©Sweeny, The Doll

©Sweeny, The Doll

– Short Story – By BR Chitwood –

*

Mr. and Mrs. Holcomb were looking in a toy shop at possible gifts for daughter, Kellie.

 “Oh, isn’t this darling? His name is ‘Sweeny’, and his voice is so sweet… Kellie will love it.”

“You’re kidding, right? Kellie is all ‘GIRL’. I can’t see her playing with this guy-doll at all. She might like its voice – it is soothing, but Kellie would lose interest quickly with this slick-haired bozo. She’s more into the more etiquette-like stuff.”

“Frank, trust me on this one. I know my daughter, and she will be talking to Sweeny on a constant basis. You’re not around so much that you would notice. Lots of girls are wanting male dolls now…it’s ‘the thing’, some toy clerks tell me.”

“Well, Sweeny is kind of cute in his untidy ‘cut-offs’ and flaming red shirt, the sly smile…what are some of the ‘things’ he says in his taped repertoire?”

“His various conversational utterings are here in this pamphlet…”

“I’ve glanced at a few statements Sweeny makes, and I’m not sure the vernacular matches up well with Kellie…are kids really talking like this? About hugging, kissing, silly adult-like language?”

“Don’t go ‘archaic’ on me, Frank. Kids live in different generations and speak for the most part like others in their age group… We still must do our parenting, our monitoring of their lives so they don’t cross into dangerous areas of thoughts and deeds.”

“Well, Gerrie, you’re the ‘Mom’ and you know better about these things than I do. I just want the ‘best’ for Kellie. She’s so sweet, smart, and special and I want her world as free from the ‘ugly’ as we can make it, and I know you do as well. Go ahead and throw ‘Sweeny’ in the shopping basket. I hope they become really good buddies.”

***

(Night-time: Six Months Later )

Wearing new special PJs Kellie’s Mom made, Sweeny lay stretched out on his back next to his mistress on the opposite pillow, eyes open, alert, now and then glancing at his sleeping bed-partner. Only the plugged-in night light gave light to the bedroom.

“Kellie, psst, Kellie, are you awake?”

Kellie was in deep sleep, dreaming of a new boy in her sixth-grade classroom at school. Tommy was the new boy’s name, and his small desk was next to her desk.

Kellie’s eyes twitched and her body quivered under the bedsheet, and a small discernable smile appeared on her face. She liked Tommy at first sight and thought that rather unusual for her to like a new boy in class…girls, generally, yes, but, boys, a bit strange.

 Sweeny’s closed eyes simultaneously twitched as well, and suddenly came fully open. In no way could he explain his awareness to his supposedly non-active environment – a male doll that for some inscrutable reason could remember a special ‘compound’ put inside his combination hard-rubber and polyethylene terephthalate head.

Sweeny only knew he did not like the ensuing disturbance within his tiny body, did not like where Kellie’s thoughts were taking her…he now knew about the new boy in her Sixth-Grade class, and he would not know how to explain it to anyone.

In some manner, Sweeny, with eyes aquiver, his tiny factory-made body thrashing beneath the sheet, caused the bed to rock and sway, made loud noises on the floor and walls. The noise became so loud it awakened Kellie, her mother, and her father.

Amid Kellie’s screams, the parents entered her room and saw lamps on the floor, wall plaster displaced on the walls from the bed-rocking, and other debris spread across the bedroom.

Then a silence so deep within itself came that frightened all in the room but Sweeny.

“Oh, My God! What happened in here, Kellie?” the mother asked.

“I don’t know, Mommy, but it woke me up. I’m scared, Daddy, Mommy.”

Sweeny lay quietly on his pillow, his eyes closed as though in sleep, but listening carefully to what was being said.

Kellie’s parents would not allow such paranormal thoughts to enter their mind, but they did believe their eyes and knew something dramatic and nerve-wracking happened in their daughter’s bedroom.

Kellie slept in her parents’ bedroom that night and the next three nights, only going into her room for showers and clothes changes. When her eyes fell on Sweeny, she thought she noticed angry eyes, and it scared her, but she finally accepted that her little mind was playing tricks on her…the scary episode could be explained in a sensible manner with a sane and understandable narrative.

While she could not understand her own reasoning regarding that night, Kellie remotely thought that Sweeny had something to do with it. Giving her seemingly crazy thoughts a rest, she would hold Sweeny and talk to him, but when she placed him somewhere away from her she sensed an anger showing on his face. Then, there came a sense of dread that would drive her out of the room, and she could also sense his staring eyes following her.

Her relationship with Sweeny she knew was over – from a pet toy to any kind of plaything. She could never, would never get over that one night-time episode and the ensuing moments of distress. She talked to her mother, convinced her that she no longer wanted to have Sweeny around her.

Gerrie  placed Sweeny in the original box he came in, took him to the local park, and left the doll with the Park Director, Stu Bruner, to do with what he wished, gift it to one of the children who played there. Gerrie explained simply to Mr. Bruner that her daughter outgrew the male doll and had moved on…Gerrie felt a little ‘white lie’ would not hurt anyone.

*

The Park Director placed Sweeny on his office credenza and left for home later in the afternoon. It was odd, the Director thought as he left his office, the male doll’s face seemed strangely different from the time he was brought to him, and, he thought he had placed him in the middle of the credenza, but he was now sprawled toward the end of the furniture with a scowl on his pale face.

“Ah, I’m just tired… I wasn’t paying that much attention at the time, and those toy makers can now do so much with innovation in dolls…”

At the first traffic light, Stu Bruner almost ran a ‘red light’ which had just recently turned ‘green’, and Stu screeched to a stop, just missing the opposite flow of cars.

‘Darn, am I going blind? I could have sworn that light was turning ‘green’ when I came to it’…

Stu Bruner soon regained his normal happy mood when going home to family and pets.

At the next traffic light five blocks away Stu had to quickly brake again…something, a cat, a dog, an animal of some kind was crossing the road, but, damn, it looked just like that ‘doll’ Gerrie Holcomb left earlier at his office.

‘My eyes are going bad on me. Two lights in a row I’ve almost lost control. Not good, Stu, not good at all, but I could swear it was that stupid male doll.  Then, again, dusk can tease the eyes to believe things that are not real. Lots of accidents occur at this time of the day’.

Again, Stu Holcomb managed to stay alert and began whistling his favorite country song – ‘Put your sweet lips closer to the phone’… (“He’ll Have to Go” – popular country song sung beautifully by Jim Reeves.)

As Stu Holcomb opened his private office door the next morning, he stumbled, almost fell to the floor.

His office, his beautiful mahogany desk, chairs, credenza, wall hangings, awards, trophies, plaster, everything was totally destroyed…but he heard the sound of a voice familiar to his ears – a radio announcer’s voice reporting the news of the day.

Stunned by the destruction, Stu stumbled to the area where the radio was normally setting on his desk, and, below, among the debris on the floor, he pulled the radio from the rubble, held it in his hands, and was about to replace it on the floor when the announcer mentioned names he knew…he cleared a place by the window and listened to a staggering news report:

“The cause of the fire that destroyed the Holcomb house is unknown, but there is a strange footnote to this tragedy – amid all the debris, in the corner of a child’s bedroom was the warped, demonic face of a doll, smiling and absurd in its countenance… To repeat the important part of this fiery news story, the Holcomb Family survived the midnight fire with minimal injuries and will undergo some psychological testing when they have been stabilized to a point where shock has been mitigated – and only God knows when that will be…”

*

The End

©Sweeny, The Doll

By BR Chitwood – June 29, 2020

*

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Back to the Valley of the Sun

 – Image Art by: Luiz Felipe Silva Carmo – Unsplash –

BACK TO THE VALLEY OF THE SUN

*

Back to the valley of the Sun

Where much of my life was spun,

There among the bramble bush,

The Cacti thorns and desert hush…

Back to memories both sad and true

Clashing with Salvadore’s sunset hue

*

Still, the mind’s alive with dreams

Of the morrow’s golden themes

Of endless morns of skies so clear

Een walks with a love that’s pure,

And cocktails on the back patio

While dinner awaits a hungry duo.

*

Thus, the days will pass too fast

As Time speeds on to form our past,

Yet, we have this precious hour

And minute to yield and prepare

For the most joyous voyage of fate,

That meeting at Heaven’s Gate.

*

A poem by BR Chitwood – 12/3/19

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Darkness and Insomnia

Darkness and Insomnia

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(Image Art by Andrew Neel – Unsplash)

 

Darkness and Insomnia

By BR Chitwood

*

Sleep waits with me until

Insomnia might mercifully

Quit its nightly routines,

The tossing and turning

Becoming an unbearable

Stir of stupid body scenes.

*

How to position my hands?

My head? My legs? My feet?

My brain goes hither and yon.

The grandfather clock ticks

Off its steady pulsations

As thoughts pound on and on.

*

Now, I sit in my Lazy-Boy

Typing out my wariness

With words that rhyme.

My head begins to nod,

Drowsiness comes to tease,

Off to bed one more time.

*

Again, beneath the covers

My body comfortably in

Tune with my mind,

The damned cat pounces

On my naked form and

Decides it’s time to unwind.

*

A Restless Poetic Effort by BR Chitwood – October 4, 2019

*

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The Chameleons

 

©The Chameleons

 By

 Billy Ray Chitwood

Beware, the chameleons!

They’re everywhere…

Classified as ‘highly specialized clade of Old World’ lizards’ adept at changing colors to blend into different environments, but I’m writing here about the human ‘chameleons’, that deceptive and manipulative breed of seemingly common folks who can play and often prey on our good, honest, and innocent Homo sapiens.

Take the case of Jeffrey Bullock and Catherine Santos…

Now, it is true that Jeffrey is a handsome man with a Grecian face punctured and set with blue eyes and an automatic upper and lower lip that can be in turn persuaded to change with the course of a conversation. Those blue eyes and remarkable lips can turn a conversation into a thing of academic beauty, with his alternating simulations of eyebrows, eye intensity – or, lack, thereof – in sync and on pitch with every word conveyed by and to him. He is without question a master in the art of listening and speaking. Jeffrey is also a pleasingly muscular six-feet height, his smooth ‘copper-tone’ complexion virtually glows in any light, and his body-fat repellence completes his ridiculously excellent physique.

It is likewise true that Catherine is a beautiful lady, her long auburn tresses with a lovely flow below her shoulders, her eyes as green as the verdant rolling hills of ‘The Emerald Isle’. Her body is a molding befitting a Goddess, and she too has that copper-tone skin so devastatingly delicate that surely makes her apparitional and beyond any earthly description. Her voice is like a box of music that issues forth a softness of melodious and mellifluous sounds to hold captive any male suitor or enviable and doting female. Catherine stands tall and glorious at her five feet, eight inches, making all shorter men want to kill themselves, the taller men, salivating and ignominiously servile.

These two would-be Mythical-like Grecian Deities ostensibly meet on the first afternoon of their ten-day luxury cruise in the Caribbean Islands, she, apparently finishing a ‘jog’, coming to the pool deck bar for a thirst quencher of vodka-tonic, accidentally stumbling, spilling her newly acquired libation in front of our aforementioned Adonis who is enjoined in conversation with another pretty young lady much too young and naïve for any kind of Adonis bonding.

In a believable, gallant display of nonchalance and brevity with the young lady, Jeffrey stands from his kneeling position and apologizes vigorously to the modestly attentive Catherine who turns and returns to the bar for another vodka-tonic. Following, insisting on his buying her drink for his knee-bending chatter with the young lady, Catherine shakes her head negatively, and speaks with a near timorous response. “No, I can pay for my own drinks. It was a simple accident. No harm done. Thank you for offering.”

Her drink order fulfilled, she brushes past Jeffrey and finds a seat in the middle of chatty sunbathers.

The sunbathers are a steady hum of noise and many eyes are following Catherine’s moves, either, openly without deception, or, with. In truth, no one can reasonably fault the onlookers. Catherine Santos is a rare beauty among so many who could be counted among the simply, beautiful. She sits alone for some moments, staring at the enormous cobalt sea that stretches as far as the eyes can see. Only the most daring of handsome men would seek an entrée to Catherine Santos…only Catherine would know the loneliness that came with her incredible loveliness.

Then, there is one qualifier that makes a fool of many men, perhaps, in more ways than one. That Qualifier is alcohol – drinking alcohol, that is. A most reasonable sequitur from that conclusion is an imbiber with too much juice running through his veins will find enough courage from a ‘high’ on booze to enter that world of beauty and glamour. Three such inebriates approached Catherine Santos there by the pool, the last of the three causing quite a stir and an embarrassing security escort back to his cabin and his sober wife. The first two sobered fast, left Catherine’s presence meekly and was soon gone from the pool area – either, losing a buddy bet, or, embarrassed by all the snickers in the crowded pool area.

Though her drink was only half-finished, Jeffrey brought another drink to her table and requested a brief chat. To the crowd, Catherine showed a nod of ‘no’ and a solemn but pleasant enough dismissal. Yet, he lingered briefly with something said that made her smile. Then, he left.

Later, sumptuous dinners were served in a cozy, softly lit gourmet restaurant that only served those passengers who had purchased that cruise option. The wealthier cruisers preferred the more intimate personal service given at The Golden Interval in lieu of the big dining rooms with hundreds of people vying for service. Romantic violin music played slow, delicately even strokes just beneath the conversations in the lovely adorned Crimson and Gold room.

Among the diners was Catherine Santos. She sat alone at a small table, conspicuous in her attempt not to be so, dressed in a lovely rose-colored sarong, her beauty accentuated even further by the simple hint of roses. Also, there seated some few tables away was an attractive couple in their forties, smiling, being amused by none other than the charming Jeffrey Bullock. The couple had been poolside earlier in the day to witness the farcical Jesters in their sophomoric attempt to woo Catherine.

Jeffrey finally noticed Catherine and stopped abruptly in his monologue. “Please excuse me, Reggie and Deb, would you mind my inviting a lone soul to join us – that is, unless she would prefer being alone?” The couple smiled and nodded an approval.

Jeffrey rose and went to Catherine’s table, but was back in very short order and announced to his two recently met friends, “The lady prefers to dine alone and I’m reluctant to admit my embarrassment.”

“Don’t be embarrassed, Jeffrey,” was the quick and cheery reply from Deborah Weeden, wife of Reginald, aka, Reggie.

“It’s her misfortune, my boy. We enjoy your company. In fact, after dinner, we hope you can attend with us the ‘Special Art Auction’ on Deck Seven’. There are to be some recent original oils by Evan Sloan Glasgow in various nouveau and original ‘scene-sets’ and some Landscapes, Seascapes by Luther Blankenship. We would really enjoy having you with us at the auction…”

“Unfortunately, I was not invited. I understand the auction is by ‘Invitation Only’, though I thank you so much for the thought.”

“Bosh! Jeffrey, we’re inviting you. We can bring anyone we wish. You will come with us. I shall pull ‘age-rank’ on you, young man and treat you as we might our own son… Now, one more Gibson before dinner. The food is quite marvelous here, Jeffrey, as you might already know, and the Cabernet will add to the overall enjoyment of our meal.”

Deborah added to Reggie’s command, “We are so glad we met you, Jeffrey, in the gaming room earlier. By the stack of chips in front of you, it appeared you did quite well for yourself. For some inscrutable reason, I love gambling on these cruises…something about the sea, I suppose. But, then, that’s part of the fun of ‘Cruising’, gambling, meeting new people. I know Reggie and I have continued friendships with those we’ve met on our many cruises…”

So, the three talked through their dinner, nodded to Catherine as she had to pass their table in exiting the Golden Interval. She smiled sweetly to Deborah and Reginald but barely acknowledged Jeffrey.

One hour later, the trio exited the glass elevator on Deck Seven and entered the ‘Private Invitation Only Art Auction’. Seating was arranged by name of attendees and the comfortable chairs were given numbers to match the guest roster. Some thirty-one people were in attendance for the auction and these were without doubt the wealthiest of all passengers on board.

The big surprise for the dinner trio was the presence of Catherine Santos at the auction. She was seated just behind the three new friends. With a quick phone call, Jeffrey’s name was added to the attendance list and seating next to his two new friends was arranged.

There was a buzz of anticipation in the small crowd, and the noise outside the auction room was audible but not disconcerting. Deck Seven was given to Art Auctions, a Library, Fast Foods of various sorts, and, for the runners, a jogging oval set apart from the strollers.

As a result of the ‘Art Auction’, the Weeden couple winning bids bought them a rare and beautiful Luther Blankenship Seascape extraordinaire, a Glasgow ‘Still-life’, and a magnificent Glasgow ‘Lake House’ oil painting, leaving the attendees agog with the colors represented in the painting. Jeffrey Bullock was impressed with the artist-minded couple with whom he had spent the evening. Jeffrey bid a few times but dropped out when the bidding became too formidable.

As fate would have it, the same was true of Catherine Santos. She seemed to desperately want the Glasgow ‘Lake House’ oil but was outbid by an elderly lady in the back row of seats, who was herself, ultimately outbid by Deborah Weeden.

At the end of the auction, Reggie turned to Catherine Santos and asked her to join them in their huge and high-end expensive suite. Catherine surprised the group with an affirmative response.

The opulent suite had a garden area along with its four plush rooms and a large outer deck for night-time sea-gazing. Both Catherine Santos and Jeffrey Bullock commented on the suite’s beauty without too many lavish-laced phrases. It was not lost on the hosts the carefully worded praise of their suite. It was indeed a formidable penthouse of the Sea, and the group enjoyed their time together. Before the consumption levels reached near the foolish folly level, Catherine was the first to leave with gracious utterings and sleepy eyes. Ten minutes later, Jeffrey left the suite, with a ‘glow’ and gratitude for a fine evening.

Before the partings from the suite, the group promised to meet next evening for dinner at the Golden Interval.

 *

“So, what do you think? Is it a ‘Go’ or a ‘No Go’?”

“Of course, it’s a ‘Go’. Why else are we here?”

“Just asking…there are times when you feel uncomfortable. Just making sure you’re good with the ‘mark’.”

“I’m good with the ‘mark’. Did you see something I didn’t see?”

“No, not really, just that I can smell a ‘con’ a mile off, just…”

“Just, ‘what’?”

“Well, the guy is talking some ‘investment scheme’ which is a ‘scam’ but he thinks I’m a big hitter with millions. I’ve got him thinking the investment scheme sounds good and something I might be interested in. I’m playing along like it’s a possibility, plus I told him I was in a winning zone at the casino tables. He thinks I’m going for the investment scheme, if not during the cruise, then, at a later date.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“You are my problem. I love you, and I don’t want you getting hurt in all of this. Do I think the guy is dangerous, like, a killer? No, but I need to feel that out just a bit more before committing to the scam. I’ll sleep on it, but Im 90% sure at this point. She’s making a big hit in the casino, and I mean BIG. I stood behind her, and, in just those few minutes, she pulled in more than three hundred grand plus. Those winnings will be wired from the ship into an already huge account. She loves gambling on Cruise ships. Don’t ask me, why, because I don’t have a clue. People are funny in their gambling habits. I do know she wins on the sea and she keeps coming back. We get paid off when the ship wires the money to her bank.”

“We can’t do it if you’ve got the ‘feeling’. We agreed at the beginning – if we are not 100% sure about a ‘mark’ or something seems weird, we don’t go on.”

“Yeah, I know. Let me sleep on it. If the feeling is still there in the morning, we pull it off the table. And, yeah, I know, this might be the biggest ‘hit’ we’ve ever made…and, the last. We’ve got to get serious about our future.”

“Why won’t you tell me how you got the wiring transaction numbers on this mark, and, how does it work?”

“Because my source knows nothing about you, and I intend to keep it that way. You don’t need to know the operation. It would make you much more vulnerable. I can tell you it’s a simple system that cannot be traced back. We get the money wired into our proxy account and no one knows us and how we did it. It’s a new untraceable electronic wiring program. I couldn’t tell you even if I knew how it works… By the way, I believe our new-buddy thinks I’m either gay or a misogynist.”

“And?”

“And, what?”

“Are you one of those things?”

“What…! I’m going to give you a good spanking, lady! Stop giggling and tell me you don’t harbor thoughts like that.”

“Well, I’ve been told…” There was playful chase in the limited space. “Stop tickling me, you brute! You know I’m kidding… Stop tickling…”

“Gonna behave?”

“Yes, master!” There was one more tickle and the playful activity was finished. “Seriously, Sweetheart, make me a promise: can this be our last gig?”

“Yes, most definitely. It’s time we began enjoying the fruits of our labors…”

More playful activity came, but this time it was sensitive, soft, beautiful.

*

Four ports of call and ten lazy, lovely sunny days on the briny, the cruise ended in Miami, Florida. In that time Jeffrey and Catherine had become seemingly very close. In the eyes of new friends, Reginald and Deborah Weeden, the sparkle and spontaneity that their Cruise play pals gave off indicated as much

The Cruise Ship’s speakers announced disembarking instructions while both Jeffrey and Reggie left the ladies and luggage in The Garden Suite to visit the Chief Purser for the settling of their bills.

On the pier, there were hugs and jolly goodbyes with promises to get again together for another cruise, or, simply to visit each other. There seemed a most sincere bonding of the group, and each couple looked back in their strides to wave.

“Nice couple, really. It seems…”“Yes, very nice…don’t go there. ‘Sorry’ is a miserable place to visit. Just remember, they were after what we have. We just beat them to the punch.”

The door slammed making her jump with fright. He called her name and she relaxed.

When he walked into the living-room she knew there had to be bad news.

“What’s wrong?”

“We have no money, that’s what’s wrong!“What! Don’t do this…it’s not funny!”

“You’re telling me, ‘it’s not funny’? Jeez, you don’t see me laughing, do you? WE HAVE NO MONEY! Zilch! Zero! Account empty!”

“But you wired the money aboard ship. How can that be?”

“How the hell do I know? So? ‘How can that be’, you ask? There is no money in our account! That’s how it can be! There is no money, period. No ship casino money…no millions we had in the account. NO MONEY!

“Maybe, it’s just not in yet! Oh, you mean, the money we had in the account is gone, too? Oh, my God!”

“Jeez, you’re dense! Wired money is NOW-money? Yes, the account money and the casino winnings, all gone! Why…”

There was an insistent ringing of the front doorbell.

“I’ll get it,” he said.

She followed him to the door.

He yanked the door open!

“Nice place you have here, Mr. and Mrs. Weeden. You two are under arrest! Put your hands behind your back. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney…You…” 

*

“You’re serious? You want to get married?” Catherine – real name, Sherrie Malcomb, asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, I’m serious,” answered Jeffrey, real name, Gibson ‘Gibby’ Tierney, “Why would you think I’m not serious? You know how I feel about you, and you say you love me, so let’s do it. We have a major chunk of money now for a huge honeymoon – not too gaudy and/or too showy to call attention to us…”

“Wait, no one knows it was us, do they? You said. ‘anonymous’ made it known to the police.”

“That’s right! Someone ‘Deborah’ and ‘Reggie’ fleeced on their previous cruise. Not to worry, it’s our pay for getting the job done. Don’t you just love a ‘double-con’?!” The two lovable ‘con artists’ enjoy a chuckle and embrace. “So, do I go to my knees to propose, or, are you gonna save me from bruising my knees?”

“You’re not much of a Candlelight and Wine guy, are you?” Sherrie smiled, as they embraced – sealing the deal.

“I’m saving that for our first night in The Garden Suite, my love…”

TaleEnd!

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 11, 2019

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‘All Author’ Interview With BR Chitwood – Author

‘ALL AUTHOR’ AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Billy Ray Chitwood Interview Published on: 19, June 2019…All Author:

Crime fiction writer Billy Ray Chitwood came into the world as a ‘blue baby’ in rural Tennessee, during the aftermath of a big depression, and into a world of poverty, malaria, and broken homes. He had an abusive father, but was blessed with a hardworking and wonderful mother that did everything in her power to keep the family together. To Billy, writing is his therapy and he finds it hard to imagine good writing coming without passion. Though inspired by many English Romantic poets in college, he didn’t start writing till after the end of his first marriage. Many, but not all, of his eighteen books stem from some real life’s true crime cases. He is currently working on a book which is temporarily titled, THE SOUL DOME PROJECT, a novel about three young lifetime friends, enterprising businessmen who love to fish in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, who encounter other-worldly treasures in lieu of fish. This book is a different genre for the author, and he’s having glorious fun writing it. Hopefully, it fits in the SciFi genre. The young men are more than simply fascinated by one of their fishing adventures. They are overwhelmed in a major way. I’m working hard, trying to fuse my brand of humor into what is a first-class, supreme world shocker kind of book. Obviously, it is my hope that I can ‘pull it off’, as they say (whomever ‘they’ are supposed to be). I just wish it to be a fun read by the reading community. I’m still some months out on this ‘fishing boat’.

Here is ‘All Author’s’ Interview with author BR Chitwood:

AA Question: Tell us about your life and your struggles.

BRC Answer: Wish I could put a ‘smiley face’ on my life and struggles, but I must be truthful. I came into the world as a ‘blue baby’, born in a clapboard house up a muddy lane in a sawdust hamlet of rural Tennessee. It was the aftermath of a big depression. Poverty was everywhere as were malaria and broken homes. I’m rather fond of a phrase I used in my memoir: ‘I ate a lot of emotional soup as a kid and have been trying all my life to digest it’. The broken home, family, the times, the world were vague message carriers at the time. There were emotional and physical abuse by an itinerant father. There was a strong and hard-working mother who tried to keep the family together, working as a telephone operator by day, in war assembly plants at night, and as a boarding house cook. She was a wonderful mother.

AA Question: How passionate are you about writing?

BRC Answer: Writing is my therapy. I find pieces of me on and between the lines of what I write. Writing for me is as much about finding those loose ends of my life smack in the middle of a sentence or paragraph as it is writing a polished piece of prose that readers will enjoy reading. Nothing gives me more pleasure than grabbing a word or phrase that says exactly what I want it to say. It’s difficult for me to imagine good writing coming without passion.

AA Question: How long have you been writing and what inspired you to become a writer?

BRC Answer: Most of my life. As a kid I played around with words, writing silly poetry, mimicking the famous singers of the day – loved to sing. After a ten-year marriage came to an end, I played with the ‘lotus eaters’ for a number of years – booze, gin mills, piano bars, pretty ladies, and lonely motel rooms…wrote my maudlin poetry on bar counter napkins and motel stationery…my ‘self-pity period’… In college the English Romantic poets – Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge – appealed to my emotional hunger, as did the group known as the ‘Naturalists’: Emile Zola, Thomas Hardy, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, Jack London, et al.

AA Question: How did you get the idea for your first book?

BRC Answer: A dear actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in Phoenix, AZ. She was twenty-six years old, a mother of two small children, and had her entire life in front of her. Her body was found in the desert six weeks after her disappearance and savage murder, ravaged by the summer heat and denizens of the desert. My first book, PROBABLE CAUSE, was published and went out of print. That book became the first ‘mystery’ book out of six of the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ (Books 1-6) – AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY – A BAILEY CRANE MYSTERY (Book 1 of 6). The book was my way to say goodbye to a lovely lady whose life was cut short by an evil predator…the killer has never been caught, so far as I know, and the case remains a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix Police Department.

AA Question: While choosing a name for your characters, what elements do you consider that will determines what you finally call them?

​BRC Answer: For me, the sound of the name, how it reads to me on the page, means a lot. Also, if a name comes to me that somehow seems to fit the character’s personality, in her/his strength or weakness, I will use it. Names are important and should be chosen with care.

AA Question: Do authors in general and you in particular plan series beforehand or do they just happen?

BRC Answer: After the Bailey Crane Book 1, there was another gruesome murder in Phoenix, a decapitation homicide of a lovely young lady. That gave rise to the Bailey Crane Mystery Series (1-6) and would become Book 2 of the ‘Series’…my fictionalized version of the crime. That homicide was a cold case for some years until just recently. The Phoenix PD finally found the killer.

AA Question: How do you choose which stories to tell?

BRC Answer: Many of my books have some basis in fact – not all, but, some. A story can come from an interesting news article – like my novel, MAMA’S MADNESS…a story of a mother in California who tortured and murdered two of her daughters and an ex-husband. The torture events and murders are related in the book, but there is also my fictional narrative.

AA Question: Do you ever get writer’s block?

BRC Answer: Not really. I just won’t allow it to happen. Usually, a line will come to me and I’m off and running. Lazy? Yes, I get a bit lazy at times…lazy in the sense of watching a football game or golf match instead of writing at a particular time. Much of the time I look over at my lovely wife and say: ‘Give me a phrase! Any phrase!’ She does, and I write a blog post based on the phrase. Crazy, I guess, but it works for me. At least one of my books came from that process…HAMMER’S HOLY GRAIL is that novel.

AA Question: Do you have a “reader” in mind while writing?

BRC Answer: Oh, sure. That’s why I rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit, over and over, in an attempt to eliminate boring sentences, spelling errors, grammatical goofs, et al. AND, guess what? I can almost assure something will be missed. That’s why an editor is part of most authors’ output…and even they can miss something now and then.

AA Question: Who is the first person to read the first draft of your books?

BRC Answer: My wife, generally, and I have a very wonderful fan and friend, Dr. Timothy Tays in Scottsdale, Arizona, who is also an author, a noted Clinical Psychologist, and he gets the first file to read and critique.

AA Question: How do you get reviews? Which was the best review you ever got?

BRC Answer: Of course, I request reviews in promotional blog posts, tweets on Twitter, Facebook, et al. You have touched on an area in which I am remiss. I really don’t know how to promote my books in the best way. I certainly like the way All Author and ‘QUOTESRAIN’ promote my books with sample chapters. Of the many great reviews I’ve gotten for MAMA’S MADNESS, this one from Amazon UK lifted me to the heights:

MAMA’S MADNESS – Amazon Review by Diogenes – Amazon UK:

“Compelling and Disturbing” 5.0 out of 5 stars By Diogenes – Amazon UK Format: Kindle Edition Billy Ray Chitwood’s novel `Mama’s Madness’ is a real find. While many Indie authors follow well-trodden paths of `popular genres’, Chitwood’s work cuts its own route through the underclass wilderness of modern America. Based on real-life events – but fictionalised in the telling – Chitwood’s story is by turns compelling and disturbing. The central character, Tamatha Preen, is a monster for our time. Inhabiting her own self-centred and embittered world she inflicts psychological and physical damage on her daughters while keeping her sons cowed by alternating violence with affection. Chitwood has an authentic voice articulating the world of the grifter and petty criminal hovering at the margins of society. The writing is gritty, laying bare the animal beneath the thin veneer of civilisation. Child abuse, theft, deception and murder all feature in a heady cocktail of corrupted morality – yet these topics are handled without sensationalism, and at times the novel has an almost journalistic feel to it. This is a brave book, swimming against the tide of literary popcorn, and it deserves a wide readership.

AA Question: What does the word “story” signify for you?

BRC Answer: a) a piece of writing (or vocal rendering) that tells of an event, experience, short or long, true or fictional… b) a floor in a building…

AA Question: Do you think an author should be bound by Genre?

BRC Answer: Readers dictate the genre – some readers like romance, some like mystery and suspense, thrillers, true crime, adventure, ‘how to’ books, et al. Of course, the writer is not bound by genre. As far as writing in different genres, I plan on writing in most before my fingers can no longer hit appropriate laptop keys.

AA Question: Are you currently working on anything?

BRC Answer: Yes… Working title is “The Soul Dome Project” – likely will be the title. The book is about three easy-going businessmen who love fishing in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. On one of their fishing trips, they encounter some startling truths their minds cannot initially wrap around. It’s a SciFi romp for me, and, a lot of fun. Still some months away before birthing…

AA Question: Do you have a special time or place for writing?

BRC Answer: Usually during the day, after breakfast, and most of the day in the den on a Lazyboy leather recliner, I write, along with too much social media activity. Many good thoughts are lost at night when I can’t sleep and refuse to get up and put them on paper or the laptop.

AA Question: How do you promote your work? How will AllAuthor (QuotesRain) help you in your book promotion and sales, would you like to refer this platform to your author friends?

BRC Answer: Through QuotesRain/AllAuthor, Twitter, Facebook, Blog Posts, other authors, readers comments, blog posts, tweets, and referrals… As I suggested earlier, I welcome reviews of my books and suggestions for better marketing… An author can spend lots of money on promotion. I’m not a miser, but I need some assurances that the money I’m spending is leading to books being sold. Regarding referring Quotesrain and AllAuthor platform to my author friends.I’s my pleasure and no problem with that. In fact, I do some of that myself by re-tweeting some of your original tweets for my books.

AA Question: Would you like to share something with your readers and fans?

BRC Answer: I gratefully thank my fans and readers and wish them all GOOD READING. I might sheepishly ask that they write reviews of my books they read and refer me to their friends.

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Posted by: BR Chitwood – June 26, 2019

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Awkwardness Becomes Brady Chilton

Awkwardness Becomes Brady Chilton

A housefly somehow survived the spray and swatter and mingled among the guests at my celebration party, honoring the fact that miracles can happen. I, Brady Chilton, made it through law scho0l and passed the strenuous Arizona Bar Examination. The housefly would not be the only irritable pest of the evening, just, the first. No, that little pestilent pest fly made its way to the high and lovely sculpted ceiling, there to look down on all the killer giants of its world.

To loosen the knots of pre-party apprehensive jitters, I drank two jiggers of a highly touted Kentucky bourbon, mixed sparsely with wisps of soda and a twisted lemon peel which was submerged on the bottom of my highball glass. In fact, feeling not quite the effect desired, I had another. Then, to make certain there were no pre-party nerves, I had a third libation. It was my wish to ‘shine’ with those present at the party as a wizard of the word, chatter that would enlighten and show the charm, the bold intellectual ability befitting a man of the law.

Suffice it, I arrived in a nether world of alcoholic confidence and jolly attitude at the beautiful Arizona Country Club. A surprisingly large gathering of well-wishers was in the grand banquet room, and an immediate trickle of applause came and grew into a loud mixture of hands clapping and voices shouting. Even in my rather bourbon enhanced mood, there was still the emotional stir that comes and almost brings tears.

After a few embraces and handshakes, I went to one of four bars set up to handle the crowd of people. It was my wish to fortify my initial bourbon intake with at least one more highball and possibly more. This meeting would mean a lot to my future as an attorney, and I wanted to be reinforced and loose enough for my words to form the phrases of competency and surety. In short, I wanted to be true to my game plan, impress those present with my ease of communication and depth.

All went well at the celebration until the near ending when an inebriated man I did not recognize took the mike on the bandstand and made a few asinine remarks, closing with this:

“Mr. Chilton, won’t you come to the podium and say a few words, among which you might explain how someone like you can leave a gorgeous woman broken-hearted by calling off an engagement to be married, then parlay that into why anyone would hire you as an attorney…”

Finally, one band member escorted the man out of the room, his embarrassed lady friend following behind.

It became very quiet in the banquet room and hundreds of curious eyes sought me out. The ACC person in charge of the room came to the microphone to apologize for the interruption of ‘everyone’s good time’.

Emboldened by Bacchus I weaved my way to the bandstand. It was my feeling that the ‘drunk’ would not have the last word. The ACC gentleman gave me a consoling half-smile and handed me the mike.

I stood uncertainly for a moment, not really knowing what to say but knowing that some words should come from me.

“Hi, everyone. I feel I should respond to the gentleman who spoke of my calling off an engagement to a lady… Please, do not feel too hasty to dislike the man. He was obviously a friend or relative of the lady in question and urged forward by the alcohol he consumed tonight.

“The man was not untruthful. I did what he perhaps ineloquently spoke of my doing. It is true that the ‘gorgeous woman’ was not happy with me for calling off our engagement, and I can only say that I felt very much like a total ‘ass’ for doing it. My only defense is that factors dwelling in my mind caused me to make the decision to call off the engagement. I won’t get into those factors, but they led me to believe at the late hour that it was better the option than proceeding and causing more harm later. She was, is, a most lovely woman, a woman any man would be proud to call his wife. You may feel free to think of me in any way you wish. I can only say I’ve learned from that experience and can say that it will never happen again. A private matter such as this should never have been aired here in public and cause unease to a group of people out to enjoy an evening, and, hopefully, no one knows but the culprit involved and not the lovely lady.

“One last thing. You folks did not need to hear any of this tonight, and I only hope it will not diminish your enjoyment too much from this party in my honor. While mentioning that, thanks so much to my colleagues and friends for giving me this wonderful evening. Now, please, let’s converse, dance, imbibe, and leave us enjoy these precious moments together.”

From that point on in the evening, I could not reignite myself, felt a remorse not felt for some time. No highball or light talk could rid me of that. In the end I thanked my new colleagues and went home to a troubling sleep.

The next day I called the lady who was the unfair subject of part of the previous evening. Our talk was congenial and warm. I was surprised the evening’s flare had gotten back so soon to her, but she was well over the topic and apologized to me for having to endure that part of the evening.

We had cocktails together a few nights later.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 17, 2019

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Close Call

Close Call

Just a bit tipsy when I left the Cannery Row bar, the hour was Ten PM, and I knew there were business calls to be made in Monterey the next day just as there was with this day ending. I walked down the lighted street until I came to the alleyway where I earlier parked my car. It was a short alleyway from the main street into a relatively small unlighted parking lot between a cluster of tall brick buildings.

The thought did occur to me that I could be an easy prey in this special part of the California I once knew. Maybe it was more than a thought. Perhaps it was a premonition.

John Steinbeck made this little piece of the world famous with his book, Cannery Row, in 1945, a story set during the Great Depression about the ‘earthy’ people of the author’s memory going back to 1930 of the men and women who lived bawdy lives, drank, and died. 1945 was the year the ‘seiners’ brought in 250,000 tons of sardines, the final year of such heavy yield. The following year was 25,000 tons of sardines. Despite the warnings from marine biologists, the sardine cannery and sardines would be seined out of existence.

Back to my woeful tale, I stepped from the alley into a parking area of pitch-black darkness. My tie was loose around my neck and my white shirt was slipping out of my trousers all rumpled. I looked the part of a drunken sot, but without the weaving and swaying. To some extent, that rumpled image can be taken as true…just a bit too much entertaining the clients seen that day.

So, into the blackness I went. Suddenly, from the darkness came two young men, each grabbing an arm, the one to my right was consistently punching me just above my bicep.

“Give us your wallet, mofo!” one thug whispered with emphasis that begged to be heeded.

Dumbfounded, I complied with the demand and handed over my wallet. The hoodlum on my right was still punching me above my bicep while gripping so tightly I could only feel the jolts.

Just as quickly as the two bad boys grabbed me, it was over. They ran quickly away into the blackness, while I stood momentarily staggered with incipient anger and frustration building. It quickly dawned on me that all my credit cards and some hundred-plus dollars were in my wallet.

I hurried from the parking lot down the short alleyway and called the police. When two officers arrived, I gave them the information that I had which was precious little, gave them my temporary lodging address – the Casa Munras, in Monterey, if memory serves correctly.

It was only when I returned to Casa Munras and began to pull my suit coat off that I noticed my blood-soaked right sleeve. The young punk was not punching me. He was stabbing me with a pocket-knife. The police prior obviously figured I knew about the bloody coat arm.

My wallet was found sometime during the next day in a street near Cannery Row.

Thankfully, my credit cards were all there. The money was gone.

I love John Steinbeck, studied him in college along with Ernest Hemingway and other notable American novelists, but, John, I won’t be visiting Cannery Row again – except through the pages of your classic book.

Incidentally this little scrap of a story is true of a younger me during my educational rep days.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 1, 2019

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‘A Meeting With The Shrink in Silly-Town’

[Image by Macela Laskoski]

‘A Meeting With The Shrink in Silly-Town’

The Psychiatrist asks, what’s the problem? to the fink.

I’m apathetic, brain-drained, and want a drink!

Well, what’s your problem, do you think?

You hard of hearing, or, what? I didn’t blink!

But that’s what I do, dumb-ass! I get paid to think!

Well, why am I here, almighty Shrink?

You already gave the reason. Is there more to the link?

You, guys! All you do is ask questions that stink!

Well, what exactly should happen, do you think?

Know what? Your questions drive me to that drink!

Then, we’ve accomplished something here, I think.

Yeah, sure, you made $150 bucks in an eye’s blink!

Now, now, relax. How ‘bout that amount with a chink?

How much of a chink, do you think?

Ah, what the heck, I’ll give a 5% chink.

You’re a loon! 5%? You belong in the clink!

You’re testing my good nature, I think.

You think, you dink? I’m gone for a drink.

But, wait, my fee with a 10% chink?

Up yours, shrink, with a chink, to the clink, I think.

Your truly, Billy Ray Chitwink

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Hey, World!

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-Hey, World!-

Hey, World,
Look at my girl…
She’s standing right here
Beside me.
Hey, World,
I’m in a whirl…
I’ve found the girl
For me.

She’s lovely,
And, Wow!
Those Eyes…
She’s Lovely,
She’s Paradise,
She’s Lovely,
Just One of a Kind,
Hands Off, World,
She’s All Mine!
*
She moves with the grace
Of an Angel,
She’s Diff’rent in her own
Special Way.
All that I’ve longed for,
A lady with Style,
Hey, World –
Outta my way!
She’s lovely,
Just One of a Kind…
Hands Off, World!
She’s All Mine…

An Up-Beat Stylish Song by: Billy Ray Chitwood

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Appalachia and Me

Appalachia and Me

Standing at the window I could see her working in the earth, planting her garden, a plot of ground she alone had created on the hard prairie soil of our eighty-acre ‘Lazy Rabbit Ranch’

My emotions were trade-mark soft and tender with no discernable reason. Tears welled and fell down my cheeks. It was at that time when gout attacks were frequent in my life, had me limping in painful, short steps. I wanted to be there in the garden with my wife, sharing the joy of her moments. The tears lasted for a brief period until I turned them off, returned to the library to render time typing on my Star Writer Word processor.

Time and again my mind slipped away from the characters and plot lines of the book I was writing on the Star Writer, slipping back to my wife in the garden, then, into assessing the emotional source of my tears. Of course, I quickly rid my mind of the gout pain being the root cause of sob-time…it was so much more than that.

My life at the Lazy Rabbit Ranch was rather rich with melodramatic episodic introspections, likely sufficient enough to abundantly satisfy any reclining position taken on a psychiatrist’s sofa. Plus, it would surely be a dead give-away to mention that, yes, I was also born in Appalachia…well, of course, dear boy, that is what Appalachian lads do so very well. How else can history explain our cornball evocative ‘country music’, honky-tonk romances ‘on the fly’, and those multiple divorce court appearances?

Well, sure, I could laugh at myself along with my agents of disregard. However, were my copious life tears simply ‘crocodile’ in nature? Were my myriad emotional tendencies, my basic earthly and inherent needs, so easily explained away?

My hasty conclusion would not necessarily surprise anyone, but I said at the time – and, I say now – No, they were not… they are not.

This may be fundamental to many people, but, hey, I was just getting it – right then, ‘after all those tear-years’, right then, at the Lazy Rabbit Ranch ‘cry episode’.

The ‘gout attack’ was not the sole reason for the crying.

Pardon my flippancy, but it was the south where all those degenerate, debt-owing, thieves in the night were deposited when they arrived from across the pond from Europe. I’m guessing that after a while we had some sweet and pure genteel groups coming into Appalachia mixing with our chromosomic/genetic machinery, getting us all ‘cornfused’ about proper etiquette, language, books, and stuff. Shucks, we could have had our own country by now, just wheeling, dealing, killing, and dying way too young…if the ‘genteel groups’ had just stayed away.

Sitting there that day at my lovely mahogany desk the way I figured it was: with so many low IQ folks, mixing their vulgarities with the stealing and killing, their mindless behaviors, by the time I came out of my Mom’s womb, I was doomed to be a sort of half-breed…that is, part of me got some of that ‘rough and tumble’ stuff, and the other part got some of those genteel qualities.

Just like then, I can’t figure out why I’m crying now.

Hmm, I’m wondering… My wife is outside, working on another darn flower garden. Is she trying to tell me something?

Guess I better get to writing another book.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 3, 2019

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