John David Buchanan was born into a military family stationed in the territory of Alaska in 1953; his children tease him that he is older than the State of Alaska (it didn't join the union until 1959) His Dad was transferred to San Antonio, Texas and he grew up there playing sports, watching science fiction on TV, and playing the drums. After high school he attended Southwest Texas State University where he received a Master's Degree in Biology and subsequently started his career as an environmental specialist.
While working for the State of Texas and two consulting companies John started his own business, Buchanan Environmental Associates, which he operated for 18 years. Along the way he took up guitar, hoping to learn the blues, and ultimately co-founded a Pink Floyd cover band where he played lead guitar.
His desire to start writing a book was fueled when he and his young daughter read J.K Rowling's entire series of Harry Potter books together. That urge resulted in a two-year creative journey culminating in his first book, Jump Starting the Universe. Although he admits he jumped ahead and wrote an ending to the book when he was only half way through the story, it went unused. In his words, "The characters just didn't want to go in that direction." He says it was hard for a man of science to make that admission but he is getting more and more comfortable in his creative skin and with the idea that he is now writing a science fiction series: the second book, The Edge of Nothing and Everything was released in May 2016 and work has started on the third book whose working title is World Eaters.
If you would like information about John's books, blogs or short stories please visit www.jumpstartingtheuniverse.com If you have comments or questions you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @JDBuchanan1.
JUMP STARTING THE UNIVERSE
Now and again the edges of parallel planes of existence tend to budge up against each other. Of course the frequency of “now and again” isn’t exactly specific is it? And the locations of such occurrences are difficult if not impossible to predict, so be on your guard. Why this budging up occurs, I don’t know. It’s not like there isn’t enough space out there in space. I’ve been led to believe it isn’t too important, but I’m not comforted. Budging really isn’t the problem anyway is it; it’s the blending that causes all the uproar. That’s when the edges of parallel planes of existence cross over, like the diagrams you’ve seen where one circle is blue and the other circle is yellow and the overlapping part is green. Well, it’s that greenish part that’s the problem isn’t it. Or like when you see two people occupying the same seat on the bus. It feels a little problematic; unless of course you’re one of the two people – and happy.
Mark didn’t care about budging. That’s how I got crammed into the back of Wayne’s 57 Chevy Nomad station wagon behind a set of Majestic drums. Off we were to a gig; not to be deterred by man, beast or cosmic idiosyncrasies as Wayne may have said. “We are going to get paid, how cool is that?” said Mark.
Wayne was not sure he would have said how cool IS that; “It’s only cool after it actually happens,” he thought. Since I was in the back of the wagon, behind a set of drums, two amplifiers, and assorted other equipment, and was light headed because of the exhaust fumes wafting in the open rear hatch window (the Nomad wasn’t air conditioned) I couldn’t hear a word of what they were saying or offer a retort. That was fine since the advancing level of my carbon monoxide poisoning made me dizzy, and I worried about what might happen if I voluntarily opened my mouth. The thought made me convulse slightly.
“Where are we meeting Buster?” asked Wayne. Buster was the lead singer who lived 35 miles northwest of town and booked a convenient gig blocks from his own house.
“The parking lot behind the bar,” remarked Mark, who wondered if Buster had forgotten to tell the owner that Blackie was slightly under the legal drinking age. It wouldn’t have mattered to Wayne, he could have fooled the owner; he was tall, with a swarthy complexion and he acted like he knew stuff. You know the type; Wayne just seemed to always get on with it. He exuded confidence like dry ice gives off gas. Mark possibly could have passed the scrutiny of a suspecting bar manager if he needed to; he had been working out to get ready for basketball season, and he was left handed. People perceive left-handers differently. Mark knew this and scrupulously took full advantage. Blackie had no chance of fooling the manager or anyone else, especially if he asphyxiated before he arrived. Blackie was a year younger than Mark and Wayne and no matter how he tried to puff himself up, sit with his shoulders back and down, or put on a scowl, he didn’t look quite old enough yet to be in a bar.
The sky was partly cloudy with big puffy white clouds that seemed to be climbing to heaven, and it was hot. The temperature was 36 degrees Celsius and heat waves could be seen rising from the pavement creating mirages like smooth, shallow lakes in the distance. It was the kind of heat that made you want to find a cool place under a tree and have a nap. Of course if you had an excessive amount of adrenaline pulsing through your veins in anticipation of a paid gig a nap was simply not in the cards. They were all swept up in that idea as they blistered down the highway looking for The Getaway Bar and Grill. That’s when it happened. Not the budging, the white tailed deer. It ran straight into the side or Wayne’s station wagon. Wayne yelled, Mark let out a high ahhh sound and Blackie was silent, having seen nothing through the mountain of equipment and not having felt anything because his senses were impaired by severe oxygen deprivation. Wayne pulled to the side of the road in a maelstrom of words selected specifically to condemn the poor beast in the most vicious means, then he turned off the car.
“It’s ruddy three in the afternoon! What’s an antelope doing out at this time of day?” swore Wayne, who wasn’t the group’s most practiced biologist to say the least. There stood the deer about 10 meters away from the car seemingly unharmed. It stared at us like it wondered why we were driving down the road at three in the afternoon. A few more unpleasant words showered the air. The deer didn’t move.
“I’ve never seen a deer quite like that” said Mark, as if he were an authority on the indigenous deer populations.
“Now that you mention it, neither have I,” replied Wayne, who seemed at that moment to struggle with constructing a sentence that didn’t include choice expletives for the offending deer. The side of the Nomad was completely unharmed.
“Real steel in this one” said Wayne as he patted the car, “not that mamby pamby stuff they use now.” He pulled a small tuft of hair from under the side molding and tossed it to the ground.
Blackie, who had slumped to the bottom of the rear deck, popped up above the hatch opening to inhale and see what was going on. The fresh air must have revived him, and he looked out wondering why Mark and Wayne were goggling at a deer standing on the shoulder of the road. The deer gazed at the back of the Nomad as if thinking, “Dang, there’s another one.”
“You stupid antelope, you are going to get killed,” yelled Wayne, “let’s go.”
“Suits me” offered Mark as they made their way back to the front seat of the car. That is not a regular white tailed deer thought Blackie, gazing at the deer, and just as Wayne started the car Blackie was sure the deer winked at him – twice.
Wayne pulled back onto Otis-hell Highway headed north at an alarming rate of speed. Mark started musing about the set list, Wayne was humming, and Blackie started to get dizzy and didn’t notice the speed or the humming. Unnoticed by the band, which isn’t saying much really, and any other passersby, the tuft of deer hair was caught up in the draft of a big truck that rushed by, swept up high into the air and having developed the slightest of greenish tint, vanished. It completely and utterly vanished. No one noticed.
Sometime later this event was described during development of the Theory on Interspecies Dependency, which was presented to the Volareie Commission on Deltaloy 18 in the Byzintian System - year 53566.2. However, since there were purportedly no witnesses to the events of that fateful day (Terra Bulga not having an interplanetary travel treaty would have precluded that) no one is sure where the description came from. It wasn’t me. Maybe that antelope wasn’t just a deer after all.
Thank you David for sharing the first chapter of your novel. I can't wait to see what happens to the boys.
Feel free to leave a comment dear readers.