Author: Doodlebug, Doodlebug, Your House is on Fire

THE SINISTER SMILE

THE SINISTER SMILE, an adult fiction thriller complete at 63,500 words and featuring William and Willa Mae Lawrence, and Howard Thomas. Howard, the affluent son of a wealthy and influential family, who is suspected of feigning insanity to avoid capital punishment for murdering Willa Mae’s mother plus three others.

The novel begins with William and Willa Mae visiting Howard Thomas, a patient who had been in a mental hospital for almost thirteen years. His psychiatrist thought him to be permanently and hopelessly insane. The reason for William and Willa Mae’s visit was to seek closure, but as they were observing Howard, he caught Willa Mae’s eye, smiled a sinister smile and winked. They knew by this wink that he was not insane and was planning an escape. Did his smiling and winking at Willa Mae say to us, as the cartoon character shouted, ‘I’m back’?

Willa Mae was once married to Howard, but he abused her to the point of death. Doubts spread throughout the novel, asking the question, “Is Howard Thomas feigning insanity or is he truly insane?

The Sinister Smile is suitable for Adults, Young Adults, and women, but will be enjoyed by both sexes.

Purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or a bookstore near you.

 

Mammy: A Term of Endearment

   I have a new novel I titled, Mammy: A Term of Endearment. Mammy is a fictional story of the slavery of a black woman who after being freed became my father’s mammy. Some feel the word Mammy is a racial term, but my father considered it a term of endearment.

It’s a story of the discrimination many blacks and poor whites still face today, not only in the south but also in the north. It is a story of love, hate, romance, and humor.

Included in the novel are stories of slaves and freed slaves, the stories are principally about Mammy’s family but include the lives and experiences of both slaves and freed slaves.

The novel starts off telling how on a visit with my father to a murder trial in Wilkes County, NC, at age eight, I met Mammy who was then 98 years of age, and decided to learn more about slavery and later decided to write this novel.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

For the fourth year in a row, I had been asked to conduct the celebration of Groundhog Day by coaxing Punxsutawney Phil, the beloved and furry weather prognosticator, out of his den. Last year, Phil rightly predicted six more weeks of winter. Phil’s predictions, I am proud to announce, have been correct every year.

February 2nd was fast approaching and for the entire week prior to Groundhog Day, I checked on Phil daily, making sure he was comfortable by peeping into his den. Each day I found him sleeping seemingly with a smile on his face that is every day except Sunday, February 1st. That day he was nowhere to be found. I looked deep into his den shining my flashlight into every nook and corner, but Punxsutawney Phil’s den was empty.

I panicked, asking myself, ‘where could Phil be? Had he been kidnapped, or is the word hognapped?’ Then I said to myself ‘this is no time to be joking. You have to find Phil by early tomorrow morning or Groundhog Day will be a disaster.’

I knew other furry rodents who make their predictions were jealous of Phil. I thought, could Punxsutawney Phil have been kidnapped by General Lee of Atlanta; Staten Island Chuck of New York City; or Potomac Phil, a stuffed Groundhog out of Washington, Could the FBI be implicated? Could President Obama or congress be involved? I said to myself, ‘I’ll call Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania’s Senator Joe Scarnati and ask for his help. He was at last year’s celebration so I think he’ll help me.’

I called his office in D.C. and was told by one of his secretaries that he was home in Punxsutawney. I called his home and thankfully he answered the phone. I told him my problem and my suspicions for which he laughed hysterically, but when he realized I was almost crying, he said, “I’ll be at your house in fifteen minutes.” When he arrived sirens were blaring as he was being escorted by Punxsutawney’s chief of police, and by the county sheriff. Close on their tail was half the population of Punxsutawney. Soon a police helicopter was circling overhead and television news reporters and their satellite news trucks were everywhere.

I drove Senator Scarnati out to Punxsutawney Phil’s den. We were followed by several news crews, and by now, over a hundred town folk, and at least two dozen law enforcement officers.

As the senator and I got out of my car, the police helicopter landed and the police chief and sheriff, surrounded by all the news media, and town folk, came running up to us, and all shouting at once, “Senator Scarnita, what is wrong? Is it terrorists? Are you in danger? Are we in danger?” Before Senator Scarnita could answer, one reporter asked, “Has President Obama been notified?” Someone hearing that question shouted, “It’s another 9/11.” That statement caused fright and people began heading home to their families. It was Sunday and soon church bells were ringing. New crews were busily sending stories to their newspapers and to radio and TV news stations across the nation.

Senator Scarnita began waving his arms trying to get people’s attention. Finally, the sheriff fired his gun into the air and Senator Scarnita then explained that it was all a misunderstanding. Punxsutawney Phil is missing. We just came out to check his den again. As you know, tomorrow is Groundhog Day and if Phil sees his shadow, we will have six more weeks of winter.

The next morning, I went out early to check for Phil one last time, and to my surprise Punxsutawney Phil was in his den. A few people were there and at 7:35 a.m. in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Phil came out of his den and saw his shadow portending six more weeks of winter.

President Obama called Senator Scarnita, and laughingly asked him about the prognoses for the next six weeks. Senator Scarnita said, “I’m glad it will be awhile before I face re-election.

 

 

A Hook on my soon to be published novel, A Haven for Willa Mae

Chapter One

When I did finally drop off to sleep, I dreamed about her. I dreamed we were together, her husband was beating her, and I couldn’t stop him. I tried to intervene but my arms were too heavy. I could only watch and cry out, “stop,” while he, with a sinister smile, laughed. When I woke up, I was wet with sweat, my bedcovers were on the floor, and I was exhausted. Every time I would go back to sleep, I had the same recurring nightmare.

Anyone interested in doing a review of this novel romance/mystery please let me know. I’ll send you a copy by email. Once the novel is published I’ll send you an autographed copy.

William Roy Pipes

917 Upper Peachtree Road

Murphy, NC 28906

roypipes@frontier.com

I Smell A Rat

I Smell a Rat                             712 Words

 

In Sociology 104, my friend, Jake and I were enrolled at the McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. I spotted a beautiful girl sitting two seats up from me. She was so gorgeous that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I whispered, “Jake, have you ever seen anyone so attractive?”

Jake answered, “That’s Diane Jeter, and she goes by DJ and is a little stuck up and hard to get to know. I have had several classes with her and once I asked her to a fraternity party, but she politely refused. I’ll introduce you to her if you wish, but I can tell you in advance she’ll not be interested.”

“I’ve got to meet her,” I said. “After class introduce me as William Caldwell of Kent, England. Tell her I’m new at McMaster as my Father is newly employed at the Ontario Power Generation Company.”

“Does your father really work there?” He asked. “Are you really from Kent, England?”

“My father has just retired from the military, and his last assignment was Kent, England. I am really from Western North Carolina. From Kent, we moved to Ontario where he took a maintenance position with the power company. Just introduce me, and I’ll handle the rest.”

After class, Jake introduced me exactly as I had outlined. Diane seemed impressed and, noticing her textbook, I realized our next class English 203 was just down the hall. We left Jake, looking a little chagrinned, standing in the classroom, as we walked together to our next class. In English 203 I made it a point to sit next to her and by the bell I had a date to take her to dinner.

As we came out of class, I was surprised to find Jake waiting outside the classroom door. Jake, still looking a little displeased, greeted us. I said, “Jake, Diane and I are going to dinner tomorrow night.”

Smiling, Jake said, “Great, I am so happy you two hit it off. Where are you going for dinner? May I make a recommendation?”

Smelling a rat, as we often say in my hometown of Murphy, North Carolina, I answered, “Please do Jake,” I responded apprehensively.

“For a place with lovely service and a great atmosphere, I recommend the Eight Zero Zero Restaurant in Cornwall.”

Before I could say anything, because I had no intentions of taking his recommendation, Diane said, “Oh! I know the Zero Zero, it is great they have the best French Food in all of Canada. Can we go there, William?”

I made reservations for 8:00 the next night. We arrived and were seated, handed elaborate menus, and to my surprise they were in French, both the food and prices. I still wasn’t completely flabbergasted until DJ (she had by now asked me to call her DJ) said, I am from Montreal and the one thing I have missed in Ontario is people speaking the French language and eating the French food.

The waiter came bringing water and asking for our drink order, in French of course. DJ said I’ll have a Tannat.”

“I’ll have water,” I said in English. He had already brought water so, even though a little embarrassed, I thanked him, as I was staring at the menu, and worrying about the prices. I had ninety dollars, but…

The waiter brought our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. DJ said, in perfect French, “I wish a Baked Camembert with Cranberry Crumbles, and for desert, a Tarte Tatin.”

I said in perfect English, “I’ll have the same.”

The waiter gave me a wink and smiled as he walked away.

We had a most enjoyable meal as I was all the while thinking I know this meal plus tip will be twice the money I have. I excused myself and went to the restroom. I considered running – tried to think of someone to call – my parents were out of town. I thought Jake has set me up.

While I was still in the restroom our waiter came in, looked at me and said, “Son, how much money do you have?”

I answered, very much humiliated, “ninety dollars.”

He smiled again. Back at our table the waiter brought our check. It read, “ninety dollars including tip.”

 

The Souped Up Wildcat

Won Third Place in Aspiring Writers Competition

 

The Souped Up Wildcat

 

Looking around, I said “Good lord, Virgil, listen to that wind blow. By morning it’s going to blow our cottage into the lake. Where’s the dog? Did you let Ralph out?”

“I let him out to pee just before we turned in about midnight,” Virgil answered. “I figured you had let him back in. I’ll go look for him as he is probably under the cottage. I can’t believe neither of us thought to let him back in. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Virgil opened the door just enough to slide out, pushing it against the strong wind, but before he could squeeze out Ralph came running in with blood all over him. Virgil shouted, “Ralph is hurt, he’s bleeding. Look at him.”

I grabbed the lantern off of the table and tried to examine Ralph. As I examined him, I hollered at Virgil to get the first aid kit.

“The kit’s in the truck,” Virgil shouted as he was again opening the door against the howling wind. “I’ll go get it. Is Ralph hurt very badly?”

“I don’t know,” I said, as I continued examining Ralph and using a wet towel to wipe off the blood. I could find no injuries, but Ralph was shaking all over and trying to stand up.

About that time Virgil came through the door, leaving it open with the wind whistling blowing our supplies all over the cottage. Ralph, when I loosened by grip ran into the bedroom. Looking at Virgil I was alarmed when I saw him covered, much like Ralph had been, with blood. He didn’t speak, but fell on the floor in front of me.

“Virgil, Virgil,” I shouted. “What happened?

Virgil is my younger brother who had just graduated from college. As a graduation gift, I brought him on this week long trip to relax and do a lot of fishing. I rented a cottage on the Nantahala Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains. While thunderstorms were forecast for this night, the rest of the week, beautiful weather was predicted.

I ran to Virgil who was lying just inside the cottage door, not talking, but had a frightened faraway look in his eyes. He couldn’t seem to speak as when I questioned him his look was distant and he seemed to be in a world of his own. I rushed to close the cottage door as wind and rain was coming through the open door. I then rushed back to Virgil trying to determine how badly he was injured. Getting fresh water and towels I began, fearing what I would find, cleaning the blood off of him, while again asking him, “Virgil, what happened?”

This time giving me a weird look he whispered, “Wild man.”

Like Ralph, Virgil had no injuries. I cleaned him up and placed him on the bed already occupied by Ralph. As I talked with him he gradually came out of his trauma, but still frightened and confused he said, “A bloody, almost nude man, jumped on me and wrestled me to the ground.”

I called the Macon County 911, and told the operated that my brother had been attacked by a bloody half nude man. After a few questions, she said, “I have notified the authorities and the sheriff and medical people will be there soon.”

About that time the cottage door flew open and an obese man wearing just the remnants of a shirt with his trousers torn to shreds fell on the cottage floor. His face, chest, arms and legs were bleeding, and he was crying and saying over and over, “Help me, please help me.”

Ralph, seemingly recovered, and I ran to him. Virgil from the bedroom said, “That’s the one who jumped on me.”

 

Soon the sheriff and medics arrived and took over my administering to the man. They placed him in the ambulance and took him to the hospital.

I later heard from the sheriff, “The man had been fishing when the storm came. He unfortunately took shelter in a cave occupied by a panther; we called them ‘Souped up Wildcats.’ The man wasn’t trying to harm your party, but was only seeking medical help.”

Come morning, we packed up and traveled to the safety of our homes.

 

THE HANGING TREE

The Hanging Tree

In 1945, as an eight year old boy, my father took me to Wilkesboro, North Carolina to attend the trial of his boyhood friend, Max Mull, who was being tried for murder and bank robbery. Daddy had attended Darby Elementary School through the fourth grade with Max where they were best friends.

Daddy said, “I lost touch with Max because my daddy moved us to Cherokee County in 1904. The reason my father gave for moving from Wilkes County to Cherokee County was because of the moonshining. To quote him exactly, ‘the people were just too mean.’

Max’s father was often in jail for drinking and selling moonshine, and during the times his daddy was in jail Max stayed with us. Max had a mother, but when his father was in jail, he preferred to stay at our house. Mother took care of Max as if he was one of her own, since we were the same age, we played together and Max spent many nights at my parent’s house.”

The purpose Daddy gave for wanting to attend Max’s trial was news reports weren’t too favorable for Max so he reasoned a character witness just might be the difference between a life and death sentence. The reason he took me with him was that he and Mother had nine children so taking me gave her some relief.

***

The trial was held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the County seat of Wilkes County. I was fascinated by a tree on the courthouse property called the ‘Hanging Tree.’ Locals called it the Tory Oak. It got its name from the hanging of at least five Tories in 1779. It was told that young boys would climb the hanging tree and watch the hangings from tree limbs. Daddy told me how history recorded Colonel Benjamin Cleveland had hung Loyalist militia leaders who opposed America’s independence from Britain. Other notables were hung from the tree, but probably the best known was Tom Dula (Dooley) who was hanged for the murder of his fiancée, Laura Foster. Tom Dooley’s story was made into a movie, plus the Kingston Trio turned his story into a top selling ballad titled: ‘Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley.’

At the time I saw the old hanging tree it was no longer in use and a fence around it kept people at a safe distance as its trunk was decaying in spots and its days were numbered. Arborist, tree surgeons, and maintenance men had tried various methods to stop the decay, but no doubt it would soon have to be taken down before a strong wind blew it down and caused extensive property damage. No other little boys would be climbing onto its limbs to watch a hanging, and no more community gatherings and picnics under the tree or no watching such notables as Tom Dooley and the Loyalists hang.

***

Wilkesboro was a small town, but to me it was a bustling metropolis with people and cars running everywhere. Inside the courthouse with it high ceilings and marble staircases, it was to an eight year old, mind boggling. The hustle and bustle with people running back and forth amazed me. Many soldiers returning from World War II were being greeted and honored. Daddy met a soldier he knew from school who was returning home after twenty five years of military service. Daddy introduced me saying, “Son, this is Cecil Washburn. Cecil and I went to school together until I moved away and not many years afterwards he joined the army.”

The courtroom was crowded as was the custom for a big trial, people came from all around to attend this sensational trial and to see the by now notorious, Max Mull. Daddy found us a seat near the back and in a few minutes Mr. Mull was brought into courtroom. Daddy said more to himself than to me, “That’s Max; I would never have recognized him.”

I noted he had chains on both his arms and legs. I didn’t say anything, but I thought as he looked out over the courtroom, He looks dangerous. He looked to be around fifty, ruggedly handsome, tall, slim, and needing a haircut. He looked around without indicating recognition of anyone in the audience; his face registered only hate or was it fear?

The judge then entered the courtroom and the sheriff ordered everyone to stand, and Daddy signaled me to join those standing up. Once the judge sat down we did also. The judge with his long black robe scared me more than did Max Mull. He glared out across the courtroom failing to smile, and his look was as if he was expecting trouble. I thought about my fourth grade teacher, Miss Boger, who made us stand up when she entered the classroom and remain standing until she was seated. The other boys and I called her, behind her back of course, ‘Miss Booger.’

Once the trial got underway, pictures of the victim were passed to the jury, and some were enlarged and placed on a stand for the audience to see. One picture was of the bank clerk who was killed with her two children, and one was mug shots of Max Mull. A third picture showed blood on the floor from the murder scene. The testimony and pictures were very frightening, and Daddy, without saying anything, handed me his pen and a piece of paper. I knew he didn’t think I should be hearing the testimony and seeing the pictures, and while I did scribble on the paper I listened to every word of the trial, and by glancing up every so often I didn’t miss a thing. I noticed a lady on the jury was crying and I wondered why. One man seemed to immediately fall asleep, but most watched and listened attentively to the testimony presented as evidence. During a recess, I slipped away from Daddy and joined several onlookers who studied the pictures.

From the testimony, it seemed as if Max had robbed a bank, and killed a bank clerk, the mother of two young children. According to testimony from the bank President, James Sims, Max took $254.00, property of the Wilkesboro Citizen Bank, and as he was leaving the bank turned and without any reason fired two shots one of which hit and killed the clerk.”

Max was soon captured and this trial today was to determine his punishment. Seated on his right was an attorney, but he didn’t ask a single question, seemingly just taking a few notes.

The bank guard identified Max as one who had robbed the bank where the bank clerk was killed. During the remainder of the trial, other testimony only served to further convict Max of the murder of the bank teller and bank robbery.

No evidence was presented on Max’s behalf. Not even a character witness. Daddy never told me why he didn’t testify on behalf of Max Mull. I did notice that Daddy seemed shocked hearing the shocking details and seeing the pictures presented during the trial. Mr. Mull was accused of committing a gruesome murder of the bank teller, the mother of two children, plus the robbery, such that Daddy, after that, didn’t offer to testify. I guess he realized Max was no longer the friend he knew as a boy.

We stayed for the entire trial which lasted only two days. The jury only deliberated a couple of hours before finding Mr. Mull guilty of first degree murder, for killing the bank clerk, and for bank robbery, but sentencing was delayed for a week so we didn’t hear the judgment. If Daddy heard later, he didn’t share the punishment with me.

Daddy did say, “I’m afraid Max will get the death sentence.” I cynically thought, Will they hang him from the hanging tree? I would like to see a hanging.