Murderville: So Long, Neighbor–Episode 6

Back to the Neighborhood

Vince unlocked his front door, grateful to be home. He’d taken his dear sweet time eating his dinner and then gave DeMarte an extra twenty minutes, but the man still hadn’t contacted him in any way. Vince even checked his desk before he left just in case he missed him. He hadn’t.

Tossing his workbag in the nearest chair and slinging his suit jacket over the back of it, Vince made his way to the bathroom for some antacids. It wasn’t so much the fast food dinner upsetting his stomach (though he really should try to eat better), it was the not knowing. Vince knew that DeMarte had been at Revolutionary Medicines, but how long could he grill Revolution Dude about his cousin’s death without arresting him or Revolution Dude invoking a lawyer? Not long. So, what had DeMarte been doing? And where had he been doing it at?

Vince popped a couple of the fruit flavored chalk tabs and let them dissolve a second before crunching them up. He headed to the kitchen for some water.

His phone rang. Vince fished it out of his pants pocket and his stomach clinched at the name on the caller ID.

“Carthos.”

“It’s DeMarte. Where are you?”

“At home. Where are you?”

“At the station.” He sounded a little peeved. “When did you leave?”

“About ten minutes ago. I guess you just missed me.”

“I guess.”

Vince smiled at the man’s irritation. He didn’t know if DeMarte would make a fuss about him leaving the station without him (he probably would, if only a casual complaint to another detective to give Vince’s reputation a little smear), so he decided to take his pleasure in aggravating him.

“I wish you would have let me know you were leaving.”

“You were following up with forensics. You were gone so long that I figured you’d gone home for the night.”

“Never assume, Carthos,” DeMarte said, his voice sharp. Vince winced. “As a detective, you should know better than that. Cases can be lost because of assumptions. And as a junior detective,” Vince noted the extra aggressive emphasis, “you should always check in with your senior on a case before you do anything.”

Communication goes both ways, Vince thought, but he said, “Yes, sir.”

“Now,” DeMarte said, his voice shifting from disappointed dad to superior detective, “I need you to do some research for me.”

“Okay,” Vince said, uncertain.

“I know you’re at home.” Vince heard the smirk in his voice. “But this could be an important lead. I need you to find a female private investigator here in Munsterville. She’s about early 30’s, blonde, with pink streaks in her hair.”

“Okay,” Vince said, hustling from the kitchen to the living room so he could fish his notebook out of his coat pocket and write it down.

“She was supposedly working on a cold case about a missing person. She questioned both Mr. McKinney and Virgil Clapp about it because they and their other cousin were playing in the park the day she went missing. She might be involved in Mr. McKinney’s death.”

Vince froze, notebook in hand, pen still unaccounted for, confusion slamming him to a halt.

“What? How?” Vince asked. DeMarte wasn’t just grasping at straws; he was grasping at anything that resembled a straw. What the hell had he been doing?

“It’s important to investigate all of the leads. You know that,” DeMarte said. “This came up while I was talking to Mr. Clapp. It’s possible the woman pushed Mr. McKinney a little too hard during her investigation. I’m still looking into the case that she was supposedly investigating. An anonymous tip apparently solved it, but I’m not so sure. It doesn’t feel right. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of something.”

Vince rolled his eyes. The surface of what?

“I need the name of that investigator by eight tomorrow morning. We need to jump on this.”

Vince wanted to tell him no, but instead he said okay and hung up.

He stared at his phone for a moment, attempting to get his blood pressure under control. After a few minutes of futility, he put down his phone, found his pen, and wrote down everything he could remember about the private investigator he was supposed to find. He was tired. He didn’t want to do anymore work tonight. He didn’t want to look for any private investigator. He didn’t want to indulge in DeMarte’s delusion. It was a pointless search. This wasn’t a murder. No matter how many leads DeMarte followed, it wasn’t going to be a murder.

But he was going to do it anyway.

###

It’s back to Hollyhock Road. What answers will they find there? If any? Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode and find out for yourself.

June Writing Projects

It should be no surprise that I didn’t finish revising The End of the (Werewolf) Curse in May. I’m almost half-way through the manuscript, so it’s entirely reasonable to assume I’ll have it done this month.

Yes, I know. Best laid plans.

The thing is that I’m really enjoying taking my time with this. I haven’t looked at this manuscript for about three years. This round of revisions is going to take a few heavy rewrites to make the changes I want that I think will improve it. I really like this story and I want to take my time with it. Maybe reacquaint myself with a time when I used to be good at this.

Speaking of being good, I submitted a couple of poems to the Writer’s Digest Annual Contest at the beginning of May and then a couple of weeks later got the rejection from the 100 Word Story Contest I entered last September. Sunrise, sunset. One day I’ll feel that victory high again.

Maybe.

Season 5 of Murderville is quickly coming to a close. The next episode of So Long, Neighbor goes live June 8th. There’s not a lot of time left to become a patron. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode also gets you a sweet bonus, like the one due on June 22nd. Don’t miss out!

 

Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno is also winding down. Episode 25 should go live at the end of the month. In the meantime, entertain yourself with the most recent episode, which was just released at the end of May. Or entertain yourself with past episodes. Hell, go back to the beginning! I’m not the boss of you. Listen, like, subscribe, share, comment, love, and enjoy.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 24

Episode 24 features an old second season episode and a new second season episode.

In episode 22 “Nightmare Road”, Five-O attempts to solve the mystery of a very important scientist who disappears after apparently killing a man. Is he a killer or is it all part of an elaborate plot? I think you know the answer to this one.

I also talk about episode 18 of the reboot, “Lekio”, which features James Caan playing opposite son Scott as a retired NYC cop turned PI investigating the death of his friend. It’s as much fun as you think it is and I hope you think it’s a lot of fun.

Listen on Soundcloud and iTunes.

I’m going to continue to cover at least one reboot episode a season. Obviously, I’m going to cover any episode that directly relates to the ’68 series, but since I didn’t really watch the reboot much aside from seasons 9 and 10, I think this will be a fun little thing for me to do. I’m going to pick stand alone episodes as much as possible to avoid any season arc spoilers and confusion, and if they happen to have minor classic series ties (like “Lekio” featuring a small guest spot by Jimmy Borges, who guested on the original series) even better.

And if that’s not your bag, that’s cool. You can just skip to the end and miss me talking about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Movie.

Murderville: So Long, Neighbor–Episode 5

Family Secrets

Unlike a lot of other places in Munsterville, Revolutionary Medicines closed at ten on Sundays. It had been a few hours since DeMarte had first talked to Virgil Clapp but as the owner of the business, he was sure the man was still there. He wanted to have another chat. Whatever the man was hiding needed to come out.

DeMarte parked in the lot in front of the shop, the brightly lit front door calling to him like he was a moth.

The bell above the door jingled when DeMarte opened it and like a retail magic trick, a young man appeared from a backroom. He stopped when he saw DeMarte, looking him up and down with suspicion.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

DeMarte noted the less than friendly tone.

“I’m Detective DeMarte. I’m looking for Virgil Clapp or Revolution Dude as he’s called now.”

“Dude,” the young man hollered, not taking his eyes off DeMarte. “You got a visitor.”

Revolution Dude came out of the backroom, glaring as soon as he saw DeMarte.

“Can I help you?” he asked as he walked behind the counter to stand next to his employee.

“Friendly staff you have here,” DeMarte said, indicating to the man with the stone face.

“Never had any complaints about Burt,” Revolution Dude said.

“I bet not.”

“What do you need, Detective?” Revolution Dude asked. “Another one of my cousins dead?”

“Should they be?”

“We’re all getting up there.”

The two men had a momentary stare down. DeMarte just smiled. He loved these kinds of challenges.

“I came back to ask you a few clarifying questions about your cousin,” DeMarte said, approaching the counter casually.

“Which one?

DeMarte appreciated this little cat and mouse that ol’ Virgil was trying to do, but it really wasn’t fair for the man to be playing with an expert.

“How about both of them?” DeMarte said.

Revolution Dude stared at the detective for a second and then looked at Burt.

“Go ahead and take off for the night, Burt,” he said. “I can handle the last few hours alone. Aurora Dream will be here in the morning to open.”

“Right,” Burt said.

He moved out from behind the counter, glaring at Detective DeMarte for the duration of his walk to the front door. The bell over the door tinkled a jolly notice of his less-than-jolly exit.

“Is there a reason why you’re pestering me about my cousins?” Revolution Dude asked, getting DeMarte’s attention. He turned to him with his patented, pleasant smile.

“There is always a reason why I ask questions. I’m a detective. That’s what I do.”

“I see you didn’t bring your other detective with you.”

“He’s working other leads.”

Mr. Dude snorted. “I bet.”

The temperature of the shop rose a degree or two in the moment of heated silence.

“What are you not telling me about your cousins?” DeMarte asked.

“Who said I’m not telling you something about my cousins?”

“You are.” DeMarte smirked. “I could tell by the way you answered a few of the questions I asked this afternoon. You were a little too quick with your denials.”

“So? I don’t need to think about a question I know the answer to.”

“No?” DeMarte chuckled. “It’s funny how the questions you knew the answers to so quickly involved both Mr. Gorski and Mr. McKinney.”

Revolution Dude said nothing.

“Now, here’s what I think,” DeMarte said, taking a little stroll around the shop as he spoke. It really was a marvel of the sixties. The shelves were lined with all sorts of essential oils and other such natural medicines. DeMarte wondered if any of them could be used in a nefarious way. Maybe Mr. McKinney fell over because he was poisoned. “I think that something transpired between you and your other two cousins. Something that you don’t think is anyone else’s business, but maybe it is. Something you don’t want anyone else to know. Definitely not me.” DeMarte indicated to himself and smiled. “It may not be something illegal. It may not have anything to do with Lister McKinney ending up dead in his garage. But I bet it does. And that means it’s something I need to know.”

DeMarte ceased his strolling, ending up nearly opposite the former Virgil Clapp at the other side of the small shop. Revolution Dude looked at him for a solid minute, staring hard at him. But DeMarte was a professional. He wasn’t going to break the gaze; he wasn’t going to break under the gaze.

“Both you and Otis Gorski said that you both went to Lister McKinney’s house back in February. Now, from what I’ve gathered talking to both of you, this isn’t the sort of thing that happens very often. It must have been a special occasion. So, what was it? What was so important that the cousins had to get together to discuss it?”

***

Every family has its secrets. Did one of them contribute to Lister’s death? Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode and see what beans are spilled.

May Writing Projects

Since I managed to write a few decent poems last month, and since I also found some even more decent poems that I’d written previously, I’m going to submit those to the Annual Writer’s Digest Contest. I don’t expect anything to come of it, but I’m in the mood to waste some entry fees.

In addition to this questionable decision, I’m going to go back to the Outskirts Universe and do another revision on The End of the (Werewolf) Curse. In theory, I would like to be done with all three of the Outskirts novels one day and the only way I can do that is if I actually revise them. To Tell The (Conjurer’s) Truth needs a heavy rewrite and I should do it first, but quite frankly, I’m procrastinating on it because I know the amount of work it needs and I don’t feel like it. So, I’ll do this one first and then see how I feel.

I’m also ruminating over what to do with my Patreon after Murderville ends. Do I want to do anything with it? It’s kind of nice having a dedicated project that I get paid for, but at this point in my existence, I’m not sure what I’d want that new project to be. Another writing project? Something more in line with podcasting? I don’t have the answers to any of these questions at this point. But I’m thinking about them.

I’m also thinking about Episode 5 of So Long, Neighbor, which goes live on May 11th. Become a patron now just in time to bid farewell to Murderville. $1 an episode lets you read, $2 an episode lets you read and gets you a sweet bonus every other month. It’s not too late to see how it all ends.

Episode 24 of Book ’em, Danno will go live at the end of the month, but you can pass the time by listening to an extra long Episode 23. Dan Budnik joined me to talk about “Cry, Lie” and “Most Likely to Murder” and I can assure you that there’s enough fashion discussion and facial hair talk for everyone. Give it a listen and then go give Dan a listen over at Eventually Supertrain, which contains all of his wonderful podcasts.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 23

In an extra long episode, your favorite and mine, Daniel Budnik, is back to talk about a couple of season 2 episodes, including my favorite of the season. In episode 20, “Cry, Lie”, Chin Ho is accused of bribery, and in episode 21, “Most Likely to Murder”, the wife of a police officer, who is Danny’s friend, is murdered. It’s Martin Sheen with a mustache and Tom Skerritt without one.

Like our previous chat, Dan and I will be spoiling the episodes. I’ll give you a spoiler warning in the episode, of course, but here’s your timestamps: Spoilers for “Cry, Lie” happen about 41:35 to 47:18 and spoilers for “Most Likely to Murder” happen about 1:34:17 to 1:52:09.

I cannot stress it enough to watch both episodes before you listen. You do not want to be spoiled for either one of them. Don’t ruin the experience.

Listen on Soundcloud and iTunes.

My eternal thanks to Dan for joining me once again. He’s a good sport considering the last time I subjected him to Gavin MacLeod in a prison shower. Be sure to go to Eventually Supertrain and check out all of his writing and his podcasts, including Rockin’ All Week with You, which he somehow failed to mention during the closing and I didn’t realize it. That’s what happens when you’re so prolific.

Here’s a picture of Steve talking to Gloria Warren (Linda Ryan). She’s the reason I have a pixie cut. Watch the episode and you’ll understand why.

Murderville: So Long, Neighbor–Episode 4

Mountains and Molehills

Vince probably shouldn’t have slammed DeMarte’s car door like that, but his frustration had peaked. DeMarte’s behavior at Revolutionary Medicines was disgraceful. Instead of informing Revolution Dude about his cousin’s death and asking a few questions, he’d practically grilled the man on the spot. Vince had been a little offended when Revolution Dude had said he might need a lawyer to talk to them, but it turned out that he was right. That DeMarte was held up as an exemplary detective ate away at the lining of Vince’s stomach. Following up on Otis Gorski and Revolution Dude was pointless busywork, but Vince was glad for it because it got him away from DeMarte for a while.

Vince understood the principle of DeMarte’s insistence that they investigate this case thoroughly, but in practice, it made no sense. The more people they talked to, the more it looked like the man had been drunk and had an accident. Maybe he wasn’t looking for the zebras when he heard the stampede, but there was no reason not to expect horses here. Yes, Revolution Dude was clearly not telling all, but that didn’t mean anything. Families have secrets and not everything needs to be said, especially to a couple of police detectives. Guilt wouldn’t necessarily be a motivation not to talk.

What worried Vince was that DeMarte hadn’t yet figured out a motive, though he was certain the cousins were at the center of a crime. He was fishing and Vince didn’t like that. He might catch something that he didn’t intend.

Worse, he might catch something that he turned into a fish story to save his own face.

And Vince had an idea of what that could be.

***

Is Vince right? Or is DeMarte really on to something? Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode and decide for yourself.

Speak the Language

“What do you do for a hobby?”

This question has always frozen me in my tracks. I’ve never been very good at answering it. Other people can readily say they knit or watch birds or collect ceramic oysters. Me? Not so much. It seems like the things that I do as a hobby come and go. I made jewelry for a while. I did oil pastels, water color and ink drawings, painted wine bottles. I sewed. By hand, of course, because I never could work a sewing machine. Sometimes it feels like writing is a hobby with my lack of completed projects, submissions, and published works. I suppose Book ’em, Danno could be considered a hobby, but I don’t really think of it that way. It’s fun, but it’s a project and it has a schedule, so it’s still work to me. Yeah, I don’t get paid for it, but you try explaining that to my brain. Try explaining anything to my brain. Let me know how far you get.

Because that’s the thing with hobbies, isn’t it? We live in a culture in which the monetization of your hobby is encouraged, particularly if it’s something creative. Is it really a hobby if you’re not putting the fruits of your fun time waster up on Etsy? It feels like that. Sure I made a nifty thing. Now what do I DO with it? Everybody is getting painted wine bottles for Christmas and now the family is discussing an intervention.

I’ve not spent my free time doing my crafty hobbies because I don’t know what to do with the crafts once playtime is over. For awhile I thought that was my true hobby, but that doesn’t make a good answer to the hobby question.

Then I realized the other day that I DO have a hobby. An unlikely one, for sure, but it fits the definition of doing something for fun, even if I do it every day instead of waiting for leisure time.

I learn languages.

As of this blog post, my streak on Duolingo is almost four years long. FOUR YEARS. And I just recently added my seventh language course. SEVENTH.

For the record I’m learning Spanish, French, Russian, Czech, Hawaiian, Korean, and Scottish Gaelic.

Why?

Because it’s fun.

I also may have a bit of an addiction to it, but whatever. It’s cheaper than smoking.

But really. Even on the difficult lessons and on the days when I can barely work English so I know Russian is going to be a challenge, I enjoy it. I am not at all good at it. My pronunciation in most of the languages is a joke. On my best days I can barely understand French. Czech grammar can give me fits. I’m not going to be freely conversing with any native speakers anytime soon. But it’s magical when I recognize a Korean word without a hint or nail the spelling of a Hawaiian word or somehow get the right pronunciation in Gaelic. I live for that high.

And that’s what a hobby is, right? Doing something for pleasure.

Well, this certainly pleases me.

April Writing Projects

Last month I managed to finish the sixth (?) revision of (Vampires) Made in America. In a perfect world, I’ll be done with this manuscript and I’ll be able to send it out to agents. But I don’t reside in perfection, so. It’s entirely possible that I am done with it. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I should probably try researching agents again, but that’s another struggle. One I’m not in the mood for at present.

Instead, since it’s April, I’m going to be working on some poetry. Not a poem a day, like I’ve done before, but there are some poems that I’ve been wanting to work on and I’ve been putting them off because I’ve had other things to do.

I like writing poetry even though I’m not good at it (as my poor $2 patrons well know). It’s a nice creative exercise for me, using words in a different way. I don’t know that it’s helped my prose, but it’s a nice break from it.

The big Writer’s Digest Writing Competition is looming again. I’ve placed tenth in genre fiction and fifth in scripts. I’m really thinking about entering something again. Maybe a couple of poems. I’m always seeking to recapture my second place in state glory. Maybe something else. I know there’s not a lot of time before the deadline, but I’ve done that before. Granted, I’ve never done it while completely lethargic and lacking motivation, but hey, what’s a little challenge, right?

And how about the challenge of the last season of Murderville? Episode four of So Long, Neighbor goes live on April 13th, so become a patron now. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode gets you a sweet bonus every other month, like the one going live on April 27th. Yeah, it’ll probably be a poem. Sorry.

Episode 22 of Book ’em, Danno just went live at the end of March and Episode 23 will happen at the end of this month. A special guest will be joining me. So, while you wait in trembling anticipation, give a listen and then do all the things -like, subscribe, rate, review, share, follow, whatever- to show a little love.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 22

In “Killer Bee”, Five-O deals with a peculiar string of kidnappings, and in “The One with the Gun”, Five-O finds themselves one step behind a man looking for his brother’s killer. The former is an episode heavy with mental illness, PTSD, and the trauma of war. The latter features me raving about two of the guys that you’re not supposed to like. Look, the heart wants what it wants, okay?

A mild trigger warning for “Killer Bee”: If you watch the show before you listen to the episodes and you haven’t watched it yet, there is use of a racial slur that’s used in reference to Vietnamese soldiers during the climax. As I mention in the podcast episode (for clarity: I absolutely do not say the slur), it makes sense in the context of the scene and wasn’t uncommon at the time the episode aired, but it’s still unpleasant and upsetting, especially given the recent rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans here in the States.

Listen on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Please enjoy this picture of Steve talking to the beach goers who decided to investigate the shots fired because they have no sense of self-preservation. I mean, sure, it worked out for them, I guess.