Mindsets and Regrets

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Mindsets and Regrets

As many will know I have used at times my blog as a podium for Faith and Political venting, and, yes, I know, these are personal subjects that would be better left to political pundits and our religious leaders. My only excuse is that I care about the direction of our country, whether it is to be a nation where freedom and liberty give each individual equal opportunities to become whatever he and she desires, or, it is to be a nation based on some form of Socialism where history appears to tell us that the power elite government controls the people in this ‘ism’ and it ultimately spirals into anarchy. Here, I admit that my views of a capitalist society dominate…based on my life’s experiences. ‘Give me Liberty or give me…’

But, wait, I have begun this post with a ‘digression’. What I really wish to express in this post is why my mindset is to write most of my books in the genres of ‘Mystery’ and ‘Suspense’, while I would prefer to write about the heart and soul of man, uplifting and humble stories about the heroic deeds, the unselfish desires by so many to help other folks rather than themselves.

For instance, I would prefer to write an inspirational book about the three young men from the US and one young man from France, who, on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, charged and subdued a Moroccan terrorist intent on killing many people. These young men had only their natural instincts, no weapons, in charging this evil wacko from some subterranean nihilist world of thought. These young men embody the character of our country and our ideals. I would prefer to trace their lives through childhood and parental guidance, to find what lessons from which society might benefit.

God Bless and hats off to: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Mark Moogalian… Perhaps your courage and special spirit will ignite the military powers of the freedom loving countries of the world to eradicate the barbarians from hell.

Crime and evil fascinate me.

The fascination began many years ago when an actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in Phoenix, Arizona. She was a lovely young lady with two children and a lot of dreams. Her body was found in the desert northeast of Phoenix six weeks after her car was found near an elementary school – just across the road from her apartment she shared with the children and her mother. The case was moved to the ‘Cold Case’ file after all leads were exhausted and the people who knew her were interviewed. Some were polygraphed. Her good friends had a definite idea of whom the perpetrator was.

Finally, I wrote a fictional book on this crime, using some of the gathered data, the evidence (what she was wearing and what was found in the desert) and locations. In my book the case is solved…to use a much over-used word, the ending gave me some modest ‘closure’. The book is called, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” (Book One of a six-book ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’). Anyone interested in reading the novel can find it on Amazon Worldwide http://authl.it/1sv. Bailey is a bit different from most sleuths – he muses about his life, loves, his golf game, and all the bad people in the world. He gets the job done…plus, Bailey gives me a platform for expression.

So, I write my novels, some inspired by the true crimes committed across the country… I can muse and vent some anger and rage that these fiends co-exist among us. Sure, most of us know anger and rage, can even say things we regret, but we have some morality, some inner automatic turnoff valve within us.

It would please me greatly to sustain my laptop pecking through a virtuous and compelling novel about those young men who acted so bravely and heroically on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, paragons of all that is so truly great about our wonderful country.

Perhaps there is time yet in my life that I can write such a book.

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 28, 2015

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When Angels Come

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When Angels Come

In those hours and days of misery when hope cannot find its way to my pain, there comes an inscrutable stirring within that calms and brings me a modest peace.

There was a time when I was driving from Decatur, Illinois to Springfield, Illinois. On a long stretch of two-lane highway, behind a big semi-hauler and my patience thin, I thought I had room to pass on the rising straightaway. I pulled out to pass and slammed the accelerator. Suddenly, abreast of the semi, I saw a fast-moving car coming toward me. I decided to brake and get back behind the semi, but my speed was such that, once behind the semi I was about to ram into its rear end. Instinctively, I steered my car to the right gravel shoulder, hit a patch of sloping grass and slid sideways, passing the semi with its driver and me staring wide-eyed at each other. The sloping grass ended at an old wooden and wire fence – which I just missed.

I sat there for some time, breathing deeply, trying to settle my nerves. Looking off from the fence line I noticed a large red barn. There came that inner stir that gave me the distinct déjà vu feeling that I had been here an earlier time… However, I had never in my lifetime been on that highway. That moment has stayed with me for all the years, plus a few more such moments, and how was I to account for that moment in time? It happened. It was very real to me. Did the near accident cause those surreal moments?

On Cannery Row in Monterey, California, some years later, I walked late at night to my car that was parked in an alley-way parking lot. There was no light in the parking lot and it was very dark. Two young men roughly grabbed me, pinning my arms, and stole my wallet carrying all my money and credit cards. I wore a light gray suit, and the wallet was in my inside coat pocket. With too much to drink I was not in any physical condition to put up much of a fight, and the two husky guys kept whispering threats. After lifting my wallet, they ran off into the darkness. I made my way back to a phone and called the police. I then sat on a curb and waited for them to arrive… What I did not know was that one of the men stabbed me in the upper right shoulder, and the blood stained through to my coat sleeve. The tight grasps they had on my arms apparently made me unaware of the short jabs. The several wounds were not very deep and caused me no severe pain, but the robbery experience could have had a different ending, and I’ve thought about that a lot. Had I not been boozed up and an easy target, could I have been killed that night?

There were numerous devil-may-care risks taken in my younger days, crazy, idiotic macho and booze-induced quests that might have led to personal disaster… Over the years I had to believe there was a guardian angel looking out for me.

This post is not intended to be a sermon or for me to play program director, but I am not bashful and embarrassed to admit my belief in a Higher Order, a Supreme Being Who provides us with the moon and stars at night, the golden sunshine during our days. Perhaps He weeps with His rain and tosses us about with His floods and winds, sad to see us fighting among ourselves.

Please listen when your angel comes…to the deeper meaning of that ‘stir’ you feel.

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 21, 2015

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Promo Time

There is one character in A SOUL DEFILED, book 6 of the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, who has a tortured past. A part of him will draw your sorrow and sympathy while another part will draw your repugnance… I’m not talking about our musing sleuth, Bailey Crane – he’s always endearing, mostly! A SOUL DEFILED is about a Mexican resort with problems, like, murder and cooked books and kidnapping. The setting is the lovely Sea of Cortez where the cobalt water and sunsets tantalize the senses. It is a tale I’m betting you will enjoy – and will likely write an amazon review to hopefully prove me right.

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Proud recipient of nine Blog Award nominations, including:

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Do You Know This Man?

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Do you know this man?
No?
I knew him, not so well, some forty years ago…he was a habitue, a devotee, of the Phoenix neon night life, looking for parts of himself he had lost along the long road from Appalachia: lost in an abusive and disoriented childhood; lost in a flawed and impetuous marriage; lost in the glittering promise of booze and women.
Yes, I knew him, not so well, as he made all his stumbles along the way, losing not only himself but the connections to family and friends, to the people who loved him.
Yes, of course, I’m the man in the photo, and there’s a lot more to the story…hope you’ll read THE CRACKED MIRROR, Reflections of an Appalachian Son, by Billy Ray Chitwood.
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Excerpts from:
THE CRACKED MIRROR
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In the end, my story must be like so many others, a story of a simple kid who grew up eating emotional soup and spending a lifetime trying to digest it. There are no spectacular or heroic moments. I’ve been in the United States Navy, but I’ve never fought a war—except the one I’ve declared within myself. So I know not the pain of holding a bleeding comrade to my bosom as he or she gasps the final breaths. I know not the anguish of a parent losing a child in an accident, or, in war—unless losing a child to drugs can be comparable. I’ve loved and been in love, but I’ve never stepped far enough from myself to know the true and natural profundity of its happiness and joy. I’ve been born but never died—unless the demon of the past is segmented death. The prospect of dying scares the hell out of me—not so much the prospect itself, but the pitiful legacy that is left behind.
***
I’ve known insecurity and fear, along with self-confidence, loyalty, and pride. There have been the sins, small enough, I hope, to keep me at least somewhere in the thoughts of those I’ve loved. At times I’ve longed for ‘Nepenthe,’ the drug mentioned in ‘The Odyssey’ as a remedy for grief, the potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain and sorrow. But, then, without some pain, can the soul truly seek refuge when the long journey is over?
***
The jail cell brought back sobriety and a stark reality. Sitting on a hard dirty ‘bed thing’ in the dimly lit, tiny barred enclosure, the demon thoughts came and possessed me. My world was disintegrating around me! The claustrophobic cell was my coffin of contriteness, a veritable symbol of my languishing life. There again was the ‘dark closet’ feeling within me, an anxious and suffocating hell! Grabbing at the bars I pitifully called out to the jailer, but no one came. Within the limited space I paced, stopped at the ugly stained wall, splayed my body against it, and tapped my forehead against its roughness. The jailer eventually came. He showed me a smile of compassion and told me that morning would come soon; then, I would be arraigned. The fitful night would pass.
***
It is Time that wears down the acts and deeds of man into something forgettable, heroic, historical, mundane, noble, silly, unforgettable. It is Time that leads us warily toward the greatest secret of all: That which lies beyond the dark veil!
***
There are men like you in the world, Prentice, through whatever kind of intervention, divine or otherwise, who must make us cry and laugh, who record for us the stirrings of the soul which we might otherwise never know.”
[End of Excerpts]
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The Interview (Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood)

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The Interview

(Flash Fiction)

The interviewer is Simon Macready of the Arizona Republic morning newspaper.

The serial killer is Michael Rooney from Flagstaff, Arizona, convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection for the brutal rape and murder of teenager Patricia Watts whose body was found wedged between two large boulders near the Red Rock area of Sedona, AZ.

Michael Rooney has confessed to at least twelve more homicides involving young girls in Arizona and other states, some of whom have been missing for many years. Authorities are convinced that Michael Rooney could be responsible for many more unsolved crimes that were similar in their execution.

Rooney has agreed to the interview as he claims a religious awakening on death row compels him to share the history of his life, in the hopes the sharing might aid social scientists and society to better detect the signs that lead to such evil.

The two men sit in a drab, depressing institutional room just off the death row area. The odor in the room is near stifling and suffocative. Perhaps, Macready thinks, it is the mind stirring up all the elements that have brought him to this place. Rooney is manacled securely to the small gray table. A sullen guard stands in the corner near the door.

(Macready): ”For the record, you are Michael Rooney, age fifty-one, incarcerated and on death row here at the Arizona State Prison in Florence, Arizona?”

(Rooney): “Yeah, that’s right.”

(M):  “Tell me about your childhood…there seems to be a commonality for most serial killers when they talk about their youth.”

(R): “Well, I don’t know anything about the commonality stuff, but my childhood was like being in the oven of hell, just slowly being baked in fear and desperation. Guess you could say my mom tried but she was always getting beat up by the men in her life…and me, I got those beatings, too! I remember being scared by the sex sounds coming through the walls where I slept. I’d cover my ears with my hands but I couldn’t stop the sounds. The funny thing, as I got older, I would masturbate during those sounds. They scared me but they also aroused me. Anyway, we were never in one place very long, dodging creditors and the filthy men in mom’s life.”

(M): “Where was your father all this time?”

(R): “He only came around to grab what little money we had and to beat up on my mom and me…”

(M): “Did you love your dad?”

(R): “Love him? I hated the low-life…I wanted to be big enough to kill him. Hey, I was on the ‘beat up’ list.”

(M): “How did you live? What did your mom do for money, for food, for clothing?”

(R): “She cleaned other people’s houses, and we lived near railroads and industrial businesses…and, she stole things, took money from the places she cleaned. When the heat got too bad, we were off and running to some other nothing town.”

(M): “How did you travel? Did your mom have a car?

(R): “We hitched rides, and, on good occasions, rode the bus…we only had ragged grips to carry our meager belongings.”

(M): “Did you love your mom?”

(R): “You know, my mind was confused and crowded with the fear and frustration that made up much of our lives…but, I believe I did. There were a few special times when we did fun things, and I remember feeling close to her. It never lasted long because the men would show up for their ugly business.”

(M): “Where is your mom today?”

(R): “Couldn’t tell you… I finally ran away and became a kid of the streets – I believe that’s what you people call them, street kids. I started smoking grass and sniffing coke when I could steal it or somebody offered it.”

(M): “When did you start killing teenage girls?”

(R): “I was seventeen when I killed the first one.”

(M): “My God! You’re fifty-one now. How many have you killed? You claim twelve.”

(R): “Look, my memory’s not so good, but there are likely many more.”!!

(M): “Do you think the drugs you were using had any causal effect on your killing of these young girls?”

(R): “Who knows? I’m thinking maybe they did. Drugs, grass and powder, heightened my moods, gave me a feeling of invincibility. So, yeah, I guess they did add coal to the fire.”

(M): “Can you describe your feelings before committing these crimes?”

(R): “It’s something that’s hard to describe…I remember thinking about why I was doing what I was doing. I’d see a pretty girl walking down the street and I’d get aroused sexually. The arousal became a consuming thing inside me as I thought about the acts I would perform on the girl I was watching. Finally, the arousal would bring me to the obsessive point… I would follow her, and when the right spot came up I’d grab her and take her to an isolated spot…and, then, the mind just sort of went numb, like I was just an animal taking what was mine… After the craving was satisfied, my mind would reawake, so to speak, and I would clean up my mess…”

(M): “Was there ever any remorse after you cleaned up your ‘messes’?”

(R): “Look, I want this to be an honest interview, and, to be truthful, there might have been some remorse after the first and second, but from then on it was simply an itch that had to be scratched, an urge that needed satisfaction…and, I know that makes me an animal, a beast, a piece of filth unworthy of any salvation.”

(M): “You mention ‘salvation’. I’m told that you’ve had a religious conversion. Is that true?”

(R): “I’ve accepted Jesus as my personal savior, and I’ve prayed for salvation. I will continue to pray and hope my prayers are answered. I’ve taken many young lives and caused much grief for families…many may even forgive me, but I cannot forgive myself. I do know that, until that lethal injection, I will talk and walk with Jesus. His judgement is all that now matters for me.”

(M): “Is that not a convenient out for you, Rooney, after the hideous butchering of your young victims? Is this not simply words of a sociopath and/or a psychopath?”

(R): “Yes, I can see that being the thinking of all the people who know of my crimes. Yet, I face death for the lives I have taken, and the ‘words’ you hear from me are all I have to give… I do want people to know that my childhood, its environment, and its claim on my early life are no excuses for my deeds. Other people have had disadvantaged lives more severe than my own and didn’t resort to killing… In fact, I long for death as it longs for me. Perhaps, in another life I can make compensation for the ills of this life.”

A bell went off nearby, and the guard in the corner came and took Michael Rooney back to his death row cell.

As Simon Macready drove away from the Arizona State Prison he breathed deeply of the clean September air and thought about the interview. There was perhaps not so much new in the interview that would give clues to society and preclude other such tragedies. For Macready, the mind and its wiring held many secrets, many of which our greatest minds might never discern. He thought of his own teenage daughters, knew that parental governance was of the utmost importance in raising them – discipline, diligence, faith, and a lot of love… He wished there was a magic knob he could turn to make the world a safer place.

He turned his car radio to a classical music station…he had his notes and he had to get away from the interview for a while. He wanted to get home to his wife and children.

[NOTE: the names used in this ‘flash fiction’ are fictitious and not to be associated with anyone having the same names.]

©Billy Ray Chitwood – August 7, 2015

Time to promote one of my books. Because the blog has been about evil-doing, I introduce you to Mama’s Madness… It has plenty of evil, and, it is inspired by a true story – about a mother who tortured her kids, murdered two of her daughters and one ex-husband. It all happened in Northern California many years ago. So, meet the mother from hell. Emotionally, it was a tough book to write and I’m sure the reading will be the same… There are forty-five reviews of the book on Amazon, most of which are 5-Stars and 4-Stars. Did I mention? Mama’s Madness has been optioned for a screenplay. I’m keeping my fingers crossed – maybe we will see it on the big screen one day… Please read and leave an Amazon Review, an author’s life-blood. (My twelve books can be found on http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com.) 

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http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com

http://amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

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Satan’s Song

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Satan’s Song

There is a ‘back story’ and a ‘front story’ to Satan’s Song, Book two of my ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ (Books 1-6)… You might find it interesting.

The ‘back story’:

The city is Phoenix, Arizona.

The date is November 8.

The day is Sunday.

The year is 1992

The crime: On late Sunday afternoon a lovely twenty-two year-old woman leaves the apartment she shares with her boyfriend for a bike ride. Four and one half hours later her boyfriend reports her missing.

Her headless body is found the next day in a northwest Phoenix park near a canal.

Her head is found on November 20 lodged in a grate of the canal some two miles below the park.

Living in Phoenix at the time I was both emotionally shocked and fascinated by this horrific homicide. The weeks, months, years passed, the Phoenix PD stymied with the lack of leads in the murder, and the crime went into the ‘cold case’ files.

Satan’s Song is Book Two of six in my ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, inspired by this macabre murder. My mind swirled with different plots for this novel as the news of the day carried no suggestions as to motive, and I ultimately settled on the idea of a psychological thriller. Because the police had no leads, and DNA had not the prominent role it has today, the case languished in the ‘Cold Case’ files.

The ‘front story’:

Our police departments throughout the country have for the most part dedicated cops and detectives who are persistent in solving cases. They hurt as most of us do for the victims of crime and the lingering loss felt by the families. Because of this persistence, it appears that, after twenty-two years, the diligence of the Phoenix Police Department has paid off.

Just recently a forty-two year old man was arrested in the above case. DNA came through again as it tied the man to the satanic death of the lovely twenty-two year old… DNA also connected the man with the murder of a seventeen-year old female stabbing victim a year following the decapitation murder. Strangely, the man had a connection with the Phoenix Police Department and was known as ‘The Zombie Hunter’… His car resembled a Phoenix PD car, emblazoned with the large and carefully scripted words, THE ZOMBIE HUNTER.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the actual facts and names of the people involved can google ‘1992 decapitation murder of 22-year old woman in Phoenix, AZ.’

Satan’s Song, except for certain facts, does not play out like the actual ending, but, hopefully, you will enjoy the writing and the psychological twists in the story line. It is an easy and entertaining read with some horrifying scenes. It is my hope that you will also enjoy Bailey Crane and his musings about his life and loves as he follows the paths of the homicides.

Feel free to leave an Amazon review. Reviews are helpful to authors, both positive and negative, and we appreciate your comments.

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 1, 2015

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Amazon US – http://www.gl/ko2AW8

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Amazon Worldwide – http://authl.it/1sw

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