Fractured Fragment Friday: “In a Flash” (and a coupon!)

I will now turn Fractured Fridays toward one of my two series – Detective Jimmy Delaney. I didn’t intend to write a detective story, let alone a series. Sure, I like to have a little mystery, misdirection and reveal in my fiction, but I write speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, and light horror), not police and detective who-dun-its.

So where did Jimmy come from?

It started with an off-hand comment, someone wishing they could just plug in a flash drive and get the knowledge and skills they needed without all that work. I’d also seen a lot of articles on what’s coming in brain research, especially reading, memory, and control, and my thoughts tend to gravitate and revolve around mind control.

I thought it would be interesting to explore the ethics a little. What are the trade-offs when you gain experience without really earning it? What are the ramifications if someone can have ideas put in his head by someone else? When are your actions not your own? If you don’t have control of your own mind and commit murder under these circumstances, who’s responsible?

Once murder entered into my thoughts (for the plot, folks!), it became a crime and detective story, and “In a Flash” was born, Detective Jimmy Delaney grew from that as someone I could identify with – someone getting up in years watching the times change around him, and wondering whether he can keep up. Someone not making the best of his situation on multiple fronts and needing to act, to do something to fix it all, failing to make the right choices again and again and yet still squeaking through by stubbornness and perseverance. Someone with a code – obviously imperfect, but redeemable. Some hero, huh?

Here’s the blurb:InAFlashJimmyCover

Jimmy was a good cop, but age and changing times were getting the better of him. If he could only get an edge, take advantage of some of that new-fangled tech – what would be the harm? I mean, everybody cheats a little, don’t they? Just be careful not to get caught… Read “In a Flash” to see how Jimmy gets himself out of trouble.

And here’s this week’s excerpt:

He’d lose his badge if they caught him doing this. Hell, he’d lose it if he didn’t.

Jimmy paced around the operating chair. It wasn’t bad enough the department was backing away from lethal force; they had to pattern the Disabler after a video-game controller. Jimmy wasn’t catching on like the younger guys.

He pulled out his cigarettes, then remembered where he was and stuffed them back in his pocket. Funny. They were about to illegally jack him, but light up in here and he’d really catch hell.

Dr. Yon entered with short, mincing steps, as if he was afraid that larger movements would cause his white lab coat to flare out and fling away his dignity. His long-legged nurse slinked in after him in her too-tight uniform. Jimmy wondered if this was the only work she did on the south side.

“Have a seat, Mr. Delaney,” Yon said as he busied himself with a hypo, “and we will begin.”

“Just one thing, Doc,” Jimmy said as he sat back in the chair. “When the jack is in…”

“Jack is such a distasteful word. The proper term is AugMentor.”

“Okay. Will anyone be able to watch what I’m doing?”

Yon hesitated, and the nurse laughed, “My husband worries too much about saying things exactly right.”

“Diana, there is nothing wrong with wanting to speak…”

“Not now, Dear,” she said, placing a hand on Yon’s chest, and the tension leached out of him. She turned her blue eyes on Jimmy. “You’re thinking of an AugMonitor, like the ones the State uses on parolees. That’s not what you’re getting.”

“That’s what I told my wife, but she thinks you’ll be able to see everything I see.”

“Silly thing!” she said. “Let’s get started.”

Jimmy sat quietly as Yon pushed the needle into his left arm, felt the cold spread upwards and…

…woke in the chair. His right eye throbbed, and he felt intense itching behind his right ear. He reached up to scratch, but encountered gauze padding.

“Don’t touch the dressing,” said Diana from behind him. She walked to the door and called out, “He’s awake!”

Dr. Yon came into the room.

“How do you feel, Mr. Delaney?”

“Like I’ve been kicked in the eye.”

“That is to be expected. The pain from the optic nerve splice will subside in one or two days. We will give you a medication for that.”

“What about the itching behind my ear?”

“Soon you will not even be aware of it. Are you able to sit up?”

Jimmy pushed himself up and turned so his feet rested on the floor. He didn’t feel groggy at all.

“Excellent. Diana will give you your instructions. Good night.”

Yon left the room. Diana handed Jimmy an empty bag, then explained each of the items to him before dropping them inside.

She showed him what looked like a flash drive.

“This blue tooth transmitter is coded to your AugMentor. Plug it into your PC and you can download apps through your device.”

There were pain pills, and a copy of the Electronic Marksman app, in case he needed to reload.

“You have our special patient number if you need to reach us. Leave the dressing on until Saturday night, and don’t strain yourself for the rest of the weekend.”

She took Jimmy’s arm and led him to the door at the rear of Yon’s plastic surgery clinic. He pulled up the hood on his warm-up, took a quick look around to make sure no one was there, then walked to his car. As he drove off, he warred with himself about where to go. He wanted to try out the app, but he couldn’t take the chance of anyone seeing him at the range with the bandages still on, or anywhere else, for that matter. Best to stay out of sight.

He thought about heading to the house, but Jill would be mad for a while, so he drove back to the motel that had been home for the last couple of nights. He tossed the bag on the dresser, then checked himself out in the mirror. He looked normal, except for the band of gauze wrapped around his head to hold the dressing on his ear, and how swollen and red his eye looked. It throbbed, so he got a glass of water, tossed down a pain pill, then pulled off the warm-up and flopped onto the bed.

Jimmy thought he remembered getting up a couple of times the next day and taking some pain-killers, but wasn’t sure until he counted the pills that night. He stood in front of the sink and unrolled the gauze. With the dressing off, there was no sign that anything was different, except that his right eye was still a bit puffy and red, like he’d been on a bender.

Sunday, he went to the practice range with the Disabler and tried out his newly loaded expertise. Unlike his previous attempts to adjust from his old .45, this time it felt familiar in his hand. When he placed a high-capacitance slug in each of the target’s limbs without having to focus, he knew getting jacked was the right thing to do.

When he got back to his room, he sat and stared at the phone, then finally picked it up and dialed. Jill answered on the fifth ring.


“Hi, Honey. You okay?”

“Did you get that thing put in?”

“Yeah. Friday night.”

“Then how do you expect me to feel, Jimmy?”

“Honey, I need this. It works great, and the doc says there’s no reason to worry – we’re not being spied on. You need to understand.”

Actually, Jimmy is the one who doesn’t quite understand what this is about – but he will soon enough. “In a Flash” is a short, detective fiction, and is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/120247

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006W8UXSIJD1BrokenDownCover

“In a Flash” is also included in Broken Down: Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #1. (The next ten people who purchase the collection on Smashwords with coupon code RAE50 will receive a 67% discount – that’s only 99-cents for three Detective Jimmy Delaney stories – such a deal!):

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/449196

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L2K4GN4


Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write) is ready for reading.

Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.Swordsmaster4

The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?

Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords (with a coupon for 25%-off now as part of the Smashwords’ End of Year Sale!): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/954501

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WNK79FM

(there is also a paperback on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691904910 )


CatsOfWar_IIa_CoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing, including Cats of War II (a collection of his Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series), can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri

• His site on WordPress:  https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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