COMMUNION Blog Tour Current Schedule

Communion Banner 851 x 315 - AUTHOR
There are still some openings for the Release Day Party.  But below is the Final(ish) schedule for my debut novel Communion’s Blog Tour.
There is a prize of a $30 Amazon gift card.  The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win it!  Hope to see you there:

October 7 Guest blog- tour intro
Fang-tastic Books
www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

October 8 Spotlight
Jody’s Book Reviews, Giveaways & Tours
http://www.jodysbookreviews.com

October 9 Spotlight
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
saphsbookblog.blogspot.com

October 10 Interview
The Seraphine Muse
http://kasonndraleigh.blogspot.com

October 11 Spotlight
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic
http://booklunaticramblings.blogspot.com

October 14 Spotlight
Rose & Beps Blog –
http://rosebeps.blogspot.it/

October 15 Spotlight and review
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog
http://wiccawitch4.blogspot.ca/

October 16 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.
pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com

October 16 review
Booker Like a Hooker
http://bookerlikeahooker.blogspot.com/

October 17 Spotlight
Books and Tales:
http://www.booksandtales.blogspot.co.uk/

October 18 Spotlight and review
Mythical Books
http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/

October 21 review
The Writerly Exploits of Mara Valderran
http://maravalderran.blogspot.com

October 22 Interview
Reading in Twilight
http://readingintwilight.blogspot.com/

October 23 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit
http://booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com

October 24 Interview
BookwormBridgette’s World
http://bookwormbridgette.blogspot.com/

October 25 Interview
Crazy Four Books
http://www.crazyfourbooks.blogspot.com

October 28 Interview and review
Once Upon a YA Book
http://onceuponayabook.blogspot.com

October 29 Guest blog
Simply Infatuated
http://www.simplyinfatuated.com/

October 29 Spotlight
Jodie Pierce’s Ink Slinger’s Blog
jodiepierceauthor.blogspot.com/

October 30 Spotlight
Share My Destiny
http://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com

October 31 Halloween Guest blog
The Write at Home Mom
www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com

October 31 review
trips down imagination road
http://a-reader-lives-a-thousand-lives.blogspot.co.uk

November 1 Guest blog and review
Dalene’s Book Reviews
http://dalenesbookreviews.blogspot.com/

November 4 Interview
Butterfly-o-Meter Books
http://butterfly-o-meter.com/

Also, before the tour starts, I’ll be making a special appearance on Mari Well’s blog  on October 2nd for Vampire Wednesdays.

(Brief) REVIEW: Agents of SHIELD Episode #1

All I can say is… WOW!

Ok, I’ll say a little bit more than that.

agents of shield

So much happened in that first episode.  I’ve seen half of a dozen other new shows this fall, and they had about HALF as much content in their first TWO episodes.

Like we’d expect from a writer with Joss Whedon’s caliber, this first episode had action, humor, and great eye candy (I see you Chloe Bennet!  Oh, and you too Brett Dalton).

So, as I said, A LOT happened in this episode.  I try to keep my posts short and sweet (and humorous) but I can’t do that without skipping over information that could be relevant for a later episode.  For another review in chronological order of events, see Eightbitbrit’s review.

I will introduce the relevant characters and a brief blurb about what they did this first episode:

Agent Coulson:
The man himself is back!  Apparently, he was revived and then went on vacation in Tahiti.  But, remember, this is SHIELD and not everything is as it seems.  Also, whenever Tahiti is brought up, Coulson immediately says, “it’s a magical place.”  If that’s not sneaky enough, our brief time with Agent Maria Hill ends with her saying, “Coulson can never know the truth.”
QUOTE:  “Welcome to level 7”

Agent Grant Ward:

marvels_shield_grant_ward

 

The first reluctant recruit to Agent Coulson’s new team.  He’s the muscle of the group and an experienced sharpshooter.  We see him take on a few random goons in the beginning in the episode and a takes out the “villain” with a clean headshot.  There are hints that he has some *family issues*
QUOTE about Agent Grant from Agent Coulson:  “You’ve got outstanding marks in all areas.  But under your people skills, she drew a poop.  With knives sticking out.”

Agent Melinda May:

Our other reluctant agent.  Coulson recruited her with the promise she’d only drive the bus and NOT enter the field.  That didn’t last long…

Fitz and Simmons:

The young British(?) Engineer and Biochemist.  These two will be coming up with a lot of fancy gadgets to get the teams out of tight spots.

Skye:

CHLOE BENNET

 

Hacker and part of The Rising Tide (which she may or may not be the only member of).  She tracks down Michael Peterson to warn him about SHIELD but is eventually caught herself.  After meeting Agent Coulson (and of course Agent Ward) she learns that maybe SHIELD isn’t as bad as she though.  Coulson offers her a spot on his team at the end of the episode.
QUOTE:  Agent Ward:  “I bet she was one of those sweaty cosplay girls who hover around Stark tower.”  Skye:  “No I— ok, maybe once.”

Michael Peterson:

Working class man, single dad, and all-around great guy.  And also our “villain” for the episode.  Michael injured his back on his job and sought out some assistance from a doctor.  This doctor gave him a special concoction that was part Extremis, mixed with the super serum that made Captain America and gamma radiation (and we all know what that did to Banner).  Michael still tries to be a good guy, but the concoction messes with his head.  He attacks his old boss and others but is stopped by the agents after giving an amazing speech.
EPIC QUOTE:  Doctor:  “This is a disaster.”  Michael:  “No, this is an origin story.”

Doctor:

No name given for this hottie- er, baddie.  She recruited Michael and another for her treatments.  SHIELD doesn’t know who she is yet, so I bet we’ll be seeing more of her later.
QUOTE:  “The people who supplied me do not want this getting out.”

Great first episode.  Can’t wait to see it again next Tuesday!

A Quick Random Conversation with B. Patterson

Hi guys,

I need to a break from the marketing madness and spamming my Twitter account (it’s only for the next few weeks, I promise).

 

Did anyone see last night’s episode of Sleepy Hollow?

I’m still not sure how I feel about the show.  I LIKE Ichabod and Abbie’s chemistry.  And I LIKE Ichabod’s dialogue and overall wit.  But there show has a very unrealistic feel to it.  So many broken rules in regard to police policy.  And there are other factors that seem kind of absurd, like the fact Ichabod is still wearing his 18th century gear.

As long as my Monday evening Criminal Justice class continues to let out early, I’ll keep watching it.

 

Excited for Agents of Shield to start tonight.

 Pft, what else is there to say?

 

Communion is now on Goodreads. 

 I have in my phone that I was supposed to create a Goodreads author page back in July.  Well I did… yesterday.  And I added Communion.

 

So, anyone else see Sleepy Hollow?

And I know you’re all excited for Agents of Shield, right?

COMMUNION Release Day Party

Image

Ok you guys,

So in addition to a blog tour, I also ordered a release day party.

Too much?

C’mon.  It’s my debut.  For my first novel to the world EVER.

I just wanna have some fun 🙂

If you’re interested in hosting, you can sign up HERE.

Please and thank you’s,

B.

COMMUNION PREVIEW: Chapter 2

The man sitting across the table from me looked just like me, except he was older and his hair was cut short and professional.  We usually had dinner together every evening.  It was his way of trying to keep us close after my mom left.

“I got a call from Mr. Johnston at work today.”

But he wasn’t like me.  Otherwise he would have known to leave this subject alone.

I let my fork scoop my rice into a pile I now felt too nauseated to eat.  A grain had fallen off onto the pseudo-wood of the table.  It reminded me that we once covered it with a table cloth before eating.

“And?”

“He told me there was another incident with Jay.  You wanna tell me about it?”

“There’s nothing to say.”

I looked from my plate to the dust bunnies on top of the book-case in the living room.  Then back down.  My dad chewed his food in quick, powerful meetings of his mandible and maxilla.

“Well, I’ve told you before the best way to handle a bully,” he said, food not fully chewed.

“Yeah, walk up to him in front of all his friends and bust him right in the face.  Right, Dad?”

“That’s the best way there is.”

“That’s the suicidal way.  Jay’s like twice my size.  He’d demolish me.”

His fork dinged against the plate.  “Son, bullying is about dominance.  You stop being his easy prey and show him you’re going to fight back, and he’ll think twice.”

“Is that before he smashes me for challenging him in front of everyone, or after?  God forbid he gets his friends to join in.”

“He’d be shocked.  And it might lead to a fight.  Just try your best to hold your own before the teachers break it up.  You don’t have to win the fight; you just have to send a message.”

“I’ll pass.  Besides, I stood up to him last year and that didn’t go well.”

“That was before your growth spurt.  And those mixed martial arts lessons I paid for.  You need to do something to defend yourself.  This running away won’t cut it,” he said.

I looked up at him.  I didn’t know where this new resolve came from, but it only irritated me further.  Maybe he didn’t like being silent when his work buddies shared family stories around the water cooler.

“Are you finally tired of having a weak son?”

“If I said I was, would you finally stop being a little bitch?”

I pushed my food away and got up.  I wanted to hit something again.

As my feet stomped the floor, I thought about Jay’s punches.  One had knocked my head straight back into a combination lock.  It happened almost six months ago but the pain was still palpable.  I wasn’t sure if those hits or my dad’s words hurt more.

I needed to be alone.  It was the only time the world made sense.

I lost myself in a tale about monsters and magic on the synthetic pages of my e-reader.

If only I could go on a quest to obtain a magic spell that would incinerate Jadarius.  Or, even better, one that would make my mom come back.  But that kind of stuff didn’t exist in the real world.  Only the magic the other guy must have used when he got my mom to cheat on my dad.

My stomach growled and I realized two hours had passed since my first attempt at dinner.  I could warm up the remains, but the food would bring back memories of the conversation.

I put on my hoodie— the leather jacket from last year had been ruined— and left.  My dad didn’t say anything when I passed by the couch on the way out.

***

There weren’t any noticeable hills in Concord Hills.  Nature was sparse, only coming along in residential neighborhoods and in isolated plots of land along the roads.  Long, tiresome stretches of road.  Route 8 ran northeast to southwest through half of the town.  Running northwest to southeast was Route 343, which eventually led to Crain Highway, which could lead to Washington, D.C.

Concord Hills usually wasn’t in the conversation with other metropolitan towns, but it had a fair number of commuters, my dad being one of them.

I parked away from the building, my car facing a small wooded area that separated this parking lot from another.  I hadn’t decided yet whether I would eat inside McDonald’s or come back to my car.  I was still starved for isolation.

Before exiting, I noticed a dumpster in the corner of the lot.  I collected my trash on the floorboards:  loose leaf sheets of paper, napkins, and a few empty coffee cups.  I stuffed everything into a bag and tossed it into the large, asymmetrical jade cube.  I turned toward the building but stopped.  I did a double-take and then walked behind the dumpster to confirm what I couldn’t believe.

A body.  The battered body of a white female.  Splotches of her white skin were interrupted by blood and bruises.  I couldn’t tell if the putrid smell came from her or the dumpster.

“Damn…”

An already lousy day had become the opening sequence in a Law and Order episode.  But there would be no transition to the police scene unless I made the call.  I took out my phone to dial 9-1-1, stealing another glimpse at her face.  My finger never made it to the “1” digit.  Instead, breathless, I shifted to get a better look.

“Oh my God…  Guinevere.”

The recognition forced a mixture of emotions.  Guilt.  Even though I was merely the one to find the body, I indirectly felt as if I had done the crime myself.  Sadness.  The world would be less bright without her.  And regret.  I would never get another chance to make a move.

Taking a closer look, I noticed the blood was caked on her and there wasn’t any running off on the pavement beneath her.   While I wasn’t a detective, I had a suspicion her body had been moved.

“I’m sorry, Gwynn,” I said.

I leaned closer to the body, one last time.  She was now just a mass of pale white flesh, purple bruises, and a layer of red grime.  Before I could take another breath, her eyes shot open and she closed the distance between us in a flash.

I caught a glimpse of the sparkle created by the street light reflecting off her elongated teeth, right before I felt her arms lock me in a vice grip and a sharp pain in my neck.

A sound somewhere between a cough and a shout caught in my throat.  My head tilted back and I not only saw the black of night beyond the Golden Arches, but crimson and purple shimmering and swirling lazily in a stream.

Black consumed the other colors until it became the only thing I saw.

***

Find out what happens when Lester awakens in Communion, available Oct. 1st.

REVIEW: X-Men Battle of the Atom: Chapter 3 & 4

“Took you long enough to post this, Patterson…” you say.

This is the review I’ve been putting off.  Reading this issue reminds me of why I stopped reading comics weekly.  Because, some weeks/issues, NOTHING HAPPENS!

Let me explain myself:

Chapter 3 cover

Chapter 3

The crew has to retrieve original Scott Summers and Jean Grey, who took off shortly after the arrival of the Future X-Men team.  Our original pair took the X-Men’s token Blackbird Jet, leaving this present day team stranded (Scott and co. have Illyana Rasputin to transport them everywhere).

Oh, but wait!  Turns out Future Beast knows that Present Beast has been up to something.  Cue the next-present-generation of X-Men vehicle- the Dove.  Which looks a bluish-white Blackbird.  Forgive me for not being astounded…

Anyway, the future X-Men and Storm and others (she tells Rachel and Kitty to stay behind) go after the pair.  Rachel and Kitty oblige at first, but after talking Ororo’s decision over, they decide to help retrieve Scott and Jean anyway.

COOL PART:  Xavier pops a pill called a Cerebro Spike, which brings up a hologram projection of the globe.  He and Future Jean work together to locate our teenage runaways.

And of course they find them…

It’s Future Beast who grabs original Scott and Jean.  Then Scott hits him with an optic blast.

NOW HERE’S WHERE THIS ISSUE GOES DOWN HILL…

Rachel and Kitty crash past Future Ice Man in their own futuristic cruiser vehicle (called the Hummingbird, although it looks straight from a Star Wars film).  Witnessing the X-men’s “harsh” methods of retrieving Scott and Jean (methods which came short of physical violence), Kitty has some words with Ororo and shares her feelings about being “ordered around.”

Great timing Kitty because SCOTT AND JEAN ESCAPE AGAIN!  Oh, and during Kitty and Ororo’s talk, Rachel taught Jean how to conceal herself better.  Because finding them doesn’t put the world in jeopardy or anything.

I find this especially frustrating because Kitty and Rachel are supposed to be responsible adults.  I can understand their reluctance to follow Ororo’s demands—after all, they’ve been in countless battles, too (And it’s not like Ororo’s the former queen of Wakanda or anything).  But, jokes aside, you work with children.  I’m sure you’ve had to instruct those children not to rush in but to analyze the situation first.  But you did just that and you let them escape.  Way to be a role model.

Next, Our runaways meet up with the only people they can turn to:  Present Scott and his team of X-men.

Chapter 4

Scott and co. use the Cuckoos to get info on the Future X-men team.

COOL PART:  In a blaze of hellfire and demonic glory, Illyana leaves after learning that Xavier’s grandson from the future is here (I’m still asking:  who’s dat baby’s daddy?).  When asked if they picked up anything, the cuckoos respond:  “You do not go into her head ever.  It’s like Wolverine scary.  But more demonic.”

After several panels of thinking it over, Scott decides to help his younger self and younger love, following his long-standing ideal “we help mutants that need help.”

Emma and Magneto act appropriately and tell Scott to stop letting his emotions get in the way of his decision.  Even original Warren shouts its time for the originals to leave.

Being the adult, Emma Frost telepathically contacts Future Jean and Xavier and they arrive at Utopia.  Future Jean Grey freezes everyone where they are and knocks her younger self out.  With her mind (I think I’ve used up my allotments of COOL PART). But after discovering her identity, Emma challenges JEAN GREY.  FROM.  THE.  FUTURE.

I’m currently accepting bets.  Although I see these two power houses getting so distracted from their scuffle that they forget about original Jean and she escapes with Scott.  AGAIN.

Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity (C3) Conference 2013

Back from my first writer’s conference (EVER!) and had a complete and thorough BLAST!  Before I say anything else, if you’ve never been to a conference before SIGN. UP. FOR. ONE. NOW!

(Actually, registration for C3 2014 is available now)

My enthusiasm should be reaching through your computer screen and getting in your face and shouting, “DO IT!  DO IT!” If not, go back to the beginning and read it over again.

So now that you can fathom my sheer elation for everything I gained at this conference, let’s talk about a few of the MANY things I learned.

Go even if you’re shy!

While those of you who have met me via Twitter or Wattpad may find it hard to believe, I’m actually a fairly shy guy.  I stutter whenever I get nervous or excited (it happens a lot and it’s very annoying).  I gave my pitch for Communion a couple of times and it sounded horrible!  “T-the v-vampires are ext-t-tinct…” But everyone I talked to was really cool about it and listened and even seemed impressed by the story.

Bring cards

A conference is a networking event and, like any networking event, you need a convenient way to exchange information.  Some writers will make a lasting impression on you (and vice versa), but it still may be hard to remember their name on Monday when you return to the 9-to-5.

Make sure to budget for buying books

Actually, I did this one.  I originally set aside $50 to purchase books that appealed to me or books of authors whose panels I attended or of those I happened to chat with and liked.   I went over-budget at the conference and still didn’t buy ALL of the books I wanted.  But that’s ok because I collected business cards– which you’re gonna do, right?

The Conference Continues at the Bar

So I don’t know if you’ve ever had a drink with an 11-time NYT Bestseller or an author who’s written for both Marvel and DC, but I did.  Because I went to a conference! (See how this works?)  Every topic is on the table while at the bar.  Writing tips, what writers REALLY think of their publishers, and even life advice.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll definitely be attending the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity conference next year.  Actually, I was asked (read:  politely told) to be a panelist.  So, if you want to see me speak (read: stutter) my way through a session on first-time authors, SIGN UP!

Administrative Announcement: Reverse Course

Remember when I said I was going to release Communion in two parts?

Yeeaahh.  Not really.

After talking to several other authors and giving it some more thought, I realized it’s better to publish the whole thing at this.

As a first time author, I need to wow people.  And I need to give them more than they were expecting.  The first half would have ended on a cliffhanger (a huge turn off to some readers).  But now I’ll be selling the full-novel at a steal for $2.99.  And those who read it WILL.  BE.  AMAZED.

One of my reservations was waiting until late next year before having another book available.  As I mentioned in the previous post, Independent Authors are advised to publish a book AT LEAST every 6 months to stay relevant.  I have a book I can use for April 2014.  It won’t be a full novel, but somewhere between 20-30K words.  Still, said project has been very popular with the Wattpad crowd.  After I fix up, I’ll have a shorter piece that will get be a lot of attention.

But the biggest reason of all, this is my debut.  I only get to debut ONCE!  I want to give the world my best with this debut, not just half my best.  I was worried that the second half of the novel would need some additional scenes and sprucing up, but my editor loved the whole thing as it is.

I’ve also gotten responses from my last few beta readers since the time of the previous post.  They also agree:  it’s time to share my baby with the world!

COMMUNION PREVIEW: Chapter 1

Below is the first chapter of my debut novel, Communion, available in full on October 1st.  Enjoy.

“I’d say my teacher forcing me to attend this assembly counts as bullying.  What about you?”

Guinevere Daniels rolled her eyes.  “Yeah.  I’ve got an in-class nap to catch up on.”

The random seating by grades at school assemblies had brought us together for the first time since middle school.  Otherwise, hot thin blondes like Guinevere didn’t talk to guys like me.

“Oh, late night?”

She smiled mischievously.  “Late, but uneventful.”

There were two prominent rumors about Guinevere- the first was that her sister worked as a stripper, which added to her sex appeal. The second was that she broke up with her boyfriend so she could sleep with him and his best friend.  This added to her slut appeal.

The loud, reverberating noise from a handheld microphone ruined my chance for an innuendo.  I cursed our school’s frugality.

“Good morning students,” greeted Mr. Johnston, our assistant principal.

He repeated himself, as he wasn’t satisfied with the initial level of feedback from the crowd.

I leaned closer to Guinevere to whisper, my dark brown arm grazing her white one.

“I’m Lester.”

“Gwynn.  I’m expecting this to get really exciting, so try not to talk my head off.”

I accepted her sarcasm as an invitation. While I doubted the rumor as fact, Gwynn’s ex-boyfriend, Brent, and his best friend, Roman, were the only people she hung out with.  Most of us switched crowds throughout our first year and blended into a new one sophomore year.  Gwynn hadn’t.  I didn’t consider their group intentionally exclusive, but anyone who tried to enter later complained they just didn’t fit.

“Everyone, please give a warm welcome to Dr. Camellia Rosario.”

Gwynn stopped being the object of my eye for a few moments as a posh Hispanic woman in a pant suit walked from the double doors.  Mr. Johnston must have made a mistake when he called her a doctor.  She couldn’t possibly be out of her early twenties.

Dr. Rosario reintroduced herself and went through her credentials, but I was lost in other details, like her full lips and athletic yet curvy body.  Her shoulder-length, wavy, nearly frizzy hair bounced as she paraded around the gym, her amber eyes winnowing the crowd.  She demonstrated presence like the power-executive types, which made me think of my dad, and which likely meant her display was just an attempt to smother the evidence of a depreciating life.

“You may not believe this by my success now, but I used to be bullied, too.”

“She’s right.  I don’t believe her.”

Gwynn shot me a smile.

Dr. Rosario went on talking and I went on not listening.  Until I heard the word “volunteer.”

Her eyes fell right on me.  I’m sure my physical features screamed victim:  tall with lanky arms, horn-rimmed glasses, and an unkempt afro.  But it would cost a lot more than her outfit to get me to open up to my peers.

Dr. Rosario spun around in a circle, still searching.

“Anybody?”

A hand shot up in the air over where the juniors sat.  “I’ll go.”

“Excellent.  Come on down.”

The volunteer’s short dreadlocks bobbed as he stepped down the bleachers.  The grin plastered on his face was as dark as his complexion.  A few students snickered when they saw who it was.

“Thank you,” Dr. Rosario said when he reached her.  “Everyone clap your hands for—”

She held out the microphone to him.

“Jadarius Singleton.”

Applause and knowing laughter went off around me.  I sat still, the only motion coming from the corners of my mouth sinking further.

“Jay’s never been bullied,” Gwynn murmured.  “Lester, you’re shaking.”

“I’m not,” I snapped.

No, of course Jay hadn’t been bullied.  Six-foot-four with a bulky physique that turned away challengers, Jay was usually on the giving end.

Dr. Rosario passed Jay the microphone.

He suppressed his usual crocodile smile.  “Let me reiterate that bullying is no joke.  It is cruel and insensitive and— oh, before I continue, shout out to the wrestling team.  Good win last Saturday, boys.”

The crowd loosened up with a few more laughs, mixed with shouts and cheers.

A guy a few rows above me cupped his hands around his lips and shouted:  “I see you, Jay!”

“I see you, Nicholas,” Jadarius said, pointing to him.  “Be careful of that man.  He’s a bully on the mat.”

He cleared his throat. “But my favorite—or rather, most tragic—example of bullying comes from last spring.  At the end of P.E. class one day, I returned to the locker room to change into my normal clothes.  But my clothes, and a bunch of other freshman’s, had been put into the toilet.”

Jay was full of crap.  He’d been a sophomore last year and he wasn’t the victim of the story he told.  I raised my hand to get the attention of a teacher.  The closest, a group of three, stood together talking.  I tried making eye contact with Ms. Lane, the only teacher I trusted, but she was on the other side of the gym.

“Swirling around in those yellow, pissy waters was the new leather jacket I’d got for Christmas.  It was the last thing my mom bought me before she left me and my dad.”

I jumped up.  As I stepped between students to get to the bottom of the bleachers, Mr. Taiffer caught sight of me and walked over.

“And the worst part was I knew who did it.  I stepped to him, expecting the other freshman to join me.  Especially since my best friends had the class with me.”

“Stop him,” I said to Mr. Taiffer, my voice somewhere between a shout and a whisper.  “He’s lying.”

“What do you mean?  I heard about something like that happening last year.”

“Yeah, stupid, it happened to me.”

Jay continued, “He gave me the biggest beat down in the history of Concord Hills High.  It was so bad, my friends watched in amazement.”

Mr. Taiffer didn’t take too well to being insulted.  And my own anger only grew when I heard the taunting laughter of the crowd rise again.

Dr. Rosario reached for the microphone, but Jay dodged her.

“Oh, one more part, one more part,” he told her.  “And this classic tale is brought to you all by the one and only, Lester Fuller.”

My body became as stiff as the unnatural hush.  My heartbeat was absent, along with every other sound.  My brain tried to register this as how a thousand jeering eyes staring at me felt, but it couldn’t quite comprehend it.

“Have a seat, please,” Dr. Rosario said, breaking the silence.

Jay took a bow and then returned to his seat.  The sound from the microphone reverberated again.

“This is exactly the kind of behavior—”

I stopped listening.  Mr. Taiffer had his hand on my shoulders and whispered something about handling this as he tried to lead me back to my seat.  Finally, I pushed his hands off of me and made a bee-line for Jay.

“You wanna fuck with me in front of everyone,” I growled.

I got less than half-way there before Mr. Taiffer and another teacher got in front of me.  They made more requests for proper behavior that never worked and never got anyone anywhere.  While Jay broke the rules as he pleased and was loved by hundreds.

“We’ll take care of this.”

“Yeah, because you did a great job before,” I said to neither one in particular.

Other students watched, even as our speaker tried to draw their attention.  Several of them were on their feet, calling for a fight.  My intense focus on Jay, who waited at the bottom of the bleachers he’d previously sat in, dulled their volume.  I wanted to wipe the smug grin right off his face.  I was nearly oblivious to the teacher’s arms wrapped around me.  While I wasn’t as muscular as Jay, I was only a few inches shorter and formidable in my own ways.

“Don’t let him get the best of you,” Dr. Rosario said, now closer to me.

“Screw you lady, I don’t even know you.”

I bet she’d relish the publicity if she actually stopped me.

“Lester, Lester, come with me.”  The new voice whispering in my ear belonged to Ms. Lane, and rather than trying to force me, she kept her hands off.

“No, not this time.  I’ll put an end to this myself.  I’ll fucking kill Jadarius,” I murmured.

Mr. Taiffer’s hands dropped off me.  “What was that?”

I stopped pushing against them when I realized what I had said. Mr. Taiffer and the other teacher’s reactions were enough to sober me from my rage.

“N-nothing.”

“No, I heard you.  You’re coming with me to the office.”

“For the love of god, Rod.  He’s upset.”

Ms. Lane left my side and appeared right in front of me.

“Let’s go into the hallway, Lester.”  Her tone made it clear it was a command, not a suggestion.

I didn’t say anything, only turned around to lead the way.  I kept my gaze on the ground ahead.

I was oblivious to Dr. Rosario’s words and the hot stares of at least half of the other students.  Ms. Lane and I walked past our school rent-a-cop and towards the double doors.

“He’s fine,” Ms. Lane assured him.

Once in the hallway, I kept walking until I got close enough to a locker to punch it.  Not even a dent.  Another example of how pathetic I was.  I put my back against the same locker and slumped to the floor involuntarily.

Ms. Lane quietly watched me.  I covered half of my face with my hand, as if that would hide my shame from both of us.  The silence of the hallway tried to calm me, but my heart raced with the last bit of my resistance.

“I fuckin’ hate him.”

The silence had gone from soothing to maddening in an instant.  And, even though I didn’t see it, I couldn’t stand the way Ms. Lane looked at me.

“You have every right to.”

She got down to my level and sat with her legs crossed.

“And don’t think he’s going to get away with it.  That little show counts as bullying.  Even though it wasn’t physical, it’ll still be enough to get Jadarius suspended.”

So I get used to fulfill the anti-bullying rhetoric.  Hurray for me.

Ms. Lane continued.  “Something to keep in mind for the future:  if Jadarius knows he can get to you, he’ll keep coming after you.”

“Why, though?  Why does he do it?”

“I have a couple of theories.  For one thing, you actually stood up to him.  That doesn’t happen to him often.  Another one, a little more petty:  he’s jealous.”

“Jealous of what?  He’s the popular one.”

“Popularity doesn’t equate to happiness, Lester,” Ms. Lane said.

I was willing to bet that, on any given day, Jay was happier with his life than I was with mine.

My gaze was off the hideously patterned floor and on Ms. Lane.  The petite brunette gave a half-smile as if she could read my cynical thoughts.  She wasn’t hot like Gwynn, but she was easily pretty by any standard.  Certainly enough to be desired wherever she went.  That and her youth—she was only twenty-six—gave her credibility on the topic of popularity, as I knew nothing about it.

“You calm enough to go back inside?”

“If I’m gonna be sent to the office, I’d rather go now instead of listening to Dr. Rosario.”

“I’m sure the assistant principal will want to talk to you later so he can document the incident.  Don’t worry about what you said.  I’ll talk Rod— er, Mr. Taiffer and Mr. Morton into forgetting they heard it.  But come inside.  Who knows, maybe there’ll be some helpful tips.”

I doubted that, but stood up anyway.  Despite the fact I towered over Ms. Lane, who was only a few inches over five feet, I never thought of her as a small person.

She halted once she placed her hands on the double doors.

“One anti-bullying tip I can offer that works, Lester, would be for you to get some friends.  We all need some.”

I frowned.  “But when it comes down to it, you can’t rely on anyone else.  That’s what my fight with Jay last year showed me.”

I no longer spoke to the friends who had watched while Jay pounded me into Concord Hills High School history, as he alluded to earlier.  They ignored my pleas for help while I was being pulverized, so I ignored their requests to remain friends.

“Just remember, we’re all weaker in isolation.”

Review: X-men Battle of the Atom Chapter 2

Now where have I seen that mask before…

406px-Xorn23

Anywho, in Chapter 2 of the new X-men crossover event Battle of the Atom, we get introduced to the X-men from the future.  We’ve got old man Deadpool and Beast.  We’ve got the Indomitable Ice Cube- er, Ice Man.  Who apparently had his brains frozen over and is incapable of speech.  And we have the aptly named… Xavier.  Who’s not the Xavier who just died, but his grandson.

TIME-OUT: This better not be Legion’s son.  No one wants to sleep with Legion.

Hilarity ensures as past and present Ice Man are not impressed with their future self (neither am I for that matter).  But, out of nowhere, Wolverine goes into beserker mode!

Eh, if only.  Turns out original Jean Grey took over his body, so she and Scott could escape.  Original Beast was invited, but he probably realized this was a chance for Scotty have some alone time with Jeany.  Way to be a Bro, Hank, way to be a Bro.

What’s Jean’s problem?  Xavier was shielding the mind of the future X-men.  And, we all know, if you don’t want someone reading your mind, you have something to hide.

Before everyone sets out to find the two elopers, Rachel confronts the final, masked member of the future X-men, only to find out it’s–

Magneto as Xorn

Magneto as Xorn

Nope, think again.  Take a wild guess.  The one person that it can’t be.  Yep, you’re right.

We just saw the Phoenix last summer in AvX!

I swear if the Phoenix shows up at some point in this crossover event… I’m still gonna buy the comics, but I’ll be sorely disappointed.