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What makes a financially successful, happily married man want to kill his wife? What makes that man turn into a fugitive and leave town with his two children? What if you were his best friend and witnessed his steady decline from family man to stone-cold criminal? Would you turn him in or support his every decision?
Please visit author's official website for more detailed information and full length synopsis on this novel as well as his other fiction titles.
These are just a few of the questions that must be resolved in the soon-to-be released novel – Over Your Dead Body! Like all relationships, sometimes there are problems that need to be addressed. During one fateful night after returning home from his co-worker’s apartment, Janelle accuses her husband of adultery. There is just one catch: Preston has remained faithful up to this stage of their marriage! Underlying feelings of contempt and disdain quickly form as both Janelle and Preston allow outside influences to get the best of them as their failing marriage continue to spiral downward. A game of cat and mouse ensues as Preston and Janelle become engrossed in battle with their children as the ultimate prize. No one is safe as each character utilizes their entire array of wit, cunning, and deviousness to dispel the other’s reputation. With each passing chapter, Preston becomes more determined to vindicate his image and exact revenge on his wife. With nothing else to lose, everyone becomes expendable in his eyes and consequently, all intended participants become “chess pieces” in what is considered the game of his life.
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Valentine’s Evening, 2004
Nearing my Mount Vernon home five minutes before midnight, I grudgingly walk up the steps of my front porch and open the door, expecting another all-out fight with Janelle. The muffled sounds of her crying can be heard as I head straight for my bedroom.
“What’s wrong? Are the children alright?” I ask.
“You ungrateful bastard! I HATE YOU!” Janelle yells.
Mama Pearl and Shontell are beside Janelle, restraining her from going after me. An open vial lies on the counter. Reaching over to view its contents, I conclude Janelle consumed what appear to be prescription sleeping pills. Her heavily sweated brow and lethargic demeanor further confirms my suspicion.
“What the hell are you talking about now, Janelle? Why did you take sleeping pills?”
“Forget him, baby. We got to get you to the emergency room,” Mama Pearl says, ignoring my presence completely.
“I’ll go start the car up,” Shontell declares.
Shooting me the meanest of looks, Shontell and Mama Pearl walk right by me as if I don’t even exist, supporting Janelle at the same time.
“Janelle, where are Destiny and DeShaun?” I ask, worried more for my children’s safety.
Gathering all of her depleted strength, Janelle reaches back, and with all the force she can muster, slaps me hard across my face.
“I WISH YOU WERE DEAD!” she screams.
“GODDAMN! What the hell kind of bullshit is Shontell feeding you this time?” I ask her angrily.
“Shontell didn’t have to tell her anything, Preston,” Mama Pearl responds. “We can smell the guilt all over you from whatever bitch you were sleeping around with!”
“I hope the sex was worth it, Preston! I really do!” Janelle blurts out. “And as far as the children are concerned, don’t you worry yourself ‘bout where they are ‘cause you are not ever going to see them again…NOT OVER MY DEAD BODY!”
“First of all, don’t play with me, Janelle!” I spit back. “Those kids have nothing to do with what is going on here, so leave them out of this!”
Before Janelle has a chance to respond, she is whisked away by Mama Pearl and assisted into the back seat of her car. I have an empty feeling in my gut, and I can’t help but think she has finally gone over the deep end. Anyone who would take sleeping pills just to prove a point can’t be right in the mind! Nah! But something else is going on around here. It’s more than just Janelle acting jealous and trying to get some attention from me. And doesn’t she know there is nothing she can do to keep me away from my most precious gifts? I may not understand what is going through her demented head, but I do know I’d better make things right…and soon!
An hour later, I am downing my third shot of Absolut Vodka while looking up at the clock on the barroom wall. I’m silently wondering where the hell Skip could be, and impatiently awaiting his arrival.
“Have you seen my uncle tonight?” I ask a bartender, referring to my uncle Cliff, who owns the bar where I am currently drowning my sorrows.
“Yeah, he was in here earlier. He left out a little over an hour ago. All he said was he would be right back.”
Dropping a five-dollar bill on the counter, I order a beer on tap to wash down the aftertaste of the Absolut. In the reflection on the glass ceiling above me, I can see the imprint of Janelle’s hand on the side of my face. A familiar-sounding voice momentarily startles me.
“It’s about time, fool!”
Entering my uncle Cliff’s Bar–n-Grill, Skip gives me a “pound” and asks me to explain my frantic message for him to meet me as soon as possible.
“My marriage is over, man,” I sadly confirm. “Janelle left me tonight ‘cause she thinks I’m messin’ around behind her back.”
“Man, I told you to leave that girl at work alone!”
“I don’t need to hear your ‘I Told You’ comments right now, Skip! I need you to help me fix this crazy shit!”
“I got it!” Skip blurts out. “This might sound crazy, but if what you say is true and you and this girl ain’t messin’ around, then you need to have Janelle meet this co-worker of yours. If this woman talks to Janelle and assures her of your innocence, you got about a fifty-fifty chance of keeping your marriage intact.”
“I thought of that, and I don’t think it would work. Janelle is so mad right about now that if I introduce the two of them, she may straight try to strangle her.”
“Yeah, well, right about now, you got nothin’ to lose.”
Thinking it over, I offer my own rebuttal. “Yeah, but if it doesn’t work, I’m gonna have two crazy women mad at my ass!”
I shuffle slowly out of my uncle’s bar, and after convincing Skip that I’m alright to drive the three miles it takes to get home, he leaves to hook up with his current girl of the moment, Shontell. Just as I am getting ready to enter my ride, my uncle pulls up in his car.
“What up, Uncle Cliff?”
He gives me a hearty hug and handshake, and asks me what brings me to his side of town. Making sure not to slur my speech, I inform Uncle Cliff of all the dramatic events.
“…And I think she’s at the emergency room right now as we speak, ‘cause when I got home earlier, there was an empty bottle of sleeping pills on the counter.”
“So then, what the hell you doin’ here drinkin’ at my bar? You need to head over to the hospital and be with your wife!”
“Easier said than done, Uncle Cliff. If I show up at that hospital, she may attack my Black ass all over again. You know that crazy woman told me that I wouldn’t be able to see the kids again?!”
“Boy, don’t you know all women say that when they are angry? Trust me, the last thing she wants right now is to lose you AND her weekends of you watching dem kids!”
“You funny, Uncle Cliff! Good lookin’ out. I feel better already.”
“You are getting more and more like your old man every day, boy…no damn patience at all.”
“I ain’t got no damn father, Uncle Cliff! Don’t even mention his name to me! That fool took off on me right after my mama died!”
“I’m not sticking up for him, boy, but you don’t know all the facts. He fell on hard times, and before he knew it, he lost everything. Next thing you know, he began drinking and just stopped caring. He loved your mama that much!”
“You ever hear from him again?”
“Now you want to be curious, huh? Last I heard he was out walking the streets in the Bronx somewhere. After all this time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s dead. All he did was drink after your mama passed away, just like you are beginning to do!”
Uncle Cliff pulls his wool cap over his forehead to combat the night’s bitter cold air. Then, he pulls out a flask of liquor and downs a shot for the sake of it. This is the same man who just finished telling me that I drink too much!
“Let me give you some advice I wished I used when I was a young man. If you let Janelle’s anger grow like one of dem cancer cells your dear old mama died from, you are never going to be able to contain it and you will lose her forever.”
Digesting Uncle Cliff’s advice, I shift my car into drive and pull out in the direction of the hospital. I’m unaware that I’m being followed, and moments later, a cop pulls up behind me in his unmarked car, turns on his lights, and orders me to pull over to the side of the road.
Seated nervously in my car, I turn my radio down and place my hands on my steering wheel. Seconds feel like hours as the cop calls in my plate number over his radio. Looking around for a breath mint, it is clearly evident this cop saw me leaving my uncle’s bar. I can’t get a DWI! Not tonight! Scattered thoughts and the possibility of being arrested cause sweat beads to form on my forehead. Let’s get this over with! A uniformed presence walks over to my car and instructs me to step out of the vehicle slowly.
The officer interrupts me before I have a chance to complete my sentence.
“I would recommend that you don’t say anything. I need you to breathe into this, please.”
Following the officer’s directives, I blow into the long tube, and knowing my blood alcohol level has to be over the legal limit, I expect the worst – and get it. I have a brief flashback to my senior year in college. Thoughts of having my body pushed into the back of a cop car with my hands cuffed from behind remind me that I’m glad I am married with children and no longer hanging with the same crowd from back in the day. It’s a five-minute ride to the Mount Vernon police station, but with every pothole, the handcuffs constricting my wrists grow tighter and tighter.
“Officer, do we really have to go through this? My wife is in the emergency room, and I have to go and make sure she is alright.”
“You won’t be seeing your wife…not tonight anyway!”
His partner seated next to him lets out a slight chuckle as he bites into what looks to be a jelly doughnut. I wonder how much more trouble I could get into if I suddenly regurgitate all over their car seat. Inside the precinct, I cover my head in shame with my right hand, while my left hand is handcuffed to the desk. Sitting directly across from me is a prostitute and her pimp, talking quietly amongst each other. Seated in the same hallway, a couple of teenage boys are also handcuffed. I overheard one of the arresting officers say they were being detained for joyriding through the neighborhood in a stolen car. One of them looks real familiar as it takes me several moments to recall where I know his face from. He is one of the boys that attend my church every Sunday morning. He comes in every Sunday all decked out in a pinstripe suit, and his father is this loud, obnoxious character who is usually seen wearing some type of loud suit to make himself stand out that much more.
I again cover my face to avoid detection. The stained ink from the fingerprinting pad is a dismal reminder that I have been detained for driving while intoxicated. Remembering Skip’s ordeal with his DUI experience several years ago, I shake my head in frustration, wondering how I allowed this unfortunate mess to happen to me.