Monthly Archives: December 2013
Pottersville — A Return to the Past
I’m finally able to type again after suffering pain and neural tingling in my right hand from a disc herniation. I couldn’t let the year end without a blog post. I’d like to share a short story with you. I’ve often wondered what happened after George Bailey’s friends saved the day in my favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I hope you have seen this movie. If not, please, please watch it before 2013 is history. So, for your enjoyment here is my imagination of what happened to George Bailey and his nemesis, Mr. Potter. And, I know the movie is copy written so this is just for fun. Enjoy!
Happy New Year!
A Bedford Falls New Year!
The jail cell was cold and dank. Someone had forgotten to replace the light bulb and only a few strand rays of limpid light fell through the barred window. Even through the thick, ice covered glass of the window, the man sitting in his wheelchair could hear the revelers outside. He snorted and sniffed in anger as he tried to ignore the voices raised in song and celebration.
He rubbed an arthritic hand over his pale face, massaging his downturned mouth. He blinked his heavy eyelids and peered into the dark shadows of his cell for any sign of relief.
“I want to speak to my assistant, do you hear?” He bellowed, not for the first time. His words fell on deaf ears, swallowed up by the cold indifference to his very existence. “Do you know who I am? I’ll have the sheriff throw every one of you in jail!” He grabbed the wheels of his chair and tried to push himself toward the door to his cell. It was a dark, rust stained metal door with a barred window too far above his head to do him any good. He gasped for breath as he tried to push his chair closer. He was not used to moving his own chair. His assistant pushed him everywhere. He realized this was a sign of weakness. He should never have become dependent on another human being.
He came within an arm’s reach of the cell door and banged his fist against the metal. It was cold and rough with bits of rust. “Let me out of here, I tell you! I own this town! I own the sheriff! I’ll foreclose on everyone of your houses, you vermin!”
A shadow eclipsed the wan light coming from the hallway and a face appeared in the window. “Sir, you need to be quiet or we will have you physically restrained.”
The old man squinted toward the window. “This is outrageous! Let me out of here!”
“I’m sorry, but you have been arrested for theft.”
“I want my lawyer.” The old man wheezed and began to cough.
“It’s Christmas day. We can’t find your lawyer.” The man in the window said. “Can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to see you in this jail cell. I was telling my friend, Ernie, how wonderful it was to actually arrest you and throw you in this cell! Let me ask you something. You own the bank. You own every business in town, but one. Why would you throw all that away by stealing $8000 from one of your own bank customers!”
“It was a mistake, I tell you.” The old man wiped tears from his cheek as his coughing session finally ended. “I found that money in my newspaper.”
“Found $8000 just lying around tucked inside your newspaper? Who in their right mind would let something like that happen?” The man in the windows asked.
“That crazy old accountant, that’s who. He’s lost most of his mind. He’s daffy!” The old man pointed a gnarled finger at the window.
“Oh, so you saw the accountant put the money in your newspaper? If you didn’t want to steal it, why didn’t you tell the accountant he had misplaced his money? Seems to me, you saw a chance to steal something you could never get your hands on, and you took it. And, I’m not talking about the money. I’m talking about the business . . .”
“I know what you’re talking about! I swore out an arrest for the real thief and he should be in here instead of me. Now, go do you job and arrest him and let me go.”
The man in the window pulled away and the old man heard another voice in the hallway.
“Bert, I want to talk to him.” The old man recognized the voice immediately and his face grew hot with anger.
“George, you should go home and be with your family.” Bert said.
“I need to talk to him, Bert. Just a few minutes.”
The old man wheeled himself painfully away from the door and grit his teeth. How should he handle this? He could still get the upper hand. If he planned this carefully . . . The door grated and opened. A tall man stood silhouetted against the light in the hallway and his shadow stretched across the jail cell and covered the old man in darkness.
“I suppose you’ve come here to gloat?” The old man said. “Well, you can just turn around and go back to your scruffy little family. I’ll be out of here in no time and I plan on launching a law suit against you and your firm that will finally crush your building and loan business.”
George stepped into the room and moved to the side to sit on the room’s only piece of furniture, an old Army cot. He held a fedora in his hands and he placed it on his knee. He wore a nice suit with some fraying of the threads along the lapels and a jaunty tie with red and green bows on it. He wiped at his long face and blinked.
“Mr. Potter, I know that I should just sit here and soak all of this in. Imagine. The great Mr. Potter sitting in a jail cell. Who would have thought such a thing was possible?”
Before Potter could open his mouth something exploded against the outside window. Potter jerked and George glanced over his shoulder. Red pulpy flesh dripped down the outside of the window. “Waste of a good tomato.” George said.
A voice echoed from outside the window. “I hope you rot in that cell, Potter!” Other voices joined in, rising in volume, blending into a cacophony of cursing and threats. A whistle interrupted the voices and Bert’s voice was heard ushering the mob away.
“I suppose you put that unruly mob up to this, George. I’ll add that to the law suit.” Potter growled.
George sighed. “Mr. Potter, I don’t have to say a word for the people of this town to rise up against you. You’ve held so many things over their heads for so long that now you’re locked up, they realize you can’t hurt them anymore. No, I don’t have to speak a word. You are your own worst enemy.”
Potter rubbed his hands together. “Well, I guess you’ve finally won, George. So, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’ll speak to the bank board and the city attorney about this mixup in the money and have them drop all the charges. I’ll even forget the law suit. You can go on taking care of your unruly mob of friends and I’ll get back to the real business of running the business of this town.”
“And, the $8000?”
“You realize it was you’re own dim witted uncle that lost that money?”
“And, it didn’t take you long to find it, right?” George said. “Mr. Potter why didn’t you just call up my office and tell me what happened? We could have avoided all of this.”
“George, your building and loan has been a pain in my backside for years. And, suddenly, I was handed the very tool I needed to bury you.” Potter smiled. “I did nothing wrong, George. It was all the doings of one of your employees. He lost the money and your business should have gone under. I refuse to back down from that. But now that you have beaten me, George, I’ll give in. I’ll put you on the board of directors of the bank and award you a sizable portion of the stock and bond options. You can finally have enough money to get everything you want. What do you say?”
George smiled. “Mr. Potter, last night I almost threw away God’s greatest gift to me, my own life. He showed me that the most important thing in this world is not money or stocks or bonds or positions of power. It’s people, Mr. Potter. Friends and family whose lives have intersected with mine. God has used this measly little old building and loan clerk to change the world, Mr. Potter. And, you want to hear something amazing?”
Potter raised an eyebrow. “Do I have a choice? Go on with your sentimental hogwash.”
“He used you, Mr. Potter. You were part of this grand plan of His, too. Now, when Bert handed me this bunch of papers a while ago,” George pulled out a folded bunch of documents from his inner coat pocket and tapped them against his leg. “I was understandable elated. You see, Mr. Potter, the board of directors of the bank met this morning and stripped you of everything. You are no longer the president and owner. They seized your stock and bond options. Then, the bank turned over all mortgages and loans to me. Imagine that, Mr. Potter. The world has turned upside down. I’m in charge of this town now. Not you.”
Potter gasped and his face grew pale. “I don’t believe a word you’re saying.”
George stood up and placed the papers in Potter’s lap. “See for yourself, Mr. Potter. You’re finished, kaput, gone with the wind. You’ll spend the rest of your life right here in this cold, dank jail cell. Even your own assistant turned against you and right now, the sheriff is searching your home for more hidden skeletons in the closets.”
Potter grabbed the papers and squeezed them tightly as veins stood out on his forehead. He hurled them aside and they separated in the air, raining down on the floor in a gentle susurration. “You scurvy little rat! This is far from over, Bailey.”
“I’m afraid it is, Mr. Potter. I’m afraid it is. Now, if you are interested in turning your life around, all you have to do is say a little prayer for help and my friend, Clarence will help you gain a new perspective on your life.” George walked toward the door.
“Who’s this Clarence?”
“An angel, Mr. Potter.” George paused and looked around the cell. “There is one thing you were right about. I came her to gloat. But, I realize I’ve been given a second chance at life so I can’t hold anger and bitterness against you anymore. Mr. Potter, I forgive you.”
“Forgive me? How dare you!” Potter sputtered.
“You might want to consider asking for forgiveness for yourself. Because, when I close this door, either you’ll spend the rest of your days with an angel. Or,” George slowly closed the door until only his face could be seen through the tiny door’s windows. “you’ll spend it with your own private demons. Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter.”
Potter opened his mouth to respond as George disappeared. He glanced around at the dark shadows of his chamber. “Me, ask for forgiveness. Never!” He screamed. “Do you hear me, never!” His voiced echoed into silence and through the window he heard the voices of people singing Christmas carols. “Never!” He whispered.
The papers stirred around his feet and something moved in the blackest corner of his cell. He peered into the shadows and two tiny red eyes blinked.
“Seasons Greetings, Mr. Potter!” a raspy voice echoed through the chamber filling Mr. Potter’s heart with an unfamiliar sensation, dread.
Chronicles of Jonathan Steel on Sale!
I am slowly recovering from a herniated disc in my neck. It causes extreme pain and has incapacitated my right hand — my typing/writing hand! There is nothing worse for an author than to NOT be able to write! I can’t even write in long hand!!!
So, to keep things short. I had intended on posting a series on angels but alas, that is now by the wayside. Instead, I want to encourage you to check out my alternative website for the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel. Easiest way to get there is at www.11thdemon.com. On this new website, you can read about my three books, including the latest, “The 11th Demon: Ark of the Demon Rose”. You can also order the books directly from me at a discount rate: $10 for one book, two for $18, and all three for $25 (plus shipping and handling)!
But hurry, as Christmas is now just over a week away! I’ll sign the book for you and if you buy the book(s), I’ll send you an email acknowledging your order and ask if you want the book personalized.
Hopefully, my hand will get better as the week progresses and I can post those angel blogs!
Check Out My Interview with author Greg Mitchell
I have enjoyed the three fantastic and scary books by my fellow author and horror and monster fan, Greg Mitchell. Check out my interview on his blog:
Book Launch Winners!
The weather was truly frightful Friday night. The threat of freezing rain proved to be onerous for most but a few brave souls showed up at my book launch for “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos”. Three of those attendees won prizes:
First Place: $50 gift certificate — Troyce Thomas
Second Place: $40 gift certificate — Tammy Tarver
Third Place: $30 Gift certificate –Alicia Broyles
Congratulations to the winners.
Now, if you want to get your hands on any of my books before Christmas, I am having a special sale on The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel over at my new website: http://www.steelchronicles.com . You can get all three books for $25 plus shipping and handling and I’ll send a signed set of books right to your door! Also, “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” is now available on Amazon as an ebook for only $3.99.
You can also find the book at The Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church. And, you local bookstores can order the book if they do not yet have it in stock.
I am not planning on another book launch type event, but I am working with one of our local bookstores for a book signing hopefully in January.
Never Forget that Day of Infamy!
Stop for a moment. Be very still. Shut out the sights and sounds of the world around you. Are you there? Now, recall where you were when the planes hit the World Trade Center. How did you feel? Afraid? Shocked?
Almost thirty years ago, I remember my wife screaming for me to come out of the bathroom to the living room. “They’ve blown it all up!” she said. I watched in horror as that bifurcated plume of rocket exhaust proved the Challenger space shuttle had exploded shortly after take off with a school teacher on board.
Some of us can recall an even more shocking moment. I confess that I was but a small child, but talk to anyone over the age of 65 and they can tell you exactly what they were doing and where they were the moment President John F. Kennedy was shot. Fifty years have passed and still the grim and horrifying jerky images of the Zapruder film signaled an end to Camelot; an end to America at its greatest.
But, sadly, there are fewer and fewer Americans alive today who recall when they heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been attacked on December 7, 1941. My parents lived through the Great Depression and moved to a large city from a failing farm in the early 1940’s. They are both passed on now, but their stories of the fear and dread they felt when they learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor eclipsed any fear I have experienced since then.
Today, now 72 years later, our memories of that attack have faded and have suffered from the reconstruction of history. Japan is no longer our enemy. Hawaii is no longer a territory and has become the default tourist destination for many Americans. It is difficult for us to fathom the enormity of the defeat of the American fleet on that day. In our day of drones and laser tagged missile attacks and cyber warfare, this kind of attack is unthinkable.
So, pause for a moment and remember the men and women who died that day in a sudden, underserved attack by the Empire of Japan. Stop and recall whatever tiny bit of shock and awe you may have felt in the past few years at other attacks on our country. Be still and say a prayer for our country; say a word of thanks for the men and women who daily put their lives on the line for our freedom.
You see we are free. Freedom and liberty have driven the metamorphosis of our country into what it has become today. Most of those men and women who died that day in Pearl Harbor would not recognize modern America. It would be more foreign to them than any of the enemy countries they fought to defeat. But, there is no dispute in the fact that they would lay down those lives again if it meant protecting the freedom and liberty that has allowed us to grow into the country we are today, good or bad. Let us not take that liberty for granted. For, tomorrow, there could very well be an attack on our country more heinous and more devastating than Pearl Harbor. The question we must ask ourselves:
Do we have what it takes to face such a challenge as did those who fought the Great War against a world filled with evil and death? Let us hope that we do not forget these lessons of history. As Ravi Zacharias once said, “the only thing worse than nostalgia is amnesia.”
To the World War II veterans who have gone on to their reward and to the veterans who still live with those bitter memories, we salute you. Thank you for fighting and dying for our liberty. May we NEVER forget!
Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful!
BUT, The Well is so delightful!
Don’t forget to come by the Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church (corner of I49 and Bert Kouns) tonight between 6 and 8 PM.
I will be signing books and launching my latest in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel, “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” and giving away free tee shirts to this who purchase the book.
There will be FREE drinks (including, warm, fragrant coffees and hot chocolate) and FREE snacks.
You can sign up for three prizes.
And, you can fill some of those empty slots on your shopping list.
All four of my books will be available; $10 each, 3 for $25 or all 4 for $30.
And, I will making an announcement regarding an upcoming book with Mark Sutton in the fall!
Hope to see you there!
The Creature from the 11th Demon
In preparation for my book launch Friday night, here is a description of one of the creatures featured in the book:
A mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail.
Any similarly grotesque monster having disparate parts, especially as depicted in decorative art.
A horrible or unreal creature of the imagination; a vain or idle fancy: He is far different from the chimera your fears have made of him.
Genetics. an organism composed of two or more genetically distinct tissues, as an organism that is partly male and partly female, or an artificially produced individual having tissues of several species.
Information on the Book Launch:
Bruce Hennigan debuts his third book,
“The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos”
Friday evening, December 6, 2013
from 6 to 8 PM at The Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Brookwood Baptist Church is at the corner of I-49 and Bert Kouns. (www.brookwoodbaptist.com)
Not only will the new book be featured, but the first two books and Conquering Depression will be available. Bruce will be signing all four books.
Books are $10 each at the book launch only (This is a saving of up to $5 per book).
Book Launch Special:
3 Books for $25
4 Books for $30
Sign up for free giveaways!
Don’t Forget Friday Night!
This Friday night from 6 to 8 PM come by the Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church (corner of I-49 and Bert Kouns) and have a free cup of coffee and a snack. I know that many of you have Christmas parties and such, so the event is a come and go affair. I’ll be giving away some gift cards and I will email them to the winner so you don’t have to be present to win.
My latest book, “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” will be available at a low price of only $10.
In fact, I will have all four books there. My first two books in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel and my book, “Conquering Depression” — a timely book for this time of year and for this time in history!
So, here is the deal.
Each book individually is $10.
Or, you can buy three books for $25!
Or, you can buy four books for $30!
If you are in a hurry, I’ll have some pre signed books so you don’t have to wait in line. Just grab the book, pay for it, and grab a snack before you leave.
I appreciate all of my readers and I am hoping to make this third book a real success for the Jonathan Steel series to continue. If you don’t live in the Shreveport area, I am planning on asking the local LifeWays in Shreveport, Austin, and Abilene to have a book signing. I held a book signing in Austin and Shreveport before but my son, Sean and his wife, Jenn now live in Abilene and I’d love to show up there for a book signing. You might want to mention this to your local LifeWay!
Also, I am planning on contacting the book store at First Baptist Church Orlando for a book signing sometime in January – February, 2014. They have been so good and faithful to let me sign books and I can’t wait to return to the area!
Hope to see you Friday night. Oh, and yes, the Ark of Chaos will be on the premises along with a creature from the depths of well . . . let’s just say, it’s beastly on the inside!
(A free tee shirt for each buying customer!)
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