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I operate an Internet radio show that seeks to help independent entertainers and artists promote their projects.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pieces of Advice to Live By:

I haven’t written anything in a while and knew that a blog post was long past due. My show’s biggest supporters nudged me in the direction of one of my rant pieces but, I quickly found myself stuck for ideas. After putting out a call for topics on my social media channels, my ever-helpful and entertaining author buddy Casey Sheridan suggested that I draft something on advice I’d received over the years.

I quickly started brainstorming and found myself laughing and reflecting on the many sound-bites that I’d collected from some of my favorite people. I’ve settled on three here but, can easily see this as a work in progress.

At this point, I’ll issue my tongue-in-cheek Viewer Discretion Advisory. What you’re about to read had an impact on me but, I ain’t saying it’ll resonate with everybody.

“Life is too short to work for people that you hate.”
Bruce Alexander – family friend and career salesman.

As I prepared to enter the workforce fresh out of college and without a scrap of solid office experience to my name, Bruce was the one person who was willing to take a chance on me. I never worked for him but, he did act as a reference for me on many occasions and during his visits to see my parents would occasionally pull me aside for little power-coaching sessions. The quote above was always my favorite.

Many of us spend as much (if not more) time during the week with our colleagues at work than we do with our own families. I've worked with a large number of sales teams – each of which had their own flavor and some were much more pleasant than others. If you get to a space mentally where you dread going to work in the morning, it’s time to pack up shop and find something else.

“I’m not going to worry about a bunch of fucking oranges.”
Garth Ryan – my dear old dad.

Callous as this may sound on the surface, it was a much needed lesson in perspective that I never forgot. He didn’t yell at me but, said it calmly from a heartfelt place.

At 15, I was selling oranges and grapefruit as part of a school campaign to raise money for our band’s trip to Europe. Even then I was a budding salesman and I really wanted to go on that trip. The only problem was that I buggered up the placement of the order and despite having collected a bunch of money, only ended up getting about half of the inventory I needed.

I freaked out appropriately as my imagination ran wild visualizing the punishments I was going to face. That same week, one of my father’s dearest friends – someone he’d come to think of as a second father himself – passed away. As I muddled my way through my business crisis, my father looked at me sincerely and said “Oh yeah? Somebody I love is lying in a pine box. I’m not going to worry about a bunch of fucking oranges.”

Needless to say, the crisis was averted and my customers got their fruit. I walked away with a sobering message about getting my priorities in order. Whenever something trivial bugs me, I remind myself that it’s just a bunch of oranges.

“Always keep your theater tickets in the same pocket.”
Mordecai Richler – legendary Canadian author

It was May of 2000 – yes that’s right – 15 years ago. I was seated at center ice in what was then known as the Molson Center for my graduation ceremony. I’m not ashamed to admit that my college experience was far from positive albeit that is the subject for another, much darker, blog post.

As a result of this, I had no interest in going to the ceremony but, my parents talked me into it and I’m glad that they did. Receiving an honorary doctorate this year was the great Canadian bard himself. He took to the podium and in his extremely dry-witted style, waxed nostalgic about the irony of McGill University bestowing this honor on him as he was denied admittance as a young man. At the time, the university had quotas for Jewish students but, he held no grudge because he knew his grades were such that he wouldn’t have been accepted even “as a mere gentile”.

At the end of his address, he said that he was going to dispense the advice that our class had somehow been waiting for. There was an awkward pause as he rolled his eyes and looked out at us over his glasses. A fan of Richler’s, I fought the urge to burst out laughing as I imagined his mindset. Then he delivered the line before walking off stage without another word. It was about entertainment, no less.

In that instant, somehow the last 4 years had been worth it. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Casey Crossover: Let's Talk Words: By: Guest Writer, Casey Sheridan

Editor’s Note:

I’ve said many times that some of the most fun that I’ve ever had doing both the show and blog were the handful of opportunities that I’ve had to work with erotica writer and blogger Casey Sheridan. In addition to being a great storyteller, she also has a sharp sense of humor and knows her pop-culture.

She took a leave of absence recently but is now making a bit of a comeback and her friends and fans (including myself) couldn't be happier.

Today, we proudly present our latest “Casey Crossover” where we publish guest posts on each other’s blogs. The topic this time is words that make us laugh. After you’re done reading the post below, feel free to hop over to Casey’s blog to see what I had to say.

Casey, once again the floor is yours…


Let's Talk Words
By: Casey Sheridan

I have to admit, this was the hardest blog post I've ever had to write, mainly because I was laughing so much I couldn't see my computer screen.

When I first started to blog, one of my regular posts was called Funny Words and Phrases. It involved using some strange (and obviously funny) euphemisms for all the various womanly and manly "bits" along with the many things done to, and with, them. Of course, I'd use these odd terms in humorous sentences.

This is not one of those posts. No, no. You will not find any purple-headed love truncheons here. This blog is free of any love custard. Find a detour because the road to heaven has been closed. The bearded taco has been shaved. All a bazongas have left the blogosphere. The back-door trumpet has been silenced (thank goodness!). There will be no need to tug one's taffy or flick the bean. And, definitely, no drilling for oil. Not on this post!

Today, this erotica author shares with you words that make her giggle like a five year old.

I know the knowledge that I enjoy something so low-brow (eye-roll) will forever tarnish my otherwise classy and sophisticated (pffft) reputation, but I’ll deal.

Word #1 – Wiener

I know what you're thinking, "Wiener? Really? How juvenile." It is juvenile, I admit. And, yes. Really. Wiener. I snicker just writing the word.

According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition of wiener is "a hot dog". It's the example of the word in Wiener (notice how I throw the word wiener in as much as possible) in use that is hilarious. If you know me, and take into consideration what I write, you'll understand why I giggle.
            Wiener – a hot dog
                        Ex: "I really enjoy putting long, thick wieners in my mouth."

Yay for wieners!

Word #2 – Boobies


Boobies are great. I should know. I have a pair. I'm also the keeper of a large jar of boobie sprinkles. Isn't that right, Eden? (Eden Baylee knows all about the boobie sprinkles.)

There were many definitions on the Urban Dictionary for boobies, but the best one was this one:
            "Mystical orbs with the power to exert complete mind control over any man who witnesses their infinite beauty." – Udder truth! (LOL! Get it? Udder. Boobies. Get it?)

Seriously, this is totally true. Ladies, if you want something from the man in your life, need to win that argument, anything. All you have to do is lift your shirt and let the girls bounce free. Your man's gaze will be riveted it your "mystical orbs" and their power will turn his mind over to your control, thereby paving the way for you to get whatever your heart desires. Argument won.

You know I'm right.

Now for the funniest word – I save the best for last.

Word #3 – Dingleberry (yes, you read that correctly. Dingleberry)

According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition of a dingleberry is:

            "A smallish, semi-dry, extraordinary tenacious remnant of fecal matter which, when unwittingly rolled into a mixture with toilet paper lint by the action of wiping, becomes almost irremovably entangled among ones anal hair, a situationality exacerbated by the vigorous chafing and friction between the buttocks and most commonly remedied by the sad and almost entirely unavoidable remedy of plucking out at its root the individual hair to which each dingleberry is conjoined."

Personally, I prefer this shorter definition. It's more precise and to the point:

            "A delinquent partial turd which grasps anal shrubbery causing brownish crust to accumulate in ones boxers."


How is that not funny?

Gross? Yes. Absolutely. But funny nonetheless.

Well that's it for me (I see some of you sighing in relief). Before I go, I want to thank Casey for letting me take over his blog today. I apologize for any kumquats that may have fallen out of my pockets (ha, ha, ha).

Okay everyone, what words make you giggle and bring out your inner child?

Like most authors, Casey Sheridan began writing when she was very young. It was later in life when she read her first piece of erotica and it was on a dare that she wrote her first erotic story.

Casey enjoys writing erotica that is sensual and fun with unique storylines.

You can find Casey's books through Breathless Press and Amazon. Her short erotic fiction is published on various erotic web­sites such as The Erotic Woman.

Her title, Ruby Red Metallic, was an EPIC eBook Awards 2012 Finalist.

An introvert by nature, Casey is happiest when writing. She also enjoys spending time with close friends, listening to music, watching movies, and reading. She loves animals, and volunteers to care for a local feral/outdoor cat colony.

Find her on the Web:

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Book Review: Organic Screenwriting: Writing for film, Naturally

Organic Screenwriting: Writing for film, Naturally by: Mark David Gerson is a free-flowing stream of consciousness and information unlike anything else I’ve seen in other books on screenwriting. Gerson takes his readers on an engaging and almost meditative journey in his approach to writing a movie.

Ideas aren’t so much conceived as they are revealed to authors. Everything from characters to plot intricacies can easily be made available but first, the storyteller must be willing to bend to the forces of the ever elusive and fluidly moving “muse stream”. Antiquated rules about what one should and should not do while composing a creative work are all but an enemy to the very creative energy a writer is trying to channel.

In an inspired line that I plan to quote often, the author states honestly “You’re a storyteller, not an engineer.”

Mark David Gerson proudly admits that he’s relatively new to the screenwriting process but, is a highly accomplished fantasy novelist and writing coach. Despite its title, this particular book has valuable lessons in it for all writers – not just those working on movies. New writers will likely develop a deeper appreciation of the importance (and inherent freedom) of getting all ideas out in the open before even giving the remotest of considerations to the editing process.

Buy the book on Amazon

Monday, 16 June 2014

CRF Chats with Filmmaker Simon Cox

Editor’s Note: Those who follow my show and blog regularly will tell you that occasionally I’ll get involved in promoting “one more” project regardless of how busy I am just because I believe in the concept so strongly. Such was the case with writer/director Simon Cox’s compelling sci-fi yarn “Kaleidoscope Man” (currently in the crowd-funding stage). It boasts a driving plot line, stunning visuals and really talented cast of actors – all of which point to it being one hell of a movie when it’s finished.

I only found out about the project a couple of weeks ago when mutual friend Lynnaire MacDonald suggested that one of the film’s producers, Heidi Hitchcock, get in touch with me. We quickly whipped together a plan where Simon would first answer a couple of questions on my blog during the last days of the campaign and then make an appearance on my show later this summer.

That said, we offer up the following…


How were you inspired and/or how did you come up with the concept of Kaleidoscope Man?

When I first saw the original Star Wars I knew then that I wanted to make movies and that one day I would make an epic sci-fi adventure that would leave people feeling as I felt when I saw Star Wars. It wasn’t just the great special FXs and action, it was the emotional story about Luke Skywalker’s journey from farm boy to saving the universe from the galactic empire.

I spent a lot of years analyzing this magic element and why some movies leave you elated and not wanting to leave the cinema and why other did not. Kaleidoscope Man came about during this process. I really liked the idea of the ‘unwilling hero’ where a normal man who struggles with his mundane life is thrown into an adventure and ends up being the one to save the human race. 

What will you tell us about the character of Thomas Dunn and how does he become Kaleidoscope Man?

There is no caped crusader in this movie. Kaleidoscope Man is the lead character in an old TV series, which Tom watches when we meet him as a boy. This has a huge impact on the impressionable young boy and deep down all he wants from his life is to be like his hero. However, real life throws him many challenges and he finds himself unable to live up to this high expectation of himself. This, of course, makes him very unhappy and with no ending in sight, his life is going nowhere.

That is, until an alien mother-ship arrives at the planet…

What do you think the audience will take away from seeing Kaleidoscope Man and/or what would you hope they would take away?

I’m hoping they will feel elated, excited and just generally blown away. The thing is, there are a lot of movies out there and more video content than ever before. Throw in social media and people nowadays have very little time to consume things. I believe this movie will feed the soul as it touches on some very deep and moving human issues that a lot of us don’t have time to consider.

Without trying to sound pretentious, I have spent years trying to make this an event movie. Obviously, I don’t have anything near the budget of a Hollywood movie, so my time and effort has gone into the story and I am confident that it will resonate with people and capture their imaginations.

Writer/Director Simon Cox

What are some of the major challenges and what have you learned from this and past projects?

When I made my first movie, Written in Blood, I had a lot of people meddling with the story and the production in general. The money had come from the UK Film Industry and being slightly less experienced, I believed this input would help the film and the process of making it, even though deep down I had a sinking feeling that some of this wasn’t helping me.

The final film ended up being a compromise on what I believed was originally a strong idea and one of the lessons I learnt was that as the writer & director of a movie, you are the one left holding the baby. Therefore, I would say to anyone making their first movie, follow your gut instinct – if you’re going to mess something up, it’s better that you do it rather than let someone else do it for you.

As regards the production of Kaleidoscope Man, I have to say I am enjoying the experience immensely. The biggest challenge over the years has been trying to get the movie funded and I spent a lot of time speaking to people from the industry and private investors. This was incredibly frustrating and always ended the same way – with no movie being made. Therefore, when crowd funding came along, for me it has opened the door to fantastic film making opportunities, not just for me but all creative alike.

What is your favorite part of the film making process and why?

I love the editing of the film. Seeing sections that you have spent years dreaming about coming together and actually working is just magic. I also love the way you can build up the soundtrack with sound FXs and how each small element or subtlety you add enhances the story.

You are currently crowd-funding for your Phase 4, how are you feeling about it?

As I write this we have just under 2 weeks left of our Indiegogo campaign and to be honest, it is a little nerve-racking. On this particular campaign, we still have a long way to go to reach our target but I am optimistic. We have put an awful lot of work into engaging with our audience and providing them with lots of behind the scenes videos of the journey so far, so people really are coming on the journey with us. The last two weeks of a campaign are always the most exciting.

Do take a look: www.igg.me/at/KMan4

What is something interesting about you that you have not mentioned before?

When I was 22, I had an evening job in a pub in the Central London (I was a runner in the day for a film company and the money was terrible). One evening, Oliver Reed (one of the stars of Gladiator) came in; he was as drunk as a skunk. After a little banter behind the bar, he grabbed hold of me, pulled me close to his face and threatened to punch my light bulbs in. This was all because I had served him a drink in a glass that was a little warm. Not a pleasant experience, but one I shall be telling my grandchildren for sure! 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Pretender: Virtual Book Tour

Editor’s Note:

Over the past several weeks, I was approached by publicist Mallory Johnson about the possibility of The Cutting Room acting as stop on a virtual book tour for authors Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle.

If those names sound familiar to you, then you were probably a fan “The Pretender” – a very popular television series that they both created which ran from 1996-2000 and later spawned two TV movies.

Steven and Craig recently brought back “The Pretender” in the form of two novels called “Rebirth” and the much anticipated follow-up “Saving Luke”.

Below, the authors chat about the journey to revive the series and the reactions they got from fans. You can also look for a follow-up interview to be broadcast on my radio show in early June... CJR

Q: For those who are not familiar with the Pretender novels can you give us a brief description of the series?

SLM: Sure.Rebirth and Saving Luke are mystery thrillers about Jarod, a child prodigy, who was stolen as a child and raised by a clandestine organization that exploited his gift for their nefarious activities. After his escape, this ‘ingenious Jason Bourne,’ a human chameleon that can literally become anyone he wants to be, rejoins the world that was denied to him for 30 years. While attempting to find his own family, Jarod uses his brilliance to save a young boy kidnapped by terrorists and return him safely to his parents. 


CVS: Jarod does this while staying one step ahead of Miss Parker, the “sexiest woman on the planet” who is hell-bent on capturing and returning him to the organization that took him as a child. They have a multifaceted, love-hate relationship that fuels a very heated chase.

You can find out more about both novels and read sample chapters at: http://www.thepretenderlives.com/

Q: Why did you decide to bring The Pretender back at this particular point in time?
CVS: As luck and having amazing lawyers would have it, the rights to the Pretender recently reverted back to us, and we are excited to be able to bring the Pretender back now in a variety of exciting ways.

SLM: As all too often happens, when the Pretender was unexpectedly cancelled, the loyal fan base was left with a series of unanswered questions that we’d always intended to answer for them.

The fans around the globe have always been loyal to us and we’re thrilled to be able to return that faithfulness by reinventing the Pretender in a way that will give the answers they deserve, while at the same time embracing new fans, who will get the saga from a fresh perspective.

Q: Why did you bring the concept back as a novel first as opposed to another TV series?

SLM: We wanted to give the fans a much more in-depth look at the characters than we were able to explore in a television series – and also give them an opportunity to not only just read the books or passively watch the TV show, but to actively get involved and become part of the Pretender Universe, themselves. 

Steven Long Mitchell
Q: Where does the plot line pick up in terms of a timeline?

The plot line doesn’t pick up, per se, it slides. Just like in the TV pilot, Jarod is 30ish when he escapes the Centre, and so is Miss Parker as she begins her pursuit of him.

In essence, it is a brand new story with all of the intrinsic elements of the old story, updated for the modern world. 

Craig W. Van Sickle
Q: What is your strategy for retaining old fans while still attracting new ones?

SLM: All of the story elements of the original series are there with contemporary twists that allow for new fans- and old-to be equally satisfied as the mythology takes them on a thrill ride.

And there is even more to experience at http://www.thepretenderlives.com/. We’ll soon be offering interactive ways to explore the mythology, story lines, characters, and even the physical Centre itself, something no other fandom or series of novels is doing (as far was we know).

Q: I also understand that you're launching an innovative series of graphic novels in tandem with the books?

CVS:Yes. The first fleshes out the mythology of the Pretender Universe by exploring the mysterious history of the Centre.

Q: What is the most surprising piece of feedback that you've received since you've brought The Pretender back?

SLM: First, was the overwhelming support from the Pretender fandom.It is global, fervent, multi-generational, and we are proud to be a part of it.

CVS: There are so many – but one that really stands out to me is the outpouring of involvement of the fan base –something we greatly embrace. Our fans have designed the covers of the novels, some have become characters within them, we even have a winner of a fan-fiction contest writing a short story for us that we will publish as canon. We think she could be a star writer one day and are overjoyed to give her the first shot.

Q: Where can people go to keep up with the latest news around the books or graphic novels?

SLM: http://www.thepretenderlives.com/ We love corresponding with our fans and look forward to hearing from them at anytime.

CVS:Below are all of the other links to connect with us.

Connect with Steven Long Mitchell: Blog / Facebook / Twitter
Connect with Craig W Van Sickle: Blog / Facebook / Twitter
Saving Luke: Links to follow when available

Monday, 10 February 2014

Scarlett Flame's "Bound for Passion" Blog Tour:

Editor’s note: In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, I thought it only fitting to reach out to one of the many romance/erotica writers that have supported my podcast and blog to whip together a little something in fitting with the theme.

As luck would have it, Scarlett Flame (who last year wrote a massively popular piece for me on steampunk) is currently on the “Blog Tour” trail and asked if The Cutting Room Floor could be one of her stops. I’d never hosted such a stop so of course I was more than happy to help. Below, you’ll find some thoughts on her anthology “Bound for Passion”. I’ve also included some additional information as to where you can buy the book and even read some reviews. Also look for a live interview with the author herself on my show in early March.

Scarlett, once again the floor is yours…

What the book is about:

The debut novel is composed partially of stories that were published initially on my blog over the last six months or so, and a new story created especially for the book. Individually these stories are hot, but together they are sizzling.

When Vivienne sits inconsolable in the hospital chapel, the last encounter she expects is a fervent entanglement with an otherworldly being, as passions increase she learns for the first time in her life the true meaning of out of this world. In the second, Sarah meets a new lover after telling him all her intimate fantasies in an internet chat room. And, the final story concerns the journey a young woman takes, as a Dominant offers to show her the ropes, in exchange for her submission via BDSM.

Here is a link for a short excerpt from The Stranger which is the first story in the book, read by myself on audioboo.

Cover art & graphics:

The cover of the book is from a painting by an artist friend of mine that is based in Cork, Ireland. His name is Alan Hurley. I have had only fabulously positive comments about the cover and hope to use Alan again in future. The picture is also available to buy as a print from his gallery. Alan has some absolutely beautiful paintings please visit his page and choose some for yourself.


I have two signed prints gracing my living room walls, an original watercolour taken from my avi photograph on Twitter and this hangs in pride of place on my bedroom wall.

Alan also has a Blog here so please visit him here and see how his work progresses from an outline drawing to a full blown picture

The graphics were supplied by another good friend of mine, who is also an author Jon Fletcher who I did an interview for last year about my next book and a current WIP. Jon writes Science fiction and I believe I own ALL of his books. Check out Jon's blog and his author page to see more.
The blog tour:

In celebration and to let the public know about my new book there are a series of blogs being hosted by a number of bloggers across the world. Here they are and the dates they will be hosted:

Commencing on 5th of February via John Satisfy

6th of February via Karena Marie

7th February via Shaun Allan

8th February via Seumas Gallacher

9th of February via Suzy Ayers

10th of February via Taylor Fulks

11th of February via Casey Ryan

12th of February via Skelat

13th of February via Francis Potts

and finally but not least on Valentine's Day

14th of February via AfterDark Online

Reviews and other Links:


The Book promotion is set to run alongside offers and promotions on Goodreads and Facebook with 4 copies of the book available to win on Goodreads through their giveaway deal.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Grave Call: By guest: Leslie A. Borghini

Editor’s Note:

Today actually being Halloween, I thought it would be fun to share a good old fashioned ghost story which today’s guest author assures me is based on actual events that happened to her.

I met Leslie A. Borghini aka "The Angel of Horror" by way of a referral from mutual friend (and CRF guest) C.K. Webb. In addition to the post you’re about to read, Leslie has also agreed to be a guest on my show to discuss her novel “Angel Heat”. Be on the lookout for that interview a little later this winter.

Leslie, the floor is yours…


A Grave Call:  

I see dead people, they see me, and sometimes we talk. This is an account of one of those times. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the living and to respect those that have passed on.

July 23, 2012:  

I had run some errands and stopped at the grocery store. When I arrived home, I was in a hurry to put the frozen food away. I noticed the phone message light was blinking, but I was sweating and wanted to take a shower. The message could wait. If it was important, they would have called my cell.

In the shower, something kept nagging me to listen to the message. It became so hard to dismiss that I got out of the shower and grabbed the phone. I hit the playback button. There was an eerie dead silence followed by a sound I could only compare to the noise I heard when I put a seashell up to my ear. I was cold, dripping wet, and kicking myself for bothering. Then the static started. Not a little static, but a thunderous static that forced me to jerk the phone from my ear. It softened slightly, and I heard an elderly male voice.

“Johnny, it’s me. I’m trying to leave, and I can’t get my ticket. Please call me back. I need my ticket. Thanks, I love you son.”

I thought I should call him and let him know he had dialed the wrong number. This poor old man was probably stuck at some airport and missed his flight, so I checked the caller ID and hit redial. After a few rings, an older woman answered.


“Hi, my name is Leslie. I just listened to my answering machine, and I think someone may have dialed my number by mistake. An elderly gentleman left a message. He’s trying to call his son. He can’t get his ticket. I just wanted to make sure the message gets to the right person.”

After a substantial pause the woman said, “How did you get this number?”

I explained, “I called the number on my caller ID.”

“You must have dialed the wrong number.” The woman sounded worried.

“I hit redial, but I apologize for bothering you. There must be a glitch with the phone. I was concerned for the old man. Thank you, anyway. Goodbye.”

As I was about to hang up, I heard her yell, “Wait, please!”


The woman’s voice sounded nervous. “What did the message say, exactly? Please, tell me.”

“Are you alright?” I thought I had somehow freaked out the old lady.

“I’m not sure. What did the man say? Please, it’s important.”

I related the message verbatim. I heard a clang as she dropped the phone. I yelled, “Are you alright, ma’am? Are you there? Lady, answer me!”  Shit! Now I had caused this woman to have a heart attack. After a few seconds, I could hear her picking up the phone.

Crying, the woman said, “I’m sorry. This is such a shock to me.”

“Is he your husband, ma’am? Do you have a son named Johnny?”

“Please, call me Julie.”

“Okay, Julie, I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“No, you didn’t. Well, I guess you did, but that’s alright. It’s just that my husband has been dead for two weeks, and our son is named Johnny.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss. Please don’t think I’m a crackpot. I really did get the message on my answering machine.”

“No, dear, I believe you. Are you a psychic?”

I explained that I had certain gifts, but this was only the second time I had received a phone call from beyond the grave.

She found solace telling me about her wonderful marriage. We were on the phone for almost an hour because I didn’t have the heart to stop her. We exchanged goodbyes, and she asked me to please call her if her husband John called again.

“I will,” I agreed, not thinking it would happen.

July 25, 2012: 

While I was preparing dinner, the phone rang. I answered it. There was silence followed by the sound of rushing air and then blaring static. I knew who it was.

“Hello, John, is that you?”


“I talked to Julie. She misses you.”

“You have to tell Johnny it wasn’t his fault. It’s not his time. He can’t come yet. Tell him I love him, and we will dig for treasure again, but not now.”

The line went dead. I looked at the caller ID. It was the same number as before. I hit redial.

I didn’t even let her speak when she picked up the phone. “Julie, your husband just called.”

“What? Leslie, is that you?”

“Yes, listen, he said you have to tell Johnny it wasn’t his fault. He said it’s not his time and that he loves him. They will dig for treasure again. Does this make sense to you?”

“Yes, it does. When Johnny was a young child, his father would take him on treasure hunts in the woods. Oh, my God, Leslie, it really is John! Two weeks ago, they had a huge fight, and Johnny stormed out of the house. That night, my husband died of a massive heart attack. Johnny blames himself. He has been very depressed and talked to his wife about suicide. She called me, hysterical. I got on the phone with him and tried to convince him that his dad had a bad heart, and it wasn’t his fault. But he kept insisting he killed his dad.”

“How is Johnny now?”

“His wife Mary and I had him hospitalized for seventy-two hours. They sent him home with a lot of anti-depressants. They said he was no longer a threat to himself, but he’s still very depressed. He took a leave of absence from his job and stays at home.”

“You must call him and tell him what his father said.”

“Leslie, I can’t thank you enough. I’ll call him right now. Can I call you after I get off the phone with Johnny?”

“Yes, of course.”

After a while, Julie called.

“Oh Leslie, he was so relieved that he didn’t kill his father, he cried like a baby. The part about digging for treasure was the key. He knew you were telling the truth. Only Johnny, his dad, and I knew about that. He never told Mary. He was so young when they did it, he’d forgotten all about it. I can’t thank you enough. You saved my son.”

“I didn’t do anything except relay a message. Your husband saved your son.”

We hung up with Julie shedding tears of joy.

July 25, 2012 (about 2 a.m.):

The phone rang.

My husband rolled over and said, “Who the hell is calling at this hour?”

I stumbled out of bed and answered the phone. “Hello.”

By the sound I heard on the other end, I knew it was John.

“Thank you.”

The line went dead. He had his ticket to leave. Rest in peace, John.