Wednesday, December 12, 2012

'The Plumber' by Richard Godwin

A fantastic writer - one who I am proud to call friend - Brits up the blog for us today. (Cheers, mate.) Enjoy this story, and check Godwin out...trust me.


He sat at the back of the cafe, egg dripping from his stained spoon, greased mobile clenched in his hand.
‘Na, fuck off, I ain’t doin that.’
He laid his mobile down and bit hard into the two slices of toast wedged together with plastic egg, yolk squirting out of the sides and landing on the front cover of the Sun which read:
‘This country’s gone loony’.
He was six foot and overweight, and he ignored the trainee who was looking bored and staring out of the window at two teenage girls who were laughing at something.
The plumber looked at his trainee and followed the line of his eyes.
‘Fuckin slags,’ he said.
‘Why d’you ave to say that Arry? They ain’t’.
‘Look at them. Arses hanging out, beer bellies, dear oh dear, whatever appened to decency, they look like a couple of scrubbers.’
‘They’s just young women, Arry.’
‘Na. you wanna get yourself a nice girl, Mick.’
Mick stirred his cold tea with disinterest and yawned while Harry flicked open The Sun.
‘Now look at that,’ he said.
‘What’s the difference?’
‘The difference?’
‘Between them girls there and them out there?’
‘They’re fuckin models you prat. Class paper this’, Harry said, leafing through its pages. ‘Ere, these geezers go out for a Ruby right, get slaughtered and one of em moons the waiter. Is mate bites his arse and gets his false teeth stuck up is crack. Fucking classic.’
Soon, they left, and headed to the first job.
Mick was pale skinned and in the sunshine looked like a blank sheet ready to be imprinted by Harry. He wore a look of permanent dissatisfaction and looked too clean for the van which was strewn with litter. Here and there were signs that he was trying to blend in with Harry. His trousers were overly dirty and he had a large rip in his T shirt that looked manufactured. He was unshaven and the resulting effect of this was a small wispy beard.
Harry didn’t stop talking all the way to the job and Mick stared from time to time at Harry’s hands, which were covered in tattoos.
‘So what we doing Arry?’ he said.
‘Blocked drain in Wandsworth.’
‘It’s always blocked drains or toilets.’ 
‘No it ain’t, two fucking minutes on the job and he thinks he knows it all. Mick I’ve seen things I could put in a novel doing this game, it’d be a bestseller I can tell ya.’
‘Like what?’
‘I know all sorts, all fucking sorts.’
‘Yeah?’
‘I tell ya, one night I ad to fix some loos in a nightclub in London. The ladies toilets were overflowing with piss and water, like a fucking swimming pool they were.’
‘An why was that?’
‘OK. I goes in there and wade through it all in me wellies.’
‘Right.’
‘I can tell right away it’s this one loo, bunged up it was, something terrible.’
‘So what d’you do?’
‘I fuckin fixed it you burke.’
‘Na, I mean-.’
‘I know what you mean Mick. I get me old plunger out but nothing’s appening, know what I’m saying?’
‘Yeah.’
‘So I rod down, deep down in there and in this job me old son you gotta get your ands dirty, that’s what I always say to the fucking smartarses who mouth off about ow much plumbers charge. Ow much fu-cking plumbers charge! You stick your arms in someone else’s shit every day and you’d fucking charge, you cunt.’
‘So what appened?’
‘I tell you my old lady as two washing machines, cause we’re posh. If I stuck me workclothes in the one she washes the kids’ clothes in they’d be covered in shit, know what I’m saying?’
‘What d’you find in the toilet?’
‘I stick me arm in and fish out a pair of knickers.’
‘Knickers?’
‘Yeah, some old tart had crapped erself an flushed them down the loo.’
‘Ah that’s fuckin disgusting.’
‘All part of the job me old man. Get out of the way you cunt.’
Harry leant out of the window and spat a large gob of phlegm that looked like a piece of potato. It arced and landed on the offending driver’s windscreen.
‘Yeah well I don’t plan on doing this for long,’ Mick said.
‘Oh yeah, what you got planned, running for parliament?’
‘No need for that.’
‘I tell you me old son, I seen some things. You learn a lot about human nature on this job and you get an insight into crime.’
‘Crime?’
‘You know how many wallets I’ve fished out of loos?’
‘Na.’
‘Undreds, fucking undreds mate. Pickpockets steal em, knick the contents an flush em.’
‘Fuckin stupid if you ask me.’
‘Well I ain’t askin you, I’m telling ya. This is like sociology this job, you see what people are made of, what they’re about and it ain’t just the low lifes, it’s the posh ones too.’
‘You charge em more?’
‘Course I fuckin charge em more, the cunts. They look down their noses at people like us and we go into their ouses and fix their shit for em. Tell you what Mick, I was called to this job once in Amstead, big fuckin gaff, massive and the loos were all flooded and I took one look at the slag who opened the door and I knew.’
‘Knew what?’
‘It was er.’
‘What was er?’
‘I’ll tell ya. She ad guilt written all over er face. You see, I know ow loos work and what goes where and I know when someone’s lyin, I’ve heard all the lies under the sun and it’s made me a bit of a psychologist see.’
‘So what appened on this job?’
‘What appened was all the loos were bunged up with condoms, undreds of the fuckers.’
‘So?’
‘The lady she’s wafting around in a negligee, showing a bit ere and there if you know what I mean.’
‘Yeah?’
‘Good looker she was, but a slag. Anyway, when I tell er about the condoms, she starts adjusting er belt and flashes er gash at me, just a little glimpse and then she looks me right in the eye and says, don’t tell my husband.’
‘She was screwing someone else.’
‘Course she fucking was. Er old man’s doddering about in the next room writing a cheque and e’s a bout a undred and she’s not bad as I said.’
‘Did she?’
‘Did she what?’
‘You know.’
‘Fuck off. I’m a appily married man.’
‘So what did you do?’
‘I fu-cking overcharged em so much it paid for me missus’s Range Rover.’
‘Look at that.’
Mick was staring at some scantily dressed women who were walking across the road.
Harry took one look at them and said, ‘You’d catch something nasty off them.’
‘Ow d’you know?’
‘I fuckin know me old son.’
‘I think they’re tasty.’
‘You wouldn’t know tasty if it sucked your knob.’
‘Why’s it always loos?’
‘It ain’t, there’s sinks and boilers , cockstops and drains, external soil pipes with shit running down em and all sorts of pipe work. Son, you’re in the right game. Fuck off you wanker!’
This last comment was aimed at a man who was loitering in front of Harry’s van.
He put two fingers up at Harry who hurled his half-drunk can of Red Bull at him, spraying him with its contents.
‘That’s a waste,’ Mick said.
‘I ate fuckin cunts like that. Where was I? You see, this is an old trade and what you want, Mick, is a trade. We’s got words that go back to Chaucer.’
‘Oo?’
‘Chaucer, ain’t you never eard of im?’
‘No.’
‘E wrote plays. There’s something we call a bastard in this game and it was used in is day, fourteenth century.’
‘Oh yeah?’
‘The cunts in Europe want us to change our terms cause they ain’t fuckin politically correct. They say they demean women.’
‘Why do they say that?’
‘Cause they want to get rid of our Englishness.’ He tapped the George flag that was stuck to the roof of his van. ‘Still flyin.’
‘Ever seen something really gruesome?’
‘Oh yeah. I could be a copper I could with what I’ve seen, and they need fellas like me.’
‘Ow come?’
‘Cause I can tell if a crime’s been committed.’
‘What crimes you seen?’
‘Mainly theft. But I tell you it’s only a matter of time.’
He pulled over and parked outside a large white house.
‘This it?’ Mick said.
Harry nodded.
‘I seen tampons, sanitary towels, rags, and clothes stuck where they shouldn’t be, but one time I ad me and down a drain and I felt all this hair.’
‘Hair?’
‘Hair me old son.’
‘What was it?’
‘I tell ya Mick I thought it was a fuckin ead.  I was pullin on it wondering what state of decay it would be in.’
‘Was it an ead Arry?’
‘The ouse belonged to some pop star, e ad this long air see?’
‘Yeah.’
‘E’d been washing is air and it ad all gone down the plug ole and accumulated into this big thick ball, I fished it out and it was huge.’
Mick was laughing when they got out of the van.
A pile of puke was hardening in the morning sun and two empty beer bottles were propped against the gate to the house.
‘This shouldn’t take long,’ Harry said.
He rang and they were admitted by a maid in a starched white uniform.
            ‘Typical, she never even offered us a cup of tea,’ Harry said as he assembled his rods.
            ‘Ere give us a hand.’
He prodded for an hour or so and the water level didn’t drop.
The owner came out, a man in a pinstripe suit looking sweaty. He offered them tea and the maid brought it to them on a tray.
‘That’s better,’ Harry said.
Mick looked down at the drain.
‘What now?’
‘We get in.’
He donned his Wellingtons and water proofs and stood waist high in the water. He reached a hand down into it.
‘There’s something in the way there. I can feel it.’
He fetched the jet hose from the van and started up the pump and after an hour the water had dropped.
Harry stood in it again while Mick watched.
‘I tell you, this job shows you a lot Mick,’ he said. ‘You see what people really get up to.’
Harry reached his hand down into the water and started to pull on something. 
‘There are a lot of crazy fuckers in London and a lot of crime. This is a tough fucker I tell you, ere it goes, it’s coming, fuck me!’
Harry stood with a head in his hand.
The flesh of the neck had sealed off and was a whitish blue and the discoloration of the face was so grotesque Mick started to retch.
Harry stood there staring at it.
‘Call the fucking police.’
He placed it on the ground and clambered out of the water.
The head lay like a rotten wound in the sun.
Soon the stench of it overpowered the smell of excrement and stagnant water.
Mick stood at the edge of the garden looking away.
‘I told you this job was full of surprises,’ Harry said.
The police took a while arriving and when the owner saw what had been blocking up his drain he vomited on the flagstones in the yard.
He sprayed remnants of food and bile everywhere and the sharp smell rose into the air and foundered on the rank aroma of decay.
When the police arrived Harry said, ‘Let me do the talking’.
******
Richard Godwin is the author of crime novels Mr. Glamour and Apostle Rising and is a widely published crime and horror writer. Mr. Glamour is his second novel and was published in paperback in April 2012 by Black Jackal Books. It is available online at Amazon  and at all good retailers. Mr.Glamour is Hannibal Lecter in Gucci. The novel is about a glamorous world obsessed with designer labels with a predator in its midst and has received great reviews.  Apostle Rising, in which a serial killer crucifies politicians, is available everywhere books are sold. It is also available for the first time as an E-Book with some juicy extras, an excerpt from Mr. Glamour and four deliciously dark Noir stories, like the finest handmade chocolate.

Here in the US
Here in the UK

He is an active member of the CWA and HWA.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Interview with a London Call Girl..the backstory.

Ruth Jacobs grabs the mic today to share her story and the stories of women she has known.

In Her Own Words... Interview with a London Call Girl was a video interview I transcribed as part of my dissertation on prostitution in the late 1990s. There were two reasons I chose prostitution as the subject of my dissertation. The first is that I had already undertaken a study in criminology, examining female criminal and deviant behaviour from a sociological perspective. The second reason was that I had a couple of friends who worked as call girls. Being aware of the importance of firsthand accounts as opposed to academic research when undertaking a study such as this, the latter is probably what cemented my decision.

From my teens through to my mid-twenties, I was somewhat wayward and spent time in London’s underworld. That is how I was introduced to Q - the woman whose video interview I fully transcribed for the book, In Her Own Words... Interview with a London Call Girl. When I first met her, I thought she was a model. She was stunning, and as I grew to know her, I realised she was just as beautiful a person inside as well. She is no longer alive, which is why all the royalties from the publication are being donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity that helps women exit prostitution. Research shows that nine out of ten women would like to exit if they could.

In addition to Q, I also knew a few other women who worked as call girls in London and approached them to ask if they’d be willing to be video interviewed for my study. Two others agreed, who I refer to as R and S. I had a great deal in common with these women and most other women who work as prostitutes. I suffered sexual assaults as a child, I had been raped, and I had post-traumatic stress disorder. I also had issues with drug addiction. 75% of women in prostitution have been sexually and physically abused as children, 70% have experienced multiple rapes, 67% meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, and 95% have issues with problematic drug use. 

At the time, I was unaware of the denial most of the women would be in. They presented as what you might call ‘happy hookers’ but inside they were not happy. Most had suffered childhood abuse and continued to suffer abuse by clients to varying degrees. Although I knew this from conversations with them, for the interviews I thought it best to allow them to take the lead and discuss what they felt comfortable with. Not surprisingly, they did not want to discuss those issues, with the exception of Q. It was clear that R and S were putting on as much of a front as they could, and in hindsight, I can totally understand why. Having since spoken with a number of exited women it is evident that the pain and trauma from prostitution is often not felt until after exiting. Before then, like XLondonCallGirl says, you live in denial, and like Q said in her interview, you live in a fantasyland. That is the protection/coping mechanism that enables the women to carry on with a veneer of toughness, the appearance of being a ‘happy hooker’, and without falling apart. 

S used to smoke crack with her clients in a room in her flat while her baby was asleep in the other room. She ended up losing custody of her child. Q was raped both as a streetwalker when she was originally forced into prostitution at the age of fifteen by a pimp, and the clients who had sex with her at that time were paedophiles raping a child. She was also raped while working as a call girl too. I also recall another instance where she was extremely badly beaten by a client. In addition to that, she was once robbed at gunpoint in her flat. This life of a ‘happy hooker’ is not the reality of being a call girl. All three of the women I interviewed were on crack and cocaine.

One of my aims is to dispel the ‘happy hooker’ myth. I want to show vulnerable, young women, who are the women most likely to enter prostitution, that being a call girl is not a glamorous occupation as the media has been portraying it to be. Of course, on the outside it is glamorous, but on the inside it is not. It can take years to recover from, and I am sure many never fully recover, certainly from the women that I know.

Another part of what I hope to achieve is to change the stigma much of society has against women who work in prostitution. They are often judged and looked down upon. These women have mostly had painful and tormented childhoods and tumultuous present lives. They deserve to be seen and respected as any and all other women should be. 

I am hoping with my series of novels, Soul Destruction, the first of which will be published by Caffeine Nights in 2013, and also with my charity publication, to go some way to achieving these goals.

In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl is available to download from Amazon UK at http://amzn.to/P992RY for 77p and from Amazon US at http://amzn.to/Qo3SZD for 99c. It is also available worldwide. All royalties are being donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity that helps women exit prostitution. 

To learn more about Ruth Jacobs and the Soul Destruction series of novels visit her website at www.soul-destruction.com

Ruth Jacobs on Twitter http://twitter.com/RuthFJacobs
Ruth Jacobs on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/rujacobs


Soul Destruction on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/SoulDestructionSeries
Soul Destruction on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/RuthFJacobs/videos


Ruth Jacobs studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked her interest in the subject. Her series of Soul Destruction novels dispel the 'happy hooker' myth and expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. She draws on her research and the women she interviewed for inspiration. She also has firsthand experience of some of the topics she writes about, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and drug and alcohol addiction.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blogger Award!

Well, I like pretty much everything about R.J Keith. I like his blog. He's friendly. To the best of my knowledge he doesn't sell meth to preschoolers or kick puppies. To the best of my knowledge. He was also kind enough to nominate me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award and, considering it just took me like ten tries to spell 'inspiring' right (fuck you spell checker...I'll get it eventually), well, I think he might be a little off his nut, but so be it. About the only thing I don't like about R.J. Keith is those damn periods. But he's probably smarter than me. Because I like JD Mader without the periods, but people always add them in there which is my own dang fault, but still makes me want to kick puppies and sell meth to preschoolers. So, basically, if I get arrested for selling meth or kicking puppies, you have no one to blame but R.J. Keith, society, my parents, my teachers, my little league coach, and possibly me (a tiny bit). But mostly R.J.

Seriously, though, these awards are interesting. They are pretty much chain letters, but they are nice chain letters. I'll put the sarcasm aside for a second and say that I truly am honored that R.J. would think to include my blog. And I'm stoked to see a lot of other good bloggers on there, too (which will make it much harder to come up with my list of fifteen...I don't think there is a rule against duplicates, though). Which brings us to how this works. I link back to R.J.'s blog. Done. I tell seven things about myself. Will do. And then I nominate 15 other bloggers. Will do that, too.

Without further ado, here are seven actually true facts about me.

1)  I really prefer even numbers to odd, so this 7 thing is kind of wigging me out a little.
2)  When I was in fourth grade (new in school), a boy I didn't know walked up and kicked me squarely in the nuts. I have spent the last thirty years trying to figure out why this happened. At the time, I just spent three hours on the floor in the fetal position.
3) I collect knives. To a frighteningly obsessive extent. I'm into old, vintage USA made knives, so we're not talking combat knives or anything, but still. We're talking hundreds.
4) I am extremely poor, so you might want to head over to Amazon and buy a few books. It's the classy panhandling.
5) A woman just walked by my apartment, and I had impure thoughts about her nether regions.
6) Along with being obsessed with knives, I am obsessed with birds. I have the whole David Attenborough 'Birds' series on VHS (no, I don't have a VCR). When I was a kid, I only wanted bird books for presents. There is a lot of psychological shit going on here. Let's move on.
7) I have a very odd mole (yes, Mom, I've had it checked). I call it my secret mole. Let's just say you'd have to look VERY hard to find it.

Now, my nominees for the best blogs.

1. David Antrobus
2. Yvonne Hertzberger
3. Laurie Boris
4. IndiesUnlimited
5. KD Rush
6. Edward Lorn
7. Richard Godwin
8. Chris James
9. K.S. Brooks
10. Jo-Anne Teal
11. Drive-Thru Guy
12. Rosanne Dingli
13. Ryan Grassley
14. J.L. Murray
15. Blergpop (kind of sleazy since I'm one of the writers, but...)
16. Tracy James Jones (16 is my lucky #)

And that's it. I'm going to go huff gas now like I SHOULD have been doing for the last hour instead of being all gracious and shit.

Really, though, thanks R.J. You're aces.  :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Memory and Writing Fiction


Scott Bury grabs the mic today with a guest piece about memory. Thanks Scott!

As I’m writing this, it’s July 31, 2012. I remember this day exactly 47 years ago.


On that warm, sunny Winnipeg summer day, I was standing on the front steps of my parents’ home. My father was sitting on the top step in front of me, and around me were some other kids from the neighbourhood.

I cannot remember what the conversation was about, but I can remember that at one point, I said, “today is the first day of August.” I remember feeling that I was kind of going out on a limb; I remember not being sure that what I said was true.

“Not quite,” my father said. “Tomorrow is August first.”

And I can remember, strangely enough, feeling pretty good about that—about being close to knowing the date, because I was sure that none of the other kids there had any clue what the date was. I can remember at least one of them being surprised that I was as close as I was. After all, even a grown-up could err on the date by one day, right?

I was four at the time (now you know my age). There were no cell phones to check the date and time on. Phones then were heavy, clunky black things tethered to the wall by stout wires, or screwed to it in the kitchen. Actually, every family I knew had only one phone.

That’s one of my earliest memories. JD asked me to write about my earliest memory, and how it informs my writing.

I remember the white stucco house with the blue wooden trim. The front yard seemed as wide as a park, and I remember the oak tree as immense, with a canopy that gave enough shade for family picnics.

I don’t know whether this memory directly informs my writing. But I have always loved blue-and-white houses, and I was immediately taken with Cycladean architecture when I saw pictures of it during high school.

But there is one lesson I think we can draw from this. Think of your own favourite memories. They’re probably not about big, dramatic events. They’re probably of quieter moments with your families, when you’re not doing anything in particular. No one says anything life-changing.

If there is something about this memory that has any effect in my writing, it’s that. People don’t usually speak in full sentences, and what they say does not seem memorable, at first. And yet, that’s what we do remember. At least, I do.

This is where I find a lot of fiction writers go wrong. They try to pack so much into dialogue that it sounds false. Listen to some of the everyday conversations around you. People almost never speak in full sentences, they make mistakes all the time, they start sentences, change their mind part-way through, backtrack part way and substitute words. And if you ever tried to re-create the funniest, most enjoyable, laughter-filled conversation you ever had on paper, it probably came out as gibberish. This is one reason Obama sounds so different from most other people: his words are carefully crafted. This is why most politicians sound false: they’ve prepared what they say.

I know that stumbling speech with little import makes for bad reading. But still, I remember those quiet times and those gentle conversations, and to me, they’re the most real memories I have.

Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and author based in Ottawa, Canada. His first published novel is The Bones of the Earth, available on Amazon. You can follow his blog at scottswrittenwords.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's My Fault

A guest story today from the one and only Jo-Anne Teal.  One of my personal heroes and favorite people.  Thanks for sharing, Jo! 

He’d tried, I knew he had tried his best, but an entire evening was too much to expect. Dinner planned for eight o’clock, dessert with coffee afterwards, the Taylors should have been saying goodbye on our front porch by ten. But when the doorbell rang an hour early, I braced myself.

The evening started nicely, we drank wine while Al drank his apple juice. Barry and Susan didn’t notice. I always make sure to match the colors as closely as possible. As a precaution, I store white grape, cranberry and ginger ale in our pantry too, in case someone brings us a bottle of wine or champagne.

The pre-dinner conversation was congenial: weather highlights, sailing last summer. I should have kept us on neutral topics, but during the main course, Barry began talking about the recent city council election, and Al began to clench and release his fists under the table.

“Geez, when Mark O’Brian said he was going to run for office, I thought he’d stop sleeping on the job like he did when he worked in the warehouse! Man, those city workers never change!”

“Barry, you know that Al works in the city warehouse. Apologize to him.”

“Al knows I’m kidding. Geez, Suzy, calm down! Al, you know I’m not talking about you, don’t you, buddy. I know you gave up sleeping on the job for Lent. Ha ha ha!”

Al smiled his tight-lipped smile, stood up from the dining table and went into the kitchen. I wanted to follow but he’s told me to leave him alone. I’m not to nag or baby him. So I left him alone, to go into the pantry, reach behind the packages of couscous and take a sip of vodka – just enough to take the edge off.

Three and a half hours in, Al had made four trips to the pantry and I was trying to wrap up the evening by clearing away dishes. Al was starting to slur his words. When he disappeared for the fifth time, Barry asked me if Al was feeling okay. I told him Al takes medicine in regular intervals for his migraines, and sometimes needs to go into the cool night air.  Barry nodded his concern, but Suzy looked at me the same way she did in the supermarket when she’d seen Al take a quick sip from his flask. I told her about his medicine then. She must understand medication because she began helping me clean up in the dining room. She didn’t go through to the kitchen though, which I appreciated.
When I closed the front door after they left, Al stumbled through the living room and started up the stairs to bed.

“Be careful on the landing, dear. I put a vase of flowers there, just for tonight.”

“You’re a goddamn bitch. I’ll walk where I want to walk in my own house.”

So you see, it really was my fault. I always seem to get things wrong.


Jo-Anne began writing fiction just over one year ago.  She is particularly interested in telling stories of the hidden, the hurt, the silent, the unheard. Jo-Anne has concentrated on flash fiction as she developed her writing voice.  She is now working on longer short stories and planning her first novel (literary fiction).  Jo-Anne lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where she happily shuffles from one Starbucks to another, drinking espresso, and taking notes while she listens to the conversations around her.  

"Each person I’ve ever met has, in varying degrees, shaped the person I’ve become.  It seems only right that I would want to tell their stories.  Ultimately, their stories are mine too." 


To read more of her fiction, visit: www.goingforcoffee.net.



Monday, July 9, 2012

The Whisky Fish

There are few things I love more than a good fish story. A buddy of mine on KLRforum.com sent me this...I was so enamored with it, I asked if I could put it up here. So, here it is folks. (For a story about a small fish, it ain't bad).


It occurred to me upon arrival to the city of Craig, Alaska on the Prince of Wales Island that part of the Alaskan experience is the journey to reach it. While not difficult compared to 50 years ago, it is still a bit of a jaunt by today's standards. 

With the last connecting flight being a float plane, a 50 year old Dehavalin with it's low fuel level light coming on every time we made another wild turn, the young bush pilot was living up to his colleagues wild reputations and clearly enjoying his chosen profession. 


When the plane makes its final side-slipping drop into the bay, skipping like a smooth stone on the water before finally sinking comfortably down to the water line, you are truly primed for an Alaskan fishing trip. 

The first day on the boat was amazing. Making our first run to the fishing grounds through the fog, we began to get a "feel" for our captain and guide (Lee); a young native Alaskan, who, upon making a wrong turn in the fog, grinned and explained that he wasn't used to this boat. Hmmm. 

As we made it through the islands and open Alaskan ocean and into the fishing grounds, I looked and saw several other boats drifting through and hooking up with fish, the adrenalin started flowing, and I couldn't wait to get my line in the water. 

After receiving instructions from our guide and one of the other, more experienced, members of our group (Eddie), I dropped in my line and began the "top to bottom" technique that would dominate the trip. This simply means dropping your bait to the ocean floor and immediately retrieving it all the way to the surface and then repeating the process. This gives your bait exposure to the bottom feeders as well as the more aggressive and unpredictable Salmon who, as the captain explained, could be hanging out at any depth. 

I'm not sure if I hooked up with a Silver (Salmon) first or whether it was a King that first took my bait, but catching a King salmon first makes for a better fish story, so I'll stick with that. It wasn't a huge fish by King standards, but it was big and it was a King Salmon and I was thrilled. Time went on, several Silvers were boated and another King was nabbed by Eddie - roughly the same size, and then it happened...

At first, I thought I had just hooked up with another fish, but as the intensity and momentum built, our guide said confidently that I had a King on my line, a big one. He directed everyone to pull in their lines and the fight was on. 

Later, someone would say that the fight lasted for a half hour, another said 45 minutes, again I'll stick with the better story of 45, because afterwards it felt like an eternity. During that time that fish almost spooled me twice (ran out all my line). At one point, Lee said "how much line do you have left?" I looked down at my reel and it looked like a single wrap of cellophane around a thimble. I grunted, "not much!" 

He replied "reel faster" as he gunned the little outboard "kicker" toward the chase. 

At another point, the stubborn salmon ran under the boat. The danger here is that if he rubs the line across the keel or other sharp part of the boat he can cut your line. So all I could do was jam the tip of my rod underwater to try and clear the bottom of the boat. It was at this point that I turned into Captain Quint from the movie Jaws. "He's gone under the boat!" I yelled and I might have even included the pirates "arrg" with it. Lee spun the boat and cleared my line and it was back to work again. 

At one point, I'm not sure of the chronology of it, a snapshot was taken by my brain that will stay with me forever. A picture of a brief moment in time that took my breath away; there in the distance, running directly away from me and toward the open ocean, he broke the surface. With the line singing off my reel, he came out of the water like a torpedo, straight as an arrow and not losing any momentum. As he sailed through the air, something unintelligible escaped my mouth and "click" the moment was eternally captured in the camera of my mind. 

As time wore on, my arms began to burn and the only things that kept me going were pride and the repeated urging from the captain to "reel faster". Then the fish gave me a break. He bunkered up at about sixty feet and took a break. He kept swimming and so kept tension on the line, but at that point the real fight had left him. I was able to shake out my arms and get the blood going back into my hands, sending oxygen to my starving muscles. 

After the short respite, he began again and the gut check was back on. As I continued to make ground on the stubborn fish, I was exhausted to the point of reeling in square circles. A hurky jerky motion no angler would be proud of, but anyone has been there knows what I'm describing. 

Another surreal moment came when at one stage of the fight; Eddie, who was never given over to much exaggeration, quietly and calmly said "Now JT, I don't want to make you nervous but remember that fish you caught a little while ago? (my first King)...well this one's twice that size." 

He made me nervous. 

As the King neared the boat, he gave a few more attempts at escape. It was at this point that I really began to think of everything that could still go wrong, I thought, "don't you dare let him get away" and the terror of losing this fight began to materialise. More adrenalin kicked in and I summoned up enough strength to finish the fight. 

As Lee finally got the net around him and, with help from Eddie, they hauled the fish aboard, I got my first good look at the Whisky Fish. 

Now, not being familiar with the term and clearly not aware of what I had just accomplished, I was curious about why the captain was jumping up and down hugging me and yelling, "you got the Whisky Fish!" 

I looked around at my girlfriend Lynn who, only moments before, was struggling against sea sickness, jumping up and down screaming with delight. Stoic Eddie had a big wide grin. Our other group member, Jim, gave me a high five which I was barely able to return with a shaky hand. Only then, did the reality that, hey, this might actually be a really big fish, began to take form. 

After the Captain finished calling his fellow captains from the lodge on the radio and telling them that, not only were we "on the Kings", but that we also had caught the elusive Whisky Fish, the rest of the boat started fishing again. I leaned against the gunwhale and caught my breath and stopped shaking. 

The rest of the day was wonderful. 

Eddie nailed another really big King, but even as he was reeling it in, he gave me a wink to tell me, "don't worry you've still got the biggest fish". He also hammered the bottom fishing out in the deep water and the Silvers were piling up at his feet. 

Lynn bravely fought the sea sickness and continued to fish. And while she boated a halibut and caught a couple monster Ling Cod that we had to cut loose, she didn't have many fish to show for her efforts. She was having fun, but was clearly yearning to catch some Salmon. A curse that she would later destroy on our final day of fishing. 

Jim had a respectable day and went on the following day to catch his own monster King. As for me, that was the last King I would catch on this trip. 

As we finally came back to the lodge, word had gotten out that we had bagged the Whisky Fish, and the dock was filled with the other boat captains as well as all the lodge guests. There was back patting and picture taking and generally a bit of a festive mood all the way around. It was my tiny 10 minutes of fame and it was great. 

But what's with the Whisky Fish? 

After the group on the docks dispersed, one of the deck hands from the biggest boat came over and said that Lee wanted to see me on it. So, I went over and was invited aboard and into the cabin. There sat all the captains from the lodge around a monster bottle of Crown Royale, which we proceeded to pass around as I recounted my fish story. Their excitement was genuine as I told of the various aspects of the fight and they interjected their own fishing tales throughout, with much laughter and many more tugs at the bottle. I was briefly invited into their world as I had passed the test and was temporarily a fisherman in their eyes. The following day I would return to being just another guest, but for that brief moment, I was on an episode of "After the Catch" 

Any fish over 50 pounds is a Whisky Fish and the owner of the boat buys the captain a bottle of Crown. 

Mine was the only Whisky Fish of the season; it weighed in at 54 pounds, and it represented the return of Captain Lee's Mojo. He had been on a losing streak that season and was clearly relieved that it was broken. 


One of the captains informed me that he had fished all his life and his best was 49. 

Sure, there have been bigger fish; Lee bagged a 64 pounder the year before and, further north in the Kenai, they get bigger still. 

All in all it was a phenomenal trip and I am eternally grateful to the Whisky Fish. Cheers! 

Good Luck and Godspeed 

JT 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Good books and a good cause.


Making a Difference for Kids with Autism

Nicole Storey

When my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, I was devastated and lost.  I had no idea who to turn to for help.  Thankfully, a dear friend advised me to go on the web and search for autism support sites.  I did, and found many parents treading the same turbulent waters.  I was no longer alone.

It is charities such as The GreaterGood Network at The Autism Site that help parents to believe their children can do more, be more, than the doctors dictate.  This charity helps to fund therapy for children with autism: Speech, Sensory Integration, Cognitive/Behavioral, Diet, and so many more.

For the month of July, a percentage of the sales from my books will be donated to The GreaterGood Network to help provide autistic children with the help they need to thrive.  I would love it if you could give just a few dollars and download an eBook or perhaps buy a paperback.  Together, we can make a difference for children with autism!  Thank you so very much!

The GreaterGood Network:  http://bit.ly/N0y9cr

My Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/KThYif


I spent years working with kids on the autistic spectrum.  Some of the best moments of my life.  Pick up a good book for a good cause. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's all in the Paperwork by Richard Godwin



          His charm wasn’t contagious. No vaccines were made against it. He didn’t even know what a Rorschach test was. Dolphins hated him and dreamed of eating him. He tried growing a beard but he looked like a twat. He’d been known to make people throw up just by walking into a room.

          Josh Adams started out as a campus rapist. He tied two students to their beds and fucked them with a Dos Equis bottle. He stood in front of the mirror for hours imitating the Dos Equis ads, saying over and over ‘I am the most interesting man in the world’. He played the all-round good guy in front of his friends and flunked his geography course. Until he found his true career path, he’d only ever been interested in geography because he wanted to travel. He’d never left the States, in fact he’d never travelled out of Kansas. When he became a cop he didn’t even own a passport. 

          He made a lot of arrests and got on the good side of his corrupt, racist boss who ignored his misdemeanors and sloppy paperwork. He liked to strip search his female arrests.

          One day he was called to the scene of a bank robbery. Two masked men had beaten up the manager. Josh had no interest in catching them and instead looked for records of any recent releases from jail.
          He arrested Blake Thomson, one time thief and petty criminal who had gotten out of jail a few days before. Blake was shopping out of state when the robbery occurred.
          ‘It’s all in the paperwork’, Josh said.
          Blake gave him the receipts to prove it. Josh buried them and Blake went back to jail.

          Josh’s boss retired and he took over. His obsession with Dos Equis returned and he bought a fake beard and kept a supply of the beer at the back of the station. One night he arrested a tall blonde called Cindy. She’d thrown a glass at the barman in a nightclub. Josh walked into the cell wearing his beard and stuck his hand up her skirt.
          ‘I am the most interesting man in the world’, he said, and stopped suddenly.
           He felt a dick.
          ‘What the fuck?’, he said.
          ‘I’m a boy’, Cindy said and started laughing.
          Josh broke Cindy’s jaw then smashed himself in the face with the butt of his gun.
          Cindy was sent to jail for assaulting a police officer. He ran into Blake there.
          ‘That fucking pig’s scared of trannies’, he said. ‘He thinks he’s that guy on the Dos Equis ads, dresses up like him.’
          ‘It’s good to meet you Cindy’, Blake said.

          When Blake was released Josh was nearing retirement. He’d bought a stable where he kept a horse. He’d ride out on it wearing his beard, thinking of all the amazing things he’d done with his life. It was a beautiful summer morning when Blake caught up with Josh.
          Blake stepped out of his pick up in a long black dress with a police badge on it, army boots, a Colt 45 and a fake beard.
          He found Josh sweeping the floor of the stables.
          ‘Who the fuck are you?’, Josh said, staring at the large man in the dress.
          ‘I’m the most interesting man in the world’, Blake said, ‘and I’m here to serve you papers.’
          ‘Get the fuck out of here.’
          ‘I think you ought to read this’, Blake said and handed him a piece of paper.
          It read ‘Acquisition Notice: you are now my property, I own the police.’
          ‘It’s all in the paperwork’, Blake said.
          He pistol whipped Josh, opening up a deep gash in his forehead. He removed his police badge and stuck it in the wound.
          ‘You’re mine, now vend motherfucker’, he said, kicking the tip of the badge so it jammed deep into his skull.
          ‘You might be a useless fucking cop who doesn’t do his paperwork, but I’m going to give you an interesting death.’
          He turned him over and stuck his Colt up his ass and blew a hole through him.
          ‘I’m going to have a bottle of Dos Equis’, Blake said, and headed out into the sunlight.

Richard Godwin is a good friend and great writer.  He was kind enough to loan me this piece.


Author Bio: Richard Godwin is a widely published crime and horror writer, whose work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including recently Pulp Ink. Apostle Rising, in which a serial killer is crucifying politicians and recreating the murder scenes of an unsolved case, was his first published novel. It received excellent reviews and is under offer for two foreign rights acquisitions. He has recently Published Mr. Glamour, and is working on the sequel to Apostle Rising. You can find out more about the author at his website: http://www.richardgodwin.net/.  His Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse are popular interviews he conducts with other writers:http://www.richardgodwin.net/blog.




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Napping Blogger Award


The mighty RUSH!!!!!!! has seen fit to give me more work to do, and I thank him for it.  See, here’s the thing.  Rush is awesome, and he is a good friend and a good writer.  And I actually took a nap yesterday, which I rarely do.  It is an honor to be included in this group of prolific writers.

I write a lot for a lot of different people in a lot of different places.  It’s a bit like being schizophrenic. 

So, I’ma link back to my boy at http://kdrush.net/.  And I’m going to tell you what I do to relax.  And then nominate five other bloggers.  Them’s the rules.

What I do to relax:

I like to chew glass and get in fights with pitbulls and meth addicts.  I quite enjoy riding my motorcycle.  I like to hang out with my family.  I like to huff …anything really.  I like to write and I used to like reading when I had time to do it.  I like to play music.  But I never actually relax…ready at all times.

Who do I nominate to the mighty 5 (five bloggers and writers)?


These writers can write and DO write.  Thanks Rush.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Ten Dollar Stove


Yusuf Tura is a man with an interesting story.  Several interesting stories, in fact.  There is the story of his escape from Ethiopia…his redemption in the United States…his vision for a safer world.  They are all threads in the quilt of one man’s life.  That man is Yusuf Tura.
           
When Tura was young, he left Ethiopia for the relative safety of a refugee camp in Kenya.  The conditions were anything but comfortable, but compared to the horror he was fleeing, it was everything.  When Tura arrived in the United States, the shelter he was taken to seemed like a luxury hotel…his own bed, clean bathrooms, and as much food as he could eat.  And he could eat.

There are too many people who have stories similar to Tura’s.  It is our collective shame as a planet that we allow our brothers and sisters in other lands to suffer and starve.  Tura decided to do something about the problem.  He set his sights on one very simple, ten dollar solution to a very big problem.

Tura is the inventor of the ‘Ten Dollar Stove’.  People all over the world suffer from eating food cooked, inside, over a wood fire.  The air is polluted, many suffer horrible burns, and firewood is so scarce that much of the day is spent looking for fuel.  And it is taken anywhere it can be found…from palm fronds to trash dumps. 

That is only a piece of the problem.  In the quest for wood, forests are decimated.  Vast areas of woodland are flattened because of the need to solve an immediate problem: how to eat, how to stay warm. 

Tura decided a simple stove was the answer, and he went to work.  After researching and experimenting, he devised a simple stove, made of sheet metal, that houses a briquette made from waste materials.  The stove costs ten dollars.  The briquettes a small handful of change.  And they will burn safely for four hours.

This is by no means the end of the story.  No, this is the beginning.  Tura provides jobs in his homeland, where the stoves are constructed, but aside from his co-workers, most cannot afford the ten dollars for a stove.  Many trade crafts that they make…and Tura must now figure out how to turn this into profit with which to expand his vision.

There are many people that talk about helping those in need.  There are many people who talk about saving the environment.  Tura is accomplishing both these things for less that the average American spends on food in a day. 

No, the story is not over.  It is just beginning.  And you can help be a part of the change.  Donate, spread the word, be aware of what is being done.  And by sharing your time and awareness, this project will succeed and Tura’s vision will become a reality.  Safe stoves.  That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for.  But for many it is the difference between life and death.