Category Archives: Character Posts

Pinch Hitter, Part 8

Sorry for the delay, but Kenny Black was on vacation the other week. 😉

(Click here for Part 7 of Pinch Hitter):

I stay crouched in that position, staring at the dead Eddie Snead for several minutes until the burning in my thighs forces me to stand. It’s a strange thing to watch someone die. For me, it’s even stranger when I’m not the one responsible for the death.

You’re probably thinking, that doesn’t make sense, Kenny. You’re out of your damn mind.

Well maybe I am, but if I don’t know the reason—or at least that the attack was for a just cause—seeing a man die just toys with my mind. But I don’t have time to be sentimental right now.

“Rest in peace, Eddie,” I say and then pull on a pair of latex gloves and get to work.

I perform a more thorough search of the house, but the kitchen and living room reveal little more than litter, dust, and a bare fridge. Eddie’s guest room appeared to be his drug packaging and storage center. But aside from some residue on the work table, a scale, and boxes of packaging supplies, the room is drug-free. The intruders obviously cleared it out.

Back in Eddie’s trashed bedroom, I look at the overturned mattress. A big chunk is cut out of the bottom of it and the material was sewn back over; Eddie’s secret hiding place no doubt. But the bad guys found that too and probably came away with a nice score of cash and maybe a little black book containing valuable contacts.

“Shit.”

I step back and scan the floor, and finally get lucky. Right in the middle of the pool of blood is the print of a cowboy boot. Appears to be a size 14 or 15. A big dumb cowboy mixed up in the crime world. How many could there possibly be in this small town?

Blue and red lights suddenly strobe through the house. The cops. Did a neighbor wake and notice my flashlight from across the street? I kill the flashlight, hurry through the house, and slip out the back door.

Once again I’m a place where Kenny Black feels most comfortable—the dark shadows of the night.


Pinch Hitter, Part 7

(Click here for Part 6 of Pinch Hitter):

My flashlight doesn’t have far to travel. On the floor propped against the bed, the man I’ve been surveilling sits with his legs splayed. His head is slumped down and his hands are pressing against his stomach, trying to keep his guts from spilling out and onto the floor. A bad scene indeed.

There must’ve been a tremendous struggle because the bedroom’s trashed. Furniture’s turned over. The TV, pictures, and lamps destroyed. Could’ve been when I noticed the lights turning off. Here I thought he was calling it a night, when in reality intruders were calling it a life.

But why didn’t he hear his backdoor being kicked in? Was the TV too loud? Or was he too high? Probably the latter, which would also explain why he’s still conscious.

“Eddie, can you hear me?”

He bobs his head without looking up, that would require too much strength. The pain must be excruciating…then again, he may be long past pain now. I realize he won’t be able to talk, so I need to keep my questions very specific.

“The men who did this….” There had to be more than one based on what I’ve seen so far, probably three. “Are they coming back?”

He shakes his head ever so slightly.

“I’m going to get revenge for you, I promise you that, but I need to know something first. There are human remains in your grandfather’s garden. Did you put them there?”

He nods.

“You killed that person?”

With all he can muster, he shakes his head in protest. “Na-naah.”

“Okay, okay, I believe you. Save your strength.”

I take in a deep breath and slowly let it out, then squat before him, careful not to step in the growing body of crimson, Lake Snead.

“Now, Eddie … the people who killed that man, did they do this to you?”

“Ya-yah-yah.” His head continues to bob, long after it needed to.

“You’re going to die, Eddie. And I’m truly sorry about that. But if I’m going to get these guys, I need to know who they are first. Were they local competition?”

He shakes his head. Weakly, he lifts his right hand and points up.

“I see. They’re bigger than that.”

Eddie begins to grunt and moan, then dips his finger into his wound. Frantically, I search the room until I locate a piece of paper. I return to him and hold it under his hand. He writes two letters and stops. With all his strength he looks up at me and nods, then everything goes limp and he leaves this world.

I look at the two letters written in Eddie Snead’s own blood: “DC.”

I crumble the piece of paper and stuff it into my pocket. I don’t want to leave this for the authorities to find…not that they could do anything anyway.

D. C. Gibbons. Bigger than that, for sure. Much bigger.


Pinch Hitter, Part 6

(Click here for Part 5 of Pinch Hitter):

As usual, nobody came to pay Eddie Snead a visit at his house tonight. The little bastard stayed up late and I was beginning to worry that he was a tweaker; never sleeping, wired, unpredictable, and potentially violent. Which could also account for the bones in Herman’s garden. Around 2:15 A.M., he finally turned his living room and bedroom lights off. But I decided to wait another hour just to be safe.

It’s 3:15 now, so I exit my truck, which is parked two blocks from his house on the street, and slip into the shadows until I’m crouched in his backyard beside his garden. Like Batman, I’m wearing a mask and a belt with a multitude of tools hidden in it. Some of these tools are for picking locks, so I retrieve the right ones for the job and creep over to the back door.

I can pick locks in my sleep, so it’s not necessary to use a flashlight to see what I’m doing, but almost immediately, as I’m inserting my pick tools into the lock, I know that something is wrong. The angle of the lock is not right. I apply light pressure to the door and it begins to creak open—somebody had kicked the door in.

In a relatively seamless set of movements, I return the pick tools to the belt, draw my .45 semi-automatic pistol with my right hand and flashlight with my left. I remove the safety from the .45, but leave the flashlight off for the time being. Slowly, I duck walk into the house letting my left shoulder carry the door open. It is dead quiet inside. I keep my pistol and flashlight aimed about chest-level, finger on the trigger and thumb on the power switch. I hold my flashlight out away from my body, however, in case someone takes aim at it once I turn it on.

Without even turning on the flashlight, I can tell that the kitchen is dark and empty. I continue duck walking into the living room, where the street light gives me enough visibility to determine its condition is no different from the kitchen.

Through the living room toward my left is a hallway that inevitably leads to the bedrooms. I keep moving slow and steadily, feeling the burn in my thighs. At the first open door on my right, I shower the inside with a burst from my flashlight—it’s an unoccupied and pretty filthy bathroom. The next door on the other side of the hall is also open. I shine light inside. It looks like it could be Eddie’s “office,” but no one’s inside this room either, and by the looks of it, the door had been locked and kicked open as well.

Only one door left, also wide open. I power the flashlight on again.

The pool of blood in the carpet confirms that Eddie Snead had visitors tonight after all.


Pinch Hitter, Part 5

(Click here for Part 4 of Pinch Hitter)

I sit in my Ram 2500 Mega Cab parked a few blocks down the street from my mark, Herman’s grandson, Eddie Snead. Even his name suggests that he’s a weasel. Skinny little, long-haired shit. Although, aside from some probation time for petty theft, his record was fairly clean. No history of violence whatsoever.

However, there’s always a first time for everything. The first time for the act. The first time getting caught.

The first time the Grim Reaper, played convincingly by Kenny Black, comes to pay you a little visit.

But one thing I realized from my visit with ol’ man Herman is that I took him too lightly. The vigilante business can be rough on the body and spirit, and when Kaybee found the human bone in Herman’s garden, I was in the middle of a several month sabbatical to get my shit together. Only problem with that having that much time away is ya get a bit rusty, a bit out of practice.

With Herman, I wasn’t cautious—just ran into his place with guns a blazing, so to speak. If he turned out to be the man I’d suspected him to be, Kenny Black may’ve been pushing daisies from a shallow grave.

Learning from my overzealous mistake, I’m taking my time with Eddie Snead. I’ve been watching him for five days and nights straight. Armed with my zoom binoculars, I can easily observe the drug transactions he’s making outside the public basketball courts.

He’s out there all damn day from mid-morning until dusk. His clients range from about 14 years old to the late twenties. Maybe a few thirty-somethings here and there.

He works alone. Drives a pale blue Buick Regal to and from the basketball court parking lot and alternates between the bleachers and the street corner. In his shack of a brick house—containing a garden in the back just like his grandfather’s—he seems to live alone. No piece of trim coming for a quickie. No cars aside from his Regal parked in the driveway. No one coming or going throughout the night, so it seems he keeps his business away from his home. Smart.

If I had to guess, I’d say he probably grows his own weed and has made a good reputation for his product and as a local small town dealer. So why the dead body? Was there another local dealer that invaded his turf, or vice-versa?

I think in the dead of night, while little Eddie is fast asleep, will be the best time to learn the answers to those questions. Yes, I’ve given this enough time and thought.

Tonight, Kenny Black strikes.


Pinch Hitter, Part 4

(Click here for Part 3 of Pinch Hitter)

“Are you all right?” Herman asks and leans forward, looking truly concerned.

I sit back into the uncomfortable couch, relax my throat, and take a slow deep breath. No, I haven’t been poisoned, but something’s definitely up with this coffee.

“What the heck you put in here?”

“Good heavens, I didn’t even think to warn ya. I make my coffee a little strong.”

“Do you add a few drops of water to a bag of coffee grounds or something?”

Herman belts out a laugh. “No, no, you don’t have a problem with alcohol, do ya?”

“Only if I can’t get enough of it.” I raise the cup again and take a whiff. “It’s certainly not whiskey.”

“No, it’s not whiskey. Can you keep a secret?”

I’ve kept more than my share, old man. “Sure.”

“It’s moonshine. My own special blend. I make it in that ol’ wooden shed behind the garden. I think I poured in a little too much this time though. Didn’t even think about it when I offered you some. It’s just how I prepare it.” He laughs again. “I should figure that not everyone drinks their coffee this way.”

“Coffee brewed in part with moonshine? Works for me. You’re full of surprises, Herman. Your name is Herman, isn’t it?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, Herman—here’s to moonshine and gardening.” We clink coffee cups and each take a healthy gulp. “That’s some potent stuff.”

“It’ll do the job, all right,” he says with a grin.

Herman may not be as religious as his late wife, and his role in the church may have mainly been to pacify her, but he doesn’t exactly strike me as a killer either.

“So, do you have a secret behind the success of your garden too?”

“No, I’m afraid I can’t take too much credit for the nice produce it yields. I just do a little maintenance. My grandson—he’s got the green thumb of the family. He’s the one who prepared the soil and planted all the seeds. Did all the early care to make sure the crops would thrive. He still comes by to check on it from time-to-time, plants new seeds. I just tidy up and pull off fresh produce.”

“It sounds like he’s the one I should be talking to, eh?” Looks like Kenny Black will have to pay this little punk a visit.

“That’s right. I’ll have to introduce the two of you some day. Say, would you like some of his fresh tomatoes?”

Tomatoes grown by the aid of human flesh—I’ll pass. But once again, I say, “Sure.”


Delivery Rooms and Dads

This Method Writers blog posting comes to you from the hands of  Marty Pitchford, one of the characters in the book “The Method Writers”. The fictitious characters from the book continue to work on final edits of their own book – “Fictitious Fiction”.

I realize the writer who created me, Michael Ray King, wrote his own book on fatherhood. Heck, he should! He only has six children! For me, fatherhood came as a shock-wave that did not settle down until Annabelle turned two-years-old.

The midnight feedings I heard so much about were actually midnight, three-in-the-morning and six-in-the-morning. Jessica did not want to get up in the middle of the night much. I didn’t either, don’t get me wrong, but this was our precious daughter. I cannot tell you how many times I fell asleep in the easy chair with her on my chest.

The sleep I got ended up very shallow, as I feared she might roll off. I placed couch pillows on the floor around the chair just in case.

I nearly got fired from my VP job because I dragged into work sloppy and half out of my mind. If my boss hadn’t been a woman, I’m not sure I would have received the benefit of the doubt. She knew Jessica, and she knew me, of course. Not long after Annabelle’s birth, my boss sat me down and gave me a boatload of tips. Most I didn’t remember, but I was thankful that she understood what I was going through.

The diapers seemed to fall my way most of the time. I suppose I’m grateful for that as well. Whenever I changed a diaper Jessica had put on our daughter, I noted the carelessness. I should have begun adding all these signs up, but life had me running its gauntlet. There were many times I asked for more help, but Jessica felt I needed to carry my fair share of the load.

Yeah, I go to work, come home and Jess hands Anabelle off to me and disappears for five or six hours. The upside to this, of course, is Annabelle and I developed a strong bond. My little girl would smile and giggle at me and I knew there could be nothing more beautiful.

Oh yeah! I was supposed to talk about the delivery room a bit. So I’m in there, right? Jess is cussing enough to make Poseidon blush. I’m sure the nurses are going to boot us out, but they simply ignore her. I’m helping helplessly with the Lamaze breathing.

The doctor walks in, exhorts Jess to push after he inspects the situation, and the next thing I know, this purple creature is being held up to me. Scissors somehow get placed in my right hand, and I cut the chord to the most beautiful purple being on earth.

I soon note Annabelle’s skin changes to a much more normal looking pink. I’m glad I didn’t ask. I would have felt stupid. Since my baby was not exposed to air those forty weeks, of course she would come out some strange color. Once the light and air did their thing, poof! Normal baby.

Except nothing was normal about this girl. She was/is perfect. I believe I cried more than she did. Maybe not as loud, but I wept. Birth is one of the most amazing experiences we ever get to witness. I’ve been there for my girl ever since, and that will never change as long as I live and breathe.

 

Rogues Gallery Writers Books:

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Pinch Hitter, Part 3

(Click here for Part 2 of Pinch Hitter)

You can tell that Herman hasn’t changed a thing since his wife had passed. The living room is a mishmash of pastel furniture with decorative throw pillows, dark-colored end tables with lace doilies underneath the table lamps, and a collection of religious paintings and quotes on the walls.

“Please, Kenny, make yourself at home,” the old-timer says and motions to the living room couch.

“Thank you,” I say and sit on the small, uncomfortable couch that has a gaudy-looking afghan draped over the top. The cushions screech at my weight.

“Would you like some coffee? I just brewed a pot.”

“That would be great.”

“Care for some cream, sugar?”

“I prefer mine black.” Just like my name.

While Herman’s tinkering around in the kitchen, I wonder why the hell I just accepted coffee from this stranger who may know more about me than I know about him. He could be slipping something into my steaming cup of coffee this very minute.

My mind begins to race. Did I even come over with a plan? That’s so unlike me. Just because he’s old, doesn’t mean he’s weak.

I’m relieved when Herman returns with a tray, containing a coffee pot and two empty mugs. He sets the tray on the coffee table and pours me a cup, than one for himself. He’s also drinking his black. I wait for him to take a sip, and then take a gulp from mine.

“So…you’re interested in my garden, huh?” he asks as I take a second gulp.

And then I realize my big mistake. Just because the coffee itself was fresh, doesn’t mean a thing. The poison could’ve been at the bottom of my cup all along!

Shit, Kenny, you’re losing your touch. Old-time criminals are old for a reason; they’re a lot smarter than you are, ya dumb bastard.

“What’s the matter, Kenny?” Herman asks.

My throat begins to tighten and my head feels heavy. It’s getting hard to breathe.


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