In early 2007 my frend Robby - Robert Silk - sent me a magazine article he wrote titled, "Wanna Bet?" It explored the history of illegal gambling in Key West Florida. I liked the article, and began talking to Robby about expanding the idea further. Before I knew it Robby was sending me additional research, and a whole world of 1950 guys-wearing-hats began grabbing ahold of me.
Stephen Trumbull and Bernie Papy were real people, a journalist and a corrupt politician, repsectively. Papy was a State Representative, but he ran Key West the way Al Capone ran Chicago two decades earlier. Trumbull wrote a column for the Miami Herald. They didn't like each other much.
Finally I have written the story up as a novel, and below is an excerpt from it. It begins with "Dear Cuz." That was Trumbull's column. He always began with, "Dear Cuz."
When a sharp blade cuts into you, it is quick, cold. You barely realize what is happening at first. It cuts clean, surgically. The pain almost begins with a question mark.
When a dull blade cuts into you, like the one Papy's goons used on me, it saws into you like a rusty kitchen knife. There is no question what is happening, because the pain is crude and dirty."
Trumbull was groaning and writhing on Eva's bed. She was wrapping a large bandage around his naked torso.
It was the next morning. He didn't remember coming inside, but he remembered the last few minutes before passing out.
"Hold still. You're making it bleed more," Eva said.
"Don't tell me to hold still," he said nastily.
She wasn't going to complain about his mood. "Lay back," she said.
"Don't - Aaaagh!" He dropped his head as she pressed the bandage onto the wound.
"Lie down. Relax. I have to clean the wound."
"Alright, alright," he said. He leaned back in fits and starts, stopping with each shot of pain, and moving again when it was tolerable.
Eva dabbed his wound like a professional. She had seen blood before. She didn't like it, but they both knew Trumbull was in good hands. "You're lucky," she said. "They didn't cut too deep."
"You're alive. That's lucky."
Trumbull looked at her. "They chose to let me live," he said. "They wanted to prove something. They were just making a point - Aaagh!"
"Relax," she said, folding blood stained bandages. She put the bandages in a pile at the foot of the bed.
Trumbull's head was on the pillow now, and he spoke while looking straight overhead at the ceiling. "They figured I'd be a walking message, bandaged up, scared."
"Are you scared?" Eva asked.
"Yes," she said.
The novel "Key West" will be available, first as an E-Book at Amazon.com by January 20th, 2013, (probably a couple days before, actually) and then in paperback a week and a half after that.
I want to thank Wheelman Press for publishing it, and Integrity Artists Management for arranging the details.
January 12, 2013