Cape Cod author Robert P. Fitton graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, majoring in American Studies, with emphasis on American History. In college he added science fiction writing and American literature courses. Post college Fitton expanded his writing craft by studying with science fiction and mystery authors as well as screenwriters. Fitton developed a strong but thoughtful voice, many times humorous, buttressed by a direct style and influenced by Hitchcock’s mystery thrillers, Star Trek and the Twilight Zone. His time travel novels are spun from his love of history and sense of adventure.
Many, many years ago, after a nice evening as I was kissing her, she screamed. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “The window! The window!” she said holding me. “Someone is looking in the window!” I thought I heard things. I dragged her into the hall and then exited out the front door. I checked the bushes and the driveway. No one by the street. As I returned to the house, I could still see the fright in her eyes. I wasn’t too calm either. Thus, in a small way I had some perspective of someone intruding into a private moment.
In Exchange house artist Mattie Summers is in Arizona. She leads a comfortable life but her marriage is not longer viable. He husband John is on the road for extended periods, leaving here alone in her desert home. But this story is not about Mattie and the desert home. It about leaving the area and leaving John behind to go on vacation. When King John pulls into the desert abode he treats Mattie with incredible abuse. Yet when his district manger calls John becomes accommodating and full of flattery, retrieving reports and evaluating the company. An argument ensues between John and Mattie resulting in John speeding off the property.
It all sounds simple enough. Arrange with another person to exchange homes in differentgeographic areas.Her best friend DR from her hair saloonlikes the idea and Mattie of off to Maine.Seems like a nice little town, Rexford, Maine but there are indicators as story progresses that there might be some people in the town that may not want her at the Exchange House.The property management guy Daniel McCabe is good looking but there is something that’s off with this man. Another man a long-haired mechanic is mouthy and doesn’t like her.Many people wonder what this outsider is doing in town.
Hitchcock on TV-Nothing more scary than the use of the imagination in an isolated setting.
An Unlocked Window from 1965 Alfred Hitchcock
A crazy murderer targets nurses taking care of patients in a vulnerable, remote setting. Add to the setting a nasty weather mix. And phones calls coming in from the potential murderer. This demented ghoul is informing the nurses that he intends to make a house call.Stella, one of the nurses secures every possible entrance to the far away house. But she makes a fatal mistake-a cellar window has not been locked...
I had not seen Unlocked Window prior to writing Exchange House. Once I got inside Mattie’s head and drove into town, I let the emotions take over. Mattie is already stirred upfrom her husband’s behavior. She felt alone and vulnerable even before she got on the plane to Maine.And now the most dreaded word: Strangers… Listen to Jim Morrison singing People are Strange and better yet buy the song if you want to seep down to that cautionary level. Everyone Mattie sees amplifies the unwarranted fear. Remember how FDR said boldly the only thing we have to fear if fear itself. Apparently, Mattie missed the history lesson.
In her headMattie rationalizes the beautiful house along the ocean, somewhat isolated from town, holds the prescription to settle her nerves.After all, as she walks in the autumn sunshine along the cliffs overlooking the blue Atlantic and takes in the waves crashing on the rocks below, Mattie realizes how she has gotten far away from John.Or has she?
McCabe, the property manager, is masculine, capable, and dynamic.He has large strong hands.Her maiden name is already known by McCabe.He was a military lawyer.Smoking a cigarette somehow enhances his vital appearance.His touch is captivating.Why wasn’t he a lawyer anymore?
A Potpourri of Fear for Mattie Summers.
-Mattie’s rental car has “Major League” problems.
-McCabe gets the car into Belson’s Garage.
-One of the mechanics, a pony tailed man, is very weird to the point a frightening this already shaken woman, even when just taking to her.
-The little mechanic with the long hair, Raymond Snowden, eats at a booth in the diner near Mattie.
-McCabe’s strong hands tightens some ropes as Raymond Snowden smokes a cigarette while leaning against the garage ‘s open bay.
-McCabe tells her how far the house is from town and other homes.
-Does the touchy McCabe have problems with rejection?
-The old fashion ringing phone in the dead of night.
-The powerful storm moving up the coast.
-The drop to the rocks from the cliffs.
Rest assured there is more fear, spliced into the over all anxiety and tension the UNEXPECTED. This story should have been called ‘from the fire into the frying pan’ but we’ll leave the Exchange House title in place. Heed ye the warning-throughout the entire story there are people lurking, lurking, lurking.
Creativity, innovation, persistence… Steve Wozniak is one of my favorites. Did he have the pizzazz of Steve Jobs, that uncanny ability to sell a product, an idea, a concept? In his own way he did. That’s not why I’m writing today’s blog. I’m actually being a bit sneaky in this blog.
I’m talking on the phone last week with one of my old friends and the subject of Steve Jobs and______. Steve Jobs and______. Oh come on, Fitton! One of your favorite people and you can’t remember his last name? Bad show. I’m picturing WOZ’s fully bearded face and his smile. Him working constructing the guts of the early personal computers. My friend is hesitating also and then begins Wozniak ‘s name. I quickly mangle WOZ’s name and we both finish at the same time. No denigration intended, WOZ.
This does and does not have anything to do with my books. I remember what it was like to pound away at the typewriter. Make a mistake you get the white out. And then wait for it to dry. Maybe with a hair dryer. And later on, a white ribbon to hide the mistake and not have to type the entire page again. Although I’ve done that too. And what if there’s a huge problem with the novel-You’re screwed. Without the computer revolution I would be typing this and a few locals might read it.Now I can correct and insert and paste and revise and delete.What would have happened if a typewriter key fell off?
Steve Wozniak is an introvert. So am I. What exactly does that mean? Is he anti-social or a recluse? No way. Wrong to all of the above.Well, let’s hear what Wozniak actually says:
“I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee… I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.” ~ Steve Wozniak
I hear you WOZ.I was in outside sales most of my career and wrote during off hours.Some people are ambiverts-in the middle of extroversion and introversion. It can be complicated. I worked well with extraverts but found sales meetings with extraverted party-goers, to be sometimes overwhelming.Although I developed an outgoing sales approach, and thoroughly enjoyed the good and the bad customers, I needed to recharge!I still think most people have no idea ofwhat I’m talking about.
Time out: People are complex with a variety of different aptitudes. The introvert/extrovert is one part of that complexity. A big part. If I looked at a circuit board in 1975, I would have said. ” Hey that’s really cool.” Steve Wozniak looked at the board and changed the world.
“You’re a hermit… A recluse… What’s the matter, don’t you like people?Let’s party!Now wait a minute partying and being out are fine- when I want to. Introverts can be very social and some not as much. Introverts can have fun-when we want to. (lol) I think understanding this basic general difference between people, helps to see their perspective. Thank you, Dr. Jung.I learned to talk left-right- up-down and occasionally be funny.. . A tremendous asset for the recharging introvert. I also knew what was going on in my head although I may not have had the terminology.
For instance. In a long drawn-out sales call, being my sprucy best, explaining with enthusiasm just what I can offer. I feel my brain calling out to me. ” Time to come home and rest for a while.” I quite often would shoot photos between calls.
I have a library of books. Thomas Jefferson said: “I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post which any human power can give.”
If you’re an extrovert you might say- Yeah, right. (turning to his left) Who gives a Shebang!
At sales conferences I would go jogging or biking between meetings. I guess it was like re charging the cell phone.Biking? Too much time to think, Fitton!When I return from exercise I am, recharged. It seems to simple but it isn’t.
Carl Jung: “Each person seems to be energized more by either the external world (extraversion) or the internal world (introversion).”
1/3 to 1/2 of all Americans are introverts. Say what?
And now back to our story:
Early on WOZ and Bill Fernandez use punch cards and chips to build a computer until a reporter blew it up by stepping on the power cord! Fernandez introduces WOZ to Jobs. (the extravert)
“Secrets of the Little Blue Box” – October 1971 issue of Esquire. The industrious WOZ builds blue boxes and Jobs sells them. You can see where this is going. In 1973, Jobs worked for Atari, Inc. in Los Gatos, California. He is assigned to create a circuit board for the arcade video game Breakout. . Atari offers$100 for each chip that was eliminated in the machine. Jobs makes a deal with Wozniak to split the fee if Wozniak could minimize the number of chips, which he does by fifty.
1975: Wozniak tests his first working computer prototype and a character was displayed on a TV screen from a home computer. Woz brings the computer to the Homebrew Computer Club, a Palo-Alto collection of electronics hobbyists enthralled by computers. Here’s their newsletter:
April 1, 1976: Jobs and Wozniak form the Apple Computer Company (now called Apple Inc.) Then just “Apple” after Jobs returns from an apple orchard in Oregon and tells Wozniak about his time spent in an apple orchard. The personal computer revolution begins. Word processors were just coming out when I wrote the freebee-The Ramdama’s Kingdom. So, for some lunkheaded, moronic reason I wanted to stick with the typewriter. And today I still have that typewritten manuscript. I didn’t get a computer until my friend SHIPPED me an IBM-XT in the 1990’s. It was like dying and walking into heaven where God says to you: “Where ya been?”
Steve Wozniak didn’t personally design the IBM XT but he did start the whole thing rolling.My output soared with the computer. Errors were so easily corrected.Stories could be readjusted. Wozniak did hook up with IMB in 2009 for some targeted work. Well, Dang!
Here’s a good line from the band AJR where Ryan is bemoaning his dating life and speaking to his not yet born child. He says in the song Dear Winter, lyrics by Ryan Met:
Dear Winter, I’m looking for your mom I gotta find a girl that doesn’t mind that I’m inside my head a lot Winter, it won’t be too long First, I just gotta find your mom
I get it.He’s inside his head a lot. So, I salute the joining of introverts and extraverts. And the need for introverts to retreat back into their head.Yeah, I was sneaky by bringing in WOZ but it all makes sense to me.How about you?
Post Script: For all introverts:
Carl Jung used the terms introvert and extrovert a hundred years ago. There are two personality types and they get or spend their energy in different ways. Introverts, Jung said, turn to their own minds to recharge, while extroverts seek out other people for their energy needs.Jung-him smart guy.
Susan Cain, author of Quiet:
25 inspirational quotes from Susan Cain.
1. There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.
2. Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.
3. Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.
4. The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk.
5. We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.
6. Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not.
7. Introverts need to trust their gut and share their ideas as powerfully as they can. This does not mean aping extroverts; ideas can be shared quietly, they can be communicated in writing, they can be packaged into highly produced lectures, they can be advanced by allies. The trick for introverts is to honor their own styles instead of allowing themselves to be swept up by prevailing norms.
8. Introverts think before they act, digest information thoroughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately.
9. Or you’re told that you’re “in your head too much,” a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral. Of course, there’s another word for such people: thinkers.
10. If you’re an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up.
11. So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself toseek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multitasking, stick to your guns.
12. …introverts prefer to work independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation.
13. Use your natural powers—of persistence, concentration, insight, and sensitivity—to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.
14. The trick for introverts is to honor their styles instead of allowing themselves to be swept up by prevailing norms.
15. Introverts need to trust their gut and share their ideas as powerfully as they can.
16. …we can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point. Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead.
17. By the time I was old enough to figure out that I was simply introverted, it was a part of my being, the assumption that there is something inherently wrong with me. I wish I could find that little vestige of doubt and remove it.
18. The authors whose books get published – once accepted as a reclusive breed – are now vetted by publicists to make sure they’re talk-show ready.
19. Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas.
20. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are.
21. Why shouldn’t quiet be strong?
22. Some of the world’s most talented people are introverts. Without them we wouldn’t have the Apple computer, the theory of relativity or Van Gogh’s sunflowers.
23. A few things introverts are not: The word introvert is not a synonym for hermit or misanthrope. Introverts can be these things, but most are perfectly friendly.
24. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.
25. Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness – is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.
This Sam Crud. I just performed my annual clearing of my voicemails. So you’llbe able to leave me a message at the beep until its full again.
BEEP:Sam, it’s Marion. The Colonel needs to talk to you.You know how he gets worked up when he can’t get a hold of you.Talk to you later.
BEEP:Crud: You know who this is. How do I put this? This is the Paraíso Oceánico most elegant hotel in the Southland. You are the head of security here. Why is it you’re not here? Are you trying to scrape out a living running down cheating jingaloes down at the Mediterranean? Get your ass over here mister. You have work to do.
Kiss my ass, Colonel.
BEEP:Hey, hey, hey Sammy. It’s Woody. Just a friendly reminder. That vintage car show is is this weekend in Monrovia. Cars, suds, and chickadees.Call me Sammy.
You’re vintage, Woody.
BEEP:Sam. Marty. I just talked to Bender about you being inside that murder scene on Raymond Ave. Listen, Sam I can only cover for you so many times. You’re disturbing a crime scene, my friend.Hopefully, Bender will get side tracked.
I’ll make a note of it Marty.
BEEP:Lieutenant Bender. About damned time you opened up your voicemail, Crud. You think you can just stroll into my investigations like King Shit. How do I know you didn’t lift something out of that apartment? You wannabee cop!
Hey Bender, you suck.
BEEP:Sam it’s Muck. The Colonel is running around the hotel like one of those rats in the basement. I’ll cover for you because Shorty is making an ass out of himself.
Shorty is an ass, Muck.
BEEP:Sam! Sam! The colonel threatened to have me locked up. You gutta answer this phone!
Lock you up where, Shorty?
BEEP:Sammy, it’s Aunt Cookie. That moron Crocker was up here looking for you. FYI he broke into your apartment and hit his nose on the closet door when he opened it. Bye Bye.
BEEP:Aunt Cookie again. Had to give the Colonel a Band-Aid for his nose. (laughing)
Too bad it wasn’t his mouth.
BEEP:Hi, Babe. It’s Queenie. The red velvet dress. Reservations for two at the Cliffside. Nine o’clock. I think its time to take a trip to Capistrano. Love me do.
BEEP:(nasal) Now hear this Crud. Meeting in my office. Nine PM. This is all your fault, Crud. Your softball equipment was tossed around that space you call a closet.I think my nose is broken you stooge.
In your dreams, Colonel.
BEEP:Sam. Marty. Bender is seriously considering putting out an arrest warrant for you about Raymond Ave. If I were you I’d drop a dime to Karen .I didn’t say it.
Bender what a brain fart.
BEEP: Kylehere, Sam. The Weasel told mehe’s in El Monte tracing down the computer readout I printed for you guys last Thursday.If that office manager is skimming funds the Weasel will find it.
Good man, Kyle.
BEEP:Sam… Woody. The women’s all-surf competition is this afternoon, man. They’re all down at MoJo’s now. Start that Vet and get your buttdown here!
Cool your jets, Woody, will ya?
BEEP: Sam, it’s shorty. You broke the Colonel’s nose! Why did you do that?
BEEP: It BAD, Sam. Well looky who emptied their voicemail. I think I’m gonna roll up in a big ball and die. Call me before it fills up again.We have that alumni meeting at Long Beach.
BEEP:Screw you, Crud.
BEEP:Hey Sam. It’s Buster. Woof. Woof. Woof.
You are a dog Mucklestein.
BEEP:Karen Carnes. Marty told me what Bender was trying to do. I am assuming that if I don’t hear from you, Mr. Crud that you disturbed nothing at the Raymond Ave Apartment.
Karen you are super!
BEEP:Orin Harbinger here. We just landed in Madrid. I received a rather annoying call from Colonel Crocker. Something about a meeting. I merely told him that you will be at the hotel when you are good and ready. Cheers!
I am so lucky I saved your ass at that party!
BEEP:This is Chief Cranston. Pay no attention to Lieutenant Bender’s so called arrest warrant. It is null and void!
BEEP:It’s Icky. I pressed hard on that fool office manager in El Monte. Tell Marty she’s adding 5 to take 4. He’ll know what I’m talkin’ about.
Weasel, you’re amazing.
BEEP:Sam, it’s Shirley. I’mall done with the paperwork. I’m takin’ the afternoon off.
Go for it, Shirl!
BEEP:Sam, it’s Marty. Don’t go any where near Bender. He is pissed, pissed, pissed.
Good. Good. Good.
BEEP:Sam, it’s Marion. Don’t go anywhere near the Colonel. He is pissed, pissed, pissed.
He and Bender can have lunch.
BEEP:You’ll get yours, Crud!
Thanks, Colonel. I’m looking forward to it.
BEEP:That was your last voicemail. You’re mailbox is full.
Greetings from God’s Country (This really is God’s country!) I’ve enclosed a post card from the area that might convince you that Barclay, Idaho is worthy of an article in Country Hide-A-Ways Magazine. I have two motives in writing to you. One is to have people visit Barclay and secondly totranscribe the remarkable story of Alan Sackett who summered in Barclay as a boy and then returned from Los Angelesto change all our lives.
We once had a huge plant called International Circuits. IC was the mainstay after the war. The plant provided two hundred and fifty-six full time jobs and half that number in part time work and summer jobs for the kids in school.Well, sad to say everything except the building shell was shipped overseas.As a result, the town lost its train stop, tourism just about ceased, and part of the population moved away. There didn’t seem like there was much we could do. We’re just country folk. We don’t own large corporations or investment houses.Then Alan Sacket got laid off.
Alan vacationed up here when he was a boy and stayed with his Aunt Amanda. Amanda and Ned ran a wonderful little red store by the railroad tracks outside of town. As an adult Alan worked as a top-notch buyer for Lamberts out of L.A. He had an extraordinary sales increase and then found himself out of a job. I guess that’s how things work in the big city. Well, Alan’s Aunt Amanda died and left that little red store to Alan. That brought Alan to Barclay. In his high finance world Alan had built a massive credit and debt. Now he had no funds to pay his single debt to an unscrupulous loan shark named Roscoe from L.A.
Sure, Barclay got him away from the mess in L.A. But I wonder if it wasn’t that little girl he knew when he was ten years old that kept him here.Only she wasn’t ten years old. She was thirty-two, married albeit unhappily to a thug named Tug, and she had a boy named Ben.Alan Sackett changed everyone in town’s life-even his own.
Tug and Alan faced off in Alan’s first battle. The irresponsible Tug left animal traps ready to spring open on the cabin island. Ben unfortunately was the first casualty, his tiny leg enveloped by the rusty teeth. It was Alan who rescued Ben and got him medical attention. But Tug fired back by threatening Alan and burning down Soonie’s house. Alan pulled out one of our volunteer fireman from the smoky blaze. Tug fled town and Soonie and Alan spent time together, eventually falling in love all over again if that’s possible.
Alan’s mind was in a different universe when he walked through the abandoned train station or through Amanda’s empty store. He didn’t see what used to be. He saw what could be.He didn’t need a corporate board or research and development. Old Alan had it all inside his head. But he still had that one creditor on his back. We just didn’t know for just how much. Somehow Alan secured credit and raised the money to rehab his Aunt Amanda’s store. The stock he brought in came from thrift and second stores and Alan sold it as historic items. With the money he and Soonie piled up in they bought more stock and even some new stuff. Just shows what you can do when you put your mind to it and have the right attitude I might add.
He got people involved at a town meeting.People who thought they couldn’t- Alan showed them they could!He called the town not just Barclay but Historic Barclay. By God that got the retired professor Jacob’s blood flowing fast. Everyone had as they say a new lease on life. Smiles on their faces. Money in their pockets. Even Hershey that rattlesnake had a smile on his puss.Then it happened.
Alan still hadn’t paid Roscoe and his boys, well they made it all the way up from L.A. Then they came up a second time. They were looking for all their money and were going to use firepower to get it. And if they didn’t get it…. Well, here’s the skinny.
Roscoe had a gun; I saw it after he and his boys stepped out of their long maroon Lincoln.Alan was down Main Street near Soonie’s store. I saw the whole thing from my office. And he walks up Main real slow like he’s going to the firing squad.As God is my judge, one by one everyone in town, some with rifles, followed behind Alan. Kennie Baines from the bank carrying a brown leather briefcase, put his arm around Alan. And he said what he said loud enough for everyone to hear. ” We’re not going to let you down, Alan.” They stepped out of the woods and the fields and between businesses on Main Street.In a matter of minutes, I swear the whole town of Barclay was marching up the street with Alan. Even me!
To say that old Roscoe was slightly rattled would be the understatement of the year. I found out Alan owed two hundred and twelve thousand dollars. What happened next is now part of our beloved town’s history.If you’re interested in finding out that ending-You can purchase this letter in your magazine or we’d be happy to give you a tour of our wonderful town at your convenience.
CoachJones: First of all I am not an investigator. I learneda lot growing up in the middle of Dad’s investigations and the FBI were grateful not just that Dad’s murder was solved but that we thwarted the huge conspiracy around it. There are papers on file giving me special status. But I’m not an investigator. I have my father’s intuitive sense of the landscape. I call it my sideroad theory.
McGill:Did they give Cocoa that same legal status?
CoachJones: That did not happen. (Jones produces a sly grin)
McGill:That’s when you met the new security cop for the college, Bucky Driscoll.
CoachJones:Where oh where do I start?
McGill:At the beginning.
CoachJones:Let’s just say Bucky was wearing his Bermuda shorts. He was a little chunky. I remember him adjusting glasses and blowing a brass whistle annoying everybody. He never got off on the right foot with Cocoa when he told Cocoa to move his butt. I’m not sure if that’s when Cocoa started calling him ‘Rodent.’
McGill:You were right there when Dr. Povitch from the college died in the observatory.
CoachJones:So was Bucky. He locked us out of the roadway. Povitch’s death was complicated and involved my parish priest Father Jim Gallagher. But I was trying to coach an away game in Maine and then there was a second murder.
McGill:Any other investigations involving professors at the college?
CoachJones:Before Woozy Williams, who I knew in Indiana, was hired, Hamilton Fletcher brought in a hot shot from Florida to helpat the time Professor Brad Davis, a real bad boy, was knee deep with Boston mafia, the Fiore family.
McGill:You’re often out of Hamilton in your investigations Prince William and Boston itself.
CoachJones:Cocoa has friends in Boston.
CoachJones: Friends… Prince William is just over the Devonshire Hills. Fifteen minutes as long as Corky Corrigan isn’t on patrol at the crest of the Devonshires-the notch. So I’m in Prince William quite a bit. St. Barts is in Prince William.Parts of PW are rough.I once chased a murderer in the fog in the rafters of the Crosstown Bridge.Too bad Arlo Wombat couldn’t have broadcast it live on WOFI.
McGill:There’s always one question that’s gnawed at me ever since I bought the Enterprise from Jerry St. Clair.
CoachJones:If I ever committed homicide it would be on Jerry St. Clair. The man is a walking annoyance.
McGill:No, no it’s not Jerry. Lark Larsen. Why did Hamilton Fletcher allow Lark to coach at the college year after year and have such an abysmal record?
CoachJones:The town loves Lark. It’s that simple. His girlfriend Flo Nightingale is an airhead. But they filled the stadium for Lark. I think when Hamilton was convinced by Cocoa he could make more money with a winning record, things changed.
McGill:Coach let me off the record run down a list of names in rapid succession. I’d like your quick take on these locals and others.
McGill:Has the town of Hamilton always been a little strange, I mean years ago?
CoachJones:I didn’t realize that until I investigated what I thought was a disappearance twenty-five years in the past. Froggie Finlay was just as dense as he is today. And Arnie Dewars was born obnoxious. Lark was a little wilder in the past and did like the women.Your old boss Jerry St. Clair actually didn’t get carried away with his newspaper reporting back then.
McGill:Lark had some notable players.
CoachJones:(bursts out laughing) Snookie Mackenzie is the one that stands out. He makes a reappearance in town ever now and then. And Brownie Plympton was the most spastic man I ever met. He runs a beach shop on Shore Drive.Lark had a nickname for everybody on his team back then. Fortunately I’ve forgotten all of them.Lark thought they were NFL caliber.
McGill:(Looking through notes) Who was this guy Daniels you helped with an investigation?
CoachJones:You’ve got it wrong, Tommy. Daniels was a Sherlock Holmes buff who kept butting his head into the case of a hooker who was murdered two floors above Daniel’s apartment.The whole thing began in Club Max.
CoachJones:Cocoa’s father put up money for Club Max. I like Cocoa and his family. Father Gallaher keeps telling me I can get into trouble hanging out at Club Max. And he’s right. Cocoa is like a brother to me. Bruno, he’s the bartender. He’s a good guy.
CoachJones:And the girls… Frannie, if your listening to this…You’re my girl.
McGill: Before I wrap things up. Herbert Lane hates your guts.
CoachJones:Herbert cheats his way back into office every four years. Herbert gets upset because I figure out things before he does.
McGill: And Mayor Piccata doesn’t nail him on the cheating?
CoachJones:Why should he? He cheats worse than Herbert Lane. And they’ve got Dom Pacheco pinned in politically. He does his job as Police Chief in Prince William and forgets about the cheating and Kip Bosco.
McGill: Bosco is in vice.
CoachJones:There’s the wolf watching the hen house. Winky can take care of Bosco and anyone Cocoa doesn’t like. Gives them ‘the treatment.’ That’s as far as I’ll go on that.
McGill:Who is your favorite opposing coach?
CoachJones:Mac Conner-St. Pats… We fish together. He’s a good friend.
McGill:Those organized crime families. Isn’t that kind of scary crossing their paths.
CoachJones:Albert Fiore always like me. Called me Matt. And Charlie DiPiro and I are on very good terms.
Kron man is not Superman, Iron Man, Bat Man, Wonder Woman, The Greatest American Hero, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Thor, Spiderman, Hellboy, Captain Planet, Spawn, Star-Lord, Luke Cage, Colossus, Deadpool, Kitty Pryde, Daredevil, Human Torch, Cyclops, The Green Lantern, Jesse Custer, Dani Moonstar, Shuri, Catwoman, Black Lightning, Isis, Elastigirl, Aquaman, Spawn, Rogue, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Storm, Jean Grey, The Wasp, Supergirl, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Dr. Manhattan, Jessica Jones, Wolverine, Goku, Daredevil, The Flash, Blade, Professor X, Miss America, Green Arrow, Powerpuff Girls, Cyclops, The Hulk, Dr. Strange, Black Widow, The Punisher…Yikes.
What the hell? Who started all this superhero blather? Here in the United States, it all began on June 30, 1938.Credit: Writer Joe Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in the comic book- Action Comics #1. And here it is:
Siegel’s story from 1933-“The Reign of the Superman” illustrated by Shuster was published by these guys in a Sci Fi magazine. The villain’s telepathy drives the story. Siegel upgraded superman as the name implies: SUPERMAN who arrived from far away in the universe. Then SUPERMAN became a comic strip and thus begins the parade of superheroes.
What about the gods?Think about it. They did all sorts of super things each with its own schtick.Don’t think so? Stay out of the way of thunderbolts (Zeus)Mercury? Put Mercury in the Olympics.Take the goddess Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, and seduction. I’ll leave it at that.They all have specific character traits and the idea of beings associated with great powers and heroes started very early.Joseph Campbell lectures on the Homeric Legends.
Paul Bunyan: This guy was huge.
Think about what I alluded to about schtick. All the superheroes have their gig. Which is good because it gives the character a raison d’être. No Google translator here. Reason of being. It’s all mapped out for the adventure.
Kron Man:Mega Human Good Guy. This series relies on locality in the way the TV Superman of the 1950’s was set in Metropolis and Batman in Gotham City.Kron man is set inCamden Bay, New York.
Of course, there is always an adversary. Yup. Overcoming evil. Batman had a whole host of characters he confrontedboth in the TV series and the movies. Superman had the local hoods on TV and in the movies, Lex Luther had a prominent adversarial role.
Kron Man in the first novel has an arch enemy, Junior Janus is a sleaze, a thief, a liar and will to do anything to advance his own interests.
Batman-Robin, Superman-Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen
The first season of Luke Cage Jessica Jones-a sidekick/love interest in Cage.
My sidekick is more like Sam Beckett’s nutcase rear admiral Albert “Al” Calavicci. Randy Kron is a mechanic, just out of the service, an average guy like Ralph in Greatest AmericanHero. (Robert Culp was great as a sidekick) Kron’s sidekick is an unethical chiseler named Eddie Conover.Kron develops a love interest as the novel progresses and has the stable character (his sister Julie)- all adjusting to his new identity.So Kron man is more TV than it is comic book.
Ralph has the alien suit which is hilarious. When I wrote Kron I researched abductions and wanted his body altered by the shadow aliens.
Inside my head:
I first envisioned Kron (unnamed at the time) while shopping at a Colorado Boulevard, two level mall in Pasadena, California. (Now the The Paseo) What if a superhero could simply fly from the first level and around the vaulted ceiling? You never know what the heck is going on inside my head.
What about the SCI FI?
Well Randy Kron can friggin’ fly!Eddie finds this out right away and of course tries to exploit it. Kron man can survive incredible power. The other prominent piece of SCI FI is Kron Man’s residence. He realizes he wants to use his prodigious power for good, always an admirable trait.That’s the deal with Kron Man...
First, how important is William Mulholland? They named a highway winding through the Santa Monica Mountains after him. What about the aqueduct that brought water to Los Angeles?And why should I write a book about time travel back to that epoch?The answer to the first and second questions is the answer to the third question. And the answer to the third question involves a courageous commander, Mark McKenna and the demented genius, Dr. Nieeko Mauro, who wishes to make sure the aqueduct was never constructed. And Nieeko does prevent the water coming to Los Angeles in 1913.The Los Angeles world in a new timeline without the aqueduct comes into being in a way that John Paul Sartre would have a field day-jour de terrain. (I can use the Google translator, too.)lol
Existence Sartre says for human beings is paramount. Forget any essence mankind may have because it doesn’t mean anything.Being in the world and all its dreaded fear is amplified in this desecrated physical landscape.What to do? What to do?
Commander Mark McKenna is an old adversary of Dr. Nieeko Mauro, primarily because Nieeko is not on the up and up. Nieeko does not think it’s fair that the United States should have abundance.Before we go any furtherthere is another argument which to which I subscribe. Water would have come to LA. Later rather than sooner and probably not by the tenacity and competence of Bill Mulholland. But things would have been different and LA wouldn’t be the powerhouse that it is today.
Nieeko wrecks LA by going back in the time, utilizing the time project. What a rat and tocomplicate things, he uses his holographic image to harass and attack Mark McKenna and his crew. In the old Wild Wild West TV show there were as many villains as there were beautiful women. I was thinking of Victor Buono’s Count Manzeppi. I would have loved to have Dr. Miguelito Loveless as my villain but that would be too obvious. The Manzeppi character eventually became meaner- a hardened foil to Commander McKenna.
So we know what happens. What about Mullholland? Why is he so important? He migrated to the US from Ireland and after a number of jobs in different cities he became a well digger to San Pedro. As a Deputy Zanjero- the man who tended the ditch of water coming into LA. By 1880 in was Mullholland was in charge of laying iron water pipe. By 1886 he was superintendent.
Four years later, the Los Angeles Water Department was established with Mulholland as its superintendent. In 1911, the Water Department was renamed the Bureau of Water Works and Supply with Mulholland named as its chief engineer. Mulholland had a grand design to move water to Los Angeles. Mulholland scouted out the route with former mayor Fred Eaton and engineer J. B. Lippincott and then oversaw the 233-mile aqueduct, completed in 1913.
3900 workers at its highest level—-164 tunnels—– As complex as building the Panama Canal.Water from the Owens River poured out at Newhall in November 1913. Mulholland spoke succinctly: “There it is. Take it”
Look what happened in Los Angeles once the water came to the city. It was the vision and the implementation of a project at the time it was needed in order to boost Los Angeles into preeminence.
McKenna struggles through time with Nieeko.The hero is always ready for the journey as he and his prissy girlfriend part ways back in time. The historical plot now moves along with McKenna’s crew, culminating with working on the aqueduct itself.Nieeko’s attacks continues against McKenna and his crew. McKenna meets Aubrey, the love of his life back in 1910. His fight is with Nieeko to restore the timeline.And so it flows and McKenna learns how to live.
In a wild time travel novel, Mark McKenna and the crew of Time Portal Alpha board a vehicle which had only simulated journeys back in time. The maniacal Dr. Nieeko Mauro, a man both genius and evil has broken the time barrier to radically alter the current timeline. Nieeko wishes to diminish the United States of America into a minor world power, seething in poverty and unable to economically take care of its own people. A point in time exists in the twentieth century where Nieeko altered the timeline and prevents a project that brought economic growth to America in the 20th century. McKenna is confronted by Nieeko with unforeseen circumstances and a surprise ending.
Hey… I’m Cocoa Stefani. Anthony was my Bro. He was-missin’ for five years. Anthony had drugs problems. He gut in with wrong crowd. When ya do that it’s like walkin’ the tight rope at the circus. It’s a long way down. Anthony had been handlin’ drugs from New York City. Anthony never came back. I wuz down there. What’s one guy gonna do? Those boys down there will eat ya alive. I didn’t like it but I drove the Vet back to Prince William and spent weeks in my club just starin’ at my beer. When I didn’t finish the mug, Bruno brought me a fresh one. It took a while but I learn to accept Anthony ain’t comin’ back. Funny-my mother accepted it right away. I guess livin’ with my old man she learned to accept things easier than me.
My father left my mother when Anthony and me we just kids.My father was an important guy in the Boston/New Hampshire area. Somethin’ happened and he left. We grew up on the streets along the docks.It made us tough. It made us strong. Anthony had just gotten engaged before he disappeared. That’s the way it goes. Things change. And Jonesy came on the scene. I keep tellin’ him the girls at the club think he’s hot but I guess he’s got a steady girl, Frannie McShane from Hamilton.At least Jonesy deep sixed that pushy chick Stephanie from Indiana.
My mother likes Jonesy. We had him over my mother’s house for dinner. You know pasta, sausage-the works. My mother cooks enough ta fill ya gut providin ‘Uncle Dullio don’t become the human vacuum cleana’.Somehow Lou Marlow’s name came up. Lou Marlow was Hamilton Fletcha’s mortal enemy.The old man always said the Marlow caused Dorothy Fletcher’s fatal accident up in New York.Sean Grogan, Marlow’s hatchet man, made Marlow look like an altar boy. The old man thought Lou Marlow was gonna ruin his 70th birthday at Fletcher Hill.
The next day Jonesy and me went over to check some things at the club and we find that rodent Driscoll in with the dimwit Dewars on my music system singing Happy Birthday. I fired Jonesy’s startin’ pistol and drove the two morons out of the club.That’s when Jonesy saw the picture of me and Anthony from the newspaper just before he went to New York.Fiore sent people down from Boston but ran into deadly gangs in New York City.
At the old man’s birthday party, the disaster began with Driscoll grab the mike and Dewars almost got electrocuted in the pool. That’s when the plane flew over Fletcher Hill. Lou Marlow jumped out but his chute didn’t open.I began thinkin’ the old man hired somebody to screw with that chute.
This party lead to Driscoll and Larsen being brought to the mental place in Newtown.But it also led to Jonesy investigating what he said was a murder.I’ll tell ya Jonesy became like a brother ta me, arrivin’ at Hamilton College a couple of years after Anthony disappeared. Sometimes I had to catch myself from callin’ him ‘Bro.” Then I gave up and Jonesy gets it.
I took off to New York City on a lead about Anthony’s disappearance.That’s when all hell broke loose. Jonesy is loyal as hell. Yeah, Jonesy came ta New York and so did Uncle Dullio. Dullio played ball at Notre Dame and later her joined an elite black ops unit is the service. Nobody messes with Dullio. The gunfire was brutal in New York. With the FBI on our tail, we found the guy who killed my brother.
Jonesy and me came back to New Hampshire like brothers in Anthony’s memory. I‘ll tell ya what I tell Jonesy all the time. Drop by the club, the girls are friendly.
There once was a land with two futures. There once was a land of reality and a land of the sublime. Not of creatures but of beating hearts, and laughter. There once was a land of pixels mixed with stories of the before time. There once was a land where homo sapiens roamed free without distortion… without lies.
What the hell am I talkingabout?
In a course on political thought,we studied Plato. So, he did not believe in using the senses to understand what is real. Our senses are imperfect. Easy for him to say. Plato is urging us to use our reason and the experience of our lives.We don’t want to languish in what he calls the cave.
Wait a minute says Aristotle. What about potentiality? Objects are the potential essence of qualities that come into being.
“Is that all there is?” asks the popular song. Yes. And things are determined for a purpose. We are to keep a stiff upper lip… so they say.
When I wrote the Village, I didn’t pull the political thought book off the shelf.Elements of the Plato vs Aristotle debate do evidence themselves in the Village.
Inspector Rawlings on an investigation into the Sector once known as Colorado can’t wait to turn off his ‘imager’- a manufactured reality. The Inspector is rounding up illegal outsiders who have broken into the massive Village’s enclosed living area.One could receive full Village status by applying through an application process.Rawlings was undecided whether he would live on the outside during his retirement or remain in the Villageand have image-based reality for the rest of his days.
Cicero (106 B.C-.43 B.C.) believed in the Roman Republic during his career. He disputed an unwritten alliance called the First Triumvirate because it diluted the idea of a republic as well as Senate predominance. The Roman Republic was a representative democracy between 509 B.C. to 27 B.C.Isn’t Rawling’s option for retirementthe distinction between freedom and the advanced knowledge of a society that determines what is best for its residents?
Let’s skip back to Plato for a second. The guardians are the highest and ruling class of the three classes of Plato’s ideal city- Kallipolis. The classes are producers, auxiliaries, and guardians. You train in all aspects of learning to become a guardian. Rip the people out of the cave so they can understand what these elites tell them is true and they will become more valued and pertinent human beings. The Village has Drogues controlling human beings. Oh dear… Alexa, was Plato an Ivy Leaguer?
Hey, Plato- meet James Madison: “The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.”
Frank and Mark Embers and their families live on the outside. There is no simulated reality. There is no elite class instructing outsiders on what’s best for them. Yet, their family is split. Neal Embers lives on the inside. Although insiders can experience the outside in the first level exposure rooms and the departure area. That’s it!
The Embers’ father Walter is voluntarily preparing for his ending which for Villagers is not an ending at all. Walter will exist within an (ai) world to interact with friends and family members-only it won’t be Walter. It will be a simulation of Walter.
It’s all taken care of in the Village, a historical materialism (Marx) is you will. There is no exploited profits. No proletariat in the Village. It’s taken care of.So why wouldn’t you take this paradise on earth in the Village?
“That’s the crux of it. Responsibility. Villagers have no responsibility! Only self indulgence.“
“When once we quit the basis of sensation, all is in the wind. To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart.
–Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, 15 August 1820
“The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people’s hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice.“
I’ve been talking about freedom and attributes of different societies.But what about this idea of so simulating reality that life itself it obscured?And death. You don’t die. You are just simulated.
All those people-humans in the auditorium and not only aren’t they talking with each other? They don’t even know who is next to them in the room. I’m not saying it’s not cool to hook up to the viewer. In the Village, simulation is taken to the extreme and its all-encompassing.I will leave to the reader’s imagination to transpose what’s being viewed. (lol)
Finally, no one could believe that life on the outside is easy. One isn’t protected or controlled and there is personal responsibility.But the end result is freedom and confronting all the pitfalls freedom brings.
“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
The reason a sucker is a sucker is because he doesn’t think he’s a sucker. In fact, he may think just the opposite. The sucker has a need for something-something he desires at an intense level. There’s one born every minute according to showman P.T. Barnum.
Believing what you want to believe.
Gordon Butts thinks he’s cool. Gordon Butts thinks he’s bright. Gordon Butts thinks he’s the best salesman-ever.And the world’s most dynamic lover. Does the word mediocre sound familiar? If Gordon Butts is none of the above, he can more than likely be maneuvered if he meets the right (or wrong) person.And there must be something in it for the manipulatorand in the end the sucker is just a sucker.
Believing what you want to believe.
In Maureen Garrity’s mind Gordon Butts who has beat the rap on two murders should not be sending a video file to her office. As the investigator on Butts’s first homicide and someone following the details of Butt’s second homicide, Garrity is stunnedthat Butts has surfaced.
Where did it all begin, Gordon Butts?More than likely when you entered Walter Thornton’s office. Your friend Tom Cowles heard about the Thornton job.Thornton owned a plumbing supply company and you were ready for a change.You wanted to make more money.You crafted your story for Walter Thornton.And I quote. “You don’t get sent to job for lying in job interview.” You said you took Walter Thornton all the way in just a half an hour.”
Here’s the deal. Guys like Butts missthe important components of the con because 1) Butts is full of himself and his abilities.2) Butts thinks he is smarter and crafter than everyone else. 3) Butts isneedy in the sense he needs money and recognition.4) His ego demands pampering.
Believing what you want to believe.
Says Walter Thornton.“I want you to work for me. You’re the type of man I could use in my organization.”Butts doesn’t question why he got the job so quickly. Rather he pats himself on the backas he plays hard to get and dreams of living at Tanglewood where Walter Thornton lives. (Butts has already checked out Tanglewood) “I wanted to break out of that dump where I’d been living.”Butts had also checked out Walter Thornton’s young wifewhen he was at Tanglewood as she lingered by the pool without her top.Add lust to Butt’s vulnerabilities.
Butts knows what to say and when to say it with a straight face.He senses people’s weaknesses. He’s a bully, a liar and a bullshitter. And Gordon Butts runs a mini con on Walter Thornton, putting himself on a pedestal. He could convince everyone he kneweverything about anything.
Believing what you want to believe.
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly; “‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy. The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I have many curious things to show when you are there.” “Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “to ask me is in vain, For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
-From the Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt
By the time Butts leaves a dingy bar in Southern New Jersey, he has become the victim in an elaborate plot. Three people by this time and a fourth by accident are already a part of that plot.And he had added another vulnerability that he may have had all along. Gordon Butts loves power, wielding, it and abusing it.
Believing what you want to believe.
A long time after I wrote Framed, I posited the question that bothered me. Didn’t Butts, just once sense that there was more going on other than just the billboard displaying hismassive ego? It could be argued he had Band-Aids pulled over any doubts.Or maybe he was just plain stupid.