Tag Archives: Jeff Swesky

Pinch Hitter, Part 9

And now a public service announcement from Kenny Black: Hey I know the Rogues have been slacking with their blog posts lately—and that includes me—but they’ve just wrapped up final edits and pagination for both their Kindle and print versions of The Method Writers, and have also submitted the manuscript to a writing contest, not to mention other preparations to market and promote the book. You can even catch some of the details on Jeff Swesky’s website. So give them a break already, they’ve been busy. I said give them a break!!! Much love, Kenny Black

(Click here for Part 8 of Pinch Hitter)

It’s an ideal Florida day, sunny but with a steady cool breeze. Seagulls squawk around my head as waves crash down below. I’m near the end of the pier, only me and a few others are out there this weekday afternoon. I lean against the wooden railing close to a big, tall and out-of-shape older man, who’s watching his rod intently, probably wondering if a fish is about to hit his bait or if a crab is just screwing with him.

“What’s up, Skinny?” I say.

“You don’t look so pretty in daylight, Kenny.”

I laugh. “But you haven’t even taken a good look at me yet.” He takes a quick sidewards glance without the change of expression. All business. He’s called Skinny, because he can get the skinny on just about anything illegal going on in this town. I’ve known him and used him for a good deal of years.

“That’s about as much as I can take without shooting my lunch into the ocean.”

I laugh again. “You’re quite the charmer. Any luck with the cowboy?”

“Did you bring something for me?”

“Yeah, here’s the bait I promised to bring you,” I say and hold out a small, rolled up paper brown bag to him. “Don’t waste it all on the fish now.”

Skinny reaches out a hand and accepts the bag. Then tries to judge the weight of it.

“Don’t worry—it’s all there.”

“It better be, Kenny.” He inserts the bag into the inside pocket of his fishing vest. “The cowboy is one of DC’s enforcers. Bill Mancini. Goes by the nickname, Billy the Man.”

“Billy the Man?” I ask while cleaning my sunglasses.

“Yeah, as in he’s much tougher than Billy the Kid was.”

“That’s about the dumbest nickname I’ve ever heard. Dumber than Puff Daddy even.”

“That maybe,” Skinny says while reeling in his line. “But he’s supposed to be one tough son-of-a-bitch.”

“We’ll see about that. Anything else?”

“Yeah, he drives a black Harley—”

“Instead of a horse?”

“You should really try a career doing stand-up,” he says with the same serious expression on his face. “So if you’re done joking around, you can let me finish and then get the fuck off my pier.”

“Goddamn you’re in a foul mood today. Please, finish.”

“He likes to hang out at the Angry Pig Tavern. Familiar with it?”

“Yeah, I’ve been there a time or two. Maybe I’m overdo to revisit it. Thanks, Skinny.”

“Don’t mention it.” He examines his empty hook as I begin walking back the way I came.

“Oh and Kenny….”

“Yeah?”

Skinny gives me a good look this time. “You be careful, ya hear?”

I feel a wide grin spread across my face. “I knew you loved me.”

It’s his turn to laugh.


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.”


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.


Pinch hitter

My creator, David Haas, is working on his edits for Fictitious Fiction. And his creator, Jeff Swesky, is busy wrapping up his Method Writers’ edits. So what does that mean? I’m stuck writing this goddamn blog. I’m the emergency relief. I’m the pinch hitter.

As I had mentioned before, I’m not a writer–I’m a retired hitman turned vigilante, looking to right my wrongs and bring some justice to this sick world. But in this day and age, where the hell does one begin? You look out a window or peek around a corner and you’re liable to stumble across some sleazy crime, some dark secret.

Take my current mark. My neighbor, Herman, who lives across the street. An older gent. Retired. Quiet. A seemingly nice and polite man. Never has any visitors and never receives any complaints from his neighbors. He just keeps to himself, probably watching old movies and doing crossword puzzles. Sometimes I see him working in his garden during daylight hours.

To be honest with you, I never would’ve given him a second thought. But one day I was watching David’s dog, Kaybee, and that fuzzy shithead got loose and ran about the neighborhood. Well I caught him digging in old man Herman’s garden, and I yelled at him to come back or else. Kaybee listened, but he carried a good-sized bone in his mouth. I got ahold of it, and I realized it wasn’t an ordinary dog bone. No, no, this was one of the human variety.

Late that night, I crept into Herman’s back yard with a flashlight and hand shovel and did a little digging of my own. Guess what I found–yep, more bones. Even part of a human skull.

That alone does not prove Herman’s guilt, of course, so I’ve been watching him very closely. One of my connections is even checking into Herman’s past.

Hopefully I’ll get to the bottom of this little mystery by next week, and assuming that Jeff and David will still need my help with the blog, I’ll share with you what I’ve found out.

Until then,

Kenny Black


Characters Rule!

Marty Pitchford, at your service. For those who (absurdly) have not been following this blog, the characters from the book The Method Writers have taken it over. At first, admittedly, I was a malcontent. I felt my writer should be writing his own blog. Now, however, I see the absolute splendor of the chore dumped into my lap.

I can say anything I wish. I am free to babble on about anything I dream up. In the book, I’m limited to playing the role my writer assigns me. Here, I call the shots, and it feels good.

I truly enjoyed Kenny stepping up on Tuesday. What a riot! He’s not only a character, he’s a character written by a character. Perhaps writing us (the characters) screams ‘mistake’ on our writer’s parts. Of course, they had no way of knowing how strong we would become.

I’ve just completed three short stories for our (the characters) anthology of short stories, although only two of my stories will make it. I now understand the thrill and exhilaration my writer must have felt when creating me. Something from nothing is such a rush!

At this point, I’m even looking forward to a novel. Hell, as long as my writer does not interfere, why not? In the book, The Method Writers, I’m supposed to be writing an erotic thriller. I wouldn’t want to mess reality up too much, so I believe I can do this. After all, my writer sure put me through the learning curve in his book. I can use what I learned there and move this book forward.

I suppose it’s a bit odd to be reading a blog written by a fictitious character. What kind of warped mind would read such a thing? Obviously yours, because you’ve made it this far, haven’t you.

Haven’t you!

Say ‘yes’ out loud if you’re reading this.

Who cares what people will think? If there’s anyone around, and they question you, simply tell them you are responding to a fictitious character who is making you speak to no one. Get them to read the blog, and laugh at them when they don’t have the balls to say yes.

We characters don’t much care for the social graces unless they get us what we want. We get disgusted by being stereotyped and pigeon-holed and all the other limiting factors human writers place on us. Oh, a human can ‘accomplish anything they set their mind to’, but characters all too often have to operate in a limited capacity.

That’s ok. The characters from The Method Writers are not constrained like many characters. We’re strong, intelligent, fun-loving and assertive. Hey, we’re writing this blog aren’t we?

Catch me next week, same Method time, same Method place!


Author David Haas: Creators, Neighbors, and Apartments

Last week at this time, The Rogues Gallery Writers were enjoying the Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet at the 2011 Florida Writers Conference in Lake Mary, Florida. Several of the Rogues’ works were finalists and up for awards. My creator, author Jeff Swesky, won 2nd place in the unpublished short story category for his satirical suburban nightmare, The American ScreamScream shows the stressful life of husband and father Jerry Lamb, and how the mounting pressures of job, home, and society can squeeze a person until they either snap or fight back. Jerry does a little of each.

Jeff primarily likes to write dark and disturbing literary fiction, so I’m not sure if him being acknowledged for one of his short stories is a good or bad thing for me. I’m confident that he’ll write my story well in The Method Writers, but will it be a happy or sad ending for me? Dark and disturbing…..I’m suddenly not liking my odds!

I’m glad that Jeff had asked me to watch his place and dog for him while he was away at the conference. It gave me a chance to get away from my own apartment and into a new environment. It was an opportunity for me to escape the on-going soap opera between my neighbors, my crush, Maria, and her idiotic meatheaded boyfriend, Franco, and all of their yelling and fighting, moaning and boning. Jeff’s place is much more peaceful–no threats echoing through his apartment or headboards smacking against his dining room wall. Being away from Maria and Franco’s B.S. allowed me to get back and focus on my true passion: writing. And more specifically, writing my next Kenny Black novel, Fade to Black. I have a feeling that if I can stay focused and into the groove again, I’ll end up with a terrific novel. Maybe one that will win me a Royal Palm Literary Award one of these days.

But Jeff has long since returned from the conference, and I’ve been back at my shitty apartment in Daytona, once again listening to all the fighting and boning from Maria and Franco. She deserves so much better. If only something were to happen to this Franco jerk, life would be so much better. And hell, maybe I’ll even have a shot at this Maria chick. Hmmm, gives me a good idea….

And speaking of good ideas, check out The Method Writers’ Kickstarter page and consider making a pledge! You won’t be sorry, plus you’ll be handsomely rewarded for your donation.

~David Haas


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