“In the Beginning”

The updated opening to A Place of Safety

Derry in a fog…

Those who knew Eamonn Kinsella (and were being at least somewhat honest with themselves) had to admit that were my father born but ten miles to the west or north, his murder would have been seen as the fitting end to a hard and brutal man. And my poorly-disguised pleasure at his passing would have been deemed understandable, if still somewhat inappropriate. After all, he was me Da, right? Flesh and blood to me, wasn’t he? And never you mind it was often more of the latter than the former when it came to me and my older brother. But upon death, all such foul memories are to vanish into the nothingness of his one-time existence.

His body was found off the Limavady Road in a ditch of flowing water on a cold, blustery morning late in February. His coat had been pulled down his arms and his hands bound behind him. Every bone on every finger had been broken, several ribs shattered, an elbow dislocated and his face pummeled into the mere hint of a human visage. Blood soaked his shirt down to his trousers, the knees of which were torn and scraped as if he’d been forced to walk on them or been dragged, and some said his every tooth was broken out, as well. Of course, little of this is truly verifiable because the only report we received was from a reticent undertaker, who at the time was gently suggesting a closed casket.

The Coroner’s one comment on his death was the purest embodiment of Protestant simplicity.

“Mr. Kinsella perished due to a bullet fired into the crown of his head.”

Perished.

Not killed. Not murdered. Not slaughtered like a cow in the abattoir. No. Perished. A charming word that can mean so much.

I mean, many’s the time I’d hear more than a few men say, “I’m perished from the thirst.” Or hunger. Or cold. Or work. Or the mere seeking of a job. And women would say it, as well, but not once until that Coroner’s use of it did I ever connect the damned word with death.

That made so little sense, it sent me to the library to look it up, as they had a dictionary. To my surprise, it was defined as such, with synonyms being expire, wither, shrivel, vanish, molder and rot (any of which might have been just as appropriate…save for the last, since he didn’t time to) so I accepted the meaning must be true.

If still cowardly and so bloody fucking typical.

It was determined he had lain in that wet icy ditch for a full day and night. On his back. his clothing soaked through and solid with ice. His one unseeing eye open and tinted by blood; the other being swollen shut. Still bound tight as if against the possibility of him returning to life so he might haunt his killers (and in truth, I’d not have put it past him).

The problem is, that made it difficult to set an exact time of death, said the peeler. Understandable. But then to have them claim it was somewhere between midnight and four in the previous morning was quickly disputed by one and all. For he was last seen being jostled out of McCleary’s Pub in his usual condition just after last orders, that night. And thanks to the stories spread by that reticent undertaker’s wife, it was soon obvious to one and all that his death had been anything but easy or quick.

The reason for this certai was from Belfast and had worked as a navvy in Belfast, on their docks. And despite it being years since his last position, his hands still held the calluses the job built, his back still carried the strength gained from it, and he had only just begun drifting into sloth. Such a man would not have released his grip on life without a full-on fight, and it would have lasted for more than a few pathetic hours. So said one and all.

Word of his murder spread quick, as such news always does. Within the hour, many a man at many a pub had sad remembrances of his bleak eyes and long face, all bringing to mind tortured poets and sad balladeers. They spoke of how he could sing so well as to make angels weep, elegant tunes of Ireland’s ruined past and her dead future. Others recalled melodious stories spun by him of fairies living in Oak glens that once spread forever across the land. And of gods roaming her once glorious green fields. And exciting tales wrapped around Grianán Aileach, the ancient ring fort but six miles and a hundred worlds away from town. All brought forth in such beauty and perfection you’d have thought he lived through each one.

So said they all.

There were also tales set in times more modern, violent and furious and savage and dealing with the unnatural order of life in this corner of our fair isle. Even his enemies, of whom there were more than a few, acknowledged he had a true Irish heart, and in another time under better circumstances would have given the likes of James Joyce and Sean O’Casey a challenge as the nation’s bard.

A few adventurous, less-pious souls offered the slight possibility that he might well have lived through some of his tall tales, including those ancient, gently hinting at the heretical idea of reincarnation. The Church huffed and puffed most magnificently, but it made sense to me. For it was hard to see how so much anger and grace could have been poured into one man in fewer than thirty-six years unless he carried it over from a previous existence.

Oh, the rages he could build about the horrors of being a working man without work in a land cursed by God, with a wife and five mouths to feed. Barely living off the dole, they were, with naught but spuds burned in the open hearth and tea made from thrice-used leaves for their breakfast. Rags on their backs. A hovel of a dwelling on Nailors Row, close to collapsing around them and lucky to have that. No steady heat or indoor plumbing. Spuds for supper and tea, as well. No prospects for a decent job as once he’d had, even though that had been the worst kind of cruelty to his back and taken him away for too long from his devoted family…and wouldn’t you please front me another pint, m’boy?

Despite the reality of how you’d never see a farthing of repayment from him.

Naturally, that last memory was minimized in honor of the dead. Hypocrisy is much expected at both funeral and wake.

Still, within not a week past his burial some felt it safe to acknowledge that he might have taken a dram too much, now and again. Of course, that was not viewed to be a true problem; as many would say, most of the men in this pinpoint of the world were of the same bent, for it was one of the few comforts offered in their existence. Women as well, though not as many because they had little time for it, caring for their latest wain or working the shirt factories or keeping their man from making too great a fool of himself (which could be a full-time position unto itself).

Nor was him being a bit too quick to temper banned from some sly cows’ remembrances. A wrong word. A wrong look. A wrong touch, and suddenly you’re on the floor with a bloody lip or blackened eye. He cared not for size or ability of his chosen victim, and it would always be the other’s fault, no matter how improbable.

Of course, more than one would response in whispers that anger was sometimes the only emotion men like him were allowed to hold forth. And if his wife was seen at market with a fresh bruise over one eye or across one cheek, or out walking her wains around till her lord and master had sworn himself into weary, drunken sleep…well, she was hardly known for her gentleness, was she? Her nails had left scratches deep on more than just his back, and her quickness with an iron skillet was not unnoticed. I heard far too many of these comments bandied back and forth, on and on and on, soft and low, accompanied by a click-click-click of the tongue.

Just having a bit of craic on the stoop, nothing more. With no concern for any of his children if they happened to be close by and…well, listening in.

But I will say that for most, those few peculiarities were swept into the past. Starting with his wake, his trek to sainthood was begun and the truth of his existence drifted away like a ghost, aided and abetted by that closed casket and the need for his burial to be quick. It was paid for through the intersession of Father Demian, a priest who’d so often visited the man’s home in times of violence or distress in the years prior, he felt no need to knock before entering. Which I found an affront, but I was alone in this attitude.

He tried to comfort the new widow as she wept and wailed things like, “What’s to become of us?” and “How shall we live?” Over and over, to the point where even those sympathetic to her wondered if her laments were over Da’s passing or more from her sense of guilt for having loudly wished him dead, many a time. While I may have agreed with the latter sentiment, it was not their place to cast judgment on her, for it. Only a man’s kin may determine the meaning of his passing and worth, even those with more…oh, let’s just say, complicated reasons.

But in truth…how did we live, now he was gone?

Simple. The burned spuds and weak tea for breakfast were replaced by porridge and milk. Fish and chips could be brought in, on occasion, and eggs and fresh bread. For the one benefit of having to deal with life on less than half the dole’s miserly payment was that Kinsella’s widow knew how to stretch a ha’penny the length of a mile. Even better — because the widow had five with another soon due, the Derry Committee (the bastards who ran the town) were forced to promise better lodgings for us once the last of the Rossville Flats was completed.

If there were room still available on the queue, of course.

Can’t make promises one might have to keep.

So yes…for me there was no sorrow at his death. And as mentioned, while it was deemed inappropriate, me being his second son, I sensed even then it was for the better of me, my two brothers and two sisters…and even my mother, weep as she might. Something no child the age of ten should be thinking about his own father. But I cannot tell you how many times I’d seen his fists upon her as my elder brother and myself tried to stop him. The blood on her face. The tears from blackened eyes. Hers as well as ours. The time he broke my clavicle by shoving me down the stairs when I got too tight between them. And how she blamed me for it and expense incurred by a trip to the clinic. And how often Ma would turn on us, herself, with her own words and slaps and scratching nails, as if to make certain we shared in every part of her misfortune.

It was confusing, true, but ours was hardly the only family in such a situation so it was also considered normal. I had more than a few mates whose mothers were just a quick with their slaps and fathers who did not spare them their fists.

But the one thing that broke me away from that acceptance and set me against the both of them was the night of Winter Solstice, last. When he came home early, not quite perished from the drink (see how that word’s usually used?). I’d heard him coming up the lane, singing a fight song, so had warned my older brother, young Eamonn, who picked up Rhuari, the younger one, and headed up the stairs. Mairead, my older sister, and Maeve were already in their bed, reading, and for them we had little worry; Da never aimed his fists their way. As for Ma in the kitchen? I shot a quick, “Da’s comin’,” to her then I scurried up to our bed, hoping to have covers enough to cushion against his blows.

Except on this occasion he didn’t burst through the door, raging. Instead, we heard him clomp inside, exchange some murmured words with Ma, then jump upstairs to crash into their room, in the front of our hovel. Moments later my sisters were heard screaming and crying. Young Eamonn and I both went to the door to see what was wrong to find a horrified Mairead carrying a weeping Maeve downstairs. Then young Eamonn jolted and tried to cover my eyes, but not before I saw Da come out and stand at the railing to bellow, “Bernadette! I’m callin’ to youse!”

Now this was not the first time I’d heard him say it, and even at the age of nine I had a fair idea it meant they’d be husband and wife, for a little while, whatever that entailed. But this was the first occasion where I saw him stark naked. Top to bottom. With his tadger pointing out straight from between his legs.

I pushed young Eamonn’s hand away just as Ma came all but leaping up the stairs. She was in her shift, her hair wet and streaming down her back as she called over her shoulder, “Mairead, wrap yourselves in the comforter on the couch. I’ll let you know when to come up.”

Fortunately, we’d kept the door closed tight enough so she didn’t notice us watching as she danced past and threw herself into his arms. They kissed and stumbled back into the room and their door slammed closed, and for half an hour the creaking of their bed could have been heard clear to Armagh.

Young Eamonn pulled me back under the covers, where Rhuari was already asleep, and moments later, I could tell he was also dead to the world. But not myself.

I was angry.

I could not shake the image of what I’d seen, and I knew already young Eamonn would tell me nothing about it. I’d asked him often enough when we’d heard that creaking, before. And his response had always been, “They’re just being married people.”

Which never made a bit of sense, to me. But that night, having seen Ma’s joy as she flung herself against Da, I just listened and thought and came to a decision.

Never again would I try to protect her from him. Why bother, when it’s obvious their fights mean nothing and it only brought double the hurt to you? So when I sensed them about to begin their dance into violence, or up to their joyful bed, I would find something to fix in the hutch or at a neighbor’s. Then when I returned, after the worst of it was done, I’d only have Ma’s punishment to handle for having been outside late, not the both of them. It seemed better, that way.

Now of course, since I ask for honesty from others, I must also honor it, myself. My relief at Da’s passing was partly colored by the recent occasion where he’d nearly crushed my right hand because I dared wish to keep a sixpence I’d earned helping Mrs. Cahan clean her hutch instead of hand it across so he could have a part of one more pint of porter. And never once since has my mind changed my attitude.

However, my father lived and died in Derry, Northern Ireland (Londonderry for those who cannot be bothered to learn the city’s proper name). And upon his death, he was lionized for who he was — a Catholic man — as memories of the brute he was were, as mentioned, cast aside. And when it was learned he was killed by two drunk Protestants who swore to heaven and earth they’d only meant to have some fun with the Taig (which was as high a pile of shite as could be imagined but, naturally, was accepted as the most reasonable explanation by the Peelers) his martyrdom to Mother Ireland was carved in stone.

A poor family man trying only to keep kith and kin together as he slaved for the pennies tossed his way by Loyalist scum.

It would bring full-throated laughter from even the most forgiving of men.

If they were being honest with themselves.

Still…that would also have been tucked away, eventually. Added to the long list of offenses against the Catholics of the North and soon forgotten but for several Catholic schools being attacked, that year. And the emergence of a band of Loyalist mental defectives who, sensing the growing restlessness of the oppressed in Ulster and the push for civil rights, stupidly thought killing a few more of us would remind the Papists who was still in charge. Called themselves the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, they did, and in their deluded minds would become bigger and better than the Ulster Volunteer Force or B-Specials. Love, respect, and honor were sure come their way from similar-minded Protestants as they showed the bloody IRA who was the true master of this world.

Instead, they wound up simple murderers, banned, and imprisoned at Long Kesh.

However, their stupidity was not completely in vain. For their side. For in honor of their foolishness, the Derry Corporation, who ran the city like it was their fiefdom, decided no Catholic would be relocated till it was time to redevelop their street. Meaning we kept living in that hovel for three years more. Ma, the new wain and the girls in the front bed, me and the lads in the back, even as life settled into a fresh, bold direction around us.

That was my new beginning at the ripe old age of ten, feeling joyful and free even as the subtle brutality of my only known world surrounded me, waiting for the best moment to bring forth its fullest impact, growing closer and closer to an explosion of hatred and cruelty made only the worse by it happening in a supposedly civilized part of the fast-dwindling British Empire.

But what child can see the build of history around him? Even few adults can, in truth. Events occur that you’re part of but at the time carry no meaning beyond themselves. You either rejoice when all ends well or weep when it doesn’t. So my father’s death only held resonance for me in the most selfish of ways — that I could now live my life in the manner I chose, that of a child filled with hopes and dreams and prayers and promises, believing himself now to be in a place of safety.

Fuck 2021! I’m back with Brendan.

 2021 can fucking bite itself in the ass. Here we are, 9 fucking days into the new year and we’ve had a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions, already. I can’t handle another 356 days of this shit. So I’m withdrawing back to A Place of Safety. I figure if we’re going to have something similar to The Troubles happen in the US, may as well get prepped for it.

The Troubles began with civil rights marches, where peaceful protesters were attacked all over the place by those who wanted to remain in power. A lot of it was caught on camera in newsreels and photographs, and the attackers didn’t care if they were seen committing illegal assaults. They knew they would not be held accountable…and sure enough, they weren’t.

It didn’t matter how the world viewed their actions; they maintained real control until the Easter Accord of 1998. It took thirty years of death and destruction to wear them down before they agreed to even share power, and that pissed off a shitload of the radicals on the Protestant side. There are still people trying to destroy the accord, on both sides. It’s like no one learned a goddamned thing about what happens if you don’t let people be part of the process.

We may be entering that here, now. The Right Wing Nut Jobs had social media to build their forces and they currently number in the tens of millions. An ungodly number of them tried to grab members of Congress, including the Vice President, and probably kill them. All on camera. And with what is looking more and more like the help of Capitol Police. All at the instigation of a lunatic who can’t stand to lose.

Some of them are being arrested, but nowhere near all. Members of Congress who egged them on are still in their seats. There’s talk of impeaching the Orange Bastard a second time. Next week. Not now, gonna wait next week to give him time to wreak more damage. And if we do stop this insurrection, there will be hundreds if not thousands of pockets of RWNJs who will begin their terrorism of those they oppose. Assassinations. Bombings. Laying blame for their actions on others. And the cops will go along with it because so many of them are on the terrorists’ side.

We are now living in interesting times, so I’m removing myself back to when it was only small-scale evil as opposed to armageddon. It’s easier to deal with.

I’m having fun…

I’m writing some ditties and posting them on my tumblr and bdsmlr threads. Here are a few…

“Pre-shower”

Hi, we’ve come to show you

Just how much we want to know you

So first each of us will blow you

But don’t worry — not forgo you.

Because during all our chatter

It was just your ass we’d flatter

Now that’s what our dicks will batter.

Since what you want don’t matter.

…and…

“A moral Story…”

My younger bully forced me to use my savings to put in a pool. I was not allowed In the backyard all summer. My wife and daughter both said they enjoyed their time with him though.

By the end of the summer, my wife and daughter were both pregnant.  My wife stopped letting me have sex with her right around the time the pool was done so I knew he was responsible in both cases.  I tried to talk them both into getting abortions but they were both adamant about keeping the babies.  Once he found out they were pregnant, he started acting even more cocky and arrogant toward me.  One day he even said, in front of both my wife and daughter “You might want to think about getting a second job…it’s going to be expensive raising my kids.”

What he didn’t know was I had already been looking around for a job in exports, and a friend of a friend told me exactly who to contact to handle this situation. He had access to a network that provided men for men…and this little shit would bring in a pretty penny. Enough to take care of me, my wife, my daughter and his kids for eighteen years.

So I set it up. When both my wife and daughter went into labor a day apart, he took up residence by the pool and arrogantly told me, “Let me know when I’m a dad.” Instead, I sent a text to a burner phone and headed for the hospital.

Suddenly there were two new boys in the world, neither of which looked like me. When the little shit didn’t show up to see his kids, wife and daughter were upset. When they got home and found he’d cleared out, they got angry…and scared I’d turn on them, now.

I let them worry…even after I got a text from a burner phone with a link to a one-time viewing of a video that showed where that little shit wound up — being fucked daily by an Arab sheikh. He didn’t like it; I did.

Wife and daughter were a lot nicer to me after that, but I’d found I liked not just the idea of fucking men, but actually fucking them. So I got myself a fuck-buddy, left the bitches, alone and set about raising those two boys to be the best they could be, not because it was the right thing to do, but because when they hit eighteen, I’m selling their asses, as well.

That’ll pay for my retirement.

Hunter is up and running!

Not at all hard to do, but I finally have Hunter available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and listed on GoodReads as well as ebooks on Smashwords. I even was able to order and ship a paperback copy to one of my editors via Amazon UK! I feel very intercontinental…

This is the correct paperback cover…

There’s always a buyer for good-looking men, and that is where Hunter comes in.

Hunter

He’ll track them down, capture them, and bring them to you. For a price, of course. And the more difficult the hunt, the more he likes it.

But then he connects with a potential victim named Vermin…

Vermin

...and they join forces to take more men, like this, by special order…

Of course, they have their fun before turning them over to the Network…

…But all is going great, until Hunter becomes the hunted one…

…and has to use every trick at his disposal to save himself…

…or vanish into the network to be used by anyone who wants him…

…never to be seen, again…

Delays due to me being an idiot

Well, I didn’t notice I used the wrong ISBN number when I got my barcode for the back of the book. Hell, I didn’t even notice it till I got my second proof (the first was cut poorly). I’d assigned that ISBN to an ebook at Smashwords so couldn’t change it, and you can’t use the ISBN for two different titles.

After trying to get Ingram to make the changes in their metadata and uploading the corrected book cover twice (only to have tech support changing it so the proof showed the old barcode, both times, the bastards) I had to dump the initial upload of the book and resubmit.

Fortunately, I had a code that let me submit for free, but I’m pissed as hell at myself for being so goddamned stupid. And lazy. If I’d updated my list of ISBNs bought and assigned when I should have, I never would have thought the number was available.

It’s updated now, baby.

I’ll never be a danger to anyone…

I put all my danger and destruction into my books. I read about serial killers like John Wayne Gacy and William Bonin and The Smiley Face Killer (as yet unproven beyond a lot of conspiracy theories), and I get excited by them…but I could never do to a human being what they have done. It just isn’t in me to hurt a young man in that way.

I don’t know what that means, psychologically. That I’ve written several books that have kidnappings, rapes and tortures in them, perpetrated against good-looking young men…always by other good-looking young men. It’s like I’m living my fantasies by proxy. Which is good, in a way, because it means I won’t really do anything.

I learned this long ago, even before I started writing. I’ve had the opportunity, a few times, to take advantage of a guy. First time was during the whole Dean Corll Houston mess, which showed me what my darkest desires were. I picked up a drunk kid in San Antonio, who was stumbling down the road. He was really out of it, and was really cute, and it wouldn’t have been any trouble to take control of him. Hell, he was so far gone, I doubt he’d have even remembered what happened. Instead, I drove him home and saw to it he got inside his parents’ house, okay.

Another time, a guy fell asleep on my couch (really a day bed with cushions as its back), face down and fully dressed. I actually stood in a doorway and watched him for ten minutes wondering if I could tie him up before he woke…but I didn’t. Instead, I put a similar situation in Dair’s Window and had Dair kick away the guy trying to rape him.

There were other times, but I just never could follow through with my inner desire. The thought that I might cause damage to someone else stopped me before I could pass a certain point. I don’t know why this is, but I’ve found my writing is the best therapy I could ever have had. It’s shown me who I really am, in so many ways.

I’m only dangerous on paper…

Hunter is set for sale…

I’ve posted all 4 books of Hunter on Smashwords, for $.99 each, and have a complete version that includes The Sheriff’s Boys (no more) in it, for $3.99, that will become available on November 6th.

I’m also awaiting a second proof from Ingram before making the paperback available. The first had cropping issues with the cover. I just want to make sure it was a one-time thing, so I’m still aiming for the 6th of November. Of course, I’m not sure how long Amazon will take to set it up on their site, for sale; that could take another week. Same for Barnes and Noble.

I’ve set up Book One for free on Prolific Works and am seeing if Kindle will allow me to offer the series through them. They’re “reviewing” Book One now. I’m not sure they’ll go with it, considering my past experience with them…being banned, you know. Tends to make you wary…

I’m starting NaNoWriMo, tomorrow, so want to focus on that, from this point. I’m using this to make me rework the last third of A Place of Safety, Derry ’81. It’s shallow and trite, at the moment, and needs a lot of work. Technically, I’m cheating, but the only prize is finishing the work by the 30th so I’m fine with that. It’s all about having a reason to focus harder on it.

After all, I’m just your usual lazy writer.

Uploaded and checked…

The paperback version of Hunter is now uploaded to Ingram Spark. I’ve seen the PDF proof and have ordered a physical copy. Should have it in about 10 days, so unless it’s really crappy, I’m on schedule to make the November 6th launch.

It’s told in 4 books — each one available through Smashwords, or soon will be, for $.99 each. The paperback will be $14.95 and worth the money; it’s going to have an extra bit included, at the end, showing what happened between books 1 and 2.

Book One — When I go hunting

Book Two — …This is my prey.

Book Three — Each one I capture

Book Four — …He’s all yours…for pay.

Book Three is available from this coming Friday, Book Four beginning on October 30th.

This book is very MM and raw, with lots of non-con, sexual slavery, kidnapping, brutality, bondage (though not really BDSM) and a strong critique of racism, capitalism and our supposed system of justice mixed in.

I may even do a coloring book for it…maybe…if I get enough interest…

I am just so done with this book…

In just about every way you can imagine. I’m finalizing the coda I added to the paperback edition, and it’s proving to be difficult to settle in. It makes the book 306 pages (290 of story text) and 129,000+ words. It’s twice as long as I intended, but I like how it’s turned out. Lots of sex, some drugs, international intrigue, critiques of our so-called system of justice and of capitalism run amok…my usual things.

So far, two of the books are available in e-format via Smashwords, with a 3rd to come out on October 16th (available for preorder, right now) and the last to be on the 30th (available for preorder on the 16th). Then the paperback arrives on November 6th. Links below.

HUNTER Book 1Book 2Book 3

I got a lot out of my system with this book. My next one is going to be kinder and gentler…I think…I hope…

Almost done.

Okay, here’s the cover of the paperback for Hunter, with crop area and some bleed. I’m submitting today along with the text, and if all goes well, the book will be available on November 6th. It’s 127,668 words and 306 pages long, 289 of which are text…the rest is just bullshit stuff you need to make it look professional. Format is 6×9″ and the price will be $14.95.

It’s taking that long to give me time to get a printed proof. I learned the hard way sometimes a PDF proof just don’t have the ability to show mistakes or that it’s been set up improperly.

Book One is available in ebook, and Book Two will be available on October 2nd. Books Three and Dour will be available on October 16th and 30th, respectively. All four books and a bonus section will be in the paperback.

I never intended this book to be this long…but when the story takes over and the characters are willing to lead you through it, you’d be a fool not to jump in. I just hope people have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Ya never know until ya know, ya know…