The Brutus Gate

The Brutus Gate

Okay, I’m a little ‘cute’ with the title, but they were the first words to pop into my mind. When the thug at the beginning of this ‘Bailey Crane’ romp was heard to utter these words, I knew it was to become my title for better or worse. Speaking of the beginning, that’s when the warehouse fire nearly consumes our Southern ‘muser’ and crime fighter supreme…take my word for it, it’s a beginning you will likely read again and again…he says hopefully.

The Brutus Gate is the third installment in ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ 1-6. The book has just about everything a ‘Crime Fiction’ devotee would want in a book PLUS some romantic moments. You heard right. There’s a big drug shipment due to arrive in the US from Mexico. The Phoenix Police Department’s aces, Bailey Crane, his most capable partner, Wendy, and the FBI are charged with stopping it.

What this great team of crimebusters encounter is political corruption, murder, rape, aforementioned drugs…and, they have to travel to Rome and go through the Brutus Gate…okay, I’m now being a little ‘too cute’. No Rome! No Brutus Gate! The attempt at comedy comes from being too serious all my life.

So, we have all these elements coming together in this fictional masterpiece (Stop it! Already!) – Okay, ‘in this very good novel’. With all the action taking place, you would think Bailey wouldn’t have time for musing and mumbling to himself and his alter ego. Think again! That’s his way of tapping into our subconscious and thinking about our yesterdays and tomorrows. Bailey is cursed with a mind that stores all of his mistakes, all his loves, and all the teenage pimples he had to a minor degree as a high schooler. However, I’ve got to say, I’ve known this guy for some time now, and I really like him – even when he sometimes has to remember he has a crime to solve.

My guess is most of you will find some ‘Baa-relief’ in Bailey, unless there are only two of you reading the book. Then, of course, that statement falls under the label of ‘nonsense’. Well, authors are only worth what their characters tend to put them through and Bailey Crane is an expert at playing with the mind.

The Brutus Gate after all my auditions for humor is a good book, if not in the range of thriller, it’s darn close!

Just saying!

Read it! Let me know what you think!

The next book up in the Series is Murder in Pueblo del Sol, a mystery inspired by an awful murder in Mexico of an American wife and mother. Actually, five of the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ are inspired by actual events.

Sure hope you read them all!

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 18, 2018

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A Soul Defiled – A Bailey Crane Mystery #5

A Soul Defiled – A Bailey Crane Mystery #5 

I wrote this installment of the ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ while living on the beautiful Sea of Cortez in Sonora State, Mexico in a most lovely resort Called ‘Bella Sirena’. Also, for a period of time, I was President of the Homeowners Association and needed to know the workings of the Mexican system of government and the peso. A Soul Defiled is not total reality but it does give an accurate sense of money transfers and some rather scary aspects of the well-publicized criminal activities.

The characters are my stereotypes, many of whom were built by my imagination and some from the good people who were responsible for care of resort owners’ condos and villas. There is one character in particular for whom I developed a love/hate relationship. You will be able to determine this person’s raison d’être and his Achilles Heel. It’s rather amazing how an author can create a character with all the ‘warts’ of criminality and a ‘distant heart’ that can feel and come to understand his life for what it is. It’s not my intention to be vague here, but I want you to ‘flesh out’ this character with me in the book! I just simply like this character despite what he represents.

A Soul Defiled stays true to Bailey Crane’s character, his rash observations and musings. In this episode he gets kidnapped twice, roughed up, and, in the end, finds himself as always questioning his judgements. Wendy is there with him, his loyal ‘sounding board’ and support system of love and provision.

The current ‘President of the Board’ of ‘Mar y Sol’ is a good friend of Bailey and Wendy. The ‘Treasurer of the Board’ has just been murdered, and the President of the Board enlists the help of Bailey – now a new resident at the resort. It is suspected that there is some sort of criminal operation at the resort.

This relatively short novel provides all the ingredients of a good read – business malfeasance, kidnapping, murder, and love.

Hope you put A Soul Defiled on your ‘Reading List’. It is a book you can easily enjoy at the beach, at the pool, and/or in the evening at your favorite reading spot.

Let me know what you think!

As always, My best wishes.

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 21, 2018

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Satan’s Song

Wherein Be Evil

Is the wolf’s wistful wail to the moon a siren of evil?

A stretch, no doubt, but Hollywood has made a lot of money with Lon Chaney and the Wolf-man…a full moon and a man turning into a werewolf.

Satan’s Song A Bailey Crane Mystery regrettably has no connection with Hollywood where millionaires are made overnight when their books are tailored into screenplays. Of course, I easily salivate with thoughts of that enticing proposition and welcome that ‘producer’s request’ to do just that with any of my books.

Well, that thought remains on a fading ‘wish list’!

Satan’s Song has the ‘evil’ and it has also inspiration from a true Arizona decapitation homicide. Like the first book in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, An Arizona Tragedy, this title was also a ‘Cold Case’ for many years. Recently, Phoenix Police Department found their killer.

In my novel, the details of that long-ago murder of a young blond lady is fictionalized and turns into a case of serial murders. The suspense and surprise of Satan’s Song deals with the motive and psychotic mind of the killer. The murder spree of the killer includes young ladies in the states of Texas, Ohio, and California, plus a male victim in Pennsylvania.

Bailey Crane’s life undergoes changes as my hero’s personal life becomes complicated and must deal with some emotionally painful realities.

There is a strong ‘women presence’ particularly in this book, and, in truth, all six books of the Bailey Crane mystery series. Please, partake and enjoy!

Hope all your reads are enjoyable.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 14, 2018

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AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY – A Bailey Crane Mystery – Book #1

Her lowlife killer is still out there after all the years!,

Her?

A friend of mine back in the day! A friend of my wife! When not acting and/or modeling she was a legal secretary to my good attorney buddies.

A lovely actress/model, age twenty-six, divorced, a mother of two children, a daughter and a son! Cheerful, vibrant, high on life with all her dreams of marriage and family ahead of Hollywood on her ‘To Do’ list.

She lived in an apartment across from an elementary school where her car would be found on the side of a road, one car door open, and her open purse on the front seat. It was to be a hot sunny Phoenix Monday morning in August nearly a half-century ago. Cathy (the name I’ve given her in my novel), went missing for six weeks.

Cathy was found under a Palo Verde tree by a wash in the open desert near what is now the Mayo Clinic, her ragged dress faded and in tatters,  her body ravaged by denizens of the hostile desert.

In doing my research for the book, scouring the newspaper microfiche of the brutal murder, it was difficult to imagine what this dear young lady had to endure on that last night of her life so many years ago. Through some tears and memories I wrote “An Arizona Tragedy,” the first book in my six-book ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’. In writing this fictional account of Cathy’s homicide years later, I had some difficulty justifying my effort…she was my friend, my wife’s friend – was I being selfishly commercial in my endeavor to spin a fictional playback of her gruesome murder?

Well, I wrote the book, finally justifying the work as a ‘tribute’ to her memory, plus, just maybe, awakening someone’s mind regarding that crime to remember something that would help solve this now ‘cold case’. I gave it the title of “Probable Cause” and sent it out into the ‘wind swirls’ of publishing and got a ‘hit’! A small press ran with the book but years later changed the direction of it’s publishing goals to Sci-Fi, paranormal, and unique ‘fad-type’ books.

Well, you know the story, I did some re-writing, re-titled, and self-published this book and the series, plus the other ten books I’ve written…and, by the way, you might have heard about my glowing successes in marketing my own books! (It’s perfectly okay to have your giggles – I even giggle myself at my ‘under-achieving’ self-promoting!)

So, if there is interest in reading “An Arizona Tragedy,” you should know I did wrap my fiction around  most, if not all, of the forensics attached to the case. Six weeks in an Arizona desert in the summer where temps can reach 120+ degrees fahrenhite did not leave the investigators much to go on. Cathy’s car as well left very little of evidentiary value.

There’s something a good Texas friend wrote in an Amazon review regarding the new edition of my “Mama’s Madness” novel, another work fashioned in fiction from a true crime. He wrote: “The writing in this story is so good the reader feels like a transportation into the scenes has taken place. The descriptions of people, places, and events are jaw-droppingly beautiful. Mr. Chitwood has been blessed with a golden pen (or keyboard). He can show the reader all the sights, sounds, and smells of each scene through a tapestry that only can be woven by a perfectionist literary genius. I think that pretty much describes Billy Ray Chitwood. He has honed his writing art, and there is no more exquisite example of the resulting output than this book. I would recommend Mama’s madness to anyone who enjoys a deeply disturbing story told effectively and with great taste.”

I’ve gotten some really good reviews along with ‘the other kind’ but this one just overwhelmed me… That first night after reading that review, I got out of bed every ten minutes to re-read it. Whatever he was ‘high on’, he passes it right along to me. I’m likely to change my will for that Texas ‘feller’.  Well, yeah, I’m going off the deep-end here, but that review is about as good as an author can get, and I’m thanking that man in an open forum. I’ve never kissed a man before and won’t think about it now, but I’ll sure polish his shoes and walk his dogs… Just saying!

That leaves us with “An Arizona Tragedy.” That’s the first book of my sixteen that was published, and I believe it’s well-written. Why don’t you all get a copy, read it, and let me know what you think. I’m betting you like the writing and my alter-ego ‘punching bag’, Bailey Crane. AND, you can write an Amazon review and try to outdo that Texas feller, but I’m not even considering giving odds on that.

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 11, 2018

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Hammer’s Holy Grail

Hammer’s Holy Grail

by BR Chitwood

-Coming July – 2018- 

 

“Hammer’s Holy Grail” is a relatively short read of 36,000-+ words. It will be published without launch, without fanfare (except for this blog post!) later this month! The book is about a kid who has an emotional family situation – angry father, his critical Appalachian uncertainty, gifted with football talent and a beautiful girlfriend he’s known since junior high.

Wesley Walton is a sophomore at Garden View University in Knoxville, Tennessee, has a great passing arm and faces a great future. The pro-football scouts are already looking at the kid with a golden arm.

Wesley meets a man named ‘Hammer’ who is both a decorated veteran and a person of great wisdom and with a unique hobby. Wes and Hammer become immediate friends.

The short tale follows Wesley’s football season as well as his parental love and woes. The book is not a ‘thriller’ or destined to be a classic by any means, but the pages do carry some interesting moments, and I believe it to be well-written… In any event, it will be an inexpensive read and one I hope the book buyer will like, PLUS, I’m giving you the first chapter free of charge in this post. Feel free in letting me know what you think.

So, no launch, no parades and graffiti, just my usual ‘do nothing’ marketing campaign with a hope some of you will buy the book, give me some ‘reviews’, and ‘PUSH’ it forward.

Here’s the first chapter (working on the cover):

HAMMER’S HOLY GRAIL

Chapter One

The darkness and fog are palpable viscid sweat things crawling all over my flesh! A gentle wind stir comes and my skin does shiver dances. I swallow and it’s like I’m somewhere between passing out and regaining my breath.

My eyes cannot be trusted. I rub my eyes and they project things that are not really there. My mind questions the logic that brought me to that decision. My concentration is drawn to these vague flashing images that keep popping up in spaces to the front, sides, and back of me… I figure it’s the mind doing its reckoning! I’m likely trying too hard to see and my brain is trying to accommodate me.

Okay, I admit it. I’m a big boy, scared. I mean, there is no way this world can be this dark and foggy.

“Why?” Someone might ask, “are you so stupid to be standing where you’re standing?”

The reason is really simple, but I’m going to make it complicated for you…not out of a warped and evil sense, but because this is a story I need to tell and it has some crazy turns and twists. Call it a weird psychological need if you want! That’s as good a description as any, but, please understand, I have not lost all my marbles. Then, again, maybe my bio here is not so unusual a tale after all. Maybe you readers have experienced some of the same events in your life – only, framed differently.

So, this little journey on which I’m taking you, please stay with me. An Epic? Probably not, but it might have some stuff that’ll stay with you for a while after I’m finished with the narrative – up to the point when I run out of words.

***

When I was a little boy, my crippled cousin had to have the light on during his dark bedtime hours. Now, I didn’t tease him about that but if I just mentioned it he chased me up one country road and down another. If I didn’t have a pretty good lead he’d catch me. Then, we would end up wrestling until one of us said ‘Uncle’ – usually me! We were best pals and I loved my club-footed cousin-buddy, but he would get madder than a frigging copperhead on LSD if anyone brought up sleeping with lights on.

That’s not part of this rather complicated story, at least, not in a major way. This darkness and fog just makes me think of JB – JB Hill, that’s his name. He’s the son of my Dad’s sister, Norma Hill.

I don’t want you to think JB is so crippled everyone has to be sorry for him. He turns out later on to be a top scratch golfer. He’s gone now, died too darned early in his life because of some darned rare breathing illness. His sisters and brother were with him when he left us. His wife should have been there with him, but, earlier, JB caught her screwing the next-door neighbor, and my cousin beat the shit out of the neighbor and threw all her clothes – and her – out of the house. Sure, he was club-footed but he was no chicken yellow-belly. Nobody gave him any crap, that’s for sure.

Well, again, that’s not part of the complicated story either – but I won’t lead you on any further.

It all starts with my sister, Sarah Lou. She’s sixteen going on twenty-four, if you get my drift, built like a brick shit-house, big boobs, long silky brown hair, great figure, pretty, and she reckons she’s the ‘cat’s meow’. It seems she knows early on she wants to taste some parts of life she is no way ready to taste.

I’m convinced Sarah Lou is the genuine product of her – and, my – dad. No question about it! He gets madder than hell and beats up on her and my Mom. Well, he did when he was coming around more

Dad has this fiery temper, and it’s his way or the highway, so to speak. This is when he’s visiting us. He and Mom are divorced, and Dad seems to have these demons inside him that make for crazy flip-outs at any moment. I’ve noticed his behavior changes when Mom mentions her side of the family – they don’t like Dad and he doesn’t like them. Of course, that gut-searing corn whiskey could have something to do with it. He likes his hooch! He’s also tall, good-looking in a George Clooney kind of way (sort of!) and has a thing for the ladies. How can I know that? Well, that’s a whole different story, and it’s doubtful I’ll ever tell it!

Well, anyhow, the genes running loose through Sarah Lou must be near-identical to Dad’s.

Moving the story along, Sarah Lou turns sixteen and elopes with an army corporal, runs off to another state when the corporal gets transferred. Mom is heart-sick and scared because she knows she’s got to tell Dad the news. And, me, well, I’m scared right along with her. You see, it’s just Mom and me since Sarah Lou eloped, and I sure have sleepless nights worrying about my dear sweet mother. She works so hard to make ends meet, has no time for socializing and being with her friends. It’s part of her nature to worry and fret about things. Did I fail to mention? My Mom is a beautiful lady, big brown eyes that sparkle and brown hair to go with them. She looks like a famous old-time movie star by the name of Claudette Colbert, famous actress during that golden era of Hollywood. Mom and I are fans of ‘old movies’.

Through some rough times, Mom has done her best to shelter my sister and me from all those emotional ills of divorce and the economic crises that rise from working sometimes two jobs. She has done well by Sarah Lou and me despite the troubles she’s had to bear. Dad’s visits end up most of the time in bad arguments and fights. As a young kid, I saw him too often physically abuse Mom and, somehow, I still love the man.

Enough ugly truth for a few sentences. Suffice it, Mom worked hard and got me through high school where I played quarterback for the football team and got a scholarship to Garden View University. Garden View is part of the greater metro area of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the university sets on a lovely and lush campus of about one hundred acres. It is a university that dates back to the 1940s and has academic achievement awards that any higher institution would covet.

Well, as implied above, here is more ugly truth.

Mom and I, my now older club-footed cousin, JB, and Lulu, his big sister on my Dad’s side of the family, go to the Hooper Hotel in Knoxville where my Dad is living to tell him about Sarah Lou’s elopement.

In Dad’s hotel room, my Cousin and his sister take the two chairs in the room and I sit under a window on an old radiator…you know, those ugly heavy metal gray vertically-elongated rods connected all in a row as one unit. Now, the heat isn’t on during this visit, but those units are particularly awful and uncomfortable to sit on. And, you’re right, those heating units were not built to be sat on. I just keep changing my sitting ‘this way and that’, dictated by my butt cheeks.

Now, Dad knows right away that something is up, and, he knows it isn’t good news – guess our sad faces and body language give us away.

When Dad hears the news about Sarah Lou, he stomps around the room in a fury, the anger and prelude to eruption showing on his face. Abruptly, he stops in front of Mom who is sitting on the bed. My sweet hard-working, lovely Mom sits there very still with her hands clasped on her lap with a blanched and pitiful look on her face, puffy from crying and the awful dread of telling Dad news of Sarah Lou’s rash elopement.

My ‘tainted-gene’ Dad hovers over Mom, his face distorted with fury like a dragon breathing fire, gritting his teeth, and says, “Damn you, Maureen.”

Suddenly, he gives Mom a hard looping open-hand slap to the face with so much force it knocks her over. My immediate fear is that he’s knocked something loose in her brain or upper body…and he’s getting ready to do more hitting.

I’m petrified and watching it all from this hotel room radiator and l reckon something snaps inside me. I’ve watched this kind of madness too many times before as a young kid. I’m a lot bigger now and I rush him and tackle him onto the bed, crying and mumbling something stupid, like, ‘I’ve seen you do that to my Mom too many times’. I’ll never forget – he’s got this look on his face like a slight smile and surprise all at the same time.

Multiple times I hit him with my fists, lost in my own anger, my tears dropping down on his face. Mom moves from the bed and stands crying in the corner of the hotel room.

Soon, Dad is not moving. I must have connected with a vulnerable spot on his head. It’s like he just turns his head over to the side and goes to sleep.

Seconds pass and I realize what has happened. I’ve attacked my own father and knocked him out. His pulse is okay, and I feel a bit better. After several anxious minutes of trying to revive him, I tell our little group that Dad will be crazy mad when he comes around so we likely should leave.

We hustle out of Dad’s room and loudly close the door. I feel bad leaving him unconscious on the bed, but more afraid of what he might do when he comes out of it and we’re still there.

Mom cries all the way down in the elevator, and we go unnoticed out a side entrance of the lobby.

I drive my Cousin and his sister home, and, except for the sound of the car engine, no one makes a sound. Tears flow down our faces, and the only sounds in the car are from our sniffing. We all hug and kiss each other when they get out of the car at their place.

Next, I drive Mom to her folks’ place some forty miles away.

We give Grandma and Grandpa all the news about our fateful visit with Dad, and they’re madder than hornets in a whirl-wind. ‘Is he dead?’ ‘Is he alive?’ They want to know. I ask Mom to promise me she’ll stay with the grandparents until she hears from me. There’s no way Dad, assuming I didn’t kill him, would want to go around Grandpa because of a fight they had some years back. Grandpa gave Dad quite a whipping.

After a few more tears are shed, I take off. Mom pleads with me to stay but she can’t talk me out of leaving. I’m worried about my dad and want to go back to the Hooper Hotel and check on him.

Beneath my tousled blond hair, my head inside is churning with thoughts as I drive back to the hotel. The closer I get, the more I become anxious and fearful of what I’ll find.

There’s this grim need to know about my Dad, whether he’s okay or dead. I’m a sturdy 6’2” young man now, 185 pounds, playing quarterback as a Sophomore at Garden View University. It’s difficult to calculate how hard I hit my Dad – I feel like a part of me was holding back.

There is just no way to forget what I did in that hotel room. Now, after a few hours, I’m making a return visit to the Hooper Hotel. I need to know, one way or another, about my Dad. Is he alive? Is he dead? Despite losing it and hitting him, I still love my Dad. Guess I should hate him, but I don’t. Seeing Mom so fearful and frozen in place I denied my own fear and went after my Dad.

I park Mom’s car fifty feet down the street from the Hooper Hotel and walk to the side entrance into the lobby.

The elevator is on the lobby level as if waiting for me. On Dad’s floor, the elevator comes to a stop, doors open, and my heart jumps into my mouth as I reflexively take a step forward!

My Dad is standing in front of me, his eyes blinking like he is trying to clear his head.

“You coming off of the elevator, young fellow?” Dad asks in an impatient and impersonal tone.

He wrinkles his brow as he notices the apparent surprise on my face. “You all right, boy?”

“Dad, it’s me!”

He did a fast look behind him like I was talking to someone else.

Dad blinks some more. “You’re mixed up, boy, I don’t have a son. Now, stay in the elevator or get out. I fell and cracked my head…have to get it taken care of.”

“But, Dad, I hit you when you hurt Mom. You slapped her so hard I was worried for her. I must have given you a concussion. I just couldn’t stand by and watch you hurt her. Please let me help you!”

Dad grabs my arm and pulls me out of the elevator onto the hallway carpeting. “Told you, boy, I’ve got no son.” He goes into the elevator, pushes the lobby button on the control panel and is gone.

I can’t say how long I stand rooted to that spot in front of the elevator. I’m aware enough to know that there are other people entering and exiting the elevator while I’m standing there. I’m dumbfounded by Dad’s reaction – He seemed so sure about what he was saying.

Finally, worried sick, I take the stairs down seven floors and walk out the hotel’s side lobby entrance. My befuddled mind is on automatic pilot and leads me down the street to Mom’s car. At least, I know he’s alive. Guess that’s something of a relief.

When I pull away from the curb, confused and frightened, I drive around aimlessly, turning left here, turning right there, lost in cascading thoughts, my mind reviewing over and over the events of the day.

I drive for miles not mindful of where I’m going. Tears flow until my eyes get all misty and puffy from rubbing them with my shirt sleeve. My brain tells me to pull off the road.

I’m somewhere out in the ‘boonies’. There is an old rutted country farm road, and I turn onto the dirt and gravel, drive a quarter mile and notice that, suddenly, I can’t see. I’m in an ultra-thick cloud bank of fog, suddenly frightened by the swift change in weather and mad at myself for being so self-absorbed I let this happen.

Yes, I know! I know! How does one get so locked onto something in his mind that he doesn’t know where he is? It’s crazy, but it happened!

At this point I’m crawling along, the car barely moving, trying to see, wiping the built-up vapor off the inside windshield, hoping for better vision. After a few moments, I see the futility in my feeble efforts, utter a not-so-nice but appropriate word for the ugly foggy dilemma.

I carefully edge to what I hope is the outer side of the country road, get out of the car, touch the hood metal, holding on to the only reality given to me at the moment.

Standing there, leaning on the car’s hood, my Dad’s face flashes in front of me in the darkness and fog, along with snakes, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and other beasts of the world. I cannot see my hand when I hold it out in front of me. There is a most vivid sense of desperation.

With Dad’s face, there comes to my mind some bad recalls of life with my Dad in it, not long after the ugly divorce. I push those bad thoughts away and force myself to think of the good moments.

Much of those times were rough, but there were tender moments as well – farther back in youth, when Dad bought me the little boy’s gray suit with a gray hat, and he called me his little business man. He took many pictures of me with a cigarette dangling from my six-year old lips, pictures on train-rides, car-rides while on the way to visit his parents, my grandparents, his nearly-blind grandmother, my great-grandmother. They lived north of Knoxville some sixty miles, near the Kentucky border.

On one visit he drove us off the main US highway into the hills of High Cliff, TN. We stopped not too far from the turnoff in an area of open fields and meadows. The bucolic scene presented to my young mind cows grazing in the meadows among huge oak trees, and there was this lonely looking clapboard house setting alone on this small knoll. Dad’s sweet old grandmother sat on an old rickety wooden porch that had an excellent chance of falling plank by plank to the ground below. She had a lovely weathered and leathery face, was almost blind and sat in an old wooden rocking chair. She looked so frail behind the horn-rimmed spectacles she wore.

She was so beautiful sitting in that home-made rocking chair on that wood-warped porch, like a picture in sepia tone, like a scene in an old-time movie. She sat there with a corn cob pipe in the corner of her mouth. She was in her nineties, and Dad had to get within inches of her face before she knew we were there. She squinted and finally recognized Dad.

She formed a sweet smile on her face, hugged him with shaky thin arms coming out of the gingham dress sleeves. “That you, Thomas? Lawdy, mercy me! you are a sight for these sore eyes.” She had a thin, squeaky voice that seemed a whisper. She used up a lot of breath as she talked and maintained that sweet smile.

She then peripherally noticed me, made over me as well, and I felt an awesome sense of history – the events, all the things she had seen in her long lifetime, things I would one day study. In the remembrance, it was all so nostalgic, dream-like, and, looking back, it somehow had a time-travel feel for me, so quiet, serene, like pages of history flipping backward. Those time-worn wrinkles on her bony arms and face, the faded gingham dress, her gray-hair in a bun on the back of her head, and the slow steady motion of her rocking chair as her eyes fixed on the parts of her life that were important to her. Her time was almost used up, but she would keep rocking on that graying rough-plank porch, smoking her corn cob pipe, looking out over the blurry land playing back misty memories.

Funny, how wonderfully that memory is so vivid in my mind, so fresh and firmly planted. A country song by Alan Jackson playing on the car radio is all I need to complete my ensemble of fuzzy thoughts and tears. Guess that might say something about my southern genes.

A few happy times flashed by, those times when we played at being a family, without the tempestuous flares of raw emotions: the Saturday movie matinees; Mom and Dad smiling happily when my sister and I danced to the radio; when I attempted to write a poem; the endless questions I asked of them both – the insatiable curiosity that stayed steady on a little boy’s mind.

I love them both so much, and, now, my father has no son.

The tears do not stop until my mind reminds me of where I am, in the middle of proverbial nowhere with only those scary image-flashes coming at me from too much eye concentration, and those conjured up memories that are both keepers and throwaways.

So, the world can be dark and foggy, and, maybe, reasons for standing in the darkness and fog are not so simple.

Standing at the front of the car, measuring each stride, I take a few steps, pivot, return to the car, do the same strides on each side of the car. Feeling secure enough that the car was far enough off the road, I climb into the back seat, and lock the doors.

Assuming a fetus position on the backseat, I try desperately not to think any more about past events, the present, and the future. I can wait out the darkness and the fog.

Tomorrow will come, and the sun will replace the dismal darkness and fog with thoughts of hope.

I love my Mom and Dad.

Maybe I still have both to love.

-END OF CHAPTER ONE-

Let me know what you think! My best wishes to all.

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 7, 2018

Please preview my books at:

https://billyraychitwood.com

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My Favorite Writing Spot

My Favorite Writing Spot

 

Artists find favorite spots to paint, by the sea, in a park, a mountaintop, or a kitchen (thinking ‘still life’ with apples, bananas, cherries because I’m hungry for them). Writers must need their favorite spots as well.

Most of my writing has come in the last twenty years, much of it stored in 8″X10″ cardboard manuscipt boxes until one was published in 1995. The others have been gathering dust until just the last few years. When I reached the Sea of Cortez, it seems my need to write increased along with my desire. And, write I have.

There are sixteen books finished now, fourteen fictional, two non-fiction with just a few final touches left, and another ficttional manuscript just recently started. It has dawned on me, what the artists have apparently known for all these years, that a writer must find a spot that agrees with her or his motivational make-up, her or his health, her or his moods, her or his changing priorities. I’m convinced that the sea is my favorite spot, because I’ve never enjoyed the ‘flow’ of writing that I feel here, the phrases that seem to effortlessly come out and please me. Yes, I know, they ‘please me’, but they might not find the same measure of enjoyment in others eyes.

I find myself wondering why this is so, why one can find a spot where writing becomes more natural and rhythmic in its outpouring. Perhaps it is because I can see from my penthouse deck the horizon there in the distance, and my mind is free to roam toward that far off spot and grab from the passing zephyrs those little gems of words and phrases that go by as though on currents of their own. Perhaps it is because I do not feel hemmed in on all sides so my mind is keenly aware that the horizon and all beyond are mine but for the asking there in my imagination. Pehaps it is because it is so beautiful here by the sea where the villas touch the sand, where the beach hawkers sell their wares among the sun worshipers, where there playing upon the water are jet skis, sail boats, yachts, and the large twin yellow ‘banana boats’ that toss the squealing young adults into the choppy waters.

Whatever it is, the transparency of my delight must indeed be obvious. I’m a wordsmith at his favorite spot, doing what it is that he perceives he does best. My only wish now is to have my writing enjoyed by many, as many as I might be allowed by the God of that distant horizon on the glorious Sea of Cortez.

Billy Ray Chitwood – Written in 2012 on The Sea of Cortez

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