“Twenty Bucks Says…”

I’ve never done meth but the look on this guy’s face is exactly what I would expect once he realized what he had tweaked himself into.

According to the Smoking Gun referenced below, Mr. Kelly, Doug to his friends, called the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Florida (of course) because he thought his methamphetamine dealer, lets call him Kevin, sold him some bad shit. He called the cops after having a bad reaction to his score and wanted his stash tested to make sure it wasn’t something dangerous…that’s something more dangerous than methamphetamines… Kelly is forty-nine years old. At his age, a strong cup of coffee could make his heart explode…

I doubt this is in any way how the real story went down but if it were me; this is how I would want to tell it once we started sharing war stories at the bar.

Detectives Penhall and Hanson (Names changed to protect the innocent) were in the office cleaning up some reports when the phone rang. Penhall picked it up,

“Narcotics, Penhall?” the call was from dispatch. Penhall listened for almost thirty seconds before laughing, “Oh absolutely put him through,” He picked up a paper clip and threw it at Hanson.

Hanson looked up about to say, “What the fuck?” but Penhall had his index finger to his lips.

Penhall put the desk phone on speaker, “This is Detective Doug Penhall, how can I help you?”

The caller’s breath was clipped and heavy in the phone, “Uhh, yeah, uhh, can you guys help me? I’m not feelin too good, I think my guy screwed me,”

“What do you mean Sir?”

“I bought some crank from him last week, I think he gave me some bad shit, Flacca maybe. My freakin heart is beating like crazy,”

Penhall bounces his eyebrows toward Hanson who immediately threw crossed forearms over his chest. Penhall’s eyebrows scrunched as he put the guy on mute, “What?”

Hanson jabbed his finger at the phone, “Twenty bucks says you can’t talk that guy into bringing his shit to us,” he slid back in his chair to relish in the challenge.

“Fifty says I can,” Penhall shot back, grinning. He took the phone off mute, “That’s not good Sir, that Flacca is nothing to mess with. How much have you done?”

“Umm, only one quick hit. I knew it was off, now I can’t freaking keep my hands from shaking,”

“How much you got left?”

“Couple ounces,”

“It’s a good thing you called; we’ve been having trouble with some bad reactions lately. You should really get that stuff checked out. I got a test right here. I don’t mind doing it, better safe than sorry,”

The caller sighed, “That’d be real cool of you man,”

“Yeah, I’m right downtown, you know how to get here?”

“I do,” the caller sounded excited to answer the question correctly.

“Great, what’s your name so I can come down and meet you,”

The caller paused, “Uh, well, I don’t know if I should give you my name,”

“Why not?”

“Cause I’m talking about drugs with you…um,”

Hanson was grinning, flapping his hands together like he was making it rain.

Penhall shot him the finger.

“Oh that,” he said, “Don’t worry about that I don’t need your name, just ask for me when you get here,”

Another pause, “Uh-okay,”

“Ok, you good to drive?”

“My mom said she’d drive me,” Penhall had to gulp air to keep from losing it, “That’s a great lady right there, Sir,”

“She is,”

“Ok, you on your way,”

“Be there in a little while,”

When the line went dead Penhall stood and took a bow before holding out his waiting hand palm up.

“He’s not here yet,” warned Hanson.

“Money in the bank,” said Penhall.

“You really think some dipshit, even that one, or his mom is going to deliver us a couple of ounces of meth?”

Penhall interlocked his fingers behind his head and leaned back in his chair, “I do, he will,” he said confidently.

“Better be good for it,”

They had paperwork to finish but all the expectant, and or suspicious, cops did for the next twenty-five minutes was watch the cheap clock hanging over the door to the squad bay. When the phone rang Hanson leaped at it, but Penhall was faster, “Just not your day bro,” he quipped, “this is Penhall,” he listened, “Yeah Sarge, I’ll be right down,” Penhall hung up the phone then spun gracefully in his chair to face his partner, “You need to stop at the ATM on the way down?” he asked.

Hanson was smiling now too, “Let’s see what we got,”

In the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office Penhall and Hanson found a middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair and shifty feet looking around like a prairie dog popping out of his hole to check for hawks.

“He’s gonna bolt,” said Hanson.

“He still brought it,”

“Deals not done until it’s in your hands,”

“Deals done,” Penhall smiled broadly, “Sir, you the one that needed our help?” he asked.

“You Penhall,” the guy’s pupils were big as saucers and his eyes darted back and forth between the two detectives like he was watching the fastest ping pong game in history.

“I am, lets go back and see if we can’t figure out what you’ve got,”

Penhall started leading the man back to the office.

“Where’s mom?” asked Hanson drawing a low growl from his partner.

The guy looked at him suspiciously.

Too late for second thoughts now, numnuts, Hanson kept that comment to himself.

“Waiting in the car,” he finally said.

“Smart, I’m Tom,” Hanson stuck out his hand.

Eyes darted again, “Doug,”

The two shook hands and left the lobby for the Narcotics Unit office space. Once inside Penhall motioned for Doug to take a seat. Hanson went to his go-bag and pulled out a box of methamphetamine field kits. Doug watched them closely as he withdrew a crumpled-up wad of tin foil from his pants. He handed it to Penhall and Hanson realized he was fifty bucks poorer, but also extremely entertained. Penhall stared at his partner as he placed the foil on the desk in front of him,

“Detective Hanson will do the honors,” Penhall held an odd, Joker-esque, sneer as he spoke.

Hanson opened the foil to reveal a clear plastic bag with a little less than a cup of white powder. He took a tiny sample and dropped it in the plastic test pouch. One by one he broke three glass ampules releasing chemicals to mix with the dope. The contents of the pouch turned blue as the liquid reacted with the Amines present in the meth.

Penhall couldn’t resist, “It’s a boy,” he cheered.

“Its not Flacca?” asked Doug.

“No, it’s a felony,”

Doug blinked, “A what?” he asked, a tone of sobriety calming his features,”

Hanson pulled his cuffs from his back pocket, and held them out to Doug, “It’s a felony Doug, better call your mom, turns out you’re not going to need a ride home,”

“Fffuuu…” he stuttered.

“Yep,” answered Penhall, smiling as Hanson slid a fifty across his waiting palm.

Reference:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/dumbass/man-seeks-meth-test-563914

Writing so Hard I had to Sit Down


So I write in the morning before my day job. I drop the wee one off at day care, try not to cry, and head to my office. I leave the light off so it’s just me and the screen for about forty-five minutes. I started my newest novel, untitled, the other day. So far we’ve got a broken down former Army Ranger caught up in an ethnic cleansing where a cabal of demon possessed humans are trying to wipe out all the remaining fae-folk on Earth, or realm as we call it.

Anyway I was writing a scene this morning where my Ranger buddy wakes up to find himself face to face with a cybernetic ‘interrogator.’ It’s kind of a black, scorpion looking thing that’s half underworld beastie and half robot that is used to infiltrate the nervous system of a prisoner and make them docile for simpler information retrieval. This thing is strong, it’s ugly, and it is not the kind of thing you want to meet immediately upon being jolted awake from a drunken stupor. As you can imagine the scene is pretty dynamic with my guy battling this thing as it wraps itself around his arm and tries to get at his brain stem. No spoilers but the scene ends with him bashing the thing against a stone fireplace until he shatters its carapace and takes a bath in yellow goo. He’s exhausted, and gross, and to add to that he’s hungover but still has that feeling you get when you wake up right before you hit the ground in a dream. You know kind of fidgety and weak like you just got done going five rounds with Randy Couture. That was where I had to leave it since it was time to start the job that actually pays me. I shut my computer down and put it away and started my morning ritual. Like most people, my morning ritual starts with coffee. I go through the motions setting up the coffee pot, cleaning out the basket that I forgot to clean yesterday and start organizing myself when I notice my legs feel a little jiggly. My arms also have that kind of tense feel you get at the end of a good heavy bag workout.


Weird, where did that came from? The most strenuous thing I had done so far in the morning was wrestle with my fifteen month old to change his diaper and get his clothes on (the little guy is a fighter in the morning…red head, go figure). It’s a strange feeling but I remember what people say about visualization techniques and dream states. How the body reacts to the events in your brain even if you’re not moving. I was intrigued, I’m still intrigued, so I did a little research.


I found an article in Psychology Today titled, “Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualization,” by AJ Adams. The article cited a study that compared muscle gain in two groups of weightlifters. One group worked out at the gym, the other conducted mental rehearsal, visualizing themselves lifting rather than physically doing it. Here is a quote from the article:


“A study looking at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting. In some cases, research has revealed that mental practices are almost effective as true physical practice, and that doing both is more effective than either alone. For instance, in his study on everyday people, Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, compared “people who went to the gym with people who carried out virtual workouts in their heads”. He found that a 30% muscle increase in the group who went to the gym. However, the group of participants who conducted mental exercises of the weight training increased muscle strength by almost half as much (13.5%). This average remained for 3 months following the mental training.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization


The article also went on to explain that visualization is a common practice among elite athletes, Olympians, and the like.


Interesting. I found a few more references alluding to the effect mental training has on the physical body but that article explained it the best. So, Was I in the zone, so focused that the story in my head was translating to my physical body? That hasn’t happened before that I have noticed. It was an interesting thing that happened this morning. Thought I would share.


What do you think? Writing so hard I had to sit down? Or am I reading into things and I need to hit the gym more since making coffee appears to tire me out?

Don’t forget to check out my work on Amazon or at any bookstore. My newest novel, Where Angels Sing is on sale now.


Ungentlemanly Warfare, Yup that’s a Real Term

Quite possibly one of the longest titles in history: “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat,” was also one of the most fun books I’ve read in the last five or six years. Giles Milton managed to find and capture an aspect of World War II that I had never heard of, and I am a history buff.

In 1940 the Nazi’s were taking over Europe. Winston Churchill had just taken over in Britain and was pretty much the last man standing up to Germany. He recognized Britain was on Germany’s hit list and wanted a plan in place to resist once the Nazi’s invaded Britain.

Hence the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

“Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare,” details how a secret ministry of sabotage started from scratch and became and industry unto itself. Milton does a great job of capturing the cultural, genuinely British, conflicts that were a constant between the regular military and Section D of the Secret Intelligence Service. The idea of saboteurs and assassins did not sit well with the right kind of English gentlemen. On the flip side Section D argued that dropping a hundred bombs on a target might accomplish the mission. But a group of highly trained and motivated saboteurs could guarantee a surgical strike at a fraction of the cost or the collateral damage bombs dropped from 30,000 feet apt to cause.

The book follows Colin Gubbins, who stood up and made Section D into a powerhouse. Gubbins created a factory for explosives, specifically designed for devious small unit raids. He organized a kill school run by two old British ex-pats tossed aside by the establishment when they came home to fight for Britain. And he inspired a world-wide intelligence network that facilitated acts of sabotage from a vital hydro-facility in Norway to an ancient aqueduct in Greece used to supply Rommel’s tanks in Africa. Not only does Milton take you through each of these adventures but he does it by capturing the wild spectrum of men and women who fought the secret war. Professional adventures, engineers, secretaries, and even a conscientious objector turned operative made Section D what it was. Of note among Section D and its saboteurs, Milton does a particular service to the contributions and the sacrifices women made to ungentlemanly war.

If you are a history buff and want to read about an important but forgotten part of World War II give Giles Milton’s “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” a serious look.

Here is the back-cover blurb:

“Six gentlemen, one goal: the destruction of Hitler’s war machine

In the spring of 1939, a top-secret organization was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler’s war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage.

The guerrilla campaign that followed was every bit as extraordinary as the six men who directed it. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now, his talents were put to more devious use: he built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler’s favorite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world’s leading expert in silent killing, hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind enemy lines. Led by dapper Scotsman Colin Gubbins, these men―along with three others―formed a secret inner circle that, aided by a group of formidable ladies, single-handedly changed the course Second World War: a cohort hand-picked by Winston Churchill, whom he called his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

Giles Milton’s Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do that is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.”

Don’t forget to check out my work on Amazon or any other bookstore. My newest novel Where Angels Sing is on sale now.


Author Spotlight: Alison McMahan

Hey Everybody, Alison McMahan has a short story in R.L. Stine’s new Anthology, Scream and Scream Again! Her contribution is called, “Kamikaze Iguanas.”

About the Book:

A harrowing array of scary stories that all have one thing in common: each either begins or ends with a scream!

R.L. Stine—the godfather of Goosebumps—and some of the most popular authors today bring an unrivaled mastery of all things fearsome, frightening, and fantabulous to this terrifying anthology of all-new scary short stories.

Scream and Scream Again! is full of twists and turns, dark corners, and devilish revenge. Collected in conjunction with the Mystery Writers of America, this set includes works from New York Times bestselling authors telling tales of wicked ice-cream trucks, time-travelling heroes, witches and warlocks, and of course, haunted houses.

List of Authors:

Read it if you dare! With twenty never-before-published scary stories from some of the most popular authors today—including Chris Grabenstein, Wendy Corsi Staub, Heather Graham, Peter Lerangis, R.L. Stine, Bruce Hale, Emmy Laybourne, Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Morton, Ray Daniel, Beth Fantaskey, Phil Mathews, Carter Wilson, Doug Levin, Jeff Soloway, Joseph S. Walker, Alison McMahan, Daniel Palmer, Tonya Hurley, and Stephen Ross—it’s sure to leave readers screaming for more.

Excerpt:

I work my way around the pool fence, slowly, camera-phone at the ready, waiting for an iguana to run out.

A group of kids is huddled around one of the barbecue grills. I’m hoping they’re just trying to keep warm. It’s like, freezing, even though this is South Florida.

“Hey.”

One of the huddlers has seen me. I recognize him, vaguely, from school. He’s one of those guys, the kind that is good looking and knows it. He goes by Spike. So lame.

Where to Buy:

Give it a look. I like a good scare and thought I would share it with you.

As always don’t forget to check out my work on Amazon or at any other bookstore. My newest novel Where Angels Sing is on sale now.

So, the Norse won?

The other night I discovered something that Marvel and the creators behind Thor have missed: Thor is living proof of a deity.

I was cooking dinner when my five year old showed up slinging his Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer). I asked,

“Hey Thor, want to help with dinner?” I got the usual response.

“No I’m just playing, Can I have Thor God of Thunder song?”

There is no greater pride a parent feels than when a child asks for classic rock. I am quick to respond, “Absolutely!”

Thor God of Thunder song is actually Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. Let me be up front here and declare I have had this song in my workout playlist for a decade or more so I didn’t download it because of a movie. Although when you look at Marvel movie music there is an argument to be made that Led Zeppelin might be the new AC/DC. I would say with confidence that Iron Man would not have been quite as cool if is wasn’t for the judicious use of AC/DC throughout the series of movies. Though I thought Thor Ragnarok was a great movie, the same argument could be made that Ragnarok might not have been Ragnarok without Immigrant Song as the backdrop to Thor beating the crap out of a bunch of demons. Additionally, when was the last time you saw an action flick that didn’t have an AC/DC track somewhere in either the trailer or the film itself, just saying. Robert Plant and the boys might be seeing a boost in their royalties soon.

But I digress.

The point I had when I started this bit of word vomit was that I had an epiphany while cooking dinner and praying Thor’s hammer did not go through the tv. Thor is living proof of deity in the Marvel universe. Now if we allow that the Marvel universe is societally similar to our society then wouldn’t him showing up on the world’s stage fighting aliens in Avengers have been a bit disruptive to society. I mean not only do the big three religions all fight (literally) to convince the rest of us heathens that their dogma is “the way.” But how many other sects and systems are out there that think their own deity, whatever that may be is the only path to salvation? Then all of a sudden here comes a hero out of Norse mythology, Thor, the God of Thunder standing in the middle of New York City swinging a giant hammer.

Picture yourself as some pastor, or Imam, or even the Pope himself sitting around watching Fox News as they interrupt a hoverround commercial to bring breaking news. “Alien Invasion: New York” is the headline and then whichever religious leader seems most entertaining in your head (for me it’s the Pope lounging in his robe lint rollering a massive hat but then again I’m Catholic so that makes sense) He leans forward in his big stuffy chair and sees a God standing with Captain America in the middle of Times Square. He doesn’t see the big alien dragon looking things flying around, he only sees the worlds first proof of deity fist bumping Cap and flying off screen under a swinging hammer. I can only think his first thought is, “Merda!” [“Shit!” in Italian].

World religious leaders around the globe are all realizing at the same time that their collection plates are about to run dry. All accept the Asatro (that’s right there is still a religion that believes in Odin and Thor) and those guys leap up and dance a jig, “I knew it!” they scream.

So then what?

Iron Man nukes the aliens and the dimensional gateway is closed, cool. But what about the 84% of people whose guiding life principles just went up in smoke, or more accurately, a lightning bolt?

Thor, chillin and eating falafel (the after the credits scene in Avengers [Spoiler, sorry]) is going to be a real problem for people. Here they were arguing about the bible and the koran, and the torah only to find that the Scandinavians had it all right. What the…? That effect on society is something overlooked by Marvel et al.

Good news though. In the event Thor was to show up and save the world, Santa might get a second look. As far as I know he was adopted by Christianity as a way of absorbing some of those “heathen” religions on their way to world domination.

Now all of a sudden the powers that be find out that Norse mythology was the one…and they missed it. I can only picture the Westboro Baptists protesting Thor’s hair while a bunch of ISIS guys try to blow up Avenger HQ.

What do you think the Asatro head honcho would do during his first press conference? I like to think he would play it really cool. Shrug his shoulders maybe and say, “Told ya,” drop the mike and walk off stage.

Anyway, that’s all I got for today. But hey Marvel, maybe something to look into.

As always don’t forget to check out my work on Amazon or any other bookstore. My newest novel Where Angels Sing is on sale now.