Month: April 2013

Life by Quote

Can you write a story through a set of pretend blog entries?  You be the judge.

17 Feb

The quote of the day is genius.

“If in doubt, make tea” – Anon

So simple and can really be applied in life.  Not quite sure what else to write today but that’s ok, I’m off to make tea.

 18 Feb

Really digging this tea thing.  It’s no wonder the English conquered so much of the known world, it’s really conducive to relaxing and thinking.

I read in the comments some of you scoffing that I’d missed the point, making tea doesn’t solve anything.  Well here’s a quote from someone a little wiser that you my friends:

“What you do will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it” – Mahatma Ghandi

Plus Ghandi was Indian and we all know how much tea they make.  So stick that in your pot and steep it!!

19 Feb

Still think I’m onto something here with the tea, but I could use a bigger bladder.  Spend half my time heading to the toilet.  Might have to see if there are any caveats that I’ve missed.

22 Feb

Found it (take that you scoffers)!  I missed the important quote:

“But first coffee” – Anon

Double your preparation time means twice the time for thinking.  I suppose you’re meant to drink both?  I’m going to assume that you are, what’s the worst that can happen?

25 Feb

It’s taken me a few days to get the caffeine under control, but I can finally sit still at my computer again.

You know those memes with huge eyed Madagascan tree critters that claim they’ve drunk coffee and can now see noises?  Yeah I used to think that was just rubbish, but I can tell you it’s true.

27 Feb

Have installed a couple more electric kettles in the kitchen so that I can be a chain boiler.  Somehow my initial anxiety and doubts have come back with a vengeance, but tea helped last time so I’ll just try harder.

1 Mar

Got the unfortunate side effect of mold now growing on my ceiling.  The whole room is really humid after I upgraded to a bank of kettles that I can run constantly.  Not sure I can actually make tea in larger quantities without upgrading to something industrial.

Still, got heaps of time to clean the mold while I can’t sleep at nights now.

5 Mar

“Less is more” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Less is more!  What a great quote.  Thank goodness I found that one, otherwise my ceiling may have started to rot from the constant layer of condensed steam.

I’ve been heading in the wrong direction.  Have now downgraded (but in effect upgraded) to a single tiny electric kettle.

The doctor tells me that my blinding headaches are from caffeine withdrawals and should subside in a week or so.

6 Mar

I think my headaches are getting slightly better.  As a distraction, here’s a totally true quote for you all:

“Nowhere on your birth certificate did it say life would be fair” – Trevor Jones

I checked mine and it doesn’t, so you can take that as gospel (well assuming you’re Australian – other countries might be different).

7 Mar

Can finally leave the house again without my head wanting to split open under the intense glare of the sun.  I think I’ll try going back to work today.

Am wondering whether I should change my route to work.  Found the following quote:

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going” – Beverly Sills

I usually duck through the car park of Red Rooster on my walk to work.  Perhaps that explains why I find it so unsatisfying?  Might try going the long way today to see if it makes it any better.

8 Mar

Yeah well, you detractors were right on this one.  Work still sucked.  Must have missed something subtle about that quote.

Got bawled out by the boss for missing the last week with bad headaches and forgetting my doctor’s certificate.

6 Apr

OK, can’t stand it anymore!  I’m blogging again.  Spent the last month operating under the direction of one Elbert Hubbard.

“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” – Elbert Hubbard

I got the ‘do nothing‘ and ‘say nothing‘ down pat, but ‘be nothing‘ is quite hard when you’ve got people who know you exist.  Firstly I got a few nasty letters from work about not showing up, but then they fired me and the criticism stopped.  Ahh bliss.

Unfortunately others aren’t quite as easy to shake.  Like, for example, my landlord and my Mum.  Particularly my Mum who insists that I need to make something of my life.  Didn’t matter how much I protested that I was trying to do the opposite.  Bummer.

7 Apr

Good old Dr Phil has come to the rescue!

“Anyone can do something when they WANT to do it.  Really successful people do things when they don’t want to do it” – Dr Phil

Wise words from a wise man.  Now to find a job I really despise.

7 Apr (Update)

Am now a proud employee at an Apple Genius Bar.  Well actually not proud, yeah the opposite of that, ashamed.  That’s it 🙂  I’m an ashamed employee at an Apple Genius Bar!

Can’t tell you how much I don’t want to show up at work tomorrow.  Will be amazingly successful in no time doing this …

8 Apr

Got in hot water today with my boss.  A customer was complaining about how they couldn’t use their iPhone, so I decided to share some words of wisdom with them:

“Never tell your problems to anyone … 20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them” – Lou Holtz

Turns out I’m not allowed to help customers philosophically, have to stick to Technical advice.  😦

9 Apr

Just couldn’t help myself again today, the customer was just going on and on about how awesome his new MacBook Air was.  Oh the banality of it.  Had to remind him he was talking rubbish.

“If today was perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow” – Jessica Treczokat

Gently reminded him that if he kept on, he might be risking the end of the world.  Apparently that’s my second strike.

10 Apr

Didn’t want that stupid job anyway!

“Winners lose much more often than losers.  So if you keep losing but you’re still trying, keep it up!  You’re right on track.” – Matthew Keith Groves

Good to know I’m on track.

15 Apr

So I’ve been pursuing a new avenue of investigation.  Turns out I need to consider others too.

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want” – Zig Ziglar

My mate Roger from school has heaps of stuff he wants, so I’m going to start hanging out with him again.

16 Apr

“Life is ‘trying things to see if they work'” – Ray Bradbury

Rog’ gave me some white powder to try today.  Turns out it does NOT work!  Still I’m trying things so must have a life right?

17 Apr

Rog’ suggested today a way to get him some cash without the explicit consent of a Bank.  He wants me to drive the getaway car.

Feel really really like it’s not something I want to be involved in – so I guess it meets with Dr Phil’s approval.  Plus I’ll be helping him get what he wants.  :S

I guess all the signs are pointing to yes then.

24 Apr

Sorry for not blogging for a while.  Been in hiding since that fiasco at the Bank.  You might have seen it – front page of the Courier Mail?

Anyway Rog’ finally let me come home.  Man that guy can be uptight, not sure he’s the best person to keep company with.  Still I’m going back to the Bank tomorrow, because as they say:

“Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better” – Samuel Beckett

25 Apr

This is NOT your normal blogger here.  It’s his Mum.

Unfortunately this will be the last blog entry for quite some time as my son has been arrested on multiple charges.  As you regular readers will understand, we are planning our defense around an insanity plea.  Speaking of regular readers I have a couple of bones to pick with you all:

  1. For those of you I know personally (and yes I can see your comments on the posts), I will be asking you in person why you didn’t forewarn me about all this nonsense!  Yes Chris, I’m particularly looking at you.
  2. For those who so helpfully suggested other quotes to my son, be glad that he didn’t take you up on them otherwise I would have personally hunted you down and made your lives hell.  Seriously, who would recommend to a blogger like this, a quote such as “To a profound pessimist about life, being in danger is not depressing” – F Scott Fitzgerald.  Shame on you!

I think I can summarise my son’s current predicament by the following quote:

“Life is not short.  It is long.  VERY long, especially after all those wrong decisions.”

Included in


Fortune Kitty (part 3)

This installment is for my brother Daniel who was wondering what happened next.

Finally the gang all arrived. Tony was the last, he’d been at the shops buying some chewing gum which he’d promptly spat into the front garden on arrival. Mum always lost it when she found us with gum. Look I admit it, there was the one time where we’d got gum all through my little brother’s hair, and when I say all through I mean pretty much everywhere. But we’d sorted it out. A pair of scissors from the kitchen had been all it took to remove the problem, although Mum just freaked. “Come on,” I’d argued, “he’s in Grade 2, it’s not like anyone cares about fashion until at least Grade 5. So what’s the big deal?” Mum tended to disagree. I reckon that there are some debates you’re destined to lose no matter how well argued and that was definitely one of them. She’d packed the gang off home again and marched us straight down town to the hair-dressers where she glared at me while the lady did her best to even out my brother’s cut.

It seemed Tony had finally got the message, but why he’d bought gum in the first place was a mystery because surely he could only have chewed it for half an hour max before arriving. A true connoisseur could make a single piece last for hours and, by stashing it carefully overnight, you could even get back to it the following day. There are gum Ads that talk about a flavor explosion for their product, but I tell you, that next fresh piece you put in your mouth after a couple of days wringing the most out of the last stick – well nothing can compare to the explosion of contrast you get there.

Still we weren’t gathered to philosophize about gum, there was the matter of the vomit to attend to. We clustered around the sticky pool on the laundry floor. I’m not sure that the gang had ever really seen cat sick before based on how they were reacting. Damo had pulled on my hockey mask, Jason loitered further away near the door and Tony for some reason had decided to put on my Mom’s oven mitts. Did he expect it to catch fire and burn him or something? I bent down trying not to think about how gross it was, a sorry little bundle in a bigger pool of sticky liquid. It wasn’t so much how it looked that tended to get me, but rather my imagination of where it had come from that made me gag, so I was trying to get it over with quickly.

I was about to reach out when Damo said, “Hold it! Show us your hands, I want to make sure you’re not hiding something.”

He actually made me jump because I’d been focused so intently. “Oh come on man,” I complained.

“Nah, do it, you’ll thank us later when we have to believe you.”

Over by the door, Jason tipped his head to indicate my jeans and said, “Yeah, and empty your pockets too.”

I sighed and played along with their ridiculous charade. It was a waste of time and I really really wanted to see whether there’d be another note today. I wasn’t sure what I’d do if there wasn’t, I’d look like a liar, but then again why would something this strange happen twice in a row? I was pretty much caught between a rock and a hard place so just had to go through with it and see what we found. I showed them my empty hands and turned my pockets inside out. There was nothing in there but an old cinema ticket. It had faded and was unreadable so the guys conceded that I wouldn’t have been trying to pass it off as a message.

I plunged my hands in to the sticky mess and felt … nothing unusual. I wriggled my fingers around searching, but still nothing and looked up at the guys with my eyes wide. “What’d ya find?” asked Tony. “There’s something there?”

I shook my head. “Uh, I don’t think there’s anything”, I admitted. Moving from a crouch to sit fully on the floor, I scrunched my face up in disappointment. I could see it on my friends faces too, as much as they didn’t believe me, they really did want there to be something cool going on. We stared at each other and I knew the ribbing would start soon. Damo pushed the hockey mask off his face to the top of his head and took another glance at the vomit when he said, “Hang on mate, isn’t that something on the floor there?”

We all looked back. Lying there, all soggy under the gastric juices, was a scrap of paper. It had previously been hidden under the bulk of the hairball, but my explorations had moved that and let it be seen. There was some writing that was starting to run and I realized that this one wasn’t laminated, which probably explained why I hadn’t felt it. It needed rescuing. Tony must have realised this at the same time as me because he suddenly darted forward to pick it up, but with his hands still wearing Mum’s oven mitts he only succeeded in getting them all gunked up.

“Get out of the way you moron” I said, pushing him aside. I grabbed the scrap of paper and gingerly lifted it out of the puddle, doing my best not to tear it on the way out. Cradling it in my hands, the gang gathered around to stare. It was with a sense almost of awe that we inspected the prize, alternately studying the message and each others’ faces. A full minute must have passed before anyone spoke.

“Whoa, dude!”, Jason managed to say, and everyone agreed.

We hustled down the corridor to my bedroom to investigate further and I went straight to my school bag to pull out the last message. This was unbelievable, exciting, a mystery worthy of the gang and we read it in each other’s eyes. As usual, Mum managed to invade the moment when she yelled, “So you’ve cleaned up the mess then have you?” Darn it! When we’d found the message I’d forgotten to finish the clean-up and most of it was still lying on the laundry floor. “Oh Mum!” I groaned. Passing both messages to Damo for safe keeping, I hustled back down the corridor and cleaned up the rest of the mess. Probably in a record time too. By the time I got back to the bedroom, the guys had the two messages laid out side-by-side on my desk and were beginning forensic investigations.

“What does it say?” I asked elbowing my way in for a closer look.

“It says, ‘You will have the same exam again tomorrow'”, said Jason his voice flat. He obviously wasn’t impressed by what it said. “Why would they both be about an exam? If you’re cat’s psychic, then it’s tuned into a stupid psychic channel.”

“Yeah we should get it tuned into the Lottery Channel,” enthused Tony, “because then we could find out what the numbers will be and buy a winning ticket!”

“I don’t think psychic cats work that way”, said Damo sarcastically.

“How do you know? Have you ever met a psychic cat before? There might be a way.”

“I’ll just Google ‘Psychic Cat Tuning for Dummies’ shall I?” I asked smirking. Tony pulled a face. It felt good to have the focus on someone else and I made a mental note to give Charlie an extra big pat later. He’d come through for me. “OK, so maybe Charlie’s psychic or may be not, but this is weird. I want to know what’s going on.”

“Me too”, agreed Damo, “but how?”

We all looked a bit stumped and so, in lieu of any other source of inspiration, we all turned back to look at the pieces of paper. The writing on the latest one continued to run a bit so I grabbed a tissue and blotted it ’till it was reasonably dry. If we’d been half an hour longer, we probably wouldn’t have been able to read it at all. It wasn’t laminated this time, which made it more plausible that Charlie had just eaten it somewhere.

“Guys, Charlie does tear up pieces of paper sometimes when he’s bored, so maybe that’s what happened”, I proposed. “But you know I’ve never seen him eat laminated stuff before.”

“Plus there’s no bite marks on either piece,” observed Damo.

“And the last prediction was correct,” said Jason, “which is what makes it even more mysterious.” This got us thinking. Were we going to have another exam tomorrow? No wait, not another exam, the same exam again! That’s a very specific prediction and would take some explaining if it came true.

“Uh, does anyone remember what the questions were from today’s exam?” Damo asked.

Both Jason and I nodded tentatively. If we pooled our memories, I reckoned we could take a good crack at remembering most of the questions. I was about to suggest we do this when Tony exploded in excitement. “I’ve got it!” he exclaimed. We all turned to look at him and Jason spread his arms as if to say, “OK go on”.

“I heard this story once, right”, started Tony, “about this King who had a goose that laid golden eggs. Each day it would lay a new egg that the King would collect and it was making him rich. You know if I had one, man, then I’d be in as much gum as I wanted for the rest of my life.” We rolled our eyes and I wasn’t sure I liked where this was going. “But anyway,” he continued, “so the King started wondering about this right, and decided he wanted to know how it happened. So he got his, like, head investigator person to cut open the goose and find out how it was doing it and, when he worked it out, they built a golden egg machine that he could get eggs from whenever he wanted. So if we do that with your cat then we could build a psychic machine but just re-tune it to the Lottery Channel.”

“That’s not the story,” wailed Jason, almost in pain by the sound of his voice. “Sheesh man, where’d you get that rubbish from? Firstly, he wasn’t interested in how the goose worked, the King was just being greedy and wanted all the eggs now. And secondly, when they killed the goose they didn’t find anything and it was dead and didn’t lay any eggs anymore. That’s the whole point of the story! Don’t be greedy.”

“Yeah, well you must have heard a different version,” deflected Tony.

“There’s no other version,” Jason said.

“Is too!”

“It doesn’t sound right Tony,” Damo offered in as conciliatory manner as he could.

“Guys, guys,” I interrupted, waving my arms to catch their attention. “Hey look, nobody’s cutting my cat open! Right!” They thought about this for second and seemed to agree that it wouldn’t be the best idea. “You even had to put on oven mitts to clean up Charlie’s sick, so I don’t think you could anyway. Plus you’re wrong.”

Tony looked like he was about to respond, then balled his fists as if he would pick a fight and finally just sat on the bed arms crossed, looking surly.

“As cool as Tony’s idea is,” said Damo, holding up a hand to let Jason know he should just let it go, “we were going to try to remember the questions from the exam today weren’t we? So let’s do that.”

We put our heads together, and between us managed to remember most of the questions and wrote them down. By the time we were done, the gang really all had to head off home and so I waved them off and went to find Mum and ask what was for dinner. It was meatloaf, which was OK but not fantastic. Lasagna was my favourite, but Mum assured me it was hard to make, so we didn’t have it very often.

After dinner, I was about to go and watch TV when I remembered the message and list of questions we’d reconstructed. After a brief internal wrestle, I decided that I could skip one night of TV to run my eye over those questions again. Charlie had been right last time, so it was worth the chance to do a bit of study this time.

Later as I brushed my teeth, I found Charlie and gave him the extra pat I’d promised myself earlier to give him. He was quiet, and I didn’t feel much like talking but simply stared at him wondering what all this was about. Tomorrow would be an interesting day.

(to be continued – one installment to go)

Tri & Tri Again

For my workmates who challenged me to write an ultra-short story.  Could be shorter but …  Is this one TLDR too?

Puff ... peddle ... honk ... screech .....
Hazy white coats
My hand is held
"You're awake!"

Insurance forms
                                  Gym exercises
                                                   Light work duties
                                                                        Welcome back to the squad
Puff ... peddle ... overtake ... Age Champion!

The Doc

This short story is a break from my Fortune Kitty series.  I keep having ideas and wanted to try one before going back to that series.  If you’ve got any comments, feedback or suggestions feel free to leave a comment.

Jane’s hands shook as she stood at the gate leading to the house. In her hands her iPhone felt solid, providing a focus of reality for her to concentrate on. She grasped the sleek surface more firmly allowing the edges to dig slightly into her palms and the sensation helped distract her from the palpable fear that threatened to overwhelm her. “I’m not the first”, she reminded herself, “hundreds of kids have done this before me”. The knowledge was reassuring and she reached forward to push open the gate.

Before her lay the old house. Shrouded in night’s shadow and over-grown with vines, the weathered boards and dilapidated state of repair emanated a brooding atmosphere. It spoke of neglect and isolation, pronouncing to the world a disinterest in conforming to social norms and confirmation that what happened within its decaying walls was none of anyone’s damn business. Whether by design or symbiosis, the house resonated with and enhanced the image of the man rumored to live within. A man whose real name she could not remember but who was known as ‘The Doctor’. Despite her best efforts, Jane found her thoughts drawn to his legend as she made her way up the path.

He’d once been a paragon of virtue, one of the most respected members of her little town. Opening a practice in the main street, he’d quickly become one of the most sought after GPs around through an unusual combination of an endearing personal manner and sheer medical brilliance. Patients loved him. From those who mainly needed a chat and some placebic advice, to those whose ailments benefited from physiological treatments.

Starting fresh from medical school he’d begun at the town’s small hospital where he worked, as all interns must, as the general dog’s body for the more senior doctors. Doing all those routine, boring and messy tasks unwanted by others. Loaded by endless hours of triviality, almost as if they meant to keep him busy with banality until he learnt enough real world medicine to be trusted. It’s a dangerous business easing a newby into the risky job of healing people. But he’d persevered and flourished, soaking up the pressure and particularly the knowledge with a desert-like thirst.

Having completed his internship and residency, he opened his practice working full time while still picking up shifts at the hospital. It meant he was able to maintain a personal watch on his patients who had the misfortune of requiring admission and they loved him for it. Mothers were forever trying to match him up with their daughters. More than once he’d been forced to apply some of his patented charm at the end of a consultation to extricate himself from being setup on a pre-arranged date.

He never did marry, well not in the traditional sense. His marriage was to medicine. Throughout his life he maintained a laser like focus on his job keeping few close friends, living alone and enjoying an increasing insular existence outside of the clinic. It was a habit that worked against him in later years.

The town itself had primarily existed to support the factory. Long abandoned now, it once produced vast quantities of asbestos sheeting for the country, employing a large percentage of the population in the process. Of course that was all long gone now. With the long-delayed discovery of asbestos’ dark secret, mesothelioma, government legislation had seen the factory shut and most of the land marked as contaminated. The building still stood as an empty skeleton, testifying to the thriving business that had been both the boom and bust of the town.

The asbestos industry had left its mark on the Doctor too. Working in a community with unusually high rates of lung cancer had caused him to focus his career further on oncology and to some extent palliative care. Over the years he spent many an hour keeping vigil beside the beds of his long time patients who, despite his best efforts, invariably passed away into that long night. It was both the blessing and curse of working in a small town. He had time to get to know and love his patients, to give them much of himself, but it also made the parting so much harder to bear. So he plowed on in his study, desperate to discover the cause and cure for the community he so loved.

When the announcement about asbestos had finally been made public, it did not come as a huge surprise to him. He’d suspected it could be a factor and when the community around him started leaving in droves again he wasn’t surprised. But not all left and in a show of solidarity with those he sought to treat, the Doctor refused to sell his house despite being in a risky area. From his back porch he could see the old factory rusting in the background. “The production has ceased,” he would say, “if I were going to breathe in the fibers it has probably happened already. No, I’ll stay right where I am thank-you.”

So he had stayed. Treating his old friends and the occasional new patient until retirement, even then he had stayed. Those who used to know him well would comment, “Where else would he go now anyway?” He grew old, his friends died or left and his practice did not pick up new patients and then closed. Around him his house grew old and neglected too, a magnet to the imagination of those who never knew him but wondered all the same.

Jane winced at the sound her footstep made on the gravel path. She paused, waiting to see if it caused any movement up in the house. Heart hammering in her ears, she strained to hear any other sound, any signal that she’d been detected. A gentle breeze stirred the trees, causing their slight moon-shadows to flicker across the ground, phantoms dancing in her peripheral vision urging her to turn and run. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she silently urged herself, “no-one could hear that. But try to be quieter just in case.”

Placing her next footstep on the grass, she continued creeping towards the house. She had no idea what the Doctor would do to her if she was caught, but her imagination had plenty of suggestions. The kids here about mainly called him Doctor Death, a nickname that had once been overheard from a parent’s conversation up at the hospital. It had stuck. It seemed to sum him up perfectly. A strange old man living alone in a run-down house. A man no-one really saw much anymore. What did Doctor Death do behind those peeling walls? There were a thousand stories trying to provide the answer.

The first one she ever heard was that at one time, one of his patients was in so much pain that he had begged him to die. The next day the nurses had come in to find the room painted in blood, the patient in a number of pieces with an axe embedded in the torso. Despite their best efforts the cops couldn’t prove it was the Doctor, but everyone knew. Jimmy Tanner said it was rubbish. The patient was dead alright, but there was no axe or blood. But how could he be sure?

Jane shivered involuntarily as she imagined an axe swinging from behind to take her in the spine. She spun around in fright but behind her was nothing but the night. A path, the gate she’d entered through and beyond that the street and safety. Closing her eyes tight she once again summoned her reserves of courage and forced herself to turn around.

As she approached the front porch, the stories in her head grew stronger. The sick kids he kept locked in his cellar. The voodoo dolls he carved using footage from his hidden security cameras. The immunity he gained by eating parts of his dead patients. Last week she’d heard that ‘Silence of the Lambs’ had been based on Doctor Death’s life.

After a seeming eternity, Jane finally reached the front door. Now all that was needed was to put her iPhone through the mail slot. Her hand shook almost uncontrollably as she stretched out her arm and once again she squeezed to feel the cool metal dig into her palm. Inch by inch she got closer. Almost there. She could see the reflection of the phone in the dull surface of the metal surrounding the slot. “Just do it and get out of here,” she screamed inside her head when suddenly all hell broke loose.

The bushes lining the edge of the porch thrashed wildly and out of the corner of her eye something darted towards her. Dropping her iPhone, Jane turned and bolted back up the path screaming hysterically. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away … an apple a day keeps the doctor away …”, she sobbed again and again like a mantra warding off evil as she disappeared down the street.

From the bushes, Justin strolled onto the porch barely covering a chuckle. “Kids these days were so easy to fool”, he thought to himself. Spin them any old story about the Doc and provide a way to placate the demons and they’d jump at the chance. Even something as silly as recycling the old phrase about apples and doctors. It had been his genius to find the right phrase that let him regularly pick up second-hand electronics to finance his pot. Seeing kids piss themselves in fear was an added bonus.

He smirked as he sauntered over to the door and stooped to pick up the dropped iPhone. “Not a scratch, this one should fetch a fair bit plus whatever blackmail material I can get off it first”, he thought to himself just as the door opened. An old leather dress shoe was planted close to his hand, the edge of the worn sole gently grazing his skin as it came to rest on top of the phone stopping him from retrieving it. “So the old coot is still alive”, he thought to himself as he straightened to see a wrinkled old face, weary with age and the weight of the world, but set with piercing intelligent blue eyes.

“So pleased to finally meet you Justin”, the old man rasped, “I’ve heard rumors of your endeavors but it’s finally good to meet you in person.” The wrinkled face smiled, emphasizing the lines that creased his papery skin. “I do believe that you’ve been quite a bad boy. Do come in.” Justin was about to sneer and push the Doc off his prize when something gave him cause to pause. He’d just noticed the gun …