Thursday, February 21, 2013


            I was resigned to accept the worse.  It was hopeless.  There was no way I could rescue my old friend.
            We had been friends since July 18, 1996 and since then had spent a lot of time together on a daily basis.  That summer of 1996, my wife pointed out we were paying way to much for repairs on the steel grey Pontiac STE 6000 I had been driving with almost 250,000 miles on it.  It was time to buy a new car.  Secretly, I was glad.  I had gotten the Pontiac from a co-worker years before because it was a good deal, but when I angled my 6'4" frame into the driver's seat, I felt like I was in a tuna fish can with the lid still on.
            So, I went shopping.  A new type of car dealership had sprung up, called Car Choice.  They took low mileage cars, cleaned them up and brought major systems up to standard, then sold them for a reasonable price.
            Wandering around the lot, I saw it.  A 1994 dark green Lincoln Mark VIII.  I won't say it was love at first sight, but maybe the first test drive.  With a V8 engine, it had power!  And a cockpit I could fit into.  No more squashed knees or wondering if a bump would make my head hit the ceiling.  And it had a sun roof.  I am partial to sun roofs--even had one put in the Camaro I had driven before the Pontiac.
            My wife and I sat in the car, trying to decide, Yes or No.  We do those kinds of things together.  "You really like it, don't you," she said.
Berk (right) w/The Car in calendar picture presented by salesman (left)
            I looked around at the instrument panel spread before me, feeling the leather seats almost form-fitting my frame after adjusting the electronic controls.  I already knew how the car performed.  "I've always wanted a car like this," I said, a little reluctantly.  The price was a bit higher than we'd planned.
            She smiled.  "Then, we should get it and you should enjoy it.  Let's splurge a little."
            I drove my Mark VIII for 16 years.  In its later years, it required a new transmission, but few other major repairs.  Except the air ride system.  Instead of physical shocks, springs and struts it rode on air bags that were supposed to adjust and give the ultimate ride.  What they ended up doing was a nightmare--they never worked right.  Only for that car, would I have persevered so long.
            But finally, we had to make a choice.  The air ride system had failed for the umpteenth time, stranding my car in the garage.  It sat for awhile as we decided what course to take.  We were moving and needed to either fix it or scrap it.
            "That much!" my wife said when I told her what the dealership quoted for the repair.
            "I know, it's just not worth it.  I told them I wouldn't fix it unless they got rid of the air ride and gave me shocks and struts, but they said there's no conversion kit."
            She looked at me sadly.  "I'll find someone who'll buy and tow it away.  I'm sure we can get at least a couple hundred out of it."
            I spent a sleepless night after telling the dealership we were going to scrap the Lincoln.  The next morning, the dealership called me back.  They had miraculously discovered a conversion kit--at a huge savings.  Will miracles ever cease?
            So, I rescued my friend after all.  Next week, we start a new life together.  With any luck, my old friend won't retire until I do. 

Monday, February 11, 2013


     Berk and I have been doing a blog tour for our book, which comes out very soon, as you can see by the count down being conducted to the left.  We've answered all kinds of questions. Such as what is our favorite food, or what kind of superhero each of us would be; and whether we prefer Coke or Pepsi, (I like Diet Coke, Berk likes Dr. Pepper). 

     I loved Berk's answer to the question, "what has been the hardest part of writing the book".  Berk said it was finding a picture of the two us to be put in the jacket that our wives liked.  To say we are not photogenic is being gentle.

     I don't know what is wrong with white shirts, but this is what we really look like.  (I am on the right).  This picture, though, was not good enough, and we had to keep trying.  It's not as if a different lens or focal length is going to change us into George Clooney and Brad Pitt.  And, I'm not sure why we have to look better than we do anyway.  It's not as if we are applying for jobs as male models, (maybe models for Mexican Wrestler's Masks).  We write horror fiction.  I think we look like people should look who write horror fiction.

     But, the wives weren't happy, so we kept trying.  Maybe we could find a camera that would capture our souls, the very beliefs in our beating hearts.  How would that look?

     This time, I'm the one on the left, (in so many different ways).  But we must face facts.  We are not that good looking.  There may be a copyright issue here too.  So, that leaves us with just our own hapless mugs.  We look like what we look like.  I know this seems self evident, but for those people helping us pick the right picture there seems to be some belief that if we keep taking more pictures one will pop up that makes us look better than we do.  We appear like we look as we are in all our physicality.  Whatever the hell that means.

     That reminds me of when one of my kids got married.  I hate the long tedious photo sessions that seem to be a necessary requirement of weddings.  I offered the photographer an extra $50.00 if he would just take my picture once and then photo-shop it in everywhere it was supposed to go.  He looked at me as if I was crazy.  That's okay, I'm used to getting that look. 

     But that still leaves us with the task of trying to get a photo that looks like us and is presentable enough to put on the jacket of our book.  So, we keep trying.

     By now you can tell which one I am as opposed to which one Berk is, right?  Of course, there still may be a copyright issue.  I must say, we are getting better looking with each effort.  In the end, though, I think our publisher would like a photo that actually looks like us.  I really don't know why.  Who buys books based on the appearance of the author? 
    Our wives would still like a better photograph of us, and we have learned that we should trust their opinions, especially on those issues we clearly don't understand.  (In all the time we have been married we have learned a few things, and between the two of us we have accumulated over seventy years of marriage.  Can you believe that!?)
    So we put on shirts with color and looked for a more interesting background, something related to the book, and we tried again.  I think we still look like us, but here goes:
     I'm back on the right, (in so many different ways).  George Clooney and Brad Pitt can heave a collective sigh of relief.  As long as they don't start writing horror fiction we won't get better looking.  And that's a promise I will have no problem keeping, what's so ever .
     So here we are, writers of scary books.  We freakin' look like writers of scary books.  What's wrong with that?  As long as the wives are happy, of course.