AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JOSEPH CARRABIS

Elizabeth Chatsworth, kind, gentle, and giving person she is, interviewed me and published our exchange at AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JOSEPH CARRABIS.

We talked about

  • My The Augmented Man novel and how the story originated
  • The bizarre path to publication (took 31 years)
  • My sister, Sandra, and her influence on my work
  • My author heros
  • Favorite scenes, favorite characters, and my writing process.

Enjoy!

Search Chapter 6 – Tuesday, 8 January 1974

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I’ve completed twenty-seven chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.

Read Search Chapter 5


 

Search Chapter 6 – Tuesday, 8 January 1974

Dykstra drove to Norris Point on Cobbosseecontee Lake and stopped a few curves in. A Maine State Police car was visible on the side of the road blocking access to a recently walked path through the woods. The Point was shaped like a grasping hand and the path went out towards the thumb. A Maine State Police officer walked back up the thumb and over to his car.

“You’re a little out of your jurisdiction, aren’t you, sergeant?”

Dykstra read the officer’s tag. “Morelli? We got a call about an abandoned car somewhere out here. What are you doing here?”

Morelli snorted little steam jets into the cold, Maine winter air. “Well, ain’t that at tickler. We got the same call. Must be important for a desk sergeant to make the trek. You didn’t send uniforms?”

“Do I know you?”

“You didn’t answer my question and last time I checked, MSP outranks local authorities.”

“Sorry, didn’t expect to see anybody out here. Caught me by surprise. What did you find?”

A middle-aged man wearing wool pants, heavy, calf-high boots, and a parka sloshed up the path, three cameras tightly strapped to his parka and one with a telephoto so large it bashed against him like a loose limb in a storm. “Got all I need, Tony.”

Dykstra looked past Morelli. “You’re Harding, right? With the ‘Journal, right? What pictures did you get?”

Morelli shook his head at Harding.

Harding shrugged and got in Morelli’s state police cruiser.

Dykstra nodded towards him. “What’s he doing here?”

“His job. You?”

“I don’t want a pissing contest, Morelli.”

“Good. Neither do I and I got this covered. Appreciate your help and all. Ask your chief to call my OIC if he wants to see the report.”

Dykstra turned his squad around and drove off. Once he could no longer see Morelli, Harding, or the state cruiser in his rearview he grabbed his mike. “Yeah, I need you to make a call for me, and I need it to be a private conversation. Can you do that?”
Continue reading “Search Chapter 6 – Tuesday, 8 January 1974”

Search Chapter 5 – Monday, 7 January 1974

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I’ve completed twenty chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.

Read Search Chapter 4


 

Search Chapter 5 – Monday, 7 January 1974

Jeri Weintraub watched the tall, thin girl in the long technicolor scarf, mittens, and matching knitted hat walk from a ruby red Monte Carlo into the Stop&Shop. “Couldn’t be.”

She grabbed a shopping list and her wallet from the passenger seat and followed. A couple of glances up and down the aisles revealed nothing so she went about her task; buying various feminine hygiene products for her Endicott Jr. College dorm mates. Once a week somebody drew the short straw and borrowed a college van to go shopping. If the trip was to nearby Liberty Tree Mall, the van would be full. But picking up tampons and pads at the north Beverly Stop&Shop? She was on her own.

She swung her cart down the Health&Beauty aisle and got out her list.

“On the rag, Weintraub?”

“Thompson? Stephanie?”

The tall, thin girl’s head poked around the aisle’s end cap. She pulled off her woolen hat and long, blonde hair fell down her shoulders and back. “Hey, Jer.”

“I thought that was you in the parking lot. You were out west, weren’t you? Working at a ranch? Something like that?”

“More like Camp Jesus for Wayward Daughters, but yeah.” She glanced at the list in Jeri’s hand. “Heavy month?”

“Buying supplies for my dorm. I’m at Endicott now. What are you doing here?”

“I got a job nannying a couple of kids in Wenham. How much time do you have? Want some lunch? My treat. You know about the Capri?”

“Heard about it during orientation. My boyfriend takes me there a lot.”

Stephanie’s right eyebrow lifted and she faked a German accent. “We have a boyfriend now, do we? You will tell us everything. Everything, do you hear? Everything!”

Twenty minutes later they’d placed their order for a large, extra cheese, well done, and were sipping Tabs in a dark booth at the back of the Capri. Stephanie toyed with her napkin, the salt and pepper shakers, the Parmesan cheese holder, and their straw wrappers, arranging, rearranging, then putting everything back in their original positions only to repeat it again and again.

She kept her eyes down, not on Jeri, and singsonged, “So what’s his name, what’s he like, does he roll over when he’s done, show me his sex face.”

“What’s going on, Thompson?”

Stephanie placed a hand on her chest and affected a southern accent. “Why whatever do you mean, Ms. Weintraub?”

“You’re pale, you’re breathing shallow, and you’re twitchy. You start doing drugs since I saw you last?”

Stephanie affected a Boston accent. “When did you become a doctah?”

“Since I started dating Gio. He pays attention to things like that. So what’s going on?”

“Gio, eh? The last boy you dated was a Javier. You got a thing for foreigners, Weintraub?”

“He’s not a foreigner and quit changing the subject. What’s going on?”

“You haven’t heard about my brothers?”

“Eddie and Tom? Are they okay?”

Stephanie’s eyes watered. She hung her head and whispered, “They’re missing.”

Jeri sat beside Stephanie and put an arm over her shoulder. “Sweet Jesus, Steph. When did this happen?”

Stephanie filled in the details, each point marked with a gut shaking sob. She clung to Jeri like a child seeking its mother’s breast.

“And the police know nothing?”

“Idiots haven’t done a thing in three months.”

The pizza arrived. Jeri shook her head at the waitress and mouthed, “Can we get that to go?” The waitress nodded and carried the steaming pie away.

Jeri held Stephanie and waited until her sobs were under control. “You mind if I tell Gio about this?”

Stephanie laughed through her tears. “I thought he was a doctah.”

Jeri watched the waitresses moving back and forth, other customers eating pizza, subs, pasta. She shook her head. “He’s…different.”


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Search Chapter 4 – Tuesday, 25 December 73

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I’ve completed twenty chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.

Read Search Chapter 3


 

Search Chapter 4 – Tuesday, 25 December 73

Christmas.

Where were her children?

Pam drove her Marquis Brougham down to the coast, took US Route 1 for a while, then cut down to 1A, the coast road, looking for a place to forget things for a while, a coffee shop or knickyknacky tickytacky tourist shop open out of season, a place she could laugh at what brought people to Maine, people who summered there, what the locals called “Leave your money and go home” people.

She left Bill standing on their front walk. He thinks I didn’t see him, waving his hands to get her attention.

It was his fault. He said things he shouldn’t’ve. About her. And the church. And Dave. And their boys.

All of which was true.

But that didn’t matter. He didn’t have to say them. She wanted to call the police. Demand an update. She wanted details. What were they doing to find her boys?

Bill laughed. “Why, Pam? You going to give them a piece of your mind? You going to yell at them? Demand action? Ooh, scary, scary Pam.”

She planted her hands on her hips and looked him in the eyes. “You smell of drink, Bill Thompson. Are you a drunk?”

“Are you a bitch?”

Her eyes went wide and her head snapped back. “Why, I never – ”

“Say shit even if you have a mouthful. Try it, Pam. Say it. Say shit. You’ll feel a lot better if you do.”

She passed a small strip mall, three of the five stores closed for the season, and saw a blinking “Homemade Jelly Donuts!” sign. She turned around and pulled in. “I’ll bet their coffee tastes like shit, Bill. Shit. See? I can say it. I’ll bet their coffee tastes like shit. Shit, shit, shit.”

The sign stopped blinking as she got out of the car. “Damn.” She laughed. “How about that, Bill? I can say shit, I can say damn. How about we throw in a couple of good old ‘fucks’ for good measure?”

“You can’t get rid of your guilt by swearing at it.”

Pam spun towards the voice. She placed a hand over her heart to hold it in.

A middle-aged Penobscot woman, dark skin, long braided hair, wearing some kind of ceremonial costume complete with beaded earrings and necklace, held a coffee cup out to her.

“You startled me.”

“Didn’t want to interrupt you.”

Pam looked at the coffee. The woman held it up to her. Pam took it hesitantly, her eyes dancing back and forth from the cup to the woman and back. “Thank you.”

“No milk or sugar in it. Didn’t know how you take it.”

Pam nodded towards the coffee shop. “You work here?”

The woman pointed one store down. “I work there.”

Pam turned and looked at a sign in the window; Running Water’s Native Crafts and Keepsakes.

“Saw you pull up to the coffee shop. It’s been closed a few weeks now. Damn sign has a short in it. Keeps flickering. I called the owner to fix it. They haven’t done a thing yet. You got to stop swearing at your guilt. You got to own it to get rid of it.”

Pam shook her head. “Sorry?”

“Your guilt. You blame yourself for your boys going missing. You say it’s grief but it’s not. It’s guilt. You brought that boy into your house, bullied your husband and your church to let you have him. That’s what you said, wasn’t it? ‘Let me have him. I’ll put the love of God into him.’? Now he’s missing with your boys and you think it’s your fault.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The woman nodded. “Uh-huh.” She smiled and walked past Pam back to her store. “Keep the cup. A gift. Someone needs to see it. To stir a memory.” She locked the door behind her, switched the OPEN sign to CLOSED, turned off the lights, and was gone.

Pam peered through the windows. Nothing and no one. No sound of a car starting up and no second story for an apartment above the store. She tossed the rest of the coffee and looked for a trash can to get rid of the cup.

Running Water stood in the parking lot. “Keep it.”

Pam looked at the cup. Handmade. “Ha. Native crafts.” No writing, only a picture of a stream in a woods on the side. The stream burbled as she watched. She blinked and looked again. Just a picture of a stream in a woods. “How do you get the picture to do that?”

She looked up. The woman was gone.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work category require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside that category require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone. Enjoy!

Search Chapter 3 – Tuesday, 2 October 73

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I’ve completed twenty chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.

Read Search Chapter 2


 

Search Chapter 3 – Tuesday, 2 October 73

Todd shook out the double-bed sheet and reached up into the oak’s lower branches. Behind him the Kennebec River’s lower rapids splashed. He wrapped the sheet’s end over the limb and clothespinned it so the sheet fell open like a film projector screen. He stepped back, making sure it was secure, then turned and trampled a path through fallen leaves and brush to the river, making sure the bed sheet could be clearly seen.

He shook a spray can and sprayed a barely noticeable “2” on the sheet. Leaves rustled at ground level and he lowered the can.

“What’d you do with the boys, Andersen?”

“Sergeant Dyksta, how good of you to come. What boys?”

“Don’t bullshit me, you sick fuck. The Thompson boys. What’d you do with them?”

“Not a thing. Has something happened to them?”

“You drive the Hershey highway with Dave LaVerne, don’t you?”

“Why whatever do what you mean, Sergeant Dykstra?”

Dykstra’s hand went to his nightstick.

“Oh, Sergeant Dykstra. I had no idea you were into brutality. Doesn’t surprise me, though. I’ve seen your wife. Or wait. No, that would be bestiality, wouldn’t it?”

Dykstra pulled his nightstick. “I’m gonna – ”

“Not get paid? Whatever you do to me, make sure you don’t hurt my hands. It’d be horrible if I couldn’t hand you your take every week, don’t you think? How could you afford that pretty little lady up in Bangor you visit twice a week?”

Dykstra’s grip weakened. The nightstick slid back into its belt ring. “How do you know about that?”

“I know about that because I, unlike you, make it a point to know everything I can about the people I do business with.”

“What are you doing with those sheets?”

“Making highway markers. Wouldn’t you like to help?”

Dykstra turned and walked up the path from the river to the picnic area.

“Don’t go to far, Sergeant. You can help me put the rest of these up along both sides of the river.”

Dykstra paused, his back to Andersen, and clenched his fists.

“Beat me if you must, but do it with a smile, that way I know we’re both getting pleasure out of it.”


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work category require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside that category require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone. Enjoy!