Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Dumb White Husband by Benjamin Wallace (Excerpt 3)

Dumb White Husband

vs. The Grocery Store Cont.

John scared the neighbor’s cat as he pulled into the driveway. He opened the mini’s gate, slid his wrist through the handles of the plastic bags, hefted the dog food on his shoulder, grabbed the kitty litter and carried the groceries to the house, hurting himself only a little.

Inside the door was his recliner, his snacks, his sports and his beer—he’d be damned if he was going to make two trips.

He shuffled past the Mustang and up to the back door.

Carefully balancing the dog food on his shoulder, he reached out with his left hand and fumbled with the knob. Tension started to build within him. He could picture his son wandering into the living room, seeing the TV “open” and changing the channel to something stupid.

The door opened and he grabbed the dog food just as it was slipping off of his shoulder. He rushed inside to the kitchen and let the kibble fall to the floor. He tried to slide the bags off of his wrist, but they snagged on his watch. His hand turned purple as he tried to undo the knot of plastic straps on his wrist. It wasn’t easy. If he could recreate the puzzle that now constricted his arm, he could sell the thing at Cracker Barrel.

Every time he moved a handle another one took its place and seemed to hold tighter. The two gallons of milk now dangled from his arm. He couldn’t feel his hand. Grimacing, he worked his way around the island. The milk caught on the corner and pulled tight against his progress. Was his hand fuchsia?

With his free hand he pulled open the utensil drawer and blindly dug around for scissors or a knife or anything but a rubber spatula. His hand found a handle. He smiled and pulled the tool from the drawer and set to work on the plastic bags.

The pizza cutter wasn’t the optimal instrument for cutting plastic bags from an ensnared wrist but it was easier than finding something else. The blade kept spinning as he sawed furiously at the straps. Placing his thumb on the wheel he was able to make better use of the pizza cutter’s edge and began to free himself from the bags.

The last strap gave way and his hand popped free. It tingled. The contents of the bags spilled across the floor. Thankfully, the milk jugs didn’t leak. They just rolled in two separate directions.

Free at last, he placed the pizza cutter in the sink and ran cold water over his numb hand.

“Jimmy,” he called for his son. There was no answer.

He turned the water off and found a dishtowel.


His oldest child entered the kitchen from the living room.

“Yeah, Dad?”

“I need you to put the groceries … What were you doing in there?”

“In where?”

“In the living room.”


“Did you change the channel?” John ran past the boy into the living room.

“No. I didn’t touch the TV.”

John stood before the TV. It was off.

John glared at his son. He tried to say things: “I was watching the game. But, the game was on. Your mom promised.” But, only sputtering sounds escaped from his mouth as he stared blankly at the dark screen.

Jenny stepped into the room as words were finally beginning to form. She spoke before he could.

“Relax, John. I just turned the screen off.” Jenny grabbed the remote from John’s favorite chair and powered the TV back on.

The screen hummed to life and revealed the game, just as he had left it. He kissed his beautiful wife, rustled his teenage son’s hair and kicked off his shoes. He felt the carpet through the hole in his sock.

Jenny handed him the remote. “Come on, James. Help me with the groceries.” The pair left the room with only a little attitude from the teenager.

John hit play. His sports team roared to life. He dropped the remote in the chair and quickly gathered his snacks and his drink. He backed up to the recliner, straddling the extended footrest and collapsed into the La-Z-Boy. That’s when his ass hit the remote and changed the channel, hurting him only a little.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Comedy / Humour

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Benjamin Wallace on Facebook & Twitter

Website 1 http://benjaminwallacebooks.com/

Website 2 http://www.dumbwhitehusband.com/

Julia Park Tracey – Woman of Mystery

Woman of Mystery

By Julia Park Tracey

I waited till I got out the door, across the parking lot and into my car before screaming. I had just left the book-signing from hell, held, appropriately, on Friday the 13th.  I was supposed to participate in a “romance tableau” in honor of Valentine’s Day and had been looking forward to reading a short, evocative excerpt from my contemporary novel at the event. Alas, it was not to be.

Despite foul weather and appalling traffic, I arrived on time at the bookstore, where the manager said they were expecting a big crowd. The other reader was a romance novelist who has written about 24 books in less than 10 years. The writer asked if this was my first book, and when I said yes, she gave me a lecture about how I should always bring freebies to give away to the audience and my publisher should provide those. Then she looked at my photo on the back of the book and said, “That’s not very good.” She flipped through the pages and criticized my writing. She was also not thrilled to have to share the spotlight with the likes of me. By this time I felt we were on the road to a solid friendship and I took my seat.

Fabulous Romance Writer apparently has a big fan base, as the entire audience came out to see her, not me. No one knew who I was or why I was there except the owner, and she was late (foul weather and appalling traffic). When the owner arrived, she introduced us to the audience, first, Miss Fabulous, who the owner said would tell about the joys of being published by a major house, and then she pointed at me and said — and I quote, “This is Julie Parker and she wrote a mystery and published it herself. Now they’re going to tell about their very different experiences…”

I was, um, speechless, to say the least. Which to correct first? My name? The fact that I don’t even read mysteries, much less write them? That the book was under the auspices of an indie publisher? That I came prepared to read my novel, not compare my miserable existence to that of the Fabulous One? But there was no time for that; it was time to hear what Miss Fabulous had to say.

Miss Fab talked for a good half hour about herself and her books and herself and her editor and publisher and herself and herself, mildly interesting to me though clearly exciting to all her fans. Since I was sitting with her in front, I smiled and nodded and looked interested the whole time while feeling like the third wheel. I wondered, if I had written a mystery, what it would be about. I toyed with the notion of legally changing my name to Julie Parker, in hopes of hearing it pronounced, “Julia Park.” And I thought about my novel, Tongues of Angels — which takes on some major contemporary themes in the Catholic Church: the nun who wants to be ordained, the priests with celibacy issues, the power struggles, the politics.  And I thought, “I’m at the wrong reading. I’m at the wrong bookstore. These people don’t want to hear what I have to say. They are lighting pitchforks and sharpening torches as we speak.”

When I got to speak, I skirted the story itself and instead gave a little background, then just talked about writing and the difficulty I had with finding an agent with the controversial subject matter, and why I eventually went indie-rogue. A woman from the audience offered a comment. “I read your book,” she said. “And you’re right. The Catholic Church does hate you.” She said she thought the book was “interesting.” We all know what that means.

Then a minister at the back of the room said he thought I was brave and he admired my courage. Later on, he bought my book, asked me to sign it, slipped me his card and asked me to call him. For a date. “Send me an e-mail and we’ll talk,” he said with a particular smile. I am going to have some new business cards made up that say, “Julie Parker, Woman of Mystery,” just for these occasions. My area code will be 666.

But wait – there’s more. Turns out there was an editor for a romance magazine in attendance. I offered my book to the editor and asked if she might like to review it. She looked at me and said, “Oh. Well. I don’t think so. No.”
After I left the bookstore, I reflected back on a past book-signing event, where I had sat for two hours and received more compliments on my shoes than sales of my book. I was wearing those same lucky shoes for Friday the 13th.  When I got to the restaurant where I was meeting a friend for dinner, the hostess stopped me to gush over my shoes.
Per the advice of Miss Fabulous, I am planning to give a pair of free shoes with the purchase of every book.

IV Ink (www.indievisible.com) is re-releasing Julia Park Tracey’s novel, Tongues of Angels, as a 10th anniversary edition in April 2013. Follow her on Facebook/TonguesofAngels and Facebook/JuliaParkTracey; on Twitter@JuliaParkTracey.

Tongues of Angels

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Julia Park Tracey on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.thedorisdiaries.com/

Bedtime Stories for the Insomniac by Matthew Yaeger

Later his father came home, tired from searching for his friend.  Jimmy saw the look on his face and knew that they had not found Ryan even before his father could say anything.  After returning from the shack Jimmy knew that they would not find him.   There was something larger going on than his parents could understand that even Jimmy did not understand.  He only knew that his dream was more than just a nightmare that would disappear in the sunlight.

His father explained that they had not found Ryan, and that Jimmy's mother would be staying with Ryan's mother overnight while they waited to see if he would come home.  Since they were on their own and his father was tired, Jimmy made a microwavable dinner and ate it while watching TV.  The microwavable dinner had no taste and no matter how he tried to pay attention to the TV his thoughts kept turning back to the origami creature in the shack, trying to make sense of it all, then retreating from those thoughts in horror.

Night came and there was still no sign of his friend.  His father put him to bed and sat on the side of it for a moment looking down at Jimmy.

“You okay son?”

“Yeah.” Jimmy lied.

His father nodded, then surprised Jimmy by leaning down and kissing him on the forehead in a way that he had not done since he was a child.

“We will find your friend, don't let that worry you.  I love you.” his father said.

“I love you too Dad.”

He father then left and went down the hallway.  Jimmy stared at the ceiling, wondering what was happening to his friend at that moment.

Jimmy realized he must have drifted off to sleep.  Time had passed and his digital clock showed that it was close to two o'clock in the morning.  Before he could roll over and try to return to sleep, he heard an odd noise.  The strange music from the night before was playing again.  The rhythmic beating swelled and crashed, and grew louder.

Jimmy stood and went to his window.  Down the road the streetlights were off, the darkness too thick to see anything through.  The music was coming from that direction, and as the music became louder and moved closer more streetlights turned off.  They would flicker like candles in a strong breeze, and then the light would cut off completely leaving the street below them in shadow.  Jimmy felt his heart speed up and tried moving away from the window, only his legs wouldn't respond to the thought and felt as though encased in concrete.  He wondered if this is how a deer felt when caught in a pair of headlights.

The strange music continued to grow louder, more sounds became clear, though not the sound instruments would make.  It sounded like screeches and howls, screams and growling, all flowing along the deep bass beat that had now grown to such a volume Jimmy was wondering why his parents or neighbors were not awake and storming out of their houses to see what was going on.

The streetlights towards his house continued to flicker and die.  As the darkness crept closer Jimmy realized he could make out a shape walking down the street.  Jimmy knew right away what the shape was.  It was his friend, Ryan, and he was walking down the middle of the road as though the leader of a parade.  Behind him the darkness was no longer the empty shadows of night, but the silhouettes of larger things moving from within them.  The darkness itself seemed alive, twisting and folding into itself like the paper that Ryan had fashioned origami monsters from.

The procession carried onwards, until it reached the streetlight right in front of Jimmy's house.  That streetlight stayed on and the darkness stayed back though it continued moving and shifting in ways that made Jimmy's mind hurt.  Ryan stepped forward from the shadows until he stood under the streetlight, and then turned his gaze upwards to the window where Jimmy was standing.  They locked eyes and at that moment the moving shadows and crazy dreams meant nothing.  He best friend was there, looking at him with an expression on his face that was both pleading and scared.  Then Ryan held his hand up, spit into his palm and stretched it out in Jimmy's direction.

The message was clear.  Jimmy found he could now move away from the window.  He went to his closet, put on a hooded sweatshirt over his pajamas, slid his feet into his sneakers and headed downstairs to the door to join his friend.  There might be punishment for messing with the book they had found, there might be creatures in the shadows that made him feel as though he was losing his mind, but his friend needed him, and he had made a promise.

Best friends forever, no matter what.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Horror

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Matthew Yaeger via Twitter