“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.


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.

Review: The Cobra Event by Richard Preston


Richard Preston’s The Cobra Event was one of those books I had my eye on for a long time but never pulled the trigger on. I would look at it lingering on my book list and wonder if a medical thriller could catch my attention and keep it. From the outside looking in I equated it with like an Outbreak or ER type of story, I thought all the medical stuff would bore me. Man was I wrong.

I didn’t know what was missing from my literary life until I finally dove into The Cobra Event. Richard Preston created a masterpiece with this book. From the opening pages I had one of those books in my hand that make you want to go to bed early so that you had more time to read. It’s been a long time since I read a book like that.

Though it’s a novel the story reads like it could be a case file. The characters depth and scientific backgrounds are believable which shows Preston did his fair share of research in creating them. The details of the labs and equipment needed to effect a bio-terrorism event were expertly explained while not sounding like a technical manual. He even made decontamination process, and small mistakes in the decontamination process sound interesting. And when the intensity ramped up and we drew in on the bad guy the tactics, and tactical mistakes that kept the chase alive were written so real you could feel the danger.

I know the book is a little dated, The Cobra Event was released in 1998 but the old reads are still some of the best. I’m glad I finally took the leap and gave The Cobra Event another chance. It was awesome.

I attached the synopsis below. It’s worth a look.

“The Cobra Event is a petrifying, fictional account of a very real threat: biological terrorism.

Seventeen-year-old Kate Moran wakes one morning to the beginnings of a head cold but shrugs it off and goes to school anyway. By her midmorning art class, Kate’s runny nose gives way to violent seizures and a hideous scene of self-cannibalization. She dies soon after. When a homeless man meets a similarly gruesome — and mystifying — fate, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta sends pathologist Alice Austen to investigate. What she uncovers is the work of a killer, a man who calls himself Archimedes and is intent on spreading his deadly Cobra virus throughout New York City. A silent crisis erupts, with Austen and a secret FBI forensic team rushing to expose the terrorist.

Even more frightening than Preston’s story about the fictitious Cobra virus, however, is the truth that lies beneath it. As the author writes in his introduction, “The nonfiction roots of this book run deep…. My sources include eyewitnesses who have seen a variety of biological-weapons installations in different countries, and people who have developed and tested strategic bioweapons.” In fact, the only reason The Cobra Event was not written as nonfiction is that none of Preston’s sources would go on record.

Woven throughout the novel are sections of straight nonfiction reporting that reveal the terrifying truth about the development of biological weapons and the clandestine operations of Russia and Iraq. Three years of research and more than 100 interviews with high-level sources in the FBI, the U.S. military, and the scientific community went into The Cobra Event. The result is sure to shock you.”

Hope you like it and don’t forget to check out my novels available here and wherever books are sold. Also I will be at Literary Love Savannah, GA the 26-28th signing and sitting on a couple of panels. I look forward to seeing you there.

Out.

Author Spotlight: Ellison Cooper

cgHey everybody I have been out of pocket for a minute but I do have an excuse. I have been editing the monster that is my new fantasy novel (Title Pending). Had no idea what I was getting into. The cultural research alone could have earned me a second master’s degree. BTW, now I know what to call medieval stuff…extremely useful knowledge in 2018.

Anyway, I have a book recommendation for you. “Caged” is Ellison Cooper’s debut thriller.

Here is some info about the book:

“FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiance, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who’d been slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.

As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession…a killer who is closer than she thought.”

Praise for Caged:

“Dark and mesmerizing…channels equal parts KATHY REICHS and THOMAS HARRIS…You will read till the bitter end…then sleep with the lights on!”
Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author

“I started and couldn’t stop.”
—F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author

CAGED is a gripping thriller debut for fans of Kathy Reichs, Thomas Harris, and Patricia Cornwell.

Ellison’s Bio:

Ellison Cooper has a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA, with a background in archaeology, cultural neuroscience, ancient religion, colonialism, and human rights. She has conducted fieldwork in Central , West Africa, Micronesia, and Western Europe. She has worked as a murder investigator in Washington DC, and is a certified K9 Search and Rescue Federal Disaster Worker. She now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son.

Social Media

web: http://ellisoncooper.com/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllisonCooperAuthor 

twitter: https://twitter.com/ECooperAuthor

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ecooperauthor/

goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17392133.Ellison_Cooper

It’s always important to support new authors. Wishing the best of luck to Ellison Cooper! Here’s where to find Caged:

Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/CagedAmazon

IndieBound: http://hyperurl.co/CagedIndieBound

Book-A-Million: http://hyperurl.co/CagedBAM

iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/CagedApple

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