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The Great and Powerful, Brave Raideen

The Great and Powerful, Brave Raideen

A Short Story by Scott Semegran

The little boy sat on the floor in his room surrounded by his toys--Micronauts action figures, Hot Wheels race cars, Star Wars action figures and vehicles, Evel Knievel doll and motor cycle, Shogun Warriors in various sizes, and a pile of Legos intermixed from various sets. His name was William. His mother called him Billy, just like his uncle who died ten years earlier in the Vietnam War was called, but he liked to be called William. More than anything, he liked to play in his room all by himself with all of his toys surrounding him on the floor. In his room, he was safe. He liked that.

He had a vivid imagination and enjoyed introducing the different toys to each other, intersecting their fictional worlds into one. The few times that other neighborhood children were allowed in his room, they had an issue with that, the fictional worlds colliding.

They all said to William, "Micronauts don't fight Star Wars people!"

"And why not?" William said.

"Because Micronauts aren't in the movie Star Wars, dummy!" they all said.

The other neighborhood children weren't allowed in his room after that. William spent most of his time after school in his room although he would occasionally venture into the back yard, a large grassy area with a tall oak tree in the back near the fence, a mostly completed treehouse perched up in its canopy. With two rooms to play in--one inside and one outside--his world seemed rather large; there wasn't much need to go anywhere else except for school. School, to him, was an evil place. He hated going to school.

William stood up one of his Shogun Warriors, the one called Brave Raideen (the tall one painted red and black with a bow and arrow and a crazy, silver mask that made him look like King Tut or something), and he said, "What are you going to do about that jerk Randy at school?" William made his voice as low and gravelly as possible to speak like what he thought Brave Raideen would sound like.

"I don't know," William said in his normal voice.

"You should do something to scare him real good," Brave Raideen said.

"Like what?" William said, curious.

"You should get the thing in your mommy's nightstand. That'll scare him real good!" said Brave Raideen, then laughing an evil laugh.

"Yeah!" William said, jumping to his feet. He tossed Brave Raideen to the side, opened his door, and ran down the hallway to his parents' room, his long, lanky arms swinging like those of a spider monkey. His mother heard him running and called out to him.

"Billy? What are you doing?"

"Nothing, mom!" he said, entering her bedroom and running around the queen-size bed to where her nightstand sat. He laid down on his stomach in front of the nightstand and reached under the bed. "Randy is going to be sorry he messed with me."

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Good Night, Jerk Face. Photo by uwimages.

Good Night, Jerk Face

A Novelette by Scott Semegran

My dreams were sturdy when I was young; they became more fragile as I got older. Summer of 1986. All I thought about was the car I hoped to get for my 16th birthday the following summer. That was all I thought about when I was 15, all day, all night. I thought I had a pretty good chance of getting the car I wanted too because I lived in a pretty good neighborhood and I thought my dad made pretty good money, and the majority of my friends got good cars for their 16th birthdays. The odds looked pretty good in my favor, at least. Plus, I made good grades. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. The car I wanted was a 1980 Mazda RX7. I really, really, really wanted that car, preferably a stick shift even though I didn't know how to drive stick shift, let alone drive a car.

Every summer since I could remember, I spent a couple of weeks at my grandparents' house in Moore, Oklahoma, probably to give my parents a break. During the drive from San Antonio, Texas to Moore, I read the classifieds of the San Antonio Light newspaper, scouring the used car section, looking for Mazda RX7's for sale, particularly 1980 models or ones that were close to that year like the '78 or '79, just not an '81 cause they were different. I found a few for sale with prices ranging from $4,000 - $6,000. That seemed like a pretty good deal to me even though I had no idea really what a good deal was for a car. I was only 15. I didn't know shit.

"What are you looking for?" my mom said. She was somewhat thin with auburn, short cropped hair, kind hazel eyes, and had lightly freckled pale skin. She gripped the steering wheel of her Toyota Camry confidently and sat up straight, ready to bear the heavy burden of the long, boring drive to Oklahoma.

"The car I want for my 16th birthday," I said.

"What makes you think you'll get a car for your 16th birthday?"

"Isn't that what you get when you turn 16?"

"Sure, some kids get a car for their 16th birthday. What kind of car do you want?"

"A 1980 Mazda RX7. Stick shift. Silver."

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Mr. Grieves #163

mrgrieves 163 lg

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To Kill a Mockingbird movie

To Kill a Legacy

My Thoughts on Harper Lee's New Book Go Set a Watchman, a Writer's Legacy, and Their Wishes for Their Creative Work

to-kill-a-mockingbird-bookOn February 3, 2015, it was announced that Harper Lee, the author of the young adult classic To Kill a Mockingbird, approved the publication of a sequel 55 years after her much-beloved, award-winning, singular novel was published. According to a press release from Harpers (who only communicated through Lee's lawyer and literary agent, not with Lee herself), a manuscript was "discovered" titled Go Set a Watchman attached to an original typed manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird in storage. Then the frenzy began! "Another book by Harper Lee?!" they mostly said. "I can't wait!" There were also dissenters who said, "Uh, this sounds fishy. Why now?" And I agree. Why now? For one reason only: Money.

You can Google the history of To Kill a Mockingbird and the behavior and quotes attributed to Harper Lee in dealing with the staggering success of her novel in the decades following the initial publication of the book. She never wanted to publish another book and was also attributed in saying that everything she wanted to say--as a writer--was in To Kill a Mockingbird. She was reticent to talk about the themes of the book, claiming everything you needed to know was in the book. In the years following the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird the book as well the release of the award-winning and beloved movie version starring Gregory Peck, Lee certainly could have gone to her publisher and said, "I have another book! It's about Scout and Atticus 20 years later. It'll be a bestseller. I'll rule the literary world!" But she didn't and the reasons she didn't make complete sense to me as a writer.

It easy for me to understand the excitement from readers who love To Kill a Mockingbird and their desire to want to read this newly "discovered" novel. It's an American classic. People love this book. Practically every student in middle school or high school has read this book. It's still in-print and sells over a million copies a year. People wanted more back in the 60s and people still want more now. But as it states here, "Ms. Lee abandoned the manuscript [of Go Set a Watchman] after her editor, who was captivated by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, told her to write a new book from the young heroine’s perspective and to set it during her childhood." Lee pulled out the best parts of this manuscript, abandoned it, and wrote another novel. Lee knew it wasn't good enough then and in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird was published.

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Me and My Dad - 1972

The Gift

My thoughts on suicide, assisted suicide, dignity with death, Robin Williams, Brittany Maynard, and my dad Michael Semegran

Robin Williams by Michael Dressler 1979I have been thinking about my father a lot lately, more than usual, because of two controversial topics I have read about in the media this past year: suicide and assisted suicide. What initially prompted me to think more about my dad was Robin Williams' suicide on August 11, 2014. Having such a high profile person commit suicide definitely put the spotlight on this topic even though suicides claim the lives of tens of thousands of people every year and is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. (CDC). My father, Michael Semegran, committed suicide on December 4, 2002. He was not a famous person, he was just my dad. Robin Williams and my dad had a LOT in common which was what got me thinking about my dad so much. I'll get to that in a bit; now to assisted suicide. Brittany Maynard committed assisted suicide on November 1, 2014. Maynard was diagnosed with a stage 4 malignant brain tumor. She moved with her family to Oregon so she could legally kill herself with lethal medication prescribed under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. She definitely put a new face on this topic since she was young and attractive and very vocal on social media about her path to death with dignity. What is the difference between a family member who commits suicide and a family member who commits assisted suicide? There is a very fine line between dignity and shame on the way to the same end, apparently. I find that to be very strange and perplexing and hurtful.

When Robin Williams committed suicide, I was shocked--if only for a few minutes--and it seemed the world was shocked as well. How could someone so universally loved and admired do such a thing as commit suicide? By all accounts, he was a very successful and brilliant man, actor, and comedian. He starred in several universally acclaimed movies such as Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Aladdin, and Good Will Hunting. He was a unique stand-up comedian who intimidated his contemporaries, many considered great in their own right. He earned an Oscar, two Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards. And he made millions of dollars doing all of this. My father was also brilliant and successful although on a different, more down-to-earth scale. He earned both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Industrial Engineering. He had a decorated, 25-year career in the Air Force leading a team programming computer software. He was called a genius by his commanders and way ahead of his time. He retired from the Air Force and made six figures working as the Director of Tech Support at Ashton-Tate, one of the "Big Three" software companies of the 1980s, which included Microsoft and Lotus. By all measures, both my dad and Robin Williams were successful men and geniuses.

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Who Am I?

Dec102011_1sqMy name is Scott Semegran and I live in Austin, Texas. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English. I'm a writer, a cartoonist, and a webmaster. I am a Kindle bestselling author. I can also bend metal with my mind and run really fast, if chased by a pack of wolves. This web site is here to entertain you with my fiction work, blog, comic strips, and cartoons. I hope you enjoy my creative work.

If you like novels, then look for The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood. On his way to New York to celebrate his impending literary success, Simon Burchwood is the prototypical American careerist. But a quick detour to Montgomery, Alabama to visit a childhood friend sends Simon on a bizarre journey, challenging his hopes and dreams of becoming a famous writer. This is a character study that delves into the psyche of a man who desperately tries to redefine himself. Is Simon pompous? Yes. A jerk? Yes. Will you like him? Absolutely! "The book is told entirely from Simon’s viewpoint. Simon is not a very likable guy; as a matter of fact, he is a self-centered, pompous jerk. But for some reason, it’s pretty fun to be inside his head, mainly because he is an inadvertent, oblivious jerk... you will learn Simon’s views on smoking, cleanliness and going to the bathroom, just to name a few. There were times that I laughed out loud... A very good novel that was humorous throughout." 4 and 1/2 Stars - Red Adept Reviews. The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood is available through Lulu.com and Amazon.com in paperback, as well as various eBook retailers. Check out my Books page for links to buy and download my novel or search for it in your eReader's book store. This novel was inducted into the Indie eBook Hall of Fame and also named one of the "5 Best Summer Indie Beach Reads" by the Huffington Post.

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If you found my blogs, stories, cartoons, or other articles on my website useful or entertaining, then please visit my Books page and check out my novels as well as my comic strip compilation and my collection of short stories and cartoons. They are all available in eBook, paperback, and hardcover formats. For a pittance, you can purchase something great to read while supporting a writer with a large family and lots of mouths to feed. Thanks for your support, Scott.

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