just talk about anything that
was bothering us."
"The direction of the church, the lack of
people my age in the congregations,
hypocrisy in the church, and then I got into
a little bit of trouble..."
"Tony, what did you do?"
He told me that there was a young woman,
a few years younger than him, in the circle.
And was she beautiful - long legs, long hair
the whole thing. And she was discussing
modesty and the definitions and such.
"Well, I called her on it - she was preaching
modesty but she didn't practice it. In the
middle of the day she'd be in the common
room doing her stretches, I think it was
yoga or something, and she'd be wearing
these skimpy spandex outfits. And her legs
were open wide and she was bending and
stuff. So I said that her actions were
causing lustful thoughts and that was
morally wrong, so she couldn't preach about
modesty. So, after a huge long discussion
we settled it, because she said that when
she was doing her exercises she did not
mean to cause lustful thoughts. The
difference is in intent. She had no intent,
and I apologized."
"Please explain ‘intent' to me."
"These girls that walk down the ave on the
weekend nights, or in the middle of the day
like those two across the street. Bikini tops,
high heels and short skirts or short shorts.
They dress that way for one purpose. To
cause lust. That's their reason. And it's
wrong... Why do you look like you're about
to throw the rest of that daiquiri in my
Background - Tony and I grew up in
Kamloops. We went to a Catholic high
school where the students hated him for
being ‘too' Catholic and thinking about
seminary school. They hated me for being
the happy heathen I am, who had posters of
Sinead O'Connor displayed in my locker after
she ripped up a picture of the pope on live
television. I know he's anti-abortion, he
knows I'm pro-abortion. He says he believes
in women's equality.
"Yes Tony, I'm about to throw a daiquiri in
But it's common. Tony's not alone in his
feelings towards the scantily clad
contingent in the world. It runs from "I'm
not saying that rape victims are to blame,
but look at her outfit - she's asking for it," -
which is a sentence that totally contradicts
itself - to the extremism of some religions
who require women to be fully clothed -
fully. Completely. We're talking nothing more
than eyes showing.
Am I overreacting? I'm sure some people
"Why do the current state of women's
The clothes themselves don't. The attitudes
around them do. Let me put it this way -
How often do you walk down the street, see
a man in a tight t-shirt or short cut-offs, or
shirtless, and think to yourself, "He's asking
By way of rebuttal, I would just add that imagination (and therefore intent) may be in the eye of the beholder as Ms. Light seems to be saying, but some clothes leave very little to the imagination. Hey, Tony, my man, after you apologized for your lustful thoughts, did you ask her out?
Would you believe that Robin wrote the preceding article for my August 2001 newsletter; but, as a result of the Worm's intervention, it was lost. Finally, running out of her limited reserve of patience, Ms. Light decided to post the article on her very own budding website at: http://littlebird.iwarp.com/
Finally, this article sees print in its originally planned location. Thanks for your patience, Robin :)
(P.S. Would you kindly get moving on your next "Robin's Nest". We do have deadlines around here, you know.)
In addition to the infestation of the Worm, my ISP decided to change my email and website addresses. At first, I was given a two week deadline to switch over since the @home network was bankrupt. This deadline has now been extended to the end of January, 2002. So please change my email address in your address books to: firstname.lastname@example.org
My website now exists both on @home.com and @rogers.com. If you use the Twilight Tales link, you will be accessing the more up-to-date @rogers version. As of January 31, 2002, I will be pointing my twilight-dynasty.com domain name to the new @rogers.com version of the site. There will therefore be no need to change your bookmarks for the web site.
Well, people, that's it for the fifth instalment of the Twilight Dynasty Newsletter. Next issue will be Vol. 2 Issue 1. See you in 2002. Until then, be good :)