While in high school, I may not have been the best influence. I just might have been the one the parents of other children warned them to stay away from. It seems at one point that my wardrobe was deemed not appropriate because it used a colloquialism to call attention to the problem of drinking and driving.

When the school administration informed me that I was not permitted to wear the shirt to school, I promptly wrote a letter to the editor. I still have a copy that holds a place of honor in a photo album. And then I made the distinct effort to wear the shirt at least once every two or three weeks. Just to keep them on their toes.

Our school had two levels, and connecting one with the other, was a nice long ramp. And that ramp led right to the main doors in front of the office. It seems high school seniors across the nation have a habit of playing pranks that they hope will be remembered in the annals of history.

I don’t know if I set out to be remembered, but I did know a little bit about physics back then. You combine mass, a wheeled chair, and a hefty push, momentum can carry you a fair way. The library had these nice chairs with wheels on them. And you can probably guess by now what I did.

Just look at these handy wheels on these chairs.

On the very last day of school, Scott—another student that was not as prone to trouble making as I was—and I grabbed two of the chairs from their tables and took them to the top of the ramp. I don’t remember who said go, but we raced down the ramp. Laughing and shouting, we zipped by the office and into the main doors. We had waited until the end of the day to avoid getting in trouble.

That didn’t matter to the administration one little bit. This was back during the days when rural Arkansas schools still gave swats—as a problem child, I assure you, I had my share; in fact, I probably still hold the record for receiving the most. Scott and I were called to the office where we were to receive corporal punishment for violating school rules.

Are you kidding me? Two seniors in their very last hour of their very last school day? Two swats each. Was it worth it? Would I do it again if I could go back? Absolutely!

Just look at the devices of torture.

WHAT I’M UP TO

WRITING: Even I am starting to wonder if those edits for Slipping the Cradle are going to get finished. I keep finding stuff to change, subtract, or add. In other writing, I finished the rough draft of a short story tentatively-titled Synthia (Tomorrow, You’re Going to Die). It takes place in the same Lonford Universe that Slipping the Cradle does and takes place after the novel in the timeline but before the next one.

FICTION: I started Assassin’s Incorporated: Rehired by Phillip Drayer Duncan this past Saturday and had finished it by Monday night. Fast-paced and funny. I rarely watch comedy on the screen and read even fewer humorous books. This book was hilarious. I found myself laughing quite often.

Second book in a fast-paced, action-based humorous science fiction series.

NONFICTION: A few months ago, I finished up the television series Jack Taylor on NetFlix starring Iain Glen. One episode covered the Irish Travellers, an indigenous minority group that is often looked upon derogatorily in their own country. This fascinated me, and I have been reading several articles on the topic, including “Documenting the Irish Travellers” on NPR and “A Brief History of Irish Travellers” on Culture Trip[dot]com. That is only a couple of the many available.

TELEVISION: Started the show Carnival Row on Amazon Prime, starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. It is set up as a detective story…only with faeries and pans and centaurs that have become refugees in Burgue after their own homeland of Tír na nÓg has been decimated by war.

A detective noir urban fantasy television series on Amazon Prime.

MOVIES: I loved Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown in the 1990 miniseries of Stephen King’s It. Went to the movies last night and watched It: Chapter Two. Bill Skarsgård’s version of Pennywise is absolutely incredible. Throughout the movie, the character Bill Denbrough—whose brother was taken by Pennywise in the first movie—is told that no one likes his ending. After leaving the movie where even I jumped, the only disparaging marks I can give it is that I didn’t like the ending. Not the resolution of character arcs, but the actual climax of the story. No spoilers.

Not for the squeamish at all.