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Friday, March 12, 2010


CAPTAIN OUTRAGEOUS. That's the working title to the Young Adult novel I'm currently writing. Think Auntie Mame meets The Twilight Zone meets Hondo.

A twelve year old abandoned boy has become something of a Ulysses by necessity. A smart remark on his lips and trouble at his heels. Always one jump ahead of street gangs, foster home agents, and assorted petty criminals, Victor Standish finds himself in a strange section of the French Quarter where his fast thinking may not be fast enough. Two storms are coming. Katrina is one. The other is a brewing war in the Shadowlands where neither side may be the right one.

And in the center of them both is the mysterious undead jazz club owner, Captain Samuel McCord. Can the boy trust him? And can either one of them survive the coming storms? And what will be the price if they do?

The only things that are certain : Victor's knack for getting into trouble, his wise cracks, and the growing bond between him and the undead former Texas Ranger, Captain Samuel McCord.

Here is the first chapter :

Chapter One

I was at the wrong end of a dead end alley in the French Quarter. But don't get any romantic images in your head. It was the kind of alley where wino's holed up in to die.

Which was fitting seeing as how I was going to die there.

I wasn't alone. There were four punks right in front of me. Butt ugly. Mean mad. My friends they weren't. In deep shit I was.

Story of the twelve years of my sorry gypsy life.

The leader {picture a phone booth with a head on it} cracked his meaty knuckles. "You're dead, shrimp."

Sad to say that wasn't the first time I'd heard those words. What was even sadder was how many times I had heard them. But in a way that was a good thing. I had thought my way out of each and every one of those other times.

But not this time. The game plan wasn't me living. It was them dying.

Phone Booth in front of me had killed Old Suze. Now, she and I hadn't known each other for very long. But the old lady had taken pity on me when Mother had dumped me at the bus station and split for the 5th time. I kept count. You keep track of those sort of things.

How Mother kept finding me from city to city I never knew. Why she dumped me I knew. A new boyfriend. She never kept one long.

Which wasn't surprising. She was attracted to bad boys. And guess what? Bad boys are ... bad. Duh. But she kept thinking each guy would be different. Did adults lose some of their gray cells when they lost their pimples?

Most times alone on the streets were bad. But not this time. Old Suze had shown me the ropes of the French Quarter, the gangs to avoid, the restaurants to visit late at night, and the streets to never, but never, walk alone after midnight. And this alley was on top of that list.

She had even told me why. I thought her crazy. Then, she led me here one hot night and let me see for myself. Then, we ran like hell. For an old lady she sure had been able to hoof it. But she had reason. We both had.

Now, she was dead. And as fast as life stops making sense, my fingers became fists. Phone Booth and his goons would pay.

"Didn't you hear me, shrimp? I said you were dead."

A part of me was already dead, for my voice didn't shake a bit. "You made two mistakes, Baboon Face."

His beady eyes became slits. "You talkin' to me?"

"You see any other Baboon Faces here?"

I flicked my eyes to his snickering buddies, then back to him. "Oh, yeah, you do. Well, you, the Baboon Face with the most teeth. You."

"You are so dead."

I smiled faint. This was the alley Old Suze had warned me that the shadows were hungry. The shadows that were moving all around us. The punks were too pissed to notice. Baboon Face had a huge shadow slipping right up behind him. He was all eyes for me. Good.

Now, to stay alive long enough to watch the shadows feed themselves on these murderers. 'I'm not asking to live, God. Just let me see these punks die.'

The shadow behind him rose tall, growing strange clawed arms that reached forward. I smiled wider. At least I'd see the coward who snapped Old Suze's frail neck get eaten.
"You crazy? What you smilin' for?"

"You made two mistakes, Baboon Face. You killed my friend. And then, you chased me to this street before you got your fix."

"What the hell you talkin' bout?"

"Hunger. Fear. They draw the Shadows."

"What shadows?"

"The Shadows that kill."

"The only thing that's gonna be killed is you."

He lunged at me. I danced away. I'd had lots of practice -- from Mother's boyfriends, the perv's on the streets, and the cops. I dance real good. And fast.

Phone Booth was fast, too. Just not fast enough. The Shadow behind him swallowed him in a blur. It looked part glistening insect and part nightmare. Mostly nightmare. He screamed as it wrapped its jagged arms around him. He was lifted clean off his kicking feet, disappearing into the darkness as wet sucking filled the alleyway.

Funny. All of a sudden, his buddies weren't all that keen on killing me anymore. Screaming like little girls, they wheeled around to run. And they did run -- smack into the shadows that surged over them like a black wave of silent death. The shadows melted one into another until they were a black riptide that sucked the three punks under. It was creepy. I thought their screaming would be loud. But it wasn't. I only heard muffled cries that turned into whimpers. Whimpers and sobs that went on for what seemed like forever.

Then, nothing.

Mother kept telling me there was one thing I didn't know. Enough. This was one of those times I thought she just might be right. For a change.

The Shadows began circling me. The circle slowly tightened. Sometimes "oh, shit!" just doesn't cover it.

I frowned. I wasn't afraid. No, really. I'd had my fill of living on the streets always scared. To die right now would be a relief.

Besides, the punks hadn't seem to take too long to die. And that seemed way better than starving slow on the streets without Suze. And I sure wasn't hungry -- not after all I'd seen in the past hour. Then, why were the Shadows drawn to me?

The circle of insect-like Shadows drew in closer. Were they trying to scare me? Fat chance. Sure, it had sounded the way they killed hurt something awful. But I had been hurt by experts. Let them do their worst. I'd have the last laugh. I wouldn't make a peep dying.

It would all be over for me soon. No more running from perv's, cops, and gangsters. I felt my shoulders straighten from the weight that soon would be off them. It would be over for me. Over. I smiled.

The circle of Shadows tightened around me. I swallowed hard. This was it. Had I really been idiot enough to have said I wasn't scared of dying? I'd lied.

Then, suddenly he was beside me.

He you ask? I heard him called a lot of names in my times with him. Most the kind you don't use in church. But I always called him "Captain Sam." Even now, hearing those words in my mind, I smile. And my heart becomes so hollow it hurts -- for I remember.

Tall. Dressed all in black. From his wide Stetson to his long broadcloth coat, his silk shirt, his tie, his vest, jeans, and cowboy boots. His gloves were even black. I frowned. Gloves? In the heat of summer?

But his hair was moon-white, though his face seemed barely fifty. His eyes. God, his eyes. They seemed to have seen all the pain in the world and to have felt every scream. His wolf face hardened, and he spoke in words of distant, rumbling thunder.

"You know who I am. You know what I can do. Back off!"

And they did. Not just backed off. They ran clear away back down the alley. My mouth got all dry, and I couldn't seem to swallow. Who was this man who could terrify the Shadows that I'd just seen kill so quickly? I hadn't been scared before. But I got scared then.

He looked down at me, and his rock face softened. Those haunted eyes of his seemed to sparkle in the moonlight. And then, he winked.

"Next time, son. You might want to leave yourself a back door."

All at once, the weight was off my shoulders. I smiled. And I hadn't even had to die.


In a world that seems to have no place for honor, heroes are hard to come by. To me, one name will always mean hero : John Wayne.


  1. Hi,

    your new history are really intresting and really good. It's make me really noisy. I wish you a nice sunny weekend. Lots greetings from Germany. Bye Abbi

  2. I'm glad you liked the chapter of my new novel. The weekend here is indeed beautiful. Living by a bayou makes my apartment terrace a wondrous place on days like today. May your weekend be sunny as well. Roland

  3. Lots of vibrant, bristling energy and sharp dialogue! This is the stuff teenage boys like! I was wondering if you were going to give him a kind of rite of passage? What's he like at 15? Where is he at 15? And then maybe 19 on the threshold of adulthood? I only suggest this because it would broaden your reading age and give young teenagers a sense of quest! Maybe this sounds like a huge novel if you do this! Maybe I sound a bit crazy! I don't know! But they're thoughts that may lead you somewhere!