My Apologies to Kron Man

Robert P. Fitton Audio
The Shadow Aliens who abducted Randy Kron

My apologies to Kron Man.

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.


Batman- The Monster Of Dumphrey s Hall

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:

June 30 ,1938

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.

The Adventures of Superman staring Bud Collier

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 in Camden Bay, New York.                                                                                                                

George Reeves
Adam West

Of course, there is always an adversary. Yup. Overcoming evil. Batman had a whole host of characters he confronted both 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.

Batman and Joker
Lex and Superman

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.

Kron Man Prologue

Sidekicks:

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 American Hero. (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.

Sam and Al
Bill Maxwell, Ralph and Pam

Ralph has the alien suit which is hilarious. When I wrote Kron I researched abductions and wanted his body altered by the shadow aliens.

CHAPTER TWO-Kron is abducted from his apartment

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.

Kron Man and the second level at the Paseo

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...

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Post Script:

William Mulholland, Time Travel and the Los Angeles Aqueduct

Bill Mulholland
Robert P. Fitton Audio

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?

Time Portal Alpha Begins

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 further there 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.

The Los Angeles of Nieeko’s Time Line

Nieeko wrecks LA by going back in the time, utilizing the time project. What a rat and to complicate 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.

Count Manzeppi.
Loveless played by Michael Dunn

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.

Mullholland
Owens Valley 1910

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.

J. B. Lippincott, Fred Eaton and William Mulholland, Los Angeles Times, August 6, 1906.
The Jawbone Siphon

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”

Water from Owens Valley

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.

“There it is-Take it.”

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.

RPF

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.

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LA 1903

Anthony was my Bro

Brooklyn Bridge Park

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.

Chapter One

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.

Bucky’s Birthday Bash

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.

Last jump for Lou Marlow

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.

The Prince William Gazette

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.

Cocoa

Anthony’s Story Audio

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The Reality of Humanity Sublime

In the not too distant future:

A Land with Two Futures
The Village-Part One

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 talking about?

Does Plato have his own App?

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.

Sounds like time

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 Village and have image-based reality for the rest of his days.

Cicero

 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 retirement the 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?

The Village-Part Two

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.

-Frank Embers

“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

Adams and Jefferson

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.

-John Adams

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.

What the Hell?

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.

Tom Paine

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.”

―Tom Paine, Rights of Man

The Village-Part Three

Alexa, Give me liberty or give me death.

Patrick Henry

Speech to the Second Virginia Convention

St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.

March 23, 1775

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Compilation Audio

Requiem for a Sucker

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.

P.T. Barnum

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 manipulator and 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 stunned that Butts has surfaced.

Plumbing Supply Warehouse

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 miss the 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 is needy 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 back as 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 wife when 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 knew everything 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.

Robert P. Fitton

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 his massive ego? It could be argued he had Band-Aids pulled over any doubts. Or maybe he was just plain stupid.

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Alone at the Beach House

Beach House by R.P. Fitton

The Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake

 The beauty of Chesapeake Bay, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware, is unmatched for vacationers. The Chesapeake is a haven for summer residents from the inland areas. To summer on the Chesapeake is to find old friends, swim, boat, and fish in the sparkling blue water expanse. Mary Ellen has brought her children to enjoy their time off from school while her husband Tony balances work with the summer fun.

Beach House Chapter One

Mary Ellen brings her children on the boat to Sabines Island. Through the binoculars, she is stunned to see the orange Mustang in her beach house driveway. Her husband Tony is alone painting the house and the car belongs to a 23-year-old provocative woman, Su Lee a woman with a ‘reputation.’

The Orange Mustang

Kel, a retired police officer is a trusted friend listens to Mary Ellen’s concerns about Su Lee. Mary Ellen can clearly see the Mustang at the beach house.

I saw this Alfred Hitchcock production long after I wrote the Beach House book.

Forecast: Low Clouds and Coastal Fog” Inger Stevens plays a newlywed left alone in a fogbound beach house by her older husband who’s away on a business trip to San Francisco. There’s beach guys hanging around and a screenwriter all who provide human contact but she’s basically alone. A Hispanic man (Sanchez) comes to the beach house asking for help. Inger Stevens (Karen) leaves him on his own leading to unforeseen and deadly circumstances.

Tony isn’t answering the phone, despite Mary Ellen’s voicemails and with Mary Ellen on the island with Kel and the kids, Tony is leaving for Seattle in two hours. Back at the house Mary Ellen walks Eloise and stares at the paint splattered ladder. She asks him: ” So Tony how was your afternoon?” Then she confronts Tony about Su Lee and he doesn’t reply. Later Tony claims that Su Lee was returning software that he lent to her in the bar where she works.

Kel alludes to the violent deaths of two men in the area. One man fell off a jetty and the other had a Corvette tumble off a ramp and kill him. Su Lee was seen with the other man in Willoughby’s Tavern the night before he died. “Something isn’t right with that woman,” says Kel. I would cast an older James Garner as Kel.

Beach House Chapter Four

Mary Ellen thinks she smells the perfume Night Sin inside the beach house. Then the slider glass breaks and someone crushes the outside gravel. Red taillights disappear up the road. Eloise is missing. The palm oil scent of Night Sin is prevalent in the outside shower. Later she thinks she sees Su Lee in the grocery store, but it’s another woman. At home there are signs that someone has been in the house. Did Su Lee have the keys to the Beach House?

How about Night Call from the Twilight Zone? Written by the great Richard Matheson who wrote Bid Time Return which became Somewhere in Time.

Elva Keen is an infirmed elderly woman getting phone calls from a moaning caller. The moan morphs into: “Where are you?” and “I want to talk to you. The caller is an elusive acquaintance named Brian who’s residence is a few feet below ground in the local graveyard. Point being: Trapped alone and helpless for whatever circumstance is terrifying. Perhaps this episode should be called- Sorry Wrong number. (lol)

Kel confronts the sexy Su Lee at the bar Barnacle Bills and is not immune from her charms. But as he leaves, he spots a dealer’s logo on the Mustang: Cross Brother’s Motors. Kel continues his investigation, hoping to score ” the big one.”

Mary Ellen spots numerous footprints in the sand. Was Su Lee responsible for the deaths of two local married men? Perhaps Su Lee had run up from the beach and scaled the second-floor window of the beach house. Then-a frightening message:

She attempts to confront Su Lee at the bar but Su Lee has taken a few days off. She drives up to Northgate Condos, Unit 42B, Su Lee’s condo. No one is there. Kel makes some calls. One of the widows, a Mrs. Twombly said Twombly met Su Lee at a bar and Mrs. Twombly caught Su Lee on the beach fooling around with her husband. And Twombly was a perfectionist and would have checked those ramps that caused the car to fall on him. Also, the other man who died was verified as spending time with Su Lee in the Pocanos. Mary Ellen freaks out when her neighbor back home tells her that an orange Mustang was in her driveway for fifteen minutes. Kel is denied by the local police chief when he asks that the deaths of those two men to be labeled murders.

Tony returns to Binghamton Beach. He will be spending the next two weeks at the beach with Mary Ellen and the family which he does right away. A phone call from Su Lee to Tony upsets the reconciliation with Mary Ellen. The next day she confronts Su Lee at the beach and has a physical altercation. ” He’s mine!” says Su Lee.

The next day Tony is dead, haven fallen from the ladder while painting the house. And this is where things get interesting as Kel tries to prove the crime and Su Lee has not yet gotten her revenge. And Mary Ellen is alone.

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Alone in the House- Now that’s the Idea!

Where have you gone Harrison Mobley?

Matthias Jones Series: Six Feet Under

The patriarch of Hamilton, New Hampshire, the bombastic, the all-powerful, sometimes dictator and very very rich Hamilton Fletcher has agreed to attend a small gathering at Coach Matthias Jones’s colonial on the common in Hamilton. Nothing spectacular, right? For as long as he has known Matthias Jones, Hamilton Fletcher has categorically and empathically refused to set foot on Jones’s property. Maybe the passage of time has numbed Hamilton Fletcher although it’s probably more a matter of money and power which are the driving forces of his life.

Juicy Steaks on Jones’s Grill

All is well on Jones’s patio. Jones is suspicious of Hamilton Fletcher’s appearance at his cookout. On the patio is Father Jim Gallagher, in street clothes, and Dean of Students at Hamilton College Nigel Kent. On the patio radio is the obnoxious Arlo Wombat, a radio personality who travels around the area in a van while he’s on the air. Wombat particularly annoys Hamilton Fletcher. Let’s drop in on the conversation and the subsequent calamity on Jones’s patio.

Let’s drop in on the gathering:

Jones’s Colonial on the Common

Harrison Mobley lived in Jones’s home twenty-five years ago and incredibly Hamilton Fletcher has not shed the animosity for the man. Mobley was an athlete, specifically a boxer, and Lark Larsen’s assistant coach ‘in the day.’ It was Froggie Finlay who challenged Mobley to a boxing exhibition in the old gymnasium and was knocked to the mat over a dozen times. Mobley overheard talk of an underhanded deal with Micky Snowden, a gangster from Boston and Hamilton Fletcher. That led to a confrontation with Hamilton Fletcher at Mobley’s house which continued for months. The result was the ‘Big Blow Out” with numerous individuals upset with Mobley. Just a short time later Mobley and his girlfriend left town.

Harrison Mobley Beats Froggie Finlay 25 years ago

When Jones prepares to re-do his patio Miriam Kendall Lincoln, the local historical society chairwoman, claims the Jones is violating historical rules and regulations. And Miriam Kendall Lincoln’s husband is Mayor Picatta’s lawyer in Prince William. As Jones prepares for the Morgan State game Arnie Dewars calls and begins describing what he saw through binoculars at age twelve-the sordid details of Harrison Mobley’s love life at Jones’s Colonial. Jones later begins to wonder what happened to Harrison Mobley and his girlfriend.

Arnie Dewars and Lady Godiva

Jones in casual conversation learns that Arnie Dewars claimed there was a shot fired in his colonial on the night that Mobley and his girlfriend left town. And Cocoa knows things about that night twenty-five years ago that he doesn’t want to talk about. Jones cautions himself because whatever happened- happened long ago. Tom McGill further arouses Jones’s suspicions when he mentions that the former editor of his paper wrote an entire story about the Big Blow Out. Hamilton Fletcher spiked the story and Jones becomes very curious. When Bucky says Mobley was murdered Jones agrees with the general consensus that Mobley and his girlfriend left town. Arnie relays more details about what when on that night. Again Jones is wondering about Micky Snowden and the shot. Strickland tells Jones that nothing exists about Mobley on the background checks. Strickland has the old police logs. Lark and a well-dressed man were involved in the ruckus at Jones’s house. So was Hamilton Fletcher.

Lark Larsen’s rogue DeSoto

Tom McGill has retrieved Jerry St. Clair’s five articles about Hamilton Fletcher and the funding of the school by Micky Snowden. Mobley heard about the deal. It got back to Snowden and Mobley left town. Or so it seems. McGill’s secretary runs in and says Jones’s jeep is on fire.

Jones’s Jeep consumed by Fire

Cocoa then tells Jones. “Somebody doesn’t want ya lookin’ inta Mobley.” Strickland has the background check on on Mobley shows he doesn’t exist. Hmmm.

Fletcher Estate, Fletcher Hill

In a meeting with Cocoa and Hamilton Fletcher about the bad feeling between Mobley and Hamilton, Jones learns Mobley was going to call the DA on Hamilton Fletcher. Then Hamilton went over to the colonial. Micky Snowden showed up and shot Mobley. Later the house was cleaned and no records now exist for Mobley being treated for a gunshot. Lark Larsen, drunk staggered into the colonial. All the while a Toyota was circling the common. The girlfriend got in the Toyota.

Micky Snowden arrives at Mobley’s House

That’s how Six Feet Under starts out but there’s a lot more to the story. Including an Uncle Dullio moment. There is a Bucky Driscoll subplot. Eventually Jones is convinced there was a murder and begins to unravel the deed after twenty-five years.

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Six Feet Under-Chapter Seven

No General Time Limit for Murder

While the federal government and most states impose no time limit on murder charges, there is nothing legally preventing this practice from changing. This means a murder charge can be filed even decades after the alleged killing has occurred.

Having no statute of limitations on murder allows law enforcement to occasionally solve and prosecute “cold cases.” This has become especially pertinent with the continuing advances in DNA evidence, which can pinpoint a killer many years after the crime.

Audio

Kindle

Gerstein’s Funeral Home is Waiting for You

Welcome to Gerstein’s
Robert P. Fitton

Players in Purgatory takes place across the bridge on the road to nowhere. When I was trying to make sense of the world when I was three or four years old I wondered if the people I met outside my own family and neighborhood were the same people with morphed faces. One day I finally realized: “Oh, I guess that’s not true.” That wasn’t going to stop me years later from writing a creepy story with that same scenario of a small group of people who are in reality a morphed versions of other people. Just a group of players in purgatory. These people are trying to force others into Gerstein’s Funeral Home where they will become part of the living dead. That is one hell of a creepy thought. From 1968 we have the movie the Night of the Living Dead.

I didn’t use the Night of the Living Dead as a template. What happened to me was real. After my cousin’s death I had to pick up some paperwork at the funeral home. I drove into the lot and thought I would simply walk in. This place had always given me the creeps because members of my family and relatives had passed through on the way out! I rang the bell. It was loud enough to wake the dead. (Sorry) The front door was locked. Why would it be open if… if nobody was there? Or were they?

I remembered what the funeral director had told me. I could always enter through the side door, walk into the parlor and pick up the paperwork he had left on the hall table. This sounded simple enough. But as I opened the door I thought of the great horror actor Vincent Price, who might have said: “I’ve got your paperwork.” Followed by a maniacal laugh.

The great Vincent Price

Mr. Price was not available. I, Robert P. Fitton, had stepped into the embalming room. Oh-My-God! I did not want to be in the room where everyone had been prepared for the crypt. I was also a Dark Shadows fan and thoughts of Barnabas Collins’s shenanigans crept down my back like a cold scoop of ice cream in a cold freezer.

Nice of you to arrive, Mr. Fitton

And the equipment was right there hanging from the walls and on the corpse tables. I walked slowly as not to awaken the spirits. That wouldn’t work because the spirits must have already known I was there. Step by step I left the embalming area, knowing I would have to return or perhaps I could slip out the front door.

How did I feel? Like Moe, Larry and Curly in this undated photo. I turned and… and…there was the folder with the paperwork on the glossy mahogany table. The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany’s Alabama Song by Kurt Weil should have been playing on the Funeral Home speakers. Not by the Doors or Audra McDonald, both versions which I like. The original freaky version from 1930 is sung by Lotte Lenya. And it is so weird I can’t even classify it as creepy. And here it is from 91 years ago for all you aficionados of the sublime:

The Alabaman Song

I shuffled to the hall table and gingerly lifted the manila folder. I checked inside. I had the paperwork and began a march to the front door. I don’t know how but the door was locked with me inside the funeral home.

Now come on Fitton. This is crazy, I turned and passed the table and entered the hall to the embalming room. I supposed I could have started whistling the Alabama Song. All those tubes and tools. No way could I be an undertaker. Or even an official mourner. I leaped outside as if I were emerging from the silty underwater of a swamp.I thought as if I were Woody Allen and was delusional daydreaming about a scenario where the SUV wouldn’t start and I would get pulled back inside the funeral home be unseen forces. I have never been back to that funeral home

A Depiction of Gerstein’s

The idea for the Players in Purgatory story floated around in my head for a long long time. Finally, I wrote it and recorded the audio. When the pugnacious Ralph Norman approaches the drawbridge manned by a strange gatekeeper, he is about to enter warped reality. He had never seen this bridge and the sky becomes darker. Norman crosses the bridge and the gatekeeper vanishes. He is met by a crazed little man named Smeltzer who warns him about the players. Thirteen of them. They want everyone to become like them. It is from the back room of Gerstein’s Funeral Home that transformations take place where they absorb people into their being. Norman’s car is now missing. Smeltzer keeps following him, warning him of a high-pitched sound when they’re nearby. Then Smeltzer steals Norman’s 50-yard line football tickets and runs away. Smeltzer is hit by a car but survives because he doesn’t want to go to Gerstein’s.

Smeltzer breaks away with the tickets. An odd bus driver and suspicious cabbie add to the creepy feeling. Norman finds Smelter in a side pew at a church, parishioners singing Near of my God to thee. When the cabbie shows up Smeltzer calls him a player. “I know the 13. They morph their faces. Make you think they’re different people.”

Norman finally sees the Victorian Gerstein’s Funeral home. The Gerstein undertakers, rigid and pasty take up positions in the street. Later he’s at the football game and Smeltzer shows up. “They morph their faces, Brother.” Smeltzer has been running from the players for three weeks. “A force central to all being!” Norman berates Smeltzer- it’s all in his head. The players don’t exist.”

Back in the city Norman stares at the glowing hurricane lamp in the Gerstein’s window. Inside the red floral wallpapers are evident. Smeltzer was inside, forced into a high back chair. And then Norman is pulled into Gerstein’s. Smeltzer’s name is on the parlor marquee. Formaldehyde is in the air. He is trapped inside the funeral home as Smeltzer walks from the embalming room. Norman fights his way into the garage and drives a hearse back into town… He is now taking Smeltzer’s role and warning others with Smeltzer’s words.

RPF

Compilation Paperback

Post Script:

Justice for the American West

Justice for the American West
Finding the Silver

I was fortunate to have a college professor for the Civil War and the American West who knew his subject matter and graphically told the story that an antithetical history existed side by side with other history but radically different in its morality and cruelty. I’m talking about the massive influx of European settlers expanding west across the continent. In the wave of migration were the descendants of those who crossed the open tundra, created with arrival of the ice age. The customs, culture and structure of the Native American tribes were slowly confronted, challenged, and eviscerated. Those who remained were herded onto confined reservations and left with the ashes of their civilization.

On the same timeline a great nation rose from grit, sweat and ability to risk everything for a better life. Buttressing the guarantee of individual rights was the Bill of Rights. Government was established within a framework of freedom. The freedom extended into the economic system. Capitalism, albeit not perfect, provided the highest standard of living and variety of goods to the greatest amount of people in the history of the world. This is not a platitude or propaganda. It is fact.

That professor emphasized the struggles of the old west. The young cowboys existed in that world along with outlaws and gunslingers. The army battalions implemented the ever-changing policies promulgated by the U.S. government.

Each tribe or band shall have the right to posses, occupy, and use the reserve allotted to it, as long as grass shall grow and water run, and the reserves shall be their own property like their horses and cattle.”

Article 5 of the Treaty with the Comanches and Other Tribes and Bands, 12 August 1861

A deceitful mantra. But what happened in the west occurred in far removed generations-their time not ours. Feeling guilty to the sins of others back makes no sense now.

I grew up with TV westerns and movie westerns. Native Americans were Indians. They were hostile. I wonder why. Native American tribes were all different. And Conditions in the old west were sometimes dirty and dingy with frontier justice in some cases. Gunslingers had heavy guns not the nicely dressed, quick-drawing boys on TV. Truth and right and wrong and justice were indeed hallmarks of the west. A man was a man who displayed courage and didn’t turn yellow. A man’s word was worth something. To live in the west meant being a self-reliant, rugged individualist.

There were the premier shows such as Bonanza and Gunsmoke, where there was always a problem to be overcome.

Bonanza’s Cartights
The Cast of Gunsmoke

These shows had the element of justice as well as touting right and wrong. The tendency is to watch all the shooting and think it was about just killing people. First, it was a TV show with drama and action. The Second World War had just ended and the unreal shootouts on TV were mild compared to the real carnage of that War

In Maverick the clever Brett Maverick showboated his fast talking and his card skills. Johnny Yuma, the loner Rebel had a grudge. Paladin was for hire. The Lone Ranger was the only surviving member of six ambushed Texas Rangers. The Lone Ranger had his trusted Indian companion Tonto. He had a code he lived by. In today’s haphazard, subjective landscape the rangers’ code to some seems quaint.

The Lone Ranger

I believe that to have a friend,
a man must be one.

That all men are created equal
and that everyone has within himself
the power to make this a better world.

That God put the firewood there
but that every man
must gather and light it himself.

In being prepared
physically, mentally, and morally
to fight when necessary
for what is right.

That a man should make the most
of what equipment he has.

That ‘this government,
of the people, by the people
and for the people’
shall live always.

That men should live by
the rule of what is best
for the greatest number.

That sooner or later…
somewhere…somehow…
we must settle with the world
and make payment for what we have taken.

That all things change but truth,
and that truth alone, lives on forever.

In my Creator, my country, my fellow man

The Quaint Mr. Fitton and Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger

I asked Clayton Moore to say a few words to my cousin David in Massachusetts-And he did! lol…

I said the west was antithetical. I have set the table with a multifaceted assortment of western ideals and traits. My book is called When You’re Dead, You’re Dead.

PAPERBACK

Mr. Melbourne

The Nexus Series features Mr. Melbourne who hails from the Nexus House. Melbourne has the ability to bring the justice to those who realize it may not exist in today’s world.

And so we begin with a notorious drug dealing killer who gets off a conviction on the usual technicality. Melbourne offers the assistant District Attorney Jake McBride an chance to make things right. Jake at first thinks he is losing his mind but when he finally accepts the agreement he steps into the past where he is a marshal in Nevada Territory. And thus the story unwinds with the players from the present thrust into the quest for justice in the past.

Jake meets Melbourne

I had some fun creating images from the old west- close to what I was thinking in When You’re Dead, You’re Dead. Jake leaves Melbourne behind and sees the past down the corridor.

The Arroyo back in 1882
Let’s hear some saloon music!

Unlike the Oxbow Incident Jake stops the hanging of an innocent man, pushed by one of the Turner boys, Rody Turner. But who killed Dunbar?

Scene from the Oxbow Incident

Jake, Coltraine and Doc Talmadge wonder where the derailed trains passengers have gone.

The 924 has left the track outside Brinson
The Coltraine Dining Room

A facsimile of the Coltraine dining room and a woman who could be Pam Grayson.

The Coltraine Hotel

Judge Mackenzie and Johnny Rheingold arrive at the Coltraine.

Johnny
A Shoshone like Soaring Bird
Upstairs at the Coltraine

Soaring Bird is sometimes confined at the federal reservation. The Native American around the campfire would tell Jake the stories of the Shoshone.

Alby and Jake
Walter Brennan AKA ‘ Alby’
Pancho Villa as Jose Estrada
Sorroyo Canyon

Jake and Soaring Bird head through Sorroyo Canyon, following up on a lead about Jose Estrada having stolen the silver. They are trailed by a killer and a severe thunderstorm.

Soaring Bird saves Jake in a torrential floodphoto by the author
Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley-photo by the author
The wires keep breaking outside Brinson
The train prepares to transport the stolen silver
The Silver would set a man for life…
The trestle at Bancor Pass
Mac Soledad
Hiram Kern
Night in Rhyolite City in Arizona Territory
Site of Johnny being shot to death

Post Script:

The Rush into Oklahoma after passage the Dawes Act

That same professor made a statement in class that, at the time, I found outrageous. He said succinctly that the march westward was inevitable. On the surface that sounds irresponsible. I have learned to see practical answers in how something will play out in everyday life. The mass migration could not have been stopped. Think about it. What could they do? Pass laws? Ask for voluntary compliance? Tax people? Put up a wall from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico? This is the great enigma and I would humbly ask how many times before in history have groups of people been run over by new arrivals? Doesn’t make it right.

RPF

More TV Westerns

The Rebel-Nick Adams
The RiflemanChuck Conners
James Garber as Maverick
Wild Bill Hickock
Annie Oakley

The Hero’s Adventure

The adventure that the hero is ready for is the one he gets…

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

Joseph Campbell

Our hero works as a buyer in the Rumford Tower, downtown New York City in 1927. He has arrived from Ohio, heading from the country to the big city like many an ambitious ladder climber in the wild and prosperous 1920’s. Some found success. Charlie Russo not only positioned himself as one of the top men in E.B. Rumford’s company, but he is engaged to the owner’s daughter and the Rumfords have unimaginable wealth. With homes in Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island the Rumford’s daughter Francine is accustomed to being pampered. Despite his achievement Charlie does not feel fulfilled. Francine is driving him crazy and he is not prepared to step into an even higher position for his future father-in-law.

The Cathedral of Commerce

It’s 1927 and Charlie Russo is a fanatic when it comes to the New York Yankees who in 1927 have constructed perhaps the greatest team ever to take a baseball field. Charlie constantly follows the Yankees to the consternation of Francine. Charlie like the Yankees has a sense of destiny. Babe Ruth’s chasing the single season home run record is the epitome of having it all.

The 1927 Yankees

Under the grandstand Charlie is taken by a tall, lean freckled face young woman with a carryon bag. As he strikes up a conversation with this woman with the short auburn hair he realizes she is mysterious, smart, and for Charlie Russo somehow, she appears to be a part of his personal destiny.

Her name is Jamal and she has an intuitive knowledge of history-even the history that has not yet come to be. Still cognizant of his commitment to Francine Charlie does not follow her to the turnstiles, a decision he will regret as he returns to his friends in the box seats. He watches Ruth and Gehrig on the field but his mind is back with the stunning woman he let slip his grasp.

Lucky Lindy

Enter Charles Lindbergh.

Charlie is fascinated with Lindbergh’s solo attempt to fly the Atlantic. It is that inner destiny beyond the superficial that fires up Charlie to drive his Packard, a gift from Francine, to Roosevelt Field on Long Island early in the morning of May 20, 1927. Destiny has a way of capturing what Joseph Campbell called serendipity. In the crowd past the hundreds of cars in the field, Charlie spots the woman, bag strapped over her shoulder, from under the grandstand at Yankee Stadium. Jamal is as delighted to see Charlie as he is enamored by her presence. She speaks emotionally as if she already knows about Lindbergh and the flight to Paris.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh
Roosevelt Field Long Island

Charlie Learns the Truth

Charlie hugs Jamal and jumps up and down as Lindbergh barely clears the telephone wires. He later drives Jamal back to Columbus Circle in New York City. When he follows her to her flat, he discovers that she is not from his time period and is on a mission to prevent the destruction of humanity by the Avegis of the future. In the bag is Elf, a sophisticated computer. Jamal must gather rare elements to build a transmitter to warn a friendly extraterrestrial race of the past. The adventure begins.

The road of any adventure is filled with obstacles and pitfalls. The Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of the FBI with likeable agents Pierson and Ellery led by Agent Gifford-‘Giff’ soon are surveilling Jamal and Charlie because of a tip from one of Francine’s suitors. Charlie and Jamal attend the huge parade in New York City that acknowledges Lindbergh’s achievement. Charlie did not think that he and Jamal would be captured in black and white by film crews covering the parade.

The fall from grace from the Rumfords and the threat to humanity.

Not only is Francine rumored to have begun an affair with the man from Chicago, but Charlie’s relationship with Jamal is outed in a dramatic way. All his hard work, his rise to success explodes like fireworks in the night. As Jamal continues with her transmitter work Charlie arranges with his friend Herbie to house the transmitter atop the Rumford Building. Elf has found through her readings that her comrades have come back through time and are locked in an electromagnetic continuum near Niagara Falls. At the same time, they must travel to Boston to get neon from the university source for her transmitter.

Boston and Beyond

Scollay Square Boston 1920’s

Traveling on one of the first commercial flights between New York and Boston and followed by Giff and his boys, Charlie and Jamal make arrangements to purchase neon canisters. In Boston outside the theater district near Scollay Square Jamal reveals with Elf a three dimensional scenario of her time period ten thousand years in the future. Just before linking up with the neon and Giff at Fenway Park and the Red Sox-Yankees game where Ruth hits two home runs, Jamal learns the belligerent killing race called the Avegis have exited the continuum and are after Jamal to stop her mission. They find a pilot named Langley who begins an aerial trek between cities toward Niagara Falls to find her friends from the future.

Niagara Falls and the continuum.

Niagara Falls
Laurel and Hardy Sugar Daddies 1927
Electric Generating Plant Niagara River

The action and the adventure gets ratcheted up when Charlie and Jamal land in the city of Niagara Falls. The Avegis are aware that Charlie and Jamal are in the Niagara Falls area. What they find at the generating plant prompts a pursuit that leads back to New York City. Steeped within the events and culture of the time the confrontation has a determining factor. Without successfully destroying the Avegis the distant future will produce a timeline where humanity is wiped out. The book’s climax will come at atop the Rumford Tower but the culmination of the hero’s journey ends in triumph across town.

The Final Battle

Dempsey vs Tunney-The Long Count

Remember this is Babe Ruth’s hero journey, too.

60

In the locker room after the game Ruth proclaimed: “Sixty! Count ’em, sixty! Let’s see some other son of a bitch try to top that one!”  Charlie and Ruth have gone full circle from the beginning of the journey. The essence of the journey is overcoming the obstacles. Both Charlie and Ruth were ready to do just that.

It’s Friday. Have a great weekend!

RPF

Post Script:

A mixture of film to simulate the Babe’s 60th Home Run

New York City 1927

Niagara Fall June 1927

How many seconds?