Saturday, July 9, 2016

First Chapter of Life is Lawful: The Memoirs of Grisham Clancy

Chapter 1

A man with wild eyes burst into the office.
"Well fuck me," I muttered and reached for my gun. It wasn't there because of a prior incident. Stupid progressives left me defenseless, I thought.
"How can I help you?" I ventured.
"They're after me," he said. He clanged on my desk, leaning toward me. His eyes were pink like he was on drugs or hadn't slept for days.
His disheveled shirt, messed up hair, and scraped knuckles gave me an idea of what he wanted. "I don't do criminal law anymore," I said. But upon noticing his Rolex and the fashionable bag hanging over his shoulder I added, "I can read up on it, though." This won't be pro bono, I promised myself.
"I don't need a lawyer," the man raved. "I need help."
"Uh, you know this isn't a psychologist's office, right?"
"Rose recommended you," he took something out of his pocket and waved it in my face. "She said you helped her with the government."
I saw my card. One of my freeloading clients decided to ease her conscience with a referral. I remembered the old lady. They'd been sending her three social security checks under different names for years and finally grew wise to the fact. Of course she couldn't pay them back. Not with all those cruises she took.
"Oh, well in that case," I said, opening a new browser tab and going to, "what seems to be the problem?"
As the man stammered about hearing voices and being followed, I typed how to get rid of crazy people without a confrontation in the search box.
"You're taking notes?" the man said.
"Uh, yeah." I scanned the search results. The sooner I get rid of him, the sooner I can get back to enjoying one star reviews on Amazon, I thought.
"Is that safe?"
"Oh, absolutely."
Google returned nothing helpful. I changed my search to making crazy people leave.
The man cocked his head, as if listening. "They know I'm here. Take this." He whirled the bag over his shoulder and dropped it on the table. It threw my pile filing system into chaos. Before I could object he took out several crumpled sheets of paper and wads of cash. He gave me a piercing stare, grabbed his bag, and disappeared out the door.
"Wait. What?" I said to the empty room.
The phone rang and I reflexively answered. "Clancy."
There was a man's voice, but I had trouble hearing him over my beating heart.
"Sorry, can you repeat that?"
"Mr. Clancy, my name is Chuck and I'm calling from Consolidated Energy. Collections Department."
"Sir, your account with us is in arrears. I'm calling to give you one last chance to pay your bill before we're forced to cut your power."
That didn't help the pounding in my chest.
"How much do I owe you again, Jeff?"
"It's Chuck, sir. That's $4,982.26."
"What?" My wits slowly returned. "I don't use that much electricity. Do you think this is a marijuana growing operation? What do you charge per watt? Are you using some kind of 'green' technology?"
"Sir, a lot of your bill is interest and penalties. The final notice included a breakdown. Would you like to make your payment now? Since your last check bounced, I am authorized to take your credit card only."
I glanced at the unpaid bills the lunatic made a mess of. One of the threatening envelopes with a bank logo reminded me the credit card wouldn't work.
I got an idea.
"Did you file form SRV 379-J with the Department for the Aging?"
"Are you aware this is a law office? One of my clients is on special assistance and would suffer great hardship if you cut my power. That's Administrative Code section 3896 paragraph A subsection 29(g). Did you also—"
"You will have copies of those forms within a week," the man said with a sigh and hung up.
I dropped the phone and wiped my brow. Where are my meds? They rattled in their container as I struggled with the child safety lock. It came loose with an unpleasant grating sound. I downed two blood pressure pills with vodka and slumped in my seat. My heart slowed enough not to warrant beta blockers.
My attention turned to the money, tight rolls of Benjamin Franklins. Hundreds of them in each roll. At least ten rolls. I swallowed and decided to take a beta blocker after all.
With a comforting heat traveling down my throat and into my gut, my head moved back and forth between my unpaid bills and the wads of cash like I was saying no to one of the slower locals. After a long time my stupid middle class morality prevailed. Or maybe it was just motion sickness. Whatever the case, I decided to return the money. A decision I regret to this day.
My chair creaked as I got up to gather the money. I paused to glance at the crumpled papers—drawings of brains with a bunch of writing. The fuzzy text reminded me of the old xeroxes they used to hand out at school when I was a kid. Resisting a sudden urge to sniff the papers, I threw everything in the safe.
My secretary was busy at her computer, a phone between her ear and shoulder. "I know, right?" she said, typing.
"Hey Tracy," I said. It took me ages to remember her name. I have this condition where I forget names of regular people and things. I don't recall what it's called.
She paid me no mind.
"Tracy," I knocked on her desk.
"Hold on a sec, he wants something," she said into the phone, grabbing it and looking up. "What do you want?"
"The man who was here, did he leave any information?"
Tracy furrowed her brow. "What man?"
"The tall guy with the white hair, kind of homeless looking..."
She shrugged and turned back to Facebook. "So anyway..." she resumed her phone conversation.
"Okay, then," I returned to my office. I've never been a boss before, but I don't think it's supposed to be this hard to get people you're paying to do their job.
I almost fired her at the start, but she got all weepy eyed and begged for another chance. I gave in. Then, one day I saw her drinking diet soda. I pointed out it wasn't working. I suggested she might as well drink the real thing.
"I'm pregnant, you asshole," Tracy had said.
That was ten months ago. She's obviously grifting me, but I know if I get rid of her she really will be pregnant and there's all kinds of liability there. Plus, how's she going to support the kid without a job? Send it to public school? No one deserves that.
"Now what was that old hag's name?" I muttered as I searched my computer for the Social Security scammer's contact info.
I dialed Rose's home phone number, clearing my throat. I hoped I wasn't getting a cold. Summer colds are the worst.
Rose wasn't picking up. It appeared she didn't have an answering machine. I cradled the phone after the dozenth ring. Maybe she has caller ID, I thought. Her house wasn't far. I refilled my flask and decided I could use the walk.

Want the book for free? Nominate it here.

Want a free book? Life is Lawful: The Memoirs of Grisham Clancy

I make sure to blog once every five years.

Would you like a free book about a cranky, politically incorrect lawyer who gets entangled in a government conspiracy?

Nominate Life is Lawful: The Memoirs of Grisham Clancy on Kindle Scout.

Here's the blurb:

Broke lawyer Grisham Clancy enjoys reading 1 star reviews on Amazon. When a man barges into his office, ranting about the government and voices in his head, Clancy doesn't know his life is about to change. He takes the case against his better judgment. He smells a medical malpractice suit. And having a paying client for once is a welcome change. Records go missing. Someone follows him. His client has been lying to him. Maybe he's in on it. Now Clancy hears the voices too.

Dark Comedy
Hard Science Fiction 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Everything's Falling Apart

In article after article in professionally edited publications, like the NY Times, WSJ, Financial Times, and so on, I spot typos and grammatical errors. This is reflective of general society, which is falling apart.

But what I saw today takes the cake. The headline in The Telegraph is "G20 finance ministers gather as time runs out." It's mostly about France. So having a picture of the Arch of Triumph (or of some other French architecture) is expected. But what are we to make of the picture with which we're presented?

What's shown in the photograph isn't in France. It's in Pyongyang, North Korea. The way we're going, we'll be there soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Super Awesome Zombie Conspiracy continues

"Remain Calm!" the followup to "The Heist," is now up on Amazon. It's coming to Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Sony, etc soon.

Deputy Ross returns to town without the fugitives Jake and Trevor, but he doesn't come back empty handed. He brings a new car. He also happens to be carrying the virus that causes zombiehood, zombieism, consumeritis, or whatever the politically correct term is for the disease that causes one to become a zombie. It is up to Stella to protect her granny and to get her boyfriend Jake to return and rescue her.

With 20% more zombies and 100% more nudity, “Remain Calm!” is a continuation of the unreasonably popular "The Heist."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Congrats to the Book Giveaway Winners

The House of Rejects book giveaway has ended. There were 863 people vying for 10 books! I never expected so much interest. The books will be shipped today or tomorrow.

If you still want to read the book and are a cheap bastard :) (just kidding!) it's available for free for a limited time at Smashwords in every conceivable eBook format with the code SSWSF.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free House of Rejects eBook for a limited time and sales update

From now until the end of September you can download House of Rejects for free from Smashwords in Kindle (mobi), PDF, Epub, LRF, and PDB formats. Signing up takes about a minute, and unfortunately you have to put in a real email. But other than that, the novel is available for free with this coupon code: NW93F

If you read it and like it, please post a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Goodreads, and wherever else you like to shop.

The novel made it to the top 10 in two Amazon categories! Can it reach number 1?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Women Read More Fiction than Men and or More Women Read Fiction than Men

The book giveaway for the House of Rejects, which ends on July 27, is going far better than I expected. With over a week left, 174 people have already signed up. I had been worried that there would be no interest at all.

"Oh, silly," said my wife. "Of course they'll want to read your book." Then she pointed to something we both thought was interesting. Almost all of those who signed up for the giveaway are women. For every 25 participants about three or four are male. The rest are female. Or so I gather from the names and pictures.

This made me think about whether there's something about my book that attracts more women than men. So I looked at the other giveaways. Same result. More women than men signed up to win the other books too. I guess I'm not special.

But now I'm curious. Are there more female readers out there, or is Goodreads an anomaly? Off to Google!

From NPR:
Men account for only 20 percent of the fiction market, according to surveys conducted in the U.S., Canada and Britain.

Book groups consist almost entirely of women, and the spate of new literary blogs are also populated mainly by women.

From the Telegraph:
A study of reading habits showed almost half of women are 'page turners' who finish a book soon after starting it compared to only 26 per cent of men.
The survey 2,000 adults also found those who take a long time to read books and only managed one or two a year were twice as likely to be male than female.

I learned something new today. But why did it take so long to see? Maybe it was bias.