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Friday, 17 July 2015



by Tegon Maus



The first time I heard it, I thought nothing of it at all... nothing. I've been in the newspaper game for more than twenty-seven years and that kind of experience gave a guy an edge but even that didn't prepare me.
I'd been beaten, shot at, even stabbed a couple of times over the years but I always got the story... always. But this one... this one was big... too big perhaps... Maybe we were ready, maybe not. Either way, it wasn't my call.
None of which filled me with the fear, the trepidation... the anguish of five little words that still haunted me today...
"Is okay. I have cousin."


"Bob?" I began, pointing toward the dark, stooped figure of Fred threading his way through the underbrush.

"Is Fred's way... live to close too nuclear plant.  What Bob going to do?" he said, holding up both hands in defeat.

I had no idea what to say to that.

Bob, following Fred's lead, pulled a black ski mask over his face, before handing me a baseball cap.

"What's this?" I asked totally expecting a ski mask, turning the cap over in my hands.

"Beginner’s hat.  Maybe, next time, for you," he smirked.

I'd been ribbed before, and I can take it almost as good as I can give it but this... from Bob?  Damn aggravating.

I tripped along in the dark, getting my feet tangled on every stick, every root, every obstacle that stuck up out of the ground as I trailed behind him.

He, unlike Fred, seemed to be more than comfortable in the woods as well as the dark.  Fred walked slightly ahead, darting from tree to tree as if hiding himself from some unseen observer.

Bob and I simply stood in place, waiting for him to wave us on as he dashed to the next tree or rock outcropping.

After what seemed like forever and more scratches and bruises than I had acquired in a lifetime, we found the house.

Fred, his back pressed against a sizable rock as if he were keeping it in place, held his position a dozen yards ahead of us.  He waved frantically, signaling for us to get down and we obeyed.

A moment later headlights swept over where we had stood.  The sound of tires grinding through the dirt filled the air.

"Shit," I breathed to myself.  I hadn't expected this to be easy.  It never had been in the past, but with Bob and Fred leading the way, we were screwed.

Fred scampered to his next position, waving us on to the rock he had just left behind when he felt the coast was clear.

It took us another fifteen minutes to cross the distance from where we first saw the house to physically touching the building.

I had to admit, my heart pounded hard in my chest, certain we were about to be caught as Fred pulled himself up to peer into a window.

"Clear," Fred whispered and we crept around the corner.

There were no cars, no trucks, no men with guns to be seen anywhere.  Fred had hit it on the mark.  For all outward appearances no one was home.

We continued to follow Fred as he made his way to a back door.  Slowly, silently, he eased himself onto the porch kneeling before the door, slipping a hand into his shirt pocket. 

Removing two small, shiny tools from its folds, he went to work on the knob.

Faster than I could say "is belt" Fred worked the lock, turning the knob.  The door opened slightly.

We held a collective breath, waiting for the sound of an alarm.

"Clear," Fred whispered softly as he allowed the door to open fully.  Crouched, almost on all fours, he scooted inside, closing the door behind him.

 Unfathomable amounts of time seemed to slip by with each heartbeat as Bob and I stood outside in the dark and waited.

My anxiety, a mere seed in the pit of my stomach, had begun to run away with me.  My palms grew sweaty.

"Is nice," Bob offered, leaning against the building, pushing both hands into his pockets.

"What?"  I asked with disbelief.

"Is nice.  Bob always busy... go here, go there.  Wife always - when take wife to dinner?  When go to opera?  When take wife to see sister?  When have time for wife?  When Bob take out trash?"  

"We just broke and entered.  We can go to jail for this."

"Is nice, out with friends.  That's all Bob say."

Before I could formulate an answer the door eased opened again.

"We're alone," Fred said.

Bob and I slipped in, closing the door behind us.  We now stood in the mud room off the kitchen.

No more than six by five it held a built-in bench on one of the paneled walls, with a coat rack filling the opposite.  The oversized tile floor continued throughout the kitchen as well.

The dim glow of a night light traced the edges of the granite topped cabinets and dining table.  On the opposite side of the room was an opening to the hallway.

My attention was drawn by the sound of someone going through one of the cabinets.

"Fred," I whispered hoarsely, looking about the room for him.

"Da," he responded, popping up from under one of the cabinets, a large frying pan and matching lid in his hands.

"What the hell are you doing?" I asked angrily.

He began to speak in Russian as Bob patted him down, removing a stainless steel sauce pan from under his shirt.

Bob said nothing beyond a couple of quick snaps of his fingers before pointing to me.

Fred's arms went limp again as his hands went to his pocket, retrieving a fifty, handing it reluctantly to me.

"You should be ashamed," I admonished, happily snapping the money right out of his hand.

We moved through the kitchen to the hall and to the door that someone had used to spy on us.

At that moment, the sound of a toilet flushing reached us from somewhere upstairs.

Like little kids, all three of us dove for the door, rushing inside.  On the other side the floor vanished, becoming little more than a small landing with stairs trailing into the darkness.

What scares me as a writer?  There are lots of scary things about writing… lots!  In the beginning you worry that what you’ve written isn’t good enough… it’s not exciting, it’s not new, it’s not whatever you think it should be; you convince yourself you’re not deserving but you write anyway. Little drabs and dribbles at first and then something a little longer.  Each new page fills your heart with a strange feeling… a good feeling, no…  I take it back… it’s a great feeling… like you’re flying.
Then you want people to read it, to share it. You want them to feel what you feel… to fly alongside of you and you live in that hope that they will see the world as you have painted it.  You give it away; jealously at first, just to friends and family.  You are safe with them… they already know how you see the world and love you anyway. You wait for their reactions with a thousand fleeting thoughts; reading it along with them in your head, knowing all the key scenes, all the key sentences by heart. Eventually they bring it back to you, those that actually read it and your hopes are dashed like waves on the beach.
So you write again and this time you hand it out to anyone, everyone… everyone EXCEPT family… the bastards have no idea what they’re talking about and eventually you begin to get feedback.  You make changes and begin again.  You struggle, you fall, you get up and fight and struggle some more. If you’re one of the lucky ones an agent, a publisher… a janitor of a publisher, somebody anybody reads your stuff and you get picked up.  You are now that 1 out of 750 that is published.
“I’ve made it!” You think to yourself.  Now the real work begins. Now you must send it out to the world and you wait… so if you know a writer… if you are a writer… if you know someone thinking of becoming a writer then you know a brave soul who has, who can, who will overcome anything placed in their path or die in the effort of its completion…  oh yes, being a writer is a very, very scary business.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I was raised pretty much the same as everyone else... devoted mother, strict father and all the imaginary friends I could conjure. Not that I wasn't friendly, I just wasn't "people orientated". Maybe I lived in my head way more than I should have, maybe not. I liked machines more than people, at least I did until I met my wife.
         The first thing I can remember writing was for her. For the life of me I can't remember what it was about... something about dust bunnies under the bed and monsters in my closet. It must have been pretty good because she married me shortly after that. I spent a good number of years after inventing games and prototypes for a variety of ideas before I got back to writing.
         It wasn't a deliberate conscious thought, it was more of a stepping stone. My wife and I had joined a dream interpret group and we were encouraged to write down our dreams as they occurred. "Be as detailed as you can," we were told.
         I was thrilled. If there is one thing I enjoy it's making people believe me and I like to exaggerate. Not a big exaggeration or an outright lie mine you, just a little step out of sync, just enough so you couldn't be sure if it were true or not.  When I write, I always write with the effort of "it could happen" very much in mind and nothing, I guarantee you, nothing, makes me happier.

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  1. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

    1. Hi Mai... there are several people I would like to meet. I would like to meet the guy who invented the zipper and ask him if it was the result of a weekend bender. I would like to meet Elvis and ask him "What the hell?" you had the world by the tail. I would like to see my prom date from 1967 and ask her Scott Forbes ?? Really? and if you have the lie detector out I would like to ask my wife what REALLY happened to my favorite college sweat shirt?

  2. Thanks for the excerpt and guest post. Congratulations on the release of Bob.

  3. Great guest post! I love reading about the journey's authors take to create such awesome literature.. thanks for sharing :)

  4. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Sounds like a very interesting book. Are you working on anything at the moment?

    1. Hi Amy... I have 3 other books in the works and a total of 6 published now. I write in several genre... look for me on Amazon I'm sure I have something you would like !!

  6. Great post~thank you for sharing!