The guys were hidden in the street. The searchlights with their crews were at the ready. The neighbors had all been warned to stay inside with their house lights off. They were under the misapprehension, fostered by Smitty, that it was a movie shoot and that the guns would be firing blanks. Each searchlight crew had a cell phone, ready to relay Smittys’ command to turn the lights on. They’d set the cell phones on shaker mode so they wouldn’t ring. One shake and the lights went on. All we needed now were the bad guys. Smitty was like a football coach at half time, getting everybody revved up and anxious to get on with it.
While Smitty was outside, his cell phone rang and I answered it. It was one of the Richmond bike guys, calling to tell Smitty that three cars full of men had turned off onto the streets coming up here. He said they were driving real slowly like they didn’t want to attract any attention. He estimated they were about fifteen minutes away.
Josie whispered a question to me. “So – what do you think of Dad’s plan? Really.”
“We’re gonna’ paralyze them with searchlights? Its nuts!”
“There’re so many variables – and so many real guns. So much left up to chance. What if they don’t use the streets? What if the lights don’t work? What if they charge instead of turning and running?
“What can we do?”
“With Smitty at the helm? Just wait and hope!”
Five minutes went by. Seven minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes and still nothing.
Suddenly bright lights. All three of the searchlights came on, almost simultaneously. Just as Smitty had said, they were really powerful, lighting up the whole street for several blocks.
Like the proverbial deer in a headlight, on the street nearest to us stood six men, stopped in their tracks with genuinely startled expressions on their faces.
It seemed like a minute they stood there, though it was probably only a few seconds before they turned and bolted down the street. They only took a few steps before they stopped. Below them, equally well lit, were our guys, strung out in a line, completely blocking the street. Holding sawed off shot guns at the ready.
From the other street they heard one gunshot and one of the searchlights blinked…*
*Excerpt from “CASEY’S SLIP” http://tinyurl.com/caseysslip
“Things never work out as planned. I was wide awake a little before six AM. Way too early to go out for breakfast, I’d make do with some instant coffee using my hot plate and read the ads for used sailboats. Coffee in hand I must have dozed until my cell phone rang. I jumped up, spilled my coffee, found the phone and answered. “Yeah?”
“CASEY!” the voice roared. “GET YOUR SORRY ASS DOWN HERE LIKE RIGHT NOW OR YOUR GONNA’ HAVE MY WHOLE GANG ON YOUR TAIL!”
I glanced at my watch, 6:15 A.M. It was still dark outside. Got to be a wrong number I told myself.
“I think you got the wrong Casey,” I quietly responded and started to hang up.
“FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, I KNOW I GOT THE RIGHT CASEY AND THE RIGHT NUMBER, YOU ASSHOLE. YOU JUST GAVE IT TO ME LAST NIGHT,” he bellowed.
A light dawned. “You the guy I met last night down at the docks?”
Now he lowered his voice and became even more threatening. “You bet your sweet ass I am, and I’m telling you right now, get off the damn phone and down here fast.”
“What’s wrong, did I put the boat in the wrong slip?”
“Jesus H. Christ. Are you stupid or something? Do I hafta’ send some of my gang up there and beat the crap out of you? Who the hell cares what slip you put it in?”
“Is there something wrong with the boat?”
“Shut the hell up and listen. I’ll make it real slow and simple for you.” In short staccato sentences he said, “Some guy’s been murdered on your boat. The police are here. They want to blame it on me. I told the police about you. They want you here, I want you here. Is that simple enough?
“Finally, you got it. Now get on your little bicycle and get down here right now or I’ll have my Devils drag you down.”
“Okay, okay. I’m on my way.”
“Murder? Police? Devils? What the hell’s going on?”.............”
In 1946 just after the end of WWII, I was stationed on the U.S.S. CHINCOTEAGUE in TSINGTAO, CHINA. We were harbor control in the outer harbor, challenging all ships as they passed through the outer harbor toward the inner harbor. Night and day we challenged all ships by flashing dot-dash, dot-dash (morse code for a-a), the universally recognized request for identification.
The searchlight we used were carbon-arc, about 3 feet in diameter and could be seen from horizon to horizon. It took several minutes to light the carbon arcs and each carbon lasted about 2 hours.
The outer harbor was open to the weather and it was hurricane season. One night the wind kept building up until it reached hurricane force and the chincoteague along with several other ships were blown off their anchors, totally unexpectedly. Complete bedlam ensued. Absolute darkness, huge winds, an unknown number of ships careening wildly, collisions iminent, all ships communications unusable --except the searchlights.
The moment the captain arrived on the bridge he ordered all engines and the searchlights on. It took the other signalman and me several nervous minutes to get them on but when we did, we almost wished we hadn’t. The bow of a huge merchant ship was heading directly toward our bridge. In a few moments their bow would be looming over us and we would be crushed.
The captain ordered “hard a starboard,” in a strangled voice and the helmsman spun the wheel. My memory says he anticipated the order by a fraction of a second.
Our ship was a navy ship, small destroyer size and very maneuverable. Just barely under power, she slowly answered the helm and we slid, bumping and grinding down the side of the merchant ship looming over us. We were port side to port side right where I was stationed. I trained the searchlight on the two hulls and there was not a sound from our crew as we watched our ship narrowly escaping disaster. A small portion of the outer bridge was torn off but other than that we emerged unscathed.
When CASEY’S SLIP needed searchlights for a scene, my memory produced that memorable night and that’s how they got into my novel. http://tinyurl.com/caseysslip
5/24/15 - The Province, British Columbia.
The recent discovery of a black bear carcass missing its paws and gall bladder near Sechelt serves as a grim reminder that a black market for bear parts still thrives in B.C. The trade of such parts “still goes on” in B.C., said Ernie Cooper, an environmental consultant and former director of the World Wildlife Fund’s wildlife trade monitoring program.
Articles such as the above inspired me to write JOSHUA’S REVENGE, an adventure and mystery novel about a Yosemite Park Ranger who is also an expert at martial arts. He’s assigned the job of breaking up a gang killing and eviscerating Yosemite black bears. The novel progresses from the back woods of Yosemite to the back alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown. $2.99 on Kindle. http://tinyurl/joshuasrevenge
All of my proceeds from the sale of this book in 2015 are being donated the World Wildlife Fund.
Visit my website at http://www.rlwren.com/
Don't be afraid to describe yourself as an author!
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your first or on your tenth book, you ARE an author. Referring to yourself as an author can open important doors for you, particularly in research. Don’t be afraid to say, “My name is John Doe. I’m writing a book about people that have names that are hard to remember. I need a little information that I think you can help me with.” I’ve done it successfully with Police departments, National parks, Cities, Morgues, etc.
It’s amazing! People will go out of their way to help authors.
One of many ideas and tips in “A Practical Guide to Writing & Publishing a Novel.”http://www.rlwren.com/
Shortly after WW2 and having recently been discharged from the Navy, I joined my Mother, Father, Sister and several friends for a Yosemite Vacation. If memory serves me correctly we were camping in Camp 16 between Camp Curry and Happy Isles. My father drove us up in the 1935 Dodge on a Friday night, spent the weekend with us and drove back to work on Sunday Eve, for 2 weeks.
On the first Monday I bumped into a friend of mine who was also camping with his family. We palled around, exploring the valley and flirting with lots of girls. In those days Camp Curry had a dance every Saturday night and the Fire Fall still existed. For those of you who don’t remember, the Fire Fall occurred every night shortly after dark. Park rangers would build a gigantic fire on top of Glacier Point, several thousand feet above the valley floor and after the fire burned down to a huge pile of glowing embers, they would gradually push them over the edge of the cliff resulting in a spectacular Fire Fall. A hush would fall over the whole valley, it was beautiful.
From the floor of the valley there was a very steep 4 mile switchback trail to Glacier Point. My friend and I, both recently discharged from service, were in top shape and we delighted in racing up and down that trail trying to break our own time records.
After doing that a number of times we grew bored and decided to go straight up ignoring the switchbacks, a huge mistake. At first it wasn’t too bad. Steep but negotiable. However it grew more and more steep and we started encountering huge boulders and loose shale. The shale was unstable and the boulders were haphazardly piled up. Several times we had to worm our way through small gaps between huge boulders and several times we slipped and slid on the loose shale.
At one point my buddy dislodged a small boulder and it started a fairly large boulder avalanche. It scared the hell out of us because it could have killed hikers on the switchback below us. Neither one of us admitted to the other how scared we were or how dumb our decision had been. The climbing became steeper and more terrifying but we were more afraid of retreating than advancing.
We finally reached the top, tired, scratched, bleeding, shaking and shaken, to be met by a group of very stern looking Yosemite Rangers who informed us that the last person that had tried what we did had been killed in a rock slide.
We were whisked by truck back down to the valley and taken to Park headquarters where we awaited our fate. Finally an older Ranger sat us down described in very colorful terms what had happened to the unfortunate guy that had been killed. We had already decided we’d never try that again but he cemented the decision. After that he suggested that we volunteer for a trail clearing crew to help repay the overtime the extra Rangers had incurred waiting for us. We accepted.
A variation of this story is in JOSHUA'S REVENGE. http://tinyurl.com/joshuasrevenge
If you like this anecdote there’re more on my website blog. http://www.rlwren.com/
One of the many places where we kept our sailboats over the years was at the 5th Avenue Marina in Oakland, for many reasons. It was handy, inexpensive and rather loosely run so we could work on our boats without being harassed. But none of those were the main reason for its choosing.
The main reason was for the collection of characters that either had boats there or hung out there. A single hander who had a copper bathtub for a cockpit. A married sailor who had sailed without his wife but with 4 barebreasted female crewmembers from Hawaii and proudly regaled us with tales and pictures. A young sailor whose job was on the lightship outside the Golden Gate. A widower with an ancient but usable tugboat. A totally unsafe fishing boat owned by 2 orientals that had been patched with auto body gunk. A retired airline pilot who was doing a magnificent job of rebuilding his boat, and more.
But perhaps the most compelling reason was 3 live-a-boards who had been active in a very well known and thought to be dangerous motorcycle gang that shall be nameless. Those gents were great neighbors and knew everything there was to know about boats. They had every tool imaginable and were free with lending and advice. On top of that and because of their reputation as “dangerous” live-a-boards, theft was nonexistent at that harbor. A very real plus.
One of them and his wife, to this day are good friends. And, he was the model for one of the chief characters in one of my books. Guess which book and who.
4 novels since age 82? I did it & so can you.
I’m a late bloomer, having started writing my first novel at the tender age of 82. Now I’m 89 and finishing my 4th novel plus I’ve authored a “How To” book in my spare time. People tell me that makes me a rarity and want to know how I re-invented myself at that late age.
The fact is, after having been retired for several years and made the requisite number of bird houses, one day I announced to my wife that I thought I’d start writing a novel about sailing. I had no previous writing experience, no schooling, no advisors, I was on my own, but we had accumulated a lot of experience sailing the West Coast, having owned 4 sailboats.
I was the greenest of greenhorns as far as writing, editing, publishing and anything else having to do with getting a book into print.
In my innocence I just wrote the damn thing, talked to hundreds of people, read lots of books, paid for some good advice and lots of bad advice, got ripped off a few times...but lo and behold, at age 85, after 3 years, book-labor and book-birth occurred and my book was published. THEN, it went on to become a finalist in National Indie Excellence Book Awards.
Visit my Author Page at http://amazon.com/author/ richardwren
Here’s a list of things you must do or get in order to get your book written and published.
Proof read------- edit------- cover picture-------- cover design-------- title page------ acknowledgement page-------- chapter summary-------- spine design------- format it-------- ISBN-------- ASIN------- Copyright-------- e-book design------- paperback design-----avoid publishing scams--- CreateSpace acceptance------- KDP (Kindle) acceptance------ priced accordingly---publish---and more...
Sounds formidable doesn't it?
Believe it or not, my booklet “A Guide to Writing & Publishing a Novel,” provides answers for FREE directions, addresses, websites, phone #’s to help you with all above. Save time, money, headaches and your hair.
Publish your book for $35.00 including US Copyright.
Richard L. Wren
IN HIS NEW CAREER AS AN AUTHOR, RICHARD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS TALL, DARK, HANDSOME AND A LIAR. A FOURTH GENERATION CALIFORNIAN, A SAILOR, FATHER OF FOUR BEAUTIFUL AND SUPPORTIVE DAUGHTERS, AND HUSBAND TO ONE OF THE BEST WIVES OF ALL TIME. [MORE]