Become a Fan
By Bob Stockton
Monday, December 05, 2011
Rated "PG" by the Author.
The author shares a portion of Chapter One from his newly published novel.
©2011 Bob Stockton. Excerpted from Chapter 1 of 'Fighting Bob,' AuthorHouse. Unauthorized use prohibited.
It was while I was recovering from a particularly nasty motorcycle accident last year that I decided to write the book. I had been threatening to put pen to paper and write an autobiography that would chronicle my many adventures and mishaps during a twenty year Navy career but had never done anything about it. The project would be just the ticket to keep me busy while all these broken ribs and sundry other bumps and bruises healed. I would begin the next day by requesting a copy of my Navy Service Record from the Military Record Archives in Saint Louis. Those papers would clear up some of the fuzziness surrounding the dates and locations of my service that had begun more than half a century earlier. The very next afternoon I printed and filled out the online form requesting the documents, put them in an envelope and dropped the request in the mailbox, returning with a sense of accomplishment that I was finally getting the ball rolling on the damn book that I had promised to many but had never begun.
Late afternoon had arrived and a November chill was in the air. The pain from the five broken ribs was pretty intense so I made a sandwich, took a couple of prescription pain pills, applied a new Fentanyl patch and settled gingerly into the upright recliner that would become my bed for the next several months. Relief from the all-consuming pain could not come quickly enough. Maybe a gin and tonic on top of the meds would hasten the relief. I got up slowly and headed for the Bombay bottle in the kitchen, thinking all the while about the pain and suffering I wanted to inflict on the idiot that ran the red light a week ago and put me in the emergency room.
I mixed the Bombay and tonic - a little heavy on the Bombay side of the equation - and returned to the recliner to wait for the meds and the booze to kick in, which did not take long at all. The house was dark and a bit cool and I felt a wave of relief rescue me from the ever present pain.
I was drifting in and out of a fuzzy sleep when out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw some movement by the hallway. I could swear I saw the shadow of someone moving silently about the house. I knew that I was alone, my son had left over an hour ago and I was not expecting anyone to arrive. Was I hallucinating or was there really someone else in the house with me?
“Adam, is that you?” I could hear myself speaking but my voice seemed to come from outside my body, from another part of the house.
I remember thinking that the Fentanyl patch was really cooking! I made a mental note not to mix gin and pain patches in the future.
“Adam, dammit this isn’t funny. What are you still doing here? I thought you left.”
Still no answer. The sound of my voice was still distant from my body. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadowy ghost-like figure
move swiftly across the room.
“Who are you and what are you doing here?” The sound of my voice sounded as if it were coming from the next room. “What do you
Still no answer. Obviously, there is no one here, I thought. Just the damn Fentanyl and gin causing some disorientation in my mind. Yet I had the distinct sensation that I was in the presence of some being, some entity living or otherwise whose presence in the house was unmistakable even though I could not actually see or touch whoever or whatever it was. I remember thinking that I ought to be afraid but somehow I was not. Curious? Yes. Afraid? Not at all. Whether it was the booze, the pills, the patch, or perhaps some other manifestation of my mind designed to help me forget about the pain I knew that there was no danger.
“Do you not know who I am, Robert?”
Whatever this thing was had a back channel directly into my brain. The voice was like a thought in my mind.
“Well, no I don’t know who you are but I suspect that you are inside my head courtesy of the pain meds I’m taking to help with these damn broken ribs.” I remember thinking that I hadn’t been called Robert in that authoritative tone of voice in many years, a voice that was usually reserved for my dead grandmother to use when I was in trouble for having broken some rule or dodged some chore but the ‘voice’ was that of a man, a man used to getting his way.
Might as well go with the flow, I remember thinking, and see where this all ends up, probably in a detox center somewhere.
“Close your eyes and concentrate, sir. What do you see?”
I closed my eyes as the thing asked - commanded was more like it - and tried to focus on the sound of the voice that I was hearing. At first, I could see nothing but blackness but after a bit I began to discern a rather indistinct apparition, hazy and ill defined. I must be hallucinating, I thought.
“WHAT DO YOU SEE, MAN? SPEAK UP.”
This thing was obviously used to getting its way, and yet for some reason I had no fear of it.
“Well, whoever or whatever you are, you appear to be a man in his mid forties with a set of mutton chops and curly hair that hides a widow’s peak. You are wearing a uniform of some kind, probably that of a Naval Officer of the mid nineteenth century. Although you have not fully beamed up to me here, I think that we must be related somehow. You are a Stockton, but I can’t be sure exactly which one.”
“Very well, sir, as far as it goes. I believe that if you have your wits about you determining ‘which one’ as you so casually describe me should be within your grasp. And just what exactly does your phrase ‘fully beamed up’ signify?”
“Beaming up was a phrase on a television program that described molecular dispersion of…. Well, anyway I meant it to describe the fact that your image is not altogether clear and distinct in my mind. As to which relative of mine, seeing as Pop’s family were mostly Army officers and lawyers I’ll take an educated guess that you are Commodore Stockton.”
“Well done, sir. I am in fact the Commodore and am also your great-great-great grandfather.”
Site: Navy Publishing
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