Today The Realms of Imagination is featuring
2012: Timline Apocalypse by Bob Nailor
Let's start by telling the reader's a little bit about yourself.
How long have you been writing?
Over 40 yrs but only seriously for the last 10 yrs.
What's your writing schedule like?
Hectic. I'm retired and most people would think I have more free time than ever (and I also was under that delusion) but I'm busier now than when I worked full time. I'm still trying to figure out how I did everything back then. As to when I can, whenever I'm not busy, but usually I find late evening to be the most productive. Let me slap on headphones, turn on some music and just type away.
Do you plot out your stories before you write or do you just work it out as you go along?
I have a general plot outline with chapter concepts, etc. I also attempt to make a character list. BUT, I never, ever use stone and always buy extra erasers. In one novel I wrote, the chapter expanded and exploded into 8 more chapters before I got back to the original outline. It was great and I couldn't write fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. The upside to that was an extra 20k of words.
When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?
It was back in high school. I was the kid everyone hated - I loved to write thesis and the teachers always expected my essay answers to be quite wordy. I wrote my first short story to submit -- and it took quite a few years to get over the rejection from Children's Highlights.
Were you a fantasy lover from way back or was this a genre you only recently turned your talents to?
Oh, wow. Fantasy. I started out with some kids sci-fi in grade school, then moved to Tarzan books in Jr. High. In High School I was introduced to the fantasy and sci-fi side of Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) and the rest is history. Strangely, I avoided Lord of the Rings for years since most of the people I heard discussing the book seemed so high faluting and searching for deeper meanings in the book. I picked up the Hobbit, started reading it that night and went back to buy the triology. I finished all four books in less than 2 weeks while I was in the Navy. I kept my paperbooks and was the guy flying with a suitcase full of them when I went home. My collection of nearly 400 books spanned over 30 yrs before it was lost to flooding.
What other genre/genres would you love to dabble in, given the choice?
Good question and I have already dabbled in adventure, horror, and romance, but fantasy and sci-fi are my first loves. I would love to
write a main stream fiction best seller but my mind isn't in that area
most of the time. Give me fantasy.
So, what's up next?
Currently doing NaNoWriMo (10 yrs) and working on an Amazonian vampire story. I have a fantasy series I'm cleaning up and hope to get it to a publisher by next year. Not to mention all the other novels I've written in the last 10 yrs doing NaNoWriMo.
Thanks for letting me have this opportunity. Bob.
It is Wednesday, December 12, 2012. In nine days the Mayan calendar ends and an apocalyptic disaster will befall mankind. Ironically, the fate of the world is in the hands of Barry Hargrove, detective non-extraordinaire, who is in search of a relic he knows as the Baton of Time, and whose importance he does not fully comprehend.
After going to the museum to discover the theft and thief, Det. Barry Hargrove finally finds himself in southern Mexico at Palenque. There he meets a Mayan street urchin named Juan and then meets a sultry newscaster, Lucia Camal. He finally connects with the thief, a well-to-do doctor. When they join forces, suddenly the past is alive as the gods, K'ul'ulkan and Ah Pukah come into existence. Det. Barry Hargrove was sent to retrieve an item he knows only as the "Baton of Time" yet now he is searching for more as the ghostly chief, Chac Tun B'alam demands them to find the stolen artifacts. When Barry doesn't immediately return with the item, the museum gets upset.
A local shaman, hotel worker, mysterious housekeeper and young Mayan woman and her daughter all become pawns in the game to align things in preparation for the end of the Mayan calendar.
Chapter 1: The Call
Mayan Date: 8 Chuen 14 Mac ~ 18.104.22.168.11
"O Mighty Sun God, K'inich Ahau, we honor you at this last of time. May this offering of flowing blood, sacred of the royal line, guide you on your path across the sky. May your light shine upon this house and its residents.
Give us your happiness and allow our enemies and those who incur your wrath to drown in your light. We have seen the shadow strangers and stand ready to accept, if they are friends or do battle, if enemies, as you desire."
Prayer of Chac Tun B'alam
Ruler of L'akam Ha
Metro City: 1:04 p.m., Wednesday, December 12, 2012.
I entered my apartment and locked the door behind me. The television, still on from earlier in the morning, blared the news of all the impending disasters. A volcano exploding on some distant island in the Pacific, forcing natives to be evacuated. Another earthquake had shaken most of the Andean mountain range. A huge solar flare which would cause major outages was due in about a week; there had been two smaller ones which offered some very spectacular light shows. Three planes had been hijacked and were currently circling London, Paris and Los Angeles. An epidemic of huge proportions, reminiscent of the Biblical plagues, was ravaging Egypt. The stock market was dropping. Doom and gloom was the hot topic. Like always, I let the television become background noise.
I shook my head disgustedly. My involvement level with all this end-of-world hullabaloo had become pretty low. Everyone seemed to be on the bandwagon. Besides, I had issues of my own and I felt most of these catastrophes could easily be explained. The stock market dropped back in 2008. It took some time but it rallied back up and once again had stabilized in the mid-1100s by the end of 2010. It wasn't the full recovery everyone had hoped for, but it was a stable one. The volcano exploding wasn't anything new; it had blown back in late 2009, a mere three years ago and was therefore, in what I like to call, a still relatively volatile status. Peru and Chile have had quakes since the beginning of time so this wasn't anything strange for them. As far as planes go, of late, it seemed to be the "hijack of the week" with different dissidents claiming it as their coup. This time it was animal activists and the newly formed al Kadaun People's Republic. So this week's radical groups had their bragging rights until the next hijack. The solar flares weren't anything to fret since we'd been having a lot of them of late. If the 'big' one actually did happen in about a week, it would be what I call a fortuitous moment for the Fates. The Egyptian plague thing seemed new but why the sudden panic? Simple. Toss it into the fray. It was just part of the hoopla about the world ending in a couple of weeks; December 21, 2012. I still vividly remember the frenzy at the turn of the century with the 2000 scare. Some people went hysterical fearing the end of the world strictly because a simple electronic device couldn't deal with a four-digit year. People really needed to get a grip on reality.
I ambled into the kitchen and stood there staring at the cupboard contents, mulling over the possibilities for lunch. The can of chicken rice soup looked like an easy fix but a bowl of chili with rice sounded a little tastier. Of course, that meant more work. I grimaced, closed the cupboard doors and moved to the refrigerator. I opened the frig and took inventory: leftover fried chicken, some gamey tuna salad, a chunk of cheese with growing culture, three boxes of take-out, two beers and a partial bottle of cheap wine. Reheating a meal was faster than fixing one. I grabbed a beer and the top take-out box. Lunch surprise, I thought while lifting the lid of the container. I stared at the contents; it was still a minor mystery. Chinese. There was fried rice, broccoli, a dark sauce and chicken. I didn't see any seeds so that eliminated Sesame Chicken.
I thought back. Saturday night, Don and Elaine had set me up with a blind date; I think her name was Sheila. She'd ordered something with chicken. I shrugged my shoulders. Whatever it was, I popped it into the microwave, pushed some numbers, pressed 'Start' and then twisted the cap off the beer bottle. A refreshing slug of beer gushed down my throat; it was crisp, cold and satisfying. The TV in the living room caught my attention so I ambled into the room. Flopping into the recliner I almost spilled the beer.
"...and now live from Mexico."
The screen blinked from the news anchor, Jim Mc-something-or-other to an image of a young woman standing near a pile of stones.
"This is Lucia Camal and I'm standing near the Temple of Inscriptions here at the Palenque ruins. We are watching the latest development of a new cult, which I'm told has quickly grown to very large proportions. Part way up you can see a scuffle as the followers of this cult are trying to hold back the authorities. We've been able to ascertain that at the very top, a self-proclaimed high priest of the Mayan religion is preparing for the first of many supposed sacrifices to K'inich Ahau. This is in conjunction with the Mayan calendar coming to an end next week."
The camera panned up to the figure near the top.
"He has a goat, which I was informed he will be sacrificing to the sun god."
A man, dressed in a dark body suit with a white skeleton printed on it and a skeleton mask strutted about the top of the temple, his robe of bold blue, black and white feathers flowed in the wind. He held a dark object that glittered in the sun. It was a knife - an obsidian knife. He raised the knife above his head using both hands, and then plunged the black blade into the animal with a single swoop. There was some movement then his hands came up, clasping a bloody mass. Blood oozed down his arms.
"Oh my god, he ripped the animal's heart out–"
The screen blacked out and reverted to a caught off-guard news anchor flipping a pen into the air while his feet rested on the desk. He grabbed at the pen, fumbled it and watched it roll to the edge and fall off. In his hasty attempt to sit up, Jim Mc-something-or-other nearly fell out of the chair.
"What? Uh, yes, folks, we'll have more information after this word from our sponsors."
Jim Mc-something-or-other slapped on an insincere smile for the camera while straightening some papers on the anchor desk. The commercial cut in.
The phone rang, startling me from the hypnotic view of the screen. I sat back in my chair, reached over and grabbed the receiver.
"Hargrove Detective Agency," I snapped before realizing I wasn't at the office.
"Mr. Hargrove?" A timid voice asked. "Ah... er... are you Detective Barry Hargrove?"
"Yes," I replied and frowned. "Can I help you?" In the kitchen I heard the microwave chirp. It had finished and was waiting for me to remove the food.
"Hello. My name is Dr. Alvarez Martinez," he said. "I am in... If you could... Would you be willing to accept a case, Mr. Hargrove? I realize this is very short notice."
There was a pause. A case? He had definitely piqued my interest. I mean, after all, it was work. Things had been a little slow at the office, so anything would be a start. Of course, I was curious as to why he was calling me at home. Then I realized I'd put the office phone on call-forwarding.
"Sure," I said nonchalantly. "Exactly what are the details of the case?"
"Perhaps we could discuss this at my office," Martinez said. "Is there any particular time which would be convenient for you? Later today? Maybe tomorrow?"
"Any time after nine tomorrow will work." I replied. "Of course, I could stop by this afternoon if that's better." I still had no idea what was happening or where I was going but it sure sounded like I'd be taking the case. That was a good thing. The sooner I started, the sooner I collected some much-needed money.
"Nine thirty tomorrow would be fine," he said and proceeded to give me the address. "Oh, wait. I have a meeting at nine forty-five. Hmm?" There was a pause. "You said this afternoon? Could you be here by two thirty? I realize that it would be tight but–"
"See you then, Dr. Martinez," I replied cutting him off while scribbling his name and address on the newspaper in front of me.
"Fine. Fine," he said absently. "See you then."
"G'bye." I slammed the phone into its cradle.
I glanced at my watch. 1:20 p.m. I didn't have much time. I grabbed my coat and keys and left the microwave chirping: a hot dog from a street vendor was a better bet than that mystery container of salmonella in the microwave.