Blog

Featured

 

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning”

Paraprosdokians

Image

A friend shared the following, and since I like anything that has to do with wordsmithing, I liked this, I decided to share. Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous. (Winston Churchill loved them). Here are some samples:

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you … but it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up — we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

10. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

11. I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.

12. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

13. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

14. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

15. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Answers to last week’s blog quiz about prescription drug abuse

Image

Answers to last week’s blog quiz:

1. b. Since 1992 the percentage of teenagers abusing prescription drugs has tripled.

2. True. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drug among 12- to 13-year olds.

3. False. The statistics are even more dire. Nearly 1 in 5 teens has abused prescription drugs.

4. True. Nearly 30% of teenagers believe prescription drugs are safe and that legal pain killers aren’t addictive.

5. False. For a pharm party attendees raid their parents medicine cabinet and bring a stash of prescription drugs to be mixed in a large bowl. The resultant smorgasbord of pills is called trail mix.

6. False. People have died from cannabis overdoses.

7. The price varies, but it is generally worth $5.

8. Methamphetamines are also known meth, speed, chalk, white cross, fire, and glass. Crystal methamphetamine, called ice, is smoked, but meth can be injected, snorted, or taken as a pill.

9. Dextromethorphan, also known as Candy, Dex, DM, Drex, Red Devils, Robo, Rojo, Skittles, Tussin, Velvet, Poor Man’s X, and Vitamin D, is the active ingredient in over the counter cough suppressants. It is popular because of its availability and abusers drink it for the hallucinogenic affect.

10. False. Revoking a doctor’s license does not necessarily mean the doctor will never practice medicine again. In Michigan a revocation prevents a doctor from seeking to have his license reinstated for three years. After that he or she can ask for a hearing to show rehabilitation. In recent years, the California Medical Board has reinstated the licenses of doctors who were convicted of sexually assaulting patients, defrauding insurance companies of millions and hiring hit men to kill their wives.

Controlled Substance Quiz

Image

PILZ is a fictional novel about an assistant attorney general, Casey Lawrence, who is caught in a conspiracy to sell prescription drugs. How much do you know about the abuse of prescription drugs? Take the following quiz and find out. Answers will appear in next week’s blog.

Quiz:

1. Since 1992 the percentage of teenagers abusing prescription drugs has:
a. doubled
b. tripled
c. stayed the same
d. due to diligent efforts it has gone down

2. True or False. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12- to 13-year olds.

3. True or False. Nearly 1 in 8 teens has abused prescription drugs.

4. True or False. Nearly 30% of teenagers believe prescription drugs are safe and that legal pain killers aren’t addictive.

5. How much is a 5 mg dose of oxycodone worth on the street?

6. True or false. People have died from cannabis overdoses.

7. True or false. A pharm party is a kegger on someone’s family farm.

8. What are other names by which methamphetamines are known?

9. What is Dextromethorphan, is it dangerous, and why do people use it?

10. True or false. If a doctor’s license is revoked for selling prescription drugs, he’ll never practice medicine again.

Happy Mother’s Day

Image

Mothers are special. In PILZ, Casey Lawrence’s mother suffers dementia. Her life may be winding down, but she still shaped the person Casey became.

On this day dedicated to honoring our mothers, I want to thank my mom for her support, her love and all of the sacrifices she made for me. She remains my number one fan, and everyone needs a fan.

I hope each of you do something special today to thank your mom or the grandmother, aunt or other special women who helped mold you into the wonderful adult you are.

IMG_9161 (2)Mom and me during her stay with us this winter. We took her to dinner at Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay.

The Protagonist Gets Fingerprinted

Image

This is the ninth installment of a section of PILZ that shows the reader a glimpse of Casey Lawrence’s secret past:

“I’ll walk you out. We’ll scan your fingerprints on the way.” He clicked off the recorder and marched me to the booking room counter where a large monitor and official-looking equipment waited.

“Turn your head away and relax,” he said. “It’s easier if you don’t try to help.”
He took my right hand and placed the fingers, one at a time and then the four fingers as a unit, on the scanning plate next to the computer screen. He repeated the process with my left hand. After that he printed each thumb. When he let my hands go, I turned back and watched him check the images. He must have been satisfied because he didn’t repeat any step before he hit the SAVE button.

“I appreciate your cooperation, Ms. Lawrence,” he said when we reached the building’s exit. “You have a nice day.”

“I wish I could say it’s been a pleasure,” I said as he turned toward his office. “But, I’m an optimist. Maybe you’ll find something useful when you stop chasing dead ends.”

The Cops Know Something

Image

This is the eighth installment of a section of PILZ that shows the reader a glimpse of Casey Lawrence’s secret past:

“If you have much more evidence to gather from me, we’ll have to schedule a return date. I have a trial at nine.”

“That’s fine. I think we’re about done for now.”

“Any chance I can get a copy of the inventory you made of my study contents and Derek’s stuff in the guestroom? Maybe your write-up of the incident?”

His smile didn’t pair well with the cold glint in his eyes. “I wish I could,” he said, “but I can’t give out evidence that could find its way into the wrong hands and compromise an ongoing investigation.”

Now I was the wrong hands. So much for the premonition that started my day. “Can you at least tell me if it was Derek’s blood in the study?”

“We don’t have a sample of his for comparison. It was O positive and Derek’s records from the prison infirmary in California indicate he’s O positive.”

“Him and about forty percent of the population.” I closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them I still sat in front of Lockhart.

“Maybe Natalee could give us a sample,” he said. “They’d have some of the same markers.”

“Not without a court order.” Let him think what he damn well pleased about me. He couldn’t prove a thing, and so long as I was on this side of my grave there was no way I’d offer my daughter for a blood sample to confirm her father had been injured or killed. They could find some other way. I stood to leave.

Only the Dead Man Knows

Image

This is the seventh installment of a section of PILZ that shows the reader a glimpse of Casey Lawrence’s secret past:

Derek may have suspected what I’d done, but only a dead man and I knew for sure. If the police ever asked, I banked that a guilty conscience would keep my ex from sharing his hunch. He had dropped the bread crumbs that brought the bastard to our door.

I decided Lockhart couldn’t have anything damning. “You think I killed Derek? That’s outrageous.” Even deep breathing couldn’t soothe the tsunami rolling in my stomach.

The sergeant ignored my question and asked, “Do you have any reason to believe your daughter uses drugs?”

“Absolutely not.” Finally, something easy to answer.

“Derek?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. He had a habit many years ago, but he got clean. He didn’t have glassy eyes or seem impaired last time I saw him.”

“And you?”

“I’ll be happy to pee in a cup if you want.”

“That won’t be necessary at the moment.”

It was a fishing expedition, and I was the worm skewered to the hook. “If you change your mind, be sure to let me know.”

He ignored my sarcasm. With his interrogation technique I guessed he got that a lot.

“We’re just gathering evidence,” he said.

The Skeleton Has a Name

Image

This is the sixth installment of a section of PILZ that shows the reader a glimpse of Casey Lawrence’s secret past:

He ignored my attempt to put us on the same side and picked up another sheet of paper. It was a verse I wrote after Jimmy Scroggins’ death. It must have been separated from the pile of poems I removed from the burglary scene. He laid it aside. But not before I read from upside-down the dark, bold title and wished I’d called it something other than Assassination. The sergeant was toying with me. The cops would misconstrue the meaning of the poem, think it referred to Derek, and any attempt to clarify would make the situation worse. A wave of revulsion claimed me. I clutched the arms of the chair to still my shaking hands.

“Have you ever owned a gun?” Lockhart treaded farther into dangerous territory.

“Derek owned a couple, the one stolen and the one that got him arrested, but no, sir, I’ve never owned a gun.” I warned myself not to panic, try to appear relaxed. He couldn’t know what I’d done with the gun that Derek reported stolen. “Am I a suspect? Do I need an attorney?”

He didn’t answer with the speed or tenor I wanted. I felt trapped in a chess game with my opponent poised to topple my queen.

After what seemed eons, he said, “That’s up to you. A wife is always a person of interest when a husband goes missing. This case is no different. If you think you need an attorney, we stop now.”

I knew that trick. I wondered where he got his information. I’d been a model citizen, broken no laws in the seventeen years since my closet became home to Scroggins’ skeleton.

Protagonist’s Secrets: An Alias

Image

This is the fifth installment of a section of PILZ that shows the reader a glimpse of Casey Lawrence’s secret past:

“My maiden name was Flowers.” It was truthful as far as it went.

“Any others?”

Powdered sugar snowed down on his crisply pressed navy blue shirt. Should I volunteer more or see if he pursued it?

“Is there a problem?” he asked when I didn’t offer an instant answer.

“No. The name on my birth certificate is Angel Rosebud Flowers.” I’d skipped breakfast, my stomach growled and I wished I’d taken him up on the donut offer.

“Then why aren’t you Angel Rosebud Lawrence?”

“Think about it, Sergeant. Angel Rosebud Flowers? It’s no small burden to live with a name like that. Sounds like someone who works at Velvet Fingers Massage Parlor.”

I detected the faintest glimmer of a smile, but it disappeared in a millisecond. “Did you legally change your name?”

“No, sir. But from my first day at Bad Axe High School I refused to answer to anything other than Casey. No law against calling yourself anything you want, so long as there’s no intent to defraud.”

“But your legal name remains Angel Rosebud Lawrence?”

“Only to my deceased grandmother.” I reached for my purse and extracted my driver’s license to prove I was Casey R. Lawrence.

He ignored my ID and shook his head, “I know what your driver’s license says.”

“You didn’t find one for Angel Rosebud Flowers or Angel Rosebud Lawrence, did you?”

He didn’t answer that, but forged on. “In my experience, government agencies require legal support for a name change. How did you get a social security card and driver’s license without legally changing it.”

Did he think any of this mattered, or did he enjoy the game? I checked my watch and ground my teeth–nervous habits that foreshadowed a ferocious headache. I had no time for this. My trial started in an hour, so I gave him a pared down version. “Teachers and doctors began writing Casey on my files. I stopped using a middle name, opting for the initial R. I figured the last name would take care of itself when I married … For God’s sake, what is this about?” I asked.

“Just being thorough.”

“Go ahead, run any name you want through CAD, NCIC, DMV or any other fancy legal computer system. You won’t find a thing.”

“No need to get huffy, I’m just doing my job. You want me to do my job, don’t you?”

“Of course.” I did my thirty seconds of square breathing. “No stone unturned. That’s how we get justice, isn’t it?”

Casey Lawrence: Learning A Protagonist’s Secrets (Part 4)

Image

(Casey Lawrence is being interviewed in connection with her ex-husband’s disappearance)

I didn’t like where my mind went. The cop thought I knew something about Derek’s disappearance–or believed I was responsible for it. His glare was as transparent as if he’d accused me outright. I might be a victim, but the faint blond hairs on my arms stood up.
He flipped through additional papers, seemed to scrutinize one without showing it to me. “Among other things in his suitcase, was the title to that fine car—signed over to Natalee.”
It was so like Derek to try for a grand gesture without thinking of the consequences. A grimmer explanation replaced my irritation: Derek was scared.
Lockhart picked up another sheet from the stack. His frown deepened. “Have you seen this before?”
I examined what he handed me, skimming for pertinent information. It was a life insurance policy issued by Cardinal Insurance of Palo Alto. Derek was the named insured. The policy limit was $1.5 million, double in the case of accidental death. I was the beneficiary. I’d have sworn Lockhart was yanking my chain if the evidence wasn’t in my hand.
“Absolutely not.” I glowered, daring him to call me a liar.
“Derek didn’t mention it?”
“Never.”
“His company paid premiums while he was employed, but Mr. Lawrence made the last payment day before yesterday. The beneficiary will change to Natalee when she turns eighteen.”
He stood, walked to the window and opened the blinds. “Might as well let in the sunshine.” Before he sat down again, he poked his head outside his office door and asked the receptionist to bring him a cup of coffee and a jelly donut. She delivered both before he uttered another word. “Ms. Lawrence, have you ever gone by any other name?”