William WallaceBefore Mel went crazy he made some good movies, Braveheart in particular. One scene haunts me. Near the end, he rides a horse into an enemy’s bed chamber and crushes his skull with a ball and chain attached to a stick. The weapons name doesn’t matter. Dead is dead, and I’m scared of dying. My fear is about how. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Waking for a second to look up at a horse doesn’t seem so bad. Janilee says I might snore through it anyway. Awake or not, something flies toward my head and in the next instant I’m gone. I still worry because most aren’t so lucky. Will it be a disease? Will my body wilt to nothing with people crying? Please no.

A few years ago, my friend called from the hospital after a heart attack saying he’d be released the next day. On the way through the lobby he stroked, losing half his body including speech. We skied together, told jokes, laughed at the good ones, and ate gourmet food. Now he spins in a circle, and I pray for a knock on the head when my time comes.

On August 24, 2013 I’ll be a traditionally published author. People I don’t know will buy The Samaritan’s Pistol at Barnes and Noble. Eighty thousand of my words will live forever. The story of Jim Cooper, my pistol wielding Samaritan, and the community that protects him. I’m proud of it. I worked my ass off to make it publishable and wouldn’t take no as a permanent answer because too many of my friends (both dead and alive) influenced the characters. It’s my story and theirs. Still, I’m a bit freaked out by my unborn grandchildren reading my words. The world I created— alive in people’s minds. Will it remind people of someone they knew or know? I hope so.

An uncle died this past week, my mom’s youngest brother. I have good memories of him. He lived with us when I was a little kid. We should have spent more time together. The assumption of endless opportunities until there’s not; it sucks to suddenly miss someone once their gone. He joins a list of dead friends, a cast of characters to inspire more novels, people whose essence deserves capturing. With any luck I’ll get a few of them done before the horse and rider come to my bedroom.

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