Tag: brchitwood

The Aberrant Knight

Photo Art by: Thomas Kinto – Unsplash

 

The Aberrant Knight

 

There’s ‘a man’ I met in a book where his dream and thought became one, a place in his fertile mind where a noble nomadic fool chases imagined windmills in the night, whose mind is inured to reality, who wishes to bring peace to himself, to the tired and weary peasants who labor in their masters’ causes.

 

‘He’ listened while walking the long tedious furrows of their labors and heard their soft voices humming, some singing in soulful whispers ballads of meager yesterdays or the bright tomorrows that never came. They were silent men and women who could not put the finesse, the literacy in their constant thoughts, but they bled when their skin were torn and their bodies ached from the long days in the shallow pits. Their dreams were not so unlike those who had means for fulfilling their wistful longings of the mind and of the soul, those whose fates were more clearly wise and defined.

 

‘The man’ I met in a book took me along for his evening rides, he on the back of his simple donkey, me in the adorned and flashy saddle of my great golden steed.

 

‘The gentle man’ would finally die a sorrowful and most lonely death, leaving a piece of his heart with me…

 

I have chased those windmills ‘the man’ left inside my mind. I have walked the furrowed land, heard the soft humming and singing in the pits and I fear my fate will differ little from that man who would be the patrician knight of us all.

 

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 2, 2019

 

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Loco en La Cabeza

27216-198 

Loco en La Cabeza

(Crazy in The Head)

 

The night became a whispering madness, a maelstrom that just might take me down its tube to hell and damnation while giving me pre-glimpses of the fire and brimstone awaiting my arrival…

 

I begin this post with a sparse attention-getter!

Well, my fevered-mind lives for these little de-facto moments, but, then, that’s what I do: I embellish. I’m an author of fictional crimes that are given birth from real true-life episodes from the underbelly of human existence. Are the books of Grade-A quality? Likely not, when one looks at the sales figures. Nonetheless, that is what I do and so enjoy doing, writing, putting my embellishing style on the words and phrases, hoping to create an appropriate atmosphere for the scenes I’m writing.

It is difficult to detach oneself from his writing and his wiring. My wiring has so many complicated turns and twist I’ve spent a wary and cautionary lifetime trying to figure me out…still, trying, for that matter. If I have learned anything in this lifetime it is this: if one has no heavy baggage, like, criminal and evil activities, it is quite okay to be who the hell you reckon yourself to be, that is, only if who you are not wreaking havoc on others…

Are you sufficiently pissed at me by now? Am I not making any sense to you, or, certainly, not enough to hold your interest?

Good!

Good, if you’re sticking around to see where I’m going with this post. Hopefully, you’re in for a treat, he writes with some degree of uncertainty himself of where the hell he’s going with this post.

I can at least promise you this, we will, all two of us, be joyful at the conclusion.

Okay, where was I?

Oh, my writing and my wiring, or, in better order, my wiring and my writing!

It is my theory that anyone who presumes to be a writer, should be able to take any phrase uttered by anyone (CAUTION! duplicate word in the same sentence!) and write a comprehensive and intelligent post from that phrase.

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned the aforementioned tip as good practice for would-be writers, giving practice to narrative stretching. It works for me – but, then, if no one likes it, maybe it does not work. But, someone (me) does like it, so that’s enough.

Writing is one of the most popular hobbies and occupations in which one can become interested…you can kill a lot of your ‘live-in demons’ with writing. Published or not published, writing is a rewarding and self-satisfying habit to get into – imagine all the diaries being kept across the world, how titillating some of those entries just might be.

About my wiring, I’ve come to accept my vagabond ways, my need to cross more mountains, my emotional edginess and wariness, those conflicting, wonderful moments of happiness and joy, my wonderful kids, my wife (okay, wives!), and the enduring heap of words I’ve piled up in my lifetime… You folks out there reading this wholesome post should be reading my books. I’ve tried to follow Ernest Hemingway’s and Andrew Joyce’s advice, write drunk, edit, sober! (Truth be known, some of my better stuff was written while a bit tipsy! That is, until my own writing began to serve as the ‘high’!)

Don’t be surprised to see the first paragraph of this post in a book I might publish in the future. I shall certainly be surprised if you are surprised and remember that opening paragraph and this rather ‘run-on’ post. But, come on now, folks, it is writing, and I am showing and telling my blog audience important tidbits.

Come on, you can give me that!

Always, my best wishes.

 

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 24, 2019

 

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‘All Author’ Interview With BR Chitwood – Author

‘ALL AUTHOR’ AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

AA Question: How passionate are you about writing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AA Question: Are you currently working on anything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted by: BR Chitwood – June 26, 2019

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Down and Deep

 

Down and Deep

Down and Deep, in shadowy Soul of Man,

Among wanton desires and greed,

Can there be a winsome plan

For Love and nascent need?

Can some benign and gentle force

In shapeless wonderment

Come to settle in due course

Fulfilling noble Testament?

Were we to call such Phenomena

A Deity from No Time and Space

Would we be judged Anathema

Or God’s servant full of grace?

Wander and wonder we through ageless

Eons of Earthen causes and effects

Glimpsing beauty and sages

Man’s mortal goodness and defects.

Until the Orb upon which we dwell,

Spins one last earthly time

And settles some in Hell,

Others in Heaven’s Holy Clime.

On a long-ago parchment it is said

Man’s search for the Holy Grail

Doth lead Man to dread

The fiery furnace of Hell.

So, see wonders of this ageless Orb

Listen to the music of your Soul

Allow not your lives absorb

The leaf of the Lotus toll.

BR Chitwood – June 24, 2019

 

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Why am I Still Alive?

Why Am I Still Alive?

Ah, let me list the ways!

Why am I still alive?

To annoy people who tire of my sometimes pedantic and/or melancholy matters of the heart and mind!

A mechanic will tell you what’s wrong with your car, often times, not words you wish to hear!

“A cracked engine, you say! My God, man, don’t tell me that! Can’t you caulk it, put cement along the crack and seal it? I drove it in here! It was running fine! I just wanted gas! Now, you give me more gas than I wanted! You must be wrong! My engine cannot be cracked! I just drove this car off the showroom floor! You’re mad! Yor’re a scoundrel!”

Now, a noble ‘Romantic’ comes along to tell you that his words can bring you joy! If not joy, his words can bring you sadness! If not sadness, his words will speak to you of murder and mayhem, of love lost, regained! If not sadness, his words will squeal with fashioned glee he has never truly felt! But, then, what is a writer for but to create whatever it is you wish to feel!

Why am I still alive?

I’m still alive because I must, I need, I require before saying goodbye to my three fans and these earthly orbits a ‘Best Seller’ – allow me to repeat that, please: I must, I need, I require before saying goodbye to my four friends – I picked one up with just these first few lines – a BEST SELLER!

I’m still alive because I’m told by the Gods on Olympus that my time won’t be up until the frost on all pumpkins dehydrate at the same time and the world of Halloween knows no bounds. The Gods tell me I can even create an event that does not even exist!

Yes, it’s true! Take, for example, the fine scholar of a gentleman (or, perhaps, lady, for I know not the gender of ‘Anon’) who wrote: “Life is really simple! We people insist on making It complicated.”

Oh, where was I?

Oh, yes! The mind goes, you say, so it is written that I must be on way to death’s uncertain embrace! Yet, still, I beg to stay for that BEST SELLER! And, I shall stay until you merry lads and lassies fulfill that dream I carry in this villainous old head of mine… Oh, that reminds me, you get to see the steady decline of my head (that is to say, my brain!) but only after you give me my BEST SELLER!

So, ask not what you can do for other authors! Ask what you can dor for me!!!

I’m now working on my seventeenth novel! It is also that golden moment I’ve written of in this brilliant post: it is that BEST SELLER of which I speak…with the understanding that books I’ve already written should have had that high rank of BEST SELLER!

But, I shall trifle no longer with my quaint words which the Gods of Olympus provided me!

My acquaintances tell me that my subtlety is one of my finer traits, along with the ‘boy scout’ honor I’ve carried with me all these many years!

So, had you expected more than I’ve given here, I truly would like to be sorry! But, the Gods on Olympus speak to me directly and tell me not to be sorry! That, they say, shows weakness in my character. The Gods on Olympus also tell me leave now whilst I still might add my fifth friend.

The foregoing words relate so much better than I could speak it to you: Why I’m Still Alive! (Until age, 105, I hasten to say!)

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 16, 2018

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BUY MY BOOKS

BUY MY BOOKS

Guess it could be considered foolhardy to look too far into the future when you’re old in age but young in heart. Whether it is or it isn’t, if you’re breathing and still have a working mind, use every millimeter of it. AND, go BIG in your thinking and planning. It’s just as easy to think BIG as it is to think small.

So, here’s what I’m thinking…

Get all your friends together, ALL of you, and insist, by cajoling, by insisting, by threatening loss of friendship, by any means available to you, except, of course, mind-altering drugs, weaponry of any kind, or, poisons of any kind.

Now that you’ve got all of your friends together, ALL of you, brain-whip them into buying BR Chitwood’s books, either paperback or e-book.

‘WHY’? You Ask!

Because it’s simply the right thing to do! They will see how a most worthy author writes excellent books, nay, quintessential books, literary quality (though lacking leather covers!), and for the price that one might pay for apple pie al a mode or a small pack of lung-oxidizing cigarettes…that is, if anyone smokes these days – it’s been thirty-five years since I gave them up. And, I had just bought a pack…crushed them with one hand. But, back to ‘breathing and working minds’ and ‘buying my books’!

‘BUT, WHY’? You ask again. So, being the right thing to do is not enough! Then, gracious! Think of book stores, of those unseen electronic elves that magically form the words onto a screen attached to a ‘mis-nomered’ tablet and/or laptop…did you know that a “‘killer whale’ is a ‘misnomer’ for what is one of the gentlest marine creatures known to man?” Actually, that is a very good description of my books (NOT, the ‘marine creature’ thingy!) AND a good reason for you, ALL your friends and all your neighbors to BUY my books. Hope I didn’t make you think of going to Sea-World…that’s much more expensive than buying my books.

Now, go back and read the first line of this missive! I believe you folks to be good and honest people, so I ask you, did I not convince you to buy my books?

It’s not easy to make a fool of oneself, but for the sake of my books I’ll do that in the very next blog post I write but, for now, think of these good reasons I’ve given you here to buy my books.

‘Dimwittingly’ yours!

BR Chitwood – September 11, 2018

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The Cargo

The Cargo 

The man stopped, turned, shook his head, scanned the horizon 180 degrees, pivoted, and continued walking.

After twenty paces Adrian Jacobs stopped again, repeated his scanning of the horizon. In a low voice, he spoke to himself, “What is it? What’s this crawling, gnawing feeling matching each step I take? Did I forget something? Leave something behind? What the hell’s eating at me? Dammit! I’ve been here   before! Something is wrong! Am I being forewarned? What? Is my mind playing with me?”

The escarpment was just ahead! He dreaded the trek down the steep incline, but he would not want to climb back up the damned thing! He almost lost it on the way up, thought he was going to pass out, die, have a stroke, just not ever again! Next time, a helicopter!

There was a boulder on his left. He would sit for a while, clear his mind, re-think it all. He was bone weary after the past few hours. He had to be sure! Too damned many moving pieces! He had to sort them all out, make sure he was not missing something!

He sat on the boulder, took a deep breath, and looked at the valley down below. Lights were beginning to twinkle in this early stage of twilight, dusk not far away. He needed to get started down the slope before darkness came. Weather didn’t appear to be a problem, but he needed to be at least halfway down the slope before he used the flashlight.

“Okay,” he spoke again, quietly to himself, “let’s go over the inventory…” He closed his eyes, projected in his mind the steps he took since leaving the car parked and hidden down below. What? He looked at his watch – nearly five hours so far.

“Car in garage. Nobody saw cargo loaded in trunk of car! Check, 100% sure!”

“Nothing left inside Allie’s patio home to implicate her or him! Check! 100% sure!”

“Car not followed! Check! 100% sure!”

“No one saw him on the up-slope. Check! Toughest part! Heavy-load, with a few stumbles! 99% sure!”

“Cargo buried deep in secluded spot Allie picked out at the far-end of Molar Peak! Check! 100% sure!”

“Information not shared with anyone! Check! 100% sure!

Adrian smiled… “What the hell am I worried about? It’s clean! Like a whistle, it’s clean! This time next week Allie and I will be on the white-sand beach in Aruba, sunning and splashing in those incredible powder-blue waves! I’ve been paid well! Wonder where Allie got the money? Not to worry! Said she would explain later!”

Adrian lifted his sore, well-worn body from the boulder, endured a sharp, involuntary pain in his solar plexus area, stretched, winced, and began his hike down the slope. He scattered loose gravel with each step, and the over-amplified sound filled the early night air, eerie in its hollowness. As the daylight still allowed he kept a wary eye out for rattlesnakes. This was the time of day when they came out from under a mesquite bush or rock to forage for food.

He hated snakes! But this little trip was worth the effort! He sang softly some tunes he knew, hoping to keep the snakes away.

Adrian stopped. Darkness was coming fast upon him…faster than he imagined. Vision was becoming a problem. He would need the flashlight and he had not yet reached the half-way point. He did not want the light to reach curious campers who might be nearby. Considering the time of day and inevitability of darkness he would have to use the flashlight. He did not want someone noticing a light and mistaking it for an SOS signal.

As darkness came the flashlight beam seemed brighter and more encompassing in its breadth of coverage, but he knew he had no choice but to use it. Otherwise, his footing and his balance would surely fail him. He also knew there were a few scattered cabins nearby that would possibly have the tenants sitting on their decks watching the night unfold and peering into the sky. Some, indeed, might have telescopes for their amateur star-gazing. No matter, the flashlight must be on for him to safely make his way down the steep slope. He simply had no choice, and the odds would certainly be in his favor. The cargo took longer to haul up that slope than he thought.

On he slowly moved down the slope, slipping, stumbling at times, the gravel sounds reaching decibels very loud to his ears So focused on his decline and the noise element, he paused at times, switching off the flashlight, standing still and waiting for the gravel rush to stop, listening intently for other possible sounds.

Hearing no sounds, seeing faint lights too far off to matter, he continued down the slope.

Amid his step-crunches and the gravel-rush, his mind began to play tricks on him. He heard or thought he heard hissing noises in the brush nearby. He stood motionless, perspiration blurring his blinking eyes, concentrating on the perceived noises around him. He heard only the slight stir of a zephyr floating by or a distant caw of a bird.

He took a tentative step down the slope and felt a sharp sting in his left calf.

He let escape a loud unwanted yelp! The yelp blended with unmistakable sounds of rattlers. Then, there came another   sharp sting on the right calf.

“Ow! Oh, my God!” His mind began to remind him of all the stories he heard from people or read in Arizona newspapers about rattlesnake bites, how fast they entered the nervous system and rendered one immobile. He felt another stab of pain to his left ankle. He started to dash down the slope but fell and tumbled head-long into the brush and gravel in front of him. A cholla shrub sent cactus needles into his arms and face. Some fifty yards down through cholla, sagebrush, and gravel his body slammed into the thicker thorns of a saguaro cactus. 

Barely conscious he felt the bloat of his calves and ankles, the blood on his upper torso and face from the thorny saguaro. He lay on his back looking up into the starry skies and felt his life draining from his body. “Oh, God!” He softly murmured, “not like this, please!”

He tried to move, but some parts of his body were broken. He lay there, short gasps emitting from a mouth now with tongue swollen and his energy gone. His mind caressed the final irony of his life. For once, he was to become someone, wealthy, free to be noble of gesture for worthy causes. He was to have Allie, someone beautiful to love and show off to the world.

In his dying throes he managed a weak smile and a mild ‘Ahh’ of capitulation to a God he once knew as a child. In a barely audible breath he muttered, “You are there after all!”

***

The next day, an Arizona newspaper’s first page lead head-line read: PAYROLL ROBBERY OF MAJOR INDUSTRY. In the smaller type below the headline, the copy read: ‘… No leads in the case.’

Two months later, on the society page, an Arizona newspaper announced the news of an ‘Allie McBride’ wedding, the bride a wealthy young lady of little history, the groom, an also rich and powerful politician in the state.

Six months later, on page five of an Arizona newspaper, a small headline spoke of a man’s bones being found on the steep eastern slope of ‘Molar Peak’. The DNA from the body’s remains gave no clue as to the identity of the man.

©The Cargo – A Short Story by BR Chitwood – August 27, 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

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https://billyraychitwood.com

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