An early dark comedy novella I wrote while in college.
Barnes & Noble.com
I never really knew how to promote this one. Hard Ball is a dark comedy with a lot of slapstick humor...one-liners and such. It's very different from the horror I've been writing since then. It doesn't capture the grandeur of Manhattan. In that sense, this novella is really campy. It's got a lot right. But it's got a lot wrong. That said, you can by an ebook copy for $3.99. It's entertaining. Though, I'd recommend my collection of short horror stories before this one. For more information about this one, just scroll down the page. I've reprinted a review of Hard Ball, which appeared in The Hacker's Source below.
Reviews: Review by Michael Purfield © The Hacker's Source Issue 15, 2003 In the year 2210 A.D., the times are not that pleasant. As predicted in so many works of fiction, New York City has become a hotbed of violence and insanity. Big business freely sells their products to the world even if they have deadly side-effects and the underbelly of crime profits high on the weakness of the community. Nothing supports the latter than the fact that Tweezers (used by unorthodox Christians to abort babies and outlawed by the government) have become the most in demand product on the streets. So in demand, that if one crate is lost, heads will roll. So starts the incredibly crazy novella "Hard Ball." Tillemans brings together a large cast of characters all wading in their own physical and emotional traps while dealing with the world around them, trying to grasp their own definitions of hope and happiness. Carlos, an underground executive who tries to make cats fly off his balcony, loses a shipment of Tweezers, but all is not lost. He knows who stole them, a man named Sam who picked them up from the docks. Carlos puts his best man Abdul (who is also responsible for losing them, trading the crate of Tweezers instead of his child) on the job. Together with his pet chicken at his side, Abdul searches the city for the Tweezers, trying to save as many bodily limbs as he can. But Carlos isn't the only one who wants the Tweezers, Sam's psycho-sexual girlfriend, Kitten a stripper who speaks Latin and is familiar with Greek mythology, wants them as well so she can cash in on their value and start a life of happiness supported by money. In fact, she wants the Tweezers so bad; she ends up killing Sam, handcuffed to the radiator, before she can find out where they are. Mac, an extremely jealous and violent truck driver who privately tortures inflatable dolls, can no longer deal with his wife's affair. Mary, Mac's wife, is tired of her affair with her boss, Joe, who likes to ride a mechanical bull and lasso Mary like a horse, trying her up. Why does she put up with it? She wants more money through promotion and a better life. Mike, who just wants to live in a world where he can freely ride his stallion naked thought the streets and not get any gruff, tries to win the affection of Christy who he met at a yachting festival. At first, Christy keeps an open mind and takes a chance with him until their first date where Mike takes her to see a movie called "Dominating Darla." Christy stops the relationship. But since the date, Mike loses the urge to be naked, as if Christy healed him of it, and he continues to hound her, confused about where their relationship went wrong. "Hard Ball" was not what I expected. Obviously, from the blurb on the book, I was lead to believe it was hardcore sci-fi, maybe action, extremely political, but instead I found it to be completely human, funny, and filled with emotion. Most of the humor comes from the visuals Tillemans paints with his words, creating a wonderful off-center world. There is still a philosophical-political-corporate message happening in the book, but it lies under the surface. Character takes the fore. As insane as they are, I couldn't stop myself from identifying with their tortures: the anger of Mac concerning the love for his wife, the alienation from the world of Mike, and Bob the retarded janitor's love for the dead kitten that he keeps in his closet at work. But most of all I related to the desire for a heaven that is all illusion. For a wild, visual roller coaster of a time with plenty of heart, "Hard Ball" is the book for you.