As It Should 0

A budded rose stem
On thin branch in course sand
It shrinks under sun

A gingham maid pours water
Rushing down onto the crown

Glass beads dot petals
Dripping into the puddle
The green leaves shimmer

Morning sun climbs high
Drying the single red bud

The flower stem wilts
Petals droop down in distress
Nightfall sunsets relief

Gingham maid retrieves the pail
Spray dances around brown root

Desert sun turns hot
Too much for English flower
The thin stem turns orange

The gingham maid pours water
Much too late to save it

The desert returns to sand
As it should.

Marching Down Fifth Street 0

One hundred twelve in the bright florescent midnight shade
I bumble through a weary crowd marching down The Strip beside dancing neon, drunken girls, and gold firelight
Mojave desert heat blasts the granite marble hills towards God’s tower man-made
One hundred twelve in the bright florescent midnight shade
Dreams fleeting as fast silver coins tumble through the flashing casino parkade
The jingle-jangle rhythm strikes a mirthful heartbeat of disjointed amusement in the night
One hundred twelve in the bright florescent midnight shade
I bumble through a weary crowd marching down The Strip beside dancing neon, drunken girls, and gold firelight.

In the Mirage 0

In the mirage, ripples rise before my eyes

The standing noon sun heat dries

Beads of salt sweat on my forehead

Leaving me heatstroke weak as I tread

In the ravine, a winding snake path intensifies

Following a sand mouse lenghthwise

A rodent’s fate demise

I ponder the tan path to the tragic end

In the mirage.

A fan palm hides rock art mysteries

A spear thrown ripples past a prize

Landing short of red rock bloodshed

A hunter stands apart from his band; defiant brave friend

I sit alone too stoic on my perch of granite gneiss

In the mirage.

Did I Mention 0

Voice One: “The big highway interchange in Mission Valley was designed by the grandfather.”

Voice Two: “I doubt it.”

Voice One: “He surveyed the whole thing and figured out where everything needed to go.”

Voice Two: “I think you’re mistaken.”

Voice One: “I have his surveying notes.”

Voice Two: “He worked for the City of San Diego but I don’t think he had anything to do with it.”

Voice One: “Did I mention my dead mother told me he designed it?”

Voice Two: “Dead mothers do tend to influence history.”

 

The Eternal Price of Liberty 2

A Conversation (Among Strangers on a Bus)

Voice One: “He shared secrets with the Russians!”

Voice Two: “Maybe he was trying to be frank.”

Voice One: “Or he’s a traitor in bed with Putin!”

***

Voice Three: “Over there is a statue of Lafayette.”

Voice Four: “He believed in the cause of liberty.”

***

Voice Two: “Radical factions ordered his arrest.”

Voice One: “If I’m considered a radical, so be it. They should arrest Trump!”

Voice Two: “No, Lafayette was arrested. Napoleon secured his release.”

Voice One: “Another dictator helping another.”

***

Voice Four: “I think you’re confusing the past with the present.”

Voice One: “Shut up! If you’re against liberty, then I don’t want to hear it.”

***

Voice Three: “Look there’s the White House.”

Voice One: “Probably already sold it.”

Voice Four: “Let’s go take a look before its gone.”

Voice Two: “The price of liberty requires eternal vigilance.”

Arms Outstretched in the Dark 0

I stand in the darkness

Outstretched arms seeking a name

Of one person who served a cause

Proud in service.

Each believed in the mighty nation

Pressed into liberation of people oppressed

Under a threat of ominous winds along the Ho Chi Mihn.

A boy my son’s age; he knows a lot, so he thinks.

This truth learned before death;

Warriors serve their masters even when they change their minds.

I’m looking for a relevant pawn in an irrelevant war.

A Worthy Foe 0

I see my protagonist in The Farmer’s Cop pretty clearly. He’s a former sheriff who recently lost the family ranch due to bad investments. He’s a pariah with his siblings; they really don’t like him. He moves from rural California to Los Angles; a sheep missing his wool. He is trying to fit into a hip culture, and well, he will never be mistaken for hip. But he’s trying. My protagonist is very smart and doesn’t suffer fools. He uses his country charm as a way to sneak under the fences.

As for my antagonist; I still need to figure him/her out. They need to be an equal to my sheriff. Just as smart, and in some ways, smarter. The antagonist needs to have some flaws and character traits will all admire. In essence, the reader needs to sympathize, and even like, the murderer.

As I said before, the mystery story must be about the detective solving the murder. But the story also needs to feature the murderer. We need to feel like this is someone we would like to hang out with.

Character planning is in some ways more important than plotting. Sure, it is nice to know the story outline. However, the way the characters react to things happening in the story will push the story forward and allow the reader to grow to love the character.

Five Character Traits of The Antagonist (Murderer)

I go into more detail on these five traits on my Patreon Page.

 

Suicide Will Never Follow Your Murder 0

A Conversation

“Police are finding a lot of bodies lately.”

“Plenty of murder-suicides stacking up.”

“It says here he called 9-1-1 before the suicide.”

“Wanted police to find her body.”

“Murder is one thing, but suicide will send you to hell.”

“He just should have murdered her?”

“Just so you know, if I murder you I’m not going to kill myself.”

“So no suicide pact?”

“If I murder you, it’s because you needed it.”

“You’ll feel no remorse?”

“Wandering around hell? I don’t need that shit.”

He Speaks in Moonlight – Part Two 1

Jerry pulled his clothes, the sleeping bag, and Fredrico’s suitcase out from under the dumpster. One of the girls took the case. They all walked in silence as Charlie led them into the other side of the alley.

“What have you got in here,”  one of the girls carrying his horn case asked.

“That’s Fredrico. ”

She didn’t understand. Jerry stopped and took the suitcase from her. He opened it up in his arms.

“Why it’s just a doll,” she said.

“Well, more than that. He’s my friend.” As soon as he said it, Jerry blushed because he realized could use some real friends. The girl smiled.

“I’m Darlene. I can keep on carrying your friend for you.” She winked at Jerry. He noticed she wore black hose and a sheer top with purple streaks in her hair. He closed the case and handed it back.

After a ten minute walk, Charlies stopped everyone at the entrance to a storm drain leading into a vacant lot. The dark tunnel was blocked with abandoned shopping carts and tires. Tumble weeds, trash,  and mud collected around the tires blocking a green slime trail of water. The water cut through a line of footprints leading into the tunnel.

“Wooee-ah!” Charlie shouted. “Wooee-ah!” The group waited outside the entrance to the tunnel. Jerry watched red tail lights float away in the distance. A cool breeze blew up from the tunnel.

“Come down,” a voice shouted from the shadows.

“That keeps us from getting beaten to a pulp,” Charlie said.

Jerry and his new friends walked under the concrete opening into the darkness. Around a turn in the tunnel, Jerry saw lights hanging from the ceiling. A small generator sputtered next to a wall set up on a stack of pallets nearly five feet tall. Further down, the tunnel was divided up into rooms by a curtain hallway.

“You can take over for Sam,” said Charlie. He pointed over to a dark room hidden by a brown sheet. “Sam took a trip and won’t be back.”

Everyone became quite. Jerry considered the silence wondering what happened to Sam.

“Topside found him with his head bashed in,”Charlie said. Jerry furrowed up his brow. Darlene let out a disgusted sigh.

“What? It happened that way.” Charlie kicked the ground with a mud-caked boot.

“You make it sound like any other day.” Darlene rolled her eyes. Charlie ignored her and slapped Jerry’s shoulder.

“He was lying in his blood inside one of those dumpsters in the alley,” Charlie continued.

Charlie pointed at the room. “Anyway, you can sleep over there.”

Jerry gathered up his things and pulled back the curtain. The room contained a bed and a stack of Heavy Metal magazines. On the magazines, a pewter guitar kept the pages from blowing away. Darlene placed Fredrico on the bed. Behind them a nervous kid kicked the edge of the bed.

“Sam will be back you know,” the kid said. Jerry sized him up and decided he couldn’t be older than 14. Hell, he felt like an old man at 20. He could only imagine what this kid felt like.

“I’m Tate,” the kid said. “Don’t get too comfortable because Sam will be back.” His confidence contained a slight doubt as he continued to kick the bed.

“Don’t worry about him,” Darlene said. “He just misses Sam.” She rubbed Tate’s shoulder.

A small beard covered Tate’s chin and he needed a bath. His black hair framed his face in oily wisps. Tate reminded Jerry of his little brother and he decided the kid needed a friend. “Why don’t you tell me about him,” Jerry said.

Tate pushed his toe into the concrete and brought back his shoe for another pass. “Not much to tell. He’s just a good guy.”

“Too bad he’s not here,” Jerry said.

“Yeah. You’ll like him when he comes back.”

Rooms divided the tunnel with pallets, sheets and towels while graffiti lined the walls. In the center of the tunnel, a sofa sat in front of a paper box.

“We’d put the TV there if we had one,” Tate said. He drew closer to Jerry and stared at him. Jerry turned toward the boy and laughed.

“There’s nothing to watch anyway,” Jerry said.

Part Three

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