I’m Afraid Of Americans


The internet is the best thing and world and the worst thing in the world. If you have this view and maintain this perspective, then it’s pretty easy to navigate through the minefields of online battle. Everything on the computer is extreme; political viewpoints, cultural outrage and the definitions of important words like love, hate, good and evil. Thus, perspective is so lost, no one even bothers looking for it anymore.

In one-hundred-twenty-five days I’ll cast my vote for President of the United States for the eighth time. I voted for my first one in 1988. This is the craziest, most bizarre, and culturally damaging election of my lifetime. Remember, we’re on the internet, I can say this without even being fact checked.

Seriously, I think 2016 is worse than 2000 because at least sixteen years ago, you had two qualified, traditional candidates who seemed respectful from the outside and the vote was a tie, then we got crazy after the election night, The campaign itself, save for George W. Bush mudslinging John McCain in South Carolina with rumors of illegitimate mixed race children, was tame. The debates were boring. Election night through the final Supreme Court decision in December was nutty but it all seemed relatively civilized. But I personally wasn’t on Al Gore’s internet, then.

In a few clicks you can find out who was the MVP of the 1979 MLB All Star Game  (Dave Parker, but it should’ve been Lee Mazzilli), what the capital of the Republic of Congo is (Brazzaville, also a good pop band) and who played Millicent, the girl on The Brady Bunch episode that gave Bobby Brady the mumps after kissing him (Melissa Sue Anderson). But you can also discover deep, dark corners of the world wide web that appeal to the worst parts of us. And those parts are running for the highest American political office in 2016.

My becoming a voter in 1988 also coincided with the Fairness Doctrine being revoked. The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the FCC introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to present both sides of controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC got rid of this policy in ’87 and any language binding broadcasters in 2011. The internet never had policy regarding anything but doing it without pants was encouraged. 

As a result, the past almost 30 years have been a Wild West of sorts for media. I worked in the media as a reporter, producer, writer and other various positions full-time for almost 8 years before doing it freelance online for the past decade. Watching people deliver news without training or rules or pants has been scary. We are not the better for it.

I’m not sure if the Fairness Doctrine should be brought back. It would be nice to diminish the influence of talk radio, cable news and the internet on politics. But I don’t think it’s very American. And that is frightening.

This political season has seen the extremes dominate. If you were to just pay attention to the online world, you’d think Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were winning everything. They’re not. Sanders doesn’t have the Democratic nomination and Trump is 13 points behind in the polls and fading. It’s why perspective is the real world’s friend and the online world’s enemy.

Things are about to get worse before they get worse. The two major party nominees will go after each other and take us all with them. The minor party nominees may get more votes than a usual year, but they have no chance at anything but maybe creating amusing memes on Facebook.

What’s missing in this Dickensian tale of misplaced priorities and a lack of proper chill is a hero. Not a super one with powers and a cape but a regular, flawed, meaningful every-person one that can show us humanity and a good laugh.

And this is why I’m afraid of Americans. We can’t even agree on who that hero should be.

Here’s Bowie and Reznor.

Eye Of Fatima


Millicent’s life as an American expatriate in Tangier was a triangular walk from her department store job to a market down the street to her apartment across from both. She was bored but knew it was an exile for her past. Her upcoming late afternoon buzz would placate everything. The rock song “New York Groove” played from inside her purse as she left the market with two bottles of tequila and assorted sundries in brown paper bags. She answered it as she crossed the street for her triangle’s final point.

“Hello Pauline, how are you and the baby?”

Millicent listened to her pregnant friend’s updates from New York while walking inside her building. Her friend provided enough money for something better than the 900 square foot, two-bedroom place she’d found on the same day she found employment. But everyone in the building spoke French. In Tangier, the popular languages were French, Spanish, and Arabic. She was confident in her French. It made her feel like she was living in Europe, where she planned on running next time. She believed in a next time.

“I’m fine. Busy at the store then I made my walk around the Eye of Fatima, you know; work, grocery, home.”

Her friend’s phone calls were the brightest parts of life.

“Bye Pauline, let me know when you can pluck me from here so I can help you with the little one.”

After hanging up, she dropped the phone in a different purse pocket. She felt two cyanide syringes she’d prepared earlier. She put the key in the door lock and noticed it was open. She picked out one of the syringes, hiding it behind a grocery bag, then walked inside. A tall man with a towel around his waist came out of the bathroom. She rolled her eyes as he spoke in broken English.

“Ah Sandra. Soree, I call but no ahnshur.”

Millicent put the bags on the kitchenette counter then slipped the syringe in her bra for later.

******blogger’s note*****

I’m letting Silas and Olive take the week off since 100 word song is postponed for the Holiday. I thought I would give y’all a Thanksgiving special, Millicent in Morocco. For those who aren’t familiar with my female serial killer Millicent Stingley go here https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/cinnamon-girl/ and here: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/dead-money/ . She’s a character I created for a short story contest two and a half years ago. My writing partner and dear friend Tar rah aka @Tara_R aka www.thinspiralnotebook.com and I combined her character, female assassin Pauley aka Pauline, and Millicent for several story series – Dead Money and it’s sequel The Brazilian Job.

I’m linking this stand alone (for now) 333 word piece to Trifecta Writing Challenge’s “pluck” word prompt. www.trifectawritingchallenge.com

Today’s song comes from Camper Van Beethoven. I’ve been wanting to use Eye of Fatima forever. It fits, here.

Happy Day of Giving Thanks to you and yours from me and my family.


Are you looking for something interesting and music driven to read? I have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com


Revelry – Twisted Mixtape Tuesday 2006 – 2013


Twisted Mixtape Tuesday has become one of the most fun things I’ve ever done on the Internets. While my writing partner, Tar Rah aka @Tara_R , and I take a break from our Millicent and Pauley killers , getting to show y’all some of my favorite songs and the types of tunes that mean something to me has definitely filled the void of writing about murders. But in tribute to mine and Tara’s lethal ladies, the first three songs of this playlist are in their honor. They also came from the year, 2006, when I was going through a pretty awful divorce. Make your judgments and cast your aspersions. We’re all friends, here.

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

AFI – Miss Murder

30 Seconds To Mars (yes, that’s Jordan Catalano) – The Kill

Things started to get better for me, meeting my now wife, and filling out my family of 3 daughters was close at hand. My second favorite band ever, Radiohead, and a what I thought was going to be a good rock act from the south, Kings of Leon, provided wonders of a new day.

Radiohead – Bodysnatchers

Kings of Leon – Revelry

Then things then got weird. Musical direction were splintered and after an 11 year break, I started writing again – *waving*. Thanks to everyone who’s hung around for the past 3 1/2 years.

Pearl Jam – The Fixer

Cage The Elephant – Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked

Linkin Park – Bleed It Out

And finally, if you don’t own The Black Keys’ El Camino or Japandroids’ Celebration Rock albums, there’s something seriously wrong with you. They’re brilliant and they proved that rock and roll isn’t dead, and it’s on this damn blog. Crank these two.

The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling

Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

Please go see my music freak sister from another mother and father, Jen, at http://www.jenkehl.com ( Jenkehl.com ) aka @jenkehl on The Twitter. You’ll meet some fun, interesting and unique audiophiles who will make you laugh.

Also, we’re less than 3 days (August 9th) from the release of my second book, Soul To Body, about a widowed musician and his headstrong teen daughter. It’s a cool, easy to read, reasonably priced novella, available digitally at amazon/kindle. smashwords.com, Good Reads and in paperback (the best way) from Lulu.com or a signed copy from Pound Publishing headquarters (inquire within). My first book, The Ballad of Helene Troy is still available at all of those outlets, too! Get that one. It’s musical all the way.


Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp


The anticipation’s so thick I can feel the Florida heat baking my body and I won’t be in it for another twelve hours. I know I should be asleep but there’s a game seven on, a team called the Miami Heat playing, and the mood stabilizers are screwing with my schedule.

For three years and a month, my blog can beat up your blog vaulted my artistic whatever into enough of a spotlight that I not only wrote a book, but I also became colleagues with Tara, Lisa, and Jessie. Tara is called Tar Rah, and I better get that right, because in a day or so I’ll be in front of her talking about our female killers, Millicent and Pauley, and figuring out what “normal” people can never understand; how people can be friends over the computer as well or better than they can be in person.

My wife and I ran some numbers, rolled some dice and decided that a two day jaunt to the Redneck Riviera was doable because we’d be in the company of people we’ve come to respect and like, a lot. Two of our kids will be in tow. The teenager’s staying behind to work a cheerleader camp for actual cash, and she’s way too cool to hang out with old people talking about writing over burgers and a swim up hotel bar.

My wife, two younger girls, and I will get up before the sun, hit a Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then stomp the gas pedal for Ft. Walton, Florida, hoping that six hours pass quickly. If they’d let me play my music, the time would pass faster.

This place will be quiet for a few days. Head over to my friends at www.sprocketink.com . I wrote something I’m proud of about the dead of one of my favorite actors, James Gandolfini, who gave us Tony Soprano and many other amazing characters http://sprocketink.com/actors-actor-master-of-monsters-with-heart-james-gandolfini-dead-at-51/ He died this week at age 51 from a heart attack. This means I’ll be hitting the gym harder when I get back from the State of Sunshine. Any pictures your see will be above the chest.

While I’m gone also check out mine and Tara’s collaborations of Millicent and Pauley. One day they’ll be in book form. There’s great work here and she taught me a lot about writing.


The Miami Heat just won the NBA Title for the second year in a row. I hope the Floridians will be in good moods. I’m going to force or fake some sleep. Then make the stomp to Ft. Walton with Mercury Rev in my head and writing ideas when I return.

Best Friend


GO here first: http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/gin-joints/

Millicent Stingley rapped her peach-colored nails on the private plane’s arm rests. Craning her neck around the seat, she saw her friend, Pauley, stumble from the bathroom. The plane’s flight attendant was ignoring her so Millicent swallowed her anger, removed a twenty-dollar bill from the left cup of her bra, then displayed it to catch the woman’s attention. The petite redhead of about thirty-years-old rose and walked toward Millicent. She faked a grin, which infuriated Millicent more. She remembered the woman’s name was Cassandra.

“Cassie, can you be a dear and bring my friend and I two extra pillows, her a ginger ale with lime, some crackers, and me an whiskey sour, stiff, on the rocks.”

Cassandra snatched the twenty from Millicent and sighed like a teenaged girl as she passed by Pauley in the aisle. Pauley chuckled to herself as she squeezed past Millicent and retook her window seat after turning on the air fan above her.

“Making a new best friend, Millie?”

Millicent closed her eyes and tasted the bile in her throat. She exhaled from a deep breath and drawled.

“I only need one, Paulette. And you will do. So, how far along are you?”

Pauley frowned and knew her third trip to the plane’s bathroom since takeoff, flush cheeks and pale countenance made her look stupid for not talking more about her pregnancy news to Millicent.

“Not long, maybe 8 weeks, 9 at the most.”

Millicent leaned forward, grabbed the black ink pen and notepad in the seat pocket and jotted down information.

“When we get to Morocco, I’ll put together a remedy for the nausea, and a sleeping pill. Then we’ll go shopping for baby things. This child has to look good at all times in public.”

Pauley laughed and touched Millicent’s right arm. She knew arguing with her was pointless.

“I’ll be fine, Millie. I know you’re probably pissed I didn’t tell you right away. We had a lot to do in Brazil and I had to tell the father first. Oh and Lenore, I think. Shit, sorry about that.”

Millicent rolled her eyes and finished writing her materials list and formulas. Cassandra returned with Millicent’s order. Pauley shook her head and dropped her tray to hold the ginger ale and crackers. Millicent sipped her whiskey.

“Pauley, there’s a handwritten letter in your carry on bag. It’s for Arthur. Make sure he gets it. It’s the last time I’m making contact with him. I’ve got all the family I need in this plane. Also, I’ll have a list of proper baby names done before we land.”

Pauley smiled and felt her stomach settle.

The plane landed in Casablanca, Morocco several hours later. Millicent tracked down a cab while Pauley checked in with Stan by cell phone. Digging in her handbag for extra cash, Millicent felt a couple of the cyanide pills she’d created in Brazil. A wave of paranoia washed over her. Was this the last she’d see of her only true friend? Swallowing the off-white capsule was an option. She shook off the thought and paid the driver. Using the French Pauley had told her would work in Morocco, she cooed the instructions.

“Portez-nous à Alfirdaouss et utilisez l’itinéraire de centre-ville.”

Millicent was still staring at the pill when Pauley showed up.

“You okay, Auntie Millie?”

Millicent slid into the backseat of the cab.

“Yes, but that’s isn’t going to do. I like Aunt M, like James Bond’s boss, but cuter.”

Pauley laughed as the cab away from the airport into traffic.

The women reached their desired apartment district. As they shopped a nearby open market, Pauley saw a familiar cafe.

“Come on, let’s get some Moroccan blend!”

The sun beamed over their shoulders as Millicent prepared to pay for their cups. The cyanide pill from earlier dropped from her handbag as she removed money. Millicent handed the cash to the merchant.

“Merci, gardez le changement.”

Pauley sipped her coffee and glared at Millicent who stared at the cyanide. Without saying anything, Millicent took her three-inch heel and stomped the capsule until it was dust on the pavement. The women looked away from each other in silence. Millicent sidled up to her friend.

“Don’t worry, Paulette. When you need me, I’ll make more.”

The women turned and walked side by side into the Casablanca sun.


This is the season finale of mine and Tara aka @Tara_R ‘s Brazilian sequel to Dead Money, our serialized story about female killers Millicent and Pauley.

Please go see Tara’s chapter first at http://www.thinspiralnotebook.com

Today’s song belongs to Weezer. They’re all about irony and weirdness, just like MIllicent and Pauley. Thank you for reading. Tara and I have so much fun writing these stories. Here’s Best Friend.

Shake It Out


Millicent’s deep-set chocolate eyes accentuated by natural long eyelashes surveyed the one and a half-acre estate. If there was anything she’d miss, it would be the garden. She and Lenore had dedicated one day per week over the past eight months to rehabilitating its beauty. But the limestone blocks and brick flower beds would need to be turned into a fire pit to incinerate the evidence of the day inside the house. She let go of Pauley’s arm and walked a few feet in front of her friend.

She strode through the side yard and saw the doors of the rental car open, but Danela was not inside. Pauley shouted over Millicent’s shoulders.

“It doesn’t surprise me she took off, Millicent. Danela was scared of her own shadow. She probably thought we’d kill her.”

Millicent shook head and turned her attention to the garden, after murmuring a confession.

“She was right.”

Pauley didn’t respond, but joined her friend in front of a brick bed of rhododendrons. Millicent leaned over and grab a brick in each of her hands.

“Forgive me, Paulette, but our manicures must be sacrificed.”

Pauley figured out Millicent’s plan without asking for specifics.

“When we get to Morocco, you can make our hands presentable, again. Let’s get to work.”

The women dispersed to opposite ends of the garden and assembled a square pit within minutes. Pauley stared at Millicent several times, wondering if Millicent’s unusual silence was tied to killing a man in front of everyone, or leaving behind an idyllic second life. Millicent put the last two bricks into place and positioned her hands on her hips in satisfaction.

“I’m just fine, Pauley. Regret is for losers and the weak. But I made mistakes in this country because I was trying to be someone else. If you see me toss a leopard print Zuzu Angel dress into this blaze, shoot me if I try to jump in after it.”

Pauley laughed and after several seconds of wiping sweat from her forehead, Millicent did too. Their inappropriate senses of humor belied what they were about to do, burn three bodies, a house, and walk away from it all without remorse.

Millicent’s mind was days into the future.

“You have my word. I’ll stay in Morocco and do it the right way if you and Stan can help me make that happen. There’s $24,000 or so dollars in cash and bank notes in the little gray safe at the dress shop and about $1500 in a jewelry box in the main bathroom inside the house.”

Pauley hauled her third limestone block into place and sighed.

“Money’s not a problem, Millie. But this time, I’m going with you and help you get settled. don’t give me that ice queen independent woman bullshit. I’ve earned this “I told you so.” Plus, you need to learn some Arabic to go with your French. I can’t wait to look smarter than you for a few weeks.”

They exchanged laughs and finished the fire pit. Pauley and Millicent clasped hands then let go as they reached the house. Pauley walked inside while Millicent turned and looked at what was about to shake out of her life.

*****blogger’s note*****

Two new chapters of Millicent and Pauley, your favorite female killers currently hanging in Brazil. Please go check out the stunning installment from my writing partner and friend, Tara aka @Tara_R http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/a-game-we-play/ it’s amazing.

Have you read my book? The Ballad of Helene Troy is available on Amazon/Kindle, smashwords, or in paperback on Lulu.com or a signed copy from my kitchen table.


Today’s song is perfect lyrically and thematically from Florence and The Machine. Other than the murdering, Florence and Millicent would get along great. Here’s Shake It Out.

Machine Gun Blues


Go see this chapter first:

Vivian was dead. She knew it and all that was left was her funeral. Four people stood in the living room and she held a laugh at the inappropriate name of the space. Tomas finished twitching and his lips had turned blue. The cyanide was eating his nervous system. The other two henchman were comatose with bullets sealing their fate. The last moment of Vivian’s existence showed in the warm, shaking hand on her arm from her only friend, Pauley. Then Pauley let go to check on her boyfriend, Stan. Now, Vivian was gone to.

Vivian Alves arrived Sao Paulo, Brazil less than a year earlier without a chance to survive. Millicent Stingley always had enough money. Vivian Alves had enough to find a place to live and buy a small business out of foreclosure. Vivian overreached, took money from Tomas and his Sampas criminal organization, and the results of her failed second life were strewn about the house.

Pauley was emotional, more so than Millicent had ever seen her. Small tears formed inside her Pauley’s eyes as she thanked her for saving Stan and killing Tomas. Lenore followed Stan into the kitchen. Pauley and Millicent were several steps behind.

“Vivian, I don’t give you enough credit. But that was….”

Millicent cringed at Pauley’s weak moment, appreciated the admiration, and squeezed Pauley’s nervous hand.

“It’s what friends do, Paulette. Well, friends like us. And don’t call me Vivian anymore. I think you understand.”

Pauley tried to smile, but seemed too exhausted. She let go of Millicent and walked into the kitchen and sat next to Stan, grasping his left arm.

Millicent remained standing and wrestled control of the scene from Stan.

“I don’t need a lecture. I took care of the problem I created. All that remains is a fire, a big damn fire, to turn the Brazilian episode of my life into ash. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time around you gun people, but let me machine gun the rest of this job and take Lenore with me to America. You’ll love San Francisco, Lenore. ”

Stan let out a giant sigh and crossed his arms. Pauley squeezed his shoulder and jumped into the conversation.

“Millicent, you can’t go back to the U.S. and you know that. But I think Stan has an idea for Lenore.”

Lenore turned her back to Millicent and leaned into the enterprising couple with the Northeastern accents that fascinated her. She’d dreamed of New York City as a child when her cousin mentioned moving there.

“Mister Stan, Miss Pauley, I can take care of your house.”

Stan let go of an uncomfortable smile and answered.

“I need something more than that Lenore. You are a hell of a shot, you follow direction and have nerves of steel. I think you could do more than clean up and cook.”

Lenore shook her head yes like an energized puppy. Millicent turned and walked toward the basement. She stepped over Tomas’ lifelessness and opened the door to walk downstairs. Next to the lawnmower was a five gallon can of gasoline and garden gloves. She slipped on the gloves and grabbed the gas. By the time she walked up the steps, Pauley was in the doorway shaking her head.

“Millicent is definitely back. Only she would be disgusted by a little gas on her hands.”

Millicent smiled and scooted past her friend. Lenore and Stan stayed in the kitchen going over details of Lenore’s new life. Millicent placed the gas can next to the couch, took off the gloves, and straightened her blouse and hair in a vanity.

“Tell me more your time in Morocco, Paulette. They don’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. But do they have good shopping?

*****blogger’s note****

These are two new chapters of the Brazilian Sequel to Dead Money, the series my friend and writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R are writing. Go see her chapter first and hang out and read her amazing writing. http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com/

Here’s Social Distortion with Machine Gun Blues.