Give a Listen

I got a slot on The Authors’ Show today, 4 Dec 2019, all day.

All you need do is go to The Authors’ Show and click on The Augmented Man in the broadcast schedule to listen to me waxing lyrical.

Okay, more like me talking about the book.… Read the rest

I got a slot on The Authors’ Show today, 4 Dec 2019, all day.

All you need do is go to The Authors’ Show and click on The Augmented Man in the broadcast schedule to listen to me waxing lyrical.

Okay, more like me talking about the book.

In any case, hope you enjoy.

And if you get a chance. Let me know what you think.

 

Empty Sky Chapter 8 – Earl Pangiosi

(final edit before the proofreaders (he said). You can read the previous version here.

Read Empty Sky Chapter 7 – Joni and Honey Fitz

Creator and above level members can download a PDF of the first seven chapters to read offline

Earl Pangiosi sat in the Empire Builder‘s Superliner Snack Coach’s upper level, a pillow behind his head and a blanket covering his legs, peering through dark, wraparound sunglasses at people’s reflections in the round, full length domed windows.… Read the rest

(final edit before the proofreaders (he said). You can read the previous version here.

Read Empty Sky Chapter 7 – Joni and Honey Fitz

Creator and above level members can download a PDF of the first seven chapters to read offline

Earl Pangiosi sat in the Empire Builder‘s Superliner Snack Coach’s upper level, a pillow behind his head and a blanket covering his legs, peering through dark, wraparound sunglasses at people’s reflections in the round, full length domed windows. When someone nodded off, he’d dip down his glasses and peer at them briefly, purse his lips then shove the glasses back up his face. Once in a while he’d catch his own red-haired, high colored reflection as he followed people walking past.

Earl liked being around people so he could practice. He had his own car — disguised as two back-to-back LandSea containers on a flatcar and marked “US Mail” — further back in the train. It brought a brief smile, the change in rail regulations that allowed all trains to transport freight and passengers simultaneously. It made his private car’s subterfuge possible.

But people were Earl’s focus. He tolerated the miasma of greasy hamburgers and soggy fries, too strong coffee and unwashed bodies, screaming children and louder screaming parents, and the occasional whiffs of diesel to indulge in a pastime he enjoyed since his childhood: watching people’s reflections in glass.

He first noticed his gift on an early Fall night much like this one.

Dad, suit and tie and freshly shaved and mustache neatly trimmed, drove their new, ’59 burgundy Lincoln Continental back to the old neighborhood. Mom sat opposite dad, wrapped in her furs, wearing her best clothes. Dad told her she wore clothes too tight sometimes but she told him to never mind, didn’t he want everybody to know what he had every night?

Mom and Dad left the old neighborhood a year before and never told Earl why. But once a month, maybe twice, he and Mom and Dad would get in the car and go back north to the old neighborhood with presents for everybody. Dad was in the meat business and he’d hand out steaks and chops and roasts and cutlets and hotdogs in summer and hamburger and ground pork if somebody wanted to make meatballs. Everybody was so grateful and Mom would smile and nod as she stood beside Dad, his hands reaching deep into the coolers in the dark of the trunk, coming back into daylight, his hands full of brown paper wrapped meats neatly tied with butcher’s twine. They asked questions about the new car and Dad would tell them it was a Lincoln and Mom would correct him with “Lincoln Continental.”

They drove home, the coolers empty and tucked in the trunk, heading south on a clear, moonless Sunday night. Earl saw the Rhode Island border sign. Soon Dad would slow for the Providence traffic and take the Federal Hill exit.

An only child, Earl had the entire backseat to himself. He could lie down and take naps if he wanted to. Now he sat behind Mom, his hands folded and face pressed against the rear passenger’s window, his knees pulled together and tucked under him because he had to pee but Dad said they weren’t going to stop, they only had a little further to go and Earl was a big man and could hold it, couldn’t he?

Sure, Dad.

Except Earl really had to pee. The leather seat sent shivers of cold up through his bare knees and that didn’t help. He had bare knees because he wore shorts. Shorts, a winter jacket and a hat Mom made him wear even though his cousins all wore long pants.

They already laughed at him because he had different color eyes: the right brown, the left blue. Mom didn’t say much and his cousins and some aunts and uncles said that made him a freak. She made him wear dark sunglasses and told everyone Earl had sensitive eyes.

His cousins would dance around him. “Earl has sen-si-tive eye-eyes. Earl has sen-si-tive eye-eyes.”

He caught his reflection in the window as his exhalations frosted the glass. Mom’s and Dad’s reflections, too.

He’d never noticed them before. Maybe reflections were something you only got in a Lincoln Continental? The dashboard gave off so much light.

He watched his father’s profile as they drove. Mother said things and Dad occasionally winced on the side mom couldn’t see as if somebody jabbed him with a little knife.

Mom would go ya ya ya and Dad’s nose would twitch and his mustache would rise a little then go back down. Mom would go da da da and Dad’s eye would wink shut quick and then back open to watch the cars on the road. Mom would go sa sa sa and Dad’s lips would move forward and back like he wanted to spit something out.

Earl watched his father and something happened in Earl’s head. His father stopped being a person and became a book, a map, a reference, something to be read. He tasted what his father felt. He did not know the word but he understood the emotion: despair.

“You don’t like what Mom’s saying, do you, Dad.”

His dad stared at him in the rearview mirror. He could almost feel his father’s thought; Are you asking me or telling me, son?

Earl opened his mouth to answer but Mom said, “Where does he get that, I wonder?” and looked out her own window the rest of the way home.

“That’s not a nice thing to say, Earl,” his father said. “You know that’s not true.”

Earl’s eyes left the reflection and looked at his Dad direct.

He knew what his father thought. Maybe not the exact words but he knew the feelings.

He was sure of it.

What he was most sure of, especially sure of, as sure of as he was sure it was cold and night and he had to pee, was that what he said was true: Dad didn’t like what Mom said.

He also knew that if he questioned Dad about it he would get a spanking when they got home, maybe before.

That’s when he saw the Void. He’d seen one once before but didn’t have a name for them back then, didn’t know they were just his and that no one else could see them. A little wink in the darkness of night.

The dashboard lit his father and mother and didn’t light the seat between them. He should’ve seen his mother’s purse pulled up tight against her and his father’s gloves on the seat beside him but there was nothing there. No seat, no gloves, no purse, just a child-sized bubbling hole where everything should be.

No face, no eyes, no hands or arms or legs, just a roiling blackness.

Yet he was sure it looked up at him. It knew he was there and it knew he knew it was there.

And it did nothing about it.

That made Earl glad. Finally a friend who accepted him. Oh, joyous day. Oh, happy, happy day.

“What’re you smiling about, son?”

“I like our new Lincoln, dad.”

Mom said, “Lincoln Continental.”

Dad said, “Good, son.”


Greetings! I'm your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. Members can view the rest of this post by simply Logging In. Non members can view the rest of this post by joining. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

Empty Sky Chapter 7 – Joni and Honey Fitz

(final edit before the proofreaders (he said). You can read the previous version here.

Read Empty Sky Chapter 6 – Al and Doc Martin

Creator and above level members can download a PDF of the first seven chapters to read offline

Joni stood across Beacon Street from the Brookline Abortion Clinic staring at the sign’s red and gold lettering.… Read the rest

(final edit before the proofreaders (he said). You can read the previous version here.

Read Empty Sky Chapter 6 – Al and Doc Martin

Creator and above level members can download a PDF of the first seven chapters to read offline

Joni stood across Beacon Street from the Brookline Abortion Clinic staring at the sign’s red and gold lettering.

She shook her head in disgust. What betesticled marketing moron came up with those colors for an abortion clinic?

Two buses, one with a Boston’s Pro-Life Action Network banner and the other unloading Operation Rescue “sidewalk counselors”, formed a phalanx from the sidewalk to the clinic doors. Ever since John Salvi III opened fire here and at its sister clinic about a mile away, and now with most red states sending bus loads of safe sex refugees north, this stretch of Beacon Street became one of the safest most dangerous places in the greater Boston area. Police cars patrolled routinely. Male and female undercover cops chatted up anyone and everyone walking anywhere near the clinic.

The Supreme Court had created a safe zone for people wanting to enter and exit the clinics and this safe zone included quite a bit of the sidewalk and street surrounding the clinic. People on their way elsewhere learned to stay on the other side of the street, thus the only people nearing the clinic were those having business there.

Such as Joni, today.

Joni held a pencil in her hand as if it were a cigarette. She lifted it to her lips each time she felt her breakfast of barely thawed Brüdermann’s frozen pizza and cold Starbucks coffee coming back on her.

She belched. “Ugh. Morning sickness is one thing but you didn’t do yourself any favors here, Levis.” She checked her palm for escaping pieces of pizza. “I should never have given up smoking.”

Sitting in a safe haven of a sidewalk bench across the street from the clinic, Joni watched an obese woman with a video camera and two small children in tow. The children orbited the woman more like satellites than offspring; the woman was large enough to warrant a small planetary system of her own.

All the other people, all the other protesters and contesters, all the police, all the counselors, all the passersby and traffic in between, evaporated until only this one woman, video camera in hand, her greater and lesser moons of Phobos and Deimos orbiting via unseen gravitational umbilicae, spun away from the others, walking and talking her way into a universe of her own.

She held vigil under an ash tree, a cat waiting for a specific bird to arrive. She kept telling her kids to stay there. At least it seemed she was. She might have been saying, “Stay here until I move five feet away. No more. Five feet, do you hear? Then come running after me. Scream for me. Clutch onto my skirt, climb onto my coat, pull me down into the earth with the weight of you. Make sure you’re loud and obscene enough for all others to see. We are here to show them what it means to be a mother.”

Joni’s hand went to her stomach. She couldn’t feel any life there yet. “Small comfort.” Instead she felt the pizza and coffee making plans for a violent escape. She wanted to be prepared.

How did the woman pick her targets? Did she only go for women like herself? Like herself in what way?

Joni watched her walk back to her ash tree after each encounter, back to the bulging, plastic shopping bags she dropped there. She seemed confused by them, unsure of all they contained, some kind of alien cornucopia. One held extra video cameras, extra batteries, a voice recorder, an extra mobile, a portable hand-crank phone and USB port charger, and pictures her children waved at those who sought entrance. The next held sandwiches and Cokes, Hostess peanutbutter-cheese crackers, Twinkies and M&Ms, a thermos and extra cups. The last held disposable diapers, clothes, towels and a Gladlock bag of moistened handiwipes.

She had come prepared. Maybe Joni could bum a plastic shopping bag and a handiwipe when the pizza and coffee made their escape?

“Fuck that. Does she have a cigarette?”


Greetings! I'm your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. Members can view the rest of this post by simply Logging In. Non members can view the rest of this post by joining. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

Joseph Carrabis signs and discusses The Augmented Man at The Toadstool Bookshop, Nashua, NH, 5 Dec 6-8PM

The good folks at the Nashua, NH, Toadstool Bookshop invited me to do a book signing on Thursday, December 5, 2019 6-8 PM.

After the signing, we’re all going to head over to the 110 and you can all buy me a drink!… Read the rest

The good folks at the Nashua, NH, Toadstool Bookshop invited me to do a book signing on Thursday, December 5, 2019 6-8 PM.

After the signing, we’re all going to head over to the 110 and you can all buy me a drink! We can point at all those people in the 110 who don’t have signed copies and go “Nyah, Nyah” and then tell them how good a read it is and how they should go get a copy for themselves!

They’ll like that, I’m sure!

 
A bit about The Augmented Man
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.

The solution is to find individuals who are already so psychologically damaged the most horrendous combat experience will seem trivial by comparison. Better, find individuals psychologically damaged who’ve also experienced massive physical insult and trauma. Best, individuals psychologically damaged, physically traumatized, and emotionally vacant.

But where to find such individuals?

Captain James Donaldson suggests using massively abused and traumatized children as the basis, arguing “…they’ve already experienced more at home than they’ll ever experience in the field. All we need to is help their bodies catch up to where their psyches and emotions already are.

Nine individuals are selected for Augmentation and entered into combat.

One survives.

And comes home.

Anecdote
I recently took part in an authors’ reading and used the Surface section of The Augmented Man as my text.

One of the other author’s partners said, “I’m uncomfortable with your subject, but your writing pulled me right into the story.”

YES! Thank you, that’s what it’s all about.

To me.

When the power of the writing overcomes the reader’s objections to the story’s content, take a moment and be proud. You’ve done good work.

About me
You can find out more than you need to know at my About page.

Joseph Carrabis signs and discusses The Augmented Man at The Barnes&Noble in Burlington, MA 14 Dec 1PM

The good folks at the Burlington, MA, Barnes&Noble bookstore invited me to do a book signing on Saturday December 14, 2019 1:00 PM.

Please attend. It’ll be fun!

 
A bit about The Augmented Man
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.… Read the rest

The good folks at the Burlington, MA, Barnes&Noble bookstore invited me to do a book signing on Saturday December 14, 2019 1:00 PM.

Please attend. It’ll be fun!

 
A bit about The Augmented Man
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.

The solution is to find individuals who are already so psychologically damaged the most horrendous combat experience will seem trivial by comparison. Better, find individuals psychologically damaged who’ve also experienced massive physical insult and trauma. Best, individuals psychologically damaged, physically traumatized, and emotionally vacant.

But where to find such individuals?

Captain James Donaldson suggests using massively abused and traumatized children as the basis, arguing “…they’ve already experienced more at home than they’ll ever experience in the field. All we need to is help their bodies catch up to where their psyches and emotions already are.

Nine individuals are selected for Augmentation and entered into combat.

One survives.

And comes home.

Anecdote
I recently took part in an authors’ reading and used the Surface section of The Augmented Man as my text.

One of the other author’s partners said, “I’m uncomfortable with your subject, but your writing pulled me right into the story.”

YES! Thank you, that’s what it’s all about.

To me.

When the power of the writing overcomes the reader’s objections to the story’s content, take a moment and be proud. You’ve done good work.

About me
You can find out more than you need to know at my About page.