jail cell story

THIS TIME YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR – A buddy story

I‘m trying to hold my breath to keep from gagging, and Jerry just sits there, on that cold hard bench, smirking. God, how I hate him at this moment.  I’ve hated him before, but never like this and I won’t forgive him for this. This is jail, and this time he’s gone too far. “What the fuck were you thinking?” I scream. The old drunk who has thrown up all over himself and lies passed out in his own puke stirs, emits a wailing sound and rolls over. That releases a fresh vapor trail, and I gag.  When I can breathe again I can scream again “Even worse … what was I thinking to let you talk me into your stupid scheme?  Do you have any idea how much trouble we’re in here? We’re in jail, you asshole, we’re in jail!”

“Don’t worry.” Jerry shrugs and gives me that smile, that charming, disarming, manipulating smile that he uses on everyone, but on me mostly. “We’ll get out of this.”

That’s too much. I manage to get my feet under me and my body upright, I maneuver around the drunk without stepping in anything, and I hit Jerry full in the face as hard as I’ve ever hit anything.  “No!” I rage. “You’ll get out of this … and I’ll get stuck with it just like I’ve always gotten stuck with all of your shit, ever since kindergarten.  This is it; this is the last time.  Once we’re out of here I never want to see or hear from you again. Never!”

My tirade is interrupted by the jailer as he unlocks our cell. “Jerome Williams … bail has been made for you; you can leave now.”

“Who put up my bail?” asks Jerry.

“Someone by the name of Samantha Gooding.”

“That’s my sister!” I yell. “Why didn’t she make bail for me too?”

The jailer is amused. “She said it was because you probably got Jerry into this trouble and it would do you good to spend the night in jail and think about what you’ve done. She said she’d be back in the morning.”

Jerry flips me off as he turns and walks down the corridor.

Christmas in Paris Eiffel tower

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED – A Christmas story

This short story was published in the Spring 2014 Edition of Analekta Anthology, by BOHO Books and is available on Amazon & B&N.

“Ouch, dammit, I can’t get this out.”   Chester sucked on his torn thumb.

Valerie leaned over and took the plastic piece from him.  “Here … let me try,” she said.  “Why are you taking this section apart?  You just put it together.”

“Because I was supposed to put this door-jamb in first.  I should have sent it back as soon as I saw ‘some assembly required’ written on the box.  Look at these instructions.  Can you read them?  They were probably written in Hindi and translated by a Croatian.   Oh, dammit, now I’m getting blood all over them.”  Chester sighed.  “I wish Grampa were here … he’d know how to put this thing together, and besides he’d have a bandaide in his wallet.”

Chester Morgan sat cross-legged on the living room carpet, sucking his wounded thumb, surrounded by more than half of the original 482 pieces of the doll house that would be the highlight of Kellie’s Christmas, even if this year Grampa wouldn’t be there when she came running downstairs on Christmas morning.

He picked up a piece of the doll house’s living room wall, turning it over and over trying to figure out where it went in.  “Hey, Val, look how that silly tree gives all these pieces these weird colors.”  Across the room the tree – a cunningly crafted seven foot faux noble fir with a prominent ‘made in China’ label – glowed with a purple aura and undercoated everything in mauvie tones.   Kellie and Valerie had opted for pink and lavender – there were only two colors on Kellie’s three year old palette – and their trip to Michaels in the mall had produced $85 worth of pink plastic ornaments, lavender tree lights, and pink and lavender plaid ribbon.  Chester had pantomimed ‘gag me with a spoon’ when he first walked in and saw the display, while Kellie bounced up and down in self-satisfied glee.

“I miss him too, Honey.”  Valerie knelt behind Chester and wrapped her arms around his chest.  “Christmas just won’t be the same this year without Grampa.   Can I get you a bandage for that?”

He pulled his thumb out of his mouth just long enough to look at the cut.  “Yeah, I guess I should put something on it … it won’t quit bleeding.”  It was beginning to throb and he couldn’t concentrate on the instructions.

“I can’t believe he’s not here.  He’s always been here and it never occurred to me that he wouldn’t always be.”

He looked up.  “Oh, listen, Val, that’s Grampa’s favorite.”  Valerie’s mix of holiday songs had been shuffling all evening, and now Eartha Kitt’s ‘Santa Baby’ came smoldering out of the I-Pod sitting on top of the unemployed piano in the far corner.  “Grampa always said that Eartha Kitt could get him into bed with that song.  He brought such enthusiasm to Christmas … his favorite time of the year.”  Chester shrugged and rummaged around in the pieces on the carpet.  “Have you seen the tiny little curtain rod that goes over the living room window?”

“Here it is.”  Valerie leaned over, handed him the piece, and kissed him on the cheek.  “You know what I can’t understand … with his contempt for religion, how come the big deal over Christmas?”

“Oh, that’s easy.  It’s the winter solstice.  He’d’ve sacrificed a goat to Odin if the Humane Society wouldn’t have objected, and if people want to brighten up the season with a 2000 year-old fairy tale as an excuse to go shopping, that’d be OK with him too.   He loved the decorations, the music, the excitement in the air … but you know what turned him on the most?  …. shopping for Christmas presents for all his grandchildren.”  Chester paused and glanced towards the top of the stairs.   “And now, a great-granddaughter.”

Chester sighed and looked at all the lovingly wrapped packages under the pink tree.  “You know, Val,  he never admitted it, but I think he was just a little disappointed when we all grew up and really wanted money or gift certificates instead of those dopey toys he used to order on-line.  His favorite website opened with ‘Hello, Grampa Richard, what can we put in your basket today?’  and he especially loved the ‘educational’ toys….”  Chester held up his fingers in the quotation mark sign   “… that would turn us all into little geniuses.”

Valerie stretched, swiveling at the hips with her back arched and her hands up in the air.  “Yeah, I wish I had known him then. He bought this doll house for Kellie last summer, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be here to put it together; and he was so excited when he called to tell me that he had found it on the internet and that FedEx would have it here in about a week.”

“Oops, look out!”  Doll house pieces scattered in all directions as Kellie’s new calico pounced on the round pink plastic ball she had stripped from a bottom branch and had dribbled across the living room rug.  Valerie laughed as she scooped up the kitten with one hand and the surprisingly intact ornament with the other.  “Hey, these plastic ornaments are great.  Gramma’s glass ones would have been in a million pieces with this cat on the loose.”

Chester used a forefinger to nudge the doll-sized queen bed in the master bedroom to the right a quarter inch to make room for a bedside table, knocking over a miniature lamp in the process.  “Damn … I’m such a fumble-fingers.”  He turned to Valerie.  “Do you think Kellie will be OK with Grampa not here when she gets up in the morning?”

“Oh, I hope so,” sighed Valerie, spreading a postage stamp-sized hooked rug on the den floor.  “She’s pretty solid, but she’s so darned deep.  Sometimes I don’t have the faintest idea what’s going on in that little mind of hers.  I guess we’ll just have to …..”.

The phone rang.  They looked at each other and Chester looked at the clock over Valerie’s shoulder.  1:34 AM.   He jumped up on the second ring, realized that the phone was nowhere in sight by the third ring, and found it on the couch under a pile of red and green wrapping paper by the fourth.

“Hello.”

“Hi, Kiddo, how’s it going.”

“Grampa … where are you?”

”We just cleared customs at Orly,  and I’m trying to find us a cab to take us downtown.  I can’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up for Christmas.”

“How was your flight?”

“Great … uneventful … the best kind.  Gramma wanted to turn around and come right back home because she misses you all so much, but I’m going to love every minute of Christmas in Paris.  It sure will be different.  Did you get the doll house put together OK without me?”

Chester didn’t quite know how best to answer this, but before he could come up with an answer, Grampa Richard came back on.   “Oh, oh …here comes a cab.  Give Valerie and Kellie big hugs for us, and do me a favor? … call everyone and let them know we got here safely?”

“OK, Grampa, we’ll do that.  You have a wonderful time, and Kellie’s gonna love the doll house.  We love you and we miss you, and oh, happy winter solstice.”

Chester punched the off button on the telephone, leaned over to Valerie and kissed her lightly on the lips.  “Well, I guess we’re on our own.  Now, where did I put that little coffee table I had a moment ago?”

Rekindle two matches two old lovers

REKINDLE – A love story

Rekindle:  v.  To reignite, to rearouse, to reinspire.

I don’t know why I was surprised she looked older – after all, it had been 15 years and I supposed I looked older too.  She had put on a few pounds, perhaps one dress size – she had been an eight – and there were a few more grey hairs mixed with the blond and the tinted highlights.   But the biggest change was in her eyes.  Those glorious cobalt blue eyes that had once adored me – they were icy now.

I stood when I saw her, trying desperately to catch the breath that I had lost as she walked into the coffee shop.  I knew then that I still loved her.  The hug that she permitted was perfunctory, not at all what I had hoped for, and I began –  lamely.  “How are you?”

“How are you?”  Her voice was icy, too.  “You fly half-way across the Pacific and the best you can do is ‘how are you’?  That’s pathetic.  What do you want, Richard?”

“I want to talk to you, to apologize to you, to try to put it right.”

“You could have done all that fifteen years ago, when you walked away from me. What could you possibly say now that you couldn’t have said then?”

Definitely not what I had hoped for when I sent her an e-mail three days before: ‘My life has uncomplicated. Would you consider sharing it with me?’  and she had e-mailed back, two days later:   ‘Maybe.’   I took that as a ‘yes’ and caught the first flight to Maui.   That gave me just under six hours to write, rewrite, edit and rehearse, over and over, the speech that I had been composing in my head for the last six months.  Now I wasn’t sure if it would be welcome.

“I want to tell you what happened … and why I walked away … and I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me.  Please, Miriam, I’ve got to tell you.”

“So tell me … but let me warn you.  I don’t want to hear any ‘get-it-off-your-chest’ confession that leaves you feeling so much better and dumps the guilt on me.  I spent too many miserable nights crying to start all over again.  How did you find me, by the way?”

“I’ve been Googling you … your work at the University is pretty impressive.   I think about you a lot; hardly a day goes by that I don’t fantasize over what our lives would have been if I had left Janet and gone with you fifteen years ago.”

“Give me a break.”  She rolled her eyes, but I thought I saw the first sheen of a thaw.  Maybe it was just pandoric hope – wishful thinking in the original Greek.

I pressed my palms down on the table that separated us, trying to keep from fidgeting.  She hated my fidgeting.  “OK, Miriam … here it is.  Fifteen years ago I did a terrible thing, and I betrayed three people in the process.  I betrayed myself … my own personal code; something that up to then I had always thought was pretty inviolable.   I betrayed Janet when I cheated and lied to her.  And I betrayed you … I seduced you with a promise that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t keep, and I excused it by saying that my life was ‘complicated’ … and for that I will be eternally sorry.”

“Well, at least you never tried to hide that you were married.”  Was the sarcasm a little less pronounced?

I took a sip of the coffee that had by now gone cold and just slightly bitter, and a deep breath, and it suddenly struck me how noisy this place was.  I hadn’t heard a thing since she had walked in except my own lame words and her chilly responses, and now, all of a sudden, the surroundings came roaring back.  The pressure of that sound squeezed my next words out of some deep place where they had been waiting for years.

“But while we were seeing each other, I fell in love three times.  I fell in love with you, of course.  I never told you that, but I did, and I still do.   And then I fell back in love with myself.  Before I met you I had lost respect for myself … I had become convinced that I was a lousy husband, and a lousy lover, and an insensitive jerk, and I couldn’t get it back.  And then I met you and you loved me.  You loved me so completely and unconditionally … even though I was married and with all my other baggage … that you renovated me, you restored my faith in myself.   And somehow that gave me the courage to open up to Janet about the issues that were driving us apart … and she responded … and we began to remember why we loved each other in the first place … and in the end I fell in love with her all over again.”

I searched her body language for clues – the way I would have watched a jury to see if I was being persuasive, to assess which of my arguments, if any, were resonating.  But there was nothing, so I went on.   “Even then … I still loved you, and I wanted to keep on loving you, but if I was going to be able to respect myself again, I had to respect the vows and the commitment I had made with Janet.    And that’s why I had to let us go.”

For the longest time she just sat there rigid, unmoving, looking at me and through me and around me.  Her gaze seemed to split when it reached my face, and it bent around my head the way light from a distant star bends around the gravity well of the sun.  I reached for her hand across the table, but she pulled it back just out of reach.

“Why now?  What’s become ‘uncomplicated’ in your life?”

“Janet died – it’s been a little over a year ago now.”  I waited.  No sympathy.  “And for the last six months I’ve let myself think about us … you and me.  But I agonized over whether or not to try to contact you … I was so afraid that you despised me and I was so afraid that I’d hurt you again.  Then, two days ago, I had to do it.  Miriam, if you’ll give me a chance … I know I can make you happy with me again.”

It may have been the light – the sun was just behind a palm tree in the parking lot and sunlight flashed across her face as the breezes stirred the fronds – but I could swear I could see the battle going on behind those eyes.  They shaded from ice-blue to a softer baby-blue to an anger-tinged violet to – to what?  I was still trying to read her when she abruptly and obviously came to a decision.

She unlocked the rigidity, leaned forward and slapped me.  Hard.  “That’s for walking out on me fifteen years ago.”  Then she hit me again.  Even harder.  “And that’s for not calling me a year ago.”

A suspicious phone call leads to a gun in the face

PLOT LINE – A short story

As best as I can figure, somebody knew Iris cleaned our condo on Thursday afternoons, that she would answer a cell phone ringing from the couch cushions, and that she would do what she was told to do once she answered.  What they didn’t know was that I was doing the chores on that particular Thursday afternoon because Georgia had fired Iris the day before and I had volunteered to vacuum while my wife was out shopping.

And what they couldn’t possibly have known was that I’m a struggling mystery writer always on the lookout for new plot lines.  An unfamiliar cell phone ringing in the cushions of my couch struck me as a great possibility for a plot line, and it got even better as I listened to the muffled voice on the other end.    “The railroad station.   Locker B-13.  The key will be waiting at the counter after five.”

That was it.  No introduction, no goodbye.  He hung up leaving me staring at a blinking light on the screen of the phone — which went dark after about ten seconds and turned into an annoying dial tone.

“You ain’t Iris.”  The woman behind the railroad station counter had a suspicious streak.

“Obviously,”  I said.  Iris is short, round and African-American — I’m a skinny blue-eyed blond.  “She isn’t feeling well.  Asked me to pick it up for her.”

“How do I know that?”

“You’ll have to trust me.”

She shrugged and handed me the locker key.  “No skin off my back.  Tell her I hope she’s feeling better.”

Was a regular thing?  Every Thursday?   Was someone breaking into our place once a week to plant a phone?  Georgia would have a fit if she knew but I didn’t want to make the clerk any more suspicious than she already was so I didn’t ask any questions.    Besides, I couldn’t wait to see what was in Locker B-13.

Second row down, last box on the right, and the key fit.   I sucked in a deep breath and opened the door — and my heart dropped.  The locker was empty.  I peered in — too dark — so I reached in and patted the bottom until I felt something at the back left corner.  I pulled it out.  A compact disk, no writing on either side.

Twenty minutes later, back at my condo, the CD was in the D drive and the screen was flashing ‘No Disk.’  I popped it out, turned it over, and this time found myself stymied by a blinking curser in an empty password field.  I didn’t even know where to start, but fortunately I knew a guy who was good at breaking passwords.  I ejected the disk, slipped it into a jewel case, stood up and turned — right into a very large pistol pointed directly at my nose.

“Give me the disk, please.”

The tall man behind the gun stuck out his other hand and reached for the CD I was holding.  I pulled it back without thinking, and he slowly raised his gun and pressed it up against my forehead.

“Do not make this any more difficult than it need be.  That disk does not belong to you and I am prepared to kill you if you do not give it to me … now. ”

An icy precision coated his words, and I had no doubt that he would do what he said.  I handed him the disk and backed up.  “I couldn’t get it open.  I don’t suppose you’d tell me what’s on it?”

“I could, but then I’d have to kill you.”    It was an old joke, but I wasn’t sure he didn’t mean it.

“Then please, don’t bother.  Look, I didn’t mean …”

He cut me off with a wave of his hand as he walked towards the door.  His voice was still cold, but not quite as menacing as when he had a gun aimed at my face.  “I do not wish to hear anything from you.  You interfered with something beyond your understanding and well above your pay grade.  I suggest you forget me and forget that this incident ever occurred … and never speak of it to anyone.”

“But …”

He turned back to me as he opened the door.   “Forget it.”  And then he was gone, leaving me struggling with a plot line that — like so many others before it — had just run into a dead end.

Fire Bomb erotic thriller short story

IT’S OVER – A short story

The first faint creak at the top of the stairs froze me to my chair, even though I was half expecting it.  This is it. This will be the end of it, one way or the other.   I knew she would be here — there was an aura about the house that invariably gave away her presence, and it had made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I had first walked in.

The second footstep on the next step down focused me. She had been getting worse for a long time now, and I had finally gotten some witnesses to one of her maniacal rages. That gave me the ammunition to persuade a judge to issue a commitment order; and for the first time in a long time, I could quit walking on eggs. I had begun to think I could have a life.

Then the third step.  It prompted me to breathe. This is where it would end. In this house. My house. The house where I had been born and had grown up.  The only thing that had ever been mine.  This was the one indulgence she allowed me.  She condescended to live with me here although she yearned for — and could have afforded — something much grander.

The fourth step squeaked — the landing.  They hadn’t mentioned her name when the radio announced there had been an explosion in the boiler room of the state mental hospital, and that one inmate — a schizophrenic woman with homicidal tendencies — was unaccounted for.  But I knew it was her. It had to be.  And she would come here. Was here.

The sixth step was the loudest.  It always had been.  It  told me why I had to end it here.  I couldn’t live like this anymore, but a divorce would leave me with nothing but this house and a pile of debts — the pre-nup her daddy had insisted on would make sure of that.

The seventh step didn’t come at the cadence of the first six, and that unfroze me.  I stood, careful not to make any noise, walked over to my desk and slowly, carefully, opened the center drawer.  The gun was gone.  I picked up the letter opener and tried to think about what was happening, but a midlevel panic was making it hard to concentrate. As I straightened, the gun barrel pressed against the back of my neck.

“Hello, lover.  Welcome home.”  Despite everything, that voice still had the power to excite me.

“Is it done?”  I asked as I turned.

“Yeah.  Her body’s upstairs and we’ll make it look like you had to kill her in self defense when she came here to murder you.”

“Any trouble getting her out of the loony bin?”

“None.  I timed it so I was close to her room when the bomb went off in the basement, and I snuck her out in the confusion.  I had to tell her that you had sent me to rescue her.”  A wry smile.  “She asked me to thank you.”

“Then it’s over.”  I put down my letter opener, and he put down his gun, and we kissed.

I NEVER CASHED THE CHECK – A family memoir

My Aunt Grace was an exceedingly disagreeable person.  Physically unappealing and possessed of a Germanic personality, she was destined to spinsterhood from an early age.   In those days, that was a most unwelcome fate – there were few unmarried opportunities for even the most beautiful and intelligent women, and Aunt Grace qualified in neither category.  This would have been very evident to her mother, because she made my father and his older brother Wallace swear on her deathbed that they would always take care of their little sister.

In the late 1920s, not long before the 1929 stock market collapse that lead to the Great Depression that hung over America until jolted out of it by World War II,  my father and Uncle Wallace resigned their warrant officer commissions in the Navy, and – using the knowledge they had garnered in the service – established a small but flourishing business selling and repairing the growing number of electrical appliances that were being invented and brought to market.   And in 1930, almost simultaneously, they both met the women they wanted to marry – my mother and Aunt Natalie.

When they went to Aunt Grace to tell her the good news, she was furious. “No, you can’t do that!  You promised Mama on her deathbed that you would always take care of me!”

Prompted by a code that would not apply today, her brothers sold their business, liquidated their possessions and gave every nickel they could beg, borrow or steal to Aunt Grace, to buy her off.  She even demanded that my father hand over his favorite ring – the mine-cut diamond that my mother lusted over and Aunt Grace later flaunted.  Thus unencumbered by any material possessions or financial assets, my father married my mother and they began a life of hand-to-mouth existence all during the depression.

This was all family folklore, and even after my father died in 1947, when I was 13,  my mother continued the story, including their depression years struggle and the saga of the diamond ring.  But although she had reason to detest the woman, my mother always insisted that my brother and I stay in contact with Aunt Grace. “Be nice to her,” Mother would say, “she’s family.”    My mother was a kind and gentle woman, who wouldn’t say ‘shit’ if she had a mouthful, but I suspect she was motivated by anticipation of the time when my brother and I would be Aunt Grace’s only living relatives and potential heirs.  We dutifully sent her birthday cards, called her on special occasions, and visited her on the infrequent venture into Manhattan, but it was never pleasant. She was not pleasant.

Then, some years ago, my mother suffered a stroke and I flew back from Portland, Oregon, to Long Island to be with her.  She lingered in a coma for six days and then passed peacefully.  We buried her two days later and, needless to say, Aunt Grace neither attended the funeral nor sent flowers.

My brother was willing to close up her home and make all of the necessary arrangements, so I made ready to fly back to Portland and my wife of only a year.  As I was packing, my office called.  A major client wanted me to meet him in Philadelphia two days hence to negotiate a deal.   Given that I could ride the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station, and then take the Penn Central Railroad to Philadelphia, I agreed.  And given that Aunt Grace lived close to Penn Station, I called her and arranged to meet the next day for a cup of coffee while I changed trains.

It was July;  New York City was hot and humid;  I had just buried my mother after sitting by her bedside for a week; and I was hoping for – without much expectation – a pleasant reunion.  I hadn’t seen Aunt Grace in three or four years and I was somewhat shocked by her appearance until I remembered that she always looked terrible.  She wore a ratty old housedress, and her hair had thinned to the point where her scalp showed through – she was letting herself go.

No sooner had we sat down in a booth in the small diner around the corner from her apartment, and had ordered a couple of coffees and bagels, than she launched into her favorite tirade.  Without a word of condolence or sympathy for my mother, Aunt Grace began to tell me how awful my brother and I were to her.  She could partially excuse me – I lived 3000 miles away – but my brother was right here in New York and he never wrote, never called; and she had never been invited to see his children.

I didn’t want to hear that.  I was hot, tired, and in no mood to be polite.  For the first time in my life I summoned up the courage to tell her off, and I carefully crafted what I would say:  “Aunt Grace, the reason that we don’t keep in touch with you is because you’re not pleasant to be around.  All you ever do is bitch…..”.

But before I could get those words out, she got a funny look on her face, pitched forward into her bagel, and died.  An ambulance raced us to the hospital, but it was too late.  They wanted to know what to do with the old housedress she had soiled when she died – I suggested the hospital incinerator – and once I had given them the name and phone number of her best friend, I took a cab to JFK, determined to get out of New York as soon as possible.  I canceled my meeting in Philadelphia, and caught the first flight back to Portland.   I’m sure my mother would have been pissed  –  she went two days before Grace.

Some months later my brother and I received letters from the lawyer who was probating Aunt Grace’s will, with copies of the salient portions.  She had left a modest estate, and had bequeathed upon my brother and me the munificent sum of $1.00 each.  Checks for that amount accompanied the letters.  I asked if I could have, or at least buy, the ring from the estate, but received a very curt no.  I had my revenge.   Knowing that the estate could not be closed while there were still probate obligations outstanding, I never cashed the check.

THE COMMON DENOMINATOR THEORY: Part #5, Content & Critique

A published author acquaintance recently suggested that COMMON ENEMY isn’t ‘publishable.’ He liked the plot and the writing, but he thought that the names of my main characters – Raam Commoner, Kayman Karl and Viktor Viken – were ‘too cute and distracting.’ He also pointed out that presenting my protagonist as a ‘sex machine’ was too ‘cliched.’

I know that as an aspiring author I’m supposed to have a thick skin – I’ve been told that ever since I first began to write fiction – but I was sore pressed to rebut:  COMMON ENEMY may not be publishable, but it appears to be eminently readable – as demonstrated by a huge increase in downloads in the last two months and a January sales curve that is going asymptotic. (I know that’s hyperbole but I couldn’t resist exaggeration with a mathematical component.)

Anyway, I got over it once I understood the common denominator between content and critique: The deeper the content, the shallower the critique. Admittedly, COMMON ENEMY has about as much depth as my hero’s sense of commitment – it’s a romantic thriller, for Pete’s sake – but it’s deep enough to dampen a dislike for alliteration (which, I happen to enjoy) and to drown a characterization of Raam as a sex machine. (He only gets laid four times in the whole story and three of those are with his wife.)

OK. So maybe it’s sour grapes.  But what do you think?  Are my names too distracting, and is the notion of a thirty-something womanizer too much of a cliche?

Read COMMON ENEMY and send me your opinion at richard@richarddavidbach.com.

THE COMMON DENOMINATOR THEORY: Part #4, Gun Ownership & Responsibility

As I’ve written in earlier posts, I look for the common denominator in everything;  and just as I found a Common Enemy* in Hurricane Sandy, I’ve found a Common Ground* in the wake of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut – a bridge across the gulf between the NRA and gun control zealots. That bridge can be the concept of responsibility.  I’m sure that even the most ardent Second Amendment supporter would concede that with the right to bear arms comes the responsibility to use those arms in a responsible manner.

To insure responsible use, I propose that the owner of a gun be recognized as strictly liable for any injury or damage caused by use of the firearm; and just as automobile owners are required to carry liability insurance on their cars, gun owners should be required to carry liability insurance to cover the gun.  Besides providing some compensation for the victims of rampage attacks such as the movie theater massacre in Colorado or the Connecticut school shootings, we would also have the insurance industry pushing for safeguards.

* I told you that the secondary purpose of this blog is to sell my novels.  Common Enemy is the first in the Common Denominator Series, and Common Ground will be available soon.  Try them at www.richarddavidbach.com.

** Since I first wrote this the Colorado Legislature has taken up a proposal for gun owner liability insurance.