May 23, 2022

Sailor Jim Johnston

[Short] [Unknown] [Opinion] [Nonfiction]


Levels of Reality (2004-07-10) short

In a world where nothing is as it appears to be, how can you tell when you're in danger? And who do you trust for the truth? Part one of two.

Levels of Reality 2 (2004-07-17) short

Just another day at the virtual office? A homicidal hacker seems to have found a way to kill his coworkers via the virtual reality network. Jim has two choices: rely on his exwife, or have his head blown off. Decisions, decisions. But where does virtual end and reality begin? Part 2 of 2.

Significant Other/Wise (2004-08-07) short

Another day, another patient. Dr. Roberts treats many patients, some with split personalities, some with bipolar disorders. A sadly delusional bunch, their versions of reality tend towards the unrealistic. Too bad they couldn't be more like superheroes.

Gamble 02 (2004-08-21) short

Tod Ruckle is a lowly software testing engineer just trying (and failing) to make ends meet. So why is multi-gazillionare Polyimere Ransford Millennium calling him on the phone? To make the strangest wager Tod has ever bet on. Part 2 of 5.

Gamble 03 (2004-08-28) short

What does multi-billionaire Polyimere Millenium want with lowly software tester Tod Ruckle? He thinks Tod is a business precognitive. Meaning when it comes to business decisions, Tod can do no wrong. Too bad it doesn't spill over into Tod's personal life. Part 3 of 5.

Gamble 04 (2004-09-04) short

The wealthiest man in the world thinks Tod Ruckle is a "business precognitive" and wants to hire him on the spot. For Tod, it's like having his very own fairy godfather. There's just one little decision neither of them quite understand... Part 4 of 5. Sci-Fi

Gamble 05 (2004-09-11) short

Is it worth leaving a steady job to work for a man who foolishly believes you can see the future? That's quite a gamble, especially when recent evidence indicates the whole thing is just a freakish coincidence. Or is it? Part 5 of 5.

No Sparrow Shall Fall (2004-11-13) short

Professional dare devil Ax Roberts finds himself bound to his bed, but this isn't just another stunt. It's a wake up call. Of sorts.

Godstuff (2005-04-10) short fiction, sci-fi

Matter and energy are the same thing. It's the basis for the greatest story ever told. But if you knew ahead of time that you were going to write a novel that would change the world... would you? First appeared 2004-10-02

Gamble 01 (2006-04-24) short

Life may be all games for virtual reality play tester Tod Ruckle, but the fun drained out of it a long time ago, somewhere between the ex-wife, the downsized job, the mortgage payment he can't meet and the compulsive gambling problem. But a phone call out of the blue may just change all that. Part 1 of 5. (Originally appeared 2004-08-14)

Writing on the Wall (2015-09-07) cover story fiction horror

Haunted house? Hah. Sigfried and Roy could have done a better job than the sideshow at the Brinkman House. Still, debunking superstitious nonsense like paranormal phenomena is what scientists do. Nice that there are people willing to dedicate their lives to science.

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The Upcoming Election: Clown Cars, Hookers, and Bad Theater (2004-09-18)

Cover story.

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Driving Me Crazy (2004-09-25) op_ed humor traffic

Tell some drivers about common traffic laws and they'll look at you like a small weasel just poked its head out of your mouth and started speaking Mandarin Chinese.

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On Myself, Death, Mr. Whiny, and the Preacher (2005-04-10) nonfiction memoir

Cover story. First appeared 2004-11-20

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Sailor Jim Johnston
Sailor Jim Johnston

Hi, I'm Sailor Jim Johnston!
Who is Sailor Jim and how did he come about? (Good Question . . . and one my VA shrink would love to answer!)

Let's start with Jim Johnston.

Jim is retired and living on a small farm in the midst of the Big Thicket area of Texas, in a town that shall remain nameless (out of fear of his neighbors beating the hell out of him for making fun of them in his writing). In the years after he retired from the Coast Guard, he's been the Binding Assistant at Steen Library, located on the bucolic campus of Stephen F. Austin State University, in the oddly named town of Nacogdoches, Texas, a Office Manager at the Office of Financial Institutions, and a Retirement Benefits Analyst at Teachers' Retirement Systems of Louisiana, the last two located in steamy Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is now having a ball using his GI Bill/VA benefits attending Lamar University.

(Yeah, I intend to keep making links to various places ... live with it.)

While working at Stephen F. Austin State University (See?), he discovered that he was a writer by penning several articles for, then becoming the humor columnist (for a short time) of, "College & Undergraduate Libraries" magazine (sorry, no link). Whereas the pay sucked (being non-existent), how many people can honestly state that they were an internationally read columnist? It was a serious ego stroke, gave him something to casually drop during parties, and was well worth the effort of trying to find humor in working at a university library.

Since he left the library (and could no figure out a way to write about working at a library when he wasn't), he's been regularly writing his little bits of silliness for his friends at alt.callahans and collecting rejection slips from some of the finest publications the world knows ... as a matter of fact, rejecting one of Sailor Jim's odd little stories has almost become the very definition of a fine publication.

However, several of his fans at alt.callahans decided that they actually wanted to pay ten bucks for a paperback collection of his posts, instead of copying them free from the web and sticking them in a two buck binder. So, escaping the mental ward, they scraped together enough money to have a collection published. The end result was Naked Through the Snow and Other Bits of Silliness, published by Quaternion Press Publishing House and still available through the publisher.

A free "please don't sue me for using some of your extremely copyrighted characters" copy to Spider Robinson, author of the excellent series of Callahan's books (as well as several other fine titles, run out a pick them up as soon as possible) resulted in the following:

I've been slowly working my way through NAKED THROUGH THE SNOW as deadline pressures allow--I've been keeping it in the bathroom, in other words--and I am very impressed. You're welcome to borrow my bar and tender anytime. It's the most consistently interesting and entertaining nonfiction book I've read in a long time. You are one of the world's great storytellers--and it seems Fate, sensing this, has punished you with an amazing life, to supply material. I've read several chapters aloud to Jeanne, and she's enjoyed them as much as I have. (Then she makes me put the book down and go back to work. You are a textbook example of why I dare not hang out in alt.callahans: that way lies bankruptcy.) My highest professional compliments, and thanks from both of us for sending us a signed copy of NAKED THROUGH THE SNOW. I'm proud to have played a part, however peripheral and faint, in its creation and publication. I hope it sells a million copies and brings you a thousand new friends.

(Which amazed and terrified him so badly, he didn't write anything for almost half a year.)

In addition to this, Sailor Jim has been, in no particular order, a stand-up comic, magician, juggler, impressionist, photographer, programmer, yeoman, coxswain, boatswain, helmsman, killer, drug addict, alcoholic, smoker, mental ward prisoner and superhero.

(Of these varied rolls, he still tells jokes, writes, does the occasional coin trick, will nervously juggle three of anything he can get his hands on, still suffers mental problems and occasionally has a glass of wine.)

He is, and has been for better than fifteen years, married to a woman of angelic compassion and understanding, Dian Marie Mullins.


Naked Through The Snow And Other Bits Of Assorted Silliness.