A Tantalizing Ego Swirl

One-Man Publishing
Not For The Faint of Heart

-Memoir-

A Tantalizing Ego-Swirl

By BR Chitwood

As best as it can the mind opens a menu of items that an individual can consider as an occupation, hobby, a regimen that might fit nicely with the mental and the organic nature of her/his life.

It was my notion that Writing might well be the best place to settle in and do what many teachers and close friends told me I excelled .  As a kid, I loved to put words together and form rhyming schemes. My mind was crowded with daydreams of being an actor, singer, author.

After some years of sales, marketing, and business ownership, I began writing a blog: 350+posts, flash fiction, and short stories.  I also wrote 20 books in many genres (most were books in the Mystery, Suspense, Romance – generally, fictional narratives inspired by real crimes that would receive 5-Star Amazon Reviews…

The ‘monkey on my back’ would turn out to be an inept sales and marketing system, or, lack thereof, relying, as it were, on the social media and book support groups. I was a one-man publishing company who put most of his time into writing, doing his own editing without the professional input from pros, falling far short in the fields where I had made my living for so many years…marketing.

Still, when I released each book there was not the huge launching splash, lined-up book reviewers, the costly (and, needed!) help from the pros. I loved writing and it would become my wont to go from a finished book directly into the next project.

I suppose it was an unbridled RUSH to leave a legacy of   sorts because much of my adult life had been spent in the ‘neon playgrounds’ searching for love in attempts to negate my negative Appalachian roots of poverty, abuse, emotional chaos, and always a sense of longing for the missing links of love and picket fence happiness.

After a US Naval tour of duty and graduation from a small Pennsylvania college, leaving out some drudgery, I headed West to California and found gold – okay, by and large, fool’s gold. The neon glitter got to me, a country yokel blessed with fair looks, a soft, smooth southern charm, an easy prey to lovely women and the ugly taste of alcohol.

It was a great spread of time when I somehow became a partially noticed actor – did many TV commercials, stage play, and film projects. There were some very good times, and, of course, that other kind…

I would finally end up in Phoenix, Arizona, would try marriage a few times and was blessed with beautiful children, built a big house on a hill close to Tombstone (that town in Southeast Arizona ‘too tough to die’) and my serious writing began.  

‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ – Books 1-6, was my first writing project, building my main character mostly around myself, parts true, parts untrue. Bailey Crane tells his own ‘mystery stories’, most of which are taken from true crimes, the narratives invented by me. Of course, Bailey Crane is one of my favorite novel characters because I get to weave in some of my own life experiences through him. He is a crime fighter who is serious and tedious in his detective work and his personal life experiences (guess you could call him my personal Psychiatrist because he and his ‘alter ego buddy’ do a good job in defining me.

The first book in the ‘Bailey Crane Series’ has the title, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery #1” and this book has a personal side for me. The young actress brutally murdered in this ‘true crime’ fiction was a friend of mine and shared living quarters with my wife before our marriage. The crime is still a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix Police Department. Anyone who might read this book and has information about this case, PLEASE contact the Phoenix PD Cold Case Division.

The other books in the Bailey Crane Series are also taken from actual crimes… Each book stands alone. Anyone interested in this series can find them, along with my other books from many genres, on Amazon.com and/or my personal Website – https://www.brchitwood.com .

I have written twenty books in the Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Memoir genres. All my books, with synopses, are listed on my Website.

With the books I’ve written, there have been no set and professional marketing agenda – my ‘Bad’, I suppose, but I wanted to work through all the processes, a true ‘do it yourself’ approach…through the drafts, the editing, the book covers, et al. My college degree major was English and I have taught ‘Advanced Writing’ classes.

So, I am comfortable in my efforts, and I know that, of those twenty books I have written, there are some real winners… Read this thriller…  “Mama’s Madness” – Read this one… “Stranger Abduction” – Or, read “Dominique” – or, “Phoenix Fire” – or. “Daddy, No!” – or, “Hammer’s Holy Grail” – or, “The Cracked Mirror…” Aw, read them all!

Don’t know if I accomplished anything with this post except a few tears shed…just trying to sell some books I believe to be worthy of reading.

Enough, already! Onward and upward!

BR Chitwood – October 30, 2020

A Tantalizing Ego-Swirl

By BR Chitwood

As best as it can the mind opens a menu of items that an individual can consider as an occupation, hobby, a regimen that might fit nicely with the mental and the organic nature of her/his life.

It was my notion that Writing might well be the best place to settle in and do what many teachers and close friends told me I excelled .  As a kid, I loved to put words together and form rhyming schemes. My mind was crowded with daydreams of being an actor, singer, author.

After some years of sales, marketing, and business ownership, I began writing a blog: 350+posts, flash fiction, and short stories.  I also wrote 20 books in many genres (most were books in the Mystery, Suspense, Romance – generally, fictional narratives inspired by real crimes that would receive 5-Star Amazon Reviews…

The ‘monkey on my back’ would turn out to be an inept sales and marketing system, or, lack thereof, relying, as it were, on the social media and book support groups. I was a one-man publishing company who put most of his time into writing, doing his own editing without the professional input from pros, falling far short in the fields where I had made my living for so many years…marketing.

Still, when I released each book there was not the huge launching splash, lined-up book reviewers, the costly (and, needed!) help from the pros. I loved writing and it would become my wont to go from a finished book directly into the next project.

I suppose it was an unbridled RUSH to leave a legacy of   sorts because much of my adult life had been spent in the ‘neon playgrounds’ searching for love in attempts to negate my negative Appalachian roots of poverty, abuse, emotional chaos, and always a sense of longing for the missing links of love and picket fence happiness.

After a US Naval tour of duty and graduation from a small Pennsylvania college, leaving out some drudgery, I headed West to California and found gold – okay, by and large, fool’s gold. The neon glitter got to me, a country yokel blessed with fair looks, a soft, smooth southern charm, an easy prey to lovely women and the ugly taste of alcohol.

It was a great spread of time when I somehow became a partially noticed actor – did many TV commercials, stage play, and film projects. There were some very good times, and, of course, that other kind…

I would finally end up in Phoenix, Arizona, would try marriage a few times and was blessed with beautiful children, built a big house on a hill close to Tombstone (that town in Southeast Arizona ‘too tough to die’) and my serious writing began.  

‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ – Books 1-6, was my first writing project, building my main character mostly around myself, parts true, parts untrue. Bailey Crane tells his own ‘mystery stories’, most of which are taken from true crimes, the narratives invented by me. Of course, Bailey Crane is one of my favorite novel characters because I get to weave in some of my own life experiences through him. He is a crime fighter who is serious and tedious in his detective work and his personal life experiences (guess you could call him my personal Psychiatrist because he and his ‘alter ego buddy’ do a good job in defining me.

The first book in the ‘Bailey Crane Series’ has the title, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery #1” and this book has a personal side for me. The young actress brutally murdered in this ‘true crime’ fiction was a friend of mine and shared living quarters with my wife before our marriage. The crime is still a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix Police Department. Anyone who might read this book and has information about this case, PLEASE contact the Phoenix PD Cold Case Division.

The other books in the Bailey Crane Series are also taken from actual crimes… Each book stands alone. Anyone interested in this series can find them, along with my other books from many genres, on Amazon.com and/or my personal Website – https://www.brchitwood.com .

I have written twenty books in the Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Memoir genres. All my books, with synopses, are listed on my Website.

With the books I’ve written, there have been no set and professional marketing agenda – my ‘Bad’, I suppose, but I wanted to work through all the processes, a true ‘do it yourself’ approach…through the drafts, the editing, the book covers, et al. My college degree major was English and I have taught ‘Advanced Writing’ classes.

So, I am comfortable in my efforts, and I know that, of those twenty books I have written, there are some real winners… Read this thriller…  “Mama’s Madness” – Read this one… “Stranger Abduction” – Or, read “Dominique” – or, “Phoenix Fire” – or. “Daddy, No!” – or, “Hammer’s Holy Grail” – or, “The Cracked Mirror…” Aw, read them all!

Don’t know if I accomplished anything with this post except a few tears shed…just trying to sell some books I believe to be worthy of reading.

Enough, already! Onward and upward!

BR Chitwood – October 30, 2020

https://www.brchitwood.com

Within These Walls

Within These Walls

By BR Chitwood

The scowl on the old man’s face, the fierce intensity of his stare, was unsettling to the vain young man waiting in the dimly-lit parlor for his ‘new girl’ college inamorata. Fifteen minutes had passed since the house madam showed him to this huge chair – a stuffed monstrosity that swallowed his body.

Ben Willows was not accustomed to long waits and inconveniences. He was a football star   for the Carville Lions, a team destined for the top spot in the Indiana State Finals. Brittany Beale, the ‘new girl’, would learn he was not to be kept waiting.

Willows sent his own scowl back to the portrait hanging over the parlor’s concave fire place…he added some twisted, wide-eyed facial grimaces for added self-indulgence. In a rather common practice among his football friends he extended a rigid right-hand middle finger at the long-haired square-faced man in the painting.

He looked at his wristwatch, shook his head in further disgust and began his habit of pumping his right foot up and down. Eyes fixed on the Parlor portrait, Willows could swear the scowl on the old man’s face had morphed into bulging blood-shot eyes filled with hatred, the wrinkles deeper with hideous hues of darkness and menace. The long hair on the old man’s head looked longer, more unruly, and tinged with a garish dark gray satanic pose. The eyes were near hypnotic with hatred, his ugly scabby lips stretched in gritted madness. With all of this there was a sense of movement to the concave area, like a television screen changing in size.

Was this some fancy ‘motion’ portrait that the electronics companies developed? A new toy to get a rise out of people. Well, he did not find it at all entertaining. It was but a sorry gruesome nuisance. Ben would not be picking up Brittany at this address again. they would arrange to meet elsewhere. He felt a tinge of anger that she would not have told him of this parlor nonsense.

Ben Willows yelled angrily for the house madam but got no reply. He repeated his yelling but deep silence was the only reply. With his long wait, the scowl in the painting was now becoming scary, chilling moments for Willows despite his fearlessness.

Willows felt a numbness settle within his body and he was confused with the building fear and angst he never before had felt. He tried to lift himself from the chair but could not. He felt his body’s desire to move but he could provide no navigational assistance.

He finally felt a looseness come back to this body and he carefully put his hands on the chair’s arms and lifted his body. A small smile came to his face and left quickly when he felt his body slammed back into the chair.

Panic became total with no way for him to control it. The cold sweat over his entire body gave way to uncontrollable relief functions and a feeling of embarrassment that brought tears to his eyes.

“What do you want from me?” he wildly screamed. “What is this? Is it an initiation I’m not aware of? Come on…this is too much. Where is Brittany?” Then, he yelled her name with an anger mixed with pleading.

Music came suddenly to the room, low and foreboding, mixed with shrieking Cello breaks.

Twelve hooded figures of different shapes and sizes dressed in black robes and matching cone hats marched into the parlor and formed a circle around Ben Willows chair.

Willows watched as each hooded person one by one removed something from their attire.

“What’s happening?” Willows squealed.

He was answered with silence.

A circular portion of the tiled flooring slowly sank six feet from Willows’ position. The circular parameter of walls and flooring of the pit was glazed mortar, brick, and metal.

“Please tell me what’s going on.”

The taller hooded figure finally spoke, a small flashlight shining down on some script from which he began to read.

“Ben Willows, you have violated by your past unlawful actions, herein described, our   Codified, historic supplements to our special town’s charter and legal summations…”

“Whoa! Hey, I’ve done nothing wrong in Carville. You’ve got the wrong guy…this is crazy. This house is crazy. You robed geeks are crazy. Let me out of here…where’s Brittany Beale? This is her home, right?”

The robed speaker spoke: “Brittany Beale can’t help you, Ben Willows. And, no, this is not Brittany’s residence… Now, unless you want to be gagged, be quiet and listen to the unlawful actions…”

“This is crazy! No! No! I’ve done nothing wrong, and you and your pals here just picked the wrong guy to pull this crap! Now, come on, let me out of here, or there will be bad results for you people…”

Number Six, please apply the bindings to Mr. Willows…”

As Number Six moved down the short make-shift four-step ladder, Ben Willows met him and tossed him roughly to the pit’s floor. The hooded ones around the upper opening took up spots on the upper rim to stop Willows.

The odds were too much for Willows and he was finally subdued again by two of the larger hooded people.

A booming voice came from the parlor fireplace area. “Bring him to me. Tie him to the post in front of me. Then, all of you leave the premises…”

The Hooded speaker appeared to be leader of the twelve and spoke to the large Satan-like man in the painting: “Ben Willows is by protocol our prisoner, Sir Wainscot. Please allow us to end our session with him. You’ve never interfered with our proceedings before, Sir Wainscot.”

“That is so, but that changes today. All of you! Out of my house now, or face my legendary wrath. You have ten seconds to leave this parlor, and, henceforth, be advised that your special Charter ends as of this moment. Your services, and the stipulations you have all agreed to go with you. You must never speak of this long-run we’ve had together. You will receive no more in compensation and are free to do whatever you wish to do, other than speaking ever of this odd relationship we’ve had through the years…Now, go.”

“Ben Willows, come to the fireplace and we shall have a ‘fireside chat’. Your will is mine, Willows, until I release it back to you after our meeting. Now, do come forward.”

At the fireplace, Willows was told to sit directly in from of Sir Wainscot. At this point Ben Willows had uttered not a word…to the point he could be bewildered by anything, this day had brought that blessing or curse to him.

The two were silent for some seconds until Sir Wainscot spoke.

“I’ve found myself passing through many clouds today, Ben Willows, and I can easily guess that you have a mind filled with questions and observations…

“First, it is doubtful you have ever talked to a painting or have seen anger spewed from an inanimate object or seen motion and size in the ways you have today – or, for that matter, been accused of matters you knew nothing about (in fact, I stopped the proceedings prior to your hearing of those matters).

“The first cloud I passed through today was some sense of hatred for you and thoughts of how I would unleash my painful ways on you.

“The second cloud was confusion as I oddly began to like you. I always worry to a substantial degree when I face those kinds of weak wayward conflicts. Why did I begin to like you? Multiple reasons, really. I noticed you were in many ways like me.

“The third cloud was watching your moves, your versatility in adverse situations…very appealing, may I say? Very appealing, and much like me. After all, regardless of your perceived mission for the day, picking your girlfriend, I did not expect you, and it started a bit of a fire within me.

“The fourth cloud is the easiest for me to explain, perhaps not in the most satisfying way for the listener… How is it a ‘painting’ image talks and feels emotions?

“We live in a strange and wonderful world, Ben Willows. I lived in a time when important people like me could be forced into an exile of sorts, like, in a painting, to live and function in most ways except for eating – and those nasty bodily functions. I can internally visit all parts of the world without leaving my sanctuary here in this lovely little Indiana town where I am to be through eternity – of course, it was not called Indiana then…it was small waterway on a patch of earth.

“You are a football player, a very good one, I’ve found out. When you leave here in a few moments, I will permit from time to time some memory of us together – perhaps a time when you need cheering up, perhaps a time when love needs a boost, or, any number of things. But, this day, the date, the house, the painting, me, may come by you so fast at times you will think it is some kind of déjà vu…you will wonder why you are seeing a passing face so warped and ugly – but it will be a good memory.

“Finally, I can tell you love and family will come to you and your life will be well spent in works of goodwill and faith. AND,  Faith is most important, Ben Willows. There will be many contradiction in life, but allow no one to disburb the position of your Faith.

“There will be those times when we see each other on a street, a bus, a plane, and we will have enjoy the site of one another – it will be a boost to our day and to our lives

“Now, leave me, Ben Willows, and when the evening breeze hits you, you will meet a lovely young lady… Goodbye, Sir Willows!”

Short Story

By BR Chitwood

Website/Blog: https://www.brchitwood.com

©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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Welcome to – “Serpent Rock”

 

Welcome to: SERPENT ROCK

[Excerpt #1]

Chapter Two

The first fish was caught by Conrad, a big one we saw come out of the water, stretching the line and giving our buddy a fight for his life, a fight he could handle. Like even seasoned fishermen do, we were yelling at Conny to do this and that. He was yelling back, a simple, “Shut up. I’ve got this whale.”

It was then our story really began…

The bow dipped in the cool green water of the sea, and Conrad lost his marlin with a broken line.

“What are you guys doing to the boat?” Conrad saw us in the stern where he was, so why was he asking, looking at us like a madman. We were no-where near the tiller.

I yelled at him as I rushed to the bow: “Nothing, Conny. The bow is dipping. I’m assessing, Man. Keep your shirt on, buddy. Sorry you lost your fish.”

At the bow, another serious dip, and this one took me off the fishing boat and into the water.

“What the hell?” I heard both my buddies yell in sync, as they came hurtling to the bow. Just as they arrived at the boat’s bow, another serious dip took me under momentarily and brought them into the water with me.

The bow line was hanging over into the water, and I grabbed it as the water was doing some amazing sloshing.

“Get back in the boat, guys,” I screamed as the sudden noise from the roiling sea was drowning out our chatter.

Conrad and Monroe made it into the boat, then helped me get aboard. We grabbed hold of the bow tubular bars and held on as best we could.

“What the hell’s going on, guys?” Monroe asked Conny and me. “Look. Eddies are forming all around the boat. Whoa. What’s that coming at us?”

Monroe was looking south. Conny was looking north. Me, I was looking east.

“The eddies are forming over here, too, Conny. What?” Conny and I looked in Monroe’s southern direction at the same time. “Oh, my God, what is that?”

There was a huge madly swirling hole coming at us, weaving this way, that way, seemingly, to build its strength.

“What the hell do we do? Hey, guys,” I’m yelling above the roar, “Let’s work our way back to the stern. The bulkhead back there has a stronger support bar. Let’s all gather there and interweave the stern lines around us for support to secure us to the boat.”

Without words, we hurriedly gathered there in the stern, interwove the stern line between and around us. We tried to yell above the noise of rushing water coming toward us.

Yelling at the top of my voice, “That maelstrom is getting bigger as it comes this way, and there are no conflicting currents that I can see and those are what causes whirlpools, but this is a whole new ballgame. The vortex is getting bigger and bigger, guys, and I’m the first one to say I’m scared as hell. I don’t know if we’re going to make this. Just hold on and pray. That thing is almost here, and it’s way bigger than the boat…I love you guys”

We were all trying to say our emotional and final goodbyes, but words were lost in the maddening noise being made by the huge maelstrom. We were lost, and for sure each of us was praying and saying those things guys don’t want ever to say – you know, endearing things one says on a deathbed.

Suddenly the bow of the boat tipped and went into the vortex of the maelstrom, straight down into a fast free fall, and, in the vacuum created by the vortex, our yells became one huge cacophonous earsplitting tone that would wrack our ear drums with an excruciating pain so unbearable as to render us unconscious in a fall of indeterminable length.

[End of excerpt #1]

*

[Excerpt #2]

Chapter Fifteen

We stayed away from Serpent Rock by design. We truly needed to make this trip simply about fishing and relaxing, allowing the beautiful Sea to calm us, rejuvenate us, make us fit warriors again.

Oh, we truly believed in our new Divine mission. There would never be any question about that. The noble nature of that mission far exceeded a mere fishing trip to Rocky Point, Mexico, but, with Conny’s near-fatal ‘car accident’ and recovery, Julie’s and my late-night broken window incident, the ‘Atheist Jerks’ interference, this trip was most definitely needed. A leisurely hook-up with the sea for fishing and assessment of recent events was our excuse, and, we were sticking with it. Hey, we loved fishing. It was our panacea, our escape from problems of all kinds.

The wives planned a Malecon Day to do some shopping, lunch, and ice cream cones, so they were happy doing their ‘thing’. The wives (and kids when with us) were always in on our fishing the lovely Sea of Cortez. The suspicion, however, was that they didn’t like being on the water as much as we ‘Three Amigos’. The wives and kids were sadly prone to sea sickness.

This trip, we were only interested in fishing, beer drinking, and perhaps in finding some solutions to our current problems. We decided to go farther south on this sea trip, so I steered us out to open sea. Soon, there was only a distant horizon forward and aft.

“I’m anchoring here, guys. There’s sea all around us, and I’m in territory that is unfamiliar. We’re already out a bit farther than we should be. Let’s do some slow trolling and see what we hit.”

Opening a fresh brewski I heard a big splash, heard Monroe make something ugly ‘holy’ that people are liable to do occasionally.

“Good gosh, look at that rod. It’s touching the port hull. What the hell do you have on that line, a giant octopus?”

“Guys, you gotta help me, I can’t hold this rod any longer. Whatever’s on the end of this line is not going to be reeled in. Trust me on that.” His face was as red as a proverbial beet – and, not from the sun.

Conny placed his rod into the rod-grip on the aft hull-rim, moved quickly, carefully, wrapped both his hands around the rod just above Monroe’s hands that were turning white with all the blood rushing upward in the bulging veins of his arm.

“I can’t hold it any longer, guys, I gotta let go. It’s killing me.” Conny was now literally being pulled to the bow and would go overboard if he did not let go of the rod.”

“Let it go,” I yelled to Conny, “You’re about to go over the side. Let it go. Let it go.”

Conny had no other choice. He let the rod go flying over the forward port-side of Chavala, and he fell to the deck of the boat while we watched his rod speedily skip for some feet on the surface of the sea, then disappear into the cobalt water.

“Are you all right, Conny?”

“Give me a minute,” Conny managed to wheeze in gaping breaths.

Monroe was also on the deck, one arm propped on the port bench-seat, taking in great whiffs of air.

The Sea of Cortez suddenly became still, its cobalt surface glassy and hardly moving. There was an eerie cast on the water, like a mirror slowly moving in different shades. If a penny dropped on the deck of The Chavala it would sound like a TNT blast.

We looked at each other, a trio of goggle-eyed rookie sailors lost in total wonderment on a silent sea – at least, for that moment.

“What the hell just happened?” Conny asked.

Before an answer came, Monroe spoke, “What’s going on, Sully? Chavala is turning.”

“I know, I’m turning us. It was my dumb idea to come this far south. We’re not sailors, guys, and we should know by now that this sea knows who we are. I have absolutely no earthly idea what just happened, but I do know I’m an idiot for coming down this far south. We’re heading back.”

“I need a beer,” Conny said. “Anyone joining me?”

We three bemused sea rookies joined in with the beer. I was the only mate sensibly sipping. Conny and Monroe were tantamount to chugalugging.

“Take it easy, you guys. You’ll make yourselves sick.”

“I’m already sick. That was a new and expensive rod.”

“You’ve got plenty of money. Better the dumb rod going overboard than you two guys. That, boys, is a yarn that will just keep on giving, each time we tell it.”

I sipped a cold frosty beer as The Chavala headed back north.

“Hey, Guys, what’s with this crazy sea?” asked Conny. “It’s smooth as silk, but it’s rocking the boat…and, what is that forward of the bow, in the water? Run silent and slow for a minute, Sully, and steer toward that object up ahead. You see it?”

“Aye, I see it, I’m heading for it now.”

When The Chavala was close enough, Monroe spoke, “Hey, it’s my rod. What the hell is going on? I’ve finished one beer and started a fresh one. We’re many nautical miles north again, and there’s my damned rod. How do we explain this, guys?”

“It’s a magical sea, fellows,” Conny said with a head shake.

“Hey, guys, it’s whatever fish you had on the line, Monroe, it worked the hook from its mouth or gill and released it. The rod came up and now floats on the sea. That’s my simple, true Sherlock deductive reasoning, boys. Someone hand me another beer.”

When I slowly steered over the rod, Monroe leaned over the port hull to pull it into Chavala, but the rod jerked away from him just as he was about to grab it.

“What the hell?” Monroe spoke in an awe-puzzled near whisper.

“You didn’t get it, Monroe?” I noticed his puzzled look from my position at the bow.

“No, it jerked away from me. It literally jerked away from me.”

“Yeah, I saw it, Sully. The rod just…just jerked away from Monroe, like it was teasing him.”

“Hey, guys, enough theatrics for the day. I likely hit a mild chop wave. I’ll turn, and we’ll get it this time around.”

“Sully, I’m telling you, it jerked away from me, no chop wave, no nothing. It was something under the water jerking it. I swear. I’m not making this up. Conny saw it as well.”

“Believe it, Sully. We’re not messing with your head. His rod just jerked away from him, like a fish or something under the water was playing with him.”

“Okay, then, say adios to your expensive rod, Monroe. I’m not sticking around this area if something funny is going on. We’re going steady north, all the way to the pier. We’ll be able to see Peñasco soon, straight ahead.”

Thirty minutes later at full speed, it was a relief for reasons I do not fully know when we saw lovely Puerto Peñasco on the horizon dead ahead.

Peñasco dead ahead, guys, and I feel better…but, wait, there’s something in the water ahead. Is that your rod again, Monroe?”

Sprawled on the starboard bench-seat, Monroe sat, stared at the site. “I’ll be damned, it is my rod.”

“Engine stalled and approaching. You should be able to get it this time.”

Monroe reached and pulled his rod into Chavala, looked it up and down. There was no line, no hook, just the rod and reel. “I’ve got it, and it’s fine, but the line is all gone. How the hell did the rod get all the way from the point we first saw it? We have had multiple beers, cruising north for over an hour or more. How do you figure it?”

“Damned if I can,” said Conny.

“Ditto,” I said with a head chocked full of questions but no definite answers. “Does anyone think we will ever have another sane fishing day on the Sea of Cortez?”

Conny and Monroe looked at each other, smiled and shook their heads. “Not in this life, maybe next.” Spoken by a true man-fisher of the sea, Conrad Finster.

As we docked at the pier, gathered our beer chest and all other paraphernalia, I asked Monroe: “What’s that stuck on the end of your rod?”

“Hadn’t noticed.” He turned the rod over, stood on the pier deck and looked. “Looks like a seashell with something inside of it.”

“Let’s take it back to the villa with us. There are people afoot here. We can look it over when we’re safely on the deck with a brewski. Wonder what the sea is telling us this trip?” I gave a half-smile, half-frown.

As we walked on the pier, Monroe dropped his rod. Conny and I walked ahead.

“Hey, guys,” Monroe yelled at us, “come back. We are not through with our trip. We have orders. The Shell popped open.”

Inside the shell was a simple message in a lovely script: “Return now to the Serpent Rock. All will be explained…”

[End of Excerpt #2]

*

SUMMARY:

I haven’t given too much away with these excerpts, just enough, I hope, to have you order an Amazona Kindle or Paperback version of “Serpent Rock.” There are many episodic and thrilling moments in this Sci-Fi novel, but that description is given by the author…it is the readers who truly determine the merits of an author and his words. Please read the book and leave your honest Amazon, Goodreads, et al reviews. Authors have a need to know the ‘good and bad’ of their writing efforts and appreciate the time book lovers devote to their reading and their comments.

AMAZON UNIVERSAL BUY SITE FOR “Serpent Rock”:

AMAZON: mybook.to/SerpentRock

It’s my belief Sci-Fi lovers will find this book to their liking and will add “Serpent Rock” to their short list of favorites. The novel is original, conceptually covering some timely issues in a genre that excels in awakening minds to new worlds of possibilities.

Thank you…

BR Chitwood – January 31, 2020

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Ah, Arizona and the Muse! AND,NEW BOOKS!

Arizona and the Muse! And, New Books!

Finally feeling my body coming back from the five-day cross-country drive from Kentucky to the desert that I love! A few pains here and there, a few errands to take care of errata – can I call DMV, Doctors, Medications, et al errata? Well, guess I just did that.

However, my new Science-Fictions book, warts and all, is coming out this month, and it was an absolute ‘gas’ to write – are people still using, ‘gas’ as a ‘happy word’?

The scary part is now here for me – launching, marketing, making the waves needed to get reading folks of the genre reading my humble effort…tell you what! Now, I like everythng I write, but this one is really special because I get to let it ‘all hang out’ with SERPENT ROCK – are people still using the phrase, ‘all hang out’? Well, it’s all okay if people are not using it – hell, they know I’m an ‘old geezer’ anyhow – are people still using ‘old geezer’ these days. Those new and ‘blood-vein’ tiny auto-tanks the Med-People will needle into all the body blood routes of a person’s body are hopefully just about ready to start generating new fresh new blood cells ven got those little ‘bugger-tanks’ to shove tenderly into the veins to cure cancer, ‘arthur’, all kinds of diseases and ailments…shucks, folks, those micro-bio researchers are going to challenge immortality, but not to worry, it won’t be the ‘Frankenstein’ way. 

But, hang on, SERPENT ROCK is not to be forgotten here. It is brand new and a virtual sizzler of a book, meaning it’s got thrills, chills, and three enterprising young businessmen who find more than ‘Groupers and Marlin’ on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Readers liking some chilling moments, excitement that will make you lose some sleep because they won’t want to wait to find out what happens next. SERPENT ROCK has it all: a massive battle between ‘Good and Evil’, assassination attempts, and maybe, just, maybe, a small tad of super story telling. So, please BUY the Kindle or Paperback, and, I’ll give you your money back if you don’t like the book – that’s providing you can find me! But, seriously, I do honestly believe it is very good book, and, my first venture into Sci-Fi. Please help me market this little ‘puppy’, will you, good people? I promise, you will enjoy SERPENT ROCK. Here’s the cover image of the ‘new kid on the block’… Okay, no more cute little euphemisms that have outlived their time.

 0001-4465189116 

Now, if it’s okay with you since I now have your attention, I would like to mention another of my books, A BAILEY CRANE MYSTERY. The title of the first book in the series of six is: AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY. 

AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY is a novel very close to my heart and ‘soul’, a book inspired by a brutal murder many years ago of an actress friend of my wife and me. ‘Cathy Gibbs’ is the fictional name used in the book, but this twenty-six year old actress and model, mother of two, went missing for nearly a month during an Arizona August Summer. When two kids were ‘rock hunting’, they found her under some Palo Verde trees in the NE section of Phoenix, that August record heat and the denizens of the desert left investigators virtually nothing in the way of evidentiary clues. 

AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY was my fictional attempt at closure for my friend. She was the lady who nudged me into acting – nothing monumental, just TV commercials, some film, still modeling, and a play performance. Cathy was also a secretary for some my attorney buddies during that period. Her friends were many, and there were some popular ‘boy friend’ suspencts, all passing the infamous lie-detector tests.

 After all the years, the Phoenix Police Department would be most interested if anyone might have any information about this terrible crime, In my writing of this novel, I use the newspaper accounts at the time and the small amounts known prior and after the homicide. In my research, I found another lovely secretary in Wasington, DC, murdered in much the same manner as ‘Cathy’ one month earlier, so I wove my tale around those two homicides and solved the case – with the strong help of a strong lady cop I created in the book.

 Just recently, I did some rewrite for a paperback version of AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY coming out soon, either this month of February. The paperback has a different cover from its Kindle cousin and some rewriting here and there. It is a book I believe readers will thoroughly enjoy, and it has a lot of the real ‘Me’ in there. I hope you will read AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY and leave a review on Amazon. Here is the paperback’s new cover image.

An Arizona Tragedy

As always, I will appreciate any and all help you can give me with the launch of these two books.

My best wishes to all…

Billy Ray chitwood – January 15, 2020

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My Conversation With Jacob

A Conversation With Jacob

Jacob is my imaginary friend, but he is real to me because he is my resource for living. Today we are sitting on the long deck of my log home, watching the squirrels scurry through the trees, up and down, and all around. An occasional bird drops by as if to say hello and/or to warn the squirrels of some danger nearby… This is the beginning point of my conversation with Jacob.

 “Jacob, why is it that I’m rather fascinated by the activities of squirrels and birds?”

“You give me too much power of comprehension, BR. That’s okay because I know why you give me that power. You want so much to figure things out for yourself, to allow for a natural flow of understanding to come through your own mind…”

“Okay, Jacob, you’ve reminded me of that time and again…just answer my question.”

“Well, of course, I remind you time and again and that is because you seem to be in some haste to find answers which should be obvious to you, yet you seek confirmation from me, your alter ego and closest ally.”

“There you go again. Please, just answer the question.”

“You are looking at the squirrels and the birds to find meaning for your own life. You know that it is September and the squirrels are busy gathering their provisions for the winter. The birds stop by to neighborly check on their progress and to determine when it might be best for them to venture south… Now, ask your bigger question.”

“Okay, Jacob, how am I connected to all of this? And, stop being flippant with me.”

“Being flippant was not my intent, BR, but you must admit it’s a bit ‘squirrely’ when one has conversations with himself… Your connection to all of this? (Ah, a squirrel just skittered down a tree – see it, BR?)”

“Of course, I see it… You couldn’t see it if I didn’t see it!”

“Very good, BR! I’m truly attached to you.”

“You were saying about my connection to all of this?”

“Your connection to the squirrels and birds and all living things with which you come into contact is that ‘Cogito – Ergo – Sum’ thing. You think, therefore you are. You stand and walk where you walk and perceive, react, and assimilate information. The squirrels do so as fiercely as you do. They do what they do to exist – a rather simple truth, don’t you agree? The bears, bees, butterflies, cats, cows, dogs, eels (shall I run the alphabet of living things?), they all do what it is their species do and have done ad infinitum. You are the so-called ‘higher order’ so you make the world more complicated because of that ‘Cogito, ergo sum’ thing. You think things to a point of obsessive behavior…”

“Well, sure, we think. We also get to the moon. We get to Facebook and Twitter, to super sonic jets, to big cities with all the playthings we want. Our knowledge is doubling so quickly that we’re defining and re-defining ourselves at warp speed. Are you telling me we are moving too fast, not fast enough, or, we shouldn’t be creating all the digital wonders?”

“No and I’m reasonably sure you already know that. You did forget to mention that we create ways to destroy ourselves, the big blast thing that’s nuclear. (Remember Charlton Heston at the end of one of those ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies where ‘Lady Liberty’s’ head and torso are half-buried in the beach sand?) All I’m saying is we are doing some things that just naturally come with all our smarts and ingenuity, and that’s good. What bothers me (ergo, you) is that we might very well be forgetting our hearts and souls. In this mad dash for making our lives so much digital and decidedly easier, are we just becoming cold and detached to matters of the heart and soul? And/or, is that the way this existential thing works? Is that really what these squirrels and birds are making you think about?”

“You know me so well, Jacob. Yes, I suppose that’s it. We think. We love. We procreate. We work. We fight in stupid wars. We pay taxes. We die. Is that dying part marking the final exit point of our existence? Do our souls transcend the darkness of dying and really go toward the bright light of eternity and God? Do we reincarnate and get another chance? Is there a God? Is all we see, feel, hear, sense, just a one-time thing?”

“Ah, the most deliriously captivating metaphysical enigma of every age! Do you believe the squirrels and the birds concern themselves with these questions? No, I’m sure that you don’t. They appear to be simply instinctive robotic like creatures that cyclically repeat their actions from one generational pool to another. Do they think of mortality matters, afterlife, and reincarnation? As humans, I don’t suspect that we think they do. Do the mad dictators or corrupted leaders of the world who lead us into wars think of mortality matters? Do people of runaway ambition, avarice, greed, hatred, have pious thoughts? At age twenty-five, did you perhaps think you would live forever, that life stretched out before you like a road paved in gold? Ah, the age-old conundrum, which came first, ‘the chicken or the egg’! Infinity is a thought that mortals cannot wrap their minds around.

“Your questions have answers, depending upon the humility of your soul, BR. Do you look at the stars, the planets, the moon, the sun, orderly galaxies and imagine that they achieved that order by a ‘big bang’? Do you watch a sunrise and sunset, the rain, the snow, the falling leaves, and imagine that there is simply a natural order to such things? When you hold the one you love and experience the supremacy of all ecstasy and joy, do you wish you could stop your world and live forever in that moment? Do you ever think about the magical nine-month period of human birth, of the intricate and delicate patterns that must be formed for life to begin? Do you simply believe that there is but the purpose to live and to die, that during the living, the world is a stage to perform your acts?”

“Okay, okay, I’m getting a migraine! William Wordsworth was right, ‘The World Is Too Much With Us.’ I want to believe, I will believe, that a supreme being made this spinning orb and that I have a chance to leave something of worth behind when I leave it. For ‘it is dark to die, and I fear that I still wish to be’. A good friend wrote that line as he and a war buddy lay in a fox hole during one of our wars. With all my doubts, insecurities, my loves and dreams, I must believe, have faith that Ecclesiastes 3.1 has meaning for us all, Everything Has Its Time. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die. I believe, too, that others have faith, and some do not. It is my way to respect the views of others while it is not always possible to do so.”

 “So, the squirrels and the birds brought all of this about?”

 “Well, yeah, pretty much, I guess. The tea was good, right, Jacob?”

 “Now you know I don’t drink tea… I only listen to you and repeat everything you think… By the way, why is it you’re calling me Jacob?”

 “Ah, you don’t like Jacob?”

 “You expect me to answer that?”

 “Are you reading my mind?”

 “You’re reading your mind!”

 “Okay, I’m calling you, Myopia!”

 “You’re losing it!”

 “Funny! I was just thinking that!”

 “Please, give us a NAP! You’re driving us crazy!”

 BR Chitwood – December 25, 2019 (‘Archived’)

 MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2020!

 Please preview my books at:

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