Sunday, February 3, 2019

HORSESHIT

We saw the old man standing on his front porch. From a bag he dumped cat food into a dish. We called him Horseshit. Kevin, a neighborhood kid, had given him the name and it had stuck. I had never called the old man Horseshit to his face. I said it only in private and mainly around Kevin. I didn’t know the old man’s real name.
We zoomed past his house on our bikes and Kevin yelled out, “Hey, Horseshit!”
Horseshit bent to pet the cat that ate out of the dish. He looked up and said, “Go on. Get out of here, you little assholes! I’ll get you one of these days!” He shook his fist in the air, in our direction. “You little assholes!”
“You’ll have to catch us first,” Kevin responded. And we peddled on down the road.
We jetted around the corner and eventually into my front yard where our back tires skidded sideways, tearing through grass and mud.
I jumped off my BMX. “You think he’ll ever get us?” I asked, a little winded.
“He’s too old and slow. He’ll never catch us,” said Kevin.
“Yeah, you’re right. Let’s go play Nintendo.”
An hour later, after we’d had our fill of video games, we set out on our bikes again. Dusk was nearing and I had to be back in my yard before the street light came on. A bike ride around the neighborhood was common; no direction, no common goal, only cruising to see what we could get into. We turned the corner heading down Horseshit’s street when a bad feeling struck me. “You think this is a good idea?”
“What?” said Kevin.
“Riding past his house.”
“Don’t be such a pussy. He’ll never catch us. He’s too old and slow.”
“I’m not a pussy,” I said, and kept peddling.
We approached his house and I prayed that he was inside. If Kevin saw him, I knew what would happen, the same thing that had always happened. Kevin would yell out “Hey, Horseshit!” and the old man would throw back some threats and curses and we’d ride on like always. I had never yelled anything to the old man and I’d always hoped that he took note, but being that I rode with Kevin, he probably associated me with being the kind of asshole Kevin was. But I wasn’t anything like Kevin.
We came up to his house and Horseshit was nowhere in sight. What a relief. I saw Kevin eyeing the front porch, hoping to catch another glimpse of the old man and I kept silently praying that he was inside his house. When we finally rode past, the old man was nowhere around. But still, that didn’t stop Kevin from yelling out, “Hey, Horseshit! What are you doing in there? Jacking off? Thinking about little boys?”
Even though I didn’t see Horseshit I peddled faster. This was too much. I was embarrassed. “Shit, Kevin,” I said. “Take it easy.”
“Don’t be such a pussy,” he said to me again.
“I’m not a pussy!” I called out, and about that time Kevin screamed out in pain, grabbing his leg, nearly wrecking his bike.
“Jesus fuck!” he said.
At first, I didn’t know what happened to Kevin, but then I heard Horseshit yell out from his upstairs window. “I got you! I got you! You little asshole!” He was shouldering a gun. Later I found out it was a BB gun when Kevin’s dad had to dig the pellet from his leg. “You little assholes. That’ll teach you!”
I started peddling faster than I’d ever peddled before. I didn’t look back. Racing home, I skidded my back tire into the yard. By the time I jumped off and made it to the front porch, the street light flashed on. I saw Kevin limp off his bike and up to his front door. That night, I hardly slept a wink.
The next morning was Saturday so I hopped on my bike and hit the streets. I didn’t wait for Kevin. I thought it safer to cruise alone. As always, my curiosity consumed me and I rode toward Horseshit’s street. In the night, I had imagined Kevin’s folks calling the police. I’d ride by in the morning and there Horseshit would be, being stuffed into the back of a cop car. I had to see what was going on.
I turned the corner on Horseshit’s street and heard the sound of a lawnmower. Nothing unusual about that except when I neared I saw Kevin push mowing the old man’s lawn. The old man sat on his front porch. He petted the cat in his lap, looking on with pure delight.
I rode up and Kevin cut the mower’s engine.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I told my dad what happened last night and he went to have a talk with Ernest.”
“Who?”
“Ernest,” said Kevin and motioned with a head nod in the direction of the old man. “I thought my dad was gonna come down here and really give him a good what for…you know…since he shot me with a BB gun.” He looked to the ground, seeming embarrassed. “But it sort of backfired.”
I shook my head, appearing to show a little empathy, but what I was really feeling was a sense of justice for the old man, for Ernest.
“Tough break,” was all I said, and peddled away.
I heard Kevin yell, “Hey, you want to help me? This high grass sucks to mow, especially with a bad leg!”
I looked back over my shoulder and yelled out the only words I could think of.
“Don’t be such a pussy!” And I went home to play Nintendo.
~~~

This story is included in the book HARD LUCK: STORIES.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Chicken Liver Blues is Live



Today is the day. My e-book, Chicken Liver Blues, is now live on Amazon. Please stop over and check it out.  Also, the paperback version will be released Friday, December 28.
As always, a big thank you goes out to those who have followed and supported me along the way. If you’ve ever purchased my books or stories, read, liked, shared, mentioned my books and stories to someone, anyone, you are awesome. Thank you!
If you happen to read this book, I hope that it entertains you in some form or fashion. I always try to create stories with hopes of entertaining a few readers. Happy reading.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Release Date for Chicken Liver Blues


After some delay, I’m happy to announce that my book CHICKEN LIVER BLUES will finally be released Friday, December 21 on Amazon. It will be added to other e-book retailing sites thereafter. I hope you check it out.
Here’s the back cover description:
Chicken Liver Blues is an inimitable collection of twelve stories that at times barrels and swerves down rural backroads kicking up gravel and dust in its wake, and other moments it’s a calm late night country cruise that soaks up the stars, the moon, and the heavens while contemplating the meaning of life.
Ride shotgun on this memorable journey that looks in on the struggling working-class, the old moonshiners, the backwoods guitar pickers, the demented Jesus freaks, the alcoholic spouses, the hard luck writers, and other notable characters who try to make it through life the only way they know how…for good or ill.
Featured Stories:
Twenty Dollars
Money
Chicken Liver Blues
The Natural Order of Things
Bluesman of the Woods
The Letter
Jubal Grimes
King of the County
Forsaken Land
The Monsters
One Step Closer to Heaven
The Man in the Meadow

Sunday, December 9, 2018

This Old Notebook


In 1993, I was a sixteen-year-old kid trying to fulfill this domineering illusion of becoming a small town’s basketball hero. It was also at this time I was journaling into notebooks, scrawling away about my dreams of becoming the top high school basketball player in the land. Nothing else mattered. No money, clothes, cars, stereo equipment, not even girls could lure me away from the basketball courts and my deep passion for the game.
Sometime thereafter, I’d discovered books and poetry. I found my passion for basketball fading and being replaced with my new obsession with the written word. I began writing my thoughts and feelings and ideas into the notebook pictured above, which ultimately gave me the strength to carry on and face personal demons that had already reared their ugly heads into my young life. Poetry and notetaking also presented me the courage to walk away from the game that I once loved. Many narrow-minded people looked down on me for quitting basketball, but the words captured in this notebook said to follow your heart.
Now, almost 26 years later, I’m still writing and scrawling away in notebooks. Along the way, I’ve written a few books and many short stories, some of which have sold copies all over the U.S. and other far off places. I feel extremely fortunate for that.
I love this old notebook. I look at it and read what’s inside, on the yellow-stained pages with faded ink and smeared pencil, and think back to a young bedroom poet who had dreams of becoming a famous writer. I’m not famous, but I am a writer, and I'm glad that young man from long ago took a chance and followed his heart.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

From Brothers of the Mountain: Heart of the Frontier



Running Fox had a row of deep, creased lines that stacked upon a cinnamon colored brow. His hair was the color of cotton and fell to the middle of his back. To look into his sunken eyes, one would see the determination of a prideful man, one who had never given up on his Shawnee heritage. He had overcome countless hindrances throughout his many years on earth and, if one looked deeper into his eyes, they would see the strife that life had dealt him, the strife that hardened his soul.
The old man leaned on his oak walking staff while he penetrated the abdomen of a cottontail with his hunting knife. He slit the animal to the top of its ribcage and removed the entrails by sinking his hand inside and ripping them clean. He cut away the feet and head and threw them over into some bushes. Next, he slipped the blade between the fur and flesh and cut away the meat he intended to roast for his morning meal.
After skinning the animal, he clutched the oak staff with his frail-looking hand and squatted next to a creek bank. He dipped the bloody carcass and knife into the stream to rinse them both. On ancient legs, he struggled to stand. His form was not properly straight as it once had been many years ago. Now, his back remained as arched as the rolling hills just beyond the creek by which he stood.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Seven Years

The other day marked seven years since I became an indie author. Just another day, really. But here’s to hoping and wishing for many more years of sound mind and body and the ability to make shit up and write it down. And to those who’ve followed me along the way, supported me, and stuck by me, I thank you very much.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Chicken Liver Blues has a Cover


Happy to reveal my new cover for my upcoming book. Thanks to Maxcovers over at Fiverr for a job well done. Also, I hope to have a release date pinned down for this sucker very soon. Stay tuned.

Description for Chicken Liver Blues:

Chicken Liver Blues is an inimitable collection of twelve stories that at times barrels and swerves down rural backroads kicking up gravel and dust in its wake, and other moments it’s a calm late night country cruise that soaks up the stars, the moon, and the heavens while contemplating the meaning of life.

In “Twenty Dollars” a working-class man whose marriage is on the brink of unraveling is convinced to go out for another night of drinking, but this time his night out with the guys changes his life in more ways than one.

In “Bluesman of the Woods” a young guitar rambler has the desire to make it to the big time and thinks an old family friend can help him get there, but the old friend is feeling the effects of a family tragedy and needs a jumpstart of his own.

In “The Letter” a regretful, aging writer comes down from the hills to make his yearly pilgrimage to town to hand-deliver a birthday letter to his estranged daughter.

In the country noir story “Forsaken Land” Sheriff Randall King is feeling the repercussions of losing his younger sister and of a deadly shootout, both of which happened one year before.

In “One Step Closer to Heaven” a young couple is convinced that eliminating all the free-roaming sexual predators of the world will give them full access through the Pearly Gates.

In the horror-flavored “The Man in the Meadow” a young boy seeks an inhumane course in order to deal with a school bully, but finds out his chosen tactic is a messy one for all involved.

Ride shotgun on this memorable journey that looks in on the struggling working-class, the old moonshiners, the backwoods guitar pickers, the demented Jesus freaks, the alcoholic spouses, the hard luck writers, and other notable characters who try to make it through life the only way they know how…for good or ill.

Featured Stories:
Twenty Dollars
Money
Chicken Liver Blues
The Natural Order of Things
Bluesman of the Woods
The Letter
Jubal Grimes
King of the County
Forsaken Land
The Monsters
One Step Closer to Heaven
The Man in the Meadow