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J.S. Frankel


J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada, many moons ago and managed to graduate the University of Toronto with a degree in English Literature. He moved to Japan shortly thereafter in order to teach ESL to anyone who would listen to him. In 1997, he married the charming Akiko Koike. Frankel, his wife and two sons make their home in Osaka where he teaches English during the day and writes at night until the wee hours of the morning.

Email : a-man@h3.dion.ne.jp

Website : http://www.writerwannabe.weebly.com

Catnip

Written By: J.S. Frankel
Published By: Devine Destinies

Harry Goldman, a teenage prodigy thrown into jail for illegal research, is teamed up with a transgenic cat-girl an...

Nick Winter crawled out of his cardboard box in his New York alleyway, scratched himself all over, and rubbed the sleep from his dirt-encrusted eyes. After scanning the area for any immediate danger and seeing nothing out of the ordinary, he settled back against the hard stone wall, wiped his grimy face with an equally grimy hand, and took a good look around at his home.

Yeah, this was the place. He thought of the alleyway, a narrow, hemmed-in, broken and filthy concrete case as his turf, as in no one could come around and settle without his permission. No walking or loitering. Follow those rules and you’d live. Disobey them and there’d be hell to pay. He had rules, same as any shop did, and he expected everyone to respect the place where he’d chosen to settle.

Sure, it was a narrow, rat-infested and filthy space populated by thrown away garbage, cockroaches and other denizens of the lesser forms of existence, and yes, it stank to high heaven when he or his alley mate relieved themselves in the corners, but still, a man’s home was his castle, and he defended it by any and all means when necessary.

He gazed up at the sky, noted that the stars were still out and shining their eternal light upon the Earth below, and felt at peace. Why shouldn’t he feel at peace right now? The streets were quiet, with only the occasional passerby, and anyone out on the street at this hour of the night had to either be heading home from the graveyard shift or searching for a place to flop down and sleep it off.

A quick glance at the moon’s position told him it had to be around one in the morning, although he couldn’t be sure, as he hadn’t owned a watch in years. He measured days only in terms of when it was time to sleep, eat, take a dump, and drink. Nothing else mattered. Red wine suited him best, but it wasn’t the season.

Then he laughed, a harsh, wet sound, the result of too many bottles of cheap hooch, bummed cigarettes from the passers-by, and leftovers from the trash cans he scoured during the hours of the day when he wasn’t sleeping off the aftereffects of the previous night’s drinking.

Whether going at it solo or mano a mano, when imbibing, he couldn’t be beat. Booze didn’t know the season and Nick was a drinking man. He hit the bottle whenever and wherever he could. His life had followed the path of alcohol for the longest time, and now, at the age of forty-three, when he reflected on his life during those all too few and rare moments of sobriety, he had nothing else to live for.

He breathed the heavy nighttime air in and out, felt conscious of the heat, and wiped more sweat from his face. It was hot out, unseasonably so. New York always got pretty toasty in June, but by now it had turned into the summer-from-Hell category, even at night. Global warming, he thought abstractedly as he picked at a scab from his right arm. Maybe there was some truth to that rumor. The reporters always said so. He inhaled deeply once more and savored the smells—both good and bad—of the city. A coughing fit suddenly hit him and a wad of phlegm involuntarily made its way out of his mouth and into the nearby sewer grate. 

His chest, pale, white, and very hairy, itched fiercely, so he opened his shirt and scratched himself all over, shooed out a few bugs and checked through his worn clothes, which consisted of a pair of found slacks, found shoes, lumberjack shirt—he’d gotten that at a soup kitchen down the block—and leather belt which he’d made himself in his spare moments some years back, to make sure no one took his stash.

It wasn’t much, only about a hundred bucks, old bills along with some pocket change, and he always kept it rolled up in a plastic bag and secreted it in his worn trousers. He called it his emergency stash, either for taking a bus out of this place or buying a cheap bottle of Thunderbird when his other sources dried up.

“Hey man,” someone called out. “Did you see anyone around?”

Nick didn’t answer the other guy, although he knew who it was. Fat George, a lumbering six-foot-six two hundred and eighty-pound giant, hairless and bald like an egg, was the only other regular in this alley located in the Bowery. George called out again, “We got any visitors?”

Winter snorted with derision. George had to be crazy coming up with the idea of visitors coming there and invading his turf. Not likely, not now, and not ever! There had been shambling losers in the past who’d tried just that, the usual hopheads, the punks who carved others up for the sheer fun of it, and of course some of the more zealous men in blue who’d tried to roust them, but Nick wouldn’t have any of it. This was his place and his alone.

Harry Goldman, a teenage prodigy thrown into jail for illegal research, is teamed up with a transgenic cat-girl and soon finds himself in love and running for his life.

Harry Goldman, teenage DNA researcher, genius, and total nerd, is thrown into jail for illegal transgenic research. Freed by the FBI on the condition he works under their aegis, Harry is taken to New York where he meets Anastasia, a cat-girl and the product of transgenic engineering. No sooner do they get acquainted then they are attacked by another creature, a bear which is more than a bear, and are forced to flee for their lives. Along the way, they encounter furries, Doug the Dog, find out that they are more into each other emotionally than they’re willing to admit, and end up in the Catskill Mountains where Harry finds out the shocking truth about how Anastasia was created...and what she was created for.
Price: $5.99
Death Bytes

Written By: J.S. Frankel
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Death is not the end.   Where there is death, there is also life, only in a different form. High scho...

“How long does he have?”

The question came from my mother. Even though we both already knew what would happen, she got straight to the point. I expected nothing less.

We sat in the specialist’s office and the warm, mid-June Portland sunshine came filtering in through the half-closed blinds of the window. Doctor Lind, a middle-aged, short and chubby man, looked at the barely-in-control features of my mother and delivered his verdict in a quiet, measured voice.

“We’ve run the tests twice. At the rate the disease is progressing, Mrs. Benson, he’s got less than six months.”

My mother then broke down crying and I just sat there, mentally figuring out how many hours that amounted to. Not a whole lot, considering everything.

Lind came over and put a comforting hand on my mother’s shoulder. As a neurologist, he’d probably seen this a million times himself. He even looked as if he were about to cry. Oddly enough, only yours truly managed to stay calm.

Actually, in my case, it was pretty easy to do.  I couldn’t move very well, and my mouth didn’t work properly. Inside, though, my mind raced with a million thoughts all at once and none of them counted as being good ones. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, had to be the bitchiest of all diseases to contract. No known cure and the patients usually died within five years or less.

I’d been diagnosed with the disease only three months ago and at seventeen, it seemed to progress incredibly fast. The signs—slowness and unsteadiness of gait, trouble speaking and swallowing, and extreme muscle weakness—came quickly. I’d always liked playing sports—baseball and swimming in particular—but now, no more activities. I had to use a computer to check on the baseball scores and see the outside world instead of doing it for myself. It had to be tough on my mother. She looked at the doctor, doing her best to compose her features and not succeeding very well.

“Doctor, didn’t the medicine work?” I asked.

Lind turned toward me, his mind attempting to translate the semi-gibberish which came out of my mouth. After he caught the meaning, his face dissolved into a picture of regret. “Sam, the treatment looked promising, and for a while it worked, but you knew it was experimental. In your case, this kind of ALS is a particularly aggressive form, and it’s moved even faster than I thought possible.”

Experimental or not, he’d tried. I nodded slightly, the only thing I could do. “Thank you, doctor.”

My mother then asked me to go outside. Shuffling out slowly, leaning on my crutches for support, I didn’t feel ready for the wheelchair yet, but knew it would come soon enough. I closed the door behind me and heard my mother’s voice filter through. They discussed alternative medicine treatments for a while, and then I heard my mother give a sharp what? Finally, their voices settled down to a low hum.

They didn’t have to go all secret society on me. I knew what would happen, and yes, I raged for a few moments about the unfairness of it all. Then, with a soft sigh, the anger left me. As much as I wanted to dump this…this…crap in someone else’s lap, I knew that wasn’t a possibility. The disease attacking me didn’t know how poor my mother was, didn’t care I carried a 3.8 GPA, forgot about how much I loved reading English literature, hadn’t seen what I achieved on the baseball field or in the pool, and couldn’t have cared less how many friends I had.

Some people would say it wasn’t fair. Fair had nothing to do with it. Disease didn’t care who it got and death cared even less. My mind still worked though…for as long as my body would let it.

Thing is, it all happened so fast. At almost eighteen, I felt the world was mine. Most kids my age did. Sam Benson, student council leader, swim team member, baseball devotee…I had it all and couldn’t wait for my senior year to start.

Then the U-turn happened. I started having trouble swallowing food, got weak in my arms and legs, and soon had trouble standing. At first, the doctors thought it was a virus. “Take two weeks off all activity,” our GP advised, and my mother, being the conscientious sort, forbade me from doing anything physical. It didn’t matter, as soon I couldn’t get out of bed.

Death is not the end.
 
Where there is death, there is also life, only in a different form. High school student Sam Benson had to die in order to experience it, and once he did, he found it the most thrilling ride of his life! 
Death Bytes, a Young Adult Fantasy of the highest order.
Price: $5.99