The bright yellow Corvette sped along the Coast highway, flashed brightly in the afternoon sun, occasionally crossed carelessly to the shoulders on each side of the road. The handsome man driving was tensely absorbed in his thoughts, his tropical Tommy Bahama silk shirt flapping wildly in the swirling air, ballooning over his slender frame, presenting a bloated caricature. His deep black hair flowed in all directions. Tears rolled heavily down his tanned sculpted cheeks, his blue eyes blurred by the erupting flow, his lips set in a determined pose. To his left a beautiful and indifferent Pacific Ocean continued its ageless ebb and flow. To his right lovely palms and lush green land joined with deep canyons.
The news of his mother’s death had reached him in his dressing room after the last scene of a bad B-movie was shot on the sound stage. That news was preceded by a private eye’s photo proof of his wife’s infidelity… And, even with these items of irreversible bad news, Ricky Snow knew in his heart and mind that this was a preordained day of reckoning. His mother died of a stroke. His marriage died of an anemia of sorts, a lividness and weariness of soul. He heard not his fellow actors as he hurried to his car, the semblance of an idea forming in his head. He sped away from the studio lot and was now on the Coast Highway chasing the sunset.
Ricky registered all the beauty around him but it had no palliative effect on his dark mood. He was aware of all that he had in the material world, the sumptuous house in Holmby Hills, more money than he could use, the praise lavished upon him by adoring fans during his film career, the dreams that had come true for him over his relatively short life span. He indeed ‘had it all’ and it had come to mean nothing to him. Ricky gave the gas pedal another downward nudge.
I’ve been dying for so long. Somehow I know that. All around me my entire life I’ve somehow known I’m dying…not of any medically known disease but of some fatal atavistic flaw in my nature. Up, down, up, down, my emotions have displayed themselves daily in my life… Now, the two women meaning the most to me are dead, and, if not directly responsible for those deaths, my acts and deeds had their hard measure in the outcomes… The thoughts bounce into each other.
It is strange how all the acts and deeds of a lifetime come to me at the ripe age of forty-five as I race down this beautiful highway… Was it the rotten childhood, the broken promises, so many defeats without victories? Was it the first marriage which I corrupted or took part in its ultimate corruption? Maybe it was the second marriage…or the third… Hollywood is a storybook land for all things to happen. Maybe it was the first introduction to booze, grass, or to cocaine…sure made life seem simpler for a while. Why was I so smart to get off the alcohol and dope? Guess it made sense to me…maybe I felt I could clean myself up and be alright.
Funny how you can chase a dream and finally catch it, only to find disenchantment and misery in the end…and the women in my life…so many and so beautiful. Why did they end up in the attic of my disappointments? Only Mom seemed to know that mad torturing tornado that was loose inside of me. Melanie for a time seemed to know as well…then she tired of me and sought elsewhere the satisfaction for her own needs. Who can blame her? I cannot.
I’ve been dying for so long…so very long. Psychiatrists are loony…they could never help me. No, it is in my wiring, the weird inscription upon the walls of my being. I’ve desired. I’ve attained…the beautiful women, the lovely homes and cars…but I revert back to thoughts of dying…not always the grave or tomb dying but the withered dying of the self of me… I no longer truly care for life… Was it the early faith of my youth that I lost in the rapacious hungers that gripped me in adulthood? Was it simply that meaning was lost in the mundane pleasures of living? It would perhaps be a comfort to know how my life got so entangled within itself, but there is no longer a desire to really know. Little by little an invisible knife has whittled my life to this day, this hour, this place, and I am enjoined to its purpose.
I’ve been dying for so long…so very long…
A siren began as a lightly heard whisper within Ricky’s mind, became louder and intrusive to his life’s thoughts. His present reality returned to him and he knew that two California Highway patrolmen were chasing him. He glanced at his speedometer… 105 miles per hour. A sad smile came now with the tears, and he wished no one harmed because of his actions and deeds – he had been there, done that.
Ricky slowed the Corvette, and the highway patrolmen got closer and closer.
Just ahead on the Coastal Highway there was long curving rise, a magnificent site to his mind, with the blue Pacific waters off to his left on the outer edge of the curve, and a rocky canyon off to the right.
Ricky slammed hard his right foot down on the gas pedal until it reached the floor of the car. He glanced momentarily in his rear mirrors and saw the highway patrolmen trying to keep his pace.
Another sad smile joined his tears as he left the highway, hit the gravelly space in front of the wide white metal fence guard, tore through, and went sailing through space above the craggy rocks in the canyon below.
So, now I die… I have chased the sunset, my final quest, and it is mine. This is the moment of serenity that I can never explain to anyone… Goodbye, Mom, I shall now see if you were right about that wonderful dimension of which you spoke.
The two patrolmen watched at the broken fence at the highway, saw the flames rising from the canyon below, looked with sorrowful eyes and shaking heads.
“This was not an accident, Herb,” one man said to the other, “this fellow did exactly what he planned to do… He wanted to die.”
Some flash fiction authored by Billy Ray Chitwood
Please preview my books of Mystery, suspense, romance, love at:
Which end of the rainbow holds the magic that will transform our lives? That proverbial ‘Pot of Gold’?
How far do we have to travel to find the elusive ends of those rainbows? It looks as though the ends are within our reach.
‘Okay, enough of the philosophical gibberish! We are a new generation and don’t grab hold too easily these metaphorical nuances. What’s your point’?
‘You are the point! Your generation is the point’!
Of ‘The Greatest Generation’, I’m a part, that pristine era that encompassed World War 2 and its aftermath. We helped to finally absolve a lingering malaise of ‘The Lost Generation’, the era following World War 1. We in my generation held no exclusive trademark on ‘sense and sensibility’. We had some blunders and gaps along the way.
However, for the most part, there was the pride and remembrance of those who gave their lives in the great war to preserve our freedom and liberty. Our military heroes paid the ultimate price.
Allow me to be plain in my words here…
I live now in ‘Twilight’, writing my fiction and observing the nature of the world around me, chaos and insanity across the waters as countries vie for power and dominance, as new forms of immorality charge closer to our shores in barbaric numbers. I watch our young people stray farther and farther away from the principles in our political bible called the ‘United States Constitution’, that document codified so clearly by our ‘founding fathers’… ‘United States Constitution’ and ‘Founding Fathers’, now seemingly phrases that edge slowly away from our consciousness.
I watch some of our young people caught up in a frenzied delusion imprinted on their brains by monied power groups, misdirected media, and political groups…tearing down statues that have historical meaning for so many, trying to sanitize and erase from memory life and death struggles in our storied past.
I watch a brash, plain-speaking billionaire business man elected president of our nation, a neophyte politician, a man with a wide-spanning agenda to cure some economic and security ills in our country. His platform speaks to immigration reform, job creation, foreign policy shifts, infra-structure clean-up, tax-reform, repeal and replacement of a most disastrous health program, better and more viable educational options, et al.
Despite the allure, charm, and eloquence of Barack Obama, he made, in my opinion, so many terrible foreign policy decisions, domestic miscues, and mysterious spending of tax payers’ dollars that it might be a while before we figure it all out. A few already have but can’t get any real traction from a biased media. Actually, it was my initial thought that Obama might be good for America. No racial thing! No bias! No hate! Just the way I see it…
The new President Trump starts enthusiastically and quickly in his new job, surrounding himself for the most part with a cadre of intelligent and qualified people. He issues ‘Executive Orders’ to negate many of the previous president’s directives. He makes successful trips to troubled parts of the world and elicits support for his foreign policies. He takes a strong position on North Korea’s missile launches and unveiled threats against our nation. The fixation by the media on ‘Russian Election Collusion’ truly becomes tiring and a thorn in President Trump’s side as he tries for comity with our adversary.
His efforts find great support from his politically conservative and independent base, but the liberal leaning media and distressed democrats challenge him at every turn. His tweets on Twitter draw ire, and he is reviled by the so-called establishment groups in Washington, DC and by some in his own party.
‘So, what’s the point of all this?’
For the first time in my long life, the feelings for me are visceral. Watching the riots at Berkeley, the destruction of property there and other states, the professorial leanings toward guided liberal thinking of their students, I feel Democracy in my country shifting from its long freedom and liberty roots to a more open and socialistic society. I’m not an avid student of history but have studied enough to know that Communism and Socialism have never worked. When Large Corporations, Big Money, and the Power Elites make decisions for the working classes, it’s the beginning of the end. When freedom-loving people are duped by the liberal revolutionists of our times, beware the ‘Ides of March’.
You might very well differ in your thinking, and that is the American way. We can debate issues and come to different conclusions without hating each other.
I started life in Appalachia and poverty, and that buys me a ticket nowhere…still haven’t made any ‘best seller lists’ with my books. I’m no longer in poverty, but neither am I rich and/or an envied one-percenter…just want my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids to have their freedom and liberty.
When we were young so many dreams occupied our time and thoughts: some with vivid pictorial views of white sands and soft blue waters of the Caribbean; some with the cowboy West and Johnny Mack Brown; some with heroic gallantry and deeds framed in our minds with technicolor brilliance. Our youth was dappled with the colors of our high school football, basketball, and track colors, young and pretty ladies wearing their ‘steady beau’s’ sweater with the school letters. There were hamburgers, French fries, and milk shakes at the local drive-ins with our pals and sweethearts, filtering through the rumors of the day and week.
A happy home with loving family members made the journey through youth joyous and unforgettable… For some…
When we were young so many dreams came in dark and gray flashes of angry parents, or, an itinerant alcohol-laced father visiting over a weekend, serving up ugly fights with Mom, spanking the kids with a hickory switch, and leaving indelible black holes of terror in the memory cells. Yet, there were the moments for wakeful dreaming about those heroic deeds and pretty damsels waiting for their hero to come and save the day.
When we were young there were friends to envy and respect, friends who somehow intelligently knew the difference in cultural divides and stood by the emotionally anguished and made youth enjoyable and still a viable part of life. There was a football mate, a school-skipping pal who ran all the laps the next day at practice that they knew would come from their absence the previous day. There were the summer pool plunges and competitive dives off the highest board.
And, there were some when we were young who just couldn’t make it through youth, through some corruptible lawless channel, an anger that could not be subdued, or an awful vengeance curse.
So, ‘when we were young’ was similar for many of us on several levels, and, while we cannot forgive those who are born of bad DNA seed, we might be mindful of that old and now tired bromide, ‘We all have to be from some place’!
forever after a smash-up on a Phoenix freeway. At the hospital he is given pain medication, and strange things begin to happen…he experiences a ‘time travel’ episode back to 1838 to one of history’s greatest despicable acts – ‘The Trail of Tears’.
Back in present time Blake will find the woman of his dreams, find power and money, be involved in a murder, and live some unforgettable moments…both eerie and poetically divine.
It is an exciting and beautifully written book – a love story for the ages, plus a whole lot more… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
It is a piteous whimper, lost in the black void of the narrow closet. The weak and eerie sound of her own voice chills her more fiercely than the cold. The thought brings an aberrant amusement. Her own small voice frightens her!
A sound! A creaking sound. Far off. A footfall! Is it? No. It is not a footfall. It’s just one of the strange noises that comes in the night.
Is it night?
Time is lost. Time is gone from her world like a chunk of youth. The black hole draws her toward an uncertain vortex. She must close her eyes. But, not so tightly… With eyes open, the blackness comes alive with trickery… Inspired by a California newspaper account some years ago, this novel has truth along with the author’s story line. It is dark and ugly, like the black closet used for punishment by a malevolent mother whose heart and mind can only know evil. It is poignant and sad in the penning, to know that such cruelty and debasement can exist in one family.
From the black closet to fiery murder in the high Sierras, this shocking tale will scar the soul… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
About a Tennessee boy who ate some emotional soup and spent a lifetime trying to digest it. It is the story of a young man leaving east Tennessee and going in search of himself, unprepared for the adult world he is about to enter. Behind him, and, within him, is the emotional debris of his childhood: abuse, broken family, and a substantial part of his soul. Searching for his identity in ‘isms’ and bars, he stumbles, gets up, only to find in the end that legacy and meaning are elusive, a ‘white buffalo’ always somewhere in the shadows.
“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son” is largely a true story of the author’s own life, a mirror of his past, cracked with the stress of all his memories: a family broken apart by their Appalachian circumstances and the ‘great depression’; a childhood tainted by a father’s abusive nature; an impetuous marriage and a sorrowful divorce; a subsequent search of ‘isms,’ for love and meaning in California and Arizona gin mills; a tableau of horrible events, including a senseless family murder, suicide, and a desert survival.
“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son,” is the story of fictional Prentice Paul Hiller, his life, his heritage, his mistakes, the events that have come to shape him, and the demons within that he cannot dispel. Along the way, he gives his passionate and provocative views on criminal justice, love, politics, religion, war, and his favorite writers. In the end he finds a new love, some hope for redemption, some semblance of meaning and legacy.
The author’s own family roots trace back to the eleventh century in Chetwode, a lovely hamlet north of London… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
(Embraces the genres of Mystery, Suspense, and Romance)
High school sweethearts, Billy Jay Campbell and Marcie Dangino reunite after many years apart. They discover the fire of their young love still glows brightly. With the Air Force behind him, Billy now works as an investigator for a law firm,
Two problems threaten to spoil his homecoming. Marcie is now married to a junior partner at Clarkson and Dangino, a firm that has occasionally employed Billy for their investigative work. The second problem occurs when Billy’s close friend and boss is murdered.
The Reluctant Savage follows a mystery that connects greed, murder, romance, and a love triangle.
A Phoenix, AZ entrepreneur and an ad agency director fall in love in a most unusual way. Their budding relationship is interrupted by sibling clashes, an out of control gambling addiction, a murder, and a matriarch’s secret that will ultimately cause emotional chaos and disorientation.
This is a book that will draw the reader into the story and compel them to stay glued until the end. The gripping climax to PHOENIX FIRE is powerful, and tissues are recommended.
Treat yourself to a marvelous romance, mixed with some suspense and a desert odyssey to save one’s soul.
A non-fictional memoir that covers the author’s time in East Tennessee and his whirlwind education in the big world of neon lights, gin mills, pretty ladies, acting, television, stage, and film.
It is also a book that takes a remarkably honest look at some mistakes and triumphs.
It is a story that has depth beneath the glitter of shiny piano bars and lovely women, beneath a family disconnect and sorrowful musings.
The book reveals the author’s relationships in his life, the lamenting moments of despair and loneliness, the never-ending search for meaning, his faith, and the brutal assessments of who he really is. It has the family disconnect, even murder and suicide, and there is always a candor that is both refreshing and shocking in its self-analyses. In the end, it is likely a bio not so different from everyman…just changes in circumstance and event. AMAZON BUY SITES:
The author could be accused of ranting and raving as he comments on some of our very important issues.
While members of both parties without question have contributed to costly legislation, too much wasteful spending, an entitlement mentality, the previous president, his liberal supporters, and his entire administration has been evasive, inept, irresponsible, and continually in a campaign mode…in short, the American people were not served well by the people they elected to serve.
– Inspired by true events – Many years ago, a lovely actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in the desert northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. She was a young mother of two children, a legal secretary for two of my attorney buddies, and she was responsible for my acting avocation — we had the same great agent in Scottsdale, Bobby Ball. She had her life in front of her with all the dreams most of our young generation had at the time, but her biggest dream was to have someone to love and a home for her family…
You are never far from our thoughts, dear lady.
Meet Bailey Crane, a transplanted son of the south. Bailey is an auxiliary detective, has a soft rep business that brings in easy money, and he’s a part-time actor.
Bailey’s got golf, love, money, friends, a hearty life, and he carries an amusing personality with him wherever he goes. He’s a rowdy, good looking rogue with a lot of that southern charm. His heart and his emotions are in his eyes and on his lips…he is not reluctant to share his world.
A young actress/model is brutally murdered in the Arizona desert northeast of Phoenix. The lady is a friend of Bailey Crane, and her homicide begins an adventure for our musing sleuth that takes him down the halls of our nation’s capital where he discovers that fact and fiction are strange bedfellows.
Bailey is a marked man, chased by an unknown pursuer with a gun. Wounded, his body battered and bruised, his anger pushes him onward until the puzzle pieces begin to make sense. The exciting climax has a unique twist, and our musing son of the south does not quite know it but the ending is also a beginning… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
A young woman is murdered in a most gruesome way. The authorities have no leads in the case, and Bailey Crane is sought out by the victim’s desperate mother. She must know the awful truth of her daughter’s death, must come to some semblance of closure.
Homicides of young women in other states arouse Bailey’s attention and provide a trail that will lead him to physical and psychological confrontations that will leave his relatively sane world rearranged and shaken.
The bizarre conclusion comes in a small mountain town in Colorado.
Our always musing southern sleuth will find a very personal and near sacred part of his life finding its own end point. There is emotional pain and there is a new beginning for our endearing Tennessee Sherlock with the Cherokee blood.
“Lake’s face was the face of a memory my mind carried, a face with no discernible sign of hope, a face with no sign of soul.”This tale begins with a raging warehouse fire that nearly consumes our southern sleuth.
A thug arrested in connection to the fire is overheard muttering a cryptic phrase, ‘beware The Brutus Gate.’ The fire and the phrase is the starting point of this story about drugs, murder, rape and political corruption at government’s elite levels.
Bailey Crane and his Phoenix PD buddies chuckle about the pithy ‘Brutus Gate’ remark, and the adventure begins. Our Sherlock hero is bounced around by the criminal elements and by his own personal demons of guilt and remorse — all standard fare for the Tennessee man of endless mind queries about his emotions and the state of his life.
The action is keen, and the climax comes on an old ranch on the Mexican border just south of Yuma, Arizona. This is likely a romp you don’t want to miss.
“The Brutus Gate – A Bailey Crane Mystery” is Book 3 in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series.’ Each Bailey Crane book can be read independently of the other. There is the natural progression of the central character in each succeeding book (aging, loves, experiences).
MURDER INPUEBLO DEL MAR(BOOK 4)
– Inspired by true events –
An Arizona wife and mother is murdered while on holiday in Mexico, and her three children find her brutally beaten and slashed body. Bailey Crane, an auxiliary member of the Phoenix PD, is visiting close friends in Pueblo del Mar, and is asked by the local police chief to assist him in building his case against the transsexual lover of the victim’s husband. Bailey’s Cherokee blood comes to an emotional boil when family and friends get caught up in the web of corruption, drugs, and sex. The highly intense climax comes in a ‘Whale Shack’ in the scrub brush and sand near the Sea of Cortez. This tale has the always soulful musings of our southern Sherlock, a chance encounter with a mysterious mystic who shares his thoughts on Time and Place, and fragile nerves that get edgy and frayed. This tale was inspired by an actual murder some years ago, and you don’t want to miss it… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
Bailey’s intent is fun and sun on the beautiful Sea of Cortez, but an old friend’s request for help changes his immediate plans: the Homeowners Association at the lovely Mar y Sol resort is experiencing some financial problems and its treasurer has just been murdered. His friend’s request for assistance leads to some very scary moments for our southern sleuth. Kidnapped twice, battered, bruised, Bailey finds it all in this caper — murder, money laundering scams, and betrayal. There is a man of intrigue that brings another dimension to the story, and the climactic ending to the tale is riveting, bringing with it an emotional catharsis for our hero. Bailey goes through the mazes, eventually finds his bad guys but he is left with the knowledge that friendship can be fragile and tentative.
PASSAGE FROM THE BOOK:
At the beach, he gave the middle-aged vendor his wallet to hold for him, chatted with him for a while in Spanish, got astride the jet ski and slowly moved out to deeper water. He made a few fast figure eights some five hundred yards offshore, allowing himself some final and nebulous act of rebellion, then pointed the jet ski in a straight line toward the distant horizon. He accelerated, and the jet ski thrust forward, spewing up heavy sprays, bouncing on the sea ruts and ripples. The wind screamed and hurled itself at his face and body, his hair flaring out in demonic poses, his wide lips closed tightly against his clenched teeth. On he went toward a horizon that only got farther away. His mind and body worked to keep balance on the jet ski, his heart pounding inside his chest, his mind focused only on the never diminishing line ahead where the sea meets the sky. Something in the water ahead caught his attention, something orange and heavy metal. He gave the jet ski all that the throttle would give and headed toward the orange object.
Just before the jet ski hit the orange metal, his mind projected the picture of a little boy sobbing, standing sad and forlorn in front of an old deserted house. Tears now came in a mad rush to mix with the sea spray and wind and his ending.
On the beach, the vendor could no longer see the Jet ski and he somehow knew that he would never see the man again. With a premonition, the vendor pulled from his pocket the wallet the man had given him. Inside the wallet was a note and twenty-five hundred dollars. The handwritten note read: “Follow these instructions and you will be a very wealthy man. Do with your life and the money what you will. My hope is that you will use the money for good and noble deeds. You will find your ending a much nicer place to be.” Attached to the note was a website address, numbers and password for an online bank account, instructions for redirecting funds, and further linkage information.
The man in soiled clothes looked toward the distant horizon and saw nothing. While the excitement of the moment overwhelmed him, he replaced the wallet and note in his pocket, stood for moments looking out at the sea. An unaccountable sadness overtook him and he wept for the man he would never know.
– Final book in series –Former sleuth Bailey Crane and lovely wife Wendy are enjoying their penthouse pleasures until a cartel sting operation at their Mexican resort brings chaos and emotional uncertainty into a blurry reality.
Wendy is kidnapped, and Bailey faces the demons running loose in his mind as he struggles with his choices.
Also President of the resort’s HOA, Bailey has not only kidnapping and murders with which to contend, but other problems which add to this suspenseful chapter in his life. The surprising end point brings back to Bailey and Wendy those memories better left in the memory vault.
An exciting, intense thriller in the sand and cacti of Mexico’s Sonoran desert by the beautiful Sea of Cortez. This is the final Book 6 of ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
The day was sunny and without clouds as I arrived at her new residence. The setting was beautiful, quiet, and serene with the deep green grass, sugar maples and oaks offering canopies of shade against the ultraviolet brightness.
I sat on the ground next to her as if we were on a picnic and began my soliloquy…
There were so many times I could have said, should have said, these words to you, sweet Pamela, but my fragile ego got in the way and…no matter, the disclaimers I would add have no real relevance now.
Here is what I wish you to know…
“Our romance began when each of us had clinging vulnerabilities: you, finishing your university education, beginning your career in teaching; me, ending a marriage – and other baggage. Our meeting was not so subtle as I attempted my alcohol-induced pitch to you in the popular nautical-themed restaurant where you worked as a waitress while going through your course load at Wichita State. We were both bitten and smitten by the Love Dragon, delirious in its domination of our hearts and souls.
Then, when your full-time teaching in Iowa took you from me, I wallowed in my own self-pity. You called me. I called you. Finally, the last time we talked I muttered my insecurities, ‘you’re there, I’m here’, and told you we had to put our love on hold. It wasn’t fair to you or to me.
You met a younger man, a student studying Theology and he wanted to date you but you would not. You said you were desperate to see me, and I flew to Des Moines the next day. The ‘Love Dragon’ awoke from his nap and we again were delirious in our reunion and could not deny our love. We recommitted and would stay with our romance. I shall never forget the trips I made to Des Moines and to the memories I cherish.
The ‘war’ came to Iraq, then to Afghanistan, and my National Guard unit was called up to relieve other troops on duty there. Injured by enemy grenade shrapnel, I lost my left arm and was sent home.
You immediately came to me, and our love was brighter than ever. You would not allow self-pity and kept reminding me of comrades who did not make it home at all.
We planned a summer wedding, and it was a magical few weekIs we were together in our planning for the big event. Our love virtually glowed, and, in our hearts, we knew the flame would never go out of our union. We were like kids at a circus, the excitement of being in love and never being apart again…”
The tears came and I could not continue.
I placed the flowers on her glazed monument of stone, allowed the tears to drop on the grass in front of her heart-shaped grave marker.
With my good right arm, I embraced as much of the stone as I could. With my lips, I gently touched the inscription for a long moment and tearfully mumbled the words on the stone:
“My heart and soul are yours, sweet Pamela, to be rejoined with yours in eternity.”
As was my daily wont I sat again on the grass beside Pamela and waited for night to fall. My tears came with the bittersweet memories…
The drunk driver who killed my Pamela was himself killed in a fiery blaze as his car spun out of control, over sidewalk curbing, and into a wall of stucco.