95.9 The River!

For those of you unadventurous types that refuse to wake up at dawn, I was a guest this morning on the fabulous, local radio station: 95.9 THE RIVER to discuss my latest book; The Blood Red Box. I had first met Scott Mackay and Danielle Tufano while on a trip to the Dominican Republic, sponsored by the station. I met some really great people that week. Scott introduced himself to me in the pool one afternoon while hurling a pool-water-soaked ball at my face. Danielle, never without a drink in her hand, stayed clear from the boyish games. I have so many memories from that trip. None of which have anything to do with it being my honeymoon. Here are just a few…

It was a Wednesday. I know this because I remember saying, “hey! it’s Wednesday!” It was hot. The kind of hot that leaves you breathless. Our plan was to head down to the beach, but as we passed the pool, (the time being roughly 9: am) I proclaimed that I needed a drink. Upon submersion, I trudged to the bar and kindly requested a shot of Mamawana. This is a local concoction, made with rum and red wine. I was there at the bar with many others from the group until about 1:00 pm when I quietly announced that I needed to lie down. I went up to the room and passed out; not waking until the next day.

My final memory of that trip is also of the pool. You see, there was this ball. A beach ball if I remember correctly. Someone began hitting it up in the air to another person, attempting to keep it in the air. Before you know it, more and more people joined in until most, if not all of the 95.9 group were playing. Those that weren’t playing were counting how many hits until it hit the water. We were all drunk then too. Good times!

Thank you Scott and Danielle for the memories and the opportunity to talk about the book today.

Below is the conversation from this morning. Enjoy.

Keep out of reach of children

Consider the following statement: Keep Out of Reach of Children. This conjures up images of rat poison or drunken mothers with coinciding drug habits. Does her bottle of prescribed OxyContin really need to state this? She takes enough of it to know that she shouldn’t offer it up to her child. But I digress. This is not a treatise about your mom’s opiate addiction. In a world of keen insight and heightened, altered realities, a child’s safety is usually a priority of all parents. This is also true in my case. Perhaps more so. Allow me to explain…

My daughter Olivia has…well how should I say it, powers. Even as I write that I realize how completely fucked up that statement is, but I feel the urge, no, the outright obligation to inform you that I am all too truthful. So it is with extreme care and trepidation that I relate my story to you.

Now, it didn’t happen overnight to be sure. Her mother and I came to the understanding that little Olivia (then only five years old) was special, one morning during breakfast. She had already had two bowls of oatmeal with chocolate chips. My wife instructed her to rinse our her bowl and go brush her teeth, but Olivia stayed seated.

“I want more.” She exclaimed.

Her mother had told her no. It was then that Olivia’s demeanor changed. It was as if (this is hard) she became something or somebody else. At first, we did nothing. I simply shrugged it off as a temper tantrum. But when she floated up and across the kitchen to the cabinet where the oatmeal was kept, opened it and hefted out the box with ease, we took notice. The spoon and the bag of chocolate chips appeared in her hands as if she willed them to be there. I had to lift my wife off the floor after pouring a glass of cold water on her face. I was shocked certainly but relatively calm; calm for a man that just saw his five year old daughter levitating across the kitchen. Personally, I don’t think that oatmeal is that good to require such insistence, but who am I to judge. After the performance and certainly after my wife had regained her composure, Olivia sat and ate; looking at the colorful box of oatmeal as if what she had just done was okay with the world.

“I have to head out.” I told my wife. “Sam has got a shipment coming in and he wants me to inspect it.”

My wife glared at me as if I had just threw up on her. I had my bag around my shoulder and stepped towards the front door. I wasn’t able to comprehend this now. My wife was the more down-to-earth of the two of us. She would analyze this and find an explanation. I, on the other hand, would forget it ever happened. I would sit in my office and go threw the paperwork from the day’s shipment. Cross-reference buyers and sellers, phone numbers, and selling prices. Then once that was complete I would take a leisurely stroll through the warehouse to inspect the new acquisitions, safe in the knowledge that my daughter Olivia was possessed by Satan. I sent a text to Sam to inform him he was on his own for the day. I was embroiled in family matters.

Today, at the tender age of twelve, Olivia keeps her “special activities” mostly to herself. Unless of course she needs oatmeal or some boy in class needs his nose broke and she doesn’t want to get her hands dirty. We made the unwise decision to take our daughter to a therapist. I say this is unwise because the doctor thought we were crazy. Olivia did nothing to prove his theory to be incorrect. Olivia’s best friend Maria is the only other person that knows of Olivia’s gift. Let’s talk about this special gift shall we. My beautiful, young Olivia is of course able to float, or fly or whatever. You know that already. But that’s just the beginning. She can do things by just thinking about them. In many ways she attempts to brighten our lives. In the winter she warms my car before I leave, and makes sure all the roads a free of ice. But she can also be a pain. She will change the television channel if she chooses to, even if she’s in her room, just to be funny.

Another form of Olivia’s special gift, and the one aspect that her mother and I are must concerned of, is her ability to cause intense calamity. At twelve, my sweet Olivia has been going through some physical changes if you know what I mean. So once a month the house erupts in flames. She’s able to put it out quickly enough but it’s impossible to keep the carpet clean. On one particular afternoon at school. Olivia witnessed her best friend Maria knocked down by a gangly 8th grader by the name of Beatrice. Maria’s books scattered to the ground and Olivia stood rigid while Maria dusted herself off and look at her friend. I can handle this, she told Olivia and Olivia watched as the two grappled and pulled on each other’s hair. Maria was able to gain some balance and she threw a right hook at the older girl who dodged but the punch landed at her chest and she stumbled back slightly. Beatrice wasn’t strong but she was tall and awkward. Her extra long reach landed square on Maria’s chin, throwing her body back on to the grass of the playground. Olivia felt a shudder go through her like a bolt of energy. She stood in place waiting for a cue from Maria. But Maria was on her back, struggling to get up. Beatrice saw this as an opportunity and placed her inappropriately large foot on her neck. Maria’s eyes widened with fear as she fought for air. Olivia took a giant step forward.

“And what are you gonna do, retard?” Beatrice said with malice in her eyes. Olivia took another step forward and closed her eyes. The crowd of children that had gathered around them gasped in horror and ran away when the heard a crack and Beatrice fell to the ground. Both of her legs snapped forward awkwardly at the kneecaps. Olivia, as if it were nothing at all, lifted her friend off the ground and the two of ran home.

To be continued…

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

This book is fucked up! I mean that in every possible way imaginable. My reading preferences tend to vary but I usually stick to the themes that I enjoy. I have a tendency to focus more on the fantastic. What I mean is that if the story is so unbelievable, then I like it that much more. This story checked all the boxes. There’s a which with a curse, a New England town suffering from that curse. The human factor of this story hits you in the gut repeatedly. Go get it.

You had to be there…

As many of you may or may not know, I am a musician; a drummer. My band: Whiskey Road, played a show this last Saturday to a roaring crown of eager fans. This was our return to the stage from the lockdowns caused by COVID-19. I was nervous. Rightfully so because we had sold out the venue. I guess you could say it was nervous energy. I was excited to play; to be back on the stage with my brothers and sisters (not literal but more fraternal).

I was ready, to say the least. I arrived an hour ahead of schedule because I had a new set up in mind and I needed to have enough time if the set up didn’t work.. I lugged all my gear in (I need a roadie desperately) and began organizing the hardware on the riser. My back began to give me some trouble so I ordered a whiskey, cheeseburger and fries, and sat down for a moment. Let’s fast forward a bit…

With 15 minutes before we went on, I got dressed. My ensemble was black jeans, faded grey shirt, black leather vest, and an American flag scarf. I can tell you right now with all the humility in my heart, that I do not look good in leather. But the show must go on. We rocked the place. Other than a few minor problems that went unnoticed; it was really a remarkable show. Currently, my hands look like chewed hamburger. I should use that imagery in an upcoming story.

Later…

Sky Frogs (based on actual events)

I don’t believe in aliens. Let’s get that outta the way right quick. But when them frogs were fallin outta the damn sky, I lost my shit. Some idiot said it was some kinda weather thing. No sir! Them frogs were real and fallin from the friggin sky! Aint no weather can do that. I jumped out the truck and scooped five or six of em an threw em on the seat there. Whatcha gotta know is that these frogs here aint no normal reptiles. How do I know? Cause they friggin talk to me, that’s how I knows they aint no normal friggin frogs. The proof is there on the inside. Tommy Pistil came over last night an set about cuttin one open. Now, I aint what you call smart, but I know a real frog from an alien frog, an I’m tell you for sure that these frogs are settin to work some kinda magic or somethin.

Tommy grabbed a blade that I once used to peal somethin off my foot an set in to cuttin one open. Right down the friggin middle of it. He went to school an all so he’s knows all about frogs an shit. After he’d cut a big hole he showed me all the regular frog stuff like the guts an shit. He told me that it was a normal lookin frog. But the hell I say! That’s just what these frogs want us to be thinkin. If’n you was a frog from space, you’d be makin yourself look normal too. Tommy lost his shit an went inside to grab a beer. That’s when the friggin thing sat up and started in to speakin. I tell you right now. You don’t ever want to listen to frogs when they got that talkin shit goin on. Tommy came back out and I told him what was goin on with the dead frog and he laughed like he’d been listenin to one of them funny people on that you tube. I told him it was real and he fell back on a chair an opened his beer with his one tooth that points kinda outward like.

Ma came out an set about yellin somethin fierce. Why were we messin with all these frogs an shit? I told her they was from Pluto or some place like that an she lost her shit too. Everybody’s losin their shit over frogs that aint normal. I put the rest a them frogs in a shoe box my old man had left me in case any a them frogs fell outta the sky and I went inside. Aint nobody gonna tell me that sky frogs are like normal frogs. Now, I sleep like a baby or some shit like that. But that night I couldn’t sleep at all. I kep hearing that frog talk comin from the box, an there was a little shinin too like the moon had been in the box with em. I sat up an looked inside that box and you know what, those frogs were playin poker. Not hold ’em, but regular poker, like draw or some shit. They all looked up at me with that froggy look and told me to go the fuck away. An you know what I did? I kicked them friggin frogs in the friggin teeth. Aint no sky frog gonna mess with my sleepin. No sir.

Coming soon to your bookstores and bookshelves!

In a cold, dark basement a 13 year old girl sits on an uneven bed; cold and afraid. Unfortunately she is not there because she wants to be. She has been kidnapped. Taken by a man wearing a mask and disguising his voice. The man hasn’t hurt her but she knows that if she doesn’t do what the man says, he will. She is unaware of how long she has been there. Her only hope of survival lies with the man that took her. Eighteen years later, Charity Daniels suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. She has no recollection of the ordeal. All she knows is that she isn’t well. Has she ever been well? With help from her therapist, Charity begins to remember things; small things at first. As her past comes back to her, Charity comes face to face with the knowledge of why she was taken, and by whom.

Do I know you?

You’re watching me. I can see that you’re watching me. I saw you the moment I stepped on the train. The puzzle here isn’t necessarily that I know that you’re watching me, but that you know that I know. What is it about me that makes you so interested? Is it my hair? I did just have it cut recently. When was that? Tuesday? Is it the way I walk? I have a slight limp on my left foot from slipping on the ice just this morning. Perhaps it’s my eyes. Yes, my eyes. I get complimented all day long on my eyes. They are grey if you must know. No, I do not believe it is any of those things. I get a sense that you are watching me because you are following me. Yes, you were there when I came out of my apartment this morning on my way uptown. You watched me as I entered the bookshop for some light holiday reading. You followed me too close as I entered the parking garage. I heard the door open and close while I was walking up the stairwell. Was that you? Of course it was. You saw me enter her apartment. Then you watched as I left and followed me here to the train station. But what you didn’t see, my friend, is what I did to her; while she slept. After I sliced her from from her neck to her ribcage, I took her eyes. I fed them to the pigeons outside her window. She was watching me as well. But not any longer. So, my friend, my advice to you is this. Keep watching me.

Business as usual.

The man in the dark grey suit entered the hotel lobby and made for the elevators. Rom 407, he was told. The hotel was bustling with tourists. The man couldn’t care less. His job kept him away from such tawdry elements of society. He seemed to go unnoticed as he pushed the button to bring the car to the lobby. He waited patiently, controlling his breathing. Looking to his left, he spied the hotel’s bar. He made a mental note to have a quick drink after the job was over. Perhaps some soft company to go with it.

The bell announced that the car had arrived. The door opened and he stepped inside.

“Hold the elevator, please!” Shouted a portly man with greasy balding black hair.. He was wet from the use of the hotel’s Olympic size pool. “Thank you.” He said. The man nodded and pressed the button for the 4th floor.

“How convenient.” Said the man in the grey suit as he smiled at his good fortune.

“What’s that?” The fat man said, looking up at him through fogged black rimmed glasses.

“I won’t have to break into your room to kill you.”

The fat man smiled nervously at what he assumed was some kind of a joke. He didn’t notice the knife grey suit had slipped out of his pocket. He certainly didn’t notice when it was plunged into his neck. He was dead before he had the opportunity to resist. The man in the grey suit continued his ride to the 4th floor. Exiting quickly, he ran to the stairwell and traversed to the building’s rooftop, taking the stairs two at a time. Using the suitcase placed there for him, he quickly changed clothes and calmly strolled down to the hotel bar. She was blonde. They were always blonde. He liked them that way.

A Slice of Death. A small excerpt from a current project.

My fingers tingled as I touched her skin. I thought this would feel a bit odd but I was s wrong; it’s incredibly odd. She had only fallen asleep but an hour ago. She will sleep longer now. Much longer. I had come for the book but was quickly distracted by this slumbering angel. I quelled an inner turmoil that raged inside me to reveal my self to her as she strolled about her home unaware of my presence. I hid behind an antique armoire until she was fully asleep. The dream she is having now will be her reality for all eternity. Pity, I would like to have known her. She wasn’t supposed to be home. I cursed myself for not being prepared for this mishap and stuffed the book into my bag. There was a half finished glass of warm whiskey on her night stand. Seeing this made me somewhat sad. Had her life been so terrible that she required this to dull some unknown pain? In her honor, I finished it for her. Bourbon, nothing exotic. It was then that I noticed a framed photo set on top of her dresser and moved closer to view it. She was smiling under a cold winter sun, next to a man I knew nothing about. They seemed happy enough then. I went back to sit beside her on her bed. She was still warm. Some other unworthy individual might be so inclined to perform some repulsive act. Not me. I wished to keep her. He skin glistened with a iridescence that seemed to illuminate from within. She may be gone, but she wasn’t coming home, not tonight anyway.

The Blood Red Box has arrived

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I’ve had a few minor medical issues but all is well. But all is not well with our friend Walter Kirk. He has stumbled upon a world unlike anything he has seen before. A mid level attorney at a prestigious law firm, Walter stumbles upon a mystery that takes him to the far corners of his own perceived reality. At the center of this mystery is a box. Walter must choose whether the box contains his salvation or his ultimate demise.