That’s what Sawney Hatton, Patrick Thomas, and yours truly discussed as we thought about ways to do dastardly things to our protagonists — teenagers all — who, as far as we knew, never did anything to us. But hey, that’s just how we roll.
For a bit of history, Sawney and I (Sawney is a pen name) went to high school together, and shared a love of movies, dark tales, and other mischievous musings, including a student film Sawney wrote and directed and I starred in (no, seriously), which, if you want a very good laugh, is available somewhere on YouTube under the title “Light Chasm.”
Meanwhile, Pat has been a pal for at least a decade out on book tour, he and I known to each other as PT! and RC! We’ve collaborated before, and decided it was time to do it again.
Which brings us to MURDER IN MONTAGUE FALLS. Our new project, published through Crazy 8 Press, is a collection of three noir-inspired novellas (no sci-fi or fantasy here, all straight crime fiction) set in the fictional American suburb of Montague Falls, wherein our teen protagonists went to the same high school — Martin Van Buren High, to be precise — albeit during different decades.Continue reading
Patrick Thomas’ “As Time Goes By” tells the story of a super-powered villain who served his time in prison, and then, upon release, dedicates himself to being a good citizen, building a better life to share with his loyal wife, and using his powers only for the greater good. But can a well-meaning ex-con—even with super powers and a mission to do right—ever really escape his past?
To find out, here’s an early look:
As Time Goes By
by Patrick Thomas
It wasn’t every day that a super villain was released from the Gulag Penitentiary. Marcus McGowan had served his time, the irony of which was not lost on the man called the Tempus Fugitive.
Marcus wasn’t a killer, but he had powers. He’d robbed a few banks and jewelry exchanges to finance machines that helped him speed or slow the flow of time. He had the ill fortune of being captured by the Luminary.
Taking a plea deal and returning the money he stole, along with good behavior, got his sentence reduced to three years. But to him, it had been about ten days. He requested solitary confinement and had slowed his time-flow whenever possible, so serving his sentence had been nothing more than a long rest.
None the worse for wear upon release, Marcus walked out into the sunshine and enjoyed his first breath as a free man. By the time he took his second breath, he had company.
Marcus’ eyes hurt just from looking at the glowing man. He reached into his jacket pocket and put on a pair of sunglasses, which helped only slightly.
“Hello, Luminary. Come to threaten me? Make sure I don’t return to a life of crime?”
In the radiance, the man smiled.
“No lecture. What you do with your life is your decision. I am here to wish you good luck and to point out some things that perhaps you hadn’t considered,” the world’s most powerful hero said.
“How I’ll never get away with it, so I shouldn’t even bother? That kind of thing?”
The glowing man chuckled. “You know what I’ve found is the main problem with the Daring who get categorized as villains?
It’s not a lack of creativity. Most of you have that. It’s a lack of vision. Considering what you can do, there is no reason for you to rob a bank.”
“Sure, like money will just fall from the sky.”
“Maybe not, but with your abilities, you could have made it rain.” The Luminary handed Marcus a lump of coal. The Tempus Fugitive looked at his hand, then back at the glowing man. “You working for Santa now, trying to tell me I made the naughty list?”
“Your abilities as a mechanical engineer are impressive. It wouldn’t be difficult for you to rig a device that would duplicate the heat and pressure miles beneath the Earth’s crust.”
“Sure, but what’ll crushing coal get me?”
“What happens to coal under pressure for a billion years?”
Marcus McGowan’s eyebrows brows raised. His pupils got wide. “Diamonds.” He paused a moment to let that sink in. “I could slow the time-flow on the heat and pressure source as I rapid-aged the coal. A billion years would probably take only three years in real time, and if I used a big enough hunk of coal, it would create a diamond worth hundreds of millions. I’d never have to work again. I’d have enough money for three lifetimes. I’m an idiot. I didn’t have to become a criminal. I’d still have Sherri.”
I always wondered why super- villains were so dumb, even when coming up with a plan to take over the world or at least the Tri-State area. I love a good super-powered knock-down drag-out fight as much as the next guy, but why do the superheroes and super-villains always have to fight? Why is it superheroes always have to slug it out when they first meet? No talking, just fists and laser beams.
Super-villains have powers and sometimes they’re even cooler than the heroes. When you have the power of magnetism, super strength, speed, are invulnerability or have the power to control elements why waste your time robbing a bank? Isn’t there some other way they could use their powers to come up with money legitimately? Or even become incredibly rich?
In my story for the Crazy 8 Press Love, Murder & Mayhem anthology “As Time Goes By”, I explore this trope. My main character starts off as a super villain getting out of prison. He’s met by the hero put him there and instead of threatening him the hero actually encourages the villain to do something with his power to earn money without going outside of the law and maybe even help humanity. Thanks to the love and support of his wife he rises to the challenge. The guy is an old school super villain. He’s never killed, only robbed banks and jewelry exchanges and such. The truth is he’s not a bad guy, just someone who made some bad decisions and never thought through what he could really accomplish with his abilities.
So what happens when a bad guy who really wasn’t that bad reforms and makes the entire world a better place and his reward is having the life of the women he loves threatened? How does someone who is trying to be a good man deal with his world being torn down around him? Especially after he worked so hard to build it up just to prove to his wife that he was worthy of her love?
Patrick Thomas is the award-winning author of the beloved Murphy’s Lore series and the darkly hilarious Dear Cthulhu advice empire which includes the collections What Would Cthulhu Do? Cthulhu Knows Best, Have A Dark Day, and Good Advice For Bad People. His more than 35 books include Exile & Entrance, a slew of urban fantasies that include By Darkness Cursed, Fairy With A Gun, Fairy Rides The Lightning, Dead To Rites, Rites of Passage, Lore & Dysorder; the steampunk themed As The Gears Turn and the science-fantasy space adventures Constellation Prize and Startenders. He co-writes the Mystic Investigators paranormal mystery series and The Assassins’ Ball, a traditional mystery, co-authored with John L. French. A number of his books were part of the props department of the CSI television show and one was even thrown at a suspect. “His Soul For Hire story Act of Contrition”, included in Greatest Hits, has been made into a short film by Top Men Productions. Drop by www.patthomas.net to learn more.
At long last we are thrilled to present here the official cover for our new scifi-themed Love, Murder & Mayhem anthology coming out in July, debuting at Shore Leave in Cockeysville, MD.
As always, our pal and cover designer extraordinaire Roy Mauritsen did a fantastic job on the cover, with the collection featuring stories from an all-star author lineup including Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Michael Jan Friedman, Peter David, Paul Kupperberg, Glenn Hauman, Mary Fan, Hildy Silverman, Meriah Crawford, Kelly Meding, Paige Daniels, Karissa Laurel, Patrick Thomas, Lois Spangler, and editor Russ Colchamiro.
In this great collection you’ll get 15 stand-alone stories, including those featuring superheroes, super villains, A.I., off-world, space cruisers, private eyes, a monster mash and … one DuckBob!